One couldn’t find the addresses of Hunters on the Association’s website. The only things appearing there were the names of Hunters and their ranks.
A Hunter could provide the relevant information themselves, but Jin-Woo didn’t even leave behind his contact number there.
But, not only had this guy known his phone number, he was waiting near Jin-Woo’s home, so without a doubt, he must’ve gathered enough information before showing up here.
‘Ah, now that I think about it….’
He abruptly remembered something.
“I sensed a gaze on me earlier today, so I’m guessing that belonged to one of your people?”
Jin-Woo’s voice became a level colder.
The guy on the phone apologised with a polite tone of voice.
– “Please accept my apologies if you were inconvenienced by that. We just wanted to confirm the situation for ourselves. We wouldn’t have called you like this if we were thinking of harming you in some shape or form. If you take some time out and listen to what I have to say, I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.”
Jin-Woo pondered for a while, before speaking up.
“…..I’ll be there shortly.”
“The Hunters, the Reapers, the Knight Order, the Shining Star, and then us, the White Tiger. I’m sure you’ve heard of these names before.”
Ahn Sahng-Min read off the names of the top 5 Guilds in South Korea, one by one.
The number one Guild was the Hunters.
However, the Hunters didn’t start its life as the number one from the get-go. No, it was the Reapers who used to be the top dog.
However, after White Tiger separated itself from the Reapers, the number one spot changed hands.
Was this the case of the student becoming the master?
After going independent, the White Tiger leapfrogged the Reapers a long time ago. And they were aiming for the number one spot that, originally, belonged to the Reapers.
Ahn Sahng-Min was completely sure of it now.
He was sure of the fact that the man sitting across him, Seong Jin-Woo, would become an important piece of the puzzle and help the White Tiger ‘reclaim’ the glory of the past once more.
Ahn Sahng-Min presented his business card.
[Ahn Sahng-Min, Section Chief, Second Division, White Tiger Guild]
“My name is Ahn Sahng-Min, and I’m in charge of the Second Division of the White Tiger Guild, one of the top five in the country. Our role is to scout talented Hunters and manage them.”
If Seong Jin-Woo was any other Hunter, he’d have lowered his head 90 degrees before a business card was even brought out, and only then get to the main topic.
Unless one was an S-rank or an A, pretty much all Hunters dreamed of entering the White Tiger.
Honestly, Ahn Sahng-Min was hoping for that kind of reaction as well.
Unfortunately, Jin-Woo was different.
Not showing much reaction at all, he calmly asked what he wanted to ask first.
“Why does an officer of the White Tiger Guild perform background checks on someone like me?”
Ahn Sahng-Min inwardly flinched.
‘He’s not pressured even after hearing the name of the White Tiger?’
They haven’t spoken for long, but for some reason, Ahn Sahng-Min sensed that it’d be rather challenging to scout Seong Jin-Woo.
On the other hand, that only made him even more desperate to bring Seong Jin-Woo into his guild now.
Well, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for a newbie to be rather confident about himself, now would it?
‘Right, you gotta have at least balls as big as this, so we can start throwing you into whatever assignment that comes our way.’
Ahn Sahng-Min firmed his resolve once more.
“Let me get straight to the point. We wish to scout you, Mister Seong Jin-Woo. We promise to offer you double the amount of terms as offered by the Yujin Construction, no strings attached.”
Ahn Sahng-Min smiled deeply.
Yujin Construction was still in the middle of testing Seong Jin-Woo out.
‘They are being stupid.’
The speed at which he could clear a rank C dungeon, the publicity value of a Re-Awakened Hunter, and the calmness he was displaying in the current situation, etc….
No matter which side it was, there was no need to test this man out at all.
‘There’s no way that they have offered anything good, since they wouldn’t have figured out what his true worth is.’
That was why Ahn Sahng-Min was confident of doubling whatever terms Yujin offered this man. No, he was confident of offering something even better.
However, Jin-Woo’s stare became even colder.
“How did you know?”
Being on the receiving end of a reaction utterly contrary to his expectations, Ahn Sahng-Min ended up stuttering slightly, which was quite unbecoming of an experienced headhunter working for a large Guild.
“How did you find out about me?”
If Seong Jin-Woo’s voice actually had any physical weight, then that sentence would’ve crushed him to death, thought Ahn Sahng-Min.
‘What is this? This incredible pressure….?’
It was almost as if the other party was considering him as an enemy. Well, it was true that he had Jin-Woo followed, and one-sidedly demanded to meet like this.
From Jin-Woo’s perspective, it would be perfectly reasonable to consider Ahn Sahng-Min as his enemy.
Ahn Sahng-Min hurriedly explained himself.
“Ah, ah! It wasn’t our original intention to pry into your private affairs. We received information that someone was clearing rank C dungeons in our district at an alarming rate so we were investigating that. And that led us to find out about you, Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim.”
Jin-Woo retracted his gaze.
‘So, that’s what happened.’
Contrary to his thoughts, the other side didn’t seem to have begun their investigation while knowing that something didn’t add up about him. Simply by clearing dungeons far too quickly, he ended up being noticed instead.
‘And he doesn’t seem to be carrying any hostile intentions, either.’
Jin-Woo’s expression softened slightly. And as a result, the taut tension between the two men eased a little.
Ahn Sahng-Min patted his chest down.
Their conversation still hadn’t advanced forward, though. From here onwards, he had to get on Seong Jin-Woo’s good books.
‘And nothing’s better than the sharing of privileged information to get on someone’s good books.’
Ahn Sahng-Min was THE specialist when it came to scouting after all!
He quickly wiped the flustered expression off his face and formed a smile instead.
“Although it is a top secret, we know that the Chairman Yu Myung-Hwan is planning to establish a Guild of his own.”
Jin-Woo neither denied it or confirmed it.
So, Ahn Sahng-Min continued on.
“And that’s how we were able to figure it out when that person’s son, Mister Yu Jin-Ho made contact with you, Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim. And that is, they wish to bring you, a Re-Awakened Hunter, into their new Guild.”
Indeed, Ahn Sahng-Min thought that Jin-Woo was a Re-Awakened.
‘Well, I’m relieved that you think that way.’
Jin-Woo wouldn’t need to cook up another story here, in other words.
Ahn Sahng-Min quickly carried on.
“I thought that we need to talk to you before you signed up with Yujin, and that’s the only reason for my one-sided attempt to get in touch with you. Allow me to apologise once more if you’ve been greatly inconvenienced.”
Unless the other party approached him with evil intentions, there was no reason for Jin-Woo to get angry, especially when Ahn Sahng-Min was apologising this earnestly.
‘Besides, what’s more important here is that….’
Indeed, how should he go about dealing with this now?
While Jin-Woo pondered on what he should do here, Ahn Sahng-Min took the initiative and asked him a question.
“Have you finished negotiating with Yujin Construction already?”
He must’ve thought like this, because Jin-Woo was hesitating slightly with his replies.
Jin-Woo shook his head.
Ahn Sahng-Min’s expression immediately reverted from one that displayed a hint of anxiety, to a blooming smile.
‘Yes! That means he’s still a free agent!’
This was the perfect chance to catch the talented Hunter who could solo a rank C dungeon in 30 minutes.
To be more specific, a rank D Hunter also accompanied him, but to someone who possessed abilities exceeding a rank B, such a person would no longer provide any help but would only serve as a luggage carrier, instead.
‘If Seong Jin-Woo enters the White Tiger, and is ranked A after his re-assignment test, then…!’
An even bigger smile threatened to break out of his face, so Ahn Sahng-Min was having a hard time trying to regulate his expressions.
Meanwhile, Jin-Woo was slowly scratching his chin.
‘This guy, why does it feel like he’s counting his chickens way before they hatch?’
Well, truthfully speaking, a Guild like White Tiger was not a bad choice. Not only was it one of the top five, but it also possessed enough potential to aim for the number one spot.
However, Jin-Woo wasn’t planning to enter a Guild any time soon.
‘Because, the higher my level is, the better the treatment I’d get.’
Also, even though it might be a story in the distant future, or maybe even something completely improbable, but….
‘Just like how I’ve been clearing the rank C dungeons, what if I can clear rank B and A dungeons solo?’
The profit earned from high-ranked dungeons exceeded one’s imaginations.
They were the sole reason why large Guilds could grow powerful enough to rival many large corporations now.
Expensive magic crystals, corpses of the monsters, rare materials from the dungeons themselves, and even things like Rune stones and other artefacts, too.
An astronomical amount of money changed hands every day.
He could potentially hog them all for himself, so was there a reason for him to share them with a Guild?
‘As long as this level up thing doesn’t stop, it’s not an impossible dream.’
So, at this point in time, entering a Guild was way too premature.
The corners of Jin-Woo’s lips slowly arched up.
Ahn Sahng-Min thought that was a sign of an incoming positive answer, and smiled along as well.
“Have you made up your mind?”
“You promised to double the amount offered, yes?”
“Yes, that’s correct. If you find my offer not to your liking, then I’m prepared to offer you more.”
“In that case, how much is the building the White Tiger calls home?”
Ahn Sahng-Min’s face froze for a second there.
‘Is he questioning the financial muscle of the White Tiger?’
But, there was no need to get worked up here. Indeed, this was a great opportunity to advertise his Guild. There was nothing to hide, and absolutely no reason why he couldn’t talk, either.
This was for the better, he thought.
“The estimated price is around 50 billion Won. Also, although there are different businesses using the building aside from us, it still belongs to the White Tiger Guild.” (TL: Around $45 million)
Ahn Sahng-Min proudly spoke.
In the beginning, the Guild was renting some space in that building. But once they stabilised and found their footing, they simply bought it outright.
It took only one year to do so, too.
It was one of the easiest ways to learn just how much large Guilds made in a year.
If the other side wanted, Ahn Sahng-Min was willing to disclose the annual profit and the overall revenue, too. But then, after hearing a single sentence uttered by Jin-Woo, he became completely speechless.
“Can you hand over that building to me, then?”
“I beg your pardon?”
Ahn Sahng-Min’s eyes opened up real wide.
He doubted his own hearing, so he asked back.
“C-can you explain what you mean by that?”
Jin-Woo calmly explained himself.
“You see, Yujin has promised to hand over a building worth around 30 billion Won. If the White Tiger’s building is indeed around 50 billion, well, it’s not exactly the double the price, but I can overlook such things.”
Ahn Sahng-Min couldn’t close his slack jaw.
Seong Jin-Woo’s career spanned four years.
However, most of those were spent as a rank E.
And it hadn’t been long since he got noticed by someone. In other words, he must’ve gone through his Re-Awakening process not too long ago.
Yet, just how incredible was his ability that someone like Yu Myung-Hwan, famous for his wily business smarts, promised the huge amount of 30 billion Won?
Not only that, even before Seong Jin-Woo had gone through with the re-assignment test, too?!
‘W-wait. Could he be lying here, because I won’t be able to confirm if this is true or not?’
Ahn Sahng-Min narrowed his eyes, feeling suspicious.
As if he had read Ahn Sahng-Min’s thoughts, Jin-Woo pulled out his phone and quickly dialled a number.
– “Yes, hyung-nim?”
It was in the evenings and the interior of the cafe was quiet. Still, Jin-Woo put the phone on speaker and raised the volume to the maximum.
“Hey, Jin-Ho. I wanted to ask you about something.”
– “Please ask anything, hyung-nim.”
Jin-Ho? Was this Yu Jin-Ho?
Ahn Sahng-Min nervously swallowed his saliva.
‘Could he be thinking of telling Yu Jin-Ho what we’ve been discussing just now??’
Too bad, Ahn Sahng-Min’s expectation was a bit off the mark.
Jin-Woo spoke about something else.
“That building you wanted to give to me, how much did you say it was?”
< Chapter 41 > Fin.