I closed the door quickly and walked away, as if nothing happened. Only at the end of the corridor I could breathe normally.
“Damn geezer!” I hissed, holding my chest. My heart was still pounding so much, that I began to feel pain. “What are they holding here!? First Ghouls, then ghosts, and now some monsters... I don’t really want the tomorrow.”
I looked up. Only now I realized I was sitting on the floor. Beside me was room 024. My room. I stood up, wobbling, and touched the door.
“And NOW what?” I growled to myself. “He didn’t even give me any keys! How am I supposed to get in?”
But my worries disappeared when I touched the handle. I heard a click and the door were opened. I wondered, if that was the ability, which Master Hong mentioned. But, on the other hand, it would be quite lame – unlocking the doors. How it would help me fight Ghouls?
I entered the room and opened my mouth in amazement.
The decoration was similar to the one in the living room. Everything was grayish and looked cozy. I tried the bed, by throwing myself on it, and it was cozy indeed. Then I checked out shelves, closet and view from the window. It was... original, I guess? I was sure that no one had a big, white three with gray leaves and bells outside the window. It gave me chills, but it was better than Hell’s all outsides and insides.
With those thoughts I fell asleep.
Next day I had a disastrous wake-up call.
When I opened my eyes, there was a terrible creature hanging above me. I screamed and punched it, but it dodged and straightened, standing beside the bed. I sat and leaned against the wall, with a fast heart beating.
“You scary geezer!!” I shrieked, as I recognized Master Hong. “You want me to die!?”
“Not yet.” He threw at me clothes. I looked at them surprised.
“They’re my clothes,” I said. Then I saw a luggage next to the closet. “And that’s my luggage. But how... ?”
“Really? Do I have to answer that?”
“No... Maybe not. How did you get in? Did you touch the handle and it let you in too?”
“No.” He showed me a stone seal with Purgatory’s hand print symbol. “I just have a key to all rooms.”
“Great. So it isn’t our ability as Scourers?”
“You’re kidding? Who would like to have such stupid ability?”
“Sorry I asked,” I growled. This tiny living corpse was really irritating me. “Then how did I entered this room, if I may ask?”
“It’s your room, so it recognized you as master. When you touch it, it opens.”
“And how to lock it?”
“No need. It’s locked all the time, when it doesn’t feel your skin.”
“That sounds creepier than I expected.”
“You’ll meet creepier things outside. Now, get dressed. Your registration is finished.”
“Really? So fast,” I said sarcastically.
After fifteen minutes we left my room and entered the corridor. As we were passing the red door, I stiffened. Master Hong saw that.
“I hope you didn’t open it.”
“Of course not,” I lied. “Besides, you said that rooms have their masters, so why would that door open for someone go isn’t one?”
“But...” I couldn’t stand it and had to ask. “Why did you forbid me to open it? What is behind them?”
“So you saw.”
“No, I –” He glanced at me angrily, so I couldn’t lie anymore. “Yeah, I saw it...”
Master Hong didn’t look angry anymore, but... worried?
“As I thought. But maybe it’s for the better?” he talked to himself.
“Excuse me. I’m still here.”
“What did you see? Can you describe me it?”
“What is there to describe? I saw a big yellow eyes, shut the door and ran away. Do you have dragons here as well?”
Master Hong snorted, as if I said good joke.
“No. It was just Puppy.”
“Puppy?” I said with disbelief. “Seriously? What dog is that big?”
“Its name is Puppy. Our Chief’s idea, don’t ask.”
“So you have Chief. Great.”
“All corporations have, so why wouldn’t we have one?”
“Forget that I asked. What kind of monster your Puppy is?”
“A rare one. Ghoul, to be precise.”
I tripped and almost fell down from the stairs.
“G-GHOUL!? Why –”
“I told you it’s rare. Puppy is one of the Original, which means it’s the first kind of Ghouls, different from those we’re fighting today.”
“In what part different? Less dangerous?”
“Not really. If you enrage the dog, it’ll bite you, right? Today we call evil ghosts Ghouls, but the Originals were no other than monster born from the nature. It could be on humanity side, or fight them, it depended on how we would treat them. Luckily, we tamed them and now all three corporations have at least one Original for the protection.”
“Sounds crazy. ‘Normal’ kind of craziness, I mean.” I looked back with anxiety. “Are you sure it’s safe to have this thing in dorms?”
“You’re the safest there because of that thing. Now, can you stop asking and start walking? We don’t have all day.”
I realized I was standing in one place while talking.
“Why there is so few people here?” I asked after a while, when we entered the living room and now were going toward big hall. “Are they on missions all the time?”
“Nope. As you were told, Scourers are rare. There’s only five Scourers, including me and you.”
“Really!? Wow... This job must be tough.”
“You have no idea...” Master Hong grumbled. He cleared his throat and continued, “You’ll see it later, so I’ll tell you now, so you won’t be surprised. Because there’re so few Scourers, some Reapers and Guardians work here too. But only in paperwork, not in an active duty.”
Again a long silence.
“Where’s Jihun?” I said after a few minutes, out of boredom.
“Doing his job in the Hell. Where else would he be?”
“I meant his punishment.”
“Ah, that. Nothing to worry about, some more errands to do.”
“Then it’s okay.”
Master Hong looked at me carefully.
“You’re fond of him, aren’t you.”
“N... Not really!” I hid hands in pockets. “He saved me from the Ghouls, I should be thankful, right?”
“I heard he’s your childhood friend.”
“Then you heard it wrong.”
We were silent again, but this really bothered me, so I had to ask:
“You know... that Guardian, who was with Jihun, when we were with Ghouls.”
“Ah, that one. He’s back to the Heaven, where he belongs. What, you’re fond of that fellow too?”
“As if!” I snorted with contempt. “You’re making things up, geezer. You’re too old.”
“Maybe. But I have much more stamina than you do.”
“Can you prove it?”
Master Hong glanced at something under my arm and smiled, suddenly grabbing my waist.
“Yes. Right now.”
And he threw me on the ground.