Part 2: Transport Hunter
“There are many Dealers who use the same type of weapon. Most of them buy weapons at the ‘Extreme Hunter’ shop.” Im Jeong made a slightly dubious remark.
“Yes, there are many who use the same weapon. However, few people have the same amount of chakra, the same degree at which they emit chakra, the same depth and angle they thrust the blade.” Gyutae explained.
“Oh, I wasn’t trying to refute what you just said.”
Gyutae smiled when she gave a rather embarrassed response.
“I know you didn’t mean that. But since you’ve come all the way here, I’m looking forward to working together to solve this mystery together.”
Im Jeong approached Gyutae and looked towards where he pointed to. The picture on the phone didn’t clearly show everything, but it was evident the wounds were somewhat different.
“I believe they’re not the same as the ones in the images.” She carefully spoke up.
Gyutae also agreed.
“Ah, the marks do look a bit off. I was mistaken.”
The surgeon asked for their perspectives too. The three Hunters approached the monster, putting their fingers in the wound, prodding around, before concluding it was not made from the same weapon.
“This blade is a tad wider and longer.” Jiwoo gave his input.
“I agree. I must’ve jumped the gun out. I was a bit too eager to show this to Ms. Im.”
“You can call me whenever. The majority of the time, I’ll be able to come. It’s not as if the swamps or the monsters are going anywhere, I can simply adjust my schedule.”
Gyutae looked relieved.
“But I didn’t know you performed autopsies too. That’s interesting.”
“It’s just a hobby.”
Im Jeong got along with everyone. It was a completely different side to her than when Jiwoo saw her at the lab. Back there, she didn’t look like she liked hanging out with people much. People approached her ceaselessly, wanting to speak to her. Im Jeong, on the other hand, was busy cutting them off. However, she naturally blended in with his other teammates so Jiwoo didn’t need to pitch in to help.
“By the way Ms. Im, do you have the ability to regenerate too?” Gyutae asked.
Taken aback, she hesitated for a moment.
“When I was amputating the carcass, I found the Tanker to be very dauntless. So I assumed the Tanker had regeneration. But as you’ve seen earlier, my guess is often off the mark.” Gyutae said with a smile.
She replied saying her ability barely fit the minimum, that it was basically nothing.
From there, there were no questions left to ask the Tanker so she took it upon herself to transport the body packs. The low-level Hunters casually accepted her help. When they saw her standing around, they even handed her a body pack.
Kanghyun then asked how long she did transport duty. Im Jeong shook her head while trying to recall.
“I don’t really remember. I don’t think I did it for even a week. My chakra proficiency and level went up quickly so I joined raids right away. And in order to get in, I went around greeting assault leaders trying to get my face out there and make them realize I was good at controlling chakra. Your first work experience is important after all. With each raid, I gained EXP, as recorded on the tattoo, meaning people would notice it later on. I believe one’s beginning is important for everything.”
“Wasn’t it hard to find a spot as a Tanker? Since in the beginning your attack would barely be 50.” Taein asked.
“That is true. Hm. I’m not sure. I don’t know what people saw in me to give me the opportunity. Ah. The weapon I started out with was enormous.”
As Im Jeong cheerfully recounted her past, Jiwoo noticed something strange about Gyutae’s movements. The surgeon was slowing down for some reason. Jiwoo wondered why, but he brushed it off. Momentarily after, the unnatural gestures repeated. Jiwoo glanced at Taein, and Taein nodded. Of all the times for it to happen, Gyutae’s unwelcome pain returned. It was clear the surgeon didn’t want to show this side of him to Im Jeong. So the other three men pretended to be oblivious and concentrated on their work.
Midway through however, Gyutae suddenly fell to the ground like he had been struck by something. He was kneeling, clutching the floor with both his hands. Embarrassed, the man grabbed his pill bottle.
Taein immediately noticed and quickly brought him a water bottle. Gyutae took the pill but it didn’t seem like the pain went away. Thus he popped another pill in his mouth, and pushed Taein’s arm away.
“I should be fine now, you can go ahead.”
His breathing was noticeably rougher. The low-level Hunters stood there as if they were nailed to the floor, waiting for their surgeon to get better.
“I’ll be fine. You don’t have to worry.”
Gyutae hated work being delayed because of him. They all understood his feeling so they started moving. Fortunately, when they returned from the swamp, carrying out one body pack after the other, Gyutae appeared to be in better shape. He was fine enough to joke about his injury and pain.
Taein told Im Jeong that he was going to join raids soon. She gave him her congratulations. Suddenly, her eyes sparkled.
“So there’s a spot open in this team? Should I come here?”
She said something so outrageous that no one gave her a reply. How could a SF member start transporting corpses because she had nothing else to do? It was actually rather surprising that they didn’t feel offended by what could come across as an insult.
“By the way Mr. Gyutae, what will happen to our team? Will we recruit someone else when Taein leaves for raids?”
Since Im Jeong had brought the topic up, Jiwoo touched upon the issue.
“We’ll find someone to replace him when the time comes. I guess.” Gyutae shrugged it off like it was insignificant.
“Wouldn’t it be better to form our regular members?”
“I believe Taein will be back soon.”
Jiwoo found it difficult to ascertain whether Gyutae was joking or being serious, so he looked back and forth at the surgeon and Taein.
“I actually think so too. I’ve been paying the assault leader money so I could get my share of the EXP. That’s how I got the one spot deal. Although even if I join, I don’t think I’ll get paid. The leader will just steal my money. I’m also worried if it would mean anything if I do this to advance myself.” Taein weakly explained.
“Still, if you keep gaining EXP, you’ll rank up and your attack will increase too.” Jiwoo tried to console him, but the man shook his head.
“I don’t have the combat sense and my proficiency in chakra is low. I don’t think I had the physical constitution of a Hunter to begin with. You should be the one to join raids, Jiwoo.” Taein rebutted.
“In what day and age would I be able to join one with these stats?” Jiwoo dismissed it while staring at his own tattoo.
His chakra proficiency was assiduously changing, but his attack and defense was static, staying at 10.
“There was something I wanted to ask you, Mr. Gyutae. You mentioned this briefly when you talked about Body firm’s penalties. About them deducting 50 EXP, delaying the rank up.” Kanghyun said.
“If you send a person off right before the raid is over, they won’t be able to share the EXP, right?”
“Yes, but when a raid member is substituted, the monster’s HP will reset. This doesn’t apply if the raid member only exits the swamp. Unless someone else enters on their behalf, the monster’s HP will not reset.”
“In that case… Couldn’t we dump all our EXP to Jiwoo in the same exact manner?” Kanghyun asked. The question made everyone present stare at him.
“Right? Realistically speaking, it’s possible. Clearing a Class 5 swamp gives you 10 EXP. If ten people join the raid, each individual gains 1 EXP. With the exception of Jiwoo, the other members will exit the raid when the monster has about 2,000 HP left. If Jiwoo finishes the monster by himself, he’ll be able to collect all the EXP. Honestly, it wouldn’t be much of a problem for Jiwoo.” Kanghyun spoke enthusiastically.
“My attack is 10 though.”
“Ok, then we’ll have to smack the monster a few more times before coming out.”
Jiwoo couldn’t believe what Kanghyun was saying. They were busy enough trying to gain EXP for themselves, so who would even do what he suggested? Build someone else’s EXP while trying so hard to raise one’s own?
“No way. Who would do that?” Jiwoo said in disbelief.
“I would.” Kanghyun replied.
“You’re crazy!” Jiwoo exclaimed.
“Me too.” Taein confidently pitched in.
“I don’t know if I’ll be of any help, but if the opportunity rises, I want to do it too. Well, right now, I have enough worries of my own. Although I don’t expect you to believe in a F-rank Dealer like me who doesn’t have any experience in raids and has a low chakra proficiency. But, that’s how I feel. I want to do that for you if I can. If it’s within my capabilities.”
“Why? Just why?” Jiwoo asked in bewilderment.
There was little chance of it coming to realization. If Jiwoo, Kanghyun, and Taein entered an assault team, and the two of them left at the very last minute, their precious EXP would be evenly distributed among 8 members instead of 10.
“So why would they do such a thing?” Jiwoo wondered. Those who sacrifice would give up many things, as a matter of fact, the recipient would not be delivered the entirety of their sacrifice either.
Jiwoo wanted to tell them they were spewing nonsense. But Gyutae spoke before he could.
“To be honest, there were countless times I thought about how I wished I hadn’t injured my leg before I met you, Jiwoo. If I could still do raids, I’d like to give my EXP to you too. But I can’t join one so I’d like you to at least know that’s how I feel.”
The surgeon grinned.
Jiwoo suddenly felt emotional. The scenery before him blurred. Before he knew it, tears began streaming down his face.
He forced himself to laugh and joke, “You’re all really weird. What you’re saying is impossible so why’re you making me cry? Why are you making me feel indebted when none of you have given me anything yet?”
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