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Chapter 1 - A New Start (1)
Frankenstein’s basement laboratory, 9th floor specially prepared room: D-Room.
Special metal walls lined the antiseptic room, perfectly isolating it from the exterior except for one gate to pass through the control system.
The same material that formed the walls appeared to have crafted a desk and a chair that rested in the room, and something that resembled a metal bookshelf at first glance was installed with one side next to the wall. Pieces of unique cloths filled this divider in an uniform arrangement of assorted colors.
In this special room, Frankenstein stood in front of the segments of cloth with a visible attentiveness.
He wore glasses that he had personally manufactured, and as a designer who lived and breathed a gentle chic, he had drafted his laboratory coat as well.
Sensing the texture with his fingertips, he slowly touched the cloths one by one, and after cautiously feeling several fabrics, Frankenstein said while nodding,
“Today, this one will have to do.”
He selected a white cloth and carried it to the center of the room where he sat down at the table. A small box laid on the table, and he opened the lid. Exquisite needles of various sizes orderly lined the inside, and a few sharp knives glittered up at him.
Frankenstein picked up a needle, approximately the size of 6cm, with the tips of his fingers so that one hand held the white cloth, and one hand held the sharp needle. It may have seemed unbecoming for him to handle the cloth and needle, but considering the general air, Frankenstein was a highly skilled and natural sight.
He slowly released his breath as he briefly closed his eyes.
In that instant, Frankenstein’s eyes glowed.
- Shug shug shug shug.
His hand began to strike the needle through the cloth at a speed nearly invisible to the eye.
The needle sometimes moved intensely, sometimes softly, and sometimes as if falling into a rhythm. Despite movements detached from common sense, the composure in Frankenstein’s face remained inexhaustible.
Under these swift movements, the meager cloth transformed into the shape of a jacket that radiated a delicate elegance.
- Shooshooshooshooshooshoog ~
Frankenstein’s handwork grew faster and faster as he approached the finnish. Now breaking out of this invisible speed, Frankenstein suddenly cast the apparel he was making high into the air.
- Flutter ~
Slowly, the jacket levitated in midair, and he reached toward it with his fingertips.
- Chuck ~ Chwarag ~ Chwarararag ~ to to to to ~
Then, as all the minor scraps of cloth that clung to it tidily fell off, the floating garment dispersed and revealed its shape.
The jacket landed on the fingers of Frankenstein’s right hand. It was no longer the cloth from before - it was a perfectly executed, lovely, elegance-emitting work of art in the guise of a white jacket. All of this had transpired in a split second, and his movements had been as smooth as those of a maestro performing music.
Setting his glasses covertly back in place with his left hand, he started to examine the jacket carefully. Even compared to the care he had demonstrated before he had sewn the article of clothing, his gaze was now all the more sharp since it would not tolerate the slightest defect...
His eyes lit up, and he knit his brows as he scrutinized the jacket.
“Oh my, this seam... an error of one millimeter!!”
His voice trembled slightly, and cold sweat trickled down his face.
“That I could make such a grave mistake...”
Blaming himself, a pained expression crossed his face, and unable to stand the sight of his failure any longer, he tightly pressed his eyes closed.
“I’ll have to terminate this. I can’t let Master wear such a thing,”
He murmured to himself under a little sigh.
As someone who worshiped the master, Frankenstein could never allow him to wear flawed clothing. Drearily, he flicked his fingers.
- cheeek ~
The ground opened beside the stool he sat upon, and without hesitation, he flung the clothing into it. The moment the jacket disappeared inside,
- Hwaaaaaaa ~
Huge flames shot up and burned it instantaneously.
- cheeek ~
The door closed as abruptly as it had opened.
Frankenstein’s eyes stopped at the electric clock on the wall. The time it read was 6:50 in the morning.
“Ah, it’s this late already?”
Promptly getting off his chair, Frankenstein left the room.
In Rai’s dressing room.
Beautiful, delicately polished marble blanketed the floor of the enormous room, and lights in the ceiling illuminated it so that it was neither too bright nor too dark. Ornaments from an archaic style of architecture embellished the interior of the room, causing the plain, rectangular shape to look outstanding.
The wardrobe extended over opposing walls, thus dividing it in two. In the upper section was outerwear; in the lower one, trousers hung tightly next to each other. One side housed shoes; on the remaining side, accessoires were displayed. A classical chair and small tea table adorned the center of the dressing room. In that chair, Rai lounged in a white shirt and dark trousers with his legs crossed, looking poised as he studied the exhibited attire.
- knock knock ~
With a knock, Frankenstein entered the room. He was carrying a tea set on a tray, which he set down on the tea table next to Rai, and graciously filled the cup with tea.
Hot steam permeated the atmosphere with the flavorous aroma of tea. With an affable smile, Frankenstein said,
“Master. Have you selected the ensemble you wish to wear today?”
Rai supported his chin with one hand and, instead of an answer, let on a sigh. However, Frankenstein soon became aware of the meaning.
‘So Master has still not been able to choose.’
Even while drinking tea, Rai cautiously did not avert his eyes from one outfit in the wardrobe. The apparel that his gaze stayed upon perfectly matched the exact same design as all the other clothing that filled the room. Even up to the shoes...
White jackets and grey trousers.
Unbelievably, the suits that overflowed the luxurious and enormous dressing room were all the Yeran High School’s school uniform.
Although their semblance appeared the same, Frankenstein had fashioned these himself, giving them minute distinctions. The clothing claimed variances in the quality of the material, the fit of the cut, and the method of sewing, ect. ect... These differences were not just one or two.
A soft smile emerged on Frankenstein’s lips.
‘Master is always so attentive.’
- ding-dong ~ ding-dong~
The sound of the doorbell could be heard from outside.
“Please excuse me for a short while.”
Dipping his head respectfully, Frankenstein went outside. He headed for the living room and viewed the video phone’s monitor.
“Chairman, it’s us.”
Ikhan stated with a lively laugh and drew his face near to the main gate’s monitor. Standing in the center next to him, Yuna and Suyi wrestled with their hair. Shinwoo, who had fallen behind, looked groggy as he gave a long yawn.
It was 7:30am. Knowing why the children had visited this early in the morning, Frankenstein said,
“Wait a second, please.”
Ikhan answered expeditiously. Frankenstein turned his head as Regis and Seira arrived in the living room.
- creak ~
Now wearing the Yeran High School uniform, Rai opened the dressing room’s door and strode out leisurely. Regis and Seira each acknowledged him with a slight inclination of the head as he walked in. Although it was just to a slight degree, the action showed utmost respect.
Customly expressionless, Rai accepted their salutations with a faint nod and wordlessly passed by without looking over. Such a simple reaction almost seemed as though he had ignored them, but although it was strange, it felt rather natural.
With his right hand lifted to his chest, Frankenstein bowed slowly.
“You have returned, Master.”
Nodding slightly, Rai also passed by him without an answer as Regis and Seira followed behind him.
- clatt ~
The entrance door slowly opened, and the children waited in front of it. When they saw Rai’s group emerge through the door and come outside, they started to welcome them.
Ikhan cheered brightly, fixing his thick glasses nimly with one hand.
“Uaaaah ~ hello.” Smack...
Shinwoo scratched his head, looking exhaused as he said hello.
“Ah, hello~ did you sleep well?”
Acting flustered, Yuna addressed them while secretly pressing back some unruly hair, and Sui ceased applying gel to Yuna’s hair just long enough to hastily say hi.
Seira politely answered them one by one with a bow of her head, and staring indifferently at them, Regis said,
“Hm. You all swarmed in so early this morning.”
“Today, I managed to wake up Shinwoo, and we met Yuna and Sui on the street. We’ll all go to school together eventually,”
Ikhan easily clarified with a laugh.
Rai silently watched the kids.
Although they were not speaking with particularly loud voices, merely being together made the children boisterous. Their expressions, behaviors, and ways of talking each emanated life.
After observing them for a while, Rai stepped forward, and as he began walking, the kids also started to set off for the school.
“What should I do... I did not properly dry my hair, and now it’s a complete mess. It shows no sign of settling down, Sui. What now?”
Yuna asked Sui while fingering her hair.
“It’s a lot better, and in awhile it’ll be okay so don’t worry too much,”
Sui soothingly comforted her friend that it would be alright, but Yuna sighed deeply.
“Haa~ I slept with wet hair and now...”
After she said it, Yuna looked over at Seira.
“How does Seira’s hair always fall like that...”
At Yuna’s words, Sui as well cast a glance at Seira, and her gaze immediately turned to jealousy.
Seira’s beautiful, silver hair descended to her waist and waved in time with her calm steps. Every now and then, the morning sunlight would sparkle across her shimmering hair. Sui and Yuna’s eyes could not leave her.
Paying no attention as they two gaped, Seira straightened her back and, staring forward, continued to walk passively.
“How does Seira usually care for her hair so that it looks that good? What Shampoo does she use?”
“I’m curious, too, since I receive professional care daily because of my work, but mine still does not look as good as Seira’s.”
Following Yuna’s inquiry, Sui could not keep herself from asking as well.
The question sounded cryptic to Seira, and she tilted her head for a moment because the only thing she knew about this substance called “Shampoo” was that humans used it when they washed their hair.
Power-wielding nobles like Seira could use their abilities to remove anything unwanted from within their bodies so that she had no need to wash her hair separately. Of course, she sometimes wanted to feel the sensation of water coursing through her hair, and then she would wash it but...
“I do not give the maintenance special concern, and I do not like to use chemicals...”
Yuna and Sui shook their heads in disbelief at Seira’s reply.
“That it can look like that without care... So, what you mean is that you use something like a chemical-free, natural shampoo?”
“Really, everything in the chairman’s house is unusual, including the shampoo! That someone with such naturally good hair would also use nice things like a natural shampoo...”
“You said it. Haaa~”
Seira tilted her head as Yuna and Sui’s lamentations grew increasingly incomprehensible to her. Ikhan, watching the endlessly yawning Shinwoo, asked him bleary-eyed,
“Shinwoo, how long did you play?”
“After we played together and you left, about three more hours?” ... smack.
Ikhan was shocked by Shinwoo’s answer.
“Then you had almost no sleep!”
“That could be it! Somehow... I found myself really tired. Yes! There was nothing wrong with me,”
Shinwoo mumbled to himself as though he had not realized this until now. After listening to their conversation, Regis said as in a condescending tone,
“Humans need to receive sufficient sleep since, if they don’t, their bodies are bound to end up in poor states. To put it simply, Han Shinwoo, they end up in the very state you are in now. Today, there is an important appointment called school, and that you still could not take care of yourself? Such an attitude towards studying...”
As Regis scolded them in his characteristically prideful manner of talking, both Ikhan and Shinwoo broke into cold sweats and tittered uncomfortably.
According to habit, Rai quietly walked along the road with a placid countenance.
The children could not stop chatting all the way to school, and the reaction of the surrounding passersby went unchanged as well.
Unable to take their eyes from from them, everyone who saw Rai got swept away, absentmindedly slowing to a standstill. The few who regained their senses and turned their eyes from him only escaped to space out once again at the sight of Regis and Seira.
As the children neared the school and the number of students increased, this effect arose less because people were accustomed to seeing them at school, but in the same way, the students as well could not readily turn their eyes from them.
Upon passing through the school gate, the children found their class teacher, Pedro, standing with his hands clasped behind his back.
“Good morning, seonsaengnim.”
[Seonsaengnim: The honorific way to address a teacher, like the Japanese "sensei."]
“Good morning ~”
When the kids greeted him with a bow, their teacher took notice of them, as well.
“Ah, right. You came.”
The unkempt Shinwoo caught Pedro’s eye.
“Ah, and Shinwoo is not late today. Keu ~ That pleases me. At least today, I won’t have to be embarrassed in front of the other teachers. It’s famous. When his homeroom teacher is at the gate, Han Shinwoo is late by almost a hundred percent probability.”
Pedro laughed heartily, and Shinwoo scratched his head, giggling awkwardly. Suddenly, Pedro’s laughter was wiped away, and he cleared his throat.
“Hmhm~ In any case, see to it that you get to the classroom quickly.”
“The gate’s crowded because of you.”
At Pedro’s words, the kids surveyed the proximity.
Students had stopped progressing toward the school and had gathered near in order to watch them. No, to be precise, in order to gawk at Rai, Regis and Seira.
Nodding in the direction of the building, Pedro gave them a signal to go inside.
Laughing, Ikhan and Shinwoo as well as Yuna and Sui took off for the classroom. Contrary to them, Rai, Seira and Regis, maintained their typical visages as they ambled indifferently.
Once inside the school, the children’s faces brightened when they spotted M-21, Takeo and Tao walking in the distance.
Shinwoo and Ikhan called out at the same time, and the trio’s heads turned simultaneously toward the kids.
Yuna and Sui also said hello with a bow.
“Oh, you all came together today?”
Tao waved, welcoming them with his question, and Takeo gave them a warm smile. Unlike them, M-21 only carried a cold demeanor, pressing his mouth shut, but the children had grown used to his behaviour and absolutely did not care.
“Where are you going?”
“This time we're the outside patrol group. We're going to relieve the previous group.”
Tao’s face radiated cheerful exuberance as he explained Ikhan’s question.
“And you just now came?”
Tao's sight slid to Shinwoo.
“Shinwoo, you don't exactly look awake.”
“Haha~ I've been so busy, and at some point, I realized that I couldn’t sleep so...”
“But Shinwoo, you're like this every day.”
M-21's frosty voice interrupted the conversation. At this interjection, Tao cut off his chitchat with the kids in order to check the clock.
“Ah, sorry. We have to leave soon. We can't be late for our shift.”
Departing from the area, the trio’s eyes wandered to the side where Rai stood.
As their eyes met Rai’s, they slightly bent their heads at a speed that wouldn’t allow anyone to take notice and hurried from the place.
“See you later, Hyungs~”
“Listen well in class~ and listen to your teachers.”
Although they got caught up in a rushed swirl, Tao and Takeo turned to happily wave their hands. As soon as they turned around again hurry away, the kid’s shout came from behind.
“And see you, too, Ahjussi!”
Tao and Takeo concurrently burst into laughter.
Sweat drops appeared on M-21’s previously chilly face as he groaned. And...
Regis, standing soundlessly among the children, had a peculiarly strange smile forming in the corners of his mouth.
- tak tak tak tak...
Pedro busily wrote something on the board that the students diligently copied. Ikhan frantically moved and clicked his mouse at an inconceivable speed. Shinwoo, strongly confident that his friend in front of him would give him cover, slept face down on his desk.
Yuna and Sui assiduously jotted information in their notebooks; Seira and Regis also took notes from their textbooks while sitting as upright and undisheveled as was to be expected.
Sitting in the very last seat beside the window, Rai had turned his head and was silently peering through the window. His eyes moved bit by bit, looking at the children who took physical education lessons on the field, at the neighboring buildings and forest, at the azure sky and dazzling sunshine...
A cool breeze blew through the open window, gently swaying Rai’s black hair as it passing by, and even if just for a brief moment, his eyes slightly narrowed.
A faint sound of awe escaped from Suyi’s mouth, and she was unaware that her face burned.
She had unexpectedly turned her head just in time to glimpse the wind wave Rai’s hair.
Although someone’s hair being tossed by the wind isn’t exactly a marvel, the image of Rai just now would have made anyone’s heart skip a beat.
Unable to tear her eyes from Rai, Sui leaned in close to Yuna, who was sitting in the row in front of her, and said,
Yuna stopped writing and turned around.
“Rai, you know... Isn’t he looking really great?”
When Sui said this all of a sudden, Yuna was confused for a moment, and she also subconsciously took a side glance at Rai.
“He’s Rai. Why...”
She, too, blushed when her eyes encountered him. They always spent time together, but they had not yet adapted to the sight of him. If they looked at Rai thoughtlessly, they could not help but feel their hearts flutter.
Sui rested her chin on one arm.
“Seira and Regis as well... I don’t know where such kids came from. Did you notice how all the people stare at them and Rai all the time?”
Yuna recalled all those people’s reactions to when the three of them had showed up in front of their eyes and nodded.
“Yes. But, well... Sui, isn’t this difficult for you?”
Sui asked as she tilted her head.
“You’re the famous entertainer, but...”
Yuna carefully let the end of her words fade. Sui grasped what Yuna seemed to imply and giggled.
What Yuna had omitted was to inquire whether it might have troubled Sui that people set her, the hottest, new celebrity, aside to only care for these three?
“Actually, I’m comfortable this way. I feel less watched... And even if I weren’t, it wouldn’t matter. What’s normal about these kids, after all...”
Sui’s joking tone made Yuna burst into laughter.
“Who was that?!”
Pedro, who had been writing up to now, abruptly spun around at the sound of her laugh. After their chatter a moment ago, Yuna and Sui flinched. Pedro’s eyes were gleaming as his pupils moved from here to there.
With a huge crash, a chair flew backwards and rammed the ground as Shinwoo leapt to his feet.
“Yes! Han Shinwoo!”
Everyone could only stare at Shinwoo in astonishment. After sleeping on the desk, he had unexpectedly knocked his chair to the ground as if he had meant to hurl it down and called his name in a shout that sounded more like a scream...
Actually, Pedro was surprised, too, and he felt his heart pounding with one hand on his chest.
As though he had never been sleeping, Shinwoo stared straight at Pedro, but his eyes were bright, bloodshot red, his face still held traces that some unidentifiable object creased into it, and the corner of his mouth was smeared with salvia. It was humanly impossible to come to such a state by dozing off for just a minute or two.
“Oh, come on...”
Ikhan shook his head with a sigh.
Regis snorted, smirking as though the situation was somehow pathetic.
“W.. what shall we do...?”
“What now? Because of us Shinwoo... and all without a reason...”
Sui and Yuna whispered with their mouths covered, looking completely at a loss.
Seira stared at Shinwoo with a blank expression and...
As though the noisily crashing chair had never been of interest to him from the start, Rai was still looking out of the window.
Still watching Shinwoo, Pedro said,
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