I Alone Level-Up Chapter 57
"Man, did you hear the way he talks? He's really… Eh."
Yoo Soohyun approached Yoo Jinho and tapped him on his shoulder. She mockingly imitated Yoo Jinsung's frown,
"Look at my pathetic little brother. Blah blah blah."
Yoo Jinho could not help it and burst into laughter.
"Pft, stop. I'm not in a mood to joke around."
"So pathetic, tsk tsk."
"Hahaha, stop it!"
Because of their close age, the two cousins had grown up as friends. Yoo Soohyun walked around the young man and stood before him.
"Why do you let him kick you around like that?"
"What else could I do?"
"You just underwent an Awakening. Don't tell me you can't win against an ordinary human like him."
"So what? You want me to throw a punch at my older brother or something?"
Yoo Soohyun coyly closed her lips. She imagined the punishment Yoo Jinho would receive from his father if he ever struck his older brother… It was a terrifying thought. Of course, she understood Yoo Jinho's feelings; how he could not do anything but take the abuse from Yoo Jinsung. She glared in the direction Yoo Jinsung had walked off to.
"Good to know he's still an asshole."
In the Yoo clan, she was the one other person who disliked Yoo Jinsung as much as Yoo Jinho did. She knew the real face the heir hid beneath his face filled with intelligence. Meanwhile, Yoo Jinho did not join her in insulting his brother. It's not because of any brotherly love or respect. It was because he wanted to beat his older brother fair and square and not just whisper behind his back. Noting his silence, Yoo Soohyun carefully asked,
"That plan… Are you still sticking to it?"
"Your plan to become Guildmaster over that man."
Yoo Jinho replied with a smile. Who would believe it? It would be grateful if all they did was laugh. To think that he would think about competing against his brother. Still, he had earned a trump card in his "hyungnim"; his goal became much more possible thanks to Jinwoo.
'If I can just obtain the Guildmaster license…'
It might put them on even grounds. No, perhaps he could really win. Looking at Yoo Jinho's eyes become filled with determination, Yoo Soohyun put her hands to her hips and firmly spoke,
"Even if I die, I'll never go work for that man. But I really don't want to fight with your father, so you have to succeed."
This was her way of cheering him on in his goal. Yoo Soohyun was a famous child actor back in the day, and now, she worked as an equally famous model. But there was something very unique about her in the Yoo clan. It was something she had in common with Yoo Jinho, but at the same time, completely different from the young man.
Yoo Soohyun was an A-rank Hunter.
Even putting aside the fact that she was a young lady of a chaebol, many Guilds wanted to recruit her. But the young woman had refused every offer and simply continued her work as a model. Unfortunately, an offer came to her that she could not refuse.
She had been ask to become one of the founding members of the Yoojin's Guild. It was an offer, no, an order from Chairman Yoo Myunghan. She could not ignore the words of the Yoo clan's patriarch, but she detested the idea of working under Yoo Jinsung. So Yoo Soohyun was just as troubled as Yoo Jinho. He did not seem particularly dependable, but she would have to place her fate in his plans.
Yoo Soohyun heard his phone vibrating and asked,
"Are you gonna pick that up?"
He was lost in his thoughts and had not realized someone was calling him. He recognized the number immediately.
Yoo Jinho's face immediately lit up, putting behind the somber mood that he had maintained throughout this family gathering.
He answered with a wide smile.
"Yes! Yes, hyungnim. No, no, I can make it. Yep, I'll be right there, hyungnim."
Yoo Jinho ended the call. Yoo Soohyun took interest at his attitude that made an 180-degree turn.
"Whaaaa? Who was that?"
However, Yoo Jinho did not have the time to explain. His hyungnim had called him for a favor! He wanted to quickly leave, to save even just one second.
"I'll tell you later!"
Yoo Soohyun stared at the young man trotting away with a tilted head.
"Why did he become so happy?"
Yoo Jinho had always spent the time with sunken shoulders during these family gatherings, but something about him changed just now.
She definitely planned to grill him for the truth later.
Meanwhile, Yoo Jinho looked around for his father. It would be dinner time soon. A rare occasion where the entire clan would gather for a meal, no one would dare to leave without his father's permission. Looking left and right, Yoo Jinho discovered his father in conversation with some people in the distance.
A face as fierce as a tiger. A strict personality that rarely ever smiled. To Yoo Jinho, it was always difficulty to approach his father.
'Man, I didn't even talk to him yet.'
He was already nervous, but the young man gathered his courage.
'I promised hyungnim.'
He calmed his breathing, then slowly approached his father. Even in the short distance, he wanted to turn around many times but maintained his course. Yoo Jinho arrived before Yoo Myunghan.
He stopped at a distance too far for a father-son talk. Yoo Myunghan moved his gaze over to his son.
"What is it."
Reading the mood, the people he was talking to all walked away as one.
"Father, may I please be excused for a moment?"
There was barely any strength in Yoo Jinho's voice.
"I'll, I'll be back by dinner."
Yoo Myunghan looked like he was about to berate the young man but instead sighed and gave permission.
Yoo Jinho's face brightened into a smile. He bowed to his father.
"Thank you, father."
Then, the young man quickly disappeared from the room. Yoo Myunghan stared at his son with a hardened expression. His wife approached him,
"Dear, we've got word from Vienna."
It was a news he was waiting for. Yoo Myunghan turned to her with interest,
"And the results of the competition?"
"She won. Whose daughter do you think she is?"
A faint smile appeared for the briefest of moments in Yoo Myunghan's face but quickly disappeared.
"Mm. When is she coming back to Korea?"
"She says she's too busy with school and will make time during break."
Yoo Myunghan furrowed his brows.
"No matter how busy she is, I told her not to forget the memorial service."
"Oh dear, kids these days don't really care for these kinds of things."
Yoo Myunghan clicked his tongue. His wife fixed his tie and continued lovingly,
"You know dear, you should give Jinho more attention."
"Not this again… A tiger should raise a tiger, not a kitten."
"Tiger or cat, he's a child that I gave birth to. Your child, you know."
"Did you know? Since he graduated junior high, today was the first time our boy smiled in front of you?"
Was she right? Yoo Myunghan turned his gaze towards the direction Yoo Jinho had left in. The interest in his eyes quickly disappeared. The man was not one to be focused on trifling matters.
"He probably got a girlfriend. Others are waiting, let us go."
Hunter Association Headquarters.
An employee was performing a routine check on all the machines. He was currently looking at a handheld magic power measuring device.
"What's wrong with this?"
The counter that should've been fixed at zero was fluctuating up and down nonstop. It seemed like the device was broken. However, the employee was not worried. Even magic powered devices broke down from time to time, just like any other devices.
His subordinate quickly came to him.
"How many Gates did we measure with this?"
"What's the serial number?"
The subordinate performed a quick search,
"It went through seven places in the past few days."
"In the past few days? Let me see."
It was true. It had measured exactly 7 Gates in the past few days. 4 of those Gates were already closed by Hunters.
"Were there any problems with the Gates?"
"No, nothing unusual was reported."
The senior employee scratched his chin. The protocol when a magic power measuring device was found to be faulty was to cancel the raiding rights of every Gate it had measured. The reason was obvious. If a group of Hunters entered what they believed to be a C-rank Gate, only to be met with a B-rank or even an A-rank difficulty one, they would be slaughtered. This was the terror of high-level Dungeons. Just as the difference between low-ranking Hunters and a high-ranker was like night and day, the Dungeon's difficulty also increased exponentially as the rank went up. There was reason why high-level Gates were mostly reserved by the large Guilds.
'Should we sent out a notice?'
It was easy to notify the proper groups and cancel the Raids, but that would invite a problem or two. The Hunters whose Raids were cancelled would complain, and if the Dungeon underwent a Dungeon Break while they were remeasuring it, it would be a great disaster. Worst case scenario, he could be fired.
'Do you know how hard it was to get a job at the Association?'
The Hunter Association was a revered organization. Obtaining employment here was an arduous task. The prospect of losing such employment clouded the employee's judgment.
'No, no, no.'
He shook his head. His subordinate roughly gathered what his senior was thinking.
"So… What should we do?"
It's been 2 days already. If there was a problem, it probably would've shown itself already.
"...Let's leave it be."
"A-are you sure?"
"It's already been two days, what could happen?"
The subordinate nodded,
"Put in a report that N-1744B was working just fine until today."
Baekho's Second Management Division Chief was making dinner at home. Ahn Sangmin was cutting green onions then stopped to stretch his back.
Tonight's menu was soybean stew. Having achieved independence 8 years ago, the bachelor had become quite skilled in cooking. The man had started teaching himself 5 years ago. It was during a period where he filled his belly with instant food. Realizing that his health was declining, he decided to learn how to cook for his health. Now, he was skilled enough to cook something he had only seen in passing on TV. However, as his skills increased, the things he cooked became more and more simple. Just like today's soybean stew.
"Oh man, this is good."
He tasted the soup and praised himself. To think that only one person would be able to taste this, the man was truly disappointed.
'Should I invite someone over for dinner?'
The face of his right hand man flashed across his mind, but he quickly dismissed the thought. He was already sick of being called a bachelor; he did not want to invite weird rumors by inviting a fellow male employee over for dinner.
'Wonder if he's doing what I told him to do.'
Although Hyun Gicheol was an obedient subordinate with a good head, there were certain areas the man was lacking in.
'Eh, shouldn't think about work at home.'
Time to eat. Ahn Sangmin prepared his table in the living room while humming. Soon, the man was ready to eat his dinner alone while watching TV. He turned on the TV; the news was on.
[This is an update on today's breaking news.]
One of the benefits of living alone was that he never had to fight anyone for what channel to watch. Whenever he turned on the TV, it would be at the same channel he was always watching. Ahn Sangmin watched the news while moving his utensils in the corner of his eye.
[-An unknown explosion at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Hunters (FBH)  in the capitol has thrown the country into chaos. We've received unconfirmed reports that it was the result of friction between S-rank Hunters-]
"Tsk tsk… That's not right."
Ahn Sangmin clicked his tongue with a worried expression and continued eating. Looking over the meal in front of him, he realized there was something missing.
[-This is a footage from a security cam outside of the building. Here you can see cracks appearing on the wall, and then-]
The man got up and grabbed some kimchi from the refrigerator. He was about to take his first bite when the phone rang.
'Goddammit! Who is it now?!'
He took out his phone in annoyance, but his attitude changed in an instant when he realized who was calling.
"Yes, this is Ahn Sangmin."
It was Jinwoo. Ahn Sangmin took the call with a bright expression.
However… Listening to what Jinwoo had to ask, his expression turned to one of confusion.
"Sir? You want to tag along in our new recruit training?"
: "U.S. Federal Bureau of Hunters" (미국 헌터관리국): "U.S." 미국 + "Hunter" in english + "Bureau" 관리국. Just styled it after FBI, but FBH.