Chapter 173: What’s this? You… don’t have a soul? (3)

“Could it be?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Affeldrichae nodded her head.

“Indeed, there is no other way to fix this situation.” (Affeldrichae)

“That’s right.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“In that case, we must bring someone who can.” (Affeldrichae)

“Groan….”

Yi Ji-Hyuk began headbutting his bed repeatedly. He too had thought of this method before, but well, carrying it out would be one heck of a bother.

“Isn’t there another way?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Unfortunately, no.” (Affeldrichae)

“Groan.”

He began rubbing his face, hard.

In this world, there were things one wouldn’t want to do even if one knew how to do it. The current Yi Ji-Hyuk was feeling exactly this way.

Choi Jung-Hoon was like a dog sniffing out food; he quickly sensed something here and began pestering Yi Ji-Hyuk again.

“Is there a way?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“NOPE.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk replied with a deadpan face.

“There are none.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“But, it sounds like there is?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“I’m telling you, there ain’t one!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Choi Jung-Hoon readily gave up on persuading Yi Ji-Hyuk right there, and turned around to ask Affeldrichae, instead.

“Is there a way?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

She didn’t immediately reply and quietly stared at Yi Ji-Hyuk.

From that, Choi Jung-Hoon quickly deduced that, regardless of whether there was a way or not, it all depended on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s whims – and promptly sprinted towards him to grab his hands tightly.

“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Argh, what now?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“If you know a way, you gotta help us with solving this situation! It certainly won’t do for you to be this hands-off, you know?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“….What the heck, dude. Did the Americans pay you off again or something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“…..P-pardon me?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

It was then, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes narrowed to a slit.

“You just flinched.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“O-of course not!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Way too suspicious.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I’m telling you, they didn’t! I am! Only! Out of!! The goodness of my heart! Worrying about our world!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Yi Ji-Hyuk clicked his tongue.

“Yup, he got greased, alright.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“No, I wasn’t!!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Looking at Choi Jung-Hoon sorrowfully crying out like a wrongfully accused man, Yi Ji-Hyuk simply shook his head.

“You get paid by the Korean government, yet you’re dealing with  American problems? Are you a dang traitor? Aigoo, hear me, my good neighbours! We’ve got a traitor in our midst~!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….It’s the national auditors!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Jeong Hae-Min had woken up before anyone had noticed it and, with her eyes still half open, accurately pointed out that he shouldn’t bother the neighbours but the auditors, instead.

“Should I make the call?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Please, just stop!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Choi Jung-Hoon’s urgent reaction brought about a knowing smirk on Jeong Hae-Min’s face.

“This isn’t the time to kid around, everyone.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Americans should take care of American problems, Mexicans should do the same, just as we should take care of our own. Am I wrong?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“You shouldn’t think of this matter that lightly.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“And why not?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“With the collapse of America’s Eastern Seaboard, the global economy is going through indescribable turmoil as we speak. At this rate, we will see the advent of a crisis even worse than that of the IMF incident. Families will lose their homes, the society will crumble….” (Choi Jung-Hoon) (TL note at the end)

“Ehheii~ it won’t go that far.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk quickly cut Choi Jung-Hoon off there.

Did this guy lose his marbles or something? How dare he bring up a sensitive topic like that?? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“That is why, we need to find a solution real fast in order to minimise the damage. This is a crisis that threatens the entire humanity. This isn’t something you simply label as someone else’s problem and forget about it.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“H-mm….”

Yi Ji-Hyuk laid his head back down on Affeldrichae’s lap and replied with a pout.

“Well, if you think about it, it’s not such a bad thing.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Excuse me?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“It’s just the visuals that’s a bit off, but well, you could say that a zombie is a new type of human species.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….Have you finally gone insane?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“What the?! Wanna die??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“No, wait! It’s you talking something completely unexpected, that’s why!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“It’s not ‘completely unexpected’, you know? Think about it. You won’t die, you won’t feel pain, you won’t even have to think for yourself. See how convenient it is? I’m telling you, being a zombie might be even better than being a regular human.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“But, you can’t propagate that way!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“You aren’t going to die, so why would you need an offspring in the first place?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“…….Uh?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

Well, that…. kinda makes sense?

N-no, wait a freaking minute!

I nearly fell for it! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

“Please make weird suggestions at a later time.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Hey, dude. It’s not a weird suggestion! I’m right, aren’t I? It’s bit off-putting that your intestines are falling out and stuff like that, but at the end of the day, it’s not such a bad way to gain immortality.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Oh, so how about you become this new human species first as a demonstration, then?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“You think I’m mad?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….Yup, I do.

There’s no doubt that you are definitely not right in the head. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)

Choi Jung-Hoon spat out a lengthy sigh.

He did expect to encounter this uncooperative side, but he was still taken aback by this level of ‘I can’t be bothered’ from Yi Ji-Hyuk. But then again, if he thought back to the past, this was how this guy had been behaving all along. It’s just that Yi Ji-Hyuk had been weirdly cooperative lately, that was all.

“What is it that you want this time?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“I don’t want anything.” (Yi Ji-hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk decisively cut off Choi Jung-Hoon, once more.

“Let’s be honest here. There isn’t a lot you folks can do for me at this stage. So, how about leaving me alone for a while? I’ve got lots of things to think about too, but then, as soon as I wake up from my blackout, you’re asking me this and that, and that crap’s making my head hurt.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Groan…..”

Choi Jung-Hoon unwillingly nodded his head.

The situation was indeed urgent, but it was also true that making this sort of requests weren’t exactly suitable for someone who just woke up from running headlong into death’s doorway.

“In that case, I shall keep an eye on the situation. Once you get some rest, I’ll come back and speak to you again.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

“Oh, well. Sure.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“See you tomorrow, then.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)

After Choi Jung-Hoon walked out of the room, Yi Ji-Hyuk sighed and laid down again.

Shururuk….

Affeldrichae began gently stroking his hair.

“But, you’ve already made up your mind, haven’t you?” (Affeldrichae)

“Well, whatever.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yeah, it’s going to happen. I know that. So, stop poking me with a stick.

I mean, I just don’t wanna do this thing, that’s all. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“You and your temper haven’t changed.” (Affeldrichae)

“You don’t have to tell me that. I knew from a thousand years ago that I’ve got a crappy personality, okay? No need to point that out.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“But, I kind of recall that you weren’t so bad back then?” (Affeldrichae)

“A Dragon is wearing rose-tinted glasses, I see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….What a shocking discovery, that.

Since one’s personality was supposed to ‘come’ from one’s head, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s was pretty much what you’d call ‘frozen in time’. No matter how much time had passed him by, his personality wouldn’t have changed much from the days back when he was still a hopeless high school student.

Maybe, he could posit that the experiences accumulated since than that had supplemented his personality, were now fast becoming his flesh and blood.

“In any case….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk sighed over and over again.

He definitely didn’t want to get involved in that world again. Just thinking about getting mixed up in the business of Berafe nearly caused him partial hair loss, but now, he had to deal with its religious organisations?

In short, those religious organisations would have labelled Yi Ji-Hyuk as their public enemy number one, a being they had to kill no matter what the cost was.

Or, to describe this situation in the Earth’s religious allegorical terms, it’d be like Satan reaching out to an archbishop while asking for help.

If that archbishop had his head screwed on properly, then he’d start hurling several PET bottles full of holy water all over the place while telling the devil to get the f*ck away from him.

“There are plenty of unhinged folks over on that side, too.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I agree. Some of them aren’t even human-like at all.” (Affeldrichae)

“I thought you were also a believer of Latrel?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Since it’s not possible to pretend that gods don’t exist over there, it would not be so strange to become a follower. But, the real problems with the humans are that they take the will of the gods and interpret it in the way that suits them the best, as well as turn the gods they were supposed to believe in as their backers, instead.” (Affeldrichae)

“Mm….”

“Even now, I can’t fathom why Lady Latrel lets that happen. I would’ve never allowed such a thing to happen in my watch.” (Affeldrichae)

“That’s because it was Latrel who made humans that way.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“………..”

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s answer promptly shut Affeldrichae’s mouth.

Indeed, if you believed that the god was responsible for creating humans, then their imperfection also had to be seen as the will of the god, too.

When her thoughts arrived there, she had to look at Yi Ji-Hyuk in a slightly different light.

“You can be capable of speaking the hard truth, sometimes.” (Affeldrichae)

“What do you mean, ‘sometimes’?! I’m a logical dude who always speak the truth and gets straight to the point, you know!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Affeldrichae simply nodded her head.

She sure didn’t want to voice her agreement, but then again, she couldn’t deny the fact that Yi Ji-Hyuk did possess that kind of side to him.

“….Hey, you should say something in reply. Don’t be like that, now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….You’re making me feel awkward here, you know.

“I’m sure you aren’t just going to talk about it but not act upon it, yes?” (Affeldrichae)

“Groan….”

Yi Ji-Hyuk sighed again.

“Are you guys finished?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

He turned his head to his side.

Jeong Hae-Min was looking at them, her head supported by both her hands.

“Yup. Well, something like that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Oh, really?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

By the way, isn’t this girl also beginning to resemble Kim Dah-Som?

Why am I feeling this chilly air around me? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Are you two dating now?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“….Are you blind?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk replied to Jeong Hae-Min with a genuinely dumbfounded face. However, she remained wholly unconvinced.

“If so, why are you still staying like that?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Eh?”

Yi Ji-Hyuk looked at his current posture.

He was lying on his bed, with Affeldrichae’s thighs serving as his pillow.

Well, it didn’t look all that strange….

….Indeed, it did look kinda strange.

“I’m getting a treatment here. This is for the treatment’s sake.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

It’s just too cumbersome to explain to you in detail.

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I mean, you think you’ll understand what I’m trying to say when I tell you that I need to entrust my head to a lizard woman who’s the only person in this world that can control Mana properly so she can delay the worst situation from developing, since no one knows when I’ll go mad from the overflowing dark Mana? (TL: Yup, this is how the raw was written – not one break in this massive sentence. Probably trying to show the mental state of MC isn’t all that good at this moment….)

The current situation was all too clear for anyone to see, but explaining that would take some doing.

“Hmm, a ‘treatment’, you say?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Jeong Hae-Min was staring at him with suspicious eyes.

Yup… I’m sure you don’t believe me. I can’t explain it properly, anyway. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“In any case, you are saying that there’s no strange relationship between you two, right?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Yup.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Then, why is she still living in your house?” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“….Huh?”

Wait, now that she mentions it, what the heck?

There are plenty of ways for her to earn money if she wants to, so….

And besides all that, didn’t she say she’s staying at my place only until she finds a suitable place for herself? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Hey, you. Why are you still here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

When Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes shifted over to her, Affeldrichae sneakily turned her head away.

Since a Dragon wouldn’t forget things, there was no way she’d forget what she said herself, which meant that she had been pretending to not remember until now…..

Hah….

And they say there’s not one person you can trust in this world!! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“What was that? Dragons can’t lie?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“B-but, I didn’t lie.” (Affeldrichae)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes gleamed dangerously.

“This isn’t lying?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I, I only said that I’d look for a place. But I never said anything about moving out. I have searched for suitable places already, you know!” (Affeldrichae)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes narrowed to a slit from that rather lame excuse. Seeing how he was looking at her, cold sweat drops began forming on her forehead.

….Wait, she’s behaving almost exactly like a regular human now, isn’t she? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“Ever heard of something called ‘wilful negligence’?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“………”

“You’ve been proudly boasting that Dragons are higher existences. But wowsers, I had no idea until now that such higher beings liked to defraud lower existences. Is that how it was? Huh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“N-no, that’s not true.” (Affeldrichae)

“Aigoo~. Well, since such a mighty and superior being said it’s not a lie, I guess it’s not a lie, then. We’re only weak and dumb little humans and we know nothing, so how dare we say otherwise? Yup, I’m sure it’s not true.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Euh, euh……”

Affeldrichae began shuddering grandly now.

“However, I really didn’t lie, did I? I really looked for a place of my own!” (Affeldrichae)

“Yes, your highness.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“It’s the truth!!” (Affeldrichae)

“Indeed, your excellency.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Affeldrichae glared at him with a pair of unimpressed eyes, before finally raising a white flag.

“Fine, fine! Although I didn’t lie, I admit that I did lead you on.” (Affeldrichae)

“Tsk.”

Yi Ji-Hyuk clicked his tongue.

‘Not lying’ and ‘not deceiving’ were technically speaking, two different things. As a clear proof of this, there were many Dragons throughout history that completely destroyed countless humans and their lives just for fun while proclaiming proudly that they would always speak the truth.

And that was why one should never completely trust an existence that couldn’t lie. Also, here was the reason why Yi Ji-Hyuk continued to question Affeldrichae’s true motives even when she said she came here to help him out.

“If you committed a crime, then you should atone for it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Excuse me?” (Affeldrichae)

“Time for you to go on a little trip.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Eh?” (Affeldrichae)

“Hop over to the other side, and kidnap a high-ranking priest.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“But, would one come just because I asked?” (Affeldrichae)

“The ‘how’ isn’t important. Only the results matter.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….It’s not like I’m kidnapping a princess, you know.” (Affeldrichae)

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In an instant, the former Dragon Lord was demoted to kidnapping not a princess, but a clergyman instead. She let out a grand sigh of dejection and stood up to leave the bedroom.

“Oh, and by the way, make sure it’s a dude, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Why?” (Affeldrichae)

“Because, no horny knight in shining armour would show up for a rescue attempt, that’s why. Have you ever seen a knight or a valiant warrior show up to rescue a dude before?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“………No, I haven’t.” (Affeldrichae)

“And that’s how the minds of male knights and warriors work.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

A Dragon busy kidnapping a male member of the clergy, while horny warriors refusing to come to rescue that said male member of the clergy.

The once-carefully groomed image of Berafe was buckling spectacularly now.

‘Maybe, I shouldn’t have gotten involved?’ (Affeldrichae)

The pangs of regret assaulted Affeldrichae, but it was already far too late now. Seeing that look on her face, Yi Ji-Hyuk began cackling in delight.

“So, I guess this is how one feels when someone comes across as hateful.” (Affeldrichae)

“Is that right? Looks like you learned of something useful today.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….I’ll make sure to pay you back.” (Affeldrichae)

“Do your best!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Seeing Yi Ji-Hyuk continue to cackle like that, Affeldrichae quickly recalled a certain someone in her mind.

‘Indeed, I shall make you regret this.’ (Affeldrichae)

An ominous smile suddenly formed on her lips.

< 173. What’s this? You… don’t have a soul? -3 > Fin.

(TL: The IMF incident refers to the economic crash in the 90s East Asian countries went through – South Korea, Japan, South-East Asian countries, etc, etc. It resulted in plenty of companies closing up, lots of people being made redundant, the whole nine yards. Heck, Japan still hasn’t “technically” recovered from it, over 20 years later. Go check it out in Wikipedia or other online resources if you’re curious about it.)

- my thoughts:
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