Chapter 28: Chapter 28
Yoo Chun Young was sitting down with sagged shoulders as he began to explore his dreamland with his arms folded. As if he looked pathetic or precarious dozing off, a boy who sat next to Chun Young lent his shoulder.
Yoo Chun Young was, again, living a life deeply asleep leaning against someone’s warm shoulder today. Yeo Ryung Ban and I giggled at him and turned our heads back to look at the stage in front.
Nothing will change in our senior year in middle school, but since we went to a prestigious school, it was a period for those who aimed at achieving the same elite education in high school to keep doing their hardest at a school with the same caliber of prestige.
The principal, the chairman of the board, and a government official conducted their speech one after another. When Kwon Eun Hyung and Eun Jiho wrapped up the ceremony with their student speech, Yeo Ryung Ban and I had also abandoned the real world in exchange for the comfort of the land of dreams with our heads close together.
At last, there were instructions announced to check the class lists attached on the glass doors around the hall. Yeo Ryung Ban and I stood up from our seat half asleep and headed to the entrance.
It was hard to find my name through the crowds of students near the lists. While I raised my head to scroll down the list of Class 2 and Class 3, a hand came out of the crowds and tapped the top of my head.
Who was it? I looked around wondering the person who had the gall to place their heavy hand on my head, but I could hardly find them among the crowds. As I rolled my eyes in confusion, the hand popped out again from the crowd and pulled my wrist. It was Jooin.
He smiled brightly while bending his golden eyes on me. A sour expression enveloped my face as I asked,
“Umm… are we in the same class?”
I hugged him tightly with glee only for me to realize in shock that he got taller. He seemed to have the same height as me earlier, but after the break, he reached more than 170 cm.
I, of course, met him often during the break, but I never knew before now that he had grown taller. As I looked up at him in surprise, this time, another hand from another side touched my left shoulder.
When I turned back, I saw Yeo Ryung Ban and the rest of the Four Heavenly Kings hurdled together. I didn’t waste my time asking Yeo Ryung Ban if we were in the same class—Law of the Web Novel Article 6. The Protagonists Are Always in the Same Class with Their Besties.
Instead, I had my eyes on Eun Jiho, who looked delighted. Then I knitted my brows abruptly. After seeing that, he also frowned his brows accordingly and asked, “Dude, what’s wrong with your face?”
“Oh my god, Mr. Eun Jiho. You better watch your mouth. There are so many people around here; how could you reveal your evil personality so easily like that?”
I gave grinned after what I had asked. The boy seemed to hast lost his self-control as if the opening ceremony had gotten him all fired-up.
Eun Jiho clenched his molar and smiled at my kind advice. He then asked me with much clarity on his tone,
“Oh, Eun Jiho, get out of my way. Donnie, I have sad news.”
Yeo Ryung Ban pushed him away to deflect whatever he was trying to say and stepped forward towards my direction. Her face was, however, as serious as that of an actress in a soap opera, so I knew right away that her seriousness was naught but an act. Instead of feeling concerned, I pulled my face to look serious as well following her directive.
I asked, “What’s up?”
“It’s that… ugh, Eun Jiho over here is also in the same class with us this year.”
I stepped closer to her and grabbed her hands. Then I yelled out loud, facing each other with teary eyes.
“Oh lord, what a tragedy!”
“We are so unlucky.”
“Oh, what the hell.”
As Eun Jiho muttered in an annoyed voice, Eun Hyung and Yoo Chun Young cut in between our tightly held hands. I turned my head to them thoughtlessly as I felt dumbfounded after gazing at their brightly lit faces. Oh, come on, hell no…
The moment I was about to ask what I had in mind, someone near the class lists gave an exclamation of joy.
“Wow, so dope! The Four Heavenly Kings are all in the same class!”
My mouth gaped as I looked at Eun Hyung and Yoo Chun Young.
Eun Hyung hesitated to open his lips and closed again after that voice rang. Then he rolled his eyes in confusion and smiled at me when our eye met.
I stood still for a while at a loss of words. Then I recovered my consciousness and looked around. The sun that had risen high over the horizon was shooting rays of bright lights towards the tall windows at the hall. The wooden brown floors were reflecting the dazzling sunlight. The appearances of the five boys and the girl around me were given an exaggerated highlight as if nature itself had panned its natural spotlight towards them.
I slowly glanced at them: the red-haired Kwon Eun Hyung, the sparkling blue-haired Yoo Chun Young, the golden-brown-haired Woo Jooin, and the platinum blonde-haired Eun Jiho sprinkled an array of light all around us like a fish scale. When I set my eyes aside, there stood a goddess who lost her robe of feathers. I lapsed into silence.
A moment later, I started clapping my hands. Clap, clap, clap. The noise I made resonated all over the shushed hall futilely. Jooin asked me in wonder.
“Why are you clapping?”
Maybe the author felt that it was not enough to put the top of the school and the student second best student in the same class. Eventually, the author committed an atrocity of allocating the Four Heavenly Kings in the same class in our senior year. My applause, therefore, was my way of giving my respect to the author.
I responded inside and gave a dazed smile.
There was a unique ambiance inside the classroom of the new semester that made our heart flutter: the wooden floor glowing with layers of newly coated wax, the array of cabinets in the back without any nametags on yet, and the empty desks.
As I sat at the first row near the window and hung my bag next to the desk, I raised my head to look around the classroom. Everyone had an exciting face, and that made me wonder, ‘Oh, it’s not only me who was at awe with our new classroom.’ My eyes on their faces then moved slowly to the calendar hanging on the wall. The date written on it was March 2, and oddly enough, that date was not painful to me anymore.
The sky falling out the window was as blue as the water in a still lake. I rested my chin on my hand, pretending to look at the schoolyard and tried to clear my mind. March 2 was now nothing.
Nothing happened last night. To be more precise, it was exactly 730 nights since the ‘day the web novel began’ but nothing happened so far.
There were no signs of the world changing once again and my initial plan to escape the clutches of Yeo Ryung Ban went down the drain a long time ago. I was now having a close relationship with not only Yeo Ryung Ban but also the Four Heavenly Kings.
What I was concerned about the most 2 years ago already became a reality, but I did not mind. I decided not to give a sh*t.
I raised my eyes again and looked around the class.
The young and new homeroom teacher’s voice was resonating slowly around the languid classroom. His voice was not that bad, but for me, who was accustomed to the outstanding voices of the Four Heavenly Kings, it was not so satisfying.
I stared at Eun Jiho’s back, who was sitting properly and listening attentively to the teacher as usual. I then had eye contact with Woo Jooin, who was sitting at the side row. Woo Jooin chuckled like a dear little devil and later sent me a wink. I wondered whether I should also reply with a wink or not but realized it was similar to me executing my reputation in public. Therefore, I refused to do so and turned my head back.
Yoo Chun Young was dropping a blank gaze at the schoolyard, but his composure muddled as our eyes met. He smiled as he bent his blue eyes after a long time, which was so breathtaking that I quickly turned my head away from him as I felt my heart pounding. Then I heard a burst of small laughter from the back and found out it was from Kwon Eun Hyung.
Yeo Ryung Ban gently frowned her gorgeous black brows and whispered at the back with an exaggerated tone. OMG, those louts, how could they laugh and talk when the teacher was speaking. When Yoo Chun Young smirked at her, she smiled as well. Eun Hyung also joined the rowdy squad with a grin on his face. I said to myself,
‘Well, since we’ve been together for a while now, we could just keep ourselves like this. What’s wrong with that though?’
The peaceful time I had for the last 2 years changed a lot within me. Now, looking at the calendar where I wrote the words ‘the day the web novel began’ sometimes induced wild and uncontrollable mirth in me. Maybe I was being too sensitive on that day. I got a friend whom I had never seen in my whole life, but aside for that, nothing else seemed to indicate that I was living in a novel.
Besides, it was easy to get along with Yeo Ryung was Ban as we spent much time together. No wonder we were friends. There had been no issues to bridge the gap of the 13 years. She and I were tied tightly now.
We had been friends for less than 2 years, but now, there were times I mutter to myself self-mockingly. Maybe I had actually lost my memories. Maybe this was not a novel.
The thought of this world not being a novel thrilled me beyond all bounds.
I had a grin on my face while dropping my eyes outside the window.
They all were not characters inside a novel and so was I. What I did was all from my free will. There was no such thing as an invisible hand that controlled me. This applied to them as well. How they treated me was all from their hearts, not from the arrangement of an absolute being. Nothing was intentional…
All I could say was the afternoon of March 2, 2009, the time I was listening to the kids’ giggles and enjoying the drowsy sunlight through the opened window, was the happiest moment I ever had. It was still valid for now. Even a year had passed since then, but still, nothing had been happier than that moment.
It, however, took less than 5 hours for the pleasure to slip through my fingers.