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I won’t lose you again

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Kim Dokja licked his dry lips as he looked down at the handcuffs around his wrists. He had woken up after his latest death experience to see his wrists bound. At least he didn’t get fed sleeping pills nor get strapped down to the bed this time around. Still, the steel seemed pretty expensive since Kim Dokja couldn’t break free from it after exerting his strength. 

 

Teasingly, he said, “I didn’t know you had such tastes.”

 

“T-that… It’s not like that!”

 

A red flush covered Lee Hyunsung’s cheeks. He turned away from Kim Dokja’s smirk, peeling an apple with more focus than necessary. 

 

[The constellation 'One-Eyed Maitreya' has blindfolds on both eyes.]

 

[The constellation 'Prisoner of the Golden Headband' is plucking out his hair.]

 

[The constellation 'The Demon-like Judge of Fire' is screaming!]

 

[A constellation who likes to change gender is excited.]

 

[2000 coins have been sponsored!]

 

At least it’s nice that they were making money from this. 

 

Kim Dokja continued tugging on the restraints once Lee Hyunsung’s back was turned. At one particularly hard tug, the handcuffs made a loud clinking sound. Kim Dokja blinked innocently when Lee Hyunsung spun around, pretending nothing happened. 

 

Lee Hyunsung huffed. His eyes blazed with determination as he yelled, “Don’t try to escape! I won’t stand it. I will never lose the cartridge again!”

 

The sight of him waving the pocket knife was quite intimidating. 

 

“I’m not going anywhere though?”

 

“I don’t believe you anymore!”

 

If Yoo Joonghyuk had regression depression, perhaps Lee Hyunsung was suffering from ‘repeated-deaths-of-kimdokja’ depression. Had he impacted the mental states of his fellow party members so badly? Kim Dokja felt a little guilty. 

 

But really, it wasn’t like Kim Dokja actively tried to find ways to get himself killed or separated from the group. If anything, he wanted to stay with them and see the ending of their journeys together. Being tied up like this was inconvenient because he couldn’t move as he wished and properly plan for future scenarios.

 

He sighed and pouted. 

 

“When are you going to release me?”

 

Lee Hyunsung wavered due to Kim Dokja’s deliberately pathetic voice. It was the best approach for Lee Hyunsung— he was someone who stood up fiercer when someone was firm and harsh. In front of the weak and helpless, someone full of justice like Lee Hyunsung was easily moved. 

 

“After I think of another method, I will—”

 

“But it hurts.”

 

Lee Hyunsung blinked when Kim Dokja lifted his bound wrists. Ugly bruises were formed on his pale skin due to his prior efforts. The lines were purplish-red and angry. They looked much worse than they felt. 

 

“Oh…!” In a rush, Lee Hyunsung immediately unlocked the handcuffs. 

 

Kim Dokja hid his smirk. 

 

[A constellation who likes to change gender is disappointed.]

 

[The constellation 'The Demon-like Judge of Fire' feels sorry for Kim Dokja.]

 

[The constellation 'Secretive Plotter' is amused by Kim Dokja’s ploy.]

 

[500 coins have been sponsored.]

 

Kim Dokja rubbed his sore wrists. That was easier than he expected. Someone like Lee Hyunsung would probably do better as someone who was bound than someone who trapped others. 

 

[Kim Dokja’s understanding of Lee Hyunsung has increased greatly!] 

 

“...”

 

Lee Hyunsung continued to watch him with anxious eyes, as though Kim Dokja might disappear once he blinked. 

 

Kim Dokja felt like he was dealing with a big dog who had separation anxiety. He thought back on the youtube videos he had watched on a whim before the world went to shit. Animal Farm… The Dog is Excellent… 

 

...It might be a bit strange to tell Lee Hyunsung to wait in a room and repeatedly leave and enter through the door to convince him that Kim Dokja would always come back. 

 

This won’t do. He had to fix Lee Hyunsung’s mental state somehow since it was caused by him. 

 

-Bihyung. Open the dokkaebi bag.

 

-What are you planning?

 

-Just open it. Ah, please have the ring on the necklace. Is it possible for me to be wearing it immediately?

 

-Yes, but… 

 

-Then I’ll be depending on you. 

 

[Silver necklace from the dwarf land’s hottest forge has been purchased!]

 

[Obsidian ring of dark night has been purchased!] 

 

Kim Dokja reached behind his neck and undid the hook of the necklace, pulling it out. Lee Hyunsung had never noticed Kim Dokja wearing such a thing. 

 

“What is that…?”

 

“It’s my most important treasure,” Kim Dokja lied smoothly as he held his hand out. “I’ll leave this with you. This is a promise. I’ll definitely come back for it in the future so make sure to keep it safe.” 

 

Kim Dokja chose to replace his physical body with an item. This way, Lee Hyunsung could cling to it instead of him. With a bright smile, he tugged the hand of the frozen Lee Hyunsung and pressed the items onto the large palm, forcing him to accept it.  

 

Lee Hyunsung hesitated. 

 

“Is… Is this an item inherited from your parents?”

 

A harsh wave of nausea rushed through Kim Dokja at the thought. Why the hell would he carry something like that?

 

“No.”

 

“Were you in a relationship with someone?”

 

Sigh, from a dokkaebi to a person, why did they all have so many questions?

 

“Something like that,” Kim Dokja answered carelessly. 

 

“Then that person... Can I hold onto something important like this?”

 

Since it was too bothersome to build a background story, Kim Dokja said, “It’s fine since they are dead.” 

 

Lee Hyunsung’s pupils shook. He held the necklace and the ring on it in his palms very carefully, as though it was something incredibly precious.

 

Kim Dokja knew Lee Hyunsung would not continue to ask if he said that. Lies built upon more lies. It was lucky that Lee Hyunsung would never doubt Kim Dokja; even if he had the skill of Lie Detection, he most likely would not use it.  

 

Lee Hyunsung looked at Kim Dokja with a somber and sad expression. It looked like he was grieving for Kim Dokja’s nonexistent loss. He closed his eyes for a moment, took a deep breath, and opened his eyes. His expression changed.

 

It was a look of great determination — an expression that suited him well. Lee Hyunsung declared loudly, as though he was answering a military command, 

 

“I understand! I will protect both the ring and you for life!” 

 

[The constellation 'The Abyssal Black Flame Dragon' spits out his cola.]

 

[The constellation 'One-Eyed Maitreya' has thrown both blindfolds onto the ground.]

 

[The constellation 'Secretive Plotter' is in disbelief.]

 

[The constellation 'The Demon-like Judge of Fire' is telling Kim Dokja to think of Yoo Joonghyuk!]

 

Yoo Joonghyuk? Why would Kim Dokja think of that guy at this time? Oh…

 

Kim Dokja nodded and agreed, “That’s right, we are life and death companions. We will definitely see the end of the stories together.” 

 

[The constellation 'The Demon-like Judge of Fire' is crying out for blood.]

 

“Dokja-ssi…!” 

 

Kim Dokja found himself wrapped in a tight embrace. 

 

[The Fourth Wall is looking at Kim Dokja as if he is pathetic.]

 

[I di ot Kim D ok Ja]

 

Kim Dokja was incredibly confused. Didn’t that conclude well?