— My dear Ji-Cheok.
My dear grandson…

Ji-Cheok’s late grandfather showed up in his dream.

“G… Grandpa?”

‘Is he about to call out the lottery numbers? I… I have to write them down! Where are my pen and paper?!’ ’

— Ji-Cheok, listen carefully.
Something good is going to happen tomorrow.

“It… It’s not about the lottery numbers?”

— No, you fool! Forget about the lottery! I’ll give you something better than lottery numbers, don’t you worry!

His grandfather exclaimed, giving him a thumbs-up.

— You’ve listened to your grandpa’s words so well and have been so good-natured this whole time, that’s why I worked hard for this moment.
There’s something very good waiting for you tomorrow.
Just continue to be a blessing to others.

“Grand… pa?”

— Listen to me, Ji-Cheok.
It’s really important for you to do that.
All right? My beloved grandson… I have to go now.

“Wait a minute, Grandpa.
I’d rather get the lottery numbers than live like that… Grandpa?”

‘What the hell is happening tomorrow?’

***

My grandpa once told me, “I don’t expect much.
I didn’t do much for you, so I won’t demand anything from you in return.
It’s okay even if you’re not doing well in school.
There’s no need to do better than others.
Just live your life with kindness.”

That’s what he said when I stole a Yakult from someone else’s delivery pouch[1] for the first time.
Instead of scolding me, he went to that person’s house and started begging for forgiveness with a ninety-degree bow.
It was a shocking sight, this man was the king of Go at the park and a master of haggling at street markets.
It was the first time that he had bowed down before others.

“Just live your life with kindness.”

Being the child I was, I vowed at that moment to be a kind person and wailed that I would never steal ever again.
My grandpa patted my head with his wrinkled hands for a good while.

I didn’t know that this would be the last of my grandpa’s teachings.
He passed away in a car accident the next day.

I’ve been obsessively trying to live as a nice person ever since.
But just because I tried, it doesn’t mean I did a great job.
I mean, I would help an old lady push her wastepaper cart, or if I came across any change, I would drop it in a donation box.
I’m at the level of any ordinary Korean citizen.
It’s not like I’m a saint.
Every time I think about my grandpa, doing these things comforts me.

I wonder if he’s doing well.

But why the heck did he appear in my dream? And what else could be better than the lottery?

Sigh.

There’s no way of finding out.

***

“Hey! Um! Seems like we hunted a lot today! Fucking Hunters, they don’t ever think about the people cleaning up after them.”

Monster corpses were strewn all over the place.
Normal people would vomit at this cruel sight, but for Ji-Cheok, it was all too familiar.
He was a Hunter Assistant, and this world was nowhere close to normal.
It was as if a game had become reality.

One day, dungeons had suddenly formed into the world, while people with superpowers called the ‘Awakened’, as well as beings known as ‘gods’, had also come into existence.
By slaughtering monsters, the Awakened would level up, as well as obtain points that could be used in stores.
The situation was pretty simple, even the neighbor’s dog knew how it worked.

Then, at some point, way too many dungeons had appeared, and the situation had gone out of control.
Goblins had taken over Kim XX’s farm and killed everyone, while orcs had appeared at Park YY’s farm, killing the elderly and the foreign laborers.

‘People in the past probably wouldn’t believe their eyes if they saw what was going on right now…’

It seemed, however, that people always found a way to beat death.
As the number of dungeons increased, so did the number of Awakened.
Incredible resources that could not be explained by modern science were discovered in the dungeons, so humans naturally found ways to profit from them.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were replaced by the Military, Energy, and Media companies as the holy trinity that controlled the world.
This was how the Awakened came to be called Hunters.

Um Ji-Cheok was Hunter Assistant No.
20431, an underling to the Hunters.

His first name was Ji-Cheok, and his last name was Um.
The name Ji-Cheok by itself carried a good meaning: Ji meant ‘kindness’ and Cheok meant ‘moral righteousness’.
Together, they signified ‘living a kind and righteous life.’ The problem was adding the last name ‘Um’ — put together, ‘Um Ji-Cheok’ actually meant ‘thumbs-up’.
That was why the fellow hunter assistants who worked with him only called him ‘Um.’

“Sigh.
Do you think high-ranking people like the Hunters care to think about people like us?”

As soon as killing monsters became profitable, Hunters grew popular, as they became a combination of celebrities, GodTube[2] stars, and soccer players.
Ironically, earning lots of money was more praised than saving people’s lives in this hellish world.
It was indeed a world where money was more precious than life.

As for the Assistants, they were the lowest class of cleaning workers.

Ji-Cheok used an electric saw to cut off a dead goblin’s arm.

Rrrrrrr!

“Well, the hunters once told Um not to go near them because he smelled.”

They were the ones who scavenged the monsters caught and sent them to the resource department for money, but the Hunters always belittled them.

“Aren’t you angry, Um?” one of Ji-Cheok’s coworkers asked.

“I wouldn’t be doing this job if I got mad at them every time,” he replied.

A Hunter Assistant’s main job was to deal with the bodies of dead monsters, but sometimes they also had to retrieve the bodies of Hunters.
Ji-Cheok wanted to be as respectful as possible, but he couldn’t stand it when he had to deal with bodies that had been eaten by the monsters.
After all, getting rid of an intact corpse was way easier than the cases where the monster was a carnivore and he had to split open its stomach to remove the Hunter’s body.
It was a task that nobody in their right mind would be able to handle.

‘Maybe… that’s why the Hunters find us disgusting.’

Ji-Cheok smoothly cut off the goblin’s arm.

Swoop!

Mr.
Kang, his colleague, admired the neat cut.

“Your craftsmanship is truly artistic.
It’s worthy of being a textbook example for teaching newcomers,” Mr.
Kang said.

“Nothing will come out of praising me,” Ji-Cheok responded.

“It’s just that… I’m proud of you.
You’re the only one who endured this job for this long at such a young age, and now you’re much better than us.
You keep persevering,” Mr.
Kang patted him on the back and gave him a thumbs-up.

“Seriously, though, you have to give a thumbs-up to Um’s skill.
Don’t you guys agree?”

The Hunter Assistants raised their thumbs when they heard him.

“Of course.
There’s no one like Um,” they replied.

“I actually think that Um is going to be our next Hunter Assistant Leader,” Mr.
Kang said in praise.
“I still choke up when I remember that he worked overtime for me so I could go to the hospital when my wife got sick,” he wiped his eyes.

Lee rolled his eyes, “Oh my God, is this guy going through menopause?”

‘Men in their fifties sure tend to get emotional.’

“What are you talking about?! Thanks to him, my children and I were able to hold my wife’s hand and say goodbye.
When I think about that time… I’m… really thankful…”

He gave Ji-Cheok a thumbs-up with both hands.

Ring!

[You have received 7 Likes.]

[God ??? has shown interest in you.]

[Congratulations.
Your hidden abilities have been awakened.]

‘What the hell does this mean? Awakened? I became an Awakened?’

Ji-Cheok may have been a little overwhelmed, but he couldn’t just let everyone find out about this.
The bodycam on his chest was recording 24/7 to surveil employees and prevent them from stealing resources from monsters.

‘Usually, people scream ‘I’m an Awakened!”’

Those who Awakened were usually in their prime, between ten and twenty-five years old.
Two years before, there had been a thirty-one-year-old Awakened, and he had been the oldest ever.
Most were in their early twenties or late teens.
Ji-Cheok was 28, and the odds of him Awakening were a lot lower than even winning the lottery.

‘This is so cool.’

Ji-Cheok kept going about his work while processing what had happened.
He was too experienced to act based on emotions — or perhaps it was the fact that he’d already witnessed the end of a Hunter many times.

‘If it’s a mediocre ability, it’s probably better to keep it hidden from the government.’

‘I ’ll pretend not to know anything until I finish work and take off that body cam.’

He continued working in silence, but the alarm rang again.

Ring!

[Please check your status window.]

“…”

“Um, as always, you are doing an awesome job,” one of his coworkers praised Ji-Cheok as he carried on with his work.

[Please check your status window.]

[Please check your status window now!]

‘What’s this? Does the system have an ego? Why does it keep pushing me?’

‘Am I weird? Did the system not expect me to keep working without checking the status window?’

Well, that was not hard to imagine, because people would usually turn on the status window screaming in excitement, “I saw it!!!”

“…”

“I’m almost done loading everything up.”

Hunters gained countless rights and benefits, from tax breaks to granted immunity, pensions, and even firearm permits.
At the same time, there were obligations as well.
If a dungeon formed within a certain radius around a residential area, they would be assigned to it.
They were the heroes that had to respond when the nation called.
In this world, nothing came for free.

Those in Ranks A, B, and even C could more or less take care of their own lives.
However, the story was different for those in Rank D and below.
So what if someone was a Hunter if they were a useless Rank E fighter?

“Um! What are you doing? Why aren’t you getting on?”

I got on the back of the truck.
The Hunters glanced at us, mumbling.

“Oh, why don’t you wash up for once?”

“Don’t say that to the uneducated…”

All of the Hunter Assistant’s faces were flushed.
They were all the same age as Ji-Cheok’s father.
They were doing this for their family, but that didn’t mean they could be treated like this.
Ji-Cheok raised his voice on purpose.

“Hunter Kim Hee-Wan! Hunter Seon Lee-Pal! How about you guys take apart some monsters, and then see if you can actually remove the stench just by washing yourselves? It’s not like we can use the special shampoo you guys have.
Well, we would appreciate it if you could share some with us!”

When Ji-Cheok called the Hunters by their real names, they looked flustered.

“Well…”

“Hey, let’s go.”

The Hunters looked disgusted, as if they had stepped on dog poop, as they boarded the limousine bus in front of them.
People said that the limousine was a great ride; it was impervious to bullets, blades, and magic alike, and it looked like a foreign luxury car at first glance.
As many rich hunters enjoyed riding it, it had become a symbol of the upper class.
When the hunter’s limousine moved out, the Assistants’ truck rolled along.

Lee tapped Ji-Cheok on the shoulder.

“Thanks, Um.”

“For what?”

“Just… Thank you.
I’m sure everyone feels the same way.”

The other assistants agreed and chimed in.

“Um never gets discouraged, and he speaks so well.
We’re so grateful to have him.”

Everyone raised their thumbs.

Ring!

[You have received 7 Likes.]

[Due to your sincerity, 3 Likes will be added as a bonus.]

[Current Total: 17 Likes.]

‘For goodness’ sake, what the hell is this? Doesn’t the system usually notify people only when their stats or level increases?’

***

Hunter Assistants needed to work only once or twice per week, since it was so dangerous and no one could know when the Hunters would go on a hunt.
Ji-Cheok had to go on break for three days straight after one shift.
As soon as he took off his uniform and signed out, he took a shower and applied a pain relief patch.
Lee often said most of their salary would go to medication, so this type of work wasn’t something anyone should do for long.
Then again, he also said he couldn’t help it as his two kids went to college and he had to pay their tuition.

“I couldn’t get into college because I was dumb, but my kids got into a good one in Seoul.
Hahaha.
They are both smart like their mom.
They didn’t even study much.”

This job paid a lot regardless of one’s educational background or experience, so people stuck to it.
In addition, the Assistants had figured out essential life hacks and the maps now marked the locations of opened dungeons, so there were fewer reasons to quit.

“Ahh… the patch is working so well today.”

Ji-Cheok’s entire body ached.

‘Anyway, why is the system rushing me?’

[God ??? urges you to check the notification.]

‘A god…’ Ji-Cheok was aware that a rare few of the Awakened were chosen by a god to Awaken.

‘But… wasn’t that a long time ago? I haven’t heard of anyone else chosen to be Awakened recently…’

Ji-Cheok grumbled and put on a shirt.
His house was a small studio apartment, and it felt like heaven when he opened a can of beer and took a sip.

‘Okay fine, I’ll do as it says.’

“System open.”

It was widely known that the Awakened Hunters gained access to a system that looked like those in games.
Ji-Cheok knew that he could use it more proficiently than ordinary people — whether he liked them or not, he had nonetheless been working with Hunters.

‘My name, job, and level will pop up on the screen soon.
Oh right, and my previous job.’

‘Wait, but do people usually Awaken like this?’

The system window that opened in front of Ji-Cheok was completely different from the one he knew.

[Welcome to GodTube.]

[You were selected by God ??? to become the social star of GodTube.]

[Please click Help for more information.]

1.
In Korea, there are dairy product subscriptions (like newspaper subscriptions) for households, and these are left in cooler bags hung at the doors.

2.
A video platform in this novel.

If you want to support us, please download our awesome cultivation game Taoist Immortal!

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