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(TL: Partially edited. My editor’s still busy….)
In front of the NDF building.
Oh-Sik had no energy.
He had been feeling rather depressed lately after not seeing his owner for a few days now. He couldn’t help but question how he had become this badly attached.
In the past, he lived like a slave under that man’s rule for several decades; back then, he was simply afraid of the guy. But now, Oh-Sik must’ve grown close to his owner after going through quite a bit of stuff together. Oh, and he got fed by that man, too.
Oh-Sik plopped down on his butt and sniffed the air.
Oh-Sik hurriedly got back up, his tail wagging furiously.
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s scent was coming from somewhere out in front! Oh-Sik rushed forward, his tail wagging powerfully from side to side now.
The metal chain attached to his neck got in the way, so he simply yanked at it and snapped it in half. The tough metal chain was ripped apart like a piece of plastic.
Oh-Sik ran past the main street and entered the backstreet, finally discovering Yi Ji-Hyuk there. He then jumped into his owner’s arms.
However, Yi Ji-Hyuk remained resolutely cold-hearted. He easily caught the scruff of leaping Oh-Sik’s neck and dangled the mini-Ogre in the air, a frown forming on his face.
“What’s wrong with you? Why are you so filthy??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Oh-Sik tilted his head, but Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at his pet with a still-unhappy expression.
“Really now, what dogsh*t condition is this? Uh-whew!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked behind him and spoke to Affeldrichae following him.
“Rinse this guy for me, will ya?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae didn’t say anything else and simply summoned the spirit of water, Undine, and began washing Oh-Sik right there.
Oh-Sik got frightened out of his skull and kicked around in the air, but Undine didn’t let him escape and swallowed him inside a large water bubble.
As if the water was boiling over, the bubbles of air began assaulting Oh-Sik trapped within.
Quite literally out of the blue, Oh-Sik came out to greet his owner only to go scuba diving rather unexpectedly. He desperately cried out, but too bad, no sound could escape when one was submerged under water.
Just as tears formed in the eyes of Oh-Sik as he got beaten up inside the water bubble, the water suddenly vanished. And then…. the spirit of wind began drying him, instead.
“Yup, this sure is convenient.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
However, it feels like something forgotten in the corners of my head is trying to revive when I’m looking at this…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“………Hey, you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s like, my memories are a wee bit fuzzy right now, but….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Did you do the same thing to me, too?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae tilted her head.
“Back in the past when you were still in your rebellious phase, you became quite dirty several times, so I had to wash you.” (Affeldrichae)
“Just one wash, and you became so fluffy and cute, you know?” (Affeldrichae)
“…..Thanks….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
She probably washed him with clothes, no?
He wanted to ask her, but then again, he couldn’t quite work up the courage to do so.
Right. What does it matter if I was wearing clothes or not back then. Our species are different, anyway.
Yup, our species are different, so…….. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Don’t you know what human rights are, you d*mn rotten lizard woman?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m a Dragon, so why should I worry about human rights? I’m not an animal protectionist, you know.” (Affeldrichae)
“A human’s an animal now?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What difference is there between humans trying to protect animals, and a Dragon trying to protect a human? You can only shower the beings inferior than you with love, no?” (Affeldrichae)
She’s right, but why do I feel so p*ssed off?! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk gnashed his teeth and glared at Affeldrichae, before his head swivelled towards Oh-Sik.
“Ohh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And he realised that the oh-so fluffy Oh-Sik looking all limp and energy-less was unbelievably adorable.
Yi Ji-Hyuk grabbed Oh-Sik floating in mid-air with his hand.
Only until a minute ago, Oh-Sik was very enthusiastic. But now, he was sneakily averting his gaze.
“Mm…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly turned Oh-Sik to face him, but the mini-Ogre simply shifted his head away in the opposite direction.
“Are you actually sulking?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Oh-Sik didn’t reply.
“What the heck. Hey, dude….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
You’re still an Ogre, you know?
Not only that, you’re a male, too!
So, how can you sulk over something like that?! Where’s your pride as an Ogre?
I mean, you’ve been rinsed clean, but so what! How can you sulk over that? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Don’t you think you’re behaving too much like a dog lately?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Of course, I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but well, with you behaving more and more like a dog recently even though you’re actually an Ogre, I keep getting confused on whether I should treat you like a real dog or an Ogre, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Right then, Affeldrichae’s expression hardened ever so slightly.
What was this?
She was simply listening to him talk, yet why did it feel like she was the one getting berated here?
Perhaps Oh-Sik had felt the same sentiment as Affeldrichae, because the mini-Ogre’s brows began to rise up, as well.
“What the hell?? How dare you raise your voice at me?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Oh-Sik flinched grandly and hurriedly lowered his head.
Oh, why did I even bother, calling this guy my owner….
Just what have I been waiting for all this time? (Oh-Sik’s inner monologue)
Wetness formed around Oh-Sik’s eyes.
If Choi Jung-Hoon was here, he’d let out a sigh of lament and say “I’ve seen an Ogre tear up again” but what a fortunate thing it was, he was not present at this location.
“How dare you growl at me, when I fed you and gave you a place to sleep?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When Yi Ji-Hyuk loudly shouted out, Oh-Sik quickly averted his gaze and whimpered tragically.
Affeldrichae looked at this development, and for the first time in her life, couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for an Ogre.
Which was strange, because to her, an Ogre was nothing more than a disposable pawn only good for guarding the gates, or maybe a tasty little snack…….
It was at this point that a frown formed on Affeldrichae’s face.
Perhaps she’d been in this human form for too long, because when she thought about eating an Ogre, she was overcome with a slight sense of disgust.
‘Do I need to revert back to my original self for a little while?’ (Affeldrichae)
It wasn’t a good thing for her to feel too much like a human being. She was a Dragon, after all.
There could be more than a few problems down the line if she continued to think like a human. However, reverting back to her original appearance would consume way too much Mana. Still, she should prioritise on suppressing potential side effects first.
“Ng? Oh-Sik-ah, why are you acting like this? Ah??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
In the meantime, Yi Ji-Hyuk was still nagging the hell out of the poor Ogre. Witnessing this spectacle, Affeldrichae came to understand the existence called humans a little bit better.
‘Unlike Dragons, humans are deeply affected by the personalities of their parents.’ (Affeldrichae)
The sight of Park Seon-Duk nagging and pounding on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s back, and this current sight of Yi Ji-Hyuk busy abusing Oh-Sik overlapped with one another in her eyes.
‘One ends up with a similar personality as one’s parents because of the inherited genes, but also the influences from the parents themselves during the one’s formative years affect the mental development as well, it seems.’ (Affeldrichae)
The aura of Park Seon-Duk, the one Yi Ji-Hyuk found so teeth-grindingly fearful, could actually be seen from him now.
This was a rather amusing sight, that’s for sure.
“You d*mn fool!! Aren’t you supposed to pay back my graciousness of sparing you back then for the rest of your life?! Where is your morals, man?! How dare you bare your fangs at me?? You want a beating?? Ahh?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….Stop trying to argue logically with an Ogre, please.
Please stop. You really look pathetic. (Affeldrichae)
Affeldrichae could sense that goodwill she held towards Yi Ji-Hyuk eroding away just a tad.
“Why don’t we stop there and get going?” (Affeldrichae)
Yi Ji-Hyuk saw Affeldrichae’s less-than-impressed expression, and placed Oh-Sik on his shoulder.
“I’m gonna stop here today because I’m going easy on you! It’s only because I’m such a nice guy. A nice guy, I tell ya!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Did all nice guys in this world freeze to death?
Affeldrichae spat out a long groan. At the same time, Oh-Sik also spat out a long groan while perched up on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s shoulder.
Ever since the creation of universe, this was the first time that an Ogre and Dragon had sympathised with one another.
Finally arriving at the NDF office, Yi Ji-Hyuk pushed open the door and entered, immediately spotting Choi Jung-Hoon knocking back a tumbler full of energy tonic.
Choi Jung-Hoon almost fell into a pit of despair after discovering a pile of work waiting for him upon his return. Now, he was taking care of mountains of documents at a frightening speed, after making a belated new resolution for himself: Never, ever procrastinate with his work.
‘How admirable.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
That’s how a real man should look like!
“Uh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When the folks inside the office saw Yi Ji-Hyuk come in, they all hurriedly got up from their seats. They did that simultaneously, even though no one told them to do so nor did they make a prior arrangement.
“Hmm? What’s up?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Just as the mood turned a bit weird, Kim Dah-Hyun quickly opened his mouth.
“Welcome back.” (Kim Dah-Hyun)
“Uh, sure. Thanks.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk waved his hand around and greeted everyone. They all awkwardly bowed a little and returned to their seats.
‘What’s going on here?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shifted his gaze over back to Choi Jung-Hoon, still confused by this awkward atmosphere. Regardless of what others were doing, though – Choi Jung-Hoon was deeply immersed in his own work.
“Keuh….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What a man~!
From that dandy hairstyle to the figure-hugging business suit, he looked so cool even from a fellow man’s perspective. And there was him focusing so hard on his work like that, too!
Wasn’t that simply the delicious icing on the cake??
With a content grin on his face, Yi Ji-Hyuk slowly walked over to Choi Jung-Hoon’s desk.
“How’s your work going?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Excuse me?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon couldn’t help but clean out his ears.
Did I hear something wrong just now?
“Did you say something?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“I asked about your work.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Oh. Uh, well, it’s going fine. Thank you.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk with dazed eyes.
Was he the kind of person to make a small talk like this?
But, he would never do that, now would he?
When Choi Jung-Hoon stared back with a weirded-out expression, Yi Ji-Hyuk grinned refreshingly.
“Are you busy?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….I’m sorry?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“I said, are you busy right now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, uh…..” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Are you blind?? Can’t you tell whether I’m busy or not?!
If you have functioning eyes, you should be able to see for yourself!
Doesn’t the information captured by your eyes get transmitted to your brain or something? (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
Choi Jung-Hoon began squeezing his fists tightly.
This guy sure had a natural talent in riling people up with some of the most mundane words one could think of. Choi Jung-Hoon knew this, yet he couldn’t help but get worked up every time.
He needed to calm the heck down.
“….A little bit.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“So, like, it’s not a lot, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“……..Something like that.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Of course, in reality, he was really busy. Swarmed with work. However, he was powerfully overcome with this feeling that he should not say that right in this moment.
There was Yi Ji-Hyuk’s slightly quivering eyebrows and everything, you see.
“That means you have a bit of time to have a chat with me, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…….I guess so?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
A chat, hmm….
Let’s get it over with, so you can b***** off out of my way. I’ve got a crap ton of documents I must submit by the end of today, you dumba*s! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
Choi Jung-Hoon began to think that he had developed a new passive skill of being able to say something and think of something completely different.
He might smile outwardly, but cry out inwardly – he was already accepting this as par for the course in his life now.
“Okay, so what do you want to talk about?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Even before he had noticed it, a tone of voice that sounded a wee bit combative jumped out of Choi Jung-Hoon’s mouth. However, Yi Ji-Hyuk simply chuckled ‘magnanimously’ as if he didn’t mind that at all.
“Find an opening in your schedule soon, please.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You mean, like right now??” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“No, not right now. But, you need to make sure to take a whole day off.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….But, why?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You made a promise, so it’s time to keep it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“A…. promise?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You promised to go to a theme park, remember?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
You were being serious? For real??
You really wanted me to go?
I didn’t do anything wrong, yet why do I have to go to a theme park with someone else’s family?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“You weren’t kidding about that?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Do I look like I’m kidding right now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….You’re right. You sound pretty serious.
And that’s what scares me the most.
What are you planning to do to me after dragging me there?
Please, just leave me alone!! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“Do I really have to go?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Well, you promised.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Indeed, he did promise, but….
“….But, uhm….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s head leaned to the side.
“A man does not go back on his words, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon replied in a righteous manner.
“But, I do that all the time.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“…..Now that I think about it, me too?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….Right, it’s not like that I strictly followed through with everything I’ve said before.
Indeed, that’s true, isn’t it?
I used to lie like there’s no tomorrow, right?
Sure, I did all that. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly acknowledged the fact.
“Well, those couldn’t be helped, really. However, don’t you think you should keep at least this one?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I mean, you promised me, no?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Immediately deciphering the hidden meaning of ‘go back on the promise you made with me, and let’s see if your back will be in one piece or not’ in Yi Ji-Hyuk’s words, Choi Jung-Hoon formed an awkward smile.
“A promise is made to be honoured, I guess.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
For now, I gotta survive first!
Yes, let’s live first! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“By the way, why a theme park….?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Oh, that. It’s nothing much. You just have to keep a kid occupied, that’s all.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“A kid?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk grinned brightly.
“You’ll see when you get there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon was overcome with this unknown sense of dread, and hurriedly looked around him to find someone who could help. It was at this point that a lifeline appeared before him.
“Where are you planning on going this time?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young stood up from her seat and walked over to the two men.
“A theme park.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….And who gave you the permission to go there?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Do I need to get a permission to go on a vacation from you, too?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Obviously.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“You can just treat as my annual paid leave, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“There is no annual leave in ND….” (Seo Ah-Young)
Just as she was about to refute that, Seo Ah-Young froze mid-sentence.
….There was indeed the “annual leave”.
No one had invoked it yet, but now that she thought about it, there definitely was a paid leave system in the NDF.
“What now? You wanna stop me from going on a paid leave, too?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When Yi Ji-Hyuk stared right back at her with a victorious expression on his face while his head leaning to the side in a crooked angle, Seol Ah-Young’s innards began boiling over. She loudly shouted out in response.
“Fine. When are you planning to go on this annual leave thing?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Why? You wanna stop me for real?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Flames burned brightly in her eyes now.
“I’m going, too!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at her with dazed eyes now.
< 152. So, I shall allow a little bit of amusement -2 > Fin.
Synopsis: The online game <