1

Despite his sweet and polite tone, I felt the sharpness of Yeom Junyeol’s words.

It sounded like my good and sincere student was coldly reporting today’s events.

Still, his grief and helplessness didn’t go unnoticed.

I couldn’t tell if I misheard what Yeom Junyeol said or if I understood it properly.

After a few seconds of being dumbfounded, everything that Yeom Junyeol said finally sunk in, and regret washed over me.

‘I didn’t consider how Yeom Junyeol would feel… he must’ve felt incredible shock experiencing all that at once.’

Thinking about it carefully, even if I were his teacher, it’s painfully obvious how the kind-hearted Yeom Junyeol must’ve felt witnessing what happened today.

He had to finish the live broadcast despite the shock he went through, and I…

As his teacher, I had to ask if something happened instead of doing my best to comfort him.

I realized just how bad of a teacher I was.

Any other teacher of Yeom Junyeol would’ve said something more appropriate.

My guilt made me unable to speak for quite a while.

‘My student was so worried about me, and I couldn’t even comfort him properly!’

I’m couldn’t decide whether I should apologize for my ugly acts or say something that would calm him down and help raise his self-esteem.

After long moments of contemplation, I decided that I should apologize first.

I suddenly remembered Yeom Junyeol’s teary eyes and it made me swallow all my words.

‘…Maybe Yeom Junyeol would become more upset if I apologize like this.’

In our current situation, I belatedly realized that it might be toxic if I said something along the lines of worry for Yeom Junyeol.

If he cries again, I might voluntarily turn myself in to Cheongryong or Yeom Bangyeol.

Seeing that I couldn’t speak, Yeom Junyeol began to say something.

“My teacher was already someone who put himself in danger’s way to save many people before he even met me. You were like that even after you agreed to have me as your student. I guess it makes sense that today’s incidents weren’t that big of a deal for you, teacher.”

It’s not that I take today’s events lightly.

Still, considering my student’s attitude and what he’s said so far, I can see why he’s interpreted it like that.

No, even if I think about it a thousand times, it’s more serious that Yeom Junyeol and Yong Jegun’s lives were in danger than the fact that I was injured.

‘I think I’ll do the same things and think the same thoughts if this kind of thing happens again in the future.’

I will be making similar choices.

I wouldn’t do anything foolish like putting myself on a suicide mission when I still haven’t figured out what the Black Screen is yet, but I was ready to make some sacrifices.

Even so…

If my playable character is greatly distressed by my decisions, then I should pay more attention to that.

‘I’ll make sure to pay more attention to minimizing damage, and if it’s inevitable, I should at least move subtly so that I don’t unnecessarily worry anyone…’

While I was reflecting on myself, Yeom Junyeol spoke again.

“I admired that aspect about you, teacher, so I asked you to take me as your student. But now, it bothers me.”

His words contained a thorn that I couldn’t ignore.

I, his teacher, tormented my student.

It was like an arrow that shot straight at me.

“I know it’s not convincing if I say these things because I’m much weaker than you, teacher. I know I’m just burdening you by saying all these but… I…”

Yeom Junyeol’s words became hazy.

At the same time as he blurted his words, I see Hongryong’s eyes shaking silently.

The movement made me feel just how distressed my student was.

I couldn’t speak even after the persimmon leaf tea that Yeom Junyeol brewed completely lost its warmth.

I don’t know about anything else, but all I wanted to do was to address him saying that he was much weaker than me and for blaming himself.

After what felt like decades of contemplation, I finally managed to speak.

“Do you remember what I told you last time? That you will grow to be much stronger than me?”

“…I don’t forget a single word that you’ve said to me, teacher.”

In one of our lessons, Yeom Junyeol felt discouraged and lost his fighting spirit when he saw the Hongryong that I summoned.

Yeom Junyeol, frustrated by the obvious power gap, said that he would never be able to catch up with me.

That time, I assured him with conviction.

— You will be better than this figure that you see before you. I will teach you well.

In PMH, Yeom Junyeol wakes up to a new power Transforming to Hongryong, after finding out about his friend’s death.

If Yeom Junyeol completely takes over that power, he’ll be just as strong as the Hongryong that I summoned that day.

What I said that day weren’t empty words to try to appease my student.

“You will be stronger than what I am now. The evidence is in your eyes.”

“…My eyes?”

“That’s right.”

Yeom Junyeol reflexively touched his eyes.

He looked at me with a puzzled face as if he didn’t feel anything different.

“Hongryong embodies your power through your light skill. Traces of that power will never be shown unless you are using your light skill. But right now, the power of Hongryong is in your eyes.”

“Ah…!”

Only then did Yeom Junyeol seem to notice that his eyes were different from usual.

He opened his eyes wide.

“Now, it’s possible that you not just summon Hongryong, but become the Dragon of Flames itself.”

“Dragon of Flames…”

Yeom Junyeol can be the embodiment of a dragon, but so far, only subtle points on his appearance changes to resemble that of a dragon.

He doesn’t become a dragon when he summons Hongryong.

“Then can you become the Dragon of Flames too, teacher?”

In the game, Yeom Junyeol becomes a dragon through a change in his skill.

He became rogue.

He’s my playable character, but I don’t have that ability.

Playable characters can be controlled, but rogue characters were impossible to manipulate.

‘…Even Kim Yuri became impossible to use when her energy wave exploded.’

Any ability acquired after her energy wave exploded was impossible to use.

Yeom Junyeol’s light skill, order, and skills that he had in the game when he was my playable character are all available to me through the Player Identity skill, but not that one.

I shook my head.

“No, I can’t use it. It’s a power that only you can use.”

My words made Yeom Junyeol flush.

As if excited by the existence of a power that only he can utilize, in addition to his eyes that looked like there were fireworks blowing up inside them, his skin became noticeably warmer.

“Once you learn to Transform to Hongryong, you’d be able to swallow the fire from the Hongryong that I summoned without difficulty.”

There was no exaggeration in my statement.

For the first time in a while, Yeom Junyeol’s face brightened, perhaps because I said those words with confidence.

“Teacher, you promised me that you would never accept other students until I did my part. You said that even if I failed as a student, you wouldn’t abandon me.”

“Yes.”

“Will you still teach me even if I completely gain that power that can swallow the flames of your Hongryong?”

When that time comes, would he still need me to be his teacher?

When that time comes…

I nodded, expressing that I’d leave it up to him, and Yeom Junyeol looked very happy.

“In the future, I’ll do better as your student, and I’ll become strong enough so that you won’t have to make that decision! I will do it as your student, teacher.”

Hearing my student’s sincere resolution, I felt like not a single drop of my blood was wasted today.

For Yeom Junyeol to awaken his power to transform into Hongryong, I also vowed to do my best as his teacher.

Following his pledge, Yeom Junyeol added another word.

“…And I’ll do it as your sunbae, Euishin.”

At that moment, Yeom Junyeol looked like the esteemed student representative of Eungwang High.

‘He’ll work hard both as my student and as my sunbae!’

As expected of my student.

Seeing his admirable appearance, the mental fatigue completely disappeared before I knew it.

Yeom Junyeol and I shared another cup of tea and talked about future plans for school before parting ways.

* * *

I woke up from another dreamless sleep.

The last memory I had from last night was seeing Yeom Junyeol off.

I thought it was still early morning, but when I checked the time on my device, I confirmed that it was already a few hours after classes start.

I think no one decided to wake me up out of consideration.

‘I was going to skip school anyway but… I should’ve woken up earlier. I slept really well.’

Cheongryong said that he has charms all over the place so that dragons and visitors would have a good night’s sleep.

Those charms are set up since dragons emit energy waves in their sleep, and thanks to it, I slept really well.

I was relieved to know that Yeom Junyeol and Yong Jegun stay in this safe haven.

‘I’m sure Yeom Junyeol is already at school.’

Since he’s the student representative, he should go to school on time to set a good example.

And like the diligent student that he was, he sent me a message before he went to school.

He sent me two this time — one as ‘that word’ teacher, and another as his hoobae from Class Zero, Jo Euishin.

[Yeom Junyeol] Hello, teacher.

[Yeom Junyeol] I was going to greet you in the morning, but you were still asleep so I’m just going to message you. It’s going to be sunny today, unlike yesterday when it was quite cloudy. It’s sunny, but it’s still chilly in the morning compared to last year, so it’s better to stay inside for as long as possible.

[Yeom Junyeol] (Stamp)

He sent a stamp of Hongryong lying comfortably in bed.

Just as he declared yesterday, he seems to be willing to treat me as his teacher even after knowing my true identity.

‘And he’s my sunbae at the same time too.’

The next message was him addressing me as his hoobae.

[Yeom Junyeol] Euishin-ah, I think it’s best for you to take a rest today. Rest well.

[Yeom Junyeol] (Stamp)

His tone was very high school senior-like, but there was something different from usual.

It’s the stamp that he sent right after the message.

‘Now he’s attaching a stamp to his messages to Jo Euishin too.’

Does he only send a Hongryong stamp to people that he’s close to?

Nevertheless, I was impressed by my student’s open mind and that he was considerate to send messages both to his teacher and his hoobae.

“Euishin, you’re up.”

“…Good morning, Jo Euishin-gun.”

I went out of my room after getting ready, and Yong Jegun popped out as soon as I opened my door.

Behind him was Kim Shinrok, but he didn’t look so happy.

He seemed like he wanted to put Yong Jegun in his place right away.

‘Is he holding back because Cheongryong is beside him?’

After greeting me with a good morning, Cheongryong spoke again.

“There’s something I wanted to ask you.”

“Please go ahead.”

“It concerns the head of the Tiger Clan?”

“…Excuse me?”

Why will he ask me that kind of question?

If he has something he wants to know about Hwang Jiho, shouldn’t he ask Kim Shinrok instead?

Kim Shinrok looked like we share the same opinion.

Cheongryong explained further.

“I didn’t realize it because I was busy watching Junyeol’s broadcast yesterday, but the head of the Tiger Clan tried to contact me through magic. He left a message since I couldn’t get to his call and… he asked me something about you.”

Come to think of it, when I checked Yeom Junyeol’s message, I don’t think I saw any new ones from anyone else.

It seems like Hwang Jiho decided to contact me somewhere else since I wasn’t checking his messages on my device.