The Novel's Villain - Chapter 101
28. Family Meeting
The Raskan Kingdom was reformed by the nobility. The royals were living a life of debauchery under the name of the king, but now they couldn’t. The royal families, including the Princes, were disbanded. The nobility, who had engaged in corruption by attaching themselves to the royal family, were also cleaned up.
It was rumored that the dragon appeared because of the corrupted royalty and priests. The people turned their backs on them, and the Saint Order was naturally chosen as the state religion. After all, there was a saint who defeated the Demon King. The belief that the saint could defeat even a dragon arose among the people.
Dopplo and doppelgangers couldn’t help but admire Jin-woo’s scheme. He showed his majesty by controlling the dragon and immediately used it as a power to dismantle the royal family. All Dopplo did was keep pace. The Demon Realm was in a festive mood when they occupied the Raskan Kingdom, which had the largest territory among the Kingdoms of the Middle World. It was only natural to rejoice that they had had an incomparably greater influence on the Middle World than that of Heaven now.
Meanwhile, Jin-woo was in trouble. His house in the Middle-World was originally cozy, but starting with the throne full of colorful jewels, it was filled one by one until it turned into an imperial palace. The house had already been completely remodeled. He didn’t know where or how they were invited, but rumors said that the best architects in the Middle World worked on it day and night.
The Maze sat down on the throne often because it liked it. Every time it did, Jin-woo could hear the sound of grinding teeth from the corner. When the Maze clung to Jin-woo, an explosion sounded outside the village. Then, rumors began to spread that the flower shop lady had conquered the dungeon outside the village. That day, the Maze suffered from a stomachache.
Jin-woo carefully erased his presence and approached Arcana. His eyes and Arcana’s, who was hiding in the corner, met. Her pupils dilated greatly, and her face flushed red as if about to burst. Her heartbeat could be heard in Jin-woo’s ears.
Blood began to drip from her nose and mouth.
Arcana fell to the side and fainted. She passed out like that every time Jin-woo approached and tried to talk to her. She couldn’t control the explosive emotions that arrived after more than half a million years.
The dragon’s blood contained a lot of power. As the blood containing Arcana’s power seeped into the earth, human-shaped plants such as Mandragora and Golems appeared. It was said that a talking tree had been created recently.
She looked very happy when she fainted. She didn’t look like a dragon at all in front of Jin-woo. Elise or Luna always took care of the follow-up.
‘…I guess I’ll just have to get used to it.’
For now, that was the only way. It seemed like it would take a lot of time.
* * *
Jin-woo returned to Earth. It was the day he would meet with Chairman Lee Hee-jin, thanks to Ella and Lee Min-woo. He never even sent greetings on New Year’s Day or Korean Thanksgiving, so it felt quite strange to meet him.
‘Chairman Lee Hee-jin played the villain, but…’
It was after Lee Jin-woo died that Lee Min-woo killed Chairman Lee Hee-jin. It was a messed-up family. Now, Chairman Lee Hee-jin was quite modest. Unlike the original story, the relationship between him and Lee Min-woo didn’t look that bad either. What was the trigger?
“How about Elonti?”
“Although the elves opposed it, Queen Ella handled it well. Lee Min-woo’s image isn’t very good there.”
Yoo-na answered Jin-woo like that.
‘I’m sure they will take care of it.’
He didn’t know why, but the people at G&P and the JW Gate hated Lee Min-woo very much. There were many hardships that the two had to overcome, including Chairman Lee Hee-jin. After completing the preparations, Jin-woo headed to the building where the Chairman stayed. It was the first time since he became Lee Jin-woo.
Although it was a very tall building, he didn’t feel the building was as high as it used to be. Compared to the Maze in the Sanctuary, the scale itself was too different. Jin-woo found himself grinning.
‘I’ve changed a lot, too.’
It wasn’t intentional, but somehow his power grew so large that he began to think of the Frontline Group just as the mere Frontline Group. In terms of territory, there was Elonti, Demon Realm, JW Gate, and even the Kingdom of the Middle World. And beside Arcana, there were three Emperors, including himself.
Jin-woo arrived earlier than the promised time. Unlike before, there was no one on the top floor. It seemed to be an order from Chairman Lee Hee-jin. Gate items were always on display, but now most of them had been replaced by those from JW Gate.
He saw a door leading to his home on the top floor; he didn’t feel a hint of nervousness. After all, he was Jin-woo who had faced the Emperor of Greed, the great Maze, and even a dragon. It would be stranger if he were still nervous.
He knocked, but there was no response, though he could feel a presence inside. He tried to open the door, but it didn’t open as if something was jamming it. He gave it a little force, and the lock broke. Fortunately, the alarm didn’t go off.
‘It’ll be fine, right?’
Jin-woo looked at the fallen parts and went inside. This place remained the same. A garden stretched out under the glass ceiling, and there was a traditional Korean house set in front of him. Jin-woo crossed the garden without hesitation and arrived there. There was the sound of something moving in the big room.
Chairman Lee Hee-jin seemed to be inside.
“I’m here. I’m coming in.”
Jin-woo said so and pulled the doorknob. Chairman Lee Hee-jin was hiding something as he entered. He looked startled, but he quickly erased the signs.
“You’re here? Long time no see.”
He looked at Jin-woo with a solemn expression. Chairman Lee Hee-jin, who was called the Emperor of the Earth, had a force of tremendous charisma. However, Jin-woo’s presence was much greater.
“You look busy…”
Something was sticking out under the cushion on which Chairman Lee Hee-jin had been sitting. Jin-woo looked closely, noticing that it was a picture, specifically a picture of Ella smiling brightly. Chairman Lee Hee-jin looked down, flinching when he saw the picture.
“C-Cough, don’t mind it. I looked into what kind of woman she was. Hmm, nothing special.”
“…It’s like the photo you get when you buy an album.”
“It was necessary to do a thorough investigation.”
It was the opposite of their first meeting. At that time, Chairman Lee Hee-jin scolded Jin-woo, and Jin-woo looked at him carefully. Now, Chairman Lee Hee-jin was desperately thinking hard for an excuse. Jin-woo could feel that the Chairman was also human. Thinking like that, he felt a little more comfortable.
Jin-woo smiled as he sat across from him.
“Isn’t sister-in-law pretty?”
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“I haven’t acknowledged her yet.”
“Now that you’ve done your research I understand. Is it because of her origin?”
Chairman Lee Hee-jin looked at Jin-woo. The identity he made for Ella was perfect, but his eyes couldn’t be deceived.
“I know you’ve created that identity. They’re all fabricated records.”
“She is not human. Elf…she is what people call an elf or fairy.”
Jin-woo decided to speak honestly. He also didn’t forget to give a brief explanation. Chairman Lee Hee-jin’s eyes widened. It was a remark that was surprising even to him, who had been through all sorts of hardships. He thought deeply for a moment and nodded.
Chairman Lee Hee-jin didn’t question it any deeper.
“It’s no use even if you oppose it, Grandfather.”
When Jin-woo called him grandfather, Chairman Lee Hee-jin looked at him for a moment and then turned his gaze away.
“C-cough, I said I hadn’t acknowledged her yet, but I didn’t say I was against it.”
“That’s a relief.”
“You rascal…you’ve got no manners.”
Even when Chairman Lee Hee-jin frowned, Jin-woo only felt relaxed. He could feel someone moving outside.
“I guess he’s here.”
Chairman Lee Hee-jin, who was embarrassed, left first. Jin-woo looked around the room and quietly opened the drawer.
It was full of Ella’s albums and event merchandise. It seemed there was nothing to worry about. When he went outside, he could see Lee Min-woo and Ella. Chairman Lee Hee-jin looked at the two of them, then hardened his expression. He then turned and went into the main room. He seemed very cold-hearted.
Lee Min-woo and Ella’s expressions hardened as he left.
“Do you think he doesn’t like me?”
“It’s okay. Don’t worry.”
Lee Min-woo erased his hard expression and comforted Ella while Jin-woo went into the main room. Chairman Lee Hee-jin was there managing his expression while looking in the mirror. He barely lowered the corners of his twitching lips. With considerable effort, he managed to hold a serious look on his face.
“Uh, umm. Did you come? Cough, are you here? So, you’re here…?”
He practiced his greeting. Chairman Lee Hee-jin had changed a lot. Did Lee Jin-woo’s death have such a big impact on him? Jin-woo didn’t even know since it was a different side shown from the original novel.
‘Anyway, he can’t be honest.’
Jin-woo approached Lee Min-woo and Ella.
“My Lord Emperor…”
Lee Min-woo nodded, and Ella began to shed tears. Lee Min-woo learned through Ella that Jin-woo was an Emperor. They couldn’t hide it forever since he decided to stay with Ella, but Lee Min-woo was genuinely grateful to Jin-woo when he found out that he had saved Elonti.
“Are things going well?”
“Well, it’s me…I guess so.”
“Tell me if you need any help.”
Jin-woo just laughed at Lee Min-woo’s words. He took the two of them to the garden. There was a huge table already set up, covered with dishes prepared by the best chefs. There was something else between them that caught his eye, however.
[-] Side Dishes and Stew Full of Grandfather’s Sincerity.
Chairman Lee Hee-jin made it for his grandsons and granddaughter-in-law. He divided it into several pieces and placed them all over the place to avoid being obvious. It is the result of his agony attempting to cook.
It didn’t go well with the menu, but he could feel the sincerity. Chairman Lee Hee-jin came out of the main room again. When Ella greeted him politely, he only nodded slightly. Jin-woo could see Chairman Lee Hee-jin’s lips trembling. He seemed to want to say what he had practiced, but he couldn’t get the words out.
Everyone sat around the dinner table. Lee Min-woo was sweating as if he felt a lot of pressure bearing on him. Contrary to that, Ella smiled softly and spoke kindly to him. Her warm energy overshadowed Lee Hee-jin’s solemn aura.
Chairman Lee Hee-jin coughed and nodded slightly. Ella couldn’t eat well because it was made of ingredients from JW Gate, but she enjoyed the side dishes and stew made by Chairman Lee Hee-jin. After all, it was made with Earth’s ingredients.
Chairman Lee Hee-jin glanced at Jin-woo.
‘Ask her how it is.’
‘Just do it yourself…’
Such conversations were made with their eyes. Jin-woo was about to ignore it, but then he nodded.
“Sister-in-Law, do you like it?”
“Yes? Yes! I feel the sincerity in the cooking. It’s very tasty.”
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Ella was greatly embarrassed when Jin-woo called her sister-in-law, but she regained her composure and answered with a smile. Chairman Lee Hee-jin turned his head slightly after hearing Ella’s words. She was bewildered and wondered whether she might have said something wrong.
‘He must like it.’
In Jin-woo’s eyes, Chairman Lee Hee-jin seemed to be at a loss. His ears were a little red, a small indication of how he felt. Lee Min-woo tasted Ella’s side dish and tilted his head.
“It’s a bit bland…”
Chairman Lee Hee-jin stared at Lee Min-woo with widened eyes. Lee Min-woo flinched slightly. The temperature difference between when he was looking at Ella and when he was looking at Lee Min-woo was huge.
‘I’m sure this is a great deal.’
Jin-woo thought so. Only the place was special; otherwise, it was still an ordinary family gathering. After dinner, they moved to another place. They sat on the floor overlooking the garden and drank tea. When Ella took out the present she had prepared and handed it over, Chairman Lee Hee-jin glanced at Jin-woo. Now he was completely dependent on him.
Jin-woo shook his head. He took it instead and put it to the side. Lee Min-woo looked at Chairman Lee Hee-jin with a stern look.
“We will be engaged.”
Chairman Lee Hee-jin got up from his seat and disappeared into the main room again. The situation in the main room was obvious. Lee Min-woo kept his head down until Chairman Lee Hee-jin came out again, looking very gloomy.
“It’s none of my business. Take care of it on your own.”
The words were cold, but Lee Min-woo could barely raise his head and smile. The same was true of Ella. Now that he had asked for the Chairman’s permission, the next was Elonti. Jin-woo had no intention of taking care of that.
Silence fell over them. Thinking that they were interrupting Chairman Lee Hee-jin’s rest, Lee Min-woo and Ella stood first. When the two disappeared, Lee Hee-jin’s poker face collapsed. Jin-woo laughed.
“Do you regret it?”
“Cough, What do I regret about?”
“You should have told them to stay a night here. There are a lot of rooms…I know that your schedule is empty.”
Chairman Lee Hee-jin’s eyes widened. He seemed to be suffering from a great shock.
“Don’t you have one?”
“…You rascal. You still never understand what I’m saying.”
“It seems I take after you, Grandfather.”
Lee Hee-jin frowned. He didn’t even know that his solemn appearance collapsed in front of Jin-woo because he was an Emperor. From that point of view, Lee Hee-jin was nothing but his frivolous grandfather.
“Shall I stay a night?”
Chairman Lee Hee-jin waved his hand. His shoulders were sagging.
“It’s cold. Come in.”
Chairman Lee Hee-jin had the gift from Ella in his hand. Jin-woo shook his head and followed inside.
* * *
Arcana, who woke up from her fainting, rolled over the bed. After all, she had written another dark history.
‘I have to apologize…’
She packed a custom apology gift. This time, she wanted to gather her courage and tell him directly. Finally, the special elixir was completed. It was an elixir made by gathering poisonous herbs in a huge pot. If she weren’t an Emperor, her heart would stop just from smelling it since it was so poisonous.
She took the large pot and drank it at once. Her expression calmed down as she drank deeply from the cauldron.
‘Where is he?’
She used her powers and tried to track Jin-woo’s location. He wasn’t in the Middle-World, but rather his energy was faintly felt from a distant dimension.
She barely learned Jin-woo’s name from the Maze. She began to agonize for a moment, but the elixir was working. Now, she was confident that she wouldn’t faint even if she saw Jin-woo. Maybe that was why she became bold and brave.
‘If I use the Maze…’
The Maze spanned all dimensions, so it seemed that using them could lead to Jin-woo. Although the mana consumption was extreme, she didn’t even care about that. She cautiously approached the Maze, who was still rolling around in Jin-woo’s house.
Arcana grabbed the Maze’s body and raised her mana. The Maze looked up at her, blinking its eyes. When Arcana awakened her power, an enormous amount of mana drained away, and a portal appeared in front of her. It was a portal to Earth through the Sanctuary.
Arcana had chosen coordinates to where Jin-woo’s energy still lingered.
She hesitated for a moment, then went inside. The Maze looked at the portal and tilted its head. Luna, who was outside, came in. She also tilted her head as she looked at the portal in the middle of the house.
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When Jin-woo went home, Chairman Lee Hee-jin took a deep breath. As the warmth disappeared, emptiness came over him. Then, when he thought of Ella, a soft smile came to his lips. Chairman Lee Hee-jin often listened to her songs.
Her song meant a lot to Chairman Lee Hee-jin. His heart softened, and he began to rethink his life. The emotions he had hidden away came back to life. Eventually, he was able to acknowledge his true heart. He had the power and wealth to rule the world, but he was nothing more than an old man starved for love.
‘Sword Master, will he be surprised too?’
The Sword Master secretly teased him for going to Ella’s concert. Wouldn’t he be surprised when news of the engagement spread? He wanted to see his astonished expression.
‘What a shame.’
Chairman Lee Hee-jin prepared a lot to say, but he couldn’t speak a word of it. It was the only way to manage his facial expression; otherwise, the corners of his lips would twitch when he saw his lovely granddaughter-in-law.
Chairman Lee Hee-jin cleared his expression.
After his engagement with Choi Hee-yeon broke up, he didn’t seem to be seeing anyone in particular.
‘Yoo-na, there is that child…and that child in the Research Institute is also wonderful….’
He was worried about Jin-woo. After all, in Chairman Lee Hee-jin’s eyes, Jin-woo didn’t seem to have any luck with women. He looked fine, but wasn’t he unexpectedly unpopular? It was when Chairman Lee Hee-jin thought so and shook his head.
The space right in front of Chairman Lee Hee-jin shook. His eyes widened when he looked at the small Gate.
What appeared through the space was a woman with beautiful green hair. She was so beautiful that he couldn’t think of her as a human being. She was Arcana, who had crossed over from Middle World using the Maze. Arcana stepped out of the portal with the most modest gesture possible.
“Who are you?”
Arcana panicked when she saw Chairman Lee Hee-jin. This was because the Chairman smelled similar to Jin-woo.
“W-What kind of relationship do you have with Sir Ji-Jin-woo…?”
“He’s my grandson…”
“Kyaa, please apologize for my rudeness!”
Arcana bowed down and greeted him. Chairman Lee Hee-jin watched her calmly.
“What is your relationship with my grandson?”
“I-I’m his wife…not yet, but I’m not sure if I should say that we’re a married couple…after all, we’re living together…”
Chairman Lee Hee-jin looked at Arcana. She didn’t appear to be an ordinary being. Arcana hurriedly handed the present in her hand to Chairman Lee Hee-jin. It was an apology gift for Jin-woo, but she couldn’t afford to think about that for the time being.
‘Um, living together…perhaps, you’re Jin-woo’s…?’
Chairman Lee Hee-jin was slightly surprised to hear that she was living with him. She lived in the Sacred Ground, so it wasn’t wrong to say that they lived together.
It was then, the Maze and Luna appeared out of the portal. Luna saw Arcana kneeling in front of Chairman Lee Hee-jin.
“Did you come to see Jin-woo? I’m Jin-woo’s grandfather.”
Luna was surprised when Chairman Lee Hee-jin said so, perhaps because it was obvious that the Emperor’s grandfather would be a great being. The Maze only tilted its head.
‘I-is he the God of Creation?’
Luna thought so in the solemn aura around Chairman Lee Hee-jin. All of a sudden, they all sat next to Arcana. Chairman Lee Hee-jin thought it was over, but someone else appeared through the portal. It was Arina and Heo-young who came to investigate the portal that suddenly appeared in the Sanctuary.
Arina and Heo-young could also be found looking puzzled.
“He is my friend, Jin-woo’s grandfather.”
When the Maze said that, Arina and Heo-young were also greatly surprised and sat down side by side with the rest. As Chairman Lee Hee-jin asked Arcana, he asked what kind of relationship they had with Jin-woo.
“He is my master.”
Chairman Lee Hee-jin kept his composure as he nodded. It wasn’t a situation that he couldn’t accept since his field of vision was broadened after discovering that his granddaughter-in-law was an elf.
‘That rascal…I don’t need to worry about him.’
All of his worries about Jin-woo gradually disappeared. His grandson was incredibly popular, and Chairman Lee Hee-jin looked very proud. He stood from his seat and looked at them.
“Have you eaten?”
Everyone blinked and shook their heads.
It was something that Jin-woo had not expected at all.
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