Chapter 3: The First B-rank (3)
This a**hole sure looks like he’s having a lot of fun….
Shin Jiho thought about hitting Joo Yiwon with the bouquet of flowers but he stopped himself.
They say not to hit people with flowers1 , and if he hit Joo Yiwon with the flowers right now, the unfortunate ones would be the flowers.
The flowers were innocent.
Instead of hitting Yiwon, Jiho just sighed.
“You really… Why is a busy guy like you doing things like this? You should live productively.”
“I am living productively.”
“Since I’m so busy, it’s definitely important that I relieve myself of stress and fatigue.”
“Then why are you here?”
“I’m relieving my stress right now.”
“…By teasing me?”
Joo Yiwon laughs again.
The angered Jiho ended up slamming the innocent flowers down on Yiwon.
Yiwon took the bouquet that was hitting him and calmly placed it on top of the bed.
Jiho didn’t know what Yiwon did to the bouquet.
Not a single petal fell from the fresh bouquet of roses despite being slammed down on an SS-rank hunter.
Yiwon laughed as he rearranged the slightly deformed bouquet.
“I’m working hard.”
“It looks like that.”
“I even proposed today.”
“That thing that you always get rejected for… it’s not worth it.
There’s no way that it’ll ever succeed.”
“But I’m planning to do it until it succeeds? You know they say there’s no tree that doesn’t fall with 10 strikes2 .”
“You’ve probably struck it at least a thousand times already.”
“Just that much? It should be several tens of thousands by now.”
Joo Yiwon laughed as he casually multiplied his 10 by 1,000.
Jiho wants to show this scene to the people on the internet who said that Joo Yiwon and Shin Jiho were dating.
If Joo Yiwon really liked him, would he really be this fine despite getting rejected all the time like this?
There was a long history of Yiwon making this kind of joke.
After he became a hunter, nothing changed except for the increased shower of gifts.
Because Jiho knew that it was the same old joke, he answered lightly each time.
“When you marry, I’ll give you a lot of congratulatory money, so go look elsewhere.”
“Jiho is okay with being a second3?”
“Saying that it’s okay if I get married even though we’re dating; so scandalous.
Even though I’m happy that Jiho can endure that much for me…”
“Are you crazy?”
Jiho’s face darkened at the excessive joke.
However Yiwon continued to smile.
“Ah, do you perhaps have a cheating kink? Do clandestine affairs turn you on? That’s a little hard for me though.
I don’t want to marry anyone other than Jiho.”
“I told you to shut up.”
“Eung~~4 but there’s no one but Jiho for me.
I kept my chastity for Jiho, so I can’t marry anyone else.”
Jiho wants to wash out his ears.
Although it was something that he had already heard before—thanks to Joo Yiwon’s never-ending self-appeal—it was annoying every time he heard it.
Jiho was thinking of raining curses down on Yiwon, but held it in since that guy was a pervert who enjoyed seeing him get angry.
Yiwon continued smiling whether Jiho got mad or not.
“Jiho, did you see the interview I did recently?”
“Which interview? It’s not like you do one or two of those.”
“The most recent one.
The interview that came out in P5 .”
Jiho’s contorted face was a sight to see.
Even if he wasn’t trying to look at that sh*tty interview that was clearly about Shin Jiho, he couldn’t because it had become a small issue among the people.
No matter how you looked at it, the subject of that interview was Shin Jiho.
Although, of course, the description was very far off from the real Shin Jiho.
From Shin Jiho’s perspective, there was not a single part that matched him.
What “warm and soft and sensitive,” and something like “I want to become that person’s support”? This was all a Shin Jiho of fantasy.
“Hey, it was wrong from the beginning, okay?”
“Who’s cold and sensitive… and even if I was really like that, I still wouldn’t rely on you.
Am I crazy?”
Jiho snorted at his childhood friend who always played mean tricks on him.
Although it’s only Jiho’s guess, he thinks that Yiwon has a secret girlfriend.
To cover it up, he was using the close and easy Shin Jiho as a shield.
Since Korea was still rather close-minded6, even if Joo Yiwon confessed publicly, the title of articles would only be able to say something like [Joo Yiwon, Shin Jiho friendship is still going strong…].
“Tell me the truth.
Just who is your girlfriend for you to be hiding her like this?”
“I don’t have a girlfriend.
How many times do I have to tell you this?”
“Then behave in a way that makes me believe that….
Aren’t you using me as a shield?”
“I said I’m not.
I’m really not.
Where do I have the time to meet someone in secret?”
That was true.
Joo Yiwon’s day ran by the minute.
He was truly a busy guy.
As an SS-rank hunter, there were all sorts of things he had to do besides clearing dungeons.
Attending events, appearing on broadcasts every once in a while, and doing interviews….
Because he comes to find Jiho so often, Jiho tends to forget that this guy is booked with plans for years ahead.
Joo Yiwon’s fame that exceeds the president’s was not only because of his status as the strongest hunter in the world, but also because of his many activities
“If you’re not trying to use me as a shield, stop saying bullsh*t to the reporters.
Why are you doing that?”
“Jiho is popular.
I’m calling dibs in case someone tries to take you away.
After all, you have to marry me.”
“Sh*t, no, I told you I’m not….”
“I want to marry Jiho quickly and retire.
I’ll become a supportive wife7 for you then.”
“Are you crazy?”
He’s saying something to ruin Chungram.
Half of the reason why Chungram became an unmatched guild like it is today is because of Joo Yiwon.
Jiho, who was about to go off, covered his forehead with his hand.
There’s no need to respond to his nonsense every time.
All it does is make his own head hurt….
Suddenly, Joo Yiwon shoved his face in front of Shin Jiho.
Shin Jiho was startled by the close distance and froze.
They were so close that Jiho could see the texture of the other’s skin.
Even though it was a face that Jiho had seen since he was young, he still felt nervous when it was this close.
Joo Yiwon’s appearance was as famous as his skills, and, on top of that, after he became a hunter, he seemed to gain a somewhat cold and sharp atmosphere.
Of course, Jiho didn’t want to show that he was affected so he pretended to be calm and pushed him away.
“Does your head hurt?”
“… a little.
Back off a bit.”
Joo Yiwon’s face sank at the sharp words and moved his face back.
“Then I’ll go back now, Honey.”
Jiho opened his eyes widely at the sudden goodbye.
“You’re leaving already?”
Joo Yiwon’s attitude had calmed down suddenly, as though he hadn’t been making those weird jokes and clinging on to Jiho earlier.
He turned around after his short farewell.
His exit was just as sudden as his entrance.
In an instant, Jiho was left alone in the hospital ward.
Jiho looked at his surroundings in a daze.
When he first opened his eyes, it had just been another hospital ward.
Maybe because you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, but suddenly, the individual ward felt empty.
“Why did he come….”
Even though Jiho didn’t actually kick him out, since Yiwon left as soon as Jiho said that his head hurt, he felt somewhat guilty.
He had wanted Yiwon to stop saying nonsense, but he didn’t mean to chase him out like this.
Of course, even if he didn’t chase him out, Yiwon probably would have left soon anyways.
Yiwon always visited Jiho for a short five minutes to tease him before leaving like this.
Whether he was busy or not, since he always came to find Jiho, they had never been apart for more than a week.
He didn’t know why Korea’s busiest person took the time to visit him.
Out of the 365 days in a year, about 340 of those days are probably full.
However, if you looked at the number of times he came to find Jiho, it was like he was unemployed.
No matter how much stamina they say SS-rank hunters have, there was no way that that guy wasn’t tired.
Even though he was an annoying brat, since he was like family, Jiho was truthfully very worried about him.
However, whenever Jiho told Yiwon to stop coming to find him and to go rest, it went in one ear and through the other, just like when he told Yiwon to stop saying the nonsense about liking him.
That guy only says that he likes him with his words when in reality, he does whatever he wants.
“I don’t know….
He’ll take care of himself.”
There was a time when Jiho seriously tried to understand why that guy was acting like that.
In the end, he couldn’t think of a reason.
Whenever he asked Yiwon, that guy only answered with more nonsense.
That’s why Jiho just decided to think that that guy was doing this because he was bored since everything in his life was going so well.
Coming to find Jiho to tease him was healthier than drinking or doing drugs from stress after all anyways.
When he finds a person that he really likes, it’ll stop naturally.
To stop unwanted misunderstandings, he’ll stop saying those weird things.
Although Yiwon’s sometimes hateful and annoying, since they were childhood friends, Jiho could be a little understanding.
That guy had always thought of teasing Shin Jiho as the source of pleasure in his life.
Joo Yiwon started clinging to Jiho and calling him “Honey” in junior high.
He found great enjoyment whenever Jiho made a disgusted face, but got angry whenever someone else called Jiho that.
It’s not like Jiho never questioned whether or not Yiwon really liked him.
But Joo Yiwon teased Shin Jiho a little too much to say that he really liked Jiho.
In particular, whenever Yiwon was first and Jiho was second in grades, Yiwon would always flaunt it with a triumphant face….
You couldn’t do that to someone you like.
If it was Jiho, he would’ve lost a few times on purpose.
Or at least have been sorry.
Anyways, he had long stuffed the idea of Yiwon seriously liking him into the trash can for that reason.
Plus, interviews where Yiwon said that he liked Jiho and acted close to him were all covered up to say that they had a strong friendship since Korea wasn’t yet open to same-sex relationships.
Thanks to Yiwon’s positive public image, Jiho’s public image had also improved slightly.
At first he was thankful, but because Yiwon said it everywhere—to the point where it became an internet meme—Jiho felt like he was just teasing him.
Shin Jiho decided to stop thinking about Joo Yiwon.
To think that someone like Shin Jiho would worry about Joo Yiwon.
If the hunter community knew about this, they would laugh and mock him for three days straight.
When Jiho had changed his clothes and once again prepared to leave, someone knocked on the door.
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