The seats behind Shin Suh Hyun happened to be empty as if the owners went to speak with their middle school friends. The twins looked at each other without uttering a word and shrugged. They then stood up to come closer to us.
Until Kim Hye Hill sat right behind Shin Suh Hyun, I just stared at her as she waved her black hair vacantly. She then moved her pale lips to ask me something.
“You said you’re from Ji Jon Middle School?”
“I heard there’s something like the Four Heavenly Kings. Do you know anything about them?”
Kim Hye Hill then began to laugh, frowning her black narrow brows perhaps to emphasize the ridiculousness of her question. Rather than the actual Four Heavenly Kings themselves, she seemed to look down on people who would speak of such a name seriously.
I tried responding, but I decided to glance merely at Kim Hye Woo, who was sitting beside Kim Hye Hill. When he had eye contact with me, he shrugged his shoulder while grinning.
He said, “I mean, our school also had something like that, so we’re wondering who they are.”
“Huh? There’s something like that in Suk Bong Middle School too?”
My jaw dropped. Two different groups of Four Heavenly Kings existing under the same sky; did that sound logical? It was Shin Suh Hyun who answered.
He creased his dark brown brows, followed by him scratching his forehead with his forefinger.
“Um… they aren’t that big and fancy like those from Ji Jon Middle School.”
“Shin Suh Hyun is one of the Four Heavenly Kings. That surely makes sense, isn’t it, bro?”
Shin Suh Hyun then paused and scowled at Kim Hye Woo, who responded by sitting like a boss.
It was Kim Hye Hill’s nonchalant words that soon broke the standoff between the two. She dropped her blue-black lashes and spoke with a calm voice.
“So are you.”
“Oppa, you’re also the Four Heavenly Kings. Why are you acting innocent?”
“Hey, not me! Shin Suh Hyun, Yoon Jung In, and… who was that in Class 7? Anyway, it’s one of those two.”
“No way! It was Shin Suh Hyun, Yoon Jung In, oppa, and me? Idiot!”
“You’re a girl!”
“I don’t care! You and I are twins, so maybe that’s why they’ve included me. How am I supposed to deal with it?”
The twins began to growl at each other. It surprised me how different they were in comparison to the friendly atmosphere they had when they were talking at the back.
Shin Suh Hyun giggled, shrugging his shoulders. He seemed familiar with the way the twins quarreled. I also began to laugh.
While we were laughing together, someone who got closer behind Shin Suh Hyun suddenly hugged his shoulders. I looked at him in surprise but Shin Suh Hyun refused the hands around him abruptly without turning back to see who the person was. The boy then pretended to be a crying pup.
“Oh, Shin Suh Hyun! Do you know how long it has been a while since we graduated? You heartless bastard!”
“Shut up. If you run for class president again, I’ll shoot the hell out of you.”
“What? With the arrow?”
Shin Suh Hyun answered brusquely and turned his body to sit up straight. He then turned the pages of the black-covered book placed on his desk. As I glanced over the cover, I found out that the author of the book was familiar.
I shouted, “Oh, is that Keigo Higashino book?”
The cold air around Shin Suh Hyun’s shoulders seemed as if it had eased off. He soon turned his head to see me.
Then he asked, “You like him?”
“Yeah. You, too?”
“I love mystery books.”
So this was who Shin Suh Hyun, the winner of the International Youth Archery Competition was. It was at that moment I knew I would be closer with that boy.
As I chuckled like a kid, the boy who hugged Shin Suh Hyun from the back stretched out his hand to flip over the cover. He then minced no words.
“Dude, the culprit is the art connoisseur.”
His words were strong enough to draw the attention of not only Shin Suh Hyun and I but also the twins, who stopped their quarrel to look at this side. The had a smile on his face despite the fact that his brows were perking up from his eyes.
His appearance was overall well-defined: wide and shiny forehead, straight and sharp nose, big and deep eyes. There were black letters twinkling softly embroidered on his chest.
‘Yoon Jung In.’ He was the one Kim Hye Hill mentioned as one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Suk Bong Middle School.
He looked gorgeous enough for others to call him a member of their school’s Four Heavenly Kings. Based on what Shin Suh Hyun said before, he was definitely the one he regarded as their class president for nine years, but he was too energetic for him to bear being in the same class together.
Shin Suh Hyun then picked up his book and smashed Yoon Jung In’s back. Kim Hye Woo and Kim Hye Hill didn’t seem to have any intention to stop him; instead, they applauded him to support his actions.
Yoon Jung In backed off from the attack and shouted out his words.
“Holy shoot! Dude, is that book more important than your friend?”
“What a way to greet a friend you haven’t seen in a while! How can you have the nerve to come here just to spoil me, huh? I’m really touched to have a good friend like you.”
“I mean, they will reveal that the art connoisseur was the culprit later and kill himself by accident after falling off a cliff later in the story, anyway! He would be dead, so I’m just giving you a heads up so your heart won’t die with him… Ouch! Why are you hitting me again?”
“You. Are. So. Kind. That. I. Don’t. Know. What. To. Do. With. You!”
What a way to spoil the entire book. While my mouth was wide-opened with awe, Shin Suh Hyun paused in between every word to smash Yoon Jung In’s back. He managed to turn the black-covered mystery book into a great weapon.
Kim Hye Hill, who was looking at the situation, then shook her head with tired eyes and said to me with a blank stare.
“I knew they went to the same elementary school but didn’t know they were that close. Besides, I never thought Shin Suh Hyun had that side.”
“Aren’t you guys from the same middle school?”
Kim Hye Hill rolled her blue-black eyeballs after hearing my question. However, Kim Hye Woo was the one who answered. He said with his eyes on me.
“Well, all 4 of us were in the same class during our senior year, but Kim Hye Hill and I also belonged to a different class, so we took separate classes there. As you know, Shin Suh Hyun was a member of the archery team. As soon as he arrived, he would disappear and return when the classes were over, so he could take his bag. That’s why the first time we actually got a bit closer with was not that long ago. Maybe it was only after the final did we finally get to talk with him about once or twice?”
“Only twice? Wow, that’s really not that much.”
“Yeah, so this would be our third time talking to him.”
While looking at Kim Hye Hill was raising some of her hands to count, I thought of the Four Heavenly Kings in my school. They were my biggest headache since all those fancy guys were always hanging out in one group.
I spoke out of the blue, “The Four Heavenly Kings from my school hang out together all the time. They always move around as a group.”
“Geez, it would definitely draw so much attention if the cool kids would walk together all the time like that. How could they bear that?”
“You know, when people form a close circle together, they tend to not care much about others.”
Kim Hye Hill, who responded to her brother like, then leaned herself to me a little more.
She asked, “How about you? Are you close to them? Do you guys talk often?”
I mumbled for a moment, thinking of what happened during the last few days before the high school opening ceremony.
But… but… I dropped my gaze at my phone that had all their texts piling up my inbox. I rubbed my cheeks, feeling bashful and dropping my hands slowly. Then I said with a smile.
“Yeah, we’re close.”
“A lot. Um, we went to senior trips together and so on.”
As I finished speaking, I directed my gaze towards Kim Hye Hill to see her response. Her face didn’t contain any signs of suspicion or jealousy on me. She just stretched her hand towards me and patted the back of my hand.
My face must have been exhibiting an expression filled with wonder. She then responded to my confused gaze.
“I bet those few years with them were quite difficult for you, huh?”
“… Quite a lot.”
I did not hate how she kindly patted my arm with an expressionless face. Her blank eyes and her serene but friendly voice were all so attractive.