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Chapter 69 Part 1 - A Depressed Kendo Player Possesses a Bastard Aristocrat

Don't worry, Mom. This time I will be truly happy. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translation,Academy,DKPBA,Fantasy,Possession,DepressionBonus chapter thanks to '@GwhoisJ' for subscription to 'Iron Will' tier on Ko-fi.

Side Story - Someone's Brother

Inside the locker room, all the lights were off.

An empty feeling lingered in the silent space.

Two figures were silhouetted against the darkness that had swallowed the scenery.

They stood facing each other.

One was a young man in his mid-twenties with light brown hair.

The other was a boy with jet-black hair who looked to be about middle school age.

The young man and the boy exchanged complicated looks in the heavy silence.

"..."

"..."

It was the young man who broke the vague standoff.

The young man averted his eyes with a small sigh.

In his hand was a neatly packed travel bag.

With a black cap pulled low over his head, he looked every bit the part of someone leaving for somewhere far away.

The boy stared blankly at the young man.

His pitiful black eyes looked as if they were about to burst into tears at any moment.

Unable to bear the sight of his sorrow, the young man slowly opened his mouth.

"I'm sorry, Naru... I... I have to leave for a while..."

"..."

The boy didn't answer.

He just trembled, his body stiffening.

The young man bit his lip quietly.

The sight of the boy, so withdrawn, brought back memories of their first meeting.

-Hey! You're Naru, right?

-I'm your senior! You can call me Hyung Changho!

-If anything's bothering you, just tell me. I'll help you!

The young man felt a lump in his throat.

He had confidently promised to take care of everything.

It was laughable how he was leaving without keeping his promise.

-Thud, thud...

A few tears fell onto the cold locker room floor.

Transparent lines were being drawn on the boy's pale cheeks.

The young man slowly raised his hand and stroked the boy's hair.

The boy's head bobbed up and down with each pitiful stroke.

The young man tried to compose his crumbling expression.

An awkward, forced smile was plastered on his face, devoid of any real joy.

Even he thought it was a pathetic smile.

"This isn't much of a parting gift, but... here, take it."

The young man said, handing him a small eco bag.

Inside, several books were neatly arranged.

The worn-out cover bore the title, "Sorrow-erasing heroes".

The boy looked up at the young man as if asking what it was.

"It's the novel you liked so much... I won't be reading it anyway..."

"..."

At the young man's murmur, the boy lowered his head.

His small, wounded hand clutched the eco bag tightly.

The young man looked at the teary-eyed boy with guilt-ridden eyes, then turned his back.

"Well then... Goodbye, Naru."

I'm sorry.

For running away like this.

-Click, screech...

With a short farewell, the young man opened the locker room door and headed outside.

The boy finally burst into tears as he watched the young man's retreating figure.

"Sob, sob..."

The young man hesitated for a moment at the sound of his cries.

But he didn't stop walking.

And so, another person left the boy's side.

.

.

.

One hot summer day.

The brilliant sun beat down mercilessly, heating the green blades of grass.

A deep shade flowed down between the lush leaves.

The scent of the passing season crept through the window and into the room.

-Ring! Ring!

The alarm clock beside the bed blared loudly.

Changho, awakened from his dream by the loud noise, opened his heavy eyelids.

"Ugh..."

With a small groan, Changho rubbed his sleepy eyes.

He fumbled for the alarm with his still-sluggish hand and turned it off.

The clock showed 8:00 AM.

"..."

Changho stared at the time for a moment before lying back down on the bed.

His stiff body slumped back down, succumbing to gravity.

As he lay there, trying to focus his eyes, a white ceiling came into view.

A plain background, devoid of any pattern.

Changho stared blankly for a moment before raising his hand to wipe his face.

-I'm sorry, Naru... I... I have to leave for a while...

-Well then... Goodbye, Naru.

A scene from the dream he had just woken from replayed in his mind.

Changho tossed and turned at the past voices echoing in his ears.

"......Fuck."

A curse word escaped his lips, breaking the silence of the room.

The words uttered without a specific target, swirled around him chaotically.

One month.

One month had passed.

It had already been a month.

One month had passed since Naru died.

[World's No. 2 Kendo Athlete, National Team Member, Commits Suicide by Jumping from a Building...]

[Suffering from Depression, Shock...]

He had come across the news by chance in an online article he had been browsing.

He had a bad feeling the moment he saw the headline.

Changho had clicked on it, muttering "No way," but his premonitions were rarely wrong.

"..."

Changho had to recall the past as he remembered the moment he had learned of Naru's death.

-Naru, let's take a break.

-Come on, let's rest a bit! Rest is important, you know?

-Shh, let's skip training for a bit and read books in the corner.

-It's fine~ As long as we don't get caught!

"......Damn it."

Changho grimaced, clutching his churning chest.

His mind was in turmoil, unable to calm down.

Changho dry-heaved and pulled at his hair.

He had cared for the boy.

He had treated him like his own brother.

At the same time, he had been a pitiful child.

A child who lived his days struggling under the yoke of unwanted misfortune.

That's why Changho wanted to help Naru.

He wanted to reach out to him.

Even though he knew it was wrong, Changho had stepped forward to protect the boy.

It had been an act of momentary impulse, and the price he paid for it was too great.

"It's my fault..."

I ruined everything.

Because of me.

Changho muttered incomprehensible words as he clutched the bed sheet in his hand.

The fabric crumpled under his rough grip.

It was as if it were capturing a fragment of his regret-filled memory.

"......I should have run away with you back then."

Back when he had been caught up in a violence scandal and forced to leave the world of Kendo.

Back when he had moved to the countryside as if running away with his parents.

Back when he had to clean out his locker and give up his place on the national team.

If only he had run away with him without hesitation...

If only he had the courage to save him from the clutches of that devil who tortured him...

Naru's end.

It wouldn't have been this tragic.

"I was a coward..."

Changho bit his lip and covered his eyes.

Soon, transparent lines streamed down his cheeks.

His soft sobs echoed through the room, carried by the summer air.

A videotape of memories played in his mind's eye.

This was a story of the past.

After you were gone.

Fragile fragments of memory replayed and savored in the grip of guilt and longing.

.


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