Side Story 18. The Outcome of Playing With Fire

Phi Sora had a dream.

It was a shitty dream.

The reason was that Seol Jihu appeared in it.

Phi Sora saw herself pointing at a dazedly standing Seol Jihu while yelling that she had no plans of marrying that man and asking how marriage would even be possible.

Ding dong.

Then, Phi Sora woke up at the sound of her doorbell ringing. She furrowed her brows slightly as warm sunlight shone down on her face.

“Euuu….”

Opening her eyes, Phi Sora’s face gradually distorted. She was in a terrible state.

First was the intoxication. Perhaps because she went for six rounds of drinks last night, her brain was still ringing.

And setting the inebriation aside, she was sore all over as if she had been beaten up in the middle of the night. The lower part of her belly was especially painful, as though a hundred needles were poking her.

That said, a firm, warm sensation was supporting her back, giving her an unknown sense of safety….

“?”

Phi Sora’s eyes shot open. Her heart sank. She flopped unwittingly and then hurriedly looked back.

Sure enough, she saw Seol Jihu asleep on her bed. He had his back firmly planted against her own. What was important was that he was naked.

Phi Sora lifted the blankets just to be sure and immediately bit her lower lip. She was naked, just like him. She wasn’t even wearing underwear, exposing her bare body.

After blankly looking down at her body for a while...

‘Ah, fuck…!’

Realizing what had transpired, Phi Sora quickly shut her eyes.

‘Why did I…!’

She suddenly got angry at herself.

“Ah, shit… argh…”

Frowning heavily, Phi Sora constantly sighed and nibbled on her poor lips.

Ding dong.

The bell rang again.

“Grrr… Who is it so early in the morning…?”

Phi Sora stood up with difficulty.

“Agh….”

Frowning at the pang of pain that ran down her stomach…

“....”

She suddenly appeared depressed after looking at the bed.

The traces of deflowerment remained on her crotch along with dried-up stains on the sheets. Everything she saw around her was telling her what happened the previous night.

...No, in truth, she knew from the moment she opened her eyes. It wasn’t as if she blacked out. She still had faint memories of what happened during the night. Although it wasn’t complete, the feeling of doing it with Seol Jihu was vivid.

Calling Seol Jihu Oppa, undressing one by one as if possessed by something, embracing Seol Jihu who pounced like a wild beast, and then screaming and panting crazily….

Phi Sora looked at the scratch marks on Seol Jihu’s back with a complex gaze.

Ding dong! Ding dong! Ding dong!

“Agh! I’m coming!”

Hearing the repeatedly ringing bell, she yelled angrily and walked to the door.

“Crazy…. Just crazy…. How could I…. Arrrrgh…!”

Phi Sora blamed herself while putting on her clothes.

Of course, Seol Jihu was also on the verge of going insane. He woke up at Phi Sora’s rustling and realized what happened soon after.

Seol Jihu also remembered what happened last night. He coveted every corner of Phi Sora’s warm body and mixed skin with her. Though he panted in pleasure during the act, now that he had come to his senses….

‘No, no, there’s no way. I must be dreaming.’

He denied reality first.

However…

“Who is it?”

“Excuse me!”

When Phi Sora opened the door, a voice that was no less angry than Phi Sora’s burst out. The owner of the voice was huffing and puffing, clearly having come with the intent to fight.

“I’m your neighbor. How can you be so inconsiderate?”

Phi Sora frowned when the woman started with angry yelling.

“What are you talking about?”

“What am I talking about? Don’t pretend like you don’t know. Give me a break.”

“What?”

“I said, give me a break! Do you have any idea how loud you were? How are you going to make up for me not getting any sleep!?”

“Huh? No, I—”

“No? Excuse me, but do you know how loud your moans were? I almost called the police because I started hearing howls in the middle of the night!”

“Howls?”

“But after listening in for a while, I was just dumbstruck. How kinky and perverted do you have to be to sound like that?”

“What? Kinky? Perverted?”

“What was it again? Jihu Oppa? Is that person, Jihu Oppa, over there?”

Phi Sora was startled.

“I told you, I heard everything!”

The woman who came at the break of dawn yelled loudly. She was so loud that the apartment hallway was ringing.

“Do you think that’s all?”

The neighbor took out her cellphone as if to put the nail in the coffin. After tapping on the screen a couple of times, a recording started playing.

—Huk…! Huk…!

—Aaaaah…! M-More…! Yeah…! It’s so good…!

The sound was a little unclear, perhaps because of the wall between the two rooms, but it was obvious that the voices belonged to Phi Sora and Seol Jihu.

Phi Sora became speechless. Seol Jihu also flinched.

The recording continued, playing lines such as ‘Aang!’, ‘Hnnnng!’, and ‘Ah, fuck, ah! I love you! I fucking love you!’

“W-What the hell are you doing? Are you crazy?”

Phi Sora reached toward the phone in a fluster, but the woman stepped backward and avoided her.

—Euk! Auuek! Eeeihoooo!

Phi Sora doubted her ears. It was definitely her voice, but she really said all those things?

“What the heck is eeeihoooo!? Did you ride a horse or something?”

The woman snorted.

Phi Sora’s face reddened. Thinking deeply, she did recall getting on top of Seol Jihu and shaking her hips excitedly.

“...Get out.”

In the end, Phi Sora told the woman off dejectedly.

“What? Is that all you have to say to me?”

“I get it, so get out!”

Phi Sora pushed the woman out forcefully.

“You’re not the only one who lives in this building. Be mindful of others! If this happens again, I’ll call the police!”

The woman shouted even as she was being pushed out.

Kwang!

The front door slammed shut.

“Damn it, that woman…. I really need to move or something….”

Phi Sora grumbled and furrowed her brows seeing the clothes strewn on the floor. She threw off the clothes she was wearing and trudged into the bathroom.

Chwaaaaa!

As the sound of the shower rang out, Seol Jihu clutched his head with his hands.

‘Yuhui….’

He first felt guilt. He was also sorry towards Phi Sora, and he belatedly remembered his mother’s words.

‘I should have listened to her….’

It was too late to regret now when the milk was already spilled.

While Seol Jihu was writhing in regret, Phi Sora finished showering and came out. After neatly folding the clothes lying around the floor, she went to the kitchen and turned on the stove.

Washing the rice, preparing to cook the rice… While an awkward silence lingered in the air, the smell of dried pollack soup wafted out.

Soon, the sound of a small table being placed rang out.

“Oi.”

Seol Jihu, who was pretending to be asleep, flinched.

“Get up.”

Seol Jihu slowly raised his upper body.

“Heup!”

At the same time, something flew at him and covered his face.

It was his underwear.

When he pulled it down, he saw Phi Sora wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

“Put your clothes on and eat.”

Phi Sora was looking at him with her left hand on her hip and her right hand stretched out in a throwing position. She was expressionless.

Surprised, Seol Jihu quietly put on his clothes and then sat down in front of the table where steaming white rice and dried pollack soup were placed.

He picked up the spoon but did not have much of an appetite.

“Stop walking around eggshells and just eat! I have a headache thinking about what happened anyway!”

Only when Phi Sora yelled did he take a couple of spoonfuls of the soup. It was unexpectedly clear and flavorful.

Slurp. Huu…. I feel much better now.”

After Phi Sora was done with the soup, she glanced at Seol Jihu from the opposite side. He was still hardly eating, seemingly in great shock.

“...Just so you know.”

After pondering over what to say, Phi Sora finally said.

Seol Jihu also stopped moving and listened in carefully.

“I can’t take responsibility.”

Seol Jihu widened his eyes at Phi Sora’s declaration.

“I’ll take care of my own matters, so you take care of yours.”

“....”

“What I mean is, let’s both pretend it didn’t happen.”

Seol Jihu stared at Phi Sora fixedly, like she was being slightly harsh.

“I’m not saying I’m not at fault, but you should have been more careful too.”

Phi Sora put down her spoon.

“Anyway, I don’t know what to do, so you take care of what you have to.”

She got up and sprawled down on her bed. Seol Jihu looked back at Phi Sora at a loss for what to do.

“Miss Phi Sora.”

“If you’re done eating, leave. I’ll clean up later.”

Phi Sora said in a meek voice. She turned around, saying she had a headache and a stomachache.

Seol Jihu tried to talk to her a couple more times, but Phi Sora did not reply.


*


After leaving Phi Sora’s apartment room, Seol Jihu trudged through the streets. His mind was in a mess, and he wasn’t sure what to do.

Phi Sora might be able to keep quiet, but Seol Jihu couldn’t. How sad would Seo Yuhui be if she found out? And how disappointed would she be?

‘I need help… or at least someone to give me some advice….’

Seol Jihu began to go through different people in his mind.

His family…? No. They would probably call him the biggest bastard under heaven.

‘Kim Hannah?’

No, she was no good either. She would surely only nag at him and then tell him to figure it out himself.

‘Master Jang?’

He would probably hit him with his cane instead.

‘Master Ian… probably wouldn’t help either. Arrrrrgh.’

Seol Jihu screamed internally. He wanted to crawl into a hole.

Unable to bear the guilt any longer, Seol Jihu entered a secluded alleyway and ripped the paper slip to Paradise.


*


“I don’t know. I don’t understand why I did it! I should have been more careful…. It’s all because of that damned alcohol…!”

“....”

“What should I do? What am I supposed to do now?”

Seol Jihu blabbered on and on while pacing back and forth. Next to him was a young man in a black armor, who looked just like him. Smoking a cigarette, he listened to Seol Jihu’s story with an apathetic face.

Right, the person Seol Jihu went to help for was Black Seol Jihu. After mulling over what to do, he had asked Gula to open up the Path of the Soul.

“Huu~”

Black Seol Jihu breathed out a puff of white smoke and spoke. Unless Seol Jihu was mistaken, he looked more emaciated than the last time Seol Jihu saw him.

“Buddy….”

Black Seol Jihu called Seol Jihu while putting out his cigarette.

“Just give it a rest….”

Seol Jihu’s eyes widened. Given Black Seol Jihu’s personality, Seol Jihu had expected a scolding, but his voice was surprisingly gentle. He also sounded like he had given up.

“You can’t do anything about it…. I told you…. Just accept it….”

Black Seol Jihu suddenly turned somber. Seol Jihu followed suit with a gloomy expression.

“But… when I think about Yuhui….”

“She should already know.”

“Huh?”

“Well, I guess I should say she knew this would happen.”

Black Seol Jihu spoke calmly.

“How?”

“Do you remember Luxuria’s fortune-telling during the festival?”

“Yeah….”

“Yuhui apparently stayed for a bit afterward. Luxuria must have said something then.”

Black Seol Jihu sighed.

“And… it won’t be as big of a deal as you think. Of course, she’ll bring it up every now and then for the next couple of decades, but I’m sure you can handle that much.”

“...What happens afterward?”

Seol Jihu asked in curiosity. Of course, he wasn't expecting a clear-cut answer given the restriction Black Seol Jihu was under, but he at least wanted a hint.

“Let’s see, what did I do again…? Oh yeah, I first broke up with Yuhui.”

“Huh? Wait, you said it wasn’t that big of a deal!”

“Yuhui wasn’t the one who broke up with me. I broke up with her one-sidedly.”

Black Seol Jihu spoke while picking at his teeth.

“I couldn’t handle the guilt. But you know, time will solve everything. You really need to treat Yuhui well. Oh, Charlotte Aria and Chohong too. Argh, you son of a bitch.”

Seol Jihu was going to ask what he meant but furrowed his brows instead. He remembered how Black Seol Jihu referred to them as Hughug and Honghong.

“What’s going on? I thought you couldn’t reveal the details.”

“Oh, this?”

Black Seol Jihu picked at his ear, looking a little bored.

“It doesn’t matter now. Do you remember how Suna-nim came to the restaurant alone a few days ago?”

“Yes.”

“She gave Gula something to solve the issue with contribution points, remember?”

“Oh, that flaming orb?”

“Yep, that. Apparently, that thing is incredible beyond our imagination.”

“How so?”

“Reviving the Chief Deity and all seven Virtues wouldn’t even put a dent in it."

Black Seol Jihu continued.

“You have a near-infinite amount of contribution points because of it, and Gula said she can suppress the backlash of talking about our personal affairs. I’m not too sure, but apparently, it’s because it is the power of a Heaven-rank 10 god.”

Seol Jihu, who was listening carefully, suddenly jumped in a bout of enlightenment.

“Wait, then…!”

“Nope.”

However, Black Seol Jihu cut him off immediately.

“Drop the idea. It’s a waste of contribution points.”

“...What do you think I was trying to suggest?”

“Weren’t you going to reverse the time by a day and make it so it never happened?”

Seol Jihu looked shocked. He looked at Black Seol Jihu in disbelief.

“Buddy, I’m you. I tried everything. What do you think is the first thing I did when I went back in time?”

“What?”

“Making a Divine Wish. I prayed so that I would never do it with Phi Sora. It seemed to work for the most part in Paradise.”

Black Seol Jihu continued.

“The problem was on Earth. I lived quietly in Paradise for about a month, and then when I went back to Earth, I immediately called Hyung and asked him for more of that sobering up medicine.”

“And?”

“He said there were none left. So I went to every pharmacy I could find, bought all the medicine that supposedly worked, and kept them on me at all times.”

“Then….”

“But it was of no use.”

Black Seol Jihu smacked his lips.

“I wasn’t even trying to meet her. I didn’t drink alcohol either. But when I woke up in the morning, she was lying next to me.”

“....”

“We ran into each other on the streets, met at a drinking party with friends and even at housewarming parties…. I even threw everything aside and left the country, but she was already on a vacation at my destination. Do you know how many times I went back in time by a day?”

“....”

“That’s when I realized. Ah, this is how hard it is to defy fate. There’s nothing you can do about a pre-determined future….

Black Seol Jihu sighed again.

“Just as I was about to give up in despair, I got a hint from Luxuria. To change this fate, which would require the law of the universe to be twisted, the power of a Heaven-rank 9 god would need to get involved.”

“Ah, in that case….”

“Yep, so I went to our neighbors as a last resort. What do you think happened?”

Black Seol Jihu asked. It didn’t sound like he got the answer he wanted.

“They refused firmly.”

“Why not use our ramen to…!”

“It’s precisely because of the ramen.”

Black Seol Jihu spoke dejectedly.

“I’m not sure because I haven’t experienced it yet, but apparently, one of my children with Phi Sora will inherit our ramen skills completely.”

“....”

“You’ve heard of the saying, pupil exceeds the master, right? That kid will apparently go beyond inheriting our skills and surpass it by a level. That means even better ramen will be created in the future, so the gods refused since helping us would mean they would not be able to taste this ramen.”

“....”

“So it’s fine. Don’t waste your time and just give up….”

Seol Jihu became speechless. This was the first time he saw Black Seol Jihu in complete self-abandonment. It looked like he tried to change the fate more than Seol Jihu expected as well.

“...No.”

Seol Jihu clenched his fists.

“I might be different. No, I will be different.”

Black Seol Jihu snorted.

“Didn’t you say the same thing before?”

Seol Jihu did a double-take.

[You go with someone without knowing they’re preying on you, and then you get devoured. You get drunk and make a mistake, you get swept away by the mood, and that leads to another….]

[That’s you, not me.]

[Don’t be ridiculous. I’m you, you!]

[Don’t worry, I’ll change that future for you too.]

[Haha! Hilarious!!]

Seol Jihu remembered the conversation he had with Black Seol Jihu before the final battle.

“Then what… you just want me to sit still and not do anything?”

“Hmm….”

Black Seol Jihu took out a new cigarette and bit down on it. After organizing his thoughts, he said.

“Well, it’s not like I can’t give you some advice…. After all, your future is my future….”

Tzzt. He lit the cigarette.

“But what use would it be to tell you a hundred times? Won’t it be better if you see it yourself just once? You know, like the saying, seeing once is better than hearing it a hundred times.

With that, he glanced at Seol Jihu.

“Listen.”

Heaving out a puff of smoke, he spoke.

“Why don’t you go see the future?”

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