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    A World Beyond / So We Are Told
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    Standing in the middle of the corridor, he took in the spectacular sight of the fiery blaze. The acrid smoke was ashen, and the undulating flames were brightly yellow. The monochrome living room, which seemed like it belonged to the wealthy inhabitants of Residential Area One, was engulfed in flames.

    “Hmm. Is this what it feels like to set a fire with gasoline?”

    Soon the ceiling automatically opened up, and strategically installed sprinklers popped out in unison.

    Once the fire was suppressed, the sound of an emergency evacuation announcement rang out, followed by a deluge of water. In an instant, the smoke dissipated, and the blaze died down. Kwon Jae-jin leisurely followed the glowing arrow signs that appeared on the wall and moved along.

    The emergency elevator, usually hidden behind the walls due to its embedded design, was now wide open.

    It was common sense to use the stairs in case of fire, but this elevator was equipped with fireproofing and designated for emergency escape, so it was safe.

    Dripping wet, Kwon Jae-jin shook off his hair as he entered the elevator.

    There were only two buttons inside.

    Should I go up or down?

    Of course, Kwon Jae-jin, on his second time around, already knew the answer.

    “Going down leads to the panic room. There is a door and passageway leading outside, but unless you’re Seo Ui-woo, you can’t open it. It’s an emergency shelter that only those with biometric registration can access, a completely sealable underground bunker.”

    So, should he go up?

    “Going up takes you to the rooftop. There’s an escape helicopter, but I don’t know how to operate it.”

    Hence, the first-time Kwon Jae-jin had tried to jump off the rooftop.

    And right as he knew it, Seo Ui-woo appeared out of nowhere, catching Kwon Jae-jin mid-fall.

    That’s right, you can’t escape from Seo Ui-woo.

    But now, he had no such intention.

    Kwon Jae-jin pressed the ‘△’ button to head to the rooftop.

    The vast expanse of blue ocean stretched out before him.

    Today, the sky was exceptionally clear, making it look as though there was no boundary between it and the sea.

    Kwon Jae-jin looked over at the well-maintained helicopter and then headed toward the railing at the edge of the rooftop. Seo Ui-woo’s mansion, perched on the edge of a seaside cliff, faced the ocean in its entirety.

    If he were to fall from here, his skull would either be shattered against the massive rocks or he would be swept away and drown in the swirling waves.

    “Wow, Kwon Jae-jin was really something. Absolutely fearless. Truly.”

    Jae-jin leaned on the railing with both arms, taking in the outside view. Letting the salty sea breeze carry away the smells of alcohol and gasoline, he waited and then called out a name.

    “Seo Ui-woo.”

    Ah, is it still too early?

    Why is he taking so long?

    “Mr. Seo Ui-woo.”

    Time seems to crawl by.

    It would be nice if, upon opening his eyes, Seo Ui-woo would appear in front of Kwon Jae-jin.


    Maybe he needs to throw himself off the cliff for Seo Ui-woo to show up?

    Kwon Jae-jin, having trudged through all kinds of mire to get to this point, now stood firmly with both feet planted, choosing to face Seo Ui-woo head-on from the start anew. If it meant having to jump, he would jump, and if it meant revealing the truth, he would expose it.

    The autumn sea breeze was chilly, and the azure sky, cloudless and vast, was elevated. As he stood alone in the world, watching the distant land from high above, he felt singular, not as one in a crowd, but as Kwon Jae-jin, alone and isolated.

    Upon this realization, the world seemed to change.

    The sunlight shattered upon the waves like fragments of light, a dazzling and enchanting sight that stirred genuine emotion within him. The sea had always been there, yet he realized anew. During his first attempt, in a rush and fluster, he had missed seeing his surroundings. Now everything seemed poignantly beautiful without exaggeration.

    Truly, he did not want to miss this second opportunity.

    Kwon Jae-jin looked down at the coastal cliffs below, where the waves hit the moss-covered rocks and frothed white. He stared intently, baring his teeth as he laughed. This was the first display of Kwon Jae-jin’s resolve, truthfulness, and the snippets of his reality.

    And just as Jae-jin was about to take the plunge with a smile encompassing all his heart,

    There was a flash of light.

    Seo Ui-woo emerged, cutting through the scattered orbs of light.

    He was bloodied, as if he had deserted a battle. One of his ears was missing, and a large shard of rebar was deeply embedded in his thigh. At a glance, the injuries looked grave.

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

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