Chapter 59.1

The calendar discreetly ushered in October, accompanied by the gentle fragrance of autumn permeating the atmosphere. Above, the sky stretched endlessly, a pristine canvas devoid of any clouds. The invigorating breeze, caressing cheeks with enthusiasm, lent a revitalizing touch to the air.

In a picturesque enactment reminiscent of a well-rehearsed Saturday afternoon script, Deoksugung Palace became a hub of activity. Enthusiastic individuals, fueled by the desire to immerse themselves in the contemplative ambiance of autumn, were plentiful.

“Today’s weather is truly delightful. Just strolling like this brings a soothing calmness to my mind,” remarked one passerby.

Although the full splendor of autumn’s colors was yet to unfold, the maple trees adorned with yellow and red leaves evoked a comforting warmth in the heart. Anticipating the imminent peak of foliage in a week, the impending transformation hinted at a spectacle where the sky might momentarily lose its visibility. The ground, a tapestry of fallen leaves, promised to form undulating waves in a vibrant array of colors.

As Yi-soo gazed along the stone-walled path stretching to the left, her mind lost in contemplation, she posed a question to Hyun-seong.

“Attorney Yoon, have you heard the rumor about couples breaking up after walking through Deoksugung’s stone wall path?”

“I’ve come across it, but I’m not sure why such a story exists. Do you know, Yi-soo?”

“This road used to lead to a family court at its end. Couples walked together for the last time to submit documents or something.”

Yi-soo, unsure of the story’s authenticity, shrugged her shoulders. It felt a bit peculiar discussing such matters when they weren’t even dating, but he seemed indifferent to the topic.

Hyun-seong, maintaining a matching pace, halted at the sight of a bench adorned with fallen leaves. He turned to Yi-soo.

“How about taking a moment to sit?”


A perplexing air surrounded him. Unusually preoccupied, he seemed lost in distracting thoughts, evident by his lack of concentration on the conversation since earlier.

Yi-soo, seated side by side with Hyun-seong, retrieved an orange juice bottle from her bag and effortlessly unscrewed the lid. The casual offering of the drink felt instinctive as she extended it to him.

“Take a sip. Feeling tired?” she inquired.

“No, do I appear exhausted?”

“A little. You must have had a demanding day yesterday. You should head home and get some rest. It’s quite crowded here.”

As Hyun-seong tilted the juice bottle, maintaining a stoic silence, his Adam’s apple asserted its presence with each dignified gulp. Consuming more than half of it in a single swig, he delicately used his long fingers to wipe the corner of his eye. It seemed as though he had unintentionally welled up with tears, though no intention to cause concern was apparent.

“Apologies. There’s something on my mind.”

“What is it? Work-related?” Yi-soo inquired.

“No, it’s about the investigation.”

Hyun-seong slowly raised his head and, retrieving two black cards from his jacket pocket, presented them. At a glance, they resembled credit cards in both size and material.

Yi-soo regarded him with a perplexed expression, silently questioning, “What is this?”

“Colosseum. I’ve figured it out,” Hyun-seong responded.

“So, this means…”

“Yeah. It’s a membership card. Looks like there’s a regular gathering tonight. In Yangpyeong.”

“But why would a lawyer have this? You’re not thinking of going in yourself, are you?” Yi-soo’s eyebrows formed a diagonal line, conveying a blend of worry, anxiety, and confusion. Hyun-seong fixed his gaze on the membership card, his eyes sharp.

“I believe I need to investigate it personally. If I wear a mask and slip in quietly, there shouldn’t be a risk of revealing my identity.”

“…It could be dangerous.”

“I know. I have to take that risk. Someone has to do it.” Hyun-seong took a deep breath, his face a canvas of contemplation. 

“I’ll go with you, too.”

It undeniably called for a willingness to take risks, and in such a situation, leaving Hyun-seong alone, especially given the profound connection to the case, seemed inconceivable.

Two pairs of eyes locked in a firm embrace in the air. Hyun-seong, whose gaze had been fixed on her amber-colored eyes, finally broke the silence.

His voice, though measured, resonated with a robust presence. “Are you sure about this?”

Hyun-seong hesitated to involve Yi-soo in the perilous venture, yet he understood that dissuading her was an unlikely feat. Intelligent, capable, and responsible, Yi-soo’s unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth behind Su-jeong’s death was evident.

Rather than outright opposing her, he posed a question to ascertain her determination. Yi-soo responded resolutely, her eyes reflecting a steadfast resolve without a hint of hesitation. “Of course. We should do it together.”

With a touch of concern, Hyun-seong had even procured two membership cards, including the delayed one. The duo rose from the bench, exchanging silent glances.

Along their shared journey, an unspoken bond of trust had quietly woven itself between them. Hyun-seong, a pillar of strength, extended his large and sturdy hand.

“Let’s go, Seo Yi-soo.”

Yi-soo reached for his warm and comforting hand. Their fingers interlocked, creating a firm and reassuring grip. As a gust of wind swept through, meandering among the gingko leaves, the slender branches swayed gently, and yellow leaves descended in a tranquil cascade.

It was the season of rustling autumn leaves, echoing the quiet strength of their unspoken connection.



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