Chapter 51.1

Yi-soo struggled to recollect how she managed to maintain her composure after picking up the phone. Without Hyun-seong’s support, she might have lost her way to the hospital altogether. The destination, a mere 10 kilometers away, felt like an interminable journey. The streets remained deserted as it was well past rush hour.

Hyun-seong, resolute, pushed the accelerator, propelling the speedometer towards triple digits. The entrance to the emergency room, where the boundary between life and death blurred, stood eerily tranquil. No ambulances arrived with frantic patients, no children with flushed cheeks. Instead, the scene sent shivers down Yi-soo’s spine, akin to the unsettling sensation of insects crawling up your back.

With each step she took, her breaths grew more strained. There was no time to tidy her disheveled hair. Her eyes, typically brimming with confidence and determination, now appeared dim and clouded.

Involuntarily, her lower lip quivered, and a fragile tremor coursed through her chin. Just as she was about to step into the entrance, Hyun-seong’s firm hands found their place on her shoulders.

“Seo Yi-soo,” he said, his voice commanding her attention. “Look at me.” 

Her eyes, lost in a sea of negative emotions, met his, almost as if drawn by a spell. With his grip steady, he spoke with unwavering composure.

“Don’t collapse,” he urged. 

The weight of those words settled on them both. No matter what they were about to witness, they couldn’t afford to crumble. They needed to retain their strength and rationality, even if a glimmer of hope was all that remained.

Su-jeong’s adoptive parents are likely frantic right now, Yi-soo thought, her head bowed in assent. They need my support, not my despair.

In the midst of the turmoil, Yi-soo whispered to herself, her fists clenched, “It will be alright. Everything will be alright,” repeating the comforting mantra several times over.

With unwavering determination, Hyun-seong continued, “But if you ever feel like you’re on the brink of collapsing, you can lean on me.”

Silence hung in the air for a moment, and then he added, “Seo Yi-soo, I’ll be right by your side.”

Yi-soo’s gaze mirrored the depths of Hyun-seong’s eyes. His words exuded a comforting reassurance, enveloping her in that fragile moment of uncertainty.

His presence felt so solid and comforting that an impulse surged within her to lean on him, regardless of the onlookers’ scrutiny. Her tears, barely held back, left a lingering lump in her throat as she swallowed hard.

In the midst of their shared quiet, a faint, almost imperceptible whisper escaped her lips.

“…I’ll do that.”

Hyun-seong encircled her with his arm, a gesture of both protection and support, and gently guided her forward.

“Let’s go.”

As they crossed the threshold into the emergency room, Seo Yi-soo had to bite her lips, not out of fear or anguish, but because of the jarring sounds assaulting her senses, tearing at her eardrums. The mechanical noises reverberated in the sterile environment.

Yi-soo stood frozen in place, her gaze fixed on the scene unfolding ten meters ahead. The monitor displaying the electrocardiogram revealed a flat line, an absence of the vital waveform it should have displayed.

“Su-jeong! My dear daughter…! Su-jeong! Su-jeong…ah.”

“…Death confirmed.”

“No, no… No, doctor. Just a little longer, let’s try… What do you mean?”

“Su-jeong’s mom… Su-jeong’s mom, snap out of it. Our Su-jeong just… just now…”

As her vision blurred, it felt as though all her senses were honed in on the sounds around her. The heartrending cries of a distraught mother, the relentless, mechanical din, and…

“On September 23, 2022, at 8:49 PM. Patient Park Su-jeong has passed away.”

“No… Please! Please! Su…”

“Su-jeong’s mom! Doctor, please, look at here!”

From the doctor delivering the grim verdict to the parent who succumbed to unconsciousness and the bewildered emergency patients, everyone who entered her obscured field of vision seemed surreal, as if they existed in a world far removed from her own.

Reality seemed to blur, as if she were caught in a surreal dream. Yi-soo, her senses adrift, slowly turned her gaze towards Hyun-seong. Strangely, his face emerged with crystalline clarity, the anchor amidst the haze of confusion.


Seo Yi-soo eased her head onto his broad shoulder, and Hyun-seong, without uttering a single word, offered silent support. Beneath the surface of her thoughts, a profound sense of disorientation simmered.

Though autumn had recently dawned, the cold of winter seemed to envelop her. The chilly breeze that snuck through the automatic doors added to the sensation, as if the very air had turned frigid.



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