Ragnarok Again - Chapter 1
On the anniversary of his mother’s death each year he would have a strange dream.
A disturbing dream in which the world collapses.
And a colossal wolf looking down at him.
Ho-jin thought it was simply a dream.
That was until he met Fenrir.
[Will you sign the contract, human?]
This couldn’t have been a dream.
It felt too real.
“The dreams…Don’t tell me it’s going to happen?”
Disorientated and shocked, Ho-jin knew what had to be done.
He couldn’t give up his hard-fought life.
After thinking it over, Ho-jin nodded.
“Let’s sign the contract.”
He must stop it.
Only he can do it.
Ho-jin thought as such.
Morning dusk before the sun has yet to rise.
Ho-jin, who had woken up earlier than usual, sat on his bed as he took a look at his phone.
After confirming the date, he threw it on the bed and then cupped his face with his hands.
Today was his grandfather’s, the chairman of Sungjoo Group, and his mother’s anniversaries.
Ho-jin looked around.
The atmosphere in the clean Nordic-style room felt particularly heavy on him today.
Stretching as if to shake off the weighted mood, Ho-jin soon walked to the bathroom.
After turning on the sink and washing himself, his eyes turned to himself in the mirror.
It was a familiar look that he had seen countless times.
After smiling in the mirror once, Ho-jin headed toward the study room and sat down.
On the desk were management books that were given to him by his father when he had just entered elementary school as well as mythological books.
Among them was a diary that he uses often.
Ho-jin, taking out a pen, began to write something down.
It was of the dreams he has dreamt of ever since he was eight years old.
The dreams were fantasy-like where monsters came out and people died, but it was significant to Ho-jin because the dreams would occur on the anniversaries of his mother’s death.
After writing for some time and then closing his diary, he got up and headed for the closet.
His personal secretary, Lee Dong-seok, will be here soon.
After changing into an appropriate attire, Ho-jin put his diary in his bag…
“Young master, it’s Lee Dong-seok.”
Just in time, Ho-jin stood up and opened the door.
There, stood Lee Dong-seok, the only person in the family who is allowed to enter his study.
The gray hair on the smiling Lee Dong-seok caught Ho-jin’s eyes.
He was the only person who has been by his side for more than 10 years.
‘He’s getting on in age.’
“Young master, you’re not ready yet?”
He felt like he was being stared at, so Lee Dong-seok smiled and asked Ho-jin.
“No. I just need to pack my bag.”
Ho-jin, who said so, hung his bag across his shoulder and walked out. As Ho-jin stepped out of the door, Dong-seok slowly began to walk along the long hallway behind him.
Perhaps the other family members were still asleep, but only the sound of Ho-jin and Dong-seok’s footsteps quietly echoed in the hallway.
In fact, Lee Dong-seok and his half-brother Baek Seong-jin were the only people related to the family in this house.
Ho-jin is the eldest son of the Baek family, the largest conglomerate in Korea, but none of it meant anything to him.
The spacious room, fine clothes, and delicious food.
Nor the position of a third-generation chaebol, which was the object of envy to others.
It’s just a shackle to keep one chained. Empty formalities and vanity, it wasn’t the way he wanted to live his life.
“Where are you going?”
Suddenly, he heard a middle-aged woman to his right.
Ho-jin turned his head and looked at the owner of the voice.
His father’s second wife, a powerful person who controls the company on behalf of his father who was now ill. It was his stepmother, Oh Seo-yeon.
“You don’t even say hello anymore.”
At the fierce glare, Ho-jin bowed his head without a change in expression.
“Did you sleep well, stepmother?”
Oh Seo-yeon’s forehead wrinkled when she saw his hidden animosity.
After glaring at him for some time, she suddenly spoke with a surprise look on her face.
“Right. Today is the anniversary of your mother’s death.”
Ho-jin’s expression turned cold.
Contrary to him, Oh Seo-yeon had a clear smile on her lips.
“How old are you now?”
“Then it’s been 19 years already?”
Ho-jin didn’t reply to her words that kindly pointed out the date of his mother’s death.
Soon after, she turned around and opened her mouth as if she had lost interest.
“Don’t make a fuss and come back quietly.”
When Oh Seo-yeon went back to her room, Lee Dong-seok approached.
His eyes were filled with sadness as he watched the situation unfold from the side.
“…It’s fine. It’s more tamed than usual. Let’s get going, uncle.”
Saying so, Ho-jin left the house and got into the back seat of a car that was waiting for him.
Ho-jin looked out the window as it drove off immediately.
Suddenly, Oh Seo-yeon came to his mind.
The woman who had an affair with his father was now living with Ho-jin.
From the moment she first came to this house, she began to isolate the young Ho-jin completely.
It was to hand over the conglomerate to Baek Seong-jin, his younger brother who was 6 years younger than him and the illegitimate child of the Baek family. Ho-jin was 10 years old at the time.
His father, who was supposed to protect him, fell in love with Oh Seo-yeon and ignored her behavior, and eventually Ho-jin had to survive alone.
Even at an early age, he had to keep quiet and watch his surroundings.
He had to suppress his desires.
That wasn’t to say that there was no such feeling.
He just instinctively realized that he could only survive if he didn’t show it.
Sighing, Ho-jin let out the pent-up feelings..
He’s 27 years old now, but it’s no different from 17 years ago when he first met Oh Seo-yeon.
He was thoroughly isolated, a complete loner.
Ho-jin looked out the window again.
Before he knew it, Ho-jin’s car arrived at the charnel house where his mother was buried.
* * *
“Mother, I have to go now. I’ll be back next year.”
Ho-jin, who left the charnel house, took a cigarette out of his pocket and lit it.
He visits her around this time every year, but he doesn’t really remember his mother’s face.
But if there’s one thing that he remembers.
[Ho-jin, mom wants her son to do what he wants, and I hope he can live the life he wants.]
What his mother often said to him. Only those words were deeply ingrained in his heart.
Ho-jin went down the stairs after he finished smoking.
At the end of the stairs, Lee Dong-seok was seen standing there waiting for him.
“Yes, Young Master.”
Ho-jin got into the car and spoke to Lee Dong-seok while putting his diary in his bag.
“What do you want to do when the end of your life comes?”
Perhaps because of the philosophical question, Lee Dong-seok seemed to be agonizing over it for a long time.
After some time, what he said was a little different from what Ho-jin had expected.
“If today was the last day of my life…I want to see the sea.”
“Yes. I’d like to see the sea, Young Master.”
A light smile spread across Lee Dong-seok’s face, which was filled with wrinkles.
“Why the sea?”
“Is there a need for a reason? You just have to do what you like at the end of your life. If you go to a place you like and do what you want, at least you won’t regret it.”
That’s where the conversation ended.
This is because Ho-jin couldn’t say anything to Lee Dong-seok’s answer.
What the hell does Ho-jin want to do when he’s on his last breath?
No matter how hard he thought about it, he couldn’t think of anything.
The car, which stopped for a while because of a traffic light, started driving on the road again.
Inside the car was no different from a little while ago, but suddenly his heart started pounding. It was like in his dreams where monsters slaughtered millions of people.
‘I feel uneasy…Huh? What’s this about?’
The uneasy feeling, which he couldn’t understand, felt like it was coiling around his body.
After a short while, the answer to his uneasy feeling came back as a powerful shock.
It was a collision with a car driving on the opposite side.
Soon, the car overturned and Ho-jin’s vision darkened.
* * *
Ho-jin awoke with a dull pain all over his body.
He wondered how long it has been.
Everything was dark.
After blinking several times, his vision soon adjusted to the darkness, and he could make out something vague.
But all he can see are trees densely embedded in a black background.
It was dark and he couldn’t make out the details, but just a glance showed that he was in the mountains.
The first thing that came to Ho-jin’s mind was that it was strange. He was in a car accident, and if he didn’t die immediately, he should have woken up in the hospital.
Perhaps because of the pain in the back of his head, he couldn’t think properly.
Then, he heard footsteps coming from nearby.
A man was approaching with a cigarette in his mouth.
The man was Oh Seo-yeon’s closest aide and chief of staff, Kim Jae-wook.
“Oh my, Young Master, what did I say?”
“What did you say?”
Ho-jin replied sarcastically with a corner of his mouth raised.
Perhaps it wasn’t the answer he was hoping for, so his expression wrinkled.
But soon he smiled again and spoke.
“Hoo, you must have lost your mind. I told you not to show off. Just breathe and live. Why do you keep disappearing to places and upsetting the madam?
Seeing his smiling face, Ho-jin immediately realized.
This was all done by his stepmother to disguise it as an accidental death.
“Hahahaha, is that so…That’s why Oh Seo-yeon was waiting for me this morning.”
An amazing woman. Ho-jin laughed loudly when he recalled the way she looked at him before he left the house.
“Aye, you think this is funny?”
Perhaps Ho-jin’s laughter bothered him, but the man raised his eyebrows.
“What happened to my uncle?”
At Ho-jin’s question, the man threw the cigarette he was smoking and answered.
“Ah~ That old man? Unfortunately, it was instant death. One shouldn’t drive so fast while on the road. It’s a dangerous world. Really~ He wasn’t very careful. That’s why you shouldn’t get behind the wheel when you’re old.”
‘Sigh…I would have gone alone if I knew this would happen.”
“Hey, Young Master. I don’t think this is the time to be worrying about others. Don’t you understand the situation?”
After saying so, the man approached Ho-jin and lifted him up.
“Look behind you. It’s where you’re going, so don’t you think it’s a good idea see it beforehand?”
Ho-jin turned his head at the man’s words and saw a deep cliff just a few steps away.
Looking at the man again, Ho-jin noticed that his bag was hung on the man’s shoulder.
Before he left the house, he had heard the sound of something like a soju bottle clanging inside.
His diary was the only thing he took, so that bottle must have been put in by Kim Jae-wook.
It was enough to roughly draw out the scenario in his head.
The scenario in which he drinks too much, falls off the cliff and dies.
It was clear that a few days later there would be an article in the newspaper titled ‘New Successor to the Sungjoo Group.’
“You can meet the old man in the underworld.”
The man said as he threw the bag he was carrying.
Ho-jin received it.
“It’s good that you gave up quickly.”
The man grinned and kicked Ho-jin without hesitation.
Staggering with his right foot, Ho-jin quickly fell down the cliff.
It was regrettable.
If he knew this was how he would die, he would have tried his best to figure it out.
He became bitter and resentful when he thought of how he had to hold his tongue ever since he was a child.
Ho-jin gritted his teeth.
His heart shook with anger at the impending impact.
If he was given another chance…
‘I’ll never put up with it!”
Ho-jin’s body hit the ground.
* * *
A huge cavity.
It was a dreamlike place where a bottomless lake was illuminated by an emerald color due to the numerous stalactites that filled the ceiling.
Water droplets which fell from the stalactites created a calm ripple on the lake, with unknown crystals rising at the end of the ripple.
It felt mysterious, like a surrealist work.
Ho-jin, lying in the middle of such a place, rose up trembling.
It was a horrible pain.
The pain, which felt as if it would explode out of his body, was ingrained in each of his cells.
However, the pain quickly disappeared as if it was an illusion.
At the incomprehensible situation, Ho-jin looked at his body and groped.
The fall was enough to turn a tree into a pencil.
It wasn’t just that.
Even the scar he has had since he was young was gone.
However, it was the sight around Ho-jin that caught his eyes rather than the abnormal phenomenon.
A place one can’t find even if they scour the earth.
It was a mysterious place that no one has ever seen, but it was a place that had often appeared in Ho-jin’s dreams.
It wasn’t any different no matter how hard he looked around.
“Am I dreaming?”
Ho-jin raised his hand and smacked himself hard on the cheek.
It was a strong shock enough to ring his head.
There was a metallic taste in his mouth, and he even felt a tingling sensation on his palms.
Ho-jin, whose mind became cleared by the intense pain, only then, did he realize that it wasn’t a dream.
It was then.
Suddenly, he heard a voice in his head as if it was ringing.
[You’re a funny guy. Hahaha!]
‘It can’t be…!’
At that moment, Ho-jin imagined the scene he had dreamed of on each anniversary of his mother’s death.
The sight of a giant wolf looking down at him…
Ho-jin’s eyes slowly turned around.
A translucent body that looks to be tens of meters long.
A pair of large yellow eyes.
A strong pressure that presses against one’s soul.
Perhaps the impact of the crash had stimulated some part of his brain and that has caused him to hallucinate.
No, that’s what he wanted to believe.
Until the wolf slammed its tail.
Every time the wolf’s tail slammed the ground, a strong vibration shook Ho-jin’s body. It wasn’t a hallucination.
Perhaps aware of Ho-jin’s confusion, the wolf was laughing loudly and slamming its tail on the ground.
The laughter that rang for a long time stopped, and the cavity, which shook to the point where the stalactites on the ceiling might have fallen at any moment, also calmed down.
[It was a joy I haven’t felt in a long time.]
The wolf’s eyelids slowly closed and opened as if it was enjoying the lingering feeling.
Then, the wolf studied Ho-jin as if it was observing him. Like it was looking at an intriguing animal.
[It’s been a while since there was a guest, so let me introduce myself first.]
The beast, who had been watching Ho-jin for some time, spoke in a softer voice.
[I’m Loki’s first child, tethered on the plains of Asgard.]
A god-eating wolf.