ression, which showed no enjoyment at all, my enthusiasm also waned.

 

Without a word, I spat the saliva on the ground nearby and made her wait there for a moment.

 

Then, I fetched water in a small bowl and tried again.

 

“Here.
Watch again.”

 

Instead of spitting, I splashed the water down.

 

“Ah, it's cold!”

 

The person passing by looked up in surprise as the water drenched his neck, and Sien and I hid behind the window.

 

Compared to spitting, it wasn't as fun or risky, but Sien held her breath and closed her eyes as if something big was about to happen.

 

“…”

 

And as I looked at her like that, I realized that this was much more fun than spitting.

 

Unconsciously, a smile appeared on my face.

 

“It's okay now.”

 

As I spoke, Sien opened her eyes wide and looked up at me.

 

Looking down again, the street was full of people laughing at the person drenched in water.

 

Seeing that no one was displeased with my prank, Sien finally smiled brightly and said, “This is really fun, Berg…!”

 

As I began to genuinely treat her as a friend, we quickly became close at an unbelievable speed.

 

Her presence was comfortable, and it no longer felt like an unnatural relationship.

 

Like Max and Flint, she also felt like another one of my friends.

 

We spent a year together like that.

 

And when she turned 10, she declared.

 

“Berg! I think it's not enough to just be friends.”

 

“What?”

 

“I don't know because I don't have any other friends, but… aren't we closer than other friends?”


 

I pondered for a moment, wondering if that was true, and it seemed like it was.

 

“So?”

 

When asked why she said this, she blinked her eyes and avoided my gaze.
She hesitated, biting her fingers.

 

It was a habit that surfaced whenever she was nervous.

 

“…Let's become best friends.”

 

After a long pause, those were the words she spoke.

 

I couldn't understand her hesitation, wondering what the difference was.

 

“What changes if we become best friends?”

 

“It's different…!”

 

She suddenly let out a frustrated sigh.

 

“When we're best friends, you have to prioritize me above anyone else! And I'll do the same…!”

 

As we grew closer, I started teasing her more often.

 

For some reason, her irritated appearance made me laugh, making me want to tease her even more.

 

“I have no intention of being best friends with a bed-wetter.”

 

“What? Berg-“

 

“-Besides, I'll be the only one at a loss.
You don't have any other friends anyway.”

 

“…”

 

However, at that joke, Sien's expression quickly darkened.

 

She couldn't argue back at all and blinked her eyes, looking lost.

 

“Sien?”

 

“…..”

 

She couldn't even answer my call and pursed her lips.
Without a moment's hesitation, she turned her body and left.

 

I hurriedly grabbed her departing figure and patted her gently.

 

“Hey, Sien…! It was just a joke, why are you like this?”

 

Did I cross the line?

 

Sometimes I forget.
She's not from the slums.
I should regulate the level of pranks accordingly as well.

 

The fact that she had no friends might have been a sensitive topic.

 

To comfort her, I spoke.

 

“You were sick.
How could you make friends-“

 

“-Do you have someone closer to you than me?”


 

But the words she spoke surprised me.

 

“What?”

 

“Do you…
have a friend more precious than me?”

 

She frowned anxiously, as if she was disappointed not because I joked that she had no friends, but because I rejected the offer to become best friends.

 

As I looked at her like that, I let out a long sigh.

 

With that sigh, the tension surrounding us dissipated.

 

Erasing the mischievous expression from my face, I smiled and said, “Let's become best friends.”

 

“If you're lying to ease the anger-“

 

“It's not like that, Sien.”

 

I was sincere.

 

Because of her, I felt myself brighten as I saw a world I hadn't experienced before.

 

I had begun waiting for the day I would meet her as well.

 

Max and Flint might feel resentful, but I made my decision.

 

“Let's become best friends.”

 

At those simple words, a big smile spread across Sien's lips, and tears welled up in her eyes.

 

Holding onto me tightly, she was overjoyed.

 

Perhaps at that time, I underestimated the power of the term 'best friends.'

 

Contrary to what I thought, that becoming best friends wouldn't bring much change, we became even closer.

 

The frequent meetings were proof of that.

 

We went from meeting every three days to every two days, then to every day.

 

We ate together, washed together, and lived together, playing many pranks.

 

Max and Flint expressed their dissatisfaction with my behavior, but I didn't listen.

 

I only had the thought of prioritizing my best friend in my mind.
I only wanted to meet Sien.

 

I couldn't help it.
When I was with her, I could escape the gloomy atmosphere of the slums.

 

Just seeing Sien's smiling face made all my worries disappear.

 

And so, another year passed.

 

We had been friends for two years now…

 

And best friends for one year.

 

In the year when Sien turned 11 and I turned 13…

 

Sien's parents passed away in an accident.

 

She too became an orphan like me.

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