Then I heard someone exclaim, “That’s insane!”
“Anyway, he’s such a merciless guy. Those who know him well call him, the Angel of Death or Cerberus, the hound of hell. Thank god he’s just letting us go.”
‘The Angel of Death? The hound of hell?’
Staring at the view of their backs, which were receding from me, with mixed feelings, I soon turned my head to look in the front. Yeo Dan oppa, whose nickname was the Angel of Death or Cerberus, the hound of hell, was kindly stretching out his hand to Ban Hwee Hyul. I hesitated for a second then walked toward them.
The closer I got, the more I got amazed at Ban Hwee Hyul’s aura as it reached me straightforwardly. He was still plopped down on the ground; his school uniform was messy with dirt and dust, but he didn’t look awful at all. Instead, Ban Hwee Hyul looked like a camouflaged beast that was after its prey.
Besides, his appearance was yet stunning. Even though he grew his hair long and wore glasses, those couldn’t hide his handsomeness. Having those thoughts in my mind, I stared at his red eyes.
Surprisingly, Ban Hwee Hyul held Yeo Dan oppa’s hand and lifted himself up from the ground without making a fuss. Dusting off his uniform blazer a few times, he then said to me and Yeo Dan oppa with a brusque and heavy voice, “Thank you.”
That expression of gratitude astonished me again. His tone sounded so flat that I wasn’t sure if he was provoking a quarrel or not, but he was surely showing his appreciation.
I never imagined that the nationwide Number 1 was such a sane person. While I was letting out an exclamation, Yeo Dan oppa spoke to that top rank fighter, “Be careful when you walk around,” as if he was being concerned about his little brother.
I was bewildered at their unbelievably warm and exemplary conversation. Suddenly, Ban Hwee Hyul turned around to look at me. That was when I noticed the thing in my hand. I quietly handed it out to him. When our eyes met, I said with gravity, “I picked this up on the way over.”
Ban Hwee Hyul slowly rolled his red eyes and diverted his gaze onto his wallet in my hand. Once I realized the prolonged silence, I thought, ‘Eh? What’s wrong? I really picked it up on my way here, so I just told the truth…’
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting any words of gratitude since I did nothing for him except for calling the police. However, once I got to know Ban Hwee Hyul’s identity, I even regretted that if calling the cops was necessary. Besides, I came forward to save the two boys’ lives, not for Ban Hwee Hyul… I also couldn’t deny that homicide in our neighborhood could impact on falling house prices.
Thus, from these aspects, I couldn’t look forward to his words of gratitude and didn’t want to receive them either. It would rather be thankful if he could forget my existence.
With that being said, I returned his wallet to his hand and even emphasized, “I really picked it up on my way here.” It was to indicate that I didn’t pick it up for him.
However, Ban Hwee Hyul kept staring at me intently that I felt quite uncomfortable. Frowning at his gaze, I wondered, ‘What’s wrong with him?’
At that moment, his name tag shook and cast a glow. My eyes were bent onto it naturally. It was a blue nametag, which belonged to the freshmen of So Hyun High School. In other words, we were in the same grade, same school.
Swallowing my breath for a second, I soon put down my hand and turned around stiffly. Even though we were in the same grade, same school, we wouldn’t be encountering each other again, would we? Our school was huge, so that wouldn’t happen. Thinking to that extent, I smiled awkwardly and tried to quicken my pace.
I heard a low and dark voice from behind me, which sounded as if it just crawled out of a hellhole. Moving my stiff, robot-like neck to turn around, I suddenly came up with something.
Geez, when I looked at Ban Hwee Hyul’s nametag, he also would have had time to check mine too. Perhaps he memorized my name. Gosh, why didn’t I put my nametag in my pocket beforehand?! That was when I had those regrets in my mind. The same voice, which came from behind me just now, uttered again, “I memorized it.”
While I turned stiff as if I was put under a curse of becoming a stone statue once I looked back, Ban Hwee Hyul bent his steps without hesitation and walked past between me and Yeo Dan oppa.
Watching the view of his back, disappearing over the alley, in a daze, I soon felt a sense of incompatibility. There was something not like a student about him… what would that be?
I found the answer, at last, and murmured, “… Backpack.”
Yes, he didn’t have a backpack.
With my head in my hands, I groaned, ‘Why isn’t he carrying a backpack when he tried hard to look like a model student while having messy long hair and wearing glasses?!’
While he was wandering around the school without a backpack, why did no one tell him about it? Kids from the student council or teachers could have pointed that out! How could he tell himself that he was having a normal school life without a backpack?
I suddenly turned my head to look beside me. Yeo Dan oppa was standing there still with his signature, nonchalant look that made me calm down. Looking at his face for quite a while in the clouds, I suddenly called him, “Oppa.”
“I’m gonna change my name. What would be nice?”
“Come on, give me some suggestions…”
I was saying that from the bottom of my heart.
It felt like a step from the small houses on the hill to the apartment complex where we were living. What Ban Hwee Hyul said to me earlier replayed in my head over and over that I could hardly put myself together.
‘I memorized it, Ham Donnie.’
‘I memorized it.’
Oh, for what reason?! I paused my steps and stood still eventually. Yeo Dan oppa, who was walking a few steps ahead of me in silence, stopped too.
Having my head in my hands, I flung a question to him.
“What should I have said when I handed over his wallet?”
After a moment, he tossed the question with a slight grimace. Quickly raising my head, I almost shouted, “What should I have done to make him just forget me? ‘I picked this up on the way over…’ Is it indeed too lame?!”
Keeping his frown, Yeo Dan oppa replied, “No… I think it’s impressive enough.”
“I don’t want to look impressive but wish I can be forgotten!!”
He slightly wrinkled the bridge of his nose. Having seen that facial expression since middle school, I could clearly get what it meant.
‘Why did she turn weirder since I had last seen her?’
Reading his thought from the look on his face, I said to myself, ‘No, oppa, you can’t think that way if you get to know who that boy really is.’ Biting my lips in anxiety, I suddenly raised my head.
I shouted at Yeo Dan oppa, who was still sending me a suspicious gaze, “Would it have been better if I said, ‘Is this wallet yours?’ instead of ‘I picked this up on the way over?’ What do you think, oppa?”
He remained silent for a moment then murmured in a low voice.
“You ain’t the mountain god…”
Regardless of his response, I kept mumbling to myself while biting my lips.
‘What should I have said to make him forget about me? Well, since he already told me that he would memorize me, would there be no way for me to get over this situation? GOSH!!’ I tore my hair out again.
Unlike what Ban Hwee Hyul said, all I could do now was to wish that he had forgotten my name. I hoped that the Number 1 ranker in this novel wasn’t as smart as those in other novels. Thus, once he walked about five steps after saying, ‘I memorized it, Ham Donnie,’ I wished he would utter, ‘I memorized your name, Ham Baknoon.’
‘Oh, now I come to think of it…!’
The boys, who babbled about Ilsang High School or whatever, flashed through my head.
Lately, I seemed to memorize all the names of the punks in this neighborhood for no reason, but anyway, if Yeo Dan oppa was famous enough to be called as ‘the hound of hell’ or ‘the Angel of Death,’ he would have heard some rumors around here.
Didn’t something similar also happen to Eun Hyung? Ever since he became the nationwide Number 0 against his will, other kids told him about the latest gossips and rumors spontaneously.