The campsite was unexpectedly quiet, and a somewhat serious air was swirling about it, tense like it would snap in half at any moment.
“Come out of there.”
Looking around and tilting her head, Kim Hannah heard a voice. She turned around and saw Phi Sora holding a bucket in each of her hands.
“Miss Phi Sora?”
Kim Hannah called out to her, but she did not spare her a single glance. Phi Sora was simply glaring in Kim Hannah’s direction with a sharp gaze.
“What are you looking at? Where is ev—”
A sharp voice cut her off. Phi Sora then continued speaking while continually gazing at one spot.
“I’m almost done, so please wait there. And try to move if you can.”
Just as Kim Hannah was about to ask what this was all about…
Swish! A bolt of golden lightning accompanied by a fierce gale barreled past her.
Tzzzt! Intense crackling noises struck the frightened Kim Hannah’s ears.
The following gust of wind made her skirt and hair flutter. At the same time, Phi Sora threw the contents of the buckets she was holding in her hands.
As Kim Hannah turned her widened gaze…
She saw Seol Jihu wrapped in an electric discharge, brandishing his spear toward a clump of stones raining down upon him.
Boom, boom, boom, boom! Each time the spear cut through the air, explosive booms rang out.
Kim Hannah saw the youth displaying a marvelous spectacle of stabbing only the blue stones from dozens of multicolored stones. But suddenly, she furrowed her brows.
She had seen a blue stone falling behind him as he retracted his spear.
Just as she thought, ‘Did he not see it?’ Seol Jihu swung his arm back.
A Mana Spear shot out of his hand, piercing the stone. He hadn’t even turned around. Confirming the stone dust fluttering in the air, Seol Jihu smiled.
Jang Maldong closed his mouth and lowered his head slightly, a small habit he had when there was nothing to nitpick.
Feeling the wind slowly coming to a stop, Kim Hannah’s mouth dropped slightly. She had realized that everything she just saw happened in the blink of an eye before her fluttering skirt fell back down.
“So? Did you make good progress?”
The hellish training was over. The training team cleaned up the campsite and hopped on the carriage Kim Hannah brought along to go back to Haramark.
“Looks like you’ve gotten a lot stronger.”
Kim Hannah asked, nudging Seol Jihu’s side.
Seol Jihu only displayed a faint smile, looking a bit tired. His body was screaming for rest, having trained intensely until the very last moment.
But he also felt incredibly refreshed. Not only did he fulfill his desire for training, but he also made quite a bit of achievement.
Seol Jihu’s smile grew thicker as he stared at his Status Window.
[Your Status Window]
[1. General Information]
Summoned Date: 2017. 03. 16
Marking Grade: Gold
Current Condition: Healthy
Class: Lv 5. Lance of Nemesis
Nationality: Korea (Area 1)
Affiliation: Carpe Diem
Alias: Smartass, The Adversary, Top Graduate, Headache, First Star, Prankster, Crybaby, Titty-Loonie, Haramark’s War Hero, Training Masochist
[3. Physical Level]
Strength: Intermediate (Intermediate)
Endurance: Intermediate (Low)
Agility: Intermediate (High) ↑1
Stamina: Intermediate (High) ↑1
Mana: High (High)
Luck: Intermediate (Intermediate)
Remaining Ability Points: 6
1. Innate Abilities (1)
—Future-Gauging Nine Eyes (Grade Unknown)
2. Class Abilities (5)
—Sword Qi (Intermediate)
—Basic Spear Techniques: Thrust (High), Strike (High), Cut (High)
—Mana Spear - Multiple (High)
—Flash Thunder (Intermediate (High))
—Righteous Heart (Intermediate)
3. Other Abilities (2)
—Reinforced Circuit (High)
—Intuition (Intermediate (High))
His Status Window felt a lot fuller than before, like a beanbag that only looked cool now that it was finally packed full of beans.
Only now did he feel like a High Ranker.
“So, do you think you can call yourself a High Ranker now?”
Kim Hannah didn’t give up and asked tenaciously. Seol Jihu thought for a moment before speaking.
“Yeah. I’d say I’m… 4.6?”
Kim Hannah made a dumbfounded face at Seol Jihu’s self-evaluation.
“Not 4, not 5, and not even 4.5. What’s up with that vague number?”
Jang Maldong, who was listening in from the opposite side of the carriage, chuckled.
‘He evaluates himself as Level 4.6?’
If this was the standard everyone went by, every Earthling in Paradise would have to lower their average level by 1.
Jang Maldong wanted to tell him to not joke around, but he maintained his silence and watched. As far as he was concerned, underestimating one’s strength was better than overestimating it.
He also knew for a fact that Seol Jihu still had lots of room for improvement.
So much so that Jang Maldong couldn’t see the end of it, even though the youth had become a High Ranker.
Before returning to Haramark, the Carpe Diem team stopped briefly in Eva to check out the building that was under construction.
When Seol Jihu got to the plot of land he previously purchased, he became lost for words.
He had told Kim Hannah to build a base of operation for the organization, but even setting aside its size, she had built a medieval building straight out of a famous university.
She called it an exquisite collaboration of Romanesque and Baroque-style architecture.
‘Only ten people will be living there for now… why is it so damn big…?’
He couldn’t begin to describe how imposing it was standing in the middle of the otherwise empty plot. It apparently had 10 floors as well.
[Did anything strange happen during construction?]
“No, nothing at all. The workers were surprised.”
[Fufu, those kids, I’ll have to give them a treat later.]
Seol Jihu stared at the building blankly before asking Kim Hannah who was busy chatting with Flone.
“Can I go in?”
“It should be fine, but it’s still under construction. Why not put off touring the place until after it’s done?”
“Sure. By the way, how much did it cost to build all this?”
Kim Hannah dodged the question skillfully, saying she would submit a supplement budget report later.
It wasn’t until Seol Jihu returned to Haramark that he heard the truth. When he did, his eyes almost popped out of their sockets.
My God, Kim Hannah had apparently spent six gold coins just for the construction!
“Just what did you do to spend six gold coins?”
“You know, just trying to make the place look perfect. I bought the best material, and it takes money to rent out space in the temple’s storage room or to make a contribution point storage room…”
“And to tell you the truth, I invited an Alchemist…”
“Alchemist? You hired a Magician? For what?”
“For helping with the construction and also for creating the hot spring…”
Kim Hannah blurred the end of her sentence as she twirled the ends of her hair. She was dodging Seol Jihu’s gaze as well. She must realize she spent quite a bit.
Seol Jihu had felt things were getting out of hand when she was skipping meals to work on the blueprint. And lo and behold, Kim Hannah did make trouble.
‘Well, I guess it’s not really trouble.’
Considering how much money she saved him when buying this plot of land, Seol Jihu decided to overlook this matter. After all, it wasn’t as if Kim Hannah used the money for her personal gain.
“Just give me a heads up next time, alright?”
“I did though.”
“When you were sleeping.”
Kim Hannah gave an ambiguous smile.
Now that they were back from training, Carpe Diem started to prepare for the move just a day after.
‘No matter how fast we go, it will still take at least three, four days to get to Eva.’
Seol Jihu wanted to leave within the next three days so they could make it to Eva around the time the construction ended.
But there really wasn’t much to pack. Because Kim Hannah refurbished the place with entirely new furniture, the only things they had to bring were their personal belongings.
Seol Jihu decided to pick up his items and fortune from the temple’s storage on the last day.
The group decided to leave Carpe Diem’s office building alone, as is, without taking anything out and bringing anything in.
Given Kim Hannah’s personality, Seol Jihu fully expected her to suggest selling the building to acquire more funds, but she surprisingly said she had other plans.
When Seol Jihu asked for the specifics, she said nothing was set in stone and that Master Jang Maldong would tell him about it later.
Other than that, the only noteworthy thing was Seol Jihu visiting the Assassination Guild and deciding what to do with the remaining duration of their contract.
Packing up while tying up loose ends one by one, he finally felt like he was leaving Haramark once he contracted carriages for the day of the move.
Seol Jihu was enjoying peaceful, relaxing days for the first time in a while. The preparation for the move was mostly finished, so he really didn’t have anything to do.
Today, he woke up early as always and practiced his Righteous Heart. He then drank a cup of tea that Seo Yuhui personally brewed, while reading the newspaper that the Assassination Guild brought.
If there was one thing he learned after coming back, it was that news of Carpe Diem’s move had garnered quite a bit of attention from the public.
Rumors had spread of Carpe Diem constructing a building in the center of Eva and registering as an organization, so all sorts of speculative articles were being written.
Then again, since the Triads were moving with Carpe Diem as well, it was no wonder that it would be so rowdy.
That wasn’t all.
Ever since Seol Jihu returned to Haramark, he had been wrought with strange anxiousness. He felt like he was forgetting about something extremely important, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
Come to think of it, on the first day of his return…
—Stupid! Idiot! Die… No, don’t die. Anyway, I hope you get crushed while training!
He saw a note with the above words. He had ignored it, thinking it was a joke from some attention-hungry person.
It wasn’t until the day before the move that he realized where this indescribable emotion came from.
All because of a man who visited Carpe Diem’s office around dinner time.
“I heard you came back two days ago.”
A deep voice flowed out.
The hero of the surprise visit was Jan Sanctus. But for some reason, his complexion wasn’t all that good.
He usually adorned a stiff expression that wouldn’t let out a drop of blood even if he was stabbed with a knife. But now, that stiffness was nowhere to be seen, a haggardly face replacing it.
“General Sanctus, what brings you here…?”
“The atmosphere at the palace hasn’t been good recently. No, I’ll be frank. It’s terrible.”
Hearing this, Seol Jihu put on a grave expression.
“Something big must have happened.”
“That’s one way to put it. Excuse my impertinence, but could you come to the palace without asking anything? Please.”
As Seol Jihu had never seen this cool-headed general plead for anything, he immediately led the way forward. From the looks of it, the Haramark Royal Palace seemed to be in grave danger.
‘Right, the Parasites have been too quiet recently.’
Although he was leaving for Eva, he had no plans to ignore Haramark’s danger.
Something really must have happened as the palace was dreary from the entrance.
In the past, the palace would brighten up just with Teresa skipping out and greeting him with a smile.
During the past three months, the palace had turned into a
gloomy, bleak haunted house. Once Jan Sanctus reported Seol Jihu’s visit, in less than a minute, King Prihi personally came out to greet him.
He wasn’t even wearing shoes, clearly in a hurry.
“Aigoo, son! Why are you here only now?”
With dark bags under his eyes, he grabbed Seol Jihu’s hands.
“How could you be so cold? You should have come earlier.”
“Pardon? No, um, I just came back from training.”
“Still. It’s been, what, three months since you returned from the expedition? You have quite the character, young man.”
Prihi led Seol Jihu inside, blaming him in the process. After being dragged away in a moment…
“Now, now, hurry. You’re the only one who can solve this issue. These days, the palace floors have transformed into thin ice.”
Seol Jihu was pushed into the administrative office.
By the time Seol Jihu snapped out of his daze, he saw Teresa neatly sitting in front of a desk, scribbling with a quill pen.
She must have heard the commotion, but was looking at the documents without giving Seol Jihu a single glance.
Seol Jihu hastily opened his mouth.
Teresa answered without taking her eyes off the documents.
Seol Jihu asked with a confused look.
“The king suddenly dragged me here…”
“Why are you asking me that?”
Her voice was cold.
“I’m working, as you can see. You haven’t made an appointment either.”
And she also sounded very business-like.
Seol Jihu drew a blank. Teresa’s mannerism was a bit different than usual. Because of it, he was a bit hurt.
Wasn’t he a comrade who had been with her since the battle at Arden Valley and the escape from the laboratory?
‘Is she like this because we’re moving to Eva…?’
Thinking like this, he became a bit bitter.
“I don’t know why you came here, but I’m very busy at the moment. If you’d like to talk to me, please go through proper procedures.”
But then again, what Teresa was saying wasn’t wrong. Seol Jihu tried to suppress his disappointment and chose to leave obediently.
“Yes. Sorry for bothering you. Excuse me.”
He bowed and turned around dejectedly. But he couldn’t bring himself to walk away. Because when he did, a blade-like gaze cut through his back.
When he stealthily turned around, Teresa finally had her eyes off the documents, now glaring at him fiercely. Her expression could only be described as saying, ‘I dare you to take even a single step out of this room.’
Teresa clenched her teeth and got up. After stomping out, she sat down on a chair to her left. Tang! She raised her hand and slammed it down on the table in front of her.
“Come sit over here.”
Seol Jihu flinched.
Seol Jihu gulped. He was very familiar with this specific phrase.
He had often heard the same phrase from Yoo Seonhwa before she chided him.
Anyway, feeling that running away now would bring about devastating trouble, Seol Jihu plodded across the room and sat down on Teresa’s opposite side.
…To be honest, he was feeling guilty about something.
He had pompously declared he would convince her but had left for several months without saying anything. Of course, he had a good reason, but that surely wasn’t an excuse.
In any case, thinking he should apologize before anything else, Seol Jihu carefully opened his mouth.
Teresa interlocked her fingers and tilted her head slightly. She seemed to be saying, ‘Fine, let’s see what you have to say.’
“Sorry about what?”
She cut him off with a sharp voice before he could even finish.
“Tell me. What are you sorry about?”
A flustered look flashed across Seol Jihu’s face.
“See, you don’t think you did anything wrong. You’re just saying sorry for the sake of it.”
Teresa snorted and turned her head sideways. Seol Jihu took ahold of his chaotic consciousness and answered.
“I’m sorry about contacting you so late.”
“Oh, so you know?”
Her tone couldn’t be called friendly in the slightest. In fact, she was clearly picking a fight.
“Did I ask for anything grand? Was putting mana into a communication crystal that hard?”
Now that things had come to this, Seol Jihu began to feel uncomfortable. He had dashed here in a worry, but now that he was here, Teresa was treating him like a criminal. He was so scared that he couldn’t even speak!
“Princess.” Because of it, he subconsciously blurted out sharply, “Yes, yes, I’m very sorry about that point.”
Hearing this, Teresa’s eyes widened, blinking quickly.
“Are you getting mad at me?”
“I’m not getting mad. I was just too busy with the organization and whatnot. It wasn’t like I was playing around.”
“You are getting mad at me. Ha!”
“I told you, I’m not. And if you really had urgent business, you could have contacted me first—”
“And who’s the one who proudly shouted that he’d convince me?”
As they took turns questioning every detail, Seol Jihu suddenly became speechless.
‘She hasn’t forgotten about that…’
“I-I’m here now, aren’t I?”
He stuttered due to the unexpected counterpunch.
“Ah~ Yes~ You are~ It’s been two days since you came back, but I’m so glad you finally decided to come!”
Judging from her furious expression and tone, he must have poked her sore spot and incurred her wrath.
Seol Jihu wet his lips in vain. He didn’t understand why he was here talking about this. Feeling dizzy, he pressed his forehead and sighed.
“Oh, come on…”
“What? What did you just say? ‘Oh, come on?’”
Teresa’s brows slanted up. Her double wicked brows scared him, but Seol Jihu didn’t back down.
“I was busy preparing for the move after I came back.”
“Wow~ Such a busybody~”
“Why do you have to talk so sarcastically? Let’s be real, it’s not like I went off to fool around. I just came back from a hellish training!”
“Oh my, what are you saying? Did I chastise you or something? All I’m saying is—”
“I’m working hard, really hard! It’s not like I just have one or two things I need to take care of. Just how far do I have to go for your consideration?”
Seol Jihu blurted out in a fit of anger. He immediately went “Ah”, but he had already spilled the milk.
Teresa stared at Seol Jihu dazedly, clearly in a huge shock. Her eyelashes trembled, and her lips quivered.
After a brief silence… Haa, a quiet sigh was heard.
Teresa’s throat drew a gulp before she crossed her arms and turned away.
“I don’t know.”
“It’s fine. You’re always like this anyway.”
Seol Jihu nibbled on his poor lip. He wanted to say something, but he became speechless when he saw that Teresa was about to cry.
“I’m so upset.”
She sniffled and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.
“I mean, did I ask for anything big? Did I tell him to call me every day? Is it that hard to make a tiny bit of time to call just once?”
She babbled on incessantly for him to hear while wiping her tearless eyes.
‘I’d rather face Undying Diligence again…’
Seol Jihu scratched his head, heaved out a big sigh, then nodded his head.
“…Sorry. It was my bad.”
“What are you sorry about?”
In the end, they came back to square one.
Seol Jihu closed his eyes.
Seol Jihu searched for God for the second time since he entered Paradise.
On the other hand, the God Seol Jihu was looking for…
…was spectating the bickering man and woman with a look of intrigue on her face.
[Such an adorable fight… The atmosphere’s all heated up… Ah, the joys of youth~]
Superbia screamed a small “Kyaa~” while cupping her reddened cheeks with her hands.
[This rascal, I just don’t understand why he got angry.]
[I can empathize with him. It’s not like he was fooling around. Can he really be blamed for forgetting and having his mind elsewhere? He’s human, after all.]
[There are things you can forget and things you can’t. I told him again and again, to treat her well. He should be on his knees begging for her forgiveness, and yet… Tsk.]
[Oh? You say such interesting things, Gula-nim. Begging on his knees? Did my baby commit a grave sin?]
Meanwhile, Gula and Luxuria were bickering in a corner.
[He’s not your child, but mine.]
Gula snorted, her solemn voice resounding in space.
[I can’t let this go on. I’ll summon him soon and give him a good scolding…]
Luxuria put her hands on her waist and protested angrily.
[Oh please— My baby was busy! Why are you trying to crush his spirit?]Previous Chapter Next Chapter
The Stamina stat shows up as Intermediate (High) this chapter (after a +1 increase). As pointed out by a reader, ch192 also reveals that Seol Jihu's current Stamina stat is Intermediate (High). I double-checked both of the chapters in Korean, and it seems the author made a mistake here.