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He woke up, got dressed, shared breakfast with his lovely mother, and then headed off to work— which thanks to Conjuration Magic, he's able to instantaneously travel from his home in Fir Village to the Hollow Bookshop in Acacia. He always did all of this before six in the morning, the time his bookshop opened.

And today, he so happened to have enough time to brew himself a delicious cup of chocolate rose tea that he read from a bizarre tea book. He couldn't wait to taste as he poured the liquid from the teapot into a mug he somehow had lying around in a storage closet.

Hanbin was about to press his lips onto his mug when the bell on the shop's door jingled as it opened.

Hanbin lets out a small dejected sigh as he sets down the warm mug on the counter. He looks up, ready to greet his first customer of the day into his shop with a smile. "Welcome to—" But he promptly halts upon seeing the familiar dark locks that spilled past their shoulders.

Jihye strode in, cloak and hood on. Hanging over her shoulder by a strap was a satchel and she quickly pulled out the same journal he had let her take a week prior. There was an unyielding look in her eyes, one which made him wonder what had happened in the week they were apart.

"Princess?" Hanbin said carefully, furrowing his brow as she approached the counter and plopped the journal on it, causing his mug to rattle. "It's half past six. What are you doing here so early in the morning?" He switches from looking at her and the journal in confusion.

"Did you mother ever tell you where or who she got this journal from?" Jihye questions rather demandingly, her voice still groggy as she had stayed up all night. Hanbin could tell that much from the slight redness within the white of her eyes, which made her look like some sort of crazed conspiracist.

Hanbin's composure falters. He was expecting a 'Good Morning. How are you?' Or a simple 'Hello.' would have sufficed. Not a straightforward and quite imprudent question.

"N—no." He stutters, trying to regain himself again as he wiped away some droplets of tea that had spilled. As he recalled the only conversation he's ever had with his mother about the journal, he felt Jihye's eyes seeping into his soul. "She told me she didn't even know how it got into our library in the first place. It just appeared on our shelves one day."

It wasn't the answer Jihye wanted to hear, and it was evident by the way her left eye twitched. A silence had settled between him and the Princess, and in Hanbin's eyes Jihye looked as if she were on the verge of telling him off. If Hanbin didn't know of Jihye's passive and nonviolent nature, he would have expected her to reach over and grab him by the collar.

When Hanbin pushed that thought away as Jihye leaned over the counter as she opened the journal. "It's a spell book, Hanbin." Jihye informs calmly, her fingers flip through the pages until she landed on a specific one that had illustrations of what Hanbin assumed to be clouds and water.

Although Hanbin had a hunch it would be, it was one of the last possibilities he had in mind. He parts his lips. "Oh? Of what exactly—"

"You remember it raining all day yesterday, correct?" She asks, completely twisting the conversation to a whole different direction so briskly that it almost gave Hanbin whiplash.

Nodding once, Hanbin acknowledged Jihye's question, but struggled to respond to her. "Yes, it was practically pouring."

The rainstorm was completely unexpected in Acacia, many street merchants and buyers had scurried off back into their homes as soon as the first rain drop hit the stoned streets. It was a smart decision as a few minutes passed, the small droplets grew into heavy and loud splashes that had made Hanbin first believe it was hail.

𝐌𝐎𝐍𝐀𝐑𝐂𝐇.  enhypen Where stories live. Discover now