The point here was the fact that Yoon Jung In got beaten unilaterally without doing anything wrong. Besides, although he usually retorted to Yoon Jung In so fiercely, we all knew that Shin Suh Hyun would be the first among us to take action for Yoon Jung In when something took place.
Or maybe it was just me who wasn’t aware of it, but Shin Suh Hyun might have also cared about hierarchy or ranking. If then, was it also one of his colors too? However, he didn’t look that way at all…
That was when Shin Suh Hyun placed his hand on his back and tossed another question.
“So, what’s exactly about the brawl? I’m aware that Hwang Siwoo and Yi Ruda are deeply involved in it though…”
Exchanging eye contact, we quickly poured out the things that happened in the gym. Something about Yi Ruda could strike him dumb, but Shin Suh Hyun didn’t show any signs of surprise. Instead, he just nodded once in a while and kept listening to our stories.
Once we finished explaining all the things, Shin Suh Hyun set off a bomb out of the blue. Switching his gaze back to Yoon Jung In, he uttered, “That’s nice.”
Not only Yoon Jung In but the rest of us became bewildered at his response. While we just blinked swiftly in silence, Shin Suh Hyung continued speaking.
“We did whine for a while that it’d be better if Hwang Siwoo, instead, thrashed on us while forgetting the age.”
“Yi Ruda has afforded us the opportunity to do what we have longed for, so all you have to do is go on a rampage.”
He then added calmly to us, whose jaws were dropped onto the floor, “You just got suddenly attacked. They say you weren’t even able to fight against him properly.”
“Uh, yeah, that’s true, but…” murmured Yoon Jung In.
“Then it’s worth a try. I may not be able to join you guys due to the athletic competition, so check the date and bring as many of our classmates as you can. Other kids will also put their brains to work, so they won’t just sit by and watch Hwang Siwoo and his boys being in power, will they? I guess we can push them out by numbers of people in our side.”
As if he was talking about strategy games, not the real world we’re living in, those that slipped out of his mouth made us gape at him. Even Kim Hye Woo, addicted to games, had never said such things like that.
Putting us aside, Shin Suh Hyun was, however, rubbing his chin and thinking deeply about something alone. He then detached his lips again.
“If there’s one thing that lingers in mind, it’s Yi Ruda. If we just let him do whatever he wants, the whole class may turn into victims under his control, so Yoon Jung In, you… Nah, I’m not sure if you can watch intently and stop him alone from doing random things.”
I felt depressed at Shin Suh Hyun’s remark that reminded me of the things I had forgotten for a while. Closing my hands firmly that were on my knees, I wondered if we couldn’t avoid having a conflict with Ruda as long as he decided to stand beside Hwang Siwoo and his boys. However, why, for what reason?
That was when I rambled those questions in my head. A cool refreshing voice that sounded like a morning breeze pierced through the heavy rainy air.
“Why are you guys concerned about dealing with me?”
Feeling quite shocked, I turned my head in that direction.
The person standing against the wall nearby the door was none other than Ruda. How on earth did he open the door without drawing our attention? No, that wasn’t the point here.
What mattered was that Ruda was showing a grin nonchalantly in front of us as if things that occurred in the gym earlier were all just a dream.
As we found that he looked the same as usual, we couldn’t hide expressions on our faces that were beyond description. The only person who remained composed was Shin Suh Hyun, who wasn’t at the gym at the time. In a low and serene voice, he spoke on behalf of us.
“Why are we concerned about dealing with you? Hey, it’s you who said it’s gonna be a fight against us.”
Ruda’s eyes curved into a smile at that response. He replied, “Us? No, that’s wrong.”
My brows met in the middle upon his enigmatic words. What on earth was Ruda trying to say? Ruda or Jooin’s puzzle-like words usually felt interesting, but right now it even irritated me. Didn’t he remember what he said to us earlier?
Stiffening my face, I asked straightforwardly, “What does that mean?”
Ruda, however, looked still relaxed. Crossing his arms, he continued speaking slowly and calmly.
“The object is missing. If you say that it’s gonna be a fight against ‘us,’ it sounds like ‘I’ am standing against you guys.”
“Why is it wrong?”
“It’s not the ‘us’ fighting against each other; ‘we,’ all of us including ‘me,’ are fighting against them,” said Yi Ruda.
What the heck was that now? As if I was taking my first English grammar class, I grabbed my head and lifted my eyes. Sweeping back my bangs, I struck a retort as if I were enunciating each word.
“SO, WHAT, ON, EARTH, DOES, THAT, MEAN?”
Ruda replied without hesitation, “It means that I’m on your side to fight them.”
There was a moment of silence. We then looked at each other and shrieked at the same time.
“What are you talking about right now, huh?”
Springing to her feet, Lee Mina dropped that question then began to look around in a hurry.
‘What is she doing?’ While I wondered that way, she bent her steps and leaned against the wall as if she had finally found the right place. Crossing her arms and pulling her chin slightly upward, Mina spoke in a haughty attitude.
“Earlier at the gym, you were standing arrogantly this way and just watched us getting beaten as if you’re a mere spectator. You didn’t come forward to tackle the situation! Even when Hwang Siwoo poured out aggressive things to Donnie, you didn’t stop him from doing that,” uttered Lee Mina. She then added, “I’m so disappointed with you.”
Yi Ruda, however, just shrugged unaffectedly then asked back, “Then, in that situation, did I have to say, ‘Hwang Siwoo, stop that! What are you fu*king doing to my friends? Actually, I pretended to befriend you lately as a plot to stab you in the back!’ something like that? If I did, Hwang Siwoo would have not accepted my suggestion.”
Listening to his words quietly, I opened my eyes roundly at that part. Raising my head, I tossed a question.
“Hold on, did you just say stabbing him in the back?”
“Yeah, just as you heard, it was a plot.” He then uttered, “Then did I look that much of a douchebag to hang around with that bastard? It hurts me then.”
Even if it was a natural response, I couldn’t say anything to him. Just touching my chin, I murmured, ‘I see, so it was his plot to stab Hwang Siwoo in the back. Why wasn’t I being able to doubt that beforehand?’
From many different things we had gone through, I already found that Ruda had a strategic mind within him. Considering his personality, he would have, of course, wanted to uproot the cause, instead of just resolving the things right in front of him.
Ruda’s plan was simple. First, he would make Hwang Siwoo trust him as if they would team up and fight against us. Ruda then lays a bet, but in the end, he turns away from Hwang Siwoo and stands on our side.
If that was the case, Hwang Siwoo would definitely become so bewildered on the day of the brawl. The victory would also return to us, of course. The only thing we bore in mind was Yi Ruda in the first place when considering the battle between Hwang Siwoo and us.
As soon as all of us heard the truth, we seemed to grasp Ruda’s plan at once. A moment after, Yoon Jung In broke the ice. Removing the tense look from his face, he grumbled like usual.
“Geez, then you must have told us in advance although they say you should cheat yourself ahead of cheating others.”
Showing a dumbfounded look, Ruda replied, “I won’t mind if it was other kids, but you? Hey, then do you think you’d have reacted the same as earlier?”
“Nothing more to say, huh?” said Ruda, shrugging his shoulders teasingly.
The Kim twins burst into small laughter then just lightly scolded Ruda.
“You should have, at least, let us know.”
“Ah, yeah, that’s true, my bad.”
Accepting Ruda’s apology, the twins loosened their strained expressions. Although they also felt still uncomfortable at some point, the worst scenario was anyway gone now, so from getting relief and thinking that Hwang Siwoo would soon come to a halt controlling the class, they looked less burdened now.
Next, Shin Suh Hyun tilted his head back and heaved a big sigh.
“What a swindler!”
Following him, Lee Mina clenched her teeth and attempted to have Yi Ruda in a headlock. As if he had no will to let her do that, Ruda threaded his head through her hands.
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