In a few seconds I answered the mail and in a few minutes I was ready to go. Then I remembered that the gathering was in a week. I sighed and fell on a bed.
I really wanted to find the Lost City. But on the other hand I was afraid. For the first time I was afraid of an expedition. My parents disappeared after mentioning this city and I had the opportunity to find it myself...
Maybe mom and dad too.
I shook my head, clearing it. They were be fine, wherever they were. I had to focus on the trip and finding its target. Now remained one, tiny problem.
How to sneak out from the house...
Usually my expeditions lasted one day or less, so aunt didn’t realize I disappeared. But now I had a feeling this will last much longer. That was why I decided to use my last resort.
“Are you mad!?” Heejun hissed. I pushed him closer to the front door a few days later. “She’ll kill us!”
“Don’t be silly!” I laughed. “Why would she do that? I have friends! Shouldn’t she be happy instead?”
“After she kill us, she’ll definitely be happy,” Youjin stated.
“Oh, come on! You always –”
Suddenly the door slammed and aunt walked out. We froze, not sure what to do. Heejun flinched, as if he wanted to run, but I squeezed his arm.
“Where have you been?” aunt asked coldly. She scanned Heejun and Youjin from top to bottom. “Who are you? If you’re selling something, go away! We don’t need anything!”
“It’s not like that, auntie!” I said and jumped to her. “They’re my best friends! Aren’t you happy?”
Maybe I chose the wrong words. Her face turned red and she reached behind the wardrobe, where she was hiding brooms.
“What did you do!?” aunt hissed, as she tried to hit Youjin, but I blocked her. “Did you bully him!? Threatened!? What do you want, huh!?”
“I-It’s not like that, ma’am...” Heejun muttered, hiding behind Youjin.
“Auntie, they’re my real friends!” I gasped. Jeez, she was strong. “I know them for years.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” She calmed down a little. “You... You lied to me!?”
“I didn’t have to. You never listen to me, so I just didn’t mention it.”
She froze so suddenly that I staggered but in the end kept the balance.
“You –” she said through teeth.
“Yes, I sneaked out a lot,” I sighed. “You would never let me out yourself. I needed to meet people.”
“W-Why did you do this? You know how I feel...”
“I know very well, auntie.” I grabbed her arms. “Let’s go inside and talk, okay?”
“So... you’ve been together since then?”
All three of us nodded. I just told her how we’ve met. Okay, to be honest I changed some facts. If I told her about my base and hobbies, she would have heart attack for sure. I just said Heejun was our neighbor and I’ve met Youjin by chance, when I went out for a walk. She was scanning those two from the beginning and I knew they were feeling uncomfortable. I patted aunt’s back.
“I’m okay,” I assured her with smile. “I trust them.”
“Don’t be so sure,” aunt muttered. “You shouldn’t trust anybody but yourself!” She suddenly started biting her nails, which was the first time. “Although in that you should be careful too... never trust too much, even yourself... Your parents died because of that!”
“They’re not dead –” I sighed, but stopped. “What do you mean? What about my parents and trust?”
Aunt turned pale and shook her head, refusing to answer. I looked at friends, but they shrugged, confused too.
“I’m going on a trip with them, auntie,” I said. “It’ll take at most a week. Don’t worry, I’ll call every day.”
“Whatever,” she grumbled, surely offended.
I took this as a ‘yes’ and almost jumped with joy. I glanced again at Heejun and Youjin, who were glaring at me. Right, they didn’t know why I introduced them to aunt.
“Don’t be mad,” I said, when we were in my room.
“You’re going again,” Youjin guessed. I nodded. He made an angry face. “Where to?”
“You won’t believe me!” I threw myself at the computer and showed them the invitation, and after that my parents’ photo. “I think I’ve got some clue! I’m going to search for the Lost City and my parents.”
“You’re REALLY mad,” Heejun growled. “And you expect us to let you go?”
“Why not? You can’t stop me anyway.” Suddenly I thought of something. “Unless you want to go with me.”
They didn’t answer right away. I saw fear in their eyes. Youjin was first to react.
“That’s... complicated,” he said slowly. “You know we don’t like those things...”
I raised my eyebrows and Youjin opened his mouth in shock. Heejun was pale, but now in his eyes I saw confidence.
“You’re mad too,” Youjin commented. We were staring at him, until he broke. “Alright! I’ll go too...”
I jumped with joy and hugged them.
Next day we were ready to go. I packed everything that was listed in the second mail and went to the Sinchon railway station. I didn’t have to look long for others. As I expected, expedition’s team was big. At least... ten people? They looked quite ordinary, if we didn’t count their luggage. I recognized them only because of the weapons.
Just in case: generally weapons are forbidden to posses, but expedition’s team is an exception. There is always a big shot as an organizer, so he/she has strong influence on the government. Well, in the end the government always get something as a reward from the trip, so there are benefits for both sides.
I wanted to greet everyone, when suddenly something hit me in the back and I staggered toward the approaching train.