Affeldrichae slowly walked closer to Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“W-what do you want now??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Sensing something ominous was afoot, Yi Ji-Hyuk began sneakily retreating away.
“Humans possess a variety of methods to express affection.” (Affeldrichae)
“….Will you stop talking as if it’s your first time seeing humans since arriving on Earth?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Indeed, it’s not my first time seeing humans, but the feelings given off by the humans of Berafe is mysteriously different from humans of this world.” (Affeldrichae)
She had a point there. That was one of the reasons why Yi Ji-Hyuk just couldn’t grow close to the folks of Berafe.
“Humans of Berafe are unquestioning, singular-minded. However, humans of this world are much more freer. I find it very intriguing that when humans are unbound and free, they are capable of evolving to this degree.” (Affeldrichae)
“Well, that’s the result of your corrupted gods blocking progress.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That might as well be the case.” (Affeldrichae)
“Ho-oh. If it was the past you, you’d shout ‘Blasphemy!!’ and go on a rampage, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s because she’s not present here, you see.” (Affeldrichae)
“You mean, that d*mn Latrel?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“How disrespectful. Still, I must acknowledge that some things you’ve said are indeed correct. As you’ve said, the science of men are quite surprising. I always thought that you were just making things up.” (Affeldrichae)
“What the hell, you dang rotten lizard woman?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae chuckled softly before pressing her face close to Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“May I finish what I wanted to say before?” (Affeldrichae)
What is this? What’s gotten into her?
When Yi Ji-Hyuk ungainly took a couple more steps back, Affeldrichae came closer to him again.
“What?! What now?? Whatcha want from me??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Haven’t I told you already that I’ve developed an interest in the way humans express affection?” (Affeldrichae)
“And why should I express that to you?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“The first reason is because you owe me a suitable compensation.” (Affeldrichae)
“Groan. Okay, fine. The second one is?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“The second reason is, well, you have feelings for me, deep enough to express your affection to me. That’s why.” (Affeldrichae)
“Stop spewing bullsh*t, will ya?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
How dare a lizard desire a human?!
“Did I say something wrong?” (Affeldrichae)
Of course you have!!
You said that I have feelings for you!! That’s bullsh*t!! Say something that makes sense, d*mn it! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“You, you are still one of the top three I wanna kill the most, you know? Don’t you get that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You’re a human being, but oddly enough, you don’t seem to know much about human emotions. Hatred and affection aren’t in inverse proportion to one another. You may hate me more than anyone else, but at the same time, you like me more than anyone else, too.” (Affeldrichae)
“What dogsh*t is this now?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae slowly shook her head.
“I heard that humans don’t understand their own feelings all that well. I guess that is true.” (Affeldrichae)
“And where would you have heard such things?! All you do is play video games the whole day!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Who am I, Mister Ji-Hyuk?” (Affeldrichae)
“A lizard?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae’s shoulders drooped low in an exaggerated sigh.
“Please, you should’ve answered ‘Lord Affeldrichae’!” (Affeldrichae)
“But, you said it with your own mouth that you’re not a lord anymore, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh. I did say that, didn’t I?” (Affeldrichae)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s dumbfounded eyes became a pair of small dots as he stared at Affeldrichae.
Did her head get nuffed or something after staying in a human form for so long? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“In any case, it’s fine. Let’s forget about the second reason. It should be possible with only the first reason, yes?” (Affeldrichae)
“Of course, it’s not possible.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was very firm with his answer.
“It’s only a simple matter, though? Too simple for you, is it not?” (Affeldrichae)
“It’s not simple at all, you know??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What’s the matter, acting like a first-timer and all? I already know everything there is to know, don’t forget.” (Affeldrichae)
“The first time isn’t the most important thing!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, didn’t you often do it with other species?” (Affeldrichae)
“I never did!!!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae chuckled again and changed the topic slightly.
“So, you don’t wanna?” (Affeldrichae)
“Of course not!! Hell no!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Mm, how should I say this… feels like my pride’s been wounded?” (Affeldrichae)
“How can your forged-steel mentality of a Dragon get shaken up by something this petty?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s how badly hurt I feel, you know?” (Affeldrichae)
“….Hah, you and your d*mn piehole.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s another word for a mouth, isn’t it? I didn’t know you were capable of saying you like me in such a roundabout way.” (Affeldrichae)
Yi Ji-Hyuk raised his fist, causing Affeldrichae to laugh out and take a step back.
“I’ve been joking with you, so let’s stop here. I only wish to confirm just how far the dark Mana has invaded into your body.” (Affeldrichae)
“Weren’t you messing around with my body while I was asleep?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You’d wake up if I did that. That’s why I haven’t started the procedure yet.” (Affeldrichae)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head.
“Fine. We’ll do it once this task is over.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, it’s fine to do it ahead of time, isn’t it?” (Affeldrichae)
“After I’m done here first.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“If you say so.” (Affeldrichae)
Affeldrichae smiled gently back at him.
Yi Ji-Hyuk snorted loudly and walked away. Affeldrichae quietly followed after him, but her eyes were studying his back.
You’re not afraid, yes?
Seo Ah-Young screamed out loudly.
“I’m gonna kill him! I swearrrrrr!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
She gnashed her teeth endlessly while staring at a huge slime-like lifeform trying to get closer to her.
Its jelly-like body jiggled about as it violently pounced on her position.
Powerful flames erupted out from both her hands and enveloped the slime. The creature’s body spasmed, then it suddenly began firing jets of greenish liquid towards the flames.
Seo Ah-Young’s beautiful face was crumpled and unsightly as a constant stream of swear words poured out of her mouth, along with flames from her hands.
“Get the f*ck away from me!! F*ck off!!!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Her flames danced as if they were alive, but whenever the slime’s jet of liquid hit them, their intense heat weakened noticeably.
Seo Ah-Young gritted her teeth and continued to fling her flames at the creature. Eventually, though – her legs began faltering and she was getting dizzier with every passing second.
“Yi, Ji, Hyuuuuuuuk!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young’s furious roar resounded out in this strange cavern.
“Yeah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And Yi Ji-Hyuk’s nonchalant reply came back to her.
Seo Ah-Young’s gaze spun right away towards him. While being on the receiving end of her bloodshot-eyes, Yi Ji-Hyuk grinned refreshingly.
“Oh, so you have enough leeway to look away now, do you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Uwaaaaahh?! YOUUUUU!!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Hey, I’m not deaf, you know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young’s murderous glare, ready to chew Yi Ji-Hyuk inside out, landed on him.
“I’m telling you, you should not look away.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yup, as expected.
Her focus deviated from the target and naturally, her flames weakened as a result. The jet of liquid easily broke past the weakened flames and swept Seo Ah-Young away.
The powerful pressure shoved Seo Ah-Young away and flung her into the air as if she got hit by a truck, before she crash-landed rather ungainly on the ground.
It didn’t stop there, though – she bounced up one more time, before landing back on the ground.
Seeing the slime inching towards her, despair dyed her facial expression.
“Whoa.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
However, just one flick of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s hand was enough to scare the slime into a wiggly, jiggly retreat.
Seo Ah-Young tried to stand back up, but her body refused to obey and she remained sprawled on the floor.
“F*ck…. off…..” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk approached her and placed his hand on her head.
“Now, let’s see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You………” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young’s body began trembling, hard, as dark Mana flowed into her head. She bit her lower lip to endure the pain and a thin stream of blood trickled down her chin.
A groan filled purely with pain leaked out of her mouth, but Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t stop injecting dark Mana inside her head.
“It’s only this much, huh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
After confirming her limit of tolerance, Yi Ji-Hyuk extracted all of the dark Mana from her body.
His gaze lowered to the floor in contemplation.
‘Too weak….’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
At least, Park Sung-Chan was better in this regard. The amount of dark Mana Seo Ah-Young could accept was pathetically small.
Of course, he could understand why.
Even if she was an ability user, it would never be easy for a ‘normal’ human to accept dark Mana. Even for Yi Ji-Hyuk, it’d have been an unimaginable concept to accept and wield dark Mana if it weren’t for his endlessly-regenerating body.
Most of the dark mages relied on accessing Mana supplied by the ones they had formed contracts with to perform their spells, after all.
Yi Ji-Hyuk finished extracting all the dark Mana from Seo Ah-Young’ body and stood up while sticking a cigarette in between his lips.
‘This is going to take too long, isn’t it?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He knew from the beginning that this task would be quite difficult to complete, but now, he also learned that it’d take a greater deal of time than he had bargained for, too.
Yi Ji-Hyuk frowned in a slight sense of hopelessness, and lit the cigarette up.
What Choi Jung-Hoon said before was not wrong; even if it was Yi Ji-Hyuk, he’d still be unable to stop every single monster coming out from every Gate opening up in the world.
No, hang on. It might be possible to do so, actually.
Sure, he could desperately move around and fight, fight, and then fight some more, which would result him killing them all. However, unless there were ten Yi Ji-Hyuks, no, hundreds, maybe thousands, it’d be impossible to defend everywhere at the same time.
If he failed to arrive at a location in time, well, that place would be destroyed without a single trace left behind. If such events repeated once, twice, thrice – when that happens, regardless of whether Yi Ji-Hyuk was defending this planet or not, the world would start to crumble and in the end, get destroyed.
Protecting only his vicinity, those close to him?
That was also an impossible notion. Protecting people would mean protecting their way of life, as well. And if he wanted to protect their way of life, then he also had to protect the things being given to them, too.
In other words, if he wanted to protect his family, then he had to protect the world.
For that purpose, Yi Ji-Hyuk alone would never suffice. At a bare minimum, he needed someone who could hold the fort until he arrived there.
“Now that I think about it, that Dioreh the First dude was an incredible guy, wasn’t he?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Comparing the current style of invasion to the monster army he led back in Berafe, it’d be like an ant standing up against an elephant, a drop in the ocean, etc, etc.
However, that guy Dioreh the First still managed to amass a huge troop in the midst of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s massive scale invasion and had put up a decent fight. Now that was something the current Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t even dream of doing.
“Well, the humans back in Berafe were pretty amazing, I guess.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When he thought about it, that was.
It was at this point in time that Seo Ah-Young finally managed to stand back up, albeit tottering about like a drunk.
Her venomous glare was directed at Yi Ji-Hyuk.
It seemed that response of every person was exactly the same, no matter who it was.
Yi Ji-Hyuk clicked his tongue.
“If I continue….” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Will I become stronger?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Oh, maybe not everyone’s the same, then?
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked squarely into her eyes and nodded.
There were people who could make those kind of eyes.
Folks who’d do anything to climb up – only those types would end up standing at the summit of the world.
“Yes, you will.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When Yi Ji-Hyuk replied to her, Seo Ah-Young gritted her teeth and nodded her head as well.
“But, why do you wish to become stronger?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Someday…..” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young glared straight into his eyes and spoke up.
“I’ll shove a ball of hot flames down your throat one of these days.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Now that is a commendable attitude to have.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk cackled and nodded his head.
Of course, that wouldn’t be her only reason.
But, it didn’t matter what her other reasons were. He was strictly a pragmatist at the end of the day. From his perspective, it was a good thing that some things were driving her to become stronger.
“Do you actually enjoy tormenting other people?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“I’m talking about you.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head.
He was tormenting her?
“Mm, what a shame but….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
She was oh-so wrong about that one.
“See, the thing is, I’m the type that prefers to kill people off rather than tormenting them. Right now, I’m already helping you lot out, like, by a lot.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You call this helping?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Okay, so how should I explain this….?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk silently stared at Seo Ah-Young.
His eyes Seo Ah-Young gazed into were so dark and gloomy that she thought she was unknowingly getting sucked in there. She realised that she couldn’t move a muscle after finally running into Yi Ji-Hyuk’s hidden but true persona.
“Should I tell you the easiest method for me to make you lot stronger?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That would be to kill all of you and turn you into undeads. I can’t say my speciality lies in commanding an army, but well, let’s be honest here. You won’t find a more capable commander than me in human history. After I do that, all of you will become my undying soldiers and grow several folds stronger than how you are right now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young could not understand every word he was saying. But, she still understand all too well the bone-chilling message he was conveying.
‘This is why I hate this man.’ (Seo Ah-Young)
He’d be utterly, infuriatingly mischievous one second, then suddenly, he’d come across as someone utterly, completely terrifying the next second. It was as if there were two different personalities residing in one body.
It’d be actually easier to deal with him if the boundary for that switch was apparent. Unfortunately, he slithered in and out of that boundary too easily, and that made it doubly difficult to get a bead on him.
“Even then, I’m using such a cumbersome method just for you. So, shouldn’t you feel grateful about that, instead?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Can I say something?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Sure.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You’re insane.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Yup, I know that already.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Been like that for a long time.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s ominous chuckle dug painfully into Seo Ah-Young’s ears.
She stared, shuddering from the creeping goosebumps, at Yi Ji-Hyuk cackling by himself.
‘He’s definitely insane.’ (Seo Ah-Young)
For some reason, Seo Ah-Young found him even more creepy and scarier than ever before.
< 143. Why are you running away? -3 > Fin.
(TL: Last day of 2018!! I hope you all had a great year. Well, see you next year, then.)