Chapter 434. Past, Present, and Future (3)

After waking up, Seo Yuhui blankly gazed into the air for a long time.

Her mind was in too much chaos.

Today’s dream was different than usual. It was extremely long and realistic. She felt like she’d just gotten off a shoot as a movie’s main lead.

“Eh?”

Seo Yuhui casually rubbed her eyes. Tears were flowing down her face.

Just because of a dream?

Today’s dream, like most dreams, became hazy once she woke up. However, there were also parts that were firmly etched into her brain.

The face of a man she had never seen before, his words, and his actions were all pulling at her heartstrings. Whenever she recalled him, the feeling of regret and affection welled up, making her tear up.

After calming down, Seo Yuhui carefully organized her thoughts.

Just what happened? Did she have a dream? Or did she really go back in time?

Seo Yuhui pondered for a long time before concluding that this was not something to decide rashly.

She was currently an Executor who retired from Paradise due to Luxuria’s influence being too overbearing. Going back just because of an inexplicable dream would be too hasty. That said, the emotions overflowing inside her were too intense to be the outcome of a mere dream.

Seo Yuhui got up and sat down in front of her desk. She opened a notepad and picked up a pen.

“Let’s see….”

Though her memory was already hazy, she began to write whatever she remembered one by one.

She started with names. Seol Jihu, rabbit, pipster… A chuckle escaped her lips as she jotted down the names.

What am I doing in the middle of the night? She found it ridiculous, no matter how she thought about it.

But no matter how small the chance was, if she actually returned to the past or had a premonition in the form of a dream, she believed the note would come in handy one day.

*


One month passed since then. During this time, Seo Yuhui thought about calling Yoo Seonhwa multiple times but ultimately held back.

She needed more time to collect her thoughts and think about things rationally. She especially wanted to avoid causing an unwanted butterfly effect by making a rash move. If she did, there was a chance that even the small portion of the future she remembered would go astray.

Furthermore, there was no guarantee that the future would pan out according to the content of the dream. And so, she planned to act with utmost caution.

That was until she received a sudden phone call in the middle of April 2017.

“I-Is this Miss Seonhwa?”

—Yes, it’s me.

“Miss Seonhwa? Is it really you?”

Yoo Seonhwa had called her.

Seo Yuhui had retired from Paradise after sealing the stele in the aftermath of the Imperial Oath Expedition, and Yoo Seonhwa had never called her about it.

Of course, this wasn’t anything strange. In 2014, Yoo Seonhwa went off the radar in Paradise at the height of her activity after returning to Korea from studying abroad. It wasn’t until ten months later in Earth’s time that she reappeared in Paradise.

Seo Yuhui had not heard from her during that time either.

Moreover, Yoo Seonhwa was an Earthling who worked alone, and the reason they exchanged phone numbers in the first place was to come together only when it was an absolute necessity.

And so, other than times when she was acting as part of a team, Seo Yuhui did not know about Yoo Seonhwa’s whereabouts.

—Yes, I have something to say.

A calm voice rang out. What followed afterward was not something Seo Yuhui could overlook.

—Did you hear? That son of a bitch went missing.

Seo Yuhui doubted her ears.

—He disappeared from both places. It’s been a while since he’s gone missing.

“Ah….”

Seo Yuhui felt a little lightheaded. She would not be so worried if it were anyone else, but Sung Shihyun was a ticking time bomb that was as unpredictable as a loose cannon.

There was simply no way she could not be worried.

—Don’t worry about it for now. I will look into it myself.

Seo Yuhui blinked in confusion as she thought Yoo Seonhwa was calling to ask her to investigate.

—Instead, can you do me a favor?”

“A favor?”

—Yes. I’d like you to look into a newbie from March of 2017.

“You want information on this person?”

—Rather than information… if this person is confirmed to have entered that place, I’d like you to protect him even if it’s just for a short time.

Yoo Seonhwa sounded hesitant.

—And if possible, can you create an opportunity for me to approach him?

Seo Yuhui’s eyes widened.

—Please. He’s like family to me. If something goes wrong….

But she quickly understood after thinking about Yoo Seonhwa’s circumstance. Like with most famous people, Yoo Seonhwa had many enemies. And due to the incident where she killed every participating member except one, in Stage 3 of the Banquet, many organizations had a grudge against her.

If Baek Haeju, who was known to work alone, suddenly showed interest in a newbie and approached him, many people would be suspicious of their relationship and investigate the newbie.

That could easily lead them to find out about Yoo Seonhwa entering Paradise. And if they managed to catch wind of Baek Haeju’s past being fabricated… then not just Yoo Seonhwa but also her family would be put in danger.

On the other hand, Seo Yuhui would have a comparatively easier time approaching the newbie. After all, it wasn’t just once or twice that she helped a talented Earthling grow.

—Can you do this for me?

“Sure…. It doesn’t sound all that difficult.”

—Thank you. I’ll make sure to return the favor.

Right, it wasn’t as if Seo Yuhui didn’t understand. It’s just…

“So, what’s this person’s name?”

Seo Yuhui suppressed her rising curiosity and asked.

—Seol Jihu.

And as soon as she heard Yoo Seonhwa’s reply, she jumped out of her seat in shock. She almost shouted but barely managed to cover her mouth in time.

“…W-What was that?”

—It’s Seol Jihu. Seol. Ji. Hu.

Seo Yuhui turned her gaze to the notepad in her bookshelf.

—Anyway, while Miss Yuhui is working on helping us meet, I will investigate that bastard’s whereabouts, as I said before…

Yoo Seonhwa was saying something, but none of it entered Seo Yuhui’s head. Seo Yuhui hurriedly pulled out her notepad.

—I hope that’s fine with you.

“Wa-Wait. Miss Seonhwa?”

—I’m not in a good place right now for a long talk. We can talk about the details when we meet up….

Yoo Seonhwa’s voice was grave.

Seo Yuhui quickly scanned her notes and organized her thoughts.

Yoo Seonhwa, who did everything by herself and was more protective of her personal information than anyone else, was taking a huge risk for someone else.

This could only mean that this man was related to Yoo Seonhwa on a very personal level.

Seo Yuhui had been doubtful, but with this, she confirmed that the contents of the notes were true.

‘It wasn’t a dream.’

But even with evidence, she couldn’t help harbor doubts.

Seo Yuhui asked again to be sure.

"…The things you said, are they coming from your heart?"


*

‘Future Vision.’

After returning to Paradise, Seo Yuhui fell into deep thought upon seeing her status window. Seeing an Innate Ability that wasn’t there before, she was convinced that her emotions had been sent back in time, but the matter had become much more complicated than she expected.

‘Gula, gold mark, Irregular, Sinyoung, Carpe Diem….’

Seol Jihu had a rather complicated status for someone who just left the Neutral Zone.

‘I made a mistake.’

The future was already changing. From the moment she had that dream.

Although she didn’t remember everything, the future Seo Yuhui had sent her feelings back by making the same wish as that man.

This meant there was a good chance that Seol Jihu was in the same situation as her.

‘I didn’t expect him to get a gold mark…. How am I supposed to approach him now?’

Seo Yuhui pressed her forehead and then frowned. A faint smell of burning cigarette brushed past her nose.

‘I thought I made this a prohibited area.’

When she got up and went outside, sure enough, a man was grumbling while smoking.

“My apologies, but it is forbidden to smoke here.”

Startled, the man turned his head left and right.

“This is private property, but at the same time, the flowers in the garden are especially sensitive towards cigarette smoke.”

“I, I'm sorry. I didn't know.”

The man took out his cigarette right away and turned to apologize. By the looks of it, it seemed he genuinely made a mistake.

“Oh, no, it's fine. There's no need for you to kill the cigarette. If you walk a little away from here, you can find a pla….!?”

It was then. Seo Yuhui’s eyes widened as she pointed toward the plaza.

‘Ah!!’

Although she had never seen the man’s face before, it didn’t feel new. The man gave off a younger and a completely different atmosphere, but his facial features were most certainly the same.

“Oh my.”

Seo Yuhui covered her mouth unknowingly.

How could she forget when this face was what she remembered most clearly from her dream?

‘W-Why is he here?’

She was taken aback as she never expected to reunite with him here. Her heart was pounding despite acting calm on the outside.

She most definitely had never met him before, but a deep sense of yearning and delight welled up in her heart.

That was when Kim Hannah appeared, and Seo Yuhui invited the two inside.

She needed information. She wanted to know exactly how the future had changed.

Thankfully, Kim Hannah asked him what he had been up to.

Seo Yuhui eavesdropped on their conversation while brewing tea on the side.

However, she almost couldn’t believe her ears.

‘What?’

As a Level 1, not only did he enter the Forest of Denial, but he also participated in a war against the Parasites?

As if that wasn’t enough, he had apparently volunteered as bait.

“Aha, hahaha. Those chasing Cockroaches were pretty scary.”

Seeing Seol Jihu grinning stupidly without knowing how she felt, anger shot up in her heart. She had to drink a few cups of cold water to calm herself down.

“I’m sorry for the commotion earlier.”

Kim Hannah left after yelling like an angry bull, and Seo Yuhui squeezed her eyes shut as she watched Seol Jihu apologize, soaking wet.

She then picked up a clean towel and began to wipe his tea-laden face.

“N-No, hang on. I can….”

“Stay still.”

She ended up chastising him.

“…I’m a little annoyed, for sure.”

She tried to hold it back but ended up blurting out her feelings. She couldn’t understand what made her so angry, but it wasn’t as if she didn’t have a clue.

She had a feeling she experienced similar things in the dream. She found it hard to believe that this was her natural emotion, so she assumed it was Luxuria’s will.

Despite not knowing how the two were related, this matter also confirmed one of her suspicions.

Seo Yuhui then took this opportunity to ask him a question.

“Did you do something to Sinyoung?”

“No, not at all. I helped them out, if anything. I haven’t done anything bad to them at all.”

“Then, why?”

“Sinyoung sees me as the replacement for an Earthling named Sung Shihyun… I’m not too keen on the details.”

Seo Yuhui paused.

‘Yun Seohui….’

After a brief moment, she started moving again.

“Sounds like you’re working in Haramark.”

“Oh. Yes, I am. The capital is basically Sinyoung's living room, so I was told that I shouldn't stay in this city.”

“I see. But I'm sure that life in Haramark isn't easy. I'm curious. Is there a reason you keep coming back to Paradise?”

“It's because I find this place enjoyable.”

“Enjoyable? Is it fun here?”

Seo Yuhui’s eyes narrowed.

“Well, rather than fun…. There's a place for me in Paradise.”

“A place for you?”

“Yes. There are people here who accept me for who I am and require my help.”

Seo Yuhui furrowed her brows. Slowly taking her hands off the young man, she studied the youth carefully.

‘He’s different.’

It wasn’t until years down the road that Seo Yuhui started to accompany Seol Jihu. So perhaps, it was only natural that the Seol Jihu in her memory was different from the Seol Jihu from his early days in Paradise.

But hearing what he said, a feeling of pity and sorrow rose inside Seo Yuhui. Even if her previous feelings were from Luxuria’s will, it couldn’t be the only reason this time.

Because the Seol Jihu that Seo Yuhui remembered…

[My talent isn’t that good. I need to work hard so that a certain someone doesn’t worry about me.]

[Well, not that I have anyone who will worry about me anymore…]

…was a man who gave his all to make the person he cared about not worry about him.

“By saying that, are you implying that there is no place left for you back on Earth?”

“Yes, well….”

Seol Jihu sheepishly smiled and scratched the back of his head. Seo Yuhui shook her head, her expression heavy.

“That isn’t true.”

She spoke as if to chide him.

“Your family and your friends aren’t here in Paradise.”

“….”

“Please, think about how worried your family and your acquaintances will be when you suddenly disappear.”

Seo Yuhui spoke pleadingly, but Seol Jihu’s response was less than enthusiastic.

“I wonder about that. I don’t think they’d be too worried about me.”

“Why would you…”

“Ah, what am I saying to someone I only just met? Haha.”

Seol Jihu smiled bitterly and took a couple of steps back.

“Thank you for your hospitality. Looks like me staying here any longer will unnecessarily impose on you. I should get going now.”

Seol Jihu bowed lightly and turned around as if to run away.

Seo Yuhui reflexively reached out, but…

“Ah.”

She stopped herself just before her hand touched his back. She felt like she had experienced the same thing in her dream.

Staring in the direction Seol Jihu walked off to, Seo Yuhui’s eyes flashed with a certain mysteriousness.

“…Haramark.”

*


Seo Yuhui moved busily.

What she could do for Seol Jihu, what she had to do for Seol Jihu, how Seol Jihu’s change would affect the future, and how Yun Seohui was eyeing Seol Jihu to be Sung Shihyun’s replacement. All these things weighed on Seo Yuhui’s mind.

There were too many things she had to consider, find out, and stop. There was even news that Tigol Fortress was conquered, and she felt like having one body wasn’t enough.

While she was preparing to move to Haramark, a small part of her had been relieved. Seol Jihu had joined an excellent team and was being watched over by a talented Inviter. Seo Yuhui thought there would be more than enough time for her to finish moving to Haramark.

However, it turned out to be wishful thinking.

Seol Jihu easily surpassed Seo Yuhui’s expectations. She was almost frightened out of her mind when she heard how Seol Jihu joined the Delphinion Duchy Rescue Mission and ended up trapped.

She just couldn’t figure out how anyone allowed him to participate in such a dangerous mission.

Thankfully, he had returned alive.

‘I can’t believe this, really….’

After Seol Jihu was brought over to the intensive care unit, Seo Yuhui blamed herself for being too complacent.

“…Meanie…. I was so worried….”

Seo Yuhui fell into thought as she watched Seol Jihu sleep soundly.

Just why was he pushing himself so much when he just entered Paradise?

Saying that he was reckless wasn’t enough of an explanation. The man she saw in her dream was very mature and realistic. However, the Seol Jihu she was looking at was no different than an immature kid.

There was only one common point. To achieve what he wished for, he gave his all to the point people thought he was crazy.

Seo Yuhui concluded that the cause of Seol Jihu’s unpredictable actions was that he was in the same position as her.

‘He must have done it subconsciously.’

No matter how the current Seol Jihu thought of Paradise, the past Seol Jihu’s regret must have affected him significantly. That must be why the current Seol Jihu was struggling so desperately after having only just entered Paradise.

Because he knew the same future would await him if he sat by idly.

Even the current Paradise had a bleak-looking future, so she couldn’t imagine how bad things must have been the first time around. As far as she could remember, there was no hope to even speak of.

Thinking about it this way, Seol Jihu’s actions were understandable.

Seol Jihu was changing the future, one small part at a time.

“Hmm….”

Seo Yuhui carefully observed Seol Jihu’s sleeping face.

‘So this is him….’

After a moment of hesitation, she quietly climbed up onto the bed, lay down next to him, and carefully hugged him.

She then entrusted her body to Luxuria’s will and the emotion of her first life. Seo Yuhui had mustered up quite a bit of courage to do this.

As expected, she didn’t feel a sense of repulsion or awkwardness. Instead, a joyful smile bloomed on her face.

She had already confirmed her lust subsiding when she was next to Seol Jihu.

But there was one more thing she wanted to confirm.

“I see.”

Seo Yuhui nodded as if she finally understood.

“I loved it. A lot.”

The first life’s Seo Yuhui had come to love Seol Jihu before she even noticed. Though she must have been drawn to him initially because of Luxuria’s influence, she must have fallen in love with him as they spent time together.

The past life’s Seo Yuhui might have denied it vehemently, but the current Seo Yuhui didn’t.

Because the emotions of yearning she received that day resounded in her heart with powerful stings.

“Will I come to love him too?”

Seo Yuhui giggled quietly and embraced the squirming Seol Jihu.

Seol Jihu, in turn, dug into her embrace deeper.

“Squishy….”

“…Squishy?”

Seo Yuhui let out a troubled chuckle as she watched Seol Jihu rub his face on her breasts.

The more she saw him, the more she doubted that he was the same person as that man.

Even though the current Seol Jihu might be a bit childish, perhaps it wasn’t bad considering how cold-hearted and iron-walled he was in the past life.

However, Seo Yuhui soon came to realize that this was a colossal misjudgment.

Seol Jihu wasn’t childish. He was a child.

She couldn’t believe how difficult it was to feed him medicine.

‘I can’t believe it. This child turns into that cold, merciless man?'

Seo Yuhui smiled bitterly as she watched Seol Jihu snuggled into her arms as if it was his home.

She had to admit this was partly her fault. She was to blame for hugging him a few times to check out different things.

Since then, Seol Jihu tried to crawl into her embrace all the time. He seemed to have developed a strange habit because she couldn’t bring herself to say no.

*


After the Delphinion Duchy incident, Seo Yuhui did not drop her guard. She observed Seol Jihu with strong determination. Thanks to it, she made it in time for the Banquet.

After confirming that Seol Jihu was participating in the Banquet, Seo Yuhui used a Divine Wish to re-participate, albeit with a restriction.

Seol Jihu almost died on multiple occasions, but he eventually managed to pull through and even clear the third stage.

With this incident, Seol Jihu’s fame skyrocketed.

This was a great opportunity. Since the world came to find out Seol Jihu’s talent as an Earthling, Seo Yuhui now had a convenient excuse to approach him.

It was also around this time that she finished moving to Haramark.

“You’re so mean….”

“Sorry, I need them to feed my kid.”

“Kid? You’re married, Unni?”

“I’m joking, obviously. Who would marry an ice queen like Unni? …Well, he must really be young for you to call him a kid.”

“I can’t say you’re wrong. When I see him being mischievous, I wonder whether his mental age matches his real age.”

Unable to think of ways to refute the girl helping her move, Seo Yuhui covered her mouth and laughed.

“Anyway, to me, he’s someone very preci…”

She paused just before saying the word ‘precious’.

“Preci… ous…”

It was because she genuinely thought of Seol Jihu as someone precious to her.

Not by Luxuria’s will or the past Seo Yuhui’s influence, but by her own emotions.

‘I….’

It wasn’t as if she wasn’t interested. She wanted to know Seol Jihu’s relationship with Luxuria, and she was curious about Future Vision too.

But the past life was the past life, and the current life was the current life. That was the attitude Seo Yuhui had taken until now.

However, it seemed the consciousness of Future Vision had taken over her mind before she realized. She had been wary of it happening, but she almost accepted the change in her attitude as if it was normal.

A sudden fear crept over her. At this rate, she felt like she would become the same person from her previous life.

“Unni? Are you okay?”

“…Yeah.”

Seo Yuhui heaved out a deep sigh before continuing to clean the place more roughly. She reminded herself, I’m not that woman. I am here because I’m personally curious and also because of Miss Baek Haeju’s request.

“Please try to understand. There’s someone who must never die no matter what.”

“Never?”

“Never.”

“Heh—for Unni to say that… he must be someone who’s been in Paradise for a long time. Who is he?”

“He hasn’t been here for that long.”

“Then it doesn’t matter if he dies, right? Ah, what I mean is, the feeling of emptiness he will feel won’t be that big….”

“But, his memories will disappear.”

As far as Seo Yuhui could tell, Future Vision was a kind of subconsciousness that influenced the brain.

If her theory was right, the penalty of death could not be taken lightly, even for a Level 1 or Level 2 Seol Jihu.

“It will be terrible if he loses his memories of Paradise… and gets his memories of Earth tangled…”

After all, a terrifying obsession that’s no different than a deep-seated grudge must be trying to take over his brain.

“He finally… if something goes wrong, and he once again returns to how he was in the past….”

She did not dare imagine what would happen if Seol Jihu died, and the lost grudge clashed with the penalty of death.

‘I’d have to be careful too, but for Jihu…’

The more she thought about it, the more she became worried about Seol Jihu.

The past Seol Jihu and the current Seol Jihu were like polar opposites. This difference would naturally cause a bigger confusion.

Seo Yuhui had managed to lessen her own sense of disharmony with Luxuria’s will and her self-control, but she couldn’t figure out how much Seol Jihu must have changed.

‘Come to think of it, didn’t he save the Ramman Village’s villagers recently?’

Seo Yuhui went out to check right away.

“It’s just that the sins I’ve committed… are too much to count.”

And the reply she got from Seol Jihu…

“I wanted to lessen the guilt I was feeling…”

…completely wiped out Seo Yuhui’s concerns.

“And I hoped that if I kept living right, I just might be forgiven one day….”

His reply had changed from back then.

Future Vision had certainly influenced Seol Jihu, but it was helping him change into a better self.

Gula said so.

That the man had regretted everything.

That he wanted to start over at the end of his despair.

But what could that man’s emotions have done after returning to the past in an incomplete state, without any memories?

It was simple.

That man wanted to change the past.

That woman wanted to help that man.

Seol Jihu was trying to save Paradise.

‘Then, what about me?’

Seo Yuhui obviously wanted to save Paradise as well. If she weren’t fond of Paradise, she wouldn’t have done so much for this world, for this long.

And when her thoughts reached this point, she decided to stop thinking that Future Vision was taking over her mind.

Instead, she took it as a wish and a request and accepted it.

To achieve the future that man and woman dreamt of together.

But, in a different direction than the two of them.

She would use their memories as guideposts, but she would not follow them, only using them as supplements. What kind of seeds would sprout, whether a better future would be created, would all depend on the current Seol Jihu and Seo Yuhui.

She didn’t know what Seol Jihu thought of Future Vision, but it seemed he already accepted the subconsciousness and came to an answer.

Saving Paradise and saving Baek Haeju. Saving Baek Haeju and saving Paradise. The two Seol Jihus definitely had something in common.

That night, Seo Yuhui came to a decision. To stop worrying about this problem. To help achieve the current Seol Jihu’s dream, just like her past self did.

Because at the end of the day, that was the path she wanted to follow as well.


*

After that day, Seo Yuhui wholly began to devote herself to supporting Seol Jihu.

But perhaps because she did so too wholeheartedly, Seol Jihu began to suspect her.

She had accepted her feelings and was trying to get closer, so she couldn’t help but feel a little bitter seeing Seol Jihu be so suspicious.

Sometimes, he even made her angry.

“Why, why do you think I’m older than you…?”

You’re a year older than me! Then again, it wouldn’t be strange if someone saw us as a mom and her son. If that’s the case, I’d rather be a noona than a mom.

“Yes, okay. Since I’m the noona, can I talk to you more casually?”

“Of course.”

“Then, I will. Ji… Jihu.”

Now that she was trying to call him by his name, she couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed.

But it wasn’t as if there weren’t good things.

Funnily enough, what she remembered most vividly after Seol Jihu was his ramen.

It was so good that she noted down. His ramen is a drug, a potion that makes you fall in love at first bite.

She had been wondering about it and finally got the chance to at Huge Stone Rocky Mountain.

“I, I want some.”

When she took the paper cup full of ramen, she slurped up a mouthful with near reverence.

“Mmmmn!”

With one bite, her hands clasped together, her shoulders hunched, and her body shook.

‘N-No way!’

She had doubted that simple ramen could be that good. But now, this thought had disappeared completely.

Luxuria’s will and her past life’s emotions were rampaging, telling her to eat more before other people snatched it away.

“Ah, really, this ramen! I don’t know how long I’ve waited!”

She shouted inadvertently, stopping before saying, ‘to eat this!’

“It—it’s well made. I’ve been wanting to eat ramen for a while….”

She laughed awkwardly and played it off.

In any case, Seol Jihu was changing slowly but surely. Although he sometimes went too far, Seo Yuhui assumed it was a side-effect of Future Vision and did not stop him.

Because she knew why he was acting that way and knew that it was necessary.

Then one day, danger arrived.

*


Arden Valley War.

The Parasites invaded humanity.

With three Army Commanders leading the way, to boot.

Seo Yuhui expected this to happen one day. The future had changed too much due to Seol Jihu’s actions.

And noticing this strangeness, the Parasite Queen launched an unprecedented attack into human territory to right the twisting future.

This was one of the many hurdles they would have to overcome. Seo Yuhui did not avoid it and faced the hurdle head-on.

However, the Parasites were too strong. Just when she thought it was over, something surprising happened.

Somehow, the past life’s Seol Jihu had appeared.

That man succeeded in annihilating Undying Diligence, who, in the past life, remained alive until the bitter end and spread his infamy. Then, he managed to force the Parasites to retreat.

But that was it. Although they managed to pass the danger, the aftermath was not something Seo Yuhui could handle.

Even as a Level 8, she could not bring a dead person back to life. Also, if she were to hold a Ceremony, she needed to know the spell she wanted to cast and go through the process of preparing appropriate offerings.

This was her mistake. Because she had only just turned Level 8 and had rushed to the battlefield, she did not find out what spells were available to Level 9 Priests and what price was needed to use them.

As she was stamping her feet, falling into despair while watching Seol Jihu’s breath stop…

[Innate ability, Future Vision, has activated.]

Future Vision, which she thought only to be a subconsciousness that influenced her brain, revealed its true worth.

The past life’s Seo Yuhui prepared an altar immediately and made offerings. She then held a Ceremony and used the Level 9 spell, Extrema.

With that, Seol Jihu was able to escape from death by a narrow margin.

Thanks to Baek Haeju’s lifeforce and Jang Maldong’s acupuncture technique helping him hold on, he was able to endure until the Federation arrived with the Elixeer.

However, he didn’t open his eyes. Despite surviving the ordeal, he had fallen into a coma.

“One year and six months in Paradise’s time.”

Baek Haeju said as she looked at Seol Jihu, who was lying in bed.

“One year is short even if you consider the death penalty, but two years is too long. I will wait for just six months in Earth’s time. If he doesn’t wake up until then….”

She was saying she would kill him.

It was true that it was better to revive on Earth than live in a vegetative state in Paradise. But knowing Seol Jihu’s secret, Seo Yuhui could not agree to it.

“What if he wakes up?”

“I will still send him back to Earth.”

Baek Haeju spoke as if it was obvious.

“It might be a different story if he was an ordinary Earthling, but he’s gotten too famous. Not only influential organizations but also the Parasite Queen will start to eye him after this war. It’s too dangerous.”

Seo Yuhui’s eyes narrowed.

Baek Haeju didn’t say they should send him back. She said she will.

Seo Yuhui didn’t like the way Baek Haeju spoke as if the decision was final.

“Anyway, thank you for your hard work. I will take care of him from now on.”

At that moment, for some reason…

“No.”

Seo Yuhui couldn’t suppress her desire to protest.

“Aren’t you going out of line?”

“?”

“He might not want to go back.”

“…This is a surprise.”

Baek Haeju blinked a couple of times before speaking coldly.

“If you’re trying to make use of Jihu for Paradise’s matters…”

I’m trying to use him?”

“If you’re trying to make Jihu get involved with Paradise’s problems, I will have to refuse politely.”

“Shouldn’t it be Jihu and not you, who makes that decision?”

Baek Haeju stared at Seo Yuhui fixedly.

“I don’t understand why you’re saying this all of a sudden, but…”

She continued with a sigh.

“Let’s just stop here. Regardless, it is dangerous for him to stay in Paradise. I will send him back to Earth even if he wakes up.”

“What if he says he doesn’t want to?”

“He won’t.”

Baek Haeju said firmly.

“Jihu’s listened to me ever since he was young…”

She paused and smacked her lips.

“…Well, not always. There are two exceptions, but that’s not what’s important. I’m sure he will come back if I ask him to work with me.”

“So, you won’t force him if he says no?”

“As I said before, that won’t happen.”

“Aren’t you being too sure of yourself?”

Feeling that Seo Yuhui’s voice was a little thorny, Baek Haeju raised her brows suspiciously.

“You’re talking like you want Jihu to refuse….”

“Of course not. If Jihu doesn’t say no, I have nothing to say either. I just want you not to force him.”

Baek Haeju snorted.

“Force him, huh. You might not know this, Miss Yuhui, but Jihu and I have been together ever since we were kids. We even lived together after we became adults.”

Baek Haeju’s manner of speech changed slightly. She would talk this way whenever she got excited and couldn’t pay attention to acting.

“There’s no one who knows Jihu better than me. As I said before, Jihu might not listen to his parents, but he listens to me. With only two exceptions.”

“….”

“Of course, it’s the same for me. The only man I listen to and the only man who knows me well is Jihu. We’ve grown accustomed to each other with how long we’ve been together.”

Seo Yuhui snorted at Baek Haeju’s candid tone.

“It sounds like you’re his mom.”

“Well, maybe it looks that way. You can say we’re each other’s parents. Jihu taught me things as we grew up together, and I taught Jihu things too. The way we wanted each other to be.”

The way we wanted each other to be? Baek Haeju was even talking proudly.

Though Seo Yuhui was curious about how the two dated, she shook her head.

“We’ll find out.”

“I’ve been wondering for a while now. Why are you so interested in Jihu?”

The two women’s voices went up. However, their arguing didn’t last long. It was because Seol Jihu, who was in a comatose state, seemed to be pleading with them not to fight.

Thankfully, Seol Jihu woke up a month or two later. After recuperating in Paradise, he returned to Earth.

Given Baek Haeju’s personality, she would surely try to prevent him from returning to Paradise.

Seo Yuhui waited nervously.

The winner of the two women’s battle was Seo Yuhui.

Seol Jihu had returned to Paradise… with shopping bags in his hand.

Seeing his beaming smile, Seo Yuhui was even moved for some reason.

Of course…

“Just how did she groom him…? Teach him some common sense….”

When she opened the gift he brought her, she couldn’t understand him a bit… no, a lot.

*


After the valley war, the future most definitely changed.

There was no point in predicting anything. The only thing Seo Yuhui could do now was to prepare for certainty rather than uncertainty. Handling Roberto Servillo and the other traitors was one of them.

Because she jotted down notes when she first woke up, she had the memories on record. Of course, it wasn’t that she remembered everything.

There were some parts that she couldn’t remember at all, and there were many others that she was iffy about. Roe Scheherazade and the Empire Infiltration Mission were such examples.

‘The expedition to retrieve the stele… did we succeed? Was it a trap? No, I remember the expedition being a rather easy success….’

She couldn’t stop Seol Jihu without certainty in a situation where something had to be done. Seol Jihu had mentioned the idea himself, and it didn’t sound implausible either.

Feeling the end nearing, Seo Yuhui joined the Empire Infiltration Mission.

Then…

Flash!

The screen flickered off.

Once the screen disappeared, Seol Jihu could finally see a status window. He stared at the information at a loss for words.

[Seo Yuhui’s Status Window]

Summoned Date: 2012. 09. 21
Marking Grade: Silver
Sex/Age: Female/26
Height/Weight: 170.2cm/56.4kg
Current Condition: Healthy
Class: Lv 8. Atera’s Saintess
Nationality: Korea (Area 1)
Affiliation: Valhalla
Alias: Flower of Paradise, Daughter of Luxuria, Star of Lust, Iron Wall, Squishy

After seeing Seo Yuhui’s status window, Seol Jihu’s eyes trembled faintly.

‘No way….’

Seo Yuhui wasn’t lying. She really was Seo Yuhui, not anyone else.

‘What did I… just….’

He was in disbelief even after seeing the golden screen, but Seo Yuhui’s status window was undeniable proof.

[4. Abilities]
1. Innate Abilities (1)
—Future Vision (Grade Unknown)

“Future… Vision….”

Seol Jihu gasped after confirming her Future Vision Innate Ability.

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