Norma Selner .
More commonly known as Lady Selner, she was a 46 year old African- American woman, and was the only person who received greater protection than the President of the United States . In other words, if both she and the president were in danger, the FBH will prioritize in protecting her above even the president himself . How could such a thing be possible? When the preceding director of the FBH transferred his seat over to the incumbent director, he described Lady Selner as such,
“No matter who the president is, our country will remain the strongest Hunter nation in the world . But if we lose her, America will immediately be faced with the threat of Gates appearing in even the smallest cities in the middle of nowhere . ”
Because of her, they were able to gather the world’s S-rank Hunters into a single nation . Thanks to this, the citizens of the U . S . were able to sleep soundly no matter where high-rank Gates appeared, despite the large size of their country . 26 S-rankers had immigrated to their nation through her efforts . The United States boasted more S-rank Hunters than any other country, and the quality of these Hunters was higher than the average S-ranker, because of the strict recruitment process that the FBH undertook when scouting prospects .
As such, Lady Selner was considered a guardian goddess who protected the United States behind the scenes, hidden away from public view . Even the S- rank Hunters could not compare to Lady Selner, no matter how much fame or influence they received . Her existence was something that the American president himself could not casually approach . An absolute top secret of the state . Of course, the S-rank Hunters who were able to meet her had been carefully selected after a stringent review by the FBH . These so called “certain individuals” noted by Adam White .
“Just the act of sharing information to “certain individuals” could result in a benefit to us . ”
Including Jinwoo, many S-rank Hunters didn’t understand the benefits of becoming one of the “certain individuals” at first . However, once they broke through their limits through Lady Selner’s powers, they would finally understand just who they were chosen by, and what that really meant! One Hunter had been so overwhelmed by the newfound power surging through his body, that he had fallen to his knees in gratitude before Lady Selner, tears streaming down his face . The very next day, that Hunter left his homeland in the Congo, and became a citizen of the United States .
‘It’s always been like that . ’
And so, Michael Corner, the incumbent deputy director of the FBH, felt no doubt when imagining what would soon take place . Just like all the Hunters before him, Sung Jinwoo would become overwhelmed by his emotions and be “reborn” so to speak, another faithful follower of Lady Selner .
Was there a more fitting way to describe their attitudes? Indeed, the deputy director had no doubt that today’s meeting would follow the usual routine .
The wrong person became overwhelmed by their emotions .
Lady Selner stared into Jinwoo’s eyes for a long time . Her face slowly morphed into an expression of terror, until she finally let out a shrill scream and collapsed . Her two bodyguards immediately aimed their guns at Jinwoo .
“STOP! ARE YOU BOTH CRAZY?!”
The deputy director screamed at the guards, enraged by their lack of control . He shot up from his seat and lowered both guns with his hands, before reprimanding them .
“DO YOU KNOW WHO’S FUCKING IN FRONT OF YOU? HOW DARE YOU POINT THESE FUCKING THINGS AT HIM?!”
“But Lady Selner…”
“YOU FUCKING IDIOTS! IF YOU’RE THAT WORRIED ABOUT LADY SELNER, TEND TO HER FIRST!”
“A-apologies, sir . ”
The guards quickly holstered their weapons and helped Lady Selner up off the floor . Her face had turned a pasty white, and was slick with sweat . The deputy director turned to Jinwoo and bowed his upper body till it was nearly horizontal with the ground .
“I apologize for our employees’ rude behavior, Hunter-nim . ”
The deputy director’s carefree voice had turned shaky; it was clear that he was anxious .
‘I know they’re trained to place the safety of Lady Selner above all else, but to think they’d be stupid enough to point their guns at an S-rank Hunter . ’
If it had been an S-ranker with a cocky personality, forget those two idiots . Even as their superior, he knew he wouldn’t be any safer than them from losing his own head . Having pointed their guns at a Hunter in a country where firearms were illegal, they wouldn’t have any excuse for their actions .
Michael Corner’s heart had skipped two beats in the span of these few seconds . From Lady Selner’s collapse to these two idiots actually threatening an S- ranker, he felt lucky his heart hadn’t already exploded .
Jinwoo was just as flustered by this sudden chain of events .
‘What the hell is going on?’
A screaming lady, guns pointed at him, and a sudden apology . Even with his overwhelming senses, Jinwoo was having trouble processing the bizarre scene that had just taken place in front of him . A slew of emotions flashed through the Hunter’s during these few seconds . Surprise, disbelief, and finally,
“ . . . It’s alright . No one got hurt . ”
He couldn’t bring himself to get angry . The deputy director of the FBH had taken the initiative to apologize for his subordinates’ mistakes . It seemed a little unfair to get mad after all the effort the deputy director had gone through . On top of that, weapons like guns couldn’t even be considered a threat to him anymore . It was akin to a child attacking him with a toy, the gap in strength between Jinwoo and the guards was simply that wide .
“Thank you, Hunter-nim . ”
After Jinwoo said everything was alright, the deputy director finally raised his head . Seeing the calm expression on Jinwoo’s face, the American felt a wave of relief wash over him .
‘If something like this happened in front of Thomas Andre or China’s Liu Zhigeng…’
He wouldn’t have even had the time to apologize, the two guards who drew their guns would have been killed in the blink of an eye . Compared to those S- rankers, Hunter Sung Jinwoo’s attitude was a godsend .
The deputy director let out a sigh, and wiped away the cold sweat covering his face . He’d managed to avoid causing a major international incident, now he just needed to deal with the source of his dilemma . After bowing once more to Jinwoo, the deputy director rushed over to Lady Selner’s side
“Lady Selner, what happened?”
“My lady? You’re sweating so much… Are you alright?”
Even more than the deputy director had just been, Lady Selner’s entire body was drenched with sweat .
‘What the hell happened?’
Starting to feel a bit concerned as well, Jinwoo also got up and approached the fallen woman . When Lady Selner saw him approach, she flinched and turned her head downwards, trying her best to avoid his gaze . The deputy director bit his lips,
‘With her acting like this, we can’t continue…’
They had succeeded in bringing Hunter Sung Jinwoo here with great difficulty, but they lost their trump card . As Lady Selner was now, there’d be no chance for Jinwoo to actually witness her powers . Though it was agonizing, the deputy director turned towards Jinwoo and spoke with a grimace .
“Lady Selner’s condition isn’t very good today . Could we contact you at a later date, and arrange another meeting?”
An important guest arrived at the office of the Korean Hunter Association’s President . It was the Japanese Hunters Association’s President, Matsumoto Shigeo . The two association presidents were holding a meeting in this room, the only other people present being their interpreters . Go Gunhee took the initiative, and spoke first .
“I heard about Goto-ssi . ”
“Yes, it was unfortunate . ”
For the briefest of moments, a bitter expression flashed across Matsumoto’s face .
“However, I’m not here to discuss the past . Instead, I came here to discuss the future . ”
Go Gunhee nodded in understanding . Between the two elderly men, or rather, between their two countries, there were some issues that needed to be resolved . First was the distribution of the magic cores from the Jeju Island Raid . The initial plan had been to wait for the ants to die off over the next year or so, and discuss distribution once none were left . However, for better or for worse, Jinwoo had drastically sped up the process by exterminating all of the ants himself .
“W-what is that man doing?”
“The ants… The ants are disappearing around Sung Jinwoo!”
“His summons started hunting!”
“The summons are spreading across the entire island!”
“Wait, is he about to…?!”
Having witnessed the S-rank Hunter’s massacre with their satellite, Japan thought it would be prudent to begin negotiations early .
They had watched, stupefied, as every single sign of magic power slowly disappeared from the island .
Save for one .
The enormous well of magic power which belonged to Hunter Sung Jinwoo .
‘Overwhelming power, and extremely unpredictable . On top of that, the merciless brutality needed to go through the effort of hunting down every single magic beast . Especially when the ants would have died on their own with time . ’
There wasn’t any Hunter more fitting to be with Japan than him . Recalling the atmosphere within the satellite observation room during the Raid, Matsumoto smiled . He then slid some documents across the table towards Go Gunhee
“What are these?”
Go Gunhee picked up the documents and asked .
“It is an official declaration from Japan, stating that we will forgo the rights to the magic cores from the Jeju Island Raid . ”
“ . . . ?”
Looking down the documents with suspicion, Go Gunhee’s eyes widened in surprise as he realized Matsumoto was speaking the truth .
Japan had suffered considerable losses during this operation, why would they simply give up their sole form of compensation? Matsumoto replied immediately .
“Instead, give us Sung Jinwoo-ssi . ”
Go Gunhee laughed uncontrollably and leaned back into the sofa .
“Unfortunately, he isn’t a member of our Hunter Association . ”
Of course, even if he was, there was no way that Go Gunhee would give him away to another country .
“I’m well aware . ”
Matsumoto continued, as if he had already expected this response .
“However, I’m also aware that he maintains a very close relationship with the Korean Hunter Association . Plus, other than through your Association, it’s impossible to contact him . ”
It was regrettable, but the Japanese Hunter Association did not have an information network comparable to the United States’ FBH . As such, the only way for Matsumoto to contact Jinwoo would by by convincing the Korean Association to help him .
“I’m not asking you to convince him to join us . Just let me have the chance to speak with him . ”
“Are you really willing to give up this much just for that chance?”
Matsumoto nodded back, a resolute look on his face .
Japan had lost ten of their highest-ranking Hunters during this operation . Though it was a huge blow, it had freed up the funds which would have gone to the KIA Hunters otherwise . Therefore, even if they had to give up their rewards from the Raid, it couldn’t even be considered a loss, as long as they successfully scouted Sung Jinwoo .
“I refuse . ”
Go Gunhee’s reply was not within Matsumoto’s expectations .
“What do you mean you refuse?”
Matsumoto was shocked . Of course, he was more than confident that he could bring Hunter Sung Jinwoo to Japan’s side . The only thing he had asked of Go Gunhee was the chance to speak with Sung Jinwoo . To think that he would refuse such a simple request so quickly .
“Are you afraid that you’ll lose Hunter Sung Jinwoo to us?”
“No . ”
Go Gunhee shook his head .
“What I’m saying is – from the start, you people had no right to any of the magic cores . ”
At Go Gunhee’s aggressive and undiplomatic declaration, his interpreter hesitated .
“Association president, are you sure you want me to relay exactly what you said to him?”
“Yes . Don’t leave out a single word . ”
As the interpreter translated Go Gunhee’s words to Matsumoto, the Japanese man’s face turned red .
“Association President Go Gunhee! What kind of bullshit is that?!”
Naturally, the Japanese elder’s voice was raised in anger .
In that moment, Go Gunhee slowly spoke again, but this time in Japanese .
“Let us speak without any interpreters . ”
Matsumoto flinched in shock, completely caught off guard by Go Gunhee’s words .
“You… You can speak Japanese?”
“When I was young, my father did a little business in Japan . It has been a while, so I might not be as eloquent as I once was . ”
Matsumoto agreed to Go Gunhee’s proposition with a nod, and motioned for the two interpreters to leave the room . The Japanese elder started speaking first,
“We sacrificed ten S-rank Hunters for your country . ”
Included in that list was Japan’s strongest Hunter, Goto Ryuji,
“If you don’t accept my proposal, then you leave me no choice . In addition to half of the magic cores, we’ll request further compensation for the sacrifices we’ve made . ”
Go Gunhee snorted,
“Association President Matsumoto… It appears that you still mistakenly believe you have the right to make demands . ”
“Association President Go Gunhee!”
Matsumoto’s eyes flared in anger as he shot up from his seat .
“Is that something you should say to us, who aided and fought for your country?!”
Compared to the furious Matsumoto, Go Gunhee maintained his calm,
“You know, I was always curious . ”
The Korean elder’s calm attitude spread to the Japanese elder, and Matsumoto slowly sat down again . Now that Matsumoto had calmed down somewhat, Go Gunhee continued .
“I was curious as to why the nation that loves showing off so much, left the most important part of the Raid, the elimination of the queen, to us . ”
“That was because Korea did not have the manpower to distract the army of ants-”
“If that was the case, would it not have made more sense if you divided our Hunters into units like you did with your Hunters? You could have spread our Hunters into the teams distracting the ant army, while your strongest group entered the ant’s nest and killed the queen . ”
Indeed, that did make more sense than letting the Korean team go after the queen .
Matsumoto’s eyes changed yet again; he was now staring at Go Gunhee with a strange look .
“ . . . So what is it you’re trying to say, Association President Go Gunhee?”
For some reason, the Japanese elder placed great emphasis on each of the syllables in Go Gunhee’s name .
“The timing of your teams’ retreat… Was it really because of that single monstrous ant? Or was it all planned beforehand?”
“You’re a lunatic . ”
“Me? The crazy ones are you people . From the very start you were plotting against us . What were you planning to do once you drove our Hunters to their deaths?”
Go Gunhee narrowed his eyes . Suddenly, Matsumoto broke out into laughter .
“Ha ha ha ha!”
He took out a recording device from his pocket, shaking his head while speaking .
“What you just said, I’ve recorded it all on this . Your baseless accusations against our Hunters, and the fact that you were going to break the secret agreement for the distribution of magic cores between our countries . ”
A smug grin was plastered on Matsumoto’s face,
“I’ll leave the judgement of your actions up to the international community . ”
With Go Gunhee’s wild claims on tape, the truth of the Japanese Hunter’s planned retreat could be covered up . The public opinion would swiftly turn against the Koreans . By following his emotions and not thinking of the consequences, this was checkmate for Go Gunhee . It would be all the better if the Korean attacked him in anger, creating even more damning evidence against them . The audio file had already been uploaded to servers in the Japanese Association’s headquarters .
“You want evidence? Of course I have it . ”
Reaching into his pocket, Go Gunhee pulled out a small black object, nearly the same size as a postage stamp .
“ . . . ?”
“It’s something Hunter Sung Jinwoo found on the island . ”
Matsumoto’s elation began to fade, turning into concern at Go Gunhee’s strangely relaxed demeanor .
“What… is that?”
Go Gunhee gave a wide smile upon hearing Matsumoto’s question .
“This is the black box from one of your communication devices . From what I can tell, it belonged to Goto’s team . ”
In an instant, Matsumoto’s expression turned sour . Without missing a beat, Go Gunhee took out a playback device and played one of the audio files he’d had collected from the black box .
The voice undeniably belonged to Goto Ryuji, arguably the most famous Japanese person in the entire world . Unfortunately for Matsumoto, this fame was now harming Japan’s plans instead of aiding them, as incriminating evidence of Japan’s deceit was being spoken aloud by such a recognizable figure . Go Gunhee turned off the playback device and spoke again .
“Do you know why I haven’t released this file yet, Japanese Hunter Association’s Association President, Matsumoto Shigeo?”
Matsumoto slowly shook his head . His face slowly turning pale as the reality of the situation he was in hit him .
“Our nation’s citizens are finally enjoying our long awaited victory on Jeju Island . I didn’t want to sour their moods with news of your bullshit actions . It was all for the people of my country, not you . This is the only reason why the file isn’t public, yet . ”
The recording device fell from Matsumoto’s hand . Go Gunhee continued,
“Now, I have something to tell you, Association President Matsumoto . ”
The S-rank Hunter clenched his fist . The playback device in Go Gunhee’s hand was crushed into pieces .
“Get the fuck out of this room . ”
After Jinwoo departed, the only people left in the room were Lady Selner and the deputy director .
“My lady, just what happened to you?”
He had come across many Hunters in his line of work, and he had worked with Lady Selner numerous times in the past . But this? This was the first time Lady Selner had ever acted in such a way . Though she was still in shock and far from recovering her calm, Lady Selner forced out the few words she could .
“He’s a king . A powerful king . ”
The deputy director’s eyes shot open . There were only three people who knew the true secrets of her abilities: the director, the deputy director and Lady Selner herself . And that woman had just made a definitive statement, calling Hunter Sung Jinwoo a “king” .
The deputy director felt his heart pounding heavily again,
“Then… you’re saying he has the strength of a Nation-level Hunter?”
The lady shook her head,
“No, I don’t know about that . This is the first time I’m experiencing something like this . He is certainly a king, but he’s completely different compared to the other kings . ”
“Ma’am? You’ll have to explain it in a way I can understand…”
“When I was looking into him, it was looking back at me . ”
“Well, isn’t that the case with every other Hun-”
“No! Not Hunter Sung Jinwoo! An endless abyss of darkness was staring back at me from inside of him!”
Lady Selner shouted hysterically . She started shaking again, a haggard expression on her face . Her fear stemmed not from any logical reasoning, but from the primal fear that all living beings felt .
The fear of death .
But that wasn’t even the important part . Taking even more effort on her part than before, Lady Selner was able to mumble out a few more words .
The deputy director leaned in as Lady Selner struggled, until she spoke in a voice so quiet, it could hardly even be called a whisper .
“ . . . doesn’t have a limit . ”