The Imperial Hunter Chapter 17 - Beast Hunt (5)

Author: Dawn

“Close your eyes, pull the trigger, turn around, open your eyes, and leave. That’s the end.”

Although the words were the same, the reactions were different. The woman I was trying to control trembled as she held the gun. The lowered muzzle wobbled, but it was more of a struggle and tension than fear. She was completely absorbed in the choice between killing and not killing. Her mouth was dry, and she licked her lips with her tongue.

“Promising to keep a secret… is it still not enough?”

Karen wore a cross necklace around her neck as she asked this question.

‘A woman selling her body believes in a religion that forbids adultery.’

The first prohibition was murder, and the second was adultery. But even with a superficial faith, faith was faith, and it often defied logic.

I nodded my head. 

“I swear to God, I sincerely don’t want to harm you. But I can’t blindly trust you either. Your actions could cost my people their lives.”

God, oath, sincerity. And the lives of my people. Words that moved the heart.

“I’ll help you.”

With gloved hands, I wiped Karen’s eyelids. Her eyebrows twitched slightly, but she obediently closed her eyes as I instructed. I held onto Karen’s shoulders, turned her slowly toward the target, and carefully adjusted her posture. I didn’t exert too much force. If she hesitated this much, it was enough. Finally, I held her hands, slowly raising the gun. The slowly rising muzzle aimed at the center of the target. I let go and stepped back.

“This is enough. When you’re ready, pull the trigger.”

I avoided using the word “shoot.” The choice of words could make a difference.

The target, the skinhead, breathed slowly inside the hood. The truth serum flowing through his veins robbed him of his ability to reason.

Carefully observing the shooter’s breathing and physical tension, I called her name coldly at the decisive moment.



The slide of the gun moved back with a bang! The trigger was pulled reflexively. Karen probably barely felt the recoil. She held the gun with all her strength since it had very little recoil. A spent shell casing from the silencer bounced on the floor. A faint, lingering scent of gunpowder could be detected at the tip of my nose. The bullet hit the target’s spine. Although not an instant death, Karen was startled by the strange sound coming from the target and accidentally dropped the gun.

After retrieving the gun, I grabbed Karen’s shoulders and turned her around.

“You can open your eyes now.”

Trembling as if she would break, Karen opened her eyes. I covered her ears with my hands to gradually block the diminishing sound of the target’s breathing. Sometimes sharp, sometimes bubbling with the sound of blood. At the same time, by locking eyes with her, I kept her gaze fixed on me.

‘Her heartbeat is very fast.’

It was a natural and favorable reaction. In an excited state, a person often easily misconstrued their own emotions. It was even more likely when their mind was paralyzed. In this woman’s memory, I needed to remain not as a villain but as an ideal vigilante for at least a month.

After the target’s life was decisively ended, I finally removed my hands. Karen, whose pulse was still racing, stared at me with a vacant expression, her mouth moving as she breathed.

“That’s it. Thank you for your help with this difficult task.”


“You’ve made the streets a bit safer for yourself.”


The scene from earlier, where she held the weapon and enthusiastically nodded at my words, would likely be enough material for the devil’s editing.

“It’s better to take a moment to calm down before you go. Let’s go inside.”

I led Karen to the office to give my subordinates time to clean up the body.

The office, which overlooked the entire warehouse from the second floor, was a private space for the officers. A Southern Army flag hung on the wall. I opened the creaky window to let out the stale air that had been trapped inside. The oppressive smell of sweat dissipated, and cold air flowed in. I placed Karen on the edge of the bed, put firewood in the rusty oil stove, and pulled a chair over to sit facing her. Guards were stationed at the open door.

After a slightly awkward period of time, when Karen’s attention was drawn to the awkwardness, I spoke.

“Do you have any procedures to follow when you return?”


“Do you contact the establishment where you work or something like that? You won’t be walking alone, will you?”

It would be crazy to let a woman walk alone on the streets of this city at this hour, especially in the outskirts. It wasn’t entirely safe for men either.

“Well, originally, Fraser was supposed to take me back tomorrow. I paid him in advance.”


“Uh, the guy outside…”

“Ah, I see.”

It seemed like the name of the officer who had been in this room with her. It made sense if he was a regular customer. Sending a car to pick up one customer could be a hassle.

“It’s probably better this way. My men will escort you.”

“Um, that…”

“Don’t decline.”

Karen seemed like she wanted to say something more but swallowed her words. It was a common occurrence for her to keep quiet about something obvious, but I pretended not to notice and changed the subject.

“By the way, did the client already take the money?”

“Oh, yes. The tips are my condition.”

“He’s not entirely devoid of morals, it seems.”

“Yes, well…”

This time, her answer was somewhat evasive. In the world of hostessing, not touching the money earned from a customer was the bare minimum in terms of morals. Even those who upheld this rule might still have flaws in other areas. Many of them didn’t even follow this rule.

I got up from my seat and approached the safe that was placed haphazardly in one corner of the office. Inside the locked safe were chunks of drugs, something that looked like a ledger, bundles of cash tied with rubber bands, and a pile of jewelry that seemed to have been collected through robberies.

‘It’s a mechanical lock.’

Opening a mechanical dial lock was easy. I just had to align the tumblers while looking at the components with the “Eye of the Golden Age.” Occasionally, there were locks that were difficult to crack even with X-ray vision, but there was no need to use such expensive high-end locks in street gang territories. I fixed my gaze on the dial and asked Karen.

“Miss William, have you ever seen magic?”

“Magic… um?”

“Yes, magic.”

Karen was taken aback. She didn’t know that right in front of her, a mage was using magic. Click. All the gears fell into place. I took a step back and opened the safe to show her.

“To you, this must seem like magic.”


Karen, who had been surprised by the safe opening, soon forgot her astonishment when she saw the contents.

“You can take all the money here.”


For a moment, Karen didn’t move and then her eyes widened.

“All of this… you’re giving it to me?”

I nodded to confirm.

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Oh my God!”

With an exclamation that was almost like a scream, Karen covered her mouth with both hands and hesitantly got up, staggering toward the safe. Her expression went from astonishment to shaking steps. The distress and fear that had lingered just a moment ago had completely evaporated. There was enough power in the forty bundles of one-hundred-dollar bills to do that. Caran stood in front of the safe, staring at the money, then turned her head toward me with a questioning look.

“You’re really… giving this to me? I didn’t misunderstand, did I?”

Her question was more like a gasp than words. I nodded again, showing my certainty.

“You heard correctly.”

“Are you sure you’re okay with this?”

“It’s fine. I don’t do this kind of thing for the money.”


Karen’s eyes were filled with awe as she looked at me. The power of money was as strong as magic. To her, the murders were already in the past. They might come back to haunt her as memories over time, but the shock would have diminished. The only memories that might resurface would be the feeling of pulling the trigger and the strange sound she heard briefly.

Maintaining secrecy costs $400,000.

It wasn’t my money anyway.

A reasonable amount of guilt was the fertilizer for self-justification. Now, this woman would have to convince herself whenever her guilt reared its head. That killing the man was justified because he deserved to die. If not, she couldn’t justify taking the $400,000 she received. What could be a stronger persuasion than that?

“Thank you.”

A grateful Karen clasped her hands together, her voice choked with emotion.

“Thank you so much! Thank you!”

“…Consider it an expression of my goodwill towards you.”

The bundles of bills went into the old bag that was hanging on the office coat rack. Inside the bag was something with faint white powder on it.

Next, I let Karen pick what she wanted from the jewelry bundle. It was better than just pouring everything into her handbag. Karen tried on rings and bracelets, occasionally flashing me a cautious smile. Her flattery had become closer and gentler than before.

It was simple, really.

I checked the time.

47 minutes.

It took 47 minutes to turn a woman who had led a fairly ordinary life except for selling her body to a killer and diluting her guilt. This would probably pass even the Milgram obedience experiment, famous for electric shocks, without considering guilt.

‘It was interesting this way.’

The boundary between herbivores and carnivores was not clear-cut. Even animals that normally ate plants would eat meat if the opportunity presented itself. Like a cow chewing on a chick. The innocence that humans associated with cows wasn’t affected by the screams of the chicks being crushed in their mouths.

‘The line between them will blur even more in the future.’

It was time for this woman to finish up.

“Before you go, there’s one thing you should remember.”

“Yes? What’s that?”

“Tax reporting.”


“If you spend the money recklessly, the tax authorities will definitely come after you. You should know how troublesome that can be.”

In the industry Karen worked in, such incidents happened frequently. Besides, $400,000 was an amount that could prompt the tax authorities to send armed agents. They would definitely have a search warrant. Considering the possibility that the visible $400,000 was just the tip of the iceberg.

“What should I do then?”

Karen’s expression darkened.

“If you give me your address, I’ll send you a casino chip by mail in the near future.”

“A casino chip?”

“Yes, a casino chip. Take that chip to the Diamond Casino in Tucson, Arizona. It’s run by Native Americans. When you show the chip at the counter, they’ll either ask about your business or guide you to a separate lounge. That’s when you let them know you have money to launder.”


“The commission won’t be too burdensome. The chip itself is valuable.”

Not just anyone could use a chip to receive special services. It had to be reported in advance that such a person would be coming. That way, they wouldn’t be suspicious of the person when they arrived. Coins given to vendors by U.S. military personnel in Daegu were exchanged in a similar way.

Karen’s heart raced with anticipation. It wasn’t fear but the excitement of experiencing the unknown.

“Don’t forget. Diamond Casino in Tucson, Arizona.”


“So, what’s your address?”


Karen, whose attention had been scattered, easily gave me her address without any resistance. The escorts would verify whether the address was correct. I led the woman who was eagerly thinking about the Diamond Casino outside.

“Get your things. It’s time to send you off.”

As we left the office, Karen looked back at the spot where the body had been removed behind the iron railing of the stairs. There was only an empty chair there now. There was no trace of death left, not even a drop of blood.

I told my subordinates where they needed to go.

While leaving with my two subordinates, Karen looked back at me sadly, like someone leaving behind a lingering attachment.

“Um… C-Can I see you again, Sir?”

…Why would you want to see me again? I slowly shook my head.

“It’s better for both of us if we don’t meet again.”

I packaged it as being for her benefit.

“Is that so?”

“Take care.”

“Today, today I’m really grateful! May God bless you!”

A farewell filled with sincere emotions. Objectively, it was a very strange situation. I met her gaze and nodded lightly.

In the now-quiet warehouse, I finally faced the beasts in human skin.

“I’ve made you wait a long time, you pigs.”

Author's Thoughts

This novel is a work of fiction! While it may incorporate elements inspired by our "real" historical world, including historical events, settings, and cultures, it is important to note that the story and characters are entirely products of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, living or deceased, or actual events is purely coincidental. This work should be enjoyed and interpreted as a work of fiction and not as a representation of historical facts or reality.
Also, if you find some error in translation please do let me know by tagging me (@_dawn24) in our Discord server. Since this series is kinda hard to translate. But I'll try my best to make it at least readable :)
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