“Okay, so what is it that you want?”
An old man with his snow-white hair neatly combed back was steadily staring at a certain female standing in front of him.
Her brilliant hair looked as if liquid gold cascading down. Below that, the light in her eyes that seemed to steal away one’s soul, as well as those golden eyes that might suck it away.
A nose sharp enough to cut, and a pair of harmoniously-designed red lips that seemed to be at odds with said nose.
A pale smooth skin with not one speck of blemish on it.
A woman possessing an unparalleled beauty that made others think that she simply couldn’t be a human being.
‘Well, she isn’t a human, so there.’
The old man knew very well who this woman was. Her real identity was a Dragon.
Indeed, she was the legendary fantastical creature that everyone thought of as a myth only until recently.
Of course, none had yet to see her real body, but from what she had displayed so far, and how she had carried herself until now, anyone could tell that she was definitely not a human.
“Acknowledgement, and preparation.” (Affeldrichae)
“I don’t understand what you mean….?”
Affeldrichae looked down at the old man with an arrogant expression.
“It is cumbersome to converse with creatures that possess lower intelligence.” (Affeldrichae)
What she said was incredibly rude, but the old man didn’t display any hint of feeling incensed or unhappy.
If her assertion was true, then she would have felt as if she was initiating a conversation with a puppy. And as an existence on the level of an immature dog, one should be grateful for her at least trying, and not feel p*ssed off about it.
‘I know that much, but…..’
Even then, there was not much this old man could do about this emotion boiling deep inside the pit of his stomach.
“It is as I said, oh human. This world is being invaded by the denizens of other dimensions. There are several different dimensions attacking you, and you will have to continuously fight on many different fronts. However, the most pressing matter is…. the Gates are progressively getting larger.” (Affeldrichae)
“Just as you implied, there is a certain limit to my ability to comprehend, so would you be kind enough to explain it in simpler terms?”
“Intelligent creatures will soon cross over.” (Affeldrichae)
The expression on the old man’s face became grave.
Currently, they were simply fighting the monsters off.
When they invaded, humans beat them dead; the fight so far had stuck to that pretty simple mantra. However, if ‘intelligent’ creatures managed to cross over?
“Are they on the level of us holding a civilised conversation with them?”
“On the same level as the humans of this world, or even those exceeding that.” (Affeldrichae)
The old man spat out a groan.
If what she said was true, then the potential ripples from that would be devastating. Without a doubt, chaos would unfold everywhere.
Because, it’d be exactly the same thing as the existences of extraterrestrial beings, the ones many tried so desperately to uncover over the years, being confirmed in the blink of an eye.
“What do they want from us?”
“I do not control all of the dimensions existing out there. Therefore, I can’t speak for what the populace of those worlds would want. However, there is only one thing that the intelligent creatures of my own realm wants.” (Affeldrichae)
“Then, can you tell me what that is?”
“It is to keep surviving.” (Affeldrichae)
Although she sounded as if she was just throwing some random words out without a care, the old man was trembling from the inexplicable weight those words carried.
And then, he shuddered one more time after figuring out their deeper meaning.
If beings of other worlds were crossing over with conquest or plunder in mind, then they would retreat once the situation was no longer in their favour. They would want to avoid getting harmed even further.
However, if the aim was to survive, then the story would drastically change.
Wouldn’t they fight to the death if they found themselves in such a dire situation, like, believing that they no longer had a place to call home anymore?
The old man finally realised the weight of the words the Dragon had spoken.
“And so, what should we do to counter that?”
“That will be for you to decide, oh human. Find the right answer for yourselves. Will you acknowledge them and accept them, or fight tooth and nail until only one of you stands tall? If none of those choices appeal to you, then seek out a third option.” (Affeldrichae)
“This is a difficult matter, indeed.”
“I’m merely a messenger, not an adviser. I’ve relayed everything I wished to say, and the future now will depend on you.” (Affeldrichae)
“Looks like I’ll have to thank you.”
Affeldrichae slowly shook her head.
“Your words of gratitude are of no value to me.” (Affeldrichae)
Only then did the old man realise that this woman was being quite cordial towards him.
Even from the word go, she had openly looked down on him, making him feel that she was a rather arrogant person, but as it turned out, that wasn’t the case.
To this existence, humans were no different than ants crawling by on the ground. So, what point was there to respect those ants, to begin with?
Her being arrogant was an obvious thing.
No, a human finding her arrogant was nothing more than that fool failing to recognise his own insignificance.
Now that he was facing a being far greater than a human for the first time in recorded history, the old man couldn’t immediately figure out what was his position in this matter.
“May I ask you one question?”
“Go ahead.” (Affeldrichae)
“Why are you, a powerful, great being, interested in someone like Yi Ji-Hyuk? From your perspective, isn’t he a truly worthless existence?”
It was then, the old man’s eyes saw something impossible.
A gigantic reptile suddenly opened its maws and tried to swallow him whole. That illusion instantly implanted itself in the old man’s brain, before disappearing.
The old man cried out in alarm and toppled down to the floor of his office.
Cold sweat rained down from his forehead, and his vision darkened. His hands and feet were shaking uncontrollably, and his body was screaming out in anguish.
He had seen it.
He had experienced his own death just now.
Death, that could never truly be experienced while one was still alive.
“Oh, foolish human…..” (Affeldrichae)
Affeldrichae’s icy voice stabbed into the old man’s ears.
The mental shock was similar to a sharp unknown something clawing at his brain, and his body shook hard from the pain.
“Oh, you arrogant human, you overestimate yourself.” (Affeldrichae)
“You humans always try to cross the line. That’s how humans are like, and I understand that what happened just now was not your fault. However, human. Oh, arrogant human. You have crossed a line that you should never have crossed.” (Affeldrichae)
“He is not an existence that a mere human like you can pass judgement on. With his own two feet, he has climbed up from the lowest of all low to the highest of all high peaks. He is a man who was worshipped by every existence within a realm. Even the great gods must seek decorum when speaking to that person. Yet, a lowly creature such as yourself dares to speak ill of him?” (Affeldrichae)
The old man had no idea what Affeldrichae was trying to say here.
However, he was sure of one thing.
A superior existence – an unquantifiable existence that could easily erase him off this world with a flick of her finger was getting really mad at him right now.
Tears began streaming down from the old man’s eyes. Even his soul was quaking in fear.
“P-please, forgive me!”
Affeldrichae quietly glared at the old man, before nodding her head.
Ignorance wasn’t really a crime, and a crime committed from ignorance certainly had some room for forgiveness.
More importantly, ‘he’ himself wished to live like his past self in this world. The Bringer of Apocalypse wished to return to being a human.
He lived for a long, long time as something other than human. And from here onwards, he wanted to live like one. She had to respect his wishes.
Even if she didn’t like it, and it twisted her inwards, but still…. Importantly, that was his will.
Affeldrichae let out a weak sigh after recalling the humans filling up the spaces around him.
An existence’s status changed according to how it was acknowledged.
For instance, even though you were a microbe, if a superior existence treasured you, then you’d no longer be seen as a simple microbe.
So, no matter how lowly a human being you were, if Yi Ji-Hyuk decided to form a relationship with you and treasured you in his own way, then Affeldrichae didn’t have a choice but to treat you as more than just a simple human.
Because, that’s how relationships worked.
“However, is that a good thing?” (Affeldrichae)
“I beg your pardon?”
“I was just talking to myself.” (Affeldrichae)
In order to not p*ss her off again, the old man did his absolute best to mind her moods.
Since she wasn’t a human to begin with, he couldn’t be sure of his analysis of her being right, but still, he thought that she looked somewhat uncomfortable.
He was right. Affeldrichae wasn’t feeling okay at all.
Although it was his choice to stoop down to the current low level, the real problem from her point of view was that man’s status was far too mighty to stoop so low.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that she possessed the right to lord over all creations back in Berafe, but even the mighty Lord of all Dragons wouldn’t dare not to pay her respects to Yi Ji-Hyuk.
It wasn’t only because he was powerful, though.
No, the basis for his greatness was the very fact that, he was once Berafe’s weakest creature, but he persevered and toiled hard, before eventually climbing up to the peak of that world.
Didn’t his unyielding tenacity and spirit even make the gods acknowledge him?
However, such a man was…..
To Affeldrichae’s shocked eyes, she regularly saw Yi Ji-Hyuk getting his back smashed in by Park Seon-Duk, and constantly get nagged on by Jeong Hae-Min.
‘Does he enjoy that?’ (Affeldrichae)
She might have spent a long time with him, but she still couldn’t quite figure him out.
However, the important thing was, he wanted this. So, all Affeldrichae had to do here was to make sure everything was as painless as possible.
“Looks like I’ll have to leave.” (Affeldrichae)
“I’ve informed you on what’s to come. How you deal with the future will depend on you.” (Affeldrichae)
“I’ll take that to heart.”
Affeldrichae threw an icy glare at the old man once more, before going Poof!! from the spot and disappeared altogether.
The old man let out a long, long sigh as his eyes continued to stare at the empty spot where Affeldrichae had been standing only a moment ago.
“My lifespan might decrease at this rate.”
….Nope, it must’ve been reduced by some already.
The sight of an old man who was shaking like a leaf only second ago was now gone, replaced by a politician emitting the air of leisure and a certain incorruptibility.
“Summon the Secretary of Defense first.”
– “Yes, Mister President.”
While listening to the voice of his PA coming in through the intercom, the old man settled down deeply in his posh chair.
How should he go about dealing with this situation, then?
The old man massaged his pounding head and stared out of his window.
A certain flag containing stars and stripes hanging on a white exterior wall filled up his view.
“So, like….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk stared down at the pizza with an expression of a man who had chewed on sh*t.
“….We’re supposed to eat this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He shuddered in disgust at the pizza shaped like the face of this amusement park’s official mascot.
“What’s wrong? Isn’t it cute?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min’s remarks caused Yi Ji-Hyuk to shake his head.
This was cute?
“But, then again…. Humans readily accept the sight of a chicken mascot holding up a leg of a chicken while telling us to eat more chicken, so like, we can smile and laugh while tearing into a face of a mouse, I guess.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You go to a steakhouse and you’ll find a cow mascot telling you to enjoy your steak with its wagging tail and all. When you go to a fried chicken joint, you see a chicken mascot holding up a chicken leg.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Right.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“If you think about it for a sec, isn’t that like the creepiest thing ever? Isn’t it like, I am, or my brethren all taste nice, so please eat us, something like that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Jeong Hae-Min sensed her appetite suddenly disappearing.
“You, you…. Your ideas are just too bizarre!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“It’s you lot that’s too bizarre!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
On one hand, he sounded logical, but on the other, not really.
“In any case, you want to eat this thing.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a groan as he looked at various breads, pizzas and pies on display that were shaped like several famous cartoon characters.
“I just can’t figure it out, man. Like, I just can’t.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Maybe, it’s really me who’s the weird one?
Yi Ji-Hyuk simply couldn’t understand the notion of ‘This cartoon character is so adorable, why don’t we make something in its image and eat it up?’
“Hey, you!!! Stop it!! Just stop!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min’s fierce resistance finally prompted Yi Ji-Hyuk to close his mouth.
Well, it was true that this whole thing had devolved into him whining over food on the table like a little kid, after all.
“Still, isn’t this way too weird?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Shut up!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)
After hearing what Yi Ji-Hyuk had to say, the looks on other people’s faces were also a bit…. weird now.
Before that man began running his mouth off, this was a lively and boisterous eating area, but now, the overall atmosphere in this place had become rather strange.
“By the way, isn’t the mood in this place a bit strange?” (Jeong Hae-Min)
After hearing Jeong Hae-Min’s observation, Yi Ji-Hyuk turned his head around to look.
< 156. However, is that a good thing? -1 > Fin.