Chapter 1 - A New Student
The homeroom teacher gestured towards the girl standing beside her, speaking in a clear, high-pitched voice, “Everyone, please welcome the new student, Yoon Yiyoung from AB Elementary School.”
“Would you like to introduce yourself? Or should I do it?”
“Is it okay if I do it?”
“Yes. Of course.”
Yiyoung had dark, tanned skin. Her bright eyes sparkled as she looked straight ahead.
“Hi, I’m Yoon Yiyoung. I was nervous about transferring, but now that I’m here…” she let out a mischievous sigh of relief before continuing, “It is so nice to meet you all. I want to get along with all of you. Let’s become friends, okay?”
“Nice to meet you, Yoon Yiyoung,” her classmates chorused. Yiyoung smiled at their welcoming response. It seemed she had been anxious for no reason.
“Oh, I forgot to mention the most important thing. Yiyoung’s grades are remarkable. She achieved one of the top ranks in the national rankings. She should be an inspiration and a good influence for all of you,” the teacher boasted.
Yiyoung flinched. The teacher shouldn’t have said that. She didn’t mind accepting a compliment, but doing so in front of everyone was akin to an invitation to make enemies, especially since bullying was such a widespread issue. But Yiyoung was careful not to reveal her feelings. She might be only 13 years old, but she was different from her peers. She had learned how to be independent from a young, tender age.
‘Let’s figure out the atmosphere first, then I’ll see how it goes from there,’ she thought.
The teacher pointed to a seat at the end of the row and said, “You can go sit over there.”
“Okay,” Yiyoung answered politely and walked toward her designated desk. As she drew closer to her desk, she spotted the boy occupying the desk adjacent to her seat.
“Hi,” she greeted him. The boy didn’t speak, only fixing a frigid stare at Yiyoung in response.
‘Did he not hear me?’ she thought. Yiyoung took her seat, hanging her backpack on the side before leaning toward him. She raised her voice this time, making sure he heard her clearly, “Hi. I’m Yiyoung. Nice to meet you.”
The boy still stared at her, his lips slightly curving up this time.
‘What? Is he laughing at me?’ Yiyoung wondered.
“Let me know if you need any help,” she added, pretending not to notice his mocking smirk.
Muyeol, the boy Yiyoung attempted to converse with, turned his head forward and stared off into space, thinking, ‘What a funny transfer girl.’
With skin as dark as sand, she kept smiling like an idiot. Muyeol furrowed his eyebrows. This was annoying. He had been sitting all by himself up until now. But now, for the first time in the sixth grade, he had to put up with a deskmate.
Soon, there was an intermission, and a loud exclamation pierced his ears. Muyeol leaned back on his chair as he examined the classroom and found Yiyoung, busy chattering loudly as she attempted to become friends with everyone.
‘Ha! What an idiot,’ he thought. Those kids did not want to be friends with her, but Yiyoung seemed oblivious to their intentions. She smiled carelessly as she chatted with them. Muyeol averted his eyes from the scene, choosing to look outside the window.
She continued to laugh and yell loudly. Her voice annoyed him, like a mosquito buzzing near his ear.
‘Okay, from now on, I’ll call you “Shitty Yoon.”’
Muyeol dubbed her as ‘Shitty Yoon’ because that’s what he viewed the classmates as: shit. She was just like a fly hovering around a pile of shit.
‘Shitty Yoon. That’s right. You’re “Shitty Yoon” from this day onward.’
* * *
Once she was finally done with school, Yiyoung felt relieved. Wow. She had been really nervous, but her day turned out better than she had expected. Contrary to her worries, her classmates didn’t bully her because of the teacher’s compliments.
The kids in her class were honest. They didn’t try to hide their arrogance…
“So you are the top student, huh? Did you receive a special recommendation for your transfer?”
“Where do you live?”
“What do your parents do?”
But they asked too many unnecessary questions.
“Sorry. Think of it as a welcome ceremony. It’s been a while since we had a new student,” another student told her.
The kids attending this elite elementary school were all from wealthy families, but Yiyoung didn’t get intimidated. She told them she belonged to an average family. There was no reason to publicly announce her situation, but there was no need to hide it either.
The moment they realized Yiyoung was not from a rich family, her classmates’ enthusiasm died down.
“Oh, okay.” That was all they said. After that, they neither treated her as an outcast nor accepted her wholeheartedly. Still, Yiyoung did not mind it. It all depended on how she took it. And she did not think this was a bad start.
“You’re so unlucky. To think that you ended up sitting beside Muyeol, of all people,” a classmate said.
“Why? Is something wrong with him?”
“He’s a scion, and he looks down on all of us. He never even comes to the cafeteria. Guess he doesn’t even want to eat around us.”
“A scion? What do you mean? Is he a jerk?” Yiyoung asked, and everyone laughed at her questions.
“If only he were just a jerk. It would have been much easier to control him.”
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