“Oh, you’re already here.”
While we were looking around the office, the door opened, and a man presumed to be Park Sangho walked in.
“It’s nice to meet you.”
Park Sangho held out his hand with a warm smile. He gave off a good first impression, like an older brother next door, a completely different character than his real self.
I shook his hand.
“And I’m sure I don’t need to introduce myself to Yeonha-ssi.”
Yoo Yeonha smiled at Park Sangho’s joking words. He hung his jacket on the back of his chair, then tapped on the documents stacked on his desk.
“I know this is the Guild ‘Experience’ Program, but most of our work is done indoors. That’s why most team leader-grade Heroes who use the A-rank offices have 4 or 5 office workers.”
Park Sangho continued in a soft voice.
“Dungeon conquests and subjugation for monsters high-intermediate rank and above require thorough analysis in this office first. In other words, our work begins here, and only when everything is perfect do we set out. But, mm… let’s get out of here for now. To be honest, it does get a bit boring being in here all the time.”
Park Sangho led us outside. Yoo Yeonha followed after him immediately, but my eyes stopped at the safe installed in his drawer. Inside should be all the condemning evidence Park Sangho gathered about Yoo Yeonha’s family.
With Park Sangho calling me, I scurried out of the room.
“Oh right, there are also periodic deployment orders. You know how the North Hamgyong Province belongs to monsters now.”
Park Sangho continued to speak as we walked.
“About 3000 Heroes take turns every month for four days to reduce the number of monsters there. That way, there won’t be a monster outbreak from overpopulation. Once you become a Hero, you’ll go there about twice a year.”
Park Sangho stopped near the end of the third-floor hall. We were standing in front of a door that said ‘Analysis Room’.
“This is the place I wanted to show you first since I heard Hajin-ssi was first place in theory.”
Park Sangho opened the door.
The analysis room looked surprisingly ordinary. In a spacious room, tables, chairs, and fancy computers were lined up.
“There’s a separate conference room on the other side. Huge, isn’t it?”
Park Sangho added proudly.
The analysis room had many Heroes in it. They all seemed to be hard at work.
“Oh, Sangho-ssi, the kids are here?”
At that moment, a woman who was glancing at documents looked up and noticed us.
“Yeah. Hajin-ssi, Yeonha-ssi, this is Yi Jin-Ah. She’s a high-intermediate rank Hero.”
“Hi. You said two of the three were girls… so you must be Kim Hajin.”
“The world sure has changed. Who would have thought rank 934 could come to our guild as part of the Guild Experience Program? I wonder who was behind it.”
Yi Jin-Ah expressed her displeasure in a roundabout way. However, the target of her displeasure wasn’t me, but Yoo Yeonha. Of course, Yoo Yeonha wasn’t looking at her with pleased eyes either.
In reality, Yi Jin-Ah belonged in a different faction within the Essence of the Strait guild. The leader of this faction was Jung Hosuk, the guild’s vice-leader. But since she would eventually switch to Yoo Yeonha’s faction and become the guild’s vice-leader, she could be said to be an important character to note.
“But Hajin-ssi is rank 1 in theory.”
Park Sangho defended me.
“Haha, rank 1 in theory? That’s amazing, so was I! But cadets don’t really learn much, so don’t be too overconfident.”
Yi Jin-Ah took off her glasses as she snickered. Then, she tapped on the document she was just reading.
“Now then, rank 1 theory Kim Hajin-ssi, would you like to take a look at this?”
“Hey, you can’t show the guild’s internal data so easily.”
“It’s not that important.”
Yi Jin-Ah got up. Just like in my setting, she was fairly tall, making me take a step back subconsciously. She seemed to be slightly taller than me.
“Here. It’s a copy, so you can do whatever you want with it. Don’t feel pressured.”
Yi Jin-Ah handed the document she was reading. I took it for now and glanced at it. Although it was written in Korean, it was mostly filled with equations and mathematical expressions.
“Take a look. Though, I doubt a kid can even recognize it.”
I got a bit ticked off at being called a kid. Although I knew she didn’t mean it in a physical sense, I wanted to argue that my height was average.
I sat down on an empty chair nearby. As I took out a pen from my cross bag, I also took out my laptop and placed it on the desk in front of me in a smooth motion.
My Gift, Observation and Reading, activated.
The problem on the document seemed to be estimating variables that could happen while conquering a Dungeon. But weren’t ordinary office workers used for something like this?
In any case, the calculation procedures and results appeared in front of my eyes. All I had to do was copy it down.
I asked Yi Jin-Ah.
“Do you have a piece of paper?”
“…Pft, what do you need it for?”
Yi Jin-Ah sneered without giving me any paper.
“It’ll be difficult. Hajin-ssi. That’s not on the level of an exam problem.”
Park Sangho gave me a paper instead.
Because of Yi Jin-Ah’s bitchy attitude, I was even more driven to prove her wrong.
I clenched my teeth lightly as I began to write down the calculation procedures and results. While I was in the middle of it, Yoo Yeonha suddenly spoke.
“Um, the other cadet just arrived on the first floor.”
“Oh, really? Let’s go together.”
Yoo Yeonha left the analysis room with Park Sangho, but I stayed and continued to write everything down. In academia, it was standard procedure to write down every step of the calculation.
However, when I was mostly done and only had the final step left to finish, someone snatched the paper I was writing on and flipped it over. Obviously, it was Yi Jin-Ah.
“Listen, kid, stop wasting your time and screw off. Can’t you see? The other two already left.”
She gave off an uninviting impression to begin with, but now that she frowned, she even looked a bit scary. Knowing I was powerless here, I got up.
“I’ll leave my solution here, so feel free to look over it when you have time.”
“Don’t even try to waste my time, tsk.”
Yi Jin-Ah shooed me away.
Just like that, I was practically kicked out of the analysis room.
“…What a crazy bitch.”
I didn’t finish the last step. She better not ask about it later!
I went back to the elevator and came down to the first floor.
There, I saw the third cadet who supposedly just arrived. The cadet was someone I was too familiar with. Right, it was Chae Nayun once again.
When she saw me, she shouted with a look of surprise.
“W-What!? Hey, why is he here?”
Yoo Yeonha smiled playfully. I also had something to say to her.
“You said Chae Nayun wasn’t coming.”
At that moment, Yoo Yeonha’s smartwatch buzzed. Her expression stiffened, making me wonder who it was.
“You two can go ahead. I need to use the restroom.”
Then, she furtively escaped.
‘Private Broker Yoo Jinhyuk’
Under a worn-down neon sign, Yoo Jinhyuk was staring at a document in a daze. This thin document contained a summary of an incident that happened 16 years ago.
Suddenly, he chuckled.
He explored the past for close to a month. However, he couldn’t find out much about Kim Hajin’s past. There were many complicated reasons for it, but the biggest reason was that there were way too many people tangled up in his past.
But as the difficulty of the matter increased, so did his interest. As a result, he buried himself in this job for a month without complaining, and he finally discovered a crucial hint.
[Special note – the death of a woman in her last month of pregnancy.]
‘Kwang-Oh Evacuation Shelter Massacre’.
When monsters flooded the Kwang-Oh Fortress region, 87 ordinary civilians and 9 Heroes who were defending an evacuation shelter were all killed.
Although the government and the Association concluded Djinns to be the perpetrator, Yoo Jinhyuk knew the hidden truth. The reason he was kicked out of the Yoo clan in the first place was because he tried to uncover the truth.
Simply put, this 16-year-old tragedy wasn’t the doing of Djinns.
Yoo Jinhyuk knew the people behind this incident.
They were all powerful figures who most people wouldn’t dare to name.
First was Kim Sukho, then President of South Korea.
The second was Chae Joochul, the President of Daehyun conglomerate.
The third was Yoo Taeho, Yoo Yeonha’s grandfather and Yoo Jinhyuk's own father.
Of course, from their perspective, they had only killed a few harmful bugs. To prevent anyone from ever finding out, they had employed an organization that only operated in the darkness. The three of them probably didn’t even remember this incident.
But if there was a survivor of this incident… if Kim Hajin’s parents were victims of this massacre, and if his mother was the pregnant woman written on the report….
Of course, it was still only an unverifiable theory.
But Yoo Jinhyuk wondered, why did his niece want to dig up this man’s past?
Breathing out a deep sigh, Yoo Jinhyuk called Yoo Yeonha.
She picked up almost instantly.
“…You sound prettier now, kid.”
—Nevermind that, what happened to what I requested?
Yoo Jinhyuk casually glossed over it.
“Oh that, I haven’t been working on it. I’ve been too busy.”
—W-What? You’re joking, right, Uncle?
Yoo Yeonha’s angry voice stung Yoo Jinhyuk’s ears.
Yoo Jinhyuk tried his best to maintain the lighthearted uncle character as he asked indirectly.
“Hahaha, I mean, why are you trying to find his parents anyway?”
—…That’s none of your business.
“What about him? Does he want to find his parents?”
This was an extremely important question. If he didn’t want to find out, if he wanted to just live his life as it was, everything would be fine.
—Yes, most likely.
“…And how do you know that?”
—Hm, what’s up with all these questions?
“You know how it is, information is gold! If I know how he became an orphan, I could finish faster.”
His excuse seemed to be persuasive enough as Yoo Yeonha became momentarily silent. Soon, Yoo Yeonha whispered in a much quieter voice than before.
—You see, I think his parents got wrapped up in a crime. He has the list of wanted criminals memorized.
Hearing this, Yoo Jinhyuk couldn’t help but breath in a gasp of air.
“He memorized the entire list?”
—Yes. I think he reached a certain point in his own investigation.
“…Right, you said he was smart.”
—He’s rank 1 in theory. From what I hear, he didn’t get a single problem wrong in the midterm and final exams.
If he was that smart, it wasn’t impossible for him to have investigated the Kwang-Oh incident.
But thankfully, he seemed to have taken a wrong turn.
The perpetrator of that tragedy wasn’t some wanted criminal.
They were ‘true nobles’, who still had great influence over the entire country.
Yoo Jinhyuk sighed once again.
He had to end this matter here.
If he dug in too deep and was noticed by that old codger, he wouldn’t be able to guarantee his own safety.
The unpleasant old codger who seemingly harbored countless snakes in his body; one of the strongest men in Korea both in name and reality who unfortunately fell short of the league of Nine Stars 50 years ago; the second-generation successor and the real owner of Daehyun – Chae Joochul the Immortal.
This old man was not someone Yoo Jinhyuk could handle.
“…Ah, I just got a call. Let’s talk later!”
The Yoo clan has grown, but from its founding, it was the hunting dog of the Chae clan.
Chae Joochul was someone who would abandon his hunting dog without hesitation, so he wouldn’t mind letting a few of that hunting dog’s children die.
—Wait, Uncle, when will you be done with…
Yoo Jinhyuk hung up before Yoo Yeonha could finish.
“Why were you late, Nayun-ssi?”
Waiting for Yoo Yeonha to come back from the restroom, Park Sangho asked Chae Nayun.
“Ah, well, I visited Grandfather.”
“Nayun’s grandfather? So that must be… his honor Chae Joochul.”
“Yes, I haven’t seen him in a while, so it took some time. Sorry.”
“No, no, it’s only natural. So, I presume he’s doing fine?”
Park Sangho made a fuss, which was understandable since Chae Nayun’s grandfather, Chae Joochul, was one of the strongest people in the entire world.
There was no Hero who didn’t look up to him.
“Ah, sorry, I’m done now.”
At that moment, Yoo Yeonha came back from the restroom. Chae Nayun blurted out jokingly.
“How does it take you so long to take a dump?”
“I didn’t. Anyways, Sangho-ssi, what’s our next schedule?”
Yoo Yeonha’s voice seemed somewhat sharp.Previous Chapter Next Chapter