Side Story 3. Blissful Honeymoon

After the fall of the Parasites, Seol Jihu’s name was unsurprisingly the most talked-about in Paradise. Regardless of what kind of a person he was, it was an undeniable truth that he was the one who defeated the Parasite Queen, thereby setting a feat that would be recorded in the annals of Paradise for ages to come.

The Sky Fairies praised his heroic feat in the form of a song, and historians added many flowery words to describe Seol Jihu’s legendary triumph.

Of course, Seol Jihu wasn’t the only one to be mentioned. The next person to be the talk of the town was Seo Yuhui, the Priest who discovered the legendary hero and stayed with him until the end. There was nothing more the public would love talking about.

If one were to add another explanation on top of that, the reason for Seo Yuhui’s fame would have to be her relationship with Seol Jihu. After all, the two of them were well-known lovebirds in Eva.

However, anything could become too excessive. The problem was with the way the pair expressed love.

It was the same today. Early morning, as ‘Seol Jihu Ramen?’ restaurant was preparing to open for the day, the place was packed before the doors even opened.

Surprisingly, the people sitting at the tables were all Seol Jihu’s acquaintances.

This was a sneaky trick that they quickly found. Using their friendship with Seol Jihu, they would drop by in the morning, saying, “I came to say hi~” Following which, they would lounge around for a little while and order as soon as the restaurant opened for business.

Once this method became widely known, some even began to come the night before, saying, “I came to hang out~” Then, they would stay overnight, using the tables as beds.

Seeing these people, Cinzia clicked her tongue and sarcastically applauded their devotion. Agnes, on the other hand, criticized them for using such a cheap, underhanded method. Of course, both of them shut up when they were asked, “Then why don’t you get rid of your designated seat and try waiting?”

In any case, the winners of today’s table-scramble were anxiously waiting for Seol Jihu’s arrival. According to Seo Yuhui, who was preparing ingredients in the kitchen, he had gone to see the baby fuzzballs that the baby fuzzballs of the fuzzballs birthed.

It wasn’t until a few minutes before opening time that they understood what she meant. Whimpers rang out from the outside before the door opened.

The anxiously waiting crowd turned to the door in excitement. Then, they all opened their eyes in surprise.

Setting aside a group of big and small fuzzballs that were wagging their tails and following him, a large bouquet could be seen in Seol Jihu’s hands as he walked in.

No one knew where he got it from, but it was arranged with snow-white flowers, giving it a pure, beautiful look.

After scanning the restaurant, Seol Jihu spotted Seo Yuhui cutting green onions in the kitchen and grinned.

“Hmm? What’s up?”

Seo Yuhui looked up and tilted her head.

Seol Jihu hid the bouquet behind his back. Of course, Seo Yuhui had already seen it.

“You see….”

Hooked on a strange, god-knows-what role play, Seol Jihu walked up with heavy airs.

“I heard there was a lady here who was as beautiful as a flower…”

Seol Jihu stopped and stared with a mellow gaze. Seo Yuhui smiled bitterly, wondering what prank he was up to this time.

At that moment, Seol Jihu suddenly pulled out the bouquet. Seo Yuhui’s eyes widened.

“...Oh no, what have I done?”

Seol Jihus’ eyes were still mellow. They looked so sweet that the spectators thought his eyes were dripping honey.

“I meant to bring flowers befitting your beauty, but….”

As Seol Jihu continued, Seo Yuhui blinked rapidly. She looked extremely puzzled.

“It seems like the rumors were false.”

The blankly staring Teresa’s jaw slowly dropped. She seemed to be thinking, There’s no way, right? However, her suspicion quickly became a reality.

“Even these flowers are bowing their heads at the lady’s beauty. Aaah! Whatever shall I do? Even flowers are no match for your beauty!”

PFFFT! Agnes spat out the water she was drinking.

“S-Sorry, boss!”

“...No, it’s fine.”

Cinzia replied calmly and wiped her face with the back of her hand.

“That was a little hard on me too….”

She trailed off and turned back to Seol Jihu at a loss for words. She looked as if she was looking at some extinct species.

Seo Yuhui wasn’t there anymore. No, to be more precise, she was squatting in the same spot with her shoulders shaking. She giggled madly as if she was dying of laughter.

“Jihu, that was a bit, ahahahaha!”

Taking Seo Yuhui’s laughter as a show of happiness, Seol Jihu smiled beamingly as well.

“How will you make it up to me? There was no point in me buying these flowers because you are too beautiful!”

He kept throwing cringey lines with no shame.

Seo Yuhui barely stopped her laughter and got up. Though she was biting down on her lower lip, she smiled with her eyes as if to praise Seol Jihu for the effort.

Then, she placed her palm on his cheek.

“I’m sorry.”

She gave a pleased smile.

“I’m sorry for being too beautiful.”

Seol Jihu nodded as if in 100 percent agreement.

“Being too beautiful is a sin, you know.”

“Then what should I do?”

“Easy. I sentence Yuhui to be with Seol Jihu for 100 years! Uhehe!”

The little fuzzballs began to vomit en masse. The adult fuzzballs that were dazedly watching the couple took the little fuzzballs and turned around. Shaking their heads, they left the restaurant.

The fuzzballs weren’t the only ones showing such a reaction. Of the other speechless audience…

“Fuck….”

Teresa broke the silence.

“...This.”

And Eun Yuri finished her sentence.

“You bought this for me?”

Seo Yuhui took the bouquet. Seol Jihu could not hide his shock. Just standing with a bouquet in hand, Seo Yuhui looked like an actress right out of a movie.

Black silky hair, well-kempt eyelashes, full charming lips, narrow shoulders, and a pair of contrasting voluminous breasts….

Having experienced how comfy and snug the last area was, Seol Jihu’s eyes turned dreamy.

“Yuhui… why are you so pretty?”

Before anyone noticed, he was leaning on the kitchen table with his chin cupped in his hands.

“Hmm? Answer me. Why are you so pretty?”

With his eyebrows wiggling like caterpillars, he asked with a cheesy expression.

“Aing, I don’t know.”

Seo Yuhui’s cheeks reddened as she couldn’t hide her embarrassment any longer. She had played along with him because he was just too cute, but unlike a certain someone, she had shame.

“Anyway, these flowers are beautiful….”

Seo Yuhui cleared her throat and spoke.

“But, they are also a bit pitiful.”

“?”

“They’re beautiful when you first get them, but they will wither eventually.”

“You don’t have to worry. These are…”

“No, that’s not what I mean.”

Seo Yuhui spoke suggestively.

“A flower has to enjoy the sunlight and be watered to maintain its beauty.”

Seo Yuhui glanced at Seol Jihu.

“Ah~ If only someone can do the same for me~”

Seol Jihu exclaimed, “Ah.” Seo Yuhui made it obvious enough. No matter how dense he was, he could at least pick up on direct hints.

“That reminds me. There’s a saying, He who works hard shall enjoy a wonderful vacation.

This seemed to be the right response as the smile on Seo Yuhui’s face became broader.

“Do you want to go on a trip? Just the two of us, I mean.”

“Oh, really?”

Seo Yuhui asked excitedly. Seol Jihu nodded. Baek Haeju had already submitted a one-week paid-time-off from the restaurant because of her own cafe. There was no better opportunity.

“Where do you have in mind?”

“Mm~ How about Hawaii?”

“Hawaii?”

“Yep. I went there before with Valhalla’s members as part of an organization workshop. It was great. You couldn’t join back then because you were sick. It’s been sitting on my mind, so this is perfect.”

“Hawaii….”

Seo Yuhui’s eyes became unfocused. Seeing the grinning Seol Jihu, she gulped hard.

“When do you want to go?”

“Today!”

“H-Hmm?”

Seo Yuhui’s eyes widened.

“Since we decided to go, why hesitate? Let’s leave right away!”

Seo Yuhui had been looking for an opening ever since the festival. She didn’t think Seol Jihu would be so eager.

“But what about the restaurant…?”

“It’s fine. We haven’t opened for the day yet. We’ll just post a notice that we’re taking a few days off.”

The people that had been waiting since the previous night jumped in a startle.

“W-Wait. We have to buy tickets, pack our bags, and….”

“Eii, all we need is our passports and wallets! Come on!”

Seol Jihu pulled Seo Yuhui’s arm, saying this was the real way to enjoy a trip. He then announced, “We’re temporarily closed starting from today!” and left immediately.

“....”

Only a lingering silence remained in the restaurant.

This was the ultimate fate for the ones cheating the system. Ring, ring~

With only the sound of the doorbell ringing...

“Fuck.”

Maria’s curse echoed in the void.


*


Seol Jihu left for a trip the day he returned to Earth. He booked the flight himself and called Seo Yuhui as soon as he found his passport. His attitude was completely different compared to when he was forcefully dragged there in the past.

A broad grin never left his face from the moment he met Seo Yuhui, who was wearing an old-school, white dress. After meeting at the airport terminal, they hopped on the plane full of smiles.

It was the same, even after they arrived in Hawaii. The two of them enjoyed a nice meal, took a brief rest, and then walked around.

Seol Jihu did not even notice the time go by.

Walking around the area with his arms locked with Seo Yuhui’s, he watched her try out dozens of swimsuits and grinned broadly after she bashfully decided on a white tube-top bikini. They then ran around the beach, playing tag.

He couldn’t be happier while doing all this. With Seo Yuhui by his side, the world looked different.

Then, by the time he noticed, night had fallen.

Seol Jihu and Seo Yuhui walked around the night market and watched the night shows at the beach. They sat at an open theatre and watched a play while drinking beer. There was nothing better than drinking beer while facing the night breeze on the beach.

“Haha! Look at that person!”

Seol Jihu clapped his hands and laughed at an actor who was imitating the neighing of a horse. Then, he suddenly widened his eyes.

“Yuhui?”

Seo Yuhui had her head lowered with one hand over her left chest. Haa, haa. He could even hear her panting.

“What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

“Yeah…. It’s just….”

She groaned and raised her head slowly. Her face was noticeably red even under the darkness of the night.

“What’s wrong with me…? My head is spinning… and my heart is stinging….”

“What?”

Seol Jihu hurriedly examined her. The smell of alcohol wafted out of her with each breath. She seemed to be drunk despite only drinking two cans of beer.

“I didn’t know you were a lightweight….”

“Uun…. Haaaa….”

“You must be tired from running around all day. Okay, let’s stop drinking and go.”

“Un….”

Seol Jihu helped Seo Yuhui up. He wanted to go to a luxury hotel and grab a room, but Seo Yuhui refused. She said she wanted to get rest as soon as possible and was okay with anywhere.

“Stay here for a bit. I’ll go ask if they have a room.”

Seol Jihu went to a nearby motel and headed to the counter.

Hello, do you have any rooms left?

He asked in rather fluent English.

Yes, for how many people?

Two.

Would you like one room or two?

Seol Jihu paused for a moment. He looked at Seo Yuhui, who was leaning on the wall, and smiled lecherously. Thinking about it now, he often slept in Seo Yuhui’s embrace in Paradise but never on Earth.

“Hmm.”

With a cough, Seol Jihu said.

“Yuhui, what should we do?”

“Hmm…?”

“I should have booked a hotel… The man at the front desk said there’s only one room left….”

Seol Jihu avoided looking into Seo Yuhui’s eyes and scratched his cheek. For a very brief moment, Seo Yuhui smiled weakly.

“...Yeah? I guess it can’t be helped then.”

“We can try looking for a different place….”

“No, I’m fine. I want to rest.”

Seol Jihu clenched his fist.

“One room, please~”

He even forgot to speak in English and grinned with his thumbs up.

The man at the front desk stared at Seol Jihu while handing over the key. It was evident that he did not like Seol Jihu.

‘So obvious.’

Though he didn’t understand what the pair was talking about, having worked at this famous tourist attraction for years, he had developed a discerning eye for something like this.

Whether it be colleagues, friends, or strangers who met for the first time, some men tried to score by getting the women drunk.

“It’s on the fourth floor! Come on, Yuhui!”

This excited Asian man had to be one of such people.

‘As if I’ll let you! Watch me ruin your night!’

The man at the front desk scoffed and resolved himself. He usually did not meddle in such things… but he was jealous. The woman that was with the man was so blindingly beautiful that jealousy had reared its ugly head.

Even if his action did cause a problem, all he had to do was say there was a misunderstanding from the language barrier.

And so, he waited for Seo Yuhui to come closer after Seol Jihu went up.

Miss.

He spoke to her softly.

That man is lying to you.

Seo Yuhui stopped.

There are many rooms left in this motel. Not just one.

However, Seo Yuhui continued to walk, pretending not to have heard him.

‘Does she not speak English?’

Miss, wait.

The man at the front desk raised his voice. Then, just as he was about to turn on a voice translator…

Shut up.

The man doubted his ears.

...What?

Did she just say shut up? The man suddenly came to his senses. The woman was no longer showing any sign of being drunk. Instead, she was glaring at him with the eyes of a wicked vixen.

Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting for this day?

It’s my chance to light and shine.

I’ll never miss this opportunity.

So, please be quiet. Please.

“Yuhui! Do you need help coming up?”

At that moment, Seol Jihu peeked his head over the handrail and shouted. The man at the front desk jumped in a startle.

“Un… no… I’m coming….”

Seo Yuhui transformed within a microsecond from a wicked vixen to a staggering, drunk lady.

“It must be hard. Here, let me help.”

Seol Jihu ran back down and picked Seo Yuhui up in a princess carry.

“Ei, you can save your stamina for later….”

And for a brief moment, a coy smile flashed on Seo Yuhui's lips. Although Seol Jihu failed to see it, the man at the front desk saw it clearly. Seo Yuhui had stuck out her tongue and licked her upper lip.

It was only then that he realized he was gravely mistaken. The roles of the seasoned hunter and the innocent prey were reversed.

By the time he noticed, the pair was already going up the stairs. It was too late to stop them.

Looking at Seol Jihu, who was walking with light steps while thinking about getting a good night’s rest...

Bro…!

He belatedly stretched out his arm.

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