w corrupt Shin Jiho was.

“No.
I’m not, so you don’t have to get so defensive…”

Just like usual, Hojin sounded insecure, and his words trailed off at the end.
But everything suddenly felt suspicious after Jiho started doubting him once.

The fact that he joined the guild when they weren’t looking for new guildmembers, that he doesn’t try to get close to other people and stays by Jiho’s side, and even his curved eyes that always seem like they’re smiling3 all feel suspicious.

Upon receiving the eyes full of doubt, Hojin sweated as he explained.

“I’m really not… I’m just curious.
Since you are the first hunter.”

“…There’s been a couple of people like that, but I’m really not all that.”

There were a lot of people who were simply interested in the title of “first” like Hojin is.
But they all left after Jiho was revealed as a B-rank.

“That’s… from before.”

“…”

“Not anymore.”

Unlike usual, Hojin spoke firmly.

Hojin, who has experienced what kind of power Jiho has now, knows well.

And he even knows that Jiho, like other hunters, is probably not showing all of his skills and hiding his power.

“Then what is Hunter Yang Hojin’s goal?”

“I, really don’t have a goal.
Though I, did have a bit of interest.
No Name had the best conditions of the guilds I could join…”

“So were you able to satisfy your curiosity?”

Yang Hojin’s eyes grew a little big from the slightly accusatory tone.
But then a gentle smile appeared on Hojin’s face.
Though he was good-looking, he used to come off as a little untrustworthy.
But in that instant, Jiho suddenly felt like he could trust Hojin for some reason.


“A little…”

“Is there something else you want to know?”

“Hm…”

Hojin’s eyes curved.
He seemed strangely pleased. 

“Guildmaster-nim g-grew up, in a… nice environment.
And then you… suffered a bit.”

“…Yes.”

“It must have been quite hard.
Why you continued being a hunter… is what I am most curious about.
If it was me, I don’t think I would have been able to hold on…”

Hojin’s question was both unexpected and outside of Jiho’s expectations.

It’s something a lot of people have been curious about.
There were a lot of people who asked him this straight to his face, and most of them asked him in order to entertain themselves.
Jiho never answered that question from anyone who was trying to entertain themselves through him.

But… it didn’t seem like Hojin was teasing him.
Although he was asking lightly, his gaze was sincere. 

Does he have an ulterior motive, or is he truly just curious…

When Yang Hojin has [Blessing of the Star], it lasts about eight hours.
Heo Sori lasts about twelve, and Lim Seung Joo about four.
Most of the hunters that Jiho has never met before last for about three hours.

Information

Blessing of the Star (Lv.
1)
Rank EX
Explanation A sacred blessing passed through the mana of the purest soul. 
Increases all of the stats of the receiver.
Effect differs according to skill level, receiver’s favorability4 towards user, and existing mana.
There is no limit to how much the stats can be increased. 
However, the skill cannot be used on yourself.

Although it isn’t explicitly stated, Jiho is pretty sure that “receiver’s favorability” affects how long the skill lasts for each person.
Heo Sori is pretty familiar with Jiho, and Lim Seung Joo isn’t much different from hunters Jiho meets for the first time.

If that’s so, then Yang Hojin’s level of favorability towards him… is quite high.
Even though people can betray the people they like, Jiho wanted to try believing him.

It doesn’t matter if Hojin was just asking to grab a lead.
It doesn’t matter if he’s trying to harm Jiho by throwing a question out as bait, and if it’s just curiosity, Jiho can simply satisfy it.

Jiho opened his mouth truthfully.


“There’s a lot of different reasons.
The reason I wanted to become a hunter at first is… you might not believe this, but it’s because I wanted to protect people.”

“To protect people?”

“Yes.
Hunter Yang Hojin probably knows this already, but… because my house is fairly wealthy, I didn’t start because of money.
I didn’t really need glory either.
Though I might need it a bit now since I was cursed so badly…”

Jiho trailed off and laughed.
Although he wanted it to come off as a joke, Hojin’s face was serious.
Jiho, too, stopped smiling and continued.

“I’m a B-rank.
Of course, there was that rank scandal because of that, but since my rank is pretty useful, I wanted to help people.
Even though Korea is pretty stable, no one knows how things will turn out later.
If there’s something I can do, I want to do it the best I can.
That was my thought at first.
Now…”

His voice trembled slightly.
Jiho pretended to be calm and cleared his throat.

“I also felt wronged about being cursed at.
It would’ve been fine if I was the only one to be attacked, but it even hurt my family.
That’s why I wanted to change people’s perception of me.
That I’m not a corrupt hunter.
That I’m upright… Something like that.”

“D-Did you not hate people? You could have thought that everyone should go off and die.”

“Pardon? To go that far just for being cursed a little…”

“It’s not just a little…”

“I sued the people who went overboard.
People who touched my private life or family.”

Though he only sued the worst of the worst, he still sued a lot of people.
He didn’t grant them leniency either. 

After that, the internet was calm.
Of course, they did continue to attack him while keeping within the line.

“But you could come to hate them, right? They’re people cursing at Guildmaster-nim… To protect those people…”

“No? Not at all.
Those are two different things.
Just because they cursed a little doesn’t mean they deserve to die.
Punishing them through the law is punishing them, protecting them is protecting them.
Being a hunter is something I can do, and something I should do.
Though there’s times they’re annoying, it’s not something I need to be affected by.”

These are Jiho’s values.

All people deserve to be protected, life should be treated valuably, and awakened ones, who are called the “chosen people” of these times, have a responsibility to shoulder.

Though he did get caught up in all kinds of worldly things as a part of society.
As he continues to run the guild, even if he calculates profits, the most valuable thing is another’s life.

 

Footnotes

 

1. Here’s a Wikipedia article about this mountain.

2. ㅠㅠ

3. Here is a picture of his eyes:

4. I translated this as “attitude” before, but I think favorability fits better with the nature of this skill.

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