Auto Hunting - Chapter 41
“Excuse me,” Yoo-seong spoke as he lightly brushed past a lady.
“Oh, it’s okay. Are you leaving the studio? Did you find anything uncomfortable? I’ll sort it out right away,” she said immediately. She was the AD, after all.
“Oh, no. It’s okay. I just want to take a little walk,” Yoo-seong said, smiling lightly.
There was still some more time until the broadcast began.
“You must be a little nervous,” she observed, tilting her head.
“Yes,” he replied, tilting his head too.
She wondered how possible it was for a person like him to be nervous about something as easy as a broadcast.
Of course, she couldn’t say it to Yoo-seong. She kept her bewilderment to herself.
“Just remember, we’re going to be live soon.”
“Yes. I have to come back in 20 minutes.”
The lady nodded at his response and allowed him to leave. Yoo-seong walked through the corridor with his footsteps echoing off the floor.
He heard the whispers from the people around him. He knew the whispers were about him.
Park Kang-han, the hunter who had become the talk of the country, was finally about to reveal himself.
Of course, he felt nervous. He was bound to be. It was a live broadcast. What if he said the wrong thing?
The recurring thought returned. Was it right for him to take on his full identity?
One day, the Auto-Hunt button had appeared. Then, he had added hard work to his luck to become a hunter. Since then, his career had been on an express lane.
Before he knew it, he had reached a spot he hadn’t ever dreamt of.
Even if it was just a seasonal ranking, he was the fifteenth-ranked hunter in a country with more than 60 million people. Because of the fame and the attention he would receive after this, he was sure the ranking would go up a few steps soon enough.
On the way to the broadcasting station, he had met some of the top ten hunters and had gotten their contacts and social media handles. He barely even knew them. It was only a year after he got the Automatic Hunt button.
Just then, Yoo-seong entered the TV station’s lounge. It was a bit noisy. There were several people inside.
Most of them seemed to be broadcasting staff, but there were also some public figures who knew Yoo-seong’s face.
They recognized him at first glance and covered their mouths. Yoo-seong continued walking without responding to their surprise. In the first place, they were all too shy to approach him, all except one.
“Oh. You must be Oh Yoo-seong,” a tall man approached him.
His name was Jang Han-seung.
“You’ll probably recognize me. It’s nice to meet you,” Han-seung held out a hand for a shake.
“Nice to meet you, too,” Yoo-seong taking his hand and shaking it.
Han-seung was known for his sculptured appearance and broadcasting activities, although his skills as a hunter were also good.
He was the typical ‘broadcast-type’ hunter. He focused on only hunting to maintain his ranking.
Once he had secured his rank, he reappeared on shows and interviews.
His skills were good enough to maintain his position. Since his talent as a broadcaster was also outstanding, he was a public figure with a long industry life.
“You’re pretty popular these days, with both of your last two operations being broadcasted. It won’t be easy for you to be in this position always.”
Yoo-seong noticed Jang Han-seung’s mouth was slightly tilted.
“Being a hunter requires skill, but luck is really important. There is no way to know what will come out of the cracks or whether the news would broadcast it. In that sense, you are lucky.”
“Is that so?” Yoo-seong asked.
“Oh, it is. Even so, I didn’t know that you would be on a show so quickly.”
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Jang Han-seung’s current ranking was 20th. Before, he had been the 19th.
In other words, he had been pushed down by Yoo-seong after the Shantiga incident.
Han-seung strategy was to focus on broadcasting activities while maintaining the rankings until the end of the season.
Yoo-seong was indeed a twist on Jang Han-seung’s business schedule.
“To be honest, it was unexpected. Your new public image seems a bit too much so far, doesn’t it?” Han-seung asked.
“I don’t know. I guess we will find that out after the broadcast.”
“Shall we?” Jang Han-seung said as he shrugged and laughed.
“Could the Shantiga gig have played a part in such explosive praises by Yoon Kang-Cheol? I know that the CEO of QR is not the one to praise anyone anyhow.”
For Jang Han-seung, who focused on public activities, it was like a blow to his ego for a rookie to receive public praise from a CEO of a 2F4T.
“But, then again, is there anything wrong between you and QR? I heard QR hadn’t signed you yet.”
Yoo-seong didn’t reply to him.
“Well, whatever the problem was, you should always swim with the tide. You should have done something to keep the ties.”
“Sure,” Yoo-seong said this time around.
“Huh?” Jang Han-seung said as he noticed Yoo-seong was now smiling.
“As you said, you have to swim with the tide.”
Jang Han-seung was blank for a moment as he looked around.
“Listen carefully.” Jang Han-seung said suddenly in hostility as he realized the slight.
Only Yoo-seong could see the look on his face since he stood with his back to the other people in the lounge.
“I don’t know who you think you are but don’t think you can just talk anyhow to seniors and walk away without a scratch,” Han-seung said.
“I don’t understand.”
“Let’s just say your life will not be so smooth, at least in this place. Stupid child.”
Yoo-seong knew that the media industry was a different playfield. However, it didn’t matter if he was loved by the public already.
There was a large gap between hunting and appearing on TV.
“If you think I’m joking-”
“Thank you very much!” Yoo-seong said aloud, interrupting him, “That was really, really helpful advice.”
Everyone, including Han-seung, was surprised at that. Yoo-seong placed his hand on Han-seung’s shoulder.
“What-” Han-seung began, but Yoo-seong interrupted him again.
“When I became a hunter, I didn’t see many people like you.”
Yoo-seong looked sincere.
“Whenever I meet people like you, I get a lot of confidence and momentum.”
Han-seung was too stunned to react.
What was Yoo-seong playing at?
Everyone in the room was looking at them, wondering what Han-seung had told him.
“But for the part you were worried about, I don’t think you really have to,” Yoo-seong said in a subtle yet audible voice so that everyone heard.
Then, lowering his voice so that only Han-seung heard it, he said, “Because you’re just greedy for a meager bowl of rice.”
Yoo-seong took his hand off Jang Han-seung’s shoulder.
“Well then,” Yoo-seong said as he turned and went in the direction he had come from.
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People like Han-seung always served a good purpose in Yoo-seong’s life.
He didn’t need much to encourage himself. He just needed one pathetic person around him.
“It’s a minute to the broadcast!”
Yang Ji-yeon was HBS’s star host with her intelligent appearance and international academic background.
However, those were only secondary factors.
Her popularity began with her role as a host of current affairs debates, which was unusual for female hosts.
With her calm attitude and skillful speech, she had mediated between and led discussions with experts who were much older than her.
That was why she was chosen as the only interviewer for Oh Yoo-seong, the current hot figure.
She looked at him and realized how ordinary he seemed. He had a good body – typical of other hunters. He also had a nice face – not handsome, just nice.
Yoo-seong wasn’t sure of what to say.
Definitely, it wasn’t a place where he could use Aura. He wondered what he would have to do to engrave the right impression on the public.
Even though he wasn’t familiar with other celebrity hunters aside from Lee Jae-hak, he suspected that hunters who did broadcast were somewhat superior in character.
“You just need to relax and be comfortable.” Yang Ji-yeon said with a small smile.
“Oh, sure,” Yoo-seong said, still feeling a bit nervous.
“Thirty seconds left!” The lady said to him.
The public’s emotions toward Oh Yoo-seong were that of a virtual hero who didn’t exist in reality.
If it stayed that way, the halo was bound to come off soon. However, no one could deny his achievements.
It was just that, as in all other fields, actual ability and public opinions were separate matters.
Yang Ji-yeon could hardly care what became of Yoo-seong after the interview. Her only job was to make the interview a success.
Erasing her thoughts, she concentrated on the moment.
“You have ten seconds left!”
And then, very suddenly, the atmosphere changed.
‘What, what is it?’ She wondered, becoming distracted.
Because of the absurdity, she missed the timing for about two seconds.
“Ah, hello,” she stuttered, realizing she had spoken late.
She hadn’t made such a mistake even in her first broadcast. However, she was a pro.
“Please welcome the hunter who has received the attention of the whole of Korea with two successive activities recently- Oh Yoo-seong…”
Soon, the interview continued smoothly.
However, something was ringing in her head, making her feel uncomfortable. Something was wrong.
Yoo-seong’s tone and facial expression remained normal.
But that was why it was amazing – Oh Yoo-seong wasn’t playing any character.
Unlike people who changed according to the camera’s on/off button, his personality was clear and stable. It was an ability that took one to the extreme of concentration.
Yang Ji-yeon was sure of it because it was a skill only veteran broadcasters had.
How was it possible that he could exhibit such an ability while standing in front of a camera for the first time?
She proceeded naturally with the interview. “Then, you really mean you acquired the license earlier this year.”
“Yes. That’s right,” Yoo-seong said without hesitation.
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Everyone was curious about his background and career, wondering if it really had been as short as they heard. It turned out it was true. She did her best to hide her surprise.
Finally, her script came to the point everyone was so curious about.
“You asked for a direct interview with HBS.”
“But your attitude so far has been one of reluctance to be exposed to the media or the public.”
“I will go over that part for sure.”
Yang Ji-yeon stopped talking and looked apologetic.
Yoo-seong smiled and spoke once more.
“I am not afraid or reluctant to disclose my information to people.”
“Is that so? Can I then say that it is okay to look forward to various public appearances from you in the future?”
“No,” Yoo-seong said, shaking his head. “At least, not until one goal has been accomplished.”
“What is the goal?”
Yoo-seong took a moment to breathe; then he looked at the camera.
He found it hard to say the words. He had thought about them over the past couple of days and had even asked Sung-wook’s opinions about them.
He had been so sure of it as he had walked through the corridor earlier.
Now, before the cameras, he wasn’t so sure anymore. Now, he forced himself to speak.
“I started this job because, first of all, I have the talent for it, and, then again, there was the wealth and fame I could get from doing it. The same is true now.”
His remark was like a bombshell. Even Ji-yeon’s calm expression shook a bit.
“However, I don’t think I knew the true value of doing this until I did it.”
“Now, that is a phenomenal confession,” Ji-yeon cut in.
“I know. Now, I know how valuable the work I do is. The first time I realized it was when I actually went on an operation. I came face to face with the fact that what I do can actually save a lot of lives and property.”
He paused and took a deep breath.
First, he had underestimated Automatic Hunting.
Auto-hunting wasn’t a car that moved only as much as he stepped on the accelerator.
Far from that, it was like a supercar without brakes.
“Wealth and fame are still of great value to me. But they are no longer at the top of my priorities.”
He paused before continuing. “I want to be the best at my job. I think I want to create new records and heights in this industry. This will not be the last broadcast that I am on. However, it will be the last broadcast for a long time, at least until I achieve my goal.”
“Is that goal the success of the upcoming dive?”
Yoo-seong looked from the camera to Yang Ji-yeon.
Yoo-seong raised his index finger.
“First, until I become number one, beyond Lee Jae-hak, I will not engage in any other activity except hunting.”
From the ends of the studio, Yoo-seong could hear the murmurs. Those who understood his statement were gasping.
“I hope this is a good answer,” he asked as his mind drifted back to the event.
Yoo-seong had learned from Lee Jae-hak that the industry was more than fame. Jae-hak had built himself to where he was.
People admired him from far, and he engaged in a lot of public activities; however, the man had worked hard to climb to that level.
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It wasn’t about being liked. It was about doing what was right.
Right here and now, that was what he intended to do.