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In this megacity known as the second capital of Leores, Yoo Yeonha was fully utilizing her skills.
[Merchant Group – Lotus Flower]
The merchant group Yoo Yeonha's clan owned, Lotus Flower. In a mere month, Yoo Yeonha had turned this small merchant group into the most famous group in the area. The people around her were critical in helping her achieve this.
First was Rachel. She was Yoo Yeonha's slave… or servant, technically. The power of her elementals was amplified in this world as the world's nature and mana were richer than Earth's.
Rachel's elementals had various uses, such as speeding up carts, slowing down easily decaying items, and collecting herbs automatically.
Next was Yi Jiyoon. She was the daughter of the Prin Clan, a renowned clan in the area. Although the caste system had been abolished in the Republic of Leores, the Prin Clan was recognized by the citizens as 'n.o.bles'.
Yi Jiyoon invested her clan's money to Yoo Yeonha's merchant group and even let her borrow the clan's name.
As the Prin Clan had a spotless reputation, Yoo Yeonha's merchant group had no trouble earning the trust of others.
“Wow, the profit margin is even bigger than I thought….”
In the office of the Lotus Flower Merchant Group, Yi Jiyoon muttered in surprise as she stared at the group's financial statement.
“What are you going to do with all this money?”
Hearing Yi Jiyoon's question, Yoo Yeonha shrugged.
“First, establish a force. We don't know what will happen from now.”
She did not forget that she was inside the Demon Realm Gate. She planned to have everything ready for the future, whether it be military force or money.
“Our Chief Officer sure is amazing~”
Yi Jiyoon snuggled up to Yoo Yeonha and praised her.
Tok, tok— At that moment, someone knocked on the door.
“Kuhum.” Yi Jiyoon let out a dry cough and put on a stern expression befitting a n.o.ble.
Yoo Yeonha smirked and muttered, “Come in.”
The door opened. The guest was Rachel, who was holding a long, rod-like object wrapped in a red veil.
“Oh, you're here, Rachel?” Yoo Yeonha welcomed her, and Rachel walked in with a smile and put down the item she brought.
“Oh, that must be that.”
Yoo Yeonha unwrapped the item without hesitation. Inside was an ornamental sword emanating a clear aura.
“What's this?” Yi Jiyoon asked.
Yoo Yeonha picked up the sword. The blade of the sword was entirely blue. This sword was a treasure Yoo Yeonha bought for Rachel.
“…Here, take it.” With a smile, Yoo Yeonha gave the sword to Rachel.
Rachel, who was standing quietly, widened her eyes in surprise.
“It's a sword that apparently raises the power of elementals. Our world doesn't have treasures like this since elementalists are so rare, but this world unexpectedly has many. This sword is named Wisp.”
Yoo Yeonha put the sword in Rachel's hands. Having received an unexpected present, Rachel dropped her head with a bitter smile.
It was then. Kw.a.n.g—! The office door burst open, and a guard drenched in sweat came running in.
He shouted, “Demonic monsters! Demonic monsters appeared!”
The moment the group heard the message, they ran out of the office.
They came out of the merchant group's building and looked around. To their surprise, the city was too peaceful for demonic monsters to have invaded.
“Where are the demonic monsters?”
“I… don't know.”
“It didn't look like he was lying….”
Yoo Yeonha, Rachel, and Yi Jiyoon each muttered. As the three of them were tilting their heads curiously, a robed man approached them.
With a familiar voice, the man stood next to Yoo Yeonha.
Yoo Yeonha furrowed her brows and stared at the man.
“Who are you?”
“They were here, but not anymore.”
Hearing the familiar voice, Yoo Yeonha bent down a bit and peaked under the man's hood.
Yoo Yeonha pointed her finger at the man and shouted, “You!”
The man, Kim Hajin, smiled.
“Yo, it's been a while.”
“Huh? Why is Kim Hajin here?”
Yi Jiyoon and Rachel were also shocked and stared at Kim Hajin in a daze.
“I'm here too~”
A small child peeked her head out from Kim Hajin's back.
The small child was, of course, the Spirit Speech Master, Aileen.
[Priton Clan's Castle]
The eldest son of Priton Clan, Shin Jonghak, was lying in his bed, sighing.
What the prince said lingered in his head.
“What does he know about Grandfather? And how?”
Anxiety and curiosity mixed together to form chaos.
As Shin Jonghak was rumpling his hair in agony, someone knocked on his door.
Shin Jonghak didn't want to see anyone at the moment, but the knock was only a formality as a certain woman opened the door and walked in.
“Hey, Shin Jonghak.”
As expected, it was Chae Nayun.
“…Why are you here?”
Shin Jonghak let out a deep sigh and stared at Chae Nayun.
Currently, Chae Nayun had an antenna on her head.
A few days ago, she muttered, 'wouldn't this make communication faster~?' and had an ahoge hairstyle every time she wanted to use Infinite Communication.
“Have you heard of the Transnational Peace Conference?”
“…Transitional Peace Conference?”
Shin Jonghak furrowed his brows at the sudden question.
“…I've heard of it. It's exactly what it sounds like too.”
“When is it?”
“Next month. Why?”
“Ah~ Kim Suho says something will happen on that day. He told us to raise our strength in preparation for it.”
Chae Nayun sat on the corner of the bed, while Shin Jonghak stared at her fixedly.
“…Kim Suho said that?”
“Yeah, should I contact him again?”
Chae Nayun closed her eyes and began to shake her body.
Brrr— Brrr— Brrr—
Her strange actions were nothing but cute in Shin Jonghak's eyes.
There wasn't a special reason Shin Jonghak came to like Chae Nayun. Just looking at her melted away the dark emotions in his heart. How could he not fall for her?
Chae Nayun opened her eyes and stared at him.
Shin Jonghak stared into her eyes and asked about the matter that had been bothering him.
“What do you think about Regressors?”
Chae Nayun frowned slightly.
“Why are you asking about that all of a sudden?”
“…Well, you've heard about my grandfather being a Regressor, right?”
In truth, Shin Myungchul being a Regressor was a rumor Shin Jonghak didn't want to admit. In his mind, it diminished his achievements and sacrifice.
After much thought, Chae Nayun recalled what she heard from Yoo Yeonha in the past.
Yoo Yeonha said that Kim Hajin was a Regressor. Of course, she repeatedly said it was only speculation… but Chae Nayun was still forced to think about the topic.
The answer was simple.
“I'm jealous. I also want to go back in time.”
“…No, not that. Haha.”
Shin Jonghak laughed and shook his head.
'It's my fault for asking Chae Nayun', he thought.
Chae Nayun frowned. “What? Aren't you jealous? If there really are Regressors, I think that's amazing. Think about it. It's not like we're in a novel. You would have to be incredibly lucky and powerful to have a chance of going back in time.”
“That's what I think, at least. And to that effect, who cares if your grandfather is a Regressor or not? Do people hate him because he's rumored to be a Regressor? No. Everyone respects him. His name is written in practically every history textbook in the world, his biography is a best-seller, and there are statues of him everywhere. Why would you even worry about that?”
Shin Jonghak didn't say anything.
He simply stared at Chae Nayun.
A smile that he couldn't hold back broke out on his face.
With a low sigh, Shin Jonghak muttered, “This is why I love—”
But Shin Jonghak's confession was cut short. Someone had appeared outside his bedroom window.
Chae Nayun quickly clad herself in qi reinforcement, and Shin Jonghak quickly grabbed his spear from the corner of his room. Only after preparing themselves for battle did they confirm who the intruder was.
“How are ya?”
It was Jin Sahyuk.
She was sitting on the windowsill, staring at Chae Nayun and Shin Jonghak.
“You wench… where do you think you are…”
Chae Nayun cursed and formed a sword with magic power.
It was then.
Jin Sahyuk said something completely unexpected.
“Let's join forces.”
Dumfounded, Shin Jonghak and Chae Nayun both stared at Jin Sahyuk frozenly.
Meanwhile, Jin Sahyuk continued with a stern face, “There's a crazy b.a.s.t.a.r.d named Yi Yeonjun we need to stop….”
“Hmph, as if we'll believe you—!” Chae Nayun shouted.
But just as she was about to release her magic power, another figure leaped into the room and stopped her.
Chae Nayun stared at the man who suddenly appeared in front of her.
A giant, muscular body that was as strong as steel.
“Uhahaha, it's been a while, brat.”
The cheerful voice undoubtedly belonged to Cheok Jungyeong.
[Office of Merchant Group Lotus Flower]
After joining up with Yoo Yeonha, we began to discuss the upcoming Transnational Peace Conference.
“I don't know what will happen exactly,” Kim Suho said. He was certain that a disaster would break out during the Transnational Peace Conference, but that was the extent of his knowledge.
Yi Jiyoon asked, “Can't we stop the conference itself?”
“No, it's too late to cancel it. It took three years just to get all nations to agree on a date. Declaring that the conference is canceled would be no different than declaring war.”
As the sword commander, Kim Suho had a good idea about the politics of the world.
While focusing on the meeting, I glanced at Rachel, who was seated next to me. She was also staring at me. We both smiled.
“What are you two doing?”
But Yoo Yeonha caught us. She glared at us with narrowed eyes, then, chak!, suddenly clapped her hands.
“You can say hi later. Focus on the meeting for now. Kim Suho, are Nayun and Jonghak ready?” Yoo Yeonha asked Kim Suho.
“Let me ask. Hold on, this thing has a small delay.” Kim Suho closed his eyes. After about two minutes, he nodded his head.
“Yeah, they said they're ready. Hm…?”
But it seemed he received another message as Kim Suho tilted his head and stared into the air.
And, in the next moment…
Kim Suho's expression froze.
“What? What happened?”
Aileen urged him.
Kim Suho clenched his teeth and murmured.
“Jin Sahyuk and Cheok Jungyeong are with Chae Nayun.”
[Harbor City, Thaines]
On a late, full moon night.
I returned to Thaines, where Boss and Shimurin were staying. Since Boss must be feeling lonely, I was sure she would be happy to know that we found Cheok Jungyeong.
But when I arrived at Shimurin's workshop, I was caught off guard by a surprising sight.
“Right, that's how you use magic power. Your ability is excellent, but your connection with magic power isn't delicate enough. It's because you're using your Gift with your instincts rather than magic power.”
Boss didn't look lonely at all. She didn't even look bored.
“Imagine putting magic power into your shadow. Then it becomes magic. Magic isn't anything special. Transforming magic power into the attribute you want, that's what magic is.”
She was being tutored by Shimurin. Perhaps because of the grand magician's teachings, Boss's shadow was no longer black.
It was blue, like ice.
She had imbued an attribute into her shadow.
I called her carefully. Boss, who was eagerly training, turned her head and faced me.
“Oh, you're here, Hajin.”
“Y-Yes, I'm back.”
I replied in a daze, and Shimurin also looked at me. She blinked her eyes a few times, then she rubbed her finger under her nose.
“Oh, you're back early. My dimensional magic isn't ready yet.”
“…Ah, well, there's something I need to talk to you about.”
I approached them slowly and stood next to Boss.
Boss stared at me with the same expressionless face she always had.
“Oh, Hajin.” Boss cut me off. Then, she said with a slight smile, “I met Jain.”
“Jain? Great! I found Cheok Jungyeong.”
I tilted my head. The Cheok Jungyeong I found was Jain?
“Jain is disguised as Cheok Jungyeong right now. You sent Gyeong to the Tower of Wish's 9th floor, remember?”
I finally realized what she meant. Indeed, I had sent Cheok Jungyeong to the 9th floor.
“Then you won't be lonely once Jain comes.”
Hearing this, Boss frowned a little.
“What? Who said I was lonely?”
Boss glared at me with a scowl, but it wasn't scary at all.
I smiled like a kid and placed my hand on her shoulder.
“Hm. You two….” But at that moment, Shimurin looked back and forth between me and Boss and asked, “What's your relationship?”
We both tilted our heads at the sudden question.
“What's your relationship? It doesn't look like you're just friends. Especially you.” Shimurin pointed at Boss and asked again.
Boss didn't answer and simply looked up at me. She probably wanted to hear my answer.
Staring at her, I smiled.
I turned to Shimurin again and said what I wanted to say, “As I said, she's my boss…. I like her a lot.”
At the same time, I imbued Stigma's magic power into my eyes. My eyesight expanded, and I could observe Boss from the side.
Though she wasn't aware of it herself, she was blushing noticeably.
She even coughed in embarra.s.sment. She really couldn't be cuter.