Side Story 10. Life is About Connections

Before returning to earth, Seol Jihu called Gabriel.

—User Goh Yeonju.

Gabriel clicked her tongue as soon as she heard what happened.

—To think it would be her out of all people…. You must have dug quite deep into the hornet’s nest for the Shadow Queen to have made a move.

“Thankfully, she sent Kim Hannah back alive.”

—That’s a relief. I highly doubt she escaped by luck…. It’s hard to believe, but the Shadow Queen must have shown her mercy.

Gabriel said the same thing Roselle did.

—It’s probably best that your investigator takes her hands off this matter. The Shadow Queen won’t be so forgiving the second time around.

Gabriel sighed. Seol Jihu spoke after listening quietly.

“Lady Roselle said she felt a trace of energy that was even more powerful than the Parasite Queen’s.”

—...I believe it.

Gabriel smacked her lips.

—Was it during the Glacial Snow Field expedition? They killed an ancient Heaven-rank 8 evil god and obtained his remains.

“H-Heaven-rank 8?”

Seol Jihu jumped in a startle.

—If I remember correctly, Saintess Angelus used Lucifer’s trap against him in a miracle, summoning Hell’s Conflagration to beat him.

“Hell’s Conflagration?”

—It is a fire of destruction that is said to only occur during the moment a planet explodes. For the record, it’s also a god at Heaven-rank 9.

Seol Jihu dropped his jaw. He felt like he was getting dumber the more he asked.

The difference between this person’s rank and the Parasite Queen’s rank was only one or two at best. But the difference between each rank of godhood was so vast that it was impossible to judge by human standards. After all, a Heaven-rank 9 god could have supposedly killed the Parasite Queen with just one thumb.

“That’s kind of hard to believe.”

Seol Jihu shook his head.

“To think a human was able to handle the divinity of a Heaven-rank 8 god….”

—As you can tell from the Parasite’s Army Commanders, accepting a divinity and fully absorbing it are two completely different things. Plus, given that there are several existences on that side who are of vastly higher rank, the Shadow Queen might have received some help.

Multiple existences at a rank higher than Heaven-rank 8….

Seol Jihu didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

—Do you think you can do it…?

Gabriel asked in a worried voice. She also sounded like she had given up.

Seol Jihu sank into his chair and lifted his chin to look at the sky.


*


After returning to Earth, Seol Jihu called the number he got from Kim Hannah.

However, Kim Hanbyul did not pick up. It was the same, even when he sent a text message.

In the end, Seol Jihu called Seo Yuhui and headed to meet up with her. He did not have a promising plan. But since he couldn’t refuse Gabriel’s earnest plea, he planned to visit personally.

‘Martial God….’

A man who was once a human.

Put differently, it meant he was no longer human.

Then what should he be called?

‘Chaos.’

That was what Gabriel said. That the Martial God was an inexplicably mixed being. That he was chaos itself, a jumble of light and darkness.

‘I can’t force him to do anything….’

Seol Jihu did not see the Fallen Angels in a bad light. After all, they played a huge role in liberating Paradise from the Parasites’ control.

However, that was only his opinion. He couldn’t demand the Martial God to forgive the Fallen Angels just because he thought highly of them. He neither had the qualification nor the strength to do so.

‘Moreover….’

This Martial God had been forcefully summoned to another world, suffering all sorts of hardships. His older brother, the woman he loved, and the comrades he trusted had all met tragic fates.

How he must have felt when he turned back time after reaching the summit was something Seol Jihu did not dare to imagine.

‘Maybe Black Seol Jihu can empathize with him.’

In any case, Seol Jihu knew what role he should play between the Martial God and the Fallen Angels.

Lost in thought, Seol Jihu arrived at his destination before he noticed. He looked up at the tall, high-rise apartment complex and slowly walked forward.

To get inside, he first had to pass through security. The guard’s room was near the main entrance. Seol Jihu stood in front of the window and waited.

Then, he was slightly startled as he saw a tall, male guard with a pony-tail. What surprised him wasn’t his hairstyle or height, but his physique, which was burly like that of a bodybuilder.

He was wearing a white dress shirt, which made his bulging muscles stand out.

‘Under that dress shirt…’

Must be a ton of muscles…. Seol Jihu gulped.

“What brings you here today?”

Though the guard asked politely, Seol Jihu felt an inexplicable chilliness in his tone.

“I came to see an acquaintance.”

“Can you tell me the name of this person and the building and suite number?”

“It’s Seo Yuhui from Building 102, Suite Number 4702.”

“Hold on just one second.”

Tadak, tadak. The guard typed a few things on his keyboard before nodding.

“May I see your ID?”

Seol Jihu immediately took out his wallet and showed his ID.

The burly guard’s eyebrows twitched.

“....”

He stared at the ID fixedly for a moment before slowly raising his gaze.

“...Please write your name here.”

He returned the ID and asked Seol Jihu to write his name down on a guest book. For some reason, Seol Jihu felt like the guard’s tone sank even lower.

“Also…”

As Seol Jihu finished writing his name, the guard’s voice rang out again.

“I recommend you don’t cause unnecessary trouble.”

Seol Jihu halted. No matter how he thought about it, that wasn’t something an ordinary guard would say to a visitor.

Seol Jihu quietly put down the pen.

“Is that a warning?”

“Let’s call it advice.”

Seol Jihu’s eyes sank low. He stared at the burly guard as if to examine him.

“Don’t worry.”

Soon, a thin smile appeared on Seol Jihu’s face.

“I won’t cause any trouble.”

“I sure hope so.”

“Of course, I’ll do what I came here to do.”

“....”

“Can I go in now?”

“...Building 102 is that way.”

The burly guard pointed west.

“Thank you.”

Seol Jihu replied with a beaming smile before turning around. Even as he walked away, the guard’s piercing gaze never left him. Seol Jihu did not look back and continued walking.

Then, as Seol Jihu left the view of the guard…

“Chanho Oppa.”

“Oh, Hayan.”

“Is he gone?”

“Yeah. You can come out now.”

A woman, who was squatting down in the guard’s room, peeked her head up. A white, milky skin stood out.

Gong Chanho plopped down on his seat. Heaving out the breath he had been holding in, he loosened his tie.

Sung Hayan tilted her head.

“Why did you do that?”

“Why did I do what?”

“He’s a guest. Why did you suddenly tell him not to cause any trouble?”

“Because I was scared.”

The burly guard replied calmly.

Sung Hayan’s eyes widened. She seemed to be wondering if she heard wrong.

“S-Scared? You, Oppa?”

“I don’t know.”

Gong Chanho smacked his lips.

“For some reason, I got the same feeling as I did when I first met that guy.... No, I guess it was a little different.”

“E-Eii, you’re exaggerating. If you get back your Asura Spear…!”

“I still won’t be able to win against that guy.”

Gong Chanho grumbled quietly.

“I can’t wield it as well as he does, so even if I get it back… unless I’m recognized as its true owner, I probably won’t be able to defeat that guest either.”

Gong Chanho shrugged. Sung Hayan became speechless. She quickly turned her head west, but the guest had already disappeared into the distance.

“Anyway, I gotta do my job.”

Gong Chanho picked up the phone.


*


Seol Jihu could not hide his astonishment as he looked around the apartment complex.

‘It really is huge.’

SY Apartments were built around Soohyun Park, standing in each of the four cardinal directions. To meet Seo Yuhui, he had to go to Building 102 in the west.

However, Seol Jihu changed direction midway and headed east.

‘So this is where he lives….’

Looking at Building 101, Seol Jihu fiddled with his phone. He called the number he got from Kim Hannah again just in case, but the phone was turned off.

‘I guess there’s no other choice.’

For now, Seol Jihu decided to wait for Seo Yuhui. He would surely draw suspicion by snooping around by himself, but if he were accompanying a resident, he would have an excuse to give.

“Titty-Loonie~!”

Just as Seol Jihu was pondering, a bright voice rang out. Seol Jihu turned back in a startle.

“Eh? Already…?”

He shut his mouth halfway. He thought Seo Yuhui was calling him because of the nickname ‘Titty-Loonie’. Because of the caller’s long hair, gentle expression, and very, very glamorous style, he really thought she was Seo Yuhui at first.

However, upon closer inspection, he noticed that it was someone else, though the two gave off similar auras.

“?”

A woman he had never seen before paused with a phone next to her ear. She looked a little surprised. Seol Jihu apologized immediately.

“Ah, I’m sorry. I thought you were someone I knew.”

“Ah….”

The woman briefly scanned Seol Jihu and then smiled. She greeted him with a slight bow before walking past him.

“Yeah, it’s nothing. Where are you? You’re almost here? Hold on, wait outside for a bit. I’m on my way. What do you mean, why? Let’s eat out today. Everyone’s coming.”

Judging by the way she was talking, she seemed to be on her way to meet her boyfriend.

‘Should I eat out with Yuhui too tonight?’

Seol Jihu turned his gaze after watching the woman leave. Looking back at Building 101, he fell into thought.

‘Now, how do I approach this…?’

Should I barge in there and ask if I can see him? No, I’ll probably get stopped in the lobby before I can even make it to the elevator. Yuhui said visitors need to call the host at the lobby to get in.... Then, should I call the number until Kim Hanbyul picks up? No, I’d probably just get reported to the police. Or that frightening Shadow Queen might pay me a visit….

‘I do want to try fighting her, though.’

Feeling his competitive spirit rising, Seol Jihu quickly shook his head and got rid of the thought. There was no way to fight on Earth, and there was a chance his family might get involved as well. There was no need to poke a hornet’s nest unnecessarily.

‘Should I grab a picket and protest?’

Seol Jihu smiled bitterly.

‘It would be best if I could just move in next door or, at the very least, move into the same building….’

But that was supposedly difficult as well. He could also text Kim Hannah’s cousin to explain the situation and go back for now, but he wanted to hear the answer personally if possible.

No matter what that answer might be.

‘I don’t know.’

Seol Jihu sighed and sat down on the side of the flower garden. At that moment, Building 101’s main entrance opened. The revolving door spun, and a few people walked out.

Seol Jihu, who was staring dazedly, suddenly widened his eyes. The four women that walked out were all wearing confident smiles. Not only did they boast unique charms, but more importantly, they exuded the elegance of a queen in their steps.

‘Wow….’

Seol Jihu forgot about why he was here and stared at the four women blankly.

‘A lot of pretty people live here, huh.’

It was then.

Did they feel his gaze?

“So I… hmm?”

One of the women glanced in his direction. After seeing Seol Jihu, her eyes flashed. At the same time…

“Hm?”

Seol Jihu’s eyes also widened. It was because his vision suddenly turned golden. His Nine Eyes had activated automatically, almost as if to protect him. This was only the second time that his Innate Ability activated on its own, the first being when he regained his Innate Ability.

Soon, by the time Seol Jihu’s vision returned to normal, the woman standing at the head of the group had stopped. She was staring at him with narrowed eyes, her grey pupils looking oddly dangerous.

Seol Jihu stopped himself from activating the Nine Eyes again. He had a feeling that was for the best. Now that he looked, the other three women had stopped as well.

Then, just as Seol Jihu was about to get up…

“Hey.”

Seol Jihu instinctively brought his hand to his waist and then threw it backward. It was only then that he realized he did not have his spear. His body had reacted before he even read the situation.

When Seol Jihu slowly turned around, he saw the grey-eyed woman there. He never took his eyes off of her, but she was standing behind him before he noticed.

“Hnng.”

When Seol Jihu stealthily moved his hand forward, Goh Yeonju’s eyes curled. She planned on surprising him but almost suffered a blow. If the man had a spear in his hand, that surely was what would have happened.

‘He read my movement? I don’t feel any special energy from him though.’

Goh Yeonju pushed her wavy bangs up with an intrigued expression. Then, she put her hand out and spoke.

“5 million won.”

“....”

Seol Jihu stared at the soft-looking hand that the woman put out. What was it for?

“You looked at my breasts. The viewing fee is 5 million won.”

“?”

“Oh? What’s up with the question mark above your head? Are you Ahn Sol?”

“I don’t know what you mean by that, but I didn’t look.”

“Lies. You can’t fool my eyes. Hand it over. You saw these beautiful breasts, so you have to pay the price.”

Seol Jihu glanced down. Because the woman was wearing an open-breast turtleneck, he could vaguely see her breasts.

They were indeed superb. If he did not know Seo Yuhui, he would have fallen for them 100 percent.

“See? You saw them.”

When the corners of Goh Yeonju’s mouth curled up, Seol Jihu did a double-take.

“I really didn’t look.”

“But, you did just now.”

“....”

“5 million won. Otherwise, I’m going to call the security guards and chase you out.”

“I really didn’t look though….”

Seol Jihu took out his wallet with a sullen face.

“They aren’t that pretty either…. I’ve seen and touched even better ones….”

Pouting, he took out five 1 million won bills.

Goh Yeonju was taken aback. She didn’t think he would actually pay.

‘...Who is this guy?’

She was slightly flustered but quickly regained her wits and pulled back her hand.

“Alright, let’s say you didn’t.”

She cleared her throat and continued.

“Then, where did you look?”

“...Your faces.”

“Why?”

“The four of you were all really pretty…. I’m sorry if my stare was unpleasant.”

“No, there’s no reason to feel sorry.”

Goh Yeonju giggled.

“What a cute kid. Anyway, so?”

Seol Jihu tilted his head.

“You said you were staring because we were pretty.”

“Right.”

“So who’s the prettiest?”

Goh Yeonju bent down and pinched Seol Jihu’s cheek.

Seol Jihu moaned a little at her playful act. His neck quickly turned red. He seemed to be at a loss for what to do.

He hurriedly got up and tried to walk back, but…

“Ah!”

He had no choice but to stop. It was because he ran into someone.

Looking back, he saw the other three women surrounding him.

“S-Sorry.”

“N-No, I should be the one apologizing.”

When Seol Jihu apologized, the light-brown haired woman he ran into also apologized. Looking at her, he was reminded of a docile puppy. Then, not sure where to place his gaze, he turned and looked at the other women’s faces.

One seemed cold and aloof like a cold wind was blowing wherever she went. Her slender and toned figure made her look like she would be skilled with the sword… but for some reason, Seol Jihu felt a hint of pervertedness from her.

‘Wait, haven’t I seen her on TV a couple of times?’

The remaining person was also quite the beauty. She looked at her watch with an expressionless face as if looking at him was a waste of time, but she carried a very mature, adult-like atmosphere.

‘I feel like I’ve seen her before too….’

As he was in thought, he felt something poke his back.

“Who is it? Pick quickly.”

“!”

“Is it me? Or is it one of them?”

The grey-eyed woman giggled. The dazedly standing Seol Jihu raised his finger in a trance. Then, he carefully pointed his finger at the eye-catching woman he saw last, who gave off a unique, dense scent.

He would normally be flustered but was actually picking someone subconsciously, almost as if he was attracted by something. For some reason, this woman seemed to give off a charismatic charm akin to a curse.

“...All men are the same.”

Goh Yeonju’s eyes narrowed.

“Ptui.”

The cold-faced woman spat.

“You must be happy, Soyoung Unni~”

Even the puppy-like woman glanced sideways.

Han Soyoung was still expressionless, like the matter wasn’t of any interest. However, the way she lifted her chin slightly made it clear that she was feeling proud.

“Who are you?”

She looked at Seol Jihu for the first time.

“Can you tell me your name? I’ve never seen you around here.”

She crossed her arms and asked haughtily.

“My name is Seol Jihu.”

“Seol Jihu…. And what brings you here?”

“I came here to meet someone.”

“Is that all?”

“Ah, and….”

The woman asked in an interrogative tone. Though Seol Jihu might be mistaken, he felt like the woman was prying into him.

Seol Jihu took a brief pause before continuing.

“I also came to find out... if I can move here.”

He scratched his head and laughed awkwardly.

Han Soyoung tilted her head slightly.

“...I see.”

Then, after staring at him for some time…

“Okay, excuse us. We have to go now.”

Han Soyoung turned around.

The other three women turned to her simultaneously.

“Miss Han Soyoung?”

Goh Yeonju called her out.

“He’s here as a guest. We can’t bother him. Let’s go. He must be waiting for us.”

With that, she walked away. Walking down the hill that led up to Building 101, she took out her phone.

“What’s up with her?”

Goh Yeonju gave Seol Jihu a quick glance before walking off.

“I don’t know. I’m sure she has her reason.”

The cold-faced woman also followed after them.

“Ah….”

Finally, the light-brown haired woman bowed to Seol Jihu before hurriedly running after them.

It was only then that Seol Jihu could catch a breath. The group of women had arrived like a sudden storm and left like one too.

‘What was that…?’

Seol Jihu shook his head.

‘This is no good.’

It seemed it was best to go back for today. Not only did he come unprepared, but it also didn’t seem like the best thing to break through forcefully.

‘Let’s meet up with Yuhui first.’

It was probably better to look for another method.

As he organized his thoughts, Seol Jihu suddenly blinked.

“...Huh?”

He finally realized the reason for the unknown anxiousness he felt.

“Yuhui?”

He could see Seo Yuhui standing in the direction of Building 102. He didn’t know when she arrived, but it seemed like she had been watching for a while.

“When did you…”

“Jihu.”

Seo Yuhui put one hand on her waist and smiled.

“I’m so jealous. You’re so popular!”

“N-No, that’s not it.”

“I agree, those unnis were really pretty. I agree fully. Have fun with those glamorous unnis then. Bye.”

Seo Yuhui turned back.

“Yuhui. Yuhui!”

Frightened out of his wits, Seol Jihu hurriedly ran toward Seo Yuhui.


*


“What a cute kid.”

Same time.

“It’s been a while since the Eyes of Charm failed to work.”

Goh Yeonju snorted while walking down the hill.

“Did you see that?”

Then, she looked back and asked.

“He moved his hand back before I even moved, right?”

“Yes, though it was only by a split second.”

The cold-faced woman, Nam Da-Eun, nodded her head.

Goh Yeonju furtively licked her upper lip.

“Interesting. Where did a kid like him come from?”

“He didn’t seem like a bad person, though….”

The light-brown haired woman, Yoo Hyun-Ah, quietly chimed in.

“No, it’s better to be careful.”

Nam Da-Eun spoke briefly.

“Also… we shouldn’t be too confrontational. Apparently, it’s not a good idea to irritate the Golden Constellation.”

“...What?’

Goh Yeonju furrowed her brows.

“What do you mean? Golden Constellation?”

“I don’t know either. That’s just what Jung Unni told me.”

Goh Yeonju shut her mouth.

“Well… let’s leave him be for now. It looks like Soyoung Unni has something in mind too.”

Hearing this, Goh Yeonju looked back again and then turned to Han Soyoung, who was walking ahead.

“It’s me. Look into someone for me. His name is Seol Jihu….”

Han Soyoung was busy talking on the phone with someone.

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FudgeNouget's Thoughts

I know you guys are curious about Memorize, but please do NOT spoil Memorize beyond what is revealed in the chapters. The chapters are written in a way that they can be enjoyed even without knowing what happened in Memorize.
I know it's kind of dumb to say "don't spoil Memorize!" when the chapters already do that, so my editor and I will be a little lenient in regards to our usual 'absolutely no spoilers' rule, but please do not spoil too much. Only do so if you think it will add to the explanation of the universe + make it more enjoyable for readers.