Park Seon-Deok frowned deeply as she watched the streets of Paris on the TV screen, now looking more like a war zone. She had seen her fair share of wrecked city streets by the hands of various monsters, but the latest footage was incomparably worse than those could ever hoped to be.
All the destruction that happened in the past was more or less on the level of losses of life; monsters such as Goblins and Monkeys might be able to hurt many humans, but they didn’t possess enough strength to destroy buildings.
Even if it was a level 3 monster, at the end of the day, it’d not utterly destroy the living habitat of human beings.
The city of Paris as seen on the TV screen, was now full of skeletal remains of destroyed buildings, as if they were hit by a wartime bombing raid or some such.
Concrete debris lined the ground as far as the cameras could capture, to the point where the description ‘flattened concrete desert’ seemed more appropriate than ever before.
Park Seon-Deok let off a long sigh.
She just saw on the screen, a young crying child running off to somewhere, having lost its mother.[The conservative estimate for the total lives lost from this incident alone is at 30,000 and counting. It’s the single greatest loss of human lives post Black Monday. An even bigger issue here is the fact that no one has come up with a solution yet. The only country to have resolved their situation, United States of America, has so far refused to publicly release any relevant information, nor any of the recorded footage, causing widespread condemnation and suspicion.]
“What a bunch of rotten b*stards, why aren’t they helping others if they’ve mopped up their side of the aisle already?!” (mom)
“What are you talking about?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk asked as he exited the bathroom.
“Listen to this. Americans are not releasing any footage or information on how they killed their monster. Those people, they always do that. I mean, they haven’t released any information on aliens until now too, right?” (mom)
“Mom, I think you should stop watching TV shows for a while….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Surely, they couldn’t release that kind of information even if they wanted to.
Well, if they released the footage containing the scenes of Yi Ji-Hyuk commanding an army of marauding monsters to beat a rather saintly-looking spirit down to a pulp, the backlash from that would simply exceed one’s imaginations, after all.
Hiding away such things from the public’s consumption would be better for everyone involved.
“Your food is ready.” (mom)
“Ng. Thanks.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk went to his room and opened the closet.
He then carefully rummaged through many, many articles of minutely-different blue tracksuits hanging on the rack and picked the one he liked. However, just before he closed the door to the closet, he spotted the robe stuck in the corner and spat out a lengthy groan.
‘Only if that thing was still working….’
Was there really no way to repair that thing?
Yi Ji-Hyuk was the type to steal or forcefully take away, rather than create, the things he needed. Sure, it wasn’t as if he couldn’t create anything, but well, he was not skilled enough to create an artefact on the level of that robe.
Something like that would be right up Affeldrichae’s alley, but since she said it couldn’t be done, he should give up completely now.
But, what a terrible waste, that.
It was then, he heard a soft rustle coming from behind him.
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked behind him.
Affeldrichae was getting up from her short slumber.
“….You okay with sleeping only that much?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae stayed up the whole night and made sure that Yi Ji-Hyuk’s mind wouldn’t erode away by the negative effects of the dark Mana, before taking a quick snooze of around 30 minutes when he got up in the morning to take a bath.
“Indeed, a body of a human being is greatly inconvenient, isn’t it? I have to sleep if I want to revitalise the brain.” (Affeldrichae)
“You can still say that when your lot sleeps for hundreds of years?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That is the far smarter way.” (Affeldrichae)
….Well, sure. If you can call sleeping as much as a week’s worth in one go ‘smart’, then I guess it is smart, you dang rotten lizard woman. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk lightly clicked his tongue and shook his head.
He almost threw out a retort there, but his lips closed shut when he thought back to what she was doing for him and the significant weight that action carried.
“By the way…. What are you doing here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Excuse me?” (Affeldrichae)
“You know how crazy those lizards would act without the presence of the Lord. Berafe needs its Lord of all Dragons. And, you have an attachment to that place, too.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That is true. I was born and raised in that world, after all.” (Affeldrichae)
“So, like I’m saying, is it fine for you to be here, abandoning Berafe like this and all?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk sat down on the chair and pulled out a cigarette.
When he lit it up and blew out a long trail of smoke, Affeldrichae frowned ever so slightly.
“I heard that smoking indoors went against the common etiquette of this world.” (Affeldrichae)
“You were expecting etiquette from me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Indeed. I was wrong.” (Affeldrichae)
Seeing her agree so quickly, Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t help but smirk deeply.
Originally, she wasn’t someone he could share random jokes with.
Was it because she gave up on the position of the Lord? Or was it because of people constantly being near her that she had softened somewhat? Without a doubt, the current Affeldrichae was much less stiffer than in the past.
“So, why are you here, really? Stop beating around the bush and answer me straight, will ya?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, I’ve already told you, though? I’m here to see you.” (Affeldrichae)
“How long are you planning to continue with that joke?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
A gentle smile formed on Affeldrichae’s lips.
“It’s you who’s persisting with a joke, Mister Ji-Hyuk. Well, you know very well that us Dragons do not lie.” (Affeldrichae)
Yi Ji-Hyuk leaned against the chair and spat out yet another groan.
Just as she said, Dragons never lied.
“So, you crossed dimensions just to see me. Is that right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s correct.” (Affeldrichae)
“But, why?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae’s golden eyes slowly lowered.
“Are you asking me because you really don’t know?” (Affeldrichae
“Yup.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What a difficult man. Really now.
“Because, I thought you’d be in pain this side.” (Affeldrichae)
“I thought, that is why I need to help you. And now that I’m here, I believe my thoughts are pretty much correct.” (Affeldrichae)
“Was there a room for such fidelity in our relationship?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seeing Yi Ji-Hyuk growl like an wounded beast, Affeldrichae formed a deep smile.
He was a man who reacted negatively and bared his fangs whenever he was shown some form of affection.
He was a man who still acted like a little kid, even though he had lived for well over a thousand years.
That was Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“Indeed there is. At least from my side.” (Affeldrichae)
“If you were planning to do so now, I’d have preferred it if you showed some of that way back when.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
If she did, then he’d have come back to Earth a couple of hundred years earlier.
“Well, I had my duty to carry out in that world, after all. Besides, even though I was the Lord, I didn’t have the necessary gall to disobey the will of Lady Latrel.” (Affeldrichae)
“….Yeah, I guess you’re right about that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Well, Latrel exercised absolute power in Berafe, so that was understandable.
“She’d just be an abominable wench in this place, though.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Pardon me?” (Affeldrichae)
“Nope. Never mind.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his hand around and organised the situation.
“So, then. How long are you planning to stay here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“How long, you ask…. I haven’t really given that much thought on that subject.” (Affeldrichae)
“You’re totally beyond help, aren’t you…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Thinking about that matter is actually far stranger. The current you only have less than 100 years left in your life span. A century is a short enough time for me to consider it as a holiday.” (Affeldrichae)
“….Why do I feel depressed all of sudden after listening to you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
I’ll die in less than hundred years.
He’d been living while not being too conscious of his own life span until now. He came back here, to Earth, so he could greet death.
Although he had found what he wanted, thinking about how he had to face his own mortality now, his feelings became a bit weird.
Could one say that such duality was the hallmark of being a human being?
“Hey, Affeldrichae?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I don’t trust you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae got up from the bed.
When she slowly approached him while wearing that thin nightgown only, she displayed blinding beauty akin to a goddess descending to the mortal realm, but Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expression remained deadpan and unimpressed.
“It’s not that you don’t trust me.” (Affeldrichae)
Affeldrichae reached out with her arms, and gently embraced still-sitting Yi Ji-Hyuk’s head.
“No, you just can’t trust anyone.” (Affeldrichae)
Yi Ji-Hyuk sighed out instead of replying.
He really didn’t like this woman.
She was a horrible being and he found her unbearable.
Interest changed to goodwill; goodwill changed to friendship; and even when friendship changed to affection, she never, ever crossed that final line.
She desperately, decisively opposed Yi Ji-Hyuk’s wishes to go back to his original world, even as their relationship progressed.
She also didn’t change, even if she felt affection for him.
That was why, she managed to make him think that her affection was, at the end of the day, all a pretence, a ruse.
He had been sharing his feelings with her, hated her, and even fought her for over a thousand years, yet he could never grow to hate her.
That was why he found her so unbearable.
Yi Ji-Hyuk relaxed his tired body and closed his eyes in her arms.
“So, a short game of one hundred years, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“If you want, it can be far more than a hundred years.” (Affeldrichae)
“I’m a human being.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Currently. Currently you are…..” (Affeldrichae)
One wouldn’t really know how to describe the very concept of humanity, but still, Yi Ji-Hyuk believed that a small trace of that elusive concept remained somewhere in the dark, dank corner of his heart.
Just a small trace.
“How long are you planning to play around here?” (Affeldrichae)
“Play around?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“The things you’re doing right now.” (Affeldrichae)
She said he was playing around. Playing around, was it….
“You still haven’t gotten rid of that nasty habit of passing judgements on other people’s lives.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, in the past you have acknowledged my assessment to be impartial and accurate, haven’t you?” (Affeldrichae)
“Also, your ability to make other people speechless is the same as always.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’d be far more stranger for me to change. I’m a Dragon, after all.” (Affeldrichae)
“Right, you lot are like that, aren’t you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The existences that couldn’t voluntarily change their personalities because no outside influences could reach them – that would be Dragons, then.
“Fine. Have fun with us. Have fun and fool around. Just don’t forget to place us back where you found us, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, I’m a Dragon who always does her best to bring you back to the place where you belong.” (Affeldrichae)
“You just don’t want to lose in conversation,” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Liar. You always won, you know.” (Affeldrichae)
Affeldrichae’s beautiful hands gently brushed Yi Ji-Hyuk’s hair.
The existence of a human was so small and weak.
And the human named Yi Ji-Hyuk surrounded himself with layers upon layers of thick scales in order to hide away his fragile heart.
His fragile heart was now covered by countless scabs from getting hurt time and time again.
How should one go about saying this?
An unnatural hedgehog?
A man who, in order to survive… No, while surviving until now, he surrounded himself with countless thorns, making it impossible for him to earnestly approach other people even if he wanted to.
“A pitiable man, you are.” (Affeldrichae)
Her hands continued to stroke Yi Ji-Hyuk’s head. Her fingers gently and smoothly untangled his hair.
“Don’t you also have a part of the blame for me turning out this way?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
A big part, as a matter of fact.
“It couldn’t be helped.” (Affeldrichae)
“Don’t you try to console me.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s why I came here, you know?” (Affeldrichae)
To his side.
“You want to compensate me or something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“If that’s what you want.” (Affeldrichae)
Yi Ji-Hyuk grinned refreshingly.
“Even if I wanted to rip you to shreds?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae returned a gentle smile.
“Of course.” (Affeldrichae)
Yi Ji-Hyuk wordlessly closed his eyes.
Relationships so utterly twisted and complicated beyond salvage.
“Berafe….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It didn’t want to let him go. That place followed him back to this planet and continued to torment him.
“Well, I’m fine either way.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
I’m talking about now.
Yeah, right now, this is fine, so….
Yi Ji-Hyuk raised his hands up and tightly grabbed Affeldrichae’s shoulders.
“I don’t know what kind of schemes you’re cooking up. But you better not take me lightly, Lord Affeldrichae.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae replied with a serene voice.
“Anyone who breathed in the air of Berafe just once, would surely know to pay their respects to you, oh Bringer of Apocalypse.” (Affeldrichae)
Yi Ji-Hyuk began guffawing after hearing her words.
But, you were one of those who made me into that.
Wouldn’t you agree?
It was then, the door to his room was flung open.
“Hey you! Mom wants you to come and eat your……………” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ye-Won’s eyes shook hard after seeing two people embracing on top of a chair so early in the morning.
“P, perverts!!” (Ye-Won)
“It’s a misunderstanding!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shot up from the chair and hurriedly denied it all.
“It’s not what you think!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Kyaaaaaaahhh!! Mom!! Look at these two!!” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ye-Won’s loud screaming reverberated throughout the Yi house.
And just like that, another peaceful day began in earnest.
< 132. You’re her oppa. Aren’t you? -2 > Fin.