Rhee Min-Seong’s expression stiffened right away.
A mysterious man who cut through the throng of reporters, and then, the Association President Goh Gun-Hui who came out to personally escort that man into the building.
“How does President Goh Gun-Hui’s schedule look like for the rest of today?”
“I hear he cancelled everything for the morning.”
“Are you telling me that the Association President cancelled the whole morning’s worth of appointments for that man?”
This place had become too restless after those two men’s sudden entrance, and the current situation was no longer suitable for holding a press conference.
But, just how much effort did Rhee Min-Seong pour in for today’s event? He shot a glare at his manager with an expression of a man chewing on insects.
‘D*mn idiot of a manager who can’t even take care of something so simple…’
The manager couldn’t meet that glare and powerlessly lowered his head; now that Rhee Min-Seong had become a rank A Awakened, the manager couldn’t even win against him in physical strength anymore. He had no choice but to cower accordingly.
Rhee Min-Seong glared at his manager for a long time, before his head naturally spun towards his side.
Like throwing salt on the wound, the camera crew from the news stations were getting ready to leave. They were supposed to broadcast everything live. If this ‘distracted’ spectacle got on the airwaves and was broadcast to the rest of the country, then there was a good chance that all of Rhee Min-Seong’s hard work to increase his brand’s value by becoming a rank A Hunter would go down the drain for good.
However, the Association President Goh Gun-Hui’s entrance caused too much of a ripple to calm the mood down and restart the press conference. Just why did someone so big have to appear at such an important time??
‘Isn’t there a way to reverse this situation?’
The quick-witted Rhee Min-Seong began kicking his brain into gear.
‘Right. Only a big something can reverse a situation like this one.’
These reporters didn’t come here because they wanted to find out about his feelings regarding the rank assignment test or some such. No, they came here to find out what the top star Rhee Min-Seong’s Hunter ranking would be, as well as what his future plan was after he got his licence.
If he gave them what they wanted, then everything would return to order.
‘I should start the assignment test ahead of schedule.’
A sly smile formed on Rhee Min-Seong’s face.
Indeed, his ability to come up with schemes on the fly, something others around him had already acknowledged him for, remained rather exceptional.
“Excuse me, everyone. Allow me to go have a quick chat regarding my schedule today with the Association’s representatives.”
Blurting that nonsense to the reporters, Rhee Min-Seong then headed to the main Association building. It was to not to ‘discuss’ the change of schedule but to ‘declare’ his intentions.
‘I mean, you have any idea how much my dad donates to the Association? The Association or not, they should grovel accordingly before me.’
Just before he could push open the glass front door, Hunters from the Monitoring Division rushed out first and he was pushed back, instead. They stood in a line to block off the front entrance.
‘What the hell is this now?!’
Rhee Min-Seong’s forehead creased up. He quickly checked the name tag attached to one of the men’s chest.
‘Section Chief Woo Jin-Cheol, Hunter’s Association Monitoring Division?’
Rhee Min-Seong questioned Woo Jin-Cheol right away.
“What’s the meaning of this? Why are you blocking the entrance?”
Woo Jin-Cheol’s sunglasses-covered eyes stared down at Rhee Min-Seong.
“Currently, another Awakened is going through the process of the rank re-assignment test. No one will be allowed to enter the building until 11 o’clock, when the test is scheduled to end.”
“What did you just say?!”
By ‘another Awakened’, was this man referring to that young man who followed the Association President into the building not too long ago?
Rhee Min-Seong took a look at his watch. The time now was half past ten in the morning. Eleven o’clock was the originally scheduled time for his rank assignment test. No one was allowed to enter before that?
Rhee Min-Seong’s scheme to take the test ahead of schedule to reverse the situation was about to blow up in his face.
At first, he spoke in a polite tone of voice.
“Please, don’t be like this and let me in. I have something to discuss with the related department of the Association.”
Woo Jin-Cheol shut his mouth up with that single short sentence.
With his frustration boiling over, Rhee Min-Seong couldn’t hold back any longer and his true colours slowly surfaced to the fore.
“Look here, mister. Don’t you know who I am? I’m Rhee Min-Seong, man. Rhee Min-Seong!”
Rhee Min-Seong’s tone of voice became sharp and abrasive as if he could no longer take this crap, but still, Woo Jin-Cheol showed no sign of budging.
Rhee Min-Seong spat out a dumbfounded groan.
“Oii. You know that Yujin Construction is the biggest sponsor of the Hunter’s Association, right?”
The corners of Rhee Min-Seong’s lips arched up.
“Vice Chairman of the Yujin Construction, Rhee Won-Gyu is my father, okay? And do you see all these people behind me?”
Rhee Min-Seong pointed towards the sea of reporters below the entrance steps.
“You think you can treat the son of Yujin Construction’s Vice Chairman this badly in front of these many reporters? You think you can handle the fallout?”
Woo Jin-Cheol’s reply was pretty simple.
“Yes, we can.”
Rhee Min-Seong was even more dumbfounded now.
Just who the hell was that young man for the Association President to personally escort him inside, and block off the entire building for a measly rank assignment test?
And, letting a Section Chief gopher, someone not even that high up in the food chain like a head of the department, to do whatever the hell he pleased??
Rhee Min-Seong’s hands were placed on his waist as he began questioning in anger.
“Just who the hell is this ‘another Awakened’ supposed to be that the Association is willing to bend over backwards like this?”
Only then did Woo Jin-Cheol remove his sunglasses.
“If I were to tell you that….”
When Woo Jin-Cheol’s sharp, scary eyes resembling a bird of prey were finally revealed, Rhee Min-Seong unwittingly took a step back.
Woo Jin-Cheol continued to glare at Rhee Min-Seong and quietly spoke.
“…..Do you think you can handle the fallout instead, Mister Rhee Min-Seong?”
The inside of the main building was rather empty.
There was no one waiting to take their rank assignment test inside the hallway, with only a smattering of Association employees going about their usual business.
This unusual situation was probably related to the reason why all those reporters were camping outside.
“Please, come this way.”
Jin-Woo was about to follow after Goh Gun-Hui’s guidance and enter the measurement room, but then, spotted two somewhat familiar-looking faces.
Baek Yun-Ho and Choi Jong-In were sitting on the waiting room chairs facing the measurement room. That was where smartly-dressed headhunters of various smaller Guilds could be found three days ago.
When their gazes met, both men stood up from their seats and bowed lightly. Jin-Woo reciprocated the greeting and walked past the hallway. As they walked down on the passageway, a soft smile formed on Goh Gun-Hui’s lips.
“Those two men, they have been waiting for you for about an hour.”
The leaders of two Guilds that represented South Korea in the world stage had shown up one hour early to wait for the re-evaluation result?
Perhaps he had read Jin-Woo’s expression, because Goh Gun-Hui continued to explain in a calm voice.
“A new rank S Hunter has appeared after two long years. And besides, Choi Jong-In has heard of your powers so he should be even more anxious at the moment.”
Jin-Woo slowly nodded his head.
The Association employees they met on the way all politely greeted Goh Gun-Hui, and stared at Jin-Woo with mystified eyes.
‘Who is that man that necessitates our Association President to personally guide him?’
‘Could he be someone really important?’
‘How can someone that young know our President?’
Goh Gun-Hui had never shown up to personally receive guests even when a government minister came to visit, so the fact that he was doing precisely that had shocked the Association employees to no end.
Goh Gun-Hui spoke while keeping his eyes fixed to the front.
“I heard about what happened yesterday.”
Goh Gun-Hui’s expression was one of enjoyment for some reason.
As a matter of fact, he was indeed feeling really excited. Because his expectation of Seong Jin-Woo being a different type of Hunter from the rest proved to be right on the money, that was why.
When he heard about Seong Jin-Woo’s actions from Woo Jin-Cheol, sweat formed in Goh Gun-Hui’s hands as if he was personally there, witnessing everything.
‘Yes, he does have incredible powers, but also….’
But also, he found Seong Jin-Woo’s actions afterwards even more to his liking.
Including the boss, he had almost single-handedly cleared the dungeon all by himself, yet the young man had shown not one trace of greed over the loot found within.
If Seong Jin-Woo’s real aim was to fight monsters and protect other people rather than become famous and make lots of money, then the Association was fully prepared to support him in every conceivable manner. Because, that goal lined up perfectly with the purpose of the Association’s existence.
‘If it’s possible, I wish I could bring him into the Association with whatever means necessary, but…’
But, he couldn’t do that, now could he?
Just like what the young man told him before, entering the Association would mean he’d have nearly zero opportunity to fight against the monsters.
And from what Goh Gun-Hui had heard about Seong Jin-Woo’s powers, it was way too good to be wasted outside dungeons.
Soon, they arrived at the examination area, located deeper within the building.
“Before the re-evaluation can take place, we must confirm your abilities first and set the new classification for you.”
Jin-Woo already knew that.
Hunters were classified as a melee, mage, healing, or even support-type according to their abilities, and performed their roles where they were needed the most.
The Association employee waiting at the examination area bent his back forward 90 degrees to greet Goh Gun-Hui, and took over guiding Jin-Woo from him.
“Please, come this way.”
Jin-Woo stepped up to the middle of the examination area. Its interior layout much resembled an indoor gymnasium commonly found everywhere.
If there was one thing different from those gymnasiums, then it’d be the fact that one could sense powerful fluctuations of magic energy coming from the walls as well as from the floor. Magic had been utilised to reinforce the structure in case something went wrong.
The examiner asked Jin-Woo.
“What kind of ability can you use?”
The Association President Goh Gun-Hui didn’t return to his office immediately and, while standing in the far corner, stared at the examination process with a great deal of interest.
This was the reason why he came to guide Jin-Woo personally. He wanted to confirm Jin-Woo’s powers with his own eyes as quickly as possible.
“Well, I can do this.”
Jin-Woo called out a single Shadow Soldier.
The examiner was greatly taken by surprise.
Seriously speaking, how could anyone stay composed when a soldier decked out in jet-black armour suddenly rose up from the ground?
Jin-Woo deliberately chose the lowest levelled one out of his regular Soldiers, but still, the dude emitted intense pressure that most normal people found hard to endure.
“This…. Is this your summoned creature? You can control a summon?”
The examiner’s voice was trembling noticeably.
Jin-Woo had half a mind to helpfully explain that his Soldier was definitely not dangerous, but….
He formed a pitying expression while making his reply.
“….Well, something like that.”
“I-in that case, h-how many summoned creatures can you control?”
‘Well, it will be useless to lie, so….’
Indeed, the number of eyewitnesses who saw his Shadow Soldiers yesterday was nearly twenty.
Jin-Woo spoke up a slightly reduced number of Soldiers sealed inside his shadow through his skill.
“It’s around 100 or so….”
The examiner’s eyes went extra round at the number 100.
On the other hand, Jin-Woo remained nonplussed.
At the same time…
As he stared at the Shadow Soldier, Goh Gun-Hui’s eyes were glittering brightly.
‘A hundred of those….’
At a glance, that ‘soldier’ possessed around the same amount of magic energy as a rank B Hunter. If that young man could summon a hundred of those soldiers, then one simply had to concede that his powers had already exceeded a regular large Guild’s combat force.
Truthfully, that was an incredible ability.
Jin-Woo could feel Goh Gun-Hui’s passionate gaze burning up on his skin.
He breathed a sigh of relief after confirming the reactions of the surroundings.
‘Well, if one regular Soldier can elicit this sort of reaction, then….’
He should thank his lucky stars that he didn’t choose to call out the highest levelled soldier among his flock, ‘Igrit’, or the boss-level creature he managed to poach yesterday, ‘Fangs’.
Whatever the case may be, this was enough to prove the type of ability he had possessed.
“In that case…. Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim, you’re a mage type.”
The examiner studiously jotted down something on the recording document and raised his head up, while looking rather satisfied.
“We can now head to the measurement room.”
Jin-Woo held the newly-issued Hunter licence in his hand.
It said, ‘Seong Jin-Woo, rank S, Mage-type’.
Even though his face was plastered on the photo box, he still found it hard to believe.
‘Very good. It’s been smooth sailing until now.’
Jin-Woo quickly shoved his new Hunter licence inside his wallet. When he got to the end of the corridor, the waiting duo of Baek Yun-Ho and Choi Jong-In approached him.
“Mister Seong Jin-Woo, can we have a chat?”
“Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim, I…..”
“I’m sorry. I’m pressed for time at the moment.”
Jin-Woo ignored them both and quickly walked towards the glass door.
Baek Yun-Ho raised his worried voice.
“If it was me, I wouldn’t use that exit.”
‘Is he trying to imply that the sweet deals he prepared for this occasion will make me regret walking out of this door or something?’
Jin-Woo wasn’t interested regardless of what was being offered, so he continued to ignore Baek Yun-Ho’s dissuasion and pushed the glass door wide open.
When that happened….
Click, click, click, click, click, click….!!
The reporters that had managed to climb up the steps to push and shove against the Monitoring Division’s agents, began clicking their cameras non-stop, with flashes exploding brightly all around him.
‘What the heck is this?’
Jin-Woo became utterly speechless at this blinding explosion of lights.
As usual, Seong Jin-Ah stopped by the school tuck shop after the third period ended, and bought herself a pack of banana milk.
There was still around one hour to go to lunch. If she didn’t fill herself up temporarily with something like milk, for instance, she’d be unable to concentrate during the class.
And sure enough….
Already, her remorseless stomach was noisily demanding for more fuel to be put in there. Jin-Ah rubbed her hungry tummy and was about to enter her classroom, but then, one of her friends grabbed her wrist, a shocked expression clearly visible on that girl’s face.
With her friend shocked like this, even Jin-Ah got shocked alongside her for no reason.
“It’s your oppa! He’s on TV right now!!”
“What?? Why is my oppa…??”
Jin-Woo felt her heart tumble to the pit of her stomach.
Did he get injured again? If not, could it be even worse….??
The friend dragged Jin-Ah by her wrist inside the classroom as if she didn’t want to waste time explaining anymore.
Jin-Ah’s eyes immediately shifted over to the large TV located next to the blackboard.
And there was….
The moment Jin-Ah saw the TV screen, the banana milk in her hand fell to the floor.