“Yaaawn~.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk woke up from the first long, peaceful sleep he had in a while and stretched his limbs
“You’ve woken up.” (Affeldrichae)
He saw Affeldricahe’s face slightly above his own and crumpled his expression a little.
“You know, it’s kinda funny to say this when we’re already here, but well….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Please, speak.” (Affeldrichae)
“You know, seeing your mug every time I open my eyes in the morning kind of ruins my mood.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I helped you fall asleep, yet how ungrateful you sound.” (Affeldrichae)
In all honesty, he was grateful for that.
Ever since his return from Berafe, he couldn’t really fall asleep at all. Because, he wasn’t confident of dealing with the invasion of dark Mana that would start the moment he let go of his consciousness.
If it was the case of ‘I slept and died’, that would be a cause for relief, but if it was ‘I slept and turned into a devil’, then he knew things wouldn’t end that easily.
All thanks to that, he had to stay awake for several months, but now he could rest without worries with Affeldrichae blocking the invasion of dark Mana during his sleep.
“By the way, don’t you need sleep, too?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Are you asking me that because you have forgotten how long my race can go without sleep? I don’t need to sleep until you die of natural causes, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, so you don’t have to worry.” (Affeldrichae)
Of course you don’t, cuz you’re a Dragon.
But then, you keep maintaining that human appearance and I can’t help but do mind over such things. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Even if you tell me to not to worry about it, I…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You’re very considerate. Which is very unlike you.” (Affeldrichae)
Yi Ji-Hyuk frowned deeply.
“What do you mean, unlike me? I’ve always been a considerate person! It’s just that you lot didn’t notice it yet.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“If you believe that’s the case, I’m sure it is.” (Affeldrichae)
“You sure know how to make a person feel really bad about himself without hurling a single insult, don’t you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Thank you for the compliment.” (Affeldrichae)
I was insulting you, you d*mn lizard woman!!
Compliment, my a*s. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Well, then.” (Affeldrichae)
Affeldrichae didn’t even wait for his reply and poured Mana into his head.
Yi Ji-Hyuk shuddered violently and grabbed the bedsheets tightly. He might have experienced all sorts of pain in his life, but then again, the process of different Mana types clashing inside his body and neutralising each other easily won the position of being one of the most painful things ever.
Once the Mana stopped flowing into his head, he spat out a long gasp and sagged on the bed even more.
“I really can’t stand this. Seriously, man.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He only wanted to kick back and enjoy his life, but who knew that doing it was such an arduous process?
“You still have a way, you know.” (Affeldrichae)
“I told you, I’m not going back.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
That d*mn Berafe.
He had already lived for over a thousand years there. Why should he go back when he had nothing left to look forward to in that place?
“Mister Ji-Hyuk.” (Affeldrichae)
Affeldrichae’s voice became more serious than before.
“You shouldn’t just keep denying it. If you persist on going down this path, you will reach your limit first before you die.” (Affeldrichae)
“I know that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“And when that happens, there will be a big tragedy. You know this as well, don’t you?” (Affeldrichae)
“I said, I know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Affeldrichae was about to say something else, but she shut her mouth.
He was already someone words didn’t work all that well, but when it came to the matters of Berafe, he would become incredibly adamant about his position.
‘Well, he did suffer tremendously back there.’ (Affeldrichae)
It wasn’t as if she couldn’t understand where he was coming from.
Someone with a weak willpower wouldn’t have an easy time enduring the life back in Berafe, even if his mind had been stuck in a fixed state.
No, wait – because of the fixed state, such a person wouldn’t be able to go crazy and simply suffer from a sense of disharmony, instead.
It was indeed not so strange that someone would develop such an unreasonably hostile view of Berafe in that sort of circumstances.
“I fail to understand you.” (Affeldrichae)
“Never mind humanity, aren’t all living creatures obsessed with living longer somehow?” (Affeldrichae)
“I’m sure they do.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“If so, why are you alone voluntarily throwing away the path of immortality?” (Affeldrichae)
He found it hard to explain. Because, he himself was having a hard time understanding it.
“Well, there is one thing for sure…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Being able to die can be counted as a blessing.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I don’t understand.” (Affeldrichae)
“That’s because humans and Dragons live through different cycles. I probably look like a little kid in your eyes, who’s just barely got through the hatchling stage but is busy complaining about how boring life has become or some such.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, it’s not to that extent, though?” (Affeldrichae)
“Even when I haven’t got to the level of a Wyrm class, too.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk cackled to himself.
“You know what’s the one thing that separates humans from other lifeforms?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, I don’t.” (Affeldrichae)
“It’s that us humans can commit suicide.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
There were no Dragons that would end their own lives. Indeed, there were no other intelligent species that killed themselves, either.
She learnt of this back in Berafe that the one thing other races could never understood about human behaviour was apparently humanity’s penchant for willingly ending their lives.
“Humans were designed wrong from the get-go.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When considering the fact that humans would resort to ending their lives if the trials and tribulations bestowed unto them proved too much, and how illogical this act was, it could very well be that humanity itself was not assembled properly from the beginning.
“As we evolved, our level of intelligence should have developed as well, but I can’t tell where the problem began…. A human’s brain can’t completely overcome the pain its host suffers, you see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It seems that way.” (Affeldrichae)
“But now, do you have any idea how long I’ve been suffering that for?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head.
“It’s not that I want to die, I just want to let it all go. If I return to Berafe, I won’t be able to do that and that’s why I’m not going back. Making you understand will be hard. Well, even I can’t understand it properly. But, well, that’s the obvious part.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
…Because, I’m as crazy as a hat, you see.
You can’t explain this with a sane person’s logic, after all. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Affeldrichae sighed softly and stroked his hair.
“I don’t fully understand you, but at the same time, I feel like I can and that makes me feel sad.” (Affeldrichae)
If he wanted to extend his life, he needed to deny his ways, but if he did that, then that was the same thing as denying his own life, as well.
What meaning was there to keep living a life that had no meaning anymore?
The irony of her trying to save him ending up being the same as killing him all meant that she now found herself stuck in a rock and a hard place.
“This is a troubling topic, isn’t it?” (Affeldrichae)
“Is there actually something that can even trouble Dragons?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Us Dragons are also lifeforms. It’s just that we can look a little deeper, look a little farther, and look a little longer then the rest.” (Affeldrichae)
“That sounds like a boasting to me, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk cackled again.
To think, there would come a day where he’d get to share such a conversation with a Dragon. Indeed, one needed to live a long life to experience stuff like this.
“However, you…” (Affeldrichae)
“….You should also remember that many will be saddened by your death.” (Affeldrichae)
“I wonder about that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Everything you have achieved and built up during your life so far should not be underestimated.” (Affeldrichae)
“I’m sure they are.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Well, they all have disappeared into emptiness, though. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
None of those whom he had shared his feelings with and cared for, because he was still a human, remained alive now. Maybe that was the reason why he was so unwilling to get involved with other humans in his life anymore.
The sole reason why he was able to hold this sort of conversation with Affeldrichae could be that they simply had lived long enough lives for them to actually start and continue to interact with each other.
“It’s possible that you’re simply tired.” (Affeldrichae)
“If so, taking a good rest will put you back on your feet in no time.” (Affeldrichae)
“Going by your example, then I’m having the worst time of my life, isn’t it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Indeed, he was being overworked to death during the period when he needed rest the most. Affeldrichae continued to stroke his hair.
“Just rest for a little bit longer. A little while longer.” (Affeldrichae)
It was then, the room to his door was abruptly flung open and Yi Ye-Won strode right in.
“Oppa!! Mister Choi Jung…..??” (Yi Ye-Won)
Yi Ye-Won was shouting something out, but saw what her brother and Affeldrichae were doing and stopped right there so she could spit out a long sigh.
“Just get a room in a motel, okay?” (Ye-Won)
“Did this girl lose her dang mind?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shouted at her, but his sister didn’t back off and yelled right back.
“You’re the one losing his mind! Mom and dad are both home, you know?! So, what the hell do you think you’re doing?! At this rate, you might end up doing the ‘Big Thing’ here at home! What’s the matter? Should I be considerate and get out of your hair?” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t even get angry and hurriedly grasped the back of his neck. The back of his head that not even the demon king could invade was now being bombarded by Yi Ye-Won, instead.
Ah, so this is what they say about the pain in the neck, isn’t it?? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s face reddened considerably from the rising blood pressure and he jumped up from the bed to pounce on his foolish sister.
“Imma kill you!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
However, she probably wanted to prove that they shared the same bloodline, because she easily escaped from his nefarious hands and ran outside his room.
Park Seon-Duk greeted her daughter with an unimpressed expression as the latter ran out of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s room.
“What’s the matter?” (mom)
“Mom, please take a look at those two!! At this rate, they might start acting like newlyweds!” (Ye-Won)
“Oh, really?” (mom)
Park Seon-Duk shifted her gaze back to the TV as if she didn’t hold much of an opinion in that regard.
“Mom, I’m telling you, their blood hasn’t even dried yet but they’re already acting like that!” (Ye-Won)
“You’ll die if your blood’s all dried up.” (mom) (TL note at the end)
“Mom, aren’t you angry??” (Ye-Won)
“Why should I be?” (mom)
Mom, if you ask my why, your daughter will forget what she wants to say, you know!! (Ye-Won’s inner monologue)
“N-no, but, a person should…. B-b-but, there are adults in this house, so like, shouldn’t he be like, at least, you know?!” (Ye-Won)
“But, why?” (mom)
No, mom, that, uh…. (Ye-Won’s inner monologue)
Yi Ye-Won stood there all speechless and dumbfounded, prompting her mother to quietly pat her back.
“Yes, mom?” (Ye-Won)
“You need to think about your brother’s situation.” (mom)
“Do you think he can get married to someone who’s normal?” (mom)
“….No, that should be difficult.” (Ye-Won)
Yup, it ain’t gonna be easy.
Who’d wanna stay around that bundle of temper tantrums ready to go off at any given moment?
It’s only because I’m his sister that I care enough to stick around. Other people would’ve simply abandoned him by now! (Ye-Won’s inner monologue)
“That is why you should just let him be. Where would he find a wife material as good as her?” (mom)
Mom didn’t say anything wrong there.
Yi Ye-Won knew that she simply had to accept reality as mom said, but couldn’t stop falling into a flustered state after realising that her body wouldn’t stop trembling for some reason.
“B-but, then! What about Hae-Min unni?!” (Ye-Won)
Park Seon-Duk remained unimpressed.
“What about her? Is she my daughter-in-law now? Is my son two timing his girl?” (mom)
“N-no, it’s not like that, but, you know, wouldn’t Hae-Min unni be a better choice than ‘her’?” (Ye-Won)
“But, I don’t see why that’s the case, dear.” (mom)
Yi Ye-Won yelled out, but that only made Park Seon-Duk to raise her brows ever so slightly.
“How dare you raise your voice at your mother?” (mom)
“I-I’m sorry, mom.” (Ye-Won)
Yi Ye-Won was shot down in less than three seconds by mom’s imposing figure, and she began pouting unhappily.
In all honesty, she didn’t like that Affeldrichae or whatever her name was. Because, she was just too beautiful.
No, it wasn’t just about that woman’s beauty. Indeed she was beautiful, but it didn’t quite come across as a human’s beauty, at least to her.
And also, simply put, that woman destroyed any semblance of standards of beauty, too.
It was as if watching the scene of two puppies busy fighting with each other over a bone, only for a tiger to suddenly jump out of nowhere to snatch that bone away, leaving the two puppies to dazedly look on.
“And, well….” (mom)
“Yes, mom?” (Ye-Won)
“They might be like that for now, but you never know what will really happen in people’s relationship. So, just let them be.” (mom)
What mom said quietly touched Yi Ye-Won on her heart.
One would never know what could happen in relationships….
She formed a smirk.
“Now that I hear you, I guess it makes sense, mom. She’s busy being like that, while others are fighting to get noticed, so it’s gonna get really funny when someone else pops out later to nick him away.” (Ye-Won)
Wouldn’t that exactly be like a dog chasing after a chicken, no?
Yi Ye-Won thought that she was imagining some improbable things and wryly shook her head.
Even right now, he was on the receiving end of such a nice treatment even with that face of his, so how could there be yet another addition to the list at this point in time?
It seemed that she’d been in contact with that flowery scenery for far too long now and have lost her grip with reality lately.
“I guess I call Dah-Som over later.” (Ye-Won)
“You mean, that gloomy child?” (mom)
“Yeah, mom. But, she’s actually nice underneath.” (Ye-Won)
“Aigoo, we won’t ever need an aircon if she becomes a part of this family. I’m not that interested.” (mom)
“In that case, who do you prefer the most, mom?” (Ye-Won)
Park Seon-Duk pondered this quandary for a little while, before nodding her head.
“Hae-Min is indeed a pleasant and cheery girl.” (mom)
“You see? Me too!” (Ye-Won)
“But then again, they need to like each other first, you know.” (mom)
“Well, yeah. That’s true….”
Liking each other first….
Yi Ye-Won shifted her gaze and spotted Yi Ji-Hyuk walking out of his room with a slightly crumpled expression.
Now that I think about it, just who does he like, anyway?
Unless he’s an eunuch, it won’t make any sense that he’s not interested in anyone when he’s surrounded by all those beauties. (Ye-Won’s inner monologue)
“Yeah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Don’t you have a girl you like, oppa?” (Ye-Won)
“What the hell? It’s still early in the morning, so what gives? If you’ve got nothing better to do, why don’t you study some more or something?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You think me studying now will help me?” (Ye-Won)
“……..Well, uh, then go play video games.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ye-Won’s eyes began sparkling brightly ferociously as she watched how her brother tried to change the subject just then.
‘He must really have someone in mind, though?’ (Ye-Won)
This would be the moment the tenacious, sticky instincts of the Yi family was waking up.
However, she had no idea.
And that would be – Yi Ji-Hyuk’s woman didn’t necessarily have to be by his side right in this moment.
< 191. I don’t need a reason to seek him out -1 > Fin.
(TL: This line about blood drying up is a common saying in South Korea – blood in their head/forehead haven’t dried yet. It simply means ‘wet behind the ears’ but I didn’t TL it into English equivalent because that would screw up the retort from the mom.)
(Also, switching browsers on my tablet revived my italics, so hooray!!)