The Director of America’s Hunter Bureau, David Brennan, was about to go insane with frustration at the moment.
“What did the Korean Hunter’s Association say??”
“They haven’t made any official announcements yet, sir.”
“Then, what the hell are you here for?!”
But, didn’t the director summon him into the office? The subordinate could only stand there and blink his eyes. The director’s irritation shot up to the top of his head and he loudly yelled out.
“Aren’t you supposed to get a reply from the Korean Association President, even if you resort to wringing his neck?! Isn’t that your godd*mn job?!”
“I, I’m sorry, sir!”
“Get the hell out of here and find out what the f*ck is going on! Right now!!”
The director chased the Chief of the Intelligence Department out of his office, but, as if his anger hadn’t cooled down at all, he continued to seethe for a long time.
The super-massive Gate, judged to be much bigger than the one that appeared in Seoul’s skies, had shown up in Canada, an allied nation that shared a border with the United States of America.
It’d not take much time for the flames of destruction spreading from Canada to reach American soil.
In the best possible scenario that he could think of, this Gate crisis would also end in a similar fashion to the one in Seoul’s sky. And if the monsters Hunter Seong Jin-Woo commanded fell out from there, then that would be even better.
‘However, the real problem is….’
The one holding all the answers, Hunter Seong himself, as well as the Korean Hunter’s Association, had been keeping mum until now.
Three hours passed by since the super-massive Gates appeared in various parts of the world. Meanwhile, the American government was demanding an answer from the Hunter Bureau.
‘To think, one of the greatest intelligence agencies in America, the Hunter Bureau, has no choice but wait for a reply from the Korean Hunter’s Association….’
Just who’d have imagined that such a thing could happen? No wonder the director was anxiously jumping up and down on his spot.
The director continued to spew out one sigh after another before noticing that there was a bleeping light on the phone. He snatched the receiver up and barked at it.
“What is it?!”
– “Sir, Mister President is looking for you.”
“Tell him I’m not here.”
– “B-but, sir??”
The director slammed the receiver down as if he was throwing it away and dazedly stared at the ceiling. But then, the Chief of the Intelligence Department, the guy he just chased out, breathlessly rushed back inside the office.
“How dare you crawl back into my office already!!”
The director yanked the receiver up in order to throw it, prompting the chief to quickly raise his arms up.
“T-the Korean Hunter’s Association has sent us a communique!”
Almost instantly, the director’s expression did a 180, with a bright smile now etched on his face.
“You see!! All you had to do was just do it!”
The director put the receiver down and approached the chief.
“Okay, so. What did they say?”
“Ah, well, the thing is…. They said that, if we want to learn more about the super-massive Gates, we should go to Korea right away.”
Both the director and the Chief of the Intelligence Department wordlessly stared at each other. They remained standing face to face like that for a bit.
Finally managing to grasp hold of the thin thread of his reasoning, the director muttered out a question.
“Who? Who should go there?”
“They say it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s a representative designated by the government.”
At that moment…
The director noticed yet another light blinking on his phone and picked the receiver up.
– “Director, if you keep avoiding Mister President’s call….”
He quickly put the receiver down and addressed the Chief of the Intelligence Department with a determined expression.
“Tell them I’ll be there.”
Since the chief seemed to be confused by something, the director began enunciating every single word so his subordinate could understand him just a bit better.
“I. Will. Go. To. Korea. As. America’s. Representative!”
Representatives from every country that received the summons issued by the Korean Hunter’s Association quickly climbed aboard the waiting planes.
What an astonishing change this was.
Less than two years ago, Korea’s overall Hunter strength was so pathetic that they even lost a newbie rank S Hunter to America. But now, they were summoning the leaders of the world to their doorsteps.
No, only a year ago, they couldn’t even take care of the dungeon break on their own territory, Jeju Island, and became a laughing stock in Japan.
But then, with the entrance of a Hunter who had far surpassed the classifications of upper, top, elite, or whatever, and stepped into the ranks of transcendence, everything changed.
The man who made every monster pouring out from one of the super-massive Gates obey him; if it was that man, then he might be able to explain the identity of these super-massive Gates covering up the skies all over the globe.
With that, understanding what happened a few days ago would also come about naturally as well.
The keys to everything were held by just one person. The problem here was, they couldn’t use force or concessions to coax the keys out from their opponent this time.
Just who would be able to use force to make him talk, for instance?
Even if you could do something about his individual combat power that defeated a Special Authority-rank Hunter, there was the small matter of a hundred thousand-plus summons right behind him waiting for their turn.
It was an impossible task, in other words.
That was why bigshots perfectly suited for representing their countries such as presidents, prime ministers, premiers, ministers, directors of Hunter-related government bodies, as well as leaders of various Hunter’s Associations, were making a move after the Korean Association requested them to come.
“Has there been anyone else informing us of their intentions to come?”
“No, sir. It’s still 152 countries, as reported in the morning’s briefing, sir.”
The Association President Woo Jin-Cheol was personally going through every single report detailing the progress of the situation. The emergency response conference hall outfitted for the raid of the super-massive Gate was coming in handy even now.
“Sir, the representative from Hungary has just touched down in the airport.”
“Who’s coming from Hungary?”
“Their President, Yadessi Arnor, has personally come, sir.”
When an important dignitary from overseas came for a visit, a person holding a similar office was supposed to go out to welcome him. That was the established etiquette.
Unfortunately, the Hunter’s Association simply lacked the leeway to mind such etiquette every single time at this moment. Association President Woo Jin-Cheol formed a rueful expression for a little while before issuing new orders.
“Guide him to a suitable hotel.”
The Association employee replied crisply and was about to turn around to leave, but then, it felt as if he was hesitating about something else. So, Woo Jin-Cheol stopped poring over the documents to raise his head again.
“Mm? Is there something else?”
The employee deliberated for a bit more before he summoned up enough courage.
“Sir, what did you hear from Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim yesterday inside the President’s office? I’ve never seen you so pale before, you see.”
The thing was, this employee got to realise for the first time that a person’s complexion could pale to that extent after looking at Woo Jin-Cheol’s face yesterday.
Just what sort of a conversation did they share? The employee simply couldn’t forget that look on his boss’s face for the whole night, so, although he knew he was being impolite, he still had to ask and satisfy his curiosity now.
Sure enough, Woo Jin-Cheol’s expression hardened like a rock.
“S-sir, forgive me. I asked you something unnecessary…..”
“No, it’s not that. I am not feeling unhappy about you asking me.”
It was just that, he ended up recalling the scenes that unfolded from Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s fingertip, that was all.
The army of frenzied Dragons rushing out from the other side of darkness. And then, a truly humongous Dragon following after them.
It was so huge, in fact, it seemed to move so slowly as if time had come to a standstill, even though it was flying at a similar sort of speed compared to the rest of the Dragon army.
It possessed an incredible aura that not even the combined might of every single Hunter in the world attacking together at the same time could even scratch. And then, that overwhelming pressure it emitted, something that might easily burn away everything in the world with merely a single breath. That creature possessed both of those.
Simply looking at it made him dizzy.
He didn’t want to ever face that thing, regardless of the level of power he could gain, regardless of the promised reward at the end waiting for him.
‘I can’t do it….’
Because of that, he respected Hunter Seong Jin-Woo even more as the latter wasn’t planning to run away but rather, stay and fight, even though he knew that such creatures existed.
‘Wait, now that I think about it, what is Hunter Seong Jin-Woo doing right now?’
There was still some time left before the representatives of the various nations would arrive.
Woo Jin-Cheol suddenly became curious as to how Jin-Woo would spend his downtime, so he called out to the employee turning around to leave his office.
“Oh, by the way. Do you know where Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim is at the moment?”
“Currently, we believe that he’s resting within his family home, sir.”
Jin-Woo placed the pot of piping-hot kimchi stew he cooked himself on top of the dining table. Jin-Ah’s expression brightened in an instant.
“Wow, smells so good!”
On the other hand, mom looked rather apologetic for letting her busy son cook her food like this.
“I should’ve done this, you know….”
Jin-Woo grinned and replied in an unhurried manner.
“I just wanted to show you the cooking skills I got to polish in the last couple of years, Mom.”
Jin-Woo pleaded and persuaded her, and finally managed to wrestle the control of the kitchen away from his mom. This was his ambitious end result.
Swept up by her son’s continuous encouragement that she should have a taste, his mother smiled and picked up her spoon.
She carefully blew on the hot stew and placed a spoonful inside her mouth. Her eyes opened into a round shape almost right away. Jin-Ah began boisterously yapping on from her side.
“Mom, how was it? It’s really good, right?”
“Oh my goodness.”
Seeing how his mom looked surprised, Jin-Woo couldn’t help but strut around a bit.
“I also didn’t know that oppa had a talent in cooking, you know? Mom, try this one, too. Oppa is really good at making side dishes.”
While his sister was relentlessly praising his cooking skills while even forgetting to wipe the bits of rice off her lips, Jin-Woo noticed that his mother’s expression was slowly changing for some reason and carefully asked her.
She gently set her spoon aside and asked back.
“Jin-Woo…. Isn’t there something I should be worried about?”
Jin-Woo did his very best to maintain a bright expression and played dumb.
“What do you mean by that, Mom?”
“Your dad, he used to prepare meals for me whenever he was planning to participate in dangerous missions, you see.”
Her son had never done something like this, even when he was about to head to Japan in order to deal with those Giant monsters, or even when that gigantic Gate opened up in Seoul. But now that he did, his mom began to get worried all of a sudden.
A woman’s intuition – no, it was more to do with a mother’s intuition, instead.
‘Like father, like son, is it. I even resemble him in things like this, too….’
Jin-Woo very briefly spat out his complaint that wasn’t really a complaint in his head and shook his head towards his mother.
“There’s no such thing, Mom.”
Whether she wanted to remain as a source of strength for her son as he tried to force a smile on his face, or maybe she really bought his excuse, it was hard to tell. But still, she smiled in reply and picked up her spoon again.
Jin-Ah had been observing the conversation between her oppa and her mom while lightly biting the end of her spoon, before breaking out into a grin herself and resuming her meal.
Around the time the meal was coming to an end…
….He heard Bellion’s voice.
[As you have commanded, soldiers are now in position.]
As if he was waiting for this chance, Beru also raised his voice.
[Oh, my king. The lodging specifically prepared for you has been completed as well.]
‘…..Sure thing. Thanks.’
He didn’t ask it to be built, in the first place, though.
Jin-Woo finished receiving the reports from his Marshals and slowly got up from his seat.
“Thanks for the meal.”
But then, his hands reaching down to pick up the empty plates came to an abrupt halt after sensing the noises coming from the outside.
‘Footsteps of four people….’
He could also hear their hearts racing wildly from excitement, too. Although such categorisation didn’t mean anything to him, all four of them were not Hunters but regular people.
‘What could this be?’
Surely, there wouldn’t be any insane robber wanting to attack the house of a rank S Hunter, now would there?
Also, the entrance of the apartment building was being guarded by the agents from the Monitoring Division due to the consideration from the Association President Woo Jin-Cheol, so no reporters could come up here, either.
Jin-Woo couldn’t figure it out, and soon, his ears were greeted by the sounds of the doorbell.
“Let me answer that.”
He quickly dissuaded his mother from getting up and headed over to the front door.
The first thing he saw after opening the door was three well-built young men kitted out in black suits as if they were from some intelligence agency or some such.
‘Doesn’t look like they are from the Hunter Bureau, though….’
Jin-Woo scanned their attire briefly before calmly asking them.
“Can I help you with something?”
When he did, the trio of well-built young men stepped aside and another man standing behind them slowly moved to the front.
“Seong Hunter-nim… I apologise for coming to see you unannounced like this. But, can I speak to you in private for a little while?”
Jin-Woo recognised who it was and his voice rose up a little.
“…..Chairman Yu Myung-Hwan?”