Part 2: Transport Hunter
The swamp wasn’t anything special, it was just a typical Class 5 swamp. The fact that a team of ten entered yet none came out after nine hours meant something was wrong. Gyutae would’ve gone in to check had it not been for the capacity limit.
“Considering how long they’re taking, someone must’ve gotten hurt.” Gyutae murmured to himself.
Body firm’s truck drivers and workers were also on standby. The driver got out of the vehicle several times to ask how much longer they needed to wait.
“At this rate, we’re going to waste all of our time. What if we move to another spot first?” The person suggested.
Although they could’ve done that, Gyutae couldn’t easily leave as he was worried about the raid participants.
“Let’s wait just a little longer. They should be coming out about now.” Gyutae replied, his words reassuring the workers.
When the team eventually exited the swamp, everyone sighed in relief. Body firm’s employees buckled down to work. They could grasp the situation. Rather, it would be strange of them not to notice when their line of work was in the swamp business. There’s a reason why a raid would take this long. Now that they could see what the team was like, they were unconsciously looking down on them.
The members were covered in monster’s fluids and blood, but no one seemed to be injured. Some were properly equipped with armor and weapons. The monster was nothing noteworthy, it was a typical creature that frequently appeared in Class 5 swamps. It should’ve been an easy run, but he couldn’t begin to imagine what happened there.
The raid members frowned at the sight of the crowd formed in front of them. The workers, on the other hand, outright ignored them. Their treatment was similar to how the public would treat a national team at an airport after coming home eliminated from the preliminary rounds.
“So he’s got a weapon. That looks like a Black Hook, but doesn’t the weapon have an attack amplifier of 300%?” Kanghyun pondered aloud.
It was curious how they could mess up a raid with a weapon like that. But such things were better left unsaid. Those were not the type of words that raid-obsessed Hunters would like to hear. However, it was already too late, several of them already heard him.
A man, whose chest was covered with sticky fluid, ran straight towards him. The first person to notice his movement was Gyutae. Surprised, he stood in front of Kanghyun. The hurried motion made his uncomfortable gait pop out.
“What? Who’s this fucking dumbass?” The other man vulgarly spat out.
“Stop it, Oh Jaeheon.” A languid voice came from behind.
Seeing his aggro gear, he appeared to be the team’s Tanker and assault captain. However, the captain was not actively trying to stop the confrontation.
There were various reasons as to why a raid would steer down course like this. There could’ve been mistakes made from the Tankers’ end, and the Dealers may have failed to effectively wound the monster. Time continued to tick by as Dealers struggled to find the monster’s weak point, which in turn made them grow impatient.
To put it bluntly, it was a total disaster. It could also be seen as a team crisis. This wasn’t a team that recruited random members for raids, but one that had worked together for a long time.
The assault captain was rather grateful these low-level Hunters showed up just in time. It would make things easier if they were targets of his agitated teammates. If they could vent their anger out on these ill-fated juniors, it would certainly solidify the harmony of their team.
Jaeheon was a Hunter who appeared to be in his early 30s. He looked younger than Gyutae, but he wasn’t one to care about respecting his elders. Realizing his captain wasn’t going to restrain him, Jaeheon was emboldened. Even if he had, Jaeheon would have needed to take out his anger on someone. That someone would’ve been one of his teammates and the captain did not want that. Hence why he was letting him feed on the juniors and their surgeon.
“Piss off, dumb fuck. I have nothing to say to you.” Jaeheon shoved Gyutae’s shoulder hard. When Jiwoo tried to step in, Gyutae waved his hand at him.
“Don’t, you shouldn’t get involved.”
Jiwoo’s face was puce with anger as he looked sharply at Gyutae. Kanghyun was trembling, frightened as this was his first confrontation ever. Taein observed on the sideline; although he wasn’t quaking in his boots, he was certainly scared.
He also wanted to help Gyutae. Aside from the surgeon, he was the eldest in the team. He thought he had to step up for the crippled man, who was being humiliated. However, it was terrifying. He was afraid of being physically harmed. There was also another crucial matter. In the future, they were people who he could meet in raids, so he didn’t want to be entangled with this dilemma.
With both hands on his knees, Gyutae began to get up. Jaeheon pushed him again and Gyutae resisted passively.
When Jiwoo tried to go to him, Gyutae shook his hand once again. His message was resolute.
Jaeheon grabbed Gyutae by the collar, swinging him in the air, before throwing him down onto the ground. Had Jiwoo not have caught him, he could have been seriously hurt.
At that moment, the surgeon’s pill bottle fell to the floor. Jiwoo realized Gyutae was panicking as he was helping him up. His breathing became noticeably faster. Gyutae knelt down to try and pick up the bottle, however, it rolled to Jaeheon. The other man gave a wicked laugh as it touched his feet.
“This bastard, I thought you were a dumbass, but you were actually a drug addict?”
Jaeheon bent down to pick it up, opening the lid and pouring out its content. Tiny pills dropped in front of the surgeon. Gyutae was breathing frantically. Jaeheon stepped on Gyutae’s hand then kicked it away. He proceeded to crush the pills one by one.
Jiwoo raised his fist then. Without realizing it, his chakra rushed out. Even without his chakra, he could have busted Jaeheon’s face.
The other man’s body flung up to the air briefly before flopping to the ground. Kanghyun saw the imposing chakra gather around Jiwoo’s arms. He quickly helped Gyutae up, while Taein picked up the remaining pills and put them back into the bottle. Taein even collected the powder from the crushed pills. He held it in his hands, not sure if they could be consumed. Taein looked towards Jiwoo’s way with apologetic and concerned eyes.
Kanghyun took the pill bottle and placed it in Gyutae’s hands. The surgeon let out a sob that sounded as though he had endured suffering for decades.
“Jiwoo, please just stop!” Gyutae’s desperate plea fell on deaf ears. Jiwoo clutched Jaeheon’s face, the other Hunter felt his feet lift from the ground.
“Let go of me. Let go! Put me down!” Jaeheon exclaimed, his screams unable to deter the raging man.
“Eek! I’m sorry. Please spare me, pleas–!”
His scream was cut off. If Kanghyun had not pulled back Jiwoo’s arm with full force, Jaeheon would have perished, crushed from Jiwoo’s grip.
“Hyung, that’s enough! Mr. Gyutae’s fine now.” Kanghyun shouted while holding Jiwoo back. The gathered chakra slowly dissipated from his arms.
The assault captain, who was shocked and speechless up until now, looked back and forth between Jiwoo and Jaeheon.
“This is unacceptable. I’ll be calling the Hunter security force.” The captain said.
Gyutae covered his face with his hand, believing that things had escalated this far because of him. Since Hunters were involved, it was only natural to bring the security forces. However, he was worried whether things would be handled fairly.
The outcome was settled from the start. Between a low-level Hunter transporting carcasses and a raid participant, siding with the latter was more advantageous. This was an era where judgement leaned towards people with value rather than who was right. The line between right and wrong was flexible.
Jiwoo burst out laughing without realizing it. Things were at a stand still. No one recklessly moved from their spots. Kanghyun was still holding onto Jiwoo’s arm, and Taein stood next to Gyutae, supporting him up.
Jiwoo thought he had screwed up, but he didn’t regret his actions. He believed he did what he had to do. Jiwoo looked at Gyutae and smiled faintly, expressing he was okay. The surgeon turned his head, unable to watch his junior’s fate.
He wouldn’t be executed for smacking a piece of shit; the worst Jiwoo would face was staying in a cell for a few days. Yes, it would be difficult for him to join raids, but he wouldn’t suffer from it since he had already given up on that dream. Jiwoo felt it would be fun in its own way if he continued to transport carcasses with Gyutae and conduct autopsies.
A man standing behind the assault captain suddenly started cackling.
“That was some show you put on. Groveling like the scum you are. God, you’re all so pathetic I can’t stay here anymore. Hey, you guys. I’m not on their side. I hope you don’t misunderstand.” The man said as he gave Jiwoo and Gyutae a thumbs up. He seemed to be calling his raid members pathetic.
“Ugh, fucking insufferable bastards. Get devoured by monsters already.”
The man brushed his clothes as if he was worried he might catch something dirty just by being around them.
Jiwoo couldn’t see his tattoo so he didn’t know what rank he was.
“Why don’t you act like this in front of monsters? You were cuddling like babies in there. Now, you’re wagging your trap just because you have tattoos?” The man laughed at his own colleagues.
When Jiwoo met his eyes, the man’s playful gaze changed for a moment. But he said nothing to him and departed from there.
The assault captain was also the one insulted but he didn’t respond. He was reporting the case to the security forces, pretending as though he heard nothing.
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