I felt a light tug on my shirt sleeve and turned around to see Maria looking at me with big green eyes. She looked so confused and innocent- she must be lost, probably scared too. I would be terrified if I was in a mall full of people I couldn't understand. I realized it must be even worse for her now that her translator was not allowed to help her in the mission. I looked down and noticed that she wasn't wearing shoes without her heels she was only about 5 foot 2. Not tiny but way smaller than me. She beckoned me to lean closer and was about to whisper something in my ear when I heard the sound of something being ripped off my back. I looked at her, not comprehending for a moment, but she was already scampering away- a gigantic grin on her face. Did I just get screwed over by that little thing? Yep it seems so. I couldn't suppress a chuckle. Maybe this girl wasn't as fragile as she seemed. all of a sudden I remembered the cameras following us and looking at one with the straightest face I could manage I said
"I'm Baekho- and I just got played."
I heard a loud yell as he turned the corner a flying bullet ran straight into him knocking both of them to the ground. I heard some of the cameramen guffaw as I let out a huff on the ground. Ouch.
"Oh my goodness! I'm so sorry Ren! Are you okay? I didn't see you-" I slowly opened my eyes and saw Maria looking pretty much as dazed as I felt and sitting on the ground. I laughed at her expression and she broke into a relieved smile. Huh- she had dimples I hadn't noticed before. I started to get up from the ground. Before she could get up herself I quickly offered her a hand that she took gratefully. Her hand felt small and warm in my hand and I had to remember to let go once she was standing upright.
"What were you running from?" I ask- glad that I knew English pretty well, it seemed to make Maria seem more comfortable and that was a relief. Her face was flushed and she had taken off her shoes had she been running from something dangerous?
"No, no it was nothing bad" She explained quickly , seeing my worried expression. "I just had taken this" she smiled slyly and picked up a pink paper that she had dropped and I read Baekho's name- his name tag!
"How on earth did you get this?" a small girl like her- tricking a buff guy like hyung?
"I sorta.. tricked him." whoa she must be clever- or just really fast. Her face brightened as something popped into her head "Have you gotten any clues yet?"
I showed her the card I had found behind a potted plant- just the number 27. she looked at them and then grabbed hers. What? three cards? I must have been slacking, I hope she didn't notice.
"We should form an alliance- I'll get the cards and you translate them. Deal?" she held out her pinky. Ummm what?
She noticed my confused expression and laughed.
"Sorry you probably don't know..It's a pinky swear, like a promise that you can't break" she took my hand and rapped my little finger around hers as I felt my face grow hot. Calm down Ren, you're being an idiot.
"I Pinky Swear" I said solemnly- and we both burst out laughing. Her laugh rang like bells and echoed off the linoleum floors. She handed me the cards and I read them quickly. "They say Day, Manager, and this one says a special noodle eaten on special occasions. She looked at them for what seemed a long time then said "When is your Managers birthday?" I thought for a minute.
"The nth- today-" I stopped as a huge grin spread across our faces. "That's the answer! you're a genius!" she yelled.
"I'm a genius? You're amazing!" I pick her up and twirl her around- she weighed almost nothing, she was eating, right? 'God, snap out of it Ren! you're acting like a mother' I mentally chastise myself. I turned to the nearest staff and asked (in Korean) If we got a prize.
"You two will get additional points for our next challenge- increasing your chances of winning the next challenge" Manager hyung explained to me, then relayed it to Maria in English. suddenly a voice came over the loudspeaker
"CONGRATULATIONS MARIA AND REN- THE MISSION ISN'T OVER YET. OUR NEXT CHALLENGE IS TO FILM YOUR INDIVIDUAL TEASERS THE PEOPLE WITH THE LOWEST SCORES WILL MAKE BREAKFAST FOR THE OTHER MEMBERS TOMORROW MORNING. BEGIN!" and just like that Maria and I were whisked away from each other by stylists to prepare for filming.