164 Plain and Indecipherable Pt.3

    Gyuri took in a sharp intake of breath as his eyes took on a questionable glean. Many thoughts raced through her mind, but what stood out to her the most was how she needed to warn the Kims.

    What if he's one of the assassins from before?

    Gyuri had to act fast. She shifted her leg, positioning it directly below his groin. Her best bet was to aim for his precious jewels and hope she could outrun him. As if foreseeing her next move, a hand darted out of nowhere and squeezed her nose. Gyuri yelped. She clawed at the hand in retaliation and the man laughed when he saw the outcome of his handiwork.

    "Are you insane?" Gyuri cried indignantly. Tears had sprung from her eyes and her voice sounded strange and nasally. "That bloody hurt!"

    The man struggled to quell his fit of laughter. Punctuated by his random claps, he continued to guffaw, filling the room with the sound of his squeaky-glass laugh. Gyuri stared at him, bewildered. Not only was he being too loud for an intruder but there was something familiar about his childish humour. As if reliving a bad dream, she shuddered as images of being carted away on a horse flashed before her eyes. She had only heard it once, but there was no mistaking it.

    "...Master Seokjin?"

    At the sound of his name, the man's laughter died down. He grinned impishly. "So, you've finally figured it out."

    Gyuri felt a rush of relief at his response. It's just Master Seokjin! But the joy of seeing him was short-lived and was soon replaced with animosity. "It was you all this time! Why didn't you say anything? I thought you were an intruder!"

    Seokjin sat cross-legged across from her and tutted, "I was aware that you were lacking but I didn't think you'd be this incompetent. How could you not recognise the man you serve?" He scoffed. "You really do make a poor personal maid."

    Gyuri bristled. I should've kicked him in the balls when I had the chance! "Pardon my incompetence," she replied tartly, "but in my defence, you look different from how you normally do."

    "Different?" Seokjin stroked his chin as if feigning ignorance. "Well, if by different you mean more handsome, then I guess I can forgive you." He raked a hand through his tousled hair, and Gyuri noticed that the earring he usually wore on his left ear was missing. "Perhaps your eyes are not defective after all."

    The audacity of this man!

    "But it seems your hearing is impaired this time." He rested his chin against his closed fist. "I seem to recall telling you never to come in here."

    Gyuri gulped. "I- I can explain!"

    "You're fortunate I'm in a humorous mood," Seokjin said, cutting her off. He stood up. "Or else your punishment," he gestured to her raw nose, "could've been far worse."

    Before Gyuri could get a word in, Seokjin left. Gyuri followed him to the adjacent room.

    "It was an honest mistake-" she began to say but then abruptly stopped when she caught sight of him topless.

    Toned and narrow at the waist, Seokjin's broad back was decorated with scars. Like angry fissures ripping across his skin, the jagged lines she saw earlier were in fact raised bumps of disfigured flesh. Gyuri observed that they varied in size, some more faded than the rest. While they no longer brought Seokjin physical pain, Gyuri couldn't help but wince. They were remnants of his exile forever engraved. Gyuri reached for her own scar and felt it itch.

    Seokjin glanced over his shoulder. "Enjoying the view?"

    Gyuri hurriedly averted her gaze.

    "No need to be shy. You've already acquainted yourself with my body when you attacked me in my sleep."

    "I- I didn't attack you," Gyuri clarified, flustered by his choice of words. "It was an accident!"

    Seokjin let out a doubtful hum. He faced Gyuri, still half-dressed. "That's too bad," he glanced Gyuri up and down with a mischievous smile playing on his lips, "because I liked being on top."

    Gyuri was dumbfounded. Like the English weather, Seokjin was so unpredictable that she couldn't keep up. In the presence of others, he was a saint, a gentleman, but to Gyuri he was the complete opposite. How much longer must she put up with his trifling?

    "Why are you only like this towards me?"


    "You treat everyone else nicely, make them believe you're this down-to-earth person but when no one's looking, you act like a- like a-"

    "Like what?"

    "Like an arsehole!"

    Seokjin stopped what he was doing and turned to face her.

    "You don't like anything I do; you insult me, you make me do pointless chores and yet you made me your personal maid. Why? Am I just a plaything to you? Is messing with me that fun?"

    Seokjin's expression was unreadable. He had finished wearing the hanbok she had set aside earlier. Clean-shaven and dressed in light, illustrious garments, Seokjin appeared younger than before. "And what if it is?"

    Gyuri was taken aback.

    "Don't misunderstand, wench. I didn't choose you because I favoured you. I have my own reasons." He grinned wryly. "And as for everyone else, what they think of me is the product of their warped perception. Consider yourself lucky. Only you are privy to this side of Kim Seokjin."

    Gyuri clenched her fist. Having uncovered the truth, Gyuri thought she would feel content but she didn't. "Warped perception?" Memories of Taehyung's hurt expression floated to her mind and she snapped, "How can you say that? You've been deceiving everyone, and you don't even have the balls to admit it!"

    It may have been Gyuri's imagination but she thought the air suddenly got colder. Seokjin had his back to her as he spoke, "Tell me, would it still be my fault if others are so easily deceived?" Gyuri felt a chill shoot down her spine. "The others had the chance to see me in my entirety, but they chose to be blind. No matter what I do, they are drawn to me like Houyi's arrow to the sun." Seokjin turned and began advancing towards her, his expression dark.

    "Deception only works if the intended allows themselves to be deceived," he continued. "In this world, only the resourceful survive. If preying on their naivety is the only way I can get what I want, then so be it." Gyuri felt the wall hit against her back as Seokjin cornered her. "You claim I'm deceiving everyone, but aren't you doing the same?"

    Gyuri instinctively reached for her jade ring. "I- I don't know what you're talking about."

    He scoffed. "You may be good at fooling everyone else, but you and I are alike. We're both liars." Seokjin's obsidian eyes bore into hers, trapping her under his steely gaze. "Everyone hides behind a mask," he leaned in so that his lips were right next to her ear, "and it won't be long till I find out what you're hiding behind yours."
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