It was the third time Joo Hee met a Grim Reaper in her human life.
Though she was startled by the Grim Reaper’s sudden appearance, the very next moment Joo Hee felt that it was the thing she wanted the most in her life.
If a Grim Reaper came looking for her, then it means that her time on earth was over.
The end of her human life span meant the end of her punishment.
“Oh, my poor Master…. Hu Hu Hu…” Manager Do started wailing at the misfortune that came looking for his Master.
“I’ve met quite a few humans who have keen eyesight when it comes to detecting supernatural beings, but I’ve never seen a person who orders around a goblin, like you. You certainly possess human energy, but you don’t have a Guardian God to protect your back, and surprisingly, you are not afraid to meet a Grim Reaper like me.”
The Grim Reaper’s face had an indifferent expression when he stood face to face with the strange girl who had no fear for goblins and Grim Reapers.
“Am I dying right now?” Joo Hee asked after a long minute of silence.
“Oh, my. I can’t believe it. My Master is not sick nor had she been in an accident. Why should my Master die?”
Unlike Joo Hee, who calmly confronted the Grim Reaper, Manager Do wailed loudly as if he was the one dying today.
“Lee Joo Hee’s lifespan has not finished yet.”
The Grim Reaper answered while staring only at Joo-hee as if he was not interested in Manager Do’s questions.
“Her life span is not over yet?
As far as Joo Hee knew, the death note of an individual will be delivered to the Grim Reaper a week before the time of death.
So, does that mean she still has time to live?
“What? Your lifespan is not over yet? Then who the h*ll is he? Is he a ghost who dressed up as a Grim Reaper? Or why else would a Grim Reaper who was supposed to collect dead souls, go around threatening others? Isn’t this against the laws of the afterworld?”
Manager Do seemed angry as he questioned the Grim Reaper while his Master silently stood there frowning,
When Joo Hee noticed the Grim Reaper’s emotionless face gradually distorting at the words of the careless goblin, she stepped forward before the situation got out of hand.
“If you’re not here to take me, then what brings you here?”
“I apologise for startling you. I’m here to ask for a favour from you.”
“What do you mean? How can a Grim Reaper ask favours from humans?” Joo Hee had no choice but to ask when she heard the Grim Reaper’s odd request.
“Please, I need help from a human who can see me and talk to me, unlike others who faint whenever they see me.” The Grim Reaper explained with an expressionless face.
There are always people who can see supernatural beings, but most of them would faint or won’t be in their right mind when they meet a Grim Reaper.
“What kind of favour are you talking about?”
“Today, I received an individual’s death note and I went to investigate in advance, but shockingly, I couldn’t sense the vitality of the person. It seems like the spirit had already separated from the body. I have to find and take this soul within a week. So please help me find this missed soul.”
“Are you saying that you missed a soul that was supposed to be taken to the afterlife? Wooahhhh, it seems like Grim Reapers these days are all good for nothings.”
The moment Joo Hee heard Manager Do’s comment, she was left speechless in embarrassment.
“Do you want to test whether Grim Reapers are good for nothings or not?”
The Grim Reaper indifferently asked while drawing his sword, which he used to threaten run-away souls.
When Manager Do saw the sword exuding a mysterious black aura, he quickly hid behind Joo Hee and gasped in fear.
Watching the situation turn worse, Joo Hee sighed in helplessness and tried to grab the Grim Reaper’s attention.
“You said you needed my help.” She pointed once again and began to discuss the rest of the details.
“You said that the death note came in today, but you failed to sense the person’s vitality. Does that mean the person died before the actual time of death?
“That’s right. It’s easy to find a soul when we know when, where, and how a person died. But if it is not the case, I need someone to search what exactly happened with the human.”
For a moment, Joo Hee couldn’t help but wonder why a Grim Reaper needed someone else’s help to ask around about a missing soul.
“If that’s the case, you should’ve gone to the police and asked them, why did you come to my Master who has a long life?”
Even before Joo Hee could say something, the manager stepped up first and harshly scolded the Grim Reaper for asking help from a human.
Joo Hee quickly silenced the cheeky goblin with a warning glare that pointed out how the Grim Reaper could take out his sword and finish them off with no second thoughts.
Hearing Manager Do’s remarks, the Grim Reaper’s expression did change, but it wasn’t the same as before, it looked sadder and disappointed.
“To incarnate as a human being, this has to be completed.” The Grim Reaper muttered in a barely audible voice.
“What are you talking about?”
Manager Do, once again complained that he couldn’t hear well, but on the other hand, Joo Hee understood all at once.
Even though the Grim Reaper looked like a Senior Grim Reaper of at least 500 years old, in reality, he was a super rookie who had plenty of years to dream of reincarnating as a human being.
The Grim Reaper flashed his palm and made an image in the air.
“This is the child. I’ll write down the address over there, so please find her.”
Grim Reaper requested of the girl who couldn’t take her eyes off the child’s image. He couldn’t help but wonder whether she was embarrassed to speak because he knew about her ability to see ghosts.
After writing down the missing soul’s details, the Grim Reaper disappeared as if he had nothing else to say.
“Ha! How can there be such an ignorant Grim Reaper? Master, pretend you don’t know when he comes again. Unless your time is not over yet, no Grim Reaper can take you to the afterworld. And, why do you have to go around asking about a kid who you don’t even know? If you say you know a dead child, people will call you crazy.” Manager Do advised his Master as soon as they were left alone in the store.
“I think we are attracting all sorts of bad things to us lately and now that we are stuck with a Grim Reaper, I should at least sprinkle some salt.”
Manager Do complained as he walked towards the door leading to the main house to get some salt to sprinkle all over, to ward off the negative energy.
Even Seok followed the goblin, but Joo Hee couldn’t move from the spot where she stood, lost in her thought.
“Was it the same kid? What was her name? Sojung?”
A child, who didn’t even realise that she had turned into a ghost.
“Why did these things suddenly start to happen in front of me when I finally decided to live quietly as a human being?” Joo Hee mumbled in her mind.
She knew that it would be better if she stayed away from this mess, but for some reason, her mind moved and she decided to help the Grim Reaper.
“I think it would be better if I visit Officer Kim tomorrow.”
Joo Hee muttered quietly and unknowingly glanced in the direction of the store’s entrance.
Again, there was someone, covered in all black, standing in front of the glass door.
The man who stood outside the door slowly pushed it open, bringing the darkness of the night along with him.
“I was passing by and saw the store light was still on. I thought I came too late.”
Park Shin Woo, who calmly entered the store, spoke like a regular customer of the Lee family books.
When Joo Hee saw the man who wore a black suit, she thought that the Grim Reaper came back once again. However, to her surprise, it was Park Shin Woo.
“It’s okay…Please come in.” Joo Hee has been waiting for Park Shin Woo’s phone call every day, but when she abruptly saw his face, she appeared nervous as if she was standing at the tip of a needle.
However, instead of properly greeting her, Park Shin Woo stared at the woman for a while.
“It’s smaller than I thought.”
He commented and slowly looked around the bookstore.
Of course, it would seem like a small building for a person who stays in Hyunwawon, but in reality, Lee family books was never a small store.
And for Joo Hee, it was not a place that could only be measured by unit area.
It was a special space where she shared her memories from the moment she was born as a human being until now.
But unfortunately, the feeling of belongingness was only for her, not to the man who stood before her.
“Please, take a seat.” Joo Hee calmly stated while pretending not to hear his comment.
Shin Woo’s gaze, which had been searching every corner of the bookstore, returned to Joo Hee. He, who stood tall like a pillar supporting the bookstore, finally moved.
Park Shin Woo unknowingly sat down at the spot where his grandfather used to sit whenever he visited the store.
“Would you like to have a cup of coffee?”
Looking at him sitting comfortably as if it were his designated seat, Joo Hee unknowingly offered the same drink that Chairman Park had always ordered.
“Are you going to make the coffee?”
“Yes.” Joo Hee replied as her gaze briefly headed to the door leading to the main house. Since Manager Do, who went to get salt, hadn’t returned yet, she had no other option but to make coffee for the guest.
Joo Hee somehow escaped from his gaze and quickly headed to the kitchen.
However, Shin Woo could not take his eyes off her back until she disappeared behind the doors.
“Lee Family Books.”
Shin Woo, who sat alone in the middle of countless bookshelves, once again looked through every corner of the bookstore, muttering without realising it.
Strangely it felt comfortable and he unknowingly leaned deep into the sofa,
He could see why his grandfather visited this place so often.
In addition, the bookstore owner appeared even more interesting,
He had never been interested in humans, but strangely Lee Joo Hee caught his eye.
Even though he had only seen Joo Hee three times, for some reason, she felt familiar.
“I hope I’ll find out soon.”
On the belief that if he saw her a few more times, he would know her better, Shin Woo tried to relax while slowly leaning on the sofa as if he was at his own house.
Surprisingly, this place really eased one’s mind.
While he sat there immersed in his thoughts, a memory, buried deep in his mind, suddenly flashed before him.
The day he suffered a high fever, the memories he wished to forget, suddenly revived all at once.
He didn’t know how he survived that merciless night but clearly remembered what he was.
It was quite shocking to learn that there wasn’t any trace of divine power left in him when he finally woke up as a mere human who had no abilities.
Except for one useless ability that made him a being, who was invisible to evil forces.
A sudden sound pulled Shin Woo back to reality, and he glanced in the direction where it came from.
Suddenly, the door which connected the main house to the bookstore opened, and a man appeared while grumbling in a loud voice.
“Oh, of all things, this is the only salt we have. Master, I’m going to buy salt tomorrow.… Ahhhh!”
By the time, Manager Do let out a scream at the sight of the man who sat on the sofa, Shin Woo’s face had already returned to its usual expressionless state.
The lizard, who glided next to Manager Do’s feet, rushed to Shin Woo at lightning speed as soon as he recognized the guest.
In an instant, Seok climbed up Shin Woo’s arm and settled on his shoulder while making a strange sound.
Watching Seok’s affection, Shin Woo thought the pet was indeed smart since it recognized him after meeting him only once.
“Ha, yeah. I remember, your name was Seok.”
Even the lizard was not ordinary, perhaps resembling its owner.
Shin Woo thought while gently stroking the lizard. He glanced at the man who stood next to him with a distorted look on his face.
“Hey Glutton, come here. We’re all going to get kicked out because of him. Why do you keep sticking to him like that?
Shin Woo’s sharp eyes became thinner as he stared at the man who vomited words as he was annoyed.
Looking closely, it was the man who suddenly popped out of the warehouse with Joo Hee.
Two people breaking the tight security of Hyunwawon and hiding in the warehouse without being noticed by anyone- that was impossible.
But still, Shin Woo checked the CCTV and there was no trace of them hiding in Hyunwawon, making him wonder if they popped out from thin air.
However, the footage of them leaving Hyunwawon with Eungsan got captured on CCTV.
Knowing both this world and the otherworld, Shin Woo had no choice but to think that they might be a god or goblin, who could apparate anywhere.
“Maybe it’s the case for this man, who looks like a weasel, or Lee Joo Hee, or maybe, both.”
Since he lacked divine power, he couldn’t check their real identities.
But it’s okay. He was not in a hurry.
They were the first to provide him some fun in his dry and boring life, so he would let them go ahead with their play.
“I guess you didn’t hear from Lee Joo Hee. I said I’d renew the contract as soon as she fulfils the promise she had given to my grandfather.”
“Re-sign the contract? Is that true? You are not joking, are you?
Manager Do, opened his eyes wide and asked again to confirm.
“If she keeps her promise, I will renew the contract.” Shin Woo casually repeated.
“Oh, my. I can’t wait to see it happen. Hang on. What do you mean by promise? What promise are you talking about?”
Manager Do, who was gladly running his mouth, suddenly stopped and went back to his stiff demeanour.
“The blind date.” Shin Woo’s reply sounded short but honest.
“Blind date? Ohhhh…the contract which Chairman Park made my Master sign? Was it you, the other party mentioned in it?”
“You seem to know the story, too.”
“Of course! I handed over the pen myself when it happened. Hehehe! That’s right. Of course. The promise must be kept no matter what happens. I like it. But what about my Master?
The man, who started to dance in happiness, was left petrified when he heard those words.
Manager Do immediately regretted his words and quickly looked for a way to escape this awkward situation without looking back.
“Manager Do, I’ll lock up, so go home.”
“No..no…I..will..” Manager Do stuttered when he saw the indifferent expression on Joo Hee’s face.
Her expression alone did not show whether she was angry or not.
It was the same with Shin Woo too. As per the details written in the contract, he was only 25 years old, but he seemed to hide his feelings well.
“Don’t worry, just go home. I have something to talk to this person.” Joo Hee suggested again.
“But…..Ahh, I see. Please, don’t be too late. Okay, I’ll go in first.”
Manager Do wanted to stay, but when he saw Joo Hee’s glaring eyes, he let out a sigh and nodded.
After giving a slight bow that lacked sincerity to Shin Woo, he left through the front door.
Even though the loud and disturbing man had disappeared, Shin Woo couldn’t stop frowning when he recalled how that man bid his farewell.
“Do you live in the same house?” He knew it was none of his business whether these two lived together or not, but still, he couldn’t stop himself from asking such a ridiculous question.
For some reason, it made him angry as he waited for the answer from her.
Perhaps because of Shin Woo’s sudden change, the lizard, sitting on his shoulder, quickly rushed towards its owner in fear.
“If you’re asking whether we’re lovers, we aren’t.”
Despite watching Shin Woo’s cold and slightly angry expression, Joo Hee didn’t seem to have been affected by him at all.
“Thud.” Shin Woo calmly put down the coffee cup and casually reframed his question.
“That question must have been difficult. What I’m curious about is whether you two live together.”
It obviously sounded ridiculous, even to Shin Woo.
Lee Joo Hee and Manager Do didn’t seem like lovers.
But strangely, the word “living together” kept scratching his nerves as he stubbornly demanded an answer.
“The building is divided into a main house and outhouse by the central courtyard. So, yes. It’s right to say that we live together since we basically live in the same property.”
She indifferently affirmed her cohabitation.
No matter who Lee Joo Hee lived with, it had nothing to do with Shin Woo. He was just curious, that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.
But he couldn’t figure out why it was so difficult and strange to accept that Joo Hee was living with another man.
Shin Woo said dryly and picked up the coffee while looking at the inner door where Manager Do, showed up first, but not the front door he used to exit.
The taste of coffee that he unconsciously drank tasted exceptionally bitter and dry.
“It’s not good.”
He put the coffee aside without any hesitation as he was bound to make the person who prepared the coffee embarrassed.
“I think it’s time to close the store, so let’s get to the point. The date. I’m having difficulty taking some time off my schedule, so it would be better if Miss Lee is okay with my decision. I hope to go out with you tomorrow. Is it possible?”
His voice asking for her opinion felt unusually cold and dry.
As she slightly frowned and appeared to be contemplating his words, Shin Woo looked at his wristwatch.
It was almost time to go. He could see Eungsan looking inside the store from the other side of the door.
Shin Woo stood up from his seat.
“I assume that you’re busy tomorrow, so I’ll postpone my appointment, but I’m not sure when that will be.”
There was no contract renewal unless they went out three times and it was her who was in a hurry, not him.
As if the business was over, Shin Woo turned toward the door without hesitation, and Eungsan, who waited outside, opened the door.
“Okay. What about the time and place?”
Shin Woo’s mouth twisted up into a smile when he heard the shaky voice from behind.
But he quickly erased his sunny smile and slowly turned around to look at her.
The look on her usual stone-cold face felt different with a faint hue of shyness. It entertained him quite a lot.
“I’ll pick you up at 6.”
It was too early, but she didn’t refute him and agreed with a nod.
Thus, their first contractual date was set.