Novel Name : Remember The Name

Remember The Name - Chapter 32

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“Miss! He’s awake!”
A very familiar voice awoke Lucid. It was a voice he had missed very much, and he got up with a groan, blinking a few times to try to focus on his surroundings. The first thing he saw was Myeong-su’s smile.
“Are you okay?” He asked Lucid. “Can you see me?”
Lucid wasn’t quite awake yet, still struggling to regain consciousness, so he would have to wait and see before saying he was alright. All he wanted to say at the moment was that he could hear perfectly well, and that he wished Myeong-su would lower his voice a bit. However, his throat was still closed up, so he resorted to frowning to show his discomfort.
“Are you getting up now? Come on, open your eyes! You sleep so much! Hey! Are you going back to sleep?”
Apparently, frowning wasn’t quite enough to deter the child.
“Myeong-su, quiet down.” Chided the teacher as she walked into the room. “You’ll just make him feel sick all over again.” But regardless of her words, Myeong-su continued to look at Lucid with wonder in his eyes. Even with a sound body, Lucid would have had trouble replying to his friend, so he was somewhat glad that he at least had an excuse to lay back and not say anything. “I’m glad you’re awake.” The teacher continued, standing close to Lucid and pressing a hand against his forehead. “Does it hurt anywhere?”
Taking a mental assessment of his body, the boy answered that he was fine, which seemed to please the teacher. “That’s good. You should stay here for the night, just in case. Myeong-su, go back to your room.” However, Myeong-su was quick to interject. “Miss, can’t I stay here just for today? There are so many things I want to tell him!”
“You can’t.” she replied adamantly. “You shouldn’t bother him. He needs rest.” This wasn’t enough to deter the child, who turned to Lucid for help. “I won’t bother him! Right?”
Lucid couldn’t help but let out a laugh. “It’s alright, Miss. I’ll be fine.”
“Yes, but I’m not fine with it. There’s only one bed here, Myeong-su. Just go back to your room, alright?” Coupled with a few words threatening punishment, the situation came to an end. Myeong-su looked back at Lucid, his disappointment evident in his eyes, and went back to his room as the teacher had requested. Once she saw that the child was gone, the teacher also left Lucid to rest, turning off the lights as she went. It was only then that the boy realized that it was nighttime.
He looked around, trying to remember where he was. Oh. The infirmary back at the institute. The nurse was nowhere to be seen, and Lucid was left alone to make sense of his current situation.
He had spent six months in Nox, which wasn’t a particularly long time, but it hadn’t been a short while either. Besides, so many things had happened that those six months felt more like six years to him. Perhaps that was why his surroundings now felt so surreal, despite the fact he was very much present and awake.
It had only been yesterday that he woke up to the sight of cobwebs and dust covering Mosla’s ceiling, but all he could see now was a pristine white ceiling. Though the lights were off, moonlight shone through the window, which helped Lucid get a better view of the infirmary. The landscape pictured in the calendar and picture frames. The round clock, the cabinet with glass doors, the metal desk and chairs.
That’s when it hit him. He was in the “other world,” where he could learn about wondrous new inventions and acquire immense knowledge. Once he had realized this, everything made sense in his head. The fluffy bed he was lying on, the thick blanket. The lack of wind creeping through cracks in the walls, and the general coolness in the room, most likely from the air conditioning that had been used in the afternoon.
Myeong-su had said that Lucid was “awake.” By all meanings of the word, Lucid should have opened his eyes back in his room at Mosla’s house, but he instead found himself in the infirmary. What was that all about? He patted his body here and there, and felt that all his limbs were still in place and fully functional. If there was something amiss, it was the incredible sense of fatigue that took over him. So, he closed his eyes.
His eyes flew open immediately. How could he have forgotten? Up to the last moment, or rather, just mere moments ago, he had been staring into the rage-filled eyes of an enormous scrofa. He remembered its glistening teeth and twitching snout. How could he have forgotten? The thing had charged at him, seemingly uncaring about the fact it had caught on fire. He had been face to face with death, or perhaps had been served the perfect opportunity for revenge. He had screamed at the beast, standing his ground. He had channeled all his strength into that one moment. Then… He had woken up here, in the institute. Now that he had remembered the incident at the plains, he couldn’t help but recall things that he wished would just go away.
“Mosla…” He called softly. Tears welled in his eyes before he realized, and his voice threatened to break into violent sobs. Lucid pulled the blanket up and bit down on it forcefully, enough to tear the fabric. Lucid cried and cried, all through the night. The pale moonlight drifted deep into the room, enveloping the boy in its soft light, but it wasn’t enough to comfort him.
Most households spend their Sunday mornings in a rather leisurely way, but that was not the case for the institute. This was especially true for the workers, who had to be ready to receive volunteers. With the beginning of summer vacation, more and more people had signed up to help at the institute, which meant that the workers had much to prepare. The presence of volunteers also meant having to show the inside of the institute to others, and who knows how many things could go wrong should the workers make a mistake. A well-equipped, well-maintained institute, where teachers take care of the children with love. That was the public’s opinion of the institute, an opinion that the chairman was not willing to lose under any circumstances. His words of warning were enough to help the workers stay on top of everything.
“Even though he’s out there playing golf,” mumbled one of the teachers as he ticked off the list of registered volunteers. The chairman had spent all of yesterday telling off the workers to make sure to watch their mouths, but then he had contently wiped and cleaned off all this golf clubs, going on about how he had planned to go on a round of golf with the mayor. Now, he was nowhere to be seen.
“He just doesn’t have the guts. You saw how he didn’t even call 911 yesterday.” Added another teacher.
“It’s a good thing the kid woke up. Can you imagine…? Ugh.”
“But that’s the sort of person it takes to run an institute like this. What if word got out? We’d be meeting up with media people instead of volunteers.”
“So it’s thanks to him that the kids are comfortable?”
“You can’t really deny it.”
The two teachers continued their conversation, spilling all sorts of dirt on the chairman, and seemed to forget that they had a job to do. Had the executive secretary not glared at them as he walked by, they probably would have spent the rest of the day just talking.
In Myeong-su’s room, a very similar situation was unfolding, albeit with a completely different mood and meaning.
“I really thought you were dead!” Said Myeong-su. “You weren’t waking up at all. I was so scared.”
The child was as dramatic as ever. If people had walked by the room, they would have thought that he was practicing for a play. He went as far as to act out Lucid falling down and fainting.
“… And Hyung-geun hyung carried you all the way back here. Like, if it wasn’t for him, you’d really be dead.”
Death. What did that word mean to Myeong-su? He used it so lightly.
“Thank you, hyung.”
“It’s fine. It’s nothing, really. Anyway, are you really okay? I heard you woke up last night.” Though Hyung-geun was also still just a child, he was the oldest among the elementary school children, which made him feel a sort of responsibility towards the younger children. If it weren’t for his bragging nature, he could very well become a great leader.
“That sucks,” Myeong-su sighed, “we could have caught so many bunnies! But it just had to rain!”
“Next time, for sure.” Hyung-geun said as he patted Myeong-su’s shoulder. “We just weren’t ready enough this time.”
Honestly speaking, Lucid had spent the past six months skinning rabbits to sell the fur and boiling the meat for soup, and he wanted nothing more than to never see a rabbit ever again. In no time, Hyung-geun and Myeong-su began to plan out their future endeavors, which left Lucid with plenty of time to think to himself.
‘I was at Nox for six months, but only about six hours passed in this world.’ He couldn’t understand the gap in time, and he hadn’t learned enough to calculate the time difference by himself. ‘My scar is still here, too.’ Indeed, there was faint mark on his shoulder. It looked like an old scar, too old to have been made yesterday (which was a very strange way of putting it, but it really had only been one day in this world) when he rolled down the mountain. Besides, he had never hurt his shoulder prior to going to “that world.”
‘Wait. Could that mean…’
Could magic work in this world?
Hyung-geun and Myeong-su left the room, leaving Lucid to rest.
“Do you think he’s alright? He’s quieter than usual.”
“Really?” The younger boy answered. “I didn’t really notice.”
“No, I think something’s wrong with him. Or maybe he’s still tired. I mean, plaster face is good at soccer, but it’s not like he moves around that much. He just doesn’t have the stamina. I guess that’s why he fell yesterday. Maybe that’s why he’s still out of it.”
To be precise, Lucid had “fallen” to save Myeong-su, but Hyung-geun rather cleverly twisted the truth. When they had gotten back to the institute, the teachers had asked all sorts of questions about what had happened. And this was what Hyung-geun had told them:
“Myeong-su kept going on about how he wanted to see rabbits, so I took them up to the mountain. But then it started raining, so we took shelter for a bit, but we had to get back before it got too late. Myeong-su and plaster face… They fell, but plaster face wasn’t waking up, so I carried him here.”
There wasn’t a teacher alive who would reprimand a student who carried an injured child back. Hyung-geun had answered on the spur of the moment, willing to say anything that would get him out of trouble, but he had already begun to believe his own words as the truth. Still, the part of him that remembered the whole truth was now worried about what Lucid might say, now that he was awake. That was why Hyung-geun had rushed to Myeong-su’s room in the morning, but all he found was Lucid, solemn and somber. It had been rather unsettling, but from the looks of it, the boy was simply immersed in his own thoughts. So, Hyung-geun left with Myeong-su.
Oblivious to all this, Lucid sat alone, thinking and thinking. After what seemed like eons, the boy raised his hand slowly, stretching it out in front of him. He stared at his palm, open, fingers outstretched.
A moment later, a small flame appeared on his hand.
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