It's the eye of the tiger. It's the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our (love) rival.
03. Third Story
Even though I can't even remember how many times I've drunk the barley tea Saehee brought, for some reason my lips were totally dry. Ah, it's like sitting on a pincushion. Narae's glaring at me from the corner of her eye so hard, it hurts.
"......So you mean, even though Sunghoon and Rangii have a cousin-like relationship, they're actually complete strangers? And they're even engaged?"
It looks like our story has ended up like that.
"That's right. We're lovey-dovey."
When and where did you learn that word?
Sting. Narae's glare hurts a whole lot more.
It's better that I tell her about the engagement than about Rangii being a phantom.
"It's like that for now, but......"
"Lolicon. Go die."
Words that I couldn't ignore came from Narae's mouth.
"Who, who's a lolicon? My tastes are normal!"
I must look just like someone from a soap opera who got caught cheating by his lover.
"That's right. Of course Sunghoon likes a perfectly normal woman like I."
You brat. Would you shut that mouth for now? Are you planning on robbing me of my romance and going all the way to bankrupt me?
Aghh, Miss Narae's scornful glare hurts. My heart hurts.
"Even if we are engaged, our parents are the ones who decided that; and I didn't even know about it until yesterday."
"But despite that, it looks like you two are really close?"
"Sunghoon met me once when he was young."
"When Sunghoon was born......"
I swiftly blocked Rangii's mouth.
Don't look at me like you're asking why I'm doing this. You brat, try and use common sense. I'm clearly older than you, so does it make sense that I met you the moment I was born?
"Ha, haha. When Rangii was born, not that long ago. Yeah. I was also young then, so I forgot."
I carefully removed the hand that was blocking Rangii's mouth. I was trying to tell her, hey, don't say anything weird, with my eyes, but Rangii didn't have a lot of experience in understanding someone's thoughts.
"Why do you keep acting like that? Even though I said that I would accept a concubine, at some point a concubine should know her place! Isn't it natural for you to show love to your wife, to me, first?"
The first thing I'm going to do is shut that mouth.
"Who're you calling a concubine?"
Look. Because of you, Narae got mad.
"If Sunghoon were to pick who to be his wife between the two of us, he would obviously choose me!"
You're getting mad about something weird!
"Why are you saying that?! Sunghoon will obviously choose me! Sunghoon is totally in love with me! Because he's a lolicon!"
Are you planning on killing me?
At first Narae got angry at Rangii's nonsensical words, but suddenly she gave a bright smile, looking like a flower, and said,
Narae, in a voice as if trying to placate a child, spoke of a cruel reality that I could never vocalize.
"I know Sunghoon's tastes quite well, okay? Ever since he was young, he liked big-breasted ladies."
That was a cruel reality to me as well.
How, how do you know about my tastes?!
"But there's no way......"
"So you see, there's no way he would choose you."
At that moment.
"There's no way that's true!"
Rangii stood up and shouted while emitting an intense energy.
"There's no way, no way that that's true! Sunghoon, Sunghoon is the one who will love me!!"
Something overbearing filled the room, almost suffocating me. Is, is this the so-called Reiatsu?!
"Sunghoon, sniffle, likes me!!"
You brat, what you doing all of a sudden?
I looked up at Rangii while thinking, you brat, what are you doing all of a sudden? when,
I wanted to faint.
"......A tail? And ears? From where?"
Narae's words are reaffirming that the situation before my eyes is reality. That's right. While angry and on the verge of tears, Rangii forgot to hide her tail and ears.
Oh crap. What do I do? Could I just say it's a magic trick? Could I trick her by saying, surprise, it was a surprise show~ and have this all blow over?
Of course not!
"Please excuse me for a moment."
Saehee, the only one of us to have kept their cool, made her move. She put her hand on Narae who was confused at the sight of Rangii's sudden tail and ears. At that moment, Narae collapsed backwards.
"More importantly, the young master should seek to calm down Master. Right away."
In times like this, Saehee's expressionless face makes her a lot more trustworthy. I decided to go to Rangii, who was getting ready to scream, with her hands in fists, tears forming around her eyes, and breathing hard, going huuk-huuk.
"Hey, hey. What's the problem, huh?"
"That woman, she--! Uu, that woman said that you hate, huk, hate me......"
With Rangii stuck to my chest, I rubbed her head and spoke.
"Who, when, and where did anyone say that?"
"But, but. Didn't that woman say so?! That there's no way, kuu, no way you would love me!"
Well, if a man with typical sexual preferences were to pick between Narae and you, he would obviously choose Narae. And I'm definitely a typical man, so I'd pick Narae.
"Hey, just because you're like that, it doesn't mean I can't love......"
It's embarrassing, so I can't say it.
"I mean, liking someone is different. No matter your age, face, or personality, none of that stuff matters."
I blocked Rangii from continuing.
"Listen well. None of that stuff matters when it comes to liking someone."
That is a lie. Appearance, money, breasts, height, personality, and a lot more are related to that.
"You have your own charm. So I......"
Rangii's a kid. A kid. A little kid. A freaking little kid. So why is blood rushing to my face?
"Like you, Rangii."
Rangii stopped crying. She loosened her fists, and her previously unfocused eyes looked up at me. Hey, look somewhere else. If you look at me with such innocent eyes, then my conscience will get hurt. I said something so embarrassing that I wanted to hide in a mouse hole, so stop looking at me like that!
Rangii lifted her hand and held them tightly onto my chest.
Rangii's two cheeks were getting rosy. To such Rangii, I said,
"Nope. I lied."
She reacted like when you tease a kid about whether or not you'll give her candy, but then you put it in your own mouth. She started tearing up again, her eyebrows looking like the Chinese Eight (八), and her mouth looked like the Korean letter (ㅅ).
"Uu, uuu--, uuuu--."
If I keep this up, she may really cry, so I should stop teasing her. I bent down, hugged Rangii with both my arms, lifted her up, and continued,
"Because I like you a super-duper lot."
I'm telling Rangii what she wants to hear. Ah, shit. There are goosebumps on my arms. But seeing a blooming flower on Rangii's face, I thought, so what if I have goosebumps? Because kids look their best when they're smiling.
"Uu--. How mean! Sunghoon is mean!"
Rangii slapped down against my shoulders with her hands. Of course, it hurts. Even if it's a little kid, something that hurts will hurt. But I won't show it on my face. Because that's being an adult.
Okay, I've calmed down Rangii, so should I worry about the next thing? Now that Rangii was back to normal-- I mean, in a better mood than normal, I tried to put her down, but somehow she climbed and clung onto my back, so I gave up. I shifted my position to have her on my back comfortably.
"What do you need of me, you crimi-- I mean, young master?"
"What were you about to call me?"
"I haven't a clue what you are talking about. But it seems as though there is something else you should be curious about."
Seeing as how Saehee skillfully changed the subject, it looks like I'll have to have a private chat with her later.
"So what're you going to do?"
Even if it was for just a moment, before she was knocked unconscious by Saehee, Narae saw Rangii's tail and ears. If I don't prepare some kind of answer while she's unconscious, then it'll be terrible.
"The simplest solution would be to drop her in the ocean in a metal drum with cement, but......"
Saehee was glancing at me from the side while I had a furious expression on my face.
"The victim isn't the young master, so I do not plan on doing that."
So if it were me, you'd do it?
"That is why I was going to perform a simple memory manipulation on her, but a problem has occurred."
"......What is it?"
"The one called Narae is a member of the Bear Clan. I believed that she was a normal human, but I was fooled. I never expected that I would be unable to notice those who had not had their powers awoken."
What? Bear Clan?! And a barrier?
And on that topic,
"What's the Bear Clan, and what do you mean by barrier?"
Saehee looked at me pityingly. Please don't show emotion only in times like this.
"All day today, I worked to create a barrier to be able to detect the energy of different phantoms as well as ourselves in the Seoul area."
Is it okay to think of it as a convenient radar?
"While drinking alcohol?"
"Do you have any complaints?"
I do not.
"Then explain to me in layman's terms what the Bear Clan is."
"It is the enemy."
"......A little longer, please."
"The Bear Clan I am speaking of is composed of Ungnyeo and her direct descendants."
"And by Ungnyeo, you mean the one from the Dangun Myth, that Ungnyeo?"
"Is there a different Ungnyeo?"
I'm sorry for asking something so obvious.
"If members of the Bear Clan inherit Ungnyeo's blood, and should they meet a certain condition, they become female puppets of Ungnyeo. Then only their heads remain under their own control."
"Explain so it's easier to understand."
"They are the bitches among bitches."
I should stop talking.
"Simply put, they're like this: that fat hag hates the fact that Hwanung paid attention to me, so she's using her descendants to try and kill me."
"Then, aren't you in danger?"
With Rangii on my back, in a position that didn't inspire any confidence at all, she put her mouth to my ear......,
"Don't worry. No matter how many dozens, or hundreds of them come, I will protect you."
She whispered this with complete confidence. Hey, you brat. The one I'm worried about is you. Why are you worrying about me? I'm a normal human so there's no reason for the Bear Clan to target me.
Well--, Rangii telling me that she was strong enough to protect me must've been just to make me feel safer. I decided to think of it as that. But maybe Saehee saw that I wasn't convinced at all because she gave an additional explanation.
"Approximately 300 years ago as well, we repelled an attack by the foolish Bear Clan more easily than we could flip our palms. Because the seal has weakened since then, they will be unable to harass us thoughtlessly."
Could Rangii's strangely anachronistic thoughts and speech-style be an influence from that time?
No, that's not the important thing here. I should go back to the main issue.
"So what's the problem with Narae being a part of the Bear Clan?"
"Every member of the Bear Clan has some degree of resistance to magic. Although she has yet to meet the condition, hastily casting magic may result in a small problem."
"What is it?"
"If she is fortunate, brain damage; if not, instant death."
What the heck is that a huge problem to you, then? Anyway, if I interpret her words differently,
"Are you saying that, since you can't manipulate her memory, you need to find a different solution?"
"That is correct, young master."
What should I do? I need the wisdom of Solomon himself. ......Not the one where he tries cutting a baby in half!
"Instead, if she realized her power, this problem would become much easier."
Saehee's words caught my attention.
"Then, wouldn't everything work out if she met that condition? What is it?"
"It is her breast size."
I was dumbfounded at Saehee's indifferent, completely serious words.
"Members of the Bear Clan awaken their strength when they become greater than a D cup."
I decided that Saehee was screwing with me and spouting nonsense. I turned my head and I asked Rangii, who now had her chin on my shoulder.
"I don't know what a D cup is, but all of my opponents had large breasts."
Okay, but why are you talking while tightening around my neck?
"I made sure to educate the attackers, with those huge, useless things swaying and shaking, exactly who they were dealing with."
From the feeling Rangii's tiny breasts on my back, I, for whatever reason, felt pity for her.
"So what do we do? Can I tell her the truth about you two?"
"Please do as you please, young master."
"......Is it really okay if I do that?"
Although I meant if it was okay if I told her about phantoms,
"She is the one to become the concubine of the man to be my husband. It would be right to do so."
Seeing the two phantoms before me not at all worried about that, I felt like the weird one. So I decided.
"So you're saying, after I fainted in your house, I was unconscious for nearly an hour, and I just now woke up?"
"Yes, that's right. Miss Narae."
Please be fooled. I'm begging you. Por favor.
"......Do you wanna die?"
"It was impossible?!"
Ignoring Saehee's look of pity and Rangii's look of disappointment, I moved onto my next plan. Although I call it a plan, it's not well-made, and the plain truth is that I'm adapting it on the fly. I simply explained that Rangii is the tiger from the Dangun myth, that she lived in my grandfather's estate away from humans, that he passed away (even though he's not dead), and that there was no one else who could take care of her so I brought her to Seoul. Although I hid all the other important facts except for those, Narae must have been shocked speechless after learning that Rangii and Saehee are phantoms, because after I was done explaining, she didn't say a word.
After I finished my explanation and drank a glass of barley tea, Narae held my hand at looked at me with eyes full of sadness. Huh? Why're you doing that all of a sudden?
"You must've had a really tough time, Sunghoon."
Ah, is that how you're going to be?
"You must've been really shocked because of your grandfather's passing. Yeah. That's why I'll understand."
Your pitying kindness is making me sadder. It seems like Narae is treating me like someone who lost it after I heard my grandfather passed away, but at least she understands, that's all crap.
"No, that's all real."
"You expect me to believe that? The tail and ears that kid has on must be because you forced her to wear them because of your perverted interests, you pervert, sexual harasser, dirty old man!"
Oi, oi. Even though I had a lot of things to say at Narae's incomprehensible yelling, Rangii got angry and spoke up first.
"No it's not! These are truly a part of my body!"
She clenched her fists, closed her eyes hard, proudly moving her ears and tail, and while Narae was trying to calm down Rangii, Narae sighed.
Narae opened her mouth, looking completely calm and making it seem unbelievable that she was furious just a bit ago.
"I know, Rangii. It's just that I couldn't think objectively if I didn't talk like this. For him to talk about phantoms in this century. And that he's the guardian of you phantoms, of course I have to be able to believe that. It's because he's speaking nonsense to try and trick me."
I bowed my head. Although I'm going through all this because of my damn grandfather and my eccentric dad, in other words my family, Narae was totally unrelated. But now, because of me, she's caught up in this too. Really, there's nothing I can say.
It's okay. Because I'd be even more upset if I didn't know."
Narae actually comforted me. I heard everything up to the it's okay, but what did you say after that?
As I was about to ask her what it was she said, Narae suddenly pinched my side.
"But what? I was passed out for an hour? Do you think I'm an idiot? Did you think I'd fall for that?"
You're pinching the same place as before! Why're you pinching somewhere you already pinched before?!
"N, no! That's not it!!"
Would I ever say such things under normal circumstances?
"And, if I was fooled, you were going to keep hiding this, weren't you?"
"That goes without saying."
Narae stared daggers at me. She doubled her strength.
"If you're going to try and trick me, then make up something convincing, you idiot! Who would fall for such a pathetic lie?!"
"Ow! It hurts! Please let me go, Narae-nim!!"
And so Narae let go of my side. Although I was rubbing hard with my hand, the pain wasn't going away at all. While I was moving my butt to get away from Narae for the sake of my sides,
"So now that everything's revealed, what are you going to do?"
Narae asked me.
What am I going to do?
"Rangii and Saehee...... may be phantoms, but right, now they're still girls."
Even though Rangii looks like a girl, she's actually nearly an animal, and Saehee is almost an unidentified mystery creature, but so what. Like Narae said, right now they really are girls.
"Even if your dad is living with you, you can't just live with two girls! Wait, it's not because you're okay with whatever as long as they're girls, right?"
"That's not it......"
"If that's not it, then what?"
I don't know what to say. It seems like Sahee has connections in the government, but even if she found a different house, Rangii probably wouldn't leave my house. While I was worrying about how to answer, I never imagined Saehee would respond to what Narae said.
"That is truly not the case. The young master's parents are not residing here."
Narae was dumbstruck.
No, she was angry.
"The heck does that mean?! Hey! Are you trying to use this opportunity while your parents are gone?!"
Seeing the spiritual body of Shiva as if about to destroy all of creation with a single blow, I lost any words I was about to say. Narae, you don't think I brought these two here while my parents were gone to do wicked things to them, right? No, after seeing your face is that actually correct? That is a misunderstanding. It is a misunderstanding.
"No, you see, madam, it was only after I brought these two to Seoul with me that my parents had something come up and had to leave."
Why am I using honorifics to Narae right now?
Narae leaned down, slammed her hands on the table, and then spoke,
"Are you telling me to believe that ridiculous excuse?!"
"But it's true."
"Do you have any proof?"
"I do not."
With her eyes looking even more furious than before, Narae lowered her hand to my inner thigh...... and pinched it.
"You idiot! What the hell was that yesterday, really?!"
For the sake of my survival I grabbed Narae's wrist. Her other hand went directly for my side. I quickly moved my body. Is this what's called a reflex?!
"Oh, you're dodging?"
I quietly put down my hand and turned away. Narae pinched my side. Maybe I've grown numb there because I can't feel any pain.
"So you're all going to stay like this until your parents come back?"
"......I mean, but I can't drive them away."
Narae fell deep into thought at my realistic objection when,
"Then Rangii and Saehee can stay at my house."
She said something difficult to understand.
"Two girls can't stay in a house with a guy! What if you did something terrible?!"
Then I'd die.
Rangii is a tiger the size of a mountain and Saehee is some kind of unidentifiable phantom. If I went uhuhu, I can't hold it in anymore! Uwaaang~ and pounced at them, I'd just end up receiving terrible punishment.
But setting all that aside, Narae's idea has its appeal. Narae's family is rich and entrusting them to Narae might be okay.
"I can't do that."
"Why? No way, do you......"
I cut off Narae, stopping her from continuing a ridiculous misunderstanding.
"No, that's not what I meant. How could I do that after they trusted and followed me all the way here? I have to take responsibility for them, but I'll accept your feelings."
Narae got furious.
"E, even if you say that you don't look cool at all!"
That's because I didn't say it to look cool.
Narae looked as though, if she was in a manhwa, she'd have veins popping out of her forehead as she was bearing a lot of thoughts in her head. She's a member of the Bear Clan, so she's bearing a lot of thoughts, you see..... Sorry. I messed up. I wanted to escape reality, even if I had to use a bad joke. But it was only after Narae spoke that I really wanted to escape reality.
"Then, until your parents come back, I'm going to stay here, too."
What are you saying right now? She may have gotten caught up in the moment and not really thought about what she's saying.
"No, Narae. That's......"
"I used to come to play and sleep over with you all the time a long time ago!"
That was back in elementary school!
"What kind of demand is that?!"
"Shut up! If I want to do it, I will! I'm going to sleep in your house too! Or are you saying that it's okay for them, but not for me? If not, what else? Does it make you uncomfortable for me to be here?!"
If you say that much, then there's no way I can respond.
When Narae is so completely stubborn, at first there's no way she'd accept a direct refusal. She's too strong an opponent. But that's only a direct refusal. It's possible to refuse later on. I mean like this:
While acting like I accepted,
"But. You need to get permission from your parents first."
I just gave a completely impossible condition. If they're proper parents, there's no way they'll let their fully grown daughter stay at a man's house for several days, even if he's a childhood friend. It's a bit of a shame, but if Narae stays here then I'll lose my mind.
But I got nervous after seeing Narae so full of confidence for some reason.
I stuttered at her sudden energy.
Narae took out her cell phone and probably called her parents. Narae opened her mouth, but I didn't know if the one who answered was her mom or her dad.
"Yes, Dad. It's me. Yes. I have something to tell you. I'm going to sleep at Sunghoon's house for a few days. No. His parents aren't here."
Oi, Narae. DIdn't you just nonchalantly step on a landmine?
"You mean I can't?"
Thankfully Narae's dad seems like someone with a good head on his shoulders. Narae furrowed her brow a bit, then a moment later. A rare sight appeared as Narae smiled brightly and spoke with a soft voice.
"Okay. Fine. Then I won't ever get married and live with Papa forever. Forever. That's okay, right, Papa?"
Why am I getting goosebumps on my back from hearing this?
"Yes. Okay. Thank you, Dad. Ah, I'll give the phone to Sunghoon for a bit."
Narae took her cell phone away from her ear and handed it to me. Though I felt uneasy, I took it and opened my mouth.
[Please take good care of my daughter, Sunghoon. Make the most of this opportunity. Please, please do that. That little devil is......]
As I was about to hear something like a scream, Narae took the phone and hung up. Um, I'm curious about that last part about a little devil.
"Everything's worked out, right?"
But for some reason, I feel like I cracked open Pandora's box?
"Although members of the Bear Clan have a strong obsession for their mate, they have trouble expressing their true feelings."
Saehee, when did you get next to me? Since a moment ago you were in front of me. And it feels like you just said something weird?
"I shall prepare a meal for Master. I came to ask if it was okay to prepare food."
"I'm hungry~. Let's talk after we eat dinner~."
Hearing Rangii's whining, I realized I was hungry as well. Come to think of it, I went out grocery shopping to get ingredients for dinner. I can even, I mean can't understand why Rangii started drooling over pigeon.
"Then I shall prepare dinner."
"I bought the ingredients before so thanks."
"I shall do so."
With a slight smile on her face, Saehee spoke to Narae.
"Do you not think that this conversation is similar to one between newlyweds?
Oi, what're you saying right now?
"......You said that so I could hear it, didn't you?"
Narae isn't one to walk away from a fight.
"How rude. Seeing such egotism, I could not help but do so as well."
In times like these, just say no. Narae even narrowed her eyes!
"Great. I want to help too; it's okay if I do, right?"
"Thank you very much."
Seen from the outside, with Narae smiling and Saehee expressionless, the two looked like they got along as they walked to the kitchen. I should avoid the kitchen. Definitely.
Okay then, it looks like a typhoon just passed by so I can finally take a breather. I want to lie down on the floor with my legs and arms stretched out like Rangii, but I have human dignity. But you brat. What're you doing right now? Apart from laying down like you don't care about a thing, why're you banging on the floor?
"......What're you doing?"
"Sunghoon still wouldn't play with me, so I'm angry."
It seems that when tigers are upset these days, they lie with their limbs outstretched while hitting the floor with their palm. Even if I entered a tiger's den by an accident, I could survive by making the tiger angry. But still, if you interpreted what happened between Narae and me as playing, then I'd have to fit you a pair of glasses right away.
"I was busy because of you. If you hadn't shown your tail and ears, then all this wouldn't have gotten so complicated."
Rangii puffed out her cheeks.
"Uuu--. But I couldn't help that. How could I have ignored such words?"
I probably would've just ignored them. Because there are lots of times when you aren't chosen by someone you like. Will such a thing happen to the future-me as well?
......Ah. I should wipe away my tears. For the sake of my potentially lamentable future, I decided to be on Rangii's side.
"Yeah, yeah. You didn't do anything wrong."
Rangii laughed, going hee hee at my answer, and she crawled under the table as she pushed her legs out the other side towards me. You brat. Are you saying that it's tiring to get up? Rangii moved further, and this time, she crawled out all the way to her hips, but hey. A girl should be dressed neatly. Your dopo like shirt is moved up, so your belly is visible. Seeing her belly wriggling left then right, slowly exposing itself to get closer to me, I couldn't help but play a prank. I poked Rangii on the belly button with my finger.
Rangii suddenly lifted up her limbs, got up, then made a bang as she shook the table. What a fun kid. Teasing her was worth it. Having gotten up on the opposite side of the table from me, Rangii whined while rubbing her red forehead.
"Why'd you suddenly do that? Weren't you surprised?"
"Took the words right out of my mouth. What're you doing?"
"I tried to sit on your lap."
"Then you should've gotten up properly and sat there."
"It's annoying to get up."
If annoyances were given ratings, you'd be a first-class tiger.
"Ah, is that so."
I took a slight step back, saw Rangii's legs poking out from under the table, grabbed them, and,
"Huh? Why're you doing that?"
I pulled her towards me.
While squealing, she looked at me with her eyes wide open, and her face came up from under the table.
"If you don't want this to happen to you, then next time, sit properly."
"That, that was fun! Can't you do it again?"
Looks like it backfired.
When did you two come out?!
The dinner Narae and Saehee made was so delicious as to elicit a scream. Seeing the unbelievable food made from the simple ingredients I bought, my mouth was watering.
We ate dinner with Rangii and Narae sitting next to me around a circular table, and Saehee opposite to me. Mmm~. It tastes good.
"How's the spinach dish? I'm the one who made it."
At Narae's carefully asked question, I ate a bite of the spinach and gave her a thumbs up.
"Yeah. It's good."
"Thank goodness. I was worried you wouldn't like it."
"I'm serious, it's really good."
More than anything, it's a side dish that Narae made for me. Thus I could already comprehend a heavenly taste.
"Young master. Please try the pumpkin-jeon as well."
At Saehee's suggestion I tried a bite of the pumpkin-jeon. It's really good. Although I already knew this, Saehee is really good at cooking.
"That is a relief."
......For some reason, the mood feels really tense, but is that just my imagination? No, it doesn't seem like my imagination. Narae-nim seems, for whatever reason, to be in quite a bad mood.
For some reason, I have a bad feeling.
"This and this. These are the ones I cooked, so enjoy it."
"Besides those, I made the rest. Please enjoy it."
Looking closely, I could see that Narae's food was on the left, Saehee's food was on the right, with the Bulgogi in the center.
Oi, you two. What the heck happened in the kitchen while Rangii and I were playing around? It's hard to eat only with one pair of chopsticks when Saehee and Narae are looking at me.
Oh, Miss Saehee, why do you look so anxious to get rid of Narae? In times like these, I feel jealous of Rangii who's eating totally carefree.
......Seeing her continue to drop food, I was actually no longer jealous of her, considering how clumsy she was with her chopsticks. Just this morning, although she was a little clumsy, she was using them properly. But why are you now suddenly like this?
Whenever Rangii dropped the side dishes, she'd go, uuu, puff out her cheeks, and glance at me. Are you asking for my help?
Yeah. I feel a little bad for Rangii so I'll help her.
Her response was a little funny since it sounded like she was sulking.
"Come over here."
I patted my knee. It felt like I was calling for a dog, but it was different. Because she's not Baduk.
Rangii took her rice bowl and utensils and sat on my lap.
"I already taught you how to hold your chopsticks. Try and eat properly."
I fixed Rangii's clumsy hold on the chopsticks by fiddling with her hand.
"Okay, okay. So what do you want to eat?"
I picked up Bulgogi with my chopsticks and put them on top of Rangii's rice......
"Wait, wait, wait!!"
Hm? Narae suddenly got upset.
"What're you doing right now?!"
With Narae pointing her finger at me, I answered by explaining my actions matter-of-factly.
"But I'm helping Rangii with her food? She may look like an elementary schooler, but she's actually a phantom, so she's clumsy with this stuff."
"It's still weird! Even if that's the case, why is she on your lap?!"
Is this weird? But when I was little, I would sit on top of my mom's knees to teach me how to use my eating utensils.
"This is how we teach this in my family."
"I...... no, that's ridiculous!"
Seeing Narae go bright red and getting upset, should I give her an excuse or maybe protest?
"Because this way, I can make sure that she eats easily and that she isn't being picky with her food. And Rangii's a little kid, so what's the big deal?"
"In what way is she a little kid?!"
Hm? I looked down at Rangii. Rangii looked up at me with bright, innocent eyes.
She's clearly a little kid.
"......Aren't you overreacting?"
"I'm not! Look! She even stuck her tongue at me just now!"
I looked down at her again.
"The meat is tasty~."
Seeing Rangii enjoy the Bulgogi, I silently hit her lightly on the head.
"Uwah! Why'd you do that all of a sudden?!"
"There's no reason for Narae to lie."
"Do you not trust me?"
"I saw you stick your tongue out."
Rangii was shocked and looked totally surprised.
"You, you saw? How?"
"Did you really?"
I was just testing her but she got caught.
I spoke to Narae while putting my chin on top of Rangii's head as she was embarrassed.
"As you can see, she's just a kid. Don't pay any attention to stuff like that."
Dinner was tasty, but after some time of eating uncomfortably the doorbell rang. While I was wondering who it could be, Narae spoke.
"It's a priority delivery. It's probably my luggage, so I'll go."
Narae went out and came back inside with two large bags in hand.
"Were you really planning on sleeping over?"
"I said that I would. Why, did you think I lied?"
I would like it if this entire situation was a lie. If-- just if-- Narae had asked to sleep over when I was all alone at home, I'd welcome her with open arms, but Rangii and Saehee are here. Rangii truly thinks that Narae is beneath her, so there's no real problem there, but the problem is Narae and Saehee. Narae bears some strange hostility against Rangii and Saehee, and I get the feeling that Saehee doesn't like Narae. Could that be because of Narae being part of the Bear Clan? Can they really not get along?
"Which room can I use? I'm also okay with your room. Of course, you'd need to sleep somewhere else."
Hahaha, Miss Narae, you are truly good at joking. Though it looks like you're serious. But which room should I have Narae use? If Narae shared a room with Rangii I feel like something terrible would happen, so the only room left is Dad's...... It bothers me to have her stay in Dad's room, but I clean it every day, so it should be okay. I pointed to Dad's room and spoke.
"Do you want to use my dad's room for now? I'll get you different blankets."
Thank goodness I sometimes have to take care of people Mom knows so I always keep spare blankets for guests. Since that means I don't have to give Narae the blankets that my dad used.
"You're paying attention to unexpected things."
"What do you mean unexpected?"
I'm always paying attention to you. Though I probably won't tell you that. Narae cluelessly went hmph and entered Dad's room.
"I'm going to go unpack and change now."
As she went in, she looked through the gap next to the door and stared at me with scary eyes.
"If you peek, I'll kill you."
"I'm not going to lock the door."
"Are you telling me to look or not?"
"I'm saying look, and you'll die."
She jokingly stuck her tongue out at me.
Since I don't want to die at the young age of seventeen, I went into my room. Rangii was lounging on the sofa in the living room, and Saehee was next to her, so now is the best time. ......It's not to do anything weird, just that now seems like the best time to find out more about Rangii. I turned on my computer and searched tiger in a search engine. I found folktales, characteristics, and more about tigers. All kinds of information appeared.
Although I was forced to take care of Rangii to maintain humanity's peace, my family's safety, and my own life, that doesn't change the fact that I'm Rangii's guardian. In that case, I need to take responsibility for looking after her. So it isn't weird for me to search for more information about Rangii.
No, seriously. I'm only looking for how to deal with her. It's nothing weird.
It was then,
"Have you evolved from a lolicon to a stalker?"
Holy crap! Calming down my racing heart, I turned around and saw Saehee looking down at me with an expression contrasting my own-- blankness.
"Would you stop suddenly appearing behind me and talking? I'll die of a heart attack!"
"Next time, I shall be careful."
"But I remember you saying that before, as well."
"Is that so? If you want to know about Master, rather than use the Internet, you can ask me directly."
Are you telling me to do something so shameful?
"I don't want to tell you what I'm bothered about."
"Are you the infamous tsundere?"
"Do you think I'm Jeom Soon-Yi?"
Why is she joking around with me?
"More importantly, why? Don't you have something to say to me?"
"You truly pay attention at the most unexpected times."
What kind of image do those two have of me?
"The truth is that I came here to tell you something."
"What is it?"
"Although Narae-nim has not yet awoken her powers, she is still a member of the Bear Clan. Master also knows this."
"Narae-nim being around you would be a bad influence on Master."
Saehee narrowed her eyes.
"The thing above your neck is not only used to eat."
"Isn't it tiring to say things in such a roundabout way?"
"It is easy when you are used to it."
I also want to get used to it. So I can take you down.
Anyway, I should think about it for a second.
Narae is a member of the Bear Clan, and Rangii is a tiger. In the Dangun myth, a tiger and a bear met Hwanung to turn into humans. Hwanung offered the trial lasting 100 days to survive on mugwort and garlic, but the tiger couldn't endure the test, so it ran away. The bear turned into a human, wanted a child, and was chosen by Hwanung to marry him.
So what the heck's the problem? It's probably not because she has a special complex, since she looks like a child while Narae has such a great figure. She's 5,000 years too young to feel something like that.
"It seems you are entertaining foolish thoughts."
"Did you learn how to read minds or something?"
Though I can't deny that my thoughts were foolish.
"What the hell is it?"
"Although I cannot explain in detail, this is related to Master's trauma."
If you were about to start explaining in detail, I'd have to plant an apple tree. But, a trauma? There's no way that Rangii would have such a thing! But I don't think Saehee would lie about something related to Rangii.
"So what do you want me to do?"
"Please chase Narae-nim out."
What the heck kind of nonsense is that?
"Hey. She's staying over here for a few days because she cares for you two; isn't that a little harsh?"
"Truly an idiotic response, so befitting the young master."
Why do I have to hear you calling me an idiot? So what if Narae stays here?
"Young master. There is something you must not forget. That Master came to Seoul with her eyes only on you."
Whatever the reason, I was the one who reached my hand to Rangii, and she's the one who grabbed my hand. That's why I need to take responsibility for Rangii's well-being.
"No. The young master is completely clueless. That is why you invited Narae-nim while completely disregarding Master."
At her words, I started getting furious. What's so wrong about inviting Narae, and what did I do wrong to Rangii for me to hear those words? And this happened when I thought I had to say something or I'd explode in anger.
"What are you doing, leaving me all alone? I'll feel lonely if I'm alone."
Speaking sulkily, Rangii opened the door and entered. I quickly closed the browser window. I was feeling like teenager who got caught looking at an erotic site by his mom, but that was probably just my imagination.
"We were preparing where you will sleep, Master."
She even tells sudden lies extremely well.
"What is there to confirm? I can sleep comfortably as long as I'm by Sunghoon's side."
"I feel like you'd be able to sleep well anywhere, even if I weren't there."
Rangii went buu-- and puffed out her cheeks at being treated so coldly.
"I'm only like that because you're next to me. I'm usually not like that."
Show me proof of that behavior directly.
"With that aside and our stomachs full, it's getting darker, so I'm also getting sleepy. Sunghoon, let's sleep together."
"I learned that if you don't sleep a lot, you won't grow."
Your real body is Jirisan, so what if you grew more...... Wait, that's not the problem here.
"Why does that work as an answer for me sleeping with you?"
"Because I want to sleep with you."
"I don't want to."
"Uu--. Then I'm going to use force!"
As I looked to see what she'd do if she was using force, Rangii grabbed my hand and started to pull me towards her. ......I'm not sure what you think of me, but I'm not so weak that I'd be pulled around by a kid's strength. But even so, I felt bad seeing Rangii strain so hard so I got up slightly then,
I sat down again.
Rangii looked cute while puffing out her cheeks. Is this why adults tease kids?
But the important thing is,
"Why're you preparing the blankets?"
Saehee was setting the blankets that I had folded.
"Master said that she wants to sleep."
"Then you should prepare a spot for her in your room."
"Master said that she wants to sleep with you, young master. Even if you continue, my response will not change."
"What's wrong? Isn't it natural for a couple to sleep in the same room?"
Rangii said something I couldn't just ignore.
"No, since when were we a couple?"
"You don't have to be so embarrassed. It's only been a few days, so of course you'll act like that. And also......"
Rangii fidgeted around and blushed.
"Didn't we already have our first time together?"
No, no we didn't. You're wrong. I mustered up my courage to correct her mistaken thinking.
"Do you know what a first time is?"
"Of course. I'm not a child."
So again, how many times do I have to tell you that you're clearly a child?
"Isn't it when a man and a woman who love each other get married and go sleep in the same room under the same covers?"
Right now what I need is a xylophone. Ding!
"I think that Rangii needs proper sex-ed."
"As the old saying goes, experiencing something once is better than hearing it one hundred times."
Are you telling me to die? I mean, physically and mentally.
"C'mon, let's hurry and sleep together. I want to have our child quickly."
While I was worrying about how to give her sex-ed,
"Why're you all here?"
Narae entered my room. Ah, I'll ask Narae to give Rangii proper education...... and the second I saw Narae, such a thought flew away.
"H, hey! Why're your clothes like that?!"
"Wha, what's wrong with it?!"
I have no idea where Narae's usual fierce appearance went, as she had on a loose-fitting tank top that exposed her belly button and bra strap. And below that, she was wearing hot pants that set her thighs on full display without anywhere for me to comfortably look. To a teenage boy, her attire was enough to set me drooling. I tried to stop my face from blushing, but there was no way I could en, endure it! If a healthy teenager sees the girl he likes exposed in such a stimulating fashion, then...... Th, this is just a physiological phenomenon!
"Your clothes are too skimpy!"
"Everybody wears stuff like this, so what's the big deal? What, do you have any complaints?"
The problem is that I don't have any. No, the problem is that I'm liking this too much.
"Your eyes look evil."
Shoot. Seeing Narae stare daggers at me, I gave the only excuse I could right now.
"You have on clothes which, at this point in my life, makes me have trouble deciding where to look, so the fault is entirely on......"
Narae cut me off.
"The fault is on--?"
"Not you, of course."
Seeing me concede her point, she felt satisfied, smiled, and looked around my room.
"So this is your room? Heeh...... It hasn't changed at all since before?"
"This is also my room."
A guest in my room, Rangii-nim is saying something completely ridiculous. Narae frowned after Rangii spoke.
"Why is this your room?"
"Because I'm going to sleep here too."
"Why would you sleep here? This is his room."
"Isn't it natural for a couple to sleep together?"
While Rangii said something obvious, Narae grabbed and pulled on Rangii's hand. Maybe this was the first time Rangii ever had this happen to her, but she was confused and asked for my help.
"Wha, what's wrong with this woman? A concubine should know her place!"
"Who's a concubine? And polygamy is illegal, so there aren't any concubines!"
Rangii's hair formed a question mark and she asked me a question.
"Is that true?"
I nodded my head. At first Rangii was shocked, but then her face darkened as she spoke to Narae.
"In that case, I feel sorry for you. Sunghoon has already completely fallen for my charm, so you have no chance."
Narae glared at me sharply and spoke.
"No I haven't."
Rangii's tail and ears were standing up sharply.
"But last night, didn't you intensely desire me?"
I gave an excuse right before Narae's hand flew towards me.
"Last night I was cold, so I hugged her as a substitute for a heater. I didn't do anything else, and this all happened while I was half asleep so please forgive me. After all, you know my sleeping habits."
So please don't make a fist.
"Haven't we already seen each other's naked bodies?"
"That was just because you didn't want to take a bath! Don't say something that's so easy to misunderstand!"
I told the truth exactly as it was to Narae. After I finished talking, Rangii opened and closed her mouth like a bird, made a fist and released it, then when she looked like she was going to speak...... She suddenly hugged Narae while crying.
"Uwaaaah! Sunghoon is bullying meeee! E, even though I was so happy that Sunghoon accepted me! But then! Uwaaaaa!!"
Hey! When did I bully you?! I'm just saying exactly what happened! And why are you hugging Narae and not Saehee? Even I've never hugged her before! I'm so jealous!
Confused by Rangii suddenly hugging her, Narae thought hard, sighed, and spoke to me while rubbing Rangii's head.
"You didn't have to say that much, did you? Why were you so harsh?"
Why're you suddenly saying that? I was too confused to answer, as Narae took Rangii's side instantly.
"It's okay, Rangii. Sunghoon was so mean because he was embarrassed that I was here."
Narae interpreted my words completely differently. Enjoying the dream's interpretations more than the dream, huh?  However, Rangii actually seemed to be amused by Narae's words. With tears in her eyes, Rangii turned to look up from Narae's bosom and spoke.
"Is that true?"
Narae's glare from above Rangii hurts. Narae, I like it when you think about others like that, but cases like these make me sad. And there's no reason for you to mouth You're. So. Dead. at me. Please think about me as well.
"That's right. I was so embarrassed that I was only able to say it like that."
After hearing that what she just heard was a lie, she instantly stopped crying and smiled brightly.
"It's true! Sunghoon's so shy!"
And she ran away from Narae's bosom to go towards me. She reached to hug my neck, and I automatically bent down and held her up by her hip and butt. ......There's no helping it. Even if she's a kid, if I tried to hold her weight only on my neck then I'd die. There's no helping it, for the sake of survival.
When Rangii was hugged against my chest, she turned around to look at Narae and spoke,
"You are truly ready to become Sunghoon's concubine!"
"Like I said, you can't have concubines in this country."
Even though she said it like that, she doesn't seem upset. She was smiling slightly.
......I'm worried. I'm concerned about Narae's sudden change in attitude towards Rangii. I was going to ask her about that, but there was a sudden weight on my shoulders.
And I could hear her breathing rhythmically. Hey, are you sleeping right now? Something like that just happened and you fell asleep?
The end of Rangii's tail twitched slightly.
"Are you sleeping?"
"Because she is exhausted from traveling so far."
I was a little surprised at Saehee, who had erased her presence until now. If you were here, you should've said something, or calmed down Rangii, or said something to Narae, or insulted me! Wait, cancel the last thing.
"You brat, all you did in the car was sleep too."
"She always needed a lot of sleep."
......Geez, her body is really inefficient.
"Then have her sleep comfortably in your room. Here."
I tried to give Rangii to her, but Saehee spoke abruptly.
"That is not possible."
"Master is sleeping because the young master's scent and heat put her mind at ease. If you move her to my room, she will wake up."
You just nonchalantly called it your room. Your own, sole room.
"You can sleep with Master in my room."
"Denied. She can just sleep here."
Don't click your tongue.
I carefully released Rangii's arms from my neck, and put her on the blanket to not wake her up.
She moved around a bit, but thankfully she didn't wake up. For some reason, I felt embarrassed that I thought to myself, so she can sleep on blankets that have my scent as well. Should I wash the blankets tomorrow?
I led Narae and Saehee out of the room and I closed the door. Whew. Since Rangii's sleeping in my room, the only place left for me to sleep is the sofa. Well, sleeping on the sofa isn't that bad. Maybe it's because a lot of stuff happened today, but I'm tired. Should I try and sleep early today?
It seems like the day's still early to her.
"I'll understand, to some extent, your situation with Rangii."
I'm praying that her understanding won't turn into misunderstanding.
"So don't overreact when it comes to Rangii. She's only sticking to you because she's a lonely little kid who's all alone."
So you did misunderstand. It seems like you don't know, but Rangii doesn't know anything and she's completely serious. That's why she's even scarier.
"If you react like that, then you seem like a real lolicon."
"You kept calling me a lolicon until now."
Narae smiled like a figure from an impressionistic painting.
"Are you really?"
"No I am not."
"Then it's fine. I know you're not like that so......"
Narae blushed and mumbled something, but I didn't hear it. I was asking her what she said because I was curious when,
"Please excuse me while you are rubbing salt in your wounds."
Saehee suddenly interrupted. Saehee cut in between Narae and me, and she spoke to Narae.
"Narae-nim. There is something I wish to tell you."
"Whatever. ......but please, stop adding -nim to my name; it's weird."
"It is a habit."
"It is a habit."
"......Do what you want."
Is there no one who can beat Saehee besides Rangii?
"So what're you curious about?"
"What is your size, Narae-nim?"
Narae's face turned bright red, and she glared at me. Why're you looking at me? Even though I haven't done anything? Can't you see that I'm embarrassed too?"
"Wha, what the heck are you asking?!"
"Is your chest growing even now?"
Not caring at all that we were embarrassed, Saehee continued on this topic; I was able to realize the truth of the saying water downstream can only be clear when the water upstream is as well. 
No, why would you say something like that in front of me? I'm curious too, but...... , wait, that's not it!
"I, I don't know!"
"If you do not know, then there is no choice."
Saehee, in contrast to Narae who was blushing and flustered, was expressionless as usual, put her arms between Narae's armpits, then,
Befitting the above sound-effect, Saehee started to feel around Narae's huge breasts.
"It seems you are still a C-cup. However, this size. In some years, the chance of becoming a D-cup is high."
I, I'm so jealous! Couldn't I do that......, no that's not it!
"You, you, you, what're you doing?!"
Seeing Saehee pushing down on Narae, and how Narae was filling with both shame and anger, a teenage boy like me was about to have his vigor explode. Will, will I be able to sleep properly tonight?
"Ah--, wait, now, ack--, this is.......uht. D, don't......"
"You are truly a member of the Bear Clan. However, we will be okay for at least a year."
Saehee having just given her conclusion, she took her hands off Narae's breasts, moved in front of Narae, and bowed her head slightly.
"Thank you for your cooperation."
Narae covered her chest with her hands, moved away from Saehee...... and hid naturally behind me.
"I'm, I'm going to kill you."
I could see from the tears filling her eyes that she was totally furious. Touching an unmarried woman's breasts as much as you want, being able to hold that feeling and size...... no, I should stop thinking like that. Because right now I'm jealous of how Saehee was able to massage Narae's breasts as much as she wanted solely because of her gender...... I said stop!!
"Why would you want to know someone's chest size?!"
Narae-nim seemed to have recovered from Saehee erotically measuring Narae's chest size and the chance of her future development, and she shouted while glaring at Saehee. Ah--. Narae doesn't know she's a member of the Bear Clan, right?
"I did this because you are a member of the Bear Clan."
Saehee answered Narae's question.
"It is a gang of big-breasted women."
"Did you think I'd understand from that?!!"
Does Saehee have a few screws loose in her head? I simply explained what the Bear Clan is to Narae in place of Saehee who looked like she had no plans to explain. That they are blood relatives of Ungnyeo, the one from the Dangun myth, even that they awaken strange powers when their chest size gets bigger than a D-cup.
Narae carefully asked me something after she heard everything.
"......What happens if I awaken those powers?"
Despite having solely been listening, Saehee answered her question.
"You will lose your free will and become Ungnyeo's puppet."
Even if you say that, how can you say she'll be a puppet? A puppet!
"Please do not worry. As long as you are careful, such an event will not happen. As long as the head does not show herself, such small breasts will not awaken those powers. However...... Narae-nim, if you stay by the young master's side, you will be a bother to Master. So while Master is sleeping, please leave this house. As I am not as generous as the young master, I cannot allow you to stay here."
......Hearing Saehee's demand to kick Narae out, rather than Narae herself, I was the one who got angry.
"What the heck's so bad for Rangii if Narae stays here?! Don't just make stuff up!"
Having just lost my temper and raised my voice at Saehee, I heard Saehee's contrasting voice.
"Young master, do you know the Dangun myth?"
How could I not. I even know that Rangii's the tiger from the myth.
"What about it?"
"The myth is incorrect."
Saehee casually spoke.
"Master underwent the test same as Ungnyeo and mastered the magic to turn into a human. And as Master was able to turn into a human, we also learned the magic from Master and became able to transform to human form as well."
Ah--! I was just now able to understand why I felt like something was wrong when Rangii transformed into a human. Based on the Dangun myth, it says that the tiger couldn't endure the test and ran away. That's why it couldn't turn into a human. But Rangii can. Not only that, but Baduk and Saehee, Rangii's kin, are able turn into humans like this.
"However, Hwanung did not choose Master; he chose Ungnyeo. After that, Master was sealed away. Do you understand now? Why Narae-nim cannot stay near Master?"
Narae gave a shout as she realized something from what Saehee said. But I don't have a clue. So what're you trying to say?
"So what do you mean by that?"
Saehee looked at me pitifully as if my head was full of suffocating smoke.
"I shall provide the young master with a hint as your head is completely empty."
I'm sorry for being dumb.
"You treat Master as a child, correct?"
"Because she really is a kid."
"Yes. As you said, Master is still young in her mind. That is why she transforms into that form. So then, do you know what personality traits are common to children?"
Common personality traits? As I've had to suffer domestic life with my little cousins since I was young, I know that much very well.
"They whine, laugh easily, cry easily, are honest, don't really think, are true to their feelings, and greedy?"
"You know this well."
"......Have you still not realized?"
Why are you looking at me like I'm pathetic, Miss Narae?
"Master is so pitiable, to have such a half-wit as her other half."
"No, but so what?!"
"You really are stupid."
"It's okay to be stupid so at least tell me why you're treating me like an idiot."
"Do you think we can tell you something like this? You know, it would make Rangii look bad if we told you, right?"
When Narae, whom I trusted, betrayed me, something within me snapped.
"Fine! I get it, I'm an idiot, so stop! Since I'm gonna go sleep!"
Giving off the feeling of I'm pissed!, I walked past Narae and Saehee and went into the living room. The two, who were masters of treating me like an idiot by now, followed me in.
"Where're you going to sleep?"
I shouldn't act like this to Narae when she's worrying about me, but I was unconsciously curt with my reply.
"I can sleep on the sofa."
"Even if it's summer, you'll catch a cold if you sleep there. Instead, sleep in my room."
The anger that was filling me up to the top of my head was replaced by embarrassment. I turned around and grabbed tightly onto Narae's hands.
"Narae. Thank you for your feelings, but you should care for your own body......"
Narae shook off my hands and hit me hard in the stomach. It wasn't a fist to rule the world, but it was the fist to rule my consciousness.
"Wha, what're you saying! If you're going to sleep in my room, then of course I have to sleep with Saehee!"
I was joking. And if you really mean that then I definitely don't have to sleep on the sofa. However,
Saehee answered Narae's question.
"I have no plans in the least to sleep in the same room as someone with such massive lumps of fat. I do not get off on being crushed by those heavy breasts."
"Th, they aren't that big! And this much is......!"
Narae blushed and said something weird; then there was a poof! above her head and steam rose as she started to get mad at me.
"Don't make me say weird things!"
"But why're you getting mad at me?!"
"This is your fault!"
It's Saehee's fault. Regardless, maybe because of the subject, Saehee's body grabbed my attention despite my complete ignorance to it thus far. Saehee's actually quite slim? Is her black modernized hanbok keeping her figure hidden? Could she actually be on the small side even for women her age? Could this be because Rangii is her master?
"I was always like this even when I was human."
"......But I didn't say anything?"
"Is there a problem?"
......I should stop talking.
"Because of that,"
Saehee changed the subject.
"The young master will sleep in my room."
Towards an extremely strange direction.
"Although it is my duty to attend to Master, it is my duty to attend to the young master as well. Even in nightly duties."
"Because Master is still young and cannot release all of the young master's overflowing sexual desire, and that the big-breasted Narae-nim is harboring much sexual desire, it would make no difference if you left, as, with my brilliant techniques, my frail body can satisfy the young master."
Uh, is it really okay for you to have just said something so incredibly dangerous?
"What the heck does that mean?!"
"I am joking, young master who lacks a sense of humor."
I know. That I'm bad at telling jokes. And you're the same.
"From now on, if you're going to tell a joke, say okay, what I'm about to say is a joke. Because I can't tell if you're joking or serious."
"I was serious to some extent. If it is for Master's sake, no matter what perverted fetishes the young master may have, no matter what positions you demand, I shall accept and do them all."
"I don't have anything like that though?!"
This woman, is she not even blushing when she's saying such dirty things? I forcibly ended the conversation because if she kept talking like this I wouldn't be able to sleep properly.
"A, anyway! I can sleep on the sofa, so you two sleep in your own rooms!"
I ignored Narae who still wasn't over the shock that she just received, and Saehee, who didn't look any different than normal, and went to lie down on the sofa; but Saehee brought up something I couldn't ignore.
"There is no need for the young master to sleep on the sofa. Because I can sleep in the same room as Master."
Is this what it means to switch one's way of thinking?
Why wasn't I able to think of that? ......what do I mean, why?! It's because I couldn't think straight thanks to Saehee's weird words!
I calmly spoke to the main culprit, Saehee.
Saehee glanced at me and continued,
"If I sleep under a blanket covered in the young master's thick stuff, I may become pregnant......"
"If the young master has Miss Narae leave, such a thing need not occur."
"I won't leave even if you tell me to."
Narae cut in and gave her opinion. Thank you for your feelings, but if Rangii and Saehee leave the house, then you should leave too.
"I was joking."
Saehee smiled slightly.
"I believe I was affected by the alcohol I drank before."
.......But I feel like it's been kind of a long time since you drank alcohol? And if you drink, isn't your complexion supposed to change? Why is a supposedly drunk person's face so pale?
"Well then, please excuse me now."
Maybe Saehee was ignoring Narae and me while we were stunned, but she turned around and went into my room. With Narae and me left in the living room like that,
"......We should sleep now."
Feeling like I got played for some reason, I entered my own room. And then I went,
I screamed loudly so that the drunk phantom could hear me shout her name, because all I could see in my room were a thousand women's panties.
It's hot. It's strangely hot. Considering that I locked the door because of the uninvited guests, it's strangely hot. I even have the fan on. I feel like a heater was placed on my chest. In the end, it was too hot so I woke up.
The morning sunlight shining through the window blinded my eyes. If I had heard sparrows chirping, this would have been a classic morning.
I scratched my itchy head and got up.
I can hear a weird sound. What was that? I found the answer when I rubbed my eyes and looked down. It's Rangii. Rangii was stretched on my belly like a dog on one of the hottest days of the year. From above, she'd look like a 十 character. But the real question is, why she's sleeping here? Even though I definitely had her sleep in my room?
On the topic of bothering someone while they're sleeping, with Rangii sleeping deeply on top of me, I poked her in the side to wake her up.
She's sleeping. She's sleeping well. Again, poke, poke.
Even though she's flinching, she's not opening her eyes. Sigh. This just makes me want to try harder. I cracked my knuckles, and lifted up Rangii's shirt.
The door opened.
".......Hahaha, this is a misunderstanding."
Seeing Narae's face freeze as she opened the door and saw me try and tickle Rangii in the sides, I gave the best excuse I could.
Don't try this at home. Please do not try to imitate a flying knee kick, as it is dangerous.
In the end, Narae carried Rangii out of the room, so I went out into the living room to go to the bathroom and wash my face. I was going to the bathroom when I saw Rangii sitting on her knees in the living room, frowning, and Narae sitting on the sofa, speaking fiercely to Rangii.
What're they doing?
"And so! That's why you can't thoughtlessly go into a boy's room at night!"
Narae was teaching common sense to Rangii. Good job, Narae. Teach her human common sense. .......Especially because I can't teach her.
"I know that. But isn't Sunghoon an exception?"
"How could there be an exception! No, you especially can't do that with Sunghoon!"
"But why not?"
Narae stopped talking. Normally she'd have grabbed her by the collar, shaken her up and down, and said, if I say you can't, then you can't!, but she's talking to Rangii. Even if it's just her appearance, she looks like a kid.
"Because he's a pervert lolicon! He might attack you!"
I also want to become a kid. Then Narae might be a little more caring to me.
Living room on the third day of summer vacation after eating breakfast.
I wanted to give myself up to the wings of freedom and experience the feeling of, so this is how it feels to just laze around~. But because the number of residents at home suddenly increased, I had to face reality before I could feel such happiness.
I answered while maintaining the pose of a king lion, with my back deep against the sofa and going are there any fun shows on cable right now~ with the remote control.
"Play with me."
Was that a command and not a request? I turned my gaze to focus on Rangii. A happy smile. Seeing such a bright smile, it seemed like she expected me to listen to any of her commands. It seems like she doesn't think she'll be rejected, not even a little.
Of course, I'm a man who goes against expectations.
"Play with Narae."
Is this what it feels like to be a husband throwing responsibility at his wife take care of the kids on a weekend?! Although Narae isn't my actual wife. But based on what just happened, I found that if Narae looks after Rangii, then she can teach Rangii all kinds of unmentionable things that I'd have trouble with.
Narae will view me not just as a lolicon, but a pervert, sexual harasser, degenerate; but if that's what it takes for Rangii to get a proper education, I can bear it.
"Narae said she's going back to her home, so she can't play."
"No I'm not."
Narae came out of the kitchen, sat next to me, and denied Rangii's words.
"Who's going back home? And you. Are you that happy that I'm going back home?"
"I am not."
"I can't ever trust you."
Rangii looked blankly at the two of us having a conversation, and spoke while shaking her tail slowly from side to side.
"Hm? Didn't you say that you were going home?"
"I said I was going, then coming back, you little tiger."
"I'm not little!"
I have to object to that.
Moving on, it seems like Narae is extremely adaptable to reality. I mean that because of what she went through yesterday. She casually accepted the truths that would have thrown me into a state of denial-- and despite her confusion over the situation, she was kindly playing along with Rangii. I thought to myself that she is, indeed, Narae.
In other words, I'm still in denial over this reality.
"But why are you going home?"
Narae blushed slightly.
"Th, the heck? What does that have to do with you?"
"I'm just curious."
"There's just something I need to get!"
"Then like yesterday, you could......"
In the middle of saying then like yesterday, you could have someone bring it for you, I realized that Narae's face was turning red. In short, it's not something she can ask on the phone, or it's something that she can't entrust to a stranger. The conclusion has appeared.
It seems like Narae has sensed what I was thinking.
"What're you thinking right now, you pervert! I, I'm gonna kill you!"
"But what did I do?"
Right now I, uh. It's not like I was even thinking, does that mean Narae's wearing the same underwear as yesterday?
"Y, your eyes look evil!"
"Aren't these the eyes of an innocent child?"
I gave a light joke to change the mood.
I don't know when Saehee came in, but these feminine three stared wordlessly at me, leaving an irreparable wound on my delicate emotions.
"Sunghoon, I don't think that's right."
Shut up, tiger.
While Narae left, I decided to clean the house. Rangii and Saehee are here too, but this is a pubescent boy's desire to clean the house as long as Narae is staying here. I clean the house everyday anyway, so today I'm going to go out of my way to clean under the sofa, the windowsill, the windows, the bathroom, and the sink. This much should be enough. But there's a person, no, a phantom, who was going against my plans.
Who do you think it is?
"Play with me--."
Rangii had been lounging on my legs, using them as a pillow since earlier. You brat. Is there a ghost that died of boredom possessing your mind? Though, I suppose there is indeed a ghost-like paranormal brat stuck to me.
"You appear to be in a bad mood, young master."
You sure notice things well even though your eyes are glued to the TV, watching an anime.
"Can't you watch TV with Saehee?"
"I have the most fun when I play with you."
That's an appreciated, yet useless, statement. If you go as far as to say that, then I have no choice but to play with you; but I already already made up my mind to clean, so I'll have to postpone playing with you until after that.
"I'm still busy right now. Because I have to clean."
At the same time, the phantoms reacted as if I had said some kind of taboo.
Rangii's jaw dropped, and Saehee looked at me with wide eyes. The heck's up with their reactions? Is it that weird for me to say I'll clean?
"Isn't that what Saehee does?"
"Please tell me directly to clean instead, young master. There is no need to change the subject through such sly means."
I decided who to argue with first.
"I'm not trying to change the subject. And these days, men are able to clean too."
And not just cleaning. There are those who manage all the chores around the house. Like me. This isn't an era when women have to raise the cows, so anyone can do this much.
"I'm the one who normally does the chores here."
Something about seeing Rangii look so genuinely awed made me feel great.
"Anyway, that's why I can't play with you. Okay?"
"Then I'll help clean too."
As Rangii was saying Aren't I good? Aren't I nice? Then please rub my head. Or hug me! with her whole body, I decided to give her a mistrustful look.
".......What is that look for?"
Yeah. I feel like, with a bit of polishing, she'll grow up to be a good person to talk with. ......No. If she grows up wrong, then she might end up like Saehee. Never grow old.
"Have you ever cleaned before?"
"A long time ago, I was trying to lie down to sleep, but a hill was in my way, so I swept it away with my tail."
The scale is too big! Uselessly big!
"That is not called cleaning."
"Then I haven't. But I'll work hard to learn if you teach me."
What should I do? It doesn't seem like using this opportunity to teach Rangii how to clean is a bad thing. And it seems like this brat will learn well if I teach her once. Hm...... Great. It might take a while, but I'll think of it as an investment for the future.
"Then let's do it together. Since I'll teach you how to clean. Are you going to keep watching TV?"
I poked at Saehee who was intensely watching an anime.
"I believe that learning more about the common sense of modern society would be better."
I'm afraid that your idea of common sense is neither common nor sensible to other people.
"Then shouldn't you watch the news?"
"It is boring."
"It is the day time."
"How about a variety show?"
"Is that the one where people play around like children?"
Apologize, dammit. Apologize to all the variety show comedians.
"What is it? Do you want to say that my tastes are childish? So the young master is a completely senseless human, unable to accept cultural diversity."
I shouldn't argue. I don't think I can win it.
Unlike Saehee, who was busy playing around, Rangii was even more help than I thought. All Rangii did was move stuff so it wouldn't get in the way of the vacuum cleaner, but at least she was better than Saehee, who complained about the noise, took out headphones from somewhere, and had her eyes glued to the animation. She also took a clean rag to wipe the floors, the windowsills, and the glasses of the windows. I thought that, in comparison to Saehee whose biggest work was lifting her feet as I cleaned the floor under her, Rangii is a really, really good kid.
"What is it? You have the shining eyes of a rotten pollock."
You're quite hurtful.
The finished laundry marked the end of the house cleaning that I spontaneously planned to do. Rangii and I were on the clean floor of the living room, catching our breaths.
"Cleaning is harder than I thought."
Rangii said this happily despite her words, and I patted her head.
"But it's nice when everything's clean, isn't it?"
"I feel like I've expelled all the noisy annoyances from the front yard."
Your example is strange, Rangii. But anyway, after all the moving around from cleaning, it's a little hot. No, rather than a little hot, at this level, it's extremely hot. There's even sweat on my back. Normally I'd turn on an electric fan and dry my sweat with that, but Narae will be here soon. I don't want to stink of sweat when I'm with the girl I like. I should just take a shower.
"I'm going to go take a shower and come back."
"What's a shower?"
"He is speaking of washing his body with falling water."
So you can give such good explanations even while watching TV with headphones on.
"So you're saying you're going to wash yourself? Then I'll wash with you too."
"I taught you how to wash yourself yesterday."
She had an expression like she was going uwa! and looked shocked.
"......I can't remember."
She looked away and said something that was clearly a lie. Hey, you brat. Play tricks on someone who would actually get tricked. But still, wouldn't it be good to wash with her once? After moving so much, cooling ourselves off with cold water would help us stand the heat.
So I called out the name of the phantom who's meant to take care of Rangii.
"If I get water on me......"
I cut Saehee off.
"I'm going to wash first, so do whatever you want."
Before Saehee could say anything, I went into the bathroom and closed the door. Thank goodness I always keep spare underwear stored in the bathroom. I took off my clothes and comfortably washed my body.
It wasn't that long since I left the bathroom to Rangii, who was disappointed, and Saehee, who was glaring at me, that Narae came back with a suitcase. Rather than simply bringing some underwear, she looks like she's about to go on a trip. Along with the bags from yesterday, is that 3 bags in total? .......How long do you plan on staying here? I'd welcome you with open arms, but I don't know how long my sanity will last given the shoujo-filter situation when I'm living with Narae, a girl whom I view as a member of the opposite sex.
"What? Got any complaints?"
Narae was looking at me fiercely, so I could only give a false answer.
"Your eyes say that you do."
"It must be your imagination."
"But I don't think it is."
She's skilled at reading my mind since we were childhood friends. And the moment when I thought, I guess it'd be okay if you found out that I like you,
"It appears that I have forgotten to bring clothes to change into."
I was surprised by Saehee's strangely loud voice and turned my head,
"S, stupid! Don't look!!"
And Narae grabbed my head with her hands,
And she forcibly twisted my head. Even while feeling the pain of having my neck broken, I saw her. I saw Saehee naked, without even a pair of panties on, not even trying to hide her body. But more than Saehee's naked body, I was too occupied with the descent of the god of death, Yama.
"Wha, what are you saying?"
"Don't look at another woman's naked body as you please!!"
Seeing the bag flying at me, two thoughts came to my head. Why the heck are you getting mad, Narae? And.......
"My apologizes, Narae-nim. This was my mistake."
Was this her plan all along?
"Could you please go grocery shopping for dinner?"
I closed the book I was reading after Saehee's words. Although it was the scene when Kinkotsuman was giving a love confession to his little sister who's known for her thighs, I can read the book later. At least a book won't dig a trap because I didn't listen to it.
"What should I buy?"
"I wrote it down for the young master who has terrible memory."
Saehee-nim, with her excellent memory, spoke kindly to me and handed me a note. Let's see...... Green onions, onions, garlic, lettuce, peppers, 9 pounds of pork.
"What is the problem, young master?"
"How many people do you think there are for me to buy 9 pounds of pork? No, before that, didn't we eat meat for lunch too?"
"And that is why you are complaining?"
I took a step back.
"No, that's not what I mean. I guess I'm trying to say that only eating meat will be a very imbalanced diet, and it will be bad for our health."
And get tired of it, too.
"I am proposing a balanced diet. This is not something for the young master to worry about."
Ah, is that so.
"But if we only eat meat, then we might have indiges--......"
"Are you unaware of meat that is easily digested?"
That's not what that means.
"Master likes it more than anything else."
Of course a tiger phantom would like meat. There's no helping it. It's lame, but I'll tell her the realistic problem.
"I don't have money. Eating like this will use up all the living expenses until the end of the month."
"Is that so?"
I'm extremely aware of the fact that, if I keep wasting the living expenses I have left, I'll be in trouble by the end of the month. Since I don't know when my parents will come back, it's best to save money. It's definitely not because I'm tired of eating meat.
Saehee suddenly took out a wallet from a scroll and handed me two 50,000 won bills.
"If you require money, please ask of me, young master who is unable to maintain his life."
I will ask.
"Where did you get that money from?"
"Long ago, I bought some land in Myeong-dong."
So you're a rich landowner?
"Please use the rest as pocket money, beggar-nim."
The corners of Saehee's mouth rose.
"Yes. Please buy a dirty magazine with that money to motivate yourself for self-improvement."
I got a shopping basket and talked to Narae and Rangii who were playing a boardgame in the living room.
"I'm going to go shopping for a bit."
"Are you leaving?"
Seeing Rangii's shining eyes, I had a bad feeling and took the initiative.
"Don't follow me."
Of course, if that had worked, then she wouldn't be Rangii.
"No! I want to go too~. When I went yesterday, I had fun because there were lots of interesting things."
While saying that, Rangii clung on to and rubbed her cheek against my legs. I want to bring you too, but while you're trying to find something fun, I would have to find a hole to hide in.
Bringing Rangii outside with me isn't a huge problem, but it's a different story for my sanity. I'm saying that I'm sorry to tell a charming yet not charming Rangii that she can't follow me. Can't you just be cute in a normal way?
"Stay at home today."
Rangii's ears drooped and she sucked on her finger.
"Then, how about I go?"
The already-beautiful Narae-nim's words sparked my interest. I, I, I'm going shopping with Narae? Isn't that romance between newlyweds?! Walking arm in arm, wondering What should we do for side dishes today? I'm having you. Oh my...... Wait, no! What in the world am I thinking right now?! While I was busy with my shoujo-filtered delusions, Rangii puffed out her cheeks and sprung at Narae.
Narae was embarrassed. Rangii approached Narae from behind, wrapping her legs around Narae's waist and grasping Narae's breasts with her hands, and even I would be embarra...... puhak! This is enough to make me have a nosebleed. The stimulation from seeing Rangii's hands unable to grab all of Narae's breasts, with their shape constantly morphing and sticking out, was too strong!
"If I can't go, then Narae can't go!"
"Wait, Rangii! Let go for now...... ahh!"
This seems like a scene restricted for those 18 years and over. I overcame my desire with my overflowing consideration and turned around.
"I'm going to go."
"Ahu, Ra, Rangii!!"
Putting on my shoes as if I was running away,
"......Hueh? Something feels amiss."
I ran away before Rangii realized.
I had 40,000 won left after buying all the groceries that Saehee wrote down. To a normal high schooler, this could be called a huge amount of money. Because I take care of all our living expenses, this sadly doesn't feel like a lot of money. Of course, compared to my usual pocket money, this is huge. I guess this could be called the feeling a bank teller has when he receives his paycheck. It's hard to describe.
Anyway, the fact is that I got some unexpected money. While thinking about how I can spend the money so that the rumours of my great spending habits would become known, a doll store that I normally would have just walked past caught my eye. There was a disgusting sight of couples looking at dolls in the store.
Couples for Hell, singles for Paradise.
Somebody out here is unable to properly confess to the girl he likes because of some random tiger getting in the way, while those two are plastered together in this hot weather. The man bought the woman a doll, and the woman gave thanks and smiled happily as they walked out of the store.
I sighed, feeling sorry for myself as I thought, when will my youth arrive? but while walking home, I stopped.
Yeah. What if I use this money to buy a doll as a gift for Narae. She didn't play with dolls even when she was young, but she's still a girl. At the very least, she won't hate it. Even if this is a bit sudden, it should be okay. Great. I'll buy her one. Maybe Narae will say she's thankful and give me a light hug......
It was then.
Rangii appeared, had her arms up in a hurray, and clung on to me.
......No, why're you bothering me even when I'm in the middle of my delusions? I shook my head and tried to erase Rangii's sudden appearance. But, like her real form, she refused to disappear. Sure. I can buy you one, too. Well, since you also helped clean this morning, you can consider it a reward for your good deeds.
I went inside the store. I answered the store clerk's greeting with a slight bow and looked around at the dolls. What kind of doll should I buy for Narae and Rangii? Hm. Yeah. Since Narae's a member of the Bear Clan, I'll buy her a bear doll; and since Rangii is a tiger phantom, I'll buy her a rabbit doll. It's totally not because a tiger doll is more expensive. I found reasonably priced dolls, and got it gift-wrapped plainly, and......
"To get gift-wrapping, you need to give 5,000 more Won."
"Please put them in a bag."
No, I put them in a plain old bag and left.
......But I feel like I've forgotten something. Could it just be my imagination? I felt like something was off while heading home.
......This is a taste of the happiness that I'll feel when we get married. Wouldn't life be worth living if a wife like Narae and a daughter like Rangii came out to see me?
"But what is that?"
Rangii pointed at the white bag in one of my hands and spoke.
I answered shortly, put down the groceries in the kitchen, and gave the dolls to Narae and Rangii.
Narae held the doll and looked happy yet surprised, and seeing Rangii smile so widely, I unconsciously had a mile on my face as well.
"Wh, what is this all of a sudden?"
'No, I mean. I thought of you on the way and......"
I'm sorry I couldn't think of anything cool to say.
"It's a present! It's a wedding gift!"
"It's not a wedding gift."
Even though I'm saying this kind of stuff so easily. Seeing the two of them so glad, I also felt good. Ah, how nice and......
"Do you have nothing for me?"
Even while I freaked out when Saehee suddenly appeared, I thought to myself, crap! Yeah. The reason why I felt something was off. It was Saehee. I carefully gave an excuse while large drops of sweat formed on my back.
"I know. I know that such cute things do not fit me. I will prepare dinner."
......In the end, to try and get Saehee less mad, I took care of preparing dinner and cleaning the dishes.
"Young master, this tastes awful."
It wasn't enough.
.2. A character from a short Korean short story that was written in 1936, who, by the otaku standards in this age, very closely follows the tsundere ojou-sama archetype.
.3. Possibly a reference to a quote of debated origin, "Even if the world ends tomorrow, I will plant an apple tree." ↩
.4. A proverb, meaning that people has a tendency to prefer their own (favourable) interpretations of things, rather than experiencing the things themselves.
.5. A proverb, which says that the leading figure must set a good example before the followers also do good deeds. ↩
.6. One of the well-known lines from a Korean web comic called the Sound of Your Heart. ↩