Chapter 265. Becoming One (2)
Chapter 265. Becoming One (2)
Time went by like running water. Four months had passed since Chi-Woo became Byeok’s disciple and devoted himself to training. Although Shalyh had undergone considerable changes during this time, Chi-Woo wasn’t aware of anything that happened outside. After declaring that he was going into training, he had never left his house and yard. There was no need for him to ever go out since Evelyn provided everything he needed for his livelihood.
However, he didn’t just train day and night. Every morning, lunch, and evening, he also indulged in one of his hobbies as refreshment, and one such hobby was cooking. After he served his master, Byeok, a dish that utilized his old skills, she was so pleased with his cooking that he had to make her every meal afterwards. She claimed it was his duty as her disciple, which Chi-Woo secretly considered nonsense. He still accepted her request though since he really enjoyed cooking and had experience working in a professional kitchen.
Exploring Liber’s new ingredients was quite fun and challenging as a cook. If he couldn’t even enjoy a hobby like this, his training would have been much more difficult to endure. Although he originally only made meals for himself and his master, at some point, he became responsible for serving several people. The whole trouble began when Evelyn first brought Eshnunna along and asked him to prepare a few more portions while he was at it.
After that, the Ru siblings asked if he could also take care of their meals and said they were willing to pay him for the trouble. Then Hawa also joined sneakily. Before he knew it, Chi-Woo was in charge of cooking for a whole family. As a result, sometimes six or seven people would huddle around the table and cry out for food—like this morning.
“Senior~ What is today’s breakfast~?” Looking at Chi-Woo busily moving in the kitchen, Ru Hiana sniffed and asked from the table.
“It’s bibimbap,” Byeok answered for Chi-Woo while she leisurely sipped her tea.
“What? Again? We had bibimbap yesterday.”
“He’s planning to use a different vegetable today.”
“Vegetables again…what about meat…I like sausages…”
“It’s because master wanted bibimbap,” Evelyn said as she cleaned the table. “Let’s have bibimbap today and sausages tomorrow. I’ll tell Chi-Woo, okay?”
“Yes…ah, I’ll set up the table,” Ru Hiana answered.
“Will you? Thanks.”
While Ru Hiana neatly placed a spoon each in front of everyone, Chi-Woo brought the finished dish to the table and said, “Please dig in.”
According to the age hierarchy, he placed the bibimbap in front of his master first, and Byeok raised her head, “What about fried eggs?”
“It’s coming right over. Please mix the ingredients first.”
“All right.” Byeok mixed the rice and vegetables and then ate a spoonful with seasoning. “Your skills are getting better day by day.” She savored the food in her mouth and put one hand on her cheek, saying with a pleased smile, “This is the taste I’ve been waiting for. I think the same every time I eat your food. It really is a taste that makes me proud that you’re my disciple.”
“I’m glad it’s to your liking.”
“Of course it is. Ah, but don’t be too conceited. It’s good, but it’s not enough for me to go crazy and start dancing.”
“You’ve seen too many cartoons. Does it make sense for someone to react like that after eating in the first place?” Chi-Woo calmly replied and went back to the kitchen to make fried eggs to put on top of the bibimbap. While everyone mixed their bowls and started eating, Ru Hiana glanced around her.
“I’m going to go in without any clothes today,” Eshnunna said.
“Huh? Isn’t that dangerous?” Evelyn replied.
“Still, I want to try directly interacting with it through my skin as much as I can.”
“I’ll try expanding the area…yeah, we have to exhaust the possibilities.”
Even while mixing their bowls, Evelyn and Eshnunna continued their conversation. Hawa pressed her head to the table while holding her spoon. Upon closer observation, it seemed she was mumbling while staring at a paper with a lot of things written on it. Ru Hiana had no idea what she was doing, but after sensing the gloomy and dark atmosphere around Hawa, she quickly turned away.
On the other hand, Ru Amuh didn’t even seem to have any intentions of eating as he simply stared at the kitchen with a dazed face.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Even when Ru Hiana nudged him with her elbow, he didn’t budge.
Ru Amuh looked completely mesmerized. When Ru Hiana followed his gaze, it turned out he was looking at Chi-Woo, who was making fried eggs in the kitchen.
‘But he’s just cooking?’ Although this was what Ru Hiana saw, it wasn’t the case for Ru Amuh. ‘Teacher moves like flowing water without any blockage,’ Ru Amuh thought. There was not a single waste of movement.
Soon, Chi-Woo returned to the table with a plate full of fried eggs. After placing one in Ru Hiana’s bowl, Chi-Woo sat down with everyone else. Ru Hiana watched him at work and smacked her lips. She didn’t know what everyone was doing exactly, but she could clearly sense that they were all working extremely hard. But above all, the person who had gone through the most dramatic change was Chi-Woo.
She didn’t know how to clearly explain it, but if Chi-Woo used to feel like a mysterious monk, he now seemed like a martial artist who had realized heaven's way after numerous tribulations and trials. The atmosphere of the meal was quiet and calm. This wasn’t bad, but Ru Hiana suddenly missed the times when it was lively and bustling with conversation. Just as Ru Hiana was about to bring up the rumors of ‘unknown crazy men and women who scream, weep, and cry nonstop’, Ru Amuh beat her to it.
“Yes?” Chi-Woo answered.
“If it’s alright with you, may I ask you for a favor?”
“Yes, of course.”
“After dinner, would you be able to du…” However, Ru Amuh couldn’t finish because a pipe suddenly intercepted between the two.
“Stop.” Byeok glanced sharply at Ru Amuh. “…He’s been training all day except for when he eats. He doesn’t rest even when he’s sleeping.” Then Byeok withdrew her pipe and slowly continued, “I want to at least let him take a breather during this time.” Although Byeok spoke in a roundabout way, she essentially rejected Ru Amuh’s request for a duel on behalf of Chi-Woo as his master. Moreover, since this was an important time for Chi-Woo, any unpredictable variables that might have a negative impact were not welcome. Byeok finally managed to set him toward the right direction, but after a duel with Ru Amuh, Chi-Woo might have other thoughts, and his training might go askew. Ru Amuh had enough sense to understand the meaning behind her words. He accepted the rejection with a disappointed heart.
Chi-Woo tilted his head at Ru Amuh and looked back at Byeok, “But I’m fine with it.”
“Be quiet. And after you finish eating, why don’t you pack a lunch box for me?”
“Why a lunch box?”
“I’m planning to go somewhere for lunch today.”
“Master, I’ll give you money. Please buy it outside.”
“I don’t want to. What was it again? Why don’t you make that dish that keeps stretching?”
Chi-Woo sighed as Byeok didn’t even pretend to listen to him and said, “Please tell me an hour before your leave. I’ll make it for you then.”
“Hmm? Why can’t you start making it now?”
“Because it’ll get cold, and it won’t taste good.”
“Yeah, that makes sense. I was too short-sighted. I’ll follow your correct opinion.” Byeok nodded with a smile.
* * *
Byeok arrived at the top floor of the official residence at noon.
“Is that really true?” Chi-Hyun asked in a slightly surprised tone and stared at Byeok, or more accurately, at her hand reaching towards the food on the table.
“Do you think I’ll talk nonsense while eating something this delicious?” What she was holding was a slice of pizza—a slice of scrumptious oven-baked pizza with cheese and toppings.
Chi-Hyun was shocked to see pizza on Liber. However, after thinking for a bit, it wasn’t that surprising since he could guess who made it. Chi-Woo probably made something as similar to pizza as possible with Liber’s ingredients.
“I feel regretful every time I see him these days. He’s improved so much just by changing his constitution a bit.” Byeok picked up a slice of pizza with a happy face and continued, “But if he’d grown up step by step in this world since he was young, he would have made quite a ruckus…” When she was about to take a bite, her eyes met Chi-Hyun’s.
Chi-Hyun was intently staring at the pizza while not really paying attention to what she was saying.
Gulp. When she heard him swallow, Byeok offered, “…Want one?”
“Yes, thank you.” Chi-Hyun replied as if he had been waiting for this all along. He reached out towards the remaining two slices without hesitation.
“I’m planning to send him outside soon.”
Chi-Hyun’s hand stopped abruptly.
“Well, I don’t even need to find a suitable job for him. After reading the reports you gave me, it seems like most cases come to Chi-Woo on their own.”
As Byeok continued, Chi-Hyun’s face gradually hardened.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen exactly, but I think something will happen soon…”
“I’m against it.”
Their eyes met again. However, it was different from before. While Byeok looked at him with a challenging expression, Chi-Hyun looked as if he wouldn't back down in the slightest. After a brief silence, Byeok said, “…You should know that it can’t be helped.” She continued in a low tone, “The World’s Milestone.”
“I don’t know how it happened, but Chi-Woo’s inherited the will of the World.” Byeok said that anyone who was aware of Liber’s situation would jump in shock. She continued, “He’s basically Liber’s World right now, and that means he has to act as the World for at least the heroes who come here.”
However, Chi-Hyun didn’t look surprised as he had already speculated as much. “He needs to go back home.”
“Ha, you’re against him going out just for that? You’re really trying to lead Liber to ruin.”
“Doesn’t everyone think that anyway?” Their eyes gradually became sharp as they looked at each other. “I won’t object to him going out, but I don’t think it’s necessary for him to put himself in danger and take risks. No—” Chi-Hyun said flatly, “I won’t let you do that.’
Anger began to flare on Byeok’s face. “You…” Chi-Hyun had received her teaching before, so he knew her personality well; however, he was still interfering with her and making demands. “Impudent punk…”
Moreover, Byeok entered Liber as a Celestial Realm hero. Thus, she had the duty to save Liber. She had every right to feel angry at Chi-Hyun, who disregarded his duty by only prioritizing his brother’s safety. Byeok said, “Are you telling me to back off and take my hands off him?”
“I didn’t mean it that way.”
“Of course, I have no intentions to do that.” Byeok’s words were firm. Just like Chi-Hyun, she had no intention of backing down. Chi-Woo hadn’t failed by not meeting her standard, and he hadn’t given up on his own. Outside of those two scenarios, Byeok never let go of a disciple she taught—that was her pride as a master.
Byeok steadied her rough breathing. After looking back on her old memories, she could understand why Chi-Hyun was acting this way. In the past…
After a long silence, Byeok finally said, “…Fine. If that’s how you want to do it, I’ll make you an offer.” She continued as if she was being generous.
After hearing her explanation, Chi-Hyun’s eyes widened. “Are you serious?”
“Of course, I’ll impose certain limitations to ensure fairness.”
“But even then…” Chi-Hyun laughed hollowly. In short, she was betting on his younger brother, but the conditions were way too favorable to Chi-Hyun; he couldn’t even imagine losing.
“Why?” Byeok said while tilting her chin, “Are you not confident?”
“…All right, let’s do it.” He responded to her provocation. There was no reason for him to reject the bet.
“Don’t talk your way out of it later.”
“The same goes for you, master. Well…I’ll be looking forward to it.” Chi-Hyun smirked and stood up. “Please let me know when you’ve set the time. Since I’m very busy, you must excuse me first.”
“Yeah, yeah. Whatever you say. Go work.”
Chi-Hyun hurriedly turned around. After a snort, Byeok let out the breath she had been holding and looked down at the table. She planned to soothe her agitation with the pizza that her cute disciple had made, but somehow, the table was empty, and the pizza had disappeared without a trace. She was sure that she’d definitely saved two slices. Byeok raised her head in disbelief and saw Chi-Hyun walking away at a fast pace while holding the missing slices in one hand.
“Hey…” As soon as she called out to him, he instantly disappeared; it seemed he had used his space manipulation ability. Byeok’s expression changed from bewilderment to fury. “You bastard!”
* * *
Chi-Woo, who was immersed in training today again, was hit with an unexpected situation. As soon as Byeok returned, she suddenly made a great fuss and told him to immediately open his user information.
Chi-Woo was taken aback because so far, Byeok had been lying down on the verandah after roughly telling him what to do. Chi-Woo asked her out of curiosity and was surprised by her answer.
“I’m releasing your seal.”
“I’m not planning to return everything, only a small fraction.”
Chi-Woo blinked. “…All of a sudden?” He might be mistaken, but his master looked very angry.
“Honestly, I hadn’t planned to go this far already.” Byeok growled and bit her lower lip. “In a way, this ability is very dangerous. Not directly dangerous to you, but because you might abuse it.” In other words, it wouldn’t cause harm to his mind and body, but it might become a problem depending on how he used it. To make an analogy, there was nothing more dangerous than giving a nuclear weapon to an innocent child.
Chi-Woo became intrigued by Byeok’s words, “What kind of power is it?”
“Are you curious?” Byeok folded her arms and said with her teeth showing, “It’s a power strong enough to even kill the legend.”