The Tiger and I V1 Ch3 Part 1

Third Story

I couldn’t remember the number of times I’d downed the barley tea Saehee brought out, but my lips were still strangely dry. Ah, it was like sitting on a pincushion. Narae was glaring at me from the corner of her eye so hard it hurt.

“…So you’re saying that even though Sunghoon and Rangii are basically cousins, they’re actually complete strangers. And gthey’re even engaged?”

It looked like that was where our conversation ended up.

“Y-yeah.”

“That’s right. We’re lovey-dovey.”

When and where did you learn that word?

Sting. Narae’s glare became even more painful.

“Really?”

It was better that I tell her about the engagement than about Rangii being a phantom.

“For now, at least…”

“Lolicon. Go die.”

Narae said something I couldn’t ignore

“Wh-who’re you calling a lolicon? My tastes are normal!”

I must look just like a guy in a soap opera caught cheating on his lover.

“That’s right. It is perfectly normal for Sunghoon to love a woman like me.”

You brat. Could you please keep that mouth of yours shut? Are you planning on bankrupting my romance and dragging it away from me?

“……”

Aghh, Miss Narae’s scornful glare hurt. My heart hurt.

“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,” Narae said.

“Sunghoon met me once when he was young.”

“When?”

“When Sunghoon was born……”

I swiftly blocked Rangii’s mouth.

“Hbb?”

Don’t look at me like you have no idea why I’m doing this. You brat, try and use common sense. I’m clearly older than you, so how does it make sense that I met you the moment I was born?

“H-haha. When Rangii was born, not that long ago. Yeah. I was also young, 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 reading another person’s nonverbal cues.

“Why do you keep acting like that? I said I would accept a concubine, but at some point, a concubine should know her place! Isn’t it natural for you to show love first and foremost to your wife, to me?”

First and foremost, I’m going to shut that mouth of yours.

“Who’re you calling a concubine?”

See? Because of you, Narae got mad.

“If Sunghoon were to pick who to be his wife between the two of us, he would obviously pick me!”

But why’re you getting mad about that part?!

“How would that be possible?! Sunghoon would obviously choose me! Sunghoon is head over heels in love with me! Because he’s a lolicon!”

Are you trying to kill me?

At first Narae got angry at Rangii’s nonsensical words, but suddenly she gave a bright, flowery smile, and said:

“Rangii, dear.”

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. Ever since he was young, he liked women with big breasts.”

That was a cruel reality for me as well.

H-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 bolted up, emitting an intense energy as she shouted.

“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. I-is this that so-called spiritual pressure? (tn: a Bleach reference)

“Sunghoon—sniffle—loves me!!”

I looked up at Rangii while thinking to myself, You brat, what’s wrong with you? when I noticed something.

“……”

I wanted to faint.

“…A tail? And ears? Where did they come from?”

Narae’s words reconfirmed that my eyes were perceiving reality correctly. That’s right. Rangii, on the verge of tears and consumed by anger, forgot to hide her tail and ears.

Oh crap. What do I do? Could I just say it’s a trick? Could I trick her by saying, “Surprise, this is a prank show~” and have this all blow over?

Of course not!

“Please excuse me for a moment.”

Saehee, the only one of us to maintain her composure in the midst of this chaos, moved. She put her hand on Narae’s forehead even as she stared in shock at Rangii’s newly-sprouted tail and ears. Narae then collapsed backward.

“W-what?”

“More importantly, Young Master, you should seek to calm down the Master. Right away.”

In times like this, Saehee’s expressionless face makes her look a lot more trustworthy. Rangii was ready to explode, her hands balled up into fists, thick tears gathering in the corners of her eyes, and her breathing heavy, when I made up my mind to calm Rangii down.

“Hey, hey. What’s the problem, huh?”

“That woman! Uu—that woman said that you hate—huk—hate me……”

With Rangii clinging to my chest, I patted her on the head and said this:

“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 choose between Narae and you, he would obviously choose Narae. And I’m definitely a typical man, so I’d pick Narae as well.

But, c’mon, Rangii.

“Hey, even if what she said is true, loving…”

It’s embarrassing so I can’t say it.

“I mean, liking someone is different. No matter their age, face, or personality, none of that stuff matters.”

“But—”

I interrupted Rangii.

“Listen closely. None of that stuff matters when it comes to liking someone.”

That is a lie. Appearance, money, breasts, height, personality, and a lot of other stuff matter.

They are connected to that feeling of love.

“You have your own charm. So that’s why I…”

Rangii’s a kid. A kid. A little kid. A freaking little kid. So why is blood rushing to my face?

“I like you, Rangii.”

Rangii stopped crying. She loosened her fists, and her previously unfocused eyes looked up at me. Hey, stop looking at me. If you look at me with such innocent eyes, it’ll hurt my conscience. I’m already so embarrassed I want to hide in a mouse hole, so stop staring!

Rangii lifted her hand and held tightly onto my chest.

“Do you really, really mean it?”

Her cheeks flushed, twin red glows appearing on her cheeks. With Rangii like this, I said:

“Nope. I lied.”

She reacted like a child who was teased as to whether you would give her a candy or not only to watch as you popped that candy into your own mouth. She started tearing up again, her eyebrows looking like a Chinese eight (八) and her mouth looking like a shi-oht (ㅅ).

Uu, uuu, uuuu.”

If I keep this up she may really cry, so I should stop teasing her. I leaned down, hugged Rangii with both arms, lifted her up, and said:

“Because I like you a super-duper lot.”

I’m telling Rangii what she wants to hear. Ah, damn. Goosebumps ran down the lengths of my arms. But upon seeing a blossom of a smile form on Rangii’s face, I couldn’t care less about those goosebumps. Because kids look best when they’re smiling.

Uuu. How mean! Sunghoon is mean!”

Rangii slapped downwards, striking me on the shoulders. Of course, it hurt. Even if it’s a little kid hitting you, getting hit like this hurts. But I didn’t show it on my face. Because this is what it means to be an adult.

Okay, I’ve calmed down Rangii so should I worry about the next thing? Now that Rangii was back to normal—actually, now that she was happier than normal, I tried to put her down, but I gave up on that when she climbed up my back to cling to me. I shifted my posture so that I was more comfortable before saying:

“Saehee.”

“Why have you called for me, you crimi—I mean, Young Master?”

“What were you about to call me?”

“I have no idea 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 looked like I would have to have a private chat with her later.

“What are you going to do?” I asked her.

Even if it was for just a moment, Narae saw Rangii’s tail and ears before Saehee rendered her unconscious. If I don’t think of a solution while she’s still knocked out, then I’ll be in for a world of hurt.

“The simplest solution would be to drop her in the ocean in a metal drum full of cement…”

Saehee glanced at me, and I responded with a venomous expression on my face.

“However, as the one in question is not the Young Master, I have no intention of doing so.”

So if it were me, you’d do it?

“I intended to modify any memories she had related to the Master with basic memory manipulation, but there was a problem.”

“…What is it?”

“The one called Narae is a member of the Bear Tribe. I thought she was a normal human, but I was fooled. I never thought that a Bear Tribe member who had yet to awaken her power would be able to slip through my barrier undetected.”

What? Bear Tribe?! And a barrier?

And in that vein:

“What’s the Bear Tribe, and what do you mean by barrier?”

Saehee looked at me as if I were some pathetic creature. Don’t show emotion only in times like this.

“All day today I worked to create a barrier that would allow me to identify the energy of phantoms as well as our own.”

Maybe I should just think of it as a convenient radar.

“While drinking alcohol?”

A barrier under the influence?

“Is there something you wish to say?”

No, there is not.

“Then explain to me in layman’s terms what the Bear Tribe is.”

“It is the enemy.”

“…A little longer, please.”

“The Bear Tribe 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?” (tn: Long story short, a bear that turned into a woman, married God, and gave birth to the founder of Korea, Dangun)

“Is there a different Ungnyeo?”

I’m sorry. For asking something such an obvious question.

“I am referring to the women who inherited Ungnyeo’s blood and have, upon meeting a certain precondition, become her puppets. Only the chief has a mind of her own.”

“Explain so it’s easier to understand.”

“They are the bitches of a bitch.”

I should stop talking.

At this point, Rangii piped in: “Simply put it’s like this. That fat hag hates that Hwanung gave me special attention, 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, and…

“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 me to be in the Bear Tribe’s crosshairs.

Well, Rangii telling me that she was strong enough to protect me must have been just to help me relax. That’s how I decided to take her words. But maybe Saehee saw that I wasn’t in the least bit convinced, because she gave an additional explanation.

“Approximately 300 years ago as well, we repelled an attack from the foolish Bear Tribe 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 what’s important here. I should go back to the main issue.

“So what’s the problem with Narae being a part of the Bear Tribe?”

“Every member of the Bear Tribe 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 kind of problem?”

“If she is fortunate, brain damage; if not, instant death.”

“Hey.”

What the heck do you consider a big problem, 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. …But I’m not cutting her in half!

“As a matter of fact, were she to awaken her power, this would become a nonissue.”

This caught my attention.

“Then can’t we just have her meet that condition? What is it?”

“It is bust size.”

Saehee’s answer, spoken seriously and with clinical detachment, stunned.

“…What?”

“Members of the Bear Tribe realize their powers when their bust sizes reach D cups.”

I decided that Saehee was screwing with me. I turned my head and asked Rangii, who now had her chin resting on my shoulder:

“Is she telling the truth?”

“I don’t know what a D cup is, but all of my opponents had large breasts.”

Okay, but how come you’re tightening your grip around my neck as you say that?

“I made sure to educate those attackers with huge, useless bags of shaking flesh exactly whom they dared to attack.”

The feeling of Rangii’s tiny chest pressing against my back caused me to feel pity for her for some reason.

“So what do we do? Can I tell her the truth about you two?”

“Please do as you will, Young Master.”

“…Is it really okay if I do that?”

I meant if it were okay for me to tell someone about phantoms, but Rangii answered with:

“She is to be the concubine of the man to be my husband. It would be proper to do so.”

Seeing the two phantoms before me not at all worried about their supposedly hidden identities, I felt like the weird one. And I decided what to do. (CORRECT FIRST SENTENCE)

“So you’re saying that after I fainted in your house, I was unconscious for nearly an hour, and I just now woke up?”

“Yes, that is correct, Miss Narae,” Saehee said.

Please be fooled. I’m begging you. Por favor.

“…You have a death wish or something?”

“It didn’t work?!”

Ignoring Saehee’s look of pity and Rangii’s look of disappointment, I moved on to my next plan. I call it a plan but it was nothing elaborate: I just told her an edited version of the truth. I explained that Rangii was the tiger from the Dangun myth, that she lived in my grandfather’s estate away from humans, and that when he passed away (even though he’s not dead) there was nowhere else for her to stay, so I took her with me to Seoul. I hid any other important facts from her, but Narae must have been shocked speechless after learning that Rangii and Saehee were 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 and looked at me with her eyes full of sadness. Huh? Why’re you doing that all of a sudden?

“You must’ve had a really tough time, Sunghoon.”

Ah, so that’s how you’re responding?

“You must’ve been really shocked because of your grandfather’s passing. I understand. It’s okay.”

Your pitying kindness is making me feel even sadder. Narae treated me like someone who lost his mind due to grief, but at least she was okay with it—nope, as if.

“Everything I told you is true.”

“You expect me to believe that? You must’ve forced that kid to put on that tail and ears because of your perverted fetishes, you pervert, deviant, dirty old man!”

Oi, oi. Though I had a lot of things to say at Narae’s baseless accusation, Rangii angrily spoke first.

“No, you’re wrong! These are, without doubt, a part of my body!”

She clenched her fists, squeezed her eyes shut, and proudly moved her ears and tail for Narae to see. Narae sighed.

Then, making it almost unbelievable to think that she was angry just a moment before, Narae looked absolutely serene when she spoke.

“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—you have to draw the line somewhere. I got mad because that jerk tried to trick me.”

“Sorry.”

I lowered my head. I may be going through all this because of my monster of a grandfather and my weirdo dad—in other words, my family—but Narae got swept up in all this even though she wasn’t involved in any of it. Seriously, I don’t have enough words.

“It’s okay. Because I’d be even more upset if I didn’t know.”

But Narae actually comforted me. I heard everything up to the “it’s okay,” but what was it she said at the end?

I was about to ask her about what she said, when she suddenly pinched my side.

“Uwauwaagh!”

“But what? I was passed out for an hour? Do you think I’m an idiot? Did you think I’d fall for that?”

The same place! You’re pinching the same place as before! Why do you have to pinch the same place?!

“N-no! It’s not like that!!”

I’d never have said something like that under normal circumstances.

“And let’s say you did manage to fool me. Were you going to keep hiding this from me?”

“That goes without saying.”

Narae stared daggers at me. She doubled the force behind her fingers.

“Ugyaaaagh!”

“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 go of me, Narae-nim!!”

Only then did Narae let go of my side. Although I furiously rubbed my aching side, the pain didn’t subside in the slightest. I slid away from Narae in order to save my side from more of her abuse, when:

“So now that everything’s out in the open, what are you going to do?”

Narae asked me this.

“Huh?”

What am I going to do?

“Rangii and Saehee…may be phantoms, but they’re still girls.”

Rangii looked like a girl but she was practically a wild beast, and Saehee was more like an unidentified mysterious creature, but still. Like Narae said, they were girls.

“Even if your dad is staying here too, you can’t just live with two girls! Wait, don’t tell me. Were you just going to go along with this since you got the chance to live with girls?”

“No, it’s just that…”

“If that’s not it, then what?”

I didn’t know what to say. It seemed like Sahee had connections in the government, but even if she found a different house, Rangii would probably refuse to leave. I was so preoccupied trying to think of an answer to Narae’s question that I never considered that Saehee might respond.

“That is truly not the case. The Young Master’s parents have departed the residence.”

“Huh?”­

Narae was dumbstruck.

“What?!”

No, she was angry.

“What the heck?! Hey! Are you trying to take advantage of the fact that your parents are gone?!”

I lost any words I could have said when an apparition of the god of destruction appeared, looking ready to destroy all of creation with a single blow. Narae, you can’t possibly believe that I brought these two here while my parents were gone to do naughty things with them, right? No, based on the look on your face, do you really believe that? This is a misunderstanding. A misunderstanding.

“No, you see. 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? (tn: Sunghoon uses honorifics in his last line of dialogue.)

Narae leaned down, slammed her hands on the table, then spoke.

“Are you telling me to believe that ridiculous excuse?!”

“But it’s the truth.”

“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.

“Uwohoohk?!”

“You idiot! What the hell was that yesterday, really?!”

WhyareyoubringingupsomethingfromyesterdayithasnothingtodowiththisandhowmuchlongerareyougoingtokeepdoingthisithurtssomuchI’mdying!

For the sake of my survival, I grabbed Narae’s wrist. Her other hand went directly for my side. My body immediately flinched away. Has this become a reflex?!

“Oh, you’re dodging?”

I quietly put down my hand and turned away. Narae pinched my side. Maybe I’d grown numb there because I couldn’t feel any pain.

“So you’re all going to stay here until your parents come back?”

“…I mean, I can’t kick them out.”

Narae fell deep into thought at my realistic objection when:

“Then Rangii and Saehee can stay at my house.”

I had trouble understanding what she said.

“Huh?”

“Two girls can’t stay in a house with alone with a guy! What if you did something indecent?!”

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 on them, I’d just end up being punished horribly.

But setting all that aside, Narae’s idea sounded appealing. Narae’s family was rich and entrusting them to her might be okay.

However.

“I can’t do that.”

“Why not? No way, do you…”

I cut off Narae, stopping her from continuing a ridiculous misunderstanding.

“No, that’s not what I meant. How can I do that after they traveled so far fully expecting me to be there for them? I appreciate the sentiment, but this is my responsibility.”

Narae was furious.

“E-even if you say that, it doesn’t sound cool at all!”

That’s because I didn’t say that to look cool.

If this were an anime, she would’ve had veins popping out of her forehead as she beared a great deal of thought over what I said. She’s a member of the Bear Tribe so she’s bearing a lot of thoughts, get it…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.”

“Eh?”

What did she say? She must have gotten caught up in the moment and said something she didn’t mean.

“No, Narae. That’s…”

“I used to come over here and have sleepovers, didn’t I?”

That was back in elementary school!

“What kind of demand is that?!”

“Shut up! Just do what I said! I’m going to sleep in your house too! Or are you saying it’s okay for them but not me? If not, what else? Does it make you uncomfortable for me to be here?!”

There’s no way for me to answer if you put it like that.

When Narae makes up her mind like this, there’s no refusing her. She’s too strong an opponent. But this only applies to direct refusals. It’s possible to refuse later on. By doing something like this.

“Okay.”

I pretended to give up.

“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 guy’s house for several days, even if he’s a childhood friend. It was a little disappointing, but if Narae stayed here, then I’d lose my mind.

But Narae’s inexplicable confidence made me nervous.

“Do you mean it?”

Her lack of hesitation made me stutter.

“Y-yeah.”

Narae took out her cell phone and she 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 casually step on a landmine?

“You mean I can’t?”

Thankfully, Narae’s dad seemed like someone with common sense. Narae furrowed her brow a bit, but only for a moment. 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 down my spine after hearing that?

“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 the cell phone and spoke.

“Hello.”

[Please take good care of my daughter, Sunghoon. Make the most of this opportunity. Please, please, I’m begging you. That little monster is…]

Before Narae’s dad could finish yelling, Narae took the phone and hung up. Um, I’m curious about that last part about a little monster.

“Everything’s settled, right?”

It felt like I cracked open Pandora’s Box.

“Although members of the Bear Tribe have a strong devotion to their mates, they have trouble expressing their true feelings.”

Saehee, when did you get next to me? You were standing in front of me not even a moment ago. And it feels like you just said something weird?

“I shall prepare a meal for the Master. I came to ask if it was okay to use the kitchen.”

“I’m hungry~ Let’s talk after we eat dinner~”

Rangii’s whining made me realize I was hungry as well. Come to think of it, I went out grocery shopping to get ingredients for dinner. I could even—I mean, I couldn’t understand why Rangii started drooling over pigeon.

“Yeah.”

“Then I shall prepare dinner.”

“I got groceries, so thanks for taking care of dinner.”

“I shall do so.”

After saying this, Saehee looked at Narae with a small smile on her face.

“This sounded like a conversation between newlyweds, do you not agree?”

Oi, what’re you saying right now?

“…You said that on purpose, didn’t you?”

Narae wasn’t one to walk away from a fight.

“Oh dear, pardon me. After seeing your egotism, I could not help but respond in kind.”

C’mon, at least try and defuse the situation. Narae even narrowed her eyes!

“Great. I want to help too. That should be okay, right?”

“I should like nothing better.”

Seen from the outside, with Narae’s scary smile and Saehee’s lack of expression, the two looked like they were getting along fabulously as they walked together. I decided not to enter the kitchen. Ever.

Okay, it looked like the typhoon just passed me by, so I could finally take a breather. I wanted to lie down on the floor with my legs and arms stretched out like Rangii, but I had my human dignity. But you brat. What’re you doing right now? Ignoring why you’re lying down on the floor, why’re you flailing your arms and legs?

“…What’re you doing?”

“You wouldn’t play with me for all this time, so I’m angry.”

It seemed that in modern times, tigers like to vent their frustration by lying down with their limbs outstretched and slap their hands against the ground. Maybe I could survive a visit into a tiger’s den just by making it angry. Actually, if she thought what I was doing with Narae looked like playing, then I needed to get her checked for glasses.

“I was busy taking care of the mess you made. If you hadn’t shown your tail and ears, then all this wouldn’t have gotten so complicated.”

Rangii puffed out her cheeks in a pout.

“Uuu. But I couldn’t help that. How could I have ignored such provocation?”

I probably would’ve just ignored what Narae said. Because there are lots of times when the one you like doesn’t reciprocate your feelings. Will such a thing happen to the future me as well?

…Ah. I should wipe away my tears. For the sake of my potentially tragic future, I decided to agree with Rangii.

“Yeah, yeah. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

Rangii laughed, going hee hee, and she dragged her body across the ground, crawling under the table and thrusting her legs towards me. You brat. Are you saying you’re too lazy to get up by yourself? Rangii moved again and this time her legs reached all the way to my lap, but hey. A girl should take better care of her appearance. Your shirt’s moved up, and now I can see your belly. She wriggled from side to side, exposing more of her skin, and I felt the urge to play a little prank. I poked Rangii in her belly button.

“Unyak?!”

Rangii’s arms and legs shot out, and when she tried to sit up, the table shook with a bang. What a fun kid. Teasing her was worth it. With her body pulled out on the opposite side of the table from me, Rangii whined to me while rubbing her red forehead.

Rangii came out from the opposite end of the table, gingerly touching her reddened forehead before whining at me.

“Why’d you do that? You scared me.”

“Took the words right out of my mouth. What were 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 there were a rating system for annoyingness, you’d be a first-class tiger.

“Ah, is that so.”

I backed up a little, saw Rangii’s legs poking out from under the table, grabbed them, and…

“Huh? What’re you doing?”

I pulled her towards me.

“Ha—eek?!”

Rangii looked at me, wide eyed with her arms outstretched, after I slid her out from under the table.

“If you don’t want that to happen again, then sit properly next time.”

“Th-that was fun! Can’t you do it again?”

Looks like it backfired.

““Lolicon.””

When did you two get here?!

The dinner Narae and Saehee made was so delicious I could have screamed in joy. My mouth began to water when I saw that they had made extraordinary dishes from the only ordinary groceries I had bought.

We ate dinner at the round dining table, with Rangii and Narae at either side and Saehee across from me. Mmm~ Delicious.

“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 was a side dish that Narae made for me. Thus, I could already comprehend a heavenly taste.

“Young Master. Please try the pumpkin pancake as well.” (tn: Literally “jeon,” a style of Korean cooking. It’s different from the western style of pancake)

At Saehee’s suggestion, I tried a bite of the pumpkin pancake. It was really good. Although I already knew this, Saehee was really good at cooking.

“It’s good.”

“That is a relief.”

…For some reason, the mood feels really tense, but maybe I’m imagining things? No, it doesn’t seem like that’s the case. Narae-nim seems, for whatever reason, to be in quite a bad mood.

“Sunghoon.”

For some reason, I got a bad feeling.

“This and this. These are the ones I cooked, so I hope you like it.”

“Besides those, I made the rest. Please enjoy it.”

Looking closely, I could see that Narae’s food was on the left and Saehee’s food was on the right, with the bulgogi in the center. (tn: Bulgogi is a kind of Korean marinated beef.)

Oi, you two. What the heck happened in the kitchen while Rangii and I were playing around? It was hard to figure out what to do with my chopsticks with Saehee and Narae’s eyes focused on me.

Wait, Miss Saehee. Why do you keep trying to antagonize Narae? It was times like this that I felt jealous of Rangii, who was eating without a care in the world.

…Seeing her continue to drop food, I was actually not jealous of her considering how clumsy she was with her chopsticks.

…She apparently wasn’t embarrassed by the fact that her clumsiness with chopsticks meant she kept spilling food. I remembered that just this morning she was doing a better job than this, so what happened to her?

Whenever Rangii dropped the side dishes she’d go “Uuu,” pout, and glance at me. Was she asking me for help?

All right. I felt bad seeing her like that, so I decided to give her a hand.

“Rangii.”

“What’s wrong?”

It almost sounded like she was sulking, and I almost laughed.

“Come over here.”

I patted my lap. It felt like I was talking to a dog, but it was different. Because she’s not Baduk.

“Okay!”

Rangii took her rice bowl and utensils and sat on my lap.

“I already taught you how to hold chopsticks. Try and eat properly.”

“Hehehe.”

I fiddled with Rangii’s hand so that she was holding them correctly.

“I am trying.”

“Okay, okay. So what do you want to eat?”

“Bulgogi.”

I picked up the bulgogi with my chopsticks and put it on top of Rangii’s rice…

“Wait, wait, wait!!”

Hm? Narae suddenly got upset.

“What do you think you’re doing?!”

In response to Narae’s pointed finger, I gave a matter-of-fact answer.

“I’m just 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 sitting on your lap?!”

Was this weird? Even though, when I was little, I would sit on top of my mom’s lap as she taught me how to use my eating utensils?

“This is how we do it in my family.”

“I…no, this is unacceptable!”

Seeing Narae go bright red and getting upset, should I give her an excuse or maybe protest?

“Because this way I can make sure 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. She looked back at me with bright, innocent eyes of a child.

She was 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’s so good~”

“……”

Without another word, I watched Rangii happily chew on a piece of bulgogi before giving her a gentle knock on the head.

“Uwah! What was that for?!”

“Narae wouldn’t lie about that.”

“Do you not trust me?”

“I saw you stick your tongue out.”

Rangii was shocked, a look of surprise on her face.

“Y-you saw that? How?”

…Oh man.

“So you really did do it.”

I was just testing her but she got caught.

“Shoot!”

While Rangii was busy being embarrassed over her blunder, I rested my chin on top of her head and spoke to Narae.

“As you can see, she’s just a kid. Don’t get all riled up over stuff like this.”

“…I guess you’re right.”

When we started cleaning up after eating our delicious yet somewhat tense dinner, the doorbell rang. I wondered who it was when Narae spoke.

“It’s express delivery. It’s probably someone bringing my things. I’ll go get it.”

Narae went out and came back inside with two large bags in hand.

“You’re really planning on sleeping over?”

“I said that I would. Why, did you think I lied?”

I would have liked 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 were here. Rangii truly thought that Narae was beneath her, so there was no real problem there. The problem was Narae and Saehee. Narae bore some strange hostility towards Rangii and Saehee, and I got the feeling that Saehee didn’t like Narae. Could that be because of Narae being part of the Bear Tribe? Isn’t there a way they could get along?

“Which room can I use? Your room’s fine too. Of course, you’d be sleeping somewhere else.”

Hahaha, Miss Narae, you really tell the best jokes. Though it looked like you were serious. But which room should I have Narae use? I felt like something terrible would happen if I had her share a room with Rangii, so the only room left was Dad’s… I didn’t like the idea of having her stay in my 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 new blankets.”

It was fortunate that I always had guest blankets on hand for those rare occasions when Mom brought her acquaintances with her. This meant I didn’t have to ask Narae to use the blankets my dad uses.

“You’re being unexpectedly considerate.”

“What do you mean unexpected?”

I’m always considerate of you. Though I probably won’t tell you that. Completely clueless of how I felt, Narae went “Hmph,” and went into my dad’s room with her bags in tow.

“I’m going to unpack and change now.”

“Okay.”

Right before closing the door, she looked across the threshold to glare at me with a scary look in her eyes.

“If you peek, I’ll kill you.”

“…I won’t.”

“I’m not going to lock the door.”

“Are you telling me to look or not?”

“I’m saying look and die.”

She stuck her tongue out at me jokingly.

Since I didn’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 this was my best chance. …I wasn’t going to do anything weird. Now seemed like the perfect time to learn 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 the safety of mankind, the stability of my family, and my own life, that didn’t change the fact that I was Rangii’s guardian. That meant I needed to take responsibility for looking after her. So it wasn’t weird for me to search for more information about tigers and thus about her.

I mean it. I was only trying to find out how best to care for her.

And then.

“Have you evolved from a lolicon to a stalker?”

“Uhyaak!”

Holy crap! I calmed my racing heart and turned around to find Saehee looking down at me with a face that contrasted entirely with mine; in other words, she was expressionless.

“Would you stop appearing behind me and suddenly talking? I’ll die of a heart attack!”

“Next time I shall be careful.”

“I remember you saying that before as well.”

“Is that so? If you want to know about the Master, rather than use the Internet, you can ask me directly.”

Was she really asking me to do something so embarrassing?

“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?” (tn: I believe this is a reference to a 1935 Korean novel in which the main female character is a major tsundere)

Wait, why was she here having quippy dialogue with me?

“More importantly, what is it? You’re here for a reason, aren’t you?”

“You truly are quick to notice the strangest things.”

What kind of image do those two have of me?

“In truth, 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 Tribe. The Master also knows this.”

“And?”

“Narae-nim’s presence near you would be a bad influence on the Master.”

“Why?”

Saehee narrowed her eyes.

“The thing above your neck is not only used to eat.”

“Isn’t it tiring to tell someone to use his own head in such a roundabout way?”

“It becomes easier with practice.”

I wanted to get used to it too. So I could beat her for once.

Anyway, I should think about it for a second.

Narae is a member of the Bear Tribe, and Rangii is a tiger. In the Dangun myth, a tiger and a bear meet Hwanung to turn into humans. Hwanung says to stay in a cave and eat only garlic and mugwart for 100 days, but the tiger can’t endure the test so it runs away. The bear turns into a human, wants a child, and is chosen by Hwanung to marry him.

So what the heck was the problem? I doubted it was because Rangii felt jealous of Narae’s almost criminal figure when she herself looked like a child. 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 couldn’t deny that my thoughts were foolish.

“What is it already?”

“Although I cannot explain in detail, this is related to the Master’s trauma.”

If you ever gave explained everything to me without hassle, I’d have to plant an apple tree (tn: I’m pretty sure this is a Martin Luther reference. Sunghoon is saying that the world would end). What kind of trauma could Rangii possibly have? But I didn’t think Saehee would lie about something related to Rangii.

“So what do you want me to do?”

“Please chase Narae-nim out.”

“Whoa, whoa.”

The heck kind of nonsense is that?

“Hey. She’s staying over here for a few days because she’s worried about you two; isn’t that a little harsh?”

“An idiotic response truly befitting the Young Master.”

What did I do to deserve being called an idiot? So what if Narae stays here?

“Young Master. There is something you must not forget. That the Master came to Seoul with eyes only for you.”

“…I know.”

Whatever the reason, I was the one who reached out to Rangii, and she was the one who grabbed my hand. That meant I was responsible for looking after her.

“No. The Young Master is completely clueless. That is why you invited Narae-nim here while completely disregarding the Master.”

This made my temper flare up. What’s so wrong about inviting Narae, and what did I do wrong to Rangii for Saehee to say that? I was ready to blow my top, but something happened before I could say anything.

“Why’d you leave me all alone? Being by myself makes me feel lonely.”

Rangii spoke sullenly as she opened the door and entered. I immediately closed the browser window. It was probably just my imagination that I thought I looked like an adolescent boy who was caught browsing adult sites by his mom.

“We were preparing where you will sleep, Master.”

She could tell lies without even blinking.

“What is there to talk about? 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 “Buuu,” grumbling indignantly and pouting at my callous comment.

“That was only because you were next to me. I am usually not like that.”

Put your money where your mouth is, then.

“That aside, with my belly full and the day darkening, I’ve become sleepy. Sunghoon, let’s sleep together.”

“Why should I?”

“I learned that if you don’t sleep a lot, you won’t grow.”

Your true body is Jirisan, so what good would growing do…wait, I’m focusing on the wrong thing.

“How does that answer why I should sleep with you?”

“Because I want to sleep with you.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Uuu.  Then I’ll force you to!”

I was curious how she was going to force me, but all she did was grab my hand and pull me towards her. …I’m not sure what you think I am, but I’m not so weak that I’d be dragged around by a kid. But even so, I felt bad seeing Rangii straining, so I picked her up by her butt and:

“Upsy-daisy!”

I sat down again.

“Uu.”

Rangii looks cute when she pouts. I wonder if this is why adults tease little kids.

But the thing is.

“Why’re you laying out the quilt?”

Saehee was laying out my blankets, the ones I had carefully folded.

“The Master said that she wants to sleep.”

“Then go set up her quilt in your room.”

“Master said that she wants to sleep with you, Young Master.

“It doesn’t matter how you word it; my response won’t change.”

“What’s the problem? Isn’t it natural for a couple to share a room?”

Rangii said something I couldn’t ignore.

“Hold on, since when were we a couple?”

“There’s no need to be so embarrassed. Though, since it’s been such a short time, your reaction doesn’t surprise me. And also……”

Rangii twisted her body this way and that, a blush on her face.

“Didn’t we already have our first time together?”

No, no, we didn’t. You’re dead 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.”

I know I’m repeating myself, but you’re clearly a child.

“Isn’t it when a man and a woman who love each other get married and sleep in the same room under the same covers?”

Right then, I needed a xylophone. Ding!

“Saehee.”

“Yes.”

“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 both physically and mentally.

“C’mon, let’s go to bed already. I wish to bear our child as soon as possible.”

While I tortured myself over how to teach Rangii sex-ed, this happened:

“Why’re you all here?”

Narae entered my room. Ah, I’ll ask Narae to give Rangii proper education…but the moment I saw Narae, any such thoughts were blown away.

“H-hey! What’s wrong with your clothes?!”

“W-what’s wrong with what I’m wearing?!”

Narae’s usual fierce appearance was nowhere to be found. She had on a loose-fitting tank top that exposed her belly button and bra straps, and below that she wore hotpants that set her thighs on full display, leaving me with nowhere safe to look. To a teenage boy like me, her outfit was enough to make me drool uncontrollably. I needed to hide my blushing face somehow, but I-I couldn’t endure it! If a healthy teenager sees the girl he likes clad in such a stimulating fashion, then…… Th-this is just a physiological reaction!

“Your clothes are too skimpy!”

“What’s the big deal? Everyone wears stuff like this. What, do you have a problem with it?”

The problem is that I don’t have any. No, the problem is that I like it way too much.

“There’s a lewd look in your eyes.”

Shoot. I gave the only excuse I could with Narae staring daggers at me.

“You have on clothes which, for me at this point in my life, makes me have trouble deciding where to look, so it’s your…”

Narae cut me off.

“My fault?”

“No, it is not.”

After I conceded her point like a dog with its tail between its legs, she smiled, satisfied, and looked around my room.

“So this is your room? Heeh… It doesn’t look like it’s changed at all.”

“This is also my room.”

Rangii-nim, only a visitor to my room, said something completely ridiculous. Narae frowned in response.

“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?”

“What the heck’s natural about that?”

Narae gave a perfectly reasonable response and pulled Rangii by the hand. Rangii had apparently never been treated like this before and, in a state of confusion, pleaded me for help.

“W-what’s wrong with this woman? A concubine should know her place!”

“Who’re you calling a concubine? Besides, this is a monogamous country, so there are no such things as 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 am sorry for you. Sunghoon has already completely fallen for my charm, so you have no chance.”

Narae glared at me sharply and spoke.

“Hey.”

“No, I haven’t.”

Rangii tail and ears were standing up sharply.

“But last night didn’t you desire me with great intensity?”

I gave an excuse right before Narae’s hand flew at me.

“I was freezing last night, so I grabbed her to keep myself warm. I didn’t do anything else, and this all happened while I was half asleep, so please forgive me. You know how I am when I’m sleepy.”

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 bound to be misunderstood!”

I told the truth exactly as it was to Narae. After I finished talking, Rangii opened and closed her mouth like a bird, clenched and unclenched her hands, then, when she looked like she was about to speak…she suddenly hugged Narae and burst into tears.

“Uwaaaah! Sunghoon is bullying meeee! E-even though I was so happy that Sunghoon accepted me! But then! Uwaaaaah!!”

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!

Narae was shocked when Rangii suddenly hugged her, but, after thinking for a moment, she sighed and patted Rangii’s head before speaking to me.

“Hey, there was no reason to say all that. Why were you so harsh?”

“…What?”

Why’d she suddenly take Rangii’s side? I was so taken aback that I couldn’t give a response.

“It’s okay, Rangii. Sunghoon was being mean because he was embarrassed that I was here.”

Narae interpreted my words completely differently. It was a really convenient interpretation. But it seemed Rangii bought what Narae was selling. With tears in her eyes, Rangii looked up from Narae’s bosom and spoke.

“Is that true?”

Narae’s glare was painful. Narae, I like it when you care so much for others, but this made me a little sad. And there was no reason for you to mouth “You’re. So. Dead.” at me. Please think about me, too.

“That’s right. I was so embarrassed that I was only able to say it like that.”

When I told her that I lied, she instantly stopped crying and smiled brightly.

“It’s true! Sunghoon’s so shy!”

And she left Narae’s bosom to run towards me. She reached to hug my neck, and I automatically bent down and held her up by her bottom. …There was no helping it. Even if she was a kid, if I tried to hold her with only on my neck, I’d die. It was for the solely for my survival that I did this.

Now secure in my arms, Rangii turned around to speak to Narae.

“You are truly ready to become Sunghoon’s concubine!”

“Like I said, you can’t have concubines in this country.”

Though she said that, she didn’t seem upset. There was actually a smile playing on the corner of her lips.

…That was worrying. I was concerned about Narae’s sudden change in attitude towards Rangii. I was going to ask her about that, but the sudden weight on my shoulders surprised me.

“Snore~”

And I heard her rhythmic breathing. Hey, are you sleeping right now? After what just happened, you fell asleep?

“…Oi.”

The tip of Rangii’s tail twitched slightly.

“Are you sleeping?”

“She is exhausted after traveling so far.”

Saehee, who had erased her presence until now, scared me when she spoke. If you were here, you should’ve said something or calmed down Rangii or said something to Narae or insulted me. Actually, I take back that last thing.

“You brat, all you did in the car was sleep, too.”

“She has always required plenty of sleep.”

…Geez, her body is so 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.”

“Why not?”

“The Master is sleeping because the Young Master’s scent and body heat put her mind at ease. If you move her to my room, she will wake up.”

You just nonchalantly called it your room. Just now, you did.

“So?”

“You can sleep with the Master in my room.”

“Nope. She can just sleep here.”

“…Tch.”

Don’t click your tongue.

I carefully removed Rangii’s arms from my neck and gently placed her on the blanket to keep her from waking up.

“Uuung.”

She moved around a bit, but thankfully she didn’t wake up. For some reason, I felt embarrassed when I saw her sleeping so comfortably in my blanket, the one covered in my scent. Maybe I should wash my sheets tomorrow.

I led Narae and Saehee out of the room, and I closed the door. Whew. With Rangii sleeping in my room, the only place left for me to sleep was the sofa. Well, sleeping on the sofa wasn’t that bad. After everything that happened today, I was exhausted. Maybe I should try and sleep a little early today.

“Hey.”

On second thought, it was too early to go to sleep.

“Yeah?”

“To some extent, I can understand what’s going on between you and Rangii.”

I prayed that her understanding wouldn’t turn into misunderstanding.

“So don’t overreact when it comes to Rangii. She’s just a little kid who’s clinging to you out of loneliness.”

So it was a misunderstanding after all. Narae had no idea that Rangii really meant everything she said. That actually made it even scarier.

“If you react like that, then you seem like a real lolicon.”

“But 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 actually like that, so……”

Narae blushed and mumbled something, but I couldn’t make out what she said. I was about to ask her what she said, when…

“Please excuse me for interrupting your cringe worthy flirting.”

Saehee suddenly interrupted us. She butted in between us and spoke to Narae.

“Narae-nim. There is something I wish to tell you.”

“Whatever. …But could you stop adding “nim” to my name? It sounds awkward.

“It is a habit of mine.”

“But…”

“It is a habit of mine.”

“…So what you want.”

Isn’t there anyone besides Rangii who can win against her?

“So what’re you curious about?”

“What is your size, Narae-nim?”

“Size?”

“Bust size.”

“W-what?!”

Narae glared at me, her face a bright red. Why’re you looking at me? I didn’t do anything wrong. Can’t you see that I’m as surprised as you are?”

“W-what the heck are you asking?!”

“Is your bust growing even now?”

Saehee continued to speak, disregarding our shock at her questions, and I realized the truth of the old adage, “Like Master, like man.”

Wait, why’re you asking her that with me here? I also want to know the answer to your question, but…wait, that’s not what I mean!

“I-I don’t know!”

“If you do not know, then I have no choice.”

Saehee, in contrast to Narae’s blushing and flustered appearance, was as expressionless as ever when she thrust her hands under Narae’s arms, and then…

Squish.

Befitting the above sound effect, Saehee started to massage Narae’s huge breasts.

“It seems you are still a C cup. However, this size. There is a high likelihood of you growing into a D cup in the near future.”

I-I’m so jealous! I wish I could do that…wait, that’s not what I mean either!

“Y-y-you little, what’re you doing?!”

As a healthy teenage boy, I was close to exploding as I watched Saehee push Narae down with Narae quivering with a mixture of anger and shame. W-will I even be able to sleep tonight?

“Ah, wait, now, ack, this is…hgg. D-don’t……”

“You are truly a member of the Bear Tribe. However, we will be safe for at least another year.”

After giving her conclusion, Saehee took her hands off Narae’s chest and gave a slight nod, as expressionless as always.

“Thank you for your cooperation.”

Narae covered her chest with her hands, moved away from Saehee…and hid behind me as though it was the most natural thing in the world.

“I’m-I’m going to kill you.”

I could see from the tears gathering on her eyes that she was absolutely furious. She glared at Saehee, who had just groped a maiden’s breasts, feeling their size and weight however much she pleased…no, I should stop thinking like that. Because I was killingly 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 the heck do you want to know my bust size?!”

Narae-nim, now recovered from having her chest erotically massaged, glared at Saehee and shouted. Ah. Narae doesn’t know she’s a member of the Bear Tribe, does she?

“I did this because you are a member of the Bear Tribe.”

“What’s that?”

Saehee answered Narae’s question.

“It is a gang of well-endowed women.”

“How does that answer my question?!!”

Does Saehee have a few screws loose? Saehee looked to have no desire to speak further, so I gave Narae a short explanation. That they are blood relatives of Ungnyeo, the one from the Dangun myth, and that they awaken strange powers when their busts reach D cups.

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.”

“Hey, dammit!”

Even if you say that, how can you say she’ll be 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 the Master. So while the Master is sleeping, please leave this house. As I am not as generous as the Young Master, I cannot allow you to stay here.”

…Saehee was trying to kick out Narae just as she said she would. But rather than Narae getting upset, it was me.

“What the heck’s so bad for Rangii if Narae stays here?! Don’t just make stuff up!”

Saehee’s tone was the exact opposite of mine after I spoke with my emotions in control of my 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.”

“…What?”

Saehee’s tone was entirely casual.

“The Master underwent the test same as Ungnyeo and mastered the magic to turn into a human. And as the Master was able to turn into a human, we also learned the magic from her 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, 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 as well.

“However, Hwanung did not choose the Master; he chose Ungnyeo. After that, she was sealed away. Do you understand now? Why Narae-nim cannot stay near the Master?”

“…Ah!”

Narae gave a shout as she realized something from what Saehee said. But I didn’t have a clue. What was she saying?

“So what’re you trying to say?”

Saehee looked at me pityingly, 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 the Master like a child, correct?”

“Because she really is a kid.”

“Yes. As you said, the Master is still mentally immature. That is why she appears as such. 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 knew them very well.

“They whine, laugh easily, cry easily, are honest, don’t really think, are true to their feelings, and greedy?”

“You are well informed.”

“…Have you not figured it out yet?”

Why are you looking at me as though I’m some pathetic wretch, Miss Narae?

“The Master is so pitiable, to have such a half-wit as her other half.”

“No, but so what?!”

“You really are stupid.”

“I’m fine with being an idiot, so at least tell me why you’re treating me like one.”

Narae frowned.

“Do you think we can tell you something like this? We’d feel bad for Rangii if we did.”

When Narae betrayed my trust, I felt something snap inside me.

“Fine! I get it, I’m an idiot, so enough! I’m going to sleep!”

I made it very clear how irritated I was, and I walked past Narae and Saehee to go into the living room. Those two who were so skilled at making me feel stupid followed behind me.

“Where’re you going to sleep?”

I knew I shouldn’t snap at Narae when she was worried at me, but I spoke sharply without realizing it.

“I can sleep on the sofa.”

“Even if it’s summer, you’ll catch a cold if you sleep there. Sleep in my room instead.”

The anger that boiled within me was replaced by embarrassment. I turned around and grabbed tightly onto Narae’s hands.

“Narae. I appreciate the sentiment, but you should place more value in your body…”

Narae shook off my hands and hit me hard in the stomach. It wasn’t enough to shake the Earth, but it was more than enough to shake my head.

“Kugh!”

“W-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. If Narae meant what she said, then I really didn’t have to sleep on the sofa. However…

“I must refuse.”

Saehee dissented.

“Huh? Why?”

Saehee answered Narae’s question.

“I have no intention 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! Besides, this size is…”

Narae blushed and began to say something strange; then there was a poof! above her head and steam rose as she took her temper out on me.

“Don’t make me say weird things!”

“Why’re you getting mad at me?”

“This is your fault!”

It was Saehee’s fault. And, maybe it was because of their conversation, but for the first time, I payed attention to Saehee’s figure. She was actually quite slim. Her black modernized hanbok looked to be doing a good job of hiding the fact that Saehee was on the small side for a girl her age. Was it because Rangii was her Master?

“I was always like this even when I was human.”

“…I didn’t say anything.”

“Is there a problem?”

…I should stop talking.

“And so,”

Saehee changed the subject.

“The Young Master will sleep in my room.”

““What?!””

Towards an extremely strange direction.

“Although it is my duty to attend to the Master, it is my duty to attend to the Young Master as well. Even in nightly duties.”

Ababababababa.

“As the Master is still young and incapable of releasing all of the Young Master’s overflowing carnal lust, and because the well-endowed Narae-nim disguises her actions as based in kindness when they are in truth fueled by desire, this meager one can, with my brilliant techniques, satisfy the Young Master. Thus, Narae-nim, I assume you will agree to leave?”

Uh, is it really a good idea to nonchalantly say something so dangerous?

“What’re you trying to say?!”

“I am joking, the Young Master who lacks a sense of humor.”

I know. That I don’t have much of a sense of humor. 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 the 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!”

How can she say such dirty things without even a blushing? If this conversation continued, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, so I forcibly ended the conversation.

“A-anyway! I can sleep on the sofa, so you two sleep in your own rooms!”

Narae was still shocked speechless and Saehee was still as expressionless as ever, but when I was about to lie down on the sofa, Saehee said 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 the Master.”

That was a real change in attitude.

“…You’re right.”

Why wasn’t I able to think of that? …What do I mean, why! It was because Saehee kept telling weird jokes and freaking us out! The cause of all this chaos began to speak.

“However…”

Saehee glanced at me and continued.

“If I sleep under a blanket covered in the Young Master’s thick stuff, I may become pregnant…”

“Hey, what the hell?!”

“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 made clear her stance. I appreciate the sentiment, but if Rangii and Saehee leave the house, you should leave too.

“I was joking,” Saehee said, a small smile on her face

“I must still have been intoxicated by the alcohol I drank.”

…Hasn’t it been a while since you last had any 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.”

Saehee ignored us both and quietly turned to enter my room, leaving Narae and me in the living room, still taken aback by what just occurred.

“…Let’s go to sleep.”

“…Yeah.”

I got the odd sensation that I’d been taken for a ride before entering my new room. And then I had this to say:

“Saeheeeeeee!!”

I screamed that drunk phantom’s name in a plea to know why there were a thousand girl’s panties strewn about my room.

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