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Total Eclipse (Ray Route)

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Chapter 11 Why She Remained

Ray knocked on the door of his beloved’s room, almost twitching with excitement. He had been waiting for this moment, probably his whole life. When he got the okay to enter, he made sure to make his entrance graceful. After all, he had to impress his moon.

“Were you waiting for me, Luna...?” he asked eagerly.

Ray couldn't help but gaze at the woman in front of him. She wore a black dress with a white Peter pan collar, the upper chest and sleeves a sheer chiffon. He could make out the details of yet another tattoo across her collarbone, a bat in flight. She wore sheer tights and the Mary Janes he recognized from their first walk in the gardens. Her hair was tied back in a half updo, a large crimson bow peeking through the back. She had more jewelry in her ears than he first thought. She had simple makeup that brought out her eyes, and her lips were a supple red that matched her hairpiece. Luna looked like a gift wrapped miracle to him.

“Y-you beautiful, Luna.” He gasped.

Luna looked at her feet shyly.

“Now all you have to do is take the pledge to our contract. Then we can stay here forever. It just feels like a dream. I can't believe it's actually come true... I knew it. Everything I believed in was right. I knew I wouldn't regret listening to savior. Savior told me that I can be useful if I work hard here at Mint Eye. But now, Luna, I can entertain you at least for a moment. I' happy. I'm so happy I'm not sure if this is real or not. I'm so happy to see you smiling. That's why I'm afraid it will all go away like a dream...This isn't a dream, is it? I'm not going to wake up to find myself alone in my cold, dark room with nothing but computers, am I?” his voice shook as if he was about to cry.

“This isn't a dream. Trust me.” said Luna gently, taking his hands in hers. She curled her fingers in his, holding on tightly.

Those delicate hands that he wouldn't even dare to show bare. His frail spirit and the tired sad eyes.
Anybody else would have ended it all. But he didn't. Despite his suffering, despite his pain, he stayed alive. It was something to be admired. It was a reason she had decided to stay.

“I feel safe thanks to your warm hand. It assures me this is real. Please keep doing that. Hold on to me when I'm not sure what is happening......”

Ray took a deep breath.
“Luna...Like I told you before, if you officially take the pledge according to the Mint Eye's rules, you're free to roam around this place. To take the pledge, you must go through a certain procedure. But that procedure might be painful...depending on the person.”

“It was painful...for me.” said Ray meekly.

“Oh, why don't we talk somewhere else?” Ray hurried, eager to not let Luna see him weak. “I'm sure you were frustrated to stay locked in here. Let's look at the flowers and chat.”

“Okay, Ray. Let's go” Luna said as she held onto his left hand.

Hand in hand, they paced rhythmically. Down the stairs, not caring who saw.

“It’s nice that there are lights in the garden to allow people to take a walk during nights as well.” Ray would comment.

Then they were met with the fresh air of a summer’s night.

“This way, Luna.”

Ray led Luna to another part of the gardens they had not been to, and happened upon a wooden white bench surrounded by flowers. It was such a charming spot, like a page from a fairy tale. The pair sat close together, both itching to get the conversation going.

“...I don't want you to be in pain after drinking the me.”

What was that?, she wondered. Ray continued the conversation.

“I want to come here with you during the day, but my work always takes too long. It usually ends when you would be asleep…”

Ray raised Luna’s hand to his face, taking it with both hands.

“You know, Luna, you've accepted me the way I am. You always have for the past few days. I know you struggled, and maybe for you it wasn't an easy choice to make. I've never had a chance to feel...what it's like to have someone accept me.”

He smiled shyly.

“I've been thinking about it all day long. And I would trust me no matter what I tell you. Even if I tell you something that is completely out of the rules of the world you'll trust me...wouldn't you?”

His eyes were now pleading.

“Luna... Will you believe me no matter what I tell you?”

Luna sighed, thinking carefully about it.

“There will be times...I probably won't. I'm always questioning. But. I know your intention is not to harm me. Despite how I got here, you cared for me. So, I will believe in your good intentions.”

This was one of the traits Ray came to like about Luna. She was able to see the good in him, even if she disagreed with some of his ways.

“You are such an amazing person... You're nothing like those people I've known so far. I'll trust you, too, Luna. I'll trust you...more than anyone else.”

He planted a gentle kiss on Luna's knuckles.

“Luna... Don't you wanna know what this place is?”

Luna felt weightless, thrilled, knowing Ray is opening up to her and getting answers.

“Yes, Ray. I truly do.” She said sweetly.

“You're supposed to take a pledge after a special ceremony...but you also get a rundown on what this place is really about. And for this get to drink a specially made elixir for clean... I mean, for an orientation. Yes, that's it. And then you officially become one of us.”

Elixir. Luna never thought that word would send shivers down her spine. Still, she listened.

“But to some people, the side effect is just too strong, so it could be painful. To be honest...I'm scared that you'll be in pain after drinking the elixir. Just like me. If you're in pain, my heart will be in greater pain. We make people drink the elixir in order to show them the truth. Then they'll believe in us and become faithful followers.”

Luna was ready with a rebuttal. She had thought about how to persuade Ray out of the ‘contract’ process. She could not, and would not, participate in the cult practices.

“But you... You already trust me and believe in this place so much...even without the elixir. So I think you don't need the elixir or the orientation.”

For a moment Luna sat stunned, her words getting stuck in her tongue. Had she heard correctly? Was Ray really sparing her from the brutalities of the cult initiation? Luna almost couldn't believe what she had heard. She didn't need to persuade her way out of an unsavory situation, Ray had already decided to break every single rule of his lifestyle...for her sake. If Ray had broke through his brainwashing this way, even if it was just as an impulse, Luna had hope she could help fully de-convert Ray out of his cult mentality.

“But if someone asks you, you must tell them that you took the elixir. Alright?”

“Yes of course, my lips are sealed.” Luna said, her smile wide, making a zipper mime over her lips.

Ray thought it was delightful.

A brief silence and hesitation ran between them, then Luna asked the obvious next question.

“Ray, is it painful if you take that elixir?”

“Yes... I think the side effect is really bad for me. My head hurts, my heart throbs... It's so difficult to work while the elixir is in effect. So I used to take it a lot in the past, but now I take it only when I really, really need it.”

Luna decided to take a chance.

“But Ray...if the elixir is just hurting you, stop drinking it. I don't want you to be in pain so often. This practice is cruel, Ray. I can't believe they make you do this…” Luna scowled.

“Please understand, it's something I have to take. Otherwise I can't find paradise. But since you're so worried...I will try to take it less and less. I don't want to see you sad because of me”

He leaned closer.

“It's our secret that you didn't go through the orientation, okay?”

“Of course” said Luna, “Ray...the fact that you didn't make me go through with it...means so much more than you know. Thank you much. You're taking a huge risk for my sake, and I….”

Luna sighed, trying to prepare what she would say next.

“I've been a bit dishonest with you. first I acted like I was interested in you to get information out of you. All I wanted was to figure out what I had gotten into, and find a way out. But…”

She looked down at ground, feeling a sort of shame.

“Over time...I simply...stopped putting up an act around you. I anticipated your visits. I liked that you looked out for me, and I liked our conversations. Did you know, I snuck out and found your room? I wanted to see you right then but...I feared you would get in trouble. I couldn’t fathom bringing you any more pain. Somewhere along the way, I came to like you. And when it came down to it...I wanted to stay here. For you.” Luna concluded.


“Aahh...Luna, your gratitude makes my heart soar. Thank you...for your honesty. It must not have been easy for you to tell me. Just for that, Luna, you have my absolute trust.”

“And now, I'll tell you what this place is. Remember what I told you before? I told you that this place makes games. But honestly...there are more things going on in this place. One of our activities that is close to a game would be... Ah, yes. Providing delight to people tired of life, should I say? We do something fun and very meaningful at this place. The name for this place is Magenta. People here call this place Magenta, the paradise of dreams and hopes. Sounds like a world in the games, right? This is where people wounded from the outside world gather. Magenta is the only place they can be happy at.

“I, too...had terrible wounds when I first came here. But after the cleansing, I learned how to push behind the trauma of the past and step forward. And in the end, I was able to meet you. Everyone at the Magenta is like me. They ended up here like destiny with profound wounds and traumas. We all were born as the weaker in the world where only the fittest can survive and the stronger preys on the weaker.
Only the strong ones can survive in the outside world. Strong people like you. Do you think those born weak should live as prey until death?”

It was a loaded question, but it was one Luna knew how to answer.

“No, they have the right to live authentic lives like everyone else”

“Well…” Ray continued, “This is the one and only place for such people. People from the outside world are completely different from us... So I understand why they can't understand us. I was told that it's only logical - by their standards - that there are so many people who deny us. So that's why everyone has to live according to their rules. The strong ones live by their rules, and the weak ones live by theirs. And this is the rule we've chosen. Only those who follow our rules will get to join the 'Mint Eye' and live here at Magenta. Each of us has a role in this place. And my role is to protect the Magenta and Mint Eye's belief from the strong ones from the outside world.”

Luna could feel where this was going.

“I know what you're gonna say next...but, I want to hear it from you, Ray.”

Now he too looked down.

“So you figured it out yourself, huh? I, too, haven't been honest with you. Yes... The chatting game you've been actually not a game. They're real people. I'm sorry I couldn't tell you sooner. I told you it's a game because I was afraid you would hate or attack us like the people from the outside world. The RFA. They're a threat to the Mint Eye...but not all people of the RFA are dangerous. There are only two dangerous people there. They're named V and 707... You should beware of them.” Ray warned.

“But...why?” Luna pressed.

“Those two hurt me and savior even before the Mint Eye was created. We came to need this place because we couldn't take the pain they gave us.”

“What happened?”

“I'll give you the details later... This story is so painful for me to remember.”

“Alright, Ray. I won't force you. But...tell me someday, please. I want to hear your story, and your perspective.”

“Yes, I will. I want to tell you everything someday…Thank you for understanding.”

Ray caught Luna staring intently at him, focused on his every word. He found it quite cute how childlike her curiosity was.

“I can tell you're just dying to ask more questions, Luna. Go ahead and ask. You make a silly face when you concentrate.” said Ray, grinning at his own little joke.

Luna huffed a little. It's true, but he shouldn't say it. She realized Ray had just teased her, and she was glad for it. Because to her, it meant Ray was comfortable and willing enough to be more open and joke around to lighten up the conversation, even if it was a difficult subject for him. So, she indulged Ray, and let herself ask.

“Alright, you got me. So...who is this Savior?”

“Savior is the one who founded the Mint Eye. You will get to meet the savior soon.”

“Why...did you target the RFA?”

“The reason why I hacked the RFA chat room was to protect this place and to save the members of the RFA. They're being tricked by V. You've seen V making secrets to the rest of the RFA, didn't you...? He's a liar. You should never trust him.”

“Ray, I disagree with you. V is not a liar. Rather, he has immense guilt for a lot of things that makes him act stupidly and recklessly. I don't think he ever meant for things to get this bad. Why is it that your view on him is so twisted?”

The mood had gotten somber.

“At first, he pretended to save me... But that wasn't his plan. He was planning to throw me into the bottom of the abyss. I realized that only after I suffering near-death...I would have lost my will to live if it weren't for my savior.”

“How do you know that’s what he was trying to do? Did you hear him say it, or did someone else convince you otherwise? What did the rest of RFA had to do with it?”

“I don't know the rest of the RFA very well....but I kind of agree with my savior. I agree that any foolish soul who is being exploited by V deserves salvation.”

“That's why we decided to make an innocent person, a person who knows nothing about the RFA or the Mint Eye, to contact them. And that person is you, Luna. A lone traveler new to the country, from a corner of the world much different than ours.”


“You had to move them in order to figure out how the RFA collects information and data. Thankfully, you've done so well, so RFA decided to hold a party. And all the data related to the party, which is the core of the RFA, started to move.

“So...I'm just a pawn in some game of revenge.” Luna said, her eyes hard and intense. Her intensity could make any man shiver, Ray thought.

‘I'm so, so sorry I told you that this is a game...You're not a pawn, Luna. To me you are precious, and I intend to prove it. To be honest, I had zero expectations on the tester method. My savior told me multiple times…That since we're bringing someone outside Magenta into this...we must not get our hopes up. My savior told me to never forget that people from outside world like V and 707 can turn their backs on us and hurt us anytime. But Luna...I realized you're special. You're the type of person...who can be with us. Or can be among us without having to change your worldly ways. I'm so glad I got to meet you. Here was nothing but endless fight in my life... But now I have a haven called you.”

Luna was genuinely moved. She had a lot of bad experiences with people, her circle of friends always small, wary of meeting new people. The love she got from her friends was always welcoming and positive, and it was one she was used to. But this...this man who had suffered so much, this man who was trapped in his sorrow, this man who had given his all to her even if they hadn't known each other for long...this beautiful, pure looked at her as if she was the most precious jewel. She knew Ray had a lot of anger inside, and that he was manipulated to take vengeance. Luna was not used to it, she was not used to being thought of in such a way. She wasn't used to being a priority. Luna thought herself as selfish, reckless, and a complete loudmouth. She showed off constantly and she could be cruel without an ounce of hesitation. She could be moody and hated asking for help. Sometimes Luna couldn't comprehend why anyone was able to like her as a person. And yet...

“Luna...if you help me...just a bit more...we can save the RFA as well...Then don't you think I can live my life completely differently? You with more comfort....Do you think that's possible for me? My savior told me that this fight wouldn't take forever…That this fight will come to an end...if I work hard...really hard. That day will soon come...don't you think? So Luna...please continue this game a little longer. Once you hold the savior's and my goal will be complete. And after that…”

“...So that was what she made you do.”

The voice was familiar, and a tall figure came out hiding. He was striking with his mint hair and matching eyes.

“Who's there...?” Ray gasped.

“Saeran…” said the voice. “Luna, I've come to rescue you... But it appears I'm too late.”

Ray's eyes widened like a man possessed. Luna gasped upon recognizing who it was.

“...You...? How come you're...?”

The change was immediate. One minute he was calm and excited, then the next he became a complete nervous wreck. It was like a switch had been flipped, and all the damage from Ray's trauma came to the surface.

“Ugh...I knew it. I knew this wouldn't go well. No matter what I do, there will always be someone getting in my way. This happens all the time.” he shouted, voice shaking.

“Saeran...please calm down.” V pleaded, trying to calm down the distressed boy.

“Jihyun, it's you!” gasped Luna. Seeing the man face to face, she felt a huge relief. He had come for her after all. Though...she had to explain her decision. She had it explain why she would not escape with him.

“You remember my voice. I'm terribly sorry this is where we meet, Luna” V said regretfully.

“Wait...his name is...Saeran...?” Luna murmured, eyes wide, her heart racing and a sudden rush of adrenaline invaded her senses.

“It seemed he's under the name Ray at this place, though…” V explained.

Ray began to raise his voice.
“V... How did you get in here? Stop trying to torment us!”

“Please, Ray, let him explain!”

“It's all just a misunderstanding, Saeran…” V began, but was soon interrupted.

“Don't call me like that... Ugh... My head!” said Ray. He held his head in his hands, knuckles going white from the pressure.

“Ray, are you alright? Snap out of it!” Luna urged, grabbing the anxious man by the shoulders.

Ray saw Luna was distressed, he couldn't stand it. He felt the panic rise, and tried to push it away.

“I'm...fine...Luna... I'll explain about my name later. Don't believe anything that man tells you!” Ray replied, clearly not fine whatsoever.

“I infiltrated this place after determining that you're in danger...but I believe taking you out of this place at the given time is impossible. According to what I already believe more in him than in the RFA.” said V, sounding defeated.

“Of course, she won't believe you! You're a liar...!”

This only made Luna defensive. No one wanted to listen to HER.
“Both of you dare to assume what I do or don't believe? V, I need to ta-”

When Luna tried to approach V, Ray came in front of her, blocking her way.

“Luna, stay back...! Don't ever get close to him. He's dangerous…”

“Ray, please! I am perfectly safe in this situation! Get out of my way” Luna exclaimed, exasperated.

“B-but you don't know...what he's capable of…!” He yelled.

“ pains me to see you. I'm sure this is all my fault…” V said painfully.

“Don't say something like that! You don't feel guilty at all! I'm not falling for that this time. Never.” Ray shouted back, just as in pain.

“I'm not the one who's lying to you. Please...can't you listen to me?” begged V. His guilt only grew by the second, he desperately wanted to get through to him. However...

“Get away! Get away. Get away. Get away from me! Don't you dare touch Luna! I will never let you get away with it if you do...!” Ray threatened, wrapping a shaky arm around Luna protectively.

V decided he couldn't sugarcoat things any longer. At least Luna deserved to know the facts.

“You must be the one who hacked the messenger. You learned how to hack after your brother, didn't you...? Why did you have to go that far...?”

A brother?

“No... I'm going to beat that redhead. My savior told me that I have to...!”

Suddenly, it clicked. The photos of Luciel, the fact that they looked so familiar, as if she had seen that face before…the story about the plant Ray had raised…

“Oh my god, so he really is -”

“Luna, even though you probably noticed...I'll tell you now. You would have found out eventually, better to hear it from me directly.” V confessed.

“This boy whom you call 'Ray' and 707 are indeed twins” he began.

“It all makes sense now. The similarities…so it wasn't a coincidence” said Luna, voicing her thoughts out loud.

“I have no such thing as a brother. I threw that part away from my life years ago...!” Ray retaliated.

The pain in V's soft features were palpable.
“Saeran...You even brought a complete stranger to this...? I promised Luciel you would be safe…”

“Liar. That's all lie. Get away from me. Please...!


“Please, please get away. Just go away...from my sight!”

“Saeran…” V stepped forward, and in his hands, were two cards, each with a distinct name and flower.

“ this...?” Ray asked anxiously.

V continued to plead with Ray.
“I know you were heartbroken as much as you missed him. This is what you really looked like. I hope you would keep that in mind at least.”

“ Don't give me this. My savior will be so mad if I take it. You never gave me this. I did not see anything.” Ray’s voice broke, and he began to shake in absolute fear.

Luna felt anger surge through her. His supposed savior had mistreated him so horribly even mentioning her caused him to panic like a cornered animal. She had to tear down the cult, no matter the cost.

“You're shivering in fear while trapped by her side. My heart is wrenching in pain…” V said, his voice quivering, holding back a sob.

“You're going to torment us all...just like you did to my savior... You can't fool me.”

“I'm so sorry things turned out like this, Saeran…”

Ray let Luna go, his face had gone even paler, his breathing became heavier, and he had a haunted look in his eyes.

“!” He began to shout.

Luna had to stop him, before someone REALLY came. She couldn't let them catch V.

“Ray! Stop! Don't! Listen to me!” she shouted back.

“Look at me, Ray. Look at me!” Luna begged, grabbing Ray’s face forcefully.

The way Ray looked broke Luna’s heart. His eyes were misty now, his breathing labored, still trembling. She knew this. She knew what a panic attack looked like. If she didn't dry to calm him down, he could cause himself to go into shock or respiratory failure. She couldn't let that happen. Not to him.

Luna took a deep breath, and used her softest voice to speak to Ray.

“Give me five minutes with V. That's all I ask.”

Ray was about to struggle, but she stroked his face gently.

“Five minutes to speak with him. And then, when I'm done, I will send him away. And when I do, I will stay here...with you. Please, Ray. I

“Luna, please, do you know what you're do-” V began.

“Luna don't let him fool-” Ray interjected.

“Shut up! Both of you, shut up!” Luna yelled harshly, letting her anger slip for a split second. It had stunned both men into silence. She immediately regretted it.

“Sorry. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to shout. I'm just...” She didn't even want to finish that sentence, immediately turning her attention back to Ray.

“Ray, you have to breathe slowly, okay? Just focus on my voice. That's it, good. Steady.”

V watched in awe as Luna took the frightened boy and worked him through his panic.

Luna’s voice was like a soft blanket.
Ray’s tremors lessened, and his breathing slowed. Until he was able to speak again.

“'ll stay? You will? For me?” he managed to whisper.

“Yes. I promise I will. Just...let me take care of this. Let me protect you!” urged Luna, gentle but firm.

“....fine. Okay...I trust you, Luna...five minutes…”

“Hang tight. Sit back down, I will make sure he keeps his distance. You can turn around, you can tune us out. I won't be long, okay?”

Ray only nodded in acknowledgement.

Luna approached V, this time with no one to stop her.

“Luna......I'm terribly sorry this is how our encounter turned out.” said V sadly.

“I don't regret it. Not one bit. At least I got to meet, Jihyun...will you hear me out? I have a proposition for you.”

Luna was now face to face with the mysterious man from the messenger. He towered over Luna easily, and in turn Luna admired him without words. He was even more breathtaking in person.

“...Okay. I'll listen, Luna. Always.” V said.

“You and I...we both have the same objective, I think. We both want what's best for Ra-...Saeran. You want to repair the damage you think you might have caused, and I want to get him out of this fucking cult. Because I feel like one of these days, if he stays, he might die. This thing...they’re giving him. It's deteriorating his health, I see it and even he himself told me. I won't let that happen. I won't just stand around and slowly be destroyed by this horrible place. I want to get out, but I want to take Saeran with me. Can you agree to this, Jihyun? We work separate, but towards a common goal. You do whatever you need to do, and I will do my part from the inside. Does this sound fair?”

Where there would be hesitation, there was certainty. Where there should be distress, there was hope. Luna had made her decision, V knew, and no one in the world could stop her now.

“Yes. It does sound fair, Luna. I'm glad we can come to an understanding. However, I still fear for your safety. I heard everything that took place between you two. I suggest it would be better to pretend nothing happened in the chat rooms. For Saeran's sake.”

“Agreed. I will do just that. There's no need to drag any others into this.”

V sighed with relief, a sort of self comfort rather than acknowledgement.

“And as for my safety...I will do...everything in my power to help him.” Luna said.

“ you...have feelings for him, by chance?”

A deep sigh from Luna.

“...How I feel, it's complicated. However, I think soon I will discover that for sure. I still want to protect him. I'll even use force, if I have to.”

Then, Luna reached into the collar of her dress. She pushed up a small object from underneath the fabric in the chest area. V was about to ask what she was doing, until he saw the blade of a knife had appeared.

“I'm armed. No one else knows it. And if the situation calls for it, I won't hesitate.” She said, showing the switchblade to V so he could get a good look, then retracting the blade and putting it back under her clothes where it would be concealed.

“I think...I might have underestimated you, Luna. You manage to surprise me more and more” V said.

“ And as for this savior Saeran speaks about...I will expose them.” Luna promised.

“ you know who it could be?” V asked, hoping deep down, she was still in the dark about that.

“I have a vague idea, call it a hunch. But I have no proof, so I won't jump to conclusions.” Luna stated.

V felt more sure now, and knew that this was all he could do for now. There was no reason to stick around for long.

“You already see the truth. That is enough for me. Though we are leading different paths, our goals and minds are one. Thank you, Luna. I hope we meet again…”

“Yes...we will meet again, we must.” Luna said sweetly, and went over to embrace the man. This was another lost, pained soul that was tormented by grief and guilt. Luna hoped to find a way to help him, too. V trembled under Luna's touch, feeling a warmth he had never felt before. It was as if his mother had come back to him, in that moment.

Luna soon let him go.

“Now...Go! Get outta here! Don't let them catch you. And you BETTER take care, you hear?” She shouted.

Without another word, V bolted out of the gardens.

Luna sprinted back to the bench, hoping Ray hadn't gotten any worse. He was panting a little, but he didn't sound like he was lacking air.

Ray's attention snapped to Luna as soon as he heard her footsteps.

“...Is he...gone?” he gasped.

Luna sat next to him.

“He's gone, right...? Luna, you're safe, too, right?”

Ray was looking down, not daring to meet Luna's gaze in fear of what she might see there.

“Yes, he's gone. Don't worry. I'm safe, too. See? I'm okay. Not a scratch”

Ray began to sob.

“I...I'm too weak. I hate myself... I really hate myself...Maybe it's impossible... Maybe I can never...make you ha…”

Whatever he was gonna say next was muffled by strong sobs that shook his whole body. This time, Luna embraced Ray, letting his head rest on her chest. She ran her fingers through his hair, and then down his back, stroking him as if she were comforting a child. Ray clung onto her for dear life, desperate for consolation.

“Shhh, darling. It's okay. I'm here.” She would murmur to Ray as he cried in her arms.

Luna spotted a figure running towards them. It was a woman.

“I heard shouting, is everything alright?” asked the believer, concern written all over her face.

“There was a situation with a trespasser” Luna was quick to respond, “but I already took care of it.”

“Oh, is that the case?” said the woman.

She happened to be out in the halls of the mansion when she could hear voices from afar. Wondering what was happening, she went to investigate. Nobody else was around, so made haste, being on the opposite end of where the voices came from. The shouting had stopped, and she struggled to hear anything else. So she figured the shouting came from outside. By the time she reached the gardens, she was greeted coldly by a strange woman. She didn't recognize this strange woman, who was now holding onto one of the elites of Mint Eye. She had heard the rumors of a newcomer in Magenta, one who was on a special mission, the one that was nicknamed “songbird” by the residents.

“Thank you for your concern, now” Luna, “if you don't mind, we want to be alone”

The believer was about to protest, until she made direct eye contact with Luna. She was glaring sharply, directed straight at her. She was dubbed the songbird of Magenta, but seeing this person up close, she looked more like an angry hawk who could strike at any moment. The sheer anger in her expression gave her goosebumps, and her crimson scowl reminder her of the vampires she used to read about.

“S-sure, of course. Sorry to...i-interrupt” said the believer, and left in a hurry, feeling like SHE was the intruder instead.

Luna was glad she was able to scare off the woman, for she didn't want anybody else to go near Ray and cause a scene that would stress him out even further. In fact, in this moment, she would fight off anyone who tried to bring any harm to the weeping boy.

If Ray had noticed what had transpired, he didn't show it. He only hugged Luna tighter.
She silently wept with him.

They remained together like that for a while, Ray crying, Luna whispering words of comfort, wanting nothing more than to bring Ray the solace he deserved.

With his sobbing having come to a sudden stop, Ray slowly let go of Luna, gently separating himself from her.

“ Forget that. Forget...what I said” Ray whispered.

“But, Ray…” she mumbled, not wanting to let go.

“I'll walk you to your room...Luna.”

Then he took a look at Luna. Her eyes had gotten a little red, and he could see the shine of where her tears had not completely dried down her cheeks.

“I understand...even if you hate me...because of how pathetic I am.” Ray said miserably.

“I...I...d-don't hate you” Luna said, stuttering. Why did she stutter? It only made her look could make Ray feel at fault...

“Please calm down in there, and let's talk again...once you feel you're up for it…”

Luna could no longer argue with him. She simply nodded, feeling the exhaustion rain down directly on her senses. Ray looked exhausted too, his stance listless and devoid of emotion.

“I'm sorry I couldn't protect you....Luna.” were Ray's last words as they both left the gardens, walking in silence until Luna was safely escorted back to her room.

Luna wanted to say something, anything, but she could no longer find the words. Her bravado had ran out, and her energy was depleted. Luna didn't even remember Ray leaving her behind in that dark room, her kicking off her shoes, stripping down to her undergarments, and crawling under the covers, drifting into a troubled and deep sleep.

Chapter Text

Luna hadn’t been sleeping for long until she was woken up by a pain on her forehead. She had a headache, the pain near migraine level, which extended to her sinuses as well. After all the emotional labor and crying she experienced tonight it was no surprise she was also dehydrated. She quickly darted the bathroom where she kept her bottle of painkillers with her other toiletries. Upon looking at herself in the mirror, she saw her reflection was a wreck. Her eyeliner had smeared giving her the raccoon eye, and there were streaks of tears left by mascara. The only thing that stayed in place was her lipstick, as per the power of matte liquid lippies. She also saw that she was nearly naked too, hoping nobody else had seen her in this state. Luna took some time to wipe off the makeup and wash her face, wanting to feel like she had her shit together even a little bit. Thanks to the staff of the mansion refilling a jug of water with every meal, Luna had enough water to take the pills and rehydrate herself. Luna put on some clean pajamas, ones she had washed earlier that week. Her body was sore, as if she had been carrying heavy weights. Her eyelids felt heavy begging for sleep, but the pain in her head said otherwise. Luna laid on the bed face-up, just wishing the medicine will kick in so she can sleep in for a million years. While waiting for the pain to subside, she could not stop thinking about Ray. How was he right now? Did he go straight back to slaving away on his computer? Is he sleeping now? Will he have nightmares? Should she call him to check up on him? Should she sneak out again and just go to him?

A notification on the phone provided a good excuse to distract herself.

Jumin Han has entered the chatroom.
Luna has entered the chatroom.
Jumin Han: It's you. Are you not sleepy?
Luna: I can't go to sleep. There's something bothering me....and I have a splitting headache.
Jumin Han: If you are caught with a concern, try turning around from your emotions and find your peace. Some strong painkillers to rid of the pain.
Luna: Oh trust me. I already took em.
Jumin Han: It is a silent night....
Luna: I know I’m awake because I feel like a wreck, but why are you still awake?
Jumin Han: I opened my mailbox before going to bed and I got an email from my father. It says that there will be an important event that requires attention for this month...He suggests we should temporarily hold off this art business that we originally planned to work on in joint with Mr. Kim.
Jumin Han: But what is this unpleasant premonition?
Luna: What could be this important event?
Jumin Han: That's what I'd like to ask him. Art business was the key theme for this quarter....
Jumin Han: The only more important thing I can think of...would be a cat-related business. At least for me.
Luna: Whoa, whoa.... Let's take it easy, Jumin.
Jumin Han: I'm afraid it's improbable to do that since we're discussing cats here. However.....that's not the direction I'd like our conversation to take.
Jumin Han: Not to mention it is awfully suspicious that he sent the email in the middle of a night. He tends to write emails outside of business hours when there is something he feels guilty of.
Jumin Han: ...Don't tell me....Is this related to....
Luna: Pretty women.
Jumin Han: How come you know my father so well?
Luna: wha...I was just making a reference.
Jumin Han: Is this related to 'Madam Kim?' His new woman?....I wish I could say that can't be it, but the chances are high....In the past, before he parted ways with 'Madam Kang' not too long ago, he was beyond himself to start a business on oyster farming just because it happened to be her favored dish. He even sent a box of oysters to my office on daily occasions so that I could experience myself how richly bound they are with nutrition.
Luna: I wish...I could give those oysters to this certain someone...I'm worried if he's eating at all these days. Hell, if he is even given the damn chance at all!
Jumin Han: It appears there is someone troubling you.
Jumin Han: However, that person's health is his own responsibility. No matter how much people around him take care of him, it'd be all temporary if that person does not start caring for himself. I hope you'd relay this to your certain someone.
Luna: Oh, I'll try. Until something changes.
Jumin Han: Anyhow...We even ran a review on CVs from ecologists to hire for oyster farming. But before the actual hiring process started, my father's relationship ended - and thank goodness for that.
Luna: Phew, I'm glad it did! Imagine if it had gone any further.
Jumin Han: Agreed. My thoughts remain the same. Farming business has no relation to the C&R's future whatsoever. My father's only fault is that his decisions are compromised once his personal feelings start to take effect. And I can't express how glad I am that such characteristic is not included in my hereditary compositions. I presume we could do great things as father and son if his personal feelings are spent not on his new women, but for exploring the known and unknown of cats.
Luna: How about doing group charity work for those in need? I think I've seen a lot of people in need lately...
Jumin Han: Ah, that's something that is already ongoing, of course. For the sake of the company's value I've established charity foundation, and there are regular donations. But of course, I cannot deny that the part of my purpose is to bring students from the foundation as future personnel of C&R....Anyhow I believe it is necessary to do more than charity for mankind. I believe helping cats in need is a must as well. Though as much as I crave to build a colossal cat tower building...I should save my craving for the future, until I prevail the seat of heir with my accomplishments.
Luna: mmm….a cat to snuggle with would be great right now.
Jumin Han: I remind myself that I must be faithful to what I have at hand at the moment. And right now I'm having a moment of realization that motivation is what drives a task.
Luna: So a good motivation should derive from the heart, right?
Jumin Han: That'd be ideal. Unfortunately, the human heart is a complication. Even if it harbors a dream trivial concerns and disturbances always hinder. So heartfelt motivation cannot always happen.
Luna: and sometimes, those desires from the heart can he twisted to consume your whole life...
V has entered the chatroom.
V: Luna. I see you're logged in...Are you...umm...
V: Are you okay?
Luna: I've seen better days. Besides the headache, I don't think you have to worry about me.
V:....I'm glad to see you're here and chatting.
Jumin Han: Is there a problem with Luna's safety?
Luna: No, not at all. I'm just grumpy.
Jumin Han: I'm glad if that's the case. That you're safe, I mean.
Jumin Han: ...But why don't we change the subject?
V: ...
Jumin Han: What's your impression on the building of my dream? The cat tower?
V: I'm having a myriad of impressions, since I have no doubt you will actually manage to build it.
Jumin Han: I ,too, picture a mixture of potential scenes for my future whenever I gaze upon this print.

Jumin Han sent an image of a 3D render of a tower resembling a cat tree.

Luna: You mean your peace-and-nature-loving future?
Jumin Han: That's right... Your analysis is something, Luna. C&R has achieved so much for the past 2 decades but it has led to the destruction of natural habitats on the other hand. I, in fact, wish to lead eco-friendly business with a cat-related business as the mascot.
Luna: I'm glad to see a giant corporation actually caring about the environment. I wish they would do the same where I'm from.
V: Good for you, Jumin.
Jumin Han: Which is why I am thinking I should fix the statue of Elizabeth the 3rd on the top of the building.
V:I don't know about that....I think it would be better to place it at the entrance than on the top.
Jumin Han: Why is that?
Luna: We must prevent any aerial misfortunes. Depending on the height of the tower and the material the statue is made of it could also interfere with their signals.
V: That was what I wanted to say, Luna. Albeit for a different reason. The pilots flying over the bumight lose grip of their controls in alarm.
Jumin Han: Ah. That is a possible effect of her beauty. I appreciate your suggestions.
V: Anytime.
Luna: V, when do you plan to get to bed?
V: Oh....Actually, the reason why I logged in was partially to see if you're okay. It's also to ask something to Jumin.
Jumin Han: ?
V: Though I asked you and the rest of the members to leave everything regarding the hacker to me and Luciel...
V:....Perhaps. I should've asked this when you're not here, Luna.
Luna: But I need to know too.
V: must, for his sake.
Jumin Han: It sounds like you know something, Luna.
V:...She does, since this is related to that hacker.
Jumin Han: Hmm...let me hear it.
V: Alright.
V: As you'd know, I have no knowledge in hacking, so Luciel is entrusted with the majority of the task.
Jumin Han: I expected nothing else. However isn't Luciel already busy enough working as an informant?
Luna: Exactly. And I's rather cruel to make him chase after the hacker.
V:...I agree, Luna.
Jumin Han: Cruel...? Is there some other reason I have no knowledge of?
V: Uh....I can't tell you right now....
Jumin Han: Hmm.
V: First I wish you'd do me a favor. Could you?
Jumin Han: ...Very well. So let's hear it.
V: I am a bit ashamed to discuss this now after declaring everyone not to bother....
Luna: Go on, V.
Jumin Han: How exactly can I help?
V: So far I have asked two things from Luciel. 1. Identifying the hacker. 2. Securing the security of the messenger. And I want Luciel to take on only the second task.
Luna: ...I think we should keep Seven away from either of the tasks.
Jumin Han: To be honest I'm confused. Luna, it feels like you know much more than I know.
V: I'm sorry...I can't tell you everything right now.
Jumin Han: So are you saying that you'd like me, instead of Luciel, to investigate about this hacker?
V:...Yes. If that's possible.
Luna: I can understand why you would suggest this idea, since C&R has a huge reach. But this really the best?
V: It's the best option I can think of. And I haven't thought only once.
Jumin Han: But by the way, didn't you say… that even Luciel is struggling against that hacker? I'm not sure if the investigation can prove itself as a short-term task even with C&R's power in aid.
V: It doesn't matter how long it takes. My purpose for now is to lighten Luciel's load....
Jumin Han: Very well, then. I will also seek a way to aid him.
Luma: V, I think you're working too hard... You must be feeling so complicated...
V: Thank you so much for saying that, Luna...Now I'm feeling less concerned....
Jumin Han: It appears you two are maneuvering a little banter of secrets but I hope whatever you have on your shoulders would unravel soon.
Luna: Yeah. Me too.
V: Okay...Thanks, Jumin....
V: By the way is your art business completely postponed?
Jumin Han: Yes. I assume I will soon find a new task on my desk, but I'm not sure exactly what it will be. In order to reenact the building of my dreams in reality… I must first demonstrate my competence as a businessman to my father...
Luna: But I think you're already good enough!
Jumin Han: I didn't know that's what you think of me, Luna. We've known each other for only a short time...but you possess extraordinary judgment.
Luna: Oh, no. I just see that you're talented.
V: I agree.
V: I think you're good enough.
Jumin Han: I wish that's what my father thinks. However, it appears he only has interest in an obedient son who'd attend every family event, not in an individual named Jumin Han.
V: That's probably because he trusts you.
Luna: Sure but Jumin is also his own person and deserves the same independence.
Jumin Han: I think so as well. I hope he does trust me....
V: Anyhow, I'll tell Luciel that he doesn't need to work on trying to figure out who the hacker is.
Jumin Han: Alright. However, keep in mind that it will take longer than it would have under Luciel's management.
V: Alright.
Jumin Han: I see your relationship with Luciel has not changed a bit.
V: Huh? What are you talking about?
Jumin Han: Luciel is now an adult, but it feels like he's still under your guardianship.
Luna: ....At least I appreciate that you're working so hard.
V:...I feel like my efforts are but vain. I appreciate your words, though.
Jumin Han: I think you're already doing a splendid job.
V: ...I don't know. But I appreciate your positive review on me.
V: And now, I think I must go. There's something I must attend to for a moment.
Jumin Han: Aren't you going to bed yet?
V: I will. Soon. It's just that there's something I need to wrap up...
Luna: Is this related to the mission?
V:...I'll tell you later, Luna.
Jumin Han: Busy as always, V. I'd like you to share with me what you have investigated about the hacker so far. I too will tend to that matter as soon as I can.
V: I will. Thanks a lot!
Jumin Han: Sure.
Luna: I'll see you again - !
V: Please watch yourself, Luna.
Luna: You know I will, I have a sharp will.
V: I'll...see you soon.
V has left the chatroom.
Jumin Han: It seems like you share a dozen of secrets with V.
Luna: I ended up here by pure coincidence...but I hope everyone would be happy. There's something I must do here. I will work towards bringing a good conclusion.
Jumin Han: I'll take that as your sincere prayer. Wouldn't he have told us all of his secrets if he knew how we all felt? When we were young he never disappeared so mysteriously like that...V rarely asks me favors, so that's why I try my best to do whatever it is he asks me.
Luna: I think I understand him... I can't imagine what he's going through.
Jumin Han: If you're having that thought based on the secret exclusive to you.... then I understand. If he actually asks me a favor that would mean it's something very essential to him...Are my speculations correct? Is he still experiencing difficulty putting behind the past when he looked after Luciel with Rika at the cathedral?
Jumin Han: I can define my relationship with V as friendship. The relationship between Luciel and V, however...I more familial.
Luna: I agree.... V seems to have a very strong sense of responsibility. The type to protect others.
Jumin Han: He was very self-centered during his childhood. You'd be surprised if I tell you what he used to be like.
Jumin Han: However, as of now...Defining a relationship is a challenge, just as always.
Jumin Han: Hmm...I realized I just finished my last glass of wine. I should now head to bed as well. When do you plan to head to bed?
Luna: I don't think I can sleep. I have a lot on my mind..
Jumin Han: When you have a lot of troubles, you can try visualizing yourself gazing at your worries afar, as if you're on sightseeing. Because every concern...later proves to be evanescent.
Luna: Good night.
Jumin Han: Now please excuse me....
Jumin Han has left the chatroom.
Luna has left the chatroom.

Jumin was right, Luna thought. Now it was she who tumbled down the rabbit hole of deep secrets. Luna finally was able to understand V’s position, his burden. Though she had no doubt that V was hurting from it more than anyone. He had made so many mistakes, his guilt was all consuming, and yet V was still checking up on HER well-being. Where was V now? Did he get somewhere safe? Is he lonely?

There was an incoming call from V. She answered without hesitation.

“Hello, Luna. This is V, the head of RFA. I figured you would have been surprised seeing me like that... and have called you like this.” said V, sounding apologetic.

“I’m just... still in awe that you are a real person and not an AI. I suspected as much, but still. It’s shocking” replied Luna, laughing to herself.

“There are parts where I now finally understand. You did exhibit some suggestive things, like talking about the laws of robotics, but I didn't know it would mean that…” V replied.

“Yeah, I thought I was paranoid. I talked about that as a test to confirm that I wasn't going crazy, and that you and the RFA were real people.” said Luna, a little embarrassed now.

“It seemed to have worked well enough. I'm an actual living person and this is all happening in reality. Though someone might want to believe this is all a dream. I don't know how you will take this when I say this but.. I have been monitoring you for some time. And I learned that that child relies heavily on you.”

Luna sighed upon the mentioning of Ray.
“It kinda does seem like it, huh”

“I can vividly recall the child stepping before you, trying to protect you when we met. I know he didn't want to see me, but the fact that he put himself before you...says a lot.” V said, genuinely surprised.

This only made Luna even more worried.

“Is there anything else I can do? I'm so worried about him, and what this place is doing to him…” she asked. It wasn't hard to say that she was a worrier, and she simply couldn't help but want to look out for the poor boy. She knew what the cult mentality had done to her, and she knew it has done worse things to Ray.

V took a moment before giving his answer.

“I want you to look after the child. You already know he's a weakling in a way, since you've seen it all, being next to the him. Looking at how desperately the child was trying to protect you... it made me painful to see it. Even if I say to look after the him, there won't be anything atypical. I want you to just look after what kind of situation he is in, how he's feeling while talking to him more often. That's all I ask.”

There was one thing bothering Luna.

“V, I know this goes deeper than just trauma. What part did you play in this story?” She asked sharply.

“...I cannot tell the details, but looking after Saeran is something that I must do. But being in the position I'm in, it's not easy to contact the child or look into him. I'm asking you this favor after thinking thoroughly of it. Because, currently, the person who is the closest to Saeran is you.”

“Yeah, it baffled me a bit. How he got attached to me so quickly. It's not something I used to, but now that I know more, I understand why he did. Right now he's like a baby duckling who imprinted on the first thing he saw, so to speak. Maybe it's because I'm from outside the cult that he is curious about me. And not to brag, but to some extent, I'm glad it was me who he found. I feel like most other people would have completely disregarded Saeran as just another basket case.” Luna admitted, to herself and to V.

“Yes, about that...I want to ask, how are you able to treat this situation with such confidence?” V asked curiously.

“Well, let's just say...I have experience with cults prior to coming here. I know how they work, how they manipulate, how they drag you in. I got myself out and I have hope Saeran can be de-converted. At least, that's my hope. And I have a reason to hope. He initially wanted to give me the elixir but...he didn't give it to me. He refused to let me drink it. He didn't want to see me hurting like he was. This is huge when it comes to undoing cult mentality, he decided this for himself, he decided to go against his conditioning for someone else's sake. I was ready to persuade my way out of the initiation, but I didn't need to do it. I believe I can do much more now to get him and myself out of the cult” Luna shared eagerly.

“I see...that makes this a bit easier. I have more confidence that he will be led in the right direction. His unwillingness to see someone he cares for be hurt...that's the real Saeran. It will be enough to know that nothing happens to that child. What I'm worried about is that something might happen to Saeran. And when that something does happen... I'm very afraid... that I won't be able to handle it at the right time. Since you seem close with that child, I thought you would know right away if something happened.” said V.

“Yes. I will pay close attention, especially since I'm soon to get more access to the mansion. You know how far I'm willing to go for my ultimate goal” Luna promised.

“Good. You have infiltrated successfully, much better than I ever could. Also, there is one more thing I wanted to tell you. The party will be held as originally planned. So if other members recommend guests to you, please proceed how you always did.”

There was another concern that bugged her.

“I want to know why you're pushing so hard to have the party.”

“It's because...All I can say is that it's for the sake of Saeran. If the party is canceled, the child might fall in danger.” said V.

“I won't let that happen.”

“All I want is to avoid that as much as I can. Even for you... I believe you wouldn't want anything dangerous happening to him.” V concluded.

“Why would Saeran be in danger?” Luna asked.

“According to the data I've collected, the child is in charge of handling the RFA party. If something suddenly goes wrong... he will have to take responsibility for everything. What the result of such responsibility would come to be.... I would rather not say. I do not want to burden you with the thought. So please, stop asking anymore questions.”

“Fine. But you can't leave me completely in the dark, you know.” said Luna, a little cold in her reply.

“The child has been scarred numerous times internally and needs someone to rely on. I think you are that person for him.” V tried to reassure Luna.

Yet, Luna still sought for knowledge.
“I want to know what your relationship with Saeran is.”

V sighed, thinking carefully on what he was gonna say next. Luna was inquisitive, V almost couldn't keep up with her wit and endless curiosity. He had to answer in a way that wouldn't reveal too much, but still leave Luna satisfied.

“Relationship.... How should I put it. The child hates me a lot right now but... I don't hate him. It' all because of a misunderstanding that Saeran is despising me. I don't really care if I'm being hated or not but it pains me to see how tough it is for the child trying to hate me. The fact that the child can talk to you will be great strength to him. Please look after Saeran. Of course, you should take care as well. This is a favor I ask as the head of our association.”

What the misunderstanding it was, Luna didn't know. Even though she wanted to know, she felt like she has pressured V enough tonight. They were both pretty wiped out.

“I will take care of him. Whether you ask me to or not.” Luna concluded.

“Firm as always. It's a good trait. It means you see things to the end.”

A brief silence.

“...I must hang up now. I'll contact you again”

“Yes, V. Please do. Bye.”

Luna hung up first. The man was hiding too much, and Luna hated not knowing the important details. She could only make theories from the scattered bread crumbs left behind for her. The bread crumbs went somewhere, and she wanted to follow them.

She got texts from V right after.

V: I would like to ask you to please not tell the rest of the RFA what you know about Saeyoung and my relation to Saeran.
Luna: Fine. It's not easy but I can see why it must be done.
V: My intuition tells me you're not a bad person.
V: I hope your thoughts will lead you to a positive conclusion. I believe this is the best for Saeran, Luciel, and all of us. So I would like to ask for your cooperation.

Then texts from Ray.

Ray: There's something I need to tell you.I...I won't be able to contact you until I'm all done with my job for the day. Sorry to make you lonely....
Luna: Good luck, Ray! You got this!
Ray: ...I'm so happy you said that. I know that I don't deserve your cheering...
Luna: Then is it ok for me to call or text you first?
Ray: But I'll do my best. I'll do my best and I will get back to you. Well, I'm not prohibited on that part....Oh, but I am going to be super focused so I might not be able to pick up at all...Sorry…
Luna: It's alright! Thanks for letting me know. See ya later, darling.

She asked herself many questions, worrying about both Ray and V, until her headache faded and sleep took hold once more.

Everything was quiet in Magenta, not a creature was stirring, except for two members, the leader and the servant. Ray was reporting the events of the evening, frightfully so, in that ornate room.

“V threatened Luna and gave us a bunch of lies that what I know is nothing but lies before he left.” Ray concluded, his arm tucked by his heart, as if to shrink himself.

“You don't believe in his lies, do you?” said a woman with long, blonde curls and a long dress dark as night.

“No! Of course not...not even a bit…” Ray exclaimed, and started trembling.

“I'm scared. What if he comes back and takes her away? I lost him right under my nose. I don't think I even deserve to see her now…My only dream was to make her happy at this place…”

The woman said nothing, listening to her puppet’s cries. Her green eyes glimmered with interest.

“What should I do, my savior? You told me that I must not fear him, but I…”

“...Ray. Poor child.” said the savior, putting both hands to cup Ray's face.

“Look at you. You've become a coward. You've lost control over your fear and feelings. You're lost in your feelings towards that girl. Not to mention you realized just now that shameless intruder was lurking in this place for months…”

She let her gaze turn cold.
“Now you're a coward and a good-for-nothing.”

Ray's demeanor became submissive, self hating.
“...I knew it. I've done something wrong, didn't I? Is everything my fault...?”

“The answer lies within you, Ray.” urged the savior.

“What should I do? Help me, my savior…” begged Ray.

“Of course. I'll always be there for you. I can help you next time if you show me how different you've become” replied the savior.

Then she concluded with venom in her tone.
“But if that's not the case...Perhaps this place doesn't need you, Ray.”

Ray's eyes went wide with terror, and she was pleased. That's how the savior wanted to see him, obedient, afraid, and subservient. She didn't regret a second of his conditioning.

But the girl was a whole other matter, and one that she knew would be tough to crack. Ray was the key, she just had to find the lock.

Luna had been walking along a snowy path in a forest of pines. Everything was silent save the sounds of her footsteps on the snowy ground. Then in the distance, she saw a shape. And as she walked closer, Luna was entranced. It was a stag, white as the snow on the ground, with brilliant blue green eyes, and pale antlers adorning his head. He was a sight to behold, and it was one Luna could not resist. She approached the stag cautiously, not wanting to scare it off. However, to Luna's surprise, the stag approached her as well, until they were face to face. The stag was even more breathtaking up close, like a ghost or a forest guardian. Luna slowly raised a hand to stroke his face, and the stag leaned into her touch. He was soft, and warm to her cold hands. Then the scene changed. The sky had gone red, trees had gone dark. The stag’s coat was covered in wounds, oozing black sludge. Then he started weeping...weeping golden tears like sap from those minty eyes.

Luna then woke up. This dream wasn't as frightening as the last, but it still had her heart beat faster. Another odd dream to add to the list, she thought. Luna turned on her bedside lamp and brought out the small sketchbook she took with her for her travels. It was compact and hard covered, and it was a good little companion for those long layovers or overnights at airports waiting for the first trains to run. She had a habit of drawing out her dreams if she remembered them, and this one she did clear as day. It was a quick sketch of the stag she had seen, and as she was drawing his expressive eyes, a chatroom had opened. Then she couldn't help but notice that the minty eyes in her dream were so much like Ray's.

707 has entered the chatroom.
Luna has entered the chatroom.
707: Luna. It's late. U no sleep yet?
Luna: There's something that pains my heart....
707: That hacker isn't being mean to you, is he?
Luna: No.
707: Then thank god lolol If he's mean to you, I'll get him for it later lol
707: But I don't think this hacker is the type to frustrate people based on his attacks on the messenger... T_T
707: Anyways, I'm glad you're safe! But I'm feeling complicated becuz of V T_T
Luna: Because he told you not to chase the hacker?
707: yep
707: Correct lol
707: ===Start===
707: Sleeping are the souls except for cats and 707
707: (Luna plz pretend to be asleep lol)
707: it's a silent night
707: with waves of 0 and 1....
707: And V's guardian mode turns on
707: and ghosts over my senses
707: I turn it off
707: but it's on again the next morning
Luna: ON - and ON - and ON - and ON -
707: V's guardian mode is ON
707: your cuteness is ON
707: ===End===
Luna: pff aww ^-^
707: haha…
Luna: I have a poem too.
707: OOOHHH do tell! The chatroom is your stage!
Luna: As I settle down to sleep, new secrets I must keep. The gentle heart is working, a precious soul is he. I often think in daylight, how hard his life must be. I want to give him wings, a song of fire and dreams. To fly away together, and a new beginning it brings.
707: …..
707: whoooooooaaaaaaaah...Luna...that was…*sniff* man so much feeling, I'm getting the feels!
Luna: Oh, hush. You're just saying that. It was only a random drabble.
707: the randomness of the artist!
707: You know, V.
707: he said i should stop tracking the hacker and defend the messenger from behind and asked Jumin to investigate about the hacker T_T
Luna: Don't be sad... I'm sure he has a good reason why.
707: I'm sure he does....Maybe it's because I'm no good?
707: T_T
707: i thought i'm doing a good job, and recently my informant is finally giving me some room for me to breathe!!
707: So, I can do this
Luna: I don't know... I can't tell you why, but I don’t think you should chase that hacker.
707: I think
707: there's secret gold hidden inside a mountain named 'unspeakable reason.'
707: I need a pick!! A pick!!
707: Did V really lose trust with me...?
707: V
707: ur my
707: big daddy...!
Luna: djdjdjdjfismakak
707: it hurts a lot
707: to be rejected from daddy T_T
Luna: god. I can’t.
707: ;)
Luna: little shit.
707: Language! :O
Luna: I wish V would tell you everything... It feels like things just can't be more complicated.
707: It feels like you know at least part of those complicated things. But I knew something wasn't right. Why in the world would there be a hacker out of the blue attacking RFA?
707: I can smell a mystery within the RFA.
707: sniff
707: sniff sniff sniff sniff
Luna: smells like bullshit.
707: Hey! Luna! Bad!
707: i shud ask V about this in the morning
707: i can take care of this if there's time...
707: umm...Or is he worried that i'll be shocked becuz of what happened yesterday??
Luna: Yesterday?
707: Uh
707: yesterday I saw something shocking T_T But right now I'm ok!
707: Anyways....I'm fine, my informant's probably fine too lol
707: no need to rely on Jumin...i'm all good to work! good enough to work at this hour too!!
707: +_+ What do you think, Luna?
Luna:'s no use, I am still full of melancholy. Why is my heart breaking at this situation?
707: Luna
707: if you're staying awake becuz RFA's soap opera is keeping you awake, there's no way but for your sentiments to stay awake too
707: Oh, let me recommend a guest to give you some fun, and to prove i can do my work right lol
707: It's Ms. Bong the Bard, a poet who writes legendary works of poems
707: Her most famous work is titled 'Rice Cake'
707: it says she cuts the rice cakes in hundred pieces of same sizes with her left hand
707: and keeping her eyes closed ever since she was a child lol
Luna: I wish she could write this complicated situation into poems... Sure, let's invite her.
707: ok then, I'll tell her to send an email lol
707: Umm...V's worried about me, so in return i want to prove that I'm ok!
Luna: Luciel...You’re so good. Please stay the way you are, always bright and cheerful.
707: okey dokey!! I, the defender of justice, will never back down from depression. I'll always be positive again lol
Luna: ^-^
707: I'll use this energy to run analysis on the rest of the data - !
707: And now
707: it's time for me to run like the wind
Luna: Goodbye, my cheerful breeze....
707: whish(goes the wind)
707: whiiiiish
707 has left the chatroom.
Luna: like the breeze of flapping wings.
Luna has left the chatroom .

Sighing, Luna logged out of the chatroom. Steven's jokes and memes would usually make her laugh, but this time they had no effect on her overall mood. If only she could hear from Ray, her mind would be a little more at ease. With that thought in her mind, she drifted off once more.

Luna hadn't even realized she has fallen asleep with her phone until it vibrated under her face, which no doubt she had unknowingly tucked in. The sketchbook she had used the night before was sprawled across her arm, and the pouch of pens and pencils had all spilled out.

There was an incoming phone call, it was Seven.

“Hello? Luna? Do you have some time?” said Seven.

“I'm...I just woke up so. Sure.” Luna replied sleepily.

“No, it doesn't matter even if you don't have time. I'll talk twice no, 16 times faster so could you please listen?” asked Seven.

“Sweets, just go on ahead”

“Okay...My mentality has been smashed to pieces right now. It smashed, turned into dust and flying around. Haaaaaaa” said Seven, sighing heavily.

“Haaaaaaa” Luna groaned back, sighing along with him.

“...You're troubled with something too? Or is that a signal to have a deep sigh battle with me?” said Seven in an attempt to be playful.

“Wazzat…? Sorry, I'm still a bit groggy.” Luna said, yawning.

“I'm sorry. I don't even know what I'm saying right now. You heard what situation I'm in, right? V telling me to take my hands off from searching the hacker. I mean, yeah, okay. I can understand his intent in trying to lessen my workload. I'm thankful to V for being considerate of my and asking Jumin for a favor to do so but....It's those kind of things like, the teacher gave me a difficult homework. Seeing what a hard time I'm having says "Seems it's a bit early for you to do the homework. I'll give you an easier one." That kind of feeling. Kind of makes me feel discouraged or something, wondering why I was trying to do my best and all....Am I that stupid...stuff like that. I kind of feel blue and sand and all. Kind of makes me question if I'm not that trustworthy…”

“There might be a reason behind it, you.know.” said Luna nonchalantly, only afterward wanting to kick herself for almost letting the secret spill.

“A reason? Like what? Nothing is coming to my mind... is there something that comes to your mind?”

“That's locked and sealed, I threw away the key” Luna said simply.

“Uh....Did you promise something to V? If so, I won't ask any further. But the idea that there may be a different reason... It kind of makes me feel relieved but at the same time more anxious...Still, I do feel better talking to you like this. Thanks. Like how you said, V must have a plan. I'm going to believe in that. Oomph!”

It made Luna smile a little.

“Well then, since I've gained some energy thanks to you, I shall go back to work. Thanks for listening to me. Let's talk again later! Bye!”

“Bye, meme man” Luna teased, and hung up.

It was early morning, the sun was barely rising over the horizon. Since the night she snuck out through the window she kept one of the window’s curtains drawn back to let in natural light at all hours. Despite usually being a little shy for sunlight, in these dreary days, it became a comfort. A chatroom had opened, and Luna did not hesitate to log in at the speed of light as soon as she saw it was Ray in the room.

Ray has entered the chatroom.
Luna has entered the chatroom.
Ray: Hi...Luna. You're logged in.
Luna: Sweetie, I was so worried you disappeared in such a hurry... Are you alright now?
Ray: ...I don't even deserve your caring.
Luna: why do you say that, hun? :<
Ray: Luna, are you alright? How are you doing in your room?
Ray: I'm sure you were disappointed a lot after seeing me last night....
Luna: I'm not disappointed, darling.... My heart is starting to break for you.
Ray: Your heart is breaking? That's also my fault....
Luna: No, don't. How I'm feeling is of my own doing.
Ray: Even so, I...
Ray: I...I thought I grew somewhat...But now it looks like I'm mistaken. The whole world is against me...looks like I forgot my place and thought that my dreams will soon come true...
Ray: ....
Luna: No, please don't blame yourself. This is not your fault at all.
Ray: You care for me even in this situation...
Luna: of course I do!
Ray: I don't protect someone so kind and so good like you.
Ray: This is all my fault. I’m sorry…
Luna: there's no need to apologize. I won't forget what you risked for me.
Ray: I couldn't even do my job right and I boasted to you that I can protect you…You must be thinking I'm such an idiot...
Luna: You're already doing more than enough to protect me.
Ray: ...You really think so? Even after what happened last night? I'm doing my best but it's never good enough....
Ray: I don't want you to hate me. Not you too. And I must become a better person to make sure that never happens...
Ray: I...I'm a moron, I was like this from birth. That must be why I'm hurting people who care for me....
Luna: No one is an airhead from birth. Please don't say that, Ray...
Ray: No, it's true. You might be disappointed in me but I....I'm so stupid...I'm weak...I hate myself. I hate myself so much…
Luna: who told you these awful things? Who made you feel like you were nothing?
Ray: I...can’t say...I just...I couldn't protect you...!
Ray: I think for a while…I'll just focus on proving my worth.
Ray: I should be thankful that there's something to do for an airhead like me...
Luna: Please don't blame yourself like that... My heart is aching as well.
Ray: Luna, I don't want you in pain. So I won't blame myself! Never, ever! can I not blame myself?
Ray: Ugh....
Ray: I promised I won't blame myself when I don't even know how...I'm such an airhead. I'm sorry....I hate myself so much T_T
Ray: Luna, but I'm glad that you haven't left me yet.
Luna: I said I'd stay. I intend to keep doing so.
Ray: ...Thanks for chatting with me.
Ray has left the chatroom.
Luna: Wait!
Luna: it's time to take action.
Luna has left the chatroom.

With the assumption that most of the mansion residents were still asleep, Luna put on her slippers and left the room. Ray had said she now had the privileges of a full member, and that she was allowed to move freely. She wouldn't let the opportunity pass. She only hoped she wouldn't be interrupted.

Chapter Text

Chapter 13

Luna was right, there really WAS no one around. Even the usual people keeping watch near the room were gone. They probably figured it wouldn't be an issue, since she was usually such a late riser. For once, Luna was glad for her restlessness. Luna couldn't access any of the other rooms downstairs, as they all required some kind of card. But it was enough that she could at least get a feel for the layout of the mansion. It would provide an idea on how to execute a quick escape, if the need came. Plus, knowing the territory of the enemy made her more sure of herself and what she was doing. The more she knew, the more sure she was. She had come upon the hallway if the two special rooms. One of them she didn't know the owner of, but she figured it was someone important. The other she knew too well. Luna approached the development room quietly. She wanted to knock, to enter. Luna wondered if he was still hard at work, if he was finally getting some rest. How he was feeling and how he was coping. So many things she wanted to know. Luna pressed her ear to the door, hoping to hear anything. She couldn't hear much except for the hum of machines.

Luna felt her phone vibrating in her hand, and she panicked a little. Her eyes almost leapt out, as she saw Ray was calling. She looked around her, wondering where to hide out. She didn't exactly want to be heard by Ray and discover her lurking.

“Hello? Luna? You've answered my call. Thanks.” said Ray on the other line.

“Hang on just a sec, Ray” Luna said quietly.

Luna ran to the nearest staircase, going up one landing where the window was. She was less likely to be seen there, she hoped. Plus there was better signal in that spot.

“Okay, I'm ready. Hello Ray, what's up?” Luna said much more calmly.

“Truth is, I'm not suppose to call when I'm working but... I called as I was worried of you. How are you doing? Did anything happen while I couldn't be in touch with you? If... V calls you and says strange things, please tell me.” Ray urged.

“No, nothing like that happened.” Luna said. It was partially a lie, as V had called. It was best he didn't know.

“...That's a relief. You do know you can ask me anything you want to know whenever, right? No, it doesn't matter even if you don't have time. I'll talk twice, no, 16 times faster so could you please listen?”

Now that was a familiar line.

“I saw that you weren't in your room. Where are you?” Ray asked suddenly

Luna was suddenly taken aback. How had he known she wasn't in the room?

“ Uhh….Were you monitoring my room, by chance?”

“Um... it's that... I'm sorry. I didn't intend to monitor you! If you're angry, I'm sorry....I just sometimes check when I have the time.... I'm sorry...Whether you've eaten, sleeping well, if you aren't bored, if you're crying or not... I'm constantly worried of you…”

Luna was glad to have him looking out for her, but at the same time it made her feel uneasy. She definitely had to be more careful on these escapades from now on.

“I'm uh, not far from my room. I just woke up early and felt like walking. Don't worry. I'm fine.” Luna partially lied.

“Yes. that's what I wanted to hear. If you're sad or sick because of me... I don't think I can stand that. Since I'm used to that type of agony... I want to take away everything that'll make you uncomfortable.” said Ray, clearly sounding relieved.

“I'm okay, really, sweets” Luna reassured softly.

“Listening to your voice like this, I feel a bit relieved. If something happens, you have to tell me! You must!” Ray inquired.

“I'll do that if you promise me that you'll contact me more often, okay sugar?” said Luna.

“Sure! I'll keep in touch with you whenever I have the time! Since I cannot shorten the hours I work...I'll try to lessen some other time I use! It'll be difficult to lessen the time I eat to less than 10 minutes....I should lessen the time I sleep....”

There he was, self sacrificing again.

“Awww no, hun. You need to sleep!” Luna insisted.

“Since even if I sleep, I can't get quality sleep as I dream nightmares. It would be better to talk with you at that time! If it's okay to contact you at late hours, then I'll do it more often. Consider that I'm here for you. You won't feel lonely even when you're alone. Since I'm continuously thinking of you…”

Oww, my heart, Luna thought. She wanted to just hold him again.

“Has anyone ever told you that you're just adorable? Because if not, I'm going to say it. You're adorable, Ray!”

Luna could almost see him blush that strawberry red on the other line.

“ one has ever told me that, adorable...hah...If you're happy, I'm happy. Just remember that.”

“Hmm, I'm glad to hear that” Luna murmured.

“...Oh, savior is looking for me. I should hang up now.... I want to keep on talking with you but... I should go...I hope you have a good day.”

Luna wanted to leave Ray with a little boost.

“If anyone causes any trouble for you, tell me. I will swiftly punch them where it hurts!” said Luna boldly.

“Luna, don't! I, you'd do that for me? B-but don't worry there's no need to do that. I really do have to go now, I will talk to you later okay? Okay. Bye.”

Then he hung up.

“Bye bye, beautiful” Luna said to herself after Ray hung up.

Luna had enough of exploring. She just wanted to sleep again. So she went back to her room without issue, and went straight back to her slumber.

V had managed to finally go back to his home again. He had spent so much time hiding out in Magenta, feeling paranoid and watching his every move, that it almost felt alien having nothing to worry about in a familiar environment. V was just wrapping up a conversation with Jumin, the subject being the completion of the intelligence unit.

‘Thanks for looking into it, Jumin. I didn't think you'd do that so fast. I'm sure Luciel will be pleased as well. Even though he sounded like he didn't in the messenger. Sure, go ahead. Please tell Jaehee that I said thanks. Yes, yes... I'll talk to you again.”


V let himself fall face up on his couch, wishing he would never get up again.

‘...I know I can't hide him from Luciel forever, but...I cannot let him hunt down his own brother. Saeran...looked weak and insecure. There's no question that it's my fault he turned out like that...I must turn him back no matter what. For Luciel's sake…I promised that I'll keep him safe and happy.... But I let things end up like this....I pray...that he'll stay healthy...until everything finds its original place…’

His mind briefly went to that night in the gardens, when he attempted a rescue of whom he thought was a victim. Luna had a strong presence, and stood tall in the face of adversity, no doubt holding her own faucet of sadness yet persevering and finding solutions instead of wallowing in self pity. V wished he had those traits, so maybe he could finally have the courage to tell the whole truth. But he knew that it wasn't easy, and he hated himself for it. Luna wasn't a victim, she was a fighter. She proved it as much when she showed him her weapon with as much ease as talking about the weather. Something told him that her pride was too great as to let herself become a helpless victim, anyhow. If he was confident about anything, it was her capacity to take care of herself. V almost felt like a bother when trying to assist.

V let his mind wander to a simpler time, a time where he had less regrets. A time where Saeran was happier, fancy free, and innocent as a budding flower. The boy loved flowers, especially after escaping his abusive household. Despite his hardships, the boy remained pure and with an admiration for the beauty of the world. He was fascinated with the flowers, it's varieties, the colors. The sheer diversity of plant life, Saeran adored it. He learned what freedom was amongst the petals, he learned warmth from caring from them. He missed and loved his brother so much, but he always had faith he would see him again. Now, it had all gone wrong. He was once more back in the jaws of abuse, he was fragile and lonely, frightened in a world of delusions.

V hoped Luna would never meet Rika there, though it was a fleeting hope as he knew she would involve herself sooner or later as the cult leader. V also hoped Luna would never figure out Rika was the savior, but the way Luna had pieced together so much without much help, it was also a hope that was made in vain. Luna appeared to be a woman who wasn't easily persuaded, so maybe Rika's uncanny talent for sweet talking others wouldn't work in this instance. But he also didn’t know exactly how Luna would react to Rika, but he had the feeling there would be a lot of contempt. V had to do something more, had to make things right. He felt more lost than ever.

Luna had woken up a bit later than she expected, sleeping deeply and without any dreams. She felt very refreshed now, however, in comparison to the mess she was the night before. She ate the breakfast left behind for her, answered a few guest emails (with good success), and went straight for the bath after. She was becoming too fond of that bathtub and its functions, but she couldn't resist the self indulgence. She enjoyed the water even more today as the scents of the soaps filled the room with a soothing haze. Luna wondered if Ray has experienced the comfort of simple delights like this.

Luna has entered the chatroom.
707 has entered the chatroom.
707: oh
707: Luna
707: Hi hi
Luna: Watcha doing, Seven?
707: I was super busy T_T
707: Jumin's intelligence unit...? I can see the trail of agony for Jaehee
707: or not lol....
707: But it's perfect timing! cuz this hacker's been going crazy since the dawn of light
Luna: Is the hacker very active...?
707: yes he's going crazy. I don't think he's been this aggressive so far. did he eat something funny last night? T_T
707: Like Jumin said, if hackers like him keep attacking the messenger, we'll need the intelligence unit.
Luna: I wish we could find a way to settle this peacefully with the hacker.
707: yep that's ideal
707: but the world isn't that easy T_T
707: And I recommend a guest to help Jaehee and help myself.
707: It's none other than our good old neighbor DB...short for database.
707: Let's invite DB to the party. If every information in this world is digitized, they should be saved on DB, doncha think?
Luna: uuhhh okay. Maybe he can teach me to have more safety for my files.
707: If DB joins us and programming language joins us, we'll be able to create the art of the digital world and have the virtual world before our eyes!!
707: Of still need magic to connect them...;the magic called
ZEN has entered the chatroom.
707: the hand of 707! Currently working lol

707 sent a photo of what looked like his hand against a background of computers.

ZEN has entered the chatroom.
Luna: ooohhh pretty.
707: Aaagh! That's a diagonal pic of mah hand
707: My hand is working its fingers off T_T
ZEN: What the ...?
ZEN: Ugh man. Pictures like that keep reminding me that it'd be a disaster in the RFA chat rooms without me....
Luna: Wanna try manicures?
707: kya
707: should i?
Luna: do it.
ZEN: Don't you dare...Don't. You. Dare.
707: You don't have to say it twice T_T
Luna: aaawww, lame. :V
ZEN: Even an absolutely gorgeous man like me would need an appropriate costume to make manicures work.
707: hey zen, and hey to your narcissism
ZEN: Narcissism? I'm only speaking the truth T_T
Luna: How did your audition turn out? I missed some chats but I caught up.
ZEN: lmaooo
ZEN: Luna, glad you asked. I wanted to talk about that lmao
707: Did you manage to stitch back together ur heart torn by yoosung?
Luna: o3o
ZEN: well, he's having a hard time. so we should understand him.
707: O.O
ZEN: It won't last long -The world will feel very different once he experiences the difficulties without his parents to guide him. And that's how upbringing works...
707: yep...
Luna: There's this term to call a person who talks like you....
707: oh, I think I know what. Does it start with s? Supreme beauty? Lmao
Luna: You know what, sure. Let's go with that.
707: .....hehe
707: But Zen lol you've turned on your saint mode
707: wait, scratch that. you've turned on pretend-to-be-saint-and-nag-mode
ZEN: What's that supposed to mean? Lmao
707: It's identical to pattern no. 24, classified
707: Right now you're in
Luna: Dying-to-brag-about-something' mood!
707: Ooooh!!! That was so close.
ZEN: ;Is there really a report on that?
707: yep and you're in
707: Dying-to-brag-about-something' mood! right now!
Luna: that's what I said first, excuse you.
ZEN: What? Lmaoooo. What in the world is that? Lmaoo. Are you running observations on me? Lmaooo
707: yep
ZEN: ugh man...what's wrong with you...? You're creeping me out…
707: So, am I wrong?
ZEN: lol
ZEN: lolol
ZEN: lololololololol
ZEN: lolololol
Luna: Wow - ! You got the role? Congrats!
ZEN: Thanks Luna lmao
707: congrats
ZEN: I just got out of the shower and there was a missed call lmaooo
ZEN: I called back, and this person said...'Is this Zen speaking?' Congratulations. You've been chosen to play the M-a-i-n character of 'Zekyll & White.'
707: Ooooh bam
Luna: The main character?!?!?! We should throw a party - !
ZEN: Hey lol I'll pay for the party with my starring fee lol
ZEN: It's the main role!! The main role!!!
ZEN: Actually, I didn't really want to brag like this but haha
ZEN: Everyone's been busy hunting down the hacker and preparing for the I shouldn't be the only one happy and bouncing with joy because of my personal business....
707: But we gotta celebrate what we can doncha think?
Luna: Yep you're right. It's good to celebrate the victories in life.
ZEN: lmaooooo
ZEN: This is great.
707: Gotta celebrate while we can, who knows what'll happen tomorrow...? Haha.
Luna: You should be grateful for your present day!
707: Right she is. Book of Seven 15:22
ZEN: You're making up things again lol
707: Hehe busted
ZEN: But yeah....I'll be busy rehearsing tomorrow. This role is a difficult role.
ZEN: Tbh I didn't think I'd make it to the main role. I thought I'd be a supporting character. I once auditioned in the past for a character with dual personality and didn't make it T_T
707: dual personality, so cliche haha. It's been used like a million times in TV ever since we were born.
ZEN: Hey
707: I think it's time to stop using it.
Luna: It's true there are a lot of masterpieces that feature characters with dual personality! When done right, it's a great theme.
707: You're right. So actually since it's so cliche...
ZEN: Hey. It's Zekyll & White. You don't know how famous it is?
707: I want some white chocolates…
Luna: Zen! I know you can do it.
ZEN: I hope so...
707: You should eat first lol
ZEN: I have to play two characters... T_T I'm serious T_T
707: tsk tsk too bad so sad
ZEN: About what?
707: Humans...They think they'd be happy once they reach their goals. But once they do they find new things to worry about. So eternal happiness is nothing but a short-lived dream.
Luna: I think that's why happiness lies in our hearts, waiting to be discovered.
707: oh
707: That's the ultimate truth!
707: ...0 matching result.
ZEN: Hey
707: I'm depressed T_T
Luna: Oh mood.
ZEN: Don't be. You have work to do, right?
707: I think so.
ZEN: What is it? Tell me.
707: It's...the grand mission… of protecting the messenger against the hacker…
Luna: So how's it going? ^^
707: ........Umm
707: that's difficult to say
ZEN: -_-
ZEN: Go back to work.
707: that's a difficult thing to do
ZEN: yeah right
ZEN: You even have the CEO-in-line helping you with your workload with his money.
707: I know...
Luna: I wish I could perform my duties in peace...
707: Did we lose our peace becuz I'm not good enough? T_T
ZEN: What do you mean???
707: I'm starting to question my
ZEN: What? You're not feeling down, are you?
707: Maybe...!?
ZEN: Now that's a first.
707: It is...
Luna: The hacker is good... But maybe it's because he's similar to you...
707: There's no other hacker who's similar to me...
ZEN: Don't you have an apprentice or something?
707: Nope don't have one.
ZEN: I see...
707: And that's why I've been ignoring Miss Stark's calls for a while now....
ZEN: Stark?
707: yep
Luna: Is this woman your caretaker?
707: .....that's difficult to say
ZEN: Oh forget it....You always seem to be living a complicated life
707: how did u know that?
ZEN: Cheer up. V only wants to help with your workload
Luna: You should drink caffeine if you need a refresher.
707: Correct!! but I'm all out T_T
ZEN: oh man...Hey. Shower's the best when you feel down
707: I don't think I want to see how I look in the mirror right now.
ZEN: What?! You shouldn't say that!!
707: ....There you have my last words of emotions
ZEN: Do you have any idea how important your self-esteem is?!
707: and now
707: here I go back to the battleground against the hacker
ZEN: ........
Luna: I hope this is finished peacefully....
707: The chance is slim, but I'll try.
707: hehehehehehehe]
ZEN: You look like you're having a hard time...let me know if there's anything I can do to help.
707: ok
707: Now bye everyone
707 has left the chatroom.
Luna: freaking gone with the wind.
ZEN: Looks like he's really downhearted....But I really mean it, so I hope he'd tell me if he's having a hard time
Luna: I wish I could help a little more. But alas, I'm just as incompetent in coding as I am in math.
ZEN: At least I should stay faithful to my daily life to keep the messenger lively...
Luna: Congrats once again on getting the role!
ZEN: Thanks a lot This can't be better....It's okay to celebrate, right?
ZEN: And that's why for now I'm going to grab a beer and celebrate my victory lmao
ZEN: Of course...;I'm going to practice as soon as my celebration is over. I'm having the 1st rehearsal in two days, so I shouldn't slack off lmao
Luna: Have a good day.
ZEN: You too! I'll see you -
ZEN has left the chatroom.
Luna has left the chatroom.

At least one positive thing was happening amongst the chaos. Still, it was quite the coincidence that Zen was playing a character that was two faced. It seemed like Luna was facing these types of characters as of late. In coming days, Luna would find that she would regret feeling amusement at the thought.

He was a child again in that cursed room. The room where he spent years of misery. He saw his mother, eyes furious as always. Hurling insults like spewing manure, belittling him, hurting him. The daily occurrence that was his life. Airhead, insect, good for nothing, useless, worthless. The rage of a drunken woman gone mad. Then again, she went mad from the beginning. She would curse the fact that he and his brother were born, and so did he in time. He believed his mother's words, especially as she beat him, choked him, locked him up in the closet. It was barely a life at all. He would never be of worth to anyone, or for anything

Suddenly, the angry eyes of his mother turned green, then her figure morphed into one with blond curls and a wicked face.

“No, that's not true. I'll save you, Saeran…” said the voice, warped and sinister.

He backed up, hoping to get away, not wanting her to come any closer.

“You'll learn how to make yourself useful if you try hard.” said the savior, her hands twisting into disfigured claws.

“So all you need to do is to obey me.”

She attacked, and all he could see was an all consuming darkness.

Ray woke with up, panic quickly rising, making his breathing uneasy and his heart race a marathon. It was a dream. It was all a dream. Just one of his many nightmares.

“That was close.” be said to himself, still panting. “I must not rest. I must not rest... I need to stay alert.”

As he took a few moments to steady his breathing, a knock on his door almost sent him into a new panic.

“Who is it..?” he answered sharply.

“Mr. Ray.” said a voice on the other side no doubt one of the believers.

“Come in.”

A robed man came into the room, bowing politely.

“What is it?” Ray said flatly. He wanted nothing more than for the intruder to go away.

“Uh... The savior sent you this.” said the man, holding up a bottle with a familiar liquid.

“Oh. It's time for the elixir.” Ray said simply, moving away from his desk to take the bottle from the believer.

The believer said nothing, quickly darting his eyes back and forth, as if waiting for something.

“....You saw me receiving it. Now go.” Ray insisted.

“Umm...I need to see you actually taking it…” said the believer timidly.

Of course he did, Ray thought. For a second he thought he could get away with not taking the elixir, intending to take Luna's advice on drinking it less. He was going to do it for her, but now that he was being watched...

“...Fine” said Ray, giving in with a glare.

Jaehee Kang has entered the chatroom.
Luna has entered the chatroom.
Jaehee Kang: Luna. Have you heard Zen's news?
Jaehee Kang: Zekyll
Jaehee Kang: &
Jaehee Kang: White!!!
Luna: lol yes, sweets. I have.
Jaehee Kang: I already knew the remake of the Narroway masterpiece will be on stage, but I didn't think he'll take the main role!
Luna: All his hard work is finally paying off. Jaehee Kang: You're right! It feels like Zen's efforts are finally reciprocating. I sincerely wish he'll do a fabulous job with his role!
Jaehee Kang: Oh....but what a shame that this feeling must move over for the duty with the intelligence unit...He'll be already on the stage for the main event after my duties with the unit and the hacker are complete, won't he?
Jaehee Kang: If that's the case, I'll be able to take off work for the day to watch him in action!
Luna: I hope you can make your dream come true!
Jaehee Kang: Thank you! And I pray it will...!
Jaehee Kang: Dr. Zekyll, soon to be played by Zen...He'll employ that beautiful face and gorgeous voice of his to personify the philosophy and anguish of a man, split into the good and the evil.
Jaehee Kang: And White… White is an extremely complicated character that requires its actor to deliver a self-destructive ending be wrought by the devil on the loose.
Luna: well doesn't that ring a bell.
Jaehee Kang: And to think Zen will play two challenging characters at once!
Luna: ;I can't wait to see him taking the stage!
Jaehee Kang: I've no doubt he will reach another splendid stage of growth as he practices. And on the D-day, we'd get to see something he has never shown us before.
Jaehee Kang: But by the way, I wonder when the booking for tickets start...What matters in musicals is the place where they're held. And that's because each performance hall differs in terms of the best location for sounds, the best location for stage-view, and the best location for actors-view.
Jaehee Kang: Since the price will depend on the performance hall -my wanted seat will also depend on that - I hope they'll release the news on the tickets soon. And once they're on sale, only a single thought will occupy my mind.
Luna: Click...?
Jaehee Kang: Right you are ^^
Jaehee Kang: Click click click!!
Jaehee Kang: Click click click!!
Jaehee Kang: Click click click!!
Jaehee Kang: ;...I've already sacrificed three mice.
Luna: oohh girl I’ve been there. I know the struggle.
Jaehee Kang: However, when it comes to booking tickets I'm still a beginner...There's already an expert in this task out there.
Jaehee Kang: It's none other than...BetaGo.
Luna: Wait, is this guy's brother famous in the game of Go? I think that's what it was.
Jaehee Kang: Luna, I see you already heard about them. Its brother is now nothing short of a superstar. It's said that its older brother was so good at the board game Go, ;so it chose ticket-buying as its career. I think it's kind of sad how BetaGo was outshined by its brother-program, but it still remains as a legend in ticket-buying. Why don't we invite BetaGo to this party and ask for tips on ticket-buying?
Luna: Okay! Let's send an invitation. I'd like to learn a thing or two about ticketing.
Jaehee Kang: Then I'll make sure it can reach you for invitation. ^^
Jaehee Kang: For those of you who had difficulty in enjoying cultural activities - you can go everywhere and anywhere once you have the tickets. ^^
Luna: That's a neat trick....
Jaehee Kang: ;It is. Leisure will never find you if you wait until you have enough time and money. Tickets are meant to be bought without thinking. ^^
Jaehee Kang: I've been feeling frustrated with the intelligence unit, but now I got a good reason to be motivated and work hard.
Luna: I hope you keep up the good work!
Jaehee Kang: Thank you Luna! And now...
Jaehee Kang: please excuse me...
Jaehee Kang: I wish Zen the best of luck.
Jaehee Kang has left the chatroom.
Luna has left the chatroom.

After some time battling with her hair after getting out of the bath, which had become a tangled mess, Luna sprawled on the bed and opened a chatroom where someone was already logged in.

Yoosung★ has entered the chatroom.
Luna has entered the chatroom.
Luna: Hey Yoosung...
Yoosung★: Whoa...
Yoosung★: I just returned after dropping by a convenience store for a cup noodle
Yoosung★: ............
Yoosung★: And I suddenly had this strange feeling that I've spotted Seven's clone or something.
Luna: wait wha
Luna:I beg your pardng ddh
Luna: ashfhru
Yoosung★: I suddenly felt so uneasy and whipped around to look around and my god…take a look at this.

It was an image of a truck with a logo that said...sevenstar drink.

Yoosung★: You think this is funny? T_T
Luna: Oh hell nah I thought it was just a joke LMAO the absolute madlad
Yoosung★: As soon as I spotted this truck my mind just went numb...The man was unloading from the truck, and the truck was full of this drink that Seven was advertising! And they went straight into the store....
Luna: Wow... I wonder what it tastes like. Let me know after you try a sip, Yoosung! Lol
Yoosung★: Are you going to use me for the experiment? T_T
707 has entered the chatroom.
Yoosung★: Oh Seven!!
Luna: Speak of the devil. LOLOL
707: You've been waiting for me.
Yoosung★: Start explaining about this pic....
Yoosung★: Seven...About those drinks....Are they safe? Is it okay to drink them?
707: Yoosung boy
Yoosung★: Don't call me boy…
Luna: Oh this is too good
707: How delightful that you want to know about the SEVENSTAR DRINK.
Luna: Oh boy here we go
Yoosung★: I don't want to know about it!! I'm scared that I'll get a stomachache or something from it....
Luna: Are you sure you got permission to sell those drinks? Lol
Yoosung★: ;Don't think so
707: Since you're so curious I will reward you
Yoosung★: I'm scared that I'll get a stomachache or something from it....
707: If you buy them now
Yoosung★: I don't need them!!
707: it's 1+1
Yoosung★: This isn't illegal, is it?
Luna: Stocks come in 1+1? Smells fishy here…
Luna: almost smells like
707: No! Bad! Don't say it!
Luna: bullshieeeeet.
707: You still said it lolololol
Yoosung★: I can smell it too.
707: Don't you get this feeling that it'll soon be a bestseller item? Don't you?
Yoosung★: Even the truck's plate says 0707.....
707: Come on - take them and keep them for just 3 months and then sell them.
Luna: Seven, didn't you say you're busy? Do you have time to do pranks like this?
Yoosung★: That's what I wanted to say...
707: Phew....Hey, the best games in your life are the ones you play during your senior year just before graduation. So the things you do for fun when ur busy are the things that stick for life.
Yoosung★: Well...
Luna: He's kinda got a point lol
707: And Luna once told me she had this hobby of her lifetime when she was having the busiest time of her life.
Luna: did I, now?
Yoosung★: Same here but....Actually I also had this hobby I enjoyed since 8th grade till senior in high school lol
707: oh
Yoosung★: uhm but I think we're getting sidetracked here....
707: Do we finally get to hear Yoosung's ★life hobby★?
Luna: Dun dun dun...!
Yoosung★: Wha lololol I used to be really obsessed with it, but not anymore
707: What is it?
Yoosung★: lol
up11031710:s;Collecting toys?
Luna: Stitching? Lol
Yoosung★: Oh. That's it! How did you know?
707: No way.
Luna: wild guess
Yoosung★: It's cross stitching!
Yoosung★: Isn't it cute?
707: That's so
707: so
707: so not fun.
Luna: Wow I never knew! Amazing!
707: You...really think so?
707: Wait. I hereby pronounce the period between your 8th grade and high school senior year as .
Yoosung★: Ugh.....
Luna: You are kind of cute lol
Yoosung★: You mean it? You think I'm cute?
707: You're now at an inappropriate age make yourself look cute.
Yoosung★: Ugh.....
707: But my hobby is much more interesting than yours
707: will be the best friend of your life!
Yoosung★: ...You're actually creeping me out.
707: Give a wave to a SEVENSTAR DRINK truck if you see one ^^
Yoosung★: And why do I have to?
707: I asked the drivers to give a free bottle to anyone who does ^^
Luna: You're too fishy.... Whatever you're selling, I'm not buying it~
Yoosung★: That's what I mean.
707: Hey now. Not every person in the world is a fraud.
Yoosung★: So Seven.Is that drink really safe?
707: hehe
707: The choice is yours....
707: .......
707: ....
707: ..
Luna: .
707: ★
Yoosung★: ...............
Yoosung★: Seven, but is it now ok for you to run business like this while working as an informant?
707: hey
707: If my hobby miraculously makes money, then it was meant to be that way.
Yoosung★: I knew it.
707: I'm just a human. The profit is not my responsibility.
Luna: I guess... Life is but a tsunami of serendipity -
Yoosung★: Luna come on help me out T_T
707: She's the one who has truly reached the enlightenment of life.
Yoosung★: .......
707: Let's just stay engaged with our current hobbies O.<
Yoosung★: My hobby is LOLOL now.
707: The Age of LOLOL...Dat destiny is also a fabricated one.
Luna: I should find a new hobby.
707: Oh in that case, I have a few recommendations. Inventing new types of snacks. Coming up with a franchise on the best smoothie combinations Founding a company with a modified version of yphone.
Yoosung★: Just don't do what Seven recommends you...
Yoosung★: Oh!! Seven, do you have any computer you don’t use?
707: Yes...? But why??
Yoosung★: I’m thinking of changing to a better performance desktop to play games better and more properly, but since I'm a college student I don't have enough money T_T
Luna: Why don't you try part-time jobs?
Yoosung★: Should I...? But I don't study a lot these days. If I gets a job, I think I won't study at all...
707: Agreed...You're not the only one who can see that happening.
Yoosung★: I wish my job and my hobby were the same, like Zen. Making money while doing what I like, buy everything that I want, get famous....
707: Then you can become a LOLOL professional gamer!
Luna: I'll be there to cheer for you!
Yoosung★: lol...
Yoosung★: but it's too late for me.
707: Yep, he's right. And that's not all. You don't want to study but u have to
707: I don't want to be an informant but I have to, and defend the messenger.
Yoosung★: Sniffle...
Luna: But isn't there for us only to work nonstop and prove ourselves, is it...?
707: yep
707: Having fun should be your focus, not work.
Yoosung★: You say that only because you make a lot of money. And Luna, you say that because you travel the world! You're always having fun.
707: no no no no
707: You have to stay positive do what you don't want to do.
Luna: Yeah, it's not as if it's all fun and games. I had to work hard and do things I didn't want to do way before I started travelling, and in order to get the chance to do it.
Yoosung★: Ugh... T_T
707: That's what life is, so let's not get obsessed with our hobbies and just focus on what we have to do right now.
Yoosung★: But you said we should continue enjoying our hobbies.
707: Life is changes nonstop, like how leaves eventually fall, and day becomes short as seasons grow.
Luna: Sometimes I wish I could live without worrying about anything...
Yoosung★: yeah me too
707: Since you showed enough of what a procrastinator you can be, tomorrow you should go back to school.
707: At least you should pretend to be a diligent human being.
707: That is the circle of life....
Yoosung★: That's a bit depressing, but I think it makes sense to me more than what Zen said about a dream or whatever....
707: yep
Luna: But I want to live a positive life, for my dream. I always want to strive for better.
707: Let's protect, Luna's warm life. And let you and I without dreams live with reality sticking right by our shoulders.
Yoosung★: kay...Got it T_T
Yoosung★: waaaaaah
Luna: Oh come on, you guys. Don't lose hope.
707: Luna...Thank you....
707: Though I am tired of reality
Yoosung★: When I see your drinks, I think they're far from reality.
707: Uh true..
707: Ack
707: ack ack
Yoosung★: ????
Luna: ?
Yoosung★: what is it?
707: Ack
707: I just said that's what life is, and now I'm getting a guilt attack.
Yoosung★: ......What?
Luna: Dude.
707: I have no right to tell you t.....uh........I'm not even doing a good job at living the life in darkness.
Luna: T_T You should rest for some more.
707: Can't do that....Siren of guilt is wailing.
Luna: Very loud.
Yoosung★: uh what the heck?
707: I shouldn't stay here
Yoosung★: Wha??
707: bye
Luna: Have a good one.
707 has left the chatroom.
Yoosung★: ............
Yoosung★: just kicked himself out in guilt, didn't he?
Luna: Sure looks like it.
Yoosung★: Ugh.......Now I feel more depressed T_T
Luna: Don't push yourself too hard. You can't even work if you pressure yourself too much!
Yoosung★: Really? But life doesn't work the way I want it to T_T
Yoosung★: I'm so jealous of Zen…He lives for his dream.....He's so enthusiastic and desperate because he works in what he likes, isn't he?
Luna: Why don't you try looking for something you really like?
Yoosung★: As for me, even if I try to pull myself together, now that Rika's that my lighthouse is gone...I don't think I can think of anything for a while.
Yoosung★: Even my family doesn't understand me T_T
Luna: There are many more lighthouses in the sea, not just one. In time you'll move on to better waters. You'll soon see your dream blooming after recovery.
Yoosung★: Thank you for your kind words...I should try digging up my old works with cross stitching. Maybe that'll cheer me up....
Luna: Run along... Cheer up.
Yoosung★: It's kind of awkward to say this after whining like crazy....But I hope my depression won't get to you, Luna.
Yoosung★: Now I'll go....
Yoosung★ has left the chatroom.
Luna has left the chatroom.

Feeling bored, jittery, and just plain impatient, Luna dug through her belongings to find a pair of dance shoes she had packed ages ago. Before traveling, she had been taking ballet as a hobby. Her recent talk about hobbies put her in the mood to explore hers again. She was becoming good at it, but she practiced less the longer she spent exploring. So, when she could, she would go to a park of the weather was favorable or male room in whatever lodging she had to at least do the basics. Her ultimate goal was getting into a pointe class, but she had a bit of training left to be placed on that level. Taking advantage of the room next door, Luna had the perfect setting for a more thorough ballet practice. She changed into some workout attire, tied her hair back, and brought her headphones along. In that mirrored studio room, she began to dance to the melodies playing into her ears.

Chapter Text

Chapter 14

“...This guy's on rampage today.... He's literally trying to bite my monitor off.” He hissed in frustration.

‘Though he did make some mistakes.... They're fixed as soon as I try to turn them into troubles for him. This hacker's concentration is something. Just what planet is he from...? It would take at least a month to figure out who's on the other side of this fight, no matter how fast Jumin manages to make that intelligence unit.....At least it felt like I'm against a human being the other night... But now it feels like I'm fighting a robot....All I can get from him is attack and defense. He's like an emotionless machine... And it's been going on non-stop for hours....’

Luciel didn't even have a chance for a breather as his attacker simply responded more aggressively than before.

“I admit he's good, but why does he have to go this far...? It's as if he'd be in huge trouble if he doesn't do this....

Now that was an interesting thought.

‘Is he in some kind of a life-or-death situation or something? Just why would he be so desperate...? RFA is simply a charity fundraising organization...!”

Sighing with that scenario in mind, Luciel continued to work endlessly in order to defeat his rival.

Luna noticed the afternoon sky had gone cloudy, and a downpour began to fall. She took this opportunity to take a break from her dancing, sitting cross legged and leaning against the glass of the tall windows, watching the earth be bathed in petrichor and listening to the drops hit the glass. Her muscles were stiff and stretching became a little difficult, but eventually she was back to the flexibility lessons of dance had taught her to have. It felt nice to be active again, and she would probably stick around longer.

As she was answering emails and texts, she saw a chatroom had opened up. It was strange, showing there was nobody logged in. Luna decided to check it out.

Ray has entered the chatroom.
Luna has entered the chatroom.
Ray: stealth -9987 -2005620615
Ray: 1771540208
Ray: 9433062027
Ray: 4478718243
Ray: 2444064239
Ray: 27
Luna: long staaaaaaare
Ray: Huh...?
Luna: Hiya! You must still be busy. Are you having your meals properly?
Ray: Oh
Ray: I opened a chatroom by mistake.
Ray: I tried not to log in until I was done with my job...I'm sorry....
Luna: That's alright. It's good that you did, I wanted to talk to you ^^
Ray: ....
Ray: I wish I could chat with you even for a moment, but....I know right now I don't deserve to talk to you.
Ray: I'll remember my place. I'll try.
Ray: I'm just so grateful that you're still here....
Luna: You don't have to worry that I might leave... I'm not going anywhere without you. I promised, didn't I?
Ray: Do you...really mean it? What should I do to see you here? Please tell me everything you need me to do.
Luna: Just keep making an effort like you are right now. It shows you're growing. I'm proud of that effort.
Ray: one has ever been proud of my efforts before. I will take your advice...Luna.
Ray: Oh...that's right. There's something I want to tell you. By tomorrow you'll be able to roam around this place as you like.
Luna: Oh good, I won't have to sneak around anymore like a thief lol
Ray:...Luna, did you sneak out?
Luna: oooops, busted :P
Ray: your mischief could have gotten you in trouble...but the fact that you're in one piece is enough for me.
Ray: You have to be more careful, okay?
Ray: Though I screwed up so badly the other day I made sure my savior knows that you're now one of us....
Luna: Don't worry about me... Are you alright?
Ray: Don't worry about me. I don't deserve to have you care for me...
Ray: You're doing so well for me in the RFA chat rooms, but compared to you....I think I'm not even close to good enough....
Luna: That's not true. Please don't say that...
Ray: ...
Ray: I'm a moron and weak…I'll be good for nothing if I can't even do the hacking right....I won't be able to fix all the parts that I lack, but if I try really hard, I might become a person at least you won't dislike.
Luna: Screw what others think of you! I think what matters is what you think about yourself.
Ray: Myself?
Ray: I..I think I'm a moron and good-for-nothing....My thoughts don't matter. What matters is what you think about me.
Ray: What do you want me to work on...?
Ray: I...I didn't even know that V was hiding here, so I think even my savior doesn't trust me anymore.
Luna: But it looked like V wanted all of us to get together in peace. That's what I wanted, too.
Ray: You shouldn't trust him, Luna...I'll never let him get close to you again.
Ray: If I don't come up with a good accomplishment until morning, then maybe...I won't be able to see you for a while....
Luna: But do you have to push yourself so much? I think the Mint Eye is forcing you to do something too demanding. It looks like poison.
Ray: No
Ray: I should do this. It proves how useful I am....
Luna: No, Ray. You DON'T have to do this. You shouldn't have to be forced to do anything. This place is horrible, Ray. Its bringing nothing but suffering.
Ray: Luna...
Ray: I'm scared that my savior will find out I made you one of us without making you drink the elixir.
Ray: ...To be honest that's my greatest fear these days.
Luna: I will do my part in making sure this savior doesn't find out. You took a risk to protect me... Thank you...
Ray: Don't thank me...
Ray: I'm sorry this is all I can do when you trust me so much.
Ray: I like everything about this place, except dealing with the elixir...It's so painful, so I don’t want to force it on you....
Ray: Only people like me...people who are too stupid to understand my savior need that elixir.
Ray: So don't need to take it.
Luna: I don't think you need it, either. Please don't drink it if it hurts you...
Ray: No...I'm an airhead...I don't know what's the best for me.
Ray: I wish...I could do something about this weak body of mine with the elixir.
Luna: Your body will continue to be weak with prolonged use of that...that drug! That awful thing.
Ray: I want to do as you suggest. I tried to. But I just...can't do it right now.
Ray: Luna, even if someone tries to make you take it, just tell them that I'll get you a glass later.
Ray: And no punching people, okay? You could scare them...
Luna: Okay. I will at least try not to hit anybody.
Ray: Ok! Now I feel a little better. I hope you had your dinner.
Luna: Oh, I was just dancing for a while. I will eat soon. You don't have to worry about me...
Ray: But I can't help it...You matter more than me.
Ray: Even if I'm sick, I hope you're never sick...I need to protect you but...I'm sorry I'm not good enough. It doesn't matter if you hate me. But please don't leave me... I beg you.
Luna: I don't hate you, and I won't leave you. So I hope your heart will find peace...
Ray: ..Really...? Do you really mean it? For me? Thanks....I'll keep your words in this heart of mine. I...I don't care how much I suffer as long as you're here....
Luna: Ray, I don't want you suffering because of me...
Ray: I'm willing to suffer as much as I can… if only I can protect you. That's how much ;I don't want to lose you...
Ray: Is your room alright? It's not too hot or too cold, is it? I hope you find the temperature just right and enjoy your rest....
Luna: I'm fine. be honest, I miss you so much...
Ray: ...Me too.
Ray: But...I shouldn't think about that.
Ray: Oh, might be upset that I'm caring for you....I...will go now. For real.
Luna: That's alright. But you have to come back and chat with me again...!
Ray: ...Thank goodness if that's the case. I'll do my best.
Luna: have a good evening.
Luna has left the chatroom.
Ray has left the chatroom.

No matter how many times people would knock on his door, he would always go into a panic.

“Who is it....?” Ray asked.

“Mr. Ray.” said a familiar voice from the other side.

“Oh....the elixir”. Ray whispered to himself. He went over and let in the believer, whom had another bottle of the indistinguishable elixir.

Ray couldn't help but notice something odd about this delivery.

“Here it is.”

“...Am I mistaken? Or did you bring more than you brought earlier today?” Ray said with caution.

The believer swallowed nervously.
“The savior prepared it herself, so I don’t know anything regarding the amount.”

“I need to take it all, right?” Ray asked, narrowing his eyes.

“I can wait.” said the believer. He was instructed to stay and make sure Ray drank his share. Not many other believers were willing to deal with the unstable man, and while he had hesitations, the believer was up to the task.

Ray took the bottle with shaky hands. He really didn't want to drink it, he wanted to be free of pain, he wanted to listen to Luna. But he was being watched. Ray knew it was deliberate, and that the believer assigned to him knew as well. The savior was cracking down harder on Ray than everybody else, and for a moment before he downed the whole bottle of elixir whether she really has his best interest in mind.

The effect was immediate, Ray began to pant and cough, short of breath and breaking into a sweat.

“I'll take the bottle for you. Then I'll see you tomorrow morning.” said the believer, taking the bottle away and making a fast exit.

Being left alone, Ray had a coughing fit, short of breath, feeling horrible.

“...My head... My body is burning...Though I have to take it…” Ray coughed.

“At this rate... I can't concentrate on my work... This is bad. Damn it... Why am I so weak...? My savior loves me. She's only looking out for me…”

He couldn't help but think about what Luna had told him, that he didn't have to do anything he didn't want to do, that Mint Eye was bringing him misery, that he didn't need the elixir, that maybe he was good enough.

“... No. My savior. She said what matters is my faith. I should...believe...that I'm strong. Ugh...It's too hot... What do I do...?” Ray said to himself.

“...Cold water. I need cold water.” he mumbled desperately.

Panting, Ray almost ripped the clothes off his body and immediately got into the shower. The heat was too much, he wanted to scratch the heat off his skin. But he much rather let the water ease the pain even if it was just minuscule.

“Get a grip.... This isn't time for this...I must prove I'm useful. Otherwise, I can't survive...Or else I can't stay with her…”

Ray thought of Luna, her curious eyes, the sound of her voice, the smell of citrus from the soaps she used. The way she was, so unapologetically herself.

“...Just what good is my body for...? It's too weak...These arms are too thin... This whole body is too thin...It gets bruises every time I fall...This body is useless...It doesn't deserve anything good to eat. It doesn't deserve good sleep. It doesn't deserve warm shower…It just has to get slapped with cold water to stay working.... Snap out of it…”

He shivered under the water, yet he still felt his temperature rise.

His demeanor had a sudden change.

“Weak Ray... Useless Ray...I'm not Saeran...I'm Ray, a walking ball of faults....Ray needs to hit the road someday. His brain, his arms, his eyes, his whole body... I hate them...I hate them all... Ray's too weak…”

He couldn't go on like this. Something had to change.

“I'm sure these data is enough to get the intelligence unit started. But I didn't think things will be this fast. I must admit Jumin's progress is incredible. The best-case scenario...would be to have Rika change her mind and free Saeran…’

V was in his room, sitting by the large windows and watching the rain fall. Every time he was alone, he couldn't contain the spiral of emotions he kept within.

‘But that would be impossible. She's full of rage. She's using Saeran to get her hands on the RFA's information system...If we don't hold the party, she'll employ even more unpredictable schemes to attack us. And if that's case, Saeran will stay attached to her strings.....Should I just tell everything to Jumin? Now that Saeran is part of this matter....Leaving him as a marionette would be no different from abusing him. However...if Jumin takes action himself, everyone would know about Rika's truth...Then I will never be able to save her.’

V had a feeling he would be feeling hollow for a while longer.

“Rika... It's been merely 6 months...I think there's still a way...for us to reconcile…’

Jumin Han: I got home just now from work, and I see you logged in, Luna.
Luna: Hiya, Jumin.
Jumin Han: It's a pleasure to see you. Elizabeth the 3rd would suffer from waiting if I take longer...I wrapped up my duties for the day after reviewing and signing the document on the establishment of the intelligence unit. I knew I wouldn't regret appointing Assistant Kang in charge of the unit.
Jumin Han: Since it'd be impossible to collect an army of hackers in less than a day, she searched for qualified personnel within the company.
Luna: I knew she could do it. She's the best -
Jumin Han: I must admit she is a flawless employee. She strictly recognizes her business from personal matters, and I also find her work pace impeccable.
Jumin Han: As a result...A total of 13 employees will be moving their desks. I'd say that's not a bad start. And the unit will be on its track as soon as Luciel hands over the required files for the tasks. I look forward to the unit's future progress.
Luna: I hope the unit can win.
Jumin Han: It won't be easy, but that's what we're aiming for.
Jumin Han: To change the subject, I see that Luciel and Yoosung were discussing hobbies in the messenger. I disagree with the idea that cross stitching is a dull hobby.
Luna: Do you like stitching, Jumin?
Jumin Han: It's not a liking. Let's just say I find it a challenge. Because pulling yourself through a repertoire of a certain activity without losing your persistence is a very demanding task if you have not trained yourself in basic mental perseverance. In fact, I constantly met emphasis on patience during my childhood business training.
Luna: It's a nice artform, but...I'll pass... I'm not patient enough.
Jumin Han: ;In that case, you'd find other activities suiting.
Jumin Han: Something dynamic would do it...
Jumin Han: Such as traveling...or exploring, for example.
Luna: …^^;
Jumin Han: Oh. I almost forgot, you already do that.
Jumin Han: some physical activity, like sports would also do.
Luna: ballet is a hobby.
Jumin Han: Dance is very good. It keeps the body fit.
Jumin Han: I have a liking for a test of my patience. So I was thinking…Maybe I should try a hobby. It would not be so bad to concentrate on each and every prick of the needle on a cloth instead of a sheet of document.
Luna: You might get carsick...
Jumin Han: That will not happen. Probably because I often found myself on automobiles, airplanes, and ships since childhood.
Jumin Han: Anyhow, I have a feeling Elizabeth the 3rd would also welcome such an elegant hobby. She absolutely adores yarns, so she will be the finest connoisseur of the aesthetic value of my craftwork in completion.
Luna: I look forward to your works!
Jumin Han: Thank you.
Jumin Han: But of course, Some people would not welcome the idea that a businessman who is supposed to be busy with his daily tasks indulges in cross stitching for leisure.
Jumin Han: However, a leisure of heart is the key to keeping yourself unharmed from your busy life. If you let yourself work over your limit just because you're busy you'll damage your own body and mind, and ultimately waste your damaging your decisions.
Luna: I agree. It's no good to work too hard. Burnout is more likely.
Jumin Han: ...You're right. Once you exhaust excessive energy, there's bound to be consequences.
Jumin Han: So all in all, tomorrow I should meet Mr. Pillow Love, the legendary leader of the Blanketianity and the father of more than a dozen of stitching masterpieces. When his beautiful works of stitched blankets were first released on SNS, the public completely took down the Tripter server.
Luna: How did you get to know this person?
Jumin Han: I read about him a few weeks ago on a newspaper. From now on, however, I expect to get updates on this news as soon as they're released with the establishment of the intelligence unit.
Luna: Why don't we invite Pillow Love?
Jumin Han: Great idea. I will contact him regarding the party.
Jumin Han: Hmm.I should search for stitching designs to try starting tomorrow. Do you have any design you'd like to recommend?
Luna: Why don't you start with cats?
Jumin Han: ...That's a great idea. I'll keep that in mind. Should I take this opportunity to search using the so-called SNS? I heard this Tripter is well-known in the field. I do not find this term 'Tripter' quite compatible with my mouth, though. Since its logo resembles a blue bird
Jumin Han: I shall call it 'the blue bird.'
Luna: That's a simple naming...
Jumin Han: It sounds friendly both to my ears and my mouth.
Jumin Han: And now I must create myself an account for the blue bird.
Luna: follow me @ jabberxxxxx :P
Luna: Okay bye
Jumin Han: Adios...
Luna has left the chatroom.
Jumin Han has left the chatroom.

It didn't take long for Jumin Han to make a call.

“It's me. Can you talk right now?”

Luna highly appreciated the sound that came from the other end. Jumin Han was a man of many talents, voice included.

“Yeah, sure. I got all the time in the world.” said Luna.

“However much I think of it, creating the intelligence unit was the divine move. I wanted to share this and you came to my mind.”

“Why do you want to share that feeling with me?” Luna asked.

“I didn't think deeply about it. I just thought of someone who would be the most vacant around me. I wanted to share this feeling longer in a more relaxed manner. The idea to create an intelligence unit came to me during a meeting a few days ago. In the meeting, the movie 070 series was mentioned. 070... It's a spy action movie that develops around the breathtaking spam calls. I heard the name of the lead role... was Glue”

Jumin was such a nerd, Luna thought. A nerd with a nice voice, like a radio spokesperson. She didn't mind.

“I saw that movie too. The voice phishing scene was spectacular!” Luna commented.

“Yes. To the point I felt like I was being scammed. It teaches that you might be scammed when you think you will never be scammed. Anyhow, when I heard that the lead character "Glue" was an intelligence unit agent, I thought this was it. I took note of it to myself and mentioned it today. I also figured the installation of the intelligence unit would be beneficial to not only RFA but to C&R as well. Information is power wherever and whenever it is since the generation and society we live in buys and sells information with money.”

A brief silence.

“...Somehow the topic has changed to a boring topic.”

“You made choice looking at the future, just like any businessman would. It's no surprise.” Luna replied.

“This is nothing. I emphasized that to my father when I was discussed the creation of intelligence unit to him. I told him it would be first step in transforming the future 20, 30 years of C&R.”

“Well, regardless of how the idea came to be...I think the intelligence unit was a great idea. I'm glad that it came to fruition. It also helps a lot on my side of things, too. I can't tell you a lot right now but...believe me, it's helping.”

“Well, I'm glad it's a productive endeavor in more ways than one”

Jumin may be a bit oblivious, but he wasn't a bad person. He was probably the only wealthy person Luna was able to get along with.

“Ah, it's time already. It's time for me to go to a meeting regarding the establishment of intelligence unit. I can't wait to hear what type of planning and proposal Assistant Kang will propose. I really must hang up now. I'll be in touch. Well, then.”

“Bye, Jumin”

Luna has entered the chatroom.
ZEN has entered the chatroom.
ZEN: Luna lmao. Perfect timing.
ZEN: Isn't it just hilarious?
Luna: whut
ZEN: Srsly Jumin? Lmao. Him? Stitching? Doing SNS?
Luna: Come on lol I think Jumin can do anything.
ZEN: You mean it? Lmaooo
Luna: hey, give him a break he's trying
ZEN: Man lmaoooooo
ZEN: I logged in to take a break from practicing like crazy and srsly I almost vomited laughing lmaoooo
ZEN: If Jumin were to have a hobby, I thought he'd do something like decrypting antique books or collecting tea cups haha
Luna: His hobby is his to choose -
ZEN: True but...stitching? Lmao. Isn't it too petty for him?
ZEN: Rather, it suits Yoosung lmao
ZEN: I can actually imagine him stitching with those puny hands of his when I look at a picture he took before high school graduation.
Luna: so somehow to you cross stitching is a feminine thing or what? I think any gender can engage in that activity. Besides, I think Yoosung would be really neat.
ZEN: No I meant, I just wasn't expecting such a delicate hobby for Jumin. Of course anyone can do whatever hobby they fancy, feminine or otherwise.
ZEN: but you're right
ZEN: Yoosung often thinks rash, but when it comes to something he'd get to own, he'll be really picky.
ZEN: But I'm kind of jealous he has a hobby - Though I don't really have a hobby, I'm doing what I like every day as a job, so I don't think I need anything more in particular.
Luna: Then doesn't that get rid of the boundary between your job and your life?
ZEN: It does. I think that's why there's this term workaholic. I happen to be one lmao
ZEN: I'm actually having a real hard time dissecting my characters. But you know what...? When I picture myself on stage after this ordeal, I can feel my energy surging...
Luna: That's such a great way of motivating yourself - I'm sure you'll do much better in the future.
ZEN: Now my energy is tripling since you say that ^^
ZEN: But man...this is driving me nuts. They're the most difficult characters I've ever met in my career. Since there's already an original musical for this, I'm kind of scared that I'll be so caught up with the original piece and end up just copying it on stage.... I have to run a thorough analysis and interpretation on characters to make them perfectly mine.... But I don't think my psychological spectrum is wide enough to see through and understand every plane and curve of mankind's good and evil... T_T
Luna: I think you can do as much as your analysis can work.
ZEN: I know right? I should make my own analysis if previous analyses aren't enough, but I don't have much time T_T
ZEN: Tbh, I can see how much work I still need in terms of experience and skills.
ZEN: I think… I need someone to help me. I think I need someone to be my partner so that I can work on character analysis. If I repeat this with someone here to help me I might come to naturally understand at some point.
Luna: If I could, I’d be totally down to be your acting partner. I have found myself in the role of actor and director before lol. Still, I hope you'd do your best, but I hope you don't push yourself too hard.
ZEN: Ugh, you'd sound like the ideal partner. Plus you're an artist too and another artistic eye would be a good fit. Sucks that your circumstances are so odd.
ZEN: You're right. That's what I need to do, but I think this is rather a crisis T_T Because I think this could be the hallmark of my career if I do a really good job on it.
ZEN: But the thing is..if not you, who can actually help me??
Luna: Why not ask Yoosung for help?
ZEN: Well....I think it'll take some time for him to get off from the train for the lost youths.
ZEN: Man...I so feel like doing something for Yoosung now that I think about him again. He's being so emotional and I want to set him on the right path. But am I being too nosy??
Luna: Yoosung would get to grow after experiencing lots of things.
ZEN: I agree...I think I want to help him because he reminds me of my old days...When I practically ran away from my parents' house. I had a dream, but it took so long for me find myself on the right path…
Luna: I'm sort of in a similar position as well. There's someone I want to help, to lead the right way, to find the correct path...but I sometimes wonder if I'm even making a difference.
ZEN: Well, for starters, if you're thinking like that it seems you really care for this person's well being.
ZEN: Now that I think about it, time was the key. Though I didn't realize it back then...
Luna: Yeah... Nothing can beat the time.
ZEN: Yep. I got a little reassured whenever I thought that I'll never run out of time - so maybe for you, whomever it is you're thinking of, more time is needed.
ZEN: Man…I should just go back to my script. The good and evil of the mankind...Perhaps the evil that White none other than vengeance...against the hypocrites in disguise of the good.
Luna: I think the definition of right and wrong changes as the world changes. Morals are subjective, made by both society and every single individual. So in a sense, vengeance has no meaning.
ZEN: Luna, that's philosophical...Mankind will realize there's no meaning to vengeance if human lifespan is eternal, don't you think?
ZEN: I'm not sure if my interpretation is correct. Should I make sure my character gives this catharsis to viewers whenever he commits something evil...? Or should I just make him look like pure evil...? Someone once said no one is actually completely evil in this world...Does that apply to White too? Or should I just make him a fictional character who's actually completely evil...?
Luna: Nobody is born evil, though there might be people who don't realize that...
ZEN: I'd like to think so, but when I find myself in a situation that I have to give up vengeance it's so hard to forgive... Lmao
Luna: I understand completely. Forgiveness does not come easy for me.
ZEN: artistic anguish is growing deeper. I hope my acting turns out better as much as I agonize...lmao
ZEN: This time I want to mark myself in everyone's head, not with my face but with my acting...
Luna: I'm sure you can do well.
ZEN: Thanks!
Luna: ^^
ZEN: And now, I'm off to practice. Don't stay up too late and take care
Luna: I’m gonna cause some mischief. See ya later~
ZEN: lol, Luna. Off to cause some trouble? Have fun!
Luna: bye bye handsome~
ZEN: bye bye cutie~
Luna has left the chatroom.
ZEN has left the chatroom.

Not long after her chat with Zen, there was an incoming call from Ray.

“Hello...? It's me, Ray.” he said listlessly.

Luna immediately knew something was wrong.

“How was…” he was cut off by a small coughing fit. “Your.... day...?” Ray finished slowly.

“Ray? You don't sound so you have a cold? Is there something I can do? I can come to you!” Luna said, failing to keep composure.

“It's okay.... I'll get better since I took the elixir savior gave me...When I take the elixir, this weak body will get healthier.... have a stronger mentality... is what savior said. I'm sorry I couldn't call as often....I should have taken better care and asked if there was anything uncomfortable....But I was busy the entire day. Even work is just running in circles...Maybe it's because I'm a moron that I don't get the results that I expect.” said Ray.

He sounded to sick, and so down.

“Ray, right now I don't give a damn about my own comfort.” Luna declared. “You’re NOT a moron, damnit. You should take care of yourself while working. I'm worried for you, Ray.”

“...Are you worried about me? Really? ... Thanks...But I really need to focus more on work. For the sake of everyone here in Mint Eye. Since you're also staying, despite not being a believer, I must try my best for you too” Ray replied.

Hearing how stressed Ray sounded only made her angry.

“Savior or whatever the hell you call that person is really good at exploiting labor. Sounds like a complete bastard if you ask me” Luna said without hesitation.

Ray was always baffled at Luna's capacity for brutality, even if it was aimed at someone else. She could care for someone so gently, but had a strong sense of justice and was unafraid of voicing how she really felt.

“No! I'm really glad that I can work for savior. Since by doing so, I was able to meet you...When I think of the place I used to be at....It doesn't even make sense to complain. And the word exploitation does not suit savior” Ray insisted.

“Maybe so. Maybe this is an upgrade to where you used to be. But you're still suffering, you're always in pain, and you're working yourself to exhaustion. That's exploitation. You shouldn't put up with it, you deserve better” said Luna. It was moments like these where it was crucial to encourage someone with the cult mentality, to encourage them to gain a sense of self worth. She herself had to find her own self worth after leaving the religion she was raised with, and it was a journey she took alone. Since then she couldn't stand seeing someone suffering the same way she did after de-conversion, and never hesitated to help anyone in need with their transition. Ray was one of those people. Ray had already began de-conversion, and she would not leave him stranded on the road.

“I did a lousy job today that I've disappointed savior...I was sad. I wanted to see you... but I felt so lonely that I couldn't see you the whole day.....But I thought of you being in the same place as I am and continued working. That gave thought gave me strength. Thank you. For being here with me…”

“I wish I could do more for you. I will think of something” Luna promised.

“Uh... I kept blabbing on, haven't I? I'm sorry. There are so many things I want to say to you when I talk with you.” Ray confessed shyly.

“It's okay. It's great that I can talk to you, Ray.” said Luna warmly.

“Really? It's my first time hearing that... It feels somewhat strange. But if you don't feel bad talking with me.. that's a relief.” Ray replied, sounding genuinely happy despite his trouble breathing.

“It feels so right somehow…” Luna said.

“...Huh? Wait. I hear footsteps.... It's coming towards my room. Sadly... I must hang up now. Sweet dreams. I.. really wanted to say that to you.”

He sounded so afraid for a moment there, Luna wanted to just chase away whomever it was that was interfering with their conversation.

“Good night to you as well, Ray. I hope you appear in my dreams”

“..Yes. Good night. I'll see you in your dreams, I'll be waiting....Haa... Was I a bit weird? But I really mean it. I really wanted to say that to you.”

“Don't worry. It wasn't weird. I meant what I said too” Luna said with a chuckle.

“Oh, we should really hang up now. I'll call again. Good night! Bye!”

Ray hung up quickly. Luna sighed. She really DID want to do something for Ray. Something that would bring him some comfort to his dreary day. To keep him away from his work at least for a little while.

Luna hoped to see Ray in her dreams. there's a thought. Luna opened her travel sketchbook to the page where she had drawn the stag from the dream the night before. Taking a second look, the stag reminded her a lot of Ray. Luna went over to the bookshelf where she had first seen art supplies, and there was a pad of watercolor paper. She also found a set of watercolor paints along with it, and a set of brushes of various shapes and sizes. It was the perfect setup. Luna wanted to share a little something of herself with Ray to keep him company and would hopefully bring him a little brightness in his room. A painting would suit him just fine. A painting inspired by him, and the symbolic dreams she was having. Opening up references on her computer, Luna began to sketch on the pad of paper, eager to bring her idea to life.

Chapter Text

Chapter 15

DAY 6 part 1

ZEN: Luna, you're not asleep yet?
Luna: I can't sleep...
ZEN: You can't...? That hacker isn't keeping you awake, is he?
Luna: No... But it actually looks like he's the one suffering.
ZEN: What? What do you mean? But he's the bad guy.
Luna: I'm sorry. I'm babbling. I'm painting right now, I got so focused I lost track of time.
ZEN: For now, I'm glad if you're safe.
ZEN: Man....this isn't working...!!! T_T White....a character that portrays the dark nature of humans...But the problem is me. I play this role, but I'm not the dark type, so I just don't get him T_T
Luna: Don't you think that's the beauty of being an actor? You get to be someone you're not....
ZEN: Yeah, you're right but....I should first understand a character before becoming one, shouldn't i?....So this guy loves darkness, but why is he called White?
Luna: Oh, the irony.
ZEN: Uh wait a sec. What? It's already past midnight!
Luna: yah
ZEN: And that means....
Luna: Isn't tomorrow the rehearsal? Are you sure you'll be fine?
ZEN: No, I won't be T_T I really really hate myself....I'm sure the rest of the senior actors debuted earlier than me, and if I stay stuck with character analysis when all of such experienced actors are all ready to go I'll be such a pain to them T_T
ZEN: Man...I'm so scared.....Can I really do this?
Luna: Hey, hey. Rome wasn't built in a day. I think it's okay as long as you do your best.
ZEN: Thanks but....I'm so disappointed with myself. It's not easy to be self-satisfied T_T
Yoosung has entered the chatroom.
Luna: LOLOL!
Yoosung★: Yaaaaaay -
Yoosung★: Yoosung the man is here to take over the top of the server tonight!
ZEN: Hey, Luna's watching, ;what do you think you're doing?
Yoosung★: LOLOL?
ZEN: And one more thing. This chat room is a holy ground for my anguish
Yoosung★: LOL...
ZEN: If you're gonna chat about that game, do it with your new friends.
Yoosung★: The server's going through maintenance
Luna: Oh, shoot.... I know what that feels like.
Yoosung★: I knew you would Luna lolol
up12001460:y;I already planned with my friends to get together as soon as I log in lolol
ZEN: Oh good for you.
Yoosung★: How's your practice going? Are you slacking off right now so that you can chat with Luna? Lolol
Luna: Why don't you help him, Yoosung?
ZEN: You think he can help me?
Yoosung★: I'd say. I can't even help myself. So do you think I can help somebody else? Lol
ZEN: Man....I'm getting depressed....
ZEN: The thing is, I'm seriously skeptical of my abilities right now, which is so not like me....
Yoosung★: lololol
Yoosung★: get used to it, I do that all the time.
Luna: You didn't even start your life outside of school. You already think life is pointless?
Yoosung★: You don't necessarily have to have experience in society to gain these sentiments, do you? Lol
Yoosung★: ;Well...Once I gain a new experience in society at my current state, that will be the doom of the last piece of my innocence.
ZEN: Why you.....You're saying something extremely depressing as if you're introducing yourself.
Yoosung★: Sometimes I get mad at myself because I just don't know why I'm going to classes or why I'm getting up every morning in the first place.
Luna: ...oh man
ZEN: Say what?
Yoosung★: Then sometimes I'd get mad again. I get mad at the environment that shaped me into who I am.....
ZEN: Yoosung.
Yoosung★: Zen, if you feel skeptical too just go ahead and don't even bother lol
Luna: But you should at least try to look on the bright side.
ZEN: I agree with her.
Yoosung★: If my mind was capable of that I would have chosen a major that I would have really found enjoyable. I'm not an active person in the first place lol And my life will be just as passive as it is now, forever....
ZEN: Don't say something like that....Why do you think it's only logical that your life is depressing? Where's your power of youth?
Yoosung★: Power of youth? Lol
Yoosung★: That's something better off with new office workers or incoming college freshman.
Luna: wait for it wait for it
Yoosung★: If you just kick back and forget whatever is going on around you, you'll forget all your worries, including your skepticism.
Luna: There it is, a good dose of nihilism. You're a bit edgy huh.
Yoosung★: ....Maybe it's the world that made me edgy.
ZEN: I never knew what a dark person you can be.
Yoosung★: Me?
Yoosung★: Ah lol
Yoosung★: And why are you surprised?
ZEN: Don't you know what dream and hope mean...?
Luna: It's kind of a bummer to see someone like you so lifeless T_T
Yoosung★: I've merely opened my eyes to reality. That's all.
ZEN: Man...Hey...When did you become so...pessimistic?
Yoosung★: I don't know. I'm a bit complicated. I think....I discovered my inner voice around my teenage years.
Luna: Oh, so this is the infamous....
Yoosung★: What?
Luna: The symptoms of puberty lol
Yoosung★: Ah lol That's what some sorry souls term it.
ZEN: Some sorry souls...??
Yoosung★: No matter how much thought I gave on the meaning of life, all I could find in my way was just textbooks and lectures from my teachers.
ZEN: So you were in school when I was roaming astray in rebellion...
Yoosung★: yep
Yoosung★: So I thought my life is so pointless and tried several hobbies like stitching...
Luna: That's a nice hobby.
Yoosung★: That's one of the very few footprints of my innocence.
Luna: Oh. Lawd.
ZEN: lmaooooooo
ZEN: Man you got me there lmao
Yoosung★: Zen, I'm serious right now don't laugh....
ZEN: Uh okay....sorry go on
Yoosung★: yep
Yoosung★: But stitching was pointless too. My life was already weaved out for me even before I could choose how it would turn out, like a bunch of stitching threads that never fail to follow rules.
ZEN: I see....
Yoosung★: I'd wake up on 6am, eat breakfast, go to school, study, have lunch, study, have dinner...;It's just an endless cycle...
Luna: I can see how such repetition must have been boring.
ZEN: agreed, I wouldn't have lasted a day if I were you.
Yoosung★: My life is completely different from yours lololol
ZEN: Hold on let me grab some popcorn
Luna: Hey! You shush, he's having a moment here.
Luna: make the popcorn with extra butter.
Yoosung★: I was able to hang in there because Rika was there. Even though darkness was filling my heart
ZEN: This is getting interesting.
Luna: There it is again, the R name.
Yoosung★: there was someone there
ZEN: Darkness filled your heart...?
Yoosung★: to recognize me.
Luna: Is that all? You still miss Rika?
Yoosung★: I still can't accept that she's not here....For some reason it felt like my darkness all went away when I was next to her.
ZEN: What, was she some sort of exorcist?
Luna: wouldn't be shocked tbh
ZEN: oh
ZEN: Wait, no
ZEN: Ok let's just leave it at that. The popcorn's too salty. I think I gotta grab a beer too.
Yoosung★: But....After what happened to Rika, I feel like my darkness has awakened.
Luna: Boom and bam and wham!!!!!! Rika, Rika. It's all about Rika! -_-
ZEN: Whoa....Darkness awakened...?
Yoosung★: And thus.....Even after I let this destiny of mine called game drain me of my sweat and tears and blood, upon the emergence of the rosy sky and the tick of my clock to 5, I am cursed by this tragic realization that nothing on this planet or galaxy can exorcise the void that haunts my heart yet once again...
Luna: Nothing?
Yoosung★: ...Correct. My heart is but a hollow bag of chips.
ZEN: Ugh
Yoosung★: Though this is nothing new...
ZEN: spilled my beer T-T
Luna: hurry up! Clean it before it absorbs!
Yoosung★: Today I made another successful discovery of myself waiting for the LOLOL server maintenance to end to momentarily forget this plague of void.
ZEN: wha............?
Luna: umm...Cheer up...!
Yoosung★: Thanks. Was I being overdramatic tonight...? Sorry did I creep you out?
ZEN: You might have creeped her out
Luna: No comment!
ZEN: but thanks to you I had a great feast.
Yoosung★: Feast...? You mean on my sentiments? Lol
ZEN: lmaoooooo
ZEN: Yoosung, I think your darkness could help me with my acting. I think I've found what I'm missing ^^
Luna: oh! I think you can learn something from Yoosung.
ZEN: That's right. Now need an emotional transfusion.
Yoosung★: Well, you and i had a completely different childhood environment haha
ZEN: Yep. I think I need your help for this occasion.
Yoosung★: Are you asking me to help with your acting? You are, aren't you?
ZEN: well...
Luna: I think you can help him a
Yoosung★: lol
Yoosung★: my sentiments will be a huge help to you. You don't get to find someone like me every day.
ZEN: Uh....true....
Luna: Though if it doesn't work out, I can help. We are connected by the phone, after all.
ZEN: You will? Then it would be an honor but, perhaps it would be difficult for you.
Yoosung★: She is more sentimental than you are, though I'd say she's not as good as I am lol
Luna: Aight then. You will find me here, NOT wallowing in self pity then. Unlike some others I know. :)
Yoosung: dude.
ZEN: Luna isn't entirely wrong, though. I think you're the top when it comes to symptoms of puberty. I admit it.
Yoosung★: But I'm an undergraduate.
ZEN: It's not possible for her to come over here right now T_T
Yoosung★: Zen, be honest and ask me.
Yoosung★: lol
ZEN: Wha............?
ZEN: lmao
Yoosung★: But the server's back online so I have to get in there now. Let's chat later
Yoosung★: ok?
ZEN: ;sure.....
Luna: You should sleep early.
Yoosung★: I think it's already too late for you to say that lol
Luna: Aight then. You can be exhausted if you want.
ZEN: lmaooo Luna
Yoosung★: And now I'm off for a round of LOLOL to forget my void!
ZEN: Run along.
Luna: Shoo.
Yoosung has left the chatroom.
ZEN: lmao
ZEN: He's gone....
ZEN: That boy was so hilarious, but thanks to him I think I get it....I think I can now see...why I didn't get this character....Perhaps I wasn't...'emo' enough.
ZEN: Luna, what do you think?
Luna: If you think you need to work on being 'emo' with symptoms of puberty, you'd definitely need him....lolol
ZEN: Ikr...? Man that guy is lit, I gotta admit...
ZEN: I knew it. I should ask him to come over lmao
ZEN: Oh Luna, thanks a lot for staying up late to listen to me
ZEN: and hear Yoosung monologuing about his sentiments.
ZEN: I'm off to wrap up my practice session ^^
Luna: Have a good one.
ZEN: I will ^^ Good night -
ZEN has left the chatroom.
Luna has left the chatroom.

Luna had gotten the first wash of paint on, so she decided to stop painting for the night and try to get some shuteye. She had taken a break earlier when dinner was delivered. Though she became a little immersed in answering messages and guest e-mails, so she left some of the meal untouched. She was focused until a sound interrupted her.

It was a soft knocking. Luna ignored it. Then there it was again, more persistent.

Luna knew this wasn't Ray. He would have already told her it was him behind that door. Grabbing the knife from underneath the mattress (a good hiding spot for a small weapon), she answered the stranger.

“Who is it?”

Then a soft feminine voice.

“You're not asleep yet. There's something I must tell you regarding this place. May I come in?”

Luna couldn't recognize this person's voice. It sounded soft enough to not be a threat, but Luna wouldn't take any chances. Hiding her blade in her sports bra, she went to to open the door herself.

There was a tall woman blocking the entrance to the room. She had long, blonde waves that fell like sheets of gold. She wore a form fitting dress with a sort of choker piece for the neck. Behind the ornate, lacy mask was a pair of striking green eyes.

For some reason, Luna found them ominous.

“I'm sorry to intrude and introduce myself in the middle of a night. But I just couldn't afford to find another time.”

Luna quietly, apprehensive, let the late night visitor in.

“ must be Luna. Ray told me so much about you.”

Hearing her voice a second time, Luna was seized by a feeling of disgust. Disguised and talking sweet, she could be the cult leader. She didn’t like it one bit.

“I'm sure it was frustrating, being trapped here. I cannot thank you enough for waiting and keeping faith in us.” said the woman in calm delight.

‘Must be delusional if you think I would ever have faith in you’, Luna thought angrily.

“Not to mention I heard you've been doing an excellent job in the RFA chat room in order to help us.”

God, Luna just wanted her to shut up. Her efforts were not for her cult.

“Oh, where are my manners? Did Ray already tell you about me? I'm the founder of the Mint Eye... Everyone at this place calls me savior.
You can call me that if you'd like.”

It truly WAS the cult leader. Luna couldn't hold back her contempt.

“So. You're the one who, oh, what do you call it…” Luna made a dramatic gesture of thinking, “does the ‘cleansing’?”

The savior almost frowned. This woman that Ray had brought...was aggressive. Defiant. A tough case, as she thought. She was sure Luna had all the qualities Ray praised, no doubt. But he had failed to look closer and see that she was a headstrong type of woman that was not suited for their way of life. She was more the leader type than a simple follower, and she couldn't have that in this place. It would be humiliating if one person destroyed the paradise that had taken a lot of work to build.

“Well, I can perform cleansing in completion on him...only after he has finished healing himself. I plan to help him to the best of my abilities until then.”

‘Your methods are garbage’, Luna wanted to say. But she held her tongue.

“If you plan likewise, you'd be a great help to him.”

Oh yes, and get him away from your greedy claws.

“Ray is tasked with an essential role in this place. He created the information system for this place. And he's in charge of the maintenance of that system. His role is crucial for the proper operation of the Mint Eye. And he is also entrusted with the cleansing project for the RFA, which you are also a part of.”

Well, that didn't take long. Luna assumed she needed further persuasion for this woman to spill the important details. She put her sarcasm aside for the time being.

“To give you more details, the main objective of this project is to collect preliminary information on the RFA through their chat rooms, to ultimately deliver them to us. This is something Ray has been devoting all his time for the past 6 months…”

She wanted to recruit them into the cult, Luna thought. It was repulsive.

“The Mint Eye can never be free to establish its paradise unless we save the RFA from our enemies called V and Luciel.”

Luna was pretty certain who the real enemy was.

“Which is why this project is directly related to our existence. But thankfully, we were able to bring you here safe and sound to be part of this with Ray's effort.”

She was dragged in to aid in the RFA's brainwashing and conversion. Luna could kick herself for her recklessness if the desire to break this woman's nose wasn't the more dominant urge.

“I thought Ray's burden would have lessened with you…But now there is an unexpected problem. I've noticed that since who-knows-when Ray has grown...unusually weak in heart.”

Luna wanted to laugh at that moment. Incredible. Implying that Ray's decline in well being was her fault. Even the implication that Ray becoming more self aware and deprogramming from his brainwashing was “weak” made her blood boil. She held back the desire to cackle by clenching her jaw.

Luna had made direct eye contact with the leader, her eyes burning like small fires. The blonde could see it now, she could see trouble in those eyes.

“Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to blame you. The problem does not lie within you. It lies within Ray.”

The real catalyst was right there, the bitch should look in a mirror.

“Anyhow, my anxiety is growing. I am far from relieved that our work might not prove to be successful, with the finish line merely steps away.”

I'll have to move the goalpost, Luna thought.

“Same could be said of Ray. I'm sure he's frustrated as well...But it is also my duty to make sure his effort does pay off. So this project must not fail. For his sake…”

This project must fail, for his sake, thought Luna.

“Oh, that's right. I forgot the most important thing....I hereby give you my warmest and sincerest welcome, Believer Luna, our special missionary. I'm hearing a series of reports on the performances you're demonstrating in RFA chat rooms.... I look forward to your continued effort and success. Here. This key card will prove your status in this place from here on.”

This was the golden ticket she had been waiting for. She took the card gleefully, knowing damn well she would take full advantage of it.

“Well, it seems I'm doing something right. Thank you for welcoming me in person” Luna said, putting up the act of the naive dumb woman.

The savior noticed the odd change in Luna's demeanor. She had become much more agreeable now than when she first entered the room.

“With this card, you can access anywhere in this building. You should avoid visiting the intelligence room, however, since that's where Ray is working. And the security guards will give you a rundown of the places that you should not access.”

She would have to build her reputation as the ultimate rule-breaker, Luna thought. Cause a little chaos, raise a little hell.

“I give you my word that you'll find only salvation and cleansing in this place.... Believer Luna.”

Whether the cult leader was convinced of her allegiance to the cause or not, Luna didn't care. She found it amusing that she managed to be trustworthy enough to become a full fledged member regardless.

“I wish I could stay longer, but I must go now. There is a report I'm waiting to hear. I must check whether a certain promise has been kept. Anyhow, I welcome you once again....For our paradise.”

The paradise will fall.

“And now, I hope you find true happiness in you... I hope we meet again.”

‘I hope we don't, because the next time we do, I'm not sure I can hold myself back’ thought Luna bitterly.

“Sure. Have a good night” Luna said, internally screaming over the fact she had to put up the nice girl act.

The cult leader left the room gracefully.

Luna's entire mood was now spoiled. She had found a bit of relaxation making art again but the blonde menace herself just had to show up and get Luna all fired up.

She wanted to distract herself, so without thinking about it much, she logged in to find an open chatroom. It was her lucky night.

Ray: Luna you're logged in at this hour...?
Luna: I thought you might be still awake...!
Ray: You were waiting for me? I’m so happy...I really am...!
Ray: I feel alive....I heard about what happened. I heard that my savior paid you a visit and gave you the ID card to use at this place.....
Ray: Luna...I was wondering whether she told you anything else...
Luna: I think she basically just welcomed me. And it looked like she's worried about you too. Supposedly.
Ray: Really...? I'm happy she welcomed you! I didn't think she'll give you the card in person.
Luna: neither did I.
Ray: I'm the one who brought you here but I caused trouble...So I was thinking maybe she wanted to check for herself whether you really are a reliable person…
Luna: funny enough, I think that too. It definitely seemed like she was watching me carefully. But I don't think she suspects me at all. I'm totally tooting my own horn here, but I've become a damn good actress.
Ray: You know, sometimes I worry about your mischief Luna. Though I wish you shared our beliefs, I'm glad you decided to stay.
Ray: It looks like I was worried for nothing. After seeing you in person, she complimented me that I chose just the right person.
Luna: Now that I'm fully a member, I get to spend more time with you~
Ray: I'm glad that's the case...I thought everything I do will end up being ruined but if there's one thing I really did well, it's that I got to meet you.
Luna: hhhhhhhh so cute...
Ray: Oops...My savior told me that I must control myself, since you're too charming for me....
Luna: I don't think you have to deny such a natural feeling, darling.
Ray: ...Really? I....I'm starting to like you more and it okay to keep doing that?
Luna: Of course.
Ray: I wish we could take a nap together, read together, look after pretty flowers together
Ray: and go see places we've never seen
Ray: together...
Ray: I feel so happy just imagining it…
Luna: that sounds lovely...
Ray: ....
Ray: Anyways, I' glad that she didn't say anything about the elixir to you....It's so painful if you drink that. I'll have to take it regularly from now on but I hope you never get to take it!
Luna: You're protecting me, aren't you? Thank you...
Ray: Luna, you came all the way here only because you trusted me....I never ever wish to betray your faith....
Ray: And Luna, I will make sure you don't have to go through anything sad or demanding or painful!
Luna: Sometimes pain is a part of life. You can't prevent everything sad. However...a trouble shared is better than handling it alone.
Ray: Maybe I can't protect you from everything...but I will try, and I will be a support for you.
Ray: You don't have to drink the elixir because you're much stronger and more wonderful than me....But I have to drink the elixir because my body just won't grow.
Luna: Ray...
Ray: That must be why my savior's worried, isn't it...?
Ray: I'm worried that I might not live up to her expectations. When she visited earlier, she looked like she wasn't happy with me....
Ray: Luna
Ray: Do you also think I'm not good enough...?
Luna: I think you're good enough. But I think your environment is suffocating you.
Ray: I'm good enough? Luna, you're the first person to ever tell me that...
Ray: But I must not be arrogant. I don't even deserve to be at the Mint Eye...I'm so grateful that there's something I can do...!
Luna: Ray...the savior. I don't like her.
Ray: But...why? Was it something she said...or something I did…?
Luna: No. It's not something YOU did. But it was something she did. She is the source of your pain. I can't like someone like that. And besides...I have a feeling I have seen her somewhere before.
Ray: My savior cares for me, Luna. She would never hurt me. I'm just misbehaving, that's all. That's why she's firm with me.
Luna: Darling, I'm only looking out for your safety. And I want to be honest with you. I don't like her. And I think I never will.
Ray: Well...I can't blame you. It's your opinion, even if it's different from mine...I will respect it. And...I'm glad I have someone so strong looking out for me.
Luna: thank you...Ray. It means a lot to me.
Ray: I wish I were born stronger…Then I would have had more time to stay with you....
Luna: I have hope, Ray. I know you will be strong. I know we will have more time.
Ray: I see. Then I have to get stronger! I'll be so happy if I could one day be recognized at this place and be more recognized by you!
Ray: Pains in my life keep repeating because I'm weak....And there's nothing I can do about it....since I was born like this...I can't even see I was feeling a bit frustrated.
Luna: You might have a hard time right now, but things will get better soon. I hope you'd consider that I'm there with you.
Ray: ...Luna. Your words are so sweet and happy. When I listen to you, I think I can do anything. I want to stay with you...
Ray: ......Ah!
Ray: I lost control of my imaginations again.
Ray: I should log out before I start typing something weird like an airhead.
Luna: Please, stay with me just a little more...
Ray: ....I won't get in trouble, will I? My savior wouldn't know even if I stay longer, will she?
Luna: And if anyone tries to interfere, I will punch them~
Ray: hahaha...Luna, you're a troublemaker. Never change.
Ray: Oh but before I go, there's this picture I want to show you.
Ray: Take a look at this.

Ray sent a photo of a delicate white flower with multiple blossoms.

Ray: This flower is called lily of the valley. And the language of the flower behind it is 'Promise of Happiness.'
Luna: it's a beautiful meaning. I'm sure you can achieve happiness.
Ray: I will make it through this day as well. Because you're here, and you're happier than me. Thank you for staying here...Thank you for putting your faith in me and staying here...Thank you for helping me make it through this...Thank you...Luna.
Ray: Oh, the notification is in. I should really go now. I really wish you'll be happy in your dreams. I'll pray with all my heart...
Luna: I hope you get some rest too...
Ray: Yes, I hope one day I'd get to hold your hand and take a nap together…
Ray has left the chatroom.
Luna has left the chatroom.

She didn't know when she started crying, but Luna was finally aware of the tears falling like the rain. She didn't think she could feel even more sadness for someone else, but she did. Saeran…he claimed he wasn't strong. But to stay alive, for his frail hope to remain after such a hopeless life...he was strong. Stronger than she ever was. Luna had a deep admiration for him, a profound respect. He deserved the world, and that flower of affection she felt in her heart was about to bloom. It was incredible how she had managed to like another so much in such a short time. Of course, Luna had a ways to go before completely opening up, and so did Saeran. Luna didn't think she had it in her to care for someone so much. Maybe it was fate, maybe it's just one of those things that come with travel. Luna didn't care. She had a reason for being there, and she was gonna make sure to get it done. She couldn't remember the last time she felt so sure of herself.

‘Get it together, girl’ Luna thought to herself, wiping her tears with her arm. She didn't want to look like a depressed gremlin the next time she saw Ray. Just a gremlin was okay.

She briefly went back to her painting. She was now painting in the eyes of the stag, those soulful, mint eyes…

Luna picked up her phone and dialed.

“Oh, Luna! Hello! Is anything the matter?” said Ray on the other line.

“No, darling. Nothing. I know it's been like twenty minutes since we last talked but I wanted to call anyway, I wanted to hear you” Luna admitted. She couldn’t help but think about him, worry for him. She had this feeling that he shouldn’t be left alone for too long.

“Really? So we're connected. I was hoping for your call then you did!”

Luna knew she made the right call.

“Haha, glad the feeling is mutual”

“My savior would be disappointed to hear this...but I just couldn't help it. I was dying to hear your voice. Actually, I called you because I'm scared of falling asleep. I'm having bad dreams these days. And I'll end up screaming and bolting awake.” Ray said, melancholic.

Luna had just regained her composure but the tears wanted to come back with a vengeance.

“What kind of dream was it?” Luna asked as calmly as she could.

“...It's a dream where I go back to my childhood. You see...I'd dream about going back to my mom's house and getting locked up in a dark room. I can see the Magenta right there out the window, but no matter how hard I hit the window and wave my hand, people outside can't see me. And when I keep hitting the window, my mom would scream that I'm making a fuss. And then she'd whisper to me…”

Oh no.

“...You're being more and more pain in the back, you bug. Just die. Just go ahead and die. You're better off dead.”

There went the waterworks.

“...Hah, now I feel like I made you uncomfortable. I'm sorry.”

Had Ray somehow heard her? Luna deliberately held back the gasp that came upon listening to Ray’s dream. The horrid realization that he was most likely abused as a child by his own mother fell on her like a ton of bricks. She had to keep it together, because right now the one who needed the most support was on the other side of a phone, only one floor away.

“Ah, no. Ray, it's okay. It's talk things out like this. You know, there's something freeing about a trouble shared. And you can share with me if you need to”

There was a brief silence between them, and Ray was finally able to speak.

“I tend to stare blankly on my bed for a while when I wake up from a scary dream. When I sit alone in a room full of darkness with no sound...I feel like I'm left behind all alone. It feels like nobody ever wants me...But you don't know what it feels like, do you?”

“I do. I’ve been in that dark place. It's so sad and lonely.” Luna replied, remembering those dark periods in her life where she felt so lost.

“But you're so brilliant and shining all the time. Do you actually feel lonely?” Ray asked in genuine curiosity.

“You would be surprised if you had met me a few years ago”

“...How strange. I'm sad when you're sad and lonely...But I feel a little reassured...when I think that you've felt the way I do. A trouble shared...the freedom...I think I get it…"

Luna furiously wiped her eyes with her free hand.

“I'm such a bad person... I'm having bad thoughts... Sorry…” he murmured sadly.

“Don't be scared.” Luna said reassuringly, “ I'll stay with you. Don't be afraid to express how you truly feel with me. I'm not gonna push you away like many others have done to you”

“I want to believe you. I want to stay in your arms whenever you tell me that. I'm trying to hold myself because I'm scared you'll hate me if I do that...But I can't help longing for your words.”

Then an idea came to Luna.

“Do you know that whenever I listen to you, I feel like I'm not a useless person? Whenever you comfort me...I sometimes think that maybe I'm a very little useful. Because when you talk about something about me, that means you had found that part acceptable...So I think...perhaps whatever you're talking about me is fine....”

Ray had always gone out of his way to make her feel welcome and comfortable, now she wanted to return the favor.

“I feel a little better talking to you like this. I think I won't have any bad dreams tonight...if I fall asleep like this. I should hang up now, right...? You should go to sleep.”

Ray deserved a dose of comfort too. Make him feel wanted.

“No, Ray. Wait. Will you hear me out? I just had the best idea!” Luna said with enthusiasm, hoping to catch his attention.

“Luna….you sounded so bright just now. I want to hear anything about you, so...I will stay a little longer” Ray said, curious about what had Luna sounding so chipper.

“Let’s have a sleepover!” Luna stated boldly.

Ray was confused.


“Come to my room in ten minutes. Bring your most comfortable clothes. Let's hang out.”

He began to understand what she was asking for.

“Wait...together? Alone...with you? A-at this time of night?”

“ said so yourself in the chatroom. And I quote…”

She cleared her throat. A small laugh escaped her lips.

“I want to hold hands...and take a nap together. That's what you said. So let's do that. Let's take a nap together, Ray”

Ray gasped at the thoughts his mind just conjured.

“I-I...I...what if I get in trouble...I mean...leaving my post...uhh…”

“But you haven't slept yet, right?” cooed Luna. “You said that you sleep at some point even if you're working.”

That actually sounded completely reasonable.

“...that's true”

I’m getting through to him, Luna thought.

“So let's consider this your sleeping time, your break time. Let's nap together. If you need to go back to much as I don't want to let you go back...I can see it’s important to you so. I can set a timer on my phone...three hours, right? I remember you mentioning you sleep at least three hours a night. I can set the timer for three hours. Then when the time is up I can wake you up and you can go back to your duties. I can hold you close, read you a story, sing you a lullaby...just like you have expressed to me. How does that sound Ray? Can you do that?”

“ I dreaming right now? feels like…a dream come true…” Ray said dreamily.

“Please?” Luna begged innocently.

Ray was practically putty at this point, upon hearing Luna wanting him around, and so close.

“You know...I used to have sleepovers as a child, and even in my adult years I still enjoy them.” said Luna suddenly, flustered by the soft sigh she heard on the other end.

“Hah...Luna you're shiny. My heart is beating with excitement…” he whispered happily.

Then the anxiety kicked in.

“B-but what if someone comes looking for me?”

Luna needed to reassure him.

“You can leave a note. It could say, Sleeping, Do Not Disturb! Though I will not let anyone disturb your sleep…”

“That...that doesn't sound too bad. Maybe I will be able to do better after some rest...”

“A good, comfortable rest in a proper bed could enhance your body and mind!” Luna happily chimed in.

Ray had decided.

“...Luna...let’s hold hands...and nap together”

Luna almost leaped in victory.

“Ten minutes, okay? Softness is a must! It’s not a sleepover without comfortable pajamas!”

Softness? Thought Ray. Her eager tone alone made him feel soft.

“O-okay...Luna...s-see you soon”

“I'll be waiting...Ray”

Then she hung up. This was probably the craziest idea, but Luna didn't care. She was on cloud nine, like a kid on Christmas morning. She burned some candles, for atmosphere, so Ray could be welcomed with a good aroma. She kicked her luggage under the bed, so he wouldn't see the mess she had made of it. She only kept the room at half light with just the lamps turned on. She put on her favorite pajama shorts, the ones with a cute fried egg print. She moisturized her face, her arms, her she could be softer. Luna would very rarely admit it, but she loved cuddling. The warmth, the comfort, the closeness of another human being. She felt so safe, it was a gesture of intimacy she adored. Ray had probably never received a gesture of pure affection in his life, so Luna was determined to give him so much affection he would be left lightheaded. Ray deserved it. Luna briefly wondered if he had ever been so close to a woman before, which made her blush furiously, thinking about how she could be the first to introduce intimacy to him. She stopped herself from thinking further after she figured he was probably a virgin too.

“Get it together, bitch!” Luna yelled to herself, slapping her cheeks.

Then came a knock at her door. Luna's heart began to beat wildly, feeling warm and fuzzy and a sort of adrenaline rush she had not experienced before.

She took a deep breath, and she opened the door. Ray was there to greet her with a shy smile.

“Come on in, Ray” said Luna.

Ray had taken her suggestion to heart. He was dressed simply in a long sleeved shirt and striped pajama bottoms. It was a drastic difference from his usual attire, which made him appear like a book character. Now he looked so...normal. It was a normalcy that Luna found charming.

“I hope this is...okay, Luna. Thank you for inviting me” Ray finally spoke up.

Luna could just melt on the spot.

“Come on” Luna said, taking Ray's hand. “I thought of a lot of stories I could tell you! Or we can talk about anything else, if you want”

She slowly but surely led Ray to the bed. And they sat next to each other, mutually enamored.

If Luna was feeling overwhelmed, Ray's mind was on overdrive. The room smelled amazing, instantly relaxing him. The atmosphere felt comfortable with the dim lights. Then there was Luna, brilliant and excited. Taking his hand and leading him to a bliss he had never experienced. He felt like he was walking on air, and for the first time, he felt a new type of joy invade his senses.

“Oh right!” Luna, reached over to her nightstand, and in her hands was a small plate covered by a napkin.

“I saved these muffins I was brought earlier. Have one!”

With a shy smile, Ray gladly took the offering. He hasn't eaten much today, and at the moment, his body was reminding him of that. He bit into the fluffy bread; bown sugar and blueberries. Though the sweetness of the pastry paled in comparison to the sweetness settling down next to him.

“So. What do you want to talk about first? Sleepovers are always great for conversations. And I love to talk, as you already noticed haha”

Ray thought her hearty laughter was so irresistible.

“What will it be? Our favorite weather, cute animals, strange fascination, travel…”

“Actually...there is one thing” Ray cut in.

Ray was actively participating, and Luna felt a rush of pride.

“Okay, name it”

“The art on your skin. Your tattoos. I have been so interested in them since day one. I' to know about some of them. If you don't mind telling me, that is. I hope I'm not bothering you…”

Luna beamed.

“Oh. My. God. Yes! Please ask me anything, I won't leave a single detail out! Point at one, go on!”

“That lizard type one in your arm...what is it?” he began.

“It's an Aztec dragon”

“Why did you get it?”

“To honor my heritage and pay homage to my Aztec ancestry”

“What about that one?”

“Compass arrows for my love of travelling”

The tattoo on her collarbone, her love for bats. The wings on her ankles, based on the Greek god Hermes. A cluster of mushrooms, her fascination with fungi. The detailed mirror with roses, Bell and the Beast. Ray was paying attention to Luna so intently, letting her take the lead in conversation. He had never seen a human being speak so much, he had never seen this side of Luna. The energetic, chatty side. The way she narrated her stories drew the listener in. Both of them eventually fell into a more casual conversation, until Luna was telling a story from her old job.

“Then I-” Luna let out a huge yawn, “Sorry...I banned that woman from boarding the plane! Huzzah! Bye bye cunt! That's what you get!” Luna laughed boisterously.

Luna had yawned. Ray had a little panic, thinking that maybe he had bored her. It was like he had plummeted right back to earth.

“Luna...Am I keeping you up? Am I boring you? Oh, I didn't mean to. I'm sorry. We got so wrapped up talking…You must be so tired…” Ray began to ramble.

“Ray, relax, you're fine” Luna reassured, “I guess I have gotten tired. And it's pretty late. Let's get to bed!”

While Luna went over to blow out the candles, Ray observed her so carefully. She way her hair bounced with her steps, the way her hips naturally swayed, the blissful smile she thought she could hide from him. His savior was right, she WAS too charming. But in that moment, he didn't care about what the savior may have said. Luna had advised to not to deny himself such natural feelings, and for the first time, he felt completely at ease. He felt...normal. He felt human. He briefly wondered why he didn't try it sooner.

Then Luna zoomed over to the bed, getting under the covers and giving another yawn.

“Hey, what are you waiting for? Get over here” Luna ordered playfully, patting the space beside her.

It was then that it hit Ray that Luna was 100% serious about napping together. Ray was felt a wave of heat rise to his face at the thought. He had so much fun spending time just chatting with Luna, having a connection with another human being. Now he would get to experience another kind of closeness that came with that connection.

Ray eventually laid down beside Luna, grabbing an extra pillow so he could properly look at Luna. He liked the cool feeling of the sheets beneath him, and the

“Oh, hang on. Let me set the timer” Luna mentioned.

This was really happening, thought Ray.

“Here, see? Three hours” said Luna, showing Ray her phone.

Luna hadn't had someone so close in a long time.

“Yes...sounds fine, Luna.”

Neither said anything for a few moments, looking into each other's eyes. They wondered if the other felt the same thing at that moment. The same bliss.

“Come on, don't be shy. Hang on, let me scooch over”

Luna moved her body to close the gap between them.

“Can I...can I hold you?” Ray asked bashfully.

Luna snuggled up to Ray, their faces almost touching. He was being bold today, braver. It was something Luna was proud of.

“Of course you can, sweets” Luna said ever so softly.

Ray put his arms around her, not hesitating to hold her close, and Luna did the same. Ray really WAS too thin. She wondered how often he even got proper nutrition. It was something else she had to work on with him. But right now, the peace that engulfed her senses mattered more. Ray could feel her soft breathing against his neck. Her perfume was intoxicating. She had begun to run her fingers through his hair, humming a song he didn't know, almost feeling the vibrations of her vocal chords against his skin. She was so warm. Her hands stroking his head felt amazing. He hadn't realized how cold he was. Their legs had naturally became entangled in one another.

“Ray…” Luna whispered, pausing her song.

“Hmm?” Ray replied sleepily.

“How are you feeling?”

“Like…” he mumbled, “ the luckiest man on the world. I feel….so warm”

Ray began stroking Luna's back. Luna sighed dreamily.

“Is this…paradise…?” he sighed.

Not long after that, his breathing became relaxed, as he fell into slumber.

Luna was happy. She was holding probably the most precious human she had ever met. She was helping him grow. She felt so cherished. It was new, and a bit alarming. But she would never regret this.

Eventually, Luna joined Ray in the land of dreams, entangled in each other's embrace.

There's a noise, Luna thought.

Where was it coming from?

It was loud, it was obnoxious…

Like a knock on wood….

Luna’s eyes flew open. The first thing she did was check on the sleeping beauty beside her, hoping he hadn't woken up as well.

The knocking persisted. Someone was at the door at this ungodly hour. Luna began to feel the anger rise.

Ray’s grip on Luna had loosened a little, but she was still careful to not stir him from his slumber. He looked so peaceful and cute, it would be a crime to wake him up now. He was out like a light and had apparently not heard the obnoxious knocking. The timer on her phone read 2 hours left. Who in the world could be interrupting probably the best sleep she has had in ages? Whomever it was, they had hell to pay.

Luna was pissed. She growled every single curse she knew, including in other languages. Being woken up randomly was a huge pet peeve of hers. She hated being interrupted from sleep with every fiber of her being. Luna was in beast mode, and she hoped the poor sucker who was behind that door had said his prayers that night and his goodbyes to his mother.

The believer knocking on the door of the special guest had no idea what was coming. He had gone to see Mr. Ray, as per the savior's orders. But he was nowhere to be seen in the development room, and the note left behind gave no clues as to where the hacker could be. Then he thought about the closest person to Mr. Ray besides the savior, and the answer was simple. The special missionary the savior had announced. Apparently, it was rumored that Mr. Ray was greatly fond of her. Maybe she knew something about Mr. Ray's location. Everyone knew of where she was staying, but not many wanted to get near. Apparently, one of the believers who had an encounter with the special missionary was greeted with coldness that instilled fear into her fragile heart. Some thought it silly, some took it seriously. This particular believer didn't think a simple woman could cause so much trouble and uneasiness. He was grateful to have learned English, as it would be easy to speak with her. It would turn out, he would greatly come to regret his naive opinion.

The door opened slowly, revealing a figured partially obscured by dramatic dark shadows. The believer was surprised, the special missionary was much smaller than he thought. He was finally face to face with the songbird of Magenta. However, he would freeze in place upon seeing how he was being greeted.

Luna's face was twisted in anger, brows furrowed, scowl prominent, her gaze threatening and intense. If looks could kill, the believer would have been dead in an instant.

The believer felt his mouth go dry.

“ you want?” Luna said coldly in a way that would send a shiver down anyone's spine.

“Umm...uh…” stuttered the believer, “I-I was looking for Mr. Ray but…”

The woman grunted.

“I couldn't find him and I know he likes you a lot so…”

She clicked her tongue in annoyance.

“I was wondering if you...if you’ve seen him anywhere”

She sighed heavily, tilting her head briefly until a crack was heard. Finally sweet release, that would have given her a headache for sure.

“And...if I have?” said Luna darkly.

Maybe he had made a mistake.

“T-the looking for him.”

Luna narrowed her eyes at the intruder.

“He's sleeping. Leave us alone. He will go back to his post soon.”

Did she just say...that Mr. Ray was with her? In the same room? Alone?

“B-but...miss I-”

She slammed the side of her first on the open door. It made the believer flinch.

“Did I stutter?” She said in retaliation, “Ray will be back in the development room in two hours. Two hours, got it, punk?”

Two hours? But he had to get back to the savior...

“ wouldn't dare interrupt his precious rest, would you?” the woman challenged with a malicious grin.

“Huh? You wouldn't do that, right?” then she took a step out of the door, using a mock cutesy voice, “He does soooooo much for this place, so much to keep you all safe! He deserves some peace and quiet, wouldn't interrupt his reward, right?” she snarled.

The man took a step back when he saw that there were strange images all over her skin.

“ ma’am” he said, submitting like a dog with his tail between his legs.

Luna's face lit up in a way that just made her even more terrifying to the unfortunate believer.

“We agree. Good! along and tell your master that Ray will be with her soon okay? And that he will come back much more productive and motivated. I'm sure she'd be pleased to hear her favorite pawn will work much better now” she exclaimed mockingly.

“She doesn't have to worry about a thing. Ray is in very good hands.”

To drive the point home, she dug her nails into the wood of the door and clawed downward, creating an unsettling noise to the human ear.

The believer was just about run for the hills, when the woman spoke up again.

“One more thing” she said, going back to her dark alto tone, “You can let everybody know if you desire. If you or one of your cult pests interrupt my sleep again…”

The believer swallowed hard in fear.

“I will hit them so hard their ancestors will roll in their graves.”

The man only nodded profusely, not wanting to provoke the special missionary any further. He had suffered enough of her merciless wrath.

“Bye! Fuck off!”

Then Luna slammed the door in his face.

The believer bolted from the second floor west wing, wanting to leave behind the experience he just had. The rumors weren't true; they were very underwhelming. The real thing was even worse. The songbird of Magenta was a pretty little thing by day, but by night she turned into a hawk who will claw you apart with her talons. He secretly hoped he wouldn't have to see her again for a while. Too embarrassed to tell what had transpired, in fear of being seen as a coward, he would report back to the savior with only partial information. Surprisingly, she had taken it well, acknowledging that she should let the man sleep in a bit more. At least he hadn’t gotten his head bitten off this time. He had a feeling he wouldn't get away with it a second time.

Luna's rage subsided after she finally got the man out of her sight. She felt even more tired, and was about to throw around more curses, until she saw Ray on the bed sleeping like a baby. His hair was a mess, part of his shirt had raised exposing part of his torso, and he was curled up like a kitten after a long day. Luna couldn't stay mad when she saw such a precious sight. She made her way back under the covers and tucking herself in under his arms. As if on cue, Ray shifted and held Luna closer, creating the perfect cuddle position.

So cute, Luna thought. I don't think I'll get enough of this.

Luna fell back into a deep sleep.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16- Heart of Glass

Day 6 part 2

When the timer went off, Luna just wanted to throw her phone across the room. Instead, she gently woke Ray up, and at first all he wanted to do was cling to her like a koala. It was cute, she thought, but she had to get him to wake up before more unwelcome company came along.

“I don't want to let you go right now either, but...she is looking for you” Luna urged.

This caused Ray to dart right out of sleep, immediately fully alert and afraid. She wanted to kick herself for scaring him like that, but she didn't want him to be in any more trouble. What they did was risky, in the cult perspective. But Luna felt like she was making so much progress with him she had to take it a step further. Not that she regretted having him so close; even she knew when it was appropriate to have restraint.

“Luna! I-I'm sorry I...just held onto you all night and…”

“You did nothing wrong, and..."

Luna looked down bashfully.

“I liked having you hold me close”

A warm, irresistible sweetness filled Ray's senses.

Luna escorted Ray to the door, where they both lingered, looking at each other.

Luna stepped closer to embrace Ray gently, and he embraced back. Luna basked in the warmth of his chest, how soft he felt. Ray liked the feel of her arms around him, and how comfortable her shoulder was, how safe he felt with her.

“We'll talk in the chat, and we'll see each other later” Luna whispered.

“Yes...let's do that.” Ray whispered back.

“I didn't have a single nightmare. Or rather, I didn't dream at all. I feel more rested for once.”

“Really? I'm so glad! I'm glad you're feeling a bit better” Luna said joyfully.

Thank you, Luna, he thought. He would have to show her how grateful he was to her in some way.

“Go get em, Ray. If they try to tear you down, do what I do. I kick their ass!” Luna declared proudly.

The transition between confusion and then laughter in Ray's expression was so endearing to her. His laughter felt like music to her ears.

“I won’t be kicking anybody, but...I understand. You're cheering me on, right? I will work hard today too. Thank you.”

Then Ray left, holding his head high for the first time in forever. Luna watched him go with a devilish grin. The man had REALLY good assets, she had to admit, which she watched intently. She hated to see him leave but she loved watching him go. Oh, she really hoped he hadn't noticed her piercing gaze all over.

Luna was about to go straight back to sleep, but she felt so jittery she couldn't sit still. She couldn't help but miss the comfort of his arms, and having to let him go back to his hell. Luna knew she shouldn't push things, she had pushed a lot just last night alone. The idea of Ray going back to the blonde bitch gave her mental hives. She went from blissfully happy, to disgruntled, to sappy, to grumpy. It wasn't her fault the cunt faced cult leader looked so punchable.

A notice for a new chatroom would provide the perfect distraction.

Luna has entered the chatroom.
ZEN has entered the chatroom.
ZEN: Luna good morning!
Luna: How are you feeling today?
ZEN: Better than last night lmaoo
ZEN: but Yoosung, why you....
ZEN: He's not picking up. Did he fall asleep on his keyboard?
Jaehee Kang has entered the room.
Jaehee Kang: We have a situation!
Luna: wha
ZEN: Jaehee!?
Luna: What's going on?
Jaehee Kang: Well…
ZEN: Is there a problem with that intelligence unit thing?
Jaehee Kang: Oh it's not that...But this unexpected emergency has occurred. I see V isn't here...
ZEN: I didn't see him the other day either...Just what is going on?
Luna: Do we have trouble or something?
Jaehee Kang: No, it's the opposite.
ZEN: What's going on?
Jaehee Kang: The Chairman has finally given an order.
ZEN: Oh....
Jaehee Kang: Haha...At this beautiful busy morning that will mark the birth of the intelligence unit, arrived a humongous presence of an email from the Chairman's office and made his command...!!
ZEN: So what is this business that you've been preparing, even postponing the art business or whatever during the process? Is it something that makes you work your glasses off?
Jaehee Kang: It wasn't, thank god.
Luna: Let's hear it! Spill!
ZEN: Then what is it about...? Man I'm dying to know what lmao
Jaehee Kang: The prime minister.....
Luna: o_o
ZEN: The prime minister!
Jaehee Kang: It was about none other than the prime minister.
Luna: Don't you think it's so alarmingly sudden?
Jaehee Kang: I was alarmed as well.
ZEN: Say what!? THE prime minister?
Luna: but why
Jaehee Kang: Yes. And the said politician is seeking to purchase V's photography work.
ZEN: No way
Jaehee Kang: So the Chairman requested Mr. Han to introduce V to him.
ZEN: !?!?!?
ZEN: That's unbelievable
Luna: Something's a bit suspicious here....
ZEN: I don't get what's going on, either. But how did the prime minister know that V and the CEO-in-line are friends?
Jaehee Kang: Apparently, it reached his attention that V is the head of the RFA and Mr. Han, a member of the RFA.
ZEN: Oh....It's true that the CEO-in-line made several successful business deals at the past is that how the prime minister made his connection?
Jaehee Kang: Yes...
Luna: think you should first contact V about this.
ZEN: I think she's here to do just that, Luna.
ZEN: But wait is this why that art business was canceled?
Jaehee Kang: Yes...But I personally think such request didn't really need the postponement of the art business. Although it's a personal request from the prime minister, all he asked for was an introduction....
ZEN: Well but the Chairman is a businessman, so he might have seen beyond the introduction!
Luna: Don't you think a partnership between a businessman and a politician is not always recommended?
Jaehee Kang: I believe it is important to set a line and keep it. It could be helpful to figure out what business corporations are thinking while maneuvering through politics but a political plan should be formulated not based on a specific corporation but on the whole business field.
ZEN: Exactly. And that's because taxes must be used well.
Jaehee Kang: Of several developing countries it is not uncommon to see specific corporates connected to the governmental domain. However, once the government starts to rely on business corporates too much there are bound to be crimes and corruptions.
Luna: yeah, tell that to my damn country -_-
Jaehee Kang: No wonder you're so suspicious if you grew up with a government like that.
ZEN: What's C&R's stance on this?
Jaehee Kang: I'm not sure about its past, but as for the future, I'd say it is constantly keeping up with governmental changes. Our top protocol is to train fine personnel and thus the company's business power strictly within its body.
ZEN: I guess C&R won't get much help even if it grows friendly with the prime minister.
Jaehee Kang: Most likely.
ZEN: Man but the prime minister? It's kind of random and I don't even know his name since I'm not interested in politics lmao
Jaehee Kang: He is called
Luna: hold up...
ZEN: Oh, wait a sec I think I know!
ZEN: Choi
Luna: ???
ZEN: his family name is Choi.
Jaehee Kang: Yes, it is.
ZEN: Saejoong Choi!
Luna: rifdudydhsh
Jaehee Kang: Correct^^
ZEN: Luna…?
Luna: Sorry, phone fell.
ZEN: Man...I remember hearing his name from the news. I have to turn on the TV before the news is over to make sure I don't miss the show that follows lmao
Jaehee Kang: Though the prime minister seeks introduction, he asked to have lunch today....
ZEN: Today!?
Luna: He seems to be rather in a hurry....
ZEN: I assume it's difficult for him to find another time since he's so busy.
ZEN: Yeah.... Probably....
Luna: I think he just wants to get in with C&R out of greed.
ZEN: You really don't trust politicians, do you Luna?
Luna: No. I don't.
Jaehee Kang: Her experiences are probably different than ours as far as politicians go.
ZEN: Man, V is something!
Jaehee Kang: It would be an honor for him ^^
ZEN: Do you think maybe they'll have V's photo in the official governmental building? Lmao If V's picture can touch even the president's heart....
Jaehee Kang: That is something that has skipped my head in the past. I believe...his photos will become even more famous.
Luna: Something's not quite right about this... Shouldn’t we find out what the prime minister's thinking?
ZEN: But he's the prime minister. I don't think we have to be suspicious of him.
Jaehee Kang: His identity is secure for one thing.
ZEN: He even had a hearing when he was running for the prime minister election lmaoo
Luna: people lie.
Jaehee Kang: Yes, and he turned out to be a man of spotless career.
ZEN: V...I can't imagine how excited he'd be!
ZEN: It'd be the same as having the high authority in this country recognizing my acting lmao
Jaehee Kang: True. And I'm sure you'll get to see that in the future :)
ZEN: Thanks Jaehee
Luna: I think things are progressing way too fast here....
ZEN: Prime minister's a busy man. That must be why he wants the meeting today. I mean, he's a politician. That means we can trust him, right?
Luna: :/
Jaehee Kang: Not to mention...The prime minister is the best candidate for next presidency.
ZEN: Whoa!!
ZEN: So then, if he stays a fan of V's photos even after becoming the president, then we'll get to see V's photos in the president's office....?
Jaehee Kang: ....It would be more than just a dream.
ZEN: whoa whoa whoa whoa.....What an honor would it be for the RFA?! Lmaoooooo
Luna: Hmm....
ZEN: It looks like you don't like where this is going, Luna...
Jaehee Kang: She may be concerned for V.
ZEN: Concerned...? Oh....because he might not handle such a good opportunity in a good way?
Jaehee Kang: V is a professional. I believe he'll do well.
ZEN: Well I think I'll be nervous lmao
Jaehee Kang: As a matter of fact...Mr. Han is supposed to introduce them, and so his schedule has not been finalized because of this.
ZEN: Should I try contacting V?
Jaehee Kang: I don't think changing personnel for the job would make any difference. So allow me to keep trying.
ZEN: Our members keep becoming celebrities lmao
Luna: But this is all so sudden. I think we should be a bit prudent about this.
ZEN: Hmm...I think at least we shouldn't get our hopes up too high. V might find disappointment at his appointment lmao
Jaehee Kang: That's true. But since prime minister contacted the Chairman with lots of time and effort, he must possess more than just average interest in photography.
Luna: That's what I'm saying. This might go deeper than that.
ZEN: I should also do my best with my current show.
Jaehee Kang: I believe you'd be able to do anything if you stay as passionate and hardworking as you are now:)
ZEN: Thanks Jaehee
ZEN: And Luna, thanks for staying with me ^^
Luna: Don't mention it. ^^
ZEN: It's a bit embarrassing to show myself struggling, but to me the RFA is basically a family lmao
Luna: Including Jumin? :>
ZEN: ...Why do you do this to me, Luna? T_T
Luna: nyeh heh heh :P
ZEN: Man
ZEN: I can suddenly see that face of his giving away so-called tips. He'd talk about efficiency and capitalism and blah blah blah....
Jaehee Kang: Please neutralize your feelings with the news on V's possible photo deal.
ZEN: I gotta do that. Now I'm more than motivated. I should go practice!
Jaehee Kang: Zekyll & White is an internationally beloved masterpiece. I believe you will do a superb job.
Luna: Good luck - !
ZEN: Thanks both of you lmaooo
ZEN: And now!!
ZEN: Jaehee, good luck with your job!
ZEN: Luna, stay safe!
Jaehee Kang: Thank you.
ZEN has left the chatroom.
Jaehee Kang: I hope his practice would be successful ^^ Since V isn't here as well...should I send someone to check his residence?
Luna: Are you sure the prime minister means nothing strange?
Jaehee Kang: it seems your mistrust for politicians is serious to you.
Jaehee Kang: don't think there's anything to suspect here. The ones who are in charge of communications here are the assistants...
Jaehee Kang: Oh, I should hurry and contact V. The prime minister is busy, so it seemed like it's either now or at least a few weeks later. Though it was unexpected, I was thinking that perhaps Mr. Han and V would get to meet for once and enjoy lunch together....And it appeared Mr. Han was actually looking forward to it.
Luna: It's no wonder. They're childhood friends.
Jaehee Kang: They are...Mr. Han has been attending meetings since early morning, so he couldn't log in....But he's constantly checking V's schedule through me.
V has entered the chatroom.
Jaehee Kang: Oh!!! V!
V: Jaehee and...Luna
Luna:...Is everything okay?
V: Yes. But are you doing well...?
Luna: I'm fine. Though I am worried about this particular...well, you know.
V: I hope there is no ailment...Health matters the most.
Jaehee Kang: Is Luna sick?
V: Oh, no. We were discussing something else.
Jaehee Kang: V. Could you please read what I've written above?! I am so glad that you logged in! Simply put, the Chairman of C&R has received a request from the prime minister's office that the prime minister is seeking the opportunity to meet you through Mr. Han. It looked like the prime minister wanted to purchase your work.
V: Oh
Jaehee Kang: Aren't you glad?
Luna: V...what do you think? I think it's all so strange.
V:...This is complicated.
Jaehee Kang: I understand it's so sudden, but do you think you can find some free time today?
V: But if he wants to purchase my works, is it really necessary to meet me in person?
Luna: Yes, I agree.
Jaehee Kang: Umm...Perhaps it's because he's your fan. There was no doubt that he wants a formal introduction with you through Mr. Han....
V: A fan...?
Jaehee Kang: That's right!!
Luna: You look like you're not really happy with this...
Jaehee Kang: Is there something that concerns you?
Jaehee Kang: Congratulations. I'm happy for you.
V: Thank you. I appreciate it.
Jaehee Kang: So do you think you can find time today?
V: I'll try. Since he is an important person....
Jaehee Kang: Very well... Congratulations!
Luna: Take a breath and good luck on your meeting!
V: Yes, hopefully.
V: Jaehee
V: Give me a call right now.
Jaehee Kang: Understood! I'll talk to you in a bit.
Jaehee Kang has left the chatroom.
V: Luna...
Luna: Yes...?
V: ...I'll talk to you once I have the opportunity.
Luna: What is it?
V: Please tell me if you heard anything on the prime minister. And please...
V: Please watch yourself all the time. We'll meet again...very soon. Until then...please take care of...
Luna: Yes, I will. With everything I've got.
V: Thank you. I sincerely thank you...
V: Now...please excuse me.
V has left the chatroom.
Luna has left the chatroom.

Luna knew absolutely nothing about the politics on South Korea, and the fact that a figure of high standing was personally seeking V of all people somehow disturbed her. Perhaps she could have summed it up as her usual distrust of politicians in general, but due to her recent misadventures, it was no longer out of the ordinary to expect the unexpected. So she got started on her research with a simple Moogle search for the prime minister of South Korea. Which should have been a simple enough task, had the search not produced an error code. No matter how many times Luna refreshed the page, tried other search engines, the results were the same. She couldn't find anything on the politician, error after error. The same thing had happened when she tried to look up the RFA. Why was the prime minister blocked from all searches?

“...Why would he....look for V's photos...? Are my eyes deceiving me? The chat log said that he actually wants to contact V. There's no way he'd know about us....” Luciel exclaimed in a panic.

‘Did he find out that I'm part of the RFA? Is he looking for me?

“.....Don't tell me....I hope nothing has happened to Saeran.”

Jihyun was calling. Luna was back in the room with mirrors, doing a ballet workout routine her teacher had given her students. Since she couldn't really wander outside as she pleased, having the studio to herself to exercise as she was starting to get a bit of a cabin fever. Luna sat on the floor, and grabbed picked up the call.

“Luna. You picked up right away.” V said with relief. “How are things going over there? Are you alright?”

“I’m alright, just getting some exercise. But I got my ID card!” Luna announced with pride.

“That would mean they trust you now. And that would mean you will be safe for a while. Thank heavens.” sighed V with relief.

“Hahaha, suckers. They are so foolish.” said Luna devilishly, chuckling like an imp about to pull a prank.

“But that does not mean you can be reassured. I hope you always regard your safety as your top priority. That of no ordinary sort.” V warned, though deep down he knew Luna would be wise about her actions when the need calls for it.

“Oh alright, I'll restrain myself from misbehaving. Maybe.” Luna teased, unable to control.

“...You aren't planning anything drastic, right? I know you can handle yourself but I want no harm coming your way”

Luna could sympathize for the poor man. They were both expert worrier, and Luna knew she should pull back the teasing.

“Nope” Luna answered, not entirely lying. “I have more important things to take care of”

V chose his next words with caution.

“...Is Saeran... I mean, is Ray doing alright?” he asked in melancholy.

Luna smiled.

“He's kind of depressed, but he's okay, I guess. A bit more energetic this morning when I saw him last.” Luna reported. She could clearly remember Ray’s blissful

Luna sounded so gentle just now. V knew her to be a loud and energetic type of woman, but now she sounded so happy it he wondered what had her in such high spirits.

“I see. I know this would be a nuisance, but please keep watching over that boy.” asked V.

“Oh, you have no idea just how closely I've been watching over that boy” Luna mumbled, her face warming up.

“...what do you mean by that?” V asked, inquisitive.

Shit, he caught that, thought Luna.

“Ah...that...I’ll explain it to you better later” Luna promised; she almost let it slip.

“Well, that's fine. As you know, the management of RFA matters more than anything as of now. That is, it is a must that we safely hold the party and safeguard the purpose of the RFA with your help. Which is why we cannot afford any unexpected change in any case, especially when it comes to that child....I hope you can understand in this regard. Anyhow, I'm glad there's nothing wrong with you.”

Luna wondered if Jihyun ever thought of himself instead of others. It was clear to Luna that the man was carrying an enormous burden to protect the people he loved, to make amends to those he perceived to be wronged, and to even make room for a stranger in his mind...was something to be admired. Luna wished he would soon find the peace of mind he deserves.

“You keep yourself safe too, got it?” Luna replied, as if giving a subtle order.

“Yes, ma’am. I'll call you again.” V promises and promptly hangs up.

Luna got up once more, facing the barre to continue her session. With her headphones back in, she plays a track to dance along to that somehow reminded her of Jihyun.
Luna wondered whether he would truly heed her advice.

Jumin Han has entered the chatroom.
Luna has entered the chatroom.
Luna: Hello, Jumin.
Jumin Han: It's you. Today is just full of unexpected. When I woke up this morning I never imagined that I will be holding a meeting with the prime minister and V.
Jumin Han: But of course...

It was a photo of Jumin starting a piece of stitching on a circular loom.

Jumin Han: I did imagine starting the stitching.
Luna: That's adorable lolol
Jumin Han: You mean the stitching?
Luna:...yeah, that too.
Jumin Han: I sent the design I found on the blue bird to the assistants office, and I found every item I would need on my desk. Though it's easy to get agitated - in a good way - of this special meeting being held I'm enjoying momentary peace of my mind through this activity. I can already feel its power taking effect.
Luna: I think that's a really healthy hobby. ^^
Jumin Han: My hobbies, in general, are healthy...But since you decided to employ the term 'healthy', I wonder what your definition of unhealthy hobby is. I wish to discuss it with you on another occasion. I hope you'd find yourself a hobby, even if you're busy. It's true that it's harder to find leisure the busier you are...but I'd like to tell you that leisure truly lies in your heart.
Luna: This is tricky. I think there's no right answer for this. It's pretty subjective.
Jumin Han: Everyone should find their laws of life based on their personal philosophies.At least that's what I believe...
Jumin Han: The modern working people who find themselves only at either home or workplace are prone to pursuing only the efficiency of the very moment they are awake. As they fight their way through daily life in pursuit of what the society expects from them, they would use their break, if they can find it at all, only for break. Thus they get further stranded away from the hobby.
Luna: Hobby and break are two different things.
Jumin Han: They are. However…When I read CVs and check what applicants wrote for their hobbies, I can find more than a dozen cases of people who cannot even tell apart hobbies from break. The definition of hobby is not what you do to take a break.
Yoosung★ has entered the chatroom.
Jumin Han: Yoosung, you're in. Have you managed to gain some control over your late-night sentiments?
Luna: I salute you, o wielder of life oh-so-empty, edgelord supreme...
Yoosung★: Aaaaagh
Yoosung★: Luna T_T please don't talk about that
Yoosung★: Plz... T_T
Jumin Han: There's this book I would like to recommend you.
Yoosung★: I lost myself back there.
Yoosung★: Please forget about it.
Luna: no~
Yoosung★: Please
Yoosung★: Please......
Luna: The pure essence of darkness.... Oh, the mighty power of puberty....
Yoosung★: aaaaaah T_T
Yoosung★: Sorry about that plz forget it
Jumin Han: ....Let's discard the topic if that's what you wish.
Luna: killjoy.
Yoosung★: Thanks T_T
Yoosung★: So Jumin, is V really meeting the prime minister? That's so lit.
Jumin Han: Yes he will.
Yoosung★: Wow I'm so jealous....
Luna: But this is too sudden. Don't you find that strange?
Jumin Han: I must admit I was a little alarmed that a meeting was scheduled in such a rush.
up12017690:y;Why do you think that's strange? Lolol
Yoosung★: He's a politician. I'm sure it's no biggie.
Jumin Han: That's usually the case for a publicly known person.
up12017850:y;So then, exactly when is the meeting?
Jumin Han: Right now my vehicle is taking me to the meeting place with the prime minister.
Yoosung★: Oh....? I see.
Luna: And you're stitching on your way there.
Jumin Han: Of course. It's my new hobby.
Yoosung★: Why are you copying me?
Jumin Han: It's not like each person has to have separate hobbies from others, do they? If you're not happy with this, why don't you try the hobby I used to indulge in?
Yoosung★: You mean like sipping wine?
Jumin Han: That's what I do for breaks, not as a hobby.
Luna: But you already have a fun hobby, Yoosung.
Yoosung★: oh
Yoosung★: You mean LOLOL? Lololol
Jumin Han: You should ask yourself
Jumin Han: whether you're telling apart your hobby from break.
Yoosung★: Umm...I don't really study the game while playing so I think it's an activity for break... Is it?
Jumin Han: Hmm.
Yoosung★: Uh
Yoosung★: this is tricky.
Luna: It's a break and a hobby! I think they're both meaningful!
Yoosung★: You think so? Lolol
Yoosung★: Anyways, what's the difference between break and hobby...??
Jumin Han: Allow me to clear things up for you. Hobby is 'an activity that continuously takes place for its practitioner to find some leisure, and it requires energy and time. So playing games could be defined as hobby if you exhaust your time and energy while playing games, and at the same time exercise enough passion and perseverance to define that activity as undeniable part of you and produce for yourself a profit you can benefit from.
Yoosung★: ...............
Jumin Han: Do you understand?
Luna: Oh wow.... What a CRYSTAL CLEAR description. :V
Yoosung★: Why am I getting annoyed?
Jumin Han: ?
Jumin Han: Is there a problem with my explanation?
Luna:... I wish I could share my hobbies with....
Jumin Han: It appears you have someone you'd like to join you for hobbies.
Yoosung★: Luna...Do you...have a boyfriend?
Luna: No. At least...I'm not there yet.
Yoosung★: Oh,I see. So that means you have someone in mind. It's my dream to one day find a girlfriend I can share hobbies with.
Jumin Han: ....My father's case told me sometimes one party of a relationship must sacrifice for the sake of the partner's hobbies.
Yoosung★: I guess that's the case sometimes....Oh but what did you say about the difference between hobby and break?
Jumin Han: I just made it clear for you. You still don't get it?
Yoosung★: Does that sound clear to you? Hold on,let me try to get that in my head
Jumin Han: Very well.
Luna: I'm all ears, Yoosung -
Yoosung★: Umm
Yoosung★: So something I gladly use my head for to enjoy during my free time would be a hobby! And something I do without particular thought to take some break when I'm exhausted or having a hard time would be a break! Am I right?
Jumin Han: Sort of.
Yoosung★: I think I kind of get it. but Jumin, don't you think you can actually enjoy your hobby because you're rich and you can take breaks whenever you want to? You're one of the people running the company. Luna, what do you think?
Luna: I think background doesn't really matter. You need to actually motivate yourself to enjoy your hobby.
Jumin Han: I agree. If you have confidence in yourself instead of anxiety, you will naturally find leisure.
Yoosung★: Easier said than done...
Jumin Han: Now that I think about it, perhaps loving and training yourself are also necessary.
Yoosung★: It's hard for people like me to find leisure at heart, as you put it. Even if you start something saying it's a hobby, if you don't get to finish it then it feels like it was just a waste of time. And it feels like I'm getting behind my peers while I slack off doing a hobby.
Luna: Honestly...I think such anxiety takes happiness even further away from us.
Yoosung★: Umm...That kind of sounds philosophical.
Jumin Han: ...You're not wrong. It is much better to be peaceful than anxious if you're going to spend your time with a hobby.
Yoosung★: But how am I supposed to work hard without my anxiety?
Jumin Han: Do you have to be anxious to work hard? I think you're starting from a wrong staircase in the first place.
Yoosung★: Uh...Oh!! I want to invite Cheolsoo from my high school - the definition of the restless youth these days without leisure or free time.
Jumin Han: The restless youth without leisure or free time...? It appears he's the kind of future personnel who agrees with the logic of social system promoting efficiency.
Yoosung★: I don't know what you're talking about but when I talk to Cheolsoo, the world sounds like an extremely dangerous place. He'll probably say that according to his philosophy, having a hobby is a luxury I don't deserve.
Luna: I'm curious about him. Why don't we invite him to the party and hear more from him?
Yoosung★: Ok! Thanks for taking interest in the youths' skeptical point of view on the world. I'll contact him!
Jumin Han: Hmm....Luna, what do you think about hobbies?
Luna: I think people should take courage and find one or two. It could help someone grow.
Jumin Han: Your idea is almost identical to mine. Though I don't need courage to do that.
Yoosung★: ...But Jumin, why would you do hobbies?
Jumin Han: For now, I would like to try stitching and explore what it's like. I might change my mind tomorrow, but it doesn't matter. That's what I think as I engage in my hobby.
Yoosung★: So what do you get from that?
Jumin Han: The inner illumination of intangible achievements earned through my explorations.
Yoosung★: The inner what....?
Luna: That is important!
Jumin Han: And that's not all. I get to unexpectedly bask in new experience, which I find quite helpful. And I get to understand of what I find pleasurable. That I find also meaningful.
Luna: So I'd get to understand myself better through my hobbies.
Jumin Han: Yes, and that alone is an accomplishment commendable enough. We must first understand ourselves in order to understand others, and understand the world as a whole. Not to mention we can predict and plan what sparks and spreads from our standing points.
Jumin Han: I assume one of your motivations for traveling was exactly that, Luna.
Luna: Yep, you are correct!
Yoosung★: ...I thought we were discussing hobbies here.
Jumin Han: That's part of the lesson from my neo-business class.
Yoosung★: Oh...No matter what people say, at least for me, getting hired is the ultimate truth. My hobbies have to help me to get a job.
Jumin Han: No, it's the opposite. It's your job that has to help your hobbies.
Yoosung★: Okay but there's no one else other than you that idea applies to.
Jumin Han: There is one more. Take a look at Assistant Kang.
Yoosung★: Jaehee?
Jumin Han: She works for her 'fangirling', not the other way around.
Luna: Though it looks like she's basically buried in her work these days....
Jumin Han: But she never forgets what is more important in her life. I can tell right away if I see a person who forcefully finds a hobby in order to work.
Yoosung★: I get it.
Jumin Han: I'm glad my example helped your comprehension.
Yoosung★: Jumin...I wanna tell this to my mom too T_T
Jumin Han: Your parents were born from a different generation. Don't expect them to understand everything.
Luna: As an adult, I think it is necessary to establish personal philosophies.
Jumin Han: I agree.
Yoosung★: I'm still an undergraduate it safe to say I'm half-adult?
Jumin Han: I believe that's not how social responsibility works. However, I would say you're free to limit your internal growth like that, if that is what you wish.
Yoosung★: I thought I had to make my hobbies my job, like Zen, or otherwise my life would be hopeless. I never thought like you do, Jumin.
Jumin Han: Yes. Keep in mind that we happen to have Assistant Kang as a very fine example.
Yoosung★: ok....
Luna: Hold up. Jumin, you actually know what 'fangirling' means?
Jumin Han: It's something that is used often on the blue bird. I also learned: the feels train
Luna: adhfugigm
Jumin Han: dem onion ninjas
Yoosung★: ...
Jumin Han: stan for life
Luna: lololololololol
Jumin Han: among many others.
Yoosung★: I don't believe this....Jaehee's gonna faint if she sees this.
Luna: that was epic and you know it.
Jumin Han: Oh. I'm almost at the meeting place. I must leave now.
Yoosung★: I wanted to talk about the prime minister, but we ended up talking only about hobbies.
Luna: Nice talking to you
Jumin Han: I appreciate you for hearing me all this time.
Yoosung★: I think I'm more confused now T_T
Yoosung★: You have to tell me later what the prime minister's like!
Jumin Han: I'll try sharing a couple of things, within the limits I consider appropriate.
Luna: Do share with me what the meeting was like -
Jumin Han: Of course. Now please excuse me.
Jumin Han has left the chatroom.
Yoosung★: we work for our hobbies...? But tbh I don't know what I'm really interested in.
Yoosung★: lolol
Yoosung★: Was that too honest?
Luna: Why don't you try several things at your freedom? That's how I discovered what kind of arts I could and couldn't do.
Yoosung★: I don't think I can ever do that 'freely.' It's easy to let everything around me to work out on its own and just let it be....But to be free, I'll have to let go of all my anxiety and concerns....That's much more difficult than you think. Yesterday I was jealous of Zen. But now I'm jealous of Jaehee. Becuz she actually has a hobby.
Luna: Yes...I can completely understand that feeling. You should first find your heart some peace. It's one way to start, and you have to start somewhere. Everything's going to be alright.
Yoosung★: Do you think that's possible for me? I should first take care of my personal business to do that, shouldn't i...?
Yoosung★: Hah....such an empty life full of nothing but darkness.
Yoosung★: Which reminds me, I wonder how Cheolsoo is doing these days? I gotta try calling him or something. What are you going to do now?
Luna: I don't know... I'll have to think of something to do. I may be getting a little antsy.
Yoosung★: yep
Yoosung★: Maybe I should take a seat and do just that...Let's find some time for ourselves lolol
Yoosung★: Now bye. I'll be seeing you!
Yoosung★ has left the chatroom.
Luna has left the chatroom.

After the chat Luna figured she worked up enough of a sweat, and called it a day. She went to her room, hopped into the shower, and by the time she got out her lunch was already on the table. She liked this better, this way she wouldn't have to interact with the other believers who somewhat gave her the creeps. While she ate, she would answer so guest emails, a couple of texts; Luna couldn't help but think about the prime minister, and hoped his appearance onto the stage was not the bad omen she believed it was.

After a jovial exchange between the two long time friends, V and Jumin went directly to meet with the prime minister. Jumin was completely at ease, meanwhile V's mind was in a turmoil. One of his greater secrets, and the catalyst of such a secret, was asking to see him personally. He hoped to never have this happen. But of course, he knew he was cursed, and that his own secrets were coming back to bite him. This, by far, was the worst risk yet. The prime minister was viewed in a pillar of light, hiding the demon within. V had to be very careful.

Then they were face to face with him. V almost stopped breathing. He stood tall with an impeccable suit, poised with the mask of class. His familiar eyes were only a reminder of what he was trying to protect.

“It is beyond my greatest pleasure that we could find time to meet. Welcome, prime minister, sir.” said Jumin, holding out his hand in greeting. The prime minister gladly greeted back.

“This is my friend Jihyun Kim, pseudonym V.” Jumin said, introducing his friend with pride.

V felt his heartbeat in his ears.

“Greetings, sir.” V said simply.

Did I sound too serious? V wondered.

“I apologize for requesting to meet so suddenly. I'd like you to please send my regards to the Chairman. He so graciously granted my sudden request.” said the prime minister, every word sounding like harsh static to V's anxious mind.

Jumin, ever the quick thinker and a natural at conversation, noticed how tense V had suddenly become, stepped in.

“Of course, sir. But there's no need for an apology. This is an honor and pleasure for us as well.”

“I might sound cliche, but as I stand in the presence of the two young men full of potential for the future...I am motivated to work even harder for this country” smiled the prime minister.

“I have no doubt that you will” Jumin praised.

V had almost been relieved being temporarily forgotten, though it didn't last long.

“Thank you. And now...Mr. is an honor to meet you.” he said, holding out his hand once more in greeting.

V didn't hesitate, but felt his mouth go dry as he took the politician's hand in return.

“I am ashamed to admit it, but I requested to meet because I have a personal favor. I don't particularly have a hobby. The only activity I've done that is closest to hobby is accompanying my wife whenever she visits exhibitions. And then like destiny....I stumbled upon the collection of the sun... Yes, it was none other than your work, Mr. Kim.”

An unexpected interest in a very specific collection from a photographer who had been off the scene for a long while; and from a high ranking politician, no less. A politician who could be the unraveling of a heavy secret. V knew this was not mere coincidence.

“That collection is very prestigious. It's a pleasure that you found my friend's works appealing. V?” Jumin addressed proudly.

“Are you saying you are interested in those photos?” V asked l, genuine curiosity in his voice. If he wanted to get through this interaction, he would have to put up an act.

The prime minister didn't hesitate to state what he wanted.

“I'd like to purchase every photo from that collection, if possible.”

It was even worse than V expected.

“All of them...?” V blurted out in shock.

“I'm sure you'd know that I've been through various tests and challenges throughout my life as a politician....But I realized upon gazing at the collection. I realized that all the hardship I've gone nothing but a human triviality under the sun....” praised the prime minister.

V couldn't help but immediately analyze him as disingenuous, but at this very moment, it didn't sound like the prime minister was being dishonest about his opinion.

“That's one possible interpretation. In fact, a member of the RFA made a similar interpretation” Jumin chimed in.

“...Prime minister, sir.” V carefully interrupted.

The politician was immediately alert.

“Yes, please go ahead.” he encouraged.

V was about to be even more reckless than he already was.

“I am gravely sorry. For now, my works are not on sale.” V admitted.

A brief, yet intense silence engulfed the room.

“ that true? May I ask you why?” asked the prime minister, no doubt wanting to leave meeting with some information.

“...I'm afraid I cannot tell you why” V said apologetically. He truly was astronomically stupid, and he could already hear both Jumin and Luna reprimanding him for it.

“I'm sure it's a personal reason” said Jumin in an attempt to save the conversation that was at risk of turning sour.

If the prime minister was at all bothered by his request being rejected, he didn't show it. He wore the mask with mastery.

“I understand. However, I hope you consider it again. There was something I wanted to do with your works. Perhaps I shouldn't have invited you two in such a rush. Of course, I'm not saying that I am unhappy that you declined my offer…” said the politician in a type of guilt trip that was vague enough to go unnoticed by most.

“I'm sorry you could not get what you wanted, sir.” Jumin said as a formality, knowing he had to do something to at least bring the discussion to a neutral end.

“That's alright. I basically forced this appointment to take place. If only I could know what you'd do after this, Mr. Kim.... Could you tell me what you can regarding your career plans for the future?”

He was being very intrusive, V thought. But also playing it safe.

“...Nothing has been scheduled or finalized so far.” V responded.

“That's a shame…” the prime minister mumbled. He genuinely sounded disappointed, but he didn't think it was because of the photos.

Jumin looked over to V

What is he thinking? Jumin wondered about his best friend. To turn down such a valuable offer was practically social suicide.

“If you'd like to hear about it, please contact my personal workplace” V suggested. V couldn't entirely block him out, and while he definitely rejected the man, V wanted to lead him into a false sense of security and a small hope that there would be a change of heart. At least, that's what V hoped for, so the prime minister won't be as suspicious.

The prime minister's expression lit up with interest.

“Oh...if I can, that would be an honor. I will do that.”

Pulling out one of his old business cards, V readily handed it to the politician.

“Here's my contact information.”

The prime minister took the card, held it tightly for a moment, and made sure to tuck it away in his suit pocket where he could very easily find it.

“Thank you. I will contact you in the future. I'd like to thank once again for sparing your precious time for me.” said the politician, turnin to shake both men's hands.

“...Not at all. I wish you the best of luck in your future, sir.” said Jumin, gladly taking the polite gesture. V shook the prime minister's hand, very clearly tense.

After exchanging polite goodbyes, Jumin accompanied the prime minister out of the room. V remained where he stood, quiet as the grave, when he had returned. Jumin would have to ask V outright why he did something so stupidly reckless, as it was an opportunity of a lifetime. Jumin had a feeling it had something to do with the big secrets V held, but he knew he wouldn't get the answers he desired.

Jaehee Kang has entered the chatroom.
Luna has entered the chatroom.
Jaehee Kang: Luna. Have you had your lunch?
Luna: I did.
Jaehee Kang: I see. So did I. While Mr. Han was holding a meeting with V and the prime minister, I had group lunch with the intelligence unit.
Luna: Wow...! I hope they all enjoy their work.
Jaehee Kang: I hope so. It's the first day, and it's a good start. I'm glad that we're having that. We will soon build a solid inner system until we recruit outside personnel.
Jaehee Kang: Of course...even if we manage to formulate a system, it will take a very long time until we can match Luciel's talent....
Luna: Our goal is 'peace!' Let's keep that in mind!
Jaehee Kang: Of course. Since I'm constantly getting reminders, I surely won't forget that part.
Jaehee Kang: Which reminds me, I've heard nothing from Mr. Han or V yet. Is their meeting taking long...?
Luna: hrmm.
Jaehee Kang: If that's the case, I hope it's for a good reason...!
Luna: I still kind of have a bad feeling....
Jaehee Kang: I believe Mr. Han and V would have attended to this matter impeccably....
Jumin Han has entered the chatroom.
Jaehee Kang: Mr. Han! Glad to see you....
Jumin Han: I need more black and brown.
Jaehee Kang: I beg your pardon?
Jumin Han: I mean the threads for the stitching.
Jaehee Kang: Oh...
Luna: So. How did your meeting go?
Jumin Han: I see you're here as well, Luna.
Jaehee Kang: I'd like to know too. It feels like it took longer than I thought....So is there any good news?
Jumin Han: Unfortunately....we have nothing.
Luna: Did something happen?
Jumin Han: Yes. The prime minister wanted to purchase V's photos, but V declined.
Jaehee Kang: ....
Luna: ooohhhh swerve
Jumin Han: So the meeting ended rather in a disappointment. It only took 20 minutes.
Jaehee Kang: He declined? But why...?
Jumin Han: He said it's a personal reason.
Luna: I see... I'm sure V had a good reason.
Jaehee Kang: Yes...I agree. But I'd really like to know why. I thought this would be his opportunity to step higher in his career...
Jumin Han: My guess is's related to the statement he made after Rika's death. He said that he won't take any more picture after what happened to her.
Jaehee Kang: It's not that I don't understand why V's having such a hard time…But too bad. It was a great opportunity...
Jumin Han: I agree. Personal feelings are personal and business is business.
Luna: V has lots of complicated secrets to bear... I'd like to think he made a right choice.
Jumin Han: It's difficult to determine whether he made a right choice or not, as we don't know the exact reason why he declined. It was a golden opportunity for him to mark his name on more lips. Did he really have to be so strict about it?
Luna: Didn't V tell you anything else in particular?
Jumin Han: For some reason, he was particularly silent today...Perhaps he doesn't politically favor the prime minister. He was quite cold.
Jaehee Kang: V? Cold? ...That's something my imaginations cannot fathom.
Luna: hmm...
Jumin Han: I must admit that V was far from his usual self. Which is why I just couldn't send him back when the meeting closed. After the meeting, I got to enjoy lunch with V for once. But he didn't appear to be in a good shape. He barely touched his food. He didn't look like he was in a good mood during the meeting, either...
Jaehee Kang: I see...Is he ill?
Jumin Han: Ill...? He didn't really look ill back there.
Luna: I think what matters more for V is his mental health... He must have a lot of things burdening his mind....
Jumin Han: Mental health...? You're right. In V's case, it is his immaterial aspect that is urging him to neglect his material aspect....
Jaehee Kang: I wish he'd be healthy....Most importantly, he's the representative of the RFA.
Jumin Han: I agree.
Jaehee Kang: Since his beloved woman departed....he must be going through drastic emotional pain....
Jumin Han: But it is foolish to decline a business or strain himself just because of his emotions. Don't you agree?
Luna: I'd like to think he had his reasons. Human mind isn't simple, you know?
Jaehee Kang: You're right. But emotions are something that is out of the human league.
Jumin Han: You're right. Which is why he's being foolish...but this isn't the first time I'm seeing him like that.
Jaehee Kang: What was the prime minister's response? I think he was quite flustered....
Jumin Han: He was quite disappointed.
Jaehee Kang: I'm sure he was....
Luna: I wish he'd tell us exactly why he declined.
Jaehee Kang: Even I'm disappointed....
Jumin Han: Ask V if you'd like to know.
Jaehee Kang: But will he tell me?
Jumin Han: Maybe he won't tell us...However...he might tell Luna...since they share some sort of secret.
Luna: oh, I don't know about that. Jumin, what do you think? What was the prime minister like?
Jumin Han: Hmm....A humble and virtuous politician...should I say?
Jaehee Kang: You found him favorable.
Jumin Han: He had this humane touch of personality. I've met several people in the politics...but I'd say he's a very fine type.
Jaehee Kang: Perhaps it's too early to ask this, but do you think he's a good candidate for the presidency?
Jumin Han: Yes, if everything I've felt about him is true.
Luna: I hope he's a good person.... But why do I have this bad feeling? I'm all jittery it's awful.
Jumin Han: He possesses extremely high standing, after all. I'm not surprised you feel intimidated by his social and political power.
Luna: He's no more intimidating than a fly on the wall.
Jumin Han: I see. I'd like to view him positively if you found him favorable.
Luna: What's his political standing?
Jaehee Kang: As far as I remember, he's close to conservative.
Luna: oh, WONDERFUL. ._.
Jaehee Kang: Personally, I am opposed to the policies the prime minister proposed when he was in the legislative body....
Jumin Han: I see, though I think differently.

Jaehee sent an image of a newspaper article with what Luna assumed to be the prime minister.

Jumin Han: Is this an image for reference?
Jaehee Kang: It is not right to judge people based on looks but there is no doubt that the prime minister is one of the most handsome people among politicians.
Luna:...he looks kind of similar to someone.
Jumin Han:...Who?
Jaehee Kang: Uhm....I'm not sure. If I dare say...doesn't he look similar to Luciel?
Luna: WHU
Jumin Han:...Hmm. My eyes just spotted what looked like possible evidence of plastic surgery.
Luna: holyfjdudud
Jaehee Kang: Is that true?
Jumin Han: Plastic surgery is rather common in politicians. It's not surprising....
Jaehee Kang: I see....
Luna: adgfgohirri
Jaehee Kang: Luna…? Are you alright?
Luna: YEAH. I JUST. almost dropped my phone. Yeah, that's it.
Jaehee Kang: be a bit careful, a phone is valuable.
Jumin Han: Which is why...I believe discussion on looks of politicians is fruitless. If he can prove and continue to prove that my eyes are correct, then maybe I'll be motivated to support him during the election campaign.
Jaehee Kang: Oh dear........
Jumin Han: The novel revision bill for the market he proposed includes several articles that would positively affect C&R. Deregulation of trade restrictions, deregulation of commercial building restrictions, regulation plans for corporate tax rate....
Luna: It sounds like those articles are concerned more with businesses. Don't you think people should come first?
Jaehee Kang: I agree. I thought that deregulations would weaken the grounds for small-scale businesses and sole proprietors....
Jumin Han: They will partially. However, through deregulations professional businesses would be in play and consumers would find better service and products.
Jaehee Kang: That will be the case, until giant corporations take over the market.
Luna: I think the world won't stop running just because I tune out how the politics or this planet works.
Jaehee Kang: That's true.
Jumin Han: Though you would need a group of people fighting in your place.
Jaehee Kang: Politics may look like an enigma, but in fact, it is usually very deeply correlated with daily life. Once giant corporations take over the market, wouldn't consumers find most of the shelves filled with low-price factory manufactured products?
Jumin Han: Fair competition among giant corporations would be the solution to that.
Jaehee Kang: I just came up with a counterpoint to that, but I dare not speak it lest this conversation never ends.
Jumin Han: I never thought I'd get to talk about politics with you.
Luna: Politics is a sensitive topic. I come from a country where politics become pedantic.
Jaehee Kang: It could lead to huge quarrels.
Jumin Han: My father always told me to beware of politics and religion.
Luna: He gets it.
Jaehee Kang: I think that's because the line between objectivity and subjectivity is blurred, and they play huge roles in personal lives.
Jumin Han: But it is a small pleasure to have an acquaintance or two to enjoy a free debate on those topics.
Luna: You're right. We should talk about politics more often as long as it's civil.
Jumin Han: I'm always ready for more, if you'd like. Need I share one more thing from my father's advices, he told me to choose the dish I'd find most pleasant from a table called political discussion.
Jaehee Kang: How come?
Jumin Han: I must make sure to maintain pleasant mood in order to avoid huge fights.
Jaehee Kang:....I see. I could expect a pleasant conversation if that's the case.
Jaehee Kang: Sir...But when are you coming back?
Jumin Han: I'm almost there. I'd like to get a briefing on the intelligence unit as soon as I get there.
Jaehee Kang: I'll have it prepared in the meeting room.
Jumin Han: Very well.
Luna: It was nice talking to you!
Jumin Han: I was a pleasure for me as well. Now excuse me.
Jumin Han has left the chatroom.
Jaehee Kang: I must prepare for the briefing....
Jaehee Kang: As far as I know, Mr. Han is close to 'conservative.' According to statistics, it's more likely for those from economically sufficient class to be politically conservative.
Jaehee Kang: Luna, what do you think about your own political standing?
Luna: I think I'm close to liberal. Though I admit I don't agree with everything.
Jaehee Kang: I see. I'm in the middle, if I were to define myself....I wonder if the rest of the RFA is interested in politics. My personal interest in politics is but small, but if there's anyone who's interested I know this political scientist who can make politics as easy as learning alphabets.
Luna: Who is it?
Jaehee Kang: He used to dream of becoming a comedian but he didn't pass any of the auditions. He took the test to be an accountant, but it didn't work out either. So he started to study political science. Did he reach enlightenment after multiple failures? His book titled 'Political Science for Dummies' used to be the best seller in the political literature. Why don’t we invite him to the party?
Luna: Good idea. I'd like to learn couple things from him too.
Jaehee Kang: Very well. He'll serve as a highly entertaining tutor in politics.
Jaehee Kang: Then I'll contact him to contact you.
Jaehee Kang: Oh...I got a contact. Mr. Han must have arrived. I must go to prepare the briefing. It was great talking to you.
Luna: I enjoyed it too. Good luck on the rest of your duties...
Jaehee Kang: I hope I can get enough job done so that I can enjoy a bit of a free time afternoon ^^
Jaehee Kang: Now excuse me.
Jaehee Kang has left the chatroom.
Luna has left the chatroom.

No, of course not. Of course I didn't just involve myself in not just one, but TWO conspiracies. Of course I fucking did. When am I NOT getting into some sort of trouble? Luna Guerrero, artist and globe trotter, getting in too deep in evil plots like a character from the most dramatic of Shakespearean plays.

Luna was bored, frustrated, and more itching to do something exciting. She did promise to herself that she would raise a little hell. She needed to blow off some steam, and a little chaos would fix that. Having the ID access to the cult mansion was a huge advantage. Mischief in mind, and fully cloaked, Luna left her room. She was going to need some materials for her little rebellion.

Ray quickly made his way down the hall, as he had been summoned by the savior for the umpteenth time today. He had been at work non-stop, not even being able to eat, or even speak to Luna for that matter. The last thing he wanted was to do yet another errand, but he couldn't fathom disobeying an order from the top.

“There you are” said the savior when Ray entered her quarters, raising a brow.

When she had seen Ray early that morning, she couldn't help but notice that there was a glow to him that wasn't there before. He was never the healthiest of people, but there was even some life coming back to his sad eyes. The savior did not like that one bit. So she had deliberately made sure his workload was heavier, to get rid of the spark he had picked up seemingly overnight. It was working, for the most part, as Ray looked more exhausted than ever. But to her, that wasn't enough.

“My savior...I'm here to report to you.” bowed Ray.

She had to do more.

“But before that, I would like to hear the full contents of our slogan.” Rika ordered flatly.

The savior's hardened green gaze was frightening to the poor boy.

“...For Mint Eye's eternal paradise...I solemnly swear....” Ray had begun, but was soon interrupted by a coughing fit. That morning he had felt so much better than he usually did, but all that energy was extinguished by the heavy workload the day brought.

“...excuse me. I solemnly swear upon all my wounds...that I will stay by your side until the end, my savior.” Ray managed to say.

“I collected a total of 6 pieces of information since last evening... Two of them happen to be of the last party guests....As for the jobs at hand, I'm upgrading the access system's security and progressing the 3rd upgrade for the hacking system....I wrote the details on the report....” his breathing became labored,and it led to another coughing fit. “Just a moment, please…”

“...Are you really staying faithful to the slogan?” Rika demanded to know.

“....Sorry?” Ray replied hastily.

“You said that you swear on every inch of your trauma. That you'll stay by my side until the end.” the savior stated, her voice quieter yet sinister.

Ray had to satisfy her before she became disappointed in him.

“Yes. I'll stay by your side until…”

“But then why do you look like that?” she rudely interrupted.

“Sorry?” was all Ray could say, as he was completely dumbfounded.

“Don't you see? Don't you really see?” the savior insisted, crossing her arms in exasperation.

“My savior, please. Give me a moment to think....” he coughed again, though this time it was caused by the panic that was crawling up his senses like a thousand needles.

“...Just what happened to your face?” she reprimanded.

The savior felt a wrath engulf her, seeing that Ray was red in the face with every cough. There was actual color in his skin. The savior couldn't have that.

Ray could only pant in an effort to hold back coughing any further. His savior already looked so upset...

“Your face is pale. You said you'll stay with me...but what happened to your face?” she scorned, and abruptly reached out to tightly grip Ray's chin and the sides of his face. It wasn't pale. Why wasn't it paler? Why did he have that color?

“ savior…” he whispered in between coughing.

Then, she grabbed an open bottle of the elixir she had been keeping nearby, forced Ray's mouth open, and poured the blue green liquid directly down his throat. She would disregard his weak struggles as he tried not to choke on the dangerous concoction.

“I've been receiving dozens of reports on you and only you since last evening, Ray. I thought of you even when I closed my eyes to go to sleep. Do I really have to make sure you take the elixir? Sneaking out who knows where? Resting when I didn't authorize it? You're such an inconvenience....” she berated.

After getting over another fit, out of breath from being forced elixir upon him, Ray could barely speak.

“I'm sorry... I tried my best, but I wasn't good enough. From now on…”

The savior poured in more elixir. Ray was better prepared this time, but it still made his body temperature rise too much.

“From now on?” she snarled, forcibly bringing Ray's face closer to hers.

“I won't skip taking the elixir. I won't be lazy in maintaining security. I'll never stop working until I get the results you'll like…” Ray promised weakly, his mind in a chaos of fear and self hatred.

“I believe I already heard that last time in the basement. Now I'm starting to get tired of your words. Don't you remember? It was only a few months ago.”

The savior poured down the last of the elixir from the bottle, and this time she was met with no resistance.

“...Oh, dear. Your eyes are lifeless. Poor Ray. Should I increase the amount of elixir?”

A pang of fear shot straight to his very bones. “No, it's more than enough, my savior! I'm taking...more than enough.”

“You don’t know what's enough for you. I already told you hundred times. I knew it. You're growing arrogant....”

Was this her fault? Was the aggressive guest doing this to him? She always had Saeran at the palm of her hand, but ever since he brought HER into Magenta, he had begun to change. No doubt she was giving the most tender care with her songs and large innocent looking eyes. Her alluring poetic words of warmth and hope. It was repulsive how Luna was treating Ray like he was a jewel to be polished. She couldn't allow the outsider to steal the jewel.

“No, that's not true.... I will never, ever betray savior...!” Ray said in a panic. The savior took her other hand to completely cup the boy’s face tightly.

“...Here you go again. I don't want to hear what you think, Ray. You prove yourself
through your actions, not words.” she insisted, beginning to dig her nails into his cheeks.

She underestimated the power that woman could hold.

“But...but I mean it. I really tried my best....” Ray cried out weakly, wincing at the sharpness of her fingers.

“Maybe you think that you mean it? But there's no way you can prove if you really mean it....If you're saying that there's no doubt you mean it, then you're being arrogant.”

Ray wished Luna were here.

“For now, the only thing you can put your faith salvation and the paradise soon to come. You're too weak right now... You don't deserve to think. If someone like you starts thinking, the only thing that will take place is a catastrophe.” she preached.

As the acting leader, she must undo the damage Luna had brought.

“Even if you don't mean to ruin things, no matter how hard you cry out that you mean it, you'll ruin everything if you start to think and act on your own....So you don't deserve to think and act on your own. Don't you agree?” she said, using her special talent of persuasion.

“You're savior.”

That's how she liked it. She liked being in total control.

“That's why you promised to leave all decision to be made by me, isn't it?”

“Yes, my savior.....”


“Now you're admitting it. Ray, you don't deserve to think about anything.”

“No, I don't, my savior…”


“You can't make any decision without me.”


“No, I can't, my savior.....”


“You've been naughty and arrogant for the past few days, thinking on your own...It's all your fault that you're sick.”

“Yes...yes, you're right, my savior.”

Completely hers.

“Yes, that's the way your eyes should look. They should be looking only at me....You can remain on the right path only when you listen to me. Otherwise only sad things will unfold in your life…”

Ray's mind went blank right then. His savior was right, she was always right. He didn't even deserve to think.

“ savior.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 17

Day 6 part 3

Luna had not managed to get very far, due to there being a high volume of believers passing through, but at the very least she managed to scavenge from the unused room with the dust covers without much trouble. In fact, having her ridiculous and obvious disguise (that was too big for her) was working out well. Either the members of the cult were very dense, or they simply did not give a shit. It was probably a mix of the two. It was mostly tools, like a hammer, paint cans of various colors, screwdrivers, and even a hand saw (seriously, which forgetful bastard just forgets an entire saw?), but it was enough to get into some trouble and mess with the other residents. Of course, she wouldn't tell Ray or the RFA about her mischief. She’d much rather be under the veil (or on this case, the hood of a robe) of anonymity for when the pranks began to cause chaos. Luna knew that it was pretty revenge, but it would be a sweet and delicious revenge she will holler at later.

It wasn't so funny when she snuck back into her room with as much loot as she could stashed in her oversized sleeves and her phone went off very loudly in her pockets. It could have alerted anyone within earshot had she not been quick in escaping. It was a shame, because she was just about to try her luck in scavenging in the kitchens for a bottle of cooking oil...

Ray has entered the chatroom.
Luna has entered the chatroom.
Luna: hello sweet pea! :>
Ray: Luna...thank god you're here. Please answer me.
Luna: ???
Ray: Luna
Ray: Luna
Luna: Hey, Ray I already said hello... Are you alright?
Ray: I'm getting scared all of a sudden. I'm scared you'll leave me. So I logged in. I was scared....
Ray: Listen
Ray: won't leave me, right?
Luna: Ray, what are you saying? Is there something wrong?
Ray: I took the elixir....and I have a fever…
Luna: you did what???
Ray: I keep thinking about you...I wish you were here. I don't deserve to think like this, but I still do....
Luna: Then I will be on my way to you shortly!
Ray:, Luna. Don't I'm not worthy to even see you.
Ray: And I keep thinking about myself....
Ray: I hate myself…I hate myself whining because of the elixir....
Luna: You have every right to do so!
Ray: After I met you, I was determined to be a person who can protect you, and I was excited....
Luna: Ray...I also felt excited ever since I met you. More than I expected...
Ray: Really?
Ray: I miss you
Ray: I miss you
Ray: so
Ray: so much.
Ray: I miss you.
Ray: Your voice
Ray: your face
Ray: you....
Ray: I miss everything....
Ray: I wanted to show you only the good things...I wanted to make you happy....I wanted to give you only the best, as best as I can....
Luna: Hey, I want to make you happy too...! So let's cheer up, ok...? I'm still around!
Ray: You're so strong. But I'm so weak. I'm embarrassed. I'm painful.
Ray: I can't take this....I'd rather see myself becoming a completely different me...!
Ray: I'm....
Ray: Luna
Ray: I'm much more useless and pathetic than you think....
Ray: So I'd rather see myself born again...As if I didn't exist in the first place...!
Luna: No! I like you just the way you are.... Please don't think like that.
Ray: Luna, your words are so sweet
Ray: I think I'm gonna cry....
Ray: But
Ray: I...
Ray: I shouldn't make any decision on my own...Because I'm an airhead....
Ray: Why can't I still beat him? I'm working so hard, but what am I missing?
Ray: It must be because I'm so stupid, right?
Ray: Idiot
Ray: What an idiot.
Ray: I'm an airhead.
Ray: I wish I could curse myself!
Luna: Please stop blaming yourself, Ray...! You don't need to beat him to prove your worth...
Ray: Sorry.....I shouldn't do anything you don't want me to....That way you won't hate me....
Ray: But I'm making you suffer every day...I'm such an airhead....
Ray: I'm full of faults. So it's only natural....that you don't like me. There's no way you'll like me so dearly when I'm so useless and stupid.
Luna: I like you, Ray. Goddamnit I really do... Why won't you trust me?
Ray: Who would ever like someone like me...?
Ray: You're so shiny, like a star....
Ray: Who would ever like someone like me...?
Ray: Who would like an airhead like me...?
Ray: I don't deserve to be loved by someone....
Ray: That's why... Luna, I'm so glad that you think of me like that. I really am…But I'm scared. I'm so scared....Everyone who was around me all tortured me. The people who hurt me at least stayed with me when they did that....
Ray: Luna
Ray: so will you stay while you're torturing me? I'd rather have myself tortured by you.
Ray: Please torture me! I'll take it all.
Ray: So please just stay with me...
Luna: Please don't say that. I don't ever want to torture you. You're so precious to me....
Ray: I'm precious to you....?
Ray: But....I don't deserve to be precious....Even a small bug crawling in the garden would be smarter than me. Is there any reason why I'd be more precious than a bug?
Ray: I think for now the only way to have you stay with me, is for me to suffer.
Luna: you don't deserve that!
Ray: I'm an airhead so this is the only thing I can think of.
Ray: But my savior told me that if I work really hard, things might be different....If I try really really hard like my savior tells me, then just maybe....
Ray: Luna
Ray: maybe....
Ray: I'll be the person you want to stay with.
Ray: But I'll consider something that will happen only after a long time. I won't be arrogant. I won't try to be recognized so soon....
Luna: But I like you just the way you are....I remained here because of...agh, I am sad. I'm at a loss...
Ray: Luna
Ray: no please don't be sad.
Ray: I'm sorry.
Luna: wait, no, I'm sorry I shouldn't have said it like that
Ray: Agh
Ray: I'm such an airhead!
Ray: I won't say anything. Please don't be sad....I'd rather be sad in your place.
Ray: Please....
Ray: Luna
Ray: I'll pray that you'll never be sad
Ray: every single day....
Ray: So please
Ray: even if i have lots of faults, please don't leave me. Instead, you can do whatever you want with me...
Ray: I' ask me to do....
Luna: Ray, I wish you'd have more faith in yourself.
Ray: Faith in myself? I'll try. I'll try really hard...
really. I'll teach myself how to do that....though I'm not sure how.
Ray: I'm such an it might take a long time, but...I'm so sorry...So please....Just don't leave me....
Ray: You have no idea how happy I was after you decided to stay...! Going against your own beliefs, your morals...
Ray: I can take whatever pain since now you're officially a part of the Mint Eye....
Luna: Darling...I think this place does no good to you, Ray. It's bringing you nothing but misery.
Ray: ...
Ray: That's because I'm full of faults. That's why I cannot take all the good stuff this place gives me. And I belong nowhere outside this place.
Ray: You can torture me.
Luma: Never.
Ray: Though this isn't a good thing, I'm already used to being in pain and suffering…So please....
Luna: Alright, fuck it. I can't wait any longer to say this.
Luna: I think we should leave this place... Do you think we can do that?
Ray: No! That's....then my savior would be so mad.
Luna: screw how she feels! you deserve so much better!
Ray: And I....I can't survive out of this place.
Luna: you'll never know until you try!
Ray: Luna, but if you'll stay with me...then...
Ray: ......
Ray: will I be able to survive out there?
Luna: yes. I believe you will. And I will do anything to make that happen.
Ray: Uh
Ray: we're not supposed to talk about this!
Luna: Ray...
Ray: we'll be in trouble she finds out about this!
Luna: if she wants to pick a fight, I will gladly take her on!
Ray: NO!!!!
Ray: Let's never talk about getting out of here. Never....The rule says we shouldn't talk about that.
Luna: Such barbaric rules never stopped me. I don't care about the so called “rules”. I will never stop going against them.
Ray: I don't want you to have the cleansing ceremony. I don't want to see you...suffering from pain....
Luna:...okay. I won't do anything drastic. For now.
Luna: Let's talk face to face... Could you do that for me?
Ray: I knew it. You're tired of chatting through messenger because I haven't seen you long, aren't you?
Luna: i simply want to see you, is all.
Ray: I'm sorry....Now I'll do my best and make sure I can see you again.
Ray: And from now on...just be silent like a grave and work without bothering you.
Ray: So please...Luna. I least you'd be happy today as well.
Luna: You're leaving now...?
Ray: Yeah...I got another notification, so I gotta go. Thanks for talking to me. I hope you can feel how I feel...And I hope you get to see a lot of pretty things and eat well....
Ray has left the chatroom.
Luna has left the chatroom.

Silent like the grave….a lot of pretty things...the image of the lost boy shivering in fear all alone…

Luna was getting angry again. She frantically looked around for something to do. Piano? She'd only slam the keys. Painting? She didn't want to ruin it because she couldn't calm down. Reading a book would be quickly abandoned. Then she thought about her handheld console. Maybe playing games will do her some good, just like with Yoosung. She had completely forgotten about it amidst the unpredictability of her current situation. She brought out her mess of suitcase out from under the bed and rummaged through it. Bit before she could find her console, she came across another item she had forgotten about. It was a smal, brown journal with a tree carved into the moleskine cover. It was where Luna had documented her memories and experiences during her entire journey since she started trotting the globe about two months ago. The pages were plentiful, and as Luna flipped through them, she tried not to think about what Seoul could have been. Then again, Luna was conscious of her rash decisions played a part in the predicament she was now. Moving to the couch, she began to write. She began to write like she hadn't done before. Seoul might not have gone according to expectations, but Luna was having the most unique misadventure she never would have thought would happen to her. That was at least worth writing about, and with her choice of staying, her story was ongoing. She would remain true to her goal of journaling her trip.

“This hacker is good....but somewhat desperate.” Luciel mumbled, getting the much needed back stretch after sitting down for so long.

‘He's blocking every corner that really doesn't need any work... Is he a human to start with?’ he thought as he stared at line after line of code on the monitors.

Then a thought occurred to him.

‘Is his life on the line or something if he fails?’

Even if he was in danger, the aggressiveness from the endless attacks were not to be ignored.

‘...Just where did this monster come from...?’

Luna had been writing for a long while on her journal, noting every single detail she could remember; and it was a lot. She would usually be having trouble recalling such vivid details, but this entire trip was so new and unpredictable that it was ingrained into Luna's mind. She wrote until she quite literally ran out of words, with an ellipsis at the end, because the story wasn't over yet. She wrote about the cult, and how it reminded her of her religious past. She wrote about the mountains, which gave the purest air. She wrote about the gardens, with its vibrancy amongst the variety. And finally, she wrote about Ray, the beautiful soul that needed guidance back to the world.

Luna was now playing and singing a soft tune, melancholic. She wanted to focus, like she did with writing, but she was uninspired, bored, and worried about a certain hacker. It was like the journal had taken up her ideas.

“Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one”

It was faint but...Luna thought she heard something. A creak in the wood, maybe?

“Who is it?” Luna called out.

No response. In fact, a silence had fallen into the room that Luna felt to be off. She had been keeping her knife close to her this whole time, tucked into the middle of her bra. She slowly approached the entrance, hand raised and ready to draw the blade if the need arose.

When she opened the door, there was a startled Ray, wide eyed and clutching something tightly in his arms.

“...I wasn't hiding! No, I was, but... I didn't mean anything bad!” he exclaimed in surprise.

Luna sighed heavily, partly in relief, partly because she really WAS getting more paranoid by the day. She felt a little guilty she was ready to whip out her knife.

“Ray, my god. Don't spook me like that! You know you're welcome here. Come in, Ray!”

“...Can I? Is it okay?” he asked skeptically, somewhat unsure.

“Of course, darling. I am glad to see you!” she replied with her best smile.

That was enough to coax Ray a little out of his bashful state and follow Luna into the room. Though, Luna couldn't help but notice how tense his body appeared, as if he wanted to make himself smaller. He appeared more exhausted than ever, his eyes melancholic and filled to the brim with sadness.

“Sorry to pop in so suddenly...I know you don't want to see me, so I tried not to make you see me.....I heard your song, it was so nice I didn't want to interrupt...But I wanted to give you this.”

Ray showed Luna what he had been holding onto so tightly, which was wrapped in a plastic bag as to conceal it. It was a bottle almost shaped like a heart, with an ominous blue green liquid filling most of the container. It was topped with a cork.

“This tastes and smells and looks exactly the same as the elixir of salvation. If someone tries to force you to take the elixir, drink this instead.”

Luna took the bottle from his delicate hand, really taking her time feeling the smooth glass and inspecting the fluid inside without tasting it.

“Ray….this is a great idea. A decoy in case of an emergency! Why didn't I think of that?” Luna exclaimed, bright eyed and thrilled, impressed with the boy's quick thinking.

“Uh...I dozed off for a second, and in my dream, you were in pain after taking the elixir. So I couldn't just sit there.” he admitted.

Ray was putting himself at risk by giving her the decoy elixir. He was putting her safety over his own, so Luna would not have to experience the same pain he did. It both touched Luna and saddened her, because Ray was so frightened he would have nightmares because of how worried for her he was.

“Thank you, Ray. For looking out for me” Luna said tenderly, reaching out to grab Ray's shy hand.

Ray was panicked by the sudden touch, as it was causing him to think on his own when the savior had said not to. But Luna looked so heartfelt by the gesture, and her fingers felt so warm, he also didn't want to pull away.

“Uh, no need to thank me. It's really nothing. And...could you please keep it a secret from the savior that I was here? But of don't have to do that if you don't want to.”

“My lips are sealed. Cross my heart and hope to...cry!” said Luna, hesitating on the last word, as she didn't want to unintentionally put the poor boy into more of a panic.

“I'll do everything painful for you. You don't have to do any of that...No matter what…” said Ray, turning into a whisper.

The whispers became heavy sobs. They shook him, and his hands began to shiver along with him.

“Ray?” Luna asked with worry in her tone.

Luna now grasped both of his hands, her thumb softly massaging the part of his hands his gloves didn't cover. Her touch was so tender, and as he looked into her wide, concerned eyes he realized he didn't want her to see him in such a despicable state.

“Uh...sorry. It's just that it's so great to Nothing. Please forget that I cried.”

He was suffering. He was suffering and she felt powerless to prevent it. Maybe, just maybe, she could offer a word of comfort...

“Ray...hear me out, please? Before you go?”

Luna had always been very articulate, often time abrasive in the way she said things, especially when being honest. Luna knew that a different approach to expressing her thoughts was needed, but being in these circumstances, it wasn't a difficult thing to do. There were a lot of thoughts she had been keeping to herself

“I said so as much in the chat, but...Ray. What do you say...about leaving this place? Leaving here, seeing the world. There's a whole new beginning out there. So much to see and do, so much beauty to gaze at. What if we both left, what if we leave this place behind us...I want to show you the wonders you never knew. I want to show you that life is much more grand than the walls of a mansion. I want to show you that despite the sorrow, the pain, the anger...there’s always a way to change it. It doesn't happen right away, but we have to start somewhere. And the more you work for it, the more you will see. Happiness, comfort, loving truly…it's not out of your reach. I will not run away from you, your trauma. Because it's all real, and it's a part of you. But it doesn't define you. I see it, that spark. I see the potential waiting to blossom, like the buds of a flower. You're already a beautiful bud to me, but I wonder…what you could be, when you bloom so beautifully. I can't save you, not completely, but at least I want to lead you in the right direction. I will stay with you, and we can leave here. I can't be caged within these walls, and neither should you. I want to fly away from this cage, with you. Together. Under the same sky, under the same moon. I wouldn't have this experience with anybody else. Think about it, Ray. Think of the future, and all the exciting possibilities to come”

What Luna spoke of...what Luna was something Ray never hoped for on the surface. But deep some primal sort of way...he longed for the freedom that Luna so poetically described.

Ray was stunned into silence trying to process what he had heard. He couldn’t, he shouldn’t, even be thinking about something like that...

“I….I…” Ray stuttered. Here was Luna, being a beacon, very supportive, without judgement. Then here he was, just standing with his mouth agape like an idiot, unsure of how to thank her for it all.

“Sorry. I'll...get going. Have a good night.”


Ray sprinted out of the room like a man possessed. Luna would have gone after him, if it weren't for the fact she could possibly get him into more trouble. Something happened to him, Luna knew. She just didn't know what. Whatever happened, it left him in more of an emotional wreck than when they first met. There had been progress, but all that progress had gone down the drain; caused by the deranged cult leader, no doubt. A woman who seemed too familiar now. Someone whom, if Luma was right, would be the most shocking revelation of them all, and the catalyst behind the suffering of many. It pissed Luna off just thinking about it. She fumed about it over a long, candlelit bath until the water and aroma of soaps softened her mood considerably. But the anxiety remained. Ray needed support, someone to lean on. Not only because she wanted to, but because she made a promise to another grieving heart; the one she left behind to pursue whom she felt was right. She owed it to them both. Luna would look for Ray until she was able to hold him tightly and show him how precious he is.

There was a faint sickly sweet scent hovering in the room.

“Aaaaaaaaaah.... Aaaaah....” yawned Luciel loudly, slumping over his desk as if in defeat.

“What's with you?” asked his associate, Vanderwood, with his usual tone of annoyance.

“I'm getting a depression attack....You know my mood enjoys a ride on a roller coaster... Grab me a Ph.D. Pepper, will you?” he asked in melancholy.

“Like hell. Those are the only words I can think of when I look at you. If it weren't for all those accomplishments you made last year.... Ugh.” Vanderwood ranted.

“Now I'm starting to question whether I'm here to monitor you or help with your personal activities....”

“Does that really matter? What matters is that you're here.” Luciel interrupted.

“I wouldn't be here if you do your work correctly! Are you kidding me?” Vanderwood shouted.

“Madam.” Luciel mumbled.

“I told you not to call me that... You'd better use better vocabulary if you want to chug that damned drink of yours.” Vanderwood threatened, his face in that known permanent glare.

“You think there's a bunch of better hackers out there than me?” he sulked.

“What's the sudden self-reflection for?” Vanderwood replied in bewilderment.

“Answer me, please. And be serious.”

Vanderwood wasn't used to seeing 707 wallowing in self pity. The way he looked now was so...pathetic. Had his confidence really been shot down so badly that he would be reduced to a whiny child?

“What's gotten into you...?” groaned Vanderwood.

Still, this man he called a child truly was brilliant. A genius in his trade, and a valuable member of the agency, despite his habit of being distracted. He had to find a way to cheer the redhead up, to give him back his confidence even for a bit. Otherwise they would have hell to pay if the work for the agency was delayed.

“Hmm... I don't think I've ever seen someone who can both infiltrate a system within a minute and be such a slick actor at the same time.” Vanderwood managed to say, trying not to hesitate.

“So I am a top hacker, right?” Luciel pouted.

“...All of the members in the agency are at the top of their fields. And I'd're at the top of the top.” Vanderwood paused, his words feeling foreign.

“ feels creepy to say this myself. It feels like I'm complimenting you.”

“So what would you do...if there's someone better than me?” asked Luciel, his expression serious.

“Then I'll bring that person over right away! But there's no such monster in our radar.”

“...No, there isn't.” lied the hacker.

The hesitation the redhead gave caused Vanderwood to raise an eyebrow.

“Did you actually meet one like that?” asked the agent.


“Did you?” insisted Vanderwood.

Luciel grimaced. His partner really WAS nagging even more than usual.

“Even if I did, there's nothing I can get by telling you.” Luciel said firmly.

Vanderwood’s expression softened, satisfied with this answer.

“That's right. Zip it. Truths can only hurt us. Truths can only hold us back. Family, friends, lovers... They're nothing but weaknesses for us.”

“Yeah...I know.” the red head murmured.

“Hey, what's this?”

Vanderwood had finally taken a good look at Luciel's monitors, and saw many browser tabs and windows opened to articles of some sort.


“...You even dug up this kind of stuff? These are all political news.” Vanderwood commented.

“Oh...I did just the preliminary search. I didn't even start yet. I have tons of works to do…” Luciel responded defensively.

“I'm going to believe that the boss's assignment is on the top of the list of your priorities…” Vanderwood reprimanded.

“I'll keep the deadline. I'll keep working on them....” Luciel replied. Vanderwood was slowly starting to get on his nerves.

“You should be grateful that informants these days don't have a lot of work. Your schedule would've been tighter if you had other works to do. I happen to be here because I didn't have an assigned task. Why couldn't they give me a break if there was no assignment for me...?” Vanderwood lamented.

“Madam, where's my Ph.D. Pepper? I'm feeling depressed right now....” Luciel demanded, deciding to get back to his regularly scheduled bullying of his ‘maid’.

“I told you not to call me that! And I don't want to even go near that fridge of yours. I don't even want to think about how it looks…”

“I'll deal with your problem, Vanderwood! God7 algorithm online!!!” Luciel shouted in a lame attempt to motivate himself.

“...Launch failed. I'm getting depressed... Am I turning sentimental for the night?” he said, slumping back into his chair.

“Want to grab a cigarette?” Vanderwood suggested.

“I don't smoke or drink.” declared Luciel.

“How can you actually manage your life with just caffeine? Ugh. Okay, fine. I'll fetch you one, so could you at least pretend to be working?” Vanderwood pleaded, sounding more angry than anything.


After he was certain Vanderwood was out of sight, Luciel couldn't help but continue his inner monologue.

“...Ugh. I'm feeling so strange. What is this? Is it because of the hacker...?”

Jaehee Kang has entered the chatroom.
Luna has entered the chatroom.
Jaehee Kang: Luna. Welcome...
Luna: You must've been busy. Good job!
Jaehee Kang: Thank you ^^...I thought I'd lose my mind. I finally found some time to log in. Now I'm done with my duties for the intelligence unit.
Jaehee Kang: So much took place in a single day...What surprised me the most was this contact I received from the prime minister's office. What required most attention were my duties related to the launch of the intelligence unit…Not to mention thousands of paperwork I had to fill in due to Mr. Han's sudden meeting...But now they're all taken care of. ^^
Luna: Great work!!
Jaehee Kang: Thank you!
Jaehee Kang: But look at the time...It's so late. Is everyone asleep at this hour?
Luna:...Seven and that hacker must be still awake. Which is sad...
Jaehee Kang: It seems you're concerned for both of them. I wish things would end in peace… But based on the past chat logs…I see that Zen is having difficulty trying to figure out the direction of his acting…He even requested Yoosung to help him...
Luna: The character is a challenge. I hope he can do it.
Jaehee Kang: I am positive this will be a whole new step of growth for him. White is definitely difficult to understand regarding his inner characteristics. Even as his actor portrays pure evil, he must include his personal aesthetic ideas and philosophy as well.
707 has entered the chatroom.
Jaehee Kang: Luciel. Welcome.
Luna: heya meme lord
707: hey hey
Jaehee Kang: You logged in less often than usual. You must've been busy.
Luna: How's the hacker doing? What's he even up to?
Jaehee Kang: He's been burning up even before sunrise, and right now his battery is dead, should I say...?
Jaehee Kang: Since there are no special news on the messenger, I believe you are defending well against the hacker.
707: I thought I'd be a goner doing that.....
Luna: It's heartbreaking...that both you and the hacker have to fight.
707: I'm only doing my job. Your heart doesn't need to break...
Jaehee Kang: I assume you're a pacifist, Luna.
Luna: somewhat, yeah.
707: Tho that doesn't seem to be the case with the hacker. But, It looks like that hacker's off to take a break or something. I noticed that he ran a macro so I found some time to log in lol...
Luna: Huh...Where could he be...? I'm concerned...
707: Luna
707: you seem to be full of love!
Luna: me???? Love????
Luna: hahaha no waaaaaay
Luna: I have no idea what you're talking about!
Luna: shut UP. :)
707: But the hacker's our enemy!!
Jaehee Kang: Perhaps she thinks differently...since we don't know yet what exactly her relation to the hacker is.
707: no no no V said no touchie on that part!
Luna: yeah! no touchie!
Jaehee Kang: I'm aware of that. I too trust Luna.
Luna: aaww ;-;
707: ok
Luna: I'm sorry I confused you a little here.
Jaehee Kang: Now I do not think you're a bad person at all, Luna. So please, I hope you don't get me wrong.
707: yup
707: You gotta point out what you can even if there are secrets to hide in the middle...
Jaehee Kang: Actually, I happen to have something to ask you, Seven. Uhm....about that strange drink you submitted to the convenience stores…
Luna: no pls
707: U wanna know
Jaehee Kang: Didn't you get any notice about getting sued by
707: how much I sold? +_+
Luna: face palm!
Jaehee Kang: ...
Luna: Though if that drink is safe...I'd like to get one for this certain someone.
707: Luna, if you wanna do that to that certain someone that someone is your destiny!
Luna: wha??? No way I believe in something so painfully cheesy...haha...ha
707: u sure tho
Jaehee Kang: ...I don't think so...
707: I'm going to include that in files for my next marketing lol
Jaehee Kang: ...Are you actually taking away Luna's idea?
707: Sneak and snatch!
Luna: hey! rude! I had first dibs!
707: So is miss Luna admitting to being….a secret romantic????
Luna: NO.
Jaehee Kang: ....
707: It's not too late to invest lol
Jaehee Kang: I wonder...
707: if you wonder, I can send you the product details
Luna: Seriously though. Seven...this isn't something dangerous, is it? You're okay, aren't you?
707: Are you concerned about me? I'm so touched.
Jaehee Kang: ......
Jaehee Kang: I wonder why you would run such an absurd business. And talk about its scale...
707: If I want something big I gotta make sure it's big lol
Jaehee Kang: I heard that your income as an informant exceeds my expectations. Do you need a large sum of money for something?
707: Of course I do!! I gotta collect my babies, the supercars. I can never get enough ^^
Luna: Well...I suppose you should spend your money on something you like.
707: Yeah!!
Jaehee Kang: But don't you think you're spending too much?
707: It's not too much! And it's all my money!
Jaehee Kang: So are you saying you will make money by buying cars?
707: Yep. If I get in trouble, my bank account will be tracked in no time. The gold bars
Jaehee Kang: ......
707: are too heavy
707: as for the real estate, I have to use someone's name so that's no option
Luna: Seven...why don't you save some money for your family?
707: I did.
707: With cars lol
Luna: K
Jaehee Kang: Wait...Why would you have trouble
707: But for cars
Jaehee Kang: in the first place?
707: if you sell them at a lower price, even if you don't get enough, they sell quickly. so you can get cash in no time.
Luna: umm
707: And you can ride them haha. and as a bonus…
707: I love cars!
Luna: hmm...
Luna: Does your job...threaten your life or status?
Jaehee Kang: I thought you were joking…when you mentioned missions and stuff…but were you being serious? If that's the case, shouldn't you file a report to the Commission of Human Rights?
707: Jaehee
Jaehee Kang: Yes...?
707: do you really think all this is real?
Jaehee Kang: ...
Luna:...I hope it's not real. One person in danger is enough...
707: ??
707: Is there someone else in danger?
Luna: uh
Jaehee Kang: It's not real, is it?
707: Come on. We live in reality, not in a movie lol
Luna: Except this reality led me to my biggest misadventure yet, where some stakes are in fact high.
Jaehee Kang: As an assistant who started to take charge of the intelligence unit since this morning in order to identify the hacker…I think the line between my reality and movie is already blurred...
Luna: Oh dear. Jaehee, I think you need a break now.
707: Yup
707: u shouldn't work too hard.
707: U worked too hard today. So no more working for your brain, go get some rest now lol
Jaehee Kang: I think this is the first time I'm hearing that from you.
707: Working on something related to a hacker isn't an ordinary task
707: Luna, you should know, cuz you have this relation to the hacker.
Luna: I don't know about hacking very well...but I know that it's really demanding job.
Luna: but sure, sure. Treat people like robots and they can do anything. Hah. What a joke.
Luna: hacker or no, exploitation of this degree is…aaaagh.
Jaehee Kang: ???
707:....Luna, u mad?
Luna: MAYBE.
Luna: okay, okay. I went on a tangent there...
707: But Luna is right, you always have to stay focused T_T
Jaehee Kang: That's true.
707: You worked enough. So u should have a nice warm can of Ph.D. pepper with u, and enjoy a funny movie
Jaehee Kang: ....
707: and get some quality sleep. And then open ur eyes the next day and u'll remember. That when u have a hard time getting up, your answer is...
Luna: Kay kay kay. Jaehee, you should rest now.
Jaehee Kang: I should.
707: You wanna spend the morning
Jaehee Kang: with SEVENSTAR DRINK?
Luna: omg
707: Call and order now. Shipment made on regular basis!!ㅇ.<
Jaehee Kang: ...Oh.
707: Run to the convenience store
Jaehee Kang: I have regained my senses.
707: get a drink and file a report to Jumin, a proposal for investment!
Luna: Rest well, Jaehee ^^
Jaehee Kang: You too, Luna ^^
707: Don't forget to grab a can tomorrow.
Jaehee Kang: It was a pleasure to talk to you. I'll leave now. Luna, I hope you have a good night.
Jaehee Kang has left the chatroom.
Luna: Say, Seven...
707: yeah?
Luna: I think something's wrong with this hacker...I didn't hear anything from him. Do you know anything about this?
707: Really? The only thing I know about him is that he's not here right now T_T I'll let you know more once I pick up more!
707: But're not feeling bad for this hacker, are you?
707: Watch out. Make sure he doesn't manipulate you.
Luna: I am not so stupid as to let myself be manipulated. If anything...I'm basing my reasoning on what I have seen with my own eyes…
707: What you've seen?
Luna:...He's such a kind person. Though he's suffering from misfortunes right now...
707: So was I right after all...? I think the hacker is also being manipulated and there's a mastermind behind him.
Luna: Yes, yes you understand! Finally someone who thinks about this like I do.
707: Ugh. I'm kind of worried and anxious
707: maybe I shud sell some cars and make some cash.
707: In the movie, people get to meet lost families and make love come true...stuff like that.
Luna: My hope is, one day it'll all work out well, like in movies.
707: I really really hope that's the case. But for now I'm on the edge of my seat with the prime minister and all...
Luna: The prime minister? Seven, you too?
707: Uh nothing...Maybe I need to sleep...I'm not sure what I'm talking about...
707: lolol...
707: This is reality, so it can be more cruel than movies
707: so
707: if I can maintain peace even for a sec, well...I shud be grateful for that.
Luna: I'd like to think right now we're waiting for the storm to pass by.
707: That's what I thought too lol And it'll be even better if the storm goes away!
707: I'm talking too much....
707: Luna
707:...If you get to meet the hacker by any chance can you tell him this for me? We seem to be living lives no different from each other, so regardless of the winner...let's not be cruel to each other after this war.
Luna: Yes... I will.
707: ok thnx
707: I'll go now.
Luna: If the hacker's back, can you tell me?
707: I'll try...Bye...
707 has left the chatroom.
Luna: goodnight.
Luna has left the chatroom.

Luna couldn't stand to be cooped up any longer. She had to search for Ray herself. She quickly put on her shoes and stepped out of the bedroom.

“Step aside, please. The savior is coming through.” someone ahead said.

Luna was about to talk back until SHE spoke first.

“No...She's fine.” said the blonde, getting the believer to back off.

“For paradise, Luna. It's a beautiful night. Are you having trouble sleeping?” the savior asked curiously.

“No, no trouble. Say, have you seen Ray? We had an appointment, you see. He was teaching me about the how Mint Eye is run, and he never showed” Luna said, playing the part of naive fool once more. Her eyes wide in concern, that was at least not a result of acting.

“He'll be working right now if he's following the plan. I should send someone to check.” she said, as if she was talking to herself.

Absolutely vile, Luna thought. Luna thought she couldn't reach any more levels of hatred, but with the blonde woman proudly declaring how insanely controlling she was made Luna's blood boil. She bit the inside of her cheek to fight the urge to scowl.

“Would you like to join me? It wouldn't be too bad to meet the new believers.” the blonde suggested.

Yeah, no.

“...No, wait. You're on a special mission, and since you're gifted with a special privilege, perhaps it'd be better for you not to meet the fellow believers yet.”

That was the first intelligent thing the cult leader had said. Though, her run-ins with a few members weren't very pleasant. For the believers, anyway.

“You'd be lonely for a while, but please stay as mysterious as you are now, Luna. Once you gain a thorough comprehension of our system and accomplish several feats in your current duty, I'll grant you an executive position right away.”

Luna clenched her fists tightly on her side, as to not start swinging. A high ranking position? In this hell hole? Luna would rather be dead than take any part in it.

“I'm very pleased with your accomplishments in the messenger. It's my greatest joy that Ray returned to his place. He's never seen someone so attractive like you from the outside, so apparently, he got sidetracked.”

The praise from a cult leader had to be the worst thing Luna had ever heard.

“I don't consider myself as such, you know. I don't think I have an impact like that” Luna admitted.

“...You're modest, Luna. But you will soon see that you have more impact than you believe, if you haven't realized it already”

Luna knew that was completely deliberate. Not even many weeks of acting lessons could completely hold up her facade.

“I'll make sure there's no problem with Ray. I'll keep my eyes on him, so don't worry. I would do your best for our paradise, Luna.”

The best for this paradise would be to see it burn to the ground, Luna thought.

“Now I must leave. For eternal paradise”

Luna grimaced in disgust as the blonde walked away, wondering what would happen if the queen of the lair were to have a little trip down the stairs…

I don't have time this, Luna thought. She had to look for Ray.

As she wandered the halls, Luna tried asking any believer she saw if they had seen Ray anywhere. However, either most acknowledged her with uneasy stares or just quickly walked past, avoiding conversation altogether. In the moment, Luna wondered what their problem was.

Since asking around was a lost cause, Luna decides to go into the gardens. She figured if Ray was not not in his room, he would most likely be in the shelter of the flowers. She walked around for a bit, hoping to find a familiar face.

Luna heard a rustling of leaves behind her, and a voice that called out.

“...Who's there?” said the voice urgently.

Luna turned around so fast it left her hair windswept.

“...Huh? Are you...?” asked Ray, as Luna’s familiar eyes promptly found his hiding spot.

“Ray! Found ya!” she said cheerfully.

“Luna, there you are…”

Ray begun approaching Luna, but stopped himself halfway. Luna tucked back the stray locks of hair that had gotten in her face. Oh, how he wishes he could get her touch again...

“You don't want to see me, do you? I'll get back to my room now.” said the boy, bowing his head in shame.

“That's not true, Ray! Stay with me for a bit.” Luna insisted, speaking too quickly, almost waffling her words.

“Can I...? You won't hate me even if I stay? I thought you'd be despising me because I ran away like that.” Ray said in a panicked tone.

Seeing how Ray’s demeanor changed had Luna’s heart hurting. Why on earth would he think I hate him for that, Luna thought.

Ray briefly made eye contact with Luna, and what he saw was...curiosity, worry, twin flames.

“But...your eyes seem to tell me that you don't. Am I correct?” he said after a brief pause, feeling sure if his assumptions for once.

“That's right, darling. I don't despise you. It's so good to see you” reassured Luna, whom had taken Ray’s hand on instinct.

“I see... I knew it.” Ray said softly, a shy smile beginning to form.

But in the blink of an eye, his facial expression turned into one of a deer in front of headlights.

“Uh...I shouldn't tell you what I think... I'm not supposed to tell anyone what I think...I slipped again... I dared to tell you what I think...! I'm such an idiot. I'm such an airhead!”

Ray began to berate himself in whispers, taking a step back from Luna, his hands tugging at his head.

Luna froze. She wasn't sure what to do. Now SHE was the deer in headlights, and when she tried speaking the words got stuck in her throat. She felt the moisture rise in her eyes...

Then, his whispering turned into heavy sobs.

“I'm so stupid... I keep thinking that I want you to embrace me even now. I thought about that when I visited you earlier... I kept thinking that I want to tell you everything I'm having a hard time with…”

Please, tell me, tell me everything. I want to protect you. I have to do something...

“I don't deserve to do that... No matter how much elixir I take, I can't stop thinking about you. My eyes hurt, and my head hurts... If I find you, Luna...I keep having weak thoughts....that I'll get a little better…”

That's hope! Hold on to it, please. Just a little longer...

“I don't deserve to do that...I'm useless...unless I work without stopping...!”

You're wrong, flower. You're so wrong...Why am I just staring like an idiot?

“I keep thinking of the way you look at me... It hurts every time I think of it…”

Have...I been hurting him too? No...I don't want that...He's in pain...

“You're free to follow what your mind and heart desire…” Luna finally managed to say.

Ray temporarily paused upon hearing Luna’s voice, confusion spread across his tear ridden face.

“...No, no.... Nothing will work if I do as I think. Only bad things will happen, and you'll leave me.” he replied miserably.

I won't leave without you. The words, I don't have them…why can't I just...

“I shouldn't do as I think. I need to endure all this pain and difficulty. I can take it. I can take it all. I'm just going through a bit of a pain, that's all.” he said, attempting to sound fine but failing. He now hugged himself closer, making himself withdraw further.

You're more than just in a little pain. There must be something I can do...there must...I need to...

“You shouldn't bear my whining. You can just turn and walk away…”


“But just...just don't get too far... Don't leave me completely.”

I want to comfort him…I have to show him...

“You can be mad at me if I'm frustrating you. You can throw stuff at me. I deserve that…”

She didn't want to see him cry...she didn't want to see him suffer...she just wanted him to smile, to grow, to be loved…

Then Luna looked at his quivering lips…

“No, you should be mad at me. If I can at least be your punching bag...!”

So shy...a taste of that…what would it be like? What could it say? Would it be a declaration, or the wrong move?

That's it.

“Stop tormenting yourself, Ray. Look at me.” Luna said firmly, her eyes stern and brows furrowed. She cupped Ray’s face with her small hands, and looked up at him with such vigor Ray thought she were looking at a phantom.

“Luna…” he whispered, about to ask if she was alright...

Luna leaned in, and pressed her lips onto Ray's into a kiss.

Luna felt him shiver underneath her, a mutual heat passing between the two. She kissed more urgently, causing Ray's lips to open in reciprocation. Luna pressed into him further, placing her arms around Ray's neck and back into a passionate embrace, his sweet scent mixed in with the perfume of the flowers around them making the sensation even more delicious. Luna was light headed, engulfed in an ecstasy she had never felt before; it was sweet and tumultuous, like biting into the forbidden fruit, and it was a rush like no other. His lips were delectable and so deliciously shy that Luna hungered for more. But that was minuscule in comparison to the explosion of emotions and thoughts that ran through the adrenaline in his veins to the very core. Luna's lips were soft, warm, and divine. His heartbeat was in an absolute panic, his mind reeling with a sweetness unlike anything he had ever experienced before. The heat was rising, and he wanted every second to be ten times longer as Luna greedily pulled him even closer, which urged him to kiss back, and hold the small of her back and waist. Then it was Luna who shivered under Ray's touch, bringing a sort of guttural, feral sound he had never heard from Luna before.

Their faces separated, and the two stared into each other, breathing heavily.

Luna’s face was flushed, her nose and apples of her cheeks in a darker blush, her orange eyes half open in a high she hadn't completely come out of. Her mouth was half open, her bold lips glistening from their exchange.

Ray's face was the most gorgeous shade of pink Luna had ever seen, so helplessly beautiful under his now messy bangs. His lips were starting to redden, and his lower lip had a light swelling where Luna had been so urgent.

“Wha...what...what was that?” Ray whispered in wonder.


Luna couldn't speak.

“...was that some kind of a punishment? Or…”

What she just did...was reckless. But so worth it. She didn't realize just how much she had wanted this until that moment.

“I...I don't think I get what you meant by that. But…”

Ray let go of Luna, gently pushing her away. Luna was immediately concerned when he put one hand on his chest, and the other on his snowy locks of hair.

“It's making me feel hot...and dizzy…” he said very slowly, still out of breath.

“I...need cold water... Sorry. Forgive me. I need... My body is acting weird…”

Did I overwhelm him? Will he be okay? thought Luna.

“...Ray….” Luna whispered, reaching out to feel him again. A touch, an embrace, anything.

Ray sprinted out of the garden before Luna could do anything else.

Luna was left alone with the aroma of the flowers and the stillness of the warm summer’s night.

One thing was for certain. Luna liked Ray. She liked him so much. The fires had been lit inside her soul, a greater connection now established. It was overwhelming, uncertain. But now, Luna couldn't imagine a world without him in it. Without his blue eyes, warm smiles, his shy ways of trying to get her attention. His attention to detail, his dedication to her...liking her for who she was, treating her like a person, instead of an object. Ray was frail, in heart and soul; but Luna wanted to embrace that frailty, and help it become stronger. She wanted to protect him at all costs. She wanted to set him free, and see the dawn of a new day.

Luna was in too deep, and now she would never turn back.

Taking a moment to clear her head, Luna left the gardens and back to her room. It felt as she was walking on air. A soft smile caressed her face, as she brushed her fingertips over where she had met with Ray.

That night, the believers in the mansion would hear sweet tunes coming from the second floor west wing. They wouldn't get too close, but would wonder what had the songbird experienced to produce such a softness of song. The only ones who knew the answer were the two connected souls who fell into blissful dreams with the memory of each other’s kiss embedded deep.

Chapter Text



It was not long after when she got a call. The phone in the nightstand vibrated urgently, nearly falling off with the motion. 707 was calling. She couldn't even be angry about being woken up, since she had started to toss and turn from a dream repeating the events that transpired only hours before.

“...Hey...are you sleeping?” said the hacker.

Luna only replied with a sleepy grunt.

“If it's okay, can we talk? Just for a minute.” Seven urged.

“Oh” Luna said sleepily “yeah, go ahead sweets”

There was something about a person half asleep trying to speak that was fun to hear.

“All-nighter again, huh?” Luna chuckled.

“Yep. The nights of God7, the genius hacker, are more beautiful than humans' days. They're too beautiful, so I can't close my eyes.”

Luna could almost picture the hacker leaned back on his chair, waving a handkerchief dramatically.

“Seven's beautiful nights are burning up...! I'm going to burn my mind and body through the night with my work!” Seven lamented.

“Well” Luna inquired, “What's the work about?”

For a moment, Seven debated simply telling her everything. Lord knows, he wanted to share the burden he carried. But in the end he decided against it, considering the woman probably had enough on her plate without hearing his woes.

“There's this thing I have to research about, so I'm shuffling through articles and stuff...'s not easy.” Seven stated, severely sugarcoating his actual purpose.

The two shared a brief silence.

“Have you ever thought of leaving our planet Earth?” Seven began, “You know, leave all of your worries and troubles on Earth and go out to space.”

Sure, Luna has felt that way before. Longing for far away places, seeing something new. But somehow, the way Seven said it sounded so melancholic.

“ there something bothering you?” Luna asked.

Seven was taken aback at Luna’s sudden question. Was it that obvious…?

“...Uhm, I don't know... Is there...?” Seven replied, unsure of where the conversation as going.

He thought of how to deflect Luna’s curiosity.

“I think it's because unlike in Andromeda, on Earth there are so many things I have to take care of. I have to take baths regularly, pay my taxes and rent...and make money to do it all. Tyrant is the capitalism of Earth...!” he monologues.

“Capitalism IS a turnoff, yes. But...what's the real reason you want to leave our planet?” Luna asked, once again taking Seven by surprise.

Perhaps, just as before, he could sugarcoat it.

“There's only one reason why I want to leave this planet. Because....It's really really quiet in space. There's no sound, and there's no air. So if I just float around in space, I'll be able to stay safe from all the headaches of troubles in this world. And all the sadness, hatred, rage...and longing would fade away. Won't they?”

Luna took some time to think of what to say next. Seven was depressed, that much she could tell; though it seemed he was having a hard time sharing that. So she would play along with the metaphors.

“Don't you think you're so bothered by all the troubles on Earth, and put up with them, because that's how much you love this planet?” Luna asked.

Seven never thought of it that way. Was Luna always this sharp, or did she gain it from experiences?

“Do you think so? Hmm...maybe you're right. Maybe I'm bothered by all these troubles because I like this place. Maybe that's why I'm tired. Without love, there wouldn't be expectations, hope, or sadness....”

Seven had let a little too much of his feelings slip, so he defaulted to his eccentricity.

“Speaking of which, I gained so many things during my Earth life, which has been somewhere between short and not so long” Seven teased.

Luna couldn't help but burst into soft laughter. To Seven, Luna’s laughs were like soft bells, and he then wondered just what was it that had the woman in such a lighthearted mood.

“I'm kidding, I'm kidding - I was just bored. How in the world would I ever fly to space? I'll need more than zillions of dollars to build a spaceship!”

“Maybe you'll find a mad man in a box” Luna said with mischief.

When his screen lit up, Seven was on full alert once more. Maybe the hacker was launching another attack.

“Which reminds me, maybe I should try making some money for the spaceship. And I should get back to work right now. You should go to sleep! Let's talk again tomorrow - good night!”

Luciel hung up in a hurry, in and out fast as lightning.

In her blissfully groggy stupor, Luna wondered what that was all about. She wondered what had the redhead in such a slump, until she pictured the soft features of the twin she had come to care for.

I'm sorry Seven, Luna thought. She had to keep the secret that the brother he missed so much was within the walls of a vicious cult where he was exploited and worked to the bone.

“But I promise to take care of him, so you can see him again” Luna whispered out loud.

Luna tucked herself deeper into the covers, and was about to go back to sleep, until she saw a notification for a new chatroom. She supposed it was better than failing to sleep again thinking about the kiss in the garden.

Luna has entered the chat room.
Yoosung★: lol
Yoosung★: Oh hey Luna
Luna: Where's Zen?
Yoosung★: Oh uh...
ZEN has entered the chatroom.
ZEN: Hey
ZEN: do you really think practicing through the messenger is a good idea???
Luna: Zen, you're practicing!
ZEN: Hi Luna...
ZEN: I'm practicing
ZEN: and this guy wants me to practice on the messenger. Isn't that crazy or what?
Yoosung★: But your acting is too good, too realistic. I think I'm bout to lose my mind.
ZEN: Duh I'm an actor
ZEN: How in the world am I supposed to practice through this messenger?!
Yoosung★: .....
ZEN: Doesn't make sense to you too, does it? ^^
Luna: Yoosung, get a grip! And try again!! Yeah yeah!!!
Yoosung★: aaaah
Yoosung★: but he's more serious than I thought
Yoosung★: he's too serious T_T
ZEN: What's the big deal? That's what an actor's supposed to do!!! You thought this was a joke???
Yoosung★: Zen...
Yoosung★: Hah......
ZEN: Why are you sighing? Don't you want to help me?
Yoosung★: no..........................
ZEN: Then forget about the deal with your assignment
Luna: changing gears in 3...2...1...
Yoosung★: no no
Yoosung★: no
Yoosung★: I'll help you
Luna: there it is!
ZEN: Really?
Yoosung★: But on one condition
ZEN: What?
Yoosung★: You keep acting
Yoosung★: and I'll give u feedback on the messenger.
Luna: Looks like someone's super shy lol aaww
Yoosung★: He's just too serious T_T
Yoosung★: I can't deal with cringe
Yoosung★: unless I'm with my girlfriend and I'm trying to be cute with her.
ZEN: It's my job. Where does cringe come in here? And when did you ever have a girlfriend!?
Yoosung★: Zen...that's not the point here.
Yoosung★: I can't do it. Even if I try, the best I can do is to pretend I'm helping you with school assignment or something
ZEN: Come on be brave...
Yoosung★: I'm just a chicken-hearted undergraduate
Yoosung★: extremely conscious of what others think about me.
Yoosung★: I've never worked
Yoosung★: Not even part-time jobs
ZEN: Good for you -_-
ZEN: So I'll continue acting, leave ur feedback here.
Luna: Oh, are we getting started here?
ZEN: Let me drink some water.....
Yoosung★: First of all, those black clothes are not my type.
ZEN: I didn't even start yet.
Yoosung★: I'd like to have your opinion too, Luna lol
Yoosung★: since it could be just that black clothes aren't really my type. And I don't wanna hear about your outfit preferences.
Yoosung★: Just hear me out.
Yoosung★: And like you said, ur really good with Zekyll. I felt that...
Yoosung★: well
Yoosung★: if you were really good at studying
ZEN: yes??
Yoosung★: and if you were born from a noble family
ZEN: yes yes
Yoosung★: you'd look just like Zekyll.
ZEN: I have no prob with Zekyll either.
Luna: What about White?~
Yoosung★: Tbh lol
ZEN: yeah?
Yoosung★: I think the only thing good about White is your looks.
ZEN: That I tried not to let happen....Am I too handsome for my own good?
Yoosung★: Don't look in the mirror again or make a joke like that. That's not funny...
Luna: weeeeeeeeeell sure. Zen is handsome, no doubt about it.
Luna: buuuuut
Luna: I think this hacker's more good-looking. ^^
ZEN: What?
Luna: juuuuuust saying~
ZEN: Luna did you see what that hacker looks like?
Luna: up close and personal :>
ZEN: But he's more handsome than I am? Now I'm up for some competition.
ZEN: Let me see his photo.
Yoosung★: Zen...
Yoosung★: What if Luna gets in trouble after sending you the photo..?
ZEN: Oh maybe you're right.
Luna: I don't have any anyway~
Yoosung★: Back to the acting....
ZEN: yes yes
Yoosung★: I think
Yoosung★: you should first look for the lameness inside you. Even a teeny tiny part is fine.
ZEN: Don't you think the word lame is something very far from me?
Luna: Wait, what's that smell...?
Yoosung★: Sniff sniff...
Yoosung★: Luna you caught it, didn't you?
ZEN: What on earth am I supposed to catch??
Luna: but you knoooow, lame man is my style!
Yoosung★: Wow then could you marry me?
Luna: OPE
ZEN: Take it back right now...
Yoosung★: Waaah
ZEN: you should know your limit.
Yoosung★: T_T
Yoosung★: ............
Yoosung★: And this is what lameness is. You burst into tears and run away.
Yoosung★: Get it?
ZEN: ....What's that supposed to mean?
Yoosung★: Zen, don't worry. Every man is born with a bit of lameness within.
ZEN: Even me?
Yoosung★: yep
Yoosung★: Someone said that as men grow older, they don't grow cooler.
Yoosung★: They just learn how to be less lame lol
ZEN: what????
Luna: Who said that? o3o
ZEN: Hey then are you saying that I'm an old man?
Yoosung★: No
Yoosung★: it's just that you still haven't understood what it means to be lame until that age.
ZEN: How am I supposed to understand that?!
Yoosung★: That's what you need to do from now on lol
Yoosung★: I do know a couple friends who could help.
ZEN: Who are they?
Yoosung★: These guys build computers at the cheapest price.
Yoosung★: I ran into them on Noogle.
ZEN: Build computers...? Do they think computers are legos?
ZEN: How can they build computers?
Luna: Zen, sweetie, you do realize we're living in the 21st century, don't you?
Yoosung★: ....Luna
Yoosung★: let's give up on that.
Yoosung★: I think maybe we shouldn't talk about these tech geeks, considering Zen's computer.
ZEN: What about my computer?
Yoosung★: ...Nothing.
Luna: yoosung, c'mon!
ZEN: I'm really bad at it.
ZEN: It's just so difficult for me to stick to one place for hours T_T
Yoosung★: Oh
Yoosung★: I think for some reason you're more tech geek than Zen, Luna.
ZEN: Maybe she is…
Luna: 100%
Yoosung★: Anyways, back to this story of correlation between men and lameness....
Yoosung★: I got to know these guys by chance when I visited the site to get myself a new computer so that I can play LOLOL under the best condition.
ZEN: I'm not sure what you're talking about, but sounds like they're real smartypants.
Yoosung★: yep
Yoosung★: Oh right
Yoosung★: one of them made a real dry flat review on the new yphone and ypad
Yoosung★: Luna
Yoosung★: Why don't we invite him to the party?
Luna: Sure. Let's discuss the latest technology with him!
Yoosung★: Great!
Yoosung★: Seven might be delighted lol
ZEN: I think I'm going to stay far away from them....
Yoosung★: Maybe they can help you with your acting lol
ZEN: Maybe...?
ZEN: For now, let's get back to my acting.
Yoosung★: Ok...
ZEN: So how do I find this lameness within right now?
Yoosung★: Hmm about that...It's kind of embarrassing to talk about this with Luna here lolol
Luna: Oh nooo no pretend I'm not even here. Keep trying, and you'll make it ^^...
ZEN: Ikr?
ZEN: So let's continue, Yoosung
Yoosung★: Wait. Plz listen to me.
ZEN: Be quick about it.
Yoosung★: For now…I think there's only one thing that can draw out your lameness.
ZEN: What is it?
Yoosung★: Jumin.
Luna: bahahhaha!
ZEN: I do get pissed when I think of him, but I already tried it before you got here.
ZEN: wasn't good enough.
Yoosung★: Why?
ZEN: There's a limit to hating without a reason, u know?
ZEN: It's not fair either
Yoosung★: That's because he won't feed you all the time.
ZEN: Feed?
Luna: fndsiwoeirigvnh
Luna: Zen, try barking for me.~
ZEN: Ruff ruff!
Yoosung★: lolololol
ZEN: What?
ZEN: She wanted me to.
Luna: hee hee :>
Yoosung★: From now on I'll be the false Jumin. I'll torment that lameness inside you, so come on and try fighting back.
ZEN: Hey lmaoooo try asking Luna if that's really a good idea.
Luna: Great idea lolol
ZEN: ....
ZEN: Luna
Yoosung★: See - ?! Lololol
ZEN: Something's not right here
Yoosung★: Admit it - I'm right.
ZEN: I mean
ZEN: I just can't imagine it. How in the world are you going to pretend to be him?
Yoosung★: I'm good at playing pretend lol
Yoosung★: And I've always wanted to be like him.
Yoosung★: Ahem...
Luna: This will be fun lololol
ZEN: ....I have a bad feeling about this.
Yoosung★: You can look forward to having some fun.
Luna: thatswhatshesaid
ZEN: ...Luna. You’re in a particularly bright mood.
Luna: I have not the slightest idea what you mean~
ZEN: I don't like this. I don't like this at all.
Yoosung★: Zen…I need that black wig I saw back there.
ZEN: Did I have one??
Yoosung★: I saw it in the storage.
ZEN: That's not even his hairstyle. That's the wig for a character I played before.....I brought it in commemoration of a show I was in 2 years ago.
Yoosung★: But the color's the same. Can I wear it?
ZEN: ok..
ZEN: I don't really care, but I'm not sure if it's gonna work.
Luna: I think it's going to work!
Yoosung★: Ikr? Lolol
ZEN: Luna... I trust your intuition.
Yoosung★: I need some time to transform.
ZEN: Transform?
Yoosung★: Let me gather my aura on the rooftop.
ZEN: ?!?
Luna: The darkness within beckons you....
Yoosung★: I will awaken my darkness within, and return stronger.
ZEN: ......I have no idea what you two are talking about.
Yoosung★: Until I come back from the rooftop…take a good care of your sanity.
ZEN: What?
Yoosung★: Luna
Yoosung★: Stay tuned.
Luna: remember, its pics or it didn't happen!
Yoosung★: ...The evil never dies. It shall land upon this land again!
Yoosung★ has left the chatroom.
ZEN: Hey but
ZEN: what does he mean by transformation?
Luna: It means to take a sudden turnout. In a dark sense, that is...!
ZEN: Like in some TV show?
ZEN: When the good girl suddenly turns cold...?
ZEN: But what does that have to do with him pretending to be Jumin? T_T
Luma: Aren't you excited? Lolol
ZEN: I'm actually really worried T_T
ZEN: Well...anyways, looks like he needs some time to prepare. I gotta take some break in the meantime.
ZEN: And drink some water...
ZEN: Luna aren't you going to sleep?
Luna: I will in a few minutes!
ZEN: yes yes
ZEN: It's getting late.
ZEN: Sleep tight
ZEN: and have a nice dream ^^
Luna: mmm I have been having a nice dream, all night long…
ZEN: Really? I wonder what this dream is about? You really gotta tell me later!
ZEN: Now
ZEN: I'll go do my best!
ZEN has left the chat room.
Luna has left the chat room.

The clock read 1:35am. Seriously, the RFA must all be owls in disguise. Then again, she too was awake. She hadn't fully shaken off the sleep in her eyes despite being engaged in conversation for such a long while. So, slowly but surely, Luna drifted off once more.

Luna awoke with a need for the coldest, tallest glass of water. She got up, feeling her joints adjust themselves as she stretched. Luna hadn't bothered looking at the time, but by the looks of it, the first rays of sunlight were lighting up the night sky. After having a glass of water, helping herself from the filter pitcher left in her room, she got a small burst of energy despite the hour. She went into the bathroom to use the toilet, brush her teeth, and wash her face. She spent some time by the mirror, thinking she had scrubbed too hard, the apples of her cheeks reddened for some reason. Then she caught herself with grinning like an idiot, clearly blushing from as she thought of Ray and what he might be up to at this hour.

I'm becoming such a sap, Luna thought.

Well, at least this time she wasn't feeling too shy to express it. At first Luna thought she was way in over her head, kissing Ray so suddenly. But at the time she couldn't think of another way to comfort him, to hush him from his self deprecation. But when Ray didn't push her away, not only did he kiss back, he also embraced her in return. Luna was certain that she wasn't over thinking, and that their feelings for each other were mutual.

She went back to bed, which she practically dove into, when the phone rang. Lazily reaching out to grab the phone, Luna was ready to hang up until she saw the name. Luna never answered the phone so fast.

Luna sighed dreamily, her idiot smile only getting wider.

“Good morning, bueno dias, bonjour, jal jasseo Ray” Luna greeted in a sing song tone.

“Oh, no... She picked up” Ray gasped, “..Wha...what do I do? Uh...hi? Wait, no. Wrong word... Hello...? Sorry...I started thinking about you suddenly, and I called you by accident while playing with my phone... Sorry.”

Oh, you sweet summer child, you don't have to pretend with me, Luna thought. He sounded so delightfully shy Luna just wanted to hold and squeeze Ray’s rosy cheeks.

“I couldn't I was taking pictures with my phone. I like taking pictures…” Ray continued, still bashful.

“Wow! Could you show them to me? Oh I love photography!” Luna replied with excitement.

It was so early in the morning, and despite sounding like she had recently woken up, Luna received Ray with such energy that Ray couldn't help but feel uplifted.

“Would you like to see? But I don't think my pictures are good enough to show you....I collect pictures of flowers and trees. So I can get a sense of time around me”

It's been many seasons since then, since that fateful day at the cathedral. Since the day the savior took him under her wing. It's been many seasons, and his sorrow would deepen ever since. But now, in the eve of summer, he was finally thawing from what seemed like an eternal winter in his heart. He had Luna to thank for that change, for bringing spring.

“And with my pictures, it feels like the passing time has become mine...I don't want to lose even a second of the time I spend with you.” Ray said with pride.

Ray’s words, so sweet and sincere, they made Luna’s heart skip a beat. She never knew he could be so articulate and passionate. He was finally coming out of his shell, and Luna couldn't be more proud of his progress.

“Actually...I want to take pictures of you instead. What do you think?” Ray suggested.

“Of me? You mean that?” Luna said, delighted.

“Pictures are the only way for me to memorize our precious time together... So I want to fill my album with your pictures....” he responded.

My heeeeaaaaart, Luna yelled internally. So. Precious.

“Let's take a selfie together!” Luna suggested, high pitched with how overwhelmed she was by his sweetness.

“Huh...? Selfie? With me? I've never taken a picture of myself with someone…” Ray wondered out loud.

“But I'm ugly. I'm so thin... I don't think the picture will turn out good with me in it.”

He sounded so defeated. Luna wouldn't let him believe that he was such a thing.

“What? No, Ray. You're not ugly! In fact I-”

Luna’s face burned even more as she said this.

“Well I happen to think you're a very handsome man! And that's that! Hmph!” she complimented with a huff.

Me? Handsome? Ray thought, his face getting hot for the umpteenth time.

“I too want photos of you! They will make such precious memories...” Luna confessed.

What Luna couldn't see was that Ray, too, as overwhelmed by such affection. It was as if every word spoken by her was laced with magic, so full of music. It was a music he never wanted to stop hearing.

“You will?” gasped Ray, “I...never thought about doing that...But...I want to have a picture of myself… taken by you. S-so then...could you tell me beforehand? I want to do my hair again and wear nice clothes. After all, it's going to be the very first picture you'll take of me.”

The thought of Ray grooming himself, making himself look so pristine in appearance, to impress Luna...was so endearing. He didn't have to do that, but nonetheless Luna was impressed that he would pay attention to detail just like she tends to do.

“I'll brush your hair if you brush mine! Oh, and I'd also love to pick out a tie or bow, or a corvette maybe?” Luna suggested eagerly.

Ray could almost picture it. In Luna’s room, her sitting still, while Ray caressed her long burgundy locks, the scent of citrus shampoo wafting with every brush stroke, braiding her hair. Luna, brushing his hair with precision, the feeling of her fingers running through his snowy locks. Ray and Luna rummaging through a closet, color coordinating, picking out accessories with the artist's keen eye.

“Even the thought is making my heart warm...Where should we take it?” Ray asked, in a haze from having such joyful banter.

“At the garden! It would make such a lovely frame!” Luna suggested in delight.

“Oh, that's right. That'll be perfect. We can take one with the flowers. It would be even better...if we can take it with the lily of the valley.” Ray responded.

“Right after our picnic, of course!” Luna reminded him.

That was enough to get a chuckle out of Ray. It was gentle and shy, but hearing it gave Luna hope; a hope that one day he could laugh freely and as loud as he wants.

“I'll work much harder.” Ray promised.
“Once I wrap up this task well...I'll be able to stay with you as long as I can.”

“You're coming over? That sounds great! We should have some wine brought up to the room, we can sit on the windowsill and watch the mountains!” Luna stated.

Yes, I will stay with you. We will leave this place, and seek better pastures. So you can taste freedom. That was Luna’s sincerest wish.

Ray could hear the sleep in her voice, and he found it so charming that she was still willing to talk and listen to him.

“Now that we're talking to each other...I miss you even more....I've never felt this way before. You will stay with me forever...won't you?”

Luna wouldn't give up now. She would keep trying, suggesting. Patiently working with him, taking a different approach than before. The night before had established a new level of intimacy, and with that, the revelation of Luna’s feelings. What she was trying to deny, since the day she was given the decoy elixir. Perhaps even earlier, when she chose her path on that day in the gardens. Making the choice, on the crossroads in her dreams.

She was about to give some more words of encouragement when Ray spoke of first.

“ savior's calling for me. I gotta go now. Sleep tight...and have a sweet dream.”

“Hmmm...but I am already having a sweet dream, hearing you. I'll see you later, darling”

Ray hung up the phone, feeling so light and warm. Hearing Luna’s voice was enough for him to walk on clouds again, and for once, he was able to feel comfortable in his computer chair. He leaned back into it as far as it would go, sighing dreamily and brushing his now ungloved fingers over his lips.

“...Our lips...touched…” he whispered.

He was still feeling Luna’s embrace, the feel of her body on his. He actually responded to her. He kissed back, without hesitating. He never knew he was capable of that. They held each other so closely that for a brief moment they forgot the world around them.

“Haah... That felt good…”

He let his mind wander. He imagined Luna, flushed after they kissed, how eager she was for his touch, how unabashedly bold and daring she was in making such a move.

“...I miss you, Luna.” he sighed, with a new wave of blush burning his face, welcoming the sensation with a smile.

“Hey...are you into politics these days? Why do you keep collecting intel on politicians?” Vanderwood asked.

Vanderwood had not gotten off Luciel’s case for hours now. Though not much progress would have been made, the research would have gone a lot better without the nagging from his fellow agent.

“This is related to your informant duty, right? I'm going to believe that there is a huge mission behind this.”

“No!” Luciel shouted in frustration.

“What?” asked Vanderwood

“Palm oil was used for these cookies…” Luciel lamented, finding an excuse to ignore the grumpy coworker.

“...Say what?” Vanderwood managed to say in disbelief.

“Palm oil destroys the orangutan habitat for production! Ugh, I'm not having these cookies again.” said Luciel, as he proceeded to throw the batch directly behind him.

Vanderwood was not amused one bit.

“Hey! Don't you know what your trash can is for? Why would you fling them on the floor?!”

Luciel turned around in his chair, with a pouty expression like a child who was refused candy.

“The orangutans are endangered species! You know nothing, Vanderwood - !” he yelled.

The doorbell rang.

“Huh? Someone's at the door.” Luciel said in surprise.

“...You actually have a bell?” inquired Vanderwood.

“Yep. I put one out there when I moved in.” Luciel admitted.

“Your place is more ordinary than I thought... And I thought you'd have something like an auto-reply system.”

“Who could it be? I'm not expecting any packages” Luciel muttered to himself.

He opens the security camera windows on one of his smaller computer monitors, and is immediately taken aback upon seeing a familiar face and color.

“...Vanderwood, I think you should leave. Use the back door.” urged Luciel.

“Huh? Who is it?” Vanderwood asked, quite shocked to hear the redhead sound so urgent.

“...I'll fill you in later.” Luciel said almost in a murmur.

Luciel got out of his seat to find a pair of shoes.

Vanderwood could only watch.

“You're hiding again... Is this your personal acquaintance again?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Yep. The government official is here to collect delayed taxes.” Luciel lied. He hoped it would at keep Vanderwood off his back for a while.

“...Seriously? Hey, I know that changing alias is piece of cake for you, but do you mind paying your taxes on time? Is this concerning your cars?” Vanderwood began rambling.

Now he was just asking too many questions. So he impatiently began pushing Vanderwood towards the back entrance.

“Out through the back door you go, Madam. My guest is not very patient.”

“Hey! I can walk there myself!” Vanderwood protested.

Luciel stopped pushing, but still anxiously lurked behind Vanderwood like a shadow.

“...I'm going out for a drive. Get some work done after your guest is gone. Seriously, if there's even the least amount of conscience in you, you gotta make at least a particle of the job done. Alright?” demanded Vanderwood, hoping this privacy Seven insisted on would be worth his while.

“I don't care if you type with your toes. Just get it done!”

“I wanna go for a drive, too....” Luciel whined.

Vanderwood rolled his eyes. Seriously, the nerve of that guy...

“Why would you envy and stare at a person who's stepping out to give you some room...?” was the last thing Vanderwood said before an shutting the back door behind him.

Luciel sprinted to the front door, opening it in a flash.

“Luciel…” said a tired voice.

There was V, out of breath, as if had just run a marathon.

“V...what's going on? Did you run...? Is there something wrong?” Luciel asked with urgency, unable to shake the nerves from his tone.

“I was worried about you. The prime minister wanted to see me the other I was wondering how you were doing.” said V

Was that really all? Luciel wondered.

“No need to worry about it. I've been searching all kinds of stuff because of that.” he replied simply.

“It must be an ordeal for research about your own father.”


“Considering what you have gone through…” V said, trailing off, not wanting to say the wrong thing.

“Oh.... Well, it's no biggie…” Luciel sighed. That was when the nerves finally manifested in full.

“But what am I going to do if he tries to approach Saeran?” he said shakily, “that's the only thing that concerns me... That would be worse of an ordeal for me…”

If only he knew.

“Luciel…” V began, unsure of how to comfort a person he considered a son.

“...I know. I shouldn't care about him anymore. I chose to part with him and become an informant…” Luciel said miserably.

“I know I should be ashamed of myself for saying this... But...I really wish he'd be safe.”

V sincerely wished for the same.

“No, he must be safe! He must be safer than me. He must be happier than me!...Just like any other person out there…”

V could only stay silent. He knew that, although not perfect, Luna’s presence and influence provided protection for Saeran. She even demonstrated how far she was willing to go to complete that mission. V feared that despite her capabilities, her safety would one day not be enough to protect the vulnerable twin.

Luciel took a moment to compose himself. He had to get a grip, or the grief would just consume him from within.

“About the prime minister, I found nothing about his past last evening. Looks like he purged everything. I could collect almost nothing…” Luciel stated.

Was this purging a recent development? Was it all part of the politician's plan? That is what V now thought.

“My guess is that...he's trying to destroy everything related to that filthy past of his before the presidential election. Are we included on his hit list?” Luciel huffed in a panic.

No, he couldn't think like that. Luciel shook his head, as if it could rid of the bad scenarios screaming through his mind.

“I think I need to do more research...but I'm going to need some time. But I will protect Saeran no matter what it takes. V, you will keep protecting us...even if the prime minister contacts you, right?”

V’s face twisted in a fear Luciel hadn't seen before.

“V, your face is heavy with concern.” said Luciel, trying to reassure the man. “But we don't know why he contacted you, so let's not get hopeless just yet. Perhaps he's really interested in your works and nothing more. I hope that's the case. Then things will be easier.”

V was supposed to be the one offering comfort, but now it was the opposite.

“...But if things go wrong, you or the rest of the RFA can get in trouble because of me. He might be a threat to everyone if he finds out that his illegitimate son is in the RFA...I know better than anyone else what that man is like…So I've been thinking what would be the best option for me...what would be the best for everyone....If he's really looking for me to bury his past....Then I'll kick myself out of the RFA and begone from this place. I'll make sure to destroy everything that can lead to me, of course.”

Luciel’s proposition, while logical, was grave. V did not want it to come to that.

“But, Luciel…” V began to protest, knowing that he probably could not dissuade the redhead from going through with such drastic actions.

“...I know that will make me no different from my father...but it's for the sake of the RFA. You suggested me to be an informant in the first place so that I can hide from my father's reach. I didn't think I would actually get to make use of that.”

V had to at least try.

“Let's...give more thought about that. Once this dilemma with your father is settled, there's no need for you to live as an informant any longer…” V interjected.

Luciel sighed deeply.

“I would have done that if he were an easy opponent. Just imagine how happy I would be if that's the case. I might get to meet Saeran again.” said Luciel, his tone turning solemn.

“But...that a demon, V. There was this reporter that wrote about his illegitimate sons...and now the said reporter is missing. That man is probably doing the purge behind everyone's back. I'm sure he has an army of cleaners to do the job for him. I can't fight myself. It's best to avoid him until I'm ready. If he's really after me, then I should disappear from the RFA. And...if things get serious, I'll end my ties with you. That way I can protect you.”

The boy he had raised, had attempted to guide, had grown up into a loyal, self sacrificing individual. Though V couldn't help but believe things ended up like this because of him.

“No, don't do that, Luciel.” V insisted. He didn't want to see Luciel be thrown into a cruel fate.

“You gave me a new life...but I'm always a burden. Sorry about that. But still...In case that's what happens... Please take care of Saeran for me, V. Please.” Luciel pleaded.

Saeran was far out of V’s reach. His only hope was the foreigner who turned her back on freedom to be within Saeran’s reach.

“Luciel, don't say that. Really... I…” muttered, choking up on his own words.

“Huh...? V, are you alright?” Luciel asked with concern. Seeing his friend and guardian in such misery was almost alien to him. Could his burden extend beyond Roka’s apparent death?

“....I might be more hopeless than I thought.” V said miserably.

“V..why would you say that?” Luciel asked in confusion.

“I'm the one who should be sorry. I'm helpless... I couldn't give you enough light…” V lamented, his eyes clouded, as if he was talking to himself. Berating himself.

“What are you talking about, V? What do you mean, you couldn't give me enough light...? You're here because you were worried about me. I get it now that you're having such a hard time. To be honest...I didn't get everything you did, and I've been plotting several theories these days. I didn't get that investigation you asked me to do months ago...and I didn't get why I couldn't contact you sometimes. But now that I see you here...I get how much you care for me. I get that you care for everyone in the RFA, not just me…”

Luciel was firm but gentle. Luciel, along with Jumin, were among the few who could be a mediator for V’s stubbornness. It reminded him of the one other person who was able to persuade him to not do something incredibly stupid, back in the maze of flowers.

“The daffodil might have withered already like Jumin said. But just keep in mind that I'm here for you. You were there for me when I was having the most difficult time of my life. I' the same.” Luciel promised sincerely, and he wasn't one to make serious promises.

If Luciel were to find out the horrors that had befallen unto his dear brother, V didn't think he'd be able to forgive himself.

“You don't have to do that for me...Luciel.” V said in an attempt to reassure his friend.

V knew there was something else he could do. A trump card that could prove a victory is possible if used correctly, but doom if used unwisely. It was a double edged sword, but it was worth the risk of being cut down.

“...Take this.”

On V’s now outstretched hand, was a small object. It looked to be a flash drive, seemingly normal in appearance.

“Huh? What's this?”

V didn't hesitate to explain.

“It's a collection of the data I've collected in the past. If you base your search on might pick up something new. You'll see what's inside...once you access it.”

This was the first time in the conversation that V looked serious. The delivery of the flash drive must have been the primary reason for the sudden visit. Whatever the contents were, V thought it urgent to deliver them, and Luciel felt it would be very important.

“...Got it.”

Luciel took the flash drive, firmly holding it like a valuable jewel. Then he faced V once more, attempting to get the man to open up.

“V...I know you're having a difficult time...but I hope you remember what a fabulous person you are. You gave me a life...and I'm living one...enjoying everything there is for me to enjoy. It doesn't change the fact that you saved me...even when my friends or environment changes. I'm always grateful to you... Thanks for the data, though I don't know what it's about. I'll make sure to put it to good use”

It was enough for V to relax a little.

“In that case, I must be going.” V in a hurry.
“It was great seeing you, Luciel. And good luck.”

Before Luciel could get a word in, V hurried back to his vehicle, not stopping once as he turned on his car and sped away.

Luciel sighed. V was in distress, yet he went out of his way to deliver something that could make or break this current situation, blow it out of the water. He came to check on his well being, seeing as the father that remained away was now making alarming moves.

Shutting the door behind him, Luciel rushed back to his desk, grabbing another PhD Pepper and bag of chips along the way.

Luck. If only he could have all the good luck in the world. Him, V, Luna. The rest of the RFA...they were gonna need it.

With a burst of motivation of decoding something new, Luciel got back to work.

Luna had become so accustomed to chatting with the RFA, she was disappointed when the chats would end. There she was, bored out of her mind, when there are several things she could entertain herself with. But at the moment, she wants to stay away from it all, feeling antsy and with a feeling she hadn't fully felt in a long time: loneliness. Sure, traveling alone one is bound to experience loneliness, but it was often short lived and the excitement of a new experience always came first. But being stuck in that mansion, aware of its residents and happenings, bothered Luna to no end. The one friend she had made was slaving away downstairs, and she craved his presence. Staying in one place had made Luna’s life stale, paused, and now that something exciting stimulated her senses, she wanted it back. Luna had to do something else that would get her adrenaline running while Ray was away. Her impulse control was at a minimum, and she cursed out loud. Fuck the cult, and all the people in it. Fuck the so called savior cunt for exploiting such a vulnerable person. Luna needed a little petty revenge, and the plan began to take wing. Luna checked the time. From having way too much time in her hands, Luna had figured out a pattern of when things happened in the mansion. It was completely quiet four times a day, including at night. Once in the morning, once in the middle of the day, and once in the evening. With the exception of night time until the very early hours of the morning, where there were believers wandering about as some sort of surveillance, the mansion was completely void of people in the halls. Those were peak times to sneak out almost undetected, and with her newly administered Mint Eye badge, if for some reason she was stopped, she could blend in much better now as one of their own. Luna also noticed that the direct surveillance on her room had lightened considerably since becoming a full member of Mint Eye. With all that information in mind, Luna saw that one of the quiet periods in Magenta was happening, and possibly ending very soon. So Luna got to work. Tying her hair into braids again, and wearing a tank top and her shortest pair of shorts, and the believer’s robe, the disguise was almost complete. She went to her stash of supplies she had obtained from the unused room, hidden well behind behind the washing machine, and picked out her ammo; a can of beige paint that was half full, a wide paint brush, rubber bands, and an extra plastic cover that was unused. Perfect. Ripping apart the plastic, she made pieces big enough to fit around her feet and ankles. She put on the plastic like shoes and used the rubber bands to secure them.

Making sure no one was around first, Luna stepped out of her room and walked down the stairs, paint and brush on hand, and towards the exit to the gardens. The plastic had not come off during her trek, and Luna’s heart raced with the thrill of the prank. Setting the paint can down and opening it, Luna dipped her feet in the thick paint one by one, making sure the paint was drenched on the plastic. Closing the lid properly, Luna began to walk. Behind her, a trail of paint prints dragged along with every step. Luna laughed to herself, and her walking turned into a jog. She skipped, slid, and tiptoed around the halls of the first floor like a giddy schoolgirl. She marveled in the mess she was making. Luna took it a step further by not only dipping her feet again in the paint to keep the trail going, but also using the brush to skim along the doors with her and leaving streaks of paint on them. When she got to Ray’s doors, she simply painted a couple of swirls, stars, and a moustache cat. Luna had to be consistent in the mess she left behind, so she would be harder to get caught, but she saw nothing wrong with giving Ray a little favoritism. Perhaps he can get a good laugh out of it.

Then came the cult leader’s room. This time she made her approach quiet just in case. Luna knew exactly the kind of artwork the blonde deserved. She was running low on paint, so she made it simple. As big as possible, and in cursive letters, the word “Liar” was highly visible against the brown doors. The wet paint dripping from the letters gave it the perfect, ominous finishing touch. Figuring her work was done, Luna ran back to where she began. She took off the plastic from her feet and stuffed them, the brush, and the rubber bands in the now nearly empty paint can and closed it tight. Luna had remained barefoot as to make her steps as quiet as possible despite the plastic’s predictable noise, and only a couple of drops of paint residue remained in her legs and bottom of the robe. Very easy to wash off. Luna ran outside past the gardens and the back entrance to the kitchens, to deposit the evidence in the dumpsters. Shoving the can deep between two bags, Luna’s mischief was complete. All she wanted to do now was run back to her room and shower off the sweat she had worked up, the paint, and trash germs. Taking more caution not to step on her creation and alert anyone who might be near, Luna snuck back upstairs and into her room, adrenaline high, completely satisfied with what she had just done.

After a long bath and washing the evidence of her destruction away, she settled into the bed and logging into an open chatroom right away.

Luna has entered the chatroom.
ZEN: lmaooooooooo
ZEN: Oh lmaooooo
Luna: ?
ZEN: Luna lmaooo you're here lmaoooo
Luna: What's the matter?
ZEN: Look at him it was so freaking hilarious I had to take a picture lmaoooo
Luna: oh my god it happened didn't it

A photo was sent of Yoosung dressed similarly to Jumin, with a weird evil grin and a badly worn wig. For some reason he was petting...bread?

Luna: this is too GOOD LMAO
ZEN: My hands wouldn't stop shaking from laughter, so I had a hard time taking it lmaooooo
Luna: Hey, hey. Look. It's Elizabun!!
ZEN: lmaoooooo
ZEN: So should I call it bunball instead of hairball?
Yoosung★ has entered the chatroom.
Luna: BONJOUR. Mr. Kim!
Yoosung★: Hi to you, Luna
ZEN: Hey lmaoo What's up with that greeting?
Yoosung★: C&L's future is currently undergoing estimation. And it will probably do that forever....
ZEN: C&L? lmaooooo
Luna: oh yes, you're so right sir CEO LMAO
ZEN: Mr. Kim sir lmaoo
ZEN: sorry but lmaooo
ZEN: you make a really bad imitation
Yoosung★: You've slept through your entire practice session. do you think you deserve a laughter?
Luna: Aren't you worried about your rehearsal?
ZEN: Of course I am T_T
Yoosung★: But you slept very soundly.
ZEN: I couldn't help it. I lay down and next moment I blacked out T_T I'm going to practice now T_T for real
Luna: poor Zenny
Yoosung★: Then I'd like you to be serious, please.
ZEN: But it's so darn funny since I know you're Yoosung lmao
ZEN: Zen, show me what you can do! You're a pro!
ZEN: Ugh lmaoooooo
ZEN: yes yes I'm an actor....
ZEN: lmaoooooooooooo
ZEN: But it's still hilarious.
Luna: the coconut head wig took me OUT LMAO
Yoosung★: If you fail to hold back your laughter, this plan will end in a failure.
ZEN: Oh but wait a sec lmao
ZEN: I think for some reason I get it now. I think I got my answer from the fact that you can't be Jumin no matter how hard you try.
Yoosung★: Say what?
Luna: That's a great enlightenment!
ZEN: Ikr?
ZEN: lmaoooo
ZEN: Come on try some more. I think I get it now.
ZEN: Here, bring it on
ZEN: Jumin Kim
ZEN: I mean
ZEN: Mr. Kim. Let's get it started.
Yoosung★: Please insert coin to start.
Luna: oh. My god.
ZEN: What? Lmao
Yoosung★: Insert 500 won to continue.
Luna: You should take at least 50000 won.
Yoosung★: To be honest, I am aware that I am not that valuable of an asset lol
ZEN: Aren't you honest? Lmao
Yoosung★: Zen
ZEN: And why 500 won? Lmaoooo
Yoosung★: You must not save your assets if you seek to master White.
ZEN: Oh. Is that part of your concept?
Yoosung★: Basically.
ZEN: Fine. I just put 500 won on the table.
Yoosung★: Just so you know. I'll be heading to an internet cafe as soon as the amount reaches 1500 won.
Luna: I can see a trail of pain in the neck for you, Zen lol
ZEN: I just had a very bad feeling....I hope I'm wrong.
Yoosung★: We'll get started in 3 minutes. So please excuse me.
Luna: PFFT
ZEN: haha
Yoosung★: Luna. Now I must leave.
Luna: Adios.
Yoosung★: Adiosssssss.
Yoosung has left the chatroom.
ZEN: Man
ZEN: don't tell me, he's not really running off to internet cafe, is he?
Luna: Don't you already know the answer? Lol
ZEN: Ugh plz tell me I'm wrong, dear future soon to come T_T
Luna: It's great that you're enjoying your work...! I really hope that's the case here as well....
ZEN: What kind of place are you at?
ZEN: maybe I shouldn't ask you....But make sure you tell us if it's dangerous there, ok?
Luna: Don't worry.
ZEN: Thank you for being so positive.
ZEN: Ugh
ZEN: this guy's marking the countdown…And that's pretty similar to the CEO-in-line.
ZEN: I should get ready too.
ZEN: I need to be serious.
ZEN: Luna, wish me luck! Lmao
Luna: Good luck to everyone!
ZEN: Everyone? That's more generous than I thought lmaoo
ZEN: Here I go!
ZEN has left the chat room.
Luna has left the chatroom.

up13010960:[MSG; u1_3_3_v]

Once Luna had logged out of the chatroom, she was about to check her emails and messages when she noticed that she missed a call from V amidst her mischief. She dialed him, figuring that the man was enough of a worrier without her contributing to it being by too busy pulling pranks.

“Hello, Luna. Thank you for calling back. I wanted to talk to you for a little.” V answered clearly with relief.

“Sorry for not answering earlier, I uh…was distracted.” was all Luna was willing to share. She was certain she would be scolded, albeit gently, by V if he knew she was provoking the cult.

“What's up?”

A brief silence.

“I will meet the prime minister this evening.” V confessed straight to the point.

What the hell? Luna thought angrily. What is with this bastard politician chasing Jihyun? What was the ulterior motive?

“But this time, Jumin won't be with me. I will be meeting him alone, face-to-face in my workplace.” V continued.

“Really? Him again? He keeps coming back like a pest! Unbelievable.” Luna groaned.

“...To be honest...I wish I could leave everything behind and run away.” V admitted.

He sounded so melancholic, so defeated. Something else must have happened on top of the stress the prime minister was inflicting.

“Are you nervous?” Luna asked. “Don't tell me...are you scared of him?”

“No, not exactly...There is this personal matter. Some politicians are experts in strictly hiding their true intentions according to the art of politics while shaping themselves into what the public expects from them. Since he is an experienced politician who's survived in the world full of such people, it would be a challenge to face him.”

Was she imagining things, or did V really just reveal what Luna had suspected all along?

“Uh...not that the prime minister's such a person.”

That's one hell of a Freudian slip, Luna thought. V was even trying to retract the implications about the politician. But the woman knew the secretive man would be as tight lipped as always if she tried to pry out more information.

“Mmm...yeah.” said Luna simply, completely unamused.

She’s not convinced at all, thought V dejectedly.

Luna couldn't completely blame V for wanting to keep his mouth shut.

“Everything's gonna be okay. Don't give it too much thought.” Luna said in an attempt to not cheer V on, but it came out so awkwardly she hoped the man wouldn't notice it.

“I'll try” V said, “Perhaps I'm thinking too much about the appointment that's approaching. Maybe you're right. Maybe I shouldn't think about it too much.”

“I wish I could be of more help to you, but I suppose maybe what I say in these calls can be of some use” Luna admitted with a sigh.

V gave a sad smile on the other end; Luna was fundamentally much stronger than himself, not to mention Saeran with all the hardships he had to and still endures. Luna was preoccupied with finding a solution from the inside, deprogramming Saeran, yet still had the capacity to look out for him too.

“Luna, you're doing more than enough even if you don't believe you are” V encouraged, “I feel better now that I've talked to you. Thank you. I think I can be more at ease while preparing for the appointment. I'll call again. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.”

“Sure, V. And stay sharp and cautious. Bye.” were Luna’s parting words before she hung up.

Luna felt bad for him. V was trying to solve things all on his own and it seemed he internalized everything he felt neatly into a jar with a tight lid; though now that jar had cracks in it that could burst at the seams. Things were only getting more complex, and she had the feeling it will all soon explode under all the weight.

All the vandalism had put Luna into an artistic mood, and she prepared the desk to dive right back into painting. Her piece was still unfinished, and she was itching to add more to it. With a genuine smile, she got to work.

Luna has entered the chatroom.
Ray: Luna, I'm back!
Luna: There's my sweet pea! Ray, did you have a good morning?
Ray: Yeah!
Ray: I did stay blank for moments, but that was because I was thinking of you....And I wanted to log in earlier but I thought maybe you'd be tired of seeing me since we met last evening...
Ray: So I've been waiting...But now...I don't think I can wait longer....
Luna: Say, Ray...About what happened back then....
Ray: Uh
Ray: before we talk about that, I want to show you this.

It was a photo of a brilliant blue late spring sky, the clouds drifting by in their natural element.

Ray: The clouds were so pretty, so I took a picture.
Luna: That's adorable!
Ray: Really? I'm glad you like it.
Ray: I like watching the sky
Ray: I hope we can watch together next time.
Luna: Remember that we kissed the other day?
Ray: Of can I forget?
Ray: Actually, I wanted to talk to you about that....
Ray: Listen...I've been thinking about that....
Luna: yes?
Ray: Can I...
Ray: Luna
Ray: Can I think of it as a token that you don't hate me...?
Luna: oh???
Luna: Of course I don't hate you! Actually, I…
Ray: Yes?
Luna: I...really like you, okay!
Ray: Ah...!
Ray: I'm so so so happy! Me too.... I also like you. I like you so much... I can't describe how much I like you.
Ray: I heard somewhere that you're not supposed to do that unless you're doing it to a person you really like.
Luna:...oh my ^^ Who told you that?
Ray: I learned it at the cathedral. When I was little I used to go to the cathedral.
Ray: Oh. Wait, no. I'm not supposed to talk about it anymore. Please pretend you didn't read that.
Luna: I want to kiss you again....
Ray: ...
Ray: ...
Ray: .....
Ray: ...........
Luna: ^^
Ray: Actually.... I also want to do that again with you…
Luna: so glad the feeling is mutual~
Luna: First let's try to spend more time together. I suggest…
Luna: drumrooooll
Luna: A tea party! On a day with brilliant blue skies like the today.
Ray: Yeah!!!! Let's do that!! I'll make sure to do that. When I'm with you everything makes me happy. It's such a new and different feeling.
Ray: When I'm with you, I feel like I'm in a warm paradise…
Luna: Are you feeling well today?
Ray: I've been dizzy all day long, but I'm feeling better than yesterday.
Ray: I's because I got to meet you last evening.
Luna: hahaha, well, it has that effect yes.
Ray: I keep thinking about your scent...your voice....
Ray: I knew you were bold, but this was different...your eyes were so full of desire...
Ray: I can't stop thinking about them.
Ray: Whenever I think about them, my face will burn up....
Ray: What do I do...?
Luna: ….im curious. Was this...your first kiss?
Ray: ……. was…
Luna: eeeeeeee *-*
Ray: I can't tell...does it make you happy?
Luna: ….yes. it does. great, now MY face is burning up too!
Ray: I wish I could finish my job fast and go see you...
Luna: Please stay positive, even if you're having a hard time! Okay?
Ray: Ok.
Ray: Luna...I think with you, there will be a lot of happy days for me. I'm having such happy thoughts.
Luna: So am I.
Ray: Hehe.
Ray: Uh
Ray: the notification's just in
Ray: so I need to go...I'm sorry…
Luna: :< I wish you didn't have to go, but I won't stop you!
Ray: Thank you...for understanding.
Ray: Now...
Ray: I hope you spend the happiest afternoon in the world
Ray: Bye!
Luna: Au revoir!
Ray has led led chatroom.
Luna has left the chatroom.

While it was such a bummer Ray wasn't able to stick around longer, Luna was glad to be able to at least talk to him. He had seemed so positive for once, and it was remarkable; he was showing growth and improvement, and Luna hoped that would continue until the positive changes made Ray bloom. Going back to the desk, she inspected the now dry artwork. It was completely dry and had turned better than she had expected despite the tedious medium. She was eager to show Ray her painting, and gifting it to him. It ended up being a portrait of a white stag with brilliant aqua eyes, as she had seen in her dreams, with a background of a snowy pine forest; there was an oval border with a wooden look around the scene, to give the illusion of a frame, and she had adorned the antlers with a few flowers and rings. A piece inspired by the only one worth saving in that place.

It was only a matter of when she would get the chance to do give it to him personally, and witness his reaction.

Ray had just gotten off the chat with Luna, and was now pacing around his room, lightheaded with the sweet sensation of affection. Though the feeling would be short lived.

“...She's not going to hate me again because of what I typed, is she? What if I typed something that might offend her...? I'm not a good writer... I should check again.” he said out loud to himself.

Ray shook his head furiously.

“No, no. I should concentrate. Ray...Get it together, Ray.... The savior will be so mad if you don't, Ray…” he murmured.

“...Ray.” said a familiar, cold voice behind him

“Ack! My savior...!” Ray yelped in shock, and turned abruptly to face his superior. He immediately tucked his arms in front of him, back arched in a futile attempt to make himself smaller.

“Why are you so surprised? You look like you're hiding something.” said the savior sternly, looking down on the boy with clear disapproval.

“I, uh.....” Ray mumbled, his eyes darting side to side like a cornered animal. Had she heard everything? He was afraid she did...he didn't want Luna to get in trouble...he hadn't even heard his savior come into the room...

“You're not meeting my eyes.” scolded the woman.

The savior was shocked to see Ray’s face was red and heavily flushed. There was actual color in his face, no longer so pale and in greyscale. Not to mention, he was so preoccupied with whatever he was thinking about to even notice his superior walking in.

The leader may not have overheard everything Ray was saying to himself, but it was obvious. Luna. That woman. No doubt about it. She played her like a fool when in reality, she was always after Ray. There was no doubt Luna had something to do with the change in the Ray she raised. The savior never expected that Luna would be more trouble than she bargained for. The rumors about her being cold and vindictive with a foul temper had reached the savior’s ears, and it got so out of hand now almost none of her believers want to get near her. The sudden appearance of vandalism and chaos in the mansion? She was positive Luna was the catalyst, lashing out in open rebellion. The cleanup was costing a fortune and too many hours of work. The savior almost completely lost her composure when she saw the wicked message the bitch had left behind. That witch had her rare flower under some kind of demented spell built on affection and trust. It was almost sickening to the cult leader.

“I was planning to commend you if you manage to finish this job flawlessly... But why would you make me sad? I adore you so much, but you....” she said with mock sadness.

Very well, Luna. Two can play at this game. If it's a fight you want, that's what you will get. You have defied me for the last time.

“I prayed for you last night in the worship chamber. And...I've seen the light. The light has given me the answer.”

She continued with her internal monologue.
I will hit you right where it hurts, Luna. For you see, I know your weakness now. The petty gossip from my believers helped me figure it all out. You're temperamental and reckless, always curious and rough around the edges but your energy attracts those around you. But when it comes to those you care’re soft, too loyal. You got so close to Ray, so personal...your fondness of him will become your undoing.

“I was told that I must stop approving you, not even a little... I was told that you will come back after you fall even deeper. The only thing that can save you is your own downfall to the bottom of the abyss.” She declared.

Ray’s expression turned into one of absolute terror. The savior approached her pupil, and put her arms around the frightened boy.

“...But you can still survive, right?”

“Yes....” Ray sighed in defeat.

Ray was shaking like a leaf under her embrace.

“You're shivering.... Poor Ray. But I'm only trying to save you. If you turn more useless than you already are...who will ever save you?” she whispered sweetly, ever so sinister, capturing her prey like a spider.

It was time to teach a lesson no one would ever forget.