Chapter 32: Chapter 32
Kim Dae-ho responded with a blank face at Su-hyeun’s words. It seemed that Kim Dae-ho did not fully understand the meaning behind what Su-hyeun said.
Kim Dae-ho frowned slightly and asked, “Are you sure about that?”
“Yes, I’m certain.”
“Look kiddo, tell me the truth. Where did you pick the ether stone up? Are you not aware of how precious this item was?”
How could Su-hyeun be oblivious to it? The only person in this world who could have known how valuable this item was was Su-hyeun. Even so, there was only one reason that made Su-hyeun shook his head.
“I trust you, Uncle.”
“Wasn’t the only thing which you hoped for was a sword made with that stone? The process of using that item.”
There was a slight twist in Kim Dae-ho’s expression. After showing a preposterous expression, he opened his mouth.
“Ke, kah, kahahaha!” It was blinding. His roaring laughter came back, echoing from the forest beyond the door.
It had been a while since Su-hyeun saw Kim Dae-ho laughing so heartily. He, of course, had expected it.
Su-hyeun himself, too, was also aware of how ridiculous his words were.
“You’re quite an interesting lad. No, are you a weirdo? Anyway…” Kim Dae-ho took the ether stone in Su-hyeun’s hand and spoke. “You’re right. What I wanted was the process of creating the sword, not this item itself. Let me ask you one last thing.”
Kim Dae-ho held up the ether stone he took from Su-hyeun in front of his eyes and asked, “Do you truly trust me?”
“Yes, I have my trust in you.”
“Kek. Kah! You’re a weirdo, young lad.” Once again, Kim Dae-ho started laughing heartily.
Soon, his laughter disappeared without a trace, and all that was left was a stern look.
“So, alright. As much as you have put your trust in me, I will return that favor as well. I’ll create a sword out of this world.”
“Yes, please do your best.”
Su-hyeun reached out his hand to Kim Dae-ho cheekily. Kim Dae-ho blankly stared at Su-hyeun’s hand for a while before grasping it. Strangely, there was a familiar feeling even though they had just met.
* * *
Su-hyeun then returned home immediately. It was already late evening. Su-hyeun arrived back home around a similar time as Shin Su-yeong.
Shin Su-yeong had prepared a simple stew and had been waiting for Su-hyeun’s return. As she looked at Su-hyeun, who arrived back home late, she spoke out immediately.
“Son, shall we talk?”
What had to come eventually came. Su-hyeun took his seat at the dining table. They did not turn on the television for this conversation.
Shin Su-yeong started to speak first.
“Tell me, truthfully, son. You are hiding something from me, right?”
“Yes, I am.” Was it because he had been expecting this moment for a long time? He didn’t find much difficulty replying. “You know what kind of person an awakener is, right?
Shin Su-yeong’s eyes wavered at Su-hyeun’s question.
Seeing that she wasn’t too surprised, Shin Su-yeong must have had her suspicions and guesses.
“Yes, of course, I know.”
“Then, you should know how dangerous that job is, too.”
“Of course. Your mom has eyes and ears, too.”
Su-hyeun closed his eyes tightly. Su-hyeun held his breath for a moment and started telling his story.
Everything that had happened before. How Su-hyeun started as an awakener, the things that every other awakener had gone through by clearing trials to get even stronger. He even spoke of yesterday and the day before, when he had gone for a dungeon attack.
After Su-hyeun had told all of his stories, he observed Shin Su-yeong closely.
“Mom, why… do you have this expression?”
The one flustered should have been Shin Su-yeong, as it was Su-hyeun who had been keeping all of this a secret until now. But after all of this had been said, it was Su-hyeun who felt flustered.
“What kind of expression should I have?”
Su-hyeun stumbled at Shin Su-yeong’s rhetorical question and finally spoke.
“Aren’t you angry?”
Su-hyeun had expected Shin Su-yeong to flare up at him and be worried about him. Shin Su-yeong had always worried over him even when nothing happened, asking if he had been taking his meals; Su-hyeun could never imagine how worried she would be when he revealed that he had been fighting monsters all this while.
“It’s not something that I should be angry about.”
Not only did Shin Su-yeong not flare up at him, but she only put on a sad expression. Su-hyeun had never expected such a reaction from her.
Hearing Shin Su-yeong’s voice, it broke Su-hyeun’s heart.
“Wasn’t it tough?”
Su-hyeun’s eyes widened at Shin Su-yeong’s question. That short phrase created a considerable stir deep in his heart.
It was tough. It was quite tough at that.
Never had anyone asked him this question before. Not even his mother from his previous life.
“Won’t it be even tougher… in the future? Won’t you feel exhausted or even regret your decision?”
It would be tough. Even more so as compared to now.
Instead of hearing words of encouragement, it was his first time hearing words of concern like these.
Something rushed up from within Su-hyeun as he was forced to suppress his feelings. Su-hyeun, afraid to show his tears, clenched his fist tightly, bit his lips, and lowered his head.
“Yes. I’m… alright.”
His heart and mouth could only respond differently. Su-hyeun could never bring up the word “difficult” in front of Shin Su-yeong.
Either way, it was something that he was prepared for all along. She probably would have known about it, too.
But even so, Shin Su-yeong did not stop Su-hyeun. She could never be happy nor sad for Su-hyeun.
“If you say it like this, there’s nothing I can do.”
Shin Su-yeong had already known.
Seeing how Su-hyeun did not tell her the truth and his thoughts, it meant that her persuasion or words would not work on him. She knew that right at this moment, her persuasion and worries would only make it harder on Su-hyeun. Thus, all she could do now was encourage him. Furthermore, Shin Su-yeong did not want to change Su-hyeun’s life.
Shin Su-yeong respected and supported Su-hyeun’s decision. If it meant for Su-hyeun to have a happier life…
“I’ll support you, my son.”
Shin Su-yeong hugged Su-hyeun.
For some reason, something surged up from within once again.
He could not show his weak side in front of Shin Su-yeong. Not being able to cry, Su-hyeun suppressed his feelings and laughed.
“Thank you, mother.”
* * *
After that, Shin Su-yeong began to ask Su-hyeun various questions. She questioned what kind of job awakeners did, whether it was dangerous, and how busy the job was. And of course, she had also insisted for him not to take up too dangerous jobs if possible.
Su-hyeun responded to them all, saying, “I got it.” He didn’t want to see Shin Su-yeong getting anxious over him.
“Yes. Look at this.”
Shin Su-yeong stared in shock as Su-hyeun showed her his bank deposit balance.
“Do you want to confirm this with me at the bank tomorrow?”
“Oh my, oh my…”
She had heard that awakeners had a job that paid well, but never did she expect them to be able to earn this much just overnight.
The amount that Su-hyeun earned overnight was what Shin Su-yeong could only make after working for over 20 years.
“Aren’t you being too happy?”
“Of course. Why would anyone hate money?”
“But you weren’t pleased earlier?”
“Well, that’s that, and this is this.”
Although he knew Shin Su-yeong liked money, he had never expected her to change her attitude this fast. Su-hyeun let out a sigh and shook his head. Even so, he felt relieved that Shin Su-yeong did not show an even more tormented look.
<<She might have intentionally hidden that side of her as well.>>
Either way, he felt good.
Shin Su-yeong, who was always struggling with monetary issues, thought that she could finally relax for a bit now.
“Let’s go take a look at houses tomorrow.”
With this money, they could finally escape from this basement apartment. Shin Su-yeong could also achieve her dream of having her own little store. Moreover, Shin Su-yeong had always wanted to manage a store of her own.
As their conversation ended, they watched the television as they had their dinner.
Right on time, Lee Ju-ho’s face appeared on the news.
“Last night, a dungeon that appeared in Gwangju, Gyeonggi province’s Anyak mountain had a level change. Fortunately, the leader of the party, Lee Ju-ho, who led the dungeon attack, completed the dungeon attack; but through this accident…”
This type of dungeon had not yet appeared up until now; thus, it was enough to be reported as news.
But it wasn’t creating much stir as Su-hyeun had expected. The news had only served its purpose of warning the public that such dungeons were appearing as well.
Su-hyeun’s smartphone rang as soon as he stepped into his room after dinner.
It was a call from Lee Ju-ho.
<<Are you not going to accept it?>>
It’s the same topic over again.
Although Lee Ju-ho had sent the same text messages previously, Su-hyeun’s replies never changed.
But no matter what, Lee Ju-ho seemed not to have any thoughts on accepting the other half of the ether stones that were given to him.
“I have lots of money. I’m not that poor to accept them shamelessly, nor do I have any reason to.”
“Isn’t there a reason for you to accept them? You kept my secret and even took care of the annoying issue for me. That’s enough reason.”
“But it’s too much compared to what I’ve done. It’s not wrong to say that you’ve completed the dungeon attack yourself, isn’t it?”
Lee Ju-ho’s opinion was more tenacious than he had thought. He didn’t seem easy to persuade.
“How about this, can you lend me your name?”
“More accurately, your B-rank awakener title. Since there are higher possibilities for a B-rank awakener to register for a red level dungeon attack alone, you’ll just have to add me in.”
There will be more dungeon attacks happening in the future. Instead of hiding Su-hyeun’s capabilities and strengths, it’s better if both he and Lee Ju-ho worked together as a team. Moreover, if there’s only the both of them, the distributed amount of ether stones will be higher, too.
“Of course, if you think that’s troublesome…”
“No, it’s not. Let’s do it according to your suggestion.”
His reply was quick. Lee Ju-ho seemed to have thought that Su-hyeun’s suggestion was better for himself, too. To be able to enter a dungeon attack with a skilled awakener like Su-hyeun wasn’t a bad proposal for him either.
“I’ll take your acceptance as agreement, and will contact you in the future. If you want to apply first, that’s fine, too.”
“Yes, I’ll wait for your call.”
That ended their phone conversation. Su-hyeun’s expression relaxed as his worries were lifted off his shoulders.
<<With this, I don’t have to create a fake identity either.>>
He didn’t need to get the awakener’s registration card that one needed to obtain permission for a dungeon attack thanks to his new friend, Lee Ju-ho. The minimum conditions of being at least a B-rank awakener for joining a dungeon attack was fulfilled thanks to Lee Ju-ho.
The issue with Shin Su-yeong had also been resolved amicably. It felt as though an immense thunderstorm had quickly passed.
All he had to do was to look forward and achieve his goals.
The next day.
Su-hyeun left home as the day broke. Now, Shin Su-hyeun did not even ask Su-hyeun where he was headed. Su-hyeun opened the door to the Tower of Trials.
<<The things I have to do.>>
It was different compared to the times where he meaninglessly climbed the tower without goals.
Now, he had a clear goal for climbing the Tower of Trials. There was also an apparent reason for doing it. Strangely, his feet felt light. With this feeling, it felt as if he could do achieve anything.
Su-hyeun stepped into the Tower of Trials.
[Kim Su-hyeun, your 11th-floor trial starts now.]