‘Did she come directly?’
Grid naturally wanted to contact Yura first. However, after the Demon King Subjugation ended, he was confronted with the Overgeared members who had come to the waiting room. Spending time with friends he hadn’t met for a year in reality was also important to Grid. Then there was the inevitable press conference.
In the end, Grid had delayed making contact with Yura. He had meant to finish this press conference and go talk to her directly. There were many things he wanted to say. His heart was filled with a sincerity and warmth that had to be expressed.
‘Don’t quit the game...’
Yet Yura came here directly. In the midst of a jungle filled with beasts hungry for a scoop, their prey appeared on her own.
“Would you like to eat ramyun in my room?”
Click! Click click!
It was as expected. There was a baptism of camera flashes as soon as Yura spoke. Grid frowned as he turned toward the flashes. Yura had suffered tremendous psychological pressure throughout the National Competition, and now she was being bullied by reporters. Furthermore, the current Yura had red eyes. It was obvious that she had been crying. He didn’t know what type of rumors would spread if this photo were published in the articles.
“It isn’t an official schedule right now. Isn’t it necessary to get permission before taking photos?” Grid hid Yura behind his back and glared at the reporters. He had lived as the Overgeared King and was accustomed to such things. The aura of a lion shot forward. The surprised reporters seemed to take a step back.
Click! Click click!
It only lasted for a moment though. The reporters weren’t in their right minds at the moment. Yura’s face was pale, and she seemed to exist alone in a world bathed in moonlight. It felt like the world was falling apart every time her eyes shook. The peerless beauty of South Korea had awakened. Yura was a universal beauty when she smiled, but she became more than that when she looked sad. Regardless of their gender, the reporters were fascinated by her and were ready to sell their country if she gave an order.
“Everyone, if you don’t act in moderation... What...?”
It was like seeing fanatics! The breathing of the reporters became rougher, and their eyes were bloodshot as they focused the camera on Yura. Grid felt like he had entered the world of a zombie movie.
“Player Yura! You put on a great performance in this year’s National Competition but refused most interviews! Can I ask if there is a problem?”
“Do you think you will humiliate yourself when you encounter Player Zibal again at next year’s PvP?”
“Why did you come here by yourself? Did you come to pick up Player Grid?”
“Is your beauty evolving every day because of love? It has been four years since the rumors of a love affair with Player Grid. Have you been dating steadily?”
“Why don’t you break up?!!”
“When will you break up?”
They asked questions related to the National Competition, but then they brought up personal history. The reporters were going wild. They were halfway insane.
‘No, how many times do I have to say that we aren’t dating?’
He wasn’t dating anyone! Yura and Jishuka weren’t his lovers! Grid had said this hundreds of times over the past four years, but nobody believed him. No matter how much Grid denied it, Yura was often spotted alone with him in reality while Jishuka was often with him in the game.
Furthermore, Grid didn’t know it but Yura and Jishuka had never denied the dating rumors with Grid. Grid thought that he had to nail in the point once again. He didn’t want the number of anti-fans to grow. Dammit! He had never even held their hands...
Well, no, he held their hands and supported them by the waist when they were drunk. In any case, it wasn’t fair for Yura and Jishuka when they weren’t actually in a relationship. Grid prepared himself mentally and shouted, “We aren’t dating!”
Click! Click click!
“Yura and I aren’t dating!!”
He shouted it as loudly as possible a few times. Then the camera flashes finally stopped. Other people dreamed of having a scandal with Yura while Grid was stubborn about his relationship with her. He even denied it. In retrospect, he had done this every time. The first few times, they thought he was just shy and embarrassed. Now that they saw Yura standing there like a stone statue without any light in her eyes...
‘Don’t tell me that Grid rejected Yura?’
A man rejected Yura...? This was nonsense. It was something that was impossible. The shocked reporters examined Yura’s complexion. She was already pale, but her face seemed to become even more transparent. It seemed to be proof of the reporters’ doubts.
The reporters’ heads cooled, and they quietly lowered their cameras. The staff members also tried to turn off the large cameras for broadcasting that were installed in the rear. They judged that it was dangerous to dig into this personal history. If Grid and Yura were lovers as rumored, there was some room to get away with things. However, if it was different from the rumors, it would be a nightmare for the reporters. In the midst of the awkward silence...
“You are correct. We are only colleagues, not lovers.” Yura started talking for the first time. Her voice was as beautiful as her face, and it made the reporters feel like they were sitting on a cloud. “I know that Grid also has a simple relationship of being colleagues with Jishuka. Am I right?”
From beginning to end, Yura had only watched Grid even when the reporters appeared, and her eyes were still fixed on Grid now.
Grid knew this was the golden opportunity to clear up all misunderstandings and smiled widely. “That’s right! It is correct! I’m not dating Jishuka!”
“I'm going to challenge it.”
“I want to be your lover.”
Grid never imagined he would receive this sudden confession. His cognitive ability couldn’t follow the situation. The wide smile was still on his face. On the other hand, the reporters were once again raising their cameras. Yura didn’t restrain them. It was because she was a coward. If she let this moment pass, she wouldn’t be able to raise the same courage again.
As the reporters watched, Yura took a deep breath and repeated, “Please date me.”
Her ears were red. The reporters belatedly noticed that Yura’s beautiful eyes and voice were shaking. Everyone knew how much courage it was taking her to say this. Without realizing it, they were cheering for her.
...Well, except for one person.
“A-Are you crazy?”
It was Grid. Of course, it wasn’t because he didn’t like Yura. He had a good impression of Yura from the day he first met her in reality. Over the next five years, she became more and more likeable to him. To be clear, Grid had good feelings toward Yura. Putting aside her appearance, all her actions toward him had been excellent.
Nevertheless, there were too many things he couldn’t understand. She was a peerless beauty. Her personality, wealth, and education were all outstanding. Why would such a great woman confess to him? Additionally, why would she do it here where reporters from all over the world were gathered like dogs? Grid felt like this moment wasn’t real. It seemed like a dream.
The reporters started taking photos again. There were also many reporters shooting videos. The blank Grid suddenly came to his senses. Yura’s face was beet red while her trembling eyes kept swiveling around. Her breathing was rough, and she was sweating. She was almost having a panic attack. Even so, she stared straight into Grid’s eyes. Her eyes were eager but sad as she conveyed her sincerity.
Grid could no longer turn away from reality. It wasn’t easy to understand, but Grid had to be serious the moment he knew her heart.
“Let’s go back to the hotel first.” Grid grabbed Yura’s small and soft hand before leading her away.
Click! Click click! The speed of the flashing accelerated. How good did Grid feel now? Maybe it was because he had no experience holding hands with someone of the opposite sex.
The reporters wanted to capture Yura’s cute look as she turned redder after Grid held her hand.
Peak Sword, Toon, Coke—the three men watching from one side of the hallway ran through the reporters. They planned to safely escort Grid and Yura back to the hotel. There was a wide smile on the faces of Peak Sword and Toon. Grid and Yura seemed like cute children, so they felt somewhat proud.
It took over 20 minutes for Yura’s breathing to stabilize.
“Are you calm now?” Grid smiled as he sat in front of Yura with warm tea.
Yura nodded with a red face. “Yes…”
“Okay, then I have a question. Why the hell do you like me?” Yura had formally requested to date him. Grid knew it meant she liked him, and it wasn’t as a friend or colleague. “An ugly, stupid, and bad-tempered person like me... Why would you like such a person?"
Grid swallowed back the words ‘a woman like you’ as it might seem prejudiced against her. He tried to think as objectively as possible. It was hard to understand why this woman would like him. Of course, maybe it was due to his resources. There were many people fascinated by the character of Overgeared King Grid.
Yet what about Shin Youngwoo himself? In Grid’s experience, Shin Youngwoo had never been attractive. Shin Youngwoo was different from Grid.
...Shin Youngwoo was a man who had never been loved before. There were many women who had laughed, cried, or even avoided him because his facial appearance was ugly and disgusting. Meanwhile, the women who hadn’t avoided him had laughed at and ridiculed him. Thinking about it now, it wasn’t just a matter of appearance. His dark and selfish personality created a fundamental wall.
At one time, he thought that such a negative personality was created by the world but not anymore. It was his nature. Look at Damian. He had liked anime and action figures since he was a kid and was bullied. Despite this, he was still so bright. Damian was loved by everyone.
“...” Grid’s expression distorted as he recalled the past. There were still wounds deeply embedded in his heart. They kept aching despite being wounds which had healed completely, apart from a few slight traces.
Then Yura’s voice came from her seat opposite Grid, “At first, it was just curiosity. It was during the days when I believed I was the best. I was interested in the person who didn’t fall in the end despite looking weaker than me.”
The Doran and Irene rescue operation—this was back when Yura was still a Yatan Servant. ‘Immortality’ had been an unknown concept at the time, so it wasn’t strange for Yura to become intrigued.
“Later on, I felt compassion and empathy for you. I came to know your past that was filled with misfortune and unhappiness. I wanted there to be someone else in the world who loved only ‘themselves’ and tried to help. I watched you occasionally. Then I discovered it. You are fundamentally different.”
Yura had lost her parents at a relatively early age and was alone in the world. She had witnessed how her grandfather had not shed a single tear at her parent’s funeral, and she had felt a terrible loneliness while being forced into an unwanted future. All types of pain were rooted deep within her heart.
“I was busy healing my wounds. I only loved myself and trampled others to turn away from reality.” Yura had destroyed the lives of countless people as Yatan’s Servant. Among them were Grid and Irene, and she was even afraid to mention the name ‘Doran.’ “But you... You might’ve been in greater pain and loneliness than me, yet you always fought to protect me.”
“That is a stretch. Now you’re only talking about a part of me. The things that you like about me are illusions caused by misunderstandings.”
“No,” Yura stated as she put down her cup. Her eyes were no longer shaking. It was because she glimpsed Grid’s self-blame. She said firmly to Grid, “The things I said were just an instrument. I like you because you are Shin Youngwoo. Your tone, your smell, your personality, your habits, your facial expressions, and your face...”
They were all the things he hated.
“I like all of them.”
A five-year relationship was not short, and Yura had seen many aspects of Grid in the last five years. Thus, she liked him.
“...” Grid’s heart started to thump. Now, Yura was looking at him completely. There was a bright smile on her face. Had she ever shown such a bright smile before? She looked more beautiful than ever, and Grid lost his soul momentarily.
“Do you know...? This is my first time saying it since finding out the truth... Well, you look really surprised.”
The nonsense entered his ears. Grid shook his head and smiled. “You are blinded.”
...He couldn’t believe it.
Irene’s face crossed his mind. There was a sense of guilt.
Yura saw his lost expression and got up. “I didn’t mean to embarrass you. I just want you to know that I like you.”
Her answer meant that it was okay to slow things down.
“By the way... why are you holding a pot in your hand?” Grid asked.
“I want to boil ramyun.”
“Ramyun? Can you boil it?”
“Yes, there is a recipe in the packet. I just need to wash the noodles and follow them.”
“Wash? Hey, give me that! Don’t squeeze the detergent and put it down!”
“The guest should sit quietly.”
It felt like the net around Grid’s heart had disappeared. Yura’s bright expression had been hard to see until now. Still, she should give him the ramyun packet first.