They had a new lead. Summarizing the finding, Evangeline Rose and Adam Galaev shared the same goal. But in the process of achieving that goal, their opinions clashed. They were unable to compromise and parted ways.
Adam Galaev continued to seek cooperation afterward, but Evangeline Rose seemed to have refused. And now, Evangeline Rose was dead, and Adam Galaev had gone missing.
With this, their ‘ultimate goal’ seemed to be buried, but it wasn’t as if there was no clue.
The female Priest of Invidia, who Adam Galaev made contact with and the ‘girl’ who was mentioned in his last letter. Kim Hannah happened to know the identity of the former.
Apparently, she was the white headband girl Seol Jihu met in the Banquet. As such, Seol Jihu immediately ordered for their search. Since it was just looking for someone, Valhalla’s information network could do it easily.
Tong Chai brought the news exactly four days later.
The brother and sister had been traveling to and from many cities ever since they departed Eva. From Eva to Caligo, from Caligo to Grazia, from Grazia to Nur, then from Nur to Odor.
The city where they were last seen was the southwestern city of Odor.
Supposedly, they were staying at an inn named Dreaming Moon Inn. As the Assassination Guild had a branch in Odor, Seol Jihu sent a messenger to relay his desire to meet them.
Since they seemed to be wanderers who didn’t stay in one place for long, Seol Jihu wanted to call them over to Eva or have them stay in Odor. After all, Seol Jihu would have wasted his time and effort if they left by the time he arrived in the city.
The Assassination Guild seemed to have succeeded in making contact with them. However, the reply they got was a hard ‘no’.
The flustered Seol Jihu suggested the Assassination Guild ask again, saying they should mention meeting Seol Jihu at the Banquet. However, the Assassination Guild returned the same reply, reporting, ‘They still refused.’
Apparently, a scary-looking burly man, who seemed to be the white headband girl’s guardian, refused vehemently. They couldn’t figure out why the brother and sister refused to meet.
In the end, Seol Jihu decided to go to Odor himself. He didn’t want to force unwilling people into meeting him, but he couldn’t help it due to the urgency of the situation.
Seol Jihu arrived at Odor before dawn break. Thankfully, the two had not left the city yet. It was worth borrowing the quickest carriage from the Eva Royal Family and riding all day.
The Dreaming Moon Inn was a run-down inn near the southern gate of Odor. After grabbing a room at the counter, Seol Jihu headed to the second floor.
‘Second room on the left, was it?’
Seol Jihu was wrought with mixed feelings as he walked up the stairs. Although he rushed here in a hurry, it didn’t look like he would be welcomed. Not only was he barging in on his own accord, but it was also the middle of the night.
‘Maybe I should wait a bit and meet them in the morning.’
That way, he wouldn’t be met with, ‘Just what time do you think it is?’ Of course, he probably couldn’t avoid hearing, ‘Didn’t we tell you we don’t want to meet you?’
But his worry turned into doubt the moment he walked up to the second floor.
It was the dead of night. A faint light was leaking out from the end of the dark, empty hallway. It was coming from the gap under the door of the second room on the left side of the hallway.
‘Are they awake?’
Seol Jihu walked up with silent steps. He gently placed his ear on the door but couldn’t hear anyone talking. Just as he was wondering whether he should knock…
A lonesome voice flowed into his ear.
Seol Jihu took his ear off in a startle. He could hear giggling from inside.
—You can come in. Ah, other guests should be sleeping, so you should open and close the door quietly.
Weren’t they a Warrior and a Priest, and not an Archer?
Seol Jihu stared at the door before opening it carefully. The first to enter his line of sight was a frail-bodied girl whose moonlit white hair flowed all the way down to her waist. She was sitting on an old chair, staring blankly at a window reflecting the distant moonlight.
She slowly turned her head once Seol Jihu quietly closed the door. She gave a dreamy smile with a mischievous expression that contrasted her hollow, witless pupils.
Seol Jihu finally caught sight of the pretty white headband on the girl’s head.
“It’s been a while since we last met.”
“Ah, yes, it’s nice to meet you again.”
Seol Jihu, who lost his train of thought without realizing, snapped out of his daze with difficulty and said.
“I’m sorry. You already refused to meet me, yet I’ve come all the way here….”
“No, I should be the one to apologize.”
The girl shook her head calmly.
“I heard about it after Oppa already refused. Like it’s a big deal to meet just once…”
She rambled off while giving a sidelong scowl.
When Seol Jihu turned his head following her gaze, he saw a burly man, who was at least a head taller than him. He was leaning on the wall with his arms crossed, glaring back at Seol Jihu with a grim expression. Though he might just be staring, his naturally scary face made him look forbidding.
Seol Jihu didn’t know what to do and settled on nodding courteously. Then, the burly man lowered his head silently in a way that was unclear whether it was a greeting or not.
The girl looked back and forth between the two men with a smiling face before slowly getting up from her chair.
“I’m sorry, we should have gone to meet you considering how you saved us at the Banquet.”
“No, not at all. I’m glad to hear you say that even when I came here uninvited.”
“Fufu, don’t worry about it. I’m the type of person who always returns favors.”
The girl pulled out two chairs and offered the two men to sit.
Although Seol Jihu sat down right away, the burly man didn’t. He didn’t even budge from the wall.
“Don’t mind him. Oppa has a habit of standing whenever he has a lot to think about.”
Seol Jihu stared at the empty chair. If that was the case, he couldn’t figure out why she pulled out two chairs in the first place.
Just as he was about to gloss over the matter, thinking it might have been a just-in-case kind of thing, the girl asked.
“Is the pretty Unni not going to sit?”
For the record, Seol Jihu came to Odor alone. When he looked at the girl as if to ask what she was talking about, she exclaimed in delight.
“Wow, you’re so beautiful! Your hair color is similar to mine too.”
The girl was looking at him, but not his face. She was looking down below his neck.
As a certain thought crossed Seol Jihu’s mind, black smoke flowed out from his pendant and instantly took form.
[I knew it.]
Flone suddenly appeared. The burly man tried to move at the same time, but the girl raised her hand and signaled at him to stop.
“It’s fine, Oppa.”
“I’m scared too, but she doesn’t look like a bad person. She just has a deep resentment.”
Seol Jihu’s complexion waned. The girl was just too calm and quiet. It wasn’t a normal reaction no matter how he thought about it.
Looking back, it was strange from the start, both of them being awake at this hour and talking like they were waiting for him. It was as if they knew he would come here tonight.
Flone warned out of the blue, hugging Seol Jihu as if to protect him. What she said afterward was even more random.
[That girl, she’s possessed.]
Seol Jihu’s eyes widened.
“No, no, I’m not possessed.”
The girl waved her hand in awkward denial.
“Because my thoughts and body are still controlled by me.”
[You’re not possessed? I don’t buy it. I can clearly see with my eyes.]
Flone shouted. She looked furious.
[I can get rid of it if it’s forcing itself on you.]
“Thank you for the kind offer, but—”
[I know! A part of it has taken over your body. Why did you give up your mind and body to such a lowly lustful spirit?]
Seol Jihu gave a stern warning, feeling that Flone was out of line in her comment. Although he wasn’t quite sure what they were talking about, it was his belief that people had their own circumstances. Just like Yi Seol-Ah and Phi Sora.
“I’d like to ask you something as well.”
However, the girl didn’t seem to mind it all that much. If anything, she looked intrigued.
“Why is Ghost Unni with Oppa?”
[I’m not possessing him like that lustful spirit. There is a separate medium I use as my home.]
“Even still. The resentment Unni has is too terrifying. It’s so great that the lustful spirit inside me is holding its breath in terror. Excuse me for saying this, but Unni would certainly be categorized as a vengeful spirit.”
[What are you trying to say?]
The girl smiled at Flone’s curt reply.
“I don’t know. It’s just that it’s not a good sight for such a terrifying vengeful spirit to be following around a human. Generally speaking, that is.”
Hearing this, Flone flinched.
“But— I’m sure there is a good reason for it. A backstory that only the two of you know.”
“It’s the same with me.”
Flone fell silent at the girl’s perfect counterattack.
[…I don’t feel any resentment from that lustful spirit towards you.]
After a brief moment of silence, a subdued growling voice rang out.
[I only feel a disgusting desire. That’s why I got angry.]
“It’s not that it didn’t have resentment. It just subsided.”
The girl smiled sweetly, then added in a curt manner.
“Of course, I’m not saying that I did anything to earn its resentment. The wrongdoer might be someone I know. Perhaps the wrongdoer is one of my ancestors and I just got unlucky to have to bear the spirit’s resentment. After all, ghosts that are born from resentment don’t discriminate between people.”
Flone was forced to shut her mouth completely. She seemed to have been struck speechless.
Seeing this, the girl finally took her eyes off Flone and turned back to Seol Jihu.
“It’s nothing to freak out about.”
The girl spoke eloquently.
“Was it when I was ten…? My eyes suddenly shot open in the middle of my sleep. I could see something strange on the ceiling. I’d never seen anything like it.”
The girl’s eyes turned hazy as if she was having a dream.
“It plopped down and pressed down on my body… I was so scared that I burst out crying. My parents came running in right away.”
“That was my first meeting with the lustful spirit. It must have been quite shocking to my young self since I still remember it vividly to this day.”
“Was that when you were possessed?”
Seol Jihu asked after quietly listening to her story. He had been wondering why Adam Galaev referred to this girl as an excellent assistant, and this seemed to be related.
“I wasn’t possessed right away.”
The girl shook her head.
“I resisted as much as I could, and my parents and older brother did their best to help me. I’ve pretty much tried everything, from praying to God to burning incense sticks. None of them were effective though.”
“…That must have been hard.”
Seol Jihu spoke with difficulty.
“It was. I was starting to hate whoever caused the spirit to latch onto me. Whenever I opened my eyes, I would cry from sorrow…”
The girl openly confessed her emotions from back then.
“The lustful spirit would appear every night to torment me. It was so, so scary. Those were truly agonizing days. If Oppa wasn’t there for me, I would have gone mad long ago.”
Seol Jihu glanced toward the wall. The burly man was silently standing there, just as he had been when he first entered the room. From the moment the girl signaled him, he had been standing there without interfering.
“But what pained me the most was my family being hurt.”
“The spirit harmed your family too?”
“Accidents, both small and big, started becoming more frequent. That was the only logical conclusion.”
The girl breathed out a heavy sigh.
“So I eventually gave up.”
“You stopped resisting?”
“Yes. The lustful spirit whispered threats into my ears every night. It will end if you accept me. Your family won’t have to get hurt anymore. It went on for several years.”
“For several years…”
“After the seventh year, I just couldn’t endure it anymore. It was so unbearably difficult that I gave up and stopped resisting. When I was 17 years old, I didn’t reject the lustful spirit and let it do what it wanted with my body.”
She continued her story in a monotonous voice.
Then, she suddenly started talking slowly.
“How should I put this… I accepted the spirit in desperation, but…”
The corner of the girl’s mouth curled up slowly and ever so slightly.
“Really… it felt amazing.”
The girl’s thin eyebrows curled to a crescent shape as she gave a freakish smile.
“It was a truly magical experience. So much so that I regretted not accepting it earlier.”
Seol Jihu felt a chill run down his back, facing the hollow pupils of the girl talking about her secret.
[I understand the decision you made… but are you okay?]
Flone spoke in a pitying voice.
[It isn’t easy for a living being to accept a ghost into their body. Your body must have changed somehow, like being able to see things you couldn’t before.]
“If you are talking about Spirit Eyes, you’re right. But it wasn’t so bad that it made everyday life impossible. I’ve been seeing the lustful spirit for as long as I could remember, so really the range just broadened.]
[It wasn’t uncomfortable?]
“I was surprised at first, but I got used to it.”
The girl replied while grinning from ear to ear. Her smiles didn’t really look like smiles.
“Anyway, after that, the accidents happening to my family disappeared like they never existed. I’m satisfied with that.”
“…How did you come to enter Paradise?”
“The accidents disappeared, but so did our family fortune. Our parents spent a lot of money because of me. We were introduced to Paradise in exchange for getting rid of one of the biggest debts we owed.”
“You don’t have to look at me that way. It’s like the saying, life is a series of coincidences.”
The girl apathetically shrugged her tiny shoulders, but her story could really only be described as unfortunate.
“Just why did the spirit…”
“If you’re asking why the lustful spirit stuck to me, I won’t have enough time even if I talked until daybreak. It goes all the way back to my grandfather’s time, even going far up in the Romanian family history.”
The girl went ‘Ah’ and then closed her mouth.
“Ah, I talked too much. My apologies. In truth, I thought it was weird when you first opened the door and walked in. I could feel the aura of a ghost, which wasn’t on you before. I thought something similar happened to you.”
The way she talked hastily, she seemed to be making subtle hints that she didn’t want to explain any further.
Finally recalling the reason he made this trip, Seol Jihu set aside his questions and cleared his throat.
“I’d like to ask you something if it’s alright with you.”
“Go ahead. Any question is okay.”
The girl replied right away. She seemed to be wondering why he came too.
“Do you know a Magician named Adam Galaev?”
The girl rolled her eyes once before nodding.
“I do. Oppa and I helped him out once while we were in Eva.”
“Has he come to find you after that?”
“Yes. It was just once though.”
“Can you tell me what you talked about back then?”
“Sure. It’s not anything important. He just came to ask for help.”
The girl crossed her arms and continued.
“He said he needed to go somewhere and needed my power.”
Go somewhere. Seol Jihu’s eyes lit up the moment he heard this. He almost shouted Eureka.
“He asked me to be his pathfinder.”
But that was until he heard this.
“Strange, isn’t it? Asking a Priest to be a pathfinder.”
“Can you explain in more detail?”
“Mm— How should I explain this…”
The girl tilted her head in contemplation.
“He told me several things back then… but they were so complex and convoluted that I couldn’t really understand them. It’s also been a while… Is it okay if I just tell you what I remember?”
“I’m glad. According to that person, his destination was in a very special situation.”
“Yes. Even the most capable Archer would get lost if they stepped into that place until finally becoming entranced.”
Seol Jihu focused on her explanation.
“He said it wasn’t just people. Whether it was a human being or a soul, any race or living creature, he said none could navigate through that place.”
“I’m not sure. What did he say again? Something about the laws being twisted and a part of another world manifesting itself over the Middle World… I didn’t have a clue what he was saying.”
The girl licked her lips.
“Anyway, he said you need to see two worlds simultaneously in order to avoid getting lost in that place. Only then would you be able to get to the center of the warped space. And also—”
The girl dragged on while raising her thin index finger.
“He said I potentially fit the condition.”
Poking her pale cheek, she gave a strange smile.
1. In traditional folklore, lustful spirits are ghosts that are obsessed with sexual acts. They often possess humans and make them have lecherous thoughts. In some cases, they may touch living humans’ bodies or have them touch themselves or others. Lustful spirits often drain energy from their possessed hosts, making them feeble.