Chapter 27: Something Unknown (1)


Despite how busy he was, Jiho visited his family’s house for the first time in a while in order to attend the family meeting.

The family meetings take place once a month.
Almost everyone in the family attends without fail.
Although his family is close and contacts each other often, it’s hard for them to see each other unless they set a date to meet up like this since everyone is so busy.

As soon as he entered the house, Jiho’s mother, Lee Soon Hui, spread her arms out to welcome him. 

“Mom!”

“Our Jiho came.”

His mother’s face brightened when Jiho ran into her arms like he did when he was young.
Jiho, too, felt secure in his mother’s familiar embrace.

“My son suffered a lot, right?”

“I was good, of course…”

Seeing that his mother’s expression was the brightest it’s been this past year, Jiho purposefully smiled even brighter.

The people who were the most disappointed by how much their precious1 youngest son suffered as he was cursed at were probably his parents.
But by that same token, the happiest people right now were probably his parents as well.

Jiho held his mother’s hand tightly as he entered the living room.
His father, who was sitting on the sofa in the middle of the room, twitched.

His father cared more about appearances than his mother did.
Even though his father acted awkward when Jiho ran up to hug him, he still skillfully hugged Jiho in a tight embrace.

“Dad, have you been well?”

“Of course.
I’m always doing well.
You have been through a lot.”

“I am doing well.”

Despite his warm personality, Jiho’s father, Shin Joong Ho, isn’t very good at expressing it. 

Because of this, he usually has a stoic look on his face no matter the occasion.
But today, the corners of his mouth kept rising and he couldn’t hide his smile. 

In order to raise his parents’ spirits, Jiho sat on the sofa and told them everything that had happened since they last met.
Since he focused on only telling them the good things that happened, his parents were very happy. 

After helplessly accepting the money his parents forced him to take despite him rejecting it, Jiho greeted his older brother and sister-in-law before heading to the living room on the second floor to rest.

“Ah, Uncle!”

Jiho had planned to rest on the sofa he used to rest on before he moved out of the house, but Shin Jaeun was already sitting on it.

Shin Jeaun is Jiho’s older brother’s son–in other words, Jiho’s nephew.

But because they are only six years apart from each other, Jiho thought of Jaeun more as a younger cousin.2 They used to hang out together as if they were cousins too.

A few years ago, while Jaeun was going through his adolescent period, he even tried to treat Jiho as an equal.3

Jaeun was heavily scolded by Jiho’s older brother and sister-in-law that time.
Even Jiho’s father, who usually spoiled his grandson, scolded Jaeun for the first time, saying that even though it’s good the two are close, family order cannot dissolve.

From Jaeun’s perspective, he had been scolded because of Jiho.
This made him angry and hurt his pride, so he acted distant for a while but…

When Jiho woke up from his coma, one of the most surprising things was Jaeun’s change.

While Jiho was unconscious, Jaeun went from middle school to high school.
The child who was once smaller than Jiho had transformed into a young man.
When Jiho first saw him, he thought Jaeun was a stranger.
It was after he saw Jaeun sobbing as soon as he saw Jiho’s face that Jiho thought, Ah, this really is my nephew.


Anyways, now that he was a little older, Jaeun became more dependable, and his crooked attitude turned straight again.
Jaeun obediently calls Jiho “Uncle,” and even though he still acts immature sometimes, he treats Jiho as an elder. 

In fact, Jaeun was a lot friendlier than before, perhaps because he had worried that Jiho, who he had been close to since he was young, might die.

The people who told Jiho about how the world had changed after he woke up from his coma were his friends and Jaeun.

Because Joo Yiwon was so busy at the time, he didn’t pay attention to Jiho much.
Even though he came to see him often, all he did was tease Jiho for a bit before leaving.

As soon as Jaeun saw Jiho, he grabbed him and started talking passionately. 

Like most people these days, the topic Shin Jaeun was most interested in was awakened ones and hunters.

When asked about their dream jobs, most of the young these days will answer something related to awakened ones.
Of course, since they can’t force themselves to awaken, that dream job is really like a far-off dream, but they all hold onto the hope of a ‘someday’ when they will awaken.

“Uncle, Uncle.”

“Yes.”

“I watched all of the new MeTube videos with Uncle in it.
I liked them and told all of my friends to like those videos too.
I even asked my teachers to like them; there must’ve been at least a hundred people who liked them.”

“Ah, thanks.”

“This time, I didn’t have to report anything.
It was clean.
All of the cyberbullies who attacked you, Uncle, are quiet.”

“Ah, yeah…”

Although he was grateful, Jaeun made him remember things he didn’t want to remember.
Jiho never cared about MeTube in the first place… he doesn’t know what difference 100 people liking the video makes.

Though he’s happy that the people who used to attack him are now acting carefully because it’s proof that public opinion is changing…

Jiho didn’t feel that great about it since he automatically remembered all the rumors they used to spread.

Jaeun, who didn’t notice Jiho’s unpleasant state, came up next to him and showed Jiho his smartphone screen.

“Uncle, have you seen this?”

“What?”

Jaeun showed him a play button for MeTube.
The title under the video was very stimulating. 

A person came out of a gate?? First-look at a shocking video

“…”

Jiho, who was trying to accept whatever his nephew told him since he hadn’t seen him in a while, sent a pitying gaze to Jaeun.

“Instead of looking at stuff like this, study.
Does Hyung know what you do?”

“Ah, Uncle.
Don’t act like a kkondae.”

“How could I not act like a kkondae when you’re watching nonsense like this?”


“No, just watch it first.
This was filmed on a CCTV camera.
A person walking out of a gate was caught on camera.”

“It’s probably just a hunter going in and out of a dungeon.”

“This is a fissure! You think I can’t tell those apart?”

Of course.
Since you’re not a hunter, it’s possible. Instead of nagging him like that, Jiho bobbed his head.

“Okay, okay.
Then play it.”

Jaeun handed the phone over to Jiho for him to watch. 

A low-resolution video starts playing on the small screen.
Not only was it not clear to begin with because it was CCTV footage, but it was zoomed in too. 

The video shows an empty park in the middle of the night.
The bushes are way overgrown, as if the park isn’t taken care of very well.
The empty park looks so gloomy that it could be the scene of a ghost story.

After about 15 seconds passed, one part of the CCTV footage distorted, as if someone had crumpled that part up.
Jiho tilted his head and focused a little harder on the video.

Normal filming devices aren’t able to completely capture things like fissures or gates.
There are videos edited by mana waves, but the distortion on this video looked too real to argue that someone faked it.

The video fast-forwarded.
Unlike other fissures, no monsters came out of the fissure in the video.
The fissure stayed in the same spot with no other movement.

When ten minutes passed in the CCTV footage. 

Something slowly walked out of the part of the video that was glitching.

A head and body.
Biped.
It definitely had the appearance of a human.
When compared to its surroundings, it looked about as big as an average adult man.

The video stopped.

The MeTuber put a picture at the highest brightness up and started talking about the person coming out of the fissure.

But because it was dark and there were bushes blocking the way, it was hard to make out the exact appearance of the figure.
They were only able to see the back of the head, a straight body, and the legs.

Jiho snorted.
The video smelled so fake that it was laughable to think that he concentrated on it for a second.

This is just a fake video made to look somewhat reliable.
It’s no different from the fake psychics that used to go around before the fissures happened. 

There have been lots of monsters that walk on two feet like humans before.

But no monster has ever looked exactly like a human.
Anyone can tell that they’re different from creatures of this world.

Compared to those monsters, this is a person’s silhouette.
Not only is there nothing to indicate that it’s not human, but the moment it came out of the fissure wasn’t captured either.
There was a high chance that this was just a passerby. 

On top of that, if this was real, would it only be going around MeTube?

It’s possible to check fissures that have already opened.
If they found out that a monster had left the area after checking the mana traces around the fissure, an alert would have been sent to all of the guilds.

It has only been three years since unknown beings began to spill onto Earth.
It is a time where even cults are capitalizing off of it, saying that fissures are God’s punishment and that this is the end of the world.

This, too, is just another bit of fake news.

Jiho thought no one believed in these things; to think someone like that is right next to him…


Jiho tsked and handed the smartphone that was replaying the video back to Jaeun. 

“Instead of watching stuff like this, study, Jaeun.”

“Sh*…”

Jaeun’s face darkened from anger since Jiho wouldn’t believe him.
Instead of nagging him more, Jiho comforted Jaeun.

“They’re just trying to start something since people are nervous about how the predictions are off these days.
Don’t fall for this stuff.”

“But Hershey said something was off too.”

“Who’s Hershey?”

“Look.”

Jaeun moved his hand and showed Jiho another MeTuber.

On the screen was a man with light blue hair who looked just over twenty.
Judging from how the rest of the hair on his body was dyed too, it looked like he used a dye item4.

“Isn’t he handsome? He’s a MeTuber, but he’s a hunter too.”

Jaeun looked proud, as if the person he was talking about was himself.
Seeing this, Jiho was even more unimpressed.
He was worried that this brat would be scammed later on…

“There’s a lot of fake hunters too.”

“Hershey isn’t like that!”

“…”

It was ridiculous how fast Jaeun refuted him.
There’s so much false information on MeTube; how can he believe all of that…

If he believes everything on MeTube, then Shin Jiho is an immoral piece of trash.

Jiho considered whether he should tell his brother to educate his son properly.
Jaeun spoke as if he was wronged. 

“It’s true.
Hershey is in Heaven Guild.”

“Heaven?”

Heaven is the name of the guild set up by Heaven5,which is one of Korea’s major conglomerates.
One of the four S-rank guilds in Korea.
Of those four, Heaven is the biggest in size.

Although he’s probably not some scammer if he’s in Heaven Guild, that’s not the problem here.

It might be obvious, but Heaven and Chungram don’t have that good of a relationship with each other. 

If you were to just compare the guilds, Chungram is by far in the lead, but the difference between their parent companies, Heaven and Chungram, is large.
A tight power struggle is going on right now, but this brat who grew up comfortably thanks to Chungram’s money…

Jiho hit Jaeun over the head.

“OW!”

“There’s other things you can like.
How can you like Heaven Guild?”

“I don’t like Heaven either! I only like Hershey!”


“Ha.”

Speechless, Jiho looked at the guy on the screen.
Jiho hadn’t recognized him because his hairstyle was different from before.
But after hearing he was from Heaven Guild, Jiho knew who he was.

Hershey, or Heo Su Hyuk6, is an awakened one who is more famous as a MeTuber than as a hunter.

There are a lot of awakened ones who became famous for their unusual skills, and Hershey is one of them.

Jiho heard that Hershey was once an idol trainee… Since he was both pretty and talented, he was very popular.

Unlike the lower ranks of similar MeTubers, Hershey is a skilled B-rank support hunter.
Because he’s also in Heaven Guild, there was no way he wouldn’t have risen.

Of course, the most famous hunter is Joo Yiwon.

Even though he’s rich, he shoots a lot of commercials, appears on TV sometimes, and does interviews.

Although MeTuber or celebrity awakened ones like Hershey are sometimes criticized for doing that instead of protecting the world, no one says that about Joo Yiwon.
To say that Joo Yiwon isn’t working hard as a hunter, he’s always been first in the number of dungeon raids participated in after awakening. 

“Uncle, are you thinking of Yiwon hyung?”

Jiho was shocked by the sudden jab.

“How did you know?”

“Just from your expression… Ha, both Uncle and Hyung really…”

Jaeun said some baffling words and shook his head side-to-side as he sat on the sofa across from Jiho.

Instead of asking Jaeun to clarify his confusing words, Jiho answered all of the questions Jaeun had about hunters.

After 30 minutes of talking with each other, Jaeun, who was looking out the window, jumped up.

“Hyung’s here.”

“Joo Yiwon?”

Shin Jihye and Joo Yiwon were walking across the front yard together.
Did they get off work from the guild together?

Click to skip

Footnotes

(Click on the numbers to return)

1. The idiom used here, 눈에 넣어도 아프지 않다, is most similar to the English idiom, apple of one’s eye.
It means that something is so precious and lovely that even if it was stuck in their eye, they wouldn’t mind.

2. From what I know, Author-nim has never revealed Jiho’s older brother’s age, but his older sister is 19 years older than Jiho.
Since his brother is the oldest, they’re at least 20 years apart!

3. Korea treats seniority very important, but this doesn’t always mean age.
Jiho is technically a generation above Jaeun.
So no matter how close in age they are–and even if Jaeun was older than Jiho–Jiho would have still been considered his elder.

4. Man if only there was something like this in this world.

5. Heaven Guild and Heaven Co.
use two different words.
The word for the guild (하늘) can mean both sky and heaven.
The word for the co.
(천공) would fit better with “the heavens,” but I figured Heaven has a nicer ring to it.

6. The first letter of Hershey is 허, which is the same as his last name, Heo.

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