Chapter 5: System (2)


The people going out today were Shin Jiho, Lim Seung Joo, and four other guildmembers, making a total of six.

Three of the guildmembers were already ready and waiting, talking and laughing amongst themselves.
When Jiho approached them, they closed their mouths.

They greeted Jiho while smirking, as if Jiho was their bread shuttle1.
Jiho thought to himself:

‘They were cursing me out.’

Jiho swallowed the sigh that was threatening to come out.
People even curse the country behind its back, so what could he do?

While the three hunters finally started picking up their equipment, Jiho turned his gaze to Yang Hojin, who was standing alone far away from the others. 

Yang Hojin is a 22-year-old hunter this year, and it hadn’t been long since he awakened.
Even though he’s only a C-rank hunter, because he was a precious healer, Jiho has been paying special attention to him after recruiting him a little while back. 

Although he had a fine stature and good-looking face, it seemed that he didn’t have much self-confidence and was shy. 

From his outer appearance, though, he looks like a sneaky fox that knows how to get what he wants…

It was to the point where Jiho had asked him separately if something was wrong because of how much he stumbled over his words during the interview.
His record was fairly average, with nothing particularly bad sticking out.

He didn’t get along well with the other guildmembers.
Jiho even witnessed Hojin avoiding them when they tried to talk to him.
He didn’t talk behind Shin Jiho’s back either.

However…

‘He’ll get used to it eventually.’

People who greeted him regularly like Heo Sori were rare.

People who didn’t talk behind someone’s back before were all easily swept in by the atmosphere.
Even among the three people that had been talking just now, there was a newcomer.

Plue, even if the person they’re ridiculing is the person paying them, since he’s the guildmaster who makes them work, it must taste particularly sweet to talk bad about him.
Newcomers end up quickly assimilating into the environment and talking together.

Because they’re all in the same building and hunters have better hearing than normal people, Jiho has heard them talking about him multiple times. 

Jiho didn’t expect much from newcomers.

While absorbed in these depressing thoughts, Jiho finished preparing to go out.

A guild’s definition of working outside is different from that of a normal company, obviously.

The job of hunters was to take care of the various problems that result from a fissure. 

A mid-tier guild like No Name was in charge of taking care of the fissures that appeared in the middle of the city.

Thankfully, thanks to a prediction system that a genius awakened one had invented, a fissure can be predicted with more than 98% accuracy.

Since the Hunter Association takes note of the range of error before assigning fissures to guilds that fit best, there were usually no big accidents. 

The system can predict the fissure’s start, scale, and general location.
However, because it’s not perfect, guilds assigned to the fissure split up into teams and patrol the areas.

According to the system, an F-rank fissure will appear in Bangbae-dong today.

Fissures were split into ranks, with the most dangerous one being S-rank, followed by A-rank all the way to F-rank.

Thus, today’s F-rank fissure was the easiest kind.
Thanks to that, it was the perfect kind to take a newly awakened hunter on to train them.

Shin Jiho split everyone up into three groups of two.
One group was made up of just guildmembers while Lim Seung Joo and himself took one newcomer each. 

“Then let’s go.”

“Yes…”


Yang Hojin kept stealing nervous glances at Shin Jiho.
Jiho, who met eyes with Hojin, tried his best to show a nice smile.

“Hunter Yang Hojin.
Have you adapted to the guild?”

“Yes? Yes!”

“If you have any concerns, feel free to tell me anytime.
I will first listen and then accommodate you.”

“Ah… that… there’s nothing.”

“Do the guildmembers treat you nicely?”

“Yes…”

“They aren’t very territorial, but they may be a little harsher on scenes since you can get hurt.”

“Ah, yes…”

“I heard that you did well on your first work outside.
Today will probably be easier.
You don’t have to worry so much.
It’s not like you’re alone, either.”

“…”

“If you happen to get hurt, tell me immediately.
You can use however many potions you want, so don’t hold back.”

“Yes.”

“If you get a small injury, I can connect you to Chungram Hospital to get it checked.”

“…”

“That is all…”

The conversation kept getting cut off.
The answers were all curt and insincere.

Since it seemed like the other wasn’t thinking of continuing the conversation, Jiho stopped talking as well. 

Yeah, it must be uncomfortable.
There’s no way that being with the guildmaster alone was comfortable.
It could also be that he had already been affected by the three people talking about Jiho as well. 

Instead of making the other uncomfortable, Jiho closed his mouth and focused on work.
Truthfully, because there wasn’t much to do, so it was more like they were taking a walk around the neighborhood.

As time passed, the quiet atmosphere gradually changed. 

As the time for the fissure approached, people started to evacuate.

Of course, the evacuation process wasn’t easy.

“Just wait a minute.
I don’t think I turned off the gas!”

“Senior2, I will check, so please evacuate first.”

“Are you saying that you will enter houses?!”

From the people who insisted on returning for random reasons…

“That person over there, stop taking pictures and leave!”

“Stop taking pictures!”

…to the students who were laughing and taking pictures of the evacuation scene or hunters… 

“No, this way is a shortcut.
I won’t go inside alright? I’ll get out quickly.”

…and to the people who insisted on going through a danger zone.

Although the police were trying their best to convince people, it was difficult to contain the situation.

If the rank of the fissure had been higher, the people would have tried to evacuate quickly in order to save their own lives, but because this one’s rank was low, everyone underestimated it. 

In truth, monsters that come out of an F-rank fissure can be handled by normal people with weapons.

In the beginning, even if it was only an F-rank, people evacuated quickly, but now that three years have gone by since the world changed, people have developed a certain level of insensitivity. 

“I think it will be better for us to help them contain the people.”

Hojin’s eyes widened at Jiho’s words.

“I-is that also a hunter’s job?”

“Not really, but it is good to help so this can be solved quick…”

Before he could finish his words, Jiho’s eyes were drawn to another place.

Someone was walking towards them from a crowded alley, gathering people around him. 

A very familiar man stood at the front of the herd that was approaching from afar.
Short, red hair and big frame that reminded one of an old basketball manhwa character3.
Even if a normal person looked from 100m4 away, his appearance was one hard to miss.

A sigh automatically escaped Jiho’s mouth.

“Of all the people…”

He considered avoiding him and running away, but they already met eyes.
The man walked up to Jiho and acted all gentle and friendly as he smiled before gesturing to the people.

“Now, I have to help this useless hunter, so I will only take you all this far.
Even though it’s only an F-rank, monsters are still monsters, so please escape quickly.”

Although his voice was deep, his light tone makes him seem more approachable.
After his light laugh, the people answered energetically.

The people glanced at Shin Jiho, who suddenly became a useless hunter–though he may have been a useless hunter from the start–before turning around and laughing.
Because Jiho was used to people laughing at him with hints of mockery, he wasn’t that angry. 

Although the police felt a little dumbfounded that the crowd calmed down at one man’s appearance, they still felt relieved and bowed down to the man. 

“Thanks to you, we can live, Hunter Seon Tae Woong-nim.”

“No, this is something I should do.
I checked the areas I went through, so the police should check other areas and evacuate as well.”

They laughed and complimented each other back and forth.
They fit together very well.

Yang Hojin, who was observing from the side, asked Shin Jiho quietly.

“…Who is that person?”

“You don’t know him?”

“I-I don’t know…”

“He is Seon Tae Woong.”

It seemed that Hojin didn’t know him at all from just his name.

Seon Tae Woong was an A-rank combat hunter and the guildmaster of the guild Apollon.

His skills were all of the flame type.
As he was a strong combat fighter and he had good sense, he was among the top A-rank hunters. 

Instead of saying good things about the man who hated him, Jiho just summed it up in a few words.

“He’s Apollon’s guildmaster, but since that guild is around here, we run into each other often.”

“Oh.”

“Do you know Apollon Guild?”

“No…”

“It seems that you really didn’t have much interest in this field before.
Even if he looks like that, he’s quite famous.”

Even though Jiho didn’t mean anything with those words, Hojin’s ears turned red.
Jiho thought to himself that he should be more careful with his words before continuing his explanation, pretending to not have seen anything.

“Our guild is near Bangbae Station, right?”

“Yes.
I l-liked that it was close to the station.”

“Mm.
That’s good.
Anyways, Apollon is a guild between Sadang and Bangbae Station.”

“Oh….”

“Do you understand now?”

Yang Hojin nodded.

Sadang and Bangbae Station are one stop apart from each other.
Since Apollon is located not even half that distance away from No Name, it is obvious that they would fight over work. 

Of course, Apollon, who can raid dungeons, is a higher level guild than No Name.
However, No name is famous in its own way because of Shin Jiho, and so the two guilds are often talked about together. 

It seemed that Seon Tae Woong didn’t like having his guild mentioned along with No Name, the target of mockery.

Other hunters were conscious of Chungram, so while they mocked Shin Jiho behind his back, they at least acted friendly in front of him.

However, Seon Tae Woong, who only knows how to be straightforward, mocks him in front of his face, in interviews, and in front of anyone else. 

In Shin Jiho’s opinion, Seon Tae Woong was better than the guys that acted all friendly in front of him, only to talk about him behind his back.
Of course, that doesn’t mean he likes Seon Tae Woong.
It’s just better. 

If you searched up Shin Jiho, there were multiple videos attacking him with titles like [A-rank Hunter, Evil Hunter Exposed?], which were uploaded with everything but his name.
It seemed that Seon Tae Woong was insulting him, but the uploader was blocking it.

There was no way Jiho could like him because of this. 

Seon Tae-woong walked over to Shin Jiho like a gangster. 

“B-rank.
You should’ve asked your dad for money to go play; what are you doing here?”

Plus, his insults were at the level of an elementary school student, so person getting cursed at felt embarrassed instead.
Jiho let out a short sigh.

“Since I’m an adult now, he said that he wouldn’t give me an allowance anymore, so I came to work.”

“Then ask your boyfriend.”

“This is the problem of Koreans.
They say everyone is a boyfriend or girlfriend.
If you spread fake news, I’ll ask my dad for money and sue you.”

“You’re really sh*tting yourself.”

“It’s nice that you’re picking a fight with me but I am busy.
Please go on your way now.”

Jiho moved his hand as though he was chasing away a peddler, but Tae Woong instead snorted arrogantly. 

“What do you mean go on my way? I volunteered because I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to close this fissure, Sloppy.”

“Even if I was sloppy, I can still close an F-rank with my eyes closed so just leave.”

“Do you want to try doing it with your eyes closed?”

“What will you do if I really close it?”

“If you close it, I will carry you on my back.”

“I don’t want to be carried by you.
I think you’ll smell like sweat.”

“What, you brat?”

“Then do you think I would like to stick to your skin? If I really close it, you should go on your knees and apologize; why are you trying to get off easy?5 ”

“Your words are a little short?”

“We’re only one year apart, okay?”

As the childishness of the fight increased, Yang Hojin’s eyes moved nervously between each person.
He kept trying to interrupt with “Guildmaster.”, “Guildmaster.”, “Guildmaster, stop….” but because he was ignored, he seemed to have lost even more confidence. 

Shin Jiho finally woke up from the childish fight and checked the time.
There was still some time before the estimation.
Jiho, in an attempt to comfort the nervous Hojin, whispered to him.

“Go and bring Hunter Lim Seung Joo over here.
He should be around here.”

If Seon Tae Woong tries to pick a fight, they need to send out the similarly ranked Lim Seung Joo to make it a fair fight.
Since even the usually unmotivated Lim Seung Joo will fight hard if put up against Seon Tae Woong, it will be good for the guild as well. 

Yang Ho Jin left, leaving the two alone.

Shin Jiho, who was casually playing along before, changed his face.

Even if an F-rank dungeon isn’t that dangerous, a fissure is still a fissure.
A person can still die if they have bad luck.

But this person who calls himself a hunter disturbs people on watch and fights with them. 

“Hey, you.”

“What?”

“You…”

Seon Tae Woong, who was going to say something, suddenly turned his head. 

His eyes widened in horror and his face paled, looking like the face of someone that had met some great disaster.

Jiho also felt something off from the atmosphere soon after Seon Tae Woong. 

Before he could even process what was happening…

A great darkness swallowed the two of them.

Footnotes

(Click on the numbers to return)

1. 빵셔틀 (“bbang-shuttle”) are students bullied in school.
The reason for this name is because they were usually told to get bread from the convenience store for the bullies.

2. The word used here is 어르신 (“eo-ruh-shin”) which is a respectful way to address the elderly.

3. I’m pretty sure the author is referring to Slam Dunk.

4. ~328 ft

5. STW talks informally while SJH talks formally (though his words aren’t exactly polite XD).
From this sentence on, however, SJH also starts talking informally.
Because formal speech adds on an extra suffix, when speaking informally, people will say that it’s “short” because it’s missing that suffix.

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