Chapter 2: The First B-Rank (2)
Objectively, it’s a pretty high level.
The problem was that people had extremely high expectations for Shin Jiho.
Because of the title of “The First Awakened One”, the entire world had once paid attention to him.
But it turned out that he was only an average B-rank.
Everyone was disappointed.
As high as their expectations were, so was their disappointment.
Of course, if it was only his low rank, Shin Jiho wouldn’t have become the target of mockery that he is now.
The problem was that Shin Jiho often vomited blood or fainted on the scene.
An awakened one’s body was incomparably stronger than a normal human’s body.
The higher the rank of the awakened one, the stronger the body becomes.
Of course, there are times where healers or hunters with specialized skills who were weak in combat are assessed with high ranks.
But Shin Jiho was a normal combat hunter with the [Fortify] skill.
A combat hunter who makes a living off of a tough body.
A B-rank combat hunter suffers from anemia and faints all the time?
It was unheard of.
Because of that, one month after the assessment, Shin Jiho was dragged into all sorts of scandals.
The accusation that something had intervened in Shin Jiho’s assessment quickly swept over Korea and the world.
Unfortunately, Shin Jiho was not the only one to get dragged into the scandal.
Chungram Group, which has Shin Jiho’s father, Shin Joong Ho, as the president; Chungram Guild, which is affiliated with Chungram Group; and even the Korean branch of the Hunter Association that is in charge of the assessments were under suspicion.
The rumor that Chungram had given money to the association to rig the assessment spread like wildfire.
Large conglomerate, association, and corruption.
These three subjects fanned the flames surrounding Shin Jiho.
The flames finally weakened after multiple re-assessments from both inside and outside of the country.
However, the eyes of doubt cast on Shin Jiho never fully disappeared.
Even though Shin Jiho was the first awakened one, he was a hunter that smelled of corruption.
Hunters in particular truly believed that Shin Jiho had rigged his ranking and hated him.
Whenever the name Shin Jiho appeared, they would immediately start to insult him.
Despite the curses, Shin Jiho didn’t step down; rather, his activity increased.
Although his family kept trying to stop Jiho, Jiho never thought about stepping down this way.
If Shin Jiho stepped down like this, would people think, “Oh he’s stopping because he wants to stop”? No, they would probably think, “He tried to make it with money, but because he’s incompetent, he’s trying to slide out quietly”.
He didn’t want to stop here and be remembered as an incompetent, corrupt hunter by the world.
Shin Jiho wanted to prove his abilities and receive recognition for them.
‘Though it might be better to just stop here.’
Shin Jiho was the guildmaster of the guild that he created: No Name.
He didn’t start the guild because of some great aspiration.
He started it because he had stubbornly refused Joo Yiwon’s offer to join Chungram.
Even the name was a half-hearted effort.
But after he made up his mind, he worked really hard.
Of course, he didn’t put in just work, but money as well.
As a result, Shin Jiho’s guild, No Name, was able to establish itself as a stable mid-tier guild in a year.
But that was the limit to No Name.
No Name was still unable to break free from the image of a guild being operated by someone born with a golden spoon in their mouth1 as a hobby.
It wasn’t completely wrong either.
If Shin Jiho hadn’t poured in his own money, the guild would’ve fallen earlier.
Nothing changed with just a guild.
For the normal people who have no interest in hunters, Shin Jiho was already yesterday’s news.
Even for the people with some interest, he was a has-been; someone who made them think, “Ah, there was someone like that.” As for hunters, well, they curse him as though their lives depend on it.
In order to turn the public opinion, he would have to clear a S-rank dungeon.
But that wasn’t something that could be done with Jiho’s enthusiasm alone.
If it continues this way, No Name would remain as a mid-tier guild forever.
A decided fate.
There’s no way to break through.
There is the method of recruiting people from outside of the guild to raid a dungeon.
He even knows a hunter who would help even without being paid if Jiho asked.
But he didn’t want to do it that way.
Messy thoughts rose up one after another.
“Since I’m just lying down, I’m thinking of all sorts of things.…”
Shin Jiho shook his head as though he was trying to shake off all of the thoughts and sat up.
It’s only been one year.
It’s too early to consider giving up.
Instead of thinking of useless stuff, he should just go home.
As he was about to change out of his hospital gown to be discharged, someone knocked on the door.
“Who is it?”
Instead of answering, the person opened the door.
There was only one person who would rudely walk in however he wanted like that.
The impertinent man approached Jiho with large steps.
The man’s name is Joo Yiwon.
There’s a lot of words associated with Joo Yiwon.
The world’s only SS-rank hunter.
The strongest hunter with a large difference in strength between him and the hunter in second place.
The first hunter in the world to raid dungeons and discover the principles behind gates.
The man who could’ve made a guild himself but chose, instead, to join Chungram’s Chungram Guild as the guildmaster and develop Chungram as the world’s strongest guild.
And he was also both Shin Jiho’s childhood friend who was like a brother, and at one point, a rival.
That’s right, it was once like that.
As the two lived in the same house, they attended school together since preschool and all the way to college.
Because of that, both always competed against the other.
The result of that was always Joo Yiwon first, Shin Jiho second.
Now… Joo Yiwon is first while Shin Jiho had fallen so far behind that he started missing the past when they were only one place away from each other.
Jiho shivered at Yiwon’s sweet tone.
That was a nickname he could never get used to no matter how many times he heard it.
Jiho scratched his arm and responded bluntly.
“Why did you come?”
“I came to see you, Honey.
I ran here as soon as I finished work, are you not going to welcome me?”
“Go wash up and sleep.”
Jiho clicked his tongue as he looked at the other up and down.
Although he wasn’t completely sure, Joo Yiwon was supposed to attend an event related to awakened ones today.
Joo Yiwon had his hair styled up to show his forehead and was dressed in a formal suit.
At least his outer shell looks quite upright.
That wasn’t much different from usual, but a huge bouquet of roses in one of Yiwon’s hands caught his eye.
Because it was a formal event, there shouldn’t have been a reason for a bouquet like that.
Where did he get it from?
Just from a glance, it looked like there were tens of flowers in there.
Did he really walk through the hospital with that? He definitely doesn’t realize that he’s a celebrity.
Jiho was going to ignore him and change, but stopped as he felt a strange, persistent gaze.
Joo Yiwon’s eyes were aimed near Shin Jiho’s hands that were undoing two buttons.
Joo Yiwon’s eyes, which others called clear and pure, had an ambiguous glint in them.
Because of the strange feeling, Jiho quickly abandoned his plans to discharge and redid his buttons.
As he did so, the strange glint faded.
Jiho felt relieved after the awkward feeling disappeared.
He gestured towards the bouquet with his chin.
“What’s that? Did someone give it to you?
“No, just thinking that if you were going to come here, you should’ve put it down somewhere.”
“Why would I receive roses from someone else? I bought this to give to my Jiho2.”
“What do you mean why….
You receive them all the time.”
The number of welcome bouquets that he received from different countries must be several thousand.
Yiwon shook his head at Jiho’s words.
“I have never received them with my own hands.
I passed them on to my secretary.
I made this one with my own hands for you.”
“You made this?”
“Yeah, I trimmed each flower and made the bouquet.”
Jiho looked at the rose bouquet suspiciously.
Other than the nonsense of him liking Shin Jiho, Joo Yiwon was not the kind of person to lie.
Yiwon shook the bouquet with a smile.
Whenever the bouquet shook, a strong scent of roses wafted up and tickled the nose.
“Just accept it.
It’s just flowers.”
Joo Yiwon liked to give presents.
He usually gave items gathered from dungeons, but because they were such good items, it was a bit uncomfortable to accept.
The only item that Jiho had accepted was a glove3.
He had only accepted it because Yiwon had employed the help of his parents and whined about how it was only a glove.
Since Jiho didn’t accept gifts easily afterwards, it seemed that Yiwon had changed the type of gifts.
As Jiho kept considering it with a suspicious look, Joo Yiwon pretended to sulk.
“You always refuse.”
“Why flowers between two men?”
“Don’t put a meaning to each flower, Jiho.
Can I not even buy you flowers? Between us?”
“What about us?”
“We’re like family.
Are you not going to accept them?”
Jiho frowned immediately.
Jiho couldn’t refuse if he came on like that.
Because Jiho’s parents took Yiwon in after he had lost his parents, they had lived together since they were young.
There were even people who had made fun of Joo Yiwon for that….
Even though those were all things that happened in the past, Jiho was still bothered by it.
After all, even though he was annoying, he was still like a brother to him.
“Okay, I’ll take them.…”
Jiho took the flowers helplessly.
As he did so, Yiwon grinned widely.
“Then are you going to marry me now?”
“You crazy f*cker, didn’t you tell me to not put a meaning to each flower?”
“Are you going to accept flowers from anyone? You’re very easy, Honey.”
“I accepted them because we’re family, family.”
“Husbands are also family.”
“If you’re going to say bullsh*t, take these back.”
“It’s not bullsh*t but the truth, you just don’t believe me.
Why don’t you believe me when I love my Jiho this much?”
As Shin Jiho was getting fed up, Joo Yiwon laughed.
(Click on the numbers to return)
1. You may have heard of a person born with a silver spoon in their mouth.
A person born with a golden spoon in their mouth is basically the same thing.
It refers to people born wealthy and of high standing.
2. Koreans use 우리 (“woo-ri”) to signify closeness.
Although its literal translation is “our”, when used in this particular way, it often means “my __.”
3. The glove that appears in Chapter 1^^
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