< Blacksmith’s Debut (2) >
“Um, I wasn’t trying to deceive you. It turned out that we hadn’t met before meeting at the Hunter Association. It became the same as me lying, but it wasn’t on purpose.”
I said incoherently, fiddling with the spear. I had thought that it would go over sufficiently if I said it was a mistake, but this much of a non-reaction was outside of my expectations. Shouldn’t he be a little surprised at least?
“Even if you had deceived me, it doesn’t matter.”
“Yoojin, if you had lied, then I would reply ‘thank you for deceiving me’.”
Myeongwoo said, smiling. I mean, to the point of being thankful…?
“Why are you so taken aback? Here, look at me. SS-Rank production skill holder, Yoo Myeongwoo.”
That guy continued, spreading his arms wide and showing himself.
“Han Yoojin, you made this. The one who took a dime-a-dozen F-Rank Hunter and changed him this much, is exactly you.”
……It wasn’t exactly wrong. But still, to just take it like that made my conscience prick.
“It’s true that I helped you, but getting the SS-Rank skill was your effort and talent.”
“So what if there’s a gem inside gravel. It was rolling around and right about to fall into a mire.”
“Don’t be so adverse to it. I’ll get sad. Whatever anyone says, it’s true that the fact that I can be here like this, is thanks to you. Talent or effort or whatever, if the conditions aren’t right, they’re no use. Aren’t I living proof of that?”
Saying so, Myeongwoo patted my shoulder. But that strength was stronger than expected.
“Ah, that hur-.”
I stumbled and grabbed my shoulder, when I suddenly heard a sharp noise. When I hurriedly looked around, Peace was baring his teeth. Blue also had her wings half spread. On top of that, even including Chirpie, all three of them were staring straight at Myeongwoo.
I had a hunch that a big issue would occur if I just left it alone.
“No, no it doesn’t hurt! It’s just a joke, a joke. Peace, put your canines back, and Blue, fold your wings, and Chirpie, what would you even do. Anyways, everyone calm down.”
Especially Peace, it wasn’t that you’ve only known Myeongwoo for a day or two; you’re baring your teeth with just something like this?
“Myeongwoo is my friend, a friend.”
Thankfully, the kids soon went back to normal. I sighed and turned to look at Myeongwoo.
“Sorry. The kids must’ve made a mistake.”
“No, it’s because I couldn’t adjust my strength properly.”
“It’s probably like that because you’re just pounding away on steel all day. Rest every once in a while.”
“Rather than that, it’s because my stats went up.”
Wait, the stats went up again? Was only Myeongwoo’s, this guy’s, system different – why did it go up again? Myeongwoo gestured with his chin to the spear I was holding.
“Apparently it was a reward for making my first S-Rank item, and they went up. They went up for the A-Rank too, but it wasn’t hard to control my strength at that time. This time, it went up quite a lot, so it feels like I haven’t adjusted to it yet.”
Were there rewards like that? I didn’t know if it was the system he already had, or the care of the sunbae-nim, but it was a scam.
“Let’s calculate your stats.”
I added and then divided the stats that Myeongwoo called out. The average was……
Did he go up to D-Rank when he made an A-Rank item? If it was like this, wouldn’t he become B-Rank when he makes an SS-Rank, and then an A-Rank when he makes an SSS-Rank, and then an S-Rank when he makes an L-Rank?
It looked like Myeongwoo really was the main character, and I was something like a supporting character. It seemed like he would go around using the equipment he himself made.
‘Do I also have anything like my stats rising?’
Not something I hated even when given, like getting stronger for a week by grinding up other’s lives and my mental state.
“Like this, wouldn’t you start as an F-Rank and become an S-Rank?”
“Would that even happen – I’d like it to, but I don’t know.”
Myeongwoo held up his palms. When we had first met, this guy was wiltingly pale. It wouldn’t have been different for his hands. They would have been lifeless hands that would’ve had only pen calluses at the most.
But now, they had become firm.
I saw, of course calluses, but the obviously thicker fingers and even scars that hadn’t been treated yet. Both the color and shape were at least like those of a craftsman who had worked with steel for over a year.
“Who could’ve known that I would become like this. So an F-Rank could probably become an S-Rank. You’d never know.”
I was thinking, ‘Myeongwoo, you had talent in the first place,’ when the system administrators’ words came to mind. That it wasn’t impossible for a normal person to grow into the world’s strongest if they didn’t have the system’s restriction.
They said the system was scheduled to disappear in around 10 years. Once that happened, even if it wasn’t an exceptional case like Myeongwoo, there could be people becoming A-Rank, S-Ranks even without particular talents.
“That’s right, who knows.”
It was right that nobody knew. Even speaking of me, did I know it would become like this after regressing?
“Now let’s show other people this matter that nobody knew of.”
I took out my cell phone and opened the abundant contacts. While scrolling down, a smile automatically appeared on my lips.
The Hunter Association Head received my call, and raised a fuss, saying he couldn’t believe it and then telling us to come over directly right away. It was a bigger reaction than with my case.
It was enough to be so. The Hunter Association’s main source of income was the market and the production and sales of various items, including potions. Even if they were directly made items, they were curse related, so it wasn’t related to Myeongwoo, who mainly made equipment. It was the same for potions.
But the Hunter market was different.
The S-Rank and higher equipment’s auction commission fee was probably substantial, but besides that, a regular supply being possible was the biggest advantage. Even with high rank Hunters from the entire world visiting and having his name known, his worth would be extremely outstanding.
Of course, you couldn’t know if it would go the way the Association Head wanted.
And not much time passed, before calls and texts started to come to my cell phone. In the meantime, who knows how they found out, but even Myeongwoo’s phone kept on vibrating.
“If it’s that number, it’s the Breaker Guild Leader.”
I said, after checking the number when Myeongwoo brought his phone over, saying that calls kept on coming.
“Yeah. It must’ve been relayed that the weapon that you made was a spear. She’s an S-Rank Hunter who uses a giant spear.”
The Ice Wood Spear wasn’t for rushing use. It really was perfect for Yerim. The Mana stat increase ratio was also high.
“If it seems like it’ll be annoying, change your number while you’re at it. Even if you don’t change your number, change your phone.”
It was a phone that seemed like it was at least 3 years old.
“Only the Association and Guilds might be contacting you now, but after going on air, your phone would probably ring off the hook with everybody and their mother calling?”
Myeongwoo had an expression that said he didn’t feel a sense of reality yet. Though that probably wouldn’t last.
“Ahjussi! And our Myeongwoo oppa!”
When I opened the make-up room door, Yerim, who was already getting taken care of, spread her arms out wide and shouted. Myeongwoo couldn’t even reply to that shout, and was pulled by the hand by people. All the clothes he had been wearing had become small, so his appearance was no joke, and was in a state where things had to be altered from the top of his head to his feet.
After over an hour, while Yerim and I were chatting, Myeongwoo appeared, acting awkward.
“Oh, you are a totally different person. Don’t you think so?”
“That’s right, you’re totally a new person?”
I said half as a joke, but compared to our first meeting, he was really a different person. The face under the refined smoothed down hair was similar, but the expression on it was completely changed, and above all, the body was different. The weak appearance that seemed like it would fall over with one push, had completely disappeared. There was the taller height, but the lines of the thicker forearms through the fitted formal summer shirt were clear, too.
His back was straightened out and his shoulders were wider. Even his parents who gave birth to him wouldn’t be able to recognize him, looking at him from the back.
“They said they would even do my make-up… is it visible? It’s not weird?”
“No, it’s okay. It’s natural. You look good.”
“That is right! The best, a total handsome man!”
Yerim, whose bank account seemed like it would go broke, made a fuss. It was an S-Rank weapon that didn’t even have a market price and needed to go on auction, so a fledgling Hunter who hadn’t even gone into an S-Rank dungeon once, would normally be unable to purchase it with their financial situation.
Our Yerim, how long was it since you were self-confident that you made a lot of money; it seemed like you would become a debtor. Though she would probably pay it back soon.
“It seems the preparations are complete.”
Yoohyun came in and exchanged light greetings with Myeongwoo. Then he called me over with a gesture. When I went to him, he asked in a low voice.
“Did you tell him?”
“I did. He said it didn’t matter. That even if I deceived him, it’s okay.”
Yoohyun nodded his head and looked at Myeongwoo with a little gentler expression.
“Be actually nice to him now. Get along well with him.”
It was reply 100% completely devoid of sincerity.
The Hunter Association press conference room where Yoo Myeongwoo’s skill was going to be publicized and verified was already full of journalists. The specifics weren’t known yet, but it seemed like the news had spread through word of mouth.
I saw familiar faces that had already arrived in the waiting room connected to the press conference room.
“Hyung-nim, we see each other like this again!”
There was the Breaker Guild Leader Moon Hyuna and,
“Hello, Han Yoojin-nim. Have you been well all this time?”
Seseong’s A-Rank Hunter with the Dragon Rider skill, Kang Soyoung. She came toward me and smiled prettily.
“Our Guild Leader has gone into a dungeon attack. He should be coming out in two to three days, but it is regretful. Who knew such a surprising thing would happen? When Guild Leader comes out, he would probably be quite surprised as well?”
“Is that so. That’s right, it seems that you do not have the dark dragon yet.”
When I asked quietly, she sighed and put on a worried expression.
“Seeing how it is taking a long time, it seems like the nest has properly appeared. It would be good if everyone came back safely.”
“It will be fine.”
She said it was dungeon that had appeared quite a long time ago and had complete attack information, so there probably wouldn’t be much trouble.
While I was speaking briefly with Kang Soyoung, Myeongwoo had been surrounded by people in an instant. I wondered if I should go over, before deciding not to. There would be similar matters often from now on, so he should get used to it, since he decided to stand alone.
‘And he doesn’t look troubled either.’
The face that appeared occasionally was more relaxed than I would’ve thought. Our Myeongwoo had changed outwardly and inwardly in a short period of time. I had known that he could get an SS-Rank skill from the beginning, but I didn’t even dream that he would change that much.
As I watched, my lips kept on quirking up, pleased.
“You’re not going over there?”
I said to Yoohyun, who was next to me. Hunter Kang Soyoung had also gone over there.
“What suddenly after just coming here.”
“What do you mean suddenly. Do your work, Guild Leader.”
“At any rate, instead of coaxing Yoo Myeongwoo, asking hyung would probably be faster.”
What was he talking about now.
“You should do your own work – why would you unreasonably ask me?”
“You’re not going to help me?”
…It wasn’t that. He was actually acting shameless. Still, it was better than saying ‘hyung, just stay there still’.
Shortly after, Myeongwoo and the Association people went out to the press conference room. I couldn’t follow, and watched through a monitor. That Myeongwoo sure looked good on screen too.
After a short greeting and introduction, Myeongwoo opened his mouth with a smiling face devoid of tension.
[The skill that I have gained is an SS-Rank production skill, Gold Forge’s Owner.]
[If it is a forge, then is only metal item production possible?]
[If it is an item that contains metal, then anything can be made.]
The reply was also composed. I was proud.
[What is the highest item rank than can be produced? If it is an SS-Rank, can even SS-Rank be made as well?]
At the journalist’s question, Myeongwoo took out the Parmini’s Ice Wood Spear instead of replying. At the appearance of the significant spear covered in a blue chill, the whole assembly was briefly quiet. In the meantime, the Association’s appraiser held the mic.
[That this Parmini’s Ice Wood Spear is an S-Rank weapon containing an S-Rank ice attribute reinforcement skill, is guaranteed through the Korean Hunter Association’s name.]
An S-Rank weapon containing an S-Rank skill. In order to take pictures of the appearance of Korea’s sixteenth S-Rank weapon, flashes burst out noisily. After a short moment, Myeonwoo opened his mouth again.
[There is no limit on an item’s production rank.]
This time, the silence was a little longer.
Moon Hyuna, who was watching the monitor with me in the waiting room, mumbled. We hadn’t even told the Association’s side that there was no limit on the production rank. We just told them that he had made an S-Rank weapon and that it was an SS-Rank production skill.
I was also regretful that Sung Hyunjae wasn’t here. I had wanted to see that ahjussi’s surprised face.
[Th-then. Are you saying that you can make, past an S-Rank, an SS-Rank and higher item as well?]
[As there is no limit on the skill, it is possible. However, in order to make SS-Rank and higher items, there needs to be proficiency, experience making a few more items. As I have already made an S-Rank item in a short amount of time, it will not be that far in the future for an SS-Rank item to come out. A regular supply could be possible someday as well.]
I heard the sound of somebody swallowing dryly. The hearts of all the Hunters, especially high rank Hunters, listening to Myeongwoo’s words now, would be pounding.
It was a story that couldn’t help but make you restless.
An SS-Rank weapon. Possibly even higher than that. Even F-Rank me was looking forward to it, so could the high rank Hunters who would directly receive the benefit, be able to stay still?
Even while the trivial questions were continuing, the waiting room was still locked in silence. Moon Hyuna had an expression like she was deep in thought with her mouth closed.
In the middle of everyone’s seriousness and gravity, I alone had my lips continuing to quirk up, so it was a little embarrassing but still great. If Myeongwoo’s stats were still F, it would have been a little worrying to confess it like this on a large scale, but now he was C. If you were stat C, as long as you reliably put on equipment, there wasn’t a big worry. He could just directly make S-Rank equipment and plaster them on. If need be, he could also escape to the Forge.
Ah, I really didn’t have any worries. He was really amazing, our Myeongwoo.
While I was smirking, looking at the monitor, Yerim appeared. She was the Parmini’s Ice Wood Spear’s new owner. As much as he had received help from Haeyeon Guild all this time, he had passed the the first S-Rank weapon over for a mere hundred billion.
It really wasn’t much. If it was an S-Rank weapon, even normal ones without a skill had an auction starting price of a hundred billion.
The face of Yerim, who was holding the Ice Wood Spear in her arms, was shining bright.
[Thank you, Hunter Yoo Myeongwoo-nim. And thank you too, to Hunter Han Yoojin-nim!]
…Wait why did I come up? And that wasn’t the end either.
[That I gained the SS-Rank skill was partly due to Haeyeon Guild’s cooperation, but the largest facilitator was Hunter Han Yoojin. It is not enough to express it with a simple word like savior-.]
Myeongwoo! This was a live broadcast! Argh, someone turn off the monitor! Or at least the sound! No, stop talking.
I felt stinging gazes striking me from all directions. I felt like I would die from embarrassment.
 lit. ‘phone gets on fire’ and ‘even parental in-law’s third cousin’