Part 2: Transport Hunter
“The probability of failing to kill a Class 2 monster is high. People may be suspicious if the swamps were Class 4 or 5. Besides, I took much precaution in the team comp. I made sure the areas didn’t overlap either. Cheating sure was no easy task.”
Gyutae had been shaking his head in resignation, but burst into laughter at the last part.
“By the way, why are you telling me all of this?” He asked.
“Well, you were the one who asked.”
“Then would you have answered everything if Jiwoo had asked?”
“I’ll have to ask again. Why are you telling me all this?”
“…I guess it’s because I don’t feel nervous.”
“Nervous? What do you mean?”
“I don’t feel the nerves one gets when wanting to get closer to someone.”
Gyutae was completely caught off guard and blanked out as if he had been hit by a hammer. He started cackling.
“May I ask you one more question? I feel like you made up your mind to tell me the whole truth. Do you like Ahn Jiwoo?
“I am interested in him.”
“How come? What is it that you like about Jiwoo? Looking at you and the people around you, Jiwoo must seem like a nobody.”
“Why do you think people are unlucky?”
“I’m not sure. A wrong encounter? Because they met someone they shouldn’t have?
“For me, I believe it’s a matter of choice. Part of not making a decision on time is also a matter of choice. But it wasn’t my decision to be attacked by my colleague. That has bothered me for a long time.”
Gyutae looked at her with pity seeing how she couldn’t easily shake off the trauma from when she was suddenly ambushed and almost died as a result.
“What I could do for Jiwoo is support him. Even if he turns out to be different from the person I imagined, I’m the one who chose him, so I can accept any of the outcomes.”
Gyutae shook his head.
“The feelings between a man and woman don’t work like that. To have feelings for someone, to some degree it’s fate.”
“…Please help me, Mr. Gyutae.”
“So you can get closer to Jiwoo?”
“Why don’t you tell Jiwoo?””
“No, I can’t.”
“I’m very protective and I romanticize it. I am a B-rank SF Tanker after all. I take small pleasures in beating down those who abuse their power.”
“Do you think that Jiwoo will lean on you when he finds out about your true personality? Or would you like him to rely on you as if you were some rich widow?”
“Should I actually?”
“I wouldn’t know.” Gyutae laughed, dumbfounded that the other Hunter had a strange worry.
“Also, there’s another reason. The Hunter Association made a bet.”
She told Gyutae what happened after Jiwoo left the research institute. His eyes grew wider the more he listened and his mouth dropped open, letting out a gasp.
“So if Jiwoo doesn’t reach D-rank within 3 years, I’ll be dirt broke.”
“You must be joking. Don’t you have about 60 Rupstones? Rupstones from Class 2 monsters, no less.”
“I can’t sell them though.”
“There’s the black market.”
“Will you sell it for me then?”
“I would prefer not to.”
“Exactly. This is why Jiwoo needs to hurry up and become D-rank. I have high expectations of him. As he progresses, the tattoo won’t come back to bite Jiwoo. There must be some meaning behind it.”
“It could come back to bite him.”
“I think Jiwoo used up his luck meeting good people.”
“That’s…. very touching. It’s been so long since I’ve heard such kind words. Thank you.”
“…I’m sorry, what?”
“You just said I was a good person…”
“Ah, that’s what you meant. Yes… I would say he’s lucky to have met you.”
“Then were you implying… He’s fortunate to have met you?”
“Well, it doesn’t really matter. Regardless, Jiwoo is a lucky man.”
Gyutae wondered why only narcissists flocked around Jiwoo, but as soon as Kanghyun and Taein’s drooping shoulders popped to his mind, that line of thought was flown out.
“Oh, by the way. I’m planning to go away for a while.” Gyutae said.
“All of a sudden, why? Also, why are you telling me?” Im Jeong gave a lukewarm response.
“There should be a reason why my leg suddenly got better. This is my train of thought. There’s a miracle drug created from using monsters’ organs. So I left for the country that developed the new drug so I could get treated. After I disappear for a while, I’ll make my return.”
“You won’t have to pretend to be sick when you come back.”
“That’s right, and I’ll likely be able to do raids again.” Gyutae said, deeply moved by the fact.
“That’s wonderful, Mr. Gyutae! So the legendary famous C-rank Dealer will make his return. One thing. Will this transport team disband when that happens?”
“It won’t matter since I do this as a hobby from time to time. I wanted to set a record for amputating and transporting Class 2 monsters. I could also find skilled Hunters by looking at the carcasses and scout them.”
“It’s not because you want to settle your pursuit on that mystery Hunter who wields the dagger?”
“Ahh, that didn’t cross my mind. Perhaps that was the real reason.”
“Anyway, it worked out well. Congratulations.”
“Thank you. To be able to raid again, it’s like I’ve been granted another life.” Gyutae smiled shyly.
“When you return, I’ll make sure to train the three of you so that we can work together.” Im Jeong spoke enthusiastically.
“Wouldn’t it be difficult for us to enter a raid with our team?” Gyutae asked.
“Why do you think that?”
“There are many reasons why it wouldn’t work. Kanghyun is not old enough and it won’t be easy for us to find an assault leader to take us.”
“It seems you often forget that I’m a Tanker.”
“But you’re part of SF.”
“Yes, I’m a SF member, a member who gets special attention from the President of the Hunter Association. We could arbitrarily clear one or two swamps that have been covered with lids.”
“I can’t tell if a certain someone is actually being serious by asking these questions.”
“How can it be that simple though? For people like us, being able to do raids is an issue that keeps us grumbling all night.”
Gyutae still had a doubtful expression. He even felt dejected when he realized this could work out so easily.
The surgeon revealed a piece of huge news and everything proceeded at lightning speed. Gyutae looked so hopeful when he departed, saying he’d come back after his surgery, that the low-level Hunters were left rather anxious. There were many days they couldn’t sleep, worried about how disappointed their surgeon would be if the surgery didn’t go well.
Their circumstances also changed just as quickly. Jiwoo realized just how comfortable he had it because he had been on that team. It wasn’t hard to find a job, but it wasn’t easy to go to different teams and work with new people every time. Kanghyun applied to the same team as Jiwoo because he wanted to work with him, but not many opportunities came up where they could often work together.
The three did not neglect their training after transporting carcasses all day. For Taein specifically, his intensive training with Im Jeong commenced. She took care of his training as she had promised, and after observing him for about 30 minutes, she advised him that he should postpone his first raid for about a month.
“At this rate, the other raid members will get hurt because of you. You have to understand your teammate’s movements and work around them. If you’re tossed into a raid in your current state, the team will be fighting with nine people. It’s essentially the same as the monster nabbing a member and that individual, will no doubt be you, Taein.”
Taein couldn’t refute her, so he canceled the raid. The assault captain welcomed his withdrawal and told him that they could not return his money.
“This won’t do. You need to train properly. It seems you’ve been slacking up till now.”
Everyone was on edge from hearing her harsh words. From that point on, it felt like a real battlefield. They secretly wished for the security forces to be dispatched on a mission when she was being merciless and pushed them too hard. They wished a swamp nearing its opening would appear to take her attention away. That was how intense her training was.
Im Jeong meticulously checked their conditions and confirmed what training they would need.
“The most important thing is to practice pouring chakra into one’s own weapon, which you’re doing well. Other Hunters struggled for a while because they couldn’t do it, but Mr. Gyutae has effectively trained you all. Furthermore you’ve been diligent in your transport work, so everyone has a lot of muscle strength and good endurance as well. Looking at your hands, I don’t think you’ll get blisters no matter how much you swing the knife.”
When she touched the calluses on their palms, Jiwoo couldn’t help but crack a smile because she looked particularly interested when she touched his hand.
“I understand why Mr. Gyutae emphasized the importance of transport work. You may be thinking you’re stuck doing transport duty, unable to do raids, however, by carrying the corpses, you’re already way ahead in the game. That said, in order to hunt a monster, you all have to go beyond that. Let’s do our best.”
The three worked hard to transport carcasses all day and trained immediately after without rest. It took a toll on their bodies, but they dedicated themselves to the training regiment.
“It could spur you on if you see the weapons in advance, so I do advise you to browse the ‘Extreme Hunter’ shop. If you choose the right weapon, you could match your training with it, so in a way, it could be more efficient. For Taein, I specifically recommend a hand ax.”
Taein’s face brightened as soon as she said that.
“Do I have the talent for it?”
“No, it’s because you don’t that I’m recommending it. I’m saying that we should focus on that right arm of yours and have you specialize in this single area.”
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