To be more precise, exactly one year passed since the day the Parasite Queen perished. There was no way that such an important day would not be celebrated for hundreds or even thousands of years to come.
All kingdoms agreed on designating it a day of celebration. Though they tried to name it Seol Jihu Day, they had to change the name to Liberation Day following Seol Jihu’s threat, ‘You can do that if you want Paradise to see the coming of a demon lord that succeeds the Parasite Queen’s pedigree.’
In any case, the morning of Liberation Day was met with a festive eagerness. The day was hectic as everyone, regardless of their race, had spent several days of painstaking effort to prepare for the celebration.
The city was already bustling in the morning, and by the time afternoon came around, it became even more chaotic. Once the sun started to set, the celebratory festival officially commenced in all cities.
As a restaurant owner, Seol Jihu wanted to participate in the festival. Given that people from other cities and even the Federation would be making trips to Eva, it was the perfect opportunity to advertise the restaurant and set record-high sales.
However, Seol Jihu’s dream of creating a restaurant where members of different races could get along happily crumbled down. It was because of Sorg Kühne’s daily visits to implore him not to open his restaurant during the festival.
He also couldn’t bring himself to say no when other restaurant owners of Eva came and begged as well, “Our sales are hitting a record low because of your ramen place. Please, at least for the festival…!”
In the end, Seol Jihu decided to take a one-day break and enjoy the festival with his girlfriend. However, even this plan went awry.
He was certainly alone with Seo Yuhui when he locked arms with her and left, but by the time he got to the main street, the couple had grown to a party of eight.
Kim Hannah, Baek Haeju, Charlotte Aria, Eun Yuri, Chohong, Teresa, and Phi Sora…. They joined in one by one, chatting and laughing among themselves.
Now that things turned out this way, Seol Jihu decided to just go with the flow and enjoy the festival as it happens. With a good number of Earthlings hosting the festival booths, he saw a few games that seemed feasible.
“Oh! Who is this!? Our former representative!?”
Seol Jihu saw Hugo waving at him from a pool table.
“Seol! Do you wanna play? There’s a prize you can win too.”
“Oh, will I be playing against you, Hugo?”
“No, not me. There’s another player waiting to play.”
Hugo waved his hand dismissively and then pointed to the side. Dylan was standing there with a pool stick in his hand.
“I heard you play a little.”
“Eii, I just played in college for a bit.”
“Huhu, you’re more humble than I thought. I heard what happened in Hawaii.”
“Seol, you should be a little nervous. Dylan is an expert who can score 30 points in a three-cushion pool!”
Hugo shouted confidently.
Seol Jihu shrugged.
“Sounds fun. Let’s play.”
“Good. For the record, Dylan’s on a 9-win-streak right now.”
“Oh no, so you’re telling me I’m going to be the sacrificial lamb for his 10th win?”
Seol Jihu smiled and walked forward.
How much time went by?
The group of women that was busily chatting with each other realized that Seol Jihu had disappeared.
“Huh? Where did he go…?”
Chohong looked around before suddenly fixing her gaze on one spot.
Two black men were leaning against the wall, dazedly looking up at the sky. They looked shocked beyond belief.
“Hey, are you guys okay? What happened?”
“32 points high run… and a 10.0 average…. Oh my lord….”
Dylan and Hugo repeated the same thing like a broken record. The group of women stared at them dazedly before moving their gaze to the side. A similar scene was spread out there as well.
“It was two versus one….”
Oh Rahee and Kazuki were panting while leaning against a pingpong table.
They weren’t the last ones either. The game booths in the area were all beaten down. In only 30 minutes.
At that moment, a loud cheer erupted. The group of women turned their gazes and saw a strange scene happening at the hwatu table.
“Five Gwang, Godori, blue, red, green ribbons, double-dregs, four consecutive nagaris, 8 gos, gwang-sweep, dreg-sweep, and four shakes….”
Seol Jihu stopped talking after calculating for a little. It was because Maria collapsed while foaming from her mouth.
“Did that bastard just say something?”
Chung Chohong furrowed her brows and looked back at everything. However, no one said a word. They had all been struck speechless.
Phi Sora shook her head with her jaw dropped.
“I wonder what he would have done on Earth if he didn’t enter Paradise.”
Eun Yuri tilted her head curiously.
Kim Hannah murmured in a quiet voice.
“He would have succeeded, no matter what he did. So long as he doesn’t get addicted to it….”
Baek Haeju and Seo Yuhui sighed simultaneously.
Seol Jihu turned around after giving away the money to various stalls.
“Yuhui, look, I got all these for….”
He walked over with a broad grin on his face and his arms stuffed with all sorts of prizes. After seeing everyone, he blinked in a daze.
Kim Hannah dropped her head.
“Can’t you take it easy?”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you not know what modesty is? Just take a look around you!”
“I completely agree.”
Just as Seol Jihu was about to say something, Ian appeared out of the blue.
“Please do things in modesty. Mo-des-ty.”
“Master Ian, you too?”
“I’m telling you not to do such absurd things all the time. My readers aren’t going to believe me even though I’m writing what I’m seeing. Tsk, tsk.”
Ian clicked his tongue and then walked off. For the record, he was carrying a thick book and jotting down things.
“Yes, Master Ian is right.”
Setting aside where Ian came from, Kim Hannah nodded her head in agreement.
“This is a festival—a festival where everyone should have a fun time. So we should enjoy it too. Don’t go at it like your life depends on it.”
“I did enjoy it though.”
“And this is the result?”
Kim Hannah pointed in one direction. Maria was kneeling on the ground, hitting the ground with her fists and crying about losing everything.
“Ah, except for the last one.”
Seol Jihu spoke while stuffing the prizes into his Dimensional Pocket.
“She was cheating in a game that should be played fair and square.”
“Cheating? How did you know?”
“How would I not? I could tell at a single glance.”
Seol Jihu waved his hand.
“She was rigging the deck from the start. Pretty bold, don’t you think? Someone like her needs to be taught a lesson so she doesn’t cheat ever again.”
Kim Hannah was taken aback. It was because she knew Seol Jihu’s past. He played in Seorak Land, where all sorts of gamblers gathered. For several years. And with Maria being the person in question, what he said made sense.
Kim Hannah let loose a deep sigh.
“Don’t destroy the healthy ecosystem here and do something more laid back. For example~”
Kim Hannah looked around at the stalls before pointing to a tent in the corner.
“Come see your relationship, business, and life fortune. We can even show you your future.”
Seol Jihu laughed after reading the sign in front of the tent.
“Haha! That’s an interesting stall! They’re claiming they’ll show us our future!”
“Okay, okay, let’s just go and try it out.”
Kim Hannah hurriedly pulled Seol Jihu in.
“Wait, you were into things like that? You should know, almost all fortune tellers are just scam…?”
Seol Jihu trailed off after being dragged inside the tent. A woman giving off a mystical aura was sitting inside the tent with a hood covering more than half of her face.
Her voice was incredibly alluring and sensual.
“Thank you for coming to Desires.”
Some of the others who went in with him considered the name odd but stopped there. However, a few others were different. Seol Jihu was especially so. He observed the woman carefully, and Seo Yuhui was narrowing her eyes.
“I didn’t expect so many customers to come in at once. Who should I start with…? Ah, wait!”
The woman, who was talking with a grave air, suddenly jumped in fright. It was because Seol Jihu reached out and tried to take off her hood.
“Hey! What are you doing?”
“No, I’m just—”
“Why are you so rude today, dear? Are you having fun that way?”
“This person—no, this god!”
Seo Yuhui calmed Seol Jihu down.
“Sorry. He’s a little excited today….”
She then pretended to apologize to the woman and lowered her head to whisper into her ears.
“Huh? What do you mean?”
The woman cut her off with a straight face.
“That’s what I want to ask.”
Seo Yuhui stared back at her fixedly.
“...This is a festival.”
Luxuria, no, the fortune teller, whispered with a low voice.
“I can come out to enjoy it too, right?”
“I actually didn’t get any customers. Can you guys be my first? Hm? Please, my child.”
The woman pleaded. Seo Yuhui closed her eyes.
“Can you look at my fortune first?”
Seeing that the stall had caught Seol Jihu’s attention, Kim Hannah hurriedly stepped up.
“Yes, of course! You ask me anything.”
“Marriage fortune, please.”
Kim Hannah replied immediately. Although she didn’t say anything else, the fortune teller nodded her head as if she understood.
“Oh my, you must have been under a lot of stress recently.”
“...Yes. Every time I go home, my parents ask me when I’m bringing a man along or if I’m ever going to get married…!”
Kim Hannah gritted her teeth as if she had a lot of pent-up frustration from her parents’ nagging.
“I see, I see. Can you put your hand on this crystal?”
The fortune teller took out a crystal orb, and Kim Hannah promptly placed her hand on it. The fortune teller stared at the faintly shining orb before saying.
“Don’t worry. You’ll get married.”
Kim Hannah’s eyes shot open.
“Yes, you’re not alone in your room. Let’s see. You have two kids. Oh, and you already decided on your daughter’s name with your husband?”
Kim Hannah flinched.
“Also, you’ll be raising three kids.”
Kim Hannah furrowed her brows. She was going to have two kids but raising three?
“What do you mean? Am I going to adopt a baby?”
“No, that’s not what I meant.”
“D-Don’t tell me! An out-of-wedlock baby?”
“Mm, how should I explain this….”
The fortune teller hesitated for a moment.
“Well, I’m sure it will be better to show you once than to tell you a hundred times.”
Then, she whispered a chant. The crystal orb glowed. At the same time, Kim Hannah’s eyes widened.
Next, Kim Hannah’s expression changed vividly. She dropped her jaw in surprise, frowned in disbelief, and then became dazed as if in acceptance.
Kim Hannah’s hand slid off from the crystal orb.
“Do you understand now?”
The fortune teller smiled.
Kim Hannah stared at Seol Jihu before dropping her arms limply. It looked like she understood what it meant to have two kids but raise three.
“No way, why would I….”
Then, she wrapped her hands around her face and despaired. No one knew what she saw, but the Kim Hannah had fallen despondent.
An awkward silence filled the air.
“Um, do you do other fortune-telling?”
Teresa stepped in to liven up the atmosphere.
“For example, relationship fortunes~”
“Yes! Actually, I can take a look at a couple’s compatibility! I call it Rainbow Fortune.”
This time, the fortune teller put out two crystal orbs.
“My child’s husband is… I mean, we have one gentleman here. Why don’t you try putting your hand here?”
Seol Jihu did as he was told and put his hand on the left crystal orb.
“Anyone can try putting your hand on the right or—”
Whish! A wind blew before the fortune teller could even finish.
Baek Haeju had cut to the front.
Seo Yuhui’s eyes narrowed.
“Great. Hold still, please.”
The fortune teller stretched out her arms and put them above the two crystal orbs. As she chanted a quick spell, the orbs spat out a blinding red light.
The fortune teller clicked her tongue.
“The two of you… don’t have good compatibility.”
“She’s a whack.”
Baek Haeju judged immediately.
“Not at all.”
The fortune teller shook her head.
“I’m sure you already know. The plans you made ever since you were young have already gone down the drain.”
Baek Haeju flinched.
“There’s nothing you can do about it now. No, I guess it’s more appropriate to say it could never be controlled.”
The fortune teller spoke.
“To put it into perspective, you are a tree, and he is fire. Although you can marry, you will have to sacrifice many, many things.”
Baek Haeju stood blankly with her mouth agape. She wanted to say something but was at a loss for words. In the end, she could only back down.
“How accurate! Can you take a look at mine as well?”
Seo Yuhui sneered and replaced Baek Haeju’s hand on the orb.
The orb spat out another light. This time, it was violet.
“You said you called it Rainbow Fortune, right? If red is bad, then violet must be good.”
Seo Yuhui spoke loudly as if to make a certain someone hear.
“Well, I wouldn’t say that….”
However, the fortune teller clicked her tongue.
“If you are fertile land, he is a seed. He can grow tall and strong in your land… but strictly speaking, this also comes with your sacrifice since he will be taking the land’s nutrients.”
Seo Yuhui’s face stiffened.
“Too much is never good. Also, opposites attract.”
Meaning, she was no different from Baek Haeju.
Seo Yuhui stepped back in shock.
“Me next! Look at mine next!”
With two of the strongest contenders being knocked down, the remaining contenders stepped up to the plate.
“Mm. The two of you will fight a lot. But this isn’t so bad. It’s like they say, a lover’s quarrel is like cutting water with a knife. Bickering with each other is also a way of having fun.”
Chohong’s was yellow.
“Let’s see…. At first, it might be a little hard. You’re both children. How can a child raise another child? But this is still good. As you two grow, you will be able to arrive at a better future.”
Charlotte Aria’s was blue.
“Wait, what is this color? How can a color like this appear?”
Teresa’s was pink, but the fortune teller was taken aback, saying she had never seen anything like it.
“Ah… mm… this might be a little too extreme… but you two might be surprisingly compatible…?”
As for Eun Yuri, who got an indigo color, the fortune teller hesitated to explain in detail, saying it was too embarrassing.
“None of them have been all that good so far.”
Meanwhile, Phi Sora, who was watching from a distance, giggled.
“Would you like to give it a try?”
The fortune teller offered with a gentle smile.
Phi Sora shook her head.
“No, he and I will never get together anyway.”
“There’s no such thing as never. The future isn’t set in stone! Come, come. Hurry!”
With the fortune teller urging her, Phi Sora smacked her lips and walked forward.
“Well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt…. But just so you know, I’m doing this just for fun.”
She growled at Seol Jihu despite no one saying a thing, and then put her hand on the orb.
The orb vibrated slightly and spat out a light.
It was green.
The fortune teller’s jaw dropped.
“Why? Have you never seen this color before either?”
“No, green is part of the rainbow’s seven colors.”
Phi Sora asked playfully, but the fortune teller was dead serious.
“Green is definitely part of the Rainbow Fortune colors… but it’s not a color that appears often.”
Feeling a sense of foreboding, Phi Sora asked furtively.
“Because green signifies safety.”
“The two of you have very safe compatibility. This is exceedingly rare.”
Phi Sora looked as if she wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.
“To be honest, not many people are compatible from the get-go. It might be possible, of course, but it’s very rare. People are naturally different because they have different backgrounds and grew up in different environments.”
The fortune teller continued.
“That’s why couples slowly become more compatible through compromise and sacrifice… but this….”
“It’s like you found your other half already. Like a perfect fit.”
The fortune teller nodded her head.
“This is the so-called match made in heaven!”
When Phi Sora heard this, she didn't know how to react.
She decided to get angry.
“No freaking way. Me and him? A match made in heaven? Does it look like I was born yesterday? Are you trying to ruin my future?”
“Huh? No, that’s just how your future is....”
“Everything’s made up anyway! Anyone can talk! Why, do you want me to put a curse on you too!?”
“Ah, I see, you want me to show you proof!”
Chak! The fortune teller clapped her hands.
“No problem. Can you two look up at the ceiling?”
Seol Jihu and Phi Sora tilted their heads up in the heat of the moment.
Soon, a scene unfolded in front of them. It was a scene of a room.
‘...Isn’t this my room?’
Phi Sora furrowed her brows. There was no way she wouldn’t recognize her own place on Earth.
‘Why is my room... hold on.’
After seeing a bunch of liquor bottles lying around the room, Phi Sora’s eyes shot open. It was because a man and a woman were lying on the bed she slept in.
One was Seol Jihu, and the other was Phi Sora.
The problem was that they were both naked. With their backs against each other, Seol Jihu was clutching his head with his eyes closed, and Phi Sora was nibbling on her lower lip with a look of exasperation. It was as if the pair was having a rush of morning regret after a fiery night.
The scene changed before Phi Sora could even collect her thoughts.
This time, the same pair was sitting on the couch lovingly, watching TV and snacking on dried squid. They looked like a long-time couple.
Of course, Seol Jihu was watching this scene as well.
Again, the scene changed.
Seol Jihu was just as dumbfounded as Phi Sora. The third scene was of him kneeling down and proposing to her with a ring.
Phi Sora snorted with her arms crossed. Then...
[It’s not like I’m accepting it because I like you or anything.]
She turned her head and accepted the ring as if she couldn’t help it.
The scene changed again.
This time, the pair was at a wedding. Under everyone’s blessings, Ian asked as the officiant, Do the husband and wife solemnly swear to love and cherish each other forever?
At this, Phi Sora responded.
[Hmph, it’s not like I’m marrying him because I like him or anything.]
She turned her head again and murmured.
The scene changed again.
Seol Jihu doubted his eyes. It was because Phi Sora was sitting on the couch with her stomach bloated like a miniature mountain, and he was smiling happily while rubbing his scratchy cheek on her belly.
Phi Sora did not turn her head this time.
[It’s not like I got pregnant because I like you or anything.]
With a faint, barely-visible smile, she stroked Seol Jihu’s head gently.
The scene changed yet again.
On a warm spring day, at a park full of people, a married couple could be seen under the scattering petals.
Seol Jihu and Phi Sora were sitting at the park’s bench with a child in each of their hands.
Seol Jihu put his arms around Phi Sora and pulled her in.
[Let’s live happily ever after.]
Phi Sora hugged her child tightly and replied gently.
She went into Seol Jihu’s embrace as if she was used to it and buried her face in his chest.
That was where the vision ended.
The moment Seol Jihu and Phi Sora gave beautiful, happy smiles…
The screams of the pair shook the tent.
“NO WAY! NO! WHY!? HOW!?”
Phi Sora shook her head while scratching it crazily.
Seol Jihu was in a worse state.
He shrieked and despaired at the world as if the Parasite Queen had destroyed Paradise.
Hah. Phi Sora scoffed in disbelief.
The scenes must have been quite a shock as Seol Jihu even started to bang his head on the wall.
Phi Sora glared and put her hands on her hips.
“Hey, hey, do you think you’re the only one who finds this heinously disturbing?”
Seol Jihu slowly turned his head. Phi Sora thumped her chest.
“I don’t like it either! It’s unpleasant for me too!”
Seol Jihu stared at Phi Sora fixedly, and then….
He suddenly picked up Seo Yuhui and placed her in front of Phi Sora. It was as if he was showing her off.
Phi Sora asked as if she didn’t get it.
Next, Seol Jihu picked up Baek Haeju and placed her in front of Phi Sora.
“L-Let me go!”
He did the same for Kim Hannah.
And then the puzzled Charlotte Aria.
And then the blinking Eun Yuri.
“What are you doing?”
And then the grumbling Chohong.
“Good, let’s run away together now.”
And then finally, Teresa.
Phi Sora understood his intention. Seol Jihu was basically asking how she could compare to any one of these women. At least, that was how she interpreted it.
Next, Seol Jihu borrowed a mirror from Kim Hannah and then brought it up to Phi Sora’s face.
He then shouted.
Phi Sora’s brows twitched.
Of course, she knew that the other women were undisputable beauties. But she did not think she lost out to them in any way. As she prided in her figure and appearance, Phi Sora could not tolerate such humiliation.
Phi Sora’s expression turned cold.
“Are you crazy?”
“You motherfucking brat, piece of shit, son of a bitch, do you have a death wish?”
In the end, she cursed spitefully. She reached out at the same time, but Seol Jihu hopped back and escaped.
“Get your ass over here while I’m still being nice.”
“Did you not hear me? Get over here!!”
Seol Jihu ran away, and Phi Sora chased after him.
Everyone else watched Seol Jihu and Phi Sora disappear and shook their heads.
“Well… why don’t we leave too?”
“That was fun.”
As the group left one by one, Seo Yuhui stopped stealthily. She approached the fortune teller and whispered.
“Is it true?”
“Everything you said just now. Is it all true?”
“Yes, of course.”
Seo Yuhui bit her lower lip.
“It can be changed, right? The future, I mean.”
“No, this will be difficult.”
Luxuria spoke clearly.
Seo Yuhui gasped.
“Why? You said the future wasn’t set in stone!”
“It depends on the future.”
Luxuria continued quietly.
“If I were to put it in perspective… even if I say, you have a future of being the president!, it’s not like everyone can become one.”
“We changed Paradise’s future.”
“I would have said it was possible were it that easy.”
Luxuria spoke calmly as if she was consoling an angry child.
“Fighting thousands of Parasite Queens at the same time and coming out victorious will be a lot easier than this.”
Luxuria nodded gravely.
“It can’t be helped. The future is variable but also invariable. There are certain things that have been decided since creation.”
With that, Luxuria crossed her arms.
“To change a future like this, I would think a Heaven-rank 9 god needs to step in….”
“Yep. That’s on the level of the Creation God’s territory.”
When Seo Yuhui tilted her head, Luxuria added a few more words.
“There are many gods in the universe. The Parasite Queen was only around the level of Heaven-rank 7.5. She won’t even be able to lift a finger against a Heaven-rank 8 god, and Heaven-rank 9 gods are existences that can crush Heaven-rank 8 gods with one finger.”
While Seo Yuhui gasped in astonishment, her complexion paled. It was because she understood how difficult it would be to change Seol Jihu’s future.
She let out a deep sigh and turned around. She did not turn back even when Luxuria called out to her. She only trudged out in deep thought.
Luxuria helplessly lowered her arm that was reaching for Seo Yuhui.
“It’s ten silver coins per person….”
Luxuria pouted, having been cheated unintentionally.
God, I love this novel.