Side Story 8. Gabriel’s Request

The Federation remained a unified organization even after the Parasites perished. The wounds left by the prolonged war were too deep for anyone to return to normal life immediately. The heads of all races agreed that it would be mutually beneficial to all of them if they supported each other, both financially and emotionally, until all groups could function independently of each other again. This was how the Half Century Treaty came to be.

A considerable amount of time had passed since then. Not everything was perfect yet, but at least the most urgent fires had been put out. Now, it was time to wait until visible changes emerged.

It was around this time that a meeting took place in the capital of the Federation. The attendees of this meeting were the Four Archangels.

“The time has come.”

Mikael was the first to speak.

“The Parasites have met their end, and Paradise is flourishing again.”

A blue-haired angel sitting next to Mikael propped her chin on her palm and nodded in agreement.

“Strictly speaking, we too are aliens to the people of this planet. And now that everything is on track for recovery….”

It was Mikael’s opinion that Paradise no longer needed them.

“I know.”

Gabriel, who had been listening in silence, replied with a look of boredom.

“They have defeated their greatest enemy, but another alien species still remains on their planet. Fearing that the Fallen Angels would turn on them, the natives might begin hunting us down…. Had I seen any indication of that happening, I would have taken action a long time ago.”

Gabriel continued flatly.

“The problem is….”

Suddenly, her voice trailed off.

“Our work here is finished. But we can’t leave simply because we want to.”

“…”

“I understand how others feel. For us, salvation means more than just going back home.”

The wings of the black-haired angel sitting opposite Gabriel trembled.

“The Martial God promised us. If we pay for our sins—”

“Mikael. A promise means nothing when it is between the Martial God and us. Only fools would believe in it.”

Mikael shut her mouth. She knew that the Martial God was more than capable of changing his mind just to spite them. He’d say, “Oh, come to think of it, you guys lied to me, too, right?” And with that, all their efforts would be in vain.

“You know he’s deceitful. Remember how the Martial God stole the secret awakening class from us using the hidden library he found in Atlanta? Ah… I still get angry just thinking about it.”

Gabriel covered her face with her hands.

“Anyway, my point is that we can’t contact the Martial God first.”

Waiting was all they were allowed to do.

“So, we’re presented with two choices here. We can either stay on this planet and wait for the Martial God to reach out to us….”

Gabriel smacked her lips.

“Or we can remind him of the promise he made to us because it’s possible he’s forgotten about it.”

“The latter definitely sounds more compelling. But… how will we do that?”

We can’t, but there are plenty of humans in Paradise who can visit Earth. We’ll have to ask one of them for a favor.”

“Who…?”

“Who do you think?”

Mikael let out a soft groan.

“I don’t think he’d refuse, but… will he be able to pull it off?”

“He even obliterated a god of Heaven Rank 7.5. Let’s have faith in him… is what I’d like to say, but….”

Gabriel smiled bitterly.

“This time, he’s only a messenger. Don’t forget that the Martial God has the final say.”

Mikael dropped her head with a look of worry.

“Anyway, so you all agree that rather than living in resignation, we should at least try something?”

“Yes.”

“I understand.”

Gabriel nodded.

“Contact Eva.”

Then she stood up from her chair.

“I’ll go ask him myself.”


*


A few days later, Gabriel arrived in Eva around sunset. A ‘Temporarily Closed’ sign was still hanging on the door of Seol Jihu’s restaurant. Opening the front door, Gabriel heard talking and footsteps inside. Then, all of a sudden, she came face to face with an inexplicable and utterly disastrous sight.

“Again!”

Under Seol Jihu’s command, Baek Haeju was repeating the process of filling a pot with water and throwing it out, again and again, sweat pouring down her face.

Seo Yuhui had already passed out on the floor.

“…”

What’s going on? Gabriel stood dazed and confused until her eyes met Seol Jihu’s. Those eyes, shining intensely like the eyes of a hawk, slowly returned to normal as they registered the silver-haired angel’s presence.

“Gabriel-nim?”

“Ah.”

“What brings you here?”

“Did you not get my message?”

“Administrator Sorg Kühne told me you were going to visit…. I just didn't know it would be this soon.”

“Yes, actually, I left right after I sent the message. By the way….”

Gabriel looked at Seo Yuhui, lying unconscious on the floor, then at Baek Haeju, who was sobbing with her mouth covered.

“Um…. Should I come back at a later time?”

“No, no, you’re fine.”

Seol Jihu loosened his arms and turned his eyes back to the two women. He was clearly dissatisfied but was willing to overlook their lack of performance for the sake of his guest.

“Let’s end a little early today. Come back tomorrow prepared.”

“T-Thank you!”

Baek Haeju immediately picked Seo Yuhui up from the floor. As she rushed out the door, she gave Gabriel a look of sincere gratitude.

“I have no idea what’s going on, but….”

Gabriel stepped inside, shaking her head.

“Looking at you, Valhalla’s ex-representative, it seems the rumors were true.”

She smiled, looking at Seol Jihu from head to toe, who was dressed in a chef’s coat.

Seol Jihu, too, smiled back.

“Did you have dinner yet? How about a bowl of ramen?”

“No.”

Seol Jihu’s smile suddenly halted before turning into a bitter expression. She offered no excuse and just declined outright. Her voice sounded strangely resolute.

“Forgive me, but I can’t have any ramen you’ve made.”

“W-Why not?”

“Though limited in power, I, too, can see the future. One might say that my senses have risen to the level of foresight.”

Gabriel continued.

“And for some reason, I get the sense that the moment I eat your ramen, I will dearly wish to remain on this planet and voluntarily become your slave. Now, I can’t have that happen, can I? The entire race of Fallen Angels longs for the day we return to the Celestial Realm.”

Gabriel said all this in one breath.

Still somewhat baffled by her reaction, Seol Jihu nodded nonetheless.

‘The Celestial Realm….’

He got a sense of why Gabriel came all the way here to meet him.

Soon, the two of them sat facing each other at a table. They exchanged some small talk until finally, Gabriel brought up the real reason for her visit.

“I want to ask you a question first.”

“Please, go ahead.”

“How do we look to you?”

Seol Jihu tilted his head to the side.

“What do you think of us?”

Gabriel asked again.

Seol Jihu replied after a short pause.

“If you’re talking about the Fallen Angels in general… Before, I thought of you guys as a race that helped prolong the life of this planet. Now, I think of you as my saviors and comrades who have fought alongside me through the long war.”

“…Yeah?”

Even though his answer might just be a formality, Gabriel still seemed relieved.

“If you really think so, then I have a favor to ask of you as your savior and comrade.”

She began.

“It’s important to note here that you have nothing to do with this.”

Seol Jihu stared at Gabriel, who seemed a little nervous.

“When we were discussing the Half Century Treaty… you supported me all the way through, Gabriel-nim.”

After a moment of silence, Seol Jihu spoke carefully.

“The Fallen Angels made a significant contribution to our victory, yet refused to receive anything in return for it.”

“And we’ve lived quietly since then.”

Gabriel remarked.

“You’re right. It’s as you expected.”

She gave a faint smile.

“We’re planning to leave Paradise. Actually, it’d be more accurate to say that we want to leave Paradise.”

Paradise without the Fallen Angels…. Seol Jihu’s finger tapped on the table. Suddenly he remembered the conversation he had with Gabriel after the Tigol Fortress War.

[The Martial God invaded the Celestial Realm. Using infernal flames and the infernal army, he destroyed everything and captured all angels.]

[And then the Martial God threw all the angels he captured into the Infernal Realm.]

[What could we have done? We became slaves to the demons whom we despised so much….]

[…Until one day when we were given a chance.]

[The Martial God robbed us of all our Authorities and power and then mentioned Paradise. He told us that the Parasite Queen was disturbing the peace of this planet and ordered us to take care of her.]

[He probably just wanted us to suffer the same pain he did.]

A man who had been living a perfectly normal life on Earth until suddenly being summoned to an unfamiliar world and then forced to fight the demons as a proxy for the angels against his will. All the while, the anger and resentment in his heart kept escalating by the day….

“Could it be….”

It was then that a name crossed Seol Jihu’s mind.

“Is this about the Martial God?”

Gabriel lifted a corner of her mouth.

“I’m glad you’re quick to catch on.”


*


Their conversation lasted longer than he thought it would. By the time Gabriel left, the sun had already set.

‘It’s late….’

What should I do? Seol Jihu hesitated before finally getting up. He knew it was likely that Kim Hannah had already gone to bed. She was known for her obsession with schedules, which she meticulously divided into seconds—but figured he would visit anyway, because today, Gabriel seemed unusually desperate.

The lights had already been turned off in the Valhalla building, and the whole place was quiet. Seol Jihu carefully stepped inside, trying his best to conceal his presence, much like a secret service agent.

Fortunately for him, the lights in Kim Hannah’s room were still on. He peeked inside through the crack in the door and saw Kim Hannah lying on her stomach. She was busy jotting something down in her notebook. He seemed to have arrived at just the right time, which was moments before she fell asleep.

Seol Jihu tiptoed into the room….

“Mm….”

Then he jumped onto the bed and laid his head on Kim Hannah’s butt.

“Uhm!”

There was no loud scream, but he could hear the surprise in her voice. Kim Hannah hurriedly turned her head back, and Seol Jihu felt her glare piercing through the top of his head.

“…Hey.”

He heard the suppressed irritation in Kim Hannah’s voice.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

Seol Jihu closed his eyes and pretended to be asleep.

“Move your head before I count to three. One, two, three.”

“I came over for a chat.”

Seol Jihu straightened his posture right away.

One of Kim Hannah’s eyebrows lifted a fraction.

“A chat?”

“Yeah. You know how Gabriel-nim stopped by today, right?”

“Ah.”

A light flickered in Kim Hannah’s eyes.

“She left already? What did you two talk about?”

She closed her notebook and sat up in her bed. Her eyes gleamed with anticipation that she might obtain rare information.

“This could take a while….”

“That’s okay. Ah, give me a second.”

Kim Hannah threw a blanket at Seol Jihu while simultaneously taking off her pajamas. By the time the blanket fell to the floor, she was already dressed in a gray suit with her hair neatly tied back in a ponytail.

Her transformation never ceased to amaze Seol Jihu.

“Why did you change all of a sudden?”

“You said that it would take a while.”

“That doesn’t mean you can’t be in your pajamas.”

“That look on your face. It tells me that whatever you’re about to say isn’t exactly a bedtime story.”

Kim Hannah pulled up her dark-colored stockings, asserting that a serious story demands a serious attitude from the listener.

“Come on. Let’s go down to the office.”

She motioned at the door with her chin.

“Sit over there.”

Once they arrived at the office, Kim Hannah pointed to her desk. Seol Jihu, who was just about to settle down on the guest couch, walked awkwardly toward his old desk. Once seated in the chair, he could not help smiling. This office was just as he remembered it. He thought Kim Hannah would have changed it to suit her taste, but surprisingly everything was the same.

“So what is it that you want to talk to me about?”

Looking up at Kim Hannah standing in front of his desk, memories began to fill his heart.

“Gabriel-nim asked me a favor.”

Seol Jihu paused and let out a sigh.

“A favor?”

“Yeah. She asked me to team up with the Fallen Angels and invade Paradise—”

“Cut the bullshit.”

Kim Hannah’s face warped into a frown.

“What is wrong with you?”

She placed her hand on her waist and criticized.

“You said this was important. You even woke me up in the middle of the night! Can’t you try to be a little more serious?”

“…Sorry.”

Seol Jihu gave an embarrassed cough.

“The truth is….”

He finally got to the point.

After his explanation came to an end….

“In short….”

Kim Hannah seemed baffled.

“You want me to look for a man?”

“Yeah.”

“In South Korea, which boasts a population of more than 51 million, with no lead to go on except for a name?”

“I also have his brother’s name. And his wife’s name.”

“…I guess that’s better than nothing.”

Seol Jihu quickly added, bringing Kim Hannah’s temper down a notch.

“But… what happened?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why are the Fallen Angels looking for an ordinary human who has nothing to do with Paradise? What’s their relationship to him?”

“He might not be ordinary.”

Seol Jihu answered calmly.

“I don’t know what exactly happened between them. And… the Fallen Angels are technically aliens too, you know.”

“That’s true, but….”

“There may be more worlds out there like Paradise that we just don’t know about.”

“Hmm….”

Kim Hannah was still doubtful, but she could see that Seol Jihu wasn’t joking. She pulled her gaze away from him and shook her head. She couldn’t outright deny the possibility of another world, for she herself was an Earthling. But it was still difficult for her to accept right away.

“Okay… fine. It’s not like I’m losing anything, so I’ll give it a shot.”

Kim Hannah opened her notebook.

“If what you’re saying is true, this could be an opportunity for me as well.”

Two Earthlings who can travel between two different worlds. There would be a lot she could gain from their meeting.

“So.”

Kim Hannah clicked her pen and prepared to write.

“What’s his name again?”

Seol Jihu replied.

“Kim Soohyun.”

“That’s a common name. And his brother’s name?”

“Kim Yoohyun.”

“Okay. And his wife?”

“Let’s see. Goh Yeonju, Nam Da-Eun, Yoo Hyun-Ah, Yi Yoojung, Im Hannah, Jung Hayeon, Jegal Haesol, Cha Sorim, Han Soyoung, Kim Han….”

Folding his fingers as he spoke, Seol Jihu suddenly felt a gaze on him and raised his head.

Kim Hannah was glaring at him.

Seol Jihu quickly waved his hand.

“This is all true! I’m not kidding!”

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