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    Occupying an empty bed in the emergency room, the apprentices leaning against the bed and auxiliary chairs had a tense atmosphere. It was because Seon Jae-chan, who happened to be on duty at this place today, could return at any time. If they couldn’t answer simple questions and stammered, they would surely be disqualified.

    “I’ll ask the next question this time.”

    Nam Hae-sol said as she closed the worn practice textbook.

    “An emergency patient came in. The wavelength stability is extremely low at 20, and it turns out that he is an Esper with WTS syndrome. What should we do in this case?”

    For espers with WTS syndrome, attaching an amplifier wasn’t useful since wavelength instability was felt as pain. The apprentices fell deep in thought. Sitting askew, Han Myeong-gyu answered first.

    “Call Guide Seon Jae-chan.”

    In fact, it was best to have a Guide with good control, but it was impossible to call out a senior in front of the practical evaluator. So Song Se-in and Choi Kang-man treated Han Myeong-gyu’s answer as a joke, laughing and agreeing with him.

    However, because Han Myeong-gyu was looking directly at Nam Hae-sol without blinking through the glasses, so she recognized the faint sarcasm in his tone.

    Nam Hae-sol pretended not to notice and gave the next hint.

    “We need to first check what type of Esper it is.”

    “Oh, I see. What type is it?”

    “It’s physics.”

    The apprentices fell silent for a moment. Then Choi Kang-man, who had asked the question, shot up his head first and shouted.

    “Administer anti-epinen!”

    “Correct!”

    Nam Hae-sol joyfully high-fived Kang-man’s sturdy palm. The corner of Han Myeong-gyu’s mouth wrinkled disapprovingly for a moment, but no one noticed.

    After solving the problem raised by Nam Hae-sol, the crew decided to take a short break. Around then, the senior who had briefly left returned to the emergency room with the senior from Team 5 who were on duty together. Nam Hae-sol’s pupils lingered on Seon Jae-chan, who seemed to be frowning while talking about something.

    “Hae-sol, did you buy the dress for the welcoming ceremony?”

    Song Se-in asked. Meanwhile, the topic had shifted to the welcoming ceremony for new Guides. Everyone was secretly optimistic about their chances because they got pretty good grades on the written test.

    “No.”

    Nam Hae-sol hesitated, answering a little late. This was because Team 5 team leader Lim Jeong-wook was approaching behind Seon Jae-chan.

    Why did that guy, who’s a team leader, come down here? Nam Hae-sol, clearly remembering the incident at the Guide Engineering Center last summer, clenched her fist tightly.

    *

    “Uh, my team leader is coming.”

    Jeong Noah, who was chatting excitedly as he and Seon Jae-chan were working together for the first time in a long time, frowned.

    Lim Jeong-wook, who had been observing Team 5’s apprentices studying in the corner for the practical exam, approached them, likely stimulated by the presence of the Team 2 apprentices.

    “Oh my, Guide Jae-chan! Long time no see!”

    Team leader Lim Jeong-wook gave an exaggerated greeting as if he had just discovered Seon Jae-chan. As soon as he pretended to be happy and started touching Seon Jae-chan’s back, Jeong Noah’s eyebrows went up without realizing it.

    That disgusting team leader is at it again.

    Lim Jeong-wook was infamous for subtly groping attractive male Guides. It was an annoying situation; he had even made a pass at Jeong Noah once. After going berserk and throwing a fit, Lim Jeong-wook had stayed away from him.

    ‘But I can’t figure this guy out.’

    Jeong Noah looked at his roommate with dissatisfaction. He had forgotten that Seon Jae-chan originally fawned over Team Leader Lim Jeong-wook since he hadn’t seen them together lately. If Jae-chan showed any signs of disliking it, Jeong Noah would help him, but usually Jae-chan didn’t seem bothered at all by Jeong-wook’s pawing, like a houseplant welcoming human touch.

    Even if Jae-chan was his lifesaver, it was time to retreat because he couldn’t bear to see that happen. But then he noticed Jae-chan distinctly backing away. Huh?

    ‘Has his thoughts changed because he’s in a relationship now?’

    Jeong Noah eyes sparkled as he paused, ready to help if needed.

    “Ah, it’s cramped here. Please, stand here, Team Leader.”

    Seon Jae-chan said loudly enough for everyone around to hear as he moved out of Lim Jeong-wook’s range.

    Given that the follower Go Woo-jin planted was still around, Jae-chan knew Woo-jin wouldn’t appreciate such a situation. Jae-chan didn’t know why Lim Jeong-wook, who had been avoiding contact, had shown up, but he wanted to give Woo-jin any room to worry.

    Meanwhile, Nam Hae-sol, who was watching this whole situation, was in shock.

    “…”

    Before she knew it, her senior had changed. It seems like he didn’t need any help anymore. It was a positive change, but Nam Hae-sol’s expression was dark. It was because she knew that she was not the reason for the change.

    Then an unexpected situation occurred for everyone.

    “Oh, come on. Why are you acting so distant?”

    Team leader Lim Jeong-wook, who seemed to know the right time to step down (this was the reason he was still preserving his position), quickly closed the distance between him and Seon Jae-chan.

    Lim Jeong-wook let out a satisfied exclamation as he hugged Seon Jae-chan’s shoulder, which was quite spacious in his arms.

    Having missed Jae-chan for months, especially after breaking up with his lover and failing to find a new one, Lim Jeong-wook’s eyes popped when he glimpsed Team 2’s youngest from afar. Somehow Jae-chan had grown even more attractive from afar.

    ‘Ah, he smells nice.’

    Lim Jeong-wook, who doesn’t like small and thin things, liked Seon Jae-chan just right. No matter how hard he looked, he couldn’t find anyone as plump among the tall guys. As if encountering a pine tree emitting phytoncides in the forest, Jeong-wook inhaled deeply with his nose.

    “Oh my gosh, no matter how much of a child I am, you can’t do this. You are not even my mother.”

    Seon Jae-chan warned in a very low voice and escaped from the embrace. Lim Jeong-wook, who was enjoying the joy, suddenly seemed to have fallen into an abyss.

    ‘This brat, after kept being called pretty, this attitude.’

    What’s wrong with a little groping? Thinking he’d be immediately fired if the higher-ups found out, Jeong-wook abruptly smirked.

    He did have a particular reason for seeking Jae-chan out at this time. Currently assigned to the emergency guiding center were only apprentices who could be dispatched elsewhere, and the loner Jeong Noah drifting around Team 5 with his prickly personality. In other words, no prying eyes around to object if he got a little handsy with Jae-chan, whom he hadn’t seen in a long time.

    It was then. A voice was heard that poured cold water on Lim Jeong-wook’s boiling desire.

    “What are you doing to my son?”

    Lim Jeong-wook’s shoulders jumped at the faint voice that came without any warning.

    Seon Jae-chan was equally surprised. He thought his father might sell him to Lim Jeong-wook, so he mentioned his mother to ward off Lim Jeong-wook, not expecting her to appear suddenly.

    His mother, whom he had never seen since his regression, was standing behind Lim Jeong-wook. As always, with a face as pale as a ghost.

    *

    All eyes at the emergency center were focused on the small pale woman who appeared silently.

    Gu Ji-young. She is the eldest daughter of Gu Hee-gon, who served as the former head of the Ability Management Center, and an A-class special-psychic Esper, who had once been famous for her outstanding abilities and willowy appearance.

    Her most famous description at the moment is ‘the wife of Union hero Seon Min-yeol.’ Additionally, there was an active psychic Esper, ‘Seon Eun-soo’s mother’, but the latter felt overshadowed by Seon Eun-soo being reduced to a public bastard and a sex offender who abused his abilities.

    Anyway.

    Lim Jeong-wook could not help but feel flustered as he suddenly encountered Seon Jae-chan’s mother, whom he had been trying to prey on. When had she entered without making a sound?

    “… I think there was a misunderstanding. Excuse me.”

    Lim Jeong-wook instantly became a gentleman and took a step back. The reason he was good to Seon Jae-chan in the first place was because of his parents. He had been mesmerized by Jae-chan’s polished appearance and had forgotten this fact.

    ‘I almost made a mistake.’

    Fortunately, Esper Gu Ji-young, whom he had only briefly greeted at a few official occasions, didn’t seem to recognize him. Lim Jeong-wook hurriedly left the emergency center, avoiding her subtly intense gaze, which seemed to reflect a faint hint of suspicion, which hinted at her being a psychic Espers.

    Gu Ji-young’s focus was on her son rather than the fleeing man. As the surrounding people dispersed, Gu Ji-young approached her son whom she hadn’t seen in a year and a half, whispering in a scratchy voice:

    “How loosely have you been behaving for someone like that to latch onto you?”

    Jae-chan shrugged. Since he had indeed acted loosely around Lim Jeong-wook before, he had no grounds to refute.

    “And why… why couldn’t I reach you when I needed to? Why did you change your number?”

    His mother’s behavior toward Jae-chan fell into one of two patterns: ignoring him claiming she had a headache, or she started barraging him with irritating questions out of nowhere. Jae-chan responded, thinking it was a familiar experience, but possibly because it had been a long time since he had experienced it, it didn’t feel great.

    “Because of Hyung.”

    He tried responding in that manner.

    “…”

    A strange silence briefly fell between the two before Gu Ji-young’s gaze wavered momentarily. But that was it. Pretending not to hear, she continued speaking her own words.

    “Weren’t you staying at the dorms?”

    “You came looking for me?”

    “Yes.”

    As she answered, Gu Ji-young raised her delicate, high-bridged nose. As Jae-chan glanced sideways, he noticed Jeong Noah’s horrified face. Muttering “Married woman… roommate’s mother…” with a pale expression, Jeong Noah shook his head in disbelief and walked away.

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