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    Warning: Self-harm! — You can hide marked sensitive content or with the toggle in the formatting menu. If provided, alternative content will be displayed instead.

    Warning Notes

    *This chapter contains content that may trigger trauma (related to self-harm). Please keep this in mind while reading.

    Regardless of the hidden reality, having an illness is a clear weakness. Whether it was a mental or physical problem, it was undeniably a factor that interfered with social life.

    Especially for celebrities, due to the nature of their profession, it was advantageous to receive admiration from above rather than sympathy from below. It might be different once they had a thick fan base in the future, but it was even more so when they were rookies.

    That was precisely why Seojin was striving to find a way to control his hemoptysis so that it wouldn’t occur at any time. Unlike other penalties, hemoptysis was an event that occurred frequently and randomly.

    It didn’t matter if the targets of his favorability courting were exposed to such an illness. He might even be able to use it to his advantage if he did it well. However, it would be troublesome if industry people, including the filming staff, caught him in such a state.

    ‘…But did I go too far?’

    Seojin, who had regained consciousness while lying on a fluffy bed, lamented inwardly even before opening his eyes. Looking back, he felt that his actions this time had gone too far.

    He also realized anew that feeling no pain at all was a much more dangerous state than he had thought. Because without brakes, he couldn’t gauge the appropriate level and ended up pressing the accelerator pedal with all his might. It was an incident that made him rethink the problem of why people feel pain when they get hurt from a survival probability perspective. Knowing the risks in one’s head and feeling them with one’s body were entirely different issues.

    ‘I should have stopped at cutting once or twice.’

    Even Seojin had not initially anticipated losing consciousness in a state where he couldn’t stop the bleeding.

    Of course, a situation like losing his life due to that extent wouldn’t have occurred. It wasn’t like he had put the injured area in running water. However, there was clearly a miscalculation in this experiment, and that was naturally a part that required vigilance.

    “You should have stabbed me instead…”

    Seojin, who had been internally repenting his mistake in a dazed state, lifted his heavy eyelids at someone’s murmuring that could have been a sigh or a monologue. In his dizzy vision, he saw the blurred face of the other person.

    A heavily distorted expression caught his eye for a moment. Due to the penalty of temporarily suffering from face recognition disorder, the other person, whose facial features were difficult to recognize properly, was clearly revealing only emotions of self-reproach and sadness.

    Seojin only rolled his eyes sideways to check the injured area. On his arm, which was so white that it was difficult to distinguish from the blanket, there was an IV drip attached, and white bandages were wrapped around his injured wrist and palm. Fortunately, not only hemostasis but also other emergency treatments and follow-up care seemed to have been excellently completed, as the pleasure felt from the injured area was not severe.

    However, even as a figure of speech, he couldn’t say his body condition was good. His body, which was heavily drooping like a cotton soaked in water, was excessively hot, and his blurry vision kept shaking badly. It was so difficult to keep his eyes open for long due to dizziness.

    And above all, the sensitivity of his skin had increased to a troublesome degree. Even a light breeze brushing over his skin made his body tremble, naturally making him extremely nervous.

    “Why are you trying to die? If you do this, I…”

    Only after hearing the other person’s low voice that followed did Seojin realize that the person who had taken all these measures was Hanju-in, and he fell into a dilemma about how to handle this situation.

    However, perhaps due to the boiling heat, his mind wasn’t functioning well. He couldn’t even carefully consider the feelings of Ju-in, who must have been surprised to find him suddenly covered in blood.

    “…Don’t make a fuss. People don’t die from this much.”

    In the end, Seojin, true to his innate nature, merely spat out a single sentence without any calculation. At that voice, which was lower than usual, Ju-in, who had been murmuring to himself, lifted his head abruptly.

    “Jin-ah.”

    Although his appearance was still indistinguishable, Ju-in’s dry lips and finely trembling eyes caught Seojin’s attention. As well as the way he was trying hard to calm himself down so as not to startle the sick Seojin.

    “Are you thirsty? Should I bring you some cool water?”

    With eyes that seemed ready to gather all the water in the world if Seojin wanted, Ju-in asked gently. That appearance also gave a strong impression that he was restraining himself.

    The reason would be closely related to the self-reproach that appeared on Ju-in’s face. He seemed to have found the cause of Seojin’s attempted self-harm in the bathroom in his own series of betrayals.

    Well, if one only looked at the visible problems, it was understandable to misunderstand like that. From the perspective of Ju-in, who didn’t know that Seojin had penalties due to ‘talents’, it would be difficult to find other reasons.

    Moreover, the Seojin that Ju-in knew was a person who had developed a mental illness because he couldn’t properly express his inner anger and sadness. In other words, he was a character who couldn’t skillfully handle his surging emotions.

    ‘Did he judge that the direction of that fierce emotion was aimed at myself instead of him, the culprit?’

    No matter how fine he appeared on the outside, it was not strange for a person suffering from mental problems to exhibit unexpected behavior at some point. Just looking at the sad news that could be commonly encountered.

    In other words, it meant that the script of Seojin suddenly exploding the sense of betrayal he had been trying to ignore and attempting a self-destructive act was also quite plausible.

    “…You’re not asking again, about anything.”

    Even while feeling a dizzying vertigo, Seojin, who quickly figured out the attitude he should show to the other person, mumbled as if muttering in a voice where hot breaths were messily mixed and shaking.

    Only after hearing those words mixed with undisguisable bitterness and faint resentment did Ju-in stop his movements of checking the height of the pillow Seojin was lying on and the speed at which the fluid was coming down the IV line.

    “…Why on earth did you do that? Why hurt yourself when you did nothing wrong?”

    After closing his mouth for a while and taking breaths with an expression as if enduring something, Ju-in asked reproachfully with a look that seemed like he would go crazy with frustration. In a voice thick with pity.

    As expected, he seemed to think that the blade of anger Seojin was harboring should have been directed at him, who had deceived Seojin many times. He even seemed to be willing to take that venting.

    “I should have stayed by your side until the end. Even if you hated it, so that this kind of problem wouldn’t occur.”

    Seojin, who had been staring blankly at those pain-filled eyes, swallowed the laughter that was about to burst out. Because, like a childhood friend who had been together for more than a decade, he immediately realized what Ju-in was regretting.

    Even now, he didn’t regret at all the fact that he had hidden his identity from Seojin since childhood or that he had been secretly monitoring him from behind. He was only reflecting on leaving Seojin alone.

    ‘Your attitude was like this even about imprisoning me.’

    Before the regression, Ju-in’s attitude after losing Seojin, whom he had arbitrarily confined, was similar to now. He didn’t make excuses by reciting reasons, nor did he show any signs of feeling guilty.

    Although he appeared infinitely kind and devoted on the outside, Ju-in was a person who was somewhat twisted. A sense of pity suddenly raised its head, but Seojin made an effort to get a grip on himself.

    “…I guess I liked you more than I thought.”

    When he deliberately spat out nonsensical words, as expected, Ju-in’s eyes could be seen wavering.

    “Seeing how I couldn’t cut ties with you even after being deceived by you again and again. Grandfather said that traitors should never be forgiven.”

    “Jin-ah…”

    “I’m so stupid. Even after grabbing a knife because I couldn’t control my temper, I couldn’t stab you, so I stupidly resorted to self-harm.”

    Seojin, who had recited a slow monologue with a self-deprecatingly sad smile, slowly closed his eyes as if his head hurt. Like a person still wandering between a sense of betrayal and a bond, anger and affection.

    “I’m sorry. It’s all my fault.”

    Ju-in offered a sincere apology. But Seojin didn’t readily believe those seemingly genuine words.

    “You installed surveillance cameras in this villa too, didn’t you?”

    Instead of accepting that apology that seemed to have no falsehood, when he threw a question about the part he had been suspicious of, Ju-in, who had been looking down as if he would endure any reprimand, flinched for a moment.

    “…Yeah.”

    But soon, he provided an honest answer with a docile attitude. When Seojin deliberately bit his lip as if he was having a hard time suppressing his anger, the startled Ju-in reached out and gently stroked his mouth.

    “Please, if you’re angry, just hit me. Why do you keep hurting yourself?”

    Seojin, who raised his arm to slap that hand away but hesitated as it got caught on the IV line, turned his head to the other side listlessly. A sorrowful look spreads across Ju-in’s face at the clear gesture of rejection.

    As if he had no energy to even reply, Seojin closed his eyes weakly. It was also true that he had no strength in his body. He seemed to have exhausted his physical strength due to excessive blood loss.

    ‘At this rate, let alone acting out the character, I can’t even think properly…’

    Seojin, who was blankly blinking his eyes, felt the need to utilize the system right away. However, under the current circumstances, he had no choice but to postpone the activation of the ability [Warmth-Seeking Vampire], which required continuous physical contact.

    On the other hand, if he drew a new ability here, an ability unrelated to solving the [Sensation Conversion] problem would come out, so he hesitated to do that as well. As he squirmed while pondering, he suddenly stopped moving.

    It was because a strange sound of clanking came from somewhere. Feeling an inexplicable sense of foreboding, Seojin pulled away the ramie blanket that was half-covering his body.

    Then, beneath his white and slender legs, an object that revealed its presence so heavily that it gave him goosebumps caught his eye.

    ‘…Crazy.’

    The pitch-black shackles tightly fastened around his white and slender ankles.

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