Side Story 59. Epilogue (1)

Seol Jihu kept his promise. Only after helping Valhalla take care of their problems did he return to Earth.

He resumed the plans he had to halt to go back to Paradise in a hurry. Before doing anything, Seol Jihu explained the situation and sought help.

Kim Hannah, Seo Yuhui, Ian, Jang Maldong, Phi Sora, and others—everyone encouraged Seol Jihu and praised him for his decision, but also advised him not to be hasty when going about this.

Since ordinary people who knew nothing about this side would find it hard to believe, they recommended Seol Jihu to take things slow, step by step.

Seol Jihu agreed with this wholeheartedly. He had planned to take things slow as he heard, but he didn’t quite know how to go about it. There were limited ways he could implement this, so he was having trouble choosing the best option.

But thanks to everyone’s help, he had an idea. The first thing he did was bring Seo Yuhui home and introduce her to the family. This wasn’t much of a problem since everyone liked Seo Yuhui.

Yoo Seonhwa wasn’t a huge problem either as the family members assumed that she and Seol Jihu had settled things properly and broken up on good terms.

Of course, it still weighed on his mind. And so, Seol Jihu picked out a day to talk to Yoo Seonhwa to settle their past relationship once and for all.

To be honest, he was uncomfortable and nervous about meeting her. Although Yoo Seonhwa was the one who broke up with him, Seol Jihu knew he was the one who was at fault.

Judging by her expression, which seemed to say, ‘You dare?’, he was worried that Yoo Seonhwa would play the victim card and say, ‘How can you do this to me!?’ But...

“...Okay.”

Yoo Seonhwa unexpectedly accepted.

“I understand what you’re saying.”

Seol Jihu’s eyes widened. He was expecting to be slapped, have water thrown at his face, or have all sorts of mean words thrown at him.

“I respect your wishes. Thank you for telling me. It helped me reaffirm my determination too.”

Currently, Yoo Seonhwa was giving her all to her cafe business. Not only was she expanding the franchise in Korea, but she was also looking to expand overseas.

“At first, I wanted us to end up together… You know, like a success story of two childhood friends-turned-lovers. It has a nice ring to it.”

Though she smiled sadly, that was it. Yoo Seonhwa understood what Seol Jihu was saying, and Seol Jihu decided to root for Yoo Seonhwa’s dreams.

“Then are we going back to just being childhood friends?”

When Seol Jihu asked with an awkward smile, Yoo Seonhwa did not give a clear answer. She flashed her eyes.

“Yeah… I am still a little shocked, though….”

Yoo Seonhwa trailed off before looking at Seol Jihu innocently.

“Do you want to grab dinner?”

“Dinner?”

“Yeah. We’ve known each other for a long time, almost 30 years, in fact. It would be a shame to end everything here.”

Yoo Seonhwa sighed and then continued.

“Plus… there’s something I’ve meant to say, but I don’t think I can say it with a sober mind. So I want to talk with you over a few drinks… What do you say? Do you have time today?”

“Drinks….”

Seol Jihu scratched his cheek. He swore never to drink alcohol again, but this invitation was hard to refuse. Not only did Yoo Seonhwa’s words make sense, but he also felt too indebted to her.

Just saying goodbye here and walking their own paths… it indeed sounded too cold.

“Well… okay… if it’s just for today…”

When Seol Jihu agreed, the corner of Yoo Seonhwa’s lips curled up. She clicked her tongue, saying, ‘Jeez.’ Then she flicked Seol Jihu’s forehead.

“Ow.”

“Stupid.”

Seol Jihu blinked dazedly while rubbing his forehead. Despite looking so pitiful a moment ago, Yoo Seonhwa was smiling like a kid.

“You swore you’d be careful about drinking alcohol. How can you agree so easily?”

“But still…”

“I know. I’m happy you’re thinking about me, but you have to be clear on cutting ties.”

Yoo Seonhwa spoke astutely and crossed her arms.

“I thought you changed, Jihu, but it looks like you’re still the same softy. You can’t be this weak-hearted when you’re going to be a dad soon.”

Yoo Seonhwa reached out and squeezed the dazedly staring Seol Jihu’s cheek.

“There’s no need for dinner. Just come see me off. I am also busy but made time for you.”

Yoo Seonhwa turned around without regret.

“Ah, okay!”

Seol Jihu snapped out of his daze and belatedly chased after Yoo Seonhwa.

He was moved by what she said. As expected, she was different from most people and really knew how to think about others. She was truly a best friend he could trust and rely on.

“By the way, Miss Seo Yuhui was pretty harsh.”

Yoo Seonhwa suddenly mentioned on the way out.

“Hmm? What do you mean?”

“About Princess Pink, I mean.”

Yoo Seonhwa cleared her throat.

“I’m not saying what Princess Pink did was right.”

“....”

“But isn’t she an important person to you? Almost as much as Miss Seo Yuhui.”

Seol Jihu didn’t say anything. Yoo Seonhwa must be talking about how Teresa helped him out ever since he was a low-leveled Earthling, not how she helped send his emotions to the past.

In any case, Yoo Seonhwa was right as the current Seol Jihu would not have existed without Teresa.

“She made it clear that she had feelings for you multiple times. You also responded in a half-hearted way that made her think she had a chance.

“You should have made it clear as you did with me today.

“You told her you’d give her an answer once the war ended and then forgot all about it. Don’t you know you should be chewed out for that?

“Miss Seo Yuhui is acting ridiculous as well. It’s like the pot calling the kettle black. How can she criticize anyone? And she already accepted one person. Why not another one?”

Seol Jihu listened quietly. Everything Yoo Seonhwa said seemed to be right.

“Anyway, I think you and Miss Seo Yuhui are partly to blame for the extreme measure Miss Teresa took.”

After finishing off with an invincible logic, Yoo Seonhwa glanced at the sullen Seol Jihu and coughed.

“Kuhum, well, I’m not in any position to be pointing this out… The two of you should talk about it and come to a resolution.”

She then changed the subject right away.

“Oh, you know Uncle Seol’s birthday is coming up, right?”

“Yeah, of course. I’m going, don’t worry.”

“That’s obvious. But you should come alone this time. Don’t bring anyone with you.”

“Huh…? Why? I was going to go with Yuhui.”

“Because I’m going too.”

Yoo Seonhwa continued.

“I’m sure Uncle, Aunty, Wooseok Oppa, and Jinhee all know, but we should make our relationship clear. That way, they’ll be able to be at ease.”

“But…”

“Stupid. Imagine being there with your girlfriend and ex-girlfriend when you’re telling your parents you broke up with your ex. What do you think the mood will be?”

Seol Jihu did a double-take.

“I know we shouldn’t be telling them about our breakup on a festive day. But it’s not like we broke up on bad terms, and we only chose to say goodbye for a bit so we can achieve our own goals.”

“Mm….”

“I’m sure they have an idea as to what happened, so it should be fine to just clear things up lightheartedly.”

What Yoo Seonhwa said made sense, so Seol Jihu nodded.

“Anyway, you should take a step back on this one. Time will solve everything. There shouldn’t be any problem next time we see each other at a family gathering.”

“Okay, got it.”

“And one more thing. I know it might look like I’m nagging, but I’m only saying this since this is the end. Be careful of alcohol. If anything, Miss Seo Yuhui was right about that. If you really want to drink, do it when you’re with your family or your wife… wives. Basically, only drink when you’re with someone you trust.”

“Of course.”

“Good. Then I’m going to leave for work. Good luck with yours too.”

With a smile, Yoo Seonhwa walked down the subway staircase. Seol Jihu waved his hand while watching Yoo Seonhwa grow further away.

Time flew, and before long, it was Seol Jihu’s father’s birthday.

A festive birthday party was held, and laughter did not stop in the Seol family household. After toiling for years, a peaceful day without a worry truly felt like something to celebrate.

“We can’t not drink on such a great day!”

Seol Jihu’s father must have been overjoyed too as he took out his prized liquor that he kept on the display stand. It was the hard liquor Seol Jihu had gifted that cost over 100 million won.

Furthermore, hard liquor generally had a strong alcohol content of over 40 percent.

“Seol Jihu!”

“Yes?”

“Take a glass, you bastard!”

Seol Jihu obediently extended his glass cup. It was indeed a festive day, and it was his father giving him alcohol. What could go wrong with the entire family being with him?

“Here, you take this. Fill everyone’s glasses!”

“Yes, father.”

“Now drink it in one go. What are you doing, dear? You should pour Jihu a glass too in return!”

Both his father and mother took turns filling up his glass. After some time, empty bottles stacked up. Naturally, Seol Jihu’s face had turned quite red.

‘Why is there… so much…’

He drank and drank, but there was seemingly no end. It was only then that Seol Jihu felt something was off.

At that moment, he saw Seol Jinhee walking in with two new bottles, saying she would try a rice wine-raspberry wine mix technique she learned. Seol Jihu asked with incredible difficulty.

“Hey… where is all this alcohol coming from…?”

“Hmm? Ah, Seonhwa Unni brought it all. Though I have to admit, she brought a lot. But Dad likes alcohol, so he was ecstatic about it.”

“...Huh?”

“Oh, by the way, we need to talk about something.”

Seol Jinhee sat across Seol Jihu.

Seol Jihu, who was thinking about going home before blacking out, lowered his half-raised butt. It seemed like Seol Jinhee had something important to say.

“Do you remember that incident?”

“Hmm…?”

“When I barged into your company.”

“Ah…”

“You know, initially I didn’t think that I did something terribly wrong. Until recently.”

Seol Jinhee smacked her lips.

“I knew that what I did was wrong, but you had done something even worse to me. So I thought that much was justified.”

Seol Jinhee continued.

“But when I thought about it some more, I realized I was wrong.”

“…”

“It’s not like you didn’t try. In fact, you did your best to show that you had changed. I just… didn’t want to believe you back then. Because I hated you and resented you.”

“…”

“But I realized my mistake when I talked with Seonhwa Unni later. So I want to take this opportunity to apologize. Well, Seonhwa Unni kind of told me to, but I also think it’s the right thing to do.”

After this, Seol Jinhee paused momentarily and collected her breath.

Then, she spoke.

“I’m sorry.”

“...”

“I’m sorry for acting like a brat back then, and I’m really sorry for not believing you.”

“Jinhee…”

“Will you accept my apology?”

Seol Jinhee raised the bottle of rice wine-raspberry wine mix.

Seol Jihu had no choice but to raise his glass. Seol Jinhee had opened up and approached him. If he refused for whatever reason, with Seol Jinhee’s narrow-mindedness, she was sure to hold a grudge.

The room had also turned quiet, with everyone watching silently.

Seol Jinhee smiled as she poured the mix into his glass.

“Pour me a glass too.”

“Okay…”

“Good. Then everything is settled from now on. Here’s to a new beginning!"

The brother and sister toasted and took the shot.

“Keu! Excellent! I can’t be happier today!”

“Good, good. Well done, Seol Jinhee.”

The peanut gallery applauded.

Hearing the sound of claps fade away, Seol Jihu blacked out.

And thus, when Seol Jihu woke up, he saw a familiar ceiling. Only after blinking dazedly ten times did he realize where he was. It was Yoo Seonhwa’s apartment, which he had difficulty entering just a few years ago.

Seol Jihu shot up in fright, and the soft blanket slipped. When he lifted the blanket…

“...Ah.”

...he immediately became speechless.

He was naked.

“You’re up?”

Hearing a voice, he looked outside the door. Yoo Seonhwa was cooking while humming, wearing only an apron on an otherwise naked body.

“Ah, it’s been a while since I did it. Really makes me sore.”

She smiled sweetly while spinning the kitchen knife.

Seol Jihu could almost hear her sing, Did you think you could get away?

“Good job yesterday. Hurry on up. Let’s eat breakfast.”

Though he only found out later, Yoo Seonhwa had carried the unconscious Seol Jihu out, saying that she would take him home since he had to go to work the next morning.

What happened next was obvious.

In any case, Seol Jihu naturally thought a huge uproar would break out. Given Seo Yuhui’s personality, he doubted she would overlook this matter.

“Don’t worry. Just trust me.”

He was too ashamed to see Seo Yuhui, but seeing the confident Yoo Seonhwa, worry came first and foremost.

“I knew it.”

Surprisingly, Seo Yuhui was calm about the whole thing.

“I expected as much. Welcome. I hope we get along.”

“Oh? This is unexpected. Jihu was very worried.”

“I knew what would happen when Jihu told me he would go to his father’s birthday party alone. I would have stopped him if I really wanted to or attended the party one way or another.”

“...Then why?”

“Well… let’s just say I gave up and accepted fate. It’s impossible to avoid anyway, and trying to do so only causes more absurd happenings.”

Seo Yuhui shrugged.

“It’s just a recent thought I had. I planned to say the same thing later, even when Miss Teresa came back.”

Seo Yuhui gestured to the side. She was talking to Teresa, who was standing behind Baek Haeju with her head lowered. Having guessed Seo Yuhui’s alliance with Phi Sora, Baek Haeju had brought Teresa as her ally.

“Hello…”

Teresa spoke meekly.

Baek Haeju snorted.

“That’s interesting, Miss Seo Yuhui. From my perspective, isn’t it that you can’t say anything because you’re in the same position as the other two?”

“Me? Not at all. I have lots to say.”

“Then say it. I asked you to protect Jihu, not hit on him.”

Baek Haeju continuously provoked Seo Yuhui, but Seo Yuhui did not fall for it so easily.

“Let’s stop the meaningless talk about a parallel universe. I don’t like wasting my breath on questions or meaningless conversations, you see.”

Seo Yuhui spoke curtly before sneering coldly.

“If you’re so confident, Miss Baek Haeju, why don’t you try stopping it?”

“You keep talking about giving up and fate. I don’t know what you’re talking about, so make it clear.”

“You’ll know once you experience it. There are four left now.”

Seo Yuhui sighed.

“Try stopping even two from happening. Then I’ll worship you as my unni, leave Jihu, or do whatever else that you want.”

“What was that?”

Seo Yuhui wasn’t the type to say something like this carelessly. Finally sensing that something was wrong, Baek Haeju turned her gaze.

Teresa and Phi Sora had their heads lowered since a while ago as though they were criminals standing trial. Seol Jihu was also looking at a distant mountain.

Though a tinge of worry surfaced in Baek Haeju’s heart, she spoke with confidence.

“Don’t forget what you just said. I won’t ask you to leave Jihu since I know he wouldn’t want that. But I will be the one to hold a wedding with him on Earth instead.”

Seo Yuhui shook her head and even looked at Baek Haeju with pity.

“Sure, I wish you good luck. Of course, if you fail, you will have to give up on a wedding.”

“Okay. And now that we’re on this topic, let’s make it formal.”

The two women vowed on their gods and signed an oath.

Of course, the victor was decided from the beginning.

It was because Seol Jihu’s level of existence had increased to an absurd level after awakening into Sura Gluttony.

Now, even a Heaven-rank 9 god might not be able to change his fate.

No matter how incredible Baek Haeju was, she did not hold a candle to Heaven-rank 9 gods, which numbered only a few throughout the whole universe and were said to be on the same level as the Creation God.

Thereafter, Seol Jihu had an accident at Valhalla. An enraged Baek Haeju locked him up in Eva’s underground prison, but he caused an accident again. She made him return to Earth, sent him overseas, and put him under the Triads’ strict supervision, yet he still caused an accident. Having had enough, she sent him flying to Roselle’s Dream World, but he even caused an accident there. Of course, these were all stories for the future.

Coming back to the main point, many things happened and many incidents happened.

In truth, it was impossible for multiple women to live in cordial terms from the start around one man.

There were naturally conflicts to determine their hierarchy, and Seol Jihu struggled as well.

But there was one matter in which Seol Jihu’s wives all came together with one heart. And that was a matter Seol Jihu planned.

When it came to this, Seol Jihu’s wives called a temporary truce and worked together around Seol Jihu. It was because they knew what Seol Jihu’s problem was.

Addiction was a terrifying thing, regardless of the subject. Even if someone was clean for ten years, it could be argued they were only holding themselves back.

Seol Jihu had mustered up his courage and was trying to shake off an addiction. He was looking at both worlds equally and trying to form a balance.

Knowing Seol Jihu’s personality, the wives knew they could not take this matter lightly. They encouraged him with all their heart, assuming there might not be a next time.

Simply put, everyone’s thoughts matched.

Thankfully, Seol Jihu’s efforts came to light, and he advanced one step at a time, even at difficult times.

And thus, the day to carry out the first phase of the plan came.

One spoonful of a dish wouldn’t satiate anyone, but a good beginning was half the battle. The first step was always the most important.

Seol Jihu headed to the appointed place, half worried and half nervous.

The result came out. Thankfully, it seemed like he got off on the right foot. Picking Seol Wooseok first, who trusted Seol Jihu even while doubting him, appeared to be the right choice.

Seol Jihu became more confident at the smooth start. He also became more motivated, but he did not rush it. He waited calmly for the first step he took to be settled in. Only afterward did he set out to take the second and perhaps the most difficult step.

Seol Jihu approached Seol Jinhee in a similar fashion to how he approached Seol Wooseok. He called Seol Jinhee one day. Telling her not to go out every day just because she graduated from college, he advised her to spend some time reading and then gifted her a book.

It was, of course, the book Ian wrote.

Knowing Seol Jinhee wasn’t a fan of reading, Seol Jihu said his company was planning to collaborate with the book’s publisher and asked her to give her honest opinion after reading it. Of course, he didn’t forget to say he would tip her well.

Seol Jinhee agreed without much thought. She had no reason to refuse when she would be paid to read a soon-to-be-published book.

Seol Jihu got a call back earlier than he expected. Seol Jinhee didn’t have work or anything, so she must have spent all day reading. Of course, her immediate feedback was how hard it was to read through the entire book.

“What is this!? I thought you had recommended a good book!”

“....”

“Like here, for example. If you really want it, then try to take it over my dead body. Ah! I cringed so hard I almost threw the book!”

“...”

“And what’s wrong with the main character? Why did the author make him into such a retard? This is the main character, for god’s sake! Why is he so obsessed with titties? What a pervert! Disgusting!”

“...”

“His name too. Seol? What kind of a name is Seol… Wait, now that I think about it, he kind of reminds me of you. Are you Ian Denzel? Is that why the main character is… This can’t be just a coincidence.”

Seol Jinhee smacked the table and laughed.

Seo Yuhui glanced at Seol Jihu at a loss for what to do.

Seol Jihu did not say anything and smiled bitterly.

Sensing the serious air, Seol Jinhee stopped laughing.

“Uh, anyway, what kind of collaboration are you thinking about for this book?”

She fixed her posture and asked.

“...To be honest.”

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

“I did it once before… but I’m still not sure how to bring this up.”

He bit his lower lip and continued calmly.

“You might not believe what I’m about to tell you…”

He fiddled with the teacup in front of him and hesitated.

“You might feel a little betrayed too.”

He added.

“...Ang?”

Seol Jinhee’s eyes shot open.

“Ah, shit, don’t tell me! You gambled again!?”

She shot up from her seat and got ready to pounce.

“No, absolutely not.”

But she paused at Seol Jihu’s firm denial.

“Jinhee, can you calm down and hear him out?”

“U-Unni, you can stay seated.”

When Seo Yuhui, whose belly was round, tried to get up to stop her, Seol Jinhee flinched and hurriedly sat down.

“Whew. Okay, if it’s not gambling, then what is it?”

“It’s related to how I quit gambling.”

“...Oh, yeah?”

Hearing this, Seol Jinhee’s expression softened stealthily. To be honest, Seol Jinhee was curious too. Gambling addiction was one of the most difficult addictions to overcome, but Seol Jihu had done so and became a new person practically overnight.

“I thought about how to explain everything to you…”

Seol Jihu tapped on the table and trailed off.

“Agh, just get on with it!”

Seeing Seol Jinhee yelling, he smiled faintly.

Seol Jinhee was indeed different from their older brother. Seol Wooseok was taken aback, but he heard him out seriously from beginning to end.

It seemed the same was hard to expect from Seol Jinhee, who was more of an emotional person. And so, rather than going with the same method, Seol Jihu settled on a plan he prepared beforehand.

“You know what they say, seeing something once is better than hearing something a thousand times. I figured I would show it to you.”

“Show me what?”

“You’ll find out soon.”

Seol Jihu checked the time on his phone and then stretched his back.

“If you believe me Jinhee...”

He stared straight at Seol Jinhee and said.

“Can you give me your hand?”

“My hand?”

“Yep. And I don’t mean that figuratively.”

“...Suspicious… so suspicious….”

Seol Jinhee looked hesitant. Her unique intuition seemed to have activated.

“You called me to ask my opinion about this book. Why are you being so serious?”

Watching Seol Jihu anxiously, she slowly put out her hand.

“...Ah.”

Then, she suddenly pulled her hand back.

“Jinhee?”

“Oppa.”

Seol Jinhee’s eyebrow went up.

“Just so you know, I’m your younger sister.”

“?”

“Don’t forget that. We’re family. Blood-related siblings. The law doesn’t allow us to…”

“...Hey.”

She must have read the damn side stories. Feeling a headache, Seol Jihu closed his eyes. Though he had a lot to say, he held himself back.

“Oh? What does that face mean?”

“Think about it. Why would I try anything with you when I have Yuhui? Do I look like a beast?”

“Beast? Yep. A rabbit giving off the lewd scent of prey, getting eaten here and there.”

There was no way to tell whether Seol Jinhee drew the connection or was just making fun of Seol Jihu, but she seemed to think Seol Jihu and Ian Denzel, the book’s author, were the same person.

Though she wasn’t quite right, Seol Jihu didn’t say anything, thinking this misunderstanding wasn’t such a bad thing to have.

“Jinhee, why don’t you…”

“Oh, I trust him. I do, but… If you backstab me again, you’re a real son of a bitch. Got that?”

Seol Jinhee grumbled and reluctantly put out her hand.

“Alright, here you go. What’s next?”

Rather than replying, Seol Jihu took out a stamp from his pocket. It was a pretty stamp made of diamond with a brilliant green gem in the middle.

“What’s that?”

“The Master Stamp.”

Seol Jihu replied clearly at Seol Jinhee’s question. He stamped his sister’s hand before he lost the chance.

“Ah, why are you stamping me?”

“Don’t you remember anything about a stamp from the book?”

Seol Jihu spoke while looking fixedly at Seol Jinhee.

“Stamp…? Uh…”

Seol Jinhee’s eyes widened as if she just remembered.

“This one is a lot better than any of the ones that appear in the story.”

Seol Jihu winked. He then put the stamp away and took out an invitation letter.

He checked his phone one more time. The time was just right.

“Oppa, Oppa! Wait! Is this…?”

“Don’t worry. This isn’t a prank.”

Seol Jihu cut her off.

“You’ll find out soon.”

He tilted his head and looked up.

Seol Jinhee, who held the invitation letter, also tilted her head up.

Next…

“I am inviting you to that world.”

Along with the sound of Seol Jihu’s voice…

Flash!

A brilliant light exploded above Seol Jinhee’s head.

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