Chapter 26: Female President (2)
By dusk, the excitement surrounding Ru Amuhs rescue had settled down, and the camp slowly quieted down. Although Chi-Woo was the center of all their attention, hed been lying in his tent all day while twirlingThe Worlds Milestone in his hand.
‘A milestone. A milestone usually referred to a sign on the side of a road that marked the distance from or to a particular place. It also referred to a significant developmental stage in a work or a goal.
When he rolled the die without thinking, he had gotten a message related to Ru Amuhs rescue, which in turn pushed him to act. The important part, though, was that it had done nothing more than give him directions. Of course, its directions had been helpful, but all it did was provide him with a slight perk so that he could take the path the World wanted him to. It was still up to Chi-Woo if he was to listen to its guidance or not. If Chi-Woo hadnt done anything or had given up in the end, Ru Amuh probably wouldve died, and Ru Hiana wouldve likely followed suit.
‘I get that. Chi-Woo shuffled through his memory. After rolling the die, he had gained a couple of pieces of information.
1. Holy power was consumed according to the number that he rolled.
2. The die roll ended up either a success or a failure.
The latter was what caught his attention more. When he rolled four stars, it said that he got ameaningless failure, while five stars resulted in asmall success.
‘If it fails, it fails. Why added extra words to describe the results?
Chi-Woo was curious about the standard of success and failure, too. He wondered if even numbers yielded failure and odd numbers yielded success. And that wasnt all.
-> [7 Ways to Become a Great and Respected Parent] is disabled. Please turn to the first page.
-> [The Worlds Milestone] is currently inactive. Please wait for a bit…
Without his knowledge, his user information had updated, and it appeared that he was currently unable to use the die. Seeing this, he recalled how he got a message asking him if he wanted to roll another time after he rolled 4 stars and failed, but he didnt get any message after rolling 5 stars. What was the condition for the die to become inactive? When would it become active again? And how was he supposed to turn the first page of a book he couldnt find?
‘I dont know! Chi-Woo shouted inwardly and decided to clear his head by rolling the die. Neither Ru Hiana nor Eval Sevaru was inside the tent, and Zelit was lost in silent bemusement. That was when Chi-Woo heard someone enter. A blonde-haired woman with a ponytail slightly lifted the tents veil; it was Ru Hiana. She glanced at the preoccupied Zelit before gesturing at Chi-Woo and turning around. Chi-Woo quietly rose from his spot and followed her. Once they put some distance between them and the tent, Ru Hiana began, “Ruahus condition has stabilized now.” She spoke much more politely than before. Furthermore, her mood seemed much brighter despite her slightly haggard appearance.
“We can finally be at peace now. I should have come tell you earlier. Sorry for the delay.”
“No worries. Im just glad that everything has worked out. Good work.”
“I didnt do much. Its all thanks to you that we were able to save Ruahu, and…” Ru Hiana stopped momentarily to glance at Chi-Woo before continuing, “The guard captain said you told her that you wouldnt have been able to defeat the vengeful spirit without me….”
“Well, thats the truth,” Chi-Woo replied honestly, but Ru Hiana waved her hand in denial.
“No. How could you say that? I couldnt do anything the whole time and just did some clean-up in the end.”
“What do you mean by clean-up? You fought with me.”
“But I think Im taking too much credit…” Ru Hiana looked flustered. She thought Chi-Woo had purposefully given her undue credit so that the original inhabitants of Liber would look after Ru Amuh with more care. After all, she knew how important something like fame was. No matter how great a hero was, they needed helpers; especially in a confusing world like this, they desperately needed the planets original inhabitants on their side, but Ru Hiana could feel the guard captains implicit dislike for the recruits. Fortunately, after Chi-Woos deed, her attitude had become much more favorable that she even helped take care of Ru Amuh with Shakira.
Chi-Woo had managed to gain the original inhabitants trust. Ru Hiana had no qualms about this matter; she believed it was only natural for him to receive the praise. It was thanks to Chi-Woo that they were able to see the rescue mission to its end, and Ru Hiana had personally witnessed this fact. Still, Chi-Woo decided to share his hard-won influence he couldve rightfully monopolized. And Ru Hiana, who had an honest personality like Ru Amuh, felt thankful but apologetic. She was also nervous.
“Not at all. We helped each other out. And theres no need to make a distinction like that when were companions with the same goal,” Chi-Woo said. Of course, Chi-Woo had a completely different mindset from Ru Hiana and wasnt pleased by the current situation. But he continued, “Anyways, is Mr. Ru Amuh fine now?”
“Yes. His condition was critical for a moment, but with the guard captain and the seers help, he was able to overcome it. His breathing returned to normal, so I think he will regain his consciousness soon.”
Chi-Woo silently thanked her for allowing the change of subject. Finally, things were getting back on track, or so he thought.
“Then…” Ru Hiana took a deep breath. “Its my turn now.” She suddenly got on one knee, which caught Chi-Woo completely off guard.
“What are you doing?”
“The Ru family is one that considers a promise as valuable as ones life.” Ru Hianas attitude suddenly changed. She looked up at Chi-Woo and said in a serious voice, “I made a promise to you for this rescue mission.”
[It can be anything. I will do whatever you tell me to.]
[I swear on the Ru family name.]
It seemed Chi-Woo had misunderstood what those words meant.
“Since you kept your side of the promise, its my turn to fulfill mine.” With disciplined movements, Ru Hiana put her hand on her chest and bowed. “As I promised, Ill follow whatever you say. Regardless of how crazy it is, Ill gladly accept it.” Ru Hiana sounded like she was prepared to even become a meat shield if Chi-Woo asked her to.
“…” Chi-Woo became speechless. The situation was not turning out as he hoped.
“That…If not…” Ru Hiana hesitated, and her ears reddened. She looked down and fumbled as she took out the rope. “I can… what you wanted…last time…”
“No! I told you that was a misunderstanding.” Chi-Woo realized what she was saying and exclaimed in shock.
“I thought you might want…” Ru Hiana ducked her head with a pitiful expression; she seemed unable to meet his eyes due to embarrassment.
Chi-Woo couldnt understand her behavior; it was a bit too much. ‘Why is she being like this?
‘Is this how all heroes are? Chi-Woo complained inside his mind and said, “Ms. Ru Hiana? Please get up. Lets talk a bit.”
“No. Ill listen to you like this.”
“What do you mean? Please dont be like this. Dont…Ugh, Im going crazy.” After resolving a crisis, he gained a devoted follower; this was typical of a protagonist walking the path of a king.
However, Chi-Woo didnt want a follower, and he wanted to embark on a completely different path than that of a protagonist.
“Please just listen to me first.” Chi-Woo cleared his throat. “Im not as great as you think I am.”
“Ruahu and I owe my life to you, sir. That is enough for me to act like this.”
“No. Im saying that we did it together. We both owe our lives to each other.”
“Thats not true. If you hadnt stepped forward, we would have failed to rescue Ruahu, and I would have also lost my life. Im not so foolish that I cant accurately assess the situation.” Ru Hianas reply was firm.
“Ms. Ru Hiana, I used you as bait, and I was able to confirm that my knowledge was applicable to the spirits here. Thats why I was able to step forward. If you hadnt accepted that role, I wouldnt have been able to even think about what to do.”
“In the first place, I told you that you could use me however you wanted if it meant rescuing Ruahu.” Even after Chi-Woo told her the truth, Ru Hiana replied as deferentially as ever and continued, “You did exactly as you promised to, sir. Even though you used me as bait, thats no excuse for me to break the promise I made to you.”
‘This is crazy! Ru Hiana was way too stubborn about her principles. Chi-Woo tried to stay calm as he continued, “Other than that, Ms. Ru Hiana, you saved me from that monster that suddenly came out, so you did more than your fair share. You understand, right?”
Chi-Woo looked at her with an expectant glimmer in his eyes, as if he was silently saying, ‘Hmph! You must understand me now, right?
“With all due respect,” Ru Hiana said without hesitation. “As someone who went through the situation you spoke of, Im having a hard time agreeing with your statements. I have no intentions to speak ill of you, truly, but those words sound like lies to me.”
‘This is driving me crazy! What the hell! Chi-Woo clutched his head and tilted his chin back; there was nothing deceitful about his words. He wanted to roll around and scream.
‘Theres no hope. Chi-Woo was sure that the Ru family or whatever must be a special breed of spectacularly stubborn people. If an idiot was firm in their belief, no words would work on them. Chi-Woo needed to change his methods. “…Thats your stance.”
“Promises should be and must be kept.”
Chi-Woo slowly lowered both of his hands from his head and swiped his face. “Yes, yes. So youre saying that you need to do something for me, right?”
“Of course. If you want me to be your sword, Ill become your sword, a slave or a sacrifice, too, if that is your wish.”
“Im asking you one last time. You sure you wont regret it? Youll need to follow my orders without complaints.” Even though Chi-Woo had spoken with a threatening voice, Ru Hiana nodded without hesitation.
“Unless its to kill Ruahu again with my own hands or through other means, I will follow your orders.”
“Hmph. What do you see me as?” Chi-Woo snorted. “If that is the extent of your will…Ill accept your offer.” Chi-Woo dropped the honorifics when addressing her. “Good. Ru Hiana, you are to…”
‘Ruahu, Im sorry. I dont know what will happen from now on, but Ill no longer be able to… Ru Hiana apologized inside her mind and tightly shut her eyes.
Then, Chi-Woo said, “Go inside Ru Amuhs tent and take a nap next to him.” Chi-Woo gave precise instructions so that there wouldnt be any misunderstanding again.
“…Are you serious, sir?” Ru Hianas eyes widened. She raised her head and stared at Chi-Woo.
“Yes, thats it.” Chi-Woo shrugged with a satisfied look on his face.
“What you want from me is…to take a nap?”
“Yeah, yeah—Thats right,” Chi-Woo folded his arms and spoke with a solemn face. “That is the price you have to pay for the pledge you made to me.”
Ru Hiana couldnt look more incredulous if she tried. Chi-Woo awkwardly coughed to break the resulting silence and said, “Hmm. Patients usually have a hard time when recovering, Ms. Ru Hiana, but I know its also very tiring for caretakers. Youve been with him the whole time, right?”
“Then you should rest. You werent able to sleep properly earlier because you were so concerned about Mr. Ru Amuh. You should at least take a short break. Lets meet each other later with a smile.” Chi-Woo spoke nonchalantly and turned around.
“What is it?” Chi-Woos face turned serious at Ru Hianas desperate cries. “I just told you the price you have to pay, didnt I?”
“Are you perhaps…unwilling to fulfill your promise? Even though youre part of the Ru family, of all people?”
“Thats not it…but…” Ru Hiana became speechless as Chi-Woo used her words against her.
“Good. That settled the debt between us. Its done.” Chi-Woo let out a big yawn. “Im going to sleep. You should do that as well. Goodbye.” Chi-Woo forcibly put an end to their conversation and turned around.
Ru Hiana shouted as she watched him quickly walk away. “Please at least give me your name!”
Chi-Woo flinched after recalling what had happened with Ru Amuh. “Ms. Ru Hiana, I already told you.” He tried to reply as calmly as possible. “Im not such a great person that you should know my name for something like this.” Without another word, Chi-Woo swiftly walked away.
With a blank face, Ru Hiana stared at the back of the first real hero she had ever met since she entered the Celestial Realm.
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