Chapter 25: Different from Before (12)

The next few days after the gate defense were full of chaos.

After Shin Jiho took care of urgent matters and ate a quick lunch, Lim Seung Soo came to find him.
Seung Joo diligently reported the work he did that morning to Jiho.

The most shocking thing was not the detailed report but the change in Lim Seung Joo’s attitude. 

Rather than looking down on Shin Jiho like usual, Seung Joo’s attitude was full of respect and care, as if he was facing someone important.
Jiho swore that this was the most polite he’s seen of Lim Seung Joo in the last year.

Can a person become this different from using a skill one time? Is what Jiho wondered, but when he thought about it, the reason Lim Seung Joo hated him was because he was weak.
Since Jiho is stronger, it is reasonable that Seung Joo acknowledges him now.

The problem is that Jiho, who had always brushed off Seung Joo’s attitude towards him, doesn’t want to do that anymore.
Jiho hates people who discriminate against other people.

‘No, this is a social skill.’

When Jiho said he was going to set up a guild himself, his older brother, who had been the most optimistic about the idea, had warned him. 

His brother told Jiho that since people hate Jiho, the road in front of him was going to be one full of thorns.
He told Jiho to learn how to smile, even if he didn’t want to smile, and to learn to endure.
Although his brother ended the talk by saying that if Jiho doesn’t want to do that, he should just quit and come back home… it was his brother’s own way of showing his concern.

Jiho pushed away his wandering thoughts and finished listening to Seung Joo’s report.

Besides the fact that the fissure and gate grew since the defense, not much had changed.
The most important part of the report was Lim Seung Joo’s last point.

“The 18th of this month?”

As Jiho’s eyes drifted to his calendar, Seung Joo quickly added on to his words before Jiho could take a close look.

For now, there’s nothing else scheduled on that day.”

Then please tell them I will do it on the 18th.”

Is there anything else you would like me to do?”

“No, that is all.
Then you may go back to work.”

Lim Seung Joo bowed and left the guildmaster’s office.

Jiho flipped through the calendar.
Since today is May 4th, there are only two weeks left until the 18th.
Jiho wrote a memo on his calendar.

[Ranking Reassessment]

The day he was once most afraid of is two weeks away.

He’s not afraid of it anymore.
In fact, he’s looking forward to the reassessment.

After helping the F-rank awakened one and taking care of the A-rank gate, the number of people who doubted Shin Jiho’s abilities greatly decreased.
Riding on this wave, Jiho doesn’t think that many people will object to him advancing to S-rank.

Even the hunter communities that had crazily attacked Shin Jiho before, changed.

All that’s left is a nominal check and promotion.

‘The day is a lot earlier than I expected.’

Because he put the request for a reassessment in just the day before yesterday, Jiho felt like the association factored in the time to prepare and chose the earliest date possible.

He understands why they’re rushing him so much.

Because gate predictions are off, the public opinion isn’t stable right now.

The Hunter Association and top leaders in the government probably want to add another S-rank hunter.
After all, the existence of an S-rank hunter alone gives people a sense of security.
It’ll make things a little safer in reality too.

Jiho hummed as he cheerfully signed off papers.

No Name is still just a B-rank guild right now.
If the guildmaster is promoted to an S-rank, the guild will become the most attractive of all the other B-rank guilds.
A guild that awakened ones looking for new guilds will choose.

As he imagined a No Name different from before, Jiho’s expectations rose.

New wine in new wine skin.1 With the plan of recruiting new guildmembers, not even half of the original members are left in No Name.

The more hostile members had all been kicked out.
Among the guildmembers that had merely been dragged in by those, the ones with a useful ability and attitude discussed their conditions again and re-signed. 

Heo Sori helped pick out the guildmembers to kick out.

‘I would like to get a couple of A-rank or B-rank hunters.’

The problem is that recruiting hunters isn’t that easy.

The number of A-rank hunters in Korea is 252.

Although the number seems small, they have quite a lot compared to the overall population.
But from the perspective of a guild that’s looking to recruit awakened ones, the number is still small.

In the country, the number of guilds A-rank or above is nine.
Most of the A-rank hunters that want to join a guild are already in one of those nine.

There’s also a lot of freelance A-rank hunters.
But would those A-rank hunters that refused to enter the nine guilds join No Name?

Although he’ll try, the probability of them joining was very low.

While Jiho was racking his brain in the guildmaster’s office alone, a rare guest visited No Name.

Today was the day that Shin Jiho promised to meet with Seon Tae Woong.
This is the first time they would be meeting since they were stuck in the dungeon together.

Tae Woong entered No Name with clothes that he took great care in choosing.
He was taken aback for a second.

“What kind of flowers…”

There were so many beautiful blooming roses inside that Tae Woong thought he entered a flower shop rather than a guild for a second.
Thinking that they created a garden in the building, Tae Woong checked, but he found that the flowers were growing out of a vase.

The roses themselves are beautiful.
But they were so thick that they reminded him of a plant monster.
Tae Woong shivered.
Right when he was about to question Shin Jiho’s preferences…

“These flowers were apparently sent by Chungram’s guildmaster.”

Hearing the voice beside him, Seon Tae Woong changed his thoughts.

If these flowers are from Chungram’s guildmaster, then these must be special flowers.2

Tae Woong turned around and smiled.

“Hello, Hunter Lim Seung Joo.”

“Yes, it has been a while.”

Like always, Lim Seung Joo, whose emotions never fluctuate much, answered without much change in his expression.

When he was still in Chungram Guild, Lim Seung Joo had shown some vitality, but after entering No Name, he began to slowly rot away.

But today, he seemed strangely haggard.

Though Tae Woong doesn’t know why.

No, he really doesn’t understand.
With this incident, No Name will be promoted to an A-rank guild at the very least.
Shouldn’t Seung Joo, as the vice-guildmaster, be happy?

Lim Seung Joo looked at the potion gift set in Seon Tae Woong’s hands.

“Have you come to find Guildmaster-nim today?”

“Yes, to say thank you for the last time…”

Tae Woong laughed awkwardly.3

Up until now, Lim Seung Joo and Seon Tae Woong have barely had any conversation with each other.
Because Seon Tae Woong pitied Lim Seung Joo for working under Shin Jiho even though he was an A-rank like him, Tae Woong never tried to pick a fight with him.

And Lim Seung Joo never initiated a conversation with Seon Tae Woong either.
Even when Seon Tae Woong annoyed Shin Jiho and attacked him, Seung Joo kept his mouth shut and just watched them.

‘Ah, is that why?’

It made sense that, as the vice-guildmaster, Seung Joo would feel nervous if the guildmaster he looked down on for so long was starting to do better.

That’s why he should’ve acted nice earlier… is what Tae Woong wanted to say, but he wasn’t in the position to scold Seung Joo either.

He himself had deliberated carefully on his clothes, got his makeup done at a salon, and personally picked a present out from Chungram Department Store’s hunter department in order to look good in front of Shin Jiho.

When his older sister, Seon Tae Hui, saw that, she mockingly asked if he was going on a blind date or something, but truthfully, Tae Woong felt more nervous now than how he feels in front of a girl.4

He doesn’t want to be hated by Shin Jiho.

He wants to fight alongside Shin Jiho again.

The feeling when he received the skill was amazing, after all…

“Hunter Seon Tae Woong.”

“Ah, yes.”

Seung Joo called Tae Woong, who was lost in the thought of that time for a second.
Seung Joo moved his lips with a look of hesitation.

“That… Hunter Seon Tae Woong also received [Blessing of the Star], right?”

“Ah, I don’t know if it had that name, but…yes I probably did.”

“How was it?”

“Amazing, of course.
Like I had nothing to fear?”

“Do you not feel like something was different then?”

“That I was getting f*ck… no, I mean much stronger.
No, I did become much stronger.
That kind of feeling.”

Tae Woong, who tried to keep a business tone the whole time, revealed his excitement through his voice.
Seung Joo observed the excited Tae Woong with a critical eye.

“Did you not feel anything else when you used your skill?”

“What kind of feeling?”

“When I wielded my sword, I felt like my movements were better than before.
It wasn’t just my strength or stamina that improved–I could feel that my sword skill improved as well.
I tried training with that feeling I felt back then and…

Lim Seung Joo clenched his fist as he trailed off.

The movement back then was almost perfect for Lim Seung Joo right now.
Once the effect of the skill had worn off, he couldn’t recreate the exact movement, but because his body remembered it, he could follow it to some extent.

Although the hunter’s rank affects one’s strength, when the rank is similar, one’s strength depends on how much work they put into it.

If Seung Joo could receive the skill again, he was sure that he would be able to copy it perfectly.

Because the reassessment date is confirmed, Shin Jiho will probably not work outside for a while.
Seung Joo regretted telling Jiho to stay back all the time.

While listening to Seung Joo, Tae Woong’s face showed only confusion.

“Ah, I don’t really know…”


For a second, pity flashed in Lim Seung Joo’s eyes.
Seon Tae Woong quickly explained himself.

“At the time, both Hunter Shin Jiho and I were on the brink of death.
I wasn’t in the right state of mind to compare anything.”

“That is understandable.”

Then again, they barely made it out alive from an S-rank dungeon.
It was probably hard to feel a slight difference like Lim Seung Joo, who experienced the skill with a clear mind, did.

Even though he understood Seon Tae Woong’s situation, Lim Seung Joo felt disappointed that he couldn’t check if what he felt was real.

After Lim Seung Joo left and as he was being led to the guildmaster’s office, Seon Tae Woong felt even more confused.

‘The skill’s effect improved?’

Seon Tae Woong’s skill falls under the magic type.
Based on the work put into it, magic skills can improve if the user learns to use mana more efficiently or increases the power.

He should’ve concentrated harder on that feeling back then.

Feeling regretful, Seon Tae Woong tightly hugged onto the potion gift set.
He wanted to hit his mouth that had dealt verbal abuse until now.

He needs to appear good right now. 

The image of Shin Jiho passing mana to him kept appearing in his mind.
Since then, he’s been looking at pictures of Shin Jiho on the internet, but he was finally about to see him in person again.

Pushing down his strangely fluttering heart, Seon Tae Woong stood in front of the wooden door with the nameplate that indicated the guildmaster’s office.

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