Hunter Academy’s Battle God
[Translator – SCM]
[Proofreader – ilafy]
The morning of the decisive day arrived, and SeokHan called YuSung for a private meeting before lunch.
- Chirp! Chirp!
Chirping bluebirds flitted around the beautiful, grassy front yard. Just like everything else there, the landscape was carefully curated according to SeokHan’s tastes. The servants had personally raised the bluebirds, and not a single flaw could be seen in the vibrant, green grass.
The man kept what he liked and naturally eliminated what he didn't. SeokHan’s influence extended to every corner of the Shinsung Group, no matter how trivial the matter might have seemed, and that extended to the front yard as well.
"I apologize for calling you so early in the morning," SeokHan said as he remained seated at his private table with his meal. "I hope you understand. I had to call you before EunAh woke up."
The man looked slightly different from how he’d looked at the family meal. Unlike back then, when he’d clearly been anxious about EunAh’s behavior, he was quieter and more formal.
"It's okay,” YuSung said. “This isn't that early for me."
"Is that so? I'm glad."
The iron-blooded businessman’s granddaughter was the only one who could melt through his rough exterior, and he treated YuSung the same way he treated everyone else.
"Regardless, it must be hard on you. Though it’s related to EunAh, I didn’t originally plan to call you for a private meeting.” Rather than being considerate, SeokHan’s words indicated that he was drawing a line because it was a family affair. It was a show of dominance.
YuSung wasn't a member of the Shinsung Group, so SeokHan was showing him that he was nothing more than a bystander.
'I'm grateful for your help with JunHyuk, but things would go much smoother if you had a proper talk with EunAh.” He’d called YuSung so early in the morning in the hopes that the boy would realize his place and help coax EunAh from the party, but…
"It's okay. It's not like this matter is unrelated to me. It's about EunAh, after all." Rather than back down, YuSung calmly replied and sat in a chair opposite the man. A tense atmosphere surrounded them, and neither side was willing to give ground.
SeokHan finally lifted the corners of his mouth in a stiff smile. "Is that so? You’ve only known each other for half a year, but based on how you speak, you must’ve become very close with our EunAh.”
Once again, SeokHan’s words contained a hidden meaning. He believed EunAh and YuSung were vastly different in importance and that YuSung had no place in her life in the short time he’d known her.
As if he were making fun of him, YuSung calmly replied, "The duration doesn't matter. EunAh is very important to me, and I’m not the only one she’s grown close with.
Unable to maintain his composure any longer, SeokHan clenched his fist and glared at the boy. "Is that so? Closer than her family?"
YuSung calmly gazed into the man’s eyes and said, "I can’t honestly say… I know how much the Shinsung family cares for her.”
SeokHan felt the atmosphere change a bit. ‘This guy… I thought he was just a common glutton.’ The boy was more articulate than he’d imagined, but SeokHan was still a ruthless businessman who’d proven his status many times.
"You already know that the right thing to do would be to take the loss this time, don’t you? You already know what I’m going to ask.” SeokHan tried to lead the situation at his own pace despite YuSung's consistent momentum.
"Maybe…” Yusung said as if he were conceding ground. “I know you’re willing to die for her, after all.” Despite what he said, his gaze was more resolute than ever, and he shook his head from side to side. "Unfortunately, I can't give up on her," he said.
"Why…? You understand who we are, right?" SeokHan asked as if he were scolding a stubborn child.
"It isn't comparable,” YuSung argued, “but I’d also be willing to die for her if the need arose.”
The veins on SeokHan’s forehead bulged. “You speak too easily of risking your own life. You’re still just a student. Do you even understand what you’re saying?
It was clear that the man was shaken, and YuSung found the reaction to be particularly important.
'He dislikes how I’m comparing her party members to her family.’ He didn’t agree with SeokHan and thought it was one of the man’s vulnerable points.
"I do understand. That’s why I’ve been able to empathize with her family situation. I’m willing to put my life on the line because there’s nothing more frightening than losing a precious party member.”
Despite who he was facing, YuSung still refused to back down. Instead, he even began to pressure the businessman with his steadfast will.
"I believe that’s the same for everyone, Mr. Kim. Don't you feel the same way?" YuSung put a strong yet calm emphasis on his point.
SeokHan flashed the boy a toothy grin. "Hahaha… Once you climb to a position like mine, you become confident in your judgment. I admit that I misjudged you by a long shot this time.”
The boy wasn’t even slightly intimidated by his status and aimed for any weakness he could in the conversation. SeokHan’s eyes sparkled as he recognized YuSung as a worthy opponent.
"Persuasion is an important skill. It's also a very sophisticated one. Despite your young age, you’re a natural. You have a remarkable talent." It was one of the most important skills he believed a leader should have.
"Now I understand why EunAh follows you." It was the best compliment he could give, and he handed YuSung a black business card. "As a reward for the time you’ve given me, this is my card. Contact me if you ever need help and I’ll make time for you.”
YuSung accepted the business card. It seemed the man had softened a bit.
"There's no need to thank me. I'm a businessman at heart, and even this friendly interaction is the result of a cold calculation.”
Even so, YuSung felt a strange sense of déjà vu when he saw the change in demeanor.
"It seems that EunAh greatly admires you… Just as I was, she’s a taciturn child. She might not show it or care for things well, but if she considers someone important to her, she will cherish them to the end."
YuSung realized where the feeling was coming from. SeokHan's personality and demeanor were similar to a certain someone’s…
'They're very similar…'
"Ehem… Even if you feel disappointed at times, don't get angry. Remember that she often masks her true intentions." Seemingly embarrassed to say such things, SeokHan coughed.
The man’s care for his family only made YuSung more certain.
'EunAh… He’s very similar to EunAh…'
YuSung nodded. "Yes! You don't need to worry too much! Contrary to your worries, EunAh is very kind and caring!"
YuSung happily smiled at how well the conversation was going, but SeokHan, still sitting on the other side of him, held an indescribable expression. He couldn’t tell if the man was feeling refreshed or uncomfortable.
"Hmm… EunAh? Caring and kind? That's hard to imagine…" He didn't want to be too critical, but he couldn't associate his granddaughter with the words ‘kind and caring’.
YuSung found the reaction to be strange. "She takes care of her colleagues in her own way and even remembers important dates."
"C-could you give me an example?" SeokHan asked.
YuSung thought for a moment before answering. "Hmm… There was an anniversary I wasn't even aware of, and she made chocolates…"
"E-EunAh made chocolates? They weren't bought?" SeokHan laughed when he saw YuSung’s smile. "And…?"
"She also taught me how to dance."
"Is that so?"
Why was it that he suddenly felt an instinctive repulsion toward YuSung's smiling face?
'EunAh taught him how to dance?' The image of his precious granddaughter dancing with the boy bothered him.
"She also helps Sumire prepare meals sometimes."
'Sumire? Ah, the party member that Secretary Lee mentioned before.'
He’d heard of Sumire, but something felt off about what YuSung was saying.
"A party member preparing a meal… Was it a special day or something?" he asked.
"Hmm? Isn’t breakfast a daily thing…?"
SeokHan looked uncomfortable at YuSung's reply. 'He calls a girl to make breakfast for him every morning?'
Something was definitely off.
"Does she go to you for that every morning?" SeokHan asked, half in doubt.
YuSung confidently shook his head and replied, "No. On special days, I go to her."
"T-to EunAh's dormitory?"
"EunAh likes to sleep in the morning, after all," YuSung softly muttered as he recalled EunAh’s sleeping face. His distant gaze made it clear he was thinking of someone he held dear, and his innocent smile made it impossible for one to think he had any ulterior motives.
"Ahem! That's true… It's really strange. EunAh even resembles me in that aspect." SeokHan unconsciously nodded in agreement.
"Ah, I also thought that EunAh resembles you!" YuSung chimed in.
"She also taps the table with her index finger when she’s deep in thought."
When YuSung imitated EunAh’s actions, SeokHan burst into laughter. "Haha! That's right! So you noticed it! I didn't tell her that on purpose! Watching her do that makes me smile."
SeokHan suddenly returned to his senses mid-laugh.
'I… I got caught up in the moment!'
Just a few moments ago, he was about to lecture the boy on entering an opposite-gender sleeping party member’s dorm, but YuSung’s gestures and words had lowered his guard.
He realized YuSung's weapon was his innocent smile. With that unique innocence, the boy could draw others into his pace. He was much too dangerous to have near EunAh.
'He has a talent for charming people…'
"Is something making you uncomfortable…?" YuSung worriedly asked when he noticed SeokHan’s expression stiffen.
"It… it was nothing!" SeokHan felt his suspicions fading away as he looked into YuSung’s eyes.
'Right… I was being overly sensitive.' In the end, he unconsciously defended YuSung’s actions. 'I don't think he acted like that out of self-interest either.'
As he was busy nodding to himself, someone approached from a distance.
They heard the unique tapping of slippers trudging across the floor.
It was Kim EunAh, the main character of the day and the true holder of power in the Shinsung Group.
"Hmm…" Fully awake, she crossed her arms and gave them both a suspicious look.
"You didn't secretly call YuSung for a private meeting, right?"
"Th-there's no way I’d do that. Ah, what good timing! EunAh, we were just talking about you. Have a seat!" EunAh's presence was strong enough to make even SeokHan feel flustered.
She sighed and shook her head. "I'm fine. Thanks for gathering the family. I've made up my mind and will announce my decision soon.”
As if she wanted to show off, she grabbed YuSung’s hand and said, "YuSung, let's go. There's someone I need to meet with before the announcement."
SeokHan had always thought of his granddaughter as a kid, and it was hard for him to see her prioritize her ‘boyfriend’ over him.
"Really…” he softly muttered as he watched the two walk away. “That boy is hard to handle.”
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