Auto Hunting - Chapter 13
His name was Kim Sung-wook.
He was 32 years old, tall, and good-looking.
For the past eight months, he had spent at least 6 hours a day with Yoo-seong. He was a lecturer at Yoo-seong’s academy.
“If it’s okay, I’ll drive you home.”
Behind him, there was a black SUV that suited his size. It looked as reliable as its owner.
“Ah, there was a separate viewing room?”
Yoo-seong’s eyes opened wide upon hearing about it for the first time.
“It’s not particularly confidential, but I don’t have to tell the students. It can be bothersome for them to know they’re being watched.”
“I think you’re right,” Yoo-seong nodded.
The fact that there were hunters watching him would give him more motivation and energy. However, many people wouldn’t feel the same and would instead become more nervous.
“Then, did you watch us, too, Teacher?”
“Yes. Even with a retired license, there is no problem getting access to the viewing room if you pay the membership fee.”
“You have had a lot of trouble.”
“It’s nothing much.”
Yoo-seong looked at Kim Sung-wook.
It had not only been 72 hours. He had stayed in the parking lot to wait for him as soon as the exam was over. For ten hours, he had been staying there like Lee Jae-hak, not knowing if Yoo-seong had already left the test site.
‘Why?’ Yoo-seong thought.
Instead of asking the question, he thanked his teacher instead.
“It’s a bit awkward, but I want to commend you for waiting for me until I came out, even if it’s a bit late.”
Kim Sung-wook tilted his head.
“Yes? What do you mean by that? You came out late on purpose, right?”
It was embarrassing, yet Yoo-seong tried to explain what happened.
Kim Sung-wook was silent for a moment.
However, Yoo-seong could see through his teacher’s cheeks and mouth that he was holding back laughter.
“It was alright. You were exhausted, so it was the right choice to rest right away.”
As Yoo-seong was scratching his head, Kim Sung-wook changed the subject.
“Would you like to visit the hunter’s homepage with your phone? Your license code has already come out, so just download the app and authenticate it.”
Yoo-seong nodded. He downloaded the app and went through the authentication.
As soon as Yoo-seong’s license code had been granted permission, a notification sound rang.
Countless notifications followed.
“If you look at the top right, you will be able to check your mail.”
Kim Sung-wook’s eyes were fixed on the road, but he knew what was happening. There was a faint smile on his mouth.
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“A bunch of kids are probably running after you.”
Yoo-seong clicked on the mailbox.
-Hello. Oh Yoo-seong, we…
-Hello. YZ Hunting…
-Congratulations on your success, Oh Yoo-seong…
There were several pages filled with mail. Among them were messages from scouts.
Yoo-seong clicked on one of them.
Sender: [email protected]
Title: Congratulations on your passing, Oh Yoo-seong!
Hello, Oh Yoo-seong. My name is Joon Park, Vice Team Leader of Team DI.
First of all, congratulations on your success. It was a 72-hour hard march more difficult than ever, and it was an unexpected new model that would not have been easy for anyone. Nevertheless, your judgment, calmness, and excellent combat sense were comparable to that of a senior…
While reading, Yoo-seong suddenly realized an important fact.
“Oh, did they send you a message, too?”
Kim Sung-wook said it lightly, but it was, in fact, a big deal.
In Korea, there was a well-known acronym called ‘2F4T’.
Two (2) firms (F) and four (4) teams (T).
Amongst all companies, these conglomerates represented the country. They were aces whose corporate images were imprinted even to civilians who did not know their achievements in detail.
Yoo-seong, in the eight months he spent in the academy, had heard about how great they were from the perspective of the industry.
They didn’t recruit rookies.
They preferred top-notch hunters who had gone through years of proven careers.
Even then, they still needed to pass the fierce competition and in-depth examinations. A graduate from the academy was able to enter one of the 2F4T after several years. It was enough to be placed on the academy’s promotional materials.
However, now, one of the 2F4T, Team DI, had just sent a love call to Yoo-seong.
Yoo-seong gulped before continuing to read the note.
…As you know, we do not accept novice personnel who have just obtained a license.
But, Oh Yoo-seong!
I was able to check your potential in those 72 hours.
Although we are not a team with a rookie training system, I think that, with the advice and support of our senior hunters, we will be able to bring out your potential in the near future.
We promise to provide generous support for the first strengthening enhancements that many novice hunters find difficult.
We hope that this e-mail will serve as an opportunity for both our team and Yoo-seong Oh’s future.
For inquiries about the detailed terms and conditions of the contract and other matters…
Yoo-seong checked the contact details listed on the bottom of the message before going back to the list.
Only then could he understand Kim Sungwook’s words.
His teacher thought that he came out late on purpose. It was because if he had come out right after the test was over, he would have been surrounded by scouts.
However, the messages on his screen were real. He also received a message from Team Maruchan, one of the 4T.
Another message from QR Corporation, one of the two firms.
For a while, Yoo-seong was immersed in reading the messages.
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Finally, when he finished, he realized something. Everyone in 2F4T had sent him a message. The contents were all similar to those of Team DI.
Suddenly, he felt a hand on his shoulder. As he turned his head, he found Kim Sung-wook’s smiling face. The car had been parked at a rest area.
“Would you like some udon?”
The udon was delicious.
Yoo-seong bought coffee and approached the bench of the rest area.
The udon was bought by Kim Sung-wook, so he decided to buy coffee for them instead.
“I’ve been thinking about it.”
As he handed over the coffee, Yoo-seong spoke to his teacher.
“Is the reason why you’ve waited for me has anything to do with my future plans?”
Yoo-seong had been organizing his thoughts. He had regained composure and calmly accepted the fact that there were scouts coming to him.
He also thought about Kim Sung-wook’s reason. Waiting for hours in a parking lot was not something that someone would do in mere favor.
Even organizations that sent Yoo-seong love calls with so much devotion did not wait for him.
Kim Sung-wook must have had his own reasons.
For example, there may be a team or a firm connected with him, and he may try to introduce him to that company.
“I’m sorry to ask you this question, but I thought I had to ask for sure,” Yoo-seong clarified.
Kim Sung-wook didn’t appear to be offended by his question.
“Not like that. But there is something I wanted to ask you…”
Yoo-seong closed his mouth and waited to give Kim Sung-wook time to explain.
“I haven’t seen those messages, but there will be something in common with them. It’s about strengthening enhancements. They probably offered you to take responsibility for the cost.”
“But, as you know, teams and firms don’t do that for beginners.”
When someone became a hunter, he could undergo strengthening. There were two ways to do it.
First, injecting energy into the core of the human body by obtaining the raw materials needed for it and paying the cost.
Second, a hunter who had gone through strengthening and has energy on his core could pass it on to another hunter.
It was much like in martial arts, where a master passed on his strength to his disciples.
The conclusion of any of the two methods was the same. A hunter needed money or a network. A novice hunter would not be able to afford the cost unless they were born with a silver spoon.
Therefore, the firm or the team usually wrote up a contract.
Novice hunters could pay the cost of strengthening after going through training and working with the company for a certain period.
That was why the messages that Yoo-seong received were exceptional.
He had been offered to undergo strengthening immediately without going through training.
“But you would have to sign a contract with them anyway, so you can’t help but be tied down for years,” Kim Sung-wook explained.
“Well… it can’t be helped.” Yoo-seong shrugged.
“Indeed. But what if there was a way…”
Kim Sung-wook suddenly changed the subject.
“It’s been 13 years.”
“13 years ago, like you, I passed the licensure examinations. Of course, I didn’t receive that many messages, but there were quite a few.”
Yoo-seong was surprised by the unexpected conversation.
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Hunters generally kept their history private. For famous hunters such as Lee Jae-hak, they become targets of fraud and blackmail because of their wealth.
Because of this, many hunters did not share their history and focused only on their work.
“So, I’ve been running for about nine years while getting quite recognized. I worked hard and earned hard, and then…”
Kim Sung-wook had a bitter smile on his lips.
“I got destroyed.”
“I was stupid and arrogant. I thought it was an easy-to-catch monster. I acted too late.”
Kim Sung-wook’s core and energy were fine, but the veins that supply energy to his body were injured. His fuel was still overflowing, but the engine is broken.
“I’ve spent a whole year on rehabilitation, but… it was hopeless. Fortunately, I wasn’t in a totally miserable state.”
The money accumulated in his bankbook was enough for him to be considered a rich young man. He was still young and could do whatever he wanted to do.
However, instead of enjoying life, Kim Sung-wook started to work again.
Compared to his active days, his new career had a ridiculously lower salary and shabbier treatment.
“I think I still have some regrets left.”
Kim Sung-wook touched his belly.
His core. The driving force that was the basis of superhuman abilities.
His core was still full.
“I still couldn’t pass it on to someone.”
It wasn’t just him.
Countless retired hunters hated giving away their gear and their core. Doing so would bring them down from being a superhuman to being a normal person.
It caused great deprivation and emptiness.
Thus, the second method of strengthening was rare, even if it was much more efficient and more stable than the first method. It was because it was easier to find raw materials than to find donors.
Yoo-seong’s voice trembled.
He couldn’t help it. He knew what Kim Sung-wook was leading to.
“Sir, no. Mr. Kim Sung-wook. You can’t…”
Kim Sung-wook raised his eyes to stare into Yoo-seong’s.
He had been a lecturer at a famous academy for several years. He had taught a number of prospects.
It was because he wanted to find someone. Someone who could help him get rid of his regrets.
He wanted to work more, to run wilder.
Since he couldn’t… he could at least hand it over to someone who could.
The energy was still raging inside his core.
There were a lot of talented people, but… none of them stood out. Sung-wook was the best among his generation when he was younger.
Maybe his standards were too high.
He was close to giving up, but at last, Kim Sung-wook found someone.
“Mr. Oh Yoo-seong.”
He not only had great skills and talents. He was also more sincere than any student he has ever seen.
He saw him repeatedly master the basics that some students regard as insignificant.
It was a virtue that even Kim Sung-wook himself didn’t have.
With unprecedented politeness, Kim Sung-wook spoke to the man in front of him.
“Although I wasn’t the best…”
To his successor, Oh Yoo-seong.
“Would you like to accept my core and my remaining dreams?”
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Yoo-seong opened his mouth.