Chapter 171: What’s this? You… don’t have a soul? (1)

Affeldrichae looked at the prone Yi Ji-Hyuk with a complicated expression.

[Hurry.]

The woman’s voice contained a power that couldn’t be resisted against. Also, Affeldrichae understood that the only person who could save Yi Ji-Hyuk here was not her, but the owner of that voice.

However….

What was she supposed to do about this uncomfortable feeling, not wanting to hand him over just like that?

“………”

When Affeldrichae hesitated like that, the voice began urging her.

[There’s no time. Don’t forget that I didn’t open this Gate.]

“Euh………”

Affeldrichae didn’t feel so good right now.

She had been living a life where logic ruled every facet of her life. But recently, her emotions have been steadily encroaching into her brain and their voices were growing louder and louder. Her logical mind and her emotions collided and strange things were happening to her body as a result.

For the first time ever, she began feeling nauseous as she picked Yi Ji-Hyuk up. And then, unwillingly walked over to the Gate and placed him down in front.

[Fufufu.]

A soft giggle came out from the Gate.

Affeldrichae knew very well what that giggle signified, but all she could do in response was to bite her lower lip.

[You’ve grown a lot, haven’t you? Knowing how to form an expression like that, too.]

“You sound happy to be quite ancient.” (Affeldrichae)

[You even know how to say such things, too. You’ve really grown up now.]

Affeldrichae gritted her teeth.

Just how many beings in the universe could treat a former Dragon Lord like a small child?

Unfortunately, the owner of the voice was one of them. And she certainly was qualified to do so, as well. Only the gods could compare to those holding the title of the most powerful, highest-ranked demon kings, after all.

Not only that, the owner of the voice could also pull rank on Affeldrichae, even if her identity as a demon king was set aside. Especially so, when it came to matters related to Yi Ji-Hyuk.

[He’s been hurt pretty badly. I shouldn’t have killed that fool so quickly.]

Fury could clearly be heard in her voice. Nothing remained within Beltreche’s shell, but her anger hadn’t been satisfied yet, judging from the tone of her voice.

“Can he be saved?” (Affeldrichae)

[Were you talking to me just now?]

The voice wasn’t asking a serious question, of course.

Sensing the absolute confidence and firm determination from that voice, Affeldrichae didn’t say anything else and took a step back.

Black aura suddenly billowed out from the Gate and wrapped around Yi Ji-Hyuk. The aura stopped moving after checking the status of his entire body.

[Why did you have to….]

The tone of the voice changed from how she spoke to Affeldrichae. The seductive and slightly excited tone had disappeared, replaced with clear hint of deep anxiety.

Affeldrichae bit her lower lip again after hearing that.

“Please, start healing him already.” (Affeldrichae)

[You should stop nagging me, okay? I’ll just kill you if you keep bothering me.]

“…….”

[Hmm….]

The aura leaking out of the Gate completely enveloped Yi Ji-Hyuk now.

“Could you be doing….??” (Affeldrichae)

Affeldrichae’s voice only elicited an irritated response to come out from the Gate.

[You think I would do that?]

“No, you wouldn’t.” (Affeldrichae)

Indeed, other demon kings might, but… if it was her, she’d never do that.

If it were other demon kings, they might have taken this opportunity to turn Yi Ji-Hyuk into an undead, or a demon like them. It wouldn’t be all that difficult, seeing that the injection of a certain amount of dark Mana would accelerate the process all on its own, anyway.

However, the owner of the voice wouldn’t do that. Because it was precisely this woman and not some other demon king, Affeldrichae could safely entrust Yi Ji-Hyuk to her.

Wuooo….

The black ‘clouds’ mushroomed steadily higher and higher around Yi Ji-Hyuk.

“….T-that, just what is she doing?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

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Jeong Hae-Min asked with a worried look on her face, and Affeldrichae replied with a sigh.

“She’s healing him.” (Affeldrichae)

“You mean, that?!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Yes……” (Affeldrichae)

No matter how much she rubbed her eyes and took an even closer look, that whole ‘healing’ process looked as if it’d create a Frankenstein-estque monster, instead. Yet, that was supposed to heal for real?

Jeong Hae-Min had no idea the relationship between the human named Yi Ji-Hyuk and the existence of the dark Mana, so it was understandable why she’d think that way as she watched the spectacle unfold.

And, if she were to be brutally honest, no sane-minded person from this world would look at that and think that was a healing process. No, they would all think that it was trying to create a monster, instead.

“Really trying to save him?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“It may be hard to believe, but yes.” (Affeldrichae)

“Okay… By the way, who is saving him?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“……”

Affeldrichae closed her mouth shut.

How should she go about answering that question?

How should she label the owner of voice and explain it to these people here?

“….Let’s just say that she possesses the ownership of Mister Ji-Hyuk.” (Affeldrichae)

“Eh?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Jeong Hae-Min was taken aback from a totally unexpected and definitely offbeat answer.

Ownership?

“….In a various meaning of that word.” (Affeldrichae)

With those words, Affeldrichae closed her mouth completely shut. Through her expression, she implied her desire to no longer entertain any more questions.

Having read her expression, Jeong Hae-Min couldn’t dare to ask anything else.

‘Just what is going on here?’ (Jeong Hae-Min)

Jeong Hae-Min sensed Doh Gah-Yun slowly walking up to her, and fixed her gaze back to the black ‘clouds’ still enveloping Yi Ji-Hyuk.

And about ten minutes later….

The black ‘clouds’ surrounding Yi Ji-Hyuk slowly dissipated.

“Ah….”

Jeong Hae-Min’s complexion brightened considerably at Yi Ji-Hyuk’s perfectly-fine body. Even the lost right arm had been fully regenerated.

“What about his mind?” (Affeldrichae)

Affeldrichae quickly asked, and an answer was soon provided.

[It’s still fine, somehow.]

Affeldrichae sighed softly in relief. However, the words ‘still’ and ‘somehow’ lingered on and left a bad aftertaste in her mouth. Because, they signified that there was not much left remaining.

It was then, a pure-white hand slowly reached out from the Gate towards Yi Ji-Hyuk. The hand so pale that it was almost translucent gently stroked his cheek.

[Why are you deliberately looking for trouble like this….]

Affeldrichae curtly replied on his behalf.

“It’s only because he doesn’t like you.” (Affeldrichae)

[What you see on the outside of someone else’s family isn’t necessarily everything there is. You’re already that old, yet you still haven’t figured that out yet?]

“There are some matters that can be figured out in an instant, too.” (Affeldrichae)

[Well, fine.]

Her hand continued to quietly stroke his cheek. And then, the voice became softer.

[It may not be now, but…. I’ll come and see you soon, so please wait for me.]

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s body gently floated up and slowly moved towards Affeldrichae.

She cautiously received his still body.

[Take a good care of him.]

“I will, more than you have.” (Affeldrichae)

[Fufufu. Well, then….]

Along with those parting words, the black Gate gradually contracted, before completely disappearing from the view.

Affeldrichae spat out a groan while looking at that spectacle. She believed that they wouldn’t have to deal with that woman anymore, but in the end, they had no choice but to deal with her in this manner.

Even back in Berafe, that woman was such an awkward being to even talk to, yet to think, they had to contend with her in this world, too….

Pinch.

Affeldrichae began pinching the cheek of still-unconscious Yi Ji-Hyuk.

What a rotten b*stard he was.

“Euh, euh….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Even though he was unconscious, he flailed his arms about in the air.

“So, like, what is going on here?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

When Jeong Hae-Min asked again, Affeldrichae unhappily retorted back. She also didn’t like any of these women surrounding him, as well.

“He’s now completely fine, physically.” (Affeldrichae)

After all, the treatment process was handled by that person.

She’s an existence that sucks the lifeforce out of the others, so she should at least possess more than enough to inject some back into Yi Ji-Hyuk and still have lots more left.

If not, she’d probably come up with a different method to heal him, anyway.

Well, her powers are famous even among the demon kings, so of course she would. (Affeldrichae’s inner monologue)

“So, this means…?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Yes.” (Affeldrichae)

Affeldrichae nodded her head.

“It’s over.” (Affeldrichae)

The first demon king to descend on planet Earth, Beltreche, met its end not at the hands of the humans, but from another demon king.

They had won, but knowing that nothing had been resolved yet, Choi Jung-Hoon could only spit out a long, long sigh.

‘But, at least, we stopped it.’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Seeing Yi Ji-Hyuk still unconscious like that, Choi Jung-Hoon fell into a deep pit of anxiety.

Could this really be the end?

Wouldn’t they have to deal with an even greater crisis in the future? Just thinking about it made his chest tighten.

The persistent anxiety in his head kept telling him that this might be merely the beginning. Choi Jung-Hoon could only kick a blameless rock on the ground out of sheer frustration.

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*

[What’s this? You… don’t have a soul?]

“…Ng??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk abruptly opened his eyes.

He could see a white ceiling above.

“And this here is?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

That ceiling, haven’t I seen it plenty of times before? Is it my room? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

When he took a look around, it was indeed his room. He spotted the sleeping Jeong Hae-Min sitting on a chair but slumped on his bed.

“Hmm….”

“You’ve woken up?” (Affeldrichae)

Yi Ji-Hyuk lightly nodded his head at the voice coming from near his head.

I’m sure the soft things I feel underneath my head aren’t my pillow, but the legs of a certain lizard woman…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Why do I get this really bad feeling that I heard a voice I didn’t want to?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Even though you were unconscious, looks like you were aware of it.” (Affeldrichae)

“Hmm. So, that’s what happened, huh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk roughly scratched his head and spat out a lengthy groan.

“Did the worst case scenario unfold while I was knocked out cold?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Almost.” (Affeldrichae)

“….She’s currently not in this world, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Thankfully, no.” (Affeldrichae)

“Whew…”

Yi Ji-Hyuk sighed out in genuine relief.

“Where is she?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“She couldn’t cross over. She only sent over a portion of her avatar temporarily through the Gate the demon king Beltreche had opened up. And after sucking Beltreche completely dry, she went back.” (Affeldrichae)

Affeldrichae deliberately left out the part about that woman healing Yi Ji-Hyuk’s injuries. It was fine, because omitting stuff wasn’t lying. Technically.

“D*mn it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s voice trembled.

The one being he never, ever wanted to deal with had come ‘visited’ him again.

That woman was Yi Ji-Hyuk’s worst, greatest natural enemy. Someone he desperately didn’t want to see or talk to, even more so than Latrel herself!

“I’m such a dumb moron….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….Why did I have to lose my consciousness like that?

I mean, if I was still awake, I’d have run thousands of kilometres away as soon as I heard her voice! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“But, I thought you secretly wanted to see her again?” (Affeldrichae)

When that slightly resentful voice tried to rile him up, Yi Ji-Hyuk formed a menacing expression and glared at Affeldrichae.

“….I was only joking.” (Affeldrichae)

“It’ll be better for you to stop making those horrendous jokes. If you don’t, I’m gonna go out there, catch lots of salamanders, and kill them right in front of your eyes so that I can torture you slowly. Got that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Oh, my. What a scary torture method you have thought of there.” (Affeldrichae)

I told you already that I’m not a reptile!!!

Besides, a salamander is an amphibian! An amphibian!! (Affeldrichae’s inner monologue)

“Groan….”

Yi Ji-Hyuk raised himself up.

“How do you feel?” (Affeldrichae)

“Looks like I’m more or less fine?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Since he went ahead and let the dark Mana go on a rampage inside his body, he half expected himself to be either dead or in a state very close to dying, but now, he was in an even better physical condition than before he started fighting.

Well, if it was her, this would be an obvious result, though. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“What about your mind?” (Affeldrichae)

“Hmm……”

Yi Ji-Hyuk accurately diagnosed his condition.

“Can’t tell. I don’t think I’ve changed when compared to before. If I had become more violent, then I would have been triggered by your attempt to rile me up just now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….But, you did get triggered slightly, you know? (Affeldrichae’s inner monologue)

Affeldrichae chose not to point that out.

“That’s good news. It means that we were able to overcome a big huddle. With things like this, other demon kings wouldn’t wilfully invade this world now.” (Affeldrichae)

It was a huge event for a demon king to be completely killed off in another realm. So, the other remaining demon kings would be far more circumspect now.

Also, since the one to kill that demon king resided within the demon world, the animosity towards her would only strengthen by a great deal, but Affeldrichae didn’t want to point that out to Yi Ji-Hyuk.

Well, he should be aware of that already without her telling him.

“Tsk.”

Meanwhile, Yi Ji-Hyuk was feeling mighty uncomfortable from the fact that he ended up owing somebody quite unexpectedly. Besides, she was the one person in the entire universe he didn’t want to owe anything to, in the first place!

No matter what anyone else said….

‘….Eiii, whatever, man.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head, hard, and threw off all the distracting thoughts. The door to his room suddenly opened up just then, and Doh Gah-Yun walked in while carrying a glass of water. She pushed it to him.

“Oh. Thank you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk took the glass and drank the water. With the icy-cold liquid sliding down his throat, the uncomfortable feeling he felt became a lot more tolerable than before.

“Did something else happen while I was out?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“No, not really.” (Affeldrichae)

Affeldrichae grinned refreshingly.

“Nothing particular happened. It was rather peaceful, actually.” (Affeldrichae)

“Oh, really?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….Oh, well. I mean, a demon king was killed off, so things surely would have reverted to being peaceful, no? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Well, minor matters will always crop up, though. But then again, the black bugs attacking people to create an undead army is something that happened quite often back in Berafe, wouldn’t you agree?” (Affeldrichae)

“Would you like to be hit in the head ‘quite often’ too, you mad lizard woman?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

That’s only normal in Berafe! But the same thing’ll signal the end of the world in this place, you know!! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk shot up from the bed.

“Where’s Choi Jung-Hoon?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I’m here.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon, waiting outside the room until then, entered through the doorway with a hardened expression on his face.

< 171. What’s this? You… don’t have a soul? -1 > Fin.

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