The contents of the note were simple. There was only a single line written on it.
—The day we meet again, I will blink at you three times when enemies are around us.
Seol Jihu’s expression changed suddenly.
Worry and concern disappeared, and the sense of urgency in his mind subsided.
Instead, questions emerged. He couldn’t make heads or tails of this note.
“What does this mean…?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t read it.”
Baek Haeju replied monotonously before continuing.
“Only, I thought Miss Seo Yuhui overused holy power during the valley war and bore significant consequences from it.”
“Yes, all to save me…”
“But didn’t she recover to an extent after that?”
Seol Jihu took his eyes off the note and stared at Baek Haeju.
“She offered regular prayers, and more importantly, I was told you acquired several high-quality offerings for her to help regain her strength.”
“Noona said that?”
“Yes. I heard from Miss Seo Yuhui personally, and that’s what the people around me know as well.”
Seol Jihu was taken aback.
Strictly speaking, this was the truth. Seo Yuhui offered prayers whenever she had time, and it was also true that he obtained a large number of high-quality offerings from the Pagoda of Dreams expedition.
However, those weren’t enough to fully heal Seo Yuhui. At least, that was what Seol Jihu heard from Seo Yuhui.
“She didn’t say anything else?”
He asked Baek Haeju in case she knew anything, but she shook her head.
Seol Jihu fell into thought.
A divine object with enough holy power to heal Seo Yuhui in one go.
Seol Jihu had obtained this item from the Neutral Zone through Eun Yuri, and he kept it a secret from everyone and gave it to Seo Yuhui as a surprise gift on their way back to Eva.
Right, when he was the only one who was with Seo Yuhui.
He clearly remembered it as he couldn’t go all the way because of Eun Yuri’s untimely interruption after waking up in the middle of the night.
He didn’t put much thought into the item after that thinking she would use it on her own… And that was what was weird.
‘Let me think about this again.’
What people around her knew was that she had recovered enough to join the expedition while not being back to her full strength.
But the reality was that she had Moirai’s Souvenir.
In other words, the story of the ‘scar from the valley war bursting’ was likely Seo Yuhui’s self-fabricated plot.
Cinzia said she was in a grave condition, but Seo Yuhui might have hurt herself to put on an act.
Seol Jihu couldn’t figure out the reason. It couldn’t have been because she wanted attention, but to stage such a thing was still strange.
‘Hold on, come to think of it…’
[Oh right, have you fully recovered?]
[Mmmn, I’m still holding onto Moirai’s Souvenir.]
[Ah… You haven’t used it yet?]
[To tell you the truth, there’s something I want to do… but given the circumstances, it looks like I should recover my strength.]
Was it when he asked if she could bring Baek Haeju?
Seol Jihu narrowed his eyes, recalling the conversation from that day.
There had to be a reason.
A reason that Seo Yuhui chose to stage a grave injury right after the war ended.
Moreover, Seol Jihu trusted Seo Yuhui. Although he couldn’t figure out what she was planning, even if it did not benefit him, it would most certainly not hurt him.
Baek Haeju asked as Seol Jihu organized his thoughts.
“Was her love confession written on it or something?”
Seol Jihu shot his head up. When he furrowed his brows and asked, “Huh?” Baek Haeju nodded her head while observing him carefully.
Then, she turned away, murmuring quietly.
“…I was just kidding. You looked really serious.”
‘She knows how to make jokes?’ Seol Jihu murmured inwardly before giving a bland smile. He then roused his mana and burned the note in his hand.
Although he received the note, he still called through the communication crystal. Seo Yuhui aside, he was worried about Eun Yuri.
‘I heard some things from the queen, but still…’
He didn’t realize during the war, but Eun Yuri had apparently performed incredibly to the point that it was hard to believe that she was a Magician who just left the Neutral Zone.
Supposedly, she was the one who stopped Vulgar Chastity from destroying the World Tree’s avatar a moment before the group returned from the Spirit Realm.
It wasn’t until recently that he heard how much Eun Yuri wanted to help him and how she got both Roselle and Charlotte Aria to help out.
Moving the Stele of Evaluation to Tigol Fortress, materializing the Dream World in the Middle World, and having Roselle manifest in Eun Yuri’s body using the Astral World.
Seol Jihu was surprised when he heard the explanation, but he felt grateful more than anything else. At the same time, he felt it wasn’t a waste to have revived Eun Yuri with a Divine Wish.
Her idea and performance certainly proved why she was called humanity’s last hope.
The only problem was that she used several Unique-rank spells that put a heavy burden on her body.
Seol Jihu was relieved after hearing that she woke up and went back to sleep. With how much Roselle cherished Eun Yuri, she must have kept her usage of mana in check so that it wouldn’t risk taking Eun Yuri’s life.
After checking on the members inside the tent, Seol Jihu went to the medical relief station. He wanted to check up on the people who helped selflessly in this war.
Thankfully, no one that he knew was gravely injured to the point of almost losing their life. Not among people, at least.
Seol Jihu looked down at the bedridden, groaning Little Chick.
“What are ya lookin’ at?”
Little Chick chirped curtly. It seemed it at least had the energy to talk.
“Are you alright?”
“Do I look alright?”
“Didn’t you evolve into a phoenix?”
“Isn’t it obvious that it was a temporary thing? I told you it was only possible because we were in the Spirit Realm!”
“Do you think I can evolve just by consuming power? I forced myself to do so! For you!”
Little Chick flapped its wings violently and yelled out in anger.
“If only you knew how to fight properly! I wouldn’t have had the need to do that! Do you know what price I paid to unlock the Spear of Purity to its third stage!?”
Seol Jihu dropped his head in disappointment.
“Then… when did you go back to normal?”
“After the enemy boss appeared.”
Little Chick mumbled in a disgruntled voice.
“I had been pushing myself ever since I started fighting that dragon. Maintaining my evolved form after coming to the Middle World was definitely pushing it. I tried to endure, but the sky suddenly flipped over and I couldn’t focus anymore.”
Little Chick sighed and then turned its body.
“So when you return to the city, go to the temple and fill me up with holy power. I’m in a sorry state right now.”
“Alright, rest up.”
Seol Jihu stroked Little Chick a couple of times while vowing to feed it with holy power until it was full.
Why wouldn’t he? Little Chick helped him out a great deal, after all.
The land devastated by the war quickly returned to its former appearance.
The medical relief station that had been busy for several days gradually settled down, and the Parasites showed no signs of wanting to invade again.
Around this time, the human forces began their preparations to go back.
They couldn’t stay at the fortress forever when the war had ended.
Of course, the Federation didn’t just send them off.
That night, a party was held at Tigol Fortress.
It was to celebrate the Federation and humanity uniting to defeat the Parasites for the first time ever.
Before the festival started, Seol Jihu was invited by the higher-ups of the Federation.
It was a place to thank the hero who achieved many great things for the Federation and also to discuss plans for the future.
Five Federation members were waiting for Seol Jihu at the fortress.
Seol Jihu was familiar with three of them: Gabriel, who was the head of the Fallen Angels; Yuirel, who was the commander of the Cave Fairies; and the Beastman King White Tiger, who chased after the Parasite Queen with him in the war.
“The head of the two Fairies couldn’t come today. Ophinü and Diffidem Odor were reverse summoned back to the Spirit Realm, so she isn’t in the best condition right now.”
Gabriel spoke as she looked at Yuirel and a Sky Fairy.
“So I called the Fairy Generals. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Of course not.”
“Good. I’m sure there are a couple of new faces. I’ll introduce them to you. This here is Vidalif. He is the ruler of the Dwarven race.”
A short, stocky old man smiled brightly. What made him stand out from other Dwarves was that he didn’t have a beard and also that his eyes were completely white.
“For the record, he is the one who invented Thunder. He was born blind, but his craftsmanship is a league above that of any other Dwarf. He’s a master among masters if you will.”
Seol Jihu was surprised hearing that he invented Thunder.
Vidalif smiled and reached his hand toward Seol Jihu.
As Seol Jihu carefully took his hand, he felt the hard calluses on Vidalif’s hand and a strong grip.
Shortly afterward, Vidalif let go of Seol Jihu’s hand and took out a box with a respectful attitude.
“This is our gift to the hero who sweated blood and tears for us. Vidalif made it himself, so you won’t be disappointed.”
“You didn’t have to…”
Unlike his mouth, his body was honest. Seol Jihu was already holding the box in his hands.
An item made by the Dwarf King who was said to be a master among masters. How could he not be excited?
“Thank you. I’ll take good care of it.”
Of course, he didn’t forget to thank them. Vidalif replied with a lukewarm smile.
“Moving on, this here is the general in command of the Sky Fairies.”
“Hello, I’m Taihi Ingraria. It is my greatest honor to thank you on behalf of my race. We cannot thank you enough for reviving the World Tree and even liberating Lord Ophinü Odor.”
The Sky Fairy with an alluring neckline curtsied elegantly and spoke in a slightly flushed, silvery voice.
The clarity of her voice made it pleasant to hear, and the snow-white skin tone and her beautiful eyes gave off the feeling of striking beauty.
“We should be thanking our benefactor according to our customs, but unfortunately we are all out of Elixeers…”
As Taihi placed her hand on her chest in a show of apology, Seol Jihu quickly shook his head.
“It’s fine. I’m already grateful for the one you gave before.”
“No, we can’t possibly forget about this matter like that. So I was thinking…”
“Why don’t you stop there?”
A sour voice cut in.
Yuirel was picking her ear with an apathetic look.
Taihi furrowed her brows.
“Do I even need to explain? You were probably going to ask him to marry you and receive the Blessing of the Spirits. Can you be more obvious? Why don’t you think about your age a bit?”
“What was shtat? When did I say it had to be mwe?”
Taihi got angry.
But not caring for it in the slightest, Yuirel’s amber eyes curled charmingly and turned to Seol Jihu.
“Listen, friend. If you can get the same effect anyway, why not choose me?”
“Aren’t you saying the same thwing!?”
“Shut up for a bit. Friend, you should decide well. We Cave Fairies are fundamentally different from Sky Fairies. We’re honest and pure, unlike the lustful, messy race that enjoys being captured by Orcs and falling into depravity. I’m a bit of a romanticist myself.”
“What was shtat? Did you just call us a lustful race that enjoys falling into deprawity!?”
“Stop slurring your speech. And please, doesn’t history prove that I’m right?”
“So you want to play this gwame?”
The two Fairies grew tense.
White Tiger, the Beastman King, who was watching from the sidelines, spoke while rubbing his chin.
“Come to think of it, I have a daughter myself… She is still in her infancy, but our race normally grows quickly. How about it? If you wait a month, she will be more than ready to…”
Seol Jihu closed his eyes.
Just dealing with Teresa was hard enough. Now, he even had more to handle on his hands.
Not to mention, he couldn’t understand just what they would benefit from marrying him. Of course, this was only because he had never put much thought into their culture or the value of his position.
In the end, Gabriel couldn’t bear to watch any longer and intervened.
“Did we invite Representative Seol today to find him a marriage partner?”
Knowing the hidden meaning in her words, the other leaders fell silent.
‘Ehew,’ Gabriel sighed and then changed the topic.
“I know you must be tired of hearing this, but I want to thank you again. You performed fantastically. We wouldn’t be here arguing if you didn’t perform above and beyond our wildest imaginations.”
“It wasn’t as if I was alone.”
“But you were the one who planned and executed the expedition. And unlike the time with Undying Diligence, you were able to retrieve Temperance’s divinity after exterminating Raging Temperance. Words cannot describe just how incredible that is.”
Gabriel smiled brightly, then clapped her hands.
“And with that, the Parasites lost the great war, and peace returned to Paradise… I would kill for such a happy ending, but unfortunately, you should know that we aren’t anywhere close to that, right?”
Seol Jihu nodded silently.
The Parasites had suffered a tremendous defeat, but they were not eliminated completely. The Parasite Queen was still alive, and so were most of the Army Commanders.
Although they shouldn’t be able to recover in a short period of time, the nature of parasites meant they would recoup the numbers they lost relatively quickly.
“Moreover, the fact that Sung Shihyun defected to the Parasites is something we cannot ignore. To be honest, it was incredibly shocking.”
‘Right, there was that guy too.’ Seol Jihu grimaced.
“But a victory is still a victory. The Parasites will need some time to recover, and we need to make use of this time as much as possible.”
“What do you think about attacking the Parasites?”
“You mean invading the Empire?”
“Yes, that’s where the Queen is, right? The Parasites should be at their weakest right now, so…”
“It’s our best chance to attack… Is that what you want to say? Unfortunately, that isn’t such a good idea. For three reasons.”
Gabriel took a brief pause, then raised her index, middle, and ring fingers.
“First, as much as the Parasites have weakened, we have weakened too. Do you know that the two Spirit Lords, the five Spirit Kings, and all Spirits were reverse summoned because of the Queen?”
“They returned to the Spirit Realm, but we’ll need some time before we can summon them again.”
Gabriel cleared her throat and continued.
“Second, the Empire is the Parasites’ territory.”
“One of the biggest reasons we triumphed in this war was the presence of the World Tree. It blocks the Parasites’ infestation and greatly limits the Parasites’ power, including the Queen’s and the Army Commanders’. But, the World Tree’s influence only reaches this surrounding area.”
In other words, they would not be able to receive the World Tree’s blessing in the Empire’s territory.
“The moment we enter the Empire, our positions will reverse. We will be afflicted by all sorts of disadvantageous effects. The Parasite Queen and the Army Commanders will be able to use their full power as well, so that’s something we need to consider. If you can’t quite wrap your mind around it, just think of them as having four or five corrupted World Trees.”
Seol Jihu groaned unwittingly.
Four or five corrupted World Trees?
Just imagining it gave him a gloomy feeling.
“As for the third and final reason…”
Gabriel began to speak carefully.
“If we decide to bear the previous two conditions and attack, it’s pretty much guaranteed that it will need to be an all-out attack… Mmm, I’ll be straightforward. Even though the situation is a lot better than in the past and is continually getting better, if you ask me whether humans will really agree to an all-out attack, then I’m going to have to say no. For now, anyway.”
Seol Jihu became lost for words.
He couldn’t refute her statement.
Even in this war, Eva and Haramark were the only cities that helped fully. The other three cities that participated were only saving face, and two cities did not even participate.
Moreover, the way Earthlings viewed Paradise had yet to change.
“So rather than attacking the Empire, which has a high probability of failing, I suggest we do something more worthwhile.”
“Something more worthwhile?”
“Yep. Something that will benefit us both. I’ll be straight. I think you should use the time that this war bought us to regroup humanity.”
Seol Jihu became dazed hearing something he didn’t expect at all.
“Do you want to at least hear me out?”
Seol Jihu nodded quickly.
Gabriel grinned and turned her gaze to where the Dwarf King was sitting.
Soon, the smiling, white-eyed old man, Vidalif, opened his wrinkly mouth.Previous Chapter Next Chapter