Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“Where to now?” Ho Sung asked, looking back at Min Sung in the back seat.
“Is the bank a safe place to keep my money?” the champion asked.
“As safe as it can be. The Hunters’ Institute does everything within their power to enforce regulations. That makes their lives easier. Besides, they’re the ones at the top of the food chain right now.”
“What does that mean?”
“Hm… So, there are a total of five institutes currently: the Central Hunters’ Institute, which protects the capital region, and those that control the suburbs outside of that region, East, West, North, and South. The hunters who are part of the Institute are incredibly powerful and high level, and their higher-ups are the ones who essentially took over the country.”
“What about the law?”
“I mean, it’s around, I guess. It’s just a name, though. It doesn’t mean anything to the hunters, and it can’t control them in any way. Haha… Though, citizens and lower-level hunters still abide by the law. Even then, being a hunter, regardless of level, gives one an advantage. After all, they’re the warriors who protect this country from danger.”
Min Sung nodded affirmatively and asked, “So, from what I’m gathering, the bank is a safe place, right?”
“Then, we’ll go to the bank first.”
“Understood,” Ho Sung replied and started the car. The bank wasn’t all that far from the Institute. After parking the car, Min Sung and Ho Sung went into the bank, and with Ho Sung’s help, the champion opened an account and got himself a check card.
“Where to next?” Ho Sung asked.
“I need a phone.”
“Yes, sir!” Ho Sung replied immediately. Driving the champion around to the nearest places, he helped Min Sung get things done in the most efficient way possible. At which point, it dawned on Min Sung just how useful Ho Sung could be. Naturally, as soon as Min Sung opened a new line, Ho Sung’s number was the first to end up in his new phone.
“What were the last four digits of your number?”
Then, putting the phone in his pocket, Min Sung once again got in the back seat of Ho Sung’s car.
“Where to next…?”
“I have to pay my taxes.”
Thanks to Ho Sung’s help, all the problems that had been on Min Sung’s mind were practically solving itself in no time at all. Soon, the champion’s trust in Ho Sung’s ability to read the room and be proactive started to grow.
“Sir? Would you mind if I had a smoke before I take you home…?”
“Thank you,” Ho Sung said, bowing politely to Min Sung. Then, getting out of the car, he placed a cigarette in his mouth, lit it in a hurry, took a drag, and looked up at the sky.
“Son of a bitch…” he let out. Being the head of a clan, dealing with another person’s chores, such as opening a new phone line and paying taxes, was hurting his pride, to say the least.
Blowing the smoke out, Ho Sung glanced at Min Sung in the back seat of his car.
‘Now that he has my number, he’s gonna call me whenever he needs something done. What do I do? Man, how did I get myself into this? Is this what my life’s gonna be like until I die?’ he thought, smoking his cigarette in distress.
‘Wait… he mentioned something about running into some goons. Did he run into the people from the Shadow Guild? I better ask.’
Smoking every inch of his cigarette, Ho Sung let out a long exhale and got in his car with a racing heart.
“Uh… Sir?” he called to Min Sung, who looked at him in response.
“Those goons that you ran into… Who were they like? What did they look like?”
“Why do you ask?”
“If I know them, I figured I might be able to shine some light on the matter.”
“I don’t remember their names, but one of them had a title: The Machete of Blood and Iron, or something to that effect. He brought about ten of his underlings, saying that I needed to go somewhere with them. You know anything about those guys?”
At that, Ho Sung started to break out into cold sweats.
Yang Bong Koo, The Machete of Blood and Iron. Ho Sung knew about him better than anyone else. Having a background as a mercenary, he was a hired hand of the Central Hunters’ Institute.
“If he was there, the Shadow Guild must be behind this. Wait a minute! You… didn’t kill him, did you?” Ho Sung asked.
“No, I let him live for bringing me two roasted eggs and a soda.”
“Why do you ask?”
Despite being over level 300, an idol and a role model of those who failed to get into the institute, even Yang Bong Koo had been reduced to doing the champion’s chores. Just how powerful was that man?
‘I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. He took out nine of my clansmen with a single blow,’ Ho Sung thought. Common sense didn’t apply to the champion, and that made him even more intimidating.
“Let’s get going,” Min Sung said.
“I think I’ll grab some lunch before I head home.”
“Hm, I know a few places in the area. If the place we’re going to doesn’t suit your taste, then please don’t hesitate to tell me. I’ll take you to a different restaurant immediately,” Ho Sung said, and Min Sung nodded as he made himself comfortable in the backseat.
“All right, then. Off we go!” Ho Sung said enthusiastically, yet he seemed deathly pale.
Looking at the report, Kyung Tae Oh, the supervisor of the Shadow Guild Headquarters, furrowed his brow. In front of him, was Yang Bong Koo, the man of the infamous machete, with a dark expression on his face. Looking at the hunter, Kyung Tae poked the report with his index finger and said, “The report says that this man was level 150. I… don’t know how to make sense of all this. You, Mr. Koo, a level 301 hunter! And you had ten, level 200 interns with you? This is baffling to me.”
“He broke my machete barehanded while the Sword Aura was still active,” Yang Bong replied.
“Look, Mr. Koo. I get that you’re embarrassed, but don’t you think that’s a little absu…”
“… I’m not lying,” Yang Bong said in a serious tone. At that moment, the smile on the supervisor’s face hardened.
“What else do you have for me aside from what’s already on the report?” he asked.
“What you’re seeing is all I got.”
With that hardened expression on his face, Kyung Tae briefly immersed himself in thought, waving his hand as if fanning himself.
“OK. You may go.”
With his supervisor’s permission, the hunter bowed and exited the office. Leaning back in his chair, Kyung Tae stared at the report confused.
“Were master grade hunters always this powerful? The only thing setting them apart is their growth rate. This is unusual…” he said to himself while tapping on his desk. “It’s obviously not gonna be easy to bring him in, yet I hardly know anything about him. This complicates things…”
After some thought, he came up with a solution. If that man really was a hunter of the highest grade, recruiting him would be the most profitable course of action. Besides, it would bring Kyung Tae the most credit, which would be as substantial as getting him promoted into the Classified Intelligence Unit. Although intelligence was what kept the Shadow Guild up and running, the guild would surely grow even stronger with the addition of a powerful hunter.
Slamming his hand on the table, he said, “Gotta be creative to get by these days,” his eyes glaring dangerously.
As Ho Sung parked the car, Min Sung got out and looked up at the restaurant’s sign.
A very subtle smile appeared on the champion’s face as he thought, ‘I knew I could count on him.’
Much like the previous restaurant, even the entrance gave off a welcoming vibe. Humble and clean, the sliding door was made of light-toned wood, which seemed fitting for the restaurant. On top of that, the humble name gave the impression that the chef would be a skilled artisan.
“This place isn’t all that fancy, but they really know their sushi here. If you prefer a different atmosphere, then I know a higher-end sushi restaurant…”
“No, this will do.”
“Yes, sir,” Ho Sung said with a bow. After closing the door, Min Sung made his way toward the restaurant.
“Enjoy your meal, sir. I’ll be waiting outside,” Ho Sung said, and Min Sung went into the restaurant without saying anything in response. As the champion disappeared from sight, Ho Sung looked up with an absentminded look on his face. If he were to describe the current state of his soul, it would be that of a dying blade of grass in a barren, drought-stricken land. Chuckling as if giving up, he pulled out a cigarette and put it in his mouth. Then, just as he was about to light it, he heard the thunderous roar of an engine in the distance. When he looked toward where the sound was coming from, he saw a yellow Porsche coming toward the restaurant.
“Irashaimase!*” a man wearing a white bandana on his head shouted enthusiastically in Japanese as Min Sung walked into the restaurant. Since he was alone, Min Sung sat at the bar across the only chef in the restaurant, who was also the owner. Although the exterior had given off the impression that there would’ve been a man well-advanced in age making sushi for his customers, the man on the other side of the bar looked significantly younger from what Min Sung had expected. Looking up, he saw a large picture in a frame near the ceiling. Including the man in front of Min Sung, there were a total of three men in the picture, and seeing as though they were all wearing chefs’ uniforms, sushi making seemed to have been passed down through generations. From the look of it, it was likely that the young man on the other side of the bar was the third generation of owners of the restaurant. Feeling like he’d been invited to the home of a family whose sushi-making spanned a number of generations, Min Sung felt his expectations soar through the roof.
Looking at the menu, which was also made of the same, light-toned wood as the door, the champion opened it, revealing the neat letters within it. The inconsistencies in the handwriting were telling Min Sung that the letters had been carved by hand.
“Take your time,” a short, young woman said to the champion politely as she placed the water and water cup on the counter. Then, as he poured himself a cup, he saw a standing sign that read:
[Today’s Deluxe Sushi Platter]
‘Flounder, Sweet Shrimp, Red Snapper, Bluefin Tuna, Salmon Belly, Fluke Fin, King Crab, Razor Clam, Marinated Shrimp, Mackerel.’
At that point, the decision became obvious. When he raised his hand, the same young woman walked over to Min Sung in a hurry.
“Can I take your order?” she asked politely and with a welcoming smile.
“I’ll have the deluxe sushi platter, and an order of seasonal udon.”
“So, our deluxe sushi platter comes with a half-size serving of udon. Would you still like to order the full-size serving on the side?”
“Then, I’ll just have the deluxe sushi platter.”
At that, the woman bowed politely with the same welcoming smile and took the menu from Min Sung. Sipping his water, the champion waited for his sushi patiently, looking around the restaurant and at the chef, who was in the process of making sushi. Focused and unhindered, there was a sharp glare in the chef’s eyes. It was that unwavering concentration that enabled the chef to create state-of-the-art sushi. In the end, Min Sung watched the chef from beginning to end, and soon, his deluxe sushi platter, along with a small bowl of udon soup, made its way to his table.