The faint smile drawn on the face in front of her looked incredibly soft and affectionate. Maybe her emotions were somewhat more sensitive at this time. The moment she saw Lakis standing there with the twilight behind him, her heart jolted.
And from then on, her heart began to throb. For some reason, what Lakis said burrowed deeper into her heart than anything anyone had ever said. The same went for his actions or his gaze which was fixed on her.
When Lakis’ gaze slowly fell down her face, Yuri’s breath caught in her chest for some reason.
“…Don’t do that.”
A low voice flitted past her ear.
Lakis looked into Yuri’s eyes and slowly pulled her hand which was in his grasp. Then he brought it to lips and whispered to her.
“If you make such a cute face, it makes me want to hug and kiss you even if people are watching.”
The place where Lakis’ lips touched felt hot as if it was on fire. Yuri flinched and pulled her hand back. At that, Lakis strengthened his hold for a moment, but he still let go much easier than expected.
Yuri unconsciously took a step away from Lakis. Her hand which was touching him still seemed as if it had a fever, causing her to fidget as she clenched and unclenched her fist.
Lakis felt it was a bit of a pity, but he didn’t think Yuri wanted to do anything more than this outside, so he suppressed the urge to lower his head and kiss her right now. After all, he would be the one in trouble if he did too much at once and scared her away.
However, when he saw Yuri’s next actions, it was Lakis’ turn to hold his breath. Despite taking a step away from him earlier, she took another step forward and came back to where she originally stood. Her long eyelashes fluttered as her lowered eyes looked up.
Her calm red eyes stared at Lakis from the front. The next moment, a pale, beautiful hand was slowly raised in front of Lakis.
“We’ll hold hands till we get home.”
Her face was still expressionless, and her voice was still dry. But whether it was the words she said quietly or her actions in front of him…
It was all so cute.
Lakis couldn’t help but wonder if Yuri was doing this on purpose. His heart which had been tossed back and forth because of Yuri, began to thump slightly at an irregular pace.
“…this is killing me, seriously.”
His face felt a little hot, so he lifted his hand and drily rubbed his face. Eventually, Lakis gave a smile that seemed to be sighing then he took Yuri’s hand that was held out in front of him.
“Ok. We’ll hold hands till we get home.”
And so, the two of them walked along the spring road, with the petals fluttering in the twilight.
They were both not ordinary people but like Lakis said, it was like an ordinary, common romance. But on the contrary, that was why such a time was special for the two of them.
On that day, the road to the house felt extremely short.
* * *
Kalian held his breath at the sight spread out before his eyes.
“What the hell is this…”
Even his subordinate, Russell, who had been with him for a long time and had seen all sorts of cruel scenes, was shocked into silence.
They had found the missing children at the black market last time but that was only a small part. After that, Kalian continued to follow the traces of the children. And just when he thought he had finally caught onto them…
He was one step too late.
The children he found in the place were already dead and their corpses were cold.
Some of the search team that came with Kalian couldn’t bear the brutal sight and retched.
Kalian’s face was frozen over as he looked around.
The conditions were unbelievably inhumane. The actions were so horrible he couldn’t believe they were committed by a fellow human being. The scene before him was just as if they took the children and used them for experiments.
Soon, Kalian turned around and ordered in a sharp voice.
“Notify the higher-ups immediately.”
This incident was no longer something Kalian could solve by himself.
* * *
Lakis went out late in the night like before. And on his way back, he felt blood momentarily surge up from his stomach. Lakis leaned against the wall to stand and ground his teeth.
‘Ah, seriously. You must think incompetent is your name now since I keep calling you that. Why can’t you just eat what you’re given?’
—Do you think I’m as willful as you?! This is happening because you keep stuffing yourself without giving me time to digest!
Hearing that, Lakis sneered coldly.
‘Bullsh*t. When I was in the ‘grave’, you absorbed this much easily so don’t try to put the blame on me because you’ve gotten old and your digestion is worse.’
The bug kicked up a fuss in his head.
Lakis ignored it and wiped the blood around his mouth.
This was a temporary aftereffect. It was happening because he had absorbed a few ruin’s fragment despite not touching one in a while and he had also used his mental interference ability continuously when he hadn’t used it in ages.
After a while, Lakis sensed a presence approaching him and his eyes moved coldly.
If it was someone else who was approaching him, Lakis would have moved away before they even had the chance to talk to him first. However, Lakis deliberately waited calmly till the lady who lived next door walked up to him.
“That’s Ms. Yuri’s house. Did you need her for something?”
The blue eyes lurking in the dark were like that of a hunter watching for prey. Lakis turned his head. And he quietly started to verify.
‘Forget everything you just saw.’
To see whether he needed to carry out what he said to this woman last time.
‘Otherwise, you’re dead the next time I see you.’ 
However, the woman didn’t seem like she could remember her encounter with Lakis when she was almost kidnapped previously.
“Oh, you’re the person from the shopping mall…”
The words from her mouth showed that she saw him passing by at the shopping mall.
“By the way, you have blood right there. Did you get hurt?”
Perhaps the woman relaxed once she recalled seeing him with Yuri because the tension and vigilance around her just a second ago disappeared.
And she reached out to Lakis without any fear. It seemed she was surprised by the blood on Lakis’ mouth and moved unconsciously.
Lakis knit his brows with slight annoyance and caught the moving hand.
And it was that very moment.
The bug in his head shouted in surprise. Lakis was also stunned.
The moment he touched the woman, he could feel the internal injuries in his body being healed little by little. A light flashed through Lakis’ eyes.
—This woman has the power of the ruins too! I think it’s a healing ability?
When he put his hand on the woman’s face to erase her memory last time, nothing had happened. Was the condition having to touch the woman’s hand?
In the darkness with not a hint of moonlight, a pair of cold blue eyes shone with brilliant luster.
When Anne-Marie saw this, she unconsciously hesitated. It had become a habit to take care of patients in the clinic, so she reached out to the bleeding man before she even realized it.
Above all, the fact that he was the one who got Yuri out of the exploding shopping mall some time ago made Anne-Marie let down her guard. But oddly enough, she felt strange.
The moment she met the man’s eyes, she felt like an animal before a ensnaring trap. And there was also a weird sense of déjà vu…as if she had experienced this somewhere before…
“…I appreciate the concern.”
That very moment, a man’s low voice which was almost close to a whisper rang in her ears. The powerful grip which held Anne-Marie’s hand painfully disappeared as if it was an illusion.
“But I’m fine now.”
It was almost as if Anne-Marie had imagined the chills she was getting earlier because the man in front of her only exuded an aura of calmness.
“I heard you live next door.”
The man’s quiet voice merged with the night air.
When Anne-Marie replied and her sentence trailed off, the man tilted his head and looked down at her. His hair which seemed like it was made from pure gold shook gently in the air.
“Then I guess we’ll see more often in the future.”
After saying that, the man turned away first and walked to the door. Anne-Marie watched his actions with wide eyes. And finally, the man’s hand touched the doorknob then he gave a curt farewell.
Anne-Marie blankly stared at the afterimage of the man who confidently opened the door to Yuri’s house and entered inside.
‘Why did he go into Ms. Yuri’s house…? And so naturally at that? At this late hour?’
The silhouette of two people could be seen beyond the bright window draped with a curtain. They seemed to be whispering affectionately to each other.
‘I heard you live next door.’
‘Then I guess we’ll see more often in the future.’
As she reviewed words the man left behind, Anne-Marie suddenly got a flash of enlightenment. She gasped and her cheeks reddened.
‘Ms. Yuri…she never let it show!’
From what she could tell, the two of them seemed to be lovers.
Anne-Marie was oddly excited to learn that the first friend she made when she moved here was in a relationship. She hurriedly looked away from the silhouettes beyond the curtain and rushed into her house.
“Unni, what’s wrong?”
Hestia asked curiously when she saw her sister come in with a flushed face.
Anne-Marie held Hestia and spoke sternly.
“Hestia, from now on, don’t go next door without letting them know in advance.”
“I always tell her beforehand. Except when you send me on an errand.”
Hestia looked at Anne-Marie who was scolding her for no reason with a strange look in her eyes. And soon enough, she spoke like she understood.
“Why? Did the big sis next door get a boyfriend?”
Hestia was quick to catch on.
While Anne-Marie was surprised, Hestia sighed as if asking why she was acting like this over something so little.
“It’s spring, you know. The season of encounters. Even last time, I saw the flower shop Unni was dating the bakery store Oppa. What of you, Unni? You don’t have a boyfriend?”
 It says her heart began to beat off-beat. I’m not sure what that means but I’m putting it here so you know.
NOTE: Unni = big sister (not always related)
Oppa = big brother (not always related)