“Have you calmed down"
Yoo Ji-Hyuk said, not caring about his soaking wet shirt.
Lee Ye-Eun, who had poured out her tears and runny nose as much as she could, felt refreshed, but could not raise her face, nodded, avoiding his gaze.
“… I'm sorry."
“Please stop apologizing.
And don't just hold it in until it piles up like that, okay”
Yoo Ji-Hyuk, who murmured as if he were scolding her, said in a voice mixed with worries as if to say, still, it's fortunate.
“I’ll go get some water.
Don’t go anywhere, just rest here quietly.”
Lee Ye-Eun didn't answer.
Yoo Ji-Hyuk let out a small sigh.
“You have to answer.”
After Yoo Ji-Hyuk left, Lee Ye-Eun quietly raised her face, which was lowered.
When she gently touched her eye area, she could tell that her stinging eyes had swollen up like a crucian carp.
Feeling refreshed, she looked up at the night sky and let out a small sigh.
She felt a little revived as she let out the old emotions.
… Of course, she can't even look him in the face properly for a while, so she'll have to run away from him.
“Yes, that’s right… .”
Lee Ye-Eun smiled helplessly.
Let's talk about it after this tournament is over.
You and I are half-siblings.
I'm your older sister, and you're my younger brother.
Let's tell him everything.
And from now on, even if it's late, let's live like other siblings.
“Yes, I should do that… .”
As she was muttering, she heard the closed door open.
Lee Ye-Eun, who turned her head, wondering if Yoo Ji-Hyuk had already come, could see a stranger standing there.
No, she was sure she had seen him somewhere before.
Where was it
Yes, he was that student who was by Ahn Do-Hoon's side.
His name was definitely...
“Junior Na Il-Jun… wasn't it"
At her words, he looked somewhat surprised.
Then he immediately gave a small smile.
“You remembered my name”
Lee Ye-Eun nodded as she spoke.
Normally, she would not have wanted to face anyone else right now except Yoo Ji-Hyuk, but it was inevitable.
Just as she thought she should leave quickly, he opened his mouth in a hesitant manner.
“Um, I didn’t really mean to eavesdrop.”
Na Il-Jun cautiously said that he heard her crying.
At his words, Lee Ye-Eun shut her mouth in shame and embarrassment.
Then he looked around constantly, as if he were about to tell a secret.
“Actually, I tried to pretend I didn't know, but I couldn't just go along."
“… What are you talking about”
“Yoo Ji-Hyuk, that bas… No, that guy.”
Lee Ye-Eun could easily recognize anger, contempt, hatred, and jealousy towards Yo Ji-Hyuk in the words Na Il-Jun uttered.
Whether he knew her eyes were turning sharp or not, Na Il-Jun began to speak enthusiastically to her in a desperate voice in his own way.
“You don't seem to know, but he's got some really bad rumors in the academy.”
Thinking it was now or never, Na Il-Jun began to lay out all the bad rumors about him.
It was really true that Yoo Ji-Hyuk did not have a great reputation in the class.
So he gained an unexplainable confidence in the fact that he wasn't lying, but just telling the truth.
“He's always been absent during class time, and there were even talks about how the professor in charge of the class favors him as if he has her weakness.
And he abused it.
It’s not just that.”
“Han Soo-Young and Choi Hyun-Woo… he goes around with them to look good as they are the only two S-ranks in the class...
.And do you know after going out with him they got suspended He's really a bad guy, that b*stard.
Above all, the rumors about him regarding women are really dirty, and from what I've heard, just the women he's already touched are already...
“In human relationships.”
Lee Ye-Eun cut off his words as if she didn't need to hear them anymore.
If she could, she wanted to wash off the ears that heard the dirty words, or sew up the mouth of the man who spat out the dirty words.
“What do you think is the most important thing in human relationships”
When Na Il-Jun asked back, she quietly spoke to him in a voice that contained no emotions.
“I believe that the most important thing in human relationships is faith.
Personally, I don't think people who don't have faith can be trusted, and they're not worth being with.”
It is important, faith.”
As she saw him nodding, she could barely contain herself from almost swearing at him.
“And I also think that talking about someone who is not present, the act of talking behind their backs, is one of the least faithful behaviors."
Na Il-Jun made a blank look at her words.
It was as if he could not understand why she was reacting sharply like this.
“… I'm tired.
I want to be alone, can you please leave”
“No, I… just!"
Lee Ye-Eun out a small sigh.
It was an action filled with the intention that she didn't know what to do because the other person was so annoying.
“Are you going to understand if I tell you directly that I'm uncomfortable and that I don't want to see your face anymore”
"Please leave now.
And I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't greet me again in the future."
“I, I… .
I just… .”
“Haa, I really.”
Seeing him stuttering as if he was shocked, Lee Ye-Eun sighed as if she was fed up.
“Do you not understand what I'm saying, or are you stupid"
“Hey, get lost, please! It's really annoying to see your face!”
At her sincere annoyance, he looked shocked.
Then he muttered in a disbelieving voice.
“… Don't tell me you've also been deceived by that bastard, senior”
“What, this sonuvab*tch This sonuvab*tch really wants to hear it...
Lee Ye-Eun, who was really heated up by those words, roughly picked up the wine glass on the floor as if she would throw it at him at any moment.
Surprised by the action, he hurriedly ran away.
Seeing his back as he ran away in a hurry, Lee Ye-Eun did not try to hide her contemptuous expression.
“How dare a guy like that… .”
She, who was half up, muttering as if chewing like that, leaned heavily on her chair.
As expected, I should have stuck my fist on that annoying face.
Yes, let's go after him now and beat him up.
With that thought, it was when she was about to get up again.
“Have you been waiting long”
Oh, no! I haven't waited long."
As soon as she heard Yoo Ji-Hyuk's voice, she felt like her face was going to explode.
She still couldn't believe that she cried like a child in his arms.
She even thought that it would be better if he used that fact as an excuse to make fun of her.
The thought of Na Il-Jun had long since disappeared from her mind.
“Here, I've brought a towel for you.
It'll be good for reducing swelling.”
She quietly received a wet towel and pressed it around her eyes as he said.
She thought her brother was really kind and gentle.
The two stood silent like that.
In that silence, Lee Ye-Eun suddenly began to question whether she was in a position to swear at Na Il-Jun for not having any faith.
Isn't the least faithful person right now exactly me...
She seemed to be depressed by the fact that there was not much wrong with that thought.
Let's just say it now.
With this decision, Lee Ye-Eun raised her head with firm resolve.
“Um, junior… .”
She mumbled in a whisper and shook her head.
She didn't need to call him this any longer.
When she called his name awkwardly, she felt him turning his head.
Her heart started pounding like crazy.
Without realizing it, she resentfully mumbled a name that she now doesn't even remember the voice of.
Her father used to say that he had always tried to live the right life.
Did he say it was to be a proud father that his daughter wouldn't be ashamed of
And the evidence and results of that were right here, right now.
“I have something to tell you.
Actually you and I...
Lee Ye-Eun muttered like that and raised her head.
However, Yoo Ji-Hyuk was not looking at her.
He was looking elsewhere with a serious expression, and Lee Ye-Eun, who saw him like that, felt like crying for a moment.
It was a moment when she had squeezed her courage to the point that it would never happen again...!
But she could immediately notice a strange glow in one side of her vision.
It was a different light than the one that illuminated the streets at night.
She followed him and turned her head without realizing it.
She got up from her seat, muttering blankly.
An unbelievable sight was unfolding.
The streets were on fire.
* * *
A woman was heading somewhere with urgent steps.
She was from a branch family of the clan, she was also someone who was valued for her abilities alone.
Her ability is nothing other than detection.
It was also the ability to sense the power of the World Tree.
She hastened her steps with a pale white face.
Who should I tell, who the hell...
Like a person suddenly at the crossroads of a lifetime choice, she couldn't make a decision easily, and was just confused.
Or, the elders…
“Huu, let’s be calm… !”
She muttered like that, taking a deep breath.
The reason she was so bewildered was simple.
It was because she had accidentally sensed his energy.
Or, more precisely, the energy of the World Tree, which was sleeping breathlessly inside him.
It was ridiculous that she didn't feel anything the other day when she had sensed it.
And it was, I swear, a more powerful and primitive than anything she had ever felt and sensed.
She had also sensed the energy of the current head of the household, Lee Je-Seok, and the man whose name couldn't be said.
However, Yoo Ji-Hyuk's energy, which she had just seen, was so pure that it was incomparable to those of the two.
An energy so powerful that it is ominous.
She dismissed it as a defensive instinct that comes naturally when one simply sees a force that cannot be resisted.
'The branch of the World Tree had more than enough energy for two people...
It was literally great information.
Lee Ye-Eun probably knew this fact.
However, it seemed that she was deliberately hiding that fact.
If she made a mistake, she or her close aide Shin Woo-Seok might silence her without even letting a mouse or a bird know.
Then let's quickly sell this information to Lee Yoon-Seong and the elders.
Having come to a conclusion, she nodded and smiled a little.
So, the power that I could not even dream of as a person of branch family would be right here in my hands...!
As she was thinking that, she felt another energy.
The energy was unfamiliar but at the same time familiar.
And the moment she realized that it was the energy of Lee Jae-Joon, the traitor whose name could not be said, her stomach was already pierced by something.
You have to be quiet at night to be a good person.”
Lee Jae-Joon hugged her from behind and covered her mouth.
Then he moved the branches of the World Tree and began to literally dig inside her.
She began to struggle violently in an unimaginable pain, but it was not enough to escape her restraint.
"You would be normally able to, but… .
I thought you wouldn't be able to detect me right away if the energy of the clan was scattered here and there, and fortunately, I was right."
He chuckled and burst into laughter.
The woman in his arms was now shaking.
I'm so glad I can kill you like this now, because you have one of those really annoying abilities.
Now I can move with peace of mind.
Oh, Yoo Ji-Hyuk is here, so that makes a difference too, doesn't it"
After talking so affectionately, he looked embarrassed when he realized that she had already lost her breath.
Clicking his tongue regretfully, he quietly put down the woman's corpse as if to lean it against the wall.
“But this is really quite wonderful.”
He murmured as if it was new to him, and fiddled with his left arm.
His left arm, which had been implanted with Svengali's power, caused him a lot of pain, but it was well worth enduring.
Meanwhile, he could feel the party venue was becoming noisy.
It seemed that his men, planted throughout the streets, were moving as he had expected.
Everyone, hurry up, move.
If you don't move quickly, the streets will burn and the citizens will be beaten to death by fanatics."
He licked his lips with his tongue and let out a small sigh.
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to their own way, and yet that One has put me in charge of the sins of our flock… .”
He muttered with glazed eyes as he paced.
There were still too many people to meet.
* * *
The next thing he knew, Na Il-Jun was wandering in the garden away from the building.
“Hu, huua… .hu… .”
As he was out of breath, he exhaled roughly.
He thought so.
Where and when in the world did he get it wrong
He knew the answer to that question from the beginning.
He gritted his teeth and sobbed.
He has always blocked his way in that way.
The way he had humiliated him in front of everyone from day one.
The way he won the match against him with a dirty trick.
The way he used black magic to knock him out in a mock dungeon class.
And, the way he took the place next to that person.
All, all because of him.
If it weren't for him, if it weren't for him...
“Son, of a b*tch! You Sanavab*tch ...
! How dare you!”
Na Il-Jun shouted like that and started kicking the tree right next to him with all his might.
The anger and resentment that had nowhere to go just became meaningless shouts and tears.
"Die! I'll kill you, you Sanavab*tch ...
! A orphan bast*rd with no parents, f*cking bast*rd, you, I.
I'll rip you to pieces...
It was when he was completely in anger.
What made you so angry”
It was a terrible noise, like scraping iron.
Startled by the high-pitched sound that pierced directly through the air, Na Il-Jun quickly looked around.
“Wha, what! What kind of bast*rd, come out!”
“Oh, I apologize for this.
I was unintentionally rude.”
Something appeared in the dark.
And seeing it, Na Il-Jun couldn't understand it.
It was a bird.
What looked like a crude statue made by weaving branches together approached him awkwardly.
“It sounds like something bad happened… .
A love affair problem, right I can see it just by looking at it.”
A human face on a bird's body
The face, somewhat clumsy in its incongruity, aroused such discomfort that he involuntarily backed away.
Whether it knew it or not, it just shook its head as if it were pitying him.
Then, with a crackling sound, it shuddered and said.
"I can help you.
Of course, I have work to do now, but… .
it can't be helped, can it I can't just leave someone in trouble."
The bird muttered and nodded.
“I'll grant you one wish.
… Wait, is one too few”
It tilted its head and approached him little by little.
It was only then that Na Il-Jun was able to notice that it was at least twice his size.
The branches that made up its body was constantly moving and swaying like waves.
“Two, then! I'll give you two! Yes, I should at least give you two.”
It nodded as if satisfied.
“You want to kill one and keep the other, right”
“What, crazy… ! Don't come...
When Na Il-Jun, who was startled, tried to scream, it opened its wings in surprise.
And then Na Il-Jun tilted his head as if he did not understand why he was trying to run away.
This guy was trying to help me.
“I’m glad it’s simple and the emotions are intense.
Anyway, I'll help you.
Do you understand up to here"
At those words, Na Il-Jun nodded blankly.
Then he whispered in a voice that said it went well.
Your cooperative attitude makes me think we can be really good friends.
Don't you agree"
The Seven Evil that beguiles people's minds, confuses them, and controls them with the tip of their tongues.
And the monster, sealed in the World Tree, and released by the hands of its clan, giggled and laughed like a bird.
Svengali immediately handed something to Na Il-Jun.
“I believe you know better how to use it.”
It was nothing other than a sealing stone with the flame of the Surt.