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    Prologue

    In the world of Espers and Guides, collectively known as Ability Users, there are also ordinary people.

    Baek Sijin was an ordinary person, but he had a lot to do with Ability Users. This was because he was a doctor who analyzed and supervised the bodies of Ability Users who protected the nation. It was natural for experts to be attached to valuable combatants to supervise them.

    [Ability Diagnosis Examination Team]

    [Diagnostic Examiner Baek Sijin]

    An ID card waved through Baek Sijin’s white gown. There was no energy in his steps as he walked down the hallway, and dark circles peeked out from his slender face behind glasses. Sijin was struggling with fatigue again today.

    ‘Baek Sijin… the Center’s worker ant.’

    Sijin walked briskly, thinking self-deprecatingly. Despite being called a doctor, Sijin felt like nothing more than a worker ant himself.

    There’s just too much to do, even when there’s already too much.

    In his heart, he wanted to live as an Ability User who casually commanded ordinary worker ants.

    Just then, a lively voice could be heard outside the window.

    “Who’s got time to worry about matching rates during a battle? Just be thankful there’s a guide.”

    Sijin slowly turned his head. At the center of the beautiful landscape, a tall man with a rough appearance was walking and talking loudly with others. Sijin’s gaze fixed on him.

    ‘Ham Geonwu…’

    He was an A-Rank Esper.

    Baek Sijin came to a halt as if asking when he had wearily made his way towards the dormitory. Then, he stood there motionless, staring blankly out the window.

    Ham Geonwu, with one hand tucked in his pocket, was playfully spinning two coins in the air with the other hand. He possessed an unmistakable aura of being an esper, effortlessly manipulating it with telekinesis.

    He was an extraordinary Ability User. Ham Geonwu. Achieving A-Rank status at the age of twenty-eight, he was already a highly skilled Esper. Despite rising to A-Rank at a young age, the Center placed high expectations on him to reach S-class within three years, making him a promising individual carrying the Center’s hopes on his shoulders.

    And he was Baek Sijin’s savior.

    ‘He must have trained today as well.’

    Unbeknownst to himself, a smile crept onto Sijin’s lips. Despite the dark circles under his eyes from his busy workload, seeing Ham Geonwu made him momentarily forget about his fatigue.

    “Is there something funny?”

    However, where there is joy, there are also obstacles.

    Sijin was taken aback by the voice coming from the side. After hesitating, he looked up. The person, casually glancing at the window Sijin had been staring at, nonchalantly remarked.

    “It’s just Ham Geonwu’s face.”

    “Guide… Jeong Taeyul..”

    Sijin hesitantly uttered his name. There was tension in his eyes as he looked up at him.

    Jeong Taeyul, with his hand in his pocket, seemed to be staring out the window, then quickly glanced down at Sijin with his eyes slightly narrowed. His amber eyes were sharp like a hawk’s.

    ‘Of all times…’

    For some reason, Sijin felt that he had the worst luck today. Of all times to run into Jeong Taeyul.

    There was a reason Sijin was nervous. If he and Jeong Taeyul were on normal terms, Sijin would have viewed him favorably. After all, he was a tall, handsome man resembling a model.

    However, since Sijin’s fondness for Geonwu was revealed, such a friendly relationship could not be established.

    Jeong Taeyul, an A-Rank Guide, rarer than Espers. Furthermore, Jeong Taeyul was a perfect Guide with a 70% match rate with Ham Geonwu.

    Then Jeong Taeyul asked, “Dr. Baek, were you watching Ham Geonwu by any chance?”

    “No, no, I wasn’t.”

    Sijin’s laughing tone was exaggerated, as if to imply that such a thing would never happen. Startled by the direct question, Sijin hurriedly responded. Jeong Taeyul, persistent, continued to inquire, likely noticing Sijin’s flustered state.

    “Is that so?”

    “It’s just that the landscape is beautiful…”

    “Even when the flowers are all dead?”

    Jeong Taeyul retorted with a mocking tone. Unfortunately, due to an accident caused by an Ability User, the flower bed was burnt black. Sijin, losing his excuse, involuntarily shrank back, feeling defenseless.

    “If the doctor keeps only looking at Ham Geonwu every day, other Ability Users might feel neglected… don’t you think so?”

    Jeong Taeyul now openly softened his voice, pretending to be upset. It was undeniably a shameless display.

    “N-No, I manage all Ability Users equally.”

    Sijin spoke with a slightly wavering voice, his fatigue causing him to ramble. Jeong Taeyul silently watched him, as Ham Geonwu, the cause of the problem, was no longer visible outside the window.

    An awkward silence ensued. Sijin’s eyes darted around, looking for an excuse to escape. However, a languid voice spoke first.

    “Why do you keep looking at him? Sorry for asking.”

    “I…”

    As Sijin spoke, his big hand came closer, causing him to tightly shut his eyes. Yet, Jeong Taeyul simply tidied up the ID card necklace that hung around Sijin’s neck. Sijin was speechless, taken aback by the unexpected gesture.

    Sijin was unsure which rhythm to follow. He knew that this was all just a form of control. In fact, he had grown accustomed to it.

    It was natural for there to be a sense of camaraderie between an Esper with a match rate of over 70% and their Guide. Sijin felt the need to offer more excuses, just in case.

    But today, Sijin was too tired and lacked the energy to do so. Summoning his courage, Sijin spoke up.

    “If you don’t need anything from me, I’ll go.”

    “Alright, Doctor.”

    Surprisingly, Jeong Taeyul let Sijin go without resistance. Relieved, Sijin tried to pass by his broad shoulders.

    However, his path was blocked. Jeong Taeyul had taken a half step to the side, following Sijin.

    Sijin tried to ignore him and move to the right again. But he was blocked once more. This repeated three times.

    Now, Sijin looked up at Jeong Taeyul with a gaze filled with resentment.

    “Guide Jeong Taeyul.”

    “Yes?”

    “…..”

    Annoyingly, Jeong Taeyul had a subtle smirk hidden behind his handsome face.

    I knew it. Jeong Taeyul wouldn’t let me go so easily.

    When their eyes met, Jeong Taeyul smoothly raised one corner of his mouth and asked, “Doctor, you look tired. Are you okay?”

    ‘It’s because of you.’

    Sijin suppressed the urge to blurt out his true feelings. He forced himself to control his anger and replied, “It’s because of the full-body check-ups this week.”

    “Oh, right. I see now.”

    Jeong Taeyul muttered as if he had forgotten. Sijin found it annoying that he pretended not to know when he had also undergone the check-ups. It was frustrating that he didn’t let him go even though he knew.

    “You must be exhausted. Should I buy you a coffee?”

    “It’s okay. I plan to sleep right away because I’m tired.”

    Now Sijin openly displayed his exhaustion. He even attempted a subtle war of nerves while looking directly at Jeong Taeyul. Since the warning was clearly understood, he was asking to be allowed to leave.

    “Alright. Go ahead.”

    Jeong Taeyul said with a nod. Sijin silently lowered his head and quickly escaped from his piercing gaze. Fortunately, this time Jeong Taeyul did not block his path.

    Sijin walked down the hallway and descended a flight of stairs before finally taking a long breath. He took off his glasses and rubbed his tired eyes, where dark circles had formed. It was quite a pitiful sight.

    ‘If I really quit, it’s all because of Jeong Taeyul…’

    Sijin thought bitterly to himself. It turned out that a guy who smiles and is obsessive is the scariest. And if that person is an A-Rank Ability User, then it’s even more complicated.

    When did I say I wanted to date Ham Geonwu?

    Feeling unjust, Sijin leaned his head against the wall.

    Who said I was trying to covet Ham Geonwu? Trying to approach the benefactor of his life with natural human affection was already difficult with Jeong Taeyul vigilantly by his side. So, even though Sijin tried to hide his feelings, he was often caught by the observant Jeong Taeyul, who was skilled at reading emotions.

    Suddenly, Sijin felt a surge of exhaustion. He hadn’t come to the F12 Center for this kind of war of nerves. But he was here, driven by a sense of professional duty.

    Sijin let out a tired sigh and quickened his weary steps to rest a little sooner.

    Indeed, living as an ordinary person in the world of crazy Ability Users was a series of hardships, as always.

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