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    A World Beyond / So We Are Told
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    Nikolai’s wife, even pregnant, came out of the office to talk to them.

    “Mr. Nikolai!”

    Astonished, Iwon quickly approached the collapsing figure. Facing him directly, Nikolai was sitting on the floor, spilling coffee and unable to get up. Iwon immediately protested.

    “What are you doing!”

    The man who hit Nikolai glanced at Iwon and tried to swing his fist at him, instead of explaining. Iwon barely dodged the incoming punch. It didn’t seem like these men were from the mafia. If you hit a civilian, it becomes troublesome. It was important to understand the situation first.

    “Who the hell are you?”

    While spewing out violent curses, Iwon shouted sharply at the man who was pushing him again.

    “Mr. Nikolai is a lawyer. What are you doing right now? Who are you guys anyway?”

    At the mention of lawyer, the man paused. But his face was not bewildered at all. He simply showed an expression of annoyance, and he said,

    “It’s an order from Mayor Si. Close down the factory.”

    Iwon belatedly realized that they were employees of Mayor Si.

    “Mayor Zandov doesn’t have the right to do that. Closing down the factory during an ongoing trial is blatantly illegal, isn’t it? I will call the police.”

    “I don’t know about that, but this is an order. Now, get out of here!”

    The man shouted, thrusting the crumpled document at Iwon. Helplessly, Iwon had to move back and quickly examine the document. His face twisted when he read what was written on it.

    “What happened? Why? What does it say? Is this document genuine?”

    At Nikolai’s impatient and hasty question, Iwon answered with a pale face.


    His voice came out harshly and piercingly.

    “It’s genuine.”

    There was a sound of someone slumping down. A fight broke out between the employees of the factory and the men trying to enter the factory from all sides. But the screams and cries were of course from the workers. Iwon bit his lip while holding the document. There were no procedural errors. There was nothing Iwon could do.


    Amidst the rough men, a new woman’s scream resounded. Reflexively turning around, Iwon saw Nikolai’s wife, who was clutching her belly, stumbling into sight. With a contemplative expression, Nikolai ran towards her, holding his bleeding nose.

    “Honey, Anna!”

    “Are you okay, dear?!”

    When Iwon hurriedly ran towards her, she staggered back, her eyes widened in shock.

    “Honey, the baby…”

    At the same time, Nikolai and Iwon’s gaze turned to her belly. It was then they realized that her maternity clothes were wet. Her water broke.

    The cries of the baby, born earlier than expected, were delicate. Nikolai stared at the small body, barely fitting in his arms, for a long time.

    “You did well, my love.”

    Feeling sorry for his wife’s exhausted appearance, Iwon watched silently as Nikolai grabbed her hand after congratulating her. When they came out of the hospital room, Nikolai seemed more tired than ever.


    Iwon placed his hand on his shoulders to encourage him.

    “I will look into this in detail and file a complaint. It’s an abuse of authority by the mayor to close the factory while the trial is still ongoing. If this gets out, the jury will sympathize as well.”

    “Yeah… You’re probably right.”

    Nikolai’s voice still lacked strength. Just as Iwon was about to speak again, he spoke first.

    “I know what you want to say. I know how hard you’ve worked. Yeah, I need to stay strong. I can’t collapse like this, especially now that the baby is born. I need to endure, I need to overcome.”

    Nikolai’s voice trembled faintly.

    “It’s tough.”

    Nikolai closed his eyes. When a rough and rugged hand briefly stayed on his wet cheek, Iwon didn’t expect him to leave just like that. Iwon could do nothing but silently place his hand on Nikolai’s shoulder and remain silent.

    ✧˚·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥·̩̩̥͙✧·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥˚·̩̩̥͙✧ 𝑔𝓇𝒶𝓋𝒾𝓉𝓎𝓃𝑜𝓋𝑒𝓁𝓈 ✧˚·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥·̩̩̥͙✧·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥˚·̩̩̥͙✧

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