The Returner - LightNovelsOnl.com
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Yi Ji-Hyuk stared up at the ceiling in sorrow.
This was all karma at work. Indeed, karma.
From the get-go, it was obvious what kind of an ending was in store for a person willing to form a contract with a demon. He was initially pleased to find out that he ‘didn't have a soul' so he'd get to keep it, but with things like this, it might have been better to lose it back then.
If he did, then this dang demon wouldn't have come knocking on his house!
"Groan…." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seeing Erukana reveal her true colours the moment mom left the house, Yi Ji-Hyuk could only sigh repeatedly.
"The ground might cave in at this rate." (Jeong Hae-Min) (TL note at the end)
"It'd been nice if that happened." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Jeong Hae-Min looked at him and gnashed her teeth.
This whole scene was so hateful in her eyes that she wanted to pinch his cheek and stretch it all the way to Busan, but what with him looking so frail and gaunt like this, he also kind of looked pitiful too, so this…..
"Whew…." (Jeong Hae-Min)
In the end, even Jeong Hae-Min had to sigh.
How did this situation come to be?
"By the way…." (Erukana)
Erukana turned her head, scanned Choi Jeong-Hoon and Co., and asked in a less-than-impressed voice.
"What do you want? Do you not know you shouldn't intrude upon the residence of a newly-wed couple?" (Erukana)
"Who the eff is a newly-wed couple?!" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tried to stand up from his anger, but Erukana simply climbed up all over him to rub her face against his and pushed him down with her body weight.
"We're starting anew after being acknowledged by your mom, right? That's why we're newly-wed!" (Erukana)
"….Have you ever heard of dusk divorce?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk) (TL note at the end)
"Nope, never heard of it." (Erukana)
"Groan…." (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk could only wish for all of this to quickly pa.s.s by. You could only speak to someone who was willing to listen. Against someone who didn't, even the most potent weapon Yi Ji-Hyuk possessed, his mouth, proved to be utterly useless.
"Does she know of your weakness or something?? Be more uncompromising, will ya?! Be a man!" (Jeong Hae-Min)
Erukana s.h.i.+fted her head and stared at Jeong Hae-Min.
"H-mm? Are you dissatisfied about something?" (Erukana)
"Not really." (Jeong Hae-Min)
The latter spun her head away fast enough to generate cold wind.
Doh Gah-Yun manning her side was glaring at Erukana with an unreadable expression on her face, while Kim Dah-Som loitering around the doorway was openly emitting hostile aura.
Erukana smirked after checking all three girls out.
"So, that's how it was. I don't have any allies here, is that it?" (Erukana)
You're a demon king, so of course no one's your ally here!
We're all humans, so obviously you're our enemy! (Jeong Hae-Min's inner monologue)
"Well, it doesn't matter." (Erukana)
Erukana wrapped her arms around Yi Ji-Hyuk's neck.
"I only need my darling and that's all." (Erukana)
"Eeek!" (Jeong Hae-Min)
Just before Jeong Hae-Min could explode, Choi Jeong-Hoon's phone exploded in a fit of noise first.
"Aaaahk! Hey, put it in vibration when you're in someone else's house!" (Jeong Hae-Min)
"M-my apologies." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon swallowed back his bitter tears after being reprimanded for no reason and pulled out his phone. Why did she unload her frustration on him after she got owned somewhere else?!
He wasn't even a sandbag, to begin with!
Choi Jeong-Hoon quietly shuffled towards the corner of the living room and answered his phone.
He wasn't guilty of anything, but unfortunately, what's more important in this world wasn't whether you were innocent or guilty, but whether you could read the mood or not.
"Choi Jeong-Hoon speaking."
The moment he heard the reply, his expression hardened instantly. Others picked up on his serious atmosphere and shut their mouths to stare at him.
"Understood. We'll be there shortly, so please continue to observe the situation in the meantime." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon ended the call and raised his head to find everyone looking at him.
"It's another Gate." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"Oh, it's that again." (Jeong Hae-Min)
"However, the situation this time is a bit more serious." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Jeong Hae-Min was about to ask what could be more serious than this, but then, a sudden burst of dissatisfaction coming from her side prevented her from doing that.
"What the heck? I'm still nominally the head of the department, so why did such a phone call go to you instead, Mister Choi Jeong-Hoon? What happened to the system of hierarchy?" (Seo Ah-Young)
Choi Jeong-Hoon wordlessly stared straight at Seo Ah-Young. He didn't open his lips, but she could still feel the heaviness behind that gaze.
"….What now?" (Seo Ah-Young)
Why didn't you answer your phone on time in the past, then?
If not, talk to the caller in a calm, collected manner?
We've arrived at this point after more and more people calling you got either frustrated or p*ssed off and started calling me instead….
I mean, I'm even saddled with the job that you're supposed to do, so what were you saying just now? (Choi Jeong-Hoon's inner monologue)
"I-I get it, so please stop." (Seo Ah-Young)
"I haven't said anything in particular?" (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"I could hear your mind's voice." (Seo Ah-Young)
"I guess your ability is evolving towards mind reading." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Of course, something like that wouldn't happen.
"For the time being, let us head back to the office. It seems that we'll need to mobilise our forces." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon then looked at Yi Ji-Hyuk.
"And it looks like we'll need your presence this time." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
The latter didn't say anything and used his chin to point at Erukana. He was implying that, "I want to go with you, but this thing is clinging onto me, so do something about it first".
"Excuse me, Erukannim?" (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Erukana's s.e.xy eyes landed on Choi Jeong-Hoon.
"Ah…." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
For a moment there, Choi Jeong-Hoon lost himself and stared at Erukana. He had prepared himself ahead of time, but too bad, his determination alone wasn't quite enough.
"Keuk!" (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
He fell down on his knees while gasping out a groan akin to air leaking out.
"Euh, euh euh…." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
It freaking huuuurts! (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
He now could understand where Yi Ji-Hyuk was coming from when pleading with him to do something that mother of his.
Should getting hit on the back hurt this much?
Choi Jeong-Hoon looked back with tearful eyes and found Seo Ah-Young and her reddened face forcing a smile on her lips.
"I was worried that you might be hypnotised, you see. Mister Choi Jeong-Hoon, you're an important person to us." (Seo Ah-Young)
You're not lying?
You didn't hit me out of malice, right?
But, without your anger powering you up, there's no way you could hit someone with this much dedication?!
I even confused you for a volleyball player just now!
If ability users were allowed to enter the sporting world, then you sure possess ample talent to become an ace of the national women's volleyball team. (Choi Jeong-Hoon's inner monologue)
"….Thank you for that." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"It was nothing." (Seo Ah-Young)
Choi Jeong-Hoon staggered back to his feet.
"M-Miss Erukana." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"It seems that we need to head over to the Gate's location right away." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"No can do." (Erukana)
Erukana immediately rejected Choi Jeong-Hoon's request.
"….But, we need to go." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"You said it's a Gate?" (Erukana)
"Yes." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Erukana snorted derisively.
"Are you requesting my darling to waste his precious Mana and stamina because you lot can't handle some low-ranked monsters coming out from a Gate? I already knew that you were a useless bunch, but that doesn't mean I'll let my darling soil his hands by fighting such insect-like creatures. It's beneath him." (Erukana)
"But, we don't know what will come out of there?" (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"It doesn't matter what comes out." (Erukana)
"….Strong monsters also come out, miss." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Erukana's glare became sharper by a notch.
"Are you trying to compare measly monsters to my darling? Affel." (Erukana)
Affeldrichae quietly observing the situation replied in a slightly respectful tone.
"What have you been doing? Is my darling someone so unimportant that he's being treated like this? He's supposed to go around hunting monsters?" (Erukana)
"….That's what he wanted." (Affeldrichae)
"Is it not the role of the wife to lead the husband down the right path by balancing what he wants versus what's best for him?" (Erukana)
Affeldrichae's jaw dropped slightly as she stared at Erukana.
"What's the matter?" (Erukana)
"It's nothing. Just that you spoke something rather logical." (Affeldrichae)
"I'm going to scold you." (Erukana)
"My apologies." (Affeldrichae)
"In any case." (Erukana)
Erukana spoke again in a determined tone of voice.
"I can't sit and watch my darling waste his energy doing something like that. You lot take care of it by yourselves." (Erukana)
"And who are you to decide that?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk's question only elicited a bright smile from her.
"My darling is too kind, so you begrudgingly end up doing things that others ask of you. That simply won't do." (Erukana)
Choi Jeong-Hoon hurriedly cleaned his ears.
Did I hear it wrong?
Who's kind, again? (Choi Jeong-Hoon's inner monologue)
"Miss Erukana, we definitely need Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk's help." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"That's your problem. We aren't interested." (Erukana)
"If we fail to resolve the Gate issue, then the damage will eventually spread to here." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"We'll resolve it when that happens, then." (Erukana)
"But, collateral damage in the meantime will be too great." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Erukana threw her head back and laughed.
"What does it matter to us if insect-like humans die in their droves? Humans solve human problems. That's all there is to it. Do not forget, I'm a demon king. You shouldn't expect me to sympathise with humanity." (Erukana)
‘What a sound argument that is.' (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
This situation was pretty much the same as asking a demon king to lend an aid to humans.
"By the way…." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"I don't think Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk is so weak that his stamina is damaged from lending us a bit of his help." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
‘Oh?' (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young's impressed eyes landed on Choi Jeong-Hoon.
As expected of him!
Since asking for a favour wasn't working, he was now targetting Erukana's pride, which was currently obsessed with Yi Ji-Hyuk.
If she continued to argue that it'd be difficult here, then it was the same thing as she denigrating Yi Ji-Hyuk as a weakling who couldn't even deal with those so-called insect-like monsters.
"Still no." (Erukana)
Unfortunately, Erukana remained resolute.
"My darling's stamina is required for many other matters besides that." (Erukana)
What other matters?
Could it be?? (Choi Jeong-Hoon's inner monologue)
Choi Jeong-Hoon's brain spun into gear really quickly.
Okay, so. Erukana is the Succubus Queen, and…
And, she's been living in this house for three days already….
And, and, Yi Ji-Hyuk looks like a dried-up skeleton for some reason, so…. (Choi Jeong-Hoon's inner monologue)
"Oh…." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
He lightly clapped his hands as if he had figured it all out.
"I hadn't thought about that." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"W-w-what kind of rubbish are you talking about?!" (Jeong Hae-Min)
Jeong Hae-Min trembled grandly as she yelled out. Her venom-filled eyes were now glaring at Erukana with enough momentum to tear her to pieces.
"What dirty things have you done to him?!" (Jeong Hae-Min)
"Ng? Dirty things?" (Erukana)
"You, you, you made him look like that!" (Jeong Hae-Min)
Erukana suddenly broke into a fit of laughter.
"Humans can sure think up of really amusing things." (Erukana)
Erukana's mocking laughter caused Jeong Hae-Min's face to burn up.
"A woman's jealousy can be such an amusing thing. But you can rest easy. My darling and I are not in a situation where we can entertain ourselves with such fun activities." (Erukana)
"Why not?" (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon's thoughtless question earned him a direct punishment from Seo Ah-Young's palm.
Thankfully for him, though, Erukana provided him with an answer, anyway.
"Regardless of what, I can't kill my darling, now can I? The current him can't cope with me, you know. Since I can't bear to see him die as a withered corpse, I'll have to hold back. Although it's a rather unfortunate thing…." (Erukana)
With a seductive grin, she slowly stroked Yi Ji-Hyuk's cheek. He simply stared at the ceiling with a soulless expression.
"My darling of the past was such a cool guy. He's definitely qualified to become my husband. Sure, he has faltered a little since then, but is it not the wife's duty to make sure such a husband reaches the top once more?" (Erukana)
"….Just let me be, will ya?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
"Hohoho~. As expected of my darling. So good with jokes and all." (Erukana)
Jeong Hae-Min's expression loosened up ever so slightly.
Choi Jeong-Hoon didn't miss this opening and used his second card.
"In that case, Miss Erukana." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"Don't you want to see?" (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"See what?" (Erukana)
"Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk at work, that is. Shouldn't it be a rare opportunity to see it for yourself?" (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
She was wavering.
Choi Jeong-Hoon tightened the noose even more.
"You might be able to see another side of him, the one you haven't seen before." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
He then went for the final blow.
"Also, you mentioned the wife's duty. Wouldn't it help your cause in knowing what Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk's workplace is like?" (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
"He needs to keep working there?" (Erukana)
"Well, his mother likes it, that's why." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
The mere mention of ‘mother', and Erukana was swaying about rather powerfully now.
Seo Ah-Young nodded her head.
I'm proud of you, Choi Jeong-Hoon. You made it happen. (Seo Ah-Young's inner monologue)
"Very well, I'll let him go. However, I'll be accompanying him. I shall make sure to witness what my darling does for a living." (Erukana)
"You made a wise decision." (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk listened to their conversation and muttered powerlessly.
"….Hey, have you all decided to not care about my wishes now?" (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
You dang b*stards.
You abominable b*stards.
< 278.="" what="" kind="" of="" a="" concept="" is="" this="" -3=""> Fin.
(TL: This is a reference to an idiom used often in Korea whenever someone's sighing – "you're sighing so much that the ground beneath you might disappear.")
(TL: it's a term used in Korea to denote the divorce proceedings involving elderly couples.)
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