Chapter 46 – Regeneration Salve(4)
It was quiet inside the taxi. Woojin asked a question as he looked at Jiwon’s uncomfortable figure.
“Why were you avoiding my calls?”
Was there a word that was more ambiguous than the word ‘just’?
“Do I make you feel uncomfortable?”
“N…no. It isn’t like that.”
She was nervous instead of uncomfortable.
She might come to like him.
She felt nervous at the prospect of starting to like him, when she wasn’t qualified to do so.
She was forcing herself to ignore him, but he came here to find her…
“So what’s the real reason why you are here?”
“No reason. I just had something to give you, and since I’m here, I might as well go on a date.
Ah. Too many surprising events kept happening to her one after another, so she was dazed.
“We’re here. Let’s go.”
She got off when she heard Woojin’s words, and she realized she was at downtown Pyeongtaek. There were too many people here, so she’d never been here before.
“It’s a little bit too early to eat dinner, so let’s go watch a movie.”
“Woojin. This place is a little bit…”
Woojin spoke as he looked at her.
“What? Is it because there are a lot of people here?”
“Are you that worried about other people’s gazes?”
How can she not not mind the other people especially with this face?
Jiwon pressed her hat further down her face.
After looking at Jiwon, he led her to a street stall. He opened his wallet, and he bought two shoddy masks.
“Do yo want to be Iron man or Spider man?”
What the heck? What kind of guy was this?
While Jiwon was flustered, Woojin put on the Iron man mask. He was in a suit, yet he was wearing a mask worn by children on Children’s day. He looked ridiculous.
“Try wearing it”
She was taken aback when Woojin took her hat. He put the Spider man mask on her face.
“How is it?”
“P…please give me back my hat.”
Her hat was akin to her clothes. Without it, she felt naked when other people looked at her. He took her hunched shoulder, then he pointed toward a glass window.
“How is it?”
What do you mean how is it… She looked like an idiot. They were Spider man and Iron man.
“It’s all right? Then let’s go.”
“Y..you want to go around like this?”
“What’s wrong with it? Do you want me to buy you another mask?”
“Then let’s go.”
Woojin grabbed Jiwon’s hand, and he led her away. While being dragged away, she glanced at their figure in the building’s window.
An Iron man in a suit was leading a long-haired Spider man away.
Every time they passed by people, their gazes landed on the two of them.
“Wow. What is that? That’s really funny..”
“What is that? Waa. Jackpot.” (TLN: jackpot or daebak is a term used when you express approval or admiration)
Jiwon’s shoulders shrank.
“Wow. There figures aren’t a joke. Who are they? Are they celebrities?”
“Is it some kind of an event?”
“Halloween is still far off.”
They stood in front of the crosswalk. She felt people watching them as pedestrians tried to catch a glimpse of them.
Eyes, eyes, eyes.
It was the unconcealed gazes she was used to.
However, there was something different about it. The disgust, and pity had changed into curiosity.
“Wow. That woman’s body isn’t a joke. Her face must also be pretty??”
“Oppa. Are you crazy? Where are you looking at?”
Jiwon couldn’t help herself from laughing when she heard the couple next to them fight.
Woojin was unconcerned with the whispers heard from his surrounding. He turned his head towards Jiwon.
“This is a little bit too unexpected….”
“This is too funny, and it is also exciting…”
“Well, the signal changed. Let’s go.”
Woojin grabbed Jiwon’s hand and he led her away. Jiwon grabbed Woojin’s hand a little bit tighter. Her shrunken shoulders straightened, and her steps became a little bit more confident.
She threw away her embarrassment. Iron man and Spider man entered the theater.
“Ah. That’s too bad.”
Woojin scratched his head.
Every movie was sold-out.
Jiwon grabbed Woojin’s arm.
“We don’t really have to see a movie.”
Woojin was about to turn away, when a man wearing a hat and a surgical mask tapped Woojin’s shoulder.
“I have an urgent business. Would you like to see this movie?”
“Have a nice day. I really do have an urgent business.”
In the confusion of the moment, Woojin took the tickets, and he saw the man trot away.
‘He looks familiar.’
The man who was hurrying away turned around. He looked at Woojin , and he gave a wink. Then he disappeared.
‘Why did he follow me here?’
Woojin shook the ticket in front of Jiwon.
“I guess we are lucky?”
“I…I guess so.”
Jiwon and Woojin bought some popcorn. When they entered the theater, a man with his face obscured by a mask and hat showed up again. When he pulled down the mask, it was none other than Woo-soonghoon.
He approached the ticket booth, then he took out a bundle of tickets from his pocket.
“Please refund me all of the tickets except for this screening.”
“What? Didn’t say it was going to be a group viewing…”
“Ah. Could you give me a refund? There is still 20 minutes left before the movie starts.”
While the ticket employee tried to deal with the customer, Woojin and Jiwon had entered the theater. Both of them had an absurd expression on their faces.
“What? They said it was sold-out, but no one is in here.”
“I guess so.”
One of his underling was overdoing it.
“Well, whatever. Let’s just watch it.”
Woojin sat down in the empty theater. He found out the seats in the middle had the best view of the movie.
“No one is in here. If it is stuffy, take it off.”
Jiwon took off her mask then she turned toward Woojin.
“Give me my hat.”
“It’s ok. Just watch it like that.”
“Don’t I bother you?”
“Why? Should I look at you strangely? Should I look at you with pity?”
“N…no. That wasn’t what I meant….”
It came in like a punch. His straight forward answer was very heavy handed.
Jiwon was taken aback. Woojin spoke.
“You are pretty. Don’t feel small because you have a scar.”
“There are a lot of ugly people out there even if they don’t have any scars, like the orc and goblin from before.”
“Orc and goblin?”
“Those girls who came out before. For a moment, I thought I had entered a Dungeon.”
“Ah…. Still, you should judge people too much on their appearances.”
“Well, aside from the appearance, their souls weren’t pretty. It was greasy.”
“Your soul is pretty. It’s pure white.”
Wa. She had goosebumps. How can he say such a buttery comment with a straight face?
She didn’t know him that well before, but Woojin’s personality was like the 4th dimension.
He wasn’t surprised when he looked at a monster like her. No, it seemed he didn’t even have a pulse. His eyes didn’t hold any judgement, and this fact mercilessly shook Jiwon’s heart.
He had also bought her a mask as a consideration for her…
“Ah, it’s starting”
Woojin focused on the movie as he ate the popcorn. Jiwon kept alternating from looking at Woojin and the movie.
“Ah, that was fun.”
“Hoo-ah. I think it’s really been 5 years since I saw a movie.”
“I think it’s been 20 years since I’ve seen a movie.”
“Ho ho. What?”
Woojin grinned when Jiwon laughed.
Even if she had her mask on, he could tell she was having a good time. He felt the happiness in her clear soul.
“See. Isn’t it good to laugh?”
“I have to go use the restroom.”
When Woojin left briefly to use the restroom, Jiwon wrapped both her hands around her face.
“What am I going to do?”
Her shaking heart was starting to run harder.
“What should I do?”
While Jiwon was shell-shocked, Woojin went to use the restroom. While he was urinating, Woojin’s phone buzzed. He took it out to check the message.
[I’ve made an appointment at XX restaurant in president’s name. It would be best if you take a stroll there.]
It was a text from Soonghoon.
“What the hell is he up to?”
He had planned on eating soon, so…
Woojin exited the theater with Jiwon. He searched the address on a map, and he realized the restaurant wasn’t too far away. They had to walk a busy road full of people, but he didn’t mind.
Jiwon had gotten used to the Spider man mask, so she was rather excited.
“Oh. Hey there, hero couple. Come spin this once. It’s free.”
It seemed to be an advertising event where one had to spin the roulette. Jiwon and Woojin waited in line, and soon it was their turn. There was only a 10% chance of losing. It was an event where almost every spin yielded a prize.
Jiwon turned the roulette, then she gathered her hand in a prayer.
“Ah. I’m really bad at these kinds of stuff.”
Despite her prayer, she landed on a dud.
“Ah, too bad.”
“Haha. Do you want to spin it, Iron man? Wouldn’t it be great if you could give your girlfriend a present?”
Woojin grabbed the roulette, then he spun it hard.
The roulette started to spin, and it was slowly heading towards a dud. Jiwon watched on in anticipation, and Woojin looked at her. The man in charge of the roulette had bet his life on this event, and all three of their emotions intersected.
The roulette was about to stop on a dud.
The man in charge of the event discreetly bumped the roulette. This caused the roulette to spin a little bit more, and it barely cleared the dud. Woojin won a prize.
“Oh oh. You won the special prize. Congratulations.”
The man handed Woojin a small shopping bag. Everyone else had received tissues, water bottles and prizes of the same ilk. However, Woojiin’s prize was different.
Woojin narrowed his eyes as he looked at the man in charge of the event… He glared at Soonghoon. Soonghoon winked back at him.
“Ughh. Let’s go.”
Woojin started to walk again.
Jiwon played a lottery game along the way, and she also looked at the accessories being sold at a stall. They walked in a leisurely manner. The surrounding people still looked at them with interest, but the two of them really didn’t pay attention to the others.
Everything felt like a new experience, and she was thankful for everything.
When was the last time she had experienced something like this? She usually walked like she was being chased by people in the busy streets…
Jiwon felt like she was in a dream.
‘If this is a dream, I don’t want to wake up from it.’
She was wearing a mask, but if Woojin wasn’t with her, she wouldn’t have dared to do any of this.
Iron man and Spider man ignored the whispers inside the restaurant, and they finished their meal. Then they walked towards a nearby park.
There were a lot of people on the trail inside the park. There were families on a night walk, couples enjoying a date at night, and there were even students walking around. Still, it was less crowded than the main street.
They walked without talking.
They sat on a park bench after their silent walk.
Jiwon couldn’t help, but laugh at her current situation.
“This is too funny.”
“This is. We wore strange masks to the theater, and we ate at a restaurant with in on. People must have thought we were strange..”
“Yes. You are right.”
The smile around Jiwon’s lips faded away. It sounded wonderful. He had the courage to do so.
“I’m still short on courage. This really is like a dream. I was able to walk in a busy street, watch a movie, and eat out at a restaurant.”
Even if it was a brief moment, she was thankful that Woojin had allowed her to dream.
For a brief moment, she had deluded herself into thinking Woojin liked her. However, even if he did like her, she didn’t have the confidence to accept him.
She was too shabby, and Woojin was already flying high in the sky. She wouldn’t be able to see him even if she looked up.
“Thank you so much. Thank you very much.
“It was like a dream. It has been a long time since I haven’t felt afraid of other people’s gazes. I’m really thankful. ”
Even if she hadn’t said anything, he would have felt her gratitude.
It was for a short amount of time, but Jiwon had felt like she was a main character in one of her novels. However, life wasn’t a novel, and one had to wake up from a dream eventually.
It was time for her to return to reality.
If she dreamed a little bit more, then she would fall for Woojin.
“Spider man has to return to being the Hulk now.”
Jiwon tightly shut her eyes, then she took off her mask.
“For your courage, I have a present for you.”
He grabbed the medicine bottle in his hand.
It was at that moment.
Suddenly, fireworks exploded in the air. The people, who were enjoying the walk in an indifferent manner, let out a cheer. Each person held a single flower in their hand.
They gathered around the two to congratulate them, but everyone was taken aback when they saw Jiwon’s bare face.
“Heeek? Wh…what the hell?”
“Hul. Uh. Her face…”
“Ah, he must really love her.”
These people had participated in this event after being hired by Soonghoon. They started to speak noisily.
Woojin pressed firmly on his temple.
‘Ah, Woo-soonghoon. This…uh-whew.’
Woojin’s eyes caught Jiwon’s flustered face. Her mask was off, and half of her face looked unnatural. No. It looked as if her soul had been sucked out of her.
She looked flustered as if she was having a panic attack. Woojin summoned the Wall of Bones.
With the bench at the center, Woojin and Jiwon was surrounded by the Wall of Bones like a dome. This shut them off entirely from the people crowding around them.
They couldn’t hear the people’s cheer nor the explosive sounds of the firework.
Woojin took off his Iron man mask.
She didn’t look to be in a sound state of mind. Woojin took out the Regeneration Salve.
“Aren’t you feeling a little bit suffocated by your mask?”
He suddenly came out of left field with those words.
“Close your eyes. I have a present to give you.”
“You are right. You will probably wake up from this dream.”
With the Regeneration Salve in hand, he stroked her scar. When Woojin’s hand touched her, she shook like a leaf.
‘Nightmares are terrible.’
She must have had a hard time. Woojin knew that pain better than anyone. Woojin understood her.
Now she will be able to wake up from her long, long nightmare.
Woojin carefully applied the salve as if he was praying.
The Regeneration Salve absorbed into Jiwon’s scar.