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Published at 8th of April 2020 08:08:47 PM

Chapter 140

Chapter 140 . A Red Rose with Thorns


Seol Jihu sighed for a long time .

He dragged his eyes around left and right, and then up towards the ceiling . Then around the statue of Gula, back and forth .

The reason he repeated these meaningless actions was clear; it was a clear cry of ‘Change my class name!’

But no matter how long he waited, there were no signs of Gula changing her mind . Eventually, the upset Seol Jihu gripped his ice spear and Bang! slammed down on the floor .

Considering that the temples were sacred areas, Seol Jihu would have had nothing to say in defense even if a thunderbolt struck him down right there and then .

There was, of course, a reason .

He could somewhat bear it when he was still a low-level newbie, but a Level 4 was acknowledged as an experienced person anywhere in Paradise . It was a level that would automatically get him assigned to the main combat force if a draft call was ordered .

Above all, some were called Barbarian Warriors, while others were called Pathfinders and so on . There were plenty of decent names, but him?

‘Mana this, mana that… Stupid mana . ’

It wasn’t like he wanted anything big . He didn’t wish for riches or honor . Was making a decent class name that hard?

Seol Jihu began brooding about how unfair she was, working him like a dog but not listening to such a simple request .

[Haaah… . . ]

Gula sighed .

[This kid… . Just when I thought he was maturing a bit…]

The sound of Gula clicking her tongue echoed out .

Seol Jihu, who left the temple as if he was driven out, came back to his senses and checked his stats .

His stat points had increased to 10 . If he leveled up once more, he would have 15 points, but that was just a pie in the sky .

There were two new abilities he could learn .

Like Agnes mentioned, there was Mana Cultivation which was the evolution of his Mana Circulation .

And…

‘Flash Thunder?’

Reading the description, it was an ability that awakened the body using lightning energy .

The demo vision only showed flashes of lightning here and there, so it wasn’t of much help .

Still, it was an ability that was unlocked at Level 4, so it wasn’t going to be easy to learn .

Though he really wanted to push everything aside and head straight to Huge Stone Rocky Mountain to train, he couldn’t .

It was because Jang Maldong had informed him that a meeting with the White Rose was scheduled before Seol Jihu managed to say anything .

Though learning new skills was important, it wasn’t as important as recruiting the siblings, so Seol Jihu immediately got ready .

Chohong and Hugo giggled on the side saying they could rest easy with such a hardworking leader… until they were ardently beaten by Jang Maldong’s cane .

Seol Jihu left Chohong and Hugo moaning on the floor to board a carriage for Scheherazade .

*

“They made a request . ”

Jang Maldong spoke when they were passing Zahrah .

“They want today’s meeting to be a secret . ”

“It’s not like we would have gone around talking about it anyway . ”

“Obviously . But the White Rose is also keeping it a secret from the siblings . ”

Seol Jihu narrowed his eyes . It seemed like they were trying to sign them off without their knowledge .

“Don’t feel troubled . Even the FCs don’t consider how the players feel when they sell them . ”

That was right . Anyhow, the White Rose was the one losing out on two Bronze stamps .

“But to do it without letting them know is a bit… I wouldn’t feel too good if I were them . ”

“How so?”

“The size disparity between Carpe Diem and the White Rose is just too big . The kids might prefer a large, stable workplace . ”

“Well, you’re not wrong . ”

The nodding Jang Maldong suddenly threw a question .

“Then why did you turn down Sinyoung?”

Seol Jihu hesitated . How had he known when he hadn’t told anyone?

“There isn’t a law for every decision . Everyone has their own circumstances . ”

Jang Maldong grinned .

“I know what’s troubling you, but don’t worry . Those two seem like they want to leave White Rose as well . ”

“Yi Seol-Ah and Yi Sungjin?”

“The siblings just couldn’t voice it out probably . But the White Rose insisted that it was the case . They said that the siblings would chase you even to the depths of hell if you told them that you’d recruit the two . ”

So the White Rose wasn’t the one trying to make them leave, but it was in fact the other way round?

“That’s why they want it to be a secret . Imagine how big their disappointment would be if you gave them hope, only for things to not work out . ”

Seol Jihu suddenly asked after pondering .

“What kind of group is the White Rose?”

“I told you . Did you forget already?”


“No, not that . I want to know about their internal structure or if they recently had any important issues within their group . ”

“Issues?” Jang Maldong frowned before asking again . “Why?”

“Huh? If you ask me why… . ”

“No, why did you suddenly become interested in that . ”

Jang Maldong didn’t seem disapproving but just a bit taken aback . Seol Jihu scratched his head .

“Was it something I shouldn’t have asked?”

“It’s not like that . As for me, I know the White Rose to some extent, but you . You don’t know a thing about them . ”

“Yes . ”

“Then how—”

Jang Maldong closed his mouth at a loss for words .

“…you interesting little bastard… . ”

Shaking his head, he turned to stare out the window .

“I do have a few conjectures . . ”

A deep sigh followed .

“It just doesn’t seem right . I’m getting the feeling that there’s an ulterior motive behind handing the siblings over . ”

“You’re saying…”

Seol Jihu gulped .

“They’re bait?”

“I’m not sure . ”

Jang Maldong replied solemnly .

“If it really is due to their internal circumstances, then they’ll negotiate with the usual conditions . But if not, then they might ask for special requests . ”

“By special requests you mean…”

“For example, they might guise it as looking out for Carpe Diem’s benefits… Hmm . Well since their leader is a crafty snake, then it wouldn’t be strange if they offered something that looked normal on the surface . They already have a perfect pretense to do so . ”

The pretense was the siblings wanting to leave the White Rose .

“If this is the case… . ”

Jang Maldong narrowed his eyes .

“We can’t cross off the possibility that you’re their main objective . ”

Seol Jihu widened his eyes at the unexpected remark .

“Well let’s just go and see . There’s no point making blind guesses between ourselves . ”

“…We’ll have to listen to their conditions first . ”

Seol Jihu accepted the situation but just couldn’t shake off the thought that something wasn’t right .

There was this uneasy feeling in a corner of his heart, like a stone shard digging in . His eyes were also itchy .

Rubbing his eyes with the back of his hands, he suddenly remembered Kim Hannah’s words .

[There will be a ton of people who are going to try to use you . ]

‘……’

Unless the White Rose went crazy, they wouldn’t release the siblings for free without at least receiving back the amount they had invested in them .

Seol Jihu narrowed his eyes .

*

The carriage arrived at Scheherazade on the noon of the second day .

Seeing Flone fly off excitedly the minute she saw the new city, Seol Jihu chased after Jang Maldong .

The White Rose’s building was located slightly to the west of the city center .

If modern buildings were tall towers, then the exterior of the White Rose’s building looked like a beautiful flower .

Compared to the Carpe Diem’s office, its scale was on a whole another level, so as Seol Jihu followed the escort, he constantly glanced around .

As if they were really meeting secretly, they were guided to a relatively secluded backdoor .

After going up the stairs and opening the door at the end of the hall, they were greeted by a crudely dressed man with glasses getting up from his seat .

“Sir . ”

The man had a slender figure with wrinkles around his mouth, making him appear slightly older .

“Thank you for coming all this way . ”

“En . It wasn’t that far of a journey . ”

“But I should have visited instead . Ah . And this friend?”

“Don’t ask if you already know . ”

As Jang Maldong bluntly spoke, the man awkwardly laughed and stretched out a hand .

Seol Jihu shook his hand .

“Nice to meet you!”

“Likewise . My name— . ”


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“I actually know already . Seol Jihu, right?”

He had been about to introduce himself as just ‘Seol,’ but ended up dumbly nodding his head .

“I’m the leader of the White Rose, Bok Jungsik . ”

Bok Jungsik gestured to the long table while still grabbing his hand .

“Let’s sit first . There’s someone else coming as well . ”

“Who?”

Jang Maldong asked as he sat down .

“Who else could it be? It’s someone that you know very~ well . ”

“What? Why is that kid coming?”

“That’s what I wanted to know . I couldn’t help it when she refused to listen no matter what I said . So I ask for your understanding…”

Jang Maldong lightly sighed before turning to look at the door .

Clack, clack .

A clear sound of heels rang out from the hall . Seol Jihu who was quietly sitting next to Jang Maldong also turned to face the door .

“Speak of the devil . ”

Jang Maldong muttered .

“What do you mean a devil…”

Bok Jungsik made a bitter smile .

“You must have meant a thorny flower . ”

The door was flung open .

“And who is this thorny flower?”

A clear voice rang out, followed by a beautiful lady with a breathtaking appearance .

“Our leader must have all grown up now, knowing how to gossip behind my back . ”

“S-sora . It’s not like that . ”

“Whatever . Anyways…”

The beautiful lady brushed back her winding hair that flowed down to her chest and glanced at Seol Jihu . Then upon seeing Jang Maldong, a smile blossomed on her face .

“Grandpa?”

As if showing off her long slender legs, she strode towards him and blinked charmingly .

“It’s been a while . Have you been well?”

“Yes . ”

“What’s with the cold response? It’s been several years since we last saw each other . ”

Seeing her subtly lean the upper half of her body against the table, Jang Maldong pushed her away while making a frown .

“Stay back, you’re being burdensome . What do you think you’re doing in front of others?”

“Aww . Can’t a granddaughter act cute in front of her grandfather?”

‘Granddaughter?’

Seol Jihu turned to stare at Jang Maldong with amazed eyes .

“You’re misunderstanding!”

Jang Maldong shouted indignantly .

The lady giggled, unveiling a charming smile before glancing towards the dumbfounded youth . Then she leisurely walked over towards the seat next to him .

As Seol Jihu was about to get up, he felt a sensation of someone pushing down on his neck . The lady had put her arms around his neck and was leaning forward .

“This is the person?”

He felt her lightly tap his head .

Bok Jungsik who had been sitting there, stunned, finally reacted .

“Y-You!”

“Me?”

“Sora! You, you!”

“What? Oh, you mean this?”

“Get away this instance!”

Sora blinked a few times after being shouted at and obediently took her arms off .

But she was still leaning on the back of Seol Jihu’s chair, causing Jang Maldong to cover his face .

“Haah… I’m terribly sorry about this . ”

Bok Jungsik apologized while Jang Maldong helplessly shook his head .

Seol Jihu slightly inhaled . The air still had a lingering fragrance of roses .

Then a hand abruptly appeared in front of his chest .

“Nice to meet you . I’m Phi Sora . ”

The lady continued .


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“It’s an interesting last name, isn’t it?” 1

Phi Sora waved her extended hand . Seol Jihu who unconsciously shook her hand was startled .

‘It’s rough . ’

The texture of her palm was like sandpaper . Besides the rough calluses, Seol Jihu could see a lot of scars upon careful observation .

He could finally deduce the relationship between Jang Maldong and Phi Sora .

‘She’s strong . ’

He instantly went on high alert .

“Let’s see . How far have you discussed? I ran over as soon as I heard you arrived . ”

Phi Sora drew back her hand and plopped herself down on the table . On top of the table, not the chair .

It was bewildering but Seol Jihu came to his senses thanks to the cool energy from his ice spear .

Counting numbers in his head, Seol Jihu calmly observed Phi Sora .

The first thing that came into his eyes was her stylish crimson uniform . And upon further observation, her hair that flowed down like waterfalls seemed to have a hint of red as well .

Adding her prideful stare and the way she sat on the table made her look flashy yet haughty like a red rose in full bloom .

Fed up with how she was acting, Bok Jungsik spoke .

“Are you really going to be like this?”

“What now?”

“Do you really not know…? Quickly sit properly! This is why I told you not to come!”

“Oh please . I’m close with my grandpa, okay?“

Phi Sora snorted and turned to Jang Maldong .

“Aren’t we?”

Jang Maldong shut his eyes .

“S-Sir . ”

“I stopped expecting anything ever since you told me she’d come . ”

“I’m truly sorry . ”

Bok Jungsik repeatedly bent his waist to apologize to Jang Maldong and Seol Jihu . As if she didn’t care about her leader’s back, Phi Sora spat grumpily .

“Enough already and get on with the discussion . Don’t you know grandpa’s personality?”

“You—”

Bok Jungsik who stared daggers at her took deep breaths before carefully addressing Jang Maldong .

“Sir, are you fine continuing like this…? If not, I will her chase her out by force . ”

“Chase me out? Who? You?”

“No need for more trouble . ”

“I apologize for today’s mess . ”

Bok Jungsik sat back down rubbing his temple .

“First . ”

“Let’s get straight to the point . ”

“Alright . Firstly, may I take this meeting as a sign of you being interested in the recruitment?”

“Hmm . ”

Jang Maldong secretly sent a look while nodding . Seol Jihu straightened his posture .

“Uh . ”

“Then… huh? Yes, please speak . ”

“Are Yi Seol-Ah and Yi Sungjin doing well?”

Seol Jihu asked with a beaming smile . Bok Jungsik blinked .

“Yes… they’re doing fine . ”

An awkward laugh rang out . It was a half-hearted laugh no matter who heard it .

Before arriving at Scheherazade, Jang Maldong had given him two instructions .

First, Seol Jihu had to act like he was interested in how the Yi siblings were doing . It was to make it evident that they were only here because of their friendship .

Second, unless the White Rose first spoke out, he was to never ask the reason why they were trying to send away the siblings .

Seol Jihu smiled brightly .

“That’s a big relief . If it’s not a problem, can I see their faces? It’s fine even if it’s just for a bit . ”

“Huh?”

“We haven’t seen each other ever since we left the Neutral zone . It’s been a while so I’d like to chat with them over dinner… is that not okay?”

Bok Jungsik was startled by the earnest request .

“Well, go ahead . But after our discussion…”

He quickly switched the subject .

“Sir, you must also be aware, but isn’t money the most trustworthy thing in the transfer market?”


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And so the conversation subject was switched .

“But as you’ve mentioned before, you currently don’t have much in terms of funding . ”

He continued after glancing at Seol Jihu .

“So I was wondering if you could show us any items of value that you might have . For example, the Wish you received at the Banquet . ”

Seol Jihu realized what Bok Jungsik was hinting at .

“The Harmonious Wish isn’t something that can be traded, so that’d be difficult . ”

“Of course, the Dissonant Wish is also fine . The Banquet rewards are known to be of high quality . They can’t be bought even if one had money . ”

Having delivered his request, Bok Jungsik laughed heartily .

“I don’t have the Dissonant Wish either . I’ve already used them all . ”

The laughter stopped .

“You’ve used them all?”

“Yes . I only received one in the first place, not to mention it was a consumable item . ”

“Oh…”

Bok Jungsik was stunned . Or at least it seemed like he had assumed Seol Jihu came out with multiple Dissonant Wishes .

“What to do…”

But due to his pre-established prejudice, it looked like he was only keeping an act up .

“I’ve heard you found a lot of success at the Banquet, so I had assumed that you’d have some leftover harvest… It seems like it was my miscalculation . ”

Seol Jihu stopped himself from snorting with everything he had .

“To be honest, Yi Seol-Ah and Yi Sungjin missed you very much . ”

“They must have talked about me a lot . ”

“Yes . But Yi Seol-Ah seemed to be interested in a lot of places, so I wanted to try to send her to where she wanted… “

It was then…

“Fuu . ”

A snort was heard . It wasn’t Seol Jihu but Phi Sora .

“How long are you going to keep this up for?”

Staring at Bok Jungsik, Phi Sora continued with a bored expression .

“Just when do you plan to stop going around in circles? Just get it over with . They already know . ”

“S-Sora…”

Though Seol Jihu didn’t express it, he was very much shocked inside .

‘Weren’t they from the same group?’

It felt like Bok Jungsik was desperately leading the conversation to a certain place before Phi Sora unexpectedly intruded .

Moreover, was it a misunderstanding to think that Phi Sora’s authority looked higher than the leader, Bok Jungsik?

“It’s fine . I’ll start talking instead . What nonsense are you spouting in front of my grandpa?”

Phi Sora shook her hand in disapproval and elegantly got off the table .

“Unlike him, I…”

She walked around the table in a serious manner .

“…can’t talk in circles or hide anything . Neither do I ever want to . ”

Then she suddenly intently gazed at Seol Jihu .

“Dear, I heard you were a problem-solver . ”

‘What was she saying now?’

While Seol Jihu was wondering whether to retort to why he was her ‘dear’ or why he suddenly was this ‘problem-solver,’ a clear voice rang out .

“Or at least, that’s what people say . That you’ve never once failed a job . ”

The clicking of heels stopped .

“And that once you’ve even struck the Parasites a good blow?”

Seol Jihu stared at Phi Sora who was licking her upper lip .

He had already listened to their impossible request .

That meant…

It was time for their ‘special’ request to be revealed .

Phi Sora’s two hands leisurely gripped the table .

“Dear . ”

And she spoke .

“Won’t you work with me once?”

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