Won let go after less than 10 seconds, but the man’s voice was still hoarse. The technique can easily damage someone’s vocal cords, but with her experience, Won could calmly estimate the correct time to release.

‘He’ll be back to normal in an hour or two at the latest.’

“To a person… you… choke…”

“And what were you doing at this house?”

Won asked as she patted the man on the back to reassure him he hadn’t done anything wrong. She felt him pause under her touch.

“Are you a junkie? Are you here for drugs? I’ll pretend not to notice, so don’t worry. Just take what you need and do it in moderation for your own good.”

“What? That’s ridiculous… Hah…”

The man’s voice made it sound like he was dying, and he chuckled at the absurdity.

“I was… looking for… a secret passage… hah.”

“A secret passage?”

The unexpected phrase caught Won’s attention. The man lifted his forehead from where it had been gently resting on Won’s shoulder to see if the blood returned to his head.

Up close, the man’s features were sharp, but not in a razor-sharp way; it was more along the lines of prickly. The level of prickliness… The kind of prickliness that makes you wrinkle your brow and frown when asked to drink a tea you don’t like? It was somewhere between fussy and defiant, and his upturned eyebrows played a pivotal part in it.

“Why a secret passage? Are you trying to escape?”

“Is it necessary to tell you about such a thing?” The man snapped back.

Won’s first impression was correct that his temperament is somewhere between a cat and a lynx.

Won decided to call this nameless third party “Black Cat” for convenience.

“Then why are you here at this house?”

“Is it necessary to tell you about such a thing?” Won retorted.

He used honorifics, so she used honorifics.

Black Cat turned away, his mouth tightly shut because he had nothing to say. Won watched his back for a moment, then spoke up.

“If you’re looking for a vent, just forget it.”

It was a common misconception among the general public because movies often showed people sneaking in or escaping through vents.

“They are designed for air to move through, not for people. They are probably made impassable to keep intruders out and us in.”

They would be placed vertically to make people fall to their deaths, or at a slope so they couldn’t be climbed. They wouldn’t be able to go forwards or backward, and then they would be killed. They weren’t even wide enough for a human to crawl through in the first place. One would have to dislocate their shoulders before they could squeeze inside. Not to mention if they went off a specific path, the vents would be filled with dust and infested with bugs.

“… What are you, really?”

The man’s voice was a little shaky.

“I don’t know. Just a mere mercenary who came to rescue a prince trapped in a tower?”


“Anyway, I answered one question so you can answer mine: the CCTVs in the ward are all turned off when you hear something slithering around, right?”

At Won’s question, the man turned around with a grim expression, like he had seen a ghost. Won was convinced by his reaction, but she waited for him to answer.

“You guess correctly.”


The myth of a snake roaming the ward must have been spread by the hospital to keep patients from leaving their rooms when the CCTVs are off.

“How can someone be hospitalized for less than a week and figure something out that took me over a year…”

“It’s all thanks to the prophet that is you.”

It would have taken Won a long time to come to that conclusion if she hadn’t bumped into the man in the pharmacy with her.

His nonchalant demeanor, like it wasn’t his first excursion, told her it wasn’t a one-time thing for the CCTVs to stop working. She thought back to abnormal triggers, then she heard a strange noise, like a snake slithering around, and thought it was a horror story come true. 

They were trying to keep patients locked in their rooms while the cameras were off, but another patient had already wandered the ward several times. I mean with this amount of information, anyone can figure it out, can’t they?

Sometimes hospitals turn off the cameras for a specific reason, so if a patient wanders around, it can get out of control. They spread a myth so they don’t leave their rooms, something like a snake roaming the ward and eating you if you leave your room.

The hissing sounds are made by the hospital staff to make the myth more believable. When Won was unaware of this new information, she thought she was hearing things because she was drugged.

‘The question is, what secret do they have to hide that they would go to such lengths…’

The hospital is taking such a risk by turning them off, so why do they regularly do it throughout the ward?

‘Are they doing something that should never be caught on video?’

Won recalled the nurses’ station was unlit. The door was locked, so she couldn’t go in, but there didn’t seem to be anyone inside. It meant that all the nurses had been mobilized. It’s nighttime, and no one knows what could happen, yet there wasn’t a single nurse left at the station. It didn’t make sense.

‘What is really going on here?’

Curiosity creeps up on Won.

‘It isn’t good.’

Won decided to restrain herself. She isn’t here to delve into the secrets of the suspicious psychiatric hospital. She is here to rescue her Target. She must focus on completing her mission without distractions.

The focus of her thinking shouldn’t be “What is the hospital doing with the CCTV off,” but rather, “What can she do with the time they’re off?”

‘I know the nurses’ station is unoccupied, so if I can get the key ahead of time, I can get through the doors with the target.’

A locked nurses’ station door isn’t the only obstacle. Unlocking the double doors with the key card and exiting the building is just the beginning. She will have to avoid the motion detectors, climb a fence with fiber optic sensors, scale a wall over three meters high, dodge trenches, pass through razor wire, and climb down a mountain.

At that moment, an ear-splitting, high-pitched, piercing “beep-” came from somewhere. Won instinctively covered her ears, but the man urgently shouted at her.

“Go back! As soon as you hear that, the medical staff will return and the CCTVs will be turned on. You need to get to your room, now!”

It was important.

Won nodded and ran back to her room as fast as she could, trying to muffle her footsteps. She didn’t look back, but she could feel the man following her down the stairs. His room must be on the first floor.

Won watched the CCTV as if nothing had happened as she lay in bed. Soon after, the lens lit up with the infrared LEDs. She peeked at her watch under the covers to check the time.

‘About 10 minutes.’

After about 10 minutes of high-frequency sounds, the CCTV starts working again.

With the information she acquired, Won closed her eyes and went to sleep.


In the morning, Won reunited with the man, Black Cat, whom she had met in the warehouse. It was in the main hall after the calligraphy program, a program run by the hospital for the patients.

At night, it was dark so she didn’t notice, but in the light, she saw a mole under his eye. She was wondering how she hadn’t recognized him before, but she heard Ju-hee’s voice.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Oppa Gyeom.”

“Oppa Gyeom?”

“The cat-like man with the mole over there, Gyeom. I haven’t seen him lately because he hasn’t been participating in the programs while stuck here. He is one of my top three picks.”

“Three picks? What are they?”

“Uh… The top three people in my heart? Like, the three people I’d vote for if there was a poll or something.”

It was the English word for “pick.” Won realized the generational gap, thinking kids come up with weird expressions. Ju-hee continued talking.

“Oppa Rock, Oppa Gyeom, and Oppa Jin. Those are my top three, and if I had to pick a fourth, it would be Dr. Madison, but I don’t like him sometimes because he makes me feel bad. I don’t know how to feel after he makes my stomach hurt following an interview?”

Judging by the lineup, the selection process was strictly based on looks. It wasn’t bad that Ju-hee’s picks were all her targets to find out more. It would be natural for Won to show interest.

“Well, what did he say in the interview?”

“He didn’t say anything bad… Maybe it’s just a sense of entitlement, but it’s hard to put my finger on it.”

‘I guess he can be a little human after all. At least he isn’t talking nonsense to a child.’

“Can you tell me more about the people here, Ju-hee? I’ve only been here for a short time and I don’t know much about anyone.”

“Okay! Unnie, just wait. I’ll go to my room and get a pen and notebook.”

Ju-hee walked away and Black Cat approached.

“Hi. We’ve never met before, but you can call me Gyeom.”

i’m close to finishing the translation (not uploading but finishing) and yall… this is literally a rollercoaster of story omg

but hey: Kofi 

error: Content is protected !!