Chapter 17: Different from Before (4)


The atmosphere within the auction hall turned strange.
Unlike Jiho, who was desperately pushing his hat down, Yiwon sat with his legs crossed, as though he was in his own bedroom at home.

“Should I have just called out 100 billion instead? I thought there would be a problem if the price went up too much.”

“Are you crazy?”

Doubting what his ears had just heard, the question exploded out immediately.
Yiwon just grinned.

“I’m not crazy.
I’ve always wanted to flaunt my money in front of you too.”

This wasn’t just any flaunt, this was a flaunt of 30B gold… Even if Joo Yiwon has more gold than any guild, this was just ridiculous.1

“Fool2… Don’t go around doing this kind of stuff anywhere else.

“Why would I spend money on someone else? I can actually give all of my items to you right now.”

“I don’t need them.”

“I buy what you put out to sell because you don’t accept these things.
Isn’t the commission fee going to Chungram Department Store anyways? In the end, everything goes back into Father-in-Law’s hands, so it’s fine.” 

“Who are you calling father-in-law…”

“Just think of it as me paying your family back.”

Jiho lost his words at Yiwon’s indifferent attitude.

Although Yiwon said those words without much thought, Jiho always felt complicated whenever he heard Yiwon say things like that.

From a third-person perspective, it might seem that Yiwon had received a lot of grace from the Shin family, but Jiho didn’t think so.

Joo Yiwon had already paid back as much as he was given.

Since they were young, Yiwon had always taken care of Jiho.
There were times where Yiwon took care of him so earnestly that it was almost like Yiwon was a servant in the caste system.
It wouldn’t have been easy for such a young child to worry over a sick friend like that.

On top of that, by staying with Chungram Guild after becoming a hunter, he had already paid back the grace and more.

After all, as Chungram’s name spread not just within the country but internationally as well over these past few years, the guild and other businesses have grown impressively.

But even if Yiwon hadn’t been an SS-rank hunter, no one would have told him to pay them back for anything.

Not just Jiho, but the other members of the family too, don’t treat Joo Yiwon as a stranger.
To them, Yiwon is no other than family.

But whenever Yiwon says something about repaying them, they feel awkward and upset because it feels like he’s drawing a line between them.
On another hand, they feel sorry, wondering if they somehow fed into Yiwon’s sense of indebtedness without knowing.3

However, it seemed that Yiwon didn’t care at all.
Still sitting down calmly, he continued to speak.

“Plus that object doesn’t look like something to be auctioned off for 1 billion.”

It was a sharp observation.
From what Jiho knows, Yiwon doesn’t have an evaluation skill.
Yet he could always see the true worth of an object faster than anyone else.

“How do you know that kind of stuff?”

“I just know it when I see it.
Even if I explained it, you probably wouldn’t understand.”

Joo Yiwon laughed ambiguously.
As a forever second, his words were extremely annoying, but Jiho wouldn’t have been able to tell the worth of the stone without the system either.

“Okay, you’re amazing.”


Amazing is amazing, annoying is annoying.
As Jiho pouted in silence, Yiwon changed the topic with a smile.

“But Honey.
What were you trying to buy? Something with mana options?”

“Yeah.
Something with recovery options or something that can increase MP…”

Jiho closed his mouth.
Feeling that something was wrong, Jiho turned to Yiwon and glared.

“You don’t have to buy anything for me.”

“Okay.”

Jiho thought that Yiwon would make a big fuss about buying it for him, but Yiwon quickly surrendered instead.
Yiwon grinned at Jiho’s surprise.

“Since I bought your stone at 30 billion, buy an item with that.
I think I’ll only feel more at ease if you have good equipment with you.”

“Why are you so worried about every little thing I’m going around just fine on my own.”

“I’m just preparing you early.
Buy good things and carry them on you at all times.
If you don’t…”

“If I don’t?”

“I’ll lock you up.”

What “lock you up”? Jiho snorted. 

He had been thinking of adjusting the ridiculously high price before selling it, but… What Yiwon said earlier bothered him.

That he was paying him back for his grace.

In fact, while 30B gold is a lot of money for Jiho, for Yiwon who regularly sells items worth several billions of gold, it wasn’t an overwhelming sum of money.

Although there’s no need to pay him back for his grace, if it would help Yiwon feel less indebted.

Plus a three-attribute SS-rank stone had almost never appeared in an auction before.
He didn’t know how much it would have been auctioned off for if it had been evaluated properly, but if the stone was used well, that sum wasn’t excessive either.

Jiho reached a conclusion.

“I’m only accepting it this one time.
Don’t do this next time.”

“There’ll be no need next time.”

Yiwon answered calmly with his chin propped up.
When Jiho looked at him, wondering what he was talking about, Yiwon’s eyes gently curved into a smile.

“After you’re promoted to S-rank, you’ll be able to make this money easily.”

Jiho was surprised by how confident Yiwon was, with no hint of doubt. 

“Do you really mean that?”

“What?”

“Do you… really think I’ll get promoted and do well?”

Jiho himself wasn’t very confident on whether or not he will do well, so his worries were stacking up like a mountain.

When he was young, Jiho had an optimistic personality.
Although he thought of bad things when he was sick, when he wasn’t, he was full of energy.

At that time, Jiho had the confidence that he could do anything.
He wasn’t afraid of approaching others.
His life was full of optimism.

But the past year where he was ripped apart by rumors was so forceful that it completely flipped around his 23 years of life.
His confidence slowly faded and his ideals became mere delusions.

No one truly believes in Jiho.
Jiho himself can’t believe in him either.

But Yiwon.

“Of course.
I’m certain.”

“…”

“You’re not weak.”

He always says that he believes in Shin Jiho.

An unwavering voice.
Because Jiho knows that Yiwon doesn’t say empty words, his words were more meaningful.

Jiho’s nervousness that he was trying to hide under a facade of indifference calmed down slightly.
The small piece of trust he earned after receiving constant scrutiny, stuck.

Especially since that small piece of trust was from SS-rank hunter Joo Yiwon.

‘No wait.’

Jiho’s rising emotions suddenly braked.

“If you trust me, why did you disapprove?”

“Trust and worry are two different things.
If my precious Jiho gets even the slightest scratch on him, my heart will be ripped apart…”

Yiwon folded his hands over his chest and acted pitiful.
Jiho looked away from Yiwon, as it was a sight he couldn’t see. 

Let’s pretend he didn’t say all of that nonsense and just remember that he said Jiho wasn’t weak.

After picking through the words, Jiho’s heart found peace again.

“Ah, another staff is coming out.”

Jiho turned his focus back to the auction at Yiwon’s words.
Even though the item that just came out wasn’t the kind of item Jiho wanted, if he waits, at least one item he wants should appear.

His heart felt full after receiving 30B gold from his connections.

Still, because he wasn’t planning to squander away all of his gold at once, Jiho passed on all of the items he was on the fence about.
He wanted to find an object that he could use for a long time, even if it wasn’t forever.

As time continued to pass, right when Jiho was thinking that he might have to wait for the next chance…

An item caught his eyes.

Information

Staff of Tuia

Rank SS
Explanation A staff made out of fresh Tuia, a water tree.4
Increases MP by 20%.
Increases power of skills by 10%.
With the command [Store Mana], it can store as much mana as the holder’s max MP.
When the holder runs out of mana, he can support himself with the saved mana.
Creator Rayleigh Aeisha 

This was it.

As soon as he saw it, Shin Jiho knew that he had to bid for it.
For Jiho, who can strengthen others with the mana he has, this equipment was perfect, like it was made for his skill.

But…

‘Rayleigh Aeisha?’

Jiho looked down at the glove he was wearing.

Information

Black Dragon Leather Glove
Rank S
Explanation A leather glove made out of black dragon leather and threads of mana.
Increases the wearer’s MP and strength by 20%.
Creator Rayleigh Aeisha

The creator of the glove that Joo Yiwon gave was also Rayleigh Aeisha.

If Tuia’s Staff had been an item created by someone on Earth, Jiho would have accepted it. 

But when he had pulled up the information on the glove before, it had said that the glove’s creator, ‘Rayleigh Aeisha,’ had been automatically translated into something that could be pronounced on Earth.
If the creator was someone from Earth, an explanation like that wouldn’t have been necessary.

That means both the glove and staff had to have been made by someone from another world but…

Was it possible that two items made by the same creator in a different world could appear in front of Shin Jiho by mere chance?

Although there have been times when items appeared with creators in the auction, there were never multiple items with the same name.
From the way it was pronounced, to the way it felt, each name was different.

Jiho subconsciously looked over at Yiwon.
Yiwon, who had been watching over the auction, felt Jiho’s gaze and asked “What?” in confusion.

“Jiho, that looks good.
If you’re a support hunter, you don’t really need to increase the power of your skills, but there’s not many items that will raise your mana like that.
You should try bidding for it.”

It doesn’t seem like Joo Yiwon knows anything either.

While he was lost in his thoughts, the price was still rising.
Jiho pushed aside his concerns for now and turned his focus back on to the auction.

For an SS-rank item, [Tuia’s Staff] had been appraised too low.

Increasing MP by 20% and power of skills by 10% were all good options, but the best option was how it could store and replenish mana.
However, it seemed that that hadn’t been taken in for evaluation.

“120B gold bid.
Ah, 130B gold bid now.”

The price was rising.
Jiho couldn’t continue to sit back and watch.
He jumped in.

The auction ended.

Jiho finally bought [Tuia’s Staff] for 180 billion.
After buying other useful things, his wallet was quite light.

After he refills the guild’s shared funds and puts aside money for future contracts, he’ll be back to being poor.
Checking the little gold left, Jiho sighed. 

“Should I have bought the stone for higher?”

“It’s fine.
I’ll figure it out myself.”

Jiho answered in a small voice as he pushed the visor of his cap further down.

Because he was stuck to Joo Yiwon the whole time, everybody recognized that he was Shin Jiho.
The gazes weren’t as hostile as before.
But the eyes full of curiosity didn’t make him feel very good either.

Should he try to slip out quietly?

While he was thinking, Yiwon suddenly grabbed Jiho’s hand.
Without another word, Yiwon started walking forward.

“Let’s go.”

“I’m going to go through the ba…”

“Why? It’s not like you did something wrong.”

“It’s not because I did something wrong…”

It’s because he feels self-conscious about the looks.

Receiving Yiwon’s stare, Jiho closed his mouth.

Although his stare looked calm, Jiho could see an irrational anger flare up in Yiwon’s eyes.

It had been a long time since he stopped feeling angry about people’s looks.
Instead of getting mad, he feels conscious of it but… Seeing Joo Yiwon get angry on his behalf made his nervousness melt away.

“I get it, so let go of my hand and go.”

“Should I carry you out?”

“Crazy bastard.”

Seeing Yiwon, who didn’t seem to care about how others looked at him, Jiho laughed and followed him.
With no choice but with his hand still caught.

 

Footnotes

1. This got slightly lost in translation.
It’s a play on words.
The word used here as flaunt, 돈지랄 (“don-ji-lal”) specifically refers to when someone wastes money on meaningless things simply to flaunt it.
Just 지랄 means something like “f*cking ridiculous.” So here, Jiho is saying that it wasn’t a 돈지랄 but rather a 지랄.
This is hard to explain ㅠㅠ.

2. Jiho calls Yiwon a 호구 (“ho-goo”) here, which means pushover.
Sounds harsh, but in these kinds of contexts, it’s usually pretty affectionate, like he’s showing concern.

3. This is both sweet and sad ㅠㅠ.
They care so much about him ㅠㅠ.

4. You may be wondering what a water tree is.
Me too.
Author-nim wrote this in hanja which was a struggle in and of itself.
From my limited research, I’m guessing this is made up.
I think it’s literally a tree that grows underwater.

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