Necromancer Survival - Chapter 278
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The man named Seo Dawon had incredible skill. He finally coerced Kim Sooyoung to agree to extend Ryu Hyerin’s lease to two years.
Furthermore, the reason why Ryu Hyerin thought this man was incredible was due to his ability to conclude negotiations without riling Kim Sooyoung and maintain a pleasant atmosphere. And, while wrapping things up in that manner, Seo Dawon didn’t act servile either.
At the time, the [Red Lotus] guild had the reputation as a place where ‘young crazies’ gathered and ran wild–daredevils. 1 Seo Dawon was simply the handsome guildmaster, no more no less.
In short, it meant that his guild was far different from large-scale guilds like [Opera], where many Priests gathered to try and establish themselves in User society. Ryu Hyerin’s attempts to find an agent and transfer jobs were stalled because there weren’t many guilds willing to put their lives on the line to go against Kim Sooyoung’s will.
However, Seo Dawon was confident without needing to showcase his superiority nor did he need to bow down to Kim Sooyoung.
‘So, someone like that exists, huh?’
Ryu Hyerin felt shocked yet refreshed.
“I’ll see you in our guild office from next week onwards.”
“Ah, yes… Ah! H-Have a good day.”
“Yes. Of course.” With negotiations now finished, Seo Dawon left the [Opera] guildmaster’s office with Ryu Hyerin, walking side by side as they navigated the building’s hallways. When they arrived at the entrance, he gave a simple greeting and walked away without looking backwards.
His straight back, walking away, had been long-imprinted into Ryu Hyerin’s mind. For the first time, she found it hard to sleep, not because of dread for her future, but because of anticipation.
* * *
The first day of the lease:
She headed to the [Red Lotus] office, wearing a new beige robe she had bought and chosen with great care.
“Nice to meet you, I’m Kim Olim. You’re Ryu Hyerin, right?”
“Is she that healer that’s supposed to come here?”
“…Woo Ragi, you sound so impetuous by speaking informally to a stranger you just met. Also, don’t roll around on the sofa.”
However, her excited and hopeful heart sank–like a balloon that had just popped–when she arrived. Seo Dawon, who she had been looking forward to seeing again, was away for work, and the recently introduced deputy guildmaster, the incredible beauty named Kim Olim, was the one to welcome her instead.
Kim Olim was an impressive woman with a slender physique and chilly gaze. Moreover, she had a unique atmosphere that immediately reminded Ryu Hyerin of Seo Dawon.
At that time, Ryu Hyerin felt a deep sense of defeat as she compared herself to Kim Olim, who had a body that befitted a knight, because she considered herself gangly and unsightly. Her standing posture, energy, eyes, gait, and idle behavior… Kim Olim moved with purpose. The woman showcased a dignity that Ryu Hyerin couldn’t hope to achieve.
‘I feel like a fool…’
After seeing Kim Olim, the new robe Ryu Hyerin bought felt somewhat shameful and embarrassing. Why did she come here wearing something like this? What an idiot…
Kim Olim must have thought Ryu Hyerin’s darkening expression–from self-loathing–arose from anxiety; the deputy guildmaster made her a cup of warm cocoa. However, Ryu Hyerin bowed to her without even taking a sip first.
After an hour of this awkward atmosphere flew by, the door to the headquarters finally opened, and Seo Dawon walked in. Ryu Hyerin jumped out of her seat inadvertently. He adopted a faint smile as soon as his eyes met hers and soon approached her. “Ah, you’ve come.”
“Ah… Hello.” Ryu Hyerin bowed her head in a hurry, conscious of her surroundings after her unsteady greeting. She then grabbed at her stiff, new robes for no reason. Seo Dawon stared at Ryu Hyerin for a moment before asking her in a nonchalant tone, “Did you just buy that robe?”
“Ah…yes. Because… I’ll be in a new place starting today…”
That was all the Mage said, but Ryu Hyerin was simply glad he recognized that she had just bought it. She followed the guildmaster’s footsteps; the man (Woo Ragi), who had been lounging on the sofa all this while, glanced at her. That was the day she first met the [Red Lotus] guild.
Later, Ryu Hyerin went to raid a dungeon with the guild. She worked incredibly hard to be recognized by the mage.
The intensity and the build-up of fatigue were completely different in [Red Lotus] as it was in [Opera]. She felt that the raid went much easier with [Red Lotus] than with the guild she had been previously toiling away and working with for the past several years. Of course, physically, her guild may be unparalleled, but she received no stress from the Red Lotus team members and felt relieved.
And, unlike [Opera], they chose to raid the dungeon with a teamwork and speed-based strategy; due to those tactics, Ryu Hyerin was able to experience the fun of a raid for once.
In addition to growing professionally, at a tremendous speed, she studied various things according to Seo Dawon’s advice and learned how to be efficient in activating various high-level skills. She was able to simultaneously cast more and more spells.
In her eyes, Seo Dawon was a genius. Such a man started to acknowledge her abilities.
“I’ve said you’re a genius.”
“Me? I don’t…really know about that.”
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“You get the idea immediately–you understand instructions–after only one explanation. A talent like yours is rare.”
“Really…? But I… I’ve never heard anything like this except from the guildmaster. In Opera, my nickname is idiot. Haha…”
When someone she liked gave her a compliment–something that had never happened before–she felt overwhelmed and habitually denied him.
Just then, Seo Dawon said something she’d never forget for the rest of her life. “Why else would Kim Sooyoung be jealous of you?”
“You’ll soon become the most famous and talented Priest in [Opera], after pushing Kim Sooyoung to the side.”
“Hasn’t everything I said come true?”
Ryu Hyerin stared at him vacantly for a while before biting her lips to stop her tears. Seo Dawon turned a blind eye to her distorted expression, as always.
That day, while following behind the Mage, she thought something. She would be willing to risk her life for this man if he would just request that from her. No–if this man wanted her life, she’d happily give it up for him. She wanted to convey her feelings to him.
Ryu Hyerin loved Seo Dawon. She loved him blindly–she could see nothing else other than that. The first person she fell in love with was so perfect; no one else caught her eye.
Even so, she couldn’t confess. In her eyes, he held such an overpowering position; she felt small, shirking into herself, whenever she found herself standing before him.
In addition, the Mage treated her like an adored younger sister, yet he never talked to her about personal matters. He merely praised her generously when she produced correspondingly incredible results. Ryu Hyerin had never heard a compliment from him about her appearance as opposed to the reams of compliments coming her way from the exhausting and low-class men around her. This knife-like sharp line–this wall–that couldn’t be crossed pained her.
Seo Dawon was friendly, but he wasn’t particularly friendly to her. She received the kindness that he may show to other colleagues; in his private domain, there were always other women by his side.
Seo Dawon dated so many people that it almost alarmed her; still, he was able to organize his private life without much difficulty. He never met several people at once, but the length of time he dated each woman was very short. For all the consuming feelings she felt for Seo Dawon, Ryu Hyerin knew that she was simply just one more person that adored the Mage.
So, she didn’t confess. Rather, it would be more accurate to say she couldn’t confess.
“You’re on the front page again, Seo Dawon. I’ve been getting calls from advertisers all morning. How are you going to fix this?”
“Is it [Korea Days] again?”
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“You have an ex-girlfriend in their editorial department, right? I remember when they stubbornly kept putting guildmaster-nim on the front page…”
“Is it dating rumors again…? Sigh… At least the picture looks good this time. They managed to get a picture of the three-piece suit and a good expression… Last time it was such a pity that guildmaster-nim’s national treasure-like face wasn’t shown because of the cap.”
“Is this all you can say in this situation? When he’s about to lose all these commercial opportunities? You dumbass?”
“Has Jung Garam-kun done his morning stretches? You must live a leisurely life if you have the luxury to read the morning paper.”
“I’m really going to kill you.”
It was an ordinary morning.
Now, [Red Lotus] had grown and increased its regular member count; the guild was becoming more and more famous as it succeeded in various main scenario quests with only a few elite members. In addition, the public’s interest in Seo Dawon, [Red Lotus]’s face, had also grown.
The issue, though, was that Seo Dawon’s public image had been gradually deteriorating as he’d been seen with so many women. He refused to explain himself to sponsorship companies despite the incoming advertising contracts, stating that one’s private life should stay private, but there was no way to stop journalists from taking photos and selling gossip about his life.
The Mage had never commented on the pictures taken of him, so articles always popped up, contemplating the minute details of his life. Ryu Hyerin was worried that the rumors were gradually becoming vulgar. She was upset, and she wanted to protect him even though she knew it sounded presumptuous. To be honest…she wanted him to stop changing the woman on his arm and settle down with herself.
Ryu Hyerin knew that the Mage did not put much meaning on girlfriends or love. If their hearts and momentary excitement coincided, he and the girl would decide to date; if their hearts cooled, he’d cleanly leave. No prominent or amazing woman could hold his attention for more than a few months.
So, Ryu Hyerin chose to remain by his side as a competent colleague and not a girlfriend in order to stay in his life for a long while. Of course, she didn’t expect him to truly believe that she was being friendly with no ulterior motives–after all, she had shown her interest in him from the very beginning, but…she never confessed. She brazenly made up her mind.
At the same time, Ryu Hyerin began to strategically follow Kim Olim. Startlingly, Kim Olim held no deeper personal feelings for Seo Dawon; because of that, she learned that the knight had fully entrenched herself as a close aide to the Mage and built up trust throughout the years.
Ryu Hyerin wanted the knight’s position, so she treated Seo Dawon like a woe-begotten first love she had decided to move on from. She had settled into the position of a cute little sister who no longer had any feelings left for the man. And, she tried to subtly dig into and settle her position with his close friends.
Kim Olim, who originally seemed like she had no gaps, couldn’t bear to see someone vulnerable before her eyes; Ryu Hyerin had to merely confess her past to garner the paladin’s attention. With Woo Ragi, she grew closer to him, little by little, as she took care of the tasks he found bothersome.
On her days off, she built rapport with Jo Chanyoung by volunteering to help abandoned animals with him; she became friends with Jung Garam by using rough words and putting up an unpretentious front.
Choi Kyung-sik began to like her just because she took his side a few times in front of the Mage. And Bang Eunji… Strangely enough, that girl was obedient to her from the very first meeting, so Ryu Hyerin didn’t mind her all that much.
When Seo Dawon saw her so fired up and energetic about socializing, he would occasionally look at her with an incomprehensible gleam in his eyes, but he accepted her actions with no particular signs of opposition.
However, though her efforts have made her one of Seo Dawon’s people, it didn’t really fulfill her true desires. As time passed, her feelings festered. Then, at one point, resentment towards the Mage began to grow.
Why didn’t he love her?
Thanks to the self-esteem that Seo Dawon had nurtured within her, she could receive others’ respect without laughing and deflecting. After imitating Kim Olim, she embodied the paladin’s movements, allowing her to create an air of elegance from the simple act of walking. She learned how to choose the right makeup and clothes for her face and body. She became known as a talented Priest; her treatment within [Opera] had been changing day by day.
However, Seo Dawon became more and more distant from Ryu Hyerin. He was willing to listen to the complaints and drivel from women who were so much worse than her, excuse himself from their short break times to go and meet them, and be willingly dragged out while acting like an accessory on their arms.
She couldn’t understand. She felt, as she silently observed the Mage, that he had a horrible eye for women.
No matter how much she thought about it, she was the only person who could fully accept him.
And yet, he denied that blatant fact. It clearly showed in how he spent every free moment away from her…even though she desperately craved his presence every day.
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