Novel Name : Remember The Name

Remember The Name - Chapter 40

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A few days later, Lucid got up early in the morning in preparations for the day ahead. One of the counselors stuck with him at all times, helping him wash and get ready. He didn’t have many clothes, so they were done rather quickly. The higher ups had specifically requested that he look crisp and clean, but this was Lucid they were talking about. The few clothes he owned were all neat and tidy (he was the definition of a scholar), so there wasn’t much work to do at all.
Lucid then made his way to the studio, accompanied by a teacher. Today’s shoot consisted of him reading at a desk, and as such, was to be filmed on a set equipped with a desk and several books. The clothes the counselor had chosen out for him were quickly thrown aside in favor of the selection that the coordinator had picked out. He changed into the new clothes, got his hair and make-up done, was handed a book by a staff member, several lights were fixed on him. When the cameraman was satisfied with the set, the shoot finally began.
Lucid, for his part, had thought the whole ordeal would be quite a smooth process: he would read the book he was given, and the professionals would take care of the rest. However, the reality he was faced with was much messier. There were noises all around, people moving about and shouting directions, things being placed here and there. It reminded him of the school courtyard during the end of the school term, when the principal had announced the beginning of the school break.
Lift your head! No, too much, back down. Sit up straight! Turn to your left. Get him some lip balm! Touch up his hair. Can we move the desk? Let’s change the lights. Get the camera to the other side!
With all these directions being hurled all around (and at) him, Lucid hardly had the mind to pay attention to what he was reading. During breaks, the women in the staff all came to him asking for pictures, and phones were shoved in his face as he ate. He had to steel himself and keep a straight face even as a camera was pointed at him as he changed. Before he realized, the shoot had ended, and all he had done was follow the many, many directions he was given.
“Good work!” The staff all greeted each other as they wrapped up, and Lucid took this opportunity to sneak out of the studio.
“You did well. Did you have fun?” The teacher asked when he got into the car.
Honestly speaking, Lucid hadn’t had the time to have fun. From beginning to end, it had been chaos, and he was exhausted. Completely drained of energy, he looked more like a lifeless doll than a child. And he hadn’t even had the time to actually read the book they had given him. In fact, he couldn’t even remember its title.
Later that night, Lucid found that he couldn’t fall asleep. Contrary to how he had acted at the office, the chairman’s long winded speech had, in fact, given him something to think about.
“Do I have a dream?” he thought to himself. With the day’s commotions behind him, this one question query stuck with him, and he finally had time to really ponder over it. Looking back, Lucid had never had a dream, even before his family’s disappearance. He hadn’t even thought about it. Had he wanted to become a woodcutter? An herbalist? A merchant? Perhaps a hunter? None of those felt like paths he wished to pursue. He had only ventured into the forest to provide for his family, and after coming to this world, he had spent all his time and energy into fully adjusting to this strange new lifestyle. Even when he learned magic, becoming a sorcerer hadn’t been his ultimate goal, and though he had immersed himself in studying and researching following Mosla’s death, that had also simply been out of despair at the fact that he was too weak. Still, it wasn’t his dream to “become strong.”
Frustrated, Lucid turned to Myeong-su.
“Do you have a dream?” he asked.
“Me? Yeah. I wanna be rich.”
“Yep,” Myeong-su answered. “I’ll get really rich and have a whole playing field in my house, to play with my friends. You can come over whenever you like.”
“I see.”
From this conversation, Lucid learned two things. The first was that, apparently, Myeong-su thought Lucid refused to go out to the courtyard because someone had forbidden him to. Of course, in order for this to be true, it would first have to be established that “everyone wants to go play in the courtyard,” but Lucid didn’t want to force a conversation about logic upon Myeong-su.
The second thing was that, though simple and perhaps a bit naive, Myeong-su still had a dream of his own.
“Oh, oh! But I also want to own a clothing shop! That way, I’ll be able to wear cool things every day. I’ll even get you some!”
The third thing was that Myeong-su was kind.
“I also want to own a supermarket, so I can eat all the snacks I want! I could have something new every day!”
… The fourth thing was that Myeong-su had many dreams. How could someone like this possibly become a criminal? Lucid simply couldn’t imagine it.
Following that day, Dong-in had gotten considerably quiet. Nothing else about his demeanor changed, whether at school or at the institute. He simply talked much, much less. His school friends attributed it to the changing seasons, to the sentimentality often brought about by fall. At the institute, however, teachers and counselors alike worried about him. He was uncharacteristically quiet, and even his trademark smile had all but disappeared.
“Is there something bothering you?” one of the counselors finally asked. Still, Dong-in simply shook his head and went on his way.
In truth, what he wanted to hear most was that what had happened to Somi hadn’t been his fault.
Deep inside, he knew that he had done wrong. He had treated her like a “slut,” and he had wanted to hurt and humiliate her in such a public setting. Still, he had ultimately gotten her away from her father, so wasn’t that a good thing? Nonetheless, something weighed at his chest, and it frustrated him. Somi hadn’t said a word to him, and that hurt him more. If she had gotten mad at him, if she had screamed and yelled, then maybe he could have gotten his feelings in order. As things were now, he was in disarray, like poorly stacked dominos haphazardly knocked over.
In school, no one around him knew of such circumstances, so his friends’ demeanors towards him hadn’t changed, but he could tell that the people at the institute looked at him differently now, whether it was the children, his friends, or his seniors. Even the teachers and the counselors. They all looked at him like he was a lost cause, a bad person, a piece of trash.
But what if…
“What if people at school know?”
This one thought kept him from smiling. He was afraid to even utter a single word.
“What right do you have to speak?”
“You’re pretty thick-skinned, huh? How could you even say something like that?”
“You can’t just push someone over the edge and say you didn’t know better.”
“You were pretty confident when you humiliated her. What’s up with you now? Cat got your tongue?”
Indeed, they would all sneer and deride him, blaming him for chasing Somi away.
“You’re wrong!” He wanted to say. “I just wanted to protect her!”
But there was no one he could confess this to. There was no one who would listen.
And so, it continued to eat away at him.
One day before the end of the shcool break, an announcement was posted on the bulletin board near the institute’s entrance, and it caught Dong-in’s eye. It was an advert for the public library, featuring a handsome boy reading a book. There was something about this boy that drew you in, a sort of ethereal charm.
Dong-in didn’t know this child very well. He hadn’t cared much about getting along with everyone at the institute, and even when he happened to come across the boy, he hadn’t spared him a second thought. But after that day, Dong-in couldn’t forget about him. He had been the only one to chase after Somi as she followed the police officer. He had grabbed her, asked her if she was okay. And Dong-in couldn’t forget her expression, either. She had looked at this boy differently, with expressions she had never shown to Dong-in. Somehow, Dong-in felt robbed. This child, this boy, had stolen from him. Here he was, hurting and in shambles, and this boy, this thief, was out having the time of his life shooting ads.
Ah, there he was. Lucid was just making his way into the institute after his meal. Dong-in watched him carefully. Myeong-su was whining at his side.
“Come on! I wanna go to the library! I wanna go with you!”
Lucid knew that what Myeong-su really wanted was an excuse to get out of the institute, but he simply didn’t have the authority to allow this.
“Go ask a teacher,” he said.
“You ask! Can you? Tell them you want to go with me!”
Of course Lucid could ask, but that didn’t mean that the teachers would allow him.
“Oh, leave him be!” Yun-jeong reprimanded as she caught up to the two children. “You should be asking a teacher! Go on, tell them you want to go.”
“But I’m scared…” Myeong-su told her hesitantly.
“Do they hit you?” she asked.
“Are they mean to you?”
“No…” Myeong-su answered, his voice fading.
“So why are you scared?”
“You know! Cuz teachers are scary!”
He was so confident in his answer that Yun-jeong almost nodded instinctively.
“No,” she said adamantly, catching herself. “You still have to ask permission yourself.”
Myeong-su looked positively down, and Yun-jeong couldn’t help but pity him.
“Okay, fine. I’ll tell you what. We’ll go together, okay? You and I will both ask if you can come with us.”
“Can’t it just be you asking?”
Wholly defeated, Myeong-su followed after the older girl. Lucid smiled to himself at the conversation that had just taken place, and made to follow at their side, until…
“Hey, you. Stop.”
Someone called out to him. When Lucid turned around to identify the speaker, he found Dong-in standing there. It was his first time seeing the older boy since the incident at the courthouse, but he had no trouble recalling who he was.
“Come here,” Dong-in said.
Lucid hesitated for a moment before complying.
&#lt;Misunderstanding (4)&#gt; End.
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