“That’s good to hear.”
“It’s all because of you.”
Cha Jihae was blankly looking at me as Odin and I were exchanging pleasantries that way.
To be exact, she was most likely looking at Bella who was in my arms. I knew very well of that she liked cute things.
Holding up Bella high, I placed her into Cha Jihae’s arms.
“There, this is Bella. Bella, this is Cha Jihae, Jihae.”
“Um, that’s right, Jieh.”
Bella who has ended up in Cha Jihae’s arms even before she knew it, lowered her head, and smiled preciously.
As if she has been hit directly in the heart, Cha Jihae blankly looked on Bella. Ah, she gave her heart, gave her heart.
“Well, let’s go to dinner. Bella was restless, expecting to eat something delicious.”
The voice of Odin seemed high spirited.
Urging to eat meant that his daughter was that much stronger.
As we were walking that way, no for too long, I couldn’t help, but point one thing out to Cha Jihae in a quiet voice.
“Hey, shouldn’t you put Bella down?”
“Ah, you’re right.”
Only then, Cha Jihae hastily placed Bella down.
That was the first time that the word ‘hastily’ was used to describe her.
‘After the test, should get married quick and have kids.’
“I’d like to have kids after when we get married.”
Gosh, that was scary.
I was so surprised to hear the same words, which I was thinking, out of Cha Jihae’s mouth. For that instant, I thought that she had read my mind, like the baby angel.
“We will do. It will be great if it would be a daughter looking just like you.”
“A boy with your looks would also be cute though.”
“No. That would be a big problem because he may not be studious if taken after me.”
“We can make him do well.”
I felt a chill. If it was the person Cha Jihae, who was a military veteran, she would definitely be able to make my son, who would take after me, diligent.
Had my mom been like her, it would have been a big problem.
“What are you talking about so interestingly?”
Odin asked as he couldn’t understand our conversation as it was in Korean.
I revealed that we’ll soon be married.
Odin congratulated us even though he was surprised.
“Congratulations. I wish you many cute children. Of course, they would never be as cute as Bella.”
It was a first showing of Odin’s lightheartedness in a very long time.
Fortunately, Mari did not go insane upon hearing that we were getting married. Only that she smiled brightly and just offered congratulations.
I felt like I was going to cry.
I remembered her holding onto my arms and did all the cute things and made lighthearted troubles when she was a baby. The memories of her loudly claiming to be my wife to my family, and made me embarrassed and such things.
Now, her mind has matured like an adult, and she was no longer a baby.
I wished that she would successfully pass the test, and also meet a good man and be happy.
* * *
Some people approached us and took away Bella as we were having dinner and socializing. They must have been the people who Odin hired, so Bella waved her hand when she left as if she was used to it.
“Let’s go now.”
We went back to the hotel.
The hotel was crowded with people even though it should be empty as we have rented the entire space.
They were the people of various nations organizations related to Arena.
When they saw us entering the lobby, they began to whisper. Intermittently, we were able to hear some Arena words that we could understand.
“They are Odin, Mari and Johanna.”
“Who is the Asian couple with them?
“The guy is Kim Hyunho of Korea. He is a good friend of Odin according to the intel.”
“Hah, he is that the 7th ranked Kim Hyunho who just appeared without any notice?”
“There is also the intel that says he has a very close relationship with Dana Litrin of the McClurn Family.”
“He may be the key person, rather than Odin, in the next test.”
I was surprised to find out that other test takers knew me from just the second hand information. I found out that this was what it felt like to be famous.
Tapping on my shoulder, Odin talked to me as I was feeling that way in a low voice.
“Then I’ll be along first. See you later.”
Odin then left first.
A short while later, we were led to a large hall by familiar faces who were part of the Nordic test team.
The hall was prepared ostentatiously just like the ones in the movies.
The waiters carrying glasses filled with wine and champagne, and people of various countries talking to each other as they drank alcohol from the glasses.
For me, it was the first time seeing such a set up that I was looking around, mesmerized by it.
At that time, Director Im Chulho found us and was coming toward us.
“Looks like it’s about to start.”
Soon, Odin, wearing a tuxedo, appeared on the hall stage.
That was why he left first.
Holding the microphone, Odin spoke.
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming. I, Odin of the Nordic test team, welcome you.”
Odin greeted with a full decorum.
The people clapped.
The whispers that sprung up from everywhere in the hall made me realize the power of his name recognition.
“Everyone in this room has gone through strange things that could not be explained by logic. To some, they were the days of suffering, and to some they were new opportunities. And…..”
“We have gathered here after going through all those things. Yes, we must clear the final test that the god has given. That is, to protect the world that we are living in, to protect our precious family. I wish to discuss that subject, now.”
The people clapped once again.
Surely, these people who were listening to those words with seriousness were test takers, just like me.