The Imperial Hunter Chapter 28 - August's Rows of Trees (1)

Author: Dawn

Something terrible happened.

A virus-related pneumonia that originated in Wuhan, China, had swept across the world in about six months. As of the present moment, with the spread of infections under control in major countries, the officially confirmed number of infected individuals had exceeded about 3.1 million, and the death toll had crossed 200,000, with numbers still increasing. Developing countries were in a situation where they couldn’t even provide reliable statistics.

Looking at this situation, I felt quite perplexed.

‘The abundance of magic power might have been a harmful environment for microorganisms like bacteria and viruses.’

“The Round Table of Light and Truth,” with which my master was associated, had conducted biological weapon research at the request of the British government before cutting ties with them. However, attempts to created magical diseases had repeatedly ended in failure.

Bacteria were small. Viruses were even smaller. The conditions necessary for circuits to be inscribed into organisms on the scale of micrometers and nanometers didn’t satisfy the minimum requirements. Instead, organisms heavily exposed to magic power and magical power died rapidly, even more quickly than if they had been exposed to ultraviolet light.

If circuits could be inscribed into microorganisms, their small size would mean minimal magic power requirements, allowing them to function significantly even in environments where magic power was almost depleted. That was the British government’s idea, but it turned out to be nothing more than false hope.

Nevertheless, a worldwide pandemic had occurred.

Was the disease being suppressed to this extent due to magic power, which should have grown larger, or was there some unknown factor that had amplified the spread of the disease, which I didn’t know about?

My mind leaned towards the former, but my heart couldn’t quite grasp it. Seeing several bio-companies, including pharmaceutical companies, struggling with reduced yield in bacterial and cell cultures recently, it seemed that the former was likely the case…

Perhaps there were significant errors in the experiments conducted by imperialists.

“Is there something bothering you?”

When I woke up from my thoughts, Suyeon’s face, inspecting my complexion, was quite close.

“Not particularly.”

It was awkward for the leader of the organization to show a lack of confidence. I replied calmly, removing emotion from my expression.

“I was just thinking that we’re unlucky.”

“…I’m sorry. It’s because of my wrong judgment.”

“No, I’m not saying that. You’ve done very well.”

This girl’s apology was related to the Guangdong Three Unions – essentially, the weapons supply contract signed with the Chinese Communist Party.

At the time, there were restrictions on delivery dates for the Chinese orders. But when you thought about it, this delivery date restriction was a condition that acted like a shackle not only on us but also on the Chinese side, who had come to the negotiating table. The instructions from above meant that we had to somehow resolve things before then.

Suyeon had taken advantage of this point. In an atmosphere where the contract seemed to be going smoothly, she repeatedly made concessions, leading the Chinese side, blinded by the ease of the negotiations and the greed in their different pockets, to make ridiculous demands until the very end. It was easy to drag things out because there were so many different items in the deal. Each item had a different margin.

As time went on, Suyeon suppressed her accumulated anger and overturned the deal.

The transcripts of the post-report meeting contained her statements from that time.

“We’ve already made an unprecedented level of concessions. However, you… you’ve crossed a line that shouldn’t be crossed. It’s truly an insulting demand.”

“In the future, we won’t be doing business with all of you. Goodbye.”

Suyeon’s pretext was a matter of pride, and for the Chinese, pride was a matter of life and death. The more unreasonable demands they made, the more they themselves would be to blame.

The Chinese, who hadn’t even thought of preparing alternative trade partners, had to hold on to the enraged Suyeon, even if it meant making significant concessions. If they missed the deadline, they would be the ones to suffer.

‘It’s fortunate if it ends with us breaking.’

Performance competition and factional disputes within the Communist Party were notorious for their brutality. Try messing up work with excessive greed while optimistic progress reports had been submitted several times. Could the anger of a direct superior who had wiped out both performance and ill-gotten gains be resolved with just a standard disciplinary action?

As a result, the final negotiation was settled on highly favorable terms.

The strategy itself was simple, but implementation was a separate matter. If actions were as easy as words, then everyone who claimed to know a bit about stocks would be a millionaire. Suyeon’s abilities demonstrated in this negotiation were one step beyond what I had known and trusted.

I cleared my throat and said, 

“Let me make it clear. The deaths that occurred this time are not your responsibility. It was just bad luck. No one could have anticipated that the virus would spread so extensively. It was unavoidable.”

“No, it wasn’t. It was well within the range of predictability. We had reliable information.”

“I received that information too.”


“I’ll say it again; it’s not your fault. This is a decision made by ‘me.'”

“…I understand. I apologize.”

Suyeon briefly lowered her head.

The reason this girl kept talking about taking responsibility was that five of our people who had entered Thailand during the transportation of the goods had died from complications of pneumonia and dengue fever. The journey was treacherous, and the news was slow to spread due to quarantine measures. (+) [1]

Logically, if a pandemic had erupted, it would be appropriate to delay the delivery. However, there was no such thing as common sense in this market, especially not for the Chinese. They relentlessly pressured us to adhere to the agreed-upon deadline. It was likely because they were afraid that the project would fall through due to the situation. Then they wouldn’t be able to embezzle. Damn Chinese bastards.

I looked at Suyeon silently for a moment, our eyes meeting briefly before she looked away.

‘Yeah, it hasn’t changed since the old days.’

Suyeon’s self-blame held no sadness. Having observed this girl for a long time, I could roughly distinguish emotions from the activation of the limbic system, typically settling at “this girl is feeling something.” So, the responsibility she was feeling was solely focused on the losses she had caused me with her miscalculation. The identity of the faint signal flowing through the anterior cingulate cortex was probably a sense of guilt towards me. (+) [2]

Five deaths.

Certainly not a small loss. When I heard the news, it was quite disheartening. Those deployed on the front lines of international smuggling were elite beyond the bodyguard unit, my precious assets. Each of them was fluent in one or more foreign languages like locals, possessed survival skills and combat capabilities for hostile environments, and had unwavering loyalty and exceptional adaptability to navigate even the worst scenarios. If we were to quantify the value of each individual, it would easily reach tens of billions. 

Money couldn’t create people overnight, so this loss was even more significant. If I could bring them back with cash, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay hundreds of billions. It was not a small amount, but in return, it would be no more than the annual salary of one high-priced soccer player. If you wanted the best results, you had to assemble the best team.



“If it’s not about the Thai incident, why did you say it’s bad luck? Are you concerned about Kim Jaehwan’s business?”

“…It’s not that.”

Kim Jaehwan was the real name of Kim-ssi from Yeouido. He reported losses in the 300 billion range in the stock market crash, although the reasons and timing were different. We were prepared for the market crash to some extent. 

But it was natural to be disappointed. However, where in the world was there an investment without failures? An organization that demanded unconditional success would eventually degenerate into an organization that concealed failures. The reported losses were almost beyond our control, and I believe Kim Jaehwan would become an even better investor through this experience. There was a separate reason for my regret.

“I regret that I had to be tied up for half a year at such a crucial time.”


Suyeon made a knowing expression.

Before countries closed their borders for quarantine purposes, the most crucial locations had been explored in January and February. However, it was painful that additional investigations were blocked at this time, even though we had already maximized the gap with the Round Table. Many countries, including those below developing countries, had sealed off their ports and airports to this day. 

The more I thought about it, the harder it was to hold back a sigh. Could luck really be this bad?

“Turn on the TV.”

At my words, Suyeon pressed the power button on the remote control. The voice of the announcer immediately flowed out. It was a news channel that was being broadcast in the office. As I listened to various incidents with one ear while perusing the report Suyeon had brought, I raised my head as the announcer conveyed news about the Olympics.

[Next is the news from Japan.]

[The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which once faced a crisis due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Japan’s lax epidemic prevention measures and opaque information disclosure, finally held its opening ceremony yesterday after being postponed for nearly a month. It was the result of Prime Minister Abe’s strong determination and active Olympic diplomacy.]

[However, this Tokyo Olympics has been surrounded by controversy from the very first day. It’s about doping allegations. Some events were even suspended due to strong protests from the athlete representatives. Let’s hear more about it from our correspondent on the scene. Reporter Kang Young-rim?]

The screen changed to show a reporter holding a microphone with the stadium in the background.

[Yes, I’m Kang Young-rim.]

[What’s the situation on the site?]

As with most reports from foreign correspondents, the response came a beat later.

[Yes. I’m currently at the Olympic Aquatics Center in Koto, Tokyo. The men’s 400-meter freestyle preliminaries were underway from 9 a.m. However, from the early stages of the competition, there were numerous cases of athletes significantly breaking existing world records, leading to the suspension of the competition.]

The anchor asked another question.

[Many world records were broken… Certainly, it’s strange, but can the competition be stopped just because of that? Doesn’t it mean the athletes’ skills’ just get better?]

[In practice, it’s virtually impossible.]

The reporter firmly denied it.

[The competition for medals among the world’s top athletes is a fight decided by a hundredth of a second. In fact, until today, the previous record holder, Germany’s Paul Biedermann, competed with a mere 0.01-second difference to the existing first-place record. However, today, Thailand’s Pitaya Sonkham reduced Biedermann’s record by 27.92 seconds, becoming the unofficial world record holder.]

[27.92 seconds?]

[Yes. Sonkham’s record is 3 minutes and 12.15 seconds, while Biedermann’s record is 3 minutes and 40.07 seconds. Considering that the world record for the 400-meter long-course freestyle has remained in the 3-minute and 40-second range for the past 20 years, it’s a highly shocking development.]

[It’s indeed shocking. But you’re saying that there are many such cases, not just Sonkham?]

[That’s correct. Indonesia’s Taufik Ahmad recorded 3 minutes and 19.83 seconds, and Canada’s Dylan Barnaby recorded 3 minutes and 22.20 seconds, securing second and third place in the preliminaries. Below them, up to seventh place, all athletes surpassed Biedermann’s record by seconds. What’s remarkable is that among the countries ranking from first to seventh, except for Canada, the other six countries have never set a world record even once.]

[Seems like there are doping suspicions?]

[Yes. After the competition was suspended, Taufik Ahmad complained of chest and abdominal pain and was rushed to the emergency room, adding to the confusion. Athlete representatives who raised suspicions have urged for a thorough examination to see if Ahmad’s condition issues might be a side effect of drug abuse. However, it’s still unclear which drug could produce such a powerful effect.]

[What’s the Olympic Committee’s response?]

[The Olympic Committee is conducting drug tests on the entire team once again. Additionally, they’ve requested technicians from Omega, the official timekeeper manufacturer, to verify the electronic timing system for any abnormalities.]

[I see. There’s a possibility of errors in the timing equipment, right?]

[That’s a possibility, indeed. Omega representatives have argued that their Quantum Timer has a maximum error margin of just one-thousandth of a second, and they claim that merely reviewing the recorded footage will prove this. They’ve also expressed their willingness to cooperate with the committee’s requested system check. As a result, it appears that other events requiring timekeeping might also face inevitable delays until the inspection is completed.]

[Understood. Thank you for the detailed update.]

Having heard this, I turned my gaze back to Suyeon.

“How’s the adaptation going?”

Although the subject is omitted, this was obviously a question regarding physical enhancement.

  • 1. TLN: Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted virus and the leading cause of arthropod-borne viral disease in the world. It is also known as breakbone fever due to the severity of muscle spasms and joint pain, dandy fever, or seven-day fever because of the usual duration of symptoms.
  • 2. TLN: The limbic system is the part of the brain involved in our behavioral and emotional responses
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 :)
Enjoy reading~!

Want to read ahead of the scheduled release? You can check the Novel page on the website (or press the next chapter button) and buy an advanced chapter with only 20 Honeys! (100 Honeys is only 5$! So you can basically read 5 advanced chapters ahead of schedule!)

Table of Contents
Reader Settings
Font Size
Line Height

Hello! If you any questions and if you found any errors on my translations, please do @ me on our discord server (@_dawn24) since I might miss your comment here. And also, I really appriciate your support by buying the advanced chapters or just giving me some donation, thank you!

Ko-fi Ko-fi

Comments (0)