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Magician City - Chapter 14


Published at 15th of October 2017 07:06:03 PM

Chapter 14
Isolation (1)
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Yu-ye couldn’t hear the clear woman’s voice after it saved him on the snowy day .

It went back to how it was before, a cluster of murmurs and unrecognizable words . However, the voice became smaller than before .

Yu-ye had tried, for a little while, to understand and piece together what the voices were saying, but gave up after two months . Maybe the voices lost all their strength trying to save him from the snow . It must have yelled with everything it had, because with each passing day, the voices grew smaller and smaller until it was too tiny to hear .

After the day in the snow storm, Yu-ye returned to his everyday life .

It had been a full year of living in independence .

To everyone’s surprise, his school life didn’t change . He was still seen as the unapproachable, emotionless kid who never bothered to get closer to his classmates . He was alone when he ate, when he was in class, and when he went home, but it seemed to suit him well . He never approached others first and was never embarrassed to stay alone .

Yu-ye’s unchanging behavior worried Yunhwa, Yu-ye’s past homeroom teacher, and the townspeople .

He was supposed to be at the age where he cared about friends and relationships with other people . However, his attitude was uncaring and detached from the world as if he was a boy who was going through puberty .

The people that cared about Yu-ye were scared that he might experience some sense of exclusion at school and turn his back against the world, bringing himself to ruin .

Contrary to everyone’s worries, Yu-ye was doing fine . It almost brought Yunhwa to question her own life seeing Yu-ye adapt so well .

Yunhwa always believed that interpersonal relationships came from one’s personality, looks and other personal aspects . Usually, looks came first, then came wealth, then personality . However, when she looked at Yu-ye, those beliefs felt useless . Yu-ye was far from becoming a socialite . His looks, other than his deep, mesmerizing eyes, were below average . How was it that everyone he met seemed to be interested in him? It was as if Yu-ye possessed the power to draw people in . Maybe that was his god given talent .

The students in his class always tried to include him . Rather than isolating him, they always wanted to befriend him . Occasionally some jealous kids developed a kind of hatred towards him . However, because Yu-ye never did anything, it always died down quickly .

The phenomenon around Yu-ye’s school life severed as the time went by .

At 13, Yu-ye had two girls following him at the end of the year .

To Yu-ye, the only companion he had in his life was his grandmother and Yunyoung . Having to move as a group with anyone other than them was annoying .

At times, Yu-ye stepped out of his usual character, harshly yelling at the girls to stop following him, but the girls were persistent . Wherever he went, they went with him .

It was not because they lacked friends . Rather, the girls were quite popular . One of them had an unbelievably well-developed figure for an elementary schooler, and the other had a cute face .

The girls were enough to keep Yu-ye busy, but one more barged in .

It was his past homeroom teacher, Yunhwa .

Yunhwa was a hopeless romantic, always waiting for ‘the one’ to sweep her off her feet . She was always interested in other people’s love affairs, and this weird love-triangle between her students was one to peak her interest .

Excited to see Yu-ye mingle with other students, she continuously asked him why the girls were following him . However, Yu-ye didn’t seem to have the answers, and wasn’t interested in the reason .


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Yunhwa quickly changed her target to the two girls . She tried to befriend them by appealing her closeness with Yu-ye . They opened up easily, explaining that they wanted to be friends with him because of his matureness . Digging for more information, Yunhwa was told a past incident with Yu-ye and the class .

Yu-ye’s classmates were all drawn to him at one point . All the students tried to get closer to him and approach him to become his friend . However, there were some consequences . The boys that were at the center of popularity thought of Yu-ye as an eyesore . Because Yu-ye never started a fight, everything seemed fine until the impatient boys started to make their move against him . As time went on, the jealousy and hatred towards Yu-ye had built up . They started to make fun of Yu-ye for the same clothes he wore every day or the same simple lunch he packed to school picnics every time .

Lazy to even respond, Yu-ye didn’t confront them . He didn’t care enough to be provoked, and he either ignored or brushed off every negative comment . The boys got worse . They yelled, threw his desk upside down, and hid his shoes trying to get a peep out of him, but it failed . Yu-ye was unresponsive, and the only ones becoming agitated from the mockery were the boys .

Eventually, one boy lost it and punched Yu-ye . The boy meant to punch Yu-ye in the chest, but punched his nose instead . Yu-ye’s nose started bleeding as the crowded students as well as the perpetrator became shocked . The boy who punched him started to ball up his fists getting ready for a fight, but Yu-ye wiped his nose with the sleeve of his shirt and walked over to pat the boy on his shoulders calmly . Then, he passed by him, washed up in the restroom, then came back, simply signaling the end of the fight . Throughout it all, Yu-ye kept his composure with the same emotionless, calm expression . The boy who initiated the fight backed down quietly, startled and surprised by Yu-ye’s response .

 

To the girls, the response felt mature . It compelled them to approach Yu-ye even more, but he never held up a conversation long enough for them to get closer . Therefore, as a solution, the girls had decided to stick by him the whole day .

Yunhwa understood .

She wanted to love all her students equally without judgment, but she knew, more than anyone, how rambunctious the boys could become . In her 5 years of teaching them, she never had a day go by quietly . They were disobedient, loud, and some who already hit puberty even became rebellious .

In between the obnoxiousness, Yu-ye stood out . It must have looked attractive .

Yunhwa understood the girls completely .

Yunhwa explained to the girls that her first love was like Yu-ye . He had a weak exterior, but was strong on the inside . It was the common belief that women fell in love with bad boys . Given the name ‘bad boy syndrome,’ the media helped to spread the idea across the world, however, she thought this idea was wrong . As Yunhwa saw it, it was true to an extent that women were attracted to ‘bad boys’ for genetic reasons . However, in the end, most women she saw were attracted to men who closely share their ideals .

It was simple human nature .

“……So… the conclusion is, Yu-ye is a good boy . ”

“Wow… Your thoughts are interesting . But how is Yu-ye weak on the outside?”

Yunhwa, who went as far as to genetics to explain the woman’s attraction to a ‘good boy’ rather than a ‘bad boy,’ was speechless to one of the girls, Hyein .

Was Yu-ye weak on the outside and strong on the inside? His personality at school never seemed weak…but sometimes his exterior did seem weak…… It was strangely confusing .

“The way I see it, Yu-ye is a bad boy . ”

“Re . . really?”

Ye-eun, the girl with the well-developed body replied as Yunhwa laughed nervously .

In truth, Yunhwa didn’t know either . She couldn’t think of anything to say as Yunhwa herself had never dated anyone . Her ‘first love’ was her ‘first crush,’ not a boyfriend . The theories and ideas about love were all from books or magazines she had read .

The girls seemed to doubt her advice and experiences .

Yunhwa ran away while saying, “Yu-ye is cold to everyone . So even if he doesn’t like you, just stick to him!! Okay?”


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Those words were the only words that rang in their heads .

The girls also thought that Yu-ye was cold .

 

In the end, the two successfully got along with Yu-ye .

Yu-ye always ran away, but even when he ran, he was in the school . Furthermore, the two girls had followed him even to his house . They climbed the steep hill every day to bang on his door and beg him to play . Their passion had finally cracked Yu-ye’s hard shell .

 

However, even when he played with the girls, his everyday patterns did not change .

It wasn’t because he was used to his everyday routines to change, but rather because he couldn’t follow what the girls did .

The two girls were far more experienced in hanging out and playing with their fellow classmates as they suggested going to karaoke, the movies, or even the amusement park, but Yu-ye was in no place to do so .

Money wasn’t the problem .

He had been saving the money from his grandmother and the monthly aid from the government enough to have a small store on his own . However, he had never used his money for ‘fun . ’ He didn’t know how to use money .

If he went to the movies once, it would equal having five meals . Every time he tried to have fun, these thoughts held him back . How could he spend that much money for fun?

To the girls that always had their way, it was a new experience to suppress their wants and yield to Yu-ye’s circumstances . Their cute looks didn’t get them what they wanted .

Maybe this was what was so intriguing about Yu-ye .

Yu-ye and the girls always went to the school library, the public library, or his house to hang out . ‘Hang out’ with Yu-ye didn’t mean ‘play . ’ It meant reading books or studying . Even when they came over to his house, Yu-ye only had an old TV, a refrigerator and a closet, therefore they only tended his plants in the backyard .

It was meek and boring . The girls would fidget and pout expressing their boredom every day .

But humans proved to be an adaptive species as the girls became accustomed to Yu-ye’s life . They no longer fell asleep in the libraries, and never screamed when a worm popped up from the soil while tending the plants . Yu-ye never cared if the girls screamed or fell asleep anyway .

Then, the girls found a new positive trait about Yu-ye .

His talent in studying .

 

His study skills made them grow closer . To be exact, it made the girls and their parents closer to Yu-ye . His help in their studies had relieved the worries of the mothers . The mothers of the girls were worried of their girls . They came home late at night every day and when asked, they only replied that they were studying at the library the whole time . It was great to hear, but their mothers were skeptical because it was nothing like what they have been doing before . It made them sad to have to doubt their own daughters, but when they looked at their daughters’ behaviors, it was hard to believe that they were studying the whole day . They were afraid that they might be hanging with a bad group of friends .

But as time went on, the mothers began to believe in their daughters . Their grades have been skyrocketing ever since they started coming home late . Although they never studied at home, it made no sense that their grades would go up if they didn’t study like they have said .


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However, they were still worried . They bothered their daughters until they found that it was because of Yu-ye . Yu-ye and the two girls had made a sort of a study group in the local library .

The mothers thought it was a joke for elementary schoolers to have a study group, but they held their tongues because of the grade changes in their daughters’ report cards .

From then on, the mothers brought snacks as an excuse to watch over them and make sure of their purpose .

Ye-eun and Hyein were annoyed at their mothers for doing so, but Yu-ye was happy . He waited quietly for their mothers to come by, then ate the delicious snacks they brought without hesitation .

Especially, he loved the handmade cookies, bread, or fried snacks almost obsessing over them . It was because their mothers were good cooks but also because if it was handmade, it had a different flavor than those that were bought at a store . It wasn’t a taste for the mouth, but rather a taste from the heart . It felt special, cozy and warm .

 

It was a Wednesday evening .

This time, it was Ye-eun’s mother that came by .

“Oh, you cute little boy! You’re studying at the library today too?”

“Hello ma’am . ”

“Ohohoho! Aw, hello sweetheart . How are you doing?”

“It’s only been two days . I’m well as always . ”

Yu-ye answered in his usual emotionless manner .

If it were any other kid, she would have nagged that what he said wasn’t a proper way to greet an adult, however, Ye-eun’s mother had on a huge smile . This was the boy who was raising her daughter’s grade .

Everything he did was cute, and likable .

“Hey mom . Aw, what…you don’t have anything to eat today?”

“I was a little busy today dear . Mommy’s sorry . Do you cuties want anything to eat? I can buy you anything you need . ”

Hyein and Ye-eun looked at each other, then replied with a firm ‘no . ’ They weren’t hungry, but more than that, they wanted to look skinny and eat less in front of the boy they both liked . They were rivals and both weren’t willing to lose . If their mothers knew, they would get mad at the girls but they didn’t care .

Yu-ye failed to notice the girls’ intentions as he thought of the jar of kimchi that was almost empty at his house . When Ye-eun’s mother asked what he needed, he immediately thought of the kimchi in the fridge . He was becoming an experienced housewife too it seemed . However, he couldn’t really ask for some kimchi .

Instead, he mentioned another snack that he had been wanting for a while .

“I think the tangerines are in season . They looked tasty . ”

“Aha! Tangerines! When it’s the beginning of winter, tangerines are indeed the tastiest . ”

“I was passing by the market in front of the 4-way crossroad . It looked like they were on sale . ”

“I…Is that so?”

Ye-eun’s mother narrowed her eyes and tilted her head in confusion . Whenever she talked with Yu-ye, she felt a familiar vibe in an unfamiliar body .

It was as if he was one of her friends, living as a housewife .

However, she didn’t think any further .

He was raising her daughter’s grades . Some tangerines were nothing compared to what he was doing . It wasn’t expensive in the slightest, and it only needed a quick run to the grocery truck . (like food trucks but they sell grocery/fruits)

The sun was down, but the tangerine truck was still in business .

Because of its cheap prices, the truck only had a couple boxes of tangerines left from its sales .

“Could I get just 10 tangerines?”

“I’m sorry ma’am . We only sell them by the box”

“Is that so? Then, just give me a box of them . ”

“Thank you so much!”

The tangerine truck owner was about to close for the night, but a customer was always welcome .

He was about to pack an opened box of tangerines when he heard a young voice from behind .

“Can we get the box next to that one? I think those are too yellow . They might go bad faster than the other ones . ”

The tangerine seller thought it was the woman’s son and replied,

“Of course you can! Your son is one smart boy . ”

“Ah……Yes he is . ”

After Ye-eun’s mother swiped her credit card, Yu-ye took the box and lead the way back . Watching Yu-ye was like becoming possessed or hypnotized . Ye-eun’s mother thought deeply about why she felt that way but she still couldn’t guess . When she examined Yu-ye’s face, he had on a small grin that he had never shown her before .

“Something feels weirdly off here…”

She murmured to herself as she walked with him .

She would never know the reason why Yu-ye picked the other box . The box he picked was twice if not three times as much as the first box .



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