Chapter 237. The Scam Couple

He absent-mindedly waited 20 minutes.

[Hmph. Those insignificant things acting all cheeky.]

Flone finally came out… while shaking blood off of her hands.

"Did everything go well?”

[Yeah. There were a few minor conflicts, but more or less.]

Seol Jihu gulped.

Was it just his imagination or was Flone’s ‘more or less’ brushing past a very significant amount of the process?

[I was originally going to exterminate them without leaving anything behind, but they clung onto me, wailing about every single one of their circumstances. So I had them make Soul Oaths, and they’ve agreed to serve us from now on.]

Whether it was the Soul Oaths or their agreement to serve, there was no lack of questions Seol Jihu had for her, but he chose not to ask.

…Because he felt he would get hurt if he did.

Flone smacked her lips and mumbled again.

[It’s a problem that I’m so soft-hearted.]

If the group of ghosts that were currently embracing each other while lamenting at the top of their voices heard these words, they would foam at their mouths and fall unconscious.

However, Seol Jihu walked away repeating the words, ‘I didn’t see anything,’ over and over in his mind.

"How was it?"

Kim Hannah winked with her left eye and asked. She probably meant he should signal her the results.

Seol Jihu made a circle with his fingers using the hand that was holding the pendant. Then, he started speaking.

"I don’t know. Nothing happened, but the atmosphere inside was too spooky… It didn’t feel good.”

"See? I told you it was not worth it. Stop wasting our time and let’s go somewhere else.”

"Sigh. It looked really decent from the outside…”

"Aigoo. It was a little gloomy inside? That’s because it hasn’t been touched for a while… Hehehe!”

Park Dongchun hurriedly joined the conversation after seeing Seol Jihu look wistful. He was still a merchant, even if he had a few dubious traits.

An opportunity had finally arrived for him to get rid of the empty husk of a property that had only given him headaches for years. He wasn’t one to let such a golden chance go.

From the looks of it, its rumors had not spread to Haramark yet. He saw this as a great opportunity.

Park Dongchun gave a beaming smile and rubbed his hands together out of habit.

"The interior’s atmosphere changes depending on how you decorate the room. It’s just been unmaintained for a long time. If you remodel it, then Bam! Everything will be different. Look! How fabulous is that ample sunshine entering the house!?”

When Park Dongchun saw Seol Jihu look slightly conflicted, his hopes reignited.

"Ahjussi. Enough is enough."

Of course, he knew that Kim Hannah would not leave him alone.

"Do you think no one knows you’re trying to push a pile of shit to someone else? Stop talking through your hat and show us the next plot for sale.”

"Oho. What do you mean ‘shit’? Besides it being a little strange, land like this is rare nowadays. You can’t find quality land like this even if you wanted to.”

After clearing his throat, Park Dongchun glanced at Seol Jihu and beamed.

It was obvious that it wouldn’t work on that fox, so he had to convince the young man in front of him.

"In the first place, I wouldn’t have told you the truth if I had planned to trick you.”

After claiming his innocence…

"And I honestly don’t show this land to just anyone. But! Who is the person in front of me? Isn’t it the war hero that defeated the terrible Parasite’s First Army Commander?”

He praised Seol Jihu with both his arms flung open, so he could see Seol Jihu consciously straighten his posture.

Park Dongchun grinned craftily and enthusiastically wagged his sugar-coated tongue.

"Even if there really was something— wouldn’t it only be a small-fry evil spirit? Could it even touch Seol Jihu-nim who extinguished that Undying Diligence?”

"Right, if it’s only a few evil spirits…"

The more Seol Jihu started to put on airs, the wider Park Dongchun’s smile got.

Now for the finishing blow.

"That’s it! Marvelous! I usually rip people off instead of losing out on deals, but Seol Jihu-nim is an exception. As a welcoming event for your arrival in Eva, I’ll give it to you for a massive discount!”

Here, Park Donghun was aiming for two things.

While fanning Seol Jihu’s desire to purchase the land, he sneaked in the word ‘welcome’ to probe out their intentions for coming to Eva.

Kim Hannah barged in between the two at that moment.

"Are you crazy? Are you really planning on buying it? You said it was weird yourself!"

"Eii, that’s probably because it’s an old house. It’ll be different once we do some remodeling. And look at the location! There’s no better place than this… Not to mention that he’s giving it to us for a cheap price.”

"You’re driving me crazy. Hey, just think for a second. Do you really not know why such a good plot of land like this never got sold? Huh?”

"It might just be a coincidence. And I’m different.”

"Jihu. Don’t be like this and let’s look around a bit more. We came to look at houses, but who only looks at one and immediately buys it on the spot? It won’t be too late to look around more and then decide on which one to buy. Okay?”

“I’d agree with you if I didn’t like this land, but are we even here to look at houses? No, we’re here to buy land.”

"Seol Jihu! Are you really going to be like this?”

"Enough. I’m the one who decides. Are you Carpe Diem’s leader?”

Kim Hannah became speechless as Seol Jihu strongly came out with an unpleasant tone.

Park Dongchun felt refreshed inside seeing the Miss Foxy be at a loss for words.

'That’s right. It seems like she requested protection after being kicked out of Sinyoung… In other words, she doesn’t have any say in things yet.’

"That’s a place we have to accept money to live in!”

Hearing Kim Hannah shout again, Park Donghun who had been quietly watching from the side slyly refuted her.

"Ei! It’s a property up for sale, so I can’t pay you to move in. Well, if it was for rent, I might have considered renting it out for free for a fixed period of time. But as for selling it, please think about it from my position too…”

That was not possible.

Flone had already finished settling the pecking order inside, but to live there for only a couple of months as a free trial? If nothing happened to them, it was extremely likely for Park Dongchun to suddenly change his mind.

Either way, the Dongchun Merchants was the one currently with the deed to the land.

"In any case, I’m buying it. If you don’t want to accept that, then don’t say anything from now on.”

And so Seol Jihu obstinately made a decision. Park Dongchun gave a satisfied smile inside.

"Hey, hey! Jihu! Alright, we’ll buy it! Okay? We’ll buy it!”

In the end, Kim Hannah convinced Seol Jihu to let her do the bargaining, saying that she would never concede this part.

Park Dongchun was a bit intimidated when her fox eyes fiercely stared at him, but he still crossed his arms and acted relaxed.

"Hmm… Since we purchased it 3 years ago in Paradise time, leaving 47 years until the expiration of the contract… And since we won the deed in the auction for 102 gold coins…”

He trailed off his words to glance at them.

Sure enough, Kim Hannah’s eyes were blazing. She looked like she’d rather bite her tongue and die than to buy the land for that price.

Clearing his throat, Park Dongchun pretended to continue thinking out loud.

"Taking this and that into consideration, 92 gold coins would…”

Fwoooosh!

The fire in her eyes grew even stronger. Park Dongchun immediately corrected his sentence.

"…be the base price. Since I said I’d sell it for a large discount… 75 gold coins…?”

Kim Hannah still did not react.

Park Dongchun nervously gulped. It was as if he was looking at a cornered beast.

Generally speaking, bargaining was a process of finding a compromise, with the buyer gradually raising the offer and the seller slowly lowering the price.

But there existed a saying amongst the merchants in Paradise.

There were only three chances when dealing with Miss Foxy. If you failed to satisfy her within three offers, ruthless blows would start raining down under the pretext of negotiations.

To be more exact, Kim Hannah would start lowering the number that she set as her minimum value. There weren’t just a few businesses that suffered like that.

'O-One more chance left.’

After having suffered so many times, he couldn’t help his body shrinking in fear even with Seol Jihu there.

"Uh…. 60… 58?"

After thinking for a long time, he called his final price.

It was close to almost half the original value.

But Kim Hannah’s expression remained chilly like before.

"Jihu."

She suddenly turned her head and called Seol Jihu.

"Let’s do it like this. We’ll pay the deposit to reserve the land and then look around for other properties.”

Park Dongchun’s eyes grew as wide as lanterns.

'This bitch.’

Her intentions were obvious.

She was trying to minimize the damage by only paying the down payment while simultaneously earning time for her to persuade Seol Jihu.

"This isn’t a matter of a few pennies. Other organizations might even have better properties for sale. Let’s look around for just one more day, okay?”

She wasn’t wrong, so Seol Jihu smacked his lips.

He looked reluctant, but it looked like he was convinced after hearing other organizations might have better properties up for sale.

"If it’s just that, then fine."

Park Dongchun’s mind started racing. There were no more opportunities. He only had Seol Jihu left.

'There’s no one left in Eva who would buy this land!’

In the end, he shut his eyes and shouted.

"If you sign the contract right now, then 29 gold coins!”

The price fell by half once again. This was the very definition of a massive discount. It was shocking to the point where even Kim Hannah looked surprised.

"2-29 gold coins? Really?"

Seol Jihu’s mouth gaped as wide as a bowl.

"I told you before. That I’d offer you a big discount.”

Park Dongchun put on a sincere face and spoke.

"This Park Dongchun. As a merchant, I’ll always keep my promises to the end. This is my ironclad rule, and the creed of Dongchun Merchants!”

He shouted proudly like a righteous hero.

Seol Jihu still made an expression of disbelief.

"No. That’s too little…”

"Eii, it’s not. In a way, the only reason I’m still alive and able to do business is all thanks to Seol Jihu-nim. So what if I take a little loss? Rather, I can only offer my apologies for being unable to provide it to you free of charge.”

Hearing the lip-service, Seol Jihu grinned.

"Great. I’ll buy it!”

"As expected! A man of great capacity indeed!”

Park Dongchun hurriedly led him back to the Dongchun Merchants’ building and persuaded him to sign the contract.

Everything was proceeding rapidly… until Kim Hannah who sat there with a dejected face threw a tackle.

"What is this? Ahjussi. You said you’d sell it to us for 29 gold coins. Why does it say 75 gold coins here?”

"Hey, you. Think about my position, too. I don’t want rumors to circulate about me selling it for dirt cheap… You only have to give me 29 gold coins!”

"This is document forgery. You know that, right?”

"What document forgery?"

Park Dongchun snorted.

It looked like she was trying to nitpick any faults, but the scale had already tipped in his favor.

"We can do this then. Oh my! I just found some gold coins lying around. Are these perhaps Seol Jihu-nim’s?”

Park Dongchun took out 46 gold coins on the spot and pushed it to Seol Jihu.

"Ah. You’re right. Look where I’m putting my mind. Here’s the money.”

Seol Jihu grinned and added 29 gold coins to the pile before pushing it back to Park Dongchun.

And after signing the contract, the ownership of the document fell into Seol Jihu’s hands.

"Nice doing business with you! Hope you have a safe trip back!”

Park Dongchun smiled beamingly while bidding them farewell.

Disposing of utterly worthless trash that wasn’t even worth as much as chicken ribs made him feel like he had removed an aching tooth.

Since he had gotten himself insurance just in case, how could he not be glad?

Of course, strictly speaking, he had definitely taken a terrible loss, but the market price of something always fluctuated corresponding to its worth.

Just like Kim Hannah said, he was originally in a situation where he had to give money to get rid of the land, but he succeeded in selling the deed in an unexpected windfall.

So it wasn’t an exaggeration for him to be greatly satisfied with salvaging 29 gold coins.

'Ufufufu. I handed over the deed. Now it’s not my problem anymore!’

‘Ah not mine, not mine~’

After the two had left, Park Dongchun couldn’t repress his joy and danced like a butterfly.

*

Meanwhile.

Seol Jihu, Kim Hannah, and Flone who had just exited Dongchun Merchants…

"Tehehehehehehe—!”

"Kekekekekeke—!”

[Pehehehehehe—!]

As soon as they arrived at the castle gates, the trio simultaneously exploded into laughter as if they had promised beforehand.

"Why are you two laugh-fuhahaha!?”

"Why are you laugh-hahaha!?”

[Stop laugh-hehehe!]

The three cackled like deranged lunatics.

In particular, Kim Hannah laughed so hard with her head tilted back that the contracted carriage driver looked at her with a strange gaze.

“I don’t know if we’re allowed to do this.”

Seol Jihu barely stopped his laughter before boarding the carriage and made a comment with his head tilted.

"What’s the issue? A deal is successful if both sides are satisfied.”

Kim Hannah wiped her tears and spoke clearly. As a matter of fact, the meaning behind having a house was significant in Paradise.

Like Seol Jihu had experienced back at the Neutral Zone, it was because of ‘sleep’.

If it was simply to sleep, then people could simply go back and forth between Paradise and Earth even though it would be a hassle.

However, sleep in Paradise was very different from that on Earth.

Just like how a character’s HP and MP would fully recover after a night’s sleep in RPG games, Paradise also had an effect of helping to restore energy and vitality with sleep.

Naturally, better environments led to greater effects.

Conversely, if you slept outside on the streets, you would receive negative effects.

In other words, there was a good reason why Earthlings always slept in an inn or set up proper campsites during expeditions.

It was for a similar reason that people tried to buy their own houses. Of course, the majority couldn’t even dream of owning a house due to price inflation after the monopoly of several organizations.

Kim Hannah couldn’t wipe the grin off of her face saying she saved more than 70 gold and that it was definitely one of her top 3 hits in her life at Paradise.

On the way back, Kim Hannah made a strange request.

"Hey! Can you leave the design and construction of the building to me? Everything, including interior decoration.”

Seol Jihu willingly nodded since he hadn’t had anyone else to ask anyways.

"I’d rather have to thank you instead. But you know how to design buildings?”

"I asked because I do. I may look like this, but I graduated with an architecture degree from Yonju University. You know, the university that is famous for its hard curriculum.”

Seol Jihu’s eyes widened.

"Yonju University ranks within the top 20 universities in the world!”

"Even then it’s only 3rd in the national rankings. In any case, just leave it to me. There’s so much more left in the budget than I expected— Hehehe!”

While the cost of buying land was extremely expensive, the cost that went into constructing a building was not as high.

"Sure sure. Feel free to do whatever you want with it. By the way, you must have been really good at studying. An architecture major at Yonju isn’t a joke.”

"Well, my family places heavy importance in academics. My parents and little sister are also Yonju alumni.”

"Aha. That’s why…"

"Then again. You’re one to speak since you graduated with an engineering degree at Soyoung University. The university that’s ranked #1 in the country… Ah. Didn’t Haesol University claim first place last year?”

"Yeah, it’s no wonder honestly. Haesol’s physics, biology, and chemistry departments are just too good.”

[Me too, me too! I graduated from the National Imperial Academy!]

Flone also broke into the conversation. And so, the three of them excitedly chatted away in the carriage, celebrating the success of their scam.

*

Seol Jihu diligently sent around calls as soon as he arrived back at Haramark.

—That you’d be successful at buying a plot of land… That’s a big burden lifted.

"I think I can do something about a Priest, too.”

—That’s good. Very good. Obtaining a piece of land was the biggest obstacle. Hiring a Priest under a short-term contract suffices, so there’s less to worry about.

"That’s right. I’ll call you again sometime soon.”

—Alright. You’ll only need to prepare the documents when you come to register. The rest of the process can be quickly taken care of with my authority.

Once he finished updating Sorg Kühne with the latest news, he also contacted the Triads and Kazuki.

Hao Win had already completed his preparations to relocate, but Kazuki, unfortunately seemed to be struggling to find suitable land.

After getting the money, Kazuki had been trying to build a new team and look for a house to live in, but it seemed like the Japan Business Federation was interfering.

When Seol Jihu offered to give him a room if nothing worked out, Kazuki laughed and said he’d think about it.

After contacting them, Seol Jihu finally revealed to his teammates that their decision to move was finalized.

The only thing left was to construct a new building and register as a new organization.

Kim Hannah displayed such a strong passion for designing the new building that it was almost odd.

Seol Jihu secretly had taken a look, but the blueprint was so complicated and full of symbols that he did not recognize that he couldn’t make heads or tails of it at all.

An important thing to note was that Kim Hannah abstained from eating or drinking for several days to finish the blueprint.

"You dare throw me away? Fine, I’ll show you. I’ll definitely show you how well I’m living… Hehehehe!”

Whenever she was heard mumbling to herself every once in a while, an eerie sound that raised goosebumps flowed out of her room.

Of course, Kim Hannah did not decide everything by herself.

The rest of the team expressed great interest in the designing of the new building, and each of them told her their wishes.

For example, in Seol Jihu’s case.

"Speaking of which, I heard the house had a basement. It’d be perfect to use as a training ground if it could be made just a bit wider…”

He wanted the basement to be turned into a training ground.

"I also would like a training ground dedicated to archery. Something like a shooting range.”

Marcel Ghionea also contributed his opinion.

“How does making a bar on the first floor sound? We won’t need to go to a pub then. Wouldn’t that be awesome?”

"While you’re at it, a wine cellar would be great!”

Chohong and Hugo also expressed their personal desires.

[I’d like an area set aside for me.]

Flone also made an unexpected request.

[Once you hear those children’s stories, you’ll pity them too. It’s fine even if it’s just a small corner, so a place for a memorial monument would be good. That’ll make it easier for me to manage them.]

It sounded like her true intentions were revealed towards the end, but Kim Hannah willingly accepted Flone’s request.

Of course, to those that didn’t contribute anything, yet had the gall to request things, she extended an open hand.

"Hand over the money."

If they wanted a special area made for themselves, they had to pay an extra fee.

The team members competed amongst themselves to pay first. After all, the cost was at the very most a single gold coin.

Seo Yuhui stood from afar and contentedly watched the clamorous scene of everyone requesting this and that.

"Does Noona want anything?”

When Seol Jihu scampered over to ask her, she tapped her chin with her finger and thought for a second.

"Hmm… well, I’d like the dining hall to be connected to the kitchen. It’d be nice to have multiple kitchen facilities, too.”

“Kim Hannah! Make the kitchen and the dining hall the next greatest architectural masterpiece!”

"And I’d like it if there were flower beds in the garden. Gardening is my hobby. I can raise flowers that help with sleep and tea leaves that…”

"Take out everything that you designed for the garden and turn them all into flower beds!”

"Say what, you bastard?"

"N-No. Jihu. You don’t need to go that far…”

The blueprint was completed after the addition of many opinions.

Kim Hannah said that as much as she bought the finest drawing canvas, she would raise the finest building.

Seeing Kim Hannah throw an ambitious declaration, Seol Jihu finally felt their move to Eva, which felt like it was never going to come, was right around the block.

They were now really leaving Haramark.

They were so preoccupied with moving to a stage that they completely forgot about the very existence of the Parasites.

That was why they didn’t know. Rather, they couldn’t know…

…of the tremors coming from the Empire, indicating the birth of a new god.

*

"I don’t know the reason you summoned me, to be honest.”

A monotonous voice rang throughout the palace.

Like always, the Parasite Queen sat on the throne, and in her royal presence was surprisingly a being that was ‘standing’ with two legs.

Even Undying Diligence had trembled in fear in front of the Queen, so what was standing straight with its arms crossed in front of her?

"We would have captured the Spirit Realm if we had attacked for a little longer. Why have you…”

It even expressed its opinion to the Queen without hesitation.

[I also find that regrettable.]

But what was more surprising was the Queen’s attitude.

[But it can’t be helped. Unsightly Humility has left the frontlines and Undying Diligence has perished. I need you to fill their gaps for a while.]

"I’ve roughly heard about the death of the Chief of Vampires, but…”

The existence standing in front of the Queen shook its head.

"But no matter how I look at it, I can’t understand why you sent Raging Temperance as my substitute. Do you perhaps not know the past relationship between the Spirits and the mythical beasts—?”

[You don’t have to worry.]

The Parasite Queen waved her hand and lightly smiled. It was as if she was dealing with a close friend.

[Although there was a time when he struggled, Raging Temperance as of now has completely yielded. Most importantly, the size of his army is truly large, so you don’t have to worry about him messing up your work. Rather, he might be the best candidate in this situation.]

"If he can’t eat an already-prepared dish, then he would only prove that he wasn’t qualified to be a commander.”

The proud existence replied in a monotonous voice and continued talking.

"Then the reason you have called me is…”

[A huge storm will soon descend on Eva.]

The Parasite Queen’s voice suddenly sank to a solemn tone.

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