< Like a Shrimp (2) >
“Yerim? Didn’t you contract to enter Haeyeon Guild?”
“Wasn’t it preferentially, not no matter what? You revised it to that.”
Yes, I certainly did. Yerim said in a sharp tone of voice.
“I’ll put the condition of ahjussi being my guardian in my contract with Haeyeon Guild. I saw on TV that even A-Ranks can put all sorts of supplementary conditions? Most of it seems like receiving items, but there was nothing that disallowed people?”
That was true but why exactly me… did she remember that it hadn’t even been a day since we met? There shouldn’t be any reason to be so stubborn. Was there perhaps a side effect to the Awakening?
“Um, first, calm down. There’s no need to unnescessarily put that in the contract. Since appointing a guardian is your right, Yerim.”
At my words, her expression loosened up a lot.
“Really? So I don’t have to listen to Haeyeon Guild Leader?”
“It’s like that. I just have to accept-.”
……This time it’s you. I was wondering why he wasn’t butting in.
“You have to decide carefully. It’s not any rank, it’s S-Rank. I’ve been through it so I know well, but if it’s a young S-Rank, all sorts of bugs will come infest. It’ll probably be even worse because Bak Yerim-yang is 15 years old.”
“Still, isn’t it better than letting a S-Rank Awakened Person go? If she becomes affiliated with the guild, things like that will be covered to a certain extent. It’ll be okay as long as Yerim doesn’t ignore my opinions – she’s not that bad of a kid…probably?”
“I’m a good kid.”
Bak Yerim immediately answered. At the same time, she quickly came over to my side. It seemed like she would have grabbed my arm and pulled if she had only adjusted to her strength.
“It’s because of my uncle’s family, especially Bak Soochun that son of a bitch, that my personality became a little bad, I’m originally a good kid. When I was in elementary school, my teachers praised me a lot.”
“…Then can you stand a little apart? Just one step, no two steps.”
I was afraid she would thoughtlessly grab my arm in excitement. Even lightly pulling it would pull it out, probably. Bak Yerim obediently stepped back. And then looked at me expectantly.
That’s right, you are a good kid.
Taking a deep breath, I turned back to my dongsaeng. Just how did I become like this between these two.
“If you’re a guild leader, before anything, you have to think about catching an S-Rank. Why are you acting so prickly after being amazing all this time.”
“If it’s an S-Rank that can’t control themselves properly, then it’s worse than nothing.”
“Hey, even if it’s like that, it’s a lot better to first catch them, and reap the rewards, and then transferring them.”
“Transferring? You mean sending away to another place, right?”
Yerim came closer again. Can you please maintain a safe distance.
“If you act too unruly then that can happen. But you said you’re a good kid. Then, there’s no problem.”
“You’re right, I’m a good kid. I guess it won’t be a problem.”
As if she was trying to prove that she was a good kid, she stepped back again. That’s right, please stay there obediently.
“Above all, like I said earlier, the problem of a guardian is between me and Yerim. As a guild leader, you can give advice at least, but consider interference past that as something excessive.”
At my words, Yoohyun gave a short sigh.
“If hyung is going to go so far as to say that, I can’t block you anymore. But be careful. Between Awakened People, more than anything, rank is first. Right now, when she’s just Awakened, it might be okay, but there’s no guarantee that it won’t change.”
Saying that, Yoohyun looked back at Bak Yerim. Bak Yerim didn’t avoid his gaze and met it headon.
The eyes of the two people looking at each other were icy. Stuck between them, the back of my neck hurt.
Just a little while ago, the atmosphere was okay. Exactly what was a mere guardian that you were acting like this.
“If rank is first above all, then guild leader must be like that too? That’s right, I heard you only just reconciled with ahjussi a few days ago. You must have fallen out because of that ‘rank’?”
……Huh? Yerim threw down the glove?
“It was just that we were shortly apart in order to protect hyung to the end. It’s different from someone who tries to keep him at their side purely to show off their greed.”
Then Yoohyun also struck back. At the words of ‘showing off their greed’, Yerim had a deathly furious expression.
Yoohyun, if she got so angry that anything she saw disappeared, you might be okay, but it’s dangerous for me.
“You two, stop it.”
I quickly cut in, in case a shrimp’s back might burst.
“Why are you so aggressive over nothing important.”
“It’s not nothing important, though?”
“It’s not nothing important.”
Fuck, fine, it’s something important. Why were you in agreement now of all times. Making someone embarrassed.
“At any rate, let’s stop here. If you want to continue fighting, I’m leaving, so you two figure it out yourselves.”
“Ahjussi, are you sulking?”
Sulking, what do you mean, sulking.
“I’m like this because I’m afraid. If you guys flail around, I’ll die.”
“The time for me to make that kind of mistake has already passed.”
At Yoohyun’s words, Yerim glared at him.
“I’m going to adjust soon too!”
“I got it so don’t play your battle of nerves in front of me. I feel like a shrimp between a whale fight.”
It wasn’t good for my heart. At my words, both of them shut their mouths. Surprisingly they were listening to me well.
“This is the end of the guardian discussion. And Yerim, I’m sorry but I can’t stay with you here. When you break equipment trying to adjust, if debris flies around, it’ll be too dangerous. Instead, I’ll come down early tomorrow morning.”
“…Yes, I understand.”
Bak Yerim looked dissatisfied but nodded her head.
“Oh right, even if your relationship is bad, shouldn’t you at least contact your home? It’ll be bothersome if they report it.”
“There’s no need. There were a lot of times I fought with them and stayed over at a friend’s house. Please just contact my school.”
“Okay. Then I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I left the training room and went toward the elevator. My dongsaeng walking next to me had on an expression that said he didn’t like the guardian issue but didn’t say anything about it.
“What kind of person is Bak Yerim’s past guardian?”
Yoohyun asked. I replied while pressing the elevator button.
“Someone who thinks money is more important than their flesh and blood. He took all of Yerim’s parents’ possesions and didn’t even buy her one pair of shoes. He makes her work at their restaurant without pay.”
“Then there’s a high possibility that he’ll be troublesome in the future.”
“100% for sure. So give him some money.”
“To shut him up with money?”
“Something like that.”
I had dealt with that kind of person several times. That kind of greed had no end so they were never satisfied with receiving a lot one or two times. So you had to reliably grab their weak point.
It wouldn’t do to have a single scratch on our precious S-Rank-nim, right?
“And now that Yerim is here, I’ll also move to the employee dorms.”
I said, watching the elevator door open. Haeyeon Guild also had outside company housing but we couldn’t live there because there would be people being troublesome about the new S-Rank and also because of Peace.
“…What are you doing?”
When I entered the elevator and turned around, Yoohyung was pressing the door button with an unhappy expression on his face.
“You like that girl that much?”
What kind of nonsense was he sprouting now.
“It hasn’t even been half a day since I met her. There’s been no time for liking or not liking.”
“Even so, you take care of her too well.”
“It’s obviously an adult’s responsibility to take care of a young kid. And, if I don’t do that much for her after bringing her here to help me, would that make me even human?”
We said the guardian discussion was over so why was he acting like this again. …Don’t tell me it was because I said I was going to move out? Just in case it was that, I added on.
“I’m moving into the dorms because it’s more comfortable in different ways. I’m not going to completely move out, but rather use both. It’s a little awkward to move Yerim into your house, right?
Yoohyun’s house had, of course the greenhouse filled with dungeons organisms, as well as several S-Rank items labelled as personal collections. So you couldn’t let anyone go in and out as they pleased.
“If you’re talking about an outbuilding, I guess having one would be convenient.”
Yoohyun said, as he entered the elevator. So it really was because of that.
“I have a separate residence for receiving guests, too.”
“A separate one?”
“A separate house is good for quietly meeting with people. There are all sorts who don’t want to draw attention.”
The sort of person who doesn’t want to draw attention – did he mean unregistered Awakened People?
Of course, not all Awakened People registered at the Association. Especially if they were people who weren’t going to attack dungeons and wanted to use Awakened abilities on normal people, they stayed far away from the Hunter Association. They were doing illegal things so if they went and registered all their abilites and skills, it would be like saying ‘come arrest me~’.
I wondered if Yoohyun also did bad things behind my back but I didn’t ask. Whether I asked or not, there was no way his hands were clean.
Before my regression, even I…… um. There’s no need for the disappeared past to come up.
“Since Bak Yerim-yang is going to be here for 1 year… I guess there’ll be all sorts of things to prepare.”
Saying that he would be busy for quite a while, Yoohyun got off at a middle floor. I went straight up to the house and looked for the greenhouse.
The red cat with a horn wagged his tail on the other side of the glass walls. He jumped around and made a fuss as if he was extremely happy to see me.
“This cute little brat!”
I quickly opened the door and took Peace out.
When I picked up Peace, who was clinging to me, the warmth and heat calmed my heart. Ahh, my stress was melting away. You’re definitely the best. Maybe this was why people had pets.
“Let’s go eat~.”
Instead of human S-Ranks, I thought it would be nicer to raise magic beast S-Ranks. See, look how well-behaved and cute they are.
Going to the kitchen, I put Peace down on the floor, and took out raw meat from the fridge. Not beef, or chicken, or pork – it was monster meat. I put the meat that had a sheen of blue into the grinder and finely grinded it. Then, I took out a glass bottle from my inventory.
The glass bottle that was slightly smaller than a 500 mL water bottle was filled with red magic stone powder. It was powder from twenty C-Rank magic stones, in other words, a glass bottle worth 200 million won.
“Like this, my sense of money is going to get twisted.”
10 days’ worth of pet feed was as much as 200 million. One month was 600 million. Money is meaningless, huh.
Circling my feet, Peace urged me to hurry and feed him.
“Okay, I’ll feed you soon.”
I took some of the magic stone powder with a measuring spoon and then mixed it with the ground meat. Then I gathered some into a round ball about the size of half a fist.
“Peace, come here. It’s food.”
Following a dog training video I had watched, I attracted Peace’s attention with the meatball. Golden eyes stared at the the meat in my hands.
“I love you.”
Speaking clearly, I gave the meatball to Peace. He ate well as if it was tasty. Repeating this a few times, I fed him the remaining meat.
Would it take a few days of training for there to be an effect? Animals like dogs and cats had a certain amount of intelligence so I didn’t think it would take long.
Peace, who was full, bit my foot painlessly as if telling me to play with him. Should I buy some toys? Would cat toys be better, or dog toys?
I picked up Peace, who was jumping around, and went to the living room. I sat on the the sofa, and when I took out the light fabric belt out of my inventory and waved it around, he quickly bit onto the end and pulled. Since it was B-Rank, it wouldn’t rip, right?
“Do it gently, gently. I’m not strong.”
Should I take out the manticore gloves and put them on? It was going to get even hotter, I shouldn’t have bought leather gloves. Should I ask the guild for a good item? Or raise my level, in the end?
‘How much was an F-Rank exclusive entrance pass, again?’
If I had to go behind Yoohyun’s back, I had to buy an exclusive pass that definitely guaranteed secrecy. Before my regression, I hadn’t done it outside of bidding so I couldn’t remember. A higher level F-Rank dungeon bid was about 300 on average. To be exclusive, at the very least, it had to be twice that.
‘Speaking of, how much money did I have?’
I couldn’t remember my bank situation as far as 5 years back. Firstly, there would at least be the Awakening registration subsidy; did I open an installment savings account?
‘I retired because I was going to meet an Awakening broker… I think I took everything from my retirement fund to my savings.’
In my memory, I definitely didn’t get to handing over the money. Then I’d have a considerable amount of money in the bank so I need to check… what was my PIN number again.
‘……Why would I remember anyways.’
5 years ago, I changed my password up to 3 times while getting it reissued. Are the so-called regressor guys who aim for winning lottery tickets, geniuses? I didn’t even remember my password.
“Guess I’ll have to go to the bank, too.”
“If I have some extra money, should I buy some stocks? What were the ones that rose, again?”
Work, my memory. There definitely were several stocks that shot up when dungeon-related new materials or new goods were developed. Which pharmaceutical company was it that developed the hair loss remedy?
Just then, I felt my cell phone vibrate. When I took the phone out of my pocket to check, an unknown number was calling me. There wasn’t a sign that said it was an advertisement, so who was it?
“Peace, play by yourself for a bit. Hello?”
[Hello, Han Yoojin-ssi.]
A man’s voice came from the cell phone. It sounded like a voice I had heard before. Who was it again?
[I am Haeyeon Guild’s head of human resources, Suk Simyeong.]
……Fuck, it was this bastard. Should I just hang up.
 not sure what he means here. Obviously he’s speaking metaphorically, so I think he means nasty people (bugs) will gather around YR. If so, kinda uhh cold that neither of them points out that should be a reason they should protect YR instead of an unfortunate side-effect of having to put up with her or straight out abandoning her
 same as eng phrase
 from the saying ‘in a whale fight, a shrimp’s back bursts’ which means when two strong people fight, weak or innocent bystanders get hurt. I couldn’t think of a similar eng idiom so I left the lit. tl as is.
 see footnote 
 when they were talking about YJ being YR’s guardian or a Hunter’s guardian, they used a word (후견인) that is more technical & often comes with the connotation of a “financial backer”. The “guardian” (보호자) used here is a much more common word, meaning a legal guradian (aka someone who takes care of you in stead of a parent).
 there is no direct object here, which is normal in krn, but that also means it’s vague but I’m assuming he means ‘him’
 the actual word used is “reason/grounds/basis” but that doesn’t really make sense in eng
 lit. “money isn’t money”, i.e. it’s so expensive that money is useless/money isn’t valuable anymore.
 lit. “official authentication certificate password” but I think it means a PIN #?