Now that he was done confirming his financial status….
Jin-Woo splurged on a nice-looking business suit at a department store. He still found himself with more than enough free time, so he stopped by a hair salon nearby and got a much-needed haircut as well.
He had transformed into someone completely different compared to when leaving the apartment.
‘This is why having money is way better than not having any.’
And they said that good clothes would become one’s wings, too
Jin-Woo stopped by the front of a shop’s window on the street and checked out his reflection for a bit, before shrugging his shoulders.
His preparation was as perfect as it could get.
‘I’m sure I won’t leave behind a bad first impression.’
He adjusted his clothes for a bit, before confirming the time through his phone. It said 16:20.
‘I’m supposed to get there before five, right?’
If he got going now, he should arrive on time.
Jin-Woo grabbed a taxi and arrived in front of Jin-Ah’s school, with enough time to spare. And as luck would have it, he spotted Jin-Ah standing by the school’s front gate.
Discovering her older brother belatedly, she gasped out in pure shock.
Jin-Ah’s eyes became extra round like a rabbit’s as she asked cautiously.
“Are…. are you really Mister Seong Jin-Woo?”
“Can’t you recognise your own brother?!”
Jin-Ah swept her gaze all over Jin-Woo with a stunned expression still etched on her face, her voice naturally rising higher.
“It’s because you’ve changed so much, you know!”
“What, so you wanted me to show up in my tracksuit and slippers when meeting your new homeroom teacher?”
Jin-Ah still couldn’t close her slack jaw.
“Hey, your chin might fall off at this rate. Anyways, I’m going ahead. Okay?”
Since his sister didn’t show any sign of guiding the way, Jin-Woo simply took the lead. Five years ago, Jin-Woo too was a student in this very school. He already knew its layout like the back of his hand.
Now normally, if teachers wanted to speak to the parents, then the meeting place would either be the staff room or at the counselling office. But today’s matter involved Jin-Ah’s future career path, so he should head to the counselling office.
And so, Jin-Woo’s steps quickened.
“O-Oppa! Wait for me!”
Jin-Ah hurriedly ran after her older brother.
“Hello there, teacher-nim.”
“Yes? Oh, uh, hello to you too.”
While on his way, Jin-Woo greeted several teachers he ran into. All of them stopped in their tracks without exception, and took a look behind them, at the departing back of Jin-Woo.
‘Who was that?’
‘Is he a graduate from this school? But, there’s no way I’d have forgotten about such an eye-catching student like that.’
‘Is he a new teacher?’
It wasn’t only the teachers who were looking at him, though.
“Wow, he’s good-looking, isn’t he?”
“Who is he?”
“Wait, isn’t that Jin-Ah next to him?”
“He must be Jin-Ah’s oppa. Wow, he’s pretty cool.”
A well-built frame and a stylish business suit – although his facial features were on the plain side, the synergy between those two points were powerful enough to attract the attention of the female students.
Too bad, the guy in question wasn’t interested at all, though.
Jin-Woo simply let the girls’ whisperings slip in one ear and slide right out the other. The one to get really psyched up was Jin-Ah, actually.
She perked her ears up and listened to the assessment of her brother coming from the surroundings in a fit of happy giggles. She then sneaked closer to Jin-Woo’s side and lightly poked him on his waist with her elbow.
“Hiya~, oppa, you’re proving to be really popular today, wouldn’t you agree?”
He ignored this.
“Wait, now that I think about it, oppa, you still haven’t found a girlfriend yet, right?”
He also ignored this one.
“Should I, your trusty little sister, introduce you to a cute high school girl?”
And with that, Jin-Woo began pinching her cheeks with an emotionless face.
“Stop being cute, okay?”
“I’m… I’m sowwy….”
Jin-Woo eventually released her cheeks. Jin-Ah rubbed her reddened cheeks and pouted unhappily.
“Che. I know you also like the attention, though….”
Walking while lightly bickering amongst each other, they had arrived at the destination already. Jin-Ah ran past Jin-Woo and spun around in front of the counselling office.
“Oppa, we’re here.”
Just before entering the office, Jin-Woo looked at his sister. She wasn’t budging from her spot.
“What about you?”
“Today’s the teacher and parents only. I’m going back to my class as soon as you go inside.”
Listening to Jin-Ah, he remembered something similar happening back when he was still a high-school senior. Back then, no one came, though.
‘It was around the time when it got harder and harder for mom to move around, right?’
His mother began to frequent the hospital right around then.
He feared that she might push herself too hard, so he didn’t tell her about the teacher-parent meeting. And he got to suffer from his homeroom teacher’s lectures for quite a while because of that.
When recalling those moments, he could understand the reason for Jin-Ah being so anxious today. Jin-Woo smiled gently and asked her.
“You having the night class today as well?”
“Ng. Oppa, don’t wait for me and go home first.”
Jin-Woo sneak attacked her and rubbed her hair all out of shape.
“Study hard, okay? I’ll see you later.”
“Ah! Stop it!”
“See you later at home.”
Jin-Woo grinned and disappeared into the counselling office.
Jin-Ah’s cheeks puffed up as she smoothed her hair.
“Still treating me like a little kid….”
Of course, she didn’t display any hint of disliking that.
Maybe someone saw the whole thing? Jin-Ah quickly scanned her surroundings and confirmed that there was no one around her. She sighed in relief and trotted away to her class.
If he were to put into words the first impression he got from Jin-Ah’s homeroom teacher?
She kind of looked ‘generous’.
“You must be Jin-Ah’s oppa.”
She was a middle-aged teacher with a wizened look about her. The overall impression she gave off was someone who could make other people feel better with a gentle and warm smile on her face.
She perhaps knew his story, because she wasn’t surprised in the slightest to see Jin-Woo being here as Jin-Ah’s guardian.
“How do you do? I’m Jin-Ah’s homeroom teacher. I didn’t quite expect Jin-Ah to be hiding someone this cool as her brother, to be honest. Ohoho.”
Having received her outgoing and welcoming words, Jin-Woo bowed his head politely as well.
‘I haven’t seen her before.’
She must’ve started teaching after he graduated from this school.
Didn’t someone say that a person’s impression would be decided upon the first meeting? After sharing their greetings, he did feel a bit more relaxed.
‘Well, she’s using polite speech to someone who’s many years her junior, too.’
It seemed that his little sister’s third year in high school wouldn’t be that traumatic after all, since she was lucky enough to run into a pretty nice homeroom teacher.
“Please, take a seat over here.”
She showed him to a chair. Jin-Woo settled down on the opposite side to Jin-Ah’s homeroom teacher across a large desk.
“We can rest easy about Jin-Ah now.”
They conversed for a while with typical topics that a homeroom teacher and parents would normally share, the atmosphere remaining cordial and rather cheery throughout the chat.
Since Jin-Ah was a model student, there was no reason for either Jin-Woo or the teacher to raise their voices at each other.
“Are you aware that Jin-Ah has set her sights on entering a medical school?”
“Yes, I am.”
The lady teacher began reading the prepared information.
“Her scores in the mock test are excellent. And her regular grades are very good as well, so she should get in without too much problem. Still, please make sure that you don’t pressure her too much at home.”
Jin-Woo silently nodded his head.
From the teacher’s excited face, one could easily spy her high expectations of Jin-Ah’s future.
The thing was, the homeroom teachers tasked with looking after high school seniors were also under a tremendous level of stress as well. Since it involved the rest of these third-year students’ lives, how could they not get stressed out?
‘That’s why I heard that most try to avoid being a senior class’s homeroom teacher, though.’
Jin-Woo also heard that there were plenty of cases where male teachers simply dumped the responsibilities to their female counterparts. When considering that, then he could say that Jin-Ah’s homeroom teacher was full of drive and passion for her students.
As Jin-Ah’s guardian, Jin-Woo could only be grateful for that. Because drive and passion would mean she’d hold great ‘interest’ in the future of her students.
Maybe 15 minutes had passed by? The meeting was coming to a smooth end.
“Well then, if that’s all….”
Jin-Woo studied the mood and was getting ready to leave, but then, the teacher cautiously spoke to him.
“I heard that you are a Hunter.”
Suddenly, the teacher became quite serious.
There was something going on here. Jin-Woo immediately sensed it.
“Yes, I am.”
“If….. If Jin-Ah is adjudged to be an Awakened, will you let her do Hunter’s work as well?”
He’d never allow her.
Jin-Woo decisively stated his position. There was no need to even reconsider this.
Exactly as he had suspected, there was something here and as proof, the teacher’s expression became heavier still.
“As I thought….”
When Jin-Woo looked at her with a puzzled expression, the teacher spoke in a determined tone of voice.
“If it’s not too much trouble, may I ask you for a favour?”
Jin-Woo nodded his head.
“As long as it’s within my powers….”
He decided to hear her out first.
Well, she was his little sister’s homeroom teacher, so if he refused her outright without even listening to her once, he might leave behind a bad impression here.
Worried that Jin-Woo might change his mind, the teacher quickly opened her mouth.
“One of my students is thinking of quitting school to become a Hunter full time after she went through the Awakening process. She’s not even coming to school anymore, as a matter of fact.”
Such things were fairly common.
There would be cases where a few newly Awakened, having never experienced what real Hunters did, thought of themselves as someone special, a chosen, a cut above the rest, etc., without having the faintest idea how cruel reality could be.
….Even though there weren’t that many Awakened who went on to become famous Hunters and made lots of money in the world, though.
The teacher let off a long sigh.
“If she continues to miss school this way, then the management won’t have any choice but to act, you see? Even if she wishes to become a Hunter, wouldn’t it be better if she at least graduated from a high school first?”
Jin-Woo nodded his head in agreement. At his positive response, the teacher’s complexion brightened just a bit.
“Can you help me persuade that child so she gets to graduate safe and sound?”
The teacher did her best to smile.
Jin-Woo was curious about one thing here.
“That student… what was her Awakened rank?”
“From what I hear… it’s the lowest rank….”
In other words, a rank E.
‘….She won’t get to live long, then.’
Jin-Woo inwardly clicked his tongue.
That was the rank where one had to be especially careful about entering a dungeon.
If one entered with an overly-hyped mindset and without much preparation to boot, then one would become a cripple or dead almost without an exception.
Such a thing happening to a kid around the same age as his little sister was a sad thing. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, that choice was that girl’s to make. No one could say otherwise.
It was a rather lamentable thing indeed, but he didn’t feel like taking time out of his busy schedule to interfere in someone’s else life choices.
‘Besides, I’m not confident about persuading her, too.’
Surely, most of what he would say wouldn’t come across as nice things to hear, after all.
Jin-Woo was thinking of refusing the teacher and leaving.
“Jin-Ah would recognise the child, because her name is…”
When the girl’s name came out from the teacher’s mouth, Jin-Woo realised that he couldn’t easily get up from his spot now.
Jin-Woo confirmed the girl’s name one more time.
“Teacher-nim. What was the name of the student again?”
“It’s… By any chance, you know who she is?” (TL: the girl’s name is omitted in the raw.)
Yup, the Republic of Korea was indeed a tiny place.
Jin-Woo became rather speechless.
At the same time.
The private residence of Yu Myung-Hwan, the owner of Yujin Construction.
From early in the morning, countless expensive luxury vehicles continued to stream in.
There was only one reason for that.
It was for the ancestral rites ceremony for the first president of the Yujin Group, Yu Byung-Cheol, to be held later in the evening.
Yu Myung-Hwan was the number one in Korea’s financial sector. And Yu Byung-Cheol was his father.
The eldest son, Yu Myung-Hwan made sure to perform the ceremony every single year, no matter how busy he was. And what with his influence being so great, every single relative found in the Yu family register had to gather in this place, without fail.
CEO of XX Investment.
Chairman of XX Pharmaceuticals.
CEO of XX department store.
Every single guest happened to be a heavy hitter. And their children all happened to be the elites of the elite, too. With the sole exception of one.
And that exception had excused himself to the quiet and far removed corner of the proceedings, even though no one asked him to.
And he was none other than Yu Jin-Ho.
He wished that time would move faster.
Going around raiding dungeons with his ‘hyung-nim’ was a hundred times, a thousand times more enjoyable than this.
What would hyung-nim be doing right about now?
Now that he thought about it for a second, he couldn’t even begin to imagine just what hyung-nim would do during his off days.
And so… while thinking about useless stuff in a corner, out of everyone’s gazes and throwing back blameless refreshments all the time….
….He heard a voice he didn’t particularly want to hear today.
Well, sure enough.
A perfect model of how an upper-class elite of society should behave was standing behind Yu Jin-Ho. Anyone could see that he was utterly capable of pretty much anything, too.
A pair of expensive glasses; a tall, manly physique. He was none other than Yu Jin-Ho’s biological older brother, Yu Jin-Seong.
The heir apparent who’d inherit Yujin Construction after Yu Myung-Hwan decides to step down in the future.
Yu Jin-Seong walked real close to Yu Jin-Ho and looked down on his younger brother.
“Relatives have come, so you should be out there greeting them. How long are you planning to act like a little kid?”
“Do remember that your childish actions only paint our father’s reputation with dishonour.”
Yu Jin-Seong’s tone of voice did not contain a single trace of brotherly affection. No, it was rather openly dismissive.
Of course, Yu Jin-Ho didn’t like his older brother, but still, he lacked any courage to retort back here.
It couldn’t be helped, really.
Yu Jin-Seong was a genius among geniuses who managed to stand on the top of every subject he took on back in school. And it wasn’t just his excellent grades, either.
After graduating from school, he helped Yu Myung-Hwan in various business ventures and achieved incredible success in everything he touched.
Compared to him, Yu Jin-Ho didn’t have anything to show for. He barely managed to enter the university, for instance.
Whenever his older brother stood next to him, Yu Jin-Ho naturally grew small and insignificant.
“Still as pathetic as you can get. Tsk, tsk.”
Yu Jin-Seong frowned deeply while staring at Yu Jin-Ho’s lowered head, before changing his expression and walking away in hurried steps.
“Oh, Jin-Seong, is that you?”
Only after Yu Jin-Seong had gone away did Yu Jin-Ho raise his head back up. This was one of the reasons why he didn’t want to come home.
Only if there was no stupid ancestral rites ceremony thing….
Yu Jin-Ho spat out a lengthy groan, and that was when he heard a sexy but also rather sharp voice coming from right behind him.
“Wowsers. What a jerk. Sucks the fun out of this place, that guy.”
Yu Jin-Ho looked behind him.
And he found his cousin/older sister by one year, Yu Soo-Hyun, standing there.