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    Nam-woon, who had to carry two adult men, felt like he was on the verge of life and death.

    After circling the same road about four times, Kwon Seo-oh finally started giving directions from behind.

    “Right turn, left turn, straight ahead.”

    Then occasionally, there were different instructions.



    “I said, U-turn.”

    Should I just kill this guy? I’m heading for a buried-alive ending anyway, right? Nam-woon pedaled as hard as he could, suppressing the boiling urge to kill.


    The pink bicycle stopped at the entrance of an alley leading uphill. The rider looked as if he would collapse at any moment, his eyes turned white and he was gasping for breath. Without a word, Kwon Seo-oh got off from behind and started walking up the hill with a bag slung over one shoulder. Nam-woon, who had come to his senses, quickly followed him.

    [You must escort Kwon Seo-oh “home” after school.]

    The floating text in front of his eyes felt chilling. He didn’t know what would happen due to the malicious system if he didn’t escort Kwon Seo-oh to his home. Sensing the movement of dragging the bicycle along, Kwon Seo-oh turned his head sharply.

    “How far are you going to follow?”

    “I’ve agreed to take you, so I should at least go to the front of your house.”

    “Are you crazy? Just go.”

    Despite his dissuasion, Nam-woon stubbornly climbed the hill. Then, as if giving up, Kwon Seo-oh sighed and took the lead.

    They stopped in front of a green gate.


    Seeing the house, Nam-woon was at a loss for words. It was very similar to the house he had lived in the past when he was buried in debt. The green gate had peeling paint here and there, and the ash-gray cement walls were crumbling in places as if they would collapse at any moment. He could tell the condition of the rooms without having to go inside.

    Such houses are extremely hot in summer and extremely cold in winter.

    As Nam-woon stared blankly at the house in front of him, Kwon Seo-oh frowned as if he were annoyed.

    “It’s not like it’s your first time seeing it. Why do you want to nitpick again?”

    It was then that the green gate opened slightly with a noisy creak. Through the gap in the door, a child with apple-like-shaped hair peeked out.

    “Hyung, are you here?”


    Upon seeing Se-han’s face, Kwon Seo-oh’s sharp tone softened instantly. Se-han tilted his head to see the man standing behind Seo-oh.

    “Hyung, who did you come with?”

    “Go inside.”


    However, Se-han had already seen Seok Nam-woon. The piler guy from the office.



    At Nam-woon’s awkward greeting, Se-han’s body stiffened like a statue.

    “Go inside quickly.”

    After pulling the small body into the house, Kwon Seo-oh slammed the gate shut so Se-han couldn’t be seen. Kwon Seo-oh said, Holding the doorknob,

    “Hurry up and go.”

    “Okay… Oh, right.”

    Nam-woon rummaged through the basket attached to the front of the bicycle. He wrapped the cooler bag so it wouldn’t be seen and handed over the black plastic bag, causing Kwon Seo-oh to look puzzled.

    “I bought some snacks on the way. Share them with Se-han.”


    Kwon Seo-oh showed no signs of taking the bag. Nam-woon tried to put it directly in his hand when.

    [Warning! You have not been faithful to your role!]

    As the system’s warning message appeared, Nam-woon’s hand was slapped away. Thud. The plastic bag fell to the ground, and a couple of snacks rolled out. Standing there with one hand holding the doorknob, a cold voice came down.

    “I told you I don’t need anything from someone like you.”


    The door slammed shut in Nam-woon’s face.

    “He doesn’t know how precious food is to that guy.”

    It’s not like a teenage son slamming the door and going inside. As he bent down to pick up the snacks, his mood somehow sank. After shaking off the snacks, he threw them into the basket and dragged the bicycle down the alley.

    During his walk, he discovered a supermarket at the entrance of the alley.

    Namnam Supermarket

    “Rice for sale”

    Seeing one of the notices plastered on the glass door of the supermarket, Nam-woon quickly entered the store. The owner seemed to be away, with only the TV making noise. As he went to the rice corner to see what to buy, a voice suddenly came from behind.

    “20 kilograms of rice?”

    “Ah, you startled me!”

    Turning around, he saw a short old man standing there.

    “Ah, are you the owner? How much for 20 kilograms of rice?”

    “Let’s see, uh… that’s 150,000 won.”

    Nam-woon turned to leave. Then the owner shouted from behind.

    “80,000 won!”

    The price was cut in half immediately. This was a haggler. Nam-woon walked on without turning back. Then the owner shouted even louder.

    “Hey, I’ve cut a lot off. 70,000 won! This is good rice.”

    “Let’s make it 60,000 won.”

    Nam-woon and the old owner looked at each other for a few seconds. After a while, the owner pushed up the glasses on his nose and muttered, “Gosh, it’s hard to find young people like this these days. So thrifty, it’s infuriating.” It was unclear whether it was a compliment or an insult.

    “Do you deliver rice?”

    “Where to?”

    “Up there on Gohamsan Road, 45-1.”

    Hearing the address, the old man stared at Nam-woon and clicked his tongue.

    “Oh, tsk. No delivery.”

    I don’t know why he asked for the address if there’s no delivery.

    “Do you know the people at that house?”

    “A little.”

    As Nam-woon fumbled in his pocket and handed over the money for the rice, the old man said softly,

    “Poor kids.”


    “He ended up like that without even seeing his eldest go to university, tsk.”

    Nam-woon knew immediately who he was talking about. It was Kwon Seo-oh’s father.

    “There’s always something happening at that house. What a commotion it was before! That the father disappeared, and the older brother, how much he searched for him.”

    Nam-woon awkwardly turned his head.

    “Seeing the brothers rely on each other and live together, it’s so pitiful and admirable. Those who torment them deserve divine punishment. That’ll be 5,000 won.”

    As Nam-woon aimlessly fiddled with the bubble gum in front of the cash register, he asked the old man for a favor.

    “If the owner of that house asks about the rice, keep it a secret that I bought it.”

    Then the old man looked at Nam-woon with wide eyes.

    “What are you talking about? Are you a criminal?”

    “No, it’s not like that.”

    “Then why?”

    Nam-woon smiled awkwardly.

    “The owner of that house doesn’t like me very much.”

    After asking the owner to watch his bicycle for a moment, Nam-woon shouldered the rice.

    From what he had observed, the system seemed to issue warnings mainly in direct situations involving the main character, Kwon Seo-oh. This time, he thought of leaving it a secret. Although Kwon Seo-oh said he didn’t need anything from Nam-woon, he really wanted to give him this rice.

    During tough times, rice was precious. Nam-woon couldn’t forget the days when he counted every single grain of rice. And Kwon Seo-oh has a younger brother. Being a student himself, it must be quite a struggle to manage their livelihood alone.

    Kwon Seo-oh probably doesn’t show that he is having a tough time.

    Nam-woon hoped they weren’t living on just one meal a day or just ramen like he did.

    “Huff, puff.”

    But wanting to help is one thing and carrying the load is another. As he was almost at Kwon Seo-oh’s house with the rice, he saw a large pair of eyes looking at him over the low wall.



    Se-han, with cheeks reddened by the heat, made eye contact with Nam-woon and then quickly ducked his head down. Dangling. Because he hid his face, Se-han’s apple hair swayed back and forth in the hot wind.

    I wonder if he’ll tell Kwon Seo-oh?

    Nam-woon intended to leave the rice secretly, but it seemed that plan had failed. Nevertheless, Nam-woon continued to walk silently.

    Squeak. Just as Nam-woon was about to reach Kwon Seo-oh’s house, the green iron gate suddenly opened. A pair of slippers with holes all over them popped out, followed by a small child. Se-han was holding something in his tiny hands. After sneakily checking if Nam-woon was looking, Se-han put down what he was holding in front of the door and then hopped back inside. The sound of his feet could be heard from inside.

    “What’s this?”

    After putting down the rice in front of Kwon Seo-oh’s house, Nam-woon crouched down in front of the item Se-han had put down—a 500-ml bottle of water and a small sticker underneath.

    “Al… Kongi?”

    A light pink puppy with large eyes was striking a cute pose on the sticker. The words “Alkongi” were written alongside it.

    Underneath the water bottle, there was also a piece of paper that looked like it had been torn from a notebook. Nam-woon’s hand hesitated as he picked it up. The paper had crooked handwriting on it.

    “Thank you for the doll.”

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