Side Story 19. The Future Seol Jihu

“The future?”

Seol Jihu was caught off guard.

“Yep, the future. Don’t you want to know what your future looks like?”

Black Seol Jihu spoke like it wasn’t a big deal.

“Well… I obviously am. But can I?”

“Not normally.”

Black Seol Jihu said outright.

“But it’s not like you don’t have contribution points, and the Seven Sins adore you too. It’s not possible normally, but I’m sure they’ll overlook it.”

That’s how it was when I went back in time too. Black Seol Jihu added.

“I don’t know…. What would I even do there…?”

Seol Jihu scratched his head. Going to the future this abruptly…. It didn’t really resonate with him.

“What are you talking about? It sounds like you actually don’t understand. You don’t need to do anything in the future. Why interfere with the future when it doesn’t need to be changed?”

Black Seol Jihu said firmly.

“Didn’t you say you were anxious and unsure of what to do?”

“Yes.”

“So I’m telling you to go and see. If you see and experience things for yourself, I’m sure you’ll realize something.”

“Mm….”

“And maybe that realization can guide you. That’s just what I think.”

Seol Jihu rubbed his chin at Black Seol Jihu’s explanation.

‘True. Seeing the future doesn’t sound like a bad idea….’

Still, there were a few things that bothered him. Rather, he should say he still wasn’t clear on a couple of things.

“If I go… what point in time should I go to?”

“Hmm, yeah, you should decide that too. I’m not sure. I’d tell you to come to my present time, but that seems dangerous.”

“?”

“In Earth’s time, you and I are only a few years apart. So I’m still in my transition period.”

Transition period. So that was why Black Seol Jihu looked so exhausted. Seol Jihu pitied him inwardly. However, he shuddered in the next moment, realizing that this was his future in a few years.

“Why not go to the future 10 to 20 years from now?”

“That far?”

“Things should be under the wraps by then. Don’t you think it will be better to see and experience things in a calmer environment?”

Seol Jihu nodded as he didn’t find anything to disagree with.

“I don’t know if Gula-nim will allow it, though. I heard two same people can’t exist in the same time-frame simultaneously.”

“That’s for the gods to take care of…. I’m fairly certain it would be possible. I mean, we both are existing in the same time frame, aren’t we?”

“Future Vision, you mean?”

“Yep. In your case, you would probably become Past Vision or something. I’m sure the gods can come up with something.”

The current Seol Jihu would be sending his will to the future Seol Jihu and then temporarily manifesting the will of the past in future time. Of course, for this process to go smoothly, it would need to happen under the future Seol Jihu’s agreement. That was the explanation Black Seol Jihu gave.

“That’s a problem then. I don’t know if a future self of mine would be willing to help.”

“Don’t worry about that. I’m sure there will be plenty.”

Black Seol Jihu replied calmly.

“Why?”

“Hey.”

Black Seol Jihu turned his head and glared at Seol Jihu.

“Let me say this again. You’re one hell of a son of a bitch.”

Seol Jihu shut his mouth. He couldn’t deny it.

“Of course, I’m the same. No, it’s not just the two of us. Regardless of the reason, all Seol Jihus, who touched a woman other than Yuhui, are a son of a bitch.”

“Euk….”

“Anyway, if one son-of-a-bitch requested help from his future son-of-a-bitch self by saying, Please help me be less of a son-of-a-bitch, then who’s going to say no? It’s not like you’re doing this just for yourself. You’re doing this for everyone!”

“....”

“The point is, there is nothing you need to worry about. We’re all running on the same track. I’m sure one of the Seol Jihus in front of you will respond. I guarantee it.”

“...Okay.”

Seol Jihu finally nodded his head.

“Thinking about it, I guess I’m not in a position to be picky. I should do something, so I’ll give this a try.”

“Good, that’s more like it.”

Black Seol Jihu spat out his cigarette and got up.

“Don’t forget.”

Then, he spoke.

“You’re taking up arms for all Seol Jihus on the same train track. You have a huge responsibility.”

Seol Jihu clenched his fists.

“Got it. I’ll take my leave now.”

“Okay. Strike while the iron is hot, right? Good luck.”


*


After leaving the Path of the Soul, Seol Jihu stood in front of Gula’s statue and bowed. There was no need to explain everything in depth. After all, Gula could read his mind.

[Child, I understand what you want, but….]

Seol Jihu could hear Gula clicking her tongue. Just like Black Seol Jihu said, she didn’t seem all that excited about the prospect of him going to the future.

[Time will solve everything anyway. Must you really go?]

‘Yes, I want to go.’

Seol Jihu was not shaken.

‘Even if time will solve my problems… in the end, that means other people will bear the wounds that I caused them.’

[That will not change just because you go to the future. Give up. This matter is not something you can do anything about.]

‘Even if the root of the problem doesn’t change, I at least want to try everything within my power.’

[Well, I guess it’s better than going back in time countless times like that guy….]

Gula sighed.

[This isn’t the first time I’ve thought this, but you sure are selfish.]

Seol Jihu smiled bitterly at Gula’s words. He didn’t know what to say. After all, he was doing this to lessen the guilt and regret he felt.

[...Found it.]

‘Huh?’

[I found a future that responded to your call…. Wait, why are there so many?]

Gula sighed.

[Wait just a moment. I’m talking with my future self to create Past Vision and its settings.]

Soon, Gula said she was done and began to give a detailed explanation.

[There will be a time limit. You will only be able to stay in the future for six hours in Earth’s time.]

[As for what you are allowed to do, Past Vision will terminate if you do anything to interfere with the future more than what is necessary.]

Six hours…. Though it wasn’t much time, Seol Jihu decided to be grateful. After all, going back in time would be completely different than going to the future.

[Have you bore them in mind?]

‘Yes.’

[Good.]

Darkness spread out from Gula’s statue.

[Come closer, my child.]

Seol Jihu bowed while walking closer step by step. At the same time, the feeling of his body being sucked in crept over him. By now, he was familiar with this feeling.


*


Opening his eyes, Seol Jihu furrowed his brows. Bright sunlight was shining down on him.

‘This is….’

He saw a familiar ceiling. Seol Jihu immediately began to assess the situation.

‘Am I home?’

Although he only moved to his new apartment recently, he recognized the place as his home in SY Apartments.

‘Just how far into the future am I…?’

Because he came to the future in a rush, he had little to no information about what point in time he arrived at.

Seol Jihu first tried to get out of bed but then blinked in a daze.

His body was… heavy?

Now that he looked, the blanket covering him was bulging out. His left arm was also numb.

“?”

Seol Jihu lifted the blanket a little and immediately frowned. A slender leg was placed on top of his stomach.

Turning to the right unwittingly…

“!”

Seol Jihu almost screamed.

It was because a long-haired woman was sleeping right next to him.

Of course, a situation like this was totally within his expectations, but….

‘M-Miss Eun Yuri?’

The problem was that the woman was Eun Yuri.

“Hnnng….”

A soft breath tickled his nose. At first, he didn’t even realize she was Eun Yuri, but the beauty mark under her eye gave it away.

She no longer had the youthful charm of the past and instead gave off a mature, ripened aura.

The woman to Seol Jihu’s left was even more shocking.

‘Princess Teresa?’

Teresa was sleeping soundly with her head on Seol Jihu’s left arm.

‘Wait, I thought I was on Earth!’

Paradisians could also come to Earth? Seol Jihu was taken aback as this was the first time he learned of the matter.

‘L-Let’s get up first.’

Seol Jihu slipped out of bed carefully, taking care not to wake up the two sleeping women. After putting on clothes, he examined himself in the mirror.

‘I don’t look all that different….’

Did something happen? He looked slightly older, of course, but not to the point he was noticeably different.

At that moment, a pleased moan flowed out.

“Mmn…. You’re up?”

It was Teresa’s voice. Seol Jihu, who was touching his face while looking in the mirror, looked back in a fluster.

“Haaaam~ You’re up early today. I thought you’d sleep for longer after going hard all night.”

Teresa raised her upper body while stretching. The blankets slipped down and revealed her naked body, but Teresa did not seem to mind all that much.

“Hm? If you have some stamina left, do you want to get rid of it?”

Teresa looked at the dazedly staring Seol Jihu and giggled while tapping on the bed. It was then.

“Good morning….”

With a slightly hoarse voice, Eun Yuri got up while rubbing her eyes.

“What time is it now…?”

Looking at the clock with sleepy eyes, she suddenly opened her eyes wide.

She then got up in a hurry, dressed, and ran out the door while shouting, ‘Jiyu! Jiyu!’

It was the same for Teresa.

“Oh my, my. I totally forgot. See you later, honey!”

She also glanced at the clock before running out in a hurry.

‘Honey…?’

Seol Jihu stood in a daze for a while before slowly walking outside. By the time he got to the living room, a fragrant smell was wafting out. Sniffing, Seol Jihu stopped when he got to the kitchen.

Tong, tong, tong, tong. The sound of a knife hitting the cutting board rang out. Hnng, hnng~ A hum echoed out.

A woman was cutting vegetables in the kitchen. Seol Jihu stared in disbelief before speaking.

“...Chohong?”

The humming stopped. A woman wearing an apron turned around.

Seol Jihu’s breath stopped. Though her past fierceness had died down significantly, the woman giving off a more mature aura was none other than Chung Chohong.

“Oh, you’re up?”

She even knew how to speak Korean. She had a bit of an accent, but he had no problem understanding her.

“Don’t worry too much. Miss Yuhui got up earlier and is getting everyone ready. They’ll be able to make it in time.”

Chohong turned back.

“Anyway, what’s up with you today?”

“Hmm?”

“You always sneak up on me in the morning and hug me from behind. You’re not doing it today.”

“No, I…. Did I do that?”

“You never listened when I said no, and now that I stopped caring, you’re not doing it anymore? Well~ You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to~ I don’t care~”

Despite saying so, Seol Jihu had a feeling something bad would happen if he didn’t.

‘I have to avoid looking suspicious.’

Seol Jihu stealthily walked up and gently hugged Chohong.

“Man, it feels like I’m forcing you to.”

Chohong still laughed like she didn’t hate it.

“Oh, Miss Hannah can’t come home today because of work. She told us to look after Jinah.”

“Huh? Ah….”

Chohong suddenly nudged Seol Jihu with her elbow.

“I’m fine, so you can go.”

“Hmm?”

“The kids have been waiting for a while.”

Chohong gestured toward the kitchen table.

Seol Jihu’s eyes widened.

Would they be middle schoolers? A boy and a girl looked at him from the kitchen table, each with a bowl in front of them.

“Oh, Daddy! Chummy as always, huh?”

The girl giggled and whistled. She looked just like Seol Jihu.

“Hey, you should say good morning properly.”

The boy spoke sharply. The way he looked and talked reminded Seol Jihu of Phi Sora.

“Have you slept well, Father?”

The boy bowed respectfully toward Seol Jihu.

Seol Jihu was struck speechless.

Daddy? Father!?

That meant….

“Hope you guys succeed today!”

Chohong cheered them on.

“Of course! I’m confident today because I used the noodle-making method that Daddy taught me a while ago!”

The girl shouted confidently. Then, she glanced at the boy.

“You haven’t learned it yet, right?”

She was boasting proudly.

“I… I still tried my best.”

The boy spoke nervously.

Seol Jihu looked at the kitchen table. Two bowls of naengmyeon were placed on it.

Seol Jihu was about to ask, ‘Am I supposed to eat them?’ But he swallowed his words as it seemed something of a daily morning ritual.

“Mm…. Okay….”

Seol Jihu calmly tasted the two naengmyeons and the soup. His future children must have made it for him by the looks of it. Feeling rather happy, a smile bloomed on Seol Jihu’s face.

“How is it, Dad? I know it can’t compare to yours, but isn’t it better than the one he made?”

The girl asked while boasting.

On the other hand, the boy looked determined as if he was ready to accept any evaluation.

“...They’re good.”

Seol Jihu smiled kindly.

“They’re both tasty.”

At that moment, the boy and the girl put on a strange expression. They seemed to be doubting their ears.

“Uh… Dad, did you eat something wrong this morning?”

The girl scurried up, got on her tip-toes, and put her hand on Seol Jihu’s forehead.

“Hey! Be more respectful to Father!”

“But isn’t it weird?”

“Kids?”

At that moment, a gentle voice cut in between them.

“It’s late. It’s time to go to school.”

This voice…!

‘It’s Yuhui’s!’

As Seol Jihu thought, Seo Yuhui was smiling warmly while looking at the boy and the girl.

“Jihui, you’re going to be late. Put on your uniform and get your bag. You too, sweetie.”

“Yes, Eldest Mother.”

The boy answered right away.

“Ah~ Do I have to go to school~?”

The girl named Jihui harrumphed and turned around.

“Mommy’s a dummy. It’s not like I learn anything by going to school.”

“Hey! Don’t talk to Eldest Mother like that!”

“She’s Eldest Mother for you! For me, she’s just Mommy! And I only need to learn how to make noodles. Wait, no, I don’t really need to learn. Because unlike you, I’m a genius recognized by Father!”

Seol Jihui giggled and ran into her room.

The boy made a vexed face but held in his frustration and disappeared into his room.

“What a surprise. For you to say they taste good. Usually, you say they’re 40 years too early.”

Seo Yuhui smiled. She then saw the blankly standing Seol Jihu and tilted her head.

“What’s wrong? Are you feeling unwell?”

“N-No, I’m fine.”

“It doesn’t look like you have a fever…. Can you help us if you have time?”

“Hm?”

“I thought I would make it in time, but it’s looking a little tight. We still have to wake the kids up, bathe them, give them breakfast…. Ah, Miss Yuri is going to have trouble giving Jiyu medicine, so….”

“Uh, yeah.”

Before Seol Jihu noticed, the time went past eight o’clock in the morning. At the same time, a war broke out in the house. Seol Jihu had no time to figure out whose kids were whose, what their names were, or if they truly were his kids.

“Wake up. It’s time to wake up. Okay?”

“Daddy.”

One child dug into his embrace and refused to leave.

“Okay, be a good girl. Don’t cling to me and wake up.”

“Daddy~”

She clung to him no matter how hard he tried to get her off. It was like he was looking at a baby koala.

That wasn’t all.

“Ah, hey! Don’t close your mouth!”

“Hiiing.”

Another kid refused to eat her medicine.

“Come on, you eat breakfast just fine, so why not your medicine?”

“Hiing!”

You were eating that rolled omelet just fine! Seol Jihu screamed internally. When he tried to feed the girl medicine by sneaking it in the middle of her breakfast, the girl somehow noticed and closed her mouth. She was half-asleep too!

Seol Jihu didn’t know who they took after, but they all seemed to have a screw loose.

What was surprising was that his wives were getting them ready and shipping them off to school one by one.

“Kids~ Don’t forget to say goodbye to Daddy.”

“Dad! I’m off! Bring home lots of money today as well!”

Seol Jihui ran out.

“See you later, Father.”

The polite boy, whose name Seol Jihu did not know yet, bowed and left the house.

“Kids~ Say goodbye to Daddy.”

“Goodbye, Daddwi….”

Two kids in pre-school uniforms rubbed their eyes and bowed.

“Fufu, I’m heading out as well. See you later.”

Yoo Seonhwa held the kids’ hands and then kissed Seol Jihu’s left cheek.

“Then, this side’s mine!”

Teresa kissed his right cheek.

“Jiyu, Daddy isn’t forcing you to take your medicine because he hates you. It’s because he’s worried about you.... Ehew.”

Eun Yuri consoled the girl named Jiyu and then chuckled.

“See you later, Oppa.”

After kissing Seol Jihu on the lips, she picked up Seol Jiyu.

“Wait….”

Seol Jihu walked out of the house, along with his wives and kids. His mind was in complete chaos, but he at least wanted to see the kids’ names with his Nine Eyes.

When he arrived at the elevator, he coincidentally saw his neighbor’s door open.

A teenage girl, who looked like a high schooler, walked out. Her hair and skin both emitted a red light.

‘That’s….’

Seol Jihu’s eyes narrowed.

“Suna Noona, good morning.”

The boy greeted her in a bright voice.

“Yeah, it’s been a while.”

“It has. Have you been well?”

“You know, it’s been the same. How have things been for you? Did your father evaluate your dish today too?

“Ah…. Things were a little hectic this morning. He tasted my dish, but I didn’t get a proper evaluation. He did say it tasted good though….”

The boy smiled faintly. Suna nodded her head.

“Keep up the good work. Talent is something that blooms when you have the passion and put in the effort to meet a clear goal. Your father said he has the highest expectation of you.”

“R-Really?”

“Yep…?”

Suna, who was consoling the boy, suddenly turned her gaze.

After seeing Seol Jihu standing in front of the elevator, she clicked her tongue.

—Don’t cause trouble and go back. I understand why you’re here, but don’t mess with the future that’s going well.

Suna’s voice rang out inside Seol Jihu’s head.

At that moment, the elevator doors opened. When the crowd gathered in front of the elevator left, the hallway became empty.

Seol Jihu finally heaved out the breath he had been holding in.

‘What a morning. Really….’

Half of his precious six hours had disappeared already.

Seol Jihu bit his lower lip.

‘I’m experiencing the future… but what am I supposed to do to….’

Just as he was about to fall into thought, Seol Jihu felt someone tapping his shoulder from the back.

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