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    Yujin, who had no idea what Urich was thinking, approached him carefully and held his hand. Unfortunately, they had both injured their right hands, so Yujin had no choice but to endure the throbbing pain of his wound.

    ‘He must be really stupid…’

    Watching Yujin being so considerate, Urich felt a twisting sensation in his gut. This kind of devotion wasn’t unfamiliar to him. On the contrary, it was all too familiar.

    However, the moment he lost his position as the Crown Prince, all those who had bowed their heads and bent their waists before him turned their backs on him. They changed their attitudes as if nothing had ever happened and bowed their heads and waists to the new Crown Prince.

    Having witnessed this firsthand, Urich found Yujin even more incomprehensible. This was a different world, so what could he possibly gain from him to act this way?

    Perhaps it was the insecurity that Yujin might also turn his back on him someday. However, Urich, still too young to grasp such emotions, expressed his turbulent feelings through mischief.

    Squeeze.

    “Urgh…!”

    Determined to see Yujin’s face twist in pain to quell his own unease, Urich tightly grasped Yujin’s injured right hand.

    Yujin groaned and frowned as the pressure aggravated his wound. Urich expected Yujin to shake off his hand and get angry. He thought it was only natural, assuming he’d be no different from the others.

    “Are you anxious? It’s okay. We’re not going anywhere dangerous. It might hurt a bit when they treat it, but you can handle that, right?”

    However, far from getting angry, Yujin comforted Urich with a smile. Even though the corners of his lips trembled and quivered as he smiled.

    “Are you stupid?”

    “Huh? No, why all of a sudden…”

    “…Forget it. Let’s just go.”

    Faced with Yujin’s clueless expression, Urich felt suffocated and averted his gaze, urging Yujin to hurry. He wanted to get this hospital visit over with and be away from Yujin as soon as possible.

    Unfortunately, Urich’s wish was not granted. Since their injuries required immediate attention, they went straight to the emergency room, which was full of patients, doctors, and nurses.

    Perhaps because it was an unfamiliar space with a strange atmosphere, Urich was on edge, warily surveying his surroundings. At that moment, a doctor approached them. Unlike Urich, who flinched at the stranger’s approach, Yujin seemed relieved and smiled.

    “Thanks, hyung.”

    “You call after so long only to say a kid got hurt. Doesn’t seem to be your kid, though.”

    “Of course not. There are circumstances that led me to take care of him, but he lost his ID… He needs immediate treatment, and it was urgent, so I thought of you.”

    “Tsk. Don’t just look for me at times like this. Treat me well on a regular basis, man.”

    Yujin chuckled and appeased the doctor’s scolding remarks. In the current situation where there was no way to prove Urich’s identity, he desperately needed the help of an acquaintance.

    Although he felt bad about lying, he couldn’t exactly tell the truth either. The doctor would surely get angry, asking what kind of nonsense he was spouting.

    “Little friend, can you show me your hand?”

    “He’s asking to see your hand. It’s okay. It’s just to treat it.”

    Since Urich could only communicate with Yujin and not with others, Yujin quietly acted as an interpreter.

    However, Urich seemed to have difficulty adjusting to the unfamiliar environment and subconsciously tightened his grip on Yujin’s hand.

    The pain radiated sharply, causing Yujin’s expression to crumble momentarily, but he didn’t mind. Even though he had messed up the first button, to the point of losing it altogether, Urich still relied on him.

    “It’s alright. I’ll stay by your side.”

    Nevertheless, treatment was urgent, so he gently coaxed Urich to show his hand. The doctor quickly unwrapped the tightly bound bandage and began to take measures.

    “We need to administer anesthesia, so the needle might hurt a bit. Let’s bear with it for a moment.”

    “You don’t have to look. Want to lean on me for a bit?”

    “You’re doing great. So brave.”

    Yujin kept murmuring in a soft voice next to Urich when the injection was administered or when the doctor raised the needle to stitch the flesh.

    As much as he hated to admit it, Urich couldn’t deny that Yujin’s voice reassured him. After the treatment was finished and a new bandage was wrapped around his hand, Urich looked at Yujin with a somewhat sullen expression.

    ‘I can’t believe I relied on someone so stupid.’

    He felt like he had been defeated.

    “The treatment is all done now. Thank you for enduring it well.”

    When their eyes met, Yujin smiled, oblivious to what Urich was thinking, making him feel even more strange. Urich abruptly turned his head away, and Yujin watched him fondly until his acquaintance called him.

    “Now, let me see the patient’s hand.”

    Although polite, as one would address a patient, Yujin could detect the reprimand in the doctor’s eyes. Faced with an attitude starkly different from how he treated Urich, Yujin slowly extended his hand like a student about to be scolded.

    Somehow, he had a feeling he was going to get told off, and as expected, the doctor began to scold him upon seeing Yujin’s hand, which was merely wrapped in a bandage unlike Urich’s properly bound one for hemostasis.

    “Seriously, are you joking around? You call this hemostasis…? Did you learn nothing from what I taught you?”

    The doctor had tried to separate work from personal matters, but the haphazard attempt at hemostasis that merely covered the wound led him to nag at Yujin.

    “…I’m sorry.”

    “Goodness, you’re not getting any younger, and this is how you handle it? Unbelievable.”

    Urich couldn’t understand why Yujin meekly accepted the scolding from the doctor. Why was he bowing his head to someone who was merely a physician?

    “Tsk.”

    “What? Is something bothering you?”

    “You…”

    Urich was about to ask why Yujin was bowing his head to a doctor, but he suddenly questioned why he even cared and closed his mouth.

    ‘Why does it bother me that he’s lowering his head to someone?’

    To be precise, he was perplexed by his own displeasure towards the doctor, who he presumed was reprimanding Yujin. What business was it of his whether Yujin bowed his head to someone or not?

    “Ouch, me?”

    Right at that moment, the needle went in, causing Yujin to wince in pain, but he still made eye contact with Urich, awaiting his answer.

    “…Never mind. It’s nothing.”

    Urich turned his head away, feeling a strange churning in his gut as he watched Yujin reach out with his uninjured hand to hold his, despite the discomfort.

    Yujin was curious about what Urich left unsaid but couldn’t press him further as he had completely turned his head away. So, he focused on the treatment.

    ‘Should I consider it fortunate that I’m currently unemployed…?’

    With his hand in this state, he wouldn’t be able to do anything anyway. Moreover, he couldn’t leave Urich alone, considering he was also injured and a patient on top of that.

    ‘No. I need to start working as soon as he leaves.’

    Yujin nearly fainted upon hearing the billed amount.

    “What’s wrong? Why are you like this? Don’t tell me that doctor did something weird to you.”

    “Ah, no… I was just surprised for a moment…”

    It was indeed surprising. He had been prepared for the cost aspect since they had come to the emergency room, but the billed amount was no joke, especially since he had lied about one of them being a foreigner.

    Of course, it wasn’t to the point of using up all his savings, but it did serve as a motivation to strengthen his resolve to find a job.

    “Phew, let’s go back.”

    Yujin felt drained and wanted to take a taxi, but they had already attracted attention when they arrived at the hospital. Naturally, people’s gazes were drawn to them as they both had their hands bandaged, indicating they were injured together.

    However, Urich was uncomfortable with others’ attention, and Yujin had to somehow defend him, saying the child was in pain.

    ‘It’ll probably be the same on the way back.’

    But was it okay to make a child who had just received treatment walk for a long time? Yujin was caught in a dilemma. As he stood still, lost in thought, Urich couldn’t help but ask what he was doing.

    “Well, I was contemplating whether to take a taxi like earlier or just walk back.”

    “You want me to walk?”

    Urich, who had never walked for more than five minutes in his entire life, asked in surprise, making Yujin even more flustered.

    “You seemed annoyed when the driver talked to you earlier. Didn’t you not want to ride?”

    “I didn’t like him talking to me. But I dislike walking even more.”

    Yujin was at a loss for words at Urich’s assertiveness and could only manage a feeble acknowledgment.

    “But then, you shouldn’t get irritated if the driver talks to you.”

    “Why? He’s being a nuisance. I don’t even know what he’s saying, yet he dares to talk to me, a mere coachman.”

    ‘Oh my. What a way with words…’

    Yujin was shocked by the unexpectedly sharp tongue. However, he couldn’t easily tell Urich that he shouldn’t speak that way, primarily because of the guilt Yujin harbored.

    The child had suddenly fallen into a different world and even injured his palm. How much stress must he have endured?

    In such a situation, if Yujin tried to correct his way of speaking, it was obvious that their barely established rapport would be forever strained.

    “Well, um, then let’s pretend to be asleep while we’re on the way. Then he won’t talk to you.”

    “Why should I?”

    Urich couldn’t understand why he had to pretend to be asleep. Wouldn’t that make it seem like he was trying to avoid the coachman?

    “Still, it’s better than being bothered, isn’t it?”

    However, Yujin’s words made sense, so Urich, after some contemplation, nodded. It was indeed bothersome to be talked to, even if he wasn’t directly responding.

    As suggested, Urich got into the taxi and quickly closed his eyes, pretending to be asleep the moment he noticed the driver’s gaze turning towards his hand.

    “Oh my, how did you two end up injuring your hands at the same time?”

    “Haha, well, you know how it is.”

    Of course, that didn’t stop the taxi driver from talking, but at least the conversation wasn’t directed at Urich.

    “You should be more careful in the future.”

    Thud. As Yujin conversed with the taxi driver, he felt a weight pressing against his arm. Turning his head, he discovered Urich, who had been pretending to sleep with his eyes closed, had actually fallen asleep at some point.

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