Just Hold My Hand
If she had to define her life in a word, it would be something close to conformity.
Maybe it could be called resignation.
It was mainly resignation to absurdity.
To put it simply, Sonidor lived her life by these words:
‘Nothing will change even if you struggle, so damn the world and do whatever you want.‘
From the moment Sonidor was born, she was deprived of basic rights that most people enjoyed.
This situation never changed, no matter how many times she got angry or protested.
Sonidor was born as a descendant of the Descencia tribe, and in fact, had a different real name.
Her original name, which she inherited from her mother, was ‘Dreams made of Gold’, and the name ‘Sonidor’ was an apt translation of it in the Imperial language.
That was the first right she had been denied – all of the Descencian tribesmen had to change their names into the Imperial language, barred from using their own language.
Sonidor in the Imperial language meant something akin to ‘sweet dreams’, so whenever anyone in the Empire heard her name for the first time, they all laughed.
For example, when they would say goodbye to her late in the evening, saying ‘Sonidor, Sonidor!’ and burst into laughter as if it were the greatest joke they’d ever heard.
The nasty pun always annoyed Sonidor no matter how many times she heard it.
Imperial law prevented Descencian tribesmen from inheriting surnames.
It was a form of discrimination that had occurred since their land was destroyed by the Arche Empire 500 years ago.
The fact that they could not inherit surnames was in line with meaning that a Descencian tribesman could never inherit a status higher than that of a commoner.
It didn’t matter how much they contributed to the empire – it was impossible to become an aristocrat, without a doubt.
In addition to that, their tribesmen could not leave the Empire until they died.
Originally, Descencian tribesmen lived on a huge island located at the southern end of the Empire.
The island had a mild climate all year round, and was rich in marine resources and mana.
In particular, the mana contained in the island was overflowing to the point where it was enough to be referred to as a ‘mana landfill’, and the Emperor of the Arche Empire who invaded the island 500 years ago called it ‘mana island’.
It was thought of as a land blessed by God.
The natives there lived in one large tribe, and they had magical abilities from generation to generation thanks to the huge amounts of mana energy in their surroundings.
The types of abilities a tribesman had varied widely from family to family.
Some abilities included: the ability to bend iron, to read the memory of objects or people, to create wind, to foresee the future, and so on.
Most abilities were passed on through blood and could be used from generation to generation, and did not require mana to be used.
Although the ability was insignificant in terms of range and effect when compared to, for example, wide-range magic such as ‘Meteor’, the fact that no mana was required to use the ability meant that it could be used indefinitely until one ran out of stamina.
Moreover, there were tribesmen who displayed abilities that could not possibly be recreated using magic.
The Empire faced severe resistance from the Descencian tribesmen, and to throw away their chances of using the tribesmen’s powers would be regrettable.
In the end, the empire did not recognise the Descencia tribe as people of the Empire, but gave them the status of ‘Artisans’.
It was an existence in-between a slave and a commoner – someone who could own private property, but would never be able to receive a castle or title even if they made a contribution.
Still, their circumstances were better than that of slaves’, but most commoners ignored the artisans.
Sonidor was a dream master.
She had the ability to enter dreams by connecting the dreamer’s consciousness with her own, through physical contact.
Usually, she’d listen to the will of an elderly person who was on the verge of death, and fulfil an unfulfilled wish in a dream.
She would occasionally get a dangerous request to retrieve confidential information, but her assistant, Terry, would take care of people who requested things like that.
Sonidor was still carrying out a request that day.
And she really wanted to feed her client porridge. [t/n: Korean people equate doing very simple tasks to eating porridge, so it’s meant here that her client is making things hard for her.]
“I-I-I mean you…Ha…always…so…-“
It was already the second time she went into this client’s dream.
She had gritted her teeth and endured and endured.
There were times when she couldn’t complete her request in one go, but she rarely went up to 3 times because once or twice was enough.
But, judging by the way her client was acting, it seemed she would be doing this 3 times.
“No, no, the sunset is beautiful, Lila.”
Hearing the client’s words, Sonidor turned her gaze to the sky, and the cobalt-coloured sky instantly turned bloody as if red paint had been splattered across it.
This meant her hour of awakening was drawing near.
If the land was the domain of the client, the sky was Sonidor’s domain.
Sonidor stared at the red sunset.
Sometimes, she would cause cracks to appear in the sky if she lost her concentration, or snow to fall when it was the middle of summer in the dream.
There were no set forms or rules in dreams, so it was always unknown what form her distraction would take in the sky.
‘Is it time to eat? Or do I need to use the bathroom? Menstruation has always been a problem,’ Sonidor thought.
Suddenly, dark clouds began to form in the sky, and the sound of thunder erupted.
She must have been hungry this time.
“Thunder suddenly appeared from the sky!,” her client said, shocked.
Sonidor stared blankly at the confused client.
‘A man remembers his first love until the day he dies.’
Sonidor recalled a saying she hadn’t paid much attention to until now.
She was in a position where she had never been able to have a relationship of her own because she was engulfed by work all the time.
She wanted to know what having a first love would feel like, but to think that her client’s wish right before his death was to confess at least once to his first love.
Sonidor was a woman herself, so she didn’t know what having a first love would be like for a man, but she couldn’t understand him at all.
She was doing the job for money, after all.
‘Why can’t he just say ‘I like you’!,’ Sonidor thought frustratedly.
‘Because the man couldn’t confess properly, he never held a woman’s hand properly until right before he died.’ [t/n: the way she’s cussing him out pls he’s an old man]
Sonidor’s mental exhaustion reached the limit, and she let out a rant inwardly.
However, she wanted to try one last thing before waking up, even if it turned out to be a waste of all the effort she had put in thus far.
‘Think, brain! Think of words that can elicit a confession from a man!’
“I came here because you said you had something urgent to say to me,” Sonidor said with a visibly disappointed expression.
“H-hey, Lila, it’s not…-“
The man in the dream, named Leponse, was not an old man in his 70s but a 22 year old young man who had met Lila for the first time.
Lila was the girl Leponse secretly had a crush on when he was young.
She was the daughter of an old countess, a woman who had employed Leponse as a gardener and a young lady whom he would not have dared to dream of.
Sonidor was now in the form of Lila.
The reason why she was able to take on the appearance of a young lady who she had never seen before was because in the world of dreams, Sonidor changed into the appearance of the person the client most desperately wanted to see.
There was no such strict rule that this appearance must be that of a human, but there was never a time Sonidor didn’t take the form of a human in a client’s dream.
“Is that really all you have to say to me? Leponse.
Even if this meeting is the last?,” she said, fiddling with her fingertips.
“What do you mean by the last time, Miss Lila?”
Sonidor lowered her eyelashes with tears in her eyes pitifully.
She was sure that if Terry saw her, he’d think she looked crazy, but here, she was in a dream where no one could interfere but herself and her client.
Leponse’s pupils were shaking crazily in all manner of directions.
He couldn’t help but be embarrassed when Miss Lila, whom he always watched from a distance, acted as if she were about to confess to him.
He had the same feeling as her, but why couldn’t he say the words despite having everything laid out for him? He was going crazy and jumping inwardly.
Are you going to make me say it first?”
Sonidor hugged the bouquet she received from the client earlier and looked up at him, deliberately fluttering her eyelashes.
It was a very blatant method of seduction, but Leponse’s face started to turn red, and he pursed his lips.
‘Come on, confess already!,’ Sonidor thought urgently.
She peered up at the sky with a slightly uneasy gaze.
Dark clouds parted in the sky, and cracks were visible between in the gaps.
More cracks started to appear, and the world began to blacken at the edges.
As if he had read Sonidor’s mind, Leponse said, closing his eyes tightly-
“Lila, I love you! I’ve always loved you.
From the first time I saw you for so many years, always…all the time…-“
She let out a sigh of relief.
Finally, the request was completed.
The client’s request was that he wanted to confess to his first love, and so that was her role – somehow, she had managed to get the timing right.
Before the sky completely blackened, Sonidor held Leponse’s hand affectionately.
Normally, there would’ve been no need to do this, but it was a reward for showing such a beautiful world of colour.
The garden in Leponse’s dream showed a pleasing harmony of flowers and vibrant, yet warm colours.
As expected, a garden created by a former gardener’s consciousness was on a different level.
There was even a time when a famous painter in the Empire had commissioned Sonidor for a request, and the setting of his dream was very spectacular.
It was to the extent that she wanted to place it onto a canvas and frame it if she could.
I have never forgotten you even for a moment.”
A garden full of beautiful flowers, and a confession of first love towards an unforgettable first love.
When Sonidor was convinced she had completed the request perfectly, a smile naturally spread across her lips.
Finally, her field of view gradually narrowed into darkness.
Consciousness slowly began to be regained.
As her sense of reality slowly returned, Sonidor suffered a tremendous headache and muscle pain.
It felt like death.
If she had ended up doing this three times today, she would have fallen asleep for two days.
She wiggled her trembling toes and slowly opened her eyes.
Her own hand was gripping her client’s sweaty hand.
Sonidor was always reluctant to hold the hand of someone she didn’t know very well, but she had no choice because she couldn’t enter their consciousness without having physical contact with them.
She let out a deep sigh and waited until she could move her body without pain.
But then suddenly, she began to contort her whole body as if she had cramps all over.
Sonidor let out a groaning sound and sighed.
“Oi, Terry! Oh, I’m dying!”
The boy, who had been dozing off in his chair, jumped up in surprise at the sudden scream.
Terry staggered in a daze, then tripped and fell face-first.
Hearing Terry’s shout of pain, Sonidor murmured to herself, “What is up today? First with the client and now this guy.”
Terry stood up and grinned in front of Sonidor, clutching his red nose.
“Are you completely finished this time? Do I have to work overtime today again?”
“Can’t you see me suffering? Is that the only thing that matters?”
“That is the most important thing.
You sound fine, though.”
“Wake me up quickly next time! If you don’t do your job properly, your allowance will be cut.”
You can’t move your body, right? But your mouth moves just fine.”
When Sonidor’s temper tantrum ended, Terry began to massage her arm without a word.
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