Just Hold My Hand
Terry was Sonidor’s assistant.
He mainly received commissions, consulted with customers, and watched over her while she was inside a client’s consciousness.
He was used to this situation, because since he was young, he had always followed her around and assisted her. ‘This time, where should I give her a massage so that her arms and legs can move quickly?,‘ Terry often thought.
Sonidor was useless in that area.
Unlike his boss Sonidor, Terry was a commoner from the Empire, and was born as an orphan in a slum.
As a child, he was not given a name, so he was called by titles like ‘it’, or ‘you’.
The first time he met Sonidor was 10 years ago, when Terry was seven years old and Sonidor was twelve.
Sonidor had recently lost her mother in a wagon accident, and found Terry begging for food while wandering here and there in the streets.
She gave him a piece of bread, but the child ran after her.
He was given the name, Terry, because he ran around like a Terrier dog.
From then on, he relentlessly followed her all the time, claiming to be Sonidor’s assistant.
Terry would triumphantly say that she had saved him, but Sonidor responded with a cold face every time.
A shriek of pain erupted from her mouth as Terry’s hard hand squeezed her arm, which was completely stiff.
Unlike other artisans, Sonidor would struggle every time she used her powers. ‘It must be difficult being in someone else’s dream,’ Terry thought.
If you move suddenly, it will hurt more,” he warned.
“Oh, take it easy, take it easy…,” she grunted.
Sonidor made a noise like she was an old woman being massaged, then managed to get herself up from her chair.
As she moved her limbs, which had loosened somewhat, the sound of her bones snapping was heard.
She stared outside at the darkened sky as she packed her things she had brought with her.
Her client, Leponse, was still in a deep sleep.
Maybe this time he was having a good time with Lila in a real dream.
“What time is it?”
Terry, taking a watch out of his pocket, whistled in response.
It’s been quite a while since you finished work.”
“Naturally, because you’ve been in his dream all day.
Thanks to that, the person sitting next to you also starved.”
Sonidor smiled apologetically and gently tousled his hair like she would to a child.
“I didn’t know it would take so long to receive just a confession.
Are you hungry? What do you want to eat?”
“It would be nice to get a confession.
Some of us were just sitting still like Mangbuseok*.” [*t/n: a famous rock formation in Korea, some say that it’s the location where a faithful wife turned into a rock waiting for her husband to return.]
Sonidor’s expression instantly contorted at the blunt answer.
Her hand, which had been caressing Terry’s hair, turned into a fist, banging him on the forehead.
Her assistant squeezed his throbbing forehead and let out a small groan of pain.
“Do you think I enjoy working and I’m having fun? Since I’m holding my client’s hand and lying still, it seems like I’m just sleeping and resting, huh?”
“Why are you being so sensitive?,” Terry complained.
“I’m not sensitive.
I worked hard, but I have to deal with rumours about whether I did it right, whether I cheated, or whether the client just dreamed it because he wanted it to happen.”
Did you get mad again when you heard that? They’ll be gone in a day or two, really.”
The feeling of not being recognized for one’s only ability was very irritating.
Because she was an artisan, Sonidor suffered all sorts of discrimination and contempt for no reason, but not having her ability taken seriously was the only thing she couldn’t stand the most.
Her Terry comforted her, and told her not to mind them because then there’d be rumours about her behaving badly wherever she went.
Sonidor stared blankly at him as he shrugged his shoulders, before deciding herself what to eat for dinner.
It would be Terry’s least favourite – a grilled fish meal.
* * *
Later that day, Sonidor’s office was particularly noisy.
“We don’t do dirty things like that,” Terry said, his voice strained and his hackles raised.
In front of him, sat a man with an arrogant look as if he would swing his fist at any moment.
Terry’s expression was calm, unmoving, though the man’s hideous face made him recoil.
“How dare you talk that way to a guest? Did you get that way of speaking from working for a lowly artisan?!”
“You are the one started saying nasty words.
If you want to sleep with a woman, go to a brothel.”
“Don’t you know that I just want to hold on to someone and sleep? I want to sleep with my love, Sofia, from the flower shop!”
“I know it’s hard to have wet dreams at your age, but I’ve told you several times that we don’t do that.
Please stop insulting our office.”
“Just because this guest wants to see his first love!”
“Oh my, what’s making so much noise?”
Sonidor had woken from a deep sleep and scratched the back of her head as she opened the small door of her office and came in.
Her street clothes, which she’d slept with on because she was tired, were crumpled in places, and her hair, which had been tightly tied up, was sticking out here and there.
She rubbed her eyes and yawned, then stared at the man sitting haughtily on the sofa in her office.
Sonidor looked at him in silence for a moment, then looked at Terry.
They exchanged glances without speaking.
‘Hey, who is that?’
‘He’s talking complete bullshit.
Shall I kick him out?’
Sonidor was troubled.
‘Even so, this man came as a guest, so can I just kick him out?‘
But she shouldn’t have to deal with a pain in the ass.
As she tilted her head and lost herself in her thoughts, the man who had come to ask for her smiled as he ran an unpleasant gaze up and down Sonidor’s body.
She had just woken up and looked messy, but she was still pretty.
Artisans were said to be above average in appearance, and the man agreed.
Reading the man’s sinister intentions, Terry made a quick decision.
‘I’d rather just throw him out the window.’
Suddenly, with the sound of a jingling bell, a group of people entered the office.
They were four gloomy-looking men, wearing black hoods from head to toe.
They didn’t look like an ordinary client, no matter how well she looked at it.
The office’s atmosphere, which was already full of tension, became even more strained.
“What’s going on today?,” Sonidor muttered to herself and was about to tell the black hooded men to wait a moment – if they hadn’t just walked in and got rid of the guy who was sitting on the couch and causing a ruckus.
The man was literally being lifted like baggage being removed.
Sonidor and Terry’s gazes blankly followed the man who had exited as loudly as he had appeared.
“Wh-what! Who are you guys! Do you think you can get away with this?!”
The man was dragged out of the office with a final scream promising revenge.
That was how the weird client and two of the hooded men had left the office, and all that was left were the other two black hoods.
‘What just happened…’
Sonidor stood there with a dumbfounded face, and then, unable to organize her words, she spat out stupid words.
“Uh…… thank you?”
“I just cleaned it up because it looked like a difficult situation.
I’m glad you found it helpful.”
A man with a deep voice that made her body tremble answered.
The fact that the weird client was removed at the same time that the black hoods entered the office meant that he had heard what the client was saying before.
‘Could it be that they are wizards or artisans who can eavesdrop?’ Sonidor twitched her shoulders and reflexively rubbed the goosebumps on her forearm.
‘If he can scare people with just his voice, maybe they’re all part of a dark organisation…‘
She looked at the hoods with a suspicious look, then offered them a seat.
She gestured to Terry to go make some tea and the boy glanced at them suspiciously before rising.
The man with a menacing voice sat down on the sofa and said, “I came to ask for a request.
There’s no limit to what I’ll pay.”
Then, the dust accumulated on the sofa rose and fluttered like pollen in the spring.
He was silent for a while.
At the gaze that seemed to ask if they ever cleaned, Sonidor awkwardly looked away and sat across from him.
It was normal for her to fall asleep after completing her request and wake up a day or two later, and when she woke up, she had to go to carry out her request again.
So cleaning was, of course, Terry’s job.
It was not Sonidor’s responsibility as she was always busy.
‘Bad Terry! Lazy Terry!,’ she cursed him out in her head.
After the man with a threatening voice sat down, the other black hood stood behind the sofa, not even moving, as if to protect him.
It seemed they had a master- servant relationship, or an employer-employee relationship.
Sonidor quickly scanned them and judged.
Unlike the weird client from earlier, it appeared that these clients were quite high- ranking people.
And people with high status tended to bountiful sources of money.
She tied her tousled hair into a quick motion and straightened her back.
“Are you the dream artisan?”
“Yes, welcome! Our office boasts a perfect success rate, always!”
“You seem to have slept well, but I’m sorry,” he said, pointing to his cheek.
She had a red mark on her cheek.
Sonidor, who had been talking confidently, had no choice but to look away awkwardly again.
It seemed that her impression of being lazy to her client somehow stuck, and she felt sorry for herself because it was something she could not help.
Not caring whether she was embarrassed or not, the man started threatening.
“Because if this leaks out, I have to say that it’s going to be hard to keep your head attached to your neck.”
It was a noble’s way of saying, ‘if you speak recklessly, you will be killed‘.
Sonidor nodded her head indifferently, as it was not a threat she had not heard before.
The confidentiality of a client was the basic of the basics.
However, the story changed depending on what kind of request it was.
She raised her unusually small hands and said, “I’m sorry, but I’ll have to say this first before I accept your request.
It’s impossible to harm people’s minds or steal secrets.
Also, I have to make physical contact with the other person in order to use my abilities.
I usually hold hands.”
Sonidor meant that she would not accept any request that could put her in danger.
The man stared at Sonidor’s hand that suddenly popped out in front of his eyes and said,
“Physical contact will make things longer, but it can’t be helped.”
Then Terry, who had been rattling in the kitchen, brought teacups on a tray.
The man casually accepted the teacup and said,
“My request is about saving someone’s life.”
“Could you elaborate? What exactly am I saving them from?”
“Can you wake up someone who has fallen into an eternal sleep?”
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