Chapter 23: Awakening
Jiwoo considered them all good people. As to whether he thought they were good drinking friends, not so much. Jiwoo excused himself first. When he stood, everyone else did too.
It would likely be difficult to hold another team dinner again. Even if they do, they’ll probably not drink again.
Taerim offered Jiwoo a ride home.
“No, I won’t be heading home tonight.”
He didn’t know what part of what he said made Taerim blush.
After he parted ways, Jiwoo called Yongha over. His friend immediately came as though he had been waiting for his phone call all along. Jiwoo began to pour his complaints to Yongha. Yongha expected his friend to have worries but seeing his friend struggle in front of him made him feel bad.
There was only one thing Yongha could do in such times, to shut his mouth and quietly fill Jiwoo’s beer glass. Jiwoo knew as well there was nothing Yongha could do. He simply let it all out as his friend listened and they downed their alcohol together.
“But dude, you’re a Hunter. Isn’t there some proverb? Like Hunters are still better off even if they roll in a pile of dogshit. If you find it unbearable, just come talk to me.”
“What kind of bullshit saying is that? The hell?”
“Eh, forget it. Asshole, you were an office worker not that long ago, don’t act like you don’t know our struggles either.”
It was fun getting drunk with Yongha and getting cursed at by his friend.
“You must have saved up a lot of money by now?” Yongha asked as he tilted his glass.
“Yeah, I paid off my debts in one go and I’ve been working nonstop since. I haven’t had the time to spend any of it.”
“So 500,000 won a day?”
“No, our surgeon gives us more.”
“Don’t you get paid a daily wage for transporting the corpses?”
“There is something like that but Gyutae signed a performance-based contract with Body firm, so he’s adding more to our pay.”
“Really? He didn’t have to do that.”
“He’s a good guy. You got lucky.”
“I’m the cause of your good luck. Your work is going well because you met me.”
“Or maybe I became Tenten because I met you.”
“No way. That part is your fault. Let’s just say you owe it to me for your good fortune.”
“Right, let’s go with that.”
Yongha gave his usual smile.
“Yep.” His friend said unabashedly.
“Have you been to your house? Not the officetel but your old home, the swamp one.”
“I really want to go there. You know I sometimes dream about hanging out at your house?”
“Does your dream have a swamp in my living room?”
“No. When I could visit your place anytime, I didn’t feel anything, but now that I can’t, it makes me sad. I miss it. Also why would I even dream about that?”
After a brief silence, Jiwoo wore a playful expression as he stared at his friend.
“Where? Your house?”
“Oh, we can’t. If I didn’t tell you this, I’m sure you would have gone all the way there for nothing. Say thank you first since I’m telling you now.”
“We can’t? Why not?”
“I went there and there’s quite the security. Very tight security.”
“Tight security? Wait, you’ve been there?
“Yeah, I was drunk after a company dinner one time. I suddenly missed you, so I decided to go see my pal that I haven’t seen for a long time.
“Dumbass. You should’ve gone home and slept if you were drunk. Don’t go to someone else’s house just to throw up on their blankets making them waste a perfectly good blanket.”
“Haa. This asshole knows everything there is to know about me.”
Yongha tilted his head back, downing the beer, and let out a satisfied sound.
“Ahh, that hits the spot.”
“And so? Finish talking.” Jiwoo pressed him.
“Your apartment and the area around it was completely blocked off. The security guard also changed. They said no one was allowed in.”
“Yeah. But there seemed to be a few people who slept there. They weren’t residents though.”
“The people from the Hunter Association?”
“I think so, it has to be right?”
“Oh, really? My poor house.”
“Right? I went to visit my closest pal, but I couldn’t.”
“Your closest pal being my house?”
“Crazy punk. Anyway, what happened to the monster? Did they defeat it yet? Wait, that would’ve cleared the swamp. Ugh, I’m confused.”
“I doubt they’d let you enter even if you went, would they?” Yongha asked.
“I don’t even have the time. Work, train. Work, train. It’s busy living as it is.”
“Seems that way, considering how you haven’t even called me. Is your training going well? How far have you gone?”
“I can’t just show this to a civilian as I please. You could get a heart attack.”
“Fuck off. My heart’s plenty healthy, show me.”
Jiwoo’s words and actions were inconsistent. Although he looked like he would never show it to him, Yongha saw the chakra forming on Jiwoo’s fingertips.
Jiwoo put his finger close to the glass which caused a small ripple to form.
“Woah! You’re not even touching it. I must be drunk.”
Yongha concluded that he was seeing things because he was drunk and then lost interest.
“Gulp. This is good. You, keep that up. The beer’s sweet. It’s sweet, Jiwoo. If you think you’ll fail because of your base stats, let’s open up a business together and sell beer. Yeah, that’s a good product. Society will always create ways to make people drink so we don’t have to take care of the marketing aspect.”
They shouldn’t have kept drinking because of the tasty sweet beer. When Jiwoo opened his eyes, it was morning. He had thought it was a little chilly. Instead of seeing the interior, the open sky was in front of him. At that exact moment, the wind blew causing the newspaper covering his stomach to fly away.
“I wonder who covered me with the newspaper?”
Yongha was sleeping on Jiwoo’s stomach. They were lying on the sidewalk. Jiwoo, who came to his senses first, almost died of embarrassment when he noticed the gaze of the people walking by. Jiwoo quickly woke his friend up. He then took a taxi to his officetel, washed up, and slept for half a day.
Although they didn’t talk much, Jiwoo felt happy to have a friend to drink and share his struggles with.
A new week had begun.
Taein delivered his sister’s message to Jiwoo.
“My sis wanted me to find out if you had a girlfriend or not.” Taein said dryly.
“I don’t have any plans to go out with anyone.”
The conversation ended just like that.
“What happened?” Kanghyun tried to revive the dying conversation to no avail.
They finished their work at the first swamp at record speed. Probably because Gyutae was working as their surgeon.
Gyutae shook his head when he saw the monster. The surgeon said nothing else and began dissecting it immediately. The three Hunters huddled around like baby swallows, wondering why he wasn’t teaching them anything today.
“It’s best if you don’t look. What you see here is like a student at the bottom of his class had tried to cheat by peeking at the answer sheet before an exam. It’s the first time I’ve felt more sorry for the monster. This is just. Geez. A lousy raid. I guess they managed to succeed.”
Gyutae grumbled for a while. Jiwoo could understand why he was acting that way from looking at the monster’s corpse.
“These types of incidents happen?”
Gyutae reluctantly answered Kanghyun’s question.
“It does when the Tanker is god awful. This thing is a giant black cat with 3.4 million HP. It could be defeated within 8 to 9 hours with nine F-rank Dealers and one Tanker, weapons unequipped.”
Gyutae then shut his mouth. He seemed hesitant to provide his valuation on the other Hunters. Even though they were his teammates now, later on they could leave to join raids. When they do, they might meet with the Hunters that had defeated this monster. It was easy to make enemies by twisting someone else’s words.
“Can’t you explain it loosely?” Jiwoo nudged him which eventually made Gyutae budge.
“Alright, I’m speaking generally here. I’m not talking about any specific people who hunted this creature.” Gyutae made sure to drive that point home before explaining.
“Tankers need to aggro properly for Dealers to get their hits in. In this case, the Tanker did not do that. Wait no, I said in general that Tankers have to aggro well.”
“Right.” The Hunters laughed as they continued to listen.
“When they don’t fulfill their role, it won’t be easy to attack. It’ll also break their concentration. Time will continue to pass and they’ll get more and more anxious. From the instant you enter the swamp, if you don’t kill the monster within 12 hours, its HP will reset. If the Tanker is inexperienced and the Dealer is impatient, this is the result. It’s the worst case scenario. Then again, it still gets wrapped up as ‘successful’ since it technically was cleared.” Gyutae finished his comments.
As he watched the surgeon, Jiwoo could understand why he was pissed off. It must have been a difficult raid for both the monster and the Hunters.
A problem popped up when the team moved to their second swamp. They found out through Body firm that over 8 hours have passed since the raid on the second swamp had begun.
When Body firm received a request to process the carcasses, they would obtain some information about the raid from the assault captain. Before the Hunters entered, basic info such as the stats and the weapons of the participating members would be provided.
When clearing a Class 5 swamp, the team generally consisted of two close-combat Dealers and seven long-distance Dealers. For swamps Class 4 or higher, it would be three and six, respectively. If their formation changed, the assault captain had to notify Body firm immediately. In addition, they had to relay the monster’s HP once they found it from the information window. With that data, Body could roughly predict how long the raid would take.
For example, as long as they knew the ranks of the participating Hunters and how the Dealers were organized, they could calculate the time they needed to recharge when facing a monster with 4 million HP. Body firm would then be able to manage the schedules of the surgeons and low-level Hunters based on all of that.
From the data he received from the company, Gyutae thought they would be able to work immediately after waiting a bit. However, nine hours had passed and the raid was not over. If the raid did not finish after 12 hours, the monster’s HP would reset itself.
End of Book 1 (not the end of the translations, just where book 1 ends)
Support This Site
If you like what I do please support me on Ko-fi