ETH – Ch 20

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Evolution Theory of the Hunter (ETH)
Volume 1 Chapter 20

“97 times…”

I took out a calculator. Assuming that I get the same results every time, if I use all 97 power ups on strength then…holy crap.

It wasn’t hard to calculate what that would mean. My strength right now was upped one time so all I had to do was add 1 to 97 and multiply it by 1.5.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Seeing the results, I jumped up from my seat.

180 times.

What if I get so strong I can shatter a planet with just one punch.

Gulp. Gulp.

“Ha!”

I drank a glass of cold water and tried to calm down a bit. Ok let’s start from the beginning and try to think of it in the most rational, practical, and reasonably sound way. There is no way that I could really become 180 times more powerful. That was a number that wouldn’t be possible for a level 10 skillbook or a level 100 skillbook or even a level 1000 skillbook. There is no way there would be that kind of a power locked in a 0 level skill. Right?

When I finally calmed down a bit and thought about it more carefully, I realized something. I multiplied 1.5 by 98. I thought it was an obvious thing to multiply it but it would make more sense if the percentage was not a multiplier but a progression until the full potential of the skill. In other words, what if the first round upped my ability to 50% of its potential, the second time 75% of its potential until I reached 100% of my potential.

The only way to find out would be to try to up the same skill one more time. I took my phone out and called my broker.

Ring-

Click.

“Why are you calling at this time?”

I heard my broker’s sleepy voice come through the line.

“Do you have any job openings?”

“If I did, I would have called you. You know that openings in general parties aren’t easy to come by.”

“If a spot does open up, can you give me spot priority?”

“Why are you in such a hurry to go back? People usually take at least a week’s rest after going into a dungeon.”

“You know. What my goal is.”

“To buy an apartment without a loan before 30?”

“…no, not that. Well, that is another goal but…”

The going rate for apartments in Seoul were about 1,000,000 dollars. The population is down by about 50% since the monsters first appeared, but the landscape had also weakened so building of any new high rises had become banned. This created less room for more housing structures, and all the existing structures had become extremely expensive.

“To become an amazing hunter who surpasses even his teachers? You mean that? I thought you were joking.”

“Not a joke.”

“For someone who became a porter because you couldn’t get employed…ok. Well I guess dreams are better if they are bigger.”

I could hear him laughing over the line.

“In any case, don’t worry. I’ll give you a ring right away when a spot opens up.”

“Thank you.”

“Yeah.”

And then I didn’t hear a peep from my broker for a whole week.

***

All I did was stare at my phone that entire week. I didn’t have a tv at home or any hobbies I particularly enjoyed, so there was nothing else for me to do. With my extra time, I just went to the neighborhood gym and worked out like hell. I finally couldn’t wait any longer and called him.

“Hey. I’m sorry about that. There just aren’t any openings these days.”

“Really?”

“Because general parties usually already have their parties organized with people they know and trust. I even took your profile and went here and there to get someone to bite but nothing. Anyone who’s looking is looking for an expert. They were all reluctant on hiring a beginner. Things are probably worse especially before of the irregulars.

“But none have appeared recently.”

“Well. You never know when one might decide to appear again.”

“Is Mr. Eum Hyunjoon not going into dungeons?”

“I heard he got recruited into a regular team. He probably won’t be hiring amateurs any more.”

“Shit.”

I thought he was pretty good…but to think he got recruited into a regular team so fast. I figured he would probably call me again since I did show him I was pretty good that last time. But if he was already recruited…

Even though he was good, he’s only a level 1 tanker which would mean he would be the lowest level on a regular team. He would be busy trying to look good to everyone else on the team, and have no time to bring me along for the ride.

“If you’re that desperate, why don’t you create your own team?”

“Me?”

“Yeah. You have a lot of experience so you should know enough people to be able to clear a level 1 dungeon at least.”

“Hm…I can’t really think of anyone..”

“Yeah. Since you don’t really get close to people.”

“I’ll think about it.”

I thought about my broker’s suggestion after getting off the call. I couldn’t think of any reason not to do it. Armed with my current skill and my slew of experience, clearing a level 2 dungeon could even work. Even if they might be lacking in in ability, it really could work if I just got a group of level 1 hunters together.

“I just need to get the right number of people.”

It was fine if we didn’t clear the dungeon. The only thing I needed were my reward points. I put up a posting at the hunter market.

[Looking for a party to clear a Baekoonsa dungeon. Heading party. Beginners eligible. Experienced hunters welcome. 10 people party. Magers and healers priority.]

[TN: Heading party refers to a party that has never cleared a dungeon before]

Then I waited. Usually heading parties are made, not because their goal is to clear a dungeon, but so they can gain experience. And most experienced hunters will not join a heading party. But I didn’t want to lie and say that it was to clear a dungeon because if anyone found out the truth later, it would ruin my reputation.

When I went to check up on my listing, I saw there were a few responses.

-Who is Jeon Sangmin? Anyone heard of him?

-He’s a newbie. No matter how desperate you are for money, don’t join this type of party. If the party head is a beginner, you’ll just end up dead.

-Hm. There isn’t even any information on him.

-But it looks like he has a conscience since he did write that it was a heading party. Not going still.

“Hm…”

The responses were worse than I expected. After thinking about it for a minutes, I put down my abilities.

[Level 2 equipment. Level 1 skill – pending.]

Since I wrote Level 1 skill – pending instead of just level 1 skill, it should be closer to the truth. The responses started flowing in.

-Isn’t it dependable if he has a level 2 equipment?

-He might have just one thing. What does that do?

That one hurt. I might just have one weapon but I’m plenty strong.

-Even if he just has one, shouldn’t that be enough? If he has that kind of equipment, his abilities should be pretty good too. He even has a skill.

Oh. Who is this?

-But what is that level 1 skill?

-Isn’t that just a typo? He might have meant that he’s a level 1.

-I’m going to ask. I sent him a note.

-Who are you? You’re bold.

I got the note. I opened it up with an anxious heart.

It was Jung Sooah.

Is this chick a stalker or something? How the heck did she even know I posted this?

[Are you kidding?]

As soon as I sent her that text, she immediately responded.

[Don’t you need a porter?]

[Why would I need a porter when I can do it myself?]

[Hey. As the party head you should just focus on hunting.]

[Whatever. Get lost.]

[Don’t be like that. Come on. Think about it. The chance to hire a licensed porter for a level 1 general party doesn’t come by every day.]

[My goal isn’t to clear the dungeon anyway. After killing a few monsters, if things get tough, I was thinking of just leaving.]

[That’s fine. I’m trying to gain experience. I’ll only take half pay. I can’t get a job these days anyway. And it’s nice to join one where I can trust someone.]

I was beginning to sway. Though I didn’t necessarily need a porter, it was true that having one would make things a lot easier. Carrying around a heavy bag not only took its toll on you physically but it also made it difficult to cope with unexpected situations.

[Why don’t you stand by. We’ll talk after I get more people.]

[Yayuh! I’ll be waiting. Party head.]

After waiting another day, two more inquiries came in. Both were beginners. Nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t wait anymore. I thought I would have to just form a 5 person party.

I touched my phone for a bit…then made a call.

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