Chapter 12: System (9)
While chaos had erupted everywhere around him, Shin Jiho was…
“QUIT BEING A HUNTER AND COME BACK HOME RIGHT NOW!”
He was being nagged at by his older sister.
Shin Jiho’s older sister, Shin Jihye, is a C-rank support hunter and Chungram’s vice-guildmaster.
Even though there’s nothing special about Shin Jihye’s abilities as a hunter, there was not a single hunter who looked down on her.
Shin Jihye used to work at Chungram.
But two and half years ago, she was able to awaken by chance.
After awakening, as soon as she had received her C-rank hunter license, Shin Jihye quit her original job and set up Chungram Guild.
A lot of the ways current guilds are run are based on the ways Shin Jihye runs Chungram.
She pushed strongly for the creation of the Hunter Association which encompasses countries all over the world, and a lot of the common hunter laws were her ideas.
She blocked the attacks1 aimed at Joo Yiwon and mediated a way for him to be promoted to SS-rank despite the countless opposition.
With Joo Yiwon becoming an SS-rank hunter like that, Shin Jihye used him well.
Shin Jihye played just as big of a role in making Chungram the world’s strongest guild as Joo Yiwon did.
Thanks to that, Shin Jihye is the most famous of the C-rank hunters.
She is the idol of a lot of people and the ideal type of many lower-ranked hunters.
Shin Jihye used her influence well.
She purposefully made her public image into one of a cold and decisive boss.
Because she was rather cold and rational in real life too–to the point where she heard so from others–it wasn’t very hard to do.
The guildmembers who work directly under Shin Jihye in Chungram Guild have almost never seen her lose her reason.
Shin Jihye was the type of person who can make a decision decisively no matter how urgent the situation was.
However, it was hard to find the usual cold reason in the Shin Jihye right now.
That was because she had thought that–though it was only for a few hours–her younger brother had died.
Shin Jiho, who got hurt with the slightest nudge, was the pitiful child2 of the Shin family.
Perhaps because Jiho was born of their parents later and there was a large age-gap between them, he felt somewhat like a son to her.3
Three years ago, when Shin Jiho fell into a coma for unknown reasons for two years, the house was like a mourner’s house4.
When Jiho woke up, Jihye shed tears of emotion for the first time in her life.
Because he was a soft and tender child, as the older sister, she wanted to shelter him.
Even though she wanted to rip him away from the hunter’s life, because his own determination was so strong, she had no choice but to allow it.
Before it was confirmed that Jiho was alive, Shin Jihye was half out of her mind.
Even now, where he was alive and moving around, her heart still felt uncomfortable.
When Jiho saw her yell and wipe off the tears gathering in her eyes, he lowered his head.
“It’s a good thing that Mother doesn’t know, if she knew she would’ve fainted.
She was shocked when she heard that you came out well.
Plus the news right now is very… Ha, didn’t you say that you wouldn’t worry Mom anymore?”5
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN BUT!”
“No, but I really gained a strong skill?”
“SHUT UP! IF YOU’RE NOT AS STRONG AS THIS GUY, JUST COME HOME!”
Shin Jihye, who yelled out of anger, saw Shin Jiho’s darkening face and quickly closed her mouth.
From what Jihye remembered, Yiwon and Jiho were always stuck together like a set.
Like other kids of their age, even though they fought a lot, they would reconcile quickly and then fight again, playing around like that multiple times a day.
When they got into middle school, as they started fighting over grades, sparks flew between the two.
Jiho, who kept losing to Yiwon in grades, even began avoiding him during the period of time where he was highly sensitive.
Still, after a year or so passed, the two stuck back together and started fighting7 again.
In the past, because the fights were just fights between children and the two had good results from those fights, Jihye just watched with pride but…
Now that Jiho had been put in a pitiful situation, she had to speak carefully.
Joo Yiwon, “this guy,” who had been watching them talk from the side, finally stopped Shin Jihye.
“Hunter Shin Jihye, calm down first…”
“I’m here right now as Jiho’s sister, not Chungram’s vice-guildmaster, Joo Yiwon.”
“…Jihye noona, I will try talking to Jiho.
You know that the guild is busy right now, right?”8
Joo Yiwon wasn’t intimidated and stepped forward.
Although his tone was respectful, the gaze he sent her was one that was sending a command.
Shin Jihye glared at her guildmaster for a bit before rubbing her face roughly.
When he was young, even though Joo Yiwon teased a lot, he was still a warm kid.
There were even times where she felt distressed because even though he acted close to the family, he distanced himself from them when it mattered because he felt like he was living off of them.
But he completely changed after he became a hunter.
Joo Yiwon looks down on people other than himself.
It doesn’t feel like he’s bullying other people because he’s drunk on his power.
Rather, when he talks to other leaders, there is a sense of confidence that comes from someone who has spent a long time at the top.
But there’s no way the 24-year-old Joo Yiwon would have become like that suddenly.
Shin Jihye believed that it was because of the great pressure that came from being an SS-rank hunter.
Anyways, Yiwon was right.
There was no time for her to be here like this.
The dungeon that appeared in the middle of the city’s downtown area was the biggest disaster at the present.
A dungeon that appears once doesn’t disappear immediately, and the gate remains in the same spot.
Although there’s no problem if it’s raided frequently, no one likes to live next to a ticking bomb just because they say it’s safe for now.
As a small guild, it was hard for No Name, which was closely involved with this situation, to take care of this by themselves.
Although Jihye didn’t usually step into guild matters because her younger brother didn’t want her to, this time, Jiho reached out for help first.
Of course, Shin Jihye had been planning to help anyway.
“Ha, alright… I should go.
I am busy, after all.”
In the end, Shin Jihye surrendered.
With troubled eyes, she reduced her violent aura and approached Jiho, who was blinking at his older sister because he didn’t know what she was doing.
Jihye hugged her brother lightly.
“Anyways… you did well with your first dungeon raid.”
“Ah, yeah… thanks.”
“Rest well for now, think hard, and then retire as a hunter and come back home.”
“For now, I’ll focus on resting.”
Threatening to the end, Shin Jihye shook her head as she left the hospital room.
Soon, hurried steps could be heard getting further away.
Only the two were left.
Yiwon sat down on the bed Jiho was lying on.
When Jiho scooted away, Yiwon stuck even closer to him.
He pulled Jiho into his arms tightly so that Jiho wouldn’t be able to escape.
“Wh-What are you doing?”
“You hugged Noona.
Hug me too.”
“Are you and Noona the same? Move….”
Repulsed, Jiho, who was going to tell Yiwon to move and push him away with his hands, paused.
Yiwon’s body, which had looked normal, was shaking.
Weakly, like a person who had been suddenly thrown into the middle of winter.
Not even his sister, who was his family, had trembled like this after checking that Jiho was alive…
Jiho’s hand hung awkwardly in the air, unable to properly push Yiwon off.
Yiwon caught the hand and moved it to wrap around his own waist.
He himself then pulled Jiho into a hug again.
Jiho unexpectedly ended up holding Yiwon’s waist with one hand.
He put a little bit of strength into it and pulled him close.
As Jiho did so, Yiwon put more strength into his own arms.
‘This guy is too strong…’
If someone else had seen them, they would have thought a dead lover had come back to life or something.
Even though Jiho thought this was an overreaction, when he heard Yiwon’s roughly beating heart, he obediently leaned his body on Yiwon.
Even if they’re not lovers, they are like brothers, after all.
Although they had never hugged this tightly before, they had at least put their arms around each other’s shoulders.
Considering how Jiho had almost died, Jiho could endure this much contact.
The two people hugged for a long time.
5 minutes, no 10 minutes…
Jiho hit Yiwon.
His patience had run out and he was also tired because of how hard Yiwon was hugging him.
“Hey, that’s enough…”
“I can’t breathe.”
Yiwon let out a sigh on Jiho’s neck before slowly letting go.
The place where Yiwon’s breath had landed had goosebumps.
While Jiho rubbed his neck, Yiwon, who usually had proper posture, sat on the edge of the bed in an awkward position.
The hot gaze on Jiho was unfamiliar.
Jiho laughed awkwardly.
“Hey, it’s not like I died…”
“You almost died.”
“It’s fine as long as I’m not dead… Don’t overreact and get off the bed now.”
Jiho answered shortly.
As if to make him feel better, Yiwon whispered warmly to Jiho.
“You said you gained a skill.”
“What kind of skill did you gain? Seon Tae Woong said your skill made him many times stronger.”
“…It’s exactly as he said.”
“If you explain it like that, how do I know what kind of skill it is?”
His voice was low but his eyes were sharp.
Only his voice was warm.
The interrogative atmosphere made Jiho frown.
How much should he tell him?
He wasn’t thinking of revealing everything about his skill to Yiwon.
It was usually better for hunters to hide a few things rather than to reveal everything.
Of course, Yiwon wasn’t someone that Jiho had to act defensively about.
He wasn’t the kind of person to open his mouth easily either.
But Jiho didn’t want to tell him everything.
After thinking a little, Jiho decided to reveal just a bit.
“I gained the skill to strengthen others, not myself.”
“Did you escape the dungeon with your skill?”
“Well, yeah… I think this is pretty useful.”
Actually, Jiho didn’t gain just one skill.
Jiho pretended to move his gaze away, and he looked to the side before bringing up the system.
A rectangular window that no one else could see appeared in mid-air.
Jiho called up the window with his skills.
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