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Chapter 2 - A new start (2)
[Ding Dong ~ Dang-Dong ~]
The bell rang, sounding through all of the speakers simultaneously, and set not only their classroom but the whole school into motion as students, worn out from hunger, left for the hunt at lunch time. Leaping from their seats, the kids in the classroom scattered toward their respective hunting grounds.
Gazing down through the window, Rai watchedthe droves of children drift out of the building as they traveled somewhere.
The sight of them reminded Rai of things so long ago. For the survival, growth and development of their species, humans had put their lives at stake to seek nourishment. Human history had begun that way, and that way it has remained. This much has stayed unchanged from then until now.
Shinwoo rose and stretched with a yawn.
His neck emitted bizarre noises when he reached for it.
"Ah, ya, ya, ya~! The side effects of that headlock from seonsaengnim earlier..."
Dropping onto his chair again, Shinwoo writhed in his desk. Suyi and Yoona drew near with worried expressions.
"Shinwoo, are you okay?"
At Suyi’s inquiry, Shinwoo forced a smile and shrugged.
"Huh? Oh yeah. Haha ~ my neck’s a little stiff. Not enough to worry about."
Yoona likewise felt remorseful but didn’t know what to do.
"I'm sorry. When we were gabbing... When our seonsaengnim said he heard us, it made you jump up in vain..."
"Eh, I said I’m fine."
Even though Shinwoo said he was alright, Suyi and Yuna couldn’t tear their guilt-filled eyes from him as he massaged his neck.
Ikhan approached Shinwoo with a skeptical look.
“How’s this your fault? Sure, he jumped up from from his sleep in vain, but if he had to get up, did he have to pull that stunt? I nearly had a heart attack because that guy knocked over his chair.”
“I was surprised as well. Although just for an instant, I had thought that he had dared to purposely throw his chair to the ground during teaching time when we receive instruction. Of course, about you, such accidental behavior is typically understandable.”
Regis agreed with Ikhan in a similar tone.
Shinwoo slurred over his shame with an evasive laugh.Ikhan looked at everyone else and spoke,
“I’m starving. Let’s hurry up and go eat.”
Yoona and Suyi nodded at his proposal.
“True. I’m hungry, too.”
“What shall we eat today?”
As the group started to discuss the day’s lunch, Shinwoo suddenly sat down on the desktop and crossed his legs in a shaky stance. He raised his chin and gazed down at them ostentatiously with his arms folded across his chest.
At his call, Ikhan, Suyi and Yoona stopped talking about their dining options and turned towards Shinwoo as did Regis and Seira. Rai’s eyes also left the window and wandered to him.
Ikhan exhaled a long sigh at Shinwoo’s excessively arrogant attitude.
“Shinwoo, what’s with you now?”
“Hu~ Today, it’s my treat.”
The words were completely unexpected from Shinwoo, and they left Ikhan, Suyi and Yuna astounded.
Shinwoo giggled at Ikhan’s question.
“Yeah, Ikhan, this hyung will take care of you.”
“So your father sent you spending money?”
“Oooh~ So you came into an ample supply of money now?”
At their words, Shinwoo swept his hair aside and gave an oily smile.
“Yeah. Yuna, Suyi, rely on this oppa, will you?”
Having watched this thus far, Regis spoke up,
“How displeasing. This is not worth any concern.”
Contradictory to the perturbed manner in which he spoke to Shinwoo, Regis slightly bowed his head toward Rai with courtesy.
“Shall we go?”
Rai stood and immediately departed. Regis and Seira followed him, and the other kids also walked away from Shinwoo.
“Let’s just go. We’d better get something to eat.”
“Yeah. We should.”
Ikhan, Yoona, and Suyi followed Regis through the classroom door as if they didn’t need to hear more and left Shinwoo alone to maintain his prideful facade…
Taken aback, Shinwoo quickly hopped up from his desk and hurried after them. Then launching from the ground, he hurled himself onto Ikhan’s back.
“Ey~ What’s up with you? I’m just pulling a little prank! Haha~”
Shinwoo had sent Ikhan reeling by suddenly hanging from his back.
“Ugh! What are you doing? I almost fell!”
“I already said I’m kidding~”
“Yeah, I know, get off. Now!”
Despite Ikhan’s disconcerted shouts, Shinwoo still refused to let go. Laughing, he clung to Ikhan with both arms, and the noise of their uproar reverberated down the hallway.
The two boys made such a sight that Yoona and Suyi burst into laughter.
With a long sigh, Regis closed his eyes for a moment, and although standing right next them, he and Seira silently left for the cafeteria as though they hadn’t been in their company at all.
The moment they entered the cafeteria, students began to cast glances at them. People eating broke from their lunches; people talking broke their conversations to mindlessly ogle Rai’s group.
Accustomed to the attention from the other students by now, Shinwoo remained unconcerned and courageously lead them to the counter side.
“Well~ choose what you want to eat.”
Smiling confidently to his friends, Shinwoo reached into his pocket.
At that moment, embarrassment crept in Shinwoo’s voice.
asked Ikhan, but Shinwoo only quickly stuffed his hands into each of his pockets as he started to look panicked.
“Huh? That’s weird…”
“Shinwoo, what’s going on?”
Suyi commented Shinwoo’s behavior.
“My wallet’s gone!”
Ikhan’s expression turned incredulous as Shinwoo absent-mindedly muttered his answer to himself.
“I definitely had it a minute ago.”
“You didn’t lose it by any chance?”
In response to Ikhan’s question, Shinwoo shook his head.
“That’s not it. Oh!”
Shinwoo instantly looked up as if the thought had just come to him.
“I didn’t take it out of my bag. It’s still in there... What now?”
“I didn’t take mine with me since you said you’d pay, Shinwoo,”
“Me too. I had it in my bag, but I thought it would be fine this time so I came
without it... Usually, I always have it with me. Why not now of all times!”
Yuna muttered, too.
“Well, it can’t be helped. So, I’ll...”
While Suyi spoke with a smile,
Rai tread one step forward, and everyone’s eyes immediately flew to him.
Ikhan asked. The next instant, an idea flashed through his mind, and he continued swiftly,
“By any chance... Rai, do you want to buy?”
Rai gave a nod instead of an answer.
When the children showed their surprise, Shinwoo said,
“Come on. No you don’t, Rai. I incited you to do this from the start, so let’s do it like this. If you lend me the money now, when we return to the classroom-”
Rai silently interrupted Shinwoo’s words merely by slightly lifting his hand. A simple act, but it felt strangely hard to argue any further.
“Ahem~ So….I’ll get it next time,”
Shinwoo replied while uncomfortably clearing his throat.
“Fair enough. Then let’s choose our meals.”
“What shall I eat~“
Excited about their choices, the children investigated the menu board, but at that moment-
“We will all unanimously have Ramen.”
This statement spoiled all of their plans, and their heads snapped around to face Regis. He met their eyes with composure and raised his chin in his usual pretentiousness.
“What are you saying?”
“Yeah. Rather than ramen, I was thinking of jjolmyeon today…”
[One of the most popular noodle dishes in South Korea]
Getting all worked up, Shinwoo and Ikhan tried to take Regis to task,but Regis’ voice arose once again, cutting off their words.
“Ramen conjointly. The lot of you... you have no right to choose.”
They fell silent under his glare.
It was as he said. They did not have any entitlement to choose something else over ramen since Regis’ decisiveness had just taken it from them.
His determination made Ikhan and Shinwoo’s hearts sink gradually.
“Y-Yeah. Ramen sounds good.”
“Rather than jjolmyeon today, I think ramen hits the spot.
Both of them hastily corrected themselves.
“Suyi, what sort of ramen shall we have?
“Not sure. They all look delicious; it’s hard to choose. Ha ha...”
Yoona and Suyi were already perusing the menu for ramen options.
“We would like seven orders of classic style ramen.”
But Regis was already placing the order.
Unable to put up a resistance, the children could only stare blankly at Regis. The woman behind the counter who took the order shook her head.
“Classic style? You mean common ramen?”
“That is the case.”
“It’s funny how foreign students speak so formally. Ho ho ho ho~”
The woman said, laughing heartily.
Unlike the pleasantly smiling woman, the children felt a cold sweat on the backs of their necks. The various kinds of ramen could be considered very different due to this or that extra ingredients. That Regis had determined things for them, denying them the chance to choose even that, left them at a loss for words.
Yoona and Suyi whispered together.
“Regis is usually never like this, but strangely, he’s a little aggressive when it comes to Rai.”
“Oh, you think so? Ah, when you look at it that way, it’s the same around Ahjussi.”
“Ah, true! When Ahjussi is involved, he’s a little like this, too.”
Upon recalling how Regis occasionally bickered with M-21, Yuna and Suyi both nodded in agreement.
“That’ll be 7,000 won.”
Regis stepped aside at her words, and Rai strode forward to the counter. Standing in front of her, he slowly took something from his breast pocket.
Everyone who was watching involuntarily exclaimed in admiration. Even the lunch lady reacted in the same way. What Rai lightly held in his fingertips was a credit card.
It was extraordinary, colored gold and consisted of a luxurious material. Even on first sight, it appeared to be different from just any normal card, and in Rai’s hands, it seemed to shine even more.
Without knowing the reason, Regis felt true adoration.
The lunch lady’s trembling eyes slid from the card to Rai, and she slowly opened her mouth.
“But, Student, the school cafeteria can’t accept credit cards.”
Silence churned turbulently for a moment.
Perfectly right. The cafeteria had no card reader since, unlike universities, high school students were not expected to use cards.
“In the cafe, where the teachers go, it might be possible, but here, where only students come...”
Despite the kind explanation the woman had offered, Rai still stood in silence with the card outstretched.
“Rai, I guess you’ll have to put it away.”
At their words, Rai slowly sheathed the card with the same dignity with which he had taken it out. He might not have been able to achieve his purpose, but as he stood back, he looked beautiful, nonetheless.
“Did the chairman give you that card?”
As Rai nodded in response to Ikhan’s question, Suyi smiled and reached for
“So, it can’t be helped. Shall I, then?”
A sharp cry.
The startled children stared at Regis, their eyes asking what it was this time. Regis faced them outright, looking straight at Suyi.
“Put that wallet away. This is no matter in which you should interfere.”
Nothing in which they should interfere... Although they wanted to ask what this meant, all of a sudden...
At his ferocious aura, Suyi instinctively let her wallet slowly disappear. Although the other children surrounding them weren’t holding their own wallets, they still moved as if putting something away. Even if not a wallet, it had felt like they had to put up something.
Unconcerned by their actions, Regis bit his lip as an agonized expression crossed his face.
‘If only I could, I would offer to pay the ramen’s value with my own hands, but He has already decided to take on the commitment so that if I were to act in such a way, I would end up committing an act of severe disrespect. Aahh... What would be appropriate? Regis K. Landegre, think! You must!’
Immersed in his thoughts, Regis ceased biting his lip and clenched both fists. Drops of perspiration formed and flowed down his forehead until he looked truly distressed.
“If this is the case, I will offer to use the kitchen in this place to prepare ramen for everyone.”
Seira’s efficient solution made Regis’ face light up. Since it was not a monetary question and Seira prepared the meals, he decided that the circumstances were different.
“Oh! That will do. If Seira used the kitchen to make...”
Right after the lunch lady’s outright denial, Seira started to explain as if she had expected it.
“There is no need for concern. I have sufficient experience to prepare the previously ordered dishes; concerning the dishes and their tastes, I am receiving praise to exceed estimations.”
“Pretty girl, what are you talking about? Students are not allowed to enter the kitchen. Where would we end up if students could come in and go out of the school kitchen as they pleased?”
“Ah, is that so?”
At a loss about what to do after her definite refusal, Seira inclined her head, and Regis’ face fell in disappointment. The lady, on the other hand, could only contemplate how strange these foreigners were.
The kids giggled uneasily at the current state of things. Then, as though an idea had suddenly hit him, Ikhan shot his mouth open.
“Ah~ Then how about we asked the chairman to take the bill?”
This had Regis’ face brighten up again.
‘Right! That’s it. Since the chairman owns this place... then this whole property belongs to the possession of his master, Rai-nim. It’s just natural! This way, there arises no problem at all!’
Now that she had listened to the kids talk for a while, the lunch lady frowned.
“This stubbornness, why do I have to...”
But the woman could not finish what she had said in annoyance.
The lunch lady as well as the kids saw an intense flare emerge from Regis’ body. This force put the woman’s annoyance to rest at once, and the foreboding feeling that she would have to grant it to them now grazed her mind. With a little sigh, she turned to Suyi.
“Haa~ How tiresome, can’t you just let that celebrity pay the bill instead of stubbornly...”
The moment Regis’ eyes fell upon her,
“Wa... wait a second.”
She hastily picked the phone to call someone. They seemed to tell her something whereupon she soon hung up. With a different expression than up until now, she curiously inspected the children.
“This was nothing to concern the chairman about. As soon as the secretary heard the matter, from his side came the question of how much was he supposed to give. It seems like you’re quite close to the chairman.”
“Puaha~ Well, guess we are,”
Shinwoo and Ikhan answered simultaneously under their laughter. Where would there be students that frequented their chairman’s house almost daily and were allowed to treat his place as though it was their own living room, even using his kitchen and refrigerator more often than their own?
Now that everything had been resolved and they could finally have their ramen lunch, the lot of them had grown much more relaxed.
“Hey girls! What, you’re buying food?”
Some girls from their class approached Suyi and Yuna from the side.
“We ordered ramen ‘cause Rai said he would pay for us...”
“Ha~ Shinwoo said he’d pay for lunch, but then he forgot his wallet. That is why Rai did so.”
The girls were surprised by what they had heard.
“What, Rai’s paying? Great! Rai, you’ll pay for us, too?”
“Right. Pay for us, too, won’t you? We won’t pick anything expensive.”
Their reaction made Suyi and Yuna look hard-pressed for a moment.
Rai nodded his answer without any thought and made the girls rejoice.
“What’s up with you? Only paying for girls?”
When they had seen this, the boys from their class rattled loudly while surrounding the group from behind.
“What? You said Rai will pay?”
“Yeah, I heard so.”
“Really? Rai, for us too, right?”
As though it was nothing, Rai nodded again, and the boys were floored as well. That was where the problems started. Now even the kids from their class who had already taken their seats in the lunchroom all crowded around this spot.
Mass mentality led them to gather around Rai’s group because they wanted to get close to them, and some people brought their friends from other classes with them. In an instant, the counter to order food was perfectly packed by their class.
All the students in the lunchroom sent envied looks at this sight, not for being bought free food but because the class could assemble this loudly to chat and socialize with each other.
As the number of children multiplied within a brief timespan, Regis glanced at Rai whereupon Rai gave him a slight nod. Understanding what had been meant, Regis spoke up.
His voice sounded throughout the whole room.
“Today, Rai-nim, who honors us with his presence, has declared that he will grant everyone within the lunchroom the favor to partake of a sufficient amount of classical style ramen. Make sure that you convey the appropriate gratitude.”
As he ended, the kids yelled and cheered.
“Say a word!”
As Regis stepped aside, Rai slowly moved forward and halted at an appropriate location. Without any expression, he looked out everyone. Even the kids who had been chatting loudly instantaneously fell dead silent, and the sound of cooking within the room grew still as well.
Rai’s mouth opened slowly.
Exactly one word, bursting with charisma.
Surprisingly, the whole hall burst into cheers. Who could have made one word like “ramen” breathe with such an intense radiation? Regis trembled with emotion, and Ikhan and Shinwoo joined in their friends’ shouts with both fists stretched into the air.
The chairman’s office:
The office phone rang. Frankenstein quit examining some paperwork and stretched out his hand to press a button.
“What is the matter?”
“Chaiman, the team captain of the special security department, Ahn Deachil, is calling,”
came the polite voice of a young woman though the hands-free speakerphone.
“Please put him through.”
With her answer, the straight voice of a man could be heard.
“Chairman, good afternoon. This is Ahn Deachil.”
His voice, by its sound alone, was rough enough to constrict any conflict, but Frankenstein answered him carrying a smile.
“Captain Ahn. Good afternoon. Is there a reason you called?”
“Either way, this had to be reported to you in person.”
The change in Ahn Deachil’s voice caused the atmosphere to grow heavy. When he heard it, Frankenstein also felt the foreboding of grave developments.
“Tell me the details.”
“It’s... a terribly ugly situation arose... that’s why I am reporting the events.”
Frankenstein’s face hardened.
“An ugly situation?”
Frankenstein asked again as Ahn Deachil hesitantly fell silent for a moment.
“The situation arose as follows: although lunchtime ended, the school bell rang and class began, we were told that no students had returned to their classrooms.”
Frankenstein’s eyes began to glare.
“None of them?”
“Yes, sir. When the teachers informed us about the matter, we moved out to investigate, and the report we heard was nothing but unbelievable.”
“What kind of report...?”
Frankenstein urged to know.
“Chairman, do not be shocked. We were reported that the students...”
“In occupation of the school cafeteria, they were holding a frenzied ramen party.”
At something this unexpected, for a moment, Frankenstein had no answer.
“I see you are shocked, but do not worry too much. On this account, we, the special security department, immediately moved out and, bringing the situation under control, sent all the students safely back to their classrooms within 15 minutes. It was a party of such a large scale that the whole school participated... Huuuh~ Really, I get dizzy just thinking about it.”
“Oh... I see you really are shocked, but don’t be too much. We will put to sleep any disgraceful events to arise from now on, hahaha~”
The only sound audible in the office was Ahn Deachil’s confident laugh.
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