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    Gravitynovels

    A World Beyond / So We Are Told
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    The moment the doorbell rang, Jeong Tae-ui hesitated. The bean sprout he was holding with his chopsticks fell and rolled. The black bean didn’t take a few seconds to stop, leaving a sticky trace as it rolled out of the plate, and the doorbell rang again during that time.

     

    Jeong Tae-ui tapped the table with the tip of his wet chopsticks, giving a nervous glance towards the entrance. He had a bad feeling from the moment he faintly heard the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs.

     

    No, to be precise, he had been feeling bad since he woke up from sleep due to his knee aching from the rain that had been falling since dawn. His knee always hurts when it rains or the weather is bad, but on days like today when it’s particularly aching, things don’t go well.

     

    It was when he had a few drinks after laying out a simple breakfast with a mood no different from the gloomy sky where the rain was silently drizzling. That’s when he heard footsteps from outside.

     

    In the 20-year-old worn-out townhouse, even if a cat entered the building, the sound echoed up to the rooftop, and it was quickly noticeable.

     

    And on the 3rd floor, just below the rooftop, Jeong Tae-ui had a bad feeling from the moment he heard the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs into the building at this awkward time, just past 7 in the morning.

     

    And the moment the doorbell rang, that bad feeling approached with a strong sense of reality.

     

    There were hardly any visitors to this house. His brother, who had been out of the house for three days and had no news—the only person living with him in this house—had a key, so he didn’t ring the doorbell.

     

    The hard and heavy presence that stopped outside the door rang the doorbell again while he was pondering. Thud, the footsteps ring again. It’s a sharp and heavy sound. It resembled the sound of military boots.

     

    The moment he thought of the word’military boots’, his ominous feeling deepened, and this time the doorbell rang three, four times in a row. He hadn’t even had a few spoonfuls of rice, but his appetite dropped, and he put down his chopsticks.

     

    The visitor who brought the ominous feeling did not seem to back down. He didn’t knock on the door or call out loud, but he kept pressing the doorbell. The person who came to mind in that form made him feel even more depressed.

     

    “……”

     

    It was when the doorbell rang exactly twelve times that Jeong Tae-ui went to the entrance, took off the door latch, and opened the door. The person standing outside took a step back as the door opened. The shoes making a sharp sound were clean military boots without a speck of dust.

     

    And above those shoes, a neat and unblemished black military uniform was in place. To be precise, it was not a military uniform but a formal uniform, but the place where this man belonged was not much different from the military.

     

    The small silver badge hanging on the collar somehow looked particularly annoying. It’s not because there are countless people in the world who can’t stand wanting to wear that badge.

     

    There was never a good thing when this man came to this house wearing that badge—formally dressed in a uniform. Even so, this was the third or fourth time seeing this man’s uniform.

     

    The black glove took off the black hat. The man looked at Jeong Tae-ui and smiled smoothly.

     

    “It’s been a long time. Nothing happened?”

     

    It’s been about three years since he last met this man. A lot has happened during that time.

     

    He almost died while removing mines, had a rejection reaction during surgery and almost died again, endured three surgeries caused by a guy who almost killed a person by committing suicide for the fourth time, and was discharged without even fulfilling half of his mandatory service period.

     

    Jeong Tae-ui looked at the man for a moment with a complicated face and said it with a sigh.

     

    “What could happen to me that you wouldn’t know, uncle? I don’t know if it’s unusual for you to come without contacting me at this time. …… Please come in.”

     

    He had a bad feeling about it.

     

    He didn’t dislike this man, but it was uncomfortable to come in this outfit. But thinking about it, nine out of ten, he would have come to see his brother, and he had nothing to worry about.

     

    Nevertheless, Jeong Tae-ui stepped aside with the feeling of inviting a plague into the house. The man’s eyes were slightly curved, as if he were happy to see his face. As he closed the door and entered after the man who went ahead into the house, Jeong Tae-ui asked

     

    “When did you come in?”

     

    “Two hours ago. I came straight from the airport.”

     

    “Uh, I see… But you should have contacted me before you came. My brother is not here.”

     

    The man, who threw his body onto the sofa with a posture that did not match his uniform without a single wrinkle and sharp angles, paused for a moment and glared at Jeong Tae-ui when he heard his words.

     

    “He’s not here? When is he coming?”

     

    “I don’t know. He left three days ago, and there’s been no contact. Did you come to Korea just to see my brother? Then you’ve wasted a long journey.”

     

    “Is there no place to contact?”

     

    “If it were easy to contact, it wouldn’t be Jeong Jae-ui. You know that.”

     

    Jeong Tae-ui sat down on the stool opposite the man and spoke indifferently.

     

    Jeong Tae-ui’s brother was a person who lived a relatively regular life. If he was going to stay out for a day or two, he usually let him know in advance and left. However, sometimes he would suddenly leave and not come back for several days, and now was one of those times. Sometimes he would come back in three or four days, but sometimes he wouldn’t even have news for over two months, so he couldn’t tell when he would come back this time.

     

    But this time, he had a feeling that he might not come back for quite a long time. His brother said something strange when he left three days ago.

     

    ‘People get bored if they live too well. I should experience misfortune too.’

     

    Remembering the image of his brother, who left with a strange smile as much as his words, Jeong Tae-ui was lost in thought for a moment. He was a person who was a bit hard to understand from the beginning, but it was not clear what he meant by saying that even when he thought about it again.

     

    But……

     

    “Hmm, what to do…”

     

    Looking at his uncle, who was mumbling as if he were in trouble and tapping his forehead with his fingertips, Jeong Tae-ui muttered in his mouth. He likes to experience misfortune. This kind of misfortune came without warning just before he disappeared. Like this. That brother is a person who will never even see the ‘b’ of misfortune in his lifetime.

     

    ***

     

    Jeong Tae-ui has a brother who was born on the same day at the same time.

     

    Although they split from the same root, his brother, who was as different from Jeong Tae-ui as a stranger, was terrifyingly smart. It was beyond description, even as a genius.

     

    If his brother hadn’t been so relaxed and somewhat lazy, if he hadn’t been a person without interest in or ambition for those around him, to exaggerate a bit, he could have blown up a continent on Earth.

     

    His brother, who was coveted even by the United Nations Human Resources Development Agency, had outstanding talents in everything from the humanities to science and technology, and even entertainment.

     

    On the other hand, Jeong Tae-ui was ordinary. It would be correct to say that he was a little better than ordinary. Anyway, he never fell below average in anything he did. Depending on the field, he even heard that he was excellent.

     

    But if Jeong Tae-ui heard that he was excellent, it was the result of his own efforts. Unlike his brother, who scored the highest points without even half the effort of others,

     

    But Jeong Tae-ui never envied his brother in that regard. He might have thought it would be convenient, but he never wished to have such a talent as his brother.

     

    What Jeong Tae-ui envied in his brother was not that brain, talent, or ability.

     

    What he envied was his brother’s luck.

     

    Jeong Tae-ui’s brother, Jeong Jae-ui, was incredibly lucky, even more so than his brain, which was called a genius among geniuses. To describe him as being born under a lucky star would be an understatement; his luck was truly extreme.

     

    Jeong Tae-ui had a brother who was born on the same day and at the same time.

     

    Although they split from the same root, his brother, who was as different from Jeong Tae-ui as a stranger, was terrifyingly smart. It was beyond description, even as a genius.

     

    If his brother hadn’t been so relaxed and somewhat lazy, if he hadn’t been a person without interest in or ambition for those around him, to exaggerate a bit, he could have blown up a continent on Earth.

     

    His brother, who was coveted even by the United Nations Human Resources Development Agency, had outstanding talents in everything from the humanities to science and technology, and even entertainment.

     

    On the other hand, Jeong Tae-ui was ordinary. It would be correct to say that he was a little better than ordinary. Anyway, he never fell below average in anything he did. Depending on the field, he even heard that he was excellent.

     

    But if Jeong Tae-ui heard that he was excellent, it was the result of his own efforts. Unlike his brother, who scored the highest points without even half the effort of others,

     

    But Jeong Tae-ui never envied his brother in that regard. He might have thought it would be convenient, but he never wished to have such a talent as his brother.

     

    What Jeong Tae-ui envied in his brother was not that brain, talent, or ability.

     

    What he envied was his brother’s luck.

     

    Jeong Tae-ui’s brother, Jeong Jae-ui, was incredibly lucky, even more so than his brain, which was called a genius among geniuses. To describe him as being born under a lucky star would be an understatement; his luck was truly extreme.

     

    Even when caught in a major accident, Jeong Jae-ui’s luck was beyond miraculous, as he would not even get a scratch. He never received proper pocket money when he was a student because he didn’t need it.

     

    He didn’t have any material desires, so he didn’t need money often, but when he suddenly needed to spend money and didn’t have any, Jeong Jae-ui would borrow a few coins from people around him and buy a lottery ticket.

     

    Then, that lottery ticket would bring him exactly the amount of luck he needed.

     

    Everything was like that.

     

    Living alongside Jeong Jae-ui, who had such extreme and absolute luck that it was taken for granted in everyday life, Jeong Tae-ui experienced ordinary luck and a similar amount of misfortune. It would be a lie if he said he didn’t envy his brother’s luck in such a life.

     

    He was unbearably envious when he was young, but it wasn’t that bad after he grew up. It was just ordinary envy for something amazing and good that he couldn’t have.

     

    Even so, for Jeong Tae-ui, who rarely envied anything, that was the only envy he felt towards others.

     

    He was envious and sometimes jealous, but anyway, Jeong Tae-ui liked his brother.

     

    He was an unfortunate character with an incredibly good head, the ability to use that head, and even tremendous luck, but his personality was not that unfortunate. He was indifferent, capricious, and incomprehensible, but as a brother, he was ordinary. He was ordinarily affectionate and reliable.

     

    He thought they were good siblings in their own way. Even though his brother was still mysterious after living as siblings for more than twenty years, maybe all geniuses are like that. But maybe his brother didn’t like Jeong Tae-ui that much.

     

    Three days before his brother left, the night before

     

    As he often did, his brother looked at some complicated blueprints that Jeong Tae-ui couldn’t understand, occasionally scribbling chemical formulas and molecular model drawings as if he had just thought of them, and then sank back into thought. It took him a long time to realize that Jeong Tae-ui was staring at the blueprints over his shoulder.

     

    Looking at the unfamiliar chemical formulas and sequences of numbers, Jeong Tae-ui thought, “My brother is swimming in an unknown world again,” and climbed onto the sofa next to him and opened an ordinary humanities book he could understand.

     

    It was a quiet and comfortable night, as usual. His brother, who had been staring at the blueprints for a long time, pushed them aside and lay down on the floor, staring at the ceiling with a blank expression.

     

    Maybe a tired sigh came out of his mouth at that time. Suddenly, he sat down next to Jeong Tae-ui, who was reading a book on the sofa, and grabbed Jeong Tae-ui’s little finger.

     

    “Here and, you know…”

     

    And he spread his little finger and continued.

     

    “Here, there’s a red thread between them. Since we were born on the same day, at the same time, from the same womb, it’s natural and inevitable. Let’s cut it now.”

     

    “…What?”

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