< Old Friends Starting Today >
That slightly stooped man who looked like he’s been worn down by the vicissitudes of life had an acquisition failed skill that was no less than SS-Rank!
It was obvious just from looking at the name that it was a special skill related to production. Wow, even 5 years later, not even one person came out with an equipment production skill. To think that I would see that here.
Special skills were already normally rare, and after the Awakening Centers were made, they completely disappeared. This was because the Awakening Center’s Awakening method was to battle in a virtual reality. Later, virtual realities for healer use were made, but that was it.
This was why Awakened People from the Awakening Center had 70% combat skills, and 29% healing skills. The remaining 1% were also mostly combat-assistance skills, and special skills were about one in a million.
‘Anyways, awesome! Seriously awesome!’
If I raise that person, there was that issue of having to say that damned keyword, but it was too much of as waste to give up. First, thinking we should introduce ourselves to each other, I was going to go chase after the man going the opposite direction.
The scruff of my neck grabbed. That guy Sunghan, treating me like some puppy, lightly picked me up and pulled me away, and said in a displeased voice.
“You’re trying to go somewhere again. Without saying anything.”
I had to report on this too? It felt like I was a 5-year-old who came out to buy groceries with his mom.
“It’s just… I thought I saw someone I know. I was going to go say hello.”
So let me go. Sunghan let me go, telling me that I should tell him beforehand, and while that was happening, the SS skill acquisition failed man got that much further away.
No, wait up.
I yelled hard. Yoo Myeongwoo, who was about the turn around the corner, stopped and turned his head.
I put on an extremely pleased expression and walked over to him in big strides.
“You’re Myeongwoo, right? Yoo Myeongwoo. It’s been so long!”
As I made a fuss and pretended I knew him, Yoo Myeongwoo was taken aback and searched my face. Of course, even if he looked, he wouldn’t know me. This was our very first meeting.
“Um… who were you. I’m sorry, but I can’t remember well……”
It’s okay. I don’t remember you either.
“You don’t remember? Han Yoojin, Yoojin.”
“…Sorry. I really don’t remember.”
“It’s been too long, so it makes sense. I wasn’t sure either. Have you been well all this time? Did you also Awaken?”
As I spoke, lightly hitting Yoo Myeongwoo’s shoulder, he put on a bashful expression.
“Yeah. F-Rank, though.”
“Stats and skills both?”
“My skills are E… but not enough to go into a dungeon. I just came to get the subsidy at least.”
A weak smile flickered across Yoo Myeongwoo’s face. Even just looking, it seemed like he was in tough circumstances.
“I’m FE too! But we still get Hunter licenses. It’s a lot better than FF.”
I whispered the last part. At my words, Yoo Myeongwoo showed a slightly brighter smile.
“Since you’re FE, you must have requested a basics program?”
At my question, he shook his head.
“No. I didn’t. The training expenses are free but they said I had to pay boarding costs every week… The basics program doesn’t give out subsidies, and with my abilities, I don’t think I’ll be able to attack any dungeons, so I might as well use the time to job-hunt.”
I thought of me before the regression. If it weren’t for my debts, I might have also given up and run around the job front unremarkably. Since going and attacking a dungeon with only E-Rank buff skills was a really stupid thing to do.
So I…… sold the Haeyeon Guild Leader and got party members. It was definitely a scam, and my reputation definitely hit rock bottom. Back then, rather than helping out, I cursed out Yoohyun a lot, saying I would turn him away.
Let’s self-reflect. I shouldn’t do that again… but rather, even now I was still constantly lying. This is okay because it’s to help us get along!
“Still, it’s a waste. Do you want to get training with me at my guild?”
“Hm? Your guild-.”
Kim Sunghan, who was silently standing a bit apart from us, cut in with a frown. Yoo Myeongwoo, who had only just noticed him, shrunk his neck like a frightened turtle.
“Only guild members can receive rookie Hunter training.”
“Ah, can’t you stick in just one little person. And his personality is good. Kind and really good with his hands.”
You’re like this because you don’t know, but this guy was really awesome. He was a completely genuine person, but I couldn’t explain.
“Then I’ll ask Yoohyun, and if he says no, I’ll give up.”
As soon as I took out my cell phone, Kim Sunghan was floored.
“If he doesn’t pick up the phone, then later-.”
[What is it? Did you finish the Awakened Person registration?]
Yoohyun picked up the phone after just two rings. It was fast.
“Yeah. I finished. I bought contracts too. But can you let my friend participate in Haeyeon Guild’s rookie Hunter training?”
[Friend? Besides that, let him receive Hunter training?]
“Wouldn’t receiving it be better? Just in case.”
[Hmm. Okay. I’ll send out word. You’re coming right back, right?]
“Some guy completely shook down my house so where else would I go.”
Yoohyun laughed. Don’t laugh, you brat. If you broke even one cup, I’ll file for compensation… or rather, I’ve already gotten a billion won.
“It’s fine, right?”
I looked up at Kim Sunghan after hanging up the phone. His unhappy expression was obvious but he didn’t say anything and stepped back a couple of steps.
“Say, Haeyeon Guild’s Guild Leader, how do you…”
“He’s my dongsaeng.”
Yoo Myeongwoo’s eyes were full of awe and envy. Our Yoohyun is pretty impressive, huh, haha.
“If you complete the Guild, not Association, rookie training, it’s a lot easier to get party members. For F-Rank beginner dungeons, stats and skills are about the same so experience is the most important. What initial skills did you get?”
“Whetstone. It gives 2% more sharpness to weapons that have blades.”
“So it’s a weapon buff skill. It’s definitely vague. Still, you can endure up to D-Rank with equipment. Should I lend you one?”
If you plastered C-Rank equipment on yourself, F-Ranks could go around E-Rank dungeons. I was also F-Rank, but I’ve been to even D-Rank dungeons. Though I was nearly killed by the Lauchtas.
But it’s hard to cover dungeons starting from C-Rank with just equipment.
Yoo Myeongwoo had an astonished expression. Well, for Hunter equipment, even F-Ranks went for hundreds of thousands of won. To depend on equipment, you had to wear one that was higher than your own rank, and then you could beat a dungeon as easy as breathing.
For example, I spent several hundred millions to buy equipment.
It was obvious that readily lending something like that was shocking. I put on my kindest smile with all my might.
“I can’t go into dungeons often anyways. But isn’t it a waste to leave it unused? I’m just lending you something that’s idle so don’t worry about it.”
“But… I don’t even remember you well……”
“You really don’t have to worry! And you’re a good guy. A really good guy.”
He was a talent whose skill was so so good that it had two S’s. If Yoo Myeongwoo’s skills were discovered, then would a few equipment be a problem; if he waved a contract filled with all sorts of conditions, the whole world would come running.
“At least, I think you definitely have enough value to receive this kind of treatment, so just accept it. There’s nothing bad about it, right?”
It looked like Yoo Myeongwoo’s two eyes were squinting when,
Large drops of tears fell. Uh, oh?
“Really, I… am someone with value?”
“T-that’s right. I do think that.”
Yoo Myeongwoo started to cry as if a swelling dam had burst. He wailed as he made hitching noises.
W-what do I do? Should I comfort him?
“…A lot must have built up all this time.”
As I clumsily patted his stooped back, he let out a sob and suddenly pulled me over to hug me.
Hey, hey. Calm down a little. It was really embarrassing.
With a plop, a paper cup fell from a vending machine. Then coffee filled the cup. I took out the coffee and looked at Yoo Myeongwoo who was sipping coix seed tea.
His face was wretched.
Of course, both his eyes were blood-shot, and not just his face but even his nape was red with heat. His appearance, caked with tear tracks, looked like that of a begger who was completely beat up and chased out, but his expression looked a lot more refreshed.
“Have you calmed down a little now?”
Sitting on a bench next to the vending machine, he bashfully nodded his head. I took a sip of coffee as I sat down next to him on the bench. What use is there to be able to tell the difference between coffee bean varieties, vending machine coffee was the best.
“I won a lot of awards when I was young, remember?”
Yoo Myeongwoo opened his mouth, while looking at someone taking a walk behind the Association building. The weather was quite nice.
“Like you said, I was really good with my hands.”
“Yeah, I know. The best.”
If the talent was good enough to get a SS-Rank production skill, then it definitely was.
“But it’s useless for living. When I was young, people would say ‘you’re doing great’, but when my head got a little bigger, they’d say to stop playing around and study. And that I have to do well on tests, and go to a good college, and get a good job. There was no time for the talent I got praised for, and such.”
He continued in a calm voice.
“If my family’s circumstances were better off, I might’ve been able to find a path using my talent. But there was no breathing room. I didn’t have a talent for studying, and after going to a so-so college, I just had a lot of debt. College branded, grades branded. After that, I found I didn’t have anywhere to go.”
With his sigh, there was a bitter taste in my mouth.
I also knew it well, that. Even before Awakened People and Hunters appeared, the world also had ranks. They didn’t openly hand out S to F, but ranks were assigned as soon as you were born.
The so-called gold spoon and dirt spoon. Just like Awakening stat ranks, you were different from the start.
Of course, there were people born into a poor family who made their own fortunes. But the majority stayed the same. Even if you tried, you wouldn’t be able to rise much and most had to stop.
‘Would initial skills be talents?’
If the circumstances don’t measure up, a talent doesn’t bloom in the end.
Like how everyone pushes you to study and divides you in ranks, the Awakening Center would also push you toward combat or healing and choose ranks. In the end, even SS-Rank skills like Yoo Myeongwoo’s in front of me would be buried and disappear.
As a Hunter, F-Rank, to society, F-Rank.
Ah, I want to crack open a bottle of soju~.
“It’s been a long time since my parents divorced, and I’m a useless bum. Do you know how I Awakened? I was trying to kill myself.”
Yoo Myeongwoo giggled. It was more serious than I’d thought.
“I was cutting my wrist with a knife when I Awakened. Ah, I’ll get a million won. With that thought, I felt relieved.”
A million won. It wasn’t a little, but it wasn’t a lot either. It was an amount that would disappear through living expenses in a couple of months if you didn’t have a decent job.
…I wonder what happened to the Yoo Myeongwoo before my regression. Only briefly happy after getting the million won, as an F-Rank with assistance skills that he couldn’t go around a dungeon properly with, just how much longer would he have survived?
“With the million won, I can eat properly for once. And… after that I didn’t really think of anything so I was just going to let things happen on its own. But you told me.”
He said while crumpling the empty paper cup.
“That I have value. That I should continue living, that a path is set out for me, that I deserve a hand held out, that I have kind of value, so it’s okay.”
…With that, he might cry again. I uselessly cleared my throat. I was just trying to hit jackpot but now I was starting to feel ashamed.
“I don’t act like that with just anyone. I was like that because you’re really a great guy.”
Yoo Myeongwoo rubbed away tears that were starting to form again with his fist. The atmosphere was quite good. If it wasn’t now, another good opportunity might not appear.
Fine, let’s do this.
“Our lives were sort of miserable. Mine wasn’t smooth either. After my parents passed, trying to survive with my dongsaeng, I had to quit school. Still, my dongsaeng was lucky to Awaken as S-Rank, but I’m a lowly F-Rank. To tell you the truth, I was re~ally jealous of my dongsaeng.”
As I was talking, I unconsciously bared my heart.
“Still. Other people sneer at you saying that you ruined your life. We don’t have to put ourselves down as well, right? It’s hard enough to live when you have confidence, if you’re timid then you get into trouble.”
If your mind becomes a mess because your life is a mess, you’ll fall lower than rock bottom. Just by throwing out my inferiority complex, my life changed a lot.
“Is there any need to break our necks looking up? Just live thinking ‘I’m actually amazing, others just don’t recognize it’. And loving yourself. I love this amazing me!”
Rather than meaninglessly working hard for nothing, a mental victory is better. Smiling exaggeratedly, I looked at Yoo Myeongwoo.
“Yoo Myeongwoo, I love you too, my friend!”
That guy laughed and I laughed. A Messaged Window popped up.
[Awakened Person ‘Yoo Myeongwoo’ has been influenced by the keyword!]
 lit. ‘as if the seed has dried up’
 개새끼, 개 = dog, 새끼 = (lit.) offspring – but remember how it’s also an insult? Yeah, 개새끼 also means something like ‘son of a bitch’
 the actual sound is ‘ey-ee’ (or like the letter ‘a’) which is a sound you make when you’re (often playfully) refuting something. There’s no eng equivalent that I can think of, but the sound itself sounds like ‘ey’ which has a… different meaning in eng, so I just replaced it with something else
 the actual word means something like ‘someone who isn’t involved but keeps on inserting themselves’ but that’s a little awkward to put in so I just used a similar eng phrase ‘one little person’. Ok I know they’re not that similar but I did my best.
 lit. “several hundreds to more than a thousand [times] lightly”
 ‘too-deuk’ in krn
 lit. ‘tears like chicken droppings’
 ‘uh-ra’ = a sound that’s used in situations like ‘what do we have here’/‘oh?’/‘huh?’
 crying noises
 in the old days, people who did something bad were branded somewhere obvious (I think on their face?) as punishment and to let other people know they are bad. He’s referring to that.
 gold spoon refers to what is called ‘silver spoon’ in eng (as in ‘born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth’) and you can guess what dirt spoon would mean, then
 in korea, at least up to my parents’ gen, idk about now, schools would rank their students according to their grades (as in, the best student is 1, 2nd best is 2, etc.)
 Korean rice wine/alcohol, though nowadays it’s also made with non-rice starches.
 lit. “roll in mud”
 lit. ‘digging the ground’