The Imperial Hunter Chapter 76 - Metamorphosis (3)

Author: Dawn

The metamorphoses I had been waiting for came in continuous waves as if waiting for the right time despite being unrelated events.

At Hong Kong International Airport, where I arrived in the afternoon after a long night and three tedious layovers from Utah, I groggily picked up the call requested by White Chief’s granddaughter after repeatedly falling into shallow sleep and waking up throughout the night.

The number Mashath used was her grandfather, the chief’s.

“So in other words, you want me to connect a client looking for weapons with us, without telling me anything about the client at all, on the condition that the casino handles the purchase and receipt?”


“As the chief may have told you, I don’t just sell weapons to anyone for money. For transactions with at least minimum information about the client… or when I can guess the general purpose of the goods, I evaluate the risks and proceed.”

Not storing goods just anywhere, not selling them to just anyone, and not receiving payment just any way. The basics of smuggling could not be compromised without exceptional circumstances. Deals, where the purchase purpose was hard to guess, could become specks hitting me in the face. For example, if a bomb I passed on exploded at the US Capitol building, there could be nothing more awkward right?

“So you’ll have to provide minimum information.”

Mashath rejected this reasonable demand.

「I’m sorry. Please understand that part.」

“Understand? This isn’t a matter of understanding.”

「I’m betting on the casino’s and the tribe’s credibility. Receiving and delivering to the client is the Diamond Casino’s role, so there will definitely be no harm to the Chairman. I guarantee it.」

Guarantee? There were no 100% safe deals in this field. The profits earned by arms dealers like me mostly come from risk management.

Moreover, the Mexican side business of the casino I invested in was still in the early stages of building its foundations. Choosing people, building facilities. This meant that the casino receiving goods at this point implied the final destination of the weapons was within the US. The usage would be the same as well.

‘Unless they hire a separate transporter to launder the route.’

But considering the casino’s tight budget, the likelihood of adding a transporter was slim.

Then the weapons they were trying to acquire were unlikely to be ordinary firearms. With the US being the place overflowing with the most guns and ammo in the world, there would be no reason to specifically order personal firearms from me overseas.

“Miss Mashath. Is it possible to speak directly with the chief?”

At this question, the answer came back after a brief pause.

「My grandfather is unable to have a conversation at the moment.」

“If he’s busy with other matters, I can wait.”

「That’s not it…」

The vague trailing off was a clear abnormal sign.

“Then what is it? It should be around 11 pm there now, did he already go to bed?”


While 11 pm would be a late time to go to bed for an ordinary family, the chief was a casino businessman. Like other native casinos, the Diamond Casino operated until midnight, and it took over an hour just to tally up the daily profits and tidy up the establishment after closing.

The silence was broken by Mashath in a slightly lowered voice.

「Since it’s none other than the Chairman, a friend, and benefactor of the tribe… I’ll be frank. My grandfather is currently unable to work for health reasons. I’m acting chief as the successor, as mandated clearly by my grandfather beforehand, and the executives have agreed to me taking over operations.」

“The chief is unable to be active?”


“What on earth happened? Don’t tell me he got COVID?”

「No. Thanks to the Chairman we completely overcame that illness.」


「…While visiting the protest site in D.C. to encourage our tribal members, he fell after being shoved by the police and suffered a skull fracture and concussion.」

“Oh my.”

Hearing the unexpected news, my mental calculations became complex. How much loss and gain would this incident bring me? By how much would the metamorphosis of the tribe be brought forward by this?

「Because of his age, he’s suffering severe aftereffects. He can barely walk straight because of the dizziness, his memory isn’t what it used to be, and intermittent nausea prevents him from eating properly…」

As Mashath’s words grew longer, her composure seeped out bit by bit. Until now she had tried her best to restrain herself like a deputy chief of an organization, but peerless equanimity could only be gained through experience.

Having finalized my calculations, I made a proposal.

“What do you think about him receiving treatment in Korea? I can help.”

「We don’t want to be indebted to you again-」

“It’ll be better than those hospitals over there that charge $1000 for a paper cup of meds and $2000 for a surgical glove. Please think about it seriously. What would be the best for the chief.”

After hesitating, Mashath sighs briefly and answers.

「…Thank you for your kindness. I’ll think it over and contact you separately.」

I hoped the future answer would be affirmative. If I took in the chief, it would be that much easier to pull the tribespeople, forced to leave their homeland, under my influence. Even if the chief became disabled due to aftereffects or died, the fact that I helped him would have lasting positive effects on the tribespeople who respected him.

After offering such calculated goodwill, I brought the conversation back on track.

“Then let’s return to the main subject. What are the types and quantities of products the client wishes to purchase?”

「Does that mean you’re accepting the deal?」

“Don’t jump to conclusions. I’m listening to decide.”

「What’s needed are bombs.」


「Yes. Whether industrial or military grade, please prepare bombs with power equivalent to 200 kilograms of TNT and remote detonators, one per kilogram please.」

“What are the delivery address and deadline?”

「Deadline is within 3 months. It’d be great if you could deliver to the casino. Is that possible?」

200 kilograms of TNT huh. To be honest, the quantity was small for a request made directly to me. If this was a request from another dealer, it would have hurt my pride.

However, the quantity wasn’t important here. The issue was why the casino, which had no connections in this market until now, suddenly took on the role of an arms trade intermediary.

The pent-up grudges, stolen holy lands, holy sites blown up for border wall construction, mining rights violations, humiliation, and crisis suffered at a tribal level while dealing with the pandemic, and now this incident suffered by the respected tribal elder. The embers of resentment harbored by the natives of the desert had only grown over time.

I postponed my answer while harboring expectations for the future.

“I’ll get back to you after reviewing internally first. Let’s discuss the other conditions like pricing later.”

「How long should I wait?」

“I’ll make a decision within 3 days at the latest.”

「Understood. I’ll await good news.」

The call ended.

“What do you think?”

Replying to my question, Suyeon, who had been listening to the call from the start with a shared earpiece, took out the earphones and answered.

“The most likely possibility is sabotage activities supported at the tribal level.”

Sabotage referred to the act of destroying facilities as a means of resistance. So she had the same opinion as me.

The likelihood of using the bombs multiple times at intervals was slim. The moment the first bomb went off, every anti-terror agency in the US would be on high alert. If it happened twice and three times, they would just be putting a noose around their own necks.

Therefore, there was a high possibility of the 200 kilograms of bombs being used all at once, at least time-wise.

Under these conditions, two targets immediately came to mind.

“Where do you think they’d aim for?”

“Rather than the border wall construction site, probably Mount Waw Kiwulik.”


“Firstly, because that mountain is a more important place than a holy site to their tribe, secondly, attacking the border wall could overly provoke the current President obsessed with building it, and thirdly, because ways exist to block outside access without directly attacking the astronomical observatory complex at the peak of the holy mountain.”

The third reason was something I hadn’t expected.

“Block access?”

“Yes. Just blowing up the roads. Since it’s rugged mountainous terrain with only one vehicle access road, blowing up a few parts of the cliffside would immediately paralyze the entire facility while avoiding loss of life. It’s an option that avoids public backlash while publicizing the issue of the stolen holy mountain.”

“I’m surprised you remember details like whether there’s one or two access roads, when it’s a completely unrelated place to us.”

“It just came to mind after hearing the story and happening to look at a map.”

Remembering everything you see casually was anything but normal.

The reelected US President was pushing construction of the border wall, a campaign promise from his first term, harder than ever. Public opinion supporting it had also grown much stronger than before. With endless waves of refugees of all nationalities from Central and South America that were becoming too much to handle.

Of course, they wouldn’t really build that wall to the end. Think of how much money that would cost. It’d be better to enhance interception operations or something. However, the current administration probably wanted to show frustrated citizens, also feeling a sense of panic from the waves of refugees, something tangible. Just push it along halfway and pass the ball to the next administration.

Therefore, the natives touching that wall was equivalent to waging war against the notoriously unreasonable President. Focusing on the holy mountain issue while conceding the already destroyed sacred burial site would be a moderate yet beneficial choice.

Although whether that moderate choice would invite a moderate response was an unknowable matter.

I hoped the pot wouldn’t boil over after being left on the fire for too long.

‘Should I accept the request and go the route of providing finished products…’

It would be better to propose education consulting services to teach them to make the bombs and detonators themselves. That way I could also secure definite safety on my end.

For the explosive I’d teach them to manufacture, triacetone triperoxide (TATP) would be the most sensible. That fruit-scented explosive, which decorated the finale when I went on a human hunt at the chief’s request sometime before. The recipe for that bomb called Mother of Satan, easy to make, should be easy for the mostly high school dropout natives to learn. Although the deadline was 3 months, the education and training would take less than a week. Ammonium nitrate fuel oil, the traditional nitrogen fertilizer bomb, would work too, but oversight on trading the ingredients was relatively tighter.

Having organized my thoughts, I stood up from my seat.

Since my subordinate Park Miju, who was supposed to arrive first and wait for me, had finally shown up.

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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