The Imperial Hunter Chapter 31 - August's Rows of Trees (4)

Author: Dawn

The effect of the physical enhancement technique was not to create new strength but to amplify existing strength. It meant that there was an underlying basic calorie consumption even though exercise capacity increased in terms of calorie expenditure. The acceleration of natural recovery also came with a proportional increase in consumption. This was the reason why my daily calorie intake exceeded 5,000 kcal with a slightly more abundant meal.

After finishing a somewhat heavy meal quantitatively, Suyeon, who had already put down her utensils, looked at her buzzing phone and then conveyed the received message in a composed voice.

“Hyungnim. The government has decided to award presidential commendations to organization-affiliated companies.”

What on earth is this?

“Commendations? Why?”

“It’s for elevating the national status through humanitarian aid to Native American tribes and contributing to the enhancement of friendship between South Korea and the United States.”


I couldn’t believe my ears, so I remained silent.

The humanitarian aid mentioned by the government was nothing more than the virus testing kits and various epidemic prevention supplies that I had sent to five Native American protected areas in response to a request from the Diamond Casino over the past few months.

During the height of the pandemic that originated in China, Native American tribes in North America were completely ignored by the federal government’s health administration for several months. The medical support provided by the federal government through the Health Service Corps was, at best, a bunch of body bags.

Few people might know, but the official term for Native American autonomous zones within the United States was “Nation.” However, how could a nation that had been deprived of diplomatic power still be called a nation? And how did they manage to procure epidemic prevention supplies from a foreign country? Even ‘real’ nations were struggling to obtain supplies.

In the end, what remained was private efforts. As the “People of the Desert” dwindled away, the chieftain had offered me an unprecedented deal. I, swayed by his desperate proposal, courteously promised him a donation that was equivalent to ten times the amount he had requested. The chieftain appeared astonished by my unexpected kindness, but I had a rational motive.

‘It is quite possible.’

I’d long foreseen the season when cicadas sing. When that season came, Native Americans in North America would become a truly wailing horde of cicadas. I wanted to gather them and turn London into a terrorist mastermind. For me, their suffering was like a stroke of luck that had come at just the right time. The suppressed resentment against the imperial invaders, once the bodies were collected, would become new strength and abilities that could be used as tools of anger.

Even if they didn’t want it, it would happen. Native Americans were a poor and marginalized group, which meant they had a high crime rate. This would inevitably tarnish the external image of Native Americans much more than it was now. It would lead to delinquents within the indigenous group who use superhuman abilities for crime or potential security threats. Such perceptions would lead to the formation of a recruitment group that hated imperialist invaders.

That’s right. I wished for their misfortune while helping them. The crime would be committed by the invaders, and the choice would be solely up to the Native Americans. I would reap the rewards simply by bestowing kindness. How could this not be good for me?

When times were tough, I was the only one who offered a helping hand. My presence would have been clearly imprinted on the Native American tribes trapped within their fences as well. At the moment, my presence might be limited to those who know of me, but when the entire tribe fell into the shadow, it would not be so.

Kyung-tae complained disapprovingly,

“If they were going to give something, they could have given a medal or something, not this lousy certificate. How much did we spend?”

Suyeon replied briefly,

“There’s nothing we can do. We distributed it under different names.”

“But still… If you think about it, Hyungnim could have become a national merit recipient.”

I was a little taken aback. 

“What’s the point of me becoming a national merit recipient?”

“It wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it? Your superficial status would garner social recognition and respect to that extent. I think it’s better for people to look up to you.”


It was unnecessary greed. Temporary fame like this didn’t have a long shelf life, even though social reputation could be a useful cover. It would be detrimental for the organization if attention was focused on the organization solely by pushing forward with the organization’s work. The White Chief, who was our client, would also expose the organization’s core.

Kyung-tae’s words made me contemplate something, and Suyeon, who had been quietly pondering, spoke up.

“Regarding future plans…”


“Apart from this case, it’s not a bad idea for you or the key personnel of the organization to become patriots and strategic assets for this country.”

Patriots and strategic assets?

“The big picture, I see.”

“Yes. There may be some inconvenient tasks that come with it, but it’s essential to note that the Korean government will provide national-level protection even in times of peace. When ‘The Round Table of Light and Truth’ wants to use the British government’s diplomacy and intelligence as leverage, the Korean government, which values us, will be a reliable breakwater.”

Certainly, there were limits to the protection one could receive from accepting bribes and seeking refuge in the underworld. Official protection based on one’s surface status served as a defensive mechanism against pressure I hadn’t even realized yet, at the very least, it wouldn’t provide me with enough time to escape.

I also considered the national power to be appropriate. Relying too heavily on a powerful nation carried the risk of being manipulated too much by them, and if the national power was mediocre, it wouldn’t be able to properly play the role of a barrier.

‘There were things I saw again this time.’ 

In the midst of an international health crisis due to an epidemic, Korea unexpectedly demonstrated its leadership in global disease control. This included producing diagnostic kits, establishing epidemic prevention strategies, and exporting medical equipment and personal protective gear. Thanks to this, I was able to assist the tribal chief easily, so you could say I was fortunate.

Suyeon’s suggestion continued, 

“Furthermore, there will be improved accessibility to various information and national projects. If magic emerges as a field related to the nation’s core interests in the future, legal measures restricting public access to certain awakened lifeforms and areas that are important or high-risk will likely be put in place.”


“With the existing connections and organization scholarship students alone, it is expected to be difficult or cumbersome to overcome these measures. The situation will be similar overseas. In many cases, national influence and diplomatic contacts will be required. Therefore, even for the smooth collection of your ‘Code,’ it’s necessary to have qualifications and conditions for easily undertaking official business.”

“It’s a valid point, but…”

I had been vaguely considering the possibilities Suyeon had brought up. However…

“You know that the risk is considerable.”


“Yet, you seem to think that the benefits outweigh the risks.”

“That’s correct.”

“If your calculations are like that, understood. I’ll consider it positively.”

“Thank you.”

When a nation’s power started to delve into a technically unknown field, the first thing it typically considered was the military applications of that technology. Therefore, among the various risks I was concerned about, the most significant one was the prospect of war and national-scale conflicts.

‘This country really likes forced labor.’

First of all, the military system was not free from allegations of forced labor. Even the current president, who claimed to be progressive, remained obstinately ignorant of the recommendations of the International Labor Organization regarding forced labor. Well, the treatment of awakened individuals might be better than that of ordinary soldiers, but it was clear that there would be numerous inconveniences and unpleasant treatment in various aspects, not just in international conflicts. Just look at how medical staff were treated during the recent Chinese pandemic; the answer was clear – they should have been paid their salaries on time.

In this country, there were already plenty of potential sources of unrest. China was the biggest concern, followed by North Korea. In such an environment, could awakened individuals be left alone? There might be a fallback option of releasing only some of my subordinates into Yangji, but even then, I would ultimately have to bear the burden of handling the tedium with Yin and Yang to minimize any unexpected power losses. (+) [1]

However, I trusted my chief of staff’s judgment. Even if the predictions ultimately proved wrong, as long as this guy found a way, I wouldn’t be pushed to the edge of a cliff.

Kyung-tae, who had been silently listening, smiled and said it was good.

“In the end, it’s disappointing about the medal.”

“…Let’s assume that.”

Strictly speaking, my support for the Chief of the People of the Desert fell far short of receiving an Order of Merit. Just when the White House owner was already venting his anger on social media, what use was there in improving relations?

The current President of the United States had harbored significant resentment towards Native Americans, especially the “People of the Desert”. This was due to the fact that they had obstructed the President’s plans to build a barrier on the border with Mexico. The “People of the Desert”, whose land extended across the United States and Mexico, refused to allow the barrier to pass through their territory due to their autonomy rights under Native American agreements.

However, the “People of the Desert” had a compelling reason for doing so. It wasn’t simply because they didn’t want their tribal lands to be divided, nor was it just because they disliked the United States and the President. The land where the barrier was meant to pass was sacred ground, where their ancestors were buried. The cluster of Saguaro cacti, known as “Organ Pipe” by Americans, served as a sacred burial ground not only for the “People of the Desert” but also for the Apache tribe. Native Americans believed that the Saguaro cacti in this cluster were the souls of their ancestors.

In early of that year, when the pandemic originating from China was entering the United States, these sacred Saguaro cacti, imbued with the spirits of their ancestors, were cut down or blown up one by one by the President’s executive orders.

Amid the dying agony of the severed cacti, how did the People of the Desert feel about losing another sacred site following the highest peak of the holy mountain, “Waw Kiwulik”? The Chief must have felt as if his blood were running backward.

For me, their anger was an investment opportunity that promised both safety and high returns.

Ring, ring, ring—

My smartphone vibrated to signal an incoming call. The number displayed on the screen belonged to the White Chief.

“This ‘inspiration’ of yours is quite something. Come and join me for a cup of coffee.”

As I made the call, I casually asked for coffee, and both of my aides reacted simultaneously. Kyung-tae, who was standing askew, and Suyeon, who stood upright, looked at each other.

“Well, since Noonim always does it, this time, how about I-“



Kyung-tae, with his dignity crushed, planted himself down. What on earth were these guys doing…? I shook my head lightly and picked up the phone, which I had left to ring for about twenty seconds.



The voice calling was weaker than before. To me, it was a good sign.

“What’s wrong?”

[…I wanted to express my gratitude for your help.]

“Well, I understand that the tribe is not yet at a stage to receive thanks. I know you’re incredibly busy, so you must have another reason for contacting me. Please speak. I prefer productive conversations.”


The speaker let out a sigh. It was predictable. Although the United States had successfully controlled the pandemic, the Native American protection zones, always a lower priority in terms of disease prevention, were still struggling with the virus. Due to local lockdowns, even the importation of goods was not going smoothly.

[Ha… It’s really embarrassing for me to be like this every time.]

“So, what’s the matter?”

[I want to acquire additional testing kits. This time, I’m willing to pay the full price.]

“Money is not an issue.”


“I said it’s not an issue. It’s money that could feed hungry people, isn’t it?”

Diamond Casino had substantial funds, but most of that money belonged to the customers, not the Chief. Furthermore, unlike regular banks, their financial operations were quite narrow in scope, relying heavily on fees from various services. While these fees might be a significant amount as criminal organization income, it was far from enough to sustain their business while guaranteeing the survival of the entire tribe during a global health crisis, economic downturn, and mobility restrictions.

‘Even now, the money flow has hardened considerably.’

The pandemic was also affecting the casino’s customers. The Chief must have seen a significant drop in business.

After a heavy silence, the Chief asked, 

[I didn’t mean to ask a question like this, but I have no choice. Why are you helping us to this extent? You have no reason to do so, do you?]

It was a question I had fully anticipated. I answered casually, without attaching much importance to it.

“What’s the big deal? Have you forgotten that our first transaction was an act of kindness on my part, without any compensation?”

Such was life. My capriciousness, driven by nothing more than a dislike for imperialism, had now become a convenient excuse to hide my true intentions.


I was satisfied with the Chief’s return to silence. I felt like congratulating my past self for my capriciousness. (+) [2]

  • 1. TLN: Yangji (양지) here, I’m still not sure if it’s a name of a certain place in the novel or something else. If I translated it literally, it can be “sunny spot”/”sunny place”/”tombs”/”fields”/”battlefield”
  • 2. TLN: Capriciousness: the quality of changing mood or behavior suddenly and unexpectedly
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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