Seol Jihu doubted his eyes for a moment.
He knew her. In fact, he had met her personally and even held a conversation with her. Not in Paradise, but on Earth.
“This is the second time, right?”
The woman who suddenly appeared at the cafe where he was meeting with his older brother. It was Sinyoung’s CEO, Yun Seohui.
Kim Hannah who was standing like a statue finally snapped back.
“Oh, what am I doing? Pardon me, I was just too surprised.”
She quickly collected her thoughts and cut in.
“It’s been a while, Chief Kim… Ah, excuse me, Miss Kim Hannah.”
Yun Seohui smiled gently.
“I was going to ask whether you were well, but it looks like I don’t need to worry, judging by your face. I was worried about you. Really.”
Oh, now don’t you look happy?
“I apologize for making Director Yun worry… Thank you for your kind words.”
Bitch, I see you haven’t lost your glib tongue.
“But you really surprised me. I never thought Sinyoung would come to our opening ceremony.”
Why the hell are you here?
“To be honest, I was wondering whether I could go~ But Seora kept asking, so I finally decided~”
You know why.
A conversation that should have been more coarse came out, packaged in a flowery language.
Kim Hannah gently bit her lower lip. She expected Yun Seohui to at best mention Seol Jihu being affiliated to Sinyoung on Earth, but because she didn’t expect her to mention Yun Seora, she wasn’t sure what to say.
“Ah, but I don’t see Chief Yun here.”
“She was going to come with me, but something came up. You should have seen how dejected she was. Even I began to feel bad.”
Yun Seohui gave a believable excuse before asking suggestively.
“Can I come in?”
At that moment, Seol Jihu stepped in.
“Thank you for stopping by. Hurry on in.”
Yun Seohui greeted sweetly, a beautiful smile blooming on her face. Then, she hurried inside.
Kim Hannah went ‘Ah’. She had left Yun Seohui standing for too long.
It wasn’t just because Sinyoung was publicly recognized as Paradise’s number one organization. Unless they were her mortal enemy, there was no reason for her to kick them out when they made the long trip here.
Of course, she could ask them why they were here, but Yun Seohui had already given a good explanation. A past relationship was still a relationship, after all.
Unless there was a clear reason for Valhalla and Sinyoung to hold each other in contempt, there was nothing wrong with them having a cordial relationship ‘on the surface’.
Currently, the two sides were neither friendly nor hostile. That was because Valhalla’s representative wasn’t Kim Hannah, but Seol Jihu.
Kim Hannah had to admit. This time, Seol Jihu had reacted quicker.
Kim Hannah left the first floor’s reception work to Marcel Ghionea and followed Seol Jihu and Yun Seohui up the stairs. When the new guest entered everyone else’s view, the cafeteria instantly turned silent.
It wasn’t just the cafeteria. The entire tenth floor became dead silent. Everyone’s attention was directed to Yun Seohui, but she didn’t shrink back in the slightest. But that didn’t mean she was enjoying the stares either.
“May I say hello?”
After first asking Seol Jihu for permission, Yun Seohui walked with a straight and upright manner in between the cafeteria tables. Soon, she stopped in front of an old man sitting at a table before bowing respectfully.
As she bent down, her soft hair flowed down her neckline, making her look like a beauty who had come out of a painting.
“Hello, it’s my honor to finally meet you.”
Jang Maldong blinked his eyes a couple of times. Yun Seohui slowly raised her head and introduced herself.
“I am Sinyoung’s Yun Seohui.”
When she revealed her identity, Kazuki, who was quietly sitting at the table furrowed his brows as if he doubted his ears.
Park Dongchun, who was busy getting acquainted with Hao Win, also stared in shock.
It couldn’t be helped. Yun Seohui was chosen to be Sinyoung’s next representative. Someone of her position attending Valhalla’s opening ceremony was an event that could not be seen as meaningless.
“Ah, so it was Sinyoung’s future representative.”
Jang Maldong replied calmly.
“Though it was long ago, I remember hearing your name a few times from Yun Seojin. It’s good to finally meet you.”
“I’m honored that you remember me. I’ve also heard a lot about Master Jang from our chairman.”
“Yun Seojin talked to you about me?”
“He didn’t do so a few years ago, but recently he has been reminiscing the past more often.”
Her tone was somewhat different than when she was on the first floor. It was commanding yet not arrogant, and polite yet not servile.
Seol Jihu inwardly admired her ability to balance the emotion behind her words so perfectly.
“Now that’s hard to believe. That old grinch detests talking about the past.”
“He must have changed his mind after getting old. He’s still very healthy though.”
Jang Maldong nodded.
“Mm. Anyway, thank you for coming. Since you’re here, please make yourself at home.”
“Thank you. I’m happy to have had a chance to talk to you.”
“Say hello to Chairman Yun for me.”
“I will. I’m sure Father will be very happy.”
Yun Seohui replied politely before taking a few steps backward and turning around.
Then, Seol Jihu led her to a seat. While he was thinking about what to say, Yun Seohui broke the awkward silence first.
“I’m sure you’re tired of hearing this by now, but I have to say it again. Congratulations on officially establishing an organization.”
“I was surprised when I first heard the news. How did you turn a team into an organization in such a short period of time? I know this is rude, but I’m dying to know.”
“Well, we ran into several difficulties when we began. I think the dedication shown by the team members was what made it possible. Kim Hannah, especially, was an indispensable part of the process.”
Seol Jihu replied humbly.
“I see. Chief Kim is indeed very able… Ah, my apologies, Miss Kim Hannah. I’ve gotten used to calling you that over the years. Fixing an old habit is difficult, as you know.”
She put her hand up to her mouth in the middle of talking and then made a troubled expression. Anyone else doing this would have looked unnatural and fake, but it looked strangely graceful when Yun Seohui was doing it.
“I hear the organization’s name is Valhalla.”
“Valhalla. Valhalla. That’s a pretty name. What is the meaning behind it?”
Yun Seohui asked as she gave a sideways glance at Seol Jihu. It seemed like a casual question that wasn’t strange. But suddenly…
[Drop your head a little and loosen your pupils too. Try to remain as expressionless as possible.]
[A persons’ face, expression, glance, gesture, appearance, and even the sound of their breathing… some can synthesize even the tiniest information to guess someone’s intention.]
Agnes’ advice crossed his mind. Seol Jihu fell silent for a moment before saying.
“It’s not that there isn’t a meaning behind it, but I was actually kind of forced to go with this name.”
“You were forced?”
“I wanted to go with a different name, but the other guys were heavily against it.”
Seol Jihu smacked his lips while truly looking regretful.
“It couldn’t be helped. I still have regrets though.”
“You must be disappointed. What name did you want to go with?”
Yun Seohui consoled him with polite words before asking with her eyes twinkling. Seol Jihu said with a shrug.
“Veni, Vidi, Vici.”
Yun Seohui’s forehead creased for the first time.
“I came, I saw, I conquered. It’s a quote from Julius Caesar.”
“I know that, but… you wanted to make that the organization name?”
“Yes. I thought it was a pretty meaningful name, but everyone laughed at me before even hearing me out.”
“It doesn’t sound bad. I don’t understand why everyone thinks it’s so funny.”
Seol Jihu said as if to seek confirmation.
Yun Seohui thought he was joking at first. It wasn’t funny, but she was going to laugh out of courtesy. However…
“What do you think?”
Seol Jihu’s face was very serious. Yun Seohui blinked.
‘Eh?’ She looked like she suffered an unexpected blow.
She refused to admit he was saying this seriously, but he didn’t look like he was joking judging by his face.
No matter how nicely she tried to say it, the best she could come up with was, ‘That name is a bit odd…’ But she had a strong feeling Seol Jihu would try to distance himself from her if she said this aloud.
“I, I think it is a very unique name…”
She laughed vaguely and barely managed to reply.
“Right? It’s good, right?”
But Seol Jihu asked again. He seemed adamant about hearing a clear answer. Yun Seohui avoided his gaze subconsciously.
‘H-How am I supposed to reply to this?’
This was only the second time in her life that she heard such a vague question, the first being when she met with Haesol Research Institute’s CEO.
Then suddenly, a peal of small laughter rang out.
Is someone trying to help me? Turning around with a bright expression, her face convulsed faintly.
Seo Yuhui was walking over with a round plate in each of her hands. Yun Seohui’s expression settled down.
“…Hey.” Yun Seohui greeted her first. “It’s been a while.”
“Yeah. Hello.” Seo Yuhui replied with a smiling face. That was it. Seo Yuhui put the plates down, then disappeared into the kitchen without saying a word.
Seol Jihu could feel a cold wind blowing between the two for a short moment.
‘Do they know each other?’
Otherwise, they wouldn’t have said hello so casually. Of course, Seo Yuhui might have left to let the two representatives talk by themselves, but it was true that her action was a little strange.
Just now, Seo Yuhui didn’t look at Yun Seohui at all while she was putting down the plates. It was the same when she was replying to her greeting. They felt just like acquaintances who used to be close but stopped seeing each other after a huge fight.
However, Yun Seohui didn’t seem to mind it too much. Picking up the neatly placed fruit slices from a plate, she chattered nonchalantly.
Seol Jihu replied half-heartedly while focusing on the flow of the conversation. Now that he let Yun Seohui in, he was doing his best to figure out why she came.
Of course, it wasn’t as if he was entirely on the listening side. He asked about things that intrigued him. Or rather, he tried to ask.
“Oh, yes! I suddenly remembered, the Eva incident!”
Each time, Yun Seohui instantly changed the subject. Seol Jihu retorted flatly.
“What you did was incredible.”
Yun Seohui cusped her hands together and spoke.
“That incident was what caught my interest the most. I might be a step behind, but it didn’t feel right to come to an opening ceremony empty-handed, so…”
She glanced at one of her attendants who promptly walked up and handed her a thick envelope.
“Here’s a gift. I hope you like it.”
Yun Seohui handed the envelope over quickly. Taking the envelope in the flow of the moment, Seol Jihu stared at it fixedly.
When he looked back up, Yun Seohui smiled and gestured at him to take a look. Seol Jihu opened up the envelope, his eyes narrowing. The first page of the document inside read:
—Main Issues Regarding Queen Charlotte Aria and Evangeline’s Jung Sua
‘Main issues, huh.’
The document was rather thick to call it a summary of just the main issues, being dozens of pages in length. It wasn’t an amount he could read right now.
‘Even compiling the most recent issue wouldn’t make the document this long…’
Seol Jihu was curious about what kind of information was written inside, but he closed the envelope for now.
“Thank you for the gift.”
Yun Seohui replied clearly. Seol Jihu gave her a long stare.
Looking at Yun Seohui who seemed relieved for some reason, he finally threw in a question.
“Regarding the organization name we were talking about before…”
Yun Seohui shut her mouth. A small ripple spread out in her tranquil, lake-like eyes. Soon…
She closed her eyes as if she was dizzy and pressed her forehead.
“May I rest a little in a quiet room? I’m not feeling well.”
Yun Seohui really left, saying that she easily got motion-sickness and that riding the carriage over for a long time drained her energy.
Seol Jihu offered her a room to relax in for the rest of the day, and Yun Seohui accepted it while pretending to be reluctant.
Even after Yun Seohui moved to her room, Seol Jihu maintained his position until the end. Only after he sent off everyone who came for the event, did the opening ceremony finally come to a close.
Afterwards, Seol Jihu immediately went to the dorm area. Knocking on a door and opening it, he saw Kim Hannah standing in the room and looking down at a table.
On the table, of course, was the gift from Sinyoung.
Seol Jihu spoke casually before rushing into the room.
“Why the heck did that person come here?”
He plopped down on the edge of the bed and asked. Although he said ‘this person’, both he and Kim Hannah knew he was referring to Yun Seohui.
“Did she come to put on airs and act domineering?”
“She’s not that childish.”
Kim Hannah replied without taking her eyes off the report.
“And if that was her intention, she would have brought Sinyoung’s main force.”
Kim Hannah didn’t answer for a long time. After a brief silence, the sound of paper crumpling was heard.
“…I don’t know.”
With her teeth clenched, Kim Hannah squeezed the hand that was placed on the paper.
“Yun Seohui? Today? At Valhalla? For what? Why?”
She couldn’t figure out the two most important elements of the 5Ws and 1H.
“Don’t worry about it too much.”
Seeing Kim Hannah so upset, Seol Jihu said calmly.
“Maybe she came here without any hidden intentions.”
Kim Hannah scoffed.
“Must be nice to be so carefree.”
“I’m just saying that you don’t have to try to twist everything. It’s not that I’m trying to say we shouldn’t do that, but it might be better to just accept things at face value.”
Kim Hannah took her eyes off the report, agreeing with Seol Jihu to an extent.
“Anyway, why did you do that?”
“Don’t act like you don’t know. Why did you ask her about the organization name so much?”
“Ah, I was curious.”
Seol Jihu said while rubbing his chin.
“I couldn’t openly ask why she came here, so I asked that question without much thought and got a rather unexpected reaction.”
“It was just because of her reaction?”
“Well, I was a bit annoyed too.”
“I can accept her coming here, but while we were talking, she kept asking me question after question as if she came here to satiate her curiosity.”
Kim Hannah nodded. In Yun Seohui’s perspective, Valhalla’s sudden appearance might really be shocking. After all, it wasn’t so easy to create an organization. Not to mention, they had chosen to create an organization in Eva rather than Haramark.
“She felt a bit manipulative, trying to make me answer all her questions like it was my job. I found an opportunity to ask her a question too in the middle, so that’s what I did… What’s up with that face?”
Kim Hannah was looking at Seol Jihu with a renewed look.
“You’re… fricking awesome. You’re more discerning than I thought.”
“In what way?”
“Saying that she’s manipulative.”
Setting everything aside, that was one word that perfectly encapsulated Yun Seohui. As if she finally calmed down, Kim Hannah laughed.
“Jeez, this is the first time I’ve seen anything like it.”
“Seeing the First Lady taking a blow in the middle of a conversation. She’s usually not the type to lose with words.”
Seol Jihu smirked. He got up from the bed and walked over to the table. He figured it was probably pointless to talk about a problem they couldn’t come up with an immediate answer to.
“How’s the report?”
“It’s fantastic info.”
“In more detail.”
“It records Charlotte Aria’s life and how Jung Sua came to be in her current position in detail. That includes their background. It’s really not missing any info.”
As expected, the gift surpassed their wildest imagination.
The importance of information did not need to be said. There was a reason people said, know your enemy and know yourself, and you will not be defeated in a hundred battles.
“Is it usable?”
“It’s not just usable.”
The current situation was at a standstill. Although Valhalla had grasped the winds of triumph, Jung Sua was hanging onto the last bastion known as Eva’s queen.
And in such a situation, Sinyoung had given Valhalla a gift, a wonderful bag of goodies that could become a powerful weapon depending on how it was used.
“There’s a lot.”
“Ways to attack their relationship.”
Kim Hannah crossed her arms, looking troubled.
“There are so many that I don’t know which one I should poke at first.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
For those wondering, I would consider this chapter "normal" length (~3000 words). Chapter 265, 266, 268, I would consider "short" (2200~2800 words). Chapter 260, 262, 263, I would consider "long" (3200~4000 words). 271, 272, 273 I would consider "super-long" (4k+; I feel like 272 will reach 5500-ish). So that's what I mean when I say it averages out.