“What was that??”
The director of Seoul-Ilsin Hospital, Doctor Lee Seong-Chul got to hear a rather stunning piece of news. A patient suffering from ‘Eternal Sleep’ disorder had woken up from the terminal stage of the illness.
“Are you telling me the truth??”
“Yes, Director. I’ve confirmed it personally.”
As a doctor, his ears would perk up greatly if such an event occurred in someone else’s hospital, yet the patient in question was actually in his own??
‘Who knew such a jackpot would come knocking at my door?’
The exceptional brain of Director Lee Seong-Chul began punching some numbers in his mental calculator.
“Isn’t this an unprecedented event in the whole world?”
“You’re correct, Director.”
The doctor in charge nodded his head.
Lee Seong-Chul’s smile was so wide that it actually broke past his ears and threatened to rip his face in half.
“Nicely done!! Doctor Choi!!”
“I beg your pardon? D-director, I haven’t done….”
“Ehheii, my man, don’t be like that now!”
Lee Seong-Chul sent a meaningful gaze at the doctor in charge.
“It doesn’t matter ‘how’ it happened, we can always cook something up later. But, it’s only right and proper that the doctor in charge is praised for the work well done when a patient gets better! Am I wrong?”
Not to mention, the hospital that the doctor was working in would be praised, too!
“Ah, y-yes…. T-thank you very much, director.”
The doctor in charge gave in and bowed his head slightly to the director.
Even though the doctor’s response was rather lukewarm, the wide smile on Lee Seong-Chul’s face didn’t want to leave him, knowing that he had been blessed with an unexpected boon.
‘If we play our cards right, the world’s attention might gather on my Ilsin Hospital!!’
Being constantly talked about by other people because of a good piece of news was, in a word, free publicity. There was nothing to lose here, and everything to gain.
If this news got out, reporters from all over the world would descend upon this hospital and absolutely lose their minds trying to uncover any related info, however small or insignificant it was.
This was a great opportunity to advertise the hospital’s name without spending a dime.
‘What those reporters want to know would be the treatment method, but….’
Well, all he had to do was to keep the patient nearby and find out what happened a step at a time. Indeed, nothing could go wrong here. That’s what Lee Seong-Chul thought.
The doctor in charge acted as if something was troubling him and cautiously spoke up.
“The patient’s legal guardian requested for immediate discharge.”
“What was that?!”
No, that definitely could not be allowed!
Reporters would only come to the hospital if the patient was still here! No, never mind the reporters, he needed to keep the patient here in order to figure out how the disorder had been cured, to begin with!
Lee Seong-Chul’s brows quivered.
“What was the status of the patient?”
“Everything was normal, director.”
“The patient’s been asleep, completely immobile, for the past four years, yet you are telling me that her body was completely fine??”
“Couldn’t it be because of the life support machines?”
Indeed, the performance of the machines being too good could also be a factor here.
“Delay the discharge for as long as possible with an excuse that… we need to observe the patient for a while longer to make sure she’s fine.”
“I said the exact same thing to the guardian, but it didn’t work, Director.”
‘We can’t keep a patient here without a valid reason if she wishes to leave, can we…..’
If that was the case, then he had only one option remaining – and that would be to let the world know before the patient left the hospital.
“Let’s alert the press while they are still in the premise.”
The doctor in charge shook his head.
“That will be…. difficult, Director.”
“We can’t expose the identity of the patient. If we handle this poorly, something really bad will happen, Director.”
Hearing those unexpected words, Lee Seong-Chul could only form a flustered expression. Seeing the doctor’s own troubled expression, he didn’t seem to be exaggerating things, either.
Lee Seong-Chul’s attitude became a lot more serious.
“Is the patient such an important person?”
“It’s not the patient herself, but the guardian, well…. The protection of the private information has been requested by the guardian himself, actually.”
Now that Lee Seong-Chul thought about it, Doctor Choi was being super respectful whenever he mentioned the legal guardian.
“Just who is this guardian supposed to be that you’re acting like this?”
What kind of a person was the guardian that the hospital had to honour the request for the protection of the patient’s information, as well as Doctor Choi being this polite?
“Have you heard about Mister Seong Jin-Woo?”
Was he a powerful politician? Or, a CEO of some massive corporation?
Lee Seong-Chul thought that he had heard of the name somewhere, but couldn’t quite recall the face, and helplessly tilted his head. As if he expected this to happen, the doctor in charge quickly offered up an explanation.
“He’s the Hunter who was evaluated as a rank S recently.”
“A rank S!!”
Here was the reason why Doctor Choi was being so cautious. Who would have guessed that the patient’s guardian happened to be a rank S Hunter?
‘This… It’ll be the end for us if we make a rash move and things go sideways as a result.’
The influence a rank S Hunter had over society was extensive, to begin with, but more importantly, if such a Hunter lost his cool and decided to rampage around, then….
Lee Seong-Chul nervously swallowed dry saliva when a rather unexpected name was brought up.
‘That sure was too close for comfort….’
His hardened expression suddenly softened into a cheery smile.
“Begin the discharge procedure right away.”
“Indeed, we should do that.”
“Yes, we must.”
A smile of a good-natured person remained on Lee Seong-Chul’s lips.
They should definitely release the patient now. What were they hoping to gain by getting on the bad side of a rank S Hunter? He quickly came with a logical-sounding excuse that contained the rough meaning of what both of them were thinking about.
“We surely can’t force a perfectly healthy person to remain cooped up in a hospital, now can we?”
The doctor in charge quickly stood up from his seat.
And after he left….
Lee Seong-Chul stared at the now-closed door to the director’s office and spat out a sigh of relief.
As soon as she got the call, Jin-Ah dropped everything and rushed to the hospital.
Jin-Woo had been sitting on a chair next to mom’s bed, and when he sensed his fast-approaching sister, quickly stood up. Right then, the door to his mom’s hospital room was flung open.
She hadn’t even crossed the doorway yet, but Jin-Ah’s face was already a messy mixture of streaming tears and snot falling from her nose.
“Oh, my gosh. My little girl, you’ve grown up so much.”
The last time their mom, Park Gyung-Hye, saw her daughter was when she was still in middle school. She gazed at her grown-up daughter with a surprised expression, but shortly afterwards, opened her arms wide to welcome Jin-Ah with a warm smile on her face.
When that happened….
Jin-Ah tightly embraced her mother.
Jin-Woo hesitated slightly. That wasn’t something she should have done to a patient who regained her consciousness after four years of being in a coma. But, seeing his sister crying her eyes out like that while locked in their mother’s embrace, he couldn’t bring himself to stop her.
She always acted all grown-up, but in the end, Jin-Ah was still a kid inside. The energetic and brave everyday appearance of Jin-Ah overlapped with the current sobbing one, and that stung Jin-Woo’s nostrils a bit.
“That is eno….”
Jin-Woo eventually moved in to separate Jin-Ah, but Park Gyung-Hye placed her index finger on her lips and slowly shook her head, her other hand still gently patting her daughter’s back.
Jin-Woo sighed softly and took a step back.
As he looked on at his sister in his mom’s embrace, as well as his mom’s gentle and warm expression, a satisfied smile automatically formed on his lips.
‘My effort wasn’t in vain.’
It felt like he was being fully rewarded for all the hard work he had put in right at this moment. Also, he felt as if something hard and stubborn stuck in the corner of his heart had finally melted down and was now flowing away, out of him.
In that case, should he leave the two of them alone for a while? At least, until his little sister found a way to get a hold of her overflowing emotions.
Since she was one smart girl, she’d know not to unnecessarily stress out mom. Only that, she needed a bit more time here.
Jin-Woo grinned a little and shifted his gaze outside the hospital window. As if to congratulate the reunion of his family, the weather outside was brilliantly sunny today.
Feeling a bit awkward from standing there and staring at the weather without saying anything, he decided to pull out his phone.
There was a scary amount of missed calls and text messages left on his phone that he couldn’t even dare to attempt replying to a select few, never mind all of them. Jin-Woo scrolled the list of the missed calls and texts, before giving up and closing the window altogether.
‘Well, if it’s something urgent, I’m sure they’ll contact me again.’
He quickly gave up on replying and instead, accessed the internet browser.
He clicked on the online news portal without thinking too much, only to perform a grand facepalm.
[A flying monster spotted over the skies of Seoul?]
[The potential destination of the flying monster?]
[Hunters Association fails to respond. What about the safety of citizens?]
Photos of Kaisel were plastered all over the various internet news sites.
From the vicinity of his house all the way to this hospital, the distance between the two points was rather considerable, but he figured nothing serious would happen because he was travelling at such a high speed. But this….
‘….It was only a short flight, but we got photographed a lot, didn’t we?’
The only fortunate thing here was that the photos didn’t show him riding on the back of Kaisel.
He made up his mind to not care about what others thought of him when he summoned Kaisel near his house, but now that he was dominating the headlines, he sure felt conflicted now.
Anyone would have their hearts in their mouths, seeing a monster flying in the sky like that. Jin-Woo scanned the news articles filled with a great deal of anxiety and told himself to be more careful in the future.
‘There’s no need to go out of my way to scare the public, anyway.’
Indeed, didn’t he feel a certain aversion towards the Class of Necromancer because he was worried about failing to handle all the pointed stares of the public?
‘However, if the frenzy over a winged lizard is this huge, then, uh, the responses to the gigantic Fangs would really be something else, no?’
While he was thinking of this and that….
His phone began vibrating.
He didn’t recognise the number; after exiting the hospital room, he answered the call.
“Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim.”
A baritone yet still bright voice of an old man came out. Jin-Woo immediately recalled the owner of that voice.
“Yes, this is the Association President Goh Gun-Hui speaking.”
‘Why is he giving me a call?’
What prompted the one-and-only Association President to give him a call like this? Jin-Woo noticed that there were several people walking to and fro within the hospital’s corridor, so he quickly walked towards a more secluded area. He continued to speak in the meantime.
“What’s the matter, sir?”
“I’m sure you’ve heard of the news by now.”
Jin-Woo tilted his head a bit, before realising that this wouldn’t do and asked again.
“I’m not sure what news you’re talking about….?”
“Wait, could it be… You haven’t seen the news lately?”
‘Wow. I guess the speed of news getting around these days is nothing to scoff at.’
Jin-Woo readily admitted to his wrongdoing.
“I’m sorry about that. But I’ll make sure to be more careful next time.”
Only after hearing the confused voice of Goh Gun-Hui did Jin-Woo realise that he was deeply mistaken about something here.
‘Wait, wasn’t he calling me about Kaisel?’
If not, what else could the news outlets be talking about, instead?
The dual dungeon, the Red Gate, clearing the rank A dungeons, the ‘Bead of Avarice’, etc….
Now that he thought about, there were quite a few potential topics of contention, instead.
“…..Can you clarify what happened?”
“Looks like you really haven’t heard anything yet.”
“I’ve been spending some time in a location recently where contacting outside was difficult, actually.”
He wasn’t lying about that, technically speaking.
Goh Gun-Hui’s voice betrayed how surprised he was, but then, it became even graver than before.
According to Jin-Woo’s experience, this could only mean that the reason for this call should be brought up now.
“I’d like to come and discuss something with you face-to-face. Will that be okay with you?”
Jin-Woo’s suspicion grew even larger compared to when he first answered the phone.
‘Calling me on the phone isn’t enough, so the Association President wishes to come here and see me personally?’
Just how much of an important matter was this to make someone as busy as him personally move?
Jin-Woo glanced in the direction of mom’s hospital room.
‘I can’t ask the Association President to come here.’
He might have to come up with bullsh*t stories related to his mother if that happened.
“No, I’ll go over there, instead.”
“Will you do that for us, then?”
“Yes, I will.”
That was far more simpler for him.
Quickly making the arrangement over the phone, and after telling his mom and sister that he had an errand to run and he’d be back a little later, Jin-Woo left the hospital.
Having spent way too long inside the Demon’s Castle where there was no sunlight, his eyes were feeling a bit itchy as the warm rays fell on him. Jin-Woo furrowed his brows.
‘Man, this is so cumbersome. Should I just summon Kaisel?’
He deliberated for a moment or two, before smirking to himself and walked towards a waiting taxi.