Jiwoo put down her food and thought about it. Was that how it worked?
“Oh, no. Actually… Rather than being the subject of temptation, the one preferred by vested interests… That’s what it means.”
“What to do to gain vested interests?”
“In the past, people with a lot of force or power, and in the era I lived in, usually people with a lot of money…”
As Jiwoo was talking about it, she was tearing her head out from the feeling of self-destruction that came over her without knowing why.
‘What on earth is this…? Why on earth am I doing this?’
Jiwoo tried to finish her sentence.
“Anyway, I don’t use this in a very good way. It was just a joke to Tevon.”
“Our Seo Jiwoo makes the truth sound like a joke.”
Tevon smirked in satisfaction.
“Now that I think about it, humans get married a little differently than us, right? They say one person is only connected to one other person.”
“Oh, that’s right. I had a question about that.”
The man next to Asilion raised his hand and asked,
“Then, the one and only husband… What happens if they hurt the woman’s feelings?”
At that question, everyone in the room held their breath and focused on Jiwoo. Since everyone was doing that with serious faces, it looked like a slightly more serious issue than a simple question about dating.
Although they had lived a long time and were knowledgeable in other ways, they seemed to have a hard time understanding these matters.
Well, this was something that couldn’t be gleaned from books.
“Wouldn’t it be better if another husband comforted her and consoled her broken heart, and also to act coyly, to help her ease her mind a little faster?”
“They tend to think that such conflicts are between the two of them. Not only for themselves, but also for those around them.”
“Is that possible?”
“I don’t think I’ll ever want to see the person who hurt my feelings for a while…”
She could hear tongues clicking here and there.
Perhaps it would be difficult to see a scene like this, whether in Caranazion or the world where she originally lived.
After all, in this place, marriage meant a union between one perfect woman and thirty men who were to be her husbands. The reason they were interested in Jiwoo was purely because Jiwoo was an Akarna—because she functions as Akarna like the incarnation of the ancient tree of El Ragneil.
“Because the women there are not the embodiment of trees. An Akarna is something special… You probably won’t be interested either.”
“Ah… But can you explain further?”
When Asilion said something in a whisper, heads nodded here and there.
“We want to hear it too.”
When Jiwoo tried to shift the topic, they started clamoring outspokenly.
At first, she thought they were curious about humans, but turns out it wasn’t. Well, humans existed in this world too. People who aren’t that different from the world Jiwoo lived in.
They are not people who already have enough knowledge, but they are curious about what kind of world Jiwoo has been living in.
In the awkward place where many groups were mixed together, quite interesting stories emerged. It was a story that was neither too heavy nor too light to be talked about in front of a lot of food.
Jiwoo spoke slowly, and when someone raised his hand and asked a question, she gave a short answer. Then they nodded and listened. For several hours, questions were exchanged, and the bonfire kept crackling.
Long after the story was roughly concluded, Asilion opened his mouth.
“It doesn’t apply to us. Of course, you too, Akarna. This is where we can become legitimate competitors.”
Jiwoo once again remembered that this difficult conversation stemmed from there.
In fact, it started when she was in the village, and Jiwoo also saw the heated fight… She came here while looking at something similar. She couldn’t solve it at that time, so she ended up getting to this point by accidentally skipping over it.
Since this was her first time, she was so flustered that she had missed the right time to speak. It would be rude to Jiwoo’s husbands and to them as well.
‘Then… Where should I start?’
She remembered the first time she met Lanceil after Jiwoo almost died in the forest. It wasn’t a good start.
To the children of Elandos, outsiders were something to be killed if they encountered them, and they did not bother to hide such hostility. Thinking about it, Jiwoo’s relationship with them was a product of coincidence.
However, Lanceil respected Jiwoo’s words that she should return even after calculating what advantage Akarna could bring to them, so he hid her. The village accepted Jiwoo without knowing what an Akarna was.
Thanks to that, they were able to slowly accept each other even though they were shy. And for Jiwoo, that short life in the green-gold village remained a very comfortable memory.
Of course, it was nice to be favored.
Moreover, it is a favor received from people who are so outstanding, so how could anyone not like it?
However, she also knew how the existence of Akarna could appeal to those who had lost Elandos. Since they have confirmed it with their own eyes, it is only natural.
Jiwoo raised both her hands and politely drew a line.
She was happy to be able to help them because she was an Akarna, but on the other hand, she was not happy about the favor she received as it hinged on the fact that she was an Akarna.
Jiwoo spoke to Asilion, who had been smiling since before.
“Even if you don’t go that far, Elandos will be cured. I don’t think you have to bear much burden.”
It was clear that it was not an illusion that they were continuing to use tricks to seduce her. She knew, but… Still, she couldn’t help but feel embarrassed, so her face turned red.
She even remembered the incident in which the group said she preyed on Helkainis’ virginity and told her to take responsibility for not being able to meet other women. It was an unreasonable thing for her, but she couldn’t hate it.
“That… the reward, and it means don’t erase the possibility of meeting other women in the future.”
Asilion tilted his head as if he still didn’t understand.
She said it again, but it seemed like it ended up being a bit strange.
Or perhaps she was going too far?
“No, Seo Jiwoo.”
Jiwoo jerked his head at the clear voice coming from above her.
“You just explained it to me. A price is a price, and a relationship is a relationship. Rather, you are the one who’s associating everything together. Healing Elandos is a matter that’s separate from your choice. You have the right to meet more diverse people…”
The longer Callan spoke, the harder Jiwoo’s expression became.
It wasn’t wrong. It wasn’t a wrong statement, nor was it a clever attempt to deceive.
Rather, it was a word of consideration for this party. Words that help her make the right choice.
As Jiwoo closed her mouth with a cold expression, the happy atmosphere gradually subsided.
In the end, Jiwoo cut off Callan’s words.
“…Wait a minute, Callan. Have a word with me.”
* * *
Jiwoo took Callan to a relatively quiet place. There was a possibility that those with good ears could still hear them, but it was something she would rather have them hear anyway.
“Yes. What is it?”
Seeing Callan asking calmly, Jiwoo tried to suppress her emotions.
“You voiced out the same thing last time, but why do you keep doing that?”
“Keep doing what?”
“Saying that. I definitely said I would marry you guys, and even spent the first night with you. Why do you keep saying that I might choose another group?”
The more she spoke, the more mixed her emotions became.
She thought Callan’s attitude had been bothering her ever since the early hours of the night, but when she thought about it, that wasn’t the case.
After Asilion’s group approached and clashed with them, Callan’s attitude started changing strangely.