Chapter 26: Female President (2)
By dusk, the excitement surrounding Ru Amuh’s rescue had settled down, and the camp slowly quieted down. Although Chi-Woo was the center of all their attention, he’d been lying in his tent all day while twirling ‘The World’s 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 Amuh’s 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 hadn’t done anything or had given up in the end, Ru Amuh probably would’ve died, and Ru Hiana would’ve 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 a ‘meaningless failure’, while five stars resulted in a ‘small 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 wasn’t all.
-> [7 Ways to Become a Great and Respected Parent] is disabled. Please turn to the first page.
-> [The World’s 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 didn’t 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 couldn’t find?
‘I don’t 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 bemus.e.m.e.nt. That was when Chi-Woo heard someone enter. A blonde-haired woman with a ponytail slightly lifted the tent’s 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, “Ruahu’s 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. I’m just glad that everything has worked out. Good work.”
“I didn’t do much. It’s 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 wouldn’t have been able to defeat the vengeful spirit without me….”
“Well, that’s the truth,” Chi-Woo replied honestly, but Ru Hiana waved her hand in denial.
“No. How could you say that? I couldn’t 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 I’m taking too much credit…” Ru Hiana looked fl.u.s.tered. 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 planet’s original inhabitants on their side, but Ru Hiana could feel the guard captain’s implicit dislike for the recruits. Fortunately, after Chi-Woo’s deed, her att.i.tude 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 could’ve 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 there’s no need to make a distinction like that when we’re companions with the same goal,” Chi-Woo said. Of course, Chi-Woo had a completely different mindset from Ru Hiana and wasn’t 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 seer’s 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. “It’s 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 one’s life.” Ru Hiana’s att.i.tude 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, it’s my turn to fulfill mine.” With disciplined movements, Ru Hiana put her hand on her chest and bowed. “As I promised, I’ll follow whatever you say. Regardless of how crazy it is, I’ll gladly accept it.” Ru Hiana sounded like she was prepared to even become a meat s.h.i.+eld 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 embarra.s.sment.
Chi-Woo couldn’t understand her behavior; it was a bit too much. ‘Why is she being like this?’
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‘Is this how all heroes are?’ Chi-Woo complained inside his mind and said, “Ms. Ru Hiana? Please get up. Let’s talk a bit.”
“Hmph. What do you see me as?” Chi-Woo snorted. “If that is the extent of your will…I’ll accept your offer.” Chi-Woo dropped the honorifics when addressing her. “Good. Ru Hiana, you are to…”
‘Ruahu, I’m sorry. I don’t know what will happen from now on, but I’ll no longer be able to…’ Ru Hiana apologized inside her mind and tightly shut her eyes.
Then, Chi-Woo said, “Go inside Ru Amuh’s tent and take a nap next to him.” Chi-Woo gave precise instructions so that there wouldn’t be any misunderstanding again.
“…Are you serious, sir?” Ru Hiana’s eyes widened. She raised her head and stared at Chi-Woo.
“Yes, that’s it.” Chi-Woo shrugged with a satisfied look on his face.
“What you want from me is…to take a nap?”
“Yeah, yeah—That’s 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 couldn’t 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 it’s also very tiring for caretakers. You’ve been with him the whole time, right?”
“Then you should rest. You weren’t able to sleep properly earlier because you were so concerned about Mr. Ru Amuh. You should at least take a short break. Let’s meet each other later with a smile.” Chi-Woo spoke nonchalantly and turned around.
“What is it?” Chi-Woo’s face turned serious at Ru Hiana’s desperate cries. “I just told you the price you have to pay, didn’t I?”
“Are you perhaps…unwilling to fulfill your promise? Even though you’re part of the Ru family, of all people?”
“That’s not it…but…” Ru Hiana became speechless as Chi-Woo used her words against her.
“Good. That settled the debt between us. It’s done.” Chi-Woo let out a big yawn. “I’m 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. “I’m 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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