Chapter 16: Awakening
There was a bonus for teams that handled a lot of carcasses. If there wasn’t, there would’ve been many Hunters who participated simply to let the swamp’s timer run out and get their pay.
After the dissection, surgeons amputated the monster’s body evenly by weight and placed the parts into a body pack for Hunters to carry out of the swamp. Surgeons who lacked experience had to weigh the parts one by one using a scale. However, skilled surgeons could use their eyes to get a feel as to how much the parts weigh. They themselves don’t know how they do it. If they think they should slice off a certain amount, they do it, and somehow it comes out to be the accurate weight.
Seo Gyutae was known to be an ace among the many surgeons. He originally had an assigned team. Gyutae worked with three low-level Hunters a handful of times. But his team got into trouble recently and ended up disbanding.
One of the Hunters on Gyutae’s team was a female. There was an idiom that went as follows, “Two’s company, three’s a crowd.” In the end, they had a fallout for the obvious reason. A couple was born and then broken, thus resulting in the team’s collapse. The surgeon lost his teammates without having been involved in the romance.
It was a stroke of luck for Jiwoo. If Gyutae’s team had not disbanded there, Jiwoo might’ve had to suffer from all kinds of stress while working with this befuddled surgeon. There were cases where Hunters got many jobs, but they ended up wasting time due to surgeons’ personal problems. However, he didn’t have to worry since Gyutae was seen as an icon of sincerity.
Jiwoo greeted the other Hunters on his team, Heo Mooyoung and Kim Kanghyun, who were in charge of transporting corpses with him.
Mooyoung was hostile to Jiwoo from the start. He was two years younger than Jiwoo and did not look motivated to work. Mooyoung blatantly stared at Jiwoo’s tattoo and laughed out loud.
Kanghyun and Gyutae were also curious about Jiwoo’s tattoos, but the two of them secretly glanced at it. Mooyoung, on the other hand, was different. He was not the type to care about other people’s feelings or had any interest in doing so.
“Ha, look. Wow, all sorts of wild things can happen.”
He kept laughing at Jiwoo. Kanghyun made an uncomfortable expression but Gyutae did not stop Mooyoung.
Jiwoo did briefly imagine what the team’s atmosphere would be like in the future, but it didn’t bother him. This was the way things were. Regardless of the organization, there was no end to spiteful or jealous people who looked down on others. It was pointless to react to them every time.
Jiwoo planned to quietly do his work then be on his way. If he had one single wish, it was for his surgeon to stop taking a lot of pills.
After their short name and age introduction, the four of them entered the swamp. Gyutae and Kanghyun entered first, and Jiwoo was to follow them next. He didn’t realize he was feeling nervous, it was his first time going inside a swamp after all.
“Jiwoo. Your base stats are both ten. What if you get stuck by the waist while you’re trying to enter? What if you end up not being able to get in or leave?” Mooyoung mocked him.
Jiwoo knew people like him too well. They weren’t interested in improving their own lives. They only wanted to pick on and harass easy opponents. These were the types of people who speed and drive recklessly on the road. Hence why when he came across such individuals, Jiwoo decided it would be best to take the ill treatment and avoid them until he gained the power to step all over them.
Even though it wasn’t Mooyoung’s turn, he shoved Jiwoo aside and entered before him. Jiwoo felt nervous as it is, now he felt more pressured by the fact that he was the last to enter. He sealed his mouth shut, held his breath, and descended into the swamp.
A completely different and a new world lied beneath the swamp. Newcomers like Jiwoo expected the swamp to be full of water so they would take a deep breath and hold it. But seeing Gyutae and Kanghyun breathe normally, Jiwoo did the same.
Mooyoung followed Jiwoo around and provoked him a few more times. Jiwoo did not respond. Mooyoung swung his arm around as if to imply he was no fun.
No one dealt with Mooyoung, including the surgeon. Jiwoo thought if he was lucky, he wouldn’t have to see him in Gyutae’s team next time.
“This is the first time you’ve been in a swamp, right?” Kanghyun asked.
Despite being 19 years old, Kanghyun had more experience than Jiwoo so he was trying to take care of him.
Jiwoo’s young senior seemed kind, but he spoke formally for now.
“Oh. You don’t have to be formal. You’re older than me, Hyung.”
“But you’re a senior, I can’t do that.” Jiwoo replied as he slowly adapted to the swamp’s environment.
“It’s uncomfortable. I won’t speak to you if you keep doing that.”
“That so? Then… Alright.”
Kanghyun nodded in response when Jiwoo spoke casually.
“I’m glad your first swamp is a calm one. You’re lucky. Many swamps are calm after the monsters are killed, but there are a lot of strange ones. Not all the worlds are like this. There are regions with lava, deserts, and mountains. I’ve never seen it, but there’s also a glacier region. There are many maps beyond our imagination.”
Listening to Kanghyun did make him feel like he was lucky.
The space before them was a rural landscape, the season set around early autumn.
“We don’t have that much to do while our surgeon is dissecting. It will take about 30 minutes.”
Kanghyun explained things to him step by step, which was very helpful.
He followed Kanghyun to where the corpses were. It was the first time he actually saw a monster. Although it was dead, its appearance was intimidating. Jiwoo suddenly got chills imagining how intense it would’ve been when the monster was alive and kicking.
The size of the dead body appeared to be about 5 meters. Depending on the swamp’s class, the size of the inhabiting monsters varied. Class 5 swamps’ monsters were approximately 5 meters or less; Class 4 swamps were between 5 and 10 meters. The higher the class, the size increased in response be it 15 meters, 20 meters, or 25 meters or less.
Although no one has succeeded in killing a first-class monster, there were Hunters who have fought it before. As a result, some information on first-class monsters was known. When Jiwoo had heard about it in the past, he brushed it off because they were living in a completely different world. But now these were all necessary information for him to train.
Gyutae held a chainsaw. No matter how much Jiwoo sat on it, he thought it made more sense to call surgeons “butchers” or “anatomists.” He couldn’t figure out why they were called by that title.
“Surgeon, huh.” He thought. It’s not like they were going to pick up the scalpel to save the monster.
Gyutae called Mooyoung and had him by his side. He then started dissecting.
First, the surgeon stripped the carcass. As soon as the rough surface, which protected the monster’s body was peeled off, a reddish epidermis poked out.
Gyutae picked up a large scalpel. Blue and yellowish energy surrounded the sharp knife; it was as if two forces were clashing together to take over the other color.
“What amazing chakra!” Jiwoo looked at him with admiration.
The scene of the surgeon’s natural and sophisticated chakra control unfolded before Jiwoo’s eyes. Even Mooyoung stood still with quite the reverent expression.
The surgeon put the scalpel under the monster’s ear, traced it down the jawline, then navigated it to the other ear. Mooyoung moved to peel off the skin when Gyutae gave the hand signal.
Until a while ago, it looked like a living creature. Now, it was no different than a chunk of meat sitting in a butcher shop.
Jiwoo scowled at the sudden stripping. Kanghyun went a step further.
“Urghhhhh!” The sound came from his young senior.
Kanghyun’s heart thumped loudly but he did not vomit. He must’ve seen grotesque scenes like this before, at least way more than Jiwoo had.
“Even if he is a Hunter, he’s still a kid.” Jiwoo thought.
The surgeon stripped the skin off the monster’s face and then held the scalpel in a different way. Mooyoung approached him with a large silver container and waited.
“He’ll be removing the organs now. We’ll collect the bones that cover the monster’s internals before he does.” Kanghyun explained again.
Jiwoo felt like it was too gruesome a sight for a 19-year-old to witness, but the teenager focused intently on the surgeon’s movement as if he didn’t want to miss what was transpiring before him.
It was the same for Jiwoo.
The surgeon looked behind him. He was planning ahead. From this point onward, he would not be able to go back once he acted. Gyutae made sure there was nothing that could trip him. Then, he grabbed the scalpel with both hands and cut the monster’s body from the bottom of the monster’s chin to the stomach at once. It was a considerable length, so he couldn’t cut it completely while standing. He managed to split it by taking steps backwards. Nevertheless, the depth of the knife was steady and even. The liquid sloshed back and forth as chunks of mushy viscous liquid poured out through the crevices of the skin.
“The yellow lump is the fat.” Kanghyun told Jiwoo.
Because he was next to him, Jiwoo heard it. This youngster was scared too. He was pretending to be okay by providing explanations to the newbie all while quietly sticking by his side to lessen his fears.
“How good do you have to be with chakra to handle scalpels like that?” Jiwoo asked.
Kanghyun shook his head. He didn’t know either. He felt embarrassed because he suddenly received a difficult question which he didn’t have an answer to.
Next, the surgeon broke the rib with a plier. The shattered rib pieces were gathered separately. Mooyoung obediently collected the organs and bones.
“So he can do something with that awful and short-sighted personality of his.” Jiwoo retorted in his head.
“When are we up?” Jiwoo whispered to Kanghyun.
“This is delicate work. After the surgeon removes the intestines, amputates the bodies, then puts it in the body packs, we can carry it.”
“So transporting carcasses is not a simple job either.”
“Yes. Dissecting, especially, is not something anyone can do. Gyutae is a C-rank.”
“C-rank? Wouldn’t it be better for him to join raids then? They make more money.”
“He used to, but he hurt his leg during a raid.”
Jiwoo followed Kanghyun’s line of sight toward Gyutae’s leg. But there was no noticeable mark he could see from the outside.
“Ah, then the medicine bottle…”
Jiwoo felt sorry for some reason for misunderstanding the surgeon.
“It’s a headache if you meet the wrong surgeon. Some people take more than 30 minutes to remove the organs. Then it’ll be hard on us.” Kanghyun said with a serious tone.
형 / Hyung: Means “older brother.” Used by men to call their elder brother or male friends older than them.
Support This Site
If you like what I do please support me on Ko-fi