There is a reason for an unconditional favour (1)
“A…are you for real? No way…you’re lying again, aren’t you?”
“I don’t play around with someone’s life.”
Miss Seol could not really fully understand how much weight that statement from Kang-Joon carries. In the world of hunters, especially for those wandering around the whole world with no particular place to stay, murder is never something too far away. Intimidated a little bit, Miss Seol just nods her head.
“Oh…oh yes. I’m sorry.”
“Well, even that was kind of a lie, to be honest.”
Looking at Kang-Joon flipping his attitude, Miss Seol frowns a little.
“Well, The Awakes enhance their power by absorbing Aether right? If she absorbs a large amount, she should be able to make up for the life she’s been burning off.”
“How much would she need?”
Kang-Joon casually opens up his palm, stretching his five fingers out.
“Probably about 50 Million worth.”
The power used by Avatar users requires something rather big in return. Hence, getting back from the internal damage caused by the excessive use of power is not quite easy as well. So, what Kang-Joon is saying right now is somewhat of a lie and somewhat of a truth. 50 million is hard to be even described as ‘a lot’ of money. It is a tremendous amount. To switch up the mood, Miss Seol tries to put on a smile.
“Well…Well… guess it’s all good for the business! Why don’t we all go and have a meal together? There’s no job left to do today, right?”
Kang-Joon smiles as Miss Seol shakes up Finance Manager Song, who’s been snoring the whole time.
“Song, let’s go eat up.”
“Uhmm…yea…are we done for the day?”
“There’s no job anyways. So why don’t we leave a little early?”
“I’ll just head home then, thanks.”
Finance Manager Song, who has slept through the whole day since the moment he got into the office, packs his stuff one by one and stands up from his seat.
“Got something urgent to do?”
“I bought PS4.”
Miss Seol gives him a nod. Then Song storms out of the office right away. Kang-Joon, looking at Song’s empty seat, tilts his head a little bit.
“Well…free and casual atmosphere, huh?”
“Ha, ha…haha…we…well he is someone our company really needs.”
Though Miss Seol avoids to really say what Song is needed for, Kang-Joon does not really want to ask her in detail anyway.
“What should we have?”
“I’m keen for Korean Beef.”
“Well what about American…”
“Good day today. You told me you got money, right?”
“O…ok! Good day today! Korean Beef it is!”
Triggered by Kang-Joon, Miss Seol comes to think that maybe she is starting to be swayed around by him even though she is the boss. They head their way to have some Korean Beef with a few drinks with Miss Seol’s suggestion. Miss Seol, after a few shots, shows her gladness about the new recruit with an excited face.
“I, I…still know a lot of people in this scene and got some good connections here and there… It’s just we didn’t have any chances to use it… Baaaaaack then I was running like thirty teams…Seocho, Hannam and Eijeongbu were entirely our areas…”
“Boss, you crying right now?”
“N…no… course I’m not! It’s a good day. Thanks to you, I’m getting a feeling that everything’s going to work out fine. I’ve never seen or heard any new manager signing a hunter that big…”
“It’s going to happen frequently from now on.”
To form a team, they still need a least two more people and Kang-Joon is ready to go get them no matter what. Miss Seol laughs off Kang-Joon’s confidence saying that it is ridiculous. Yet, she feels that maybe, maybe this exceptional new manager can really pull anything off.
Hero Management Inc. might have received the best surprise gift called Kang-Joon. However, Kang-Joon is no fool about this industry. All the connections of Miss Seol will one day become Kang-Joon’s infrastructure. From legal advisers to accounting, equipment factories and exchange of the resources to cash, there is a lot of things to learn to start off the business. Starting with no prior knowledge would only mean a big waste of money and failure.
The conversation continues on and on with Korean Beef grilling until the sun starts to hide away. Miss Seol is good with drinks, so is Kang-Joon.
“Hmmm, I really have never heard of such ability as Avatar, though.”
“It surely is rare.”
“Knew anyone with that ability?”
“Then that person must’ve… Oh, I’m sorry. I…I must be drunk…”
Seeing Kang-Joon’s face turning stiff as she brings out the question, Miss Seol shuts herself up. Then, Kang-Joon lifts his shoulders up a little, as if he tries to say there’s nothing wrong with asking.
“Don’t be. I know that much about Gi-Na’s ability because I knew someone who died because of that power.”
Kang-Joon still remembers the scene with the spirit running rampage when he was in the North Pole area. Surely, it is a memory he does not enjoy recalling at all. The scene of someone who was a good partner minute ago turning wild all of a sudden, destroying the surroundings while throwing the power everywhere and tearing another comrade apart was nothing but the pit of hell itself.
“Avatar users are dangerous. Even if it’s not us, someone needs to take care of them and if someone was to do it anyway, I’d be the best fit since I know more than anyone else.”
The Awakes, when they fail to control their power or their emotions properly, they always carry a risk to run rampage. Such rampage is lethal and dangerous for everybody. Especially if a power like Avatar runs wild, the disaster that would come out of it is beyond imagination. Miss Seol instinctively feels that one of Kang-Joon’s partners must have gone wild.
“If such a scene happens… what do we do?”
It is no longer something rude for her to ask, as the CEO of the management which signed a hunter with such ability, she holds the rights to know about the topic. Kang-Joon casually answers.
“It’s difficult to get rid of the Avatar itself so the unprotected controller has to be terminated.”
In cases of Avatar spirit running wild, that would be the best resolution. Of course, it is on the assumption that the Avatar user has not woken up to their real power yet…Kang-Joon, saying no more words, gulps down a shot and Miss Seol comes to recognise the snippet of emotion from Kang-Joon’s face. Recognising, Miss Seol’s stare, Kang-Joon puts on a smile.
“I must be a little drunk.”
Probably because he has not been drunk in a while, his true emotions showed up on his face for a split second. Miss Seol cannot still figure out who that Avatar user might have been.
She can sense that the very person who killed the controller is probably Kang-Joon. Coming back to his normal face, Kang-Joon is picking up a few pieces of meat with a bitter smile. Miss Seol comes to think Kang-Joon may be more of a complicated person than she thought.
However, this is no time for her to worry about Kang-Joon. Hero Management Inc. has finally signed a hunter after three months of downfall and today is the day to celebrate. Filling up Kang-Joon’s glass, Miss Seol opens her mouth.
“Drinking irresponsibly is never good.”
“Well, if we don’t feel alright tomorrow, we’ll just close!”
“Lazy…? I’m filled with motivation right now!”
Yet, Kang-Joon clinks his glass to Miss Seol’s.
Gi-Na is still on hold as she is looking for someone to hand the job over so there is a few days left until she gets the legitimate hunter ID and starts working. The biggest change is Miss Seol, who has been very idle until Kang-Joon brought in Gi-Na.
The Finance Manger Song, as usual, has been doing an exceptional job at being nobody in the office. Possibly staying up all night playing games, his day at the office, majority of the time, is just slept away. Despite all that, Miss Seol does not really do anything about him. There must be some sort of a secret between the two yet Kang-Joon does not feel the need to find out.
With the new hunter signed, Miss Seol, really filled with motivation, has been moving fast calling up the equipment factories and contacting here and there. Her statement about the connections was not a lie and she surely has been busy calling up different people.
“Oh, Mr. Choi, how are you doing? Yes, it’s Seol. Yes. Yes. Oh, we signed a new hunter. We’re going to put together a team soon. About time we stand back up. This new guy just brought me a massive surprise. It all feels like a dream you know? Ah, haha, stop joking around…huh? Is, is this really a dream?”
With an attitude hard to be defined either of business or chatter, Miss Seol keeps calling up different people, soon to let out a scream of joy.
“Yep, Huh?! Really? Are you for real? Wow, thank you! I’ll never forget this!”
Hanging up, she runs towards Kang-Joon and throws up a victory sign with her fingers with her eyes twinkling. She almost looks like a younger sister playing cute with her brother, rather than a CEO of a firm who is in her late thirties.
“Kang-Joon! I did it!”
“I just called up the CEO of this factory called ‘The Crescent’ and they’ll send us a used set of Aether devices as a cheer-up gift! With three Armour Coats as well! They are all charged up so we should be able to use it right away!”
Aether devices are those run on Aether, which can be extracted from the monsters in dungeon.
Dungeon monsters, have a surprisingly great defence ability in general. It is to the point where, beyond a particular rank, normal fire weapons do not work on them at all. Extracted from those monsters, the milky crystal called Aether lets out a strong wave of energy and that energy in particular has proven itself to work great against any monsters including those in the dungeons. The crystals can be manufactured into different attacking devices such as sword, the most basic form, to spear, bow, needle, claw and blaster.
For the hunters, especially the Pure Hunters and the Knights, it is an absolute necessity.
Above everything, Armour Coats, since they provide a great defence, could be more important than weapons.
Even the Aether weapons with the lowest quality are sold for well over a thousand and the ones the hunters can really trust and use for a while go well over ten times that.
Armour Coats, which require the Cube, rarest of the energy crystals (Aether, Cube, Core), are even more expensive than that. The lowest quality ones are easily over three thousand.
Both the weapons and the Armour Coats, high quality ones do not even have a set price. So, Miss Seol supposedly just made more than ten thousand for free. However, Kang-Joon looks back at her, unimpressed.
“Huh? Is there something on my face?”
“Boss, are you tight with that person from The Crescent?”
“Hmm… we did some deals back in the days. Haven’t contacted them a lot these days, of course.”
“Their gift, I don’t think it’s a very good idea.”
“Why is that?”
Kang-Joon does not know quite well about the management industry. But, like everyone does, he carries a few mottos in his spirit which he lives by. Calmly, he talks to Miss Seol, who is questioningly looking at him.
“There is a reason for an unconditional favour.”
“Are you saying they have a hidden motto?”
“Well, not sure if it’s a hidden motto or whatever…”
Sipping his coffee, Kang-Joon tilts his head.
“Once the equipment gets here, I’ll check on it.”
As a veteran hunter, Kang-Joon has held all kinds of hunter equipment and gone through everything from the lowest quality to the high-end products. He knows how to do a general check-up, basic assembly and easy fixes.
The set of equipment is delivered to the office two days later with the postage paid. In the box are three sets of equipment and Kang-Joon lays them out one by one with Miss Seol watching him.
It contains three of Aether swords and three of old-style Armour Coats.
“Why? Is there any problems?”
“No, it’s just… they are way too clean.”
As if they have done some good washing and a thorough check-up, the three sets of equipment, though they may be old, look dirt-free clean. If they are old enough to lose profitability and therefore sent to someone for free, Kang-Joon expected the packing to be a little loose and clumsy yet they are looking better than his expectation. Of course, as they are sent as a gift, there is nothing weird about doing a check-up on them as a favour for the future users.
“Let’s head to the rooftop.”
Carrying the equipment, they get to the rooftop of the building. There is a group of people smoking around the edge of the empty space. As Kang-Joon and Miss Seol get there, they look at the two interestingly.
“Step back a little bit.”
Holding the handle of Aether sword, Kang-Joon activates the blade straight away.
Milky blade comes flooding out of the handle and Kang-Joon sways the sword left and right casually. With him handling such a dangerous weapon so casually, Miss Seol’s face goes blank.
“Wh, what are you doing? Be careful!”
Aether swords are not only strong against the monsters, but really against anything. Quite literally, Aether swords are like lightsabers, cutting through almost everything they touch like a knife cutting through a piece of onion. The only difference is that they are not simply a cluster of plasma in the shape of a blade, but a real blade with its physical form by the energy from Aether. So the user can feel the strikes and the slashes to their hands.
Recognising a random mad person swinging an Aether sword, other people hurry their way back into the building. Only Kang-Joon and Miss Seol remain standing on the rooftop.
Although the weapon has jumped over the rules of physics and technology in many different aspects, there is no denying that it is the best weapon to fight against the monsters. The best sword of this time is no more than a blunt piece of metal compared to the sharpness of the lowest quality Aether sword.
Kang-Joon, bravely, touches the side of the blade and looks carefully around the handle. Then, He throws it away to the corner of the rooftop activated. Miss Seol carefully asks.
“How is it?”
“Capacity wise, it’s hard to say it is the lowest quality. It seems pretty good.”
“We’ll leave it on until it runs out.”
“Huh? Why would we want to waste the energy?”
Aether devices, obviously, run on charged Aether and once they run flat, they do not work anymore. Aether is an expensive type of resource and continuous usage of Aether devices means continuous loss of money. What Kang-Joon is doing is almost like leaving the car running until it runs out on its fuel. Of course, Miss Seol is surprised. Additionally, the price of gasoline and Aether is nothing to be compared against each other anyway.
Whether Miss Seol is questioning or not Kang-Joon does what he needs to do. Then, he goes on to try out the Armour Coat. Putting the Coat on then activating it, blue field starts to generate around Kang-Joon. Although the defence provided by the Armour Coat itself is great, the user could activate an Armour Field around them to generate a blue force field to protect them from damage in every direction.
Requiring Cube, which can only be obtained in the Pocket Dimension, Armour Coats are great means of defence for any type of hunters.
“Seems to have no temperature control…Boss, throw something heavy at me.”
“Yea, as hard as you can.”
Miss Seol comes back with a paving block.
“Uh, why do they have that on the rooftop?”
“Leftover from that little garden construction thing they used to do, I guess. Should I throw it?”
Hesitating whether or not he should trust this old Armour Coat, Kang-Joon nods his head with a stiff face.
“Throw it hard?”
“Yea. As hard as you can.”
Miss Seol throws the brick with all her strength. It flies right into Kang-Joon’s face. Then,
Kang-Joon notices the flickering and decaying of the light-blue force field in front of his eyes.
It’s a matter of a split second. Getting hit by a brick in the face would lead to severe injury at least and death at the worst. However, Kang-Joon is a veteran hunter.
In those moments, Kang-Joon pulls out his Aether sword from his waist, smashing the brick with the side of the blade. As soon as the side comes in contact with the brick, the brick explodes into pieces like a balloon. Miss Seol, completely forgetting what she threw the brick for, drops her jaw wide then gives Kang-Joon a clap.
Smashing away a brick which is flying right into the face with no prior preparation is obviously not a stunt that anyone can pull off.
“Th, that was amazing…”
Kang-Joon, barely out of the panic, lets out a few heavy breaths.