Part 2: Transport Hunter
The security force members immediately checked the surgeon’s tattoo. Everyone there was C-rank, however, none were above Gyutae in terms of chakra control.
They let out a deep sigh almost simultaneously. The exasperation was towards the assault captain and Jaeheon who had summoned them.
“Sir, I’m not sure how long you’ve been delayed but why don’t you start dissecting the monsters?” The man Gyutae shook hands with suggested politely.
“I was also thinking we should get started about now. I would appreciate it if this could be wrapped up smoothly. Very smoothly.”
“I understand, we will wrap it up well.”
The four security members paid their respects to Gyutae. It was also an act of courtesy to their senior Hunter, showing appreciation for his services to protect the nation from the threat of monsters, all while injuring himself in the process.
The assault captain and Jaeheon sensed that their bad luck for the day was not over just yet.
Taein went to the car and brought Jiwoo and Kanghyun out. He explained in great detail that Gyutae had ended the case by showing his tattoo. The two of them also saw what happened in the car. Kanghyun kept bragging about how he knew it.
The energized transport team finally entered the swamp. They all had a lot to say. This was the moment Jiwoo could feel a strong bond between them. Gyutae thanked each and every one of them, especially Jiwoo, with indescribable gratitude.
“Hyung, you were amazing.” Jiwoo said, placing a hand on Taein’s arm. The man’s face turned beet-red.
“I didn’t do anything…”
“You’re going to join raids soon, aren’t you? It must not have been easy for you to stand up to a raid member. But you didn’t turn a blind eye.”
His words made Taein emotional. Jiwoo was the one who put his entire body in harm’s way, yet he was praising the guy who only lifted a finger to help. Taein knew those weren’t empty words since Jiwoo understood his predicament. Tears welled up in his eyes.
“Thank you.” Gyutae also came forward to express his thanks.
Kanghyun laughed and patted Taein’s back once before moving towards the monster’s corpse.
Jiwoo knew Taein wasn’t the type to jump out if he were subjected to the same thing again. But he believed that next time he would be able to lend an arm instead of a finger. As Taein built up his courage, one day he will be someone who put himself out there to protect his own colleagues.
Taein sniffled and approached the monster too.
The monster was a new breed that Jiwoo had never seen before. It seemed to have been a creature capable of walking upright; it had two arms and two legs.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before.” Kanghyun said.
“It’s a monster called Bigfoot.”
They were expecting a detailed explanation to follow but Gyutae ended it there.
Something lit in the surgeon’s eyes, as they roamed the monster’s body. Sensing that something may be wrong, the Hunters’ smile faded as they waited apprehensively.
“What’s wrong?” Kanghyun asked first.
Gyutae showed his discovery by pointing his finger. The Hunters followed it to the wound mark. Interestingly enough, Gyutae had explained a wound mark that looked exactly like this before.
A clean cut on Yoko’s knee and jaw. It was similar to what Gyutae had speculated about Hunters attacking monsters by driving in close with a dagger.
The three Hunters thought the team’s Tanker must’ve been a remarkable Hunter. But the image did not line up with the Tanker they saw exiting from the swamp. Even the weapons he used were completely different.
Gyutae guessed the wound was from a dagger, but the assault captain had been carrying common aggro equipment. By all accounts, the assault captain was different from the Tanker they envisioned.
“Imagine the monster is still alive. Jiwoo, please stand in front of me. Make a natural stance from where you are. Stretch your arms out and put them down. Attempt to attack its vitals, it doesn’t matter if you can reach it or not. We can infer the Hunter’s build like this. I’m thinking his physique is similar to Jiwoo’s.”
Jiwoo understood what Gyutae was getting at and swung his arm around to make a full circle. The wound on the monster’s body was slightly above the highest point of his rotating arm.
“I think it’s done by someone taller than me.”
Taein, who had been watching him, shook his head.
“No, the soles of its feet would have touched the ground if it was standing upright. The person who inflicted these wounds must’ve been someone of Jiwoo’s height.”
The monster’s feet were about 50 centimeters long. They couldn’t tell with it lying down, but had it been standing, it would be smaller than other creatures they encountered.
“Jiwoo, how tall are you?” Taein asked.
“I’m 182cm.” Jiwoo replied.
“Taein’s right. First things first, let’s continue this talk later. We should finish our work, take a few pictures before we begin.”
The three Hunters took out their smartphones simultaneously and snapped away. Gyutae pointed to each of the injuries that needed to be photographed.
“The reason this team was able to clear the raid today was due to this individual. Don’t look at anything else, focus on the wound and imprint it in your memories. The man who wielded this weapon never missed a single one of the monster’s movements.”
Gyutae enthusiastically analyzed the wounds on the monster’s body. He nodded his head several times, expressing his admiration.
“Ah… Perhaps it went like this. This Hunter must have known exactly where the monster’s weak point was. But they avoided its vitals. The reason why the raid was difficult was because of them. This Hunter made the monster go wild. They deliberately provoked it…”
“Why though?” Kanghyun asked.
“Have you done a rodeo before?”
Gyutae asked, starting the dissection.
“Someone intentionally provoked it during the raid?” Kanghyun questioned, but Gyutae withheld his answer.
Until all the corpses were transported out of the swamp, he did not say anything else.
When they moved to the next swamp, Gyutae asked Jiwoo to drive so he could call Body firm. His request for information on the Hunters that had participated in the raid was outright rejected.
“It seems they thought I was asking because of the fiasco that went down earlier.” Gyutae said as he hung up.
“If we know who this person is, I’d like to hand them all the dangerous swamps.” Kanghyun said.
Gyutae also nodded.
“They seem to be a Hunter who likes challenges; they’re fearless and confident so they won’t back out. They’ll enjoy themself but that’s only if they face a monster that meets their standards. I’m a bit concerned about what they would do if they don’t meet an enemy that matches their criteria.”
“What do you mean?”
Gyutae shook his head at Kanghyun’s question.
“I don’t know what I’m talking about either. We need to move quickly to the rest of the swamps. If we can’t meet our quota after that ordeal with the security forces, the penalty will be severe. I took too much time earlier.”
Gyutae blamed himself for getting distracted. The penalty must be quite hefty to worry their surgeon.
It was undesirable on Body firm’s end to have the Hunter security forces involved. Therefore, such matters were accounted for ahead of time in their contracts. If the security forces delayed their workers’ schedule, the surgeon and the low-level Hunters would have to shoulder that responsibility and the penalties that would follow should they fail to finish their work. That was on top of enduring the tyranny of the raid Hunters.
Taein silently calculated the time. There were three swamps left, in terms of distance and travel time, it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to get to each swamp.
“All three are Class 5 swamps, so the carcasses should be within five meters in size. Even if we dissect and transport right away, the whole process would take more than 40 minutes for one area. We can’t shorten the dissection process. No matter how fast we work, it’ll take us 15 minutes to transport.” Taein explained.
Jiwoo had never heard Taein say so much since he met the guy. Kanghyun was also stunned.
“Well, we have to try our best.” Jiwoo said.
“That’s right. If I were the only one to receive the penalty, I would just take it and leave it. But the three of you will be taking the fall too.” Gyutae added.
“Huh? Why didn’t you say that in the first place?” The shocked Kanghyun asked.
“It was in the 400-page terms and agreement that was with the contract.”
“What exactly is the penalty?” Taein asked, swallowing his saliva.
“They would delay your promotion to the next rank by forcibly deducting 50 EXP.”
“What? That’s ridiculous! How does that apply to our tattoos though?” Kanghyun asked in a fit of anger.
“When the monster’s stamina is low and the raid is almost over, they would force you to exit the swamp, 50 times. The EXP will not be distributed to you, instead it will go to the remaining team members.” Gyutae quietly explained.
“Crazy bastards. They’re fucking nutjobs. Fucking Body firm, this is complete bullshit!” Taein seemed like he was going to spew out all the curses he had learned in his lifetime.
As Gyutae stated, it was the worst of the worst. The penalty almost called for a riot. To Hunters, this was a matter of life and death. However, there was no room for protest because Body firm held a monopoly in processing and transporting carcasses.
Now one might ask, why not collect the Rupstones and ditch the dissection altogether? Unfortunately, things weren’t that simple.
Body firm’s reach was so far, they could block Hunters from purchasing weapons and equipment if they wanted to. As always, those who hold great power play dirty.
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