Aren’t Guides Allowed to Bite Espers?

AGABE | Chapter 8

Yu-geon smiled calmly, without showing any signs of being flustered.

“Oh, you’ve got a sharp nose, don’t you?”

“Did you threaten Sa-weol with that?”

“Would that even be a threat? There’s a rumor that guides who drink extracted blood have higher guiding efficiency, so it’s common for them to drink it in secret.”

“Even so, if caught, the center would impose sanctions. Sa-weol would hate to be in such a situation.”

“You know her well.”

“……?”

“You know Gu Sa-weol well.”

Han-gyeol narrowed his eyes, rubbing his chin as he stared at Yu-geon. It was a habit he had when trying to read someone’s intentions.

Yu-geon tried to keep his face emotionless, blinking only his eyes. Han-gyeol spoke seriously.

“I don’t know why Sa-weol did that, but if what you said is true, Yu-geon, your actions today would have made her uncomfortable.”

“Are you blaming me for her mistake?”

“Not blaming you… Ugh, just don’t stir up trouble for someone who’s keeping quiet.”

Yu-geon knew that Han-gyeol was fond of Sa-weol. Sa-weol also trusted and followed Han-gyeol. But even so, Han-gyeol’s current behavior seemed excessive.

“You should be careful too.”

Yu-geon countered Han-gyeol.

“You know Sa-weol hates being the center of rumors at the center, yet you openly stick close to her?”

He was referring to the incident in the elevator. Han-gyeol had looked at Sa-weol with warm eyes, as if watching something small and adorable.

And she, unable to resist, had her cheeks turning red while half-hugged by him. The moment Yu-geon saw that, he had a foreboding feeling.

“That’s because it’s you.”

“What do you mean? Am I not a member of the center?”

He couldn’t shake the dreadful feeling that they might have feelings for each other.

Yu-geon firmly drew a line with Han-gyeol. Han-gyeol looked at him, somewhat taken aback, then nodded as if resigned.

“Fine. I’ll be careful around you too.”

“And I’m going to request to pair with Gu Sa-weol tomorrow.”

Han-gyeol’s eyebrow arched sharply as if he hadn’t heard correctly.

“Why? You yourself said that pairing guides is the priority, regardless of who it is.”

This was something Han-gyeol had mentioned during the briefing on the day Sa-weol was attacked by a Cremon.

“I didn’t mean you should do it by threatening her.”

“Sa-weol agreed to it. There was no threat involved. You can ask her if you doubt it.”

“……”

“So, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t get too close to ‘my guide’ from now on.”

Yu-geon deliberately emphasized the words “my guide.” Han-gyeol’s lips pressed into a thin line. He then lowered his head, making it hard to gauge his emotions from his expression.

However, the tense atmosphere radiating from him spoke volumes about his feelings. Han-gyeol left the dormitory without a word, and the sound of the door closing loudly echoed through the hall.

“Sigh…”

Yu-geon felt uneasy. He wasn’t typically a resolute person. But he had no choice but to make this decision.

Cremons were highly sensitive to the scent of humans, especially to the smell of blood.

In the news, Cremons who had accidents in daily life seemed to have no self-control when it came to blood. The center was not only frequented by awakened individuals who regularly entered gates but also filled with Espers who lived with injuries.

Ever since learning Sa-weol’s secret, Yu-geon had felt like he was sitting on pins and needles whenever she was around people.

Moreover, Han-gyeol was his family. He wasn’t sure how much Sa-weol knew about Han-gyeol’s situation, but did she know the truth?

That Han-gyeol’s mother had been bitten by a creature, turned into a Cremon, and had tried to bite young Han-gyeol.

Han-gyeol was five years old. He hadn’t awakened as an Esper yet. If he had been bitten back then, he could have become a Cremon or died from the poison.

Han-gyeol still bore a scar on his neck from that day’s clawing and suffered long enough to require psychiatric help. Though he seemed better now, the depth of his inner wounds was unimaginable, even for Yu-geon, who couldn’t touch that part of Han-gyeol’s past.

No matter how fond Han-gyeol was of Sa-weol, if he found out her true identity, could he still remain unchanged?

Yu-geon couldn’t answer that question precisely. It was natural since he wasn’t the one involved. But what mattered now was that Sa-weol didn’t want Han-gyeol to know she was a Cremon.

[What do you think my brother would say if he found out?] [……]”

[Why is your face so red coming out of the capsule?]

Sa-weol’s expression back then. She was calm and unflinching when Yu-geon threatened to kill her, but her face looked as if the world had collapsed when Han-gyeol’s name came up.

In other words, if Han-gyeol found out about her, it would remove the only thing that Sa-weol was truly afraid of.

[Just kill me.] [Do you think I can’t kill you?]

Even with the threat of death, Sa-weol’s eyes didn’t waver. It was hard to tell if she wasn’t afraid of death or if it was just bravado.

Yu-geon’s mind grew even more tangled. Creatures had appeared in the world, and Cremons emerged around the same time. The center classified Cremons as creatures and issued immediate kill orders upon discovery. Hiding a Cremon meant facing the same punishment as an accomplice.

When Yu-geon first discovered that Sa-weol was a Cremon, he genuinely wished she would disappear somewhere. He hoped for absurd scenarios like the ground suddenly swallowing her up or her abruptly emigrating. He was in such a panic that he wished what he saw was a lie.

Why did Sa-weol have to be a guide, why did she have to match the highest with Yu-geon, and why did Yu-geon have to catch her in that situation? This whole situation was infuriating and wretched.

[Try to kill me if you can] ”

With that face, that scent, and that tone, she told him to try and kill her. Sa-weol felt so ruthless.

“Hoo… Sa-weol.”

“What should I do with you?”

Yu-geon couldn’t kill Sa-weol. He wished she would disappear from his sight, but he didn’t want her dead.

The moment his hand touched her, a serene peace washed over him. All the noise that tormented his mind disappeared, and the pain left no trace as if it had never existed.

His hand, which had briefly touched Sa-weol’s neck, still tingled. His body instinctively craved her. A guide with a matching rate of nearly 90% had that effect on an Esper. Yu-geon had no choice but to hide Sa-weol.

[If an antibiotic is developed that can turn you back into a human, you’d want to become human again, right?] [……] [Isn’t that right?] [Of course. Absolutely.]

So he asked. Sa-weol had a hesitant look on her face but fortunately gave a positive answer. She seemed not to expect it at all, and Yu-geon knew how slim the chances were.

[Then that’s settled. And pair up with me.]

Yu-geon was desperate enough to cling to such a faint possibility. Sa-weol couldn’t die. If she had no intention of leaving the center and wanted to hide her identity, being next to him seemed the safest.

This extreme situation made him realize something clearly. Yu-geon had quite a high obsession with Sa-weol as an Esper and wanted to be near her. He wanted his guide to live.

Keeping the secret together would make the lie more solid. It would be fine as long as they weren’t caught. Sa-weol could stay by his side as long as they weren’t caught.

Eventually, they agreed to pair up, and Yu-geon felt that his days of agonizing over it had been resolved. But one thing still bothered him.

[You’re the only one who makes me feel this intense thirst.]

Such a statement from a Cremon would normally terrify someone. But surprisingly, Yu-geon melted at those words, forgetting his earlier anger.

Even though he had told her to leave the center, his attitude completely changed after hearing that.

‘So she wasn’t avoiding me because she disliked me.’

The thought made him inexplicably happy. But why this made him happy, he couldn’t understand.

Yu-geon pondered deeply over this.

[So you’re letting me off?]

The idea of Yu-geon letting her off was previously unthinkable. Sa-weol had always spoken curtly to him, often telling him to get lost.

So, her uncharacteristically cautious tone felt quite endearing, making Yu-geon’s lips curl up involuntarily.

Then he grew serious as he considered a possibility. If, by some remote chance, his feelings for Sa-weol were not just the desire to protect a highly matched guide as an Esper, but genuine affection…

“Damn it. Stop it, Baek Yu-geon.”

Yu-geon cursed aloud. That would be like scoring an own goal. It was the worst possible scenario among all the ones he had imagined.

There was no way he could fall for someone as prickly as her. He had to completely rule out the possibility.

‘What kind of ridiculous thought is that.’

The thought alone was dreadful. Yu-geon shook his head vehemently. No matter how high the matching rate was, Sa-weol was not human; she was a Cremon.

“Get a grip, Baek Yu-geon. Gu Sa-weol is a Cremon.”

Yu-geon repeated to himself, trying to push away the lingering sensation of her warmth and her face. His heart was racing faster than usual. It seemed like he was the one who needed to be the most cautious.

* * *

Sa-weol frowned as soon as she checked her phone upon waking up. She had a missed call and a message from Yu-geon.

The message said that Han-gyeol had figured out it was creature meat and that Yu-geon had covered it up with a different explanation, so she shouldn’t be alarmed if Han-gyeol asked.

“Sigh… Seriously. Why did he give it to me there…”

She was already in a bad mood in the mornings, and this made it worse.

“And I told Han-gyeol that we’re pairing up tomorrow.”

Another message had arrived just now.

“What did he say?”

“He didn’t say anything.”

The reply came immediately. Sa-weol was momentarily at a loss for words.

“Got it.”

And that was it.

That day, after Yu-geon left the meeting room, Sa-weol quickly packed her things and left. She noticed Han-gyeol looking her way but pretended not to see.

Han-gyeol weighed heavily on her mind. Especially since he had said that if she wasn’t going to pair with him, she shouldn’t pair with anyone else.

She had given a response that was close to a yes. She had told Su-ha she wasn’t interested and to do whatever he wanted, but now, if she paired with Yu-geon…

“…This is driving me crazy.”

In the end, she felt like she had become someone who contradicted herself in various ways.

 

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