Chapter 142. Truth (2)


Yoo Yeonha returned Chae Nayun to her hospital bed. Chae Nayun’s complexion was pale, and her body was cold. The traces of tears around her eyes made her all the more pitiful.

“….”

Looking down at Chae Nayun, Yoo Yeonha had an idle thought.
Just a year ago, she wasn’t that close with Chae Nayun.
If it wasn’t for the relationship between their families, she might have cut off contact with her entirely.
But before she realized, things had changed.
Many things had changed, so much so that her heart ached looking at the state Chae Nayun was in.
It was all because of that person.
Although she barely knew him when school started last year, he came to take up an important spot in her heart and made her change.

“…I’ll be back.”

Yoo Yeonha stroked Chae Nayun’s hair and murmured. Feeling the cold sweat that got on her hand, Yoo Yeonha turned around and left.

“Eh?”

When she came out into the hallway, she saw familiar faces.
Kim Suho and Rachel.
The two of them were peeking into Kim Hajin’s hospital room like meerkats.

“Ah, Yeonha, how’s Chae Nayun? Is she doing okay?”

Kim Suho spotted her and asked.

“Yeah.”

“That’s great. Do you know where Hajin is? He’s not in his room.”

“….”

Yoo Yeonha shook her head silently.

“I don’t know. I didn’t see him either.”

At that moment, Rachel caught her eye. Rachel was staring at her with pure, innocent eyes.

“You really didn’t see him? I have something to talk about with him.”

“No, sorry.”

“Ah….”

“Anyways, I have to go now.”

“Okay, see you later.”

Yoo Yeonha walked past them and left the hospital.
Using a limousine that was prepared for her, she left for Sunshine Hotel.
15 minutes was enough.
The hotel owner seemed to have heard that she was coming as he was waiting for her at the back door of the hotel.
Yoo Yeonha showed him a picture of Kim Hajin.

“If he comes to the hotel, let him in. Don’t forget to keep it a secret from Father.”

“Of course.”

The hotel owner gave a wink. He seemed to have misunderstood, but Yoo Yeonha didn’t bother to correct him.

“He might not come.”

“Of course, of course, I will make sure that no one knows.”

“….”

Yoo Yeonha smacked her lips unsatisfactorily, then went up the elevator.
Ding—
The elevator stopped on the 88th floor, and the VIP penthouse floor revealed itself. A well-decorated bar was the first thing that caught Yoo Yeonha’s attention.

“…Does he drink?”

She suddenly wondered.
It was possible for him to not come. In fact, there was a higher chance that he wouldn’t. Still, Yoo Yeonha considered opening a bottle beforehand. Since he smoked cigarettes, alcohol shouldn’t be a problem.
Yoo Yeonha went up to the counter and looked at the different types of alcohol available.
Whiskey, brandy, vodka, scotch…

“But I don’t drink alcohol….”

Yoo Yeonha took pride in not drinking or smoking. A part of the reason was that her mother, Jin Yeojung, detested alcohol.

“Hmm….”

However, that made her all the more curious.
Wondering what alcohol tasted like, she picked up a random bottle and opened it.
Sniff, sniff. She smelled it carefully.
Immediately, the alcohol’s strong smell stabbed her nose.

“Uuk! Ueeek—!”

Yoo Yeonha backed off, feeling queasy.

“Uek, ueek… auu, w-what is… ueek.”

‘Dad drinks this every night?’ Yoo Yeonha pinched her nose. Because of her sensitivity to smell, her nose hurt even more.

“Hmph, I’ll throw all of these away later…”

It was then.
She was notified of a guest.

—Young Miss, the man you talked about just arrived.

“!”

Yoo Yeonha quickly turned around. She grabbed the bottle of alcohol she was about to throw away and placed it on a nearby table. Then, she picked up two glasses from the bar’s cupboard and headed back to the table.

“L-Let him in— kyak!”

However, she tripped on the high-heels she was wearing.
CLANG.
Crack.

Along with one of her heels, the two glasses she was holding broke, and the bottle fell off the table, falling on her head.

“….”

Yoo Yeonha’s eyes dried up as she looked at the mess she caused.

—Yes, he’s just been let in.

“Ah, wa…it.”

However, the elevator was already going up.
1st floor, 2nd floor… 33rd floor. It was almost as if it was moving at light speed.
Yoo Yeonha quickly unleashed her magic power.

**


“Over here.”

“Thank you.”

Following the hotel owner, I stood in front of the VIP elevator. The inside of elevator was just as luxurious as the presidential suite I used before.
With a deep breath, I got on.
The hotel owner kindly explained.

“You don’t have to press any button.”

“…Ah, yes.”

“Did you bring everything you need? If not….”

“No.”

I shook my head. I wasn’t in the mood for any chitchat.
The hotel owner made an awkward expression and scratched his neck.

“Well, I hope you enjoy your stay.”

“Thank you.”

Koong.
The elevator door closed.
Then, the elevator moved up at a scary pace.

“W-What?”

Ding—
By the time I blinked five times, I was on the 88th floor. Soon, the elevator door slowly opened.
I wasn’t given any time to collect my thoughts.
Holding back my beating heart, I walked past the elevator door.

“Hm?”

The penthouse floor was quiet and empty. In front of the wall-sized windows that showed a full view of Seoul, a huge swimming pool was present.

“Y-You’re here.”

A voice rang out in the silence.
I turned to the direction of the voice.
There, I saw Yoo Yeonha.

“…?”

However, something was strange.
First, the chair.
There was a broken heel under the chair, and Yoo Yeonha was sitting on it barefooted.
Next, the table.
There were two glasses and a bottle of liquor on the table, but one of the glasses was already filled.
Lastly, Yoo Yeonha.
For some reason, her hair was wet, and her cheeks were red.
I couldn’t help but ask.

“…What were you doing?”

“….”

Yoo Yeonha observed my expression for a moment.

“Erm….”

After about 30 seconds, she made a relaxed smile, swung her glass gently, and kicked the high-heels under the chair with her feet.

“A-As you can see, I already had a sip.”

“…You drank that?”

“Y-Yes. Anyways, come sit.”

I pretended to ignore her actions and sat down in front of her.

“I didn’t think you’d come. I thought you would need a couple of days to collect your thoughts.”

“I took some helpful drugs.”

“…Drugs?”

I wasn’t sure how sane I was at the moment.

[Perseverance 7.207 (+1.200)]

I could tell just by looking at my perseverance stat, which was amplified to a whopping 8.4.
I used the ‘sedative’ medicinal effect which my body had memorized, then used the Random Consolidation System to amplify a cigarette’s perseverance-increase effect by 40%.
As a result… I was insanely sane.

“But it won’t last long.”

“…Huu.”

At that moment, Yoo Yeonha finished cleaning up her high-heels.

“Well, I guess it doesn’t matter.”

“So, why aren’t you wearing any shoes?”

“Because we’re indoors.”

With a well-planned excuse, she crossed her legs. Although she looked pretty and especially seductive in this posture, none of it entered my eyes.

“….”

I checked the information of the liquor on the table.

===
[Alcatraz Booze] [Liquor]
—Aesthetics of Alcohol
*Decreases ‘intelligence’ stat by 0.5~5 points depending on the amount consumed.
*Increases ‘strength’ and ‘vitality’ stats by up to 3 points depending on the amount consumed. However, overconsumption decreases them by up to 6 points.
—Quality Liquor
*This alcohol can make superhumans drunk.
*This alcohol cannot cause hangovers.
===

A liquor with 64% alcohol and 1% mana concentration. By the looks of it, it was expensive and strong. Yoo Yeonha drank this?
I looked at her suspiciously.

“Do you want to try it? It’s quite bitter.”

“….”

Yoo Yeonha casually handed me the empty glass.
I looked at the glass for a moment. Feeling like I needed the help of alcohol, I took it. Yoo Yeonha poured the liquor into my glass as naturally as possible.

“Thanks. By the way, do you have any ice?”

“…Ice?”

“No, nevermind.”

Yoo Yeonha didn’t even have ice prepared, but now wasn’t the time to be picky.
I gulped down the entire glass.
As the bitter liquor entered my body, I felt a burning sensation in my throat.
I closed my eyes. I clenched my teeth and endured the pain.

“Huu.”

Then, I opened my eyes with a sigh.
The first thing I saw was Yoo Yeonha’s shocked expression.

“….”

“…What?”

“N-Nothing. I just didn’t think you would chug it.”

Yoo Yeonha looked down at the glass in front of her with a complex expression. Sneaking a peek at me, she slowly grabbed her glass.
However, I wasn’t concerned about her. I was only focused on picking and organizing the countless words that popped up in my head.
Soon, Yoo Yeonha raised her glass.
After much hesitation, she brought the glass to her mouth.
Slurp.
She barely took a sip.

“….”

Slurp.
Glancing at me once again, she drank a bit more.

“Kuhum, it’s good. Cough. Ah, I’m coughing because it’s cold.”

“I see.”

“…Yes, cough, so, by the way.”

Yoo Yeonha straightened her neck and looked into my eyes. Her cheeks were flushed red.

“I have many questions I want to ask.”

“Go ahead. I came here to answer them.”

I leaned against the chair.
After a moment of pondering, Yoo Yeonha cut straight to the chase.

“…Did you really kill Chae Jinyoon?”

I nodded.
Yoo Yeonha’s expression immediately darkened.

“And the reason… ah, I guess I shouldn’t ask. You probably won’t tell me.”

Yoo Yeonha swapped her crossed legs and scoffed at me.
I sighed.
Until now, I thought about everything on my own. At first, I thought that was my duty. I thought I had to carry all the burden by myself.
But now…

“No, I’ll tell you.”

“…Yes?”

Yoo Yeonha’s eyes widened. It must have been quite a shock as her nostrils were widening too.

“W-Why?”

“Mm…”

I stared at Yoo Yeonha.
As her creator, I knew what kind of a person she was, how she had lived, and how she would change.
However, I didn’t come to this decision based on this superficial knowledge.
The attitude and sincerity Yoo Yeonha showed me as a person.
That’s what I decided to believe in.

“I just thought I wanted to be with you until the end.”

“…Yes?”

Yoo Yeonha seemingly fell into a daze.
As though her soul left her body, she blinked repeatedly and stared at me blankly.
Then, when she realized what I meant, she made a complicated expression.
She looked embarrassed, but remembering something, her expression soon turned to that of sadness.

“Then—"

“…But, I have conditions.”

“Conditions?”

“Yeah.”

I raised my index finger.

“First, don’t ask questions. To be precise, don’t ask ‘how’ I found out. I can tell you everything else.”

Hearing this, Yoo Yeonha nodded without complaints.
I raised a second finger.

“Second, don’t tell anyone. Not even Chae Nayun.”

“…What? But—”

“I know. But it’s already too late.”

The reason I killed Chae Jinyoon.
Even if Chae Nayun found out and understood why I had to do it, nothing would change.

“No matter the reason, I killed Chae Jinyoon.”

“But still…”

“Plus, it might be better for Chae Nayun to not know.”

I remembered writing this sentence.
「Chae Nayun’s nourishment was always despair, loss, and rage.」

“No, it’s definitely better.”

The one thing that Chae Nayun would hold onto after losing everything. That would be the anger she felt towards me.
Even if I told her the truth and even if she believed me, Chae Nayun would just break.
The child who looked at her older brother and wanted to become a hero would not be able to endure the fact that he became a devil.

“It will be better for you too.”

“…Then what about you?”

Yoo Yeonha asked, putting me at a loss for words.
But soon, I shook my head and retorted with a grin.

“It doesn’t matter.”

“…What do you mean.”

“Nevermind that. Now…”

I took a deep breath.
Where should I start?
Suddenly, I felt a surge of regret.
If I didn’t already kill Chae Jinyoon.
If I thought more about it or consulted with someone who would believe my crazy talk.
Would things be better now?
…However, regret was late no matter how fast it came.

“I won’t say it twice, so listen carefully.”

**


At the same time, in Chameleon Troupe’s cave hideout covered in spiderwebs, Boss was thinking about the strange message she received today from Kim Hajin.

[I was found out.]

When she saw his message, she immediately summoned the Chameleon Troupe. To be exact, she summoned the members who were involved in Chae Jinyoon’s murder.

“Mm… it must have been Yoo Jinhyuk. Looks like he improved too.”

Jain spoke.
However, Boss remained silent.
Khalifa took off his sunglasses and looked at Jain with eyes full of suspicion.

“What? Isn’t that the case? Everyone knows that Chae Joochul called Yoo Jinhyuk… ah, was it a mistake to leave Yoo Jinhyuk alive?”

“….”

“Boss?”

Seemingly annoyed by her incessant talking, Boss glared at Jain.
However, Jain received Boss’ gaze leisurely and even smiled.

“Boss, now that things became like this, shouldn’t we get his revenge~?”

“….”

“Yoo Jinhyuk helped us out a lot, but…”

“Shut it.”

Boss interrupted Jain.
Jain shrugged without complaints.

“Well, I think it’s okay for now. It doesn’t look like Chae Joochul got a hold of the news yet.”

“I’ll come to a decision after hearing what Kim Hajin has to say. So Jain…”

Boss’ magic power erupted in all directions.
A soul-crushing pressure descended onto Jain.

“You better stay shut until then.”

**


…I told her the truth.
The concept of ‘devils’ and the ‘seed’ that gave birth to a devil; that this Devil’s Seed was stuck inside Chae Jinyoon’s head.
That because there was no way to cure him of it (I couldn’t find anything out even with the Book of truth), I killed him.

“….”

After listening to the entire story, Yoo Yeonha remained silent.
I picked up my glass.
However, there was nothing in it. Because I kept drinking in the middle of talking, the bottle of booze Yoo Yeonha prepared was already empty.

“T-That…”

After not saying anything for 10 minutes, Yoo Yeonha finally opened her mouth.

“You want me to believe that?”

“….”

I shook my head.
I wasn’t that naïve.
After all, I had no evidence.

“If you can’t believe me, you don’t have to. Just don’t deny it.”

Hearing this, Yoo Yeonha dropped her head silently.

“Haaa….”

Soon, a deep sigh rang out.
Yoo Yeonha rubbed her chin, seemingly in thought. As if that wasn’t enough, she began to rumple her hair.
Tik, tok.
After another 15 minutes…

“Ah!”

Yoo Yeonha suddenly shot up. Then, she began to walk towards the elevator.

“Ah, hey, where are you going?”

“To Uncle.”

“…Uncle?”

“Yes, he’s the one who told me about your tattoo.”

“…Ah.”

So it was Yoo Jinhyuk who found out about Stigma?
I thought he wouldn’t be able to find out. Did his Gift go through a second awakening?

“Huu….”

I grabbed the back of my neck. This is exactly why I wanted to quit relying on the original story.

“I don’t think Yoo Jinhyuk knows what I just told you. There’s no way he does. So talking to him won’t help—”

“How do you know that without talking to him?”

“….”

“Anyways, I won’t be back tonight, so don’t wait for me. Also… if you had any strange ideas because we were in a hotel, put that aside too.”

“Do I look that crazy?”

Yoo Yeonha smiled as the elevator door closed.
However, the elevator immediately opened again.
With a curious expression, I looked at Yoo Yeonha.

“Just so you know, don’t misunderstand.”

Through the opened door, I could see a thin smile.

“I’m going to him not because I don’t want to believe you but because I do want to believe you.”

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