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Blunders always came back to haunt the wrongdoer. Even the smallest of slip ups could have repercussions grown tenfold. It used to sound like a bunch of nonsense to Jihye.

While she knew her biggest flaw was her rash tendencies, and it wasn't because she didn't think things through. It was because she ignored the consequences, believing she was above it all and wouldn't affect her in any way. Sunoo had tried to warn her of this many times before.

But too many careless mistakes in a single night would come at an unimaginable price— one Jihye would have to pay soon as time ticked away inside her pocket.

He's going to die, a voice in her head screamed, and Jihye felt her sanity cracking. And it's all because of you.

"Sunghoon." Jaeyun shatters the silence the four of them were in, falling with Sunghoon by his side to the ground. His hands quake by Sunghoon's stomach, having no clue whether to help him or not. He didn't even know if he could help him now. Not with an arrow skewering him as if he were some piece of meat.

Sunghoon, who was too shocked to answer, stared blankly up towards the night sky as Jaeyun laid him on his back. Deep and shaky breaths were the only indicator that he was still somehow managing to stay alive. Sunghoon's mind was still trying to accept the situation— accept that with an injury like his, there was no use for panicking as it wouldn't change anything.

Jihye wished time would stop at that moment. Or even better, go back entirely to before the idea of coming to Hadal crossed her mind. But wishing was useless to her and Sunghoon if it was near impossible.

She saw Jaeyun's lips move, but it was faint in her ears and she couldn't make out a single syllable. Heeseung scrambles to Sunghoon's side, his frightened hands removing his coat to keep Sunghoon's legs above his heart. The high-pitched ringing in her ears rendered her deaf to anything those two snapped at each other in panic.

The world had erupted in stars and Jihye's vision was starting to waver. She took a deep, shuddering breath, her hand holding onto her pounding head. She tries to take a step forward to be of Sunghoon's aid, but the movement only brings her to crash on her already bruised knees and ultimately laying on the cold stone ground similar to the corpse behind her.

With all the attention on Sunghoon, they hardly noticed Jihye had collapsed, at the brink of going fully unconscious. Her airways we're starting to constrict, making it harder to breathe. Panic flooding her veins and dulling her senses to everything surrounding her. Jihye desperately wanted to get rid of the searing pain that enveloped her muscles and bones, and the only way she could think of doing so was squeezing her shut.

With her focus all over the place, Jihye's so disoriented she hardly notices the faint surge of energy in her veins, the slowing of her watch's ticking, and how the world felt as if it stopped.

The pounding ceased momentarily, making Jihye assume she had passed out. She doesn't attempt to open back her eyes, afraid to learn her body had given up farther past than simply fainting. Though it wouldn't be a surprise if she were actually dead, the void and desolate abyss she was in did appear like death itself.

Moments of Jihye's life flicker in her mind like a play, acting out right in front of her as if she were sitting in a theater loge. Now Jihye truly did believe she was dead.

First comes her earliest memory, her at age seven, and Sunoo at age six, both of them running around in the Rose Garden after having escaped their mandatory etiquette classes. Shoes and clothes muddied, but a bright smile on both their faces. They received a huge scolding from the maids who had to clean them up, however Jihye and Sunoo did the same thing the next day.

𝐌𝐎𝐍𝐀𝐑𝐂𝐇.  enhypen Where stories live. Discover now