STORYHansaneega@Lee Jongbeom
King YeomraThe judge. Are you worthy?He gazes down upon all living things as he is the king of the afterworld. He can take upon the image of a child or an elderly man. The stroke can provide new opportunities to some but fearing that the unworthy may end up causing chaos and not unity, he takes it upon himself to act as the guard between worlds. Whoever crosses into other worlds as a result of the stroke will have to prove that they are worthy to King Yeomra.   “Your Majesty.” “Hmm?” “I bring news of the dead.” “Of course. The population has grown, hasn’t it?”   Great King Yeom Ra looked over at the old vassal, who was giving him counsel with a worried look on his face. How many years has it been since that one had started to serve him? It seemed saying that it had been an inordinate amount of time would be appropriate. There hadn’t been much change in the land of the dead, but they say the land of the living had changed quite a bit.   “Yes, they say they’ve surpassed seven billion… How we’ll be able to accommodate this…” “We have more land.” “They say they live in something called apartments, sire.” “Oh, you must not have known. Look over there.” “Wasn’t there a mountain there?” “I ordered them to level it. Some of the newcomers used to work in construction in the land of the living, so I told them to build some apartments.” “Hmph…”   The land of the dead was also changing. The old vassal looked flabbergasted, but Yeom Ra welcomed these changes. Wasn’t his divinity much too great to simply spend nearly an eternity just repeating things over and over?   Let’s see how shocked you look.   Secretly, he relished watching his vassals, and especially his old vassals, being unable to follow him.   It’s too early for you to be shocked, my friend.   Originally, he was going to show it to him the next day. Or next month. Or next year. Time was unlimited anyway, and it was most important for immortal beings like Yeom Ra to find ways to pass that time without getting bored.   It’s fine if I find something new anyway   Of course, the weight of the time that had passed thus far made him the best at enduring boredom. So Yeom Ra did something very rare for him: he did something he didn’t plan.   “Follow me.” “Sire? Where…” “Sanzu River.” “The afterworld, Sire?”   The distance between the underworld palace to Sanzu River, or the afterworld, was infinite. But this distance didn’t bother Great King Yeom Ra, at least not in the underworld.   “Wait... This...”   The old vassal looked at the river and was speechless. To be accurate, it wasn’t because of the river, but something floating on it. Instead of the old rowboat, a large ship made of steel was afloat on the river.   “It’s much more efficient this way. How does it make sense that we use ferryboats like these in the 21st century, even if we do live in the underworld?” “Wait, still... The underworld... The tradition...” “Hahaha!”   As he’d expected, the old vassal was speechless. Yeom Ra was grinning from ear to ear at the scene he had totally intended to appear.   “Ugh... Ughhh...”   Several souls who were crossing the river fainted after hearing that sound.   “Oh, I got too excited.”   He closed his mouth after seeing their faces. Weak souls couldn’t bear hearing Yeom Ra’s voice at all. The waves of his voice had an effect on evil hearts. It didn’t matter who they were, how strong they were, or how rich they were. Whether or not they had evil in their hearts was Yeom Ra’s standard, and that was the standard of the underworld.   “They won’t even need a trial. If they fainted after hearing my voice from this far away, they are definitely evil.” “I will do what is needed, Sire.” “Good. Hmm?” “What... is wrong, Sire?” “Oh, can you not hear it? Well, if this happens in the underworld, then it’s true it should happen to me.” “?”   The old vassal looked confused again. No, he looked clueless. Either way, Yeom Ra thumped him on his shoulder.   “Stay and do as I’ve ordered. I’ll be back soon.” “Sire...?”   And he was brought to the platform by Stroke. He’d never seen this place before, but he wasn’t that surprised. He was just thrilled for a new experience in his life of eternal boredom. He felt good.   “Great King Yeom Ra. Welcome.” “You had to address me as ‘Your Majesty,’ but I feel good today, so I’ll let it slide.” “What?” “But if I must continue to converse with you, that cannot happen again.” “Uhh...”   The guide felt it got harder to stand the more he listened to Yeom Ra’s voice. One moment, his knees felt wobbly, and the next, he was on his knees. It was a truly pathetic sight to behold, but Yeom Ra was in awe.   “I can see your intentions are good.”   If the guide was evil, if the guide had even an ounce of evil in their heart, their body would have exploded by now, but they were fine.   “However, the outcome is not always good just because the intentions are good.”   Yeom Ra strode past the guide. The guide wasn’t done with his explanation, so that was an impossible feat for an ordinary being. But this was Yeom Ra. He was the king of his world.   And the king ran into another king at the end of his stride. Yeom Ra immediately recognized the king of this world. He wasn’t sure if there was another term for it, but that’s how he saw it. So he, with his right as a king, made an offer as a way to greet the other being without artifice.   “I’ll help you.”   “Hmm...”   The king thought for a moment and replied,   “How will you help me?” “You should know if you’ve heard my voice.” “So you’ll ‘categorize’ for me here, too.” “Yes. It’s not difficult for me, but it’ll be of great help to you all.”   The king considered it for a moment.   There’s no doubt Yeom Ra is good.   Even though his face was terrifying. That was why even the good trembled in fear in front of him. If he was actually evil, then the underworld would have just been called hell instead.   “Alright. Help me.” “Good, that’s good.” “Good? Oh, did you mean that?” “You’ll be able to understand.”   Yeom Ra was actually nervous that they’d turn him down. He rather thought that his offer was not suitable for the Stroke. But his gamble succeeded, and with that, his workload got bigger.   Well, I have more to do now.   If he really thought about it, it was irritating, but he actually welcomed it. Anything new was welcome in his life of eternity. Was there anything better?   “Don’t laugh... There are evil ones in this place as well.” “Oh, I apologize.”   Yeom Ra saw several faint, and he closed his mouth. And he laughed on the inside.