Author: rolypoly

▶ Episode 23. Scandal (2)

 

Mom nodded with a stiff face.

 

Dad sighed and asked with worried eyes.

 

“Heesun-ah, do you have any other aftereffects other than not growing tall?”

 

“No, I don’t. I’m fine. And now I’m an SSS∞ Class.  Wouldn’t I be a bit taller?  I heard that being a hunter makes your body better.” 

 

“That’s right. When you become a Hunter, your body changes to be able to show your power. After I became a hunter at 22, I grew up a bit until I was 25.” 

 

“Then, since I’ve become a Hunter, I’ll be even taller!”

 

I had hope.

 

However, Uncle Kim Changho looked at me and shook his head.

 

As Dad opened his eyes, Uncle Kim Changho hurriedly shouted. 

 

“Y, yes! You can grow up! You can definitely get taller with exercise! Heesun, you have a good posture for a high school senior, but you still stoop a bit. Let’s learn yoga or pilates. While doing it, I do gymnastics to build some muscle and increase my stamina. It’s a must to get into the dungeon. Right, Minister?” 

 

“That’s right. It’s required. If you don’t pass the minimum muscle mass standard, you can’t enter the dungeon.” 

 

Mom asked.

 

“The minimum standard for muscle mass? Is there anything like that?”

 

“Yeah. It’s not just about muscle mass. Look at body fat index, drinking status, criminal history, performance rate of dungeons so far, psychological test results, evaluation of team members who attacked dungeons together, information tests on monsters living in dungeons to target, and VR game simulation results. It’s called Test of Hunting to Monster in Korea, also known as ‘COIK’. With the exception of the Hunter who has just received the ability test, all Hunters cannot enter the dungeon unless they exceed the COIK score set for each dungeon.” 

 

“The standards are very strict.”

 

“Right. That’s why there are some Hunters who are dissatisfied. But thanks to those standards, Korea became the safest country in the world to attack dungeons.” 

 

“The Minister is right. Even in high-level dungeons, you can say that there are no deaths. There are occasional serious injuries, but thanks to the treatment insurance made by the minister, they can get treatment from high-rank healers at a low price and quickly, so there is no problem. Many other countries are also following our hunter system, and thanks to this, hunters all over the world love and respect our Minister.” 

 

“That’s amazing!”

 

I looked at Dad with sparkling eyes.

 

Dad was now looking at Uncle Kim Changho with satisfaction as if he had never looked at him with a will to live. 

 

Uncle Kim Changho dug into the gap and spoke diligently.

 

“Then Heesun-ah, are you learning yoga or pilates now? Do it for your health too. Only then can you enter Nonsan Dungeon. You can pick big strawberries and earn money!” 

 

I didn’t know what to answer, so I looked at my Mom. 

 

“Heesun-ah, don’t look at Mom. I told you yesterday. You can do that if you want to work as a hunter. If you want to go to the dungeon, of course you can.”

 

After a bit of hesitation, I decided.

 

“…Then, I want to go to the Nonsan Dungeon. I want to see big strawberries.”

 

Looking back at yesterday’s press conference, it was wrong to live quietly.

 

I felt like I had to do a little bit of activity.

 

‘It would be okay to go to the dungeon once in a while.’

 

A low-level dungeon would be nothing for Mom to worry about. 

 

‘Let’s make money—!’

 

Since Mom has suffered a lot, I wanted to make her happy in the future.

 

I liked it because it felt like my body was getting lighter.

 

“Yes, do it. But you have to prepare thoroughly. Do you understand?”

 

“Yes, I will.” 

 

“Wow! Then, let’s start with the guild! That way you can get help.”

 

“Kim Changho is right. Let’s start with the guild. A guild is, so to speak, a management company.  You can leave everything to them including life, preparation for dungeon raids, and legal actions.”

 

Dad took a tablet PC out of his bag and handed it to me.

 

“Oh, you said you needed a new phone, didn’t you?”

 

“Yes.”

 

My phone has been dead since yesterday’s press conference.

 

I think it was because I got too many calls.

 

“Wait a minute.”

 

Dad brought a big box in front of me and opened the lid.

 

There were 30 cell phones in it.

 

“I didn’t know which one you would like, so I brought them all.”

 

“….” 

 

With Mom staring at Dad with a red face because of anger, I chose the original model I was using.

 

“I think it’s been a while since it came out, wouldn’t it be uncomfortable?”

 

“It’s okay. I’m bad with machines, so I can barely use it even if it has good functions.”

 

“Machines? I heard that you aren’t good at handling machines, is that a lot?”

 

“Not a lot… But really a lot…” 

 

I told them I had difficulty using the machine and that it broke down easily.

 

“That’s why you hardly ever use the Internet.”

 

“Yes. I’m actually tired of chatting with my friends. The phone’s a little better, but that’s not good either.” 

 

“Hmm, is it because it’s SSS∞ Class?” 

 

Uncle Kim Changho tilted his head and asked.

 

“Among other hunters, do they have a problem with machines like me?” 

 

“As far as I know, no. But for Hunters, the higher the grade, the more distinct their characteristics or personality. Heesun, you might not know but maybe you expressing it as mechanical.” 

 

“I don’t want to have this mechanical trait—it seems like there is nothing I can do about it.”

 

Dad said.

 

“Could it be that the reason why the hospital equipment was broken was not because of defensive power, but because of the display of mechanical traits? Hmm…Heesun-ah, do you break down machines made entirely of by-products in dungeons?”

 

“No. That kind of thing is very expensive. I never used it.”

 

“We’ll have to check it out.”

 

“Is it possible that our Heesunie’s weakness is that she’s not good at machines?”

 

It was a question from a mother who was always worried about her daughter. 

 

“We can’t even call it a weakness. No matter what material you use, the weapon won’t work against hunters. But it’s better not to tell other people that she’s bad at machines.” 

 

“I won’t talk.”

 

“Heesun, don’t you like using tablet PCs, too? Do you want me to print it out on paper?”

 

“It’s all right.”

 

While saying that, I pressed the button on the tablet PC, and suddenly the screen turned off.

 

“Why isn’t it working?”

 

I grabbed the tablet PC and shook it.

 

Uncle Kim Changho freaked out.

 

“You can’t shake it.”

 

“Yees.”

 

“Press the button there.”

 

“This one?”

 

“No, not that one, the one next to it.”

 

“Yes. Uhm, I pressed it, but it doesn’t turn on.”

 

I pressed the button hard again.

 

Mom quickly snatched the tablet PC from my hand as if to rescue it, then clicked her tongue.

 

“The button is completely pressed. It’s broken.”

 

“Huh.” 

 

“….” 

 

“Hunter Kim Changho, where is the printer?” 

 

“I think it’s probably the study.”

 

Dad shook his head.

 

“No, I installed it in the studio.”

 

Mom squinted and snapped.

 

“As expected, this is Lee Beomjin’s house.”

 

The pupils of Dad and Uncle Kim Changho shook at the same time.

 

“….” 

 

“Hunter Kim Changho, please go to the studio and explain the guild to Heesun while printing this out.”

 

“Yes, yes!”

 

“Lee Beomjin, you need to talk to me.”

 

“….” 

 

I looked back as I was kicked out with Uncle Kim Changho.

 

Mom was glaring at Dad with her arms crossed.

 

‘I’m a little worried….’

 

***

 

“Let’s talk over there.”

 

Throughout his 39-year life, Lee Beom-jin had little history of being scared.

 

Whether in a high-level dungeon or in front of a boss.

 

Even when he was active as a national archery player before becoming a hunter.

 

However, even though his life was not in danger right now, he was psychologically scared.

 

This woman was almost the only one who could do that for him. 

 

Lee Nahyun.

 

His first love and the mother of his daughter. 

 

“Because Heesu can hear it.”

 

Lee Nahyun took him to a small room farthest from her daughter and Kim Changho’s studio.

 

Lee Beomjin quietly closed the door and said.

 

“Because Heesun is a wizard, her other physical abilities didn’t increase other than her defense and resilience. Unless she eavesdrops with magic, she won’t hear our conversation.” 

 

“That’s a relief. Ah, I picked this up in the hospital room.”

 

Lee Nahyun took out what she had put in her pocket and handed it to Lee Beom-jin.

 

It was his black card.

 

“I gave it to Heesun, but I must have forgotten.”

 

“You gave it to Heesu?” How much did you give her?”

 

He didn’t think he should tell the truth.

 

Lee Beomjin swallowed dry saliva and decided to speak in moderation.

 

‘No, I can’t talk in moderation.’

 

It had to be reduced to a minimum.

 

“…10 million won.” 

 

Lee Nahyun’s eyes narrowed again.

 

“…100 million.”

 

She narrowed her eyes even more. 

 

“…Okay. I’ll tell you the truth. I gave it to her to use as much as she wants.”

 

“How much is this limit?”

 

“…There is no limit.”

 

 “You gave a 19-year-old a credit card with no limits to spend as much as you like?! To the kid who dropped it in the hospital room and forgot?!”

 

“….” 

 

“You even brought 30 phones earlier!”

 

“….” 

 

“I know that hunters, especially high-ranking hunters, are rich. Especially you. But Heesun used to spend up to 100 won on her pocket money account. So you shouldn’t pour money all of a sudden. Her sense of money is paralyzed.” 

 

“…Of course, her sense of money shouldn’t be paralyzed, but Hee-soon will make a lot of money in the future. Even if she doesn’t make money, she’ll inherit my property and she’ll be rich. She has to know how to spend money.”

 

“Yeah, I agree with you that she should know how to spend money. But you can’t pour money all of a sudden. If you do something wrong, the child might go down the wrong path!” 

 

“I didn’t pour money. She didn’t use my card at all and the cell phone is not much.”

 

Lee Beomjin quickly added before Lee Nahyun’s eyes burned with anger. 

 

“But, I will be careful. From now on, I will ask you before I buy her anything or give her money.”

 

“Did you promise?”

 

“Yeah. Then…Speaking of which, can I buy you a private helicopter?

 

“Helicopter? Are you talking about a helicopter? The one that flies?”

 

“That’s right.” 

 

Lee Nahyun looked as if her eyes were going to pop out.

 

That expression looked pretty, too.

 

Anyway, Lee Beomjin realized that he needed to explain things to her.

 

“Having a dedicated helicopter is very convenient when traveling across the country. We don’t know how long Heesun will be active as a Hunter.”

 

“….” 

 

“I can’t?” 

 

“…The standards are really different. Ordinary people and Hunters.”

 

Lee Nahyun sighed and continued. 

 

“I don’t know what to say. The gap is too wide.”

 

“Would you like to participate in a high-rank Hunter family program?”

 

“What is it? I’ve never heard of it.”

 

“When you become a hunter, especially when you become a high-ranking hunter, your life suddenly changes completely. The Hunters, along with their families. There have been many problems, so the Department of Ability is running a program for the families of high-rank hunters. Give them some information about Hunter’s world or something to watch out for. Please participate.”

 

“I’ll do that.”

 

Lee Beomjin wouldn’t have brought it up if he had known in advance who Lee Nahyun was reunited with on the program. 

 

Author's Thoughts

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