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    “Happy birthday. And congratulations on your return.”

    As soon as they got into the warm car, Jae-chan handed over a large bouquet of roses. Surprised, Woo-jin received the bouquet with his dark eyes wide open.

    Woo-jin’s birthday was at the end of December. Due to the lockdown, Jae-chan couldn’t even send a gift by delivery. Jae-chan carefully took in every detail of Woo-jin, whom he was seeing after a long time, as Woo-jin dazedly smelled the flower’s fragrance. He continued speaking:

    “I happened to go into a flower shop and wanted to buy them. Now I understand why you bought me flowers.”

    Woo-jin examined the rustling rose bouquet in his arms. They were very large, uniquely gorgeous red roses, as red as Seon Jae-chan’s blushing face. The fresh fragrance filled his arms.

    And flowers weren’t the only thing Jae-chan had prepared.

    “Oh, this…”

    Woo-jin briefly expressed his admiration. When he unwrapped the gift in the shopping bag, a limited edition CD from years ago appeared. It was a premium album of the rock band he liked. It was something he once tried to get but gave up because it was so rare, yet Jae-chan had managed to find it.

    Speechless at the unexpected bouquet and album, Woo-jin soon replied with a dazzlingly bright face.

    “Thank you. I really like it.”

    Saying he liked it was an understatement. Woo-jin kept whispering his thanks in a voice filled with emotion, already looking forward to February. Jae-chan’s birthday was on February 8th. He was already eager to celebrate Jae-chan’s birthday. He wished February would come right away.

    “Why are you smiling?”

    Woo-jin asked when he noticed Jae-chan trying to hold back a smile.

    “Well, because it’s a profitable business?”

    Woo-jin’s eyes blinked a couple of times at the sudden remark. Jae-chan didn’t care and kissed those smiling eyes. It really was a profitable business, wasn’t it? Being able to see Woo-jin’s face like this in return for gifts.

    At that time, Jae-chan’s cell phone rang. After kissing Woo-jin’s lips one more time, Jae-chan apologized and quickly checked the contact information.

    “What’s the matter?”

    Go Woo-jin looked at Seon Jae-chan’s eyebrows furrowing in worry and asked. Seon Jae-chan said, “It’s nothing.” He smiled and put his phone away. Woo-jin didn’t ask further, carefully placing the gift in the back seat and starting the car.

    Meanwhile, Jae-chan held back a question rising to his throat.

    ‘Woo-jin, where did you get Guide Nam Hae-sol’s dress back then?’

    Somehow, the dress Nam Hae-sol wore in the past was harder to find than the limited edition CD.

    [Mr. Jae-chan, I’ll definitely find it for you ㅠㅠ!]

    Recalling the reply from the shopper he had hastily hired for this task, Jae-chan leaned back in the comfortable seat. Trying to focus on the new path ahead of him.


    One day, five days later.

    [Mr. Jae-chan, I found a dress!!!]

    He received a message full of exclamation marks from the hired shopper. He had prepared another outfit in case they couldn’t find it, but thankfully that wasn’t necessary.

    Jae-chan felt relieved as he received the light pistachio-colored dress from the young male shopper he was meeting for the first time.

    ‘This year, everything seems like it will go even better.’

    He felt some kind of good energy. He had successfully obtained the dress, his relationship with Woo-jin was going surprisingly smoothly, and on top of that… he had found a lead on the Black Swan case that had been at a standstill.

    An email had arrived from Investigator Kwon Hwi-young.

    [We’ve found significant traces of Lee Yun-do, the leader of the Black Shadow Group.]

    Seon Jae-chan asked Han Ji-hoon for two things last summer. The first was to access the investigation records on the Black Shadow Group. The Black Shadow Group was a terrorist organization that led the hostage situation at Universal Park and the kidnapping of Han Roy.

    Kwon Hwi-young was the chief investigator on the joint task force for that case. When Seon Jae-chan was hospitalized, he came to the hospital room to take his statement.

    Han Ji-hoon acted as a stepping stone between the two on several occasions, and then directly connected Jae-chan with investigator Kwon Hwi-young, with whom he was a close friend. This was possible because Investigator Kwon was willing to do anything to help with the investigation.

    After the case was wrapped up, the joint task force was dissolved, but they never managed to catch Lee Yun-do, the leader of the Black Shadow Group. Investigator Kwon Hwi-young was assigned to continue tracking Lee Yun-do separately.

    [Please visit the Investigation Bureau when you have time.]

    Jae-chan suddenly recalled the leader who seemed to be on bad terms with the future “Blink” Won Seong-il. The fact that he hadn’t been caught yet suggested that either he was very good at evading capture or had powerful backers. There was a chance it was Yoon Seo-mi. Or…

    ‘Someone else might have intervened.’

    Angel and the technician.

    Jae-chan’s eyes flashed with determination as he thought of the core leadership of Black Swan, of whom they hadn’t even found a trace yet.

    [If it’s not an inconvenience, may I come today?]

    He immediately replied to Investigator Kwon. As soon as he received an affirmative response, he headed to the Central District Office in District 1.


    It had been an incredibly fast-paced week.

    Jae-chan had received information about Lee Yun-do, successfully delivered the hard-to-find dress to Nam Hae-sol, and enjoyed amazing dates with Woo-jin as always. Lastly, he was notified that all the apprentices had passed their promotion exams with excellent grades.

    ‘Nam Hae-sol ranked second overall!’

    In particular, Nam Hae-sol’s promotion review results became a source of pride for Guide Team 2. Jae-chan felt proud beyond the relief of settling a debt in his heart. This was because Nam Hae-sol was now established as his successor rather than simply the ‘Guide Nam Hae-sol’ of the past.

    Days flew by like the wind, it finally became the day before the welcome ceremony for new guides.

    “Oh, Hae-sol. Did you cut your hair?”

    Jae-chan, who was working in Guide Team 2’s office, looked up when he heard Song Se-in’s voice. Nam Hae-sol, who had just arrived for her evening shift, caught his eye. As Song Se-in said, her shortened hair swaying at her ears was immediately noticeable.

    Song Se-in continued to be impressed.

    “It looks great on you!”

    Perhaps because it was the first time seeing her with short hair. Nam Hae-sol with her long neckline revealed under the short hair, really looked prettier. She looked even more pure and beautiful than in Jae-chan’s memories.

    “Ah, no…”

    Nam Hae-sol waved her hand while touching her hair. However, Se-in raised her voice in admiration as she seemed to like the short haircut of her friend.

    “No, really, it suits you so well! Wow, you look great with both long and short hair!”

    “Actually, I always wanted to cut it, but… I did it now because of the exam jinx.”

    Nam Hae-sol explained with a slightly flushed face.

    She often heard comments that short hair would suit her well due to her small face and slender neck.

    However, she had kept her long hair, not wanting to cut it and not being particularly concerned about her appearance, until she received the dress Senior Seon Jae-chan had given her.

    Senior Seon Jae-chan even told her about a fitting room near the center. When she visited the boutique with nervous feelings and put on the dress that revealed her neck and shoulders, Hae-sol felt a strong desire to style her hair as well.

    ‘Could it be… that Sunbae-nim thinks well of me too?’

    Although Jae-chan gave her the dress, explaining it as owing something to Nam Hae-sol’s father, Nam Myeong-sung, Nam Hae-sol started to see a green light while listening to the boutique staff explain how difficult it was to obtain this particular dress model.

    She already had feelings for her senior due to the Mentosa Island incident. Nam Hae-sol hesitantly approached Jae-chan, who was working inside the partition. She was about to say the words she had prepared earnestly: ‘I cut it because I thought it would go well with the dress you gave me.’ It was then that she was interrupted.

    “Aren’t you going to your post?”

    Han Myeong-gyu intervened. Just as Nam Hae-sol’s delicate brow furrowed slightly, Jae-chan coincidentally received a phone call.

    “Uh… oh, no. -No.”

    Jae-chan stood up, stuttering a little, which was unusual. He had just received a call from Woo-jin.

    “No, don’t come up. I’ll go down.”

    Jae-chan reassured Woo-jin over the phone as he quickly passed by the apprentices.

    He was reluctant for Woo-jin to come up here. It was a foolish thought, but he didn’t want Woo-jin to meet Nam Hae-sol.

    Jae-chan pretended not to see the apprentices and left the office. Even as he went to meet Woo-jin, the image of Nam Hae-sol, who had become even more beautiful after cutting her hair, strangely lingered in his mind.

    Meanwhile, Woo-jin, who had parked his car in the Guide Bureau parking lot, was waiting as Jae-chan had asked. Sitting quietly in the driver’s seat, he was deep in thought.

    ‘Don’t come up. I’ll come down.’

    He was bothered by Jae-chan’s words, which he would have normally brushed off. In fact, Go Woo-jin had received an unexpected report from the person he had assigned to follow Jae-chan yesterday.

    -Guide Seon Jae-chan came into contact with a person he had never met, so I looked into it and found out that he was a personal shopper. It seems he went through quite a bit of trouble to obtain a certain dress.

    -The dress was given to guide Nam Hae-sol, who is his successor on the same team. Guide Seon Jae-chan personally visited Guide Nam’s house to deliver it.

    Perhaps he had assigned the surveillance task for too long. Somehow misunderstanding his intentions, Woo-jin ended up receiving a report on Jae-chan’s personal activities that he hadn’t even requested.

    Although it was once again made clear that this was a follow-up request focused on Jae-chan’s safety and protection, the information he had already heard couldn’t be erased from his mind.

    Jae-chan had gifted a dress to one of his juniors.

    That fact kept scratching at his mind. Go Woo-jin watched with an indecipherable gaze as Seon Jae-chan, spotting the car, came running towards him.

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