The weather was a little hotter than yesterday. I was searching around Myeongdong Station, holding a Hard Bar in my mouth.
A steakhouse near Myeongdong Station.
It was because besides this, there was no information about Ice Witch Bak Yerim’s current residence.
“Sorry to bother you. Does a student named Bak Yerim live here by any chance?”
“No, there’s no one like that.”
This time was no good too. I put an X on the map on my cell phone. I checked this whole street, should I go over to that side. There were actually a lot of steakhouses.
Biting off the little remaining Hard Bar, I was glancing around, when I saw Kim Sunghan, who was following me a bit apart and dressed like he was dying from heat. I wanted to make that person into an S-Rank but it was inconceivable.
The situation with Yoo Myeongwoo was good luck. But what kind of excuse would there be to tell that person I love him. Should I prepare a drinking party?
‘Should I insist that giving love confessions to anyone is how I act when I’m drunk.’
Of course, simply saying the keyword didn’t work, and you needed to feel something, so becoming friendly was the priority. How would we get close? Maybe alcohol after all. Did he like alcohol?
I crossed the street and went towards Barbecue Rib House located in a secluded place. My mouth watered from thinking about drinking and smelling meat roasting. Looking at the menu on the wall, it seemed like they also did tripe and entrails.
Tripe was good. Tripe, sizzling with fat and puffed like cotton wool, and refreshing beer that clears your palate! Grilled pork belly and soju was also good, but it was definitely tripe for me.
Tripe was good. I wanted to eat tripe. It was still early but still time to eat dinner, so should I eat and then look.
Holding the ice cream stick in my mouth, I was going over to the rib house door when,
“So everything is all my fault!”
With the shrill cry, the glass door slammed open. The small bell hanging on the door shook like it was going to break.
“It’s all that bastard Bak Soochun!!”
“Where does that girl think she is that she’s yelling like that?! Come back here!”
A young girl wearing a tracksuit kicked the door and glared inside the shop. The face filled with anger was definitely familiar. It was Bak Yerim, right?
“Why don’t you all die!”
After suddening yelling, Bak Yerim turned around and started to run away. Where are you going, just wait!
I ran after the girl who had gone far in an instant. The other person was a middle school girl and I might be an F-Rank, but I was an Awakened adult, so I would quickly catch… why was she so fast?
‘Did she already Awaken? Ack, a car!’
While I was hesitating, stopped by the car, the shortened distance grew farther again. Should I have worn the gloves and belt? If I hadn’t taken them off because it was hot, I would’ve been able to catch her right away. But I definitely saw which direction she was going in.
After the car passed, I crossed the street and ran towards where Bak Yerim went.
In a short distance, there was a hill overgrown with trees. I saw the back of the girl who was sitting haphazardly on the ground between trees at the edge of Namsan Mountain.
‘First, let me check.’
Since it could be a different person. It was quite a long distance to use the Seed-Leaf skill but a Status Window popped up.
[Unawakened Person – Bak Yerim
Possible Awakening stat rank A~S
Optimized Initial Skills
I did expect the best possible Awakening stat rank to be S. The optimized initial skills having an SS was a little surprising. But more than anything.
‘There’s nothing similar to ice?!’
The optimized initial skills of the girl who was famous as an ice witch were all things I haven’t heard of before. This truth was so surprising that I was shocked.
So she had become that famous with skills that didn’t even suit her? Just how overwhelmingly talented was she. I was jealous.
‘But these skills… I really can’t tell what types they are.’
At any rate, Hermes’ Sandals was probably flight or agility related, but I couldn’t guess the characteristics of Shadowless Day and White Corpse.
It was regretful that the Seed-Leaf skill couldn’t check the details too.
It wouldn’t do if they were assistance skills. Still, the stats were S-Rank, so-.
Oh shit, that startled me! Sunghan abruptly appeared next to me. His expression asked me what I thought I was doing.
“I felt a strong strength from that student so I’m thinking of approaching her. Please wait here.”
Saying that I felt a strong strength made me feel like I’ve become a cultist. He glanced at Bak Yerim and then silently nodded his head.
Okay, now, how should I approach. Thinking hard, I slowly went towards Bak Yerim.
The still very young girl was sitting with her back facing me so I couldn’t check her expression. But that back seemed to contain a sadness. The hunched thin shoulders were sorrowful.
“Excuse me, student. Can we talk for a bit?”
I spoke as kindly as possible. I am a harmless person. Trust me.
Bak Yerim turned her head and looked at me. She wasn’t crying but the rims of her eyes were red. There were traces of her worrying her bottom lip.
“I’m not interested in sex.”
“I’m not either!”
What do you see me as!
The atmosphere that was like a thin sheet of ice was crushed. Why would statutory rape come up here!
“You’re Bak Yerim, right?”
At my words, she slowly stood up. And sent me a suspicious glance.
‘Statutory rape’ wasn’t enough so you’re even bringing up ‘stalker’! I felt wronged. Even before my regression I was clean in this respect. Though I wasn’t in others.
“I’m, anyways, I’m someone who was once indebted to your parents.”
I decided to use the ‘you don’t know but we actually have a connection’ again. The kid’s guard was up too high for me to say I came to scout her.
“To my parents?”
“That’s right. I’m not a suspicious person.”
“You’re a really suspicious looking ahjussi though.”
Ahjussi! F-fine. My age might seem like that of an ahjussi to a middle schooler. My age is already thirty…no it isn’t! I regressed! I’m still in my twenties!
“…I’m still in my mid-twenties, okay?”
“Have you gone to the army yet?”
“Then you are an ahjussi.”
……I was already depressed about going to the army because I didn’t Awaken, but this was too much. Thinking about trusting my protection to her already made my stomach sting. Her character was no joke, from a young age.
“Anyways, I want to support you.”
“So it really is statutory rape! Police!”
“No! It’s not! Here, my Hunter license and Guild membership card!”
I quickly took out my wallet and showed my license and membership card. Looking at them, Bak Yerim raised her eyebrows.
“What, you’re an F-Rank. Rather than support, it looks like your own life will be too much to handle.”
……So she’s a brat who only chooses to say agonizing things.
“Can you look at the guild membership card too.”
“Haeyeon Guild? But that’s famous.”
“That’s right, you know Haeyeon Guild’s Guild Leader Han Yoohyun, right? S-Rank Hunter. He’s my dongsaeng.”
Bak Yerim looked me over again with a surprised expression.
“That good-looking oppa? You don’t really look alike.”
“…That guy is an oppa.”
“He didn’t go to the army.”
“S-Ranks are exempted anyways.”
“Then correction to abilities-having oppa.”
……It hurt more because she was right. Still, maybe she felt a little sorry because she chatted, saying that she could see a resemblance when she looked closer.
“Having a dongsaeng with abilities is an ability, too. Don’t put on that pitiful expression, ahjussi.”
“When did I.”
“It’s a face of a victim who suffered for 5 years, though.”
What. Did she have the ability to read memories or something.
“Let’s stop getting off track, I can make you into an Awakened Person.”
“An Awakened Person?”
Bak Yerim had an interested gleam in her eyes. Being an Awakened Person was the hottest job so it was popular even among kids. Of course, only C-Rank and higher. All jobs were like that; let’s just pretend the bottom doesn’t exist.
“Yeah. That’s my skill. Making others into Awakened People. And I have the Guild Leader behind my back, so it’s possible to help get you a place there.”
“But that’s no help if I turn out to be F.”
“Don’t worry. Your rank is at least B-Rank or higher.”
At my confident words, she cocked her head.
“You can tell that too?”
“I can. It’s a secret to other people.”
“What if I don’t keep the secret – why are you going around telling me? This ahjussi has no sense of caution.”
“That’s why contracts exist – to prepare for that. Awakening you is after we sign the contract. If you decide not to Awaken and go around telling the secret, who would believe you? You don’t even have proof.”
If you do this, you can become an Awakened Person! All sorts of rumors like that were all over the internet. So if she went around saying that there was someone who could Awaken you, it wouldn’t receive attention. And there were already conmen who said similar things so it’d receive doubt instead.
Bak Yerim, who was slightly frowning, locked in her thoughts, opened her mouth.
“If I become an Awakened Person, can I become independent? I don’t want to live in my uncle’s house.”
“You can become independent. In the first dungeon shock, a lot of minors became Awakened People so a special law was made. Starting from 14 years old, except for the restriction where you’re only allowed to enter a dungeon 2 levels lower than your rank, as a Hunter, you can get equal rights as an adult. In order words, you can enter a guild without a guardian’s permission. Haeyeon Guild has dorms so you just have to register as a Hunter and then you can leave your house.”
The opinions on minors entering dungeons were still split. It was obviously a law with ethical issues, but when dungeons were starting to appear in the world, there weren’t a lot of Awakened People. In that chaos, dungeons would also burst open, so it was situation where you had to borrow the help of young kids.
Still, because of the restriction allowing only entrance into dungeons 2 levels lower than their rank, the casualty rate for Hunter minors were low. That restriction was lifted if you cleared a dungeon 10 or more times unharmed, or when you turned 18.
‘After Awakening Centers are made, the age for entering dungeons steadily started to rise because there were a lot of Awakened People.’
That was only proper. But since this was before the special law was revised, there was no problem with Bak Yerim becoming independent.
“But not having a guardian will probably make some things difficult? You’re still young so-.”
“No thanks. Not having a guardian is a lot better. At this rate, I won’t be able to bear it for longer and run away from home anyways.”
Bak Yerim said, sullenly. Had she run away before? I also thought maybe I’d seen that in an interview.
“Your uncle doesn’t treat you well?”
“Besides when I go to school, he doesn’t give me a single cent for allowance and makes me slave away. This is after he took all my parents’ possessions with me as an excuse! And that restaurant was made after selling our apartment. And then in front of others, he acts like a great person taking caring of a kid who doesn’t have anywhere to go!”
A glint of tears appeared with the angry yelling. There were a lot of people in the world who didn’t care about their own flesh and blood when money was involved. But if you got all the possessions, give some care, this was too much.
“If you want, I can give you legal help too.”
If it was a good enough guild, they had some lawyers. Haeyeon Guild definitely had some, and if it was for a guild-affiliated S-Rank, then they should actively try to help.
“No. I just don’t want to be involved with him again.”
“Okay, do as you want. It’s a little bothersome to keep talking while standing here – it’s a little early but you want to go eat dinner?”
Since, to use the skill, we had to talk to each other more.
“Tripe… you probably don’t like that. Is there anything you want to eat?”
“No, I like it. Though Uncle’s doesn’t taste good. There’s a well-known place in front of here, so follow me. Is it okay if it’s a little expensive?”
“It’s definitely okay. You can eat as much as you want!”
I had a Haeyeon Guild company credit card. I brought it saying that I would used it for entertainment expenses when I find an A-Rank or higher. So you can spend a whole fortune, it’s okay!