Chapter 456. Sign of Reconciliation (1)

The news of Seol Jihu’s revival and his immediate killing of two Army Commanders spread throughout Paradise in less than a day.

It was breaking news that every organization, team, and individual paid close attention to, but the hero in question was sleeping soundly without a care in the world.

He slept in Seo Yuhui’s embrace for one day and was carried over to Teresa’s bedroom for the other, all the while being completely unaware. He slept like a dead man, perhaps from fatigue left in his system, but he knew he couldn’t sleep forever.

There was a lot to do even though the war ended. The current situation was undoubtedly advantageous for humanity and the Federation.

The number of Army Commanders going down played a significant role, but what mattered, even more, was that an Earthling who far surpassed the Army Commanders appeared within humanity.

The Parasite Queen was no fool, and it was likely that she would stay in her territory for a while. This was easy to guess from seeing how Exploding Patience and Twisted Kindness, who had been holding the Federation’s reinforcements at bay, retreated immediately.

Seol Jihu had no intention of waiting for the Parasite Queen to devise a method to break through this crisis. Of course, he wasn’t so reckless as to rally humanity and invade the Empire’s territory.

He had taken into consideration the aftermath of the month-long war with the Parasites. Both humanity and the Federation had deep wounds that needed to be healed before marching into the enemy territory.

Seol Jihu was contacted by Gabriel on the morning of the third day. After a ceremonial congratulation, they discussed plans for the future. As a result, the Federation and humanity both decided to focus on healing the wounds from the war.

However, neither Gabriel nor Seol Jihu disagreed on having to have a final battle with the Parasites soon.

Because of the large scale destruction humanity faced, Seol Jihu was worried that they wouldn’t recover in such a short period of time, but thankfully, the Federation stepped up to the plate.

Since the Federation suffered the least amount of damage in this war, Gabriel promised that the Federation would focus more on invading the Empire’s territory, and also give their all to help restore humanity’s destroyed cities. She also promised to supply Earthlings who were promoted from this war with equipment.

With this, urgent matters were taken care of. However, Seol Jihu still had one worry left.

It was Little Chick. According to Seo Yuhui, Little Chick had hatched from the egg when Seol Jihu had revived. The Spear of Purity’s Authorities had returned as well. But for some reason, Little Chick, who had hatched out of the egg, was still asleep.

It never woke up for even a second. Seol Jihu was worried that Little Chick would never wake up again, but thankfully, it turned out his worries were unfounded.

He got an answer when he went to the temple. According to Gula, this was the first time the Arcus Spirit’s master came back to life.

Just like how Seol Jihu returned to his past state, Little Chick was supposedly regaining his lost strength by returning to an egg. Gula assured Seol Jihu not to worry too much, and that Little Chick would wake up naturally before long.

Only after this matter was settled did Seol Jihu get on the carriage ride to Eva along with the rest of his comrades.

*


“So…”

On the way to Eva.

“Why are you over here?”

Maria asked while looking at Teresa, who was sitting on half of Seol Jihu’s knee.

“I don’t know.”

Teresa retorted joyfully.

“I’m only here because this person told me to come.”

She pulled Seol Jihu in by his neck before giving a goading smile at everyone else.

“I heard he even asked Father for permission. Isn’t that right~?”

She neared her face to Seol Jihu’s. At the same time, Seo Yuhui showed an uncomfortable look.

Seol Jihu nodded his head quietly. Then, the beamingly smiling Teresa suddenly tilted her head.

“But really, why did you bring me along?”

“What? Did you come without knowing anything?”

Maria marveled, asking if Teresa really was a princess of a kingdom. Of course, Teresa turned deaf ears to her.

“Well… there is a reason.”

Seol Jihu didn’t say much.

“You’ll find out soon enough.”

He only gave a furtive smile.

*


When Valhalla arrived in Eva, a huge crowd was waiting at the gate to greet them. As Seol Jihu was not a fan of such things and wanted to go back home quietly, he was not happy in the slightest.

“Uk…. Heuk…”

Charlotte Aria cried. It was obvious that she was holding herself back, given her status, but she could not hide her tears. Eventually, she scurried up to Seol Jihu, buried her face in his chest, and bawled her eyes out like a child.

“Your Majesty, everyone is watching.”

Seol Jihu patted Charlotte Aria’s back while saying she should be embarrassed. In reality, because of Sorg Kühne pulling strings in the background, Eva’s residents were looking at their endearing interaction as if it was to be expected.

“But… but….”

“Haha, don’t you think you like me too much?”

“N-No!”

Charlotte Aria flipped. She then displayed a pondering expression before doing a double-take.

“It’s… it’s because Teacher didn’t choose me as her successor…. That’s why I’m crying… because I’m sad…!”

And just like that, she blamed her crying for not getting the Eternal Light of Wisdom. Seol Jihu smiled bitterly, thinking that she came up with a good excuse.

For the record, Odelette Delphine, who was the branch head of Eva’s Magicians’ Guild, also cried.

“I’m upset…! I tried hard too… so why…!?”

…It seemed Odelette Delphine was really crying for that reason.

Eun Yuri held her head high as she watched the two shorties cry.

‘What a tough job!’

It wasn’t until two hours later that Seol Jihu could squirm his way out. At long last, he came back to Valhalla. But just as he was about to go through the main entrance, he halted his steps.

Six imposing dogs resembling Jindo dogs had come out to greet him[1]. They were all large and had long legs. Upon closer inspection, their ears had gotten stiffer, the color of their furs had turned clearer, and one, in particular, had black stripes on its white body like a zebra. Its long, thick eyelashes and alluring eye shape looked pretty.

“Wait, you guys…”

Seol Jihu asked, half in doubt.

“Are you guys the pups…?”

“Wan!”

The large, striped dog barked.

Seol Jihu suddenly remembered hearing how the Beastmen grew quickly. It seemed that everyone became adults while he was away.

Seol Jihu was so touched that he was at a loss of words. It was because he recalled how they clung to his leg and tugged at him before he left for Scheherazade.

“If I had listened to you guys back then….”

When Seol Jihu wiped his tears, one white dog and one yellow dog turned around. Behind them, he saw several fuzzballs. The yellow and white ones were hiding behind their parents, sneaking a glance at Seol Jihu with only their heads peeking out.

“Uh…”

Seeing the tiny fuzzballs, Seol Jihu’s eyes spun.

“Are they… your kids?”

“Wan!”

The pretty-looking dog barked again. It raised its foreleg and pointed at the white and yellow dog.

The Beastmen’s reproductive ability was said to be incomparable to that of other races. It seemed the old fuzzballs grew up and even had kids while he was away.

Seol Jihu could not hold it back any longer.

“You…”

With shaking legs, he stepped forward. Then…

“You little buggers…!”

He threw himself toward them. The six grown-up Beastmen smiled as if they were waiting for this very thing. Seol Jihu hugged the six of them and rolled around in the garden.

The little fuzzballs, on the other hand, broke out into a panic. From their perspective, a human had suddenly appeared and tackled their parents.

Chasing after Seol Jihu, who was rolling around like a wheel, they yapped at him to stop messing with their parents.

Warm sunlight, a lush green garden, soft fur that felt like a luxury carpet, squishy flesh that could be felt underneath it, and a group of fuzzballs going all out…

‘So happy.’

Seol Jihu laughed out loud as he rolled around the garden. He finally felt like he was back home.

“Who’s… ack.”

Rolling around for a while, Seol Jihu suddenly bumped into someone. He looked up from the ground. Underneath the bright sunlight, a pony-tailed woman was looking down at him.

A grey suit, an H-line skirt, and….

“…T?”

“Hm?”

Kim Hannah blinked…

“Ah!”

And then stepped back in a startle.

“You…!”

She raised her eyebrows, lifted her high-heel, and stomped down.

However, Seol Jihu wasn’t hit as he rolled to the side and dodged at the last second.

“Too slow.”

Kim Hannah’s eyes widened at Seol Jihu’s leisure.

“Eek! Eeeek!”

Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp! Kim Hannah stomped down like she was playing whack-a-mole, but she failed to hit her mark even a single time. Seol Jihu was truly showing inhuman movements.

“Huk… huk…”

In the end, Kim Hannah had no choice but to put her foot down panting. Then again, even the First Army Commander was beaten one-sidedly by Seol Jihu. There was no way a non-combatant like Kim Hannah could hit him.

“Thanks, by the way. You helped me rip the paper slip without hesitation.”

Seol Jihu hopped up and offered a handshake with a wink.

“Screw off!”

Kim Hannah slapped the hand away.

“You just came back, and this is the first thing you do?”

“Hold up, that one wasn’t my fault.”

“You could have pretended not to have seen anything!”

“I was too surprised to think properly…”

“Excuses, excuses.”

Kim Hannah, who was glaring at him sharply, lowered her head and sighed. It was then.

“You’re back.”

An aged voice cut in between them. It was Jang Maldong. He was standing at the entrance and looking at him with the same stern look he always had.

“Master.”

Seol Jihu fixed his posture right way.

“I’m…”

“It’s fine.”

Jang Maldong grinned.

“Think about the number of people you have to thank. Doing it to me too would just be too cumbersome.”

“Still…”

“It’s fine. Just give Ian a word of thanks later. He’s the one who really worked hard.”

Jang Maldong turned around with a smile.

“Anyway, hurry up! The other brats have been preparing a welcoming party for you all morning!”

“…Yes!”

Seol Jihu ran after Jang Maldong with a hearty shout. Kim Hannah smacked her lips and also went after them.

“Anyway, I heard you became the Star of Gluttony.”

“Yes, Gula-nim has accepted that I passed her trials.”

“I would be surprised if she didn’t. So, how is it?”

“Ah, I think I’m a little special in that I’m not influenced as much. The reason for that is…”

Kim Hannah smiled as she watched Jang Maldong and Seol Jihu having a friendly master-to-disciple talk. Then, she sent a killer kick at Seol Jihu’s calf.

“Try and dodge this!” was what she shouted, but Seol Jihu jumped up slightly and dodged the kick without even looking back. As a result, the kick only connected with poor Jang Maldong.

“Uaaaah!”

“Ah! Master! I’m so sorry!”

Jang Maldong and Kim Hannah’s voices echoed out in the first-floor lobby.

*


The welcoming party lasted for a long time. Seol Jihu was buffeted by a hoard of questions, and it wasn’t well into the party that Seol Jihu used having a headache as an excuse to leave the scene.

As Valhalla’s welcoming parties traditionally lasted until the next morning, running away before things got to that point was the smartest thing to do.

Splash!

“Ah, that feels so good.”

Seol Jihu went into the underground hot spring to relax and get rid of some of the alcohol in his system. Perhaps because everyone was at the welcoming party, he didn’t see anyone else there.

No, there was one other non-human existence here.

[Ooh…!]

Flone, who dove into the water, slowly floated up in front of Seol Jihu.

[Wow….]

She gasped in astonishment, looking at Seol Jihu in a new light. For some reason, her face and neck were flushed red despite being a ghost.

“What’s wrong?”

[Nothing… you’re just really big.]

“…Big?”

[Mn, mn. I’ve never seen it before, but are all guys that big?]

Flone glanced downward. To be more precise, at his crotch underneath the hot spring water.

Seol Jihu, who was tilting his head, suddenly widened his eyes.

[It was thiiiiiiiis big!!]

Flone spread out her arms until they wouldn’t go out any further.

“What are you talking about!?”

Seol Jihu shouted.

“Do you think I’m a Horus or something? How can anyone be that big!?”

Flone giggled, seemingly enjoying Seol Jihu getting mad.

[I’m saying that’s how shocked I was. Anyway, seeing it up close, it was scary but also kind of cute….]

She wrapped her hands around her cheeks and shook her head left and right. Seol Jihu grunted and crossed his legs together.

[Beh~ You can hide it all you want, but I can see it if I want to!]

“….”

Around the time Seol Jihu became lost for words, he heard another splashing sound near the door. Turning around, he saw two women walking in with only a towel in their hands.

It was Chohong and Phi Sora.

“Uh, what happened to the welcoming ceremony…?”

“We sneaked out after seeing you leave. We’re still a bit tired from the war.”

Phi Sora replied.

“This is the first floor. Isn’t the women’s hot spring on the second?”

“Ah, who cares? Since when did anyone care about such stuff in Paradise?”

Chohong grumbled and walked in. Seol Jihu nodded his head since he couldn’t really disagree.

“Phew, the hot water really washes away your fatigue.”

“Why does the water here feel better than the one downstairs?”

Chohong and Phi Sora chatted for a bit. Chohong then glanced at Seol Jihu, who was splashing around with Flone.

“By the way, are you truly okay?”

“Hmm?”

“I’m asking if you’re all healed. There’s no problem anywhere?”

“My body’s fine.”

“Not your body. What about here?”

Phi Sora poked the side of her head.

“Is your brain okay? Did you regain all of your memories?”

“I thought I answered everything at the welcoming party….”

“Can you really blame us for having doubts? You always try to shoulder everything alone…”

“You said your head hurt and went back early. We came to check up on you, just in case. We can’t have you collapse like back then….”

Seol Jihu stared fixedly at Chohong and Phi Sora. What he said was only an excuse to get out of the party. Phi Sora aside, he was a little grateful that Chohong, who loved drinking, came to see him in the middle as well.

“Ah, shit, here he goes again.”

Chohong snorted, interpreting Seol Jihu’s silent staring in another way.

“What, are you going to say you don’t remember me again?”

“?”

“Ah, I knew it. Let me warn you. Don’t even think about pulling a prank.”

Phi Sora nodded her head and chimed in. The two of them seemed to have had enough of being pranked by Seol Jihu.

“Are you Lee Kyung-kyu?[2] Why are you so obsessed with pranks?”

“Maybe you can trick us the first time or the second time. We would be dogs if we got tricked a third time.”

‘Oho.’

Seol Jihu had no intention of pulling any pranks, but this sounded like a challenge. Seol Jihu was just about to say, ‘Didn’t I trick you guys more than three times already?’ But he shut his mouth and, instead, revealed a wistful smile.

“Ah, I guess it’s not easy to prank you guys anymore.”

“I knew it! Don’t think we’d fall for it again!”

Phi Sora wagged her index finger left and right. Chohong also giggled with a look of satisfaction.

Seol Jihu cleared his throat and then said to Chohong.

“Well, to be honest… I’m still a little dizzy. There was a slight mishap during the revival process and my memories got slightly jumbled up… but it’s nothing Miss Chung Chohong should worry about.”

“…Hmm?”

Chohong was flustered. Seol Jihu then turned to Phi Sora.

“Also, it’s not like I tricked you that many times, Sora. Why not just play along a little?”

Phi Sora’s laughter stopped.

“Anyway, it’s not a big deal. It doesn’t affect my day to day life…?”

Seol Jihu widened his eyes in the middle of speaking. The two women were staring at him fixedly.

“Why are you suddenly talking so politely?”

“Why are you suddenly talking so casually?”

They asked at the same time.

“Hmm?”

“Not hmm? You just said, Miss Chung Chohong.”

“You only used Miss with me. What’s up with calling me Sora?”

“Ah, did I?”

Seol Jihu looked back and forth between the two of them and spoke evasively.

“Haha, I must have gotten confused.”

The more he tried to give an excuse, the more suspicious they got.

“Uh…. You see, Gula-nim said I didn’t have enough contribution points to fully restore my memories… huh?”

Seol Jihu blabbered on with a flustered look. Chohong and Phi Sora stared at each other.

“Hey, you!”

“Dear, don’t tell me…”

Seeing a grave look appear on their faces, Seol Jihu blinked. He didn’t know what to say.

“Chohong, I understand….”

“?”

“But you’re easy to trick too, huh, Miss Phi Sora?”

“?”

Question marks popped up above their heads.

“Chung Tricked-Again, Phi Tricked-Again, the two of you.”

It was only then that they realized they were played again. After a short silence…

“…You son of a bitch!”

“Fuck, grab that bastard right now!”

Chohong and Phi Sora cursed and pounced on him. It was like watching two female lions jump on a rabbit. The trio tossed and turned in the hot spring and made intense noises.

[Aaah? I wanna join in too!]

A certain ghost that was watching the scene joined the two women. That night, Seol Jihu slept exhausted after intensely wrestling in the hot spring.

*


The next morning. Seol Jihu planned to go to the temple as soon as he woke up, but he had to change his plans before he even left his room. It was because an unexpected guest had visited the office.

“Congratulations on reviving.”

The woman in a white ceremonial robe, holding a green spear, was none other than Baek Haeju. She had come at the break of dawn to visit him.

“Thank you.”

Though he was a little surprised, he had an idea why she came, so he greeted her with a bright smile.

“Um, by any chance…”

Baek Haeju was a little, no, a lot different than usual.

“Are your memories… okay?”

She was being careful as if she was walking on eggshells.

“Yes, I’m okay. Why do you ask…?”

“Ah, it’s because I’m curious about the penalty. I’ve been in Paradise for a long time too, you see.”

When Seol Jihu poked her once, Baek Haeju gave an excuse as if she already had one prepared.

Seol Jihu knew about Baek Haeju’s identity because he saw Seo Yuhui’s past with his Future-Gauging Nine Eyes. Naturally, neither Seo Yuhui nor Baek Haeju knew about this matter.

Although he revealed this to Jang Maldong and a couple of others….

“It wasn’t so bad. I mean, it wasn’t easy, but Master got me a novel that had a written record of everything that happened in Paradise.”

“Ah… and he didn’t say anything else?”

“Master Jang, you mean? No, he didn’t say anything else.”

“…I see.”

Observing Seol Jihu closely, Baek Haeju nodded her head. It seemed she still thought he didn’t know about her identity. Although she left a note at the end of the novel saying that she would take care of his family, there was no way Seol Jihu would know who wrote it.

“I understand. And if I may tell you something….”

“If it’s not urgent, can you tell me next time? I have to go back to Earth soon. I’m already a little late.”

Seol Jihu took the initiative seeing as how Baek Haeju seemed troubled. This was probably why Baek Haeju, no, Yoo Seonhwa, came to see him in the first place.

Seol Jihu was planning to go back sometime today anyway.

“Ah, yes, of course. I won’t hold you up, so please go ahead.”

As expected, Baek Haeju seemed relieved, almost like she was hoping he would say this.

“Thank you. I’ll be back within a week in Paradise’s time.”

Seol Jihu bowed with the intention of making Baek Haeju feel relieved before leaving the office.

‘So it looks like she’ll tell me when I go back this time….’

For now, he planned to wait until Yoo Seonhwa told him the truth. That said, it was fine even if she didn’t, since he could bring it up himself at the right time so that she wouldn’t be flustered.

‘And when I come back….’

Seol Jihu fiddled with the three divinities in his pocket and smiled sweetly. He hummed while walking down the hallway.

It finally felt like everything was smooth sailing.

Of course…

‘Though, it would be interesting to see Seonhwa’s reaction too.’

He thought about pranking Yoo Seonhwa just for a moment.


1. Hunting dogs originating on the Jindo island and native to South Korea.

2. A Korean TV celebrity who is known as the father of hidden camera pranks on TV.

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