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At first, he panicked. As easily demonstrated here, Sae-Jin’s identity wasn’t worth much to dig up. What troubled him more, though, was Hazeline. Under the context of having a friendly relationship, he had shown her his real face, after all.
Of course, he was not worried about his secrets being exposed as Dark Elves hated meeting people in the first place as well as placing a huge importance on being trustworthy, but still, he did feel somewhat uncertain as there had never been a precedence of an alchemist moonlighting as a Hunter on the side.
"….But man, this is so weird."
Whatever the case may have been, his name, face and the job description was exposed here for all to see in the top portal site of South Korea, Neighbour, and he found all these oh-so-strange. And the photo of his face taken from the side was showing his ungainly chin line as well…… (TL: to be honest, I’m not sure if I TLed the last line here correctly. The author wrote "his chin from the side seemed fatally jutting out." I took it as MC not liking how his chin is shaped or some such.)
‘After becoming a Mid Tier ranked Hunter at the young age of 22, Kim Sae-Jin is acknowledged by other Hunters as one of the top prospects of the future, having already received the title of the Heavenly Gifted.’
The journalists seemed to love fabricating stories. He had no clue just who had acknowledged him as a top future prospect. But he had to concede that reading such rumours about himself was a fun thing to do. Likewise, he found the words written in the article itself, as well as the comments in the comment section, rather interesting too.
– He’s got a nice enough face, got a good build, his height is just about right, so he matches up well with Yu Sae-Jung, me thinks. [Upvoted 983] [Downvoted 482]
└Matching up well, my a*s. You really think a romance between a regular Hunter and an unobtainium spoon is possible?
└Me agree. The Dawn ain’t the name of your pet dog. They are duking it out for the top position in the country. Plus, Yu Sae-Jung is still a sophomore in a high school.
└Oh and BTW, what’s Yu Sae-Jung’s real height?
└Saw it personally, it’s between 159~160. But me thinks she’s got a complex about her height, always insisting that it’s 164.
└ㅋ ㅋ That was really cute. "I told you, it’s 164!! Not 159!!!"
Obviously, not every comment posted would be of nicer opinions but still, he found it fun just reading all the replies.
That night, Kim Sae-Jin stayed awake while reading all the articles related to himself and the accompanying comments sections.
In the following afternoon, Sae-Jin headed to the Yoseon Alchemy House to meet up with Hazeline. Since he was going to ask her for another big favour, he took along 9 bottles of potions as well.
He handed the potions over as soon as they met, and he waited until her face was glowing with ecstasy and happiness before bringing up the real reason for his visit today.
"The rest of the money…. can I repay you slowly over time? Right now I’m running short on funds…"
Hazeline showed a brief panic, but soon, nodded her head with a magnanimous smile on her face. Her reason was simple enough - the alchemist she was going to work together for a reall
y, really long time shouldn’t be left destitute, after all.
She immediately transferred $1.7 million US out of $4.2 million accrued from the sales of the potions so far. She even added that he could take his time to repay her.
Sae-Jin thought that she was really one cool woman.
[The persuasion has been successful. The Skill Proficiency Level for the Passive Skill "Pleasant Voice" rises.]
And there was an unexpected bonus to boot as well. As Sae-Jin was glowing in the satisfaction, Hazeline remembered something and asked him about it.
"By the way, what was that reality TV show all about? I was really surprised to find that you are a Hunter. And also, friendly with the granddaughter of the Dawn Corporation Chairman, too."
"Oh… that? That’s my side job. I was getting a cabin fever stuck in a workshop churning out potions, so was trying to de-stress when I accidentally ran into Miss Sae-Jung…. that’s about it."
"Is that true? How mysterious. But well, it really doesn’t matter what you do on the side anyways. And with Yu Sae-Jung… Keheum."
Fortunately, Hazeline didn’t try to dig in deeper.
To her, who knew about Sae-Jin, it was understandable to a degree - since the near-crippled Yu Sae-Jung was able to quickly recover soon after taking the potion brewed by none other than the alchemist Kim Sae-Jin right here.
‘Have the Dawn made contact with him already?’
While making such wild guesses, she inwardly accepted why Yu Sae-Jung and Kim Sae-Jin were so friendly with each other. It was a totally plausible scenario. No matter what other people said, the Dawn Corporation was the biggest company in the country. And if they wanted to find someone, it wouldn’t be hard for them at all.
"Ah, right. Sir Alchemist, you do know that, by law, direct dealings between people are prohibited, and you must go through an Alchemy House, yes? If you receive a sales request, please, you must inform us first."
Hazeline was sincerely asking for something that made no sense from Sae-Jin’s point of view.
"Huh? Oh. Of course. I’ll do just that."
Kim Sae-Jin bought a detached single-unit house near the Monster field of Gangwon with the money received from Hazeline. But the house cost him a whopping $1.6 million, instantly depleting his bank account and making him feel bitter inside.
The house had two floors above ground and one basement floor. He decided to use the above ground floors as the living space, and to convert the basement into a workshop where he could do his blacksmithing and alchemy work.
With the remaining funds, he went around and bought various furniture. Besides the obvious things like a bed and a set of couches, he also got himself proper potion crafting tools and storage cabinets to store both the ingredients for potions as well as the metal ingots for blacksmithing.
Although he purchased so many things while feeling excited for the future, there was still a week left before he could move into his new home. He had to learn the hard way that the dates of buying a house and then moving in, could be quite different from one another.
After all that, the remaining money was around $2600 US.
Currently, Sae-Jin was inside his cave.
Inside this dark, gloomy cave, he was concentrating on making the next weapon for the 2nd Round of the Blacksmiths Tournament, which would take place in a week’s time as well. He initially thought that once some leeway was found, he’d not want to do this thing again, but no, he was getting really fired up for this. The reactions of the media and the general populace were like a drug to him. He wanted to be praised by them some more. He wanted these people to see his hard work and go bonkers mad with admiration.
And his desire helped him to find the true value of the Orc’s Smithing Technique - the potential of this incredible skill.
And that is the "bestowal of special characteristics."
It meant, as the words implied, to enhance an armament with special powers. At first, just like those simple minded Orcs, he only thought about one dimensional special traits like "sharper", "sturdier", but things were different now.
The flexibility, fluidity, flammability, density, melting point, boiling point, electrical and heat conductivity, viscosity, spectrum of colour for the material’s absorption of light, magnetism, and etc, etc…. there were numerous chemical properties to consider. Depending on the Proficiency Level, the Orc’s Smithing Technique could combine these properties and bestow them.
The blade that could bend like a snake to attack the enemy at the will of its user, the whip sword; an invisibility cloak that manipulates the refraction of light to fool the eyes, etc, etc - the possible types of armament he could create through the Smithing Technique were truly limitless.
Of course, the weapons with such added attributes that were made by human smiths could be found every now and then out in the market. But they were simply the results from nothing more than lucky accidents. As an Orc, though, Sae-Jin could bestow all these special attributes at will.
But for now, his Skill Proficiency Level was too low, so he still had a long way to go. There wasn’t a single sign of the Orc Warrior evolving to the next level, and no matter how many Mana Stones he absorbed, the amount of Mana he possessed remained the same as before.
[The Smithing Technique has been completed.]
[Hardness Level: D]
[A new attribute has been added: Flame Damage Level D] (TL: the author wrote here "Level D Fire Start". Since I’m not 100% sure if that’s a correct translation, or indeed what he wanted to convey, I’ll go with a game-y sounding Flame Damage for now.)
[Although the degree of completion is exemplary, the current Skill Proficiency Level limit for the Orc Warrior is D, and thus the Level can not be raised any more.]
‘…So this is the best I can do.’
The weapon Sae-Jin crafted just now was a sabre. Beautiful patterns on the surface of the sleek, smooth and ashen-coloured blade imparted the feelings of noble elegance.
The attribute bestowed to the sabre, the Flame Damage Level D, did not mean that flames were literally lit on the blade itself. When a Knight breathed Mana into the weapon, only then the effects of ultra high temperature would show itself. In other words, the melting power comparable to a furnace would be added on top of the Mana-enhanced cutting power.
He was really chuffed at this weapon, completed after dozens of attempts over the last several mornings.
But his head was getting dizzy now. So, he promptly lied down on the cold, hard floor and fell into a restful slumber.
That night, he dreamt of a dream where he was receiving a lot of praise from the mass media.
It was a clear afternoon. And it was finally the day for him to move into the house of his dreams. Sae-Jin was busy placing the furniture with the aid of the workers from the moving company, when…
The phone he placed in his back pocket silently vibrated.
⸢Let’s go hunting today at 2 PM.⸥
It was a text message from Yu Sae-Jung.
In the three weeks following the broadcasting of that TV show, he went out on a total of five hunts as a pair with her. And everytime that happened, the attentions of the world focused on him. Hell, there was even an incident where another Hunter took a paparazzo shot of him and uploaded it to a SNS.
But Yu Sae-Jung didn’t seem to mind that at all. She concentrated only on hunting and treated Sae-Jin no differently from before, regardless of whether they filmed her or not.
⸢No can do. In the middle of moving house today.⸥
And somehow, Sae-Jin could speak to her without using honorifics now.
From their second hunting onwards, he felt that they have become friendly enough so he started omitting the honorifics every now and then, but at that time, Yu Sae-Jung didn’t like it and became rather curt with her response. So, he replied in kind.
Initially, he just wanted to test the waters, but then, even Sae-Jin became stubborn about this matter and ended up not using the honorifics at all for the rest of the hunt’s duration. He thought it was par for the course. After all, he was older than her by 4 years.
The hunt that was supposed to last for two hours was cut in half as a result. Actually, she became pretty peeved and returned home early without saying anything. However…. she called him back precisely after a week had passed by.
Well, that’s how the human relationship generally worked - the one in need would make the approach first.
From then on, Yu Sae-Jung resolutely endured Sae-Jin speaking without honorifics. Nowadays, her face colour remained the same even if he spoke to her without one.
When he asked her how she felt about it, she said that initially at least, she didn’t want to see him ever again but it became unbearably frustrating when teaming up with other Hunters - so she gave up and called him in the end. Sae-Jin naturally felt quite proud of his own skills after hearing her confession.
⸢Will take too long to finish up here.⸥
⸢But that’s no good. I don’t have any other free time beside today this week.⸥
⸢Let’s hunt next week, then. I can’t today.⸥
During this exchange of texts, it was plain to see who was in the advantageous position.
Yu Sae-Jung didn’t send any more texts as if she got peeved again. Not really caring about that, Sae-Jin pocketed the phone and went back to work. After all, she’d call him again in her own time. Indeed, this was only possible because this lady Knight had become too dependent on the abnormally talented Hunter’s abilities.
"Thank you for all your hard work~!!"
And finally - 4 PM. The placement of furniture was completed with only one hour of human-time remaining.
This was his home. Even though he had to take on a debt to purchase it, Sae-Jin was still overcome with emotions and he took his time surveying the spacious house.
Each of the rooms here was as big as his one room apartment. The longer he gazed at his house, the closer he got to shedding tears of happiness.
< 09. Changes in the Daily Life (2) > Fin.