Author: Lubai

“Wait.” Sooho felt a strange sensation. 


Looking back, all the recent incidents were connected. Gwanak Mountain Field, the Hyena Guild, and Seoul Station Field all shared one thing.


“… They all appeared a year ago.”


[Khiehek! Come to think of it! It seems like the aliens have been hiding on Earth since a year ago!]


“A year ago…” Sooho decided to start from here. “Shall we try to look backward? If we search for dungeons, fields, and guilds that appeared a year ago, we might find something.” If they found the demons, they could strengthen Vulcan’s Horn, and if they found any other traces of the outer beings, that would be great too.


[Oh! As expected, my little king is brilliant! It feels like I just taught you addition and subtraction the other day…]


Sooho ignored Beru’s chatter for a moment. Then, he remembered something.


“Yeah, there it was.”


The most famous area in Korea a year ago.


The scene of that dreadful massacre.


“Magok.” Sooho’s eyes flashed.




Hunter Association Surveillance Division.


“…No matter how much we investigate, it just keeps coming out.”


Team Leader Han Jaehyuk felt increasingly frustrated the more he investigated the hideout of the Hyena Guild, which had been completely destroyed.


Listing all the atrocities the Hyena Guild had committed would require a report of at least 100 pages. Among them, all matters related to crime were transferred to the police Hunter Division.


The Association focused on investigating things that fell outside the bounds of the law, such as ‘Stardust’.


…In reality, Stardust wasn’t technically a narcotic, so using it wasn’t necessarily illegal, but they couldn’t just leave unidentified drugs alone.


The Hunter Association had been continuously investigating how Stardust was made and who made it, and they had finally found a clue at the Hyena Guild’s hideout. It was a ledger that contained records of when and how much Stardust the Hyena Guild had purchased and to whom they had sold it.


This confirmed that the guild was one of the distributors of Stardust. If they followed the trail, they might be able to find out who was actually making the powder.


“But there were people who went into debt just to buy Stardust.”


“You could consider it a kind of investment. If you used Stardust to explore high-level dungeons, you could pay off that debt pretty quickly.”


“So they earned money and came back to the Hyena Guild to buy more Stardust?”


“In the end, it seems like the Hyena Guild was the only one constantly profiting. There really is no separate economy here.”


But the problem was that most of the Hunters listed in the ledger were ‘missing for the past year.’ Most were probably just fodder for the boss monster controlling the Hyena Guild from behind the scenes. But as they continued to investigate the ledger, they discovered something strange.


Among the missing persons, there were those marked with a red line.


Among them were not only Hunters but also many non-awakened debtors.


“What are these people? Is there something different about them?”


“Oh? Team Leader! Take a look here!” A subordinate showed some data to Team Leader Han Jaehyuk. “If you look here, the date when a large amount of Stardust was imported into Hyena is the same day that these missing persons were reported missing. Every single one of them.”


“…I see.”


“Is there any connection?”




The only thing that came to mind immediately was one possibility.


“…Did they exchange them for stardust?”


“Exchanged people for Stardust?”


Team Leader Han Jaehyuk searched through the records again from the beginning, and finally, he discovered one fact that made his eyes widen.


“I’m sure. There is no record in the ledger of them paying Hyena for the Stardust they purchased. It means they didn’t pay with money.”


“Really? Did they pay the value of Stardust with people instead of money? Why?”


“We’ll have to find out now. If Hyena didn’t make the Stardust themselves, then the ones who made it….”


At that moment, an urgent call arrived at the Surveillance Division.


“Team Leader! We received a report!”


“What report? I’m busy right now…”


“Someone found the Stardust factory…”


“Depart immediately!”




When Team Leader Han Jaehyuk received the report and arrived in front of Seoul Station Field, everything had already ended.


“What the hell happened here!?”


There were survivors who had been trapped in the factory and the Hunters who rescued them, all exhausted and collapsed.


“In short, it’s a long story….” The captain explained everything that had happened to Team Leader Han Jaehyuk.


“A factory? They were making Stardust in there? Who did this? The demons?”


As he listened to the explanation, the pieces of the puzzle that had been investigated recently were coming together in his mind.


But he didn’t have time to sit calmly and think right now.


“What? Is that true? Someone is still in there fighting alone against the demons?”


“Yes. He said he will buy us some time to escape…and asked us to go ahead… Kugh… Please go in and help him quickly!” Assistant Professor Im had been worried about Sooho’s safety for a while. At least in his eyes, Sooho had barely managed to defeat even one demon he first encountered.


But there were as many as ten of those demons in the factory.


‘Sooho said not to worry, that he would find a way out himself, but he must have said that to reassure us. That guy… just like he did in the Korea University Dungeon, he’s sacrificing himself for us!’


After hearing all the explanations, Team Leader Han Jaehyuk grabbed the weapon brought to him with a fierce expression.


“Understood. We will go in right away.”




Team Leader Han Jaehyuk’s weapons were two steel shields huge enough to cover half his body.


As soon as he grabbed the shields, a transparent aura enveloped his whole body.


‘Iron Wall!?’


At that moment, Assistant Im realized who Han Jaehyuk really was. He was a C-rank Tanker who had been recognized for his skills and received offers from several famous guilds in the past. Looking at the Hunters standing behind him, they all looked formidable.


‘That’s it! Sooho is safe now!’


Team Leader Han Jaehyuk led the Association Hunters confidently into Seoul Station.


Suddenly, he turned around at the entrance and asked, “By the way, what rank is the Hunter who is still down there?”


“Uh, well…” the raid captain hesitated and spoke puzzledly. “He’s an E-rank collector.”


“… What!?”


“…” The captain felt unjustly accused as the Association Hunters suddenly looked at him as if he were the biggest scoundrel in the world.


It was very unfair.




“I’ll have to find out about Magok as soon as I get back.”


Sooho finished all his work and left the factory. But once he tried to go up to the ground, he felt regretful for some reason. It was because of Broki.


“I finally extracted a strong soldier like him as a shadow soldier. It’s a shame to just let him go like this.”


The duration of the extracted shadow soldier was approximately one day. After that time, it automatically released and returned to nothingness. Sooho didn’t know when he could find a magic beast of a similar level again, so he wanted to use it as effectively as possible.


[Then, do you want to turn around? There are still many lizards nearby.]


“That’s a good idea.”


He decided to clean up this field while he was at it.






Broki, who had become a shadow soldier, lost its ability to speak. However, its intelligence remained, so there was no need for a long explanation.


“Fetch them all.”




As a beast, Broki had a very keen sense of smell. When Sooho’s command came down, Broki searched for and killed all the lizards hiding throughout the field. Then it brought all their bodies to Sooho.


Sooho’s level was so high that the lizards didn’t give much experience, but it was still a case of ‘every little bit helps’.


“And this is all money.”


[Chirp. Little King, if I may be so bold, since there’s so much, may I also have a bite…?]


“Just a bug…”


[Am I a bug receiving only a bite?]


[T/N: This joke is a play on words in Korean. The first line, spoken by Beru, is a pun on the phrase “한입만 더 (han-ip-man deo)” which means “just one more bite”. Sooho replaces the word “man” (meaning “more”) with “chung” which means “insect” or “bug”. So instead of saying “just a bite,” he says “just a bug” which sounds similar but has a different meaning.]


Beru looked puzzled at Sooho’s joke.


Sooho, who was using Broki to hunt down the lizards, was now wearing a crow mask again. He used it before to pretend to be a young demon in front of other demons, but this time it was for a completely different reason.


In fact, this item had a small function.



[Item: Crow Mask]


Acquisition Difficulty: E


Type: Miscellaneous


A suspicious mask used by demons.


When worn in the dark, the wearer’s vision becomes brighter.


Can be stored in the inventory or sold at a store.



‘It’s better than night vision goggles.’


Thanks to his increased Sense stat, he could identify objects even in the darkness. However, with the crow mask, the vague darkness disappeared completely, which he found pleasing.


Since each of the demons had one of these nice items, Sooho brought all the masks of the demons in the factory.


However, the problem started from there.








The Association Hunters, who entered the field just in time, encountered Sooho wearing a crow mask. They had already heard from the Hunters aboveground that the demons wore crow masks.


Moreover, beside Sooho was a giant hyena, Broki, looking extremely evil.




“No, wait…”


Before Sooho could say anything, the Hunters’ attack aimed straight at Sooho and started pouring down.





[An emergency quest has arrived.]






[Emergency Quest: Defeat the Enemies!]


There are individuals with hostility toward the ‘Player’ nearby…



“Oh, no. Refuse, refuse.”


Sooho was even forced to undertake an emergency quest because of their bloodlust. Just as he hurriedly refused the quest and tried to uncover his identity by removing the mask…




“I’ll take care of this guy!” Team Leader Han Jaehyuk, who had approached him swiftly, swung his shield at Sooho.


At that moment, the other Hunters all rushed towards Broki.


“Just a moment, please listen to me…”


“Iron Wall Throw!”




A transparent shield soared toward Sooho like a giant wall.


[Little King!]


Beru cried desperately.


In the end, Sooho tightly clenched his hand that was about to take off the mask.


‘First, let’s subdue them.’


Swoosh! A black aura enveloped Sooho’s fist at that moment, and he threw a punch. He plunged it into the transparent shield that was pressuring him.


But with that one punch…



[Strength: 45]







The body of Team Leader Han Jaehyuk, who was attacking Sooho, was bent at a right angle and bounced straight out with his shield.


And then… Bang! He was stuck in the wall far away.


“… Huh?” Sooho, who had punched him, was also shocked and stopped in the same position.


The eyes of the Association Hunters who witnessed the sight widened.


“Team Leader…?”


“What is that…?”




The wall where Team Leader Han Jaehyuk was stuck collapsed, and his face, with his eyes rolled back, was revealed.


He had fainted.


[Hmm. I guess that was too much for humans. Well, you’ve been investing all your stats in Strength so far.]


Next to Sooho, Beru nodded, saying it was a natural result.


Sooho removed his crow mask with an awkward expression. “Can we talk now?”




The Hunters nodded their heads without hesitation.


Author's Thoughts

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