Neol Won blinked and looked around.
An ordinary lecture hall- No. That was wrong. It was a classroom. The place where he was supposed to take his final exams for his university classes.
The professor… Neol couldn’t remember the guy’s name, some average old guy with balding hair and a tweed jacket. Anyway, that guy was proctoring the exam and had wandered over to stand at the edge of Neol’s desk.
Sighing, the professor said, “Even if it’s a beautiful day out and the last exam in the university schedule, you shouldn’t be falling asleep yet. What if you fail?”
Neol slowly shook his head and sat up before sliding his exam over. “I already finished.”
“Hm?” The professor took the sheet, quickly flipping through the pages. As he did, his eyes widened. “These are-“
Neol stood up and grabbed his bag. “I’m done. Take care, Professor.”
Ignoring the shocked gazes from his peers, Neol walked out of the room.
“Three, huh? Too early for dinner and too late for lunch.” Neol sighed and put his phone away. “Unlucky as usual, I see.”
Adjusting his bag, he rounded the corner of the university building to the sidewalk leading home.
Like the professor said, it was a beautiful day out. The sky was a clear blue, the sun was bright but warm instead of burning. There was even a gentle breeze, one that… seemed to be getting closer to him?”
Without breaking stride, Neol stepped to the side.
Just as he did, a biker flew past. A man wearing the usual bright green clothing that bikers did. Barely missing Neol, the biker winced and then threw out his hand. “Sorry!”
Neol shook his head and kept walking. Adjusting his bag over his left shoulder, he wondered what he should eat. There was still some leftover chicken in his freezer and some broccoli, but he didn’t really feel like cooking…
Another breeze, rushing towards his face.
Neol held up his left hand to block it and then slightly closed it. When he did, something collided with his hand. Brown leather, a slightly pointed form that would have blown out his eye and blinded him if he hadn’t caught it… A football.
An athlete wearing a jersey with the university’s mascot ran over, panting. “I don’t know what happened, man. The ball just flew out of my hands…”
Neol tossed it over to him. “Don’t worry about it.”
The athlete sighed in relief. “Thanks, man. But that was some pro reaction time! Do you-“
“Not interested.” Cutting the athlete off, Neol waved his hand and walked away.
As he did, he was lost in thought again, pondering on what to do for the rest of the day. The exam was easier than expected… He really overprepared for it. Really, he should have at least grabbed some breakfast instead of cramming in those flashcards.
A wave of fatigue swept through Neol and he yawned, stretching his arms. “Maybe I should just get back home and sleep…?”
He shook his head and stopped in front of a crosswalk. There was a red light and heavy traffic. But that was a given, considering all the people trying to get back home or move out now that classes were over.
Although the sidewalks were fairly empty at the moment… Probably since most of the other students were still trying desperately not to fail their finals.
Neol yawned again and then rotated his shoulder, doing some light exercises to stay awake.
At that time, he noticed a beautiful young woman stop beside him, waiting at the crosswalk too. She glanced over, causing him to catch her features.
Startling green eyes, a delicate face with contrasting Oriental and Western features that would turn heads no matter where in the world she went. And then there was her hair, a bright blonde, almost like golden wheat.
But she seemed lost in thought, quickly averting her gaze. From her attire, a plain black blouse and pants, as well as a nametag in her pocket, it looked like she just got off work. Idly adjusting the strap on her purse, she pulled out her phone and stared intently at the screen, as if desperately waiting for a response.
Neol shrugged. While he was curious about what a girl like her was doing out here at this time, it wouldn’t be the first one he came across.
More importantly… What was he going to do now that summer had arrived and he had all this free time?
A robotic voice called out. “Walk. Walk.”
Glancing up, Neol saw that the light had changed to green, and that the pedestrian crossing symbol had changed to walk.
Still, out of habit, he lingered around a bit before crossing, just to make sure.
But the girl didn’t. Still staring at her phone, she quickly took a step forward, walking on the street.
There wasn’t any oncoming traffic since the light was green in their direction.
At least, that should have been the case.
But to the right, a semi-truck flew down the street, barreling through oncoming traffic.
The girl, still staring at the phone, finally noticed when the semi was a few seconds away from turning her into meatpaste. Her beautiful green eyes widened.
Car horns blared, accompanied by the screech of crumpling steel and torn asphalt…
And then the semi-truck missed.
No, it wasn’t that it missed, but that the girl was no longer standing there.
Shrapnel, flying through the air. Cars, flipping to the side like an action movie and moving straight towards her.
Neol held the girl tight in his arms and expertly weaved around all of that, pulling her close.
As he did, he saw a stray steel pipe spin through the air, on collision course with the girl’s neck.
He wrinkled his nose and then lashed out with his right arm, sending the pipe spinning away.
And then he reached the other side of the street. The moment he did, he placed the girl down and let out a deep sigh. “What the hell… I didn’t think there was anyone else who had worse luck than me. What, are the heavens jealous of your beauty or something?”
The girl flushed, placing her heart over her chest. It seemed like she was still processing the harrowing near-death experience since she didn’t respond for a few seconds. But then, she slapped her cheeks and shook her head. “Sorry. I just got fired and then I was lost in thought and so-“
Neol waved his hand. “I don’t need your life story, woman. Just tell me what gods you pissed off so I know who to make an offering to so that I don’t get wrapped up in more bad luck.”
The girl laughed. “I’m sorry, but I haven’t got a clue about that… But thanks for saving me!” She smiled and said, “I’m Rena, by the way. Rena Sanada.”
Neol shook his head. “You’re awfully nonchalant about this…” He straightened and said, “Neol Won. Though… Sanada, huh?” He gave Rena a onceover and nodded. “I thought as much, but you really are a ‘half’, huh?”
The girl, Rena, flushed and crossed her arms. “And just what is that supposed to mean?!”
Neol shrugged. “You got the best of both worlds.” To emphasize, he stared at a few spots that were particularly developed on Rena and said, “No wonder it’s trying so hard to get rid of you.”
Rena’s flushed deepened. “W-What?!”
“Anyway, we should get out of here. I’m bored and I’ve got time to kill, so how about some dinner? Ah, on me, obviously.”
“D-Dinner? Wait, hold on.” Rena blinked and held out her hand. “I-I still need to process-“
A low but audible stomach growl.
Neol raised an eyebrow. It wasn’t from him, after all.
Rena turned beet-red.