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    “How come you couldn’t finish the job by the time I faced Chunbok?”

    “Didn’t you go too fast, Hyung-nim? Besides, how can I get there right away when more than seventy people are rushing at me?”

    “Oh my, you even got injured.”

    Sa-yoon, who had been nagging Jongsik, who was waiting in the car as soon as he exited the building, turned to look at Geon-joo. Ignoring Geon-joo, who flinched at the sudden attention, Sa-yoon reached out his hand.

    “If there’s any potion left after treating your wounds earlier, can you give me some, pretty boy?”

    “…I haven’t finished treating them yet.”

    “Never mind, then.”

    “Can’t you speak to me kindly like that too?”

    “Are you the same as him? Are you?”

    Jongsik, who had made a spiteful remark and ended up getting smacked on the back, sulked and crawled into the driver’s seat. Sa-yoon, who had thrown him a suitable potion to treat his wounds, leaned back against the seat.

    “Is the merger issue resolved?”

    “Yeah. But just in case, have someone tail Chunbok.”

    “I’ll separately contact Kyungjin.”

    “Tell them to prepare for a welcome party as soon as we return.”

    Having said that much, Sa-yoon surveyed the view outside the window. When they had left the guild, it was dawn, but after stopping by the villa and handling the Yongho Guild matter, the sun was already high in the sky. Sa-yoon’s gaze turned to Geon-joo, who must have stayed up all night.

    “Since it’ll take over four hours to return, you should get some sleep. Are you hungry? Should we eat something before we go?”

    “I’m fine with food.”

    Growl.

    “……”

    A brief silence flowed in the car. If the sound had come from Geon-joo’s stomach, Sa-yoon would have found it very cute, but unfortunately, it came from Jongsik, so Sa-yoon threw a frigid gaze. Seeing this through the rearview mirror, Jongsik complained that it was a physiological reaction. It was an expression of feeling wronged, for who knows how many times now.

    Sighing, Sa-yoon tapped on the window. He himself had an empty stomach for two days, so it was about time to get some food. Now that it had come to this, it seemed better to eat before leaving.

    “Pull over and get out, Jongsik. Give me my mask.”

    Since he had left his facial recognition disruption ring in his room, he had no choice but to cover his face. Sa-yoon’s face stood out enough to make passersby turn their heads, so he put on sunglasses and even a mask. He nodded at Geon-joo, who had obediently followed him out. Geon-joo, who had the robe draped over his shoulders, looked at Sa-yoon with a troubled gaze.

    “What?”

    “…Do you seriously think going like that will draw less attention?”

    “Then?”

    “The sunglasses are fine, but take off the mask. You look like either a criminal or an idol.”

    Geon-joo pointed out Sa-yoon and Jongsik’s outfits in a firm tone. Thinking that the eyes of someone even a year younger might be more accurate, Sa-yoon, who had been hesitating, made eye contact with Jongsik and took off his mask. Then Jongsik also slowly took off his sunglasses.

    “Much better.”

    Despite Geon-joo’s praise, Jongsik couldn’t let go of his attachment to the sunglasses he had worn like a second skin. Sa-yoon thought this way looked more natural to him too, so he pulled Jongsik, who was showing needless attachment, out of the car.

    Although it was good that the place they had parked was secluded, it took some time to find a restaurant as even the stores were not easily visible. By the time they set out to find a restaurant, 10 minutes had passed, and Sa-yoon was thinking they should have just brought the car when a small restaurant came into view.

    ‘Seasoned Sea Snail Salad Specialty’

    It was a somewhat strange restaurant.

    Usually, they would put up signs like ‘Home-style Meal Set Specialty’ or ‘Grilled Fish,’ but they wouldn’t hang a banner for seasoned sea snail salad.

    Sa-yoon, who noticed the restaurant with a strange sense of pride, looked in another direction. Since this seemed to be the only nearby restaurant, he opened the door and entered, and a kind-looking lady greeted Sa-yoon’s group.

    Sa-yoon ordered a meal set, stir-fried pork, and even the seasoned sea snail salad the restaurant boasted about. While waiting for the food to come out, he looked around the restaurant. When Jongsik, whose size was as big as a mountain, complained about the cramped space he had to sit in, Sa-yoon clicked his tongue and moved to the opposite side. He ended up sitting next to Geon-joo.

    An awkward silence flows during the time they’re waiting for the food. Just as Sa-yoon was about to open his mouth to say something…

    “Is it okay to leave that person in the car for so long?”

    “Who? …Ah, Gu Chang-in?”

    “I don’t know his name, but the person you entrusted to me.”

    “He’ll wake up in about half a day, so it’s fine to leave him.”

    Considering that he had coughed up blood when Sa-yoon struck the back of his neck, it seemed like he had hit him a bit too hard even by his own judgment. When Sa-yoon added that it might take until tomorrow for him to wake up, Geon-joo nodded.

    Afterwards, it was another awkward silence.

    Sa-yoon, who wasn’t immune to uncomfortable atmospheres, gestured with his eyes toward Jongsik.

    ‘Say something, man.’

    ‘Me?’

    ‘Then should I say it? Am I a comedian?’

    ‘I’m not a comedian either.’

    ‘What was that?’

    As Sa-yoon glared at him, Jongsik cleared his throat.

    “Um…”

    “…?”

    “…Did you have fun at the Yongho Guild?”

    “Are you asking if it was fun?”

    I’m going crazy.

    Sa-yoon thought, what kind of first question is that? While Jongsik was usually pathetic and naive for his age, in this situation, he suddenly spoke like a father-in-law meeting his son-in-law for the first time. Sa-yoon raised his eyes. When he looked at Jongsik as if he would catch and kill him if he made one more mistake, Jongsik froze and couldn’t spit out his words, muttering um, um like a broken machine.

    “So, um…”

    As Jongsik was mumbling ‘so’ for the third time already, the lady owner brought out the food. After confirming that the table was set, Geon-joo alternately looked at Sa-yoon, who was glaring at Jongsik, and Jongsik, who was sweating profusely, and then let out a long sigh and picked up the water bottle.

    “The food is here.”

    “Y-Yeah! The food is here!”

    “Let’s just eat.”

    Geon-joo spoke indifferently and poured water into Sa-yoon’s glass and Jongsik’s glass. At those words, Jongsik, who felt as if his shackles had been released, picked up his spoon and said it was good and ate the rice.

    Whew.

    Sa-yoon, who had been watching the fruitless conversation, reluctantly started his meal. The home-style restaurant was quite tasty for one found without a plan.

    Sa-yoon, who put the seasoned sea snail salad the restaurant boasted about into his mouth, observed Geon-joo, who was eating quietly. From the moment he arrived and put down his spoon to pour water, his table manners seemed ingrained in him, and he ate quietly without smacking his lips.

    Just then, Sa-yoon’s cell phone rang. Since it was a text message notification, Sa-yoon picked up his phone, confirmed that the report on Geon-joo he had requested from Kyungjin had arrived, and briefly got up from his seat.

    “I’m going to the restroom.”

    “Do you have a stomachache?”

    “…You just eat your food.”

    Jongsik, who asked while stammering, seemed so innocently naive that it was now heartwarming. Sa-yoon, who answered with half a sigh, shook his head and left the restaurant. When he opened the report in front of the store, he could see the vast information about Geon-joo neatly organized. Although Kyungjin was becoming more and more tactless along with Jongsik as the days went by, he definitely handled work properly.

    “Han Geon-joo, 22 years old, completed military service, a student at Korea University, but he submitted a leave of absence two days ago, and he has one older sister. It seems he has been living alone since high school and doesn’t have a good relationship with his family…”

    The report, which detailed everything from his name, age, education, to family relationships, even contained detailed information about Geon-joo’s friends. His grades were also excellent, and Sa-yoon, who read the report that he was often praised for having a good personality by those around him, recalled Geon-joo when they first met.

    “He didn’t seem that nice.”

    Thinking that he had shown a slick attitude because he thought Sa-yoon wouldn’t kill him, and remembering that he had occasionally looked at Sa-yoon with widened eyes, it seemed he didn’t have such a gentle personality.

    He was clearly a guy with a bit of a temper, so it was suspicious that the reputation given by those around him was flawless without any faults.

    Kind, affectionate, and generally friendly.

    “He’s been doing some image management.”

    Sa-yoon, who quickly made a judgment, alternately looked at Geon-joo inside the restaurant and the report on his cell phone.

    As much as he is quick-witted and polite, he also has quite a personality. If he hid that for reputation management, it meant he had a talent for acting, and in other words, he would also have a talent for scamming.

    Nodding his head, thinking there seemed to be many ways to make use of him than expected, Sa-yoon read the rest of the report.

    ‘He has a wide network, but it is judged that he does not have any close friends.’

    ‘He prefers having partners over girlfriends.’

    ‘Currently, it is not determined whether he has a lover or partner. The reporting team presumes he does not have one.’

    When the content about his personal relationships ended, a list of part-time job stores Geon-joo had worked at came out. Although he felt it every time, it was quite a skill to find information from more than 5 years ago in a short time and write a report. Thanks to Kyungjin, it was no exaggeration to say that the information management team was functioning properly.

    I picked someone with definite skills.

    Thanks to that, the information guild lived up to its name. After getting a sense of what kind of person Geon-joo was, Sa-yoon stuffed his phone into his pocket and returned to the restaurant. The ringing of the wind chime announced Sa-yoon’s entrance.

    “You said you were going to the restroom, but you’re back quickly.”

    “The restroom is inside. Maybe he just went to take care of some work.”

    Jongsik asked while putting sea snails into his mouth, and Geon-joo corrected him. Sa-yoon looked at Jongsik, who was more clueless than the rookie, with somewhat complex eyes.

    Was it because he had just checked Kyungjin’s report? Jongsik’s appearance looked even more pathetic.

    So, slightly.

    To a worrying degree.

    He wasn’t originally this bad, but recently, his lack of awareness had worsened. Worried that Jongsik’s lack of awareness might affect his work, Sa-yoon decided to go easy on hitting him for the time being.

    It must be that his brain cells were dying and he was becoming stupid because Sa-yoon kept hitting his head.

    Sa-yoon, who sat down and resumed his meal, finished eating the fastest despite being the last one to sit. Having nothing to do, he stared at Geon-joo, and feeling the gaze, Geon-joo put down his chopsticks in the middle of eating.

    “Why are you looking at me like that?”

    “Does it make you uncomfortable?”

    “Yes.”

    “Then bear with it and eat.”

    “…I think I’ll get indigestion.”

    “I’ll get you some antacids.”

    When Sa-yoon gestured as if telling him to eat quickly, Geon-joo made an expression that said, ‘What kind of person is this?’ Sa-yoon, who was used to receiving such looks from others, even personally put the chopsticks between Geon-joo’s fingers.

    Geon-joo, who made a disgusted face, observed Sa-yoon and then continued his meal.

    His portion size was the average for an adult male.

    Sa-yoon, who inwardly added a line of information about Geon-joo, observed Geon-joo eating politely and then summoned the quest window.

    ‘Current Relationship: Wariness and Interest’

    As if the system had been updated, a small line of text was added below it.

    ‘Slight decrease in wariness due to the meal’

    His wariness was eased just because they ate together. Sa-yoon, who laughed thinking he was simpler than expected, stared intently at the Resister Disposition in his status window and then reconfirmed Geon-joo’s status window. There was one thing that had changed from when he last checked.

    ‘Night Rats Guild Member (E)’

    Sa-yoon, who confirmed the title automatically added when joining the guild, shifted his sunken gaze. What mattered was from now on.

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