I Alone Level-Up
“Holy cow! Oppa, those reporters are still outside the building!”
Jin-Ah spoke while looking out of the window.
It was already late in the evening. Reporters who hadn’t given up yet were still gathered around in front of the apartment’s entrance like a storm cloud.
“Look!! Up there!”
After discovering the silhouette of a person by the window, they hurriedly operated their cameras, thinking that it was Jin-Woo.
Click, click, click!!
Seeing all those camera flashes suddenly exploding from here and there, Jin-Ah jumped up in fright and quickly shuttered the curtains. She turned around and sighed softly like a timid little animal.
Having returned from the Hunter Auction, Jin-Woo was thinking of taking a bit of a well-deserved rest, but he was carrying a rather stiff expression at the moment.
“Should I go downstairs and say something?”
It was fine for those folks to disrupt his rest. However, he was more worried about them disrupting his sister’s studies. Jin-Ah was a high school senior, about to take the most important test of her life.
Wasn’t this the time when some overly-sensitive kids would throw a tantrum just because of the faint footsteps outside their doors disrupting their studies?
‘Well, Jin-Ah isn’t the type to raise a fuss over stuff like this, but….’
But, still – could she even be able to concentrate with all these distracting noises coming from the outside?
Just as Jin-Woo was getting prepared to step forward….
“Nonono, don’t do it.”
….Jin-Ah quickly waved her hands about.
“Oppa, you’re already being slagged off in the internet, you know? So, can you imagine what they’ll say if you chase away the reporters?”
‘Since when did I do something worthy of that treatment??’
As Jin-Woo tilted his head this way and that, Jin-Ah accessed one of the news articles online with her phone and pushed it forward. So, he took it from her.
On the screen, he could see the photo of him standing in front of the Association’s entrance, relaxedly answering his phone while being surrounded by a sea of reporters.
Maybe because a professional snapped that shot, even a plain guy like him came out looking pretty good, so he was happy about that. However, when he took a look a bit lower down….
‘His attitude sucks.’
‘He already doesn’t care about the reporters.’
‘He’s way too cool for himself.’
Countless comments with similar nature were posted below the article, and the highest upvoted comment was ‘Mom, I’ve become a rank S!!’
Because the photo and the comment went so well along with each other, Jin-Woo ended up breaking out in a grin.
Jin-Ah in turn became flabbergasted from his reaction.
“How can you smile from that?!”
“But, it is funny.”
When Jin-Woo showed her the top upvoted comment, Jin-Ah too nearly broke out in laughter, but somehow managed to suppress it. And, perhaps as a rebound….
“No, wait a minute! That’s not important, is it?!”
With a slightly flushed face, Jin-Ah raised her voice.
“Why did you have to answer your phone there?? I mean, there were so many reporters present, you know! Thanks to you, everyone now knows my name!”
Jin-Woo replied confidently as if he couldn’t be fazed by anything.
“Do I really need to observe reporters and their moods when answering my little sister’s call?”
Jin-Ah became speechless. No matter how hard she thought about it, he wasn’t wrong, so she couldn’t readily come up with a suitable rebuttal.
‘….I simply can’t win against him in an argument.’
Jin-Woo handed the phone back to her.
Jin-Ah took the phone back with a slightly testy face, and opened her mouth.
“In any case, I’ll be fine, so oppa, don’t mind the reporters, okay?”
“Okay. Got it.”
Jin-Woo nodded his head.
If the current situation persisted, then he might have done something, but then again, the Association did call him earlier to say that these reporters should all receive orders to stay far away from him in a day or two.
‘Well, I can endure that.’
And there was also Jin-Ah not wanting to inflate the situation any further, too.
“By the way, just what on earth happened here?”
Jin-Ah looked at her brother with a pair of mystified eyes.
“My own oppa became a rank S Hunter, and reporters are camping outside our house, too….”
Some said that it’d be difficult to run into a rank S Hunter even once in your entire life, yet there was one standing right in front of her. Not only that, he was her older brother, no less.
Pretty much anyone would react the same way if they were in her shoes. Jin-Ah sounded as if she couldn’t quite believe it.
Too bad, she had no choice but to adjust to the new reality sooner rather than later.
‘Just like how I had to.’
Jin-Woo smirked softly.
And, in order to soothe his sister and her still-stunned heart, he lightly pinched Jin-Ah’s cheeks. Of course, she reacted in the same manner as in the past by kicking him, but….
She instead grabbed her foot and jumped up and down in pain.
Jin-Ah glared at him from the corners of her eyes as if this was just too much, while Jin-Woo could only shrug his shoulders. It seemed that she’d need quite a lot of time to get used to the fact that her oppa was now a rank S Awakened.
“Oppa, I guess you’ll become a lot busier now, right?”
Jin-Ah cautiously asked him.
There were lots of things he wanted to do, and plenty of work to get through, too – but for now, clearing the Demon’s Castle took priority. He even resorted to buying a flame-resistance defensive artefact for the sole purpose of conquering the upper floors, after all.
His own funds came up ridiculously short so his heart nearly fell to the pit of his stomach, but thankfully, he was able to use one of the Store’s rarity ‘A’ items as collateral and got a loan from the Hunter Auction.
‘I’m in debt as soon as becoming a rank S….’
For some reason, a wry chuckle escaped from his lips.
Well, as long as the items from the Store could be sold off at high prices in auctions, that debt would be wiped clean in an instant, though.
“In that case, it’d get harder to see you, right?”
Hearing that he might get a lot busier in the future, Jin-Ah formed a slightly rueful expression. Indeed, being alone would be a lonesome task.
Without saying anything, Jin-Woo placed his hand on Jin-Ah’s head.
A few days from now….
Once he cleared the Demon’s Castle dungeon, there would never be another day when his sister would have to house-sit all alone.
‘I’ll make sure that happens for real.’
It was then.
Jin-Woo’s eyes narrowed to a slit. His gaze shifted toward the front door.
‘Someone’s coming this way.’
Jin-Ah also noticed her brother’s tense aura. She asked, sounding a little anxious.
“Stay in your room for a bit, okay?”
“What’s the matter?”
A presence climbing out of the elevator was walking straight to here now.
‘It’s a Hunter….?’
The suspicious presence emitted a thin and weak magic energy. Jin-Woo couldn’t sense any hostile intentions from this presence, but still, he didn’t feel like humouring an uninvited guest.
Did a Guild send someone over? Or, was it a foolhardy reporter placing too much faith in his own Awakened powers?
Didn’t matter which was which – Jin-Woo wasn’t a gracious enough person to accept with a smile an uninvited guest trying to invade the privacy of his home, when the hour was already well past ten in the evening.
Jin-Woo stood before the door.
‘With that kind of power…’
He didn’t need to summon his weapons. Jin-Woo lightly loosened his muscles. He tilted his head left and right, and his neck issued cracking noise.
And, as he expected….
Someone ‘knocked’ on the door, causing Jin-Ah to run into her room in a bit of surprise. Jin-Woo quietly opened the door.
And from the slowly-widening gap of the door, a familiar face of a man could be seen. The man spoke.
He was even sniffling, too.
Yu Jin-Ho and his reddened nose were standing in front of the door, sniffling like a little kid.
Jin-Woo was so dumbstruck that he stood there in a total daze, prompting Yu Jin-Ho to tearfully speak up.
“Hyung-nim. I got kicked out of the house. Dad kicked me out.”
Now that Jin-Woo took another look, there was a backpack as big as Yu Jin-Ho slung on his back. He was even carrying quite a lot of luggage in both of his hands, too.
“…..Wait, didn’t you live alone already?”
“The villa I was living in was under father’s name, and he took it away. He even blocked all my bank accounts.”
A father blocking his son’s bank accounts. All of them. What a movie-like situation that was, but well, this being the top businessman in South Korea, Chairman Yu Myung-Hwan, it sounded rather plausible.
Besides all that, though – what did this kid do to get on his father’s bad side like this?
When Jin-Woo stared with a pair of questioning gaze, Yu Jin-Ho spoke up, his voice trembling.
“So, like, I was wondering, hyung-nim. Can I impose on you for the time being?”
Jin-Woo quietly closed the door, and even proceeded to lock it.
Worried Jin-Ah had been observing the situation from her room, and once Jin-Woo turned away from the door, she quickly jogged next to him and asked.
“Oppa, who was that? Do you know him?”
Jin-Woo shook his head.
“Nope. Never met him before.”
“You really don’t know him? But, why did he come to our place, then?”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m sure he got the wrong address.”
But, it sure didn’t look like that, though.
As Jin-Woo gently but firmly pushed his still-suspicious little sister back into her room, Yu Jin-Ho’s sorrowful voice continued to ring out behind him.
“Dear, don’t you think you were being too harsh on Jin-Ho earlier today?”
Yu Myung-Hwan roughly yanked at his tie.
What an insolent little child.
He was about to be gifted with the Yujin Guild, which would no doubt become the Yujin Construction’s core business in the future, yet he dared to answer like that?
[“I’ve decided to work for hyung-nim’s Guild.”]
Follow ‘hyung-nim’, was it?
“That fool deserved it.”
Yu Myung-Han snorted derisively.
If the boy wished to stand on his two feet, then he should do so on his own power, too.
The father thought that he’d teach his son about every choice being accompanied by responsibilities and consequences.
Was it because he was far too agitated? For some reason, it felt like his d*mn tie just didn’t want to come undone. His clumsy and hasty hands caused the tie to be tangled up even more instead, prompting the lady of the Yu family to reach out with her hands.
“Let me do it for you.”
Soon enough, the tie was easily loosened. Yu Myung-Han entrusted himself to his wife’s skilful hands.
The wife began giggling while holding his tie.
“What’s the matter, dear?”
Yu Myung-Han was confused. She had been doing his ties for as long as they were together. So, she shouldn’t have found his tangled up tie all that funny by now.
“My dear. Are you sure you’re really angry?”
Did she eat something wrong? Why was she saying something so nonsensical?
Yu Myung-Han tilted his head slightly and took a look at his own reflection in the mirror.
He was surprised by what he saw.
Why did he look so pleased in the reflection, even though his mouth was busy spewing out complaints only until a second ago?
Feeling embarrassed now, Yu Myung-Han began rubbing his cheeks and chin.
“Today was the first time, wasn’t it, dear?”
“What do you mean?”
“Jin-Ho rebelling against you.”
That was why he was angry.
Just like how water flowed from the top to bottom, a large corporation would not be able to sustain its massive self if the orders from the top didn’t get delivered to the rest. He believed it was the same story for running a family, as well.
That was why he maintained the exact same type of attitude he’d have when at work while he was home with his family, and he did not accept anyone going against his decisions.
Even though he was feeling angry today, why didn’t he feel bad about it, either?
‘I’m angry, but not unhappy at the same time?’
This situation made no sense when he thought about it.
The madam spoke gently like a mother pacifying a child, as if she had already read everything in her husband’s mind.
“Jin-Ho is trying to do something he feels passionate about for the first time in his life. So, how about cooling your anger a little and cheering him on from the side?”
Yu Myung-Han shut his mouth tight.
He found it a bit hard to decipher his own head at the moment.
“For the time being… I shall keep an eye on him.”
The madam formed a sweet smile and received his jacket as he took it off. However, something happened then.
Yu Myung-Han stared at his wife’s face.
“But, this is quite strange.”
“What is strange, dear?”
“I can see two of your faces.”
Just as the madam’s eyes widened, Yu Myung-Han lost his balance and staggered unsteadily.
The frightened madam hurriedly tried to support Yu Myung-Han. He shook his head continuously, heavily gasps escaping from his mouth.
The madam’s eyes opened wider.
‘Why is there so much cold sweat?!’
Yu Myung-Han tried to keep his eyes wide open to forcefully beat back the sudden feeling of sleepiness, but in the end, lost his consciousness.
Yu Myung-Han reopened his eyes inside the VIP room located in the country’s top university hospital.
One of the doctors in charge approached him to check up on Yu Myung-Han’s complexion. They had been working in a 24-hour rotation schedule to keep an eye on his condition.
“Can you hear me, Chairman?”
Yu Myung-Han took a quick look around him, and immediately figured out where he was.
“How long have I been here?”
“You’ve been sleeping for the last two days.”
The person most likely to be picked as the role model for “hard working” would be Yu Myung-Han. He had never slept for more than five hours in a day in his entire life, no matter how tired he was.
Yu Myung-Han resolutely kept his mouth shut, before speaking up as if it was nothing.
“I guess I was quite tired, then.”
He was indeed swarmed with various matters that kept him insanely busy recently. The sudden bout of vertigo and that unshakeable sleepiness were probably the side effects.
However, the doctor couldn’t hide the seriousness from his expression.
Yu Myung-Han was the owner of the country’s top company that employed tens of thousands of people. So, he was already a master at reading people’s expressions.
Seeing the stiffening face of the doctor, Yu Myung-Han asked him.
“By any chance…. Have you discovered something wrong with my body?”
< Chapter 98 > Fin.