Chapter 268. The Beauty at the Opening Ceremony (5)

Time passed, and the night set in.

Seol Jihu wondered if he would have to see Yun Seohui again at dinner, but she did not show herself. According to her attendant, she still wasn’t feeling well from the motion-sickness and planned to skip dinner.

Seol Jihu ate to his heart’s content and headed to the basement to relieve the day’s fatigue by using the hot spring that an Alchemist was hired to construct.

‘The first floor was for men, the second floor was for women, right?’

He checked the floor level multiple times to prevent any mishaps. Opening the door, a familiar scene spread out before him.

The spacious basement floor was filled with white steam. Scanning from left to right, he saw more than a couple of baths, making the place resemble a large public bathhouse.

‘I see why Yuhui Noona and Miss Phi Sora praised it so much.’

After wrapping his lower body with a towel, Seol Jihu thought about where to go before choosing a bath that had hot water pouring down from a man-made cliff.

“Uaaaaah…”

Sitting in the transparent hot spring boiling with steam, he shuddered automatically. A moan escaped his mouth as the incredible heat made his body tingle.

“Piaaa….”

Having followed Seol Jihu without him noticing, Little Chick also peeped happily. Seol Jihu chuckled.

“You happy?”

“Pyak.”

Little Chick must have taken a liking to the hot spring as it floated on the water and began to swerve around.

Seol Jihu fell into thought as he enjoyed the feeling of his bones melting. The focal point of his thoughts, of course, was Yun Seohui.

Setting aside why she came here, he had more than a few questions he wanted the answers to. He asked others about how they viewed her and unexpectedly got decent impressions.

It seemed the courteous attitude she took toward Jang Maldong worked to a certain extent.

This was an especially stark contrast to what they expected her to be as the future representative of Sinyoung. Rather than putting on airs, she talked amicably, which surprised everyone. Phi Sora said she even felt a sense of kinship from her because she suffered from Seol Jihu.

‘But is that her real self…?’

Seol Jihu furrowed his brows while thinking.

‘Do I even know enough about Yun Seohui to judge what is real and what is fake?’

Of course, Kim Hannah had told him various things about Yun Seohui, but they were someone else’s opinion.

He didn’t want to make any judgments yet. From what Yun Seohui had shown so far, it was hard to find fault with her.

He also heard that it was Yun Seohui who persuaded the Executors to go reinforce Haramark in the previous war.

The other cities that requested support were unhappy with Sinyoung and Scheherazade Royal Family’s decision, but at the end of the day, her decision led to the best possible result.

Looking at things from this angle, Seol Jihu should be thanking Yun Seohui instead. Moreover, she was not in the way of Seol Jihu’s ultimate goal either.

‘At least, from what she’s shown so far.’

The problem was that it was difficult to blindly trust her.

A honeyed-tongue with a heart of a gall. It meant to speak sweet words while hiding a knife in one’s stomach.

Every human being had emotions. Seol Jihu wasn’t an exception either. And whenever he saw Yun Seohui, Seol Jihu’s instincts restrained him.

Looking back, it was the same when he met Teresa. Even though he was seeing her for the first time, he felt a strange attraction to her and followed her to Arden Valley despite being only Level 1.

It was purely because he was attracted to Teresa.

The situation was a little different with Yun Seohui. Whenever he tried to get close to her, something inside of him held him back. This brake was quite vague. Rather than pushing her away, it was more that it made him maintain an appropriate distance from her.

Seol Jihu did not know why.

‘Is she a friend or a foe?’

Or was she a third-party who was neither a friend or a foe?

“I just don’t get it…”

Just as he sighed…

“What do you not get?”

Seol Jihu looked up, startled.

Then, he became lost for words. Yun Seohui was standing outside the bath with a mischievous smile on her face.

‘What?’

It was an excellent surprise attack if that was what it was meant to be.

But fortunately, Yun Seohui also had a white towel covering her upper and lower body. Of course, her petite shoulders and smooth skin were fully exposed, but they gave off a more elegant feeling than a lewd feeling.

Yun Seohui cupped her hands together and made a troubled expression.

“Sorry, I knew the women’s bath is situated on the second floor, but I had no choice but to leave.”

“You had no choice but to leave?”

“Yes, there was a prior guest. Yuhui kept glaring at me, haha.”

She made it sound like Seo Yuhui chased her out.

“I wasn’t feeling well and went to the hot spring, hoping that sweating would help me feel better. I’m very sad now~”

Seol Jihu spoke with a dumbfounded face.

“Yuhui Noona isn’t the type to do something like that.”

“Oh, Representative Seol, you don’t know much about the Daughter of Luxuria, do you?”

Yun Seohui grinned.

“She’s more extreme than you think. It’s true that she has a naturally benevolent personality and broad-mindedness, but once someone loses favor in her eyes, she will never give that person a second look.”

Yun Seohui looked like she was joking, but her voice didn’t sound so at all.

“Anyway, staying there didn’t feel right, but I still wanted to enjoy the hot spring, so…”

Yun Seohui mumbled before glancing at Seol Jihu.

“Can I come in?”

Seol Jihu snapped back to reality at her furtive tone. At the same time, he felt a strange sense of déjà vu. Or should he say he felt out of place? Perhaps it was both.

[Can I come in?]

He got the same feeling earlier in the day at the first-floor entrance. It was as if Yun Seohui was asking whether she could enter the line Seol Jihu had drawn.

“Yes, take your time. I’ll get out. And just in case, I’ll make sure no one else enters the men’s hot spring in the meanwhile.”

Seol Jihu hurriedly adjusted the towel around his waist and tried to get up.

“No, it’s fine. How can new water replace the old?”

But saying so meaningfully, Yun Seohui stepped into the bath.

“But—”

“Ai, it’s fine. We’re both covered up anyway.”

Coming in with a giggle, she turned halfway around and slowly sat down. She was a short distance away from Seol Jihu.

“Ah~ This is great.”

In the end, Seol Jihu also sat back down.

“How amazing! I’m jealous, a hot spring in the basement …”

Seol Jihu glanced at Yun Seohui as she stroked her long hair while leaning back.

Silky black hair, milky skin, and a seemingly shining face. Seol Jihu felt the same when he first met her at the cafe, that she was truly a charming woman.

Although her appearance gave off a cold, pure impression at first, her colorful expressions and frequent smiles produced a gentle ambiance.

It was the same for her height and figure. Not a single part of her body was too much or too little as she boasted a perfect golden ratio.

A beauty with contradicting charms, giving an aloof aura and amicable air at the same time. Though she was similar to Yun Seora in some ways, her words and actions were completely different that they seemed nothing alike.

In any case, together in a bath with such a beauty with only a towel covering him, it wouldn’t be strange for Seol Jihu’s heart to beat faster. However, his heart slowed down instead.

He was nervous, not because of a fluttering heart but because of soaring wariness. In a way, it was very mysterious.

Even now, Seol Jihu’s attention was entirely focused on what Yun Seohui would say and figuring out why she entered the bath.

“Oh, yes.”

Chak. Clapping her hands together, Yun Seohui turned to Seol Jihu as if she just remembered something.

“There is something I’m personally dying to know.”

It began.

“What relationship do you have with Seora?”

But her question was completely unexpected. He planned to half-ass the answer and ask about the organization name again, but he immediately lost his train of thought.

“A friend from the Neutral Zone… is probably not the answer you want.”

When he replied quietly, Yun Seohui had a surprised expression.

“I didn’t expect this. I for sure thought you’d say, ‘Excuse me?’”

“…Excuse me?”

“Yep, exactly.”

Seol Jihu became flustered before shaking his head.

“I understand what you’re trying to ask. Our relationship isn’t anything like that.”

“Eii~ How can a man and a woman be simple friends?”

“It’s hard to say we’re friends. Just think of us as colleagues from Paradise.”

Yun Seohui puckered her lips and let out a small, “Ooh~”

“…Wow, if you say it like that, I really don’t have anything to say. Seora would be sad if she found out. At first, she couldn’t even sleep easily.”

Yun Seohui giggled as she spoke in astonishment.

“Anyway, aren’t you cutting her off too harshly? Our Seora is a pitiful child once you get to know her.”

Seol Jihu stopped giving Seo Yuhui a sideways glance. He turned slightly and stared straight at the chattering Yun Seohui.

“I don’t know.”

Seol Jihu didn’t know why…

“It might be like that in Director Yun’s eyes, but I don’t think she is pitiful at all.”

But words suddenly came out of his mouth. Yun Seohui’s eyes widened, and she closed her mouth.

Silence descended. Seol Jihu went, “Ah” after saying it, but he had already spilled the milk.

“Ah…”

Yun Seohui waved her hand at a loss for what to do.

“N-No, that’s not what I meant…”

Looking extremely troubled, she rubbed her the back of her attractive neck.

“That’s not what I meant… Sorry. I didn’t mean to probe you or anything.”

Seol Jihu wanted to ask if she meant what he thought she meant or what intention she had, but he held himself back.

“No, you don’t need to apologize. I didn’t mean it that way either. I just said what was on my mind.”

“Ah~ I see. Why am I like this today?”

Yun Seohui stuck out her tongue as if she was dying from embarrassment. Seol Jihu stopped his eyes from narrowing and slowly continued.

“How should I say this… I always thought Miss Yun Seora was very cool. She didn’t submit to unfavorable conditions and got back up.”

“Wow, you say the same thing Seora did.”

“?”

“She said that you were very cool too. That you reached out to her when she was in the pit of hell, ready to give up and die.”

“….”

“This… My woman’s intuition is tingling~”

Yun Seohui gave a suspicious look. She was just as experienced in changing her expression as Kim Hannah.

“What do you think?”

‘Wait a minute.’

The more he interacted with her, the more curious he got.

‘Isn’t there a slot in the Status Window that reveals one’s current emotion?’

Seol Jihu hesitated before coming to a decision. He felt a bit sorry toward Yun Seohui, but he couldn’t help but look.

Just as Seol Jihu activated the Nine Eyes…

“I know you made it clear, but— Ufufufu.”

Yun Seohui laughed flippantly before raising her upper body slightly and wafting through the water. Next, as Seol Jihu raised his eyes, bright lights radiated out from Yun Seohui.

As soon as he checked Yun Seohui’s color, his eyes widened.

Because Yun Seohui didn’t just have one color.

Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet! A total of five colors intertwined together, undulating around Yun Seohui.

Strictly speaking, this wasn’t the first time he saw multiple colors on one person. But this was the first time that he saw someone simultaneously shining with five colors.

“I wonder if Seora can at least have a little bit of hope…”

‘What—!?’

The shocked Seol Jihu leaned back reflexively almost at the exact same time that Yun Seohui paused after getting close to him.

Next, a vision spread out before Seol Jihu.

Perhaps because there was more than one color, there was more than one vision. A total of five visions played out simultaneously.

Seol Jihu was already confused, and with the scenes inside the visions moving and talking on top of each other, he couldn’t make out what was happening.

Then, as he finally got around to isolating and checking one vision…

“!”

He finally understood why he got a sense of déjà vu and why he felt so out of place whenever he met Yun Seohui.

‘No…’

Seol Jihu’s breath froze.

‘Way….’

His eyes waned as his jaw slowly dropped open.

It was then. He suddenly saw Yun Seohui staring at him dazedly. Her expression was a little different than before. Seeing her emotionless pupils staring at him fixedly, an unknown chill shot up on his body.

But that only lasted a moment. In an instant, her eyes left Seol Jihu’s face and went up.

‘Ah.’

Then, it went back down. Although it should not be visible to her, she stared straight at the location of the holographic vision. In this short instant, she had noticed that Seol Jihu wasn’t looking at her.

“Sorry. You surprised me by suddenly coming over here.”

Although Seol Jihu quickly made up an excuse, it was a bit too late. The corner of Yun Seohui’s mouth curled up. She had an intrigued look on her face, seemingly saying, ‘Oh?’

Seol Jihu bit his lower lip. Among the many visions, he rechecked the scene surrounded in a yellow outline before looking back at Yun Seohui.

Of the five scenes, only this vision was relatively quiet.

Yun Seohui was sitting on the ground in a sorry state while a demon stood in front of her. No, it wasn’t a demon.

[Ahahaha…]

If he wasn’t mistaken—

[…Just why?]

Yun Seohui giggled before suddenly turning serious, and the man pointing a spear at her neck…

[Why does our mighty Spear Demon— Why does he hate me so much?]

…was none other than Seol Jihu himself.

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