Chapter 4: System (1)
“May I come in?”
Outside, a familiar female voice could be heard.
A slight smile appeared on Jiho’s face as he answered.
“Yes, you may come in.”
The person who entered was Heo Sori, a hunter in No Name.
Heo Sori was 25 years old this year–one year older than Jiho–and an average C-rank combat hunter.
Although C-rank hunters were common in any guild, Heo Sori’s worth in No Name was different.
That was because she took on a lot of other jobs in the guild on top of what she was supposed to do.
Although she received a bonus for the extra work she did, Jiho always felt both thankful and sorry to her.
Because she did more work than others, she was always that much more tired than them as well.
She was an appreciated guildmember that Jiho was planning to re-sign at the end of this contract period with better conditions.
Anyways, Heo Sori’s face, which usually looked burned-out, was exceptionally bright today.
Her face was full of vitality, which usually only appeared during lunchtime or before getting off work.
“Guildmaster, Hunter Joo Yiwon stopped by, right?”
He just left; I guess you ran into him.”
“Yes, I just ran into him and greeted him!”
Heo Sori liked Joo Yiwon; specifically she liked his face.
Though it isn’t confirmed, she even seemed to be enrolled in his fanclub.
Seeing how she vehemently refused to meet him when Jiho offered to arrange a meeting, it seemed that she truly only liked his face.
Even though she only likes his face, like is still like, and so Sori was excited as if she had just met a celebrity that she was a fan of.
Today… his outfit was no joke.
Even though he always looks good, he looked like he was going to meet his future in-laws2 today.
Did he come from an event?”
“He probably came from an event for awakened ones.
Korea’s Excellent Hunter Award, I think? That one.”
Once every year, they present an award and prize money to the hunter that worked the hardest that year.
Although the money was a rather small amount, the award’s prestige was much higher than the name made it sound, so it was always a hot issue among hunters.
The first person to receive the award was obviously Joo Yiwon, and he continued to receive the award every single year after that.
Sori showed an ambiguous gaze at Jiho’s simple look.
“Ah, I see.
The relationship between the two of you is still quite good.”
“…Where? And that guy was only here for less than five minutes before he left.”
“That’s because he’s busy.
You should understand him.
I know that it’s upsetting when your boyfriend is busy but…”
At Jiho’s light warning, Heo Sori laughed.
Even if you try to deny it, you saw the interview, right?”
Shin Jiho’s face sank while Heo Sori grinned widely as if she had taken his smile.
“Why did he do something like that…”
“They do say that there are a lot of weird people among geniuses.”
“That guy was weird even before he had awakened.”
“Then he must’ve really fallen for you.
Our guildmaster’s face is, after all, stunning.”
“…It’s not to that point.”
“What do you mean it’s not? Even if the people on HS4 attack you for everything else, they can’t attack our guildmaster’s face.”
“I was completely shocked when I first saw you, you know? And I was even more shocked when I walked out of the Guildmaster’s Office.
Everyone looked like squids.5 For the entire first month, it was shocking whenever I saw your face, but now that I see it every day, I adapted a bit….
Look at it now! Wow, so good-looking!”
Sori clapped enthusiastically while Jiho looked embarrassed at the sudden compliments about his face.
She was 100% teasing him.
After teasing Shin Jiho to her heart’s content, Heo Sori reverted back to acting properly.
Before Shin Jiho could complain, she cunningly started to talk about business.
“After Guildmaster fainted, Vice-Guildmaster finished cleaning up the scene and submitted the report to HA6.
I haven’t seen anything pop up in the news yet.
I don’t think you will have to worry too much about it.”
“Mm, thank you.”
“Will you be returning to the guild?”
It’s not time to get off work yet.”
“I thought you would do so, so I already completed the discharge procedures.
You can leave immediately.”
Since it wasn’t the first time she did this, she took care of everything quickly.
Jiho smiled a smile of gratitude and apology.
“Yes, you have worked hard.”
“Ay, it wasn’t too hard.
By the way, what are these roses for? Did Chungram Guildmaster-nim7 give them to you?”
“Yes, you may take these.”
“Ah, how can I take flowers that were given to Guildmaster? Aren’t flowers okay to accept?”
“That’s true, but I don’t have a place to put them and… I’m not good at taking care of flowers.”
“Then I will place the flowers in the guild’s lobby.
Since it’s spring right now, it will make the room look nice and bright.”
Shin Jiho was going to say that that wasn’t necessary, but instead, he closed his mouth and nodded.
Even though that guy was annoying, Jiho would feel bad if he threw someone’s sincerity into the trash can.
Plus, the flowers were innocent.
With the decision to display the flowers in the guild’s lobby, Shin Jiho’s concern of the day was settled.
On the way to work the next day, Shin Jiho regretted the decision of handing the flowers to Heo Sori.
Heo Sori had taken apart the huge bouquet of roses and displayed them all over the lobby.
But the bouquet from Joo Yiwon was so big that the entire lobby was filled with the strong scent of roses.
It was like they had moved an entire garden of roses into the lobby rather than a simple bouquet.
“The scent is too strong…”
“Isn’t it nice?”
Sori seemed proud of her work.
It was definitely pretty but…
Do cut roses usually smell this strong?”
“Well, yeah, the scent of roses isn’t usually this strong….
Maybe they’re roses from a dungeon.”
“Are there roses that grow in dungeons?”
“There could be one, couldn’t there? Chungram Guildmaster-nim visits so many, after all.”
“That’s true, but it’s the first time I’ve heard of that.”
“It could also be a plant that pops up randomly in dungeons.”
Since the roses didn’t have a label that said “Made in Dungeon” or something, Heo Sori and he wouldn’t be able to know for certain even if they put their heads together.
Jiho was going to ask Yiwon where he got the roses from, but he stopped.
Joo Yiwon was raiding a dungeon today, so he wouldn’t be able to reach him anyways.
The roses that were in full bloom were beautiful.
However, Jiho felt conflicted since Joo Yiwon would come to mind whenever he saw them.
Whenever he thought of Joo Yiwon as a hunter, he felt a little upset.
Even though the difference between them had increased too much to be regarded as rivals anymore, he still couldn’t forget about when they used to fight over first place together.
That’s why he always felt impatient.
He was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to chase Joo Yiwon anymore.
Thankfully, he didn’t have to stay in the office all day today, so he could be far away from the roses of concern.
Still, in the morning, he had to smell the scent of the roses as he looked through a pile of documents.
Jiho stared at the numbers on the documents all morning.
No Name was a guild that started from rock bottom.
No one wanted to enter No Name with merely decent conditions.
In order to recruit good hunters, Jiho used a lot of his own money.
Even after the gates opened, in the modern society, the power of money was absolute.
Despite how they scorned Jiho, the hunters that needed money quickly still signed a short-term contract with No Name.
Since the short-term contract of one year was almost over, it was time to start renewing contracts.
A majority of the hunters that had signed for one year requested higher pay for the next term.
Jiho had been planning to increase the pay anyways.
But that was before he saw the requests to raise their pay by twice or even thrice the original amount.
Are the hunters that requested the raise really worth that amount of money? They aren’t.
Jiho was already paying the highest amount for their rank.
If they went to another guild, they would be offered much less than what is offered here.
It wasn’t like they requested such a high amount because they didn’t know that.
They were testing their luck with Jiho.
They knew that Jiho had no choice but to hold on to them.
But it really wasn’t easy to reject all the current guildmembers and recruit new members.
To hunters, No Name was a target of mockery.
Although the guild kept trying to recruit members this past year, there were very few that applied.
Even if their conditions were ridiculous, it was better to hold onto them.
They will probably be able to reach a compromise during negotiations.
However, the reason why Jiho was hesitating was not just because of their high requests.
Most of the hunters who made these extreme requests were hunters that hated Shin Jiho.
Even though he was the guildmaster, they would often look down on him, avoid him, and curse him behind his back.
Since Jiho didn’t have any particular reaction to it, they didn’t even try to hide.
Instead, it was guildmembers like Heo Sori that were friendly to Shin Jiho that made reasonable requests.
If he continued to hold onto these spiteful people in the guild, the atmosphere within the guild would worsen.
Had it been someone else, he would’ve definitely told them not to sign those hunters.
However, when it came to him, he was hesitant.
Do I really have to go this far? He couldn’t stop this question from rising.
The reputation of the guild that he had painstakingly nurtured was in rags.
How much more will he have to do to keep this up like this?
Even though he was trying to stay hopeful, doubt kept crawling up.
In the end, Jiho wasted his morning without being able to come to a conclusion.
Because of his depressed state, Jiho only ate enough lunch to fill his stomach.
After finishing, as he was getting ready to go outside for work, Lim Seung Joo noticed him.
“Are you going out again today?”
It was a useless question.
Shin Jiho went out nearly every day without a single break.
“Yes, of course.”
“Then I will prepare a healer.”
Though Lim Seung Joo’s words sounded polite from one afar, Shin Jiho raised his eyebrows in slight displeasure.
The danger of hunters’ work was high.
That was why preparing a healer was normal protocol.
Lim Seung Joo purposefully pointing out Shin Jiho’s need for a healer was to emphasize that he was weak.
If Lim Seung Joo had also signed a one-year contract, he probably would have left without turning back, but he had signed a three-year contract.
He was a precious A-rank hunter that Jiho was going to be seeing for two more years.
Jiho didn’t know if this was a good thing or bad thing.
A lot of hunters in the guild followed Lim Seung Joo.
Since Lim Seung Joo, the vice-guildmaster, didn’t hide his dislike of Shin Jiho, the others didn’t hide theirs either.
Although them following Lim Seung Joo was good for raids, it was terrible for the guild itself.
‘If he doesn’t like me that much, he should just leave.’
Jiho was annoyed.
Of course, since Lim Seung Joo was a well-known A-rank combat hunter that he had pulled over using the Chungram card, if he really tried to leave, Jiho would have grabbed onto his pants leg until it stretched out.
In the end, even though Shin Jiho was the contractor, he had to close his mouth as though he was the dependent.
For the sake of calming his body and soul, Jiho took out his terminal.
He played videos of cute cats from MeTube.
The only videos that Jiho, who rarely used the internet, watched were animal videos.
The pure and kind kittens, the exact opposite of Lim Seung Joo, rolled on the floor clumsily.
They rolled around whining before quickly falling asleep after running out of energy.
Jiho’s heart found peace at the lovely appearance of these kittens.
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