The uncomfortable atmosphere was soon gone from those jovial moments. Though there was a little squabble, the situation had now returned to usual, but I was the only one tilting my head in wonder.
‘What is it that keeps lingering in mind? Can’t get what that is…’ Having that thought in my head, I suddenly raised my head as Yoon Jung In dropped a question.
“Hey, Yi Ruda, but now I’ve come to think of it, are you sure you’d be really okay?” asked Yoon Jung In.
With a crooked smile, Ruda tossed a question.
“What do you mean? Wait, you aren’t asking me if I’d be okay to lose Hwang Siwoo as my friend, are you? Geez, are you kidding me?”
Waving his hand in denial, Yoon Jung In replied, “No, I’m not. Hey, I do have eyes too. Considering your character, I’m very clear that you must have been struggling to get along with Hwang Siwoo and humor his personality.”
“I mean, sunbaes… You’d be aware of it if you’ve hung around with Hwang Siwoo that he’s been staying quite connected with a lot of other rankers since he’s also a ranker himself.”
Ruda nodded nonchalantly, “Oh, I see. Yeah, I’ve been introduced a few of them too.”
I was surprised at Ruda’s response. Was he already that much close to those people in that extent? If Ruda was determined to do so, it wouldn’t be just a dream that he could have simply conquered Hwang Siwoo and his clique.
Yoon Jung In continued cautiously, “Well, in my view, it’s absurd to divide rankers by fight among fellow students, so I don’t like that term, but anyway if such people belong to that ‘ranking thing,’ doesn’t that mean they are also good fighters too? So, in that case, if those sunbaes catch you backstabbing Hwang Siwoo, would they just leave you in peace? They even know your face.”
Even though Yoon Jung In seriously warned him, ‘Dude, you must be careful for real,’ Yi Ruda didn’t seem to care about it at all.
Well, I had no concerns about Yi Ruda while being aware of his true identity and the fact that he had been hard trained during his childhood. However, Yoon Jung In would be different.
While I showed an enigmatic look on my face, Yoon Jung In seemed somehow frustrated that he punched the pillow beside him.
“Uh, come on, Yi Ruda! Don’t just smile, but please take this seriously! If something happens in the end, that’s too late to regret,” shouted Yoon Jung In.
That was when Yi Ruda, who had been put a swiveling grin on his lips, opened his mouth, at last.
“Okay, cool. I was about to talk about this later, but…”
“What else are you hiding from us?” asked Yoon Jung In. Not only himself but we also felt dumbfounded at Ruda’s remark.
As if he was taking out his secret weapon, Ruda declared confidently, “Actually, you guys don’t even have to throw a punch at them.”
There was a moment of silence. Yoon Jung In then responded to Ruda with a frown, “What are you talking about? That doesn’t mean you’ll be going there alone, right?”
“Well, even if I’m there alone, of course, nothing will happen, but I’m not gonna throw a punch at all too.”
“We called them out to have a fight, but how can we end things up if no one’s throwing a punch? Are you gonna fire a gun or what?” asked Kim Hye Woo while showing a look of wonder.
Even at the question that Kim Hye Woo threw like a game addict, Ruda just smiled. He replied, “Hmm, it’s kind of like that though.”
I was astonished at Ruda’s response. If someone else talked about firing a gun or so, I would definitely regard it as a metaphor; however, when it slipped out of Ruda’s mouth, the word, ‘gun fire’ sounded very real.
‘Uh, but Ruda, isn’t using that kind of weapon in high school fight going too far? Besides, isn’t gun possession prohibited in Korea except for specially licensed people?’ I asked in my thoughts.
At that moment, Ruda continued, “Yoon Jung In, you said to me earlier that you’ve seen Hwang Siwoo introducing me to his close sunbaes.”
“Then what do you think I did while being close friends with Hwang Siwoo in addition to implanting the idea that I’m on his side in his mind?”
Speaking that way, Ruda tapped his temple with his forefinger. While we looked at him in bewilderment, Ruda searched his pocket then handed out something out of the blue. My eyes widened.
When I was involved in the abduction before, I had the chance to see it for a second while cooperating with police investigation afterward. The long, portable metal device was none other than a voice recorder.
Smiling delightfully, Ruda uttered, “The proof of Hwang Siwoo backbiting his very close sunbaes.”
Being at a loss for words, we looked at each other. Ruda juggled the voice recorder in front of us then spoke leisurely.
“Now you get it, huh? The reason why none of us have to fight them…”
After dropping that remark, Ruda threw a glance toward the gym with his eyes curved into a smile. He kept on speaking, “You guys would already know since you’ve heard him speaking in the gym about the sunbaes who graduated last year. That bastard has a huge inferiority complex, so that’s why he always backbites those people.”
“Hwang Siwoo has been criticizing those people such as they are nothing; all they have is just reputation and is no more than froth. It was such painful to hear those craps. Anyway, let’s throw this bomb at Hwang Siwoo and our sunbaes. We’re gonna just step aside, then the rest will correct itself.”
“Hmm, you know Ruda…”
Should I say that Ruda was using too much of a dirty trick or he was just cunning? While everyone became speechless at his bold plan as if they were lost in admiration, only I detached my lips to speak out.
Showing quite a naïve look, Ruda asked, “Huh, what’s up? Anything you want to say?”
His blue eyes were twinkling like stars. It even looked like he was waiting for a compliment. Taking a deep breath, I continued to speak.
“You know the so-called plan you have…”
It didn’t take long that his spring-like dazzling face turned stiff at my following words.
Yi Ruda climbed up the stairs unusually with loud footsteps.
Almost after lunchtime, the staircase was crowded with freshmen and sophomores. Boys and girls putting their hands on the stairway handrail or leaning against the wall while talking to each other all cleared the way in fear at Ruda’s threatening attitude. Watching that sight, Yi Ruda perked the corners of his eyes upward.
In the beginning of the semester, Ruda had quite a good reputation; however, it almost fell to the ground within a month. Well, that was inevitable.
Among the bullies in this school, Hwang Siwoo was the most ill-reputed of provoking a fight even against just run-of-the-mill kids. Since Yi Ruda befriended him and hung around only with him lately, kids would hold a fairly dim view of Ruda.
Yi Ruda was, of course, not a person who minded others looking at him that way. Especially, if that happened while things were under his plan, he sincerely didn’t care about how other people considered him.
However, right now, every little thing irritated him since he felt so angry. Raising his hand, he suddenly disheveled his blond hair then climbed up the stairs again with big strides.
The reason why he became so upset now was not because of Ham Donnie having refused his plan that he’d been putting all his efforts on for the last few weeks. Instead of that, it was because that bastard’s expectation was exactly correct.
Biting his lips, Yi Ruda lifted his head up at the sound that came from somewhere out of the blue.
A boy’s torso came into view over the staircase banister. His brown hair was swaying over his forehead; so was his soft-looking red-brown eyes. A sunny smile was occupying his eyes and lips.
He was such a boy that seemed to be born with the words, ‘Peace begins with a smile.’ However, Yi Ruda grimaced as soon as he saw him.
The boy over the staircase banister, Woo Jooin, began to giggle while holding his tummy as soon as Yi Ruda’s frown came into his sight. Pounding the stairway handrail, he uttered, “Ahaha, look at your face! I was right, huh? As I told you, your plan would be denied.”
“Geez, you really look so funny right now. I want to take a picture, but on all occasions, I don’t have my phone with me. Maybe that’s why I didn’t want to submit my phone today in the morning.”
“Do I have to speak abusively so that you can shut up and get lost?”
Even though Yi Ruda retorted that way, Woo Jooin descended the stairs and teased Yi Ruda while standing beside him. In the end, Yi Ruda grabbed Woo Jooin by the collar. Coughing loudly, Woo Jooin didn’t stop laughing. Only those watching the sight turned pale at the moment.