Hamster Sounds in the Middle of the Night (1)

I became a hamster.

I wondered why there were hamster sounds in the middle of the night.

Golden fur that didn’t lose its sheen even in the dark, four cute pinkish legs, a long beard that moved whenever its cheeks twitched.
Every time a black cloth fluttered and light leaked in, its blue eyes reflected onto iron bars…

…Wait a minute.
Bars?

Iron bars?!

— Squeak?! (Why?!)

Let me correct myself.

I’m not just a hamster, I’m a hamster that was locked in a cage, getting a ride to somewhere.

*

Rattle, rattle, rattle.

The iron cage that imprisoned me was shaking violently.
When it rattled and moved, my tiny body rolled in all directions and repeatedly bumped into things.

Who was it? Who was driving like this? Drive safely!

Thud!

My small body slammed into a corner again, the bump making my butt sting. 

The sound of a horse huffing resonated.
This riding experience was fantastic.
If it was this fantastic the second time around, I would have to greet Yeomra.

tl/n: yeomra, also known as yeomra-daewang, was the korean god of death.

Where the hell were we going? Why did I become a hamster? Besides, why were we riding a horse and not a car, bus, or train?

It was unfair.
It was really unfair.
It was so obvious that it was absurd to even explain it, but I’m a human being, not a hamster! 

‘Yes! I’m a human!’

Bae Soohyun.
27 years old this year.
Even if it was a thorny path, I kept on living rather than giving up.

My life was like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Friday, Friday, but I had no doubts that my hard work would be rewarded one day.

And after years of hard work, the sun had finally risen.
The game that I had worked hard to develop became a hit.

‘… Am I dead?’

I was.
I had died.

As my worry was lifted, the last memory I had began to flood my mind little by little.

I had received the first settlement of money for my game, and feeling as if my child had succeeded at the box office, I couldn’t control my pounding heart as I was flying home…

Rattle.

At that moment, the cage shook as if we were about to jump.
When I rolled all the way to the other side of the cage and hit my head, I could see colours in my vision.

‘Are you kidding me?’

I was so annoyed that I kicked the iron bars with my small feet, and a voice was heard from not too far away.

“I’m sorry.”

An unfamiliar, low, and friendly voice.

“Hang in there.”

But I think I’ve heard these words from somewhere.

‘I’m sorry.
Hang in there.
I’ll take you to your new home soon.’

Oh, I remember.

At the crossing in front of my new house, I bumped into a young child who was walking in a hurry while hugging a hamster cage and was pushed onto the road, causing a car to crash into my body.

At that time, I had instinctively sensed my death.
Death, which came suddenly, took control of my senses, and as my consciousness began to fade away…

Twinkle.

Blue flashed in front of my eyes.

‘No, wait… Blue?’

[Hello, World!]

Suddenly, I looked at the blue system window that appeared in my field of view, stunned.

It was a very familiar phrase.
It was the most basic sentence that anyone who had done some programming would know.
When you first turned on any program, this phrase would appear.

Several windows popped up one after another on top of the system window that had suddenly appeared.

[Connection confirmed.
Checking data.]

[Arranging quest.]

[Calculating Miracle Value.]

[Only some materials can be read.]

[Synchronisation not complete.
Please wait a moment!]

[…Sync 0% complete.]

‘What’s this? Data? Quest? Synchronisation…?’

As a series of nonsensical things happened, I didn’t even know what to be surprised about.

While I was dazed and in shock, the horse that had been moving this entire time finally stopped.
The owner of the voice seemed to have climbed off with the iron cage.
The noise had stopped, but my stomach was still churning.

I was shivering in the cold wind that was blowing in from somewhere, and another voice was heard.

“Your Highness, are you really not going to throw it away?”

…Highness?

I got off a horse and now they’re talking with ‘Your Highness’? What do you mean ‘Your Highness’ in 21st century Korea? This kind of story belonged to the old man who wore a dragon robe in a historical drama that I had watched as a child.

A low voice followed.

“It’s just a pup that fell out of the litter.
Isn’t it pitiful?”

“I’m sorry, my lord.
It’s a beast pup.
When they’re all grown up, they’ll tempt their prey…”

I narrowed my eyes and scoured my tiny body.

Tempting someone with this body? How does that make sense? I’m not a beast, I’m just an ordinary hamster.
It sounded silly, but if you took it so seriously, it seemed a bit plausible.

The man with a low voice cut his opponent’s words coldly.

“It’s still a pup.”

“That’s what I said, Your Highness.”

“Yeah, it’s just a pup.”

“It’s important because it’s the pup of a beast!”

‘Can’t they stop talking about the pup? I feel a little…’

While I grumbled quietly, the man’s voice resonated, filled with anger.

“Are you unhappy with my decision?”

The words resulted in a question, but the terrifying momentum mixed into each syllable pointed towards only one answer.

The opponent’s voice trembled as he answered.

“N-no.
I was just unfamiliar with something unprecedented.
How could I question the Grand Duke’s actions?”

“Good.
I’ll take care of it.
Do you think I’m weaker than a beast who’s smaller than my fist?”

Not just ‘Your Highness’, but ‘Grand Duke’?

“I’ve already sent someone to the estate, telling them to prepare the house.
It would be ridiculous to keep it as decoration.”

“You could raise an ordinary mouse.
Should I tell them to find one?”

“No.
Don’t make me repeat myself.”

“…Yes.”

You’re stubborn.

The clatter of armour reverberated with every heavy footstep as he grabbed my cage.
It sounded as if he was climbing up a flight of stairs, and the air around me was getting warmer.

It seemed like it was winter outside.
It was summer when I died, and only now did I realise once again how abnormal my situation was.

The man took me to a room and removed the cloth that was covering my cage.

“Well, here we are.”

I crouched in a corner, curled up, and desperately pretended to be asleep.

Somehow, I felt like I should do that.
I couldn’t even speak properly, and if I spoke, I felt like he was going to cut my head off because I was a beast.

‘… How did my fortune end up like this?’

Give me back my settlement.
My achievements.
My golden future that unfolded brightly…!

“Tsk, tsk.”

The man clicked his tongue.
He seemed to sigh deeply.

‘I know this situation is heartbreaking, but why are you clicking your tongue?’ 

My tongue didn’t feel good, even if I tried to roll it.
Oh, no.
We shouldn’t face each other.
I should pretend to be asleep…

“Is there no such thing as a human’s heart?”

He murmured.

‘…Who’s heart?’

“If you looked at these pure, bright eyes before thinking it was a beast…”

‘Pure… What? What’s with the eyes? Are you talking about me?’

“Yes, there is no such thing as compassion.
Did I go too far north? You look cold.
Tsk, tsk.”

Suddenly, he unlocked the cage, then a big, rough hand grabbed me.

— Squeak. (Huh?)

At that moment, I was too surprised and forgot to pretend to be sleeping, and I opened my eyes wide to look at him.

At the same time…

[Sync 50% complete.]

[Kyle Jane Meinhardt.
The Grand Duke of Blake.]

The system window floated beneath his face.

Wait a minute.

‘… Where have I heard of this name? Where did I hear it before?’

Unaware of my contemplation, he lifted me up with his hands full of scars and calluses.
Then, he rubbed the soft fur on my cheek.
No, wait a minute.
Excuse me.

“Well done, Cashew.
You must’ve been bored the whole way here.”

Bored? I was shocked and horrified. 

No, aside from that.
What the hell? What is this? Somehow, the handsome, slightly-crazy man in front of me lifted me up… Hey! Don’t kiss me!

— Squeak, squeak.
Squeak.
(Are you falling in love?!)

“Yes, yes.
I know how you feel.”

‘What do you mean you know? You don’t know anything!’

He kissed me like he was craving love… Kissing…

— Squeak! Sq-Squeak! Squeak! Squeak! (Bastard! What the hell are you doing?!)

“It’s a relief.”

— Squeeeeeak! (I told you to stop!)

“Do you like me?”

Don’t you hear me?!

‘… Wait a minute.
This face.’

I glanced at his face, which was very dazzlingly shining for a moment.

His complexion wasn’t clearly visible.
His skin looked pale but firm, his eyebrows were defined, and he had dark hair and red eyes; a determined and handsome looking man…

— …Squeak? (Grand Duke of Blake?)

I remember.
The Northern Grand Duke, Kyle.

He was a supporting character in the novel that I read a few days ago while commuting to and from work.

He was a character who had died in the middle of the story, and as soon as his miserable end was confirmed, I remembered dropping it without hesitation.

The reason why I remembered him, who was neither the male nor female protagonist, was because he had the most difficult life among the dozens of characters in the novel.
To the point where I couldn’t remember how many times I lamented his fate, which was as cold as his personality.

‘So…’

I died, but I transmigrated into a novel?

“Cashew?”

Cashew.
That was my— No, that was this hamster’s name.

Kyle looked at me closely.
He seemed to be worried that I might’ve been in pain.
There was a lot of tenderness to the point that his eyes, which were analysing my small body, were burdensome.

You’ll stare a hole through me.
Stop staring at me.
I quickly turned my head and glared at him with the most disrespectful look.

“That look…”

Yeah, it’s bloody, isn’t it? Are you afraid to die? Are you getting goosebumps? I look like a dangerous witch, don’t I?

[Cold and strict.
Clean and thorough enough that he became a clean freak.
Mean and merciless.]

Put me down.
You goddamn kiss ghost.

tl/n: by kiss ghost he means that the guy is crazy about kissing him or something like that.
like how you’d call someone a leech for kissing someone else too much

“You’re so cute when you look at me like that.”

Are you so cold that you’re freezing to death?! Let go of me! Let go! It said you were a clean freak! It said you were thorough! It said you were mean! It said you were merciless!

— Squeak! (Let go!)

For a long time after that, I had to endure the unrealistic smugness and creepy kisses in the hands of the Grand Duke.

This human…

No, save this hamster!

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