Auto Hunting - Chapter 128
“What is this?”
The lights inside the hospital flickered for an instant. It was more flustering for the hospital staff than it was for the hunters.
Even if it were a brief blackout, the effect would be much more severe since the place was a hospital.
However, the flickering of lights did not last long. After about ten seconds, everything promptly returned to normal.
No one who witnessed what happened even thought of associating the incident with Yoo-seong.
“I was surprised.”
“Is it a short circuit? In a hospital this huge?”
“Manager!” a hunter named Park Kang-min called.
Then his gaze caught the numbers on the panel’s detector. “What?!”
Even the nurse was surprised. The machine, which had suffered an overload, only had the figures that it could come up with on the panel.
“12,000!” someone behind Yoo-seong exclaimed.
“What? He looks like he’s just in his first or second year! How did that happen?”
“You said you were a freelancer! Don’t you have any other jobs?”
Whispers filled the surroundings. The tall kid, the one named Scratch, had a strange look on his face. It was as if he was conflicted about whether he’d laugh or get angry because of how ridiculous it was.
‘This guy,’ he thought.
Scratch, Park Kang-min, and the other hunters around them wore uniforms embroidered with those two letters.
The initials of Hankwang Group, which was under the same Hankwang conglomerate that owned the hospital. It was the logo of the conglomerate’s newly formed hunter group.
-Hankwang Hunting International-
The group had been established for less than three months now, and their numbers were still scarce. This was because the establishment of the group had been different from that of previous hunting groups.
Of course, the reason for this was obvious.
Up until now, the hunter industry had always been dominated by hunters.
organizations were also active hunters. Except for special cases, such as the Japanese Leto Group, it was rare for non-hunter organizations to join the hunter industry.
It wasn’t that the companies didn’t want to get involved. With the insane profits from monster by-products, the hunting industry was like a spring that never dried up.
However, governments did not want large conglomerates to own hunter groups.
Such companies’ participation was regulated and limited to research and development and creating hunting equipment from by-products.
However, just a few months ago, the world had promptly started changing. Cracks began appearing more and more frequently. More ‘exceptions’ were being made that completely disregarded previous rules.
From the government’s point of view, it became more urgent to suppress the growing threat and public anxiety than to keep large companies in check. And, typically, these companies had not missed their chance.
As a result of endless lobbying and countless other political appeals, they were finally able to own hunters legally. One of the first groups established had been the Hankwang Hunting International, commonly referred to as HGHI.
Despite being a new organization, it was rapidly gaining ground thanks to its generous funding power.
Park Kwang-min had been one of the group’s first-generation trainees.
Hankwang had invested in training hunters a few years back, hoping that the regulations would be lifted someday. Although he had not been given an opportunity to showcase his skills yet, Park Kwang-min believed that he could be one of the best due to the long and intense training he had gone through abroad and within the Hankwang facilities. That was what Hankwang predicted Park Kwang-min would be, anyway.
‘I am going to be a ranker soon,’ was the thought he always had in mind, and to become one, it was important to manage his reputation and image.
Park Kang-min turned his head toward Yoo-seong, who was currently heading the line for CE injection.
“Hey. Next time, you have to be careful. You might think what happened earlier was just a small mistake, but you must remember that it is a small industry. You do not want to have to worry when and where we will meet.”
The majority of the hunters in the room worked under Park Kang-min.
To Park Kang-min’s mind, it wouldn’t be a bad option to show them an image of a flexible and empowering man once in a while.
“Okay? Next time, let us try to think about whatever we have to say and talk calmly.”
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Park Kang-min was trying his best to look friendly. However, the crazy man standing before him did not seem to get the point.
Yoo-seong frowned a little and turned toward Park Kang-min as if ready to give him a piece of his mind.
“What?” Park Kang-min was starting to feel on edge.
“What are you doing?” said a low-pitched voice from somewhere.
Park Kang-min immediately soared from his seat. A man who seemed to be of the same age as Park Kang-min had just entered the hospital.
“Good morning, sir!”
Almost every hunter in the room stood up to greet the newcomer.
“Keep it down. It’s a hospital.”
Han Jae-gyu, the head of Hankwang Hunting International, seemed to be in a bad mood.
He was the grandson of the current Hankwang president and a leader among the first-generation trainees at HGHI.
It was said, without exaggeration, that he had the innate skills of a hunter.
He had ranked fifteenth among hunters within a few months of obtaining a license in Korea. If only he’d had the time to focus on building his career, it was said he would have soon been one of the high-profile prospects to be a top ranker and propel Hankwang further, even beyond Gung-on.
As if feeling the tension, Han Jae-gyu looked at Park Kang-min and Yoo-seong alternately.
“You got into trouble? What is with that expression?”
“Oh, it’s because…”
Park Kang-min briefly explained what had happened in an embarrassed tone. However, before he even finished…
“Are you a kid?” Han Jae-gyu cut him off. “Why don’t you ignore him? Why are you paying him attention?”
Then he glanced up and down at Yoo-seong, who remained expressionless. He did not seem to care at all.
“Leave it alone,” Han Jae-gyu told Park Kang-min.
“Sorry,” Park Kang-min apologized to Han Jae-gyu.
Yoo-seong sighed and walked away.
“That jerk!” Park Kang-min hissed.
“I told you to ignore it.”
“But boss, your expression says otherwise!”
“It’s not like we won’t see each other again one day. You can give him a lesson some other time. I’m just saying that, right now, you don’t have to waste your time on that kind of thing,” Han Jae-gyu told Park Kang-min, who felt satisfied with his reasoning.
“We should finish the injection as soon as possible and return. I will get the next injection and go back first. When you and the rest of the guys are done, take the lead and get back as soon as possible,” said Han Jae-gyu.
“Huh? Did a crack appear?” Park Kang-min asked.
“No, it’s a lot more important than that.”
Everyone in the audience, including Hankwang’s hunters, was listening. Even the hunters who had nothing to do with them looked his way.
Han Jae-gyu spoke proudly as if intending to ensure everyone heard what he was about to say.
“Tonight, Oh Yoo-seong is coming to Hankwang.”
“Oh, oh, oh!”
A series of cheers burst from all over the place.
“Really, is it really Oh Yoo-seong?”
Park Kang-min flushed in excitement.
“Isn’t he still in Japan?”
“It looks like he got back yesterday. I called Oh Yoo-seong’s agent directly and asked.”
“Well then, when…”
“Actually, we haven’t gotten an appointment yet.”
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At this point, Han Jae-gyu slightly narrowed his eyes. The only thing Seoyu had told Hankwang was that Oh Yoo-seong had returned.
Despite receiving a direct call from the prestigious Hankwang Group, Seoyu had responded with a simple, “I’ll see to it later,” as if they were insignificant.
“As expected of Oh Yoo-seong. He must be a tough guy,” said Park Kang-min.
“But he will have to come this evening,” Han Jae-gyu confidently declared. “My grandfather promised to see to it personally.”
“The president himself?!” Park Kang-min asked in disbelief.
“Yes. No matter what it takes, the Hankwang Group will make sure that Oh Yoo-seong will be unable to refuse.”
President Han’s generous support for the hunting business was known throughout the community.
“Besides, he doesn’t have any schedule set for today.”
Park Kang-min, and even the hunters who were listening by their side, nodded.
“Unless something special happens, he will likely visit our building. Then we’ll show Oh Yoo-seong our facilities, equipment, levels, and vision there.”
A year ago, before Yoo-seong had gone to China, every young hunter had compared their progress to him, seeing him as their competition. However, that was not the case anymore.
Now, everyone knew that Oh Yoo-seong was someone they could not surpass on an individual level.
“This isn’t just about networking,” Han Jae-gyu said with emphasis. “All those Tech he got his hands on in Japan, those without successors…”
Yoo-seong was already esteemed on a level that no one in Korea could match. Creating a connection with him would mean nothing short of dominating the industry in the next generation.
“Let us celebrate together! This shows nothing but our current level. The time is yet to come, but we will definitely rise to the top!”
And just like that, everyone seemed to be more pumped up than ever.
Just in time, a notification that one of the empty injection rooms was available appeared on the monitor in the waiting area.
“Oh Yoo-seong?” The nurse’s loud voice cut through the room.
Yoo-seong, who was drinking from the water purifier, turned his head.
The hunters were confused.
“Did she just say Oh Yoo-seong?”
Everyone turned towards Yoo-seong.
However, only disappointment and laughter followed. Everyone already knew Yoo-seong’s face. This man, despite his surprising CE capacity, was not Oh Yoo-seong. He was probably just someone who had the same name.
Yoo-seong dumped his paper cup in the trash and headed toward the injection room. However…
“I’ll go first,” Han Jae-gyu said as he stepped in front of Yoo-seong and headed for the nurse.
“Uh… There…” The nurse didn’t seem to know what to do.
“You know who I am, don’t you?” Han Jae-gyu asked the embarrassed nurse.
Of course the nurse knew him. Han Jae-gyu was a famous hunter. But more than that, his family owned the hospital she was currently working in.
“It’s urgent. It’s an important business problem. I hope you understand.”
The nurse was left with no choice. She chose just to let it pass.
However, Yoo-seong wasn’t having it.
“I would like you to explain what is going on.”
Yoo-seong took a firm step toward the injection room.
“It’s my turn, and I’m the one scheduled for the day. I would gladly step aside if there’s an emergency, but you have to explain what’s going on first, and you’d need to ask for my approval too.”
Han Jae-gyu stared at Yoo-seong for a moment. Didn’t this dumb kid hear anything he’d just said?
“You are a completely insane person.”
Park Kang-min, who was beyond furious, approached Yoo-seong with arms lifted to attack.
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“You’re not going to fit in, but you need to know…”
Han Jae-gyu raised his arm to block Park Kang-min’s attack and stared at Yoo-seong coldly.
“Listen carefully. It’s a simple story.”
What came out of his mouth was not the explanation Yoo-seong wanted.
“The value of time is different for everyone. Some people make only a penny, while others make hundreds and thousands of times more in the same time.”
“And that’s a good reason to cut in?” Yoo-seong asked, trying his best to mask his anger.
“That’s a good reason. After all, it’s not just for me and you, but for all of society.”
Everyone was looking at them, holding their breath.
Someone whistled softly.
“Fine. You can go in first. I do not want to waste your time.” Han Jae-gyu pointed at the injection room with his chin. “However, you’d better keep that in mind, how expensive the time you’ve interrupted is…”
Before he even finished speaking, Yoo-seong was turning to head toward the injection room.
Han Jae-gyu was about to burst into anger.
The sound had not only come from Han Ja-gyu’s phone.
Dozens of electronic beeps echoed from every hunter’s phone within the hospital. It was an emergency alert from the Special Defense Agency. Everyone reflexively picked up their cell phones. And…
A mix of frustrated groans was heard.
It was an alert that a crack was going to appear.
Everyone had thought that no crack was scheduled within the next twelve hours. But an unexpected Typhoon-class crack was opening in the district next to the hospital.
More than half of the hunters in the hospital had been notified.
“We have no choice but to go,” someone muttered in lamentation.
In the old days, hunters from powerful groups would have gotten away with just a medical certificate to excuse them from the action.
However, after Yoo-seong confronted Gung-on about it, the medical certificate trick had disappeared surprisingly quickly from Korea.
Most of the hunters bit their lips.
“Today is completely ruined.”
It was not just that they couldn’t complete their injections. That was just a trivial inconvenience. However, today was their time to recover from accumulated minor injuries and get some rest.
The hunters thought that this was very unlucky timing. They had no idea when a rest day like this would come again, and, just because they were in a hospital in an unfortunate location, they would have to work overtime.
Most of them had just been through a recent operation involving a Storm-class crack.
Hankwang’s hunters, including Han Jae-gyu and Park Kang-min, also didn’t look very good.
The whole room’s mood was turned upside down. The rowdy cheers had been replaced by cursing and the insistent ringing from their phones.
“There is no need to go out.”
Han Jae-gyu spoke with authority.
Everyone looked at their boss.
“Everyone just has to continue waiting until they receive the medical care they were trying to get.”
Notably, out of all the hunters in that area, Yoo-seong’s phone had not rung.
“I did not want to use your own words, but…” Yoo-seong opened his phone and dialed a number. As he did, he looked straight at Han Jae-gyu. “You are right. Time has a different value for everyone. So I think you should learn how to use that time for a worthy cause, not just for power tripping.”
Before Han Jae-gyu was able to continue, Yoo-seong’s call connected.
“Director Yang Chang-guk?” he asked. After verifying the other person over the phone, he continued, “It’s me. I’m at Hankwang Hospital.”
Yoo-seong immediately stated his business. It was a very short conversation, consisting of just a few words.
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Then Yoo-seong hung up and placed the phone back in his pocket.
Quickly, everyone realized the power held in that single call. Because after just a moment, their phones stopped ringing.