Yongno woke up at 7 AM and ate a quick breakfast before reading a few novels hed bought, waiting for lunchtime. He tried watching some television, which he didnt usually do, and he also attempted to take a nap. Yet, since he was well-rested, he couldnt fall asleep.
“Theres nothing to do….”
Right, there was nothing to do. Previously, when hed feel like this, Yongno would play some online games, but after DIO, none of them seemed fun or interesting.
“Ah, when is January 1st going to roll around?”
Thinking that there were too many hours in a day, Yongno rolled around in his bed. When he was preparing for the university entrance exam, he had made a long list of things to do afterward, but now that he had time to review and use the list, nothing seemed to catch his eye.
“Should I try and theory craft hand skills and magic skills?”
Once he thought this, Yongno no longer felt bored. Studying martial arts and magic was more enjoyable than anything he could learn in real life, and while martial arts and magic studies were tedious and difficult, Yongno felt that the challenge added to his enjoyment. By training in the martial arts, Yongno could move in ways he never wouldve imagined, and magic allowed him to create miracles that defied modern common sense. These two achievements not only gave him joy but an immense sense of happiness.
While in bed, Yongno started moving his hands in the formations hed learned in-game. First, he practiced the hand motions for the skill Mari taught him, Great Strength Vajra Hand, swiftly followed by the skills hed learned from the library books, Great Tantra Hand and Formless Blade. Yongno even tried to convert the sword art that the orc hero Sungmuk used into a hand skill: Plum Blossom Hand.
Though the hand skills were already perfected, they werent created to work together, so Yongno worked on trying to link them seamlessly so that he could make combos or use different hand skills interchangeably. In addition, the Plum Blossom Hand was something Yongno created after reviewing Sungmuks Plum Blossom Sword Art, so this specific derivative hand skill wasnt flawless.
Despite being on his back, his hands and arms were moving at a fairly quick pace. Of course, Yongno couldnt utilize internal energy as he would have if he were in DIO, so he was essentially just moving his hands around in the air. However, Yongno wasnt focusing on his hands.
‘Even if I rush, I cant complete another Howling Spell in less than two weeks. I can use the Training Room to create the spell, so time isnt an issue, but if I continue concentrating on only one spell, Im going to get bored.
It took a tremendous amount of mental fortitude to create a Howling Spell. For someone who hated rote learning and repeated motions, Yongno felt stressed at the idea of making a spell that hed already created. His efforts would result in a tremendously powerful spell, but Yongnos life motto was to avoid doing what he disliked, so no matter how large the payoff, Yongno most likely wouldnt pursue something that he disliked or did before.
Ding Dong~ Ding Dong~
“Huh? Who could that be at the door?”
Yongno got out of bed and headed down the short hallway to his front door. Since he wasnt wearing too much, Yongno snagged a pair of training pants that were on the floor and put them on.
“Who is it?”
“Oh, you surprised me, Eunhye.”
Once Yongno opened the door, Eunhye walked in with an expressionless face, as if it was natural for her to be in Yongnos place. Since it was cold outside, Eunhye had a white parka and a scarf on. In this outfit, combined with her height of 175 centimeters tall or more, she looked like a model.
“It seems like you dont have much to do.”
“Well, theres nothing pressing at the moment.”
As Yongno responded, he took a popsicle from his freezer and handed it to Eunhye, who took it without skipping a beat. Though her facial expression didnt change when she started eating the popsicle, Yongno knew she was happy, as hed seen and interacted with her for over ten years.
“Where ’s your clothing hangers?”
“I dont have anything like that. I place any clothes that need to be hung on my sofa.”
“You really dont know how to organize, do you? To not even have clothing hangers….”
“Its because I just throw everything in my closet.”
While responding, Yongno couldnt help but be surprised. Whenever Eunhye stopped by, she didnt remove her jacket. Although his house wasnt too chilly for her to take off her coat, this was still abnormal for Eunhye. Moreover, she never stayed for too long.
“You have a lot of books.”
This was also a first. She never started a conversation in this way. If she didnt have something specific to tell him, she never visited. Additionally, due to her personality, Eunhye went straight to the main point whenever she spoke. She didnt get sidetracked with idle chatter, and she actually disliked it.
“Ive recently started collecting some books. Most of them are novels or comic books- huh?”
As she spoke absentmindedly, Eunhye grabbed one of Yongnos books at random and plopped herself onto his sofa. Yongno couldnt help but stare in disbelief at what he was witnessing. Eunhye had chosen a mystery novel, and she didnt care that Yongno was staring at her with a dumbfounded expression.
The sound of Eunhye flipping the novels pages spread throughout the quiet house. Not knowing how he should react, Yongno stood there astonished for about five minutes.
‘… Whats going on?
Yongno glanced at Eunhyes face. She seemed to be focused on what she was reading.
‘Well, I guess it doesnt matter.
In the end, Yongno shrugged, picked up a book, and sat next to Eunhye. Despite their close proximity, they had known each other for a long time, so there was no awkwardness in the air.
Silence dominated the inside of Yongnos home. The sole sound was the occasional page turn. While this quietness may have been awkward or stressful for Yongno at any other time, he found it oddly relaxing right now. Eunhye didnt even raise her head once, entirely focused on the book that shed picked at random. Yongno also focused on reading his book. He felt relaxed and calm, which differed from how bored he was when he tried reading earlier.
‘This book itself isnt all that interesting, though.
He had already finished reading his book, but he continued re-reading it. Yongno felt that it wasnt appropriate to broach a conversation with Eunhye in this type of atmosphere.
‘Im getting sleepy….
It was a relaxing environment, muted as well. Yongno wasnt tired, but he felt his eyelids becoming heavy.
‘Should I catch a few winks…
With this thought, Yongnos eyes closed.
In a vast blue ocean, a boy was swimming. If anyone were to see this scene, they wouldve yelled at the boy to get out, as he wasnt swimming in a pool but near an artificial seawall with three-meter-deep water. Forget a ten-year-old boy; even an adult shouldnt swim in such dangerous waters. However, the young boy didnt seem to mind as he gently glided around on his back, his tummy above the surface. He tapped his feet against the water to move here and there.
“Try not to swim near the area where I cast my rod. Youll chase away all the fish.”
There were two people near the seawall. One was the young boy swimming, and the other was a man in his mid-thirties who was fishing from atop the seawall.
“Hehehe, arent you angry with me?”
“Angry with you? About what?”
“All the adults who see me swimming here get angry at me. They say its too dangerous to swim, especially for someone as young as me.”
Hearing the young boy complain as if he didnt like adults, the middle-aged man couldnt help but smile at the boys cute behavior.
“Hahaha. I guess theyre all just concerned, but I feel like they should be more worried about a fish drowning than you swimming.”
“Right? Thats what I think as well.”
The boy readily agreed with the mans assessment and swam toward him. He was happy. The middle-aged man was the only person who had complimented his swimming ability.
“Oh, no. Hey, can you not chase away the fish?”
“You need fish? Shall I catch some for you?”
Depending on how the boys words were interpreted, they might be seen as weird and delusional. After all, a ten-year-old boy swimming in the ocean was saying that he could catch fish with his bare hands. Yet, seemingly unbothered with this, the middle-aged man shook his head.
“If I merely wanted some fish, I would have gone to the local market instead of bringing my fishing pole here. Similar to your swimming, the act of fishing itself is the goal.”
“Oh, then is fishing fun?”
“Fun? Fun… Im not sure. Ive been doing it for so long that Ive forgotten what thats like.”
The man smiled good-naturedly as he looked at the swimming boy. Waves constantly disrupted the peaceful seawater, but the boy moved naturally with the waters undulations. Instead of swimming, it looked as though the boy was naturally lying on a bed.
“Uh… dang it… I guess Ill head back home.”
“I think therell be a storm between 2:10 to 2:15 PM. If I dont start heading back now, I might not be able to make it back home before it gets dark. I live quite far from here.”
As he spoke, the young boy glanced at the middle-aged man to see his response. If he said this to any other adult, they would surely ask what the young boy was on about, but the middle-aged man only nodded.
“I see. Since it seems the storm will bring a lot of rain with it, I should head back a little earlier as well.”
“Huh? Youre able to [Know] as well?”
The boy feigned a surprised expression, but the middle-aged man smiled. Yet, for whatever reason, it seemed that there was a sense of sorrow and pity in the mans eyes.
“Youre a surprising young boy. Ive lived a long life, but I dont think Ive met a boy like you.”
“Is that a compliment?”
“Yeah. Youre an exceptional child.”
The young boy embarrassingly chuckled after judging that the man wasnt stating empty words. Since he was constantly yelled at or spoken down to, this was the first time he received such praise.
“But kiddo, adults may see your exceptionalism as something to dislike.”
“Eh? Isnt it good to be exceptional?”
The man looked at him with an expressionless face. And then…
“Its time for you to return, teacher.”
“Uh? When did he get here?”
The boy was surprised when he saw a young man suddenly appear next to the middle-aged man. The seawall was level and allowed excellent visibility, so if anyone approached, they could be seen from a distance. However, the boy had not seen nor sensed the young man.
“Always in such a rush.”
As the young man continued to implore him, the middle-aged man eventually sighed and started putting his fishing gear away. He actually didnt have much with him, not even a bucket to store anything he caught. Essentially, his only possession was the fishing pole.
“Itd be nice to see you again.”
“Me, too. Ah, but whats your name?”
“My real name or my username?”
With that weird response, the young boy frowned. “What would I do with your username? Your real name, of course.”
“Hahaha. Come to think of it, youre right. My real name… oh yeah, my real name is….”
The middle-aged man seemed to be recalling something deep within his past.
“My name is Kang Sang.”
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