Evolution Theory of the Hunter (ETH)
Volume 1 Chapter 28
After auctioning the ores, I finished up the contribution split. I gave Sooah a bit more from my share and sent her home with everyone else. No use in having her come along. Park Jungbeh glanced behind me and said in an almost disappointed voice.
“You didn’t bring that lady with you?”
“She said she had a previous engagement so I couldn’t do anything but let her go.”
“Hm. I guess nothing we can do. I wanted to compensate her well since that incident from last time and all..”
“I will let her know that you were sorry.”
“Nah. You don’t need to do that.”
I was used to gauging people. A person can cover up a lie with pretty words and how they acted but it was hard to lie with your eyes. I could tell from this guy’s eyes that he was telling the truth. He was probably being honest when he said that he was sorry.
But that didn’t mean shit. A man who beats his wife probably regrets it too after the fact. Killers are known to cry over what they have done too. But if they were put into the same position again, would they truly act differently?
Park Jungbeh was the type of person who could and would act on those same urges if given the opportunity. He might get hung up over it after he did it. But I’m sure after a couple days passes, he would feel just fine.
I just needed to remember one truth. That guy had tried to kill me. It might be just a small hiccup in his life, but it was a big deal to me.
Including me, the party was made up of five people. Park Jungbeh’s abilities were not too spectacular. He did have some high defense armour that was a level 2 but his weapon and skill were both level 1. The rest of his crew were pretty much the same.
After we entered the dungeon, I walked up to Park Jungbeh and asked him.
“Why did you decide to do a general party? If you just waited a little big longer, I’m sure they would have allowed leisure parties again.”
“What does it matter? A leisure party and a general party are the same thing.”
The difference between a general party and a leisure party was just the fact that one didn’t have to sign a waiver and the other did. If you didn’t want to sign the waiver, you had to prove that you had the skills and equipment to ensure you would be safe in the dungeon.
In the case that you don’t meet the requirements, you could also pay an additional fee to have them call on an extra person as security to help you through it safely. A general party didn’t have such restrictions. Since general parties sign the waivers, the dungeon operators don’t really pay too much attention to them – since they would not be held accountable for whatever happened.
On the one hand, if you were strong enough, then that meant you would be able to clear a dungeon safely even in a general party. The only problem was, there were always outliers.
The same applied for these guys. They were probably just thinking of me as a porter so they were assuming they could clear the dungeon with just a four person crew.
If nothing out of the ordinary happened, this would be true. Big if.
Three goblins appeared, signaling the start of our hunt. Park Jungbeh, a tanker, and two short range attackers rushed forward. The remaining guy was probably a magic user. This guy raised a staff and yelled out.
A blue light shot out from the end of that staff. Seeing as there were three streaks, it was a level 1 magic missile.
Pow! Pow! Pow!
All three bursts hit their mark. Caught unawares, they were struck down by the fierce and quick attacks. This was our chance.
The cooltime for a magic missile was short – about 30 seconds. There was a reason why it was considered a top skill among the level 1 skills.
The battle went very smoothly from there. We had Park Jungbeh, who wore armor that was unpierceable by level 1 monsters, 2 close range attackers, and the mage who threw out the magic missile. The monsters of the Baekoonsa dungeon could not do anything against them.
We were resting after they had cleared the entire dungeon in less than 2 hours. I say 2 hours, but the time it actually took to kill all the monsters (not including the walking time) was about 20 minutes.
All I did was pick up the dropped ores and carry it in my bag.
“How many did we get?”
“21 in all.”
“If we were to auction it off, it would probably end up being about 20,000 dollars after all the fees. Since there were only four in the party, each person could end up with about 5,000 dollars each. This could be considered a pretty good haul. The danger level was pretty low and the return pretty high. This was exactly why hunter grade equipment and skills were so darn expensive.
I raised my head and stared up at the ceiling.
“But didn’t we kill all the monsters?”
“It seems so. Why?”
“The dungeon isn’t clearing.”
I raised a finger and pointed up. The dungeon was still dark.
“Ah….you’re right. What the…”
I trailed off. I could hear the blood draining from Park Jungbeh’s face.
“Hey. Get up right now!”
“Why? Let’s just rest a bit more.”
“Stop yammering and get up. Can’t you tell there’s something wrong right now?”
“What are you saying is wrong? Jeez.”
“The damn dungeon isn’t clearing right now! It’s an irregular!”
“What the hell are you saying. Wasn’t it you who said that this dungeon was safe. You said an irregular has never shown up here before. So why are you saying there’s an irregular now!”
“I don’t know. We just need to get the hell out of here!”
Park Jungbeh’s voice began to shake. He had faced an irregular before. It was understandable that he would be scared shitless unlike these other guys who have never crossed one’s path before.
During the 10 days that Sooah had been knocked out, there were some things I hypothesized.
- An irregular and the 0 level skillbook…the two had some kind of correlation.
- An irregular appears when a specific condition is satisfied
I tried to think back on all three times an irregular appeared and compared them. Then I compared it to the time I hunted with Eum Hyunjoon’s party when an irregular didn’t appear. There were some similarities.
Level 0 skillbook. Fast clear time. 5 person party.
I wondered if an irregular would appear if the three conditions were satisfied again. Of course this was all just speculation at this point. I could probably just shake it off as coincidence. But it could also not be mere coincidence either.
I chose to believe the latter.
The next thing I had to think about was what to do next to get out of here. But we also needed to establish if there really was an irregular.
“Let’s start heading toward the entrance for now.”
I shouldered my backpack and got up. The rest of the group seemed like they still didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. That is…until they saw the wolf boss blocking our way out.
A wolf boss. Not bad. It could have been worse. We might have ended up facing the level 4 monster I faced when I made my first kill. I had been preparing myself for that.
“What is thiss? Isn’t that a cave wolf? But why the heck is it so big?”
“It’s a dungeon boss.”
At my response, everyone stared at me. If it were any other situation, they probably would have told me to shut up and just do my portering, but it seemed they were desperate to have something to rely on at this perilous situation.
“You’ve seen it before?”
Park Jungbeh asked.
“I did. Once.”
“Do you know how to kill it?”
“Not sure. All I could remember is running like hell away from it.”
“What did you expect from a porter? Let’s start thinking of a plan to get out of here.”
“Can’t we just fight it?”
The mage asked.
“Against that? You might just be doing some spells behind us so you don’t care but we…”
“It’s impossible. Yeah we have armour…but it won’t last long against that thing.”
These guys have only fought against monsters smaller than themselves. They could not imagine fighting against a monster two times bigger and two times stronger than they were.
When the atmosphere seemed ripe enough, I jumped in.
“There is one option…”
Everyone’s face changed in an instant.
“What…what option is that?”
“It’s a little bit dangerous though..”
“Anything’s fine so come out with it.”
At Park Jungbeh’s words, I responded as if I had no choice but to say. This option would be the same one I had used that last time.
“Someone needs to lead the wolf into the left trail so the rest can run away…I don’t think it would be too difficult…”
As soon as Park Jungbeh responded, everyone decided to put in their two cents too.
“True…but who’s going to be the bait?”
“I’m slow so I can’t. Maybe if we were up against a goblin or a kobolt…but a wolf is way too fast.”
“You weren’t thinking of making a mage be the bait were you?”
“I can’t because my armor is way too heavy.”
Everyone naturally turned to look at me. Park Jungbeh made a big smile and said.
“Yeh. Didn’t you say that you ran away from this kind of monster once before? Why don’t you lead it away? We’ll call for help as soon as we get out.”
“Yeh, yeh. That seems like it would be best.”
“In trade, we’ll give you all the ores in that bag.”
Seeing a great opportunity to use me as a scapegoat, they all circled around me to try and persuade me to be the bait. I almost laughed aloud because they were acting exactly as I had imagined…no…hoped they would. Instead of answering, I stared at Park Jungbeh. He was holding my hand and saying with a soft voice.
“Please. You’re the only one we can trust with this task.”
“…but it’s too hard for me to bait that monster all by myself. I wouldn’t be able to run too far from it…and I won’t last even 10 seconds against it once it reaches me.”
I responded as if I were truly conflicted. I needed to play hard to get.
“Shit! Then what the hell do you want us to do! It’s not as if we can do it!”
Park Jungbeh yelled out as he jumped up angrily. I pretended to be surprised and placed my finger on his lips.
“Please be more quiet. What will you do if the wolf decides to come after us this instant.”
He shut up with a frown at my words. These guys could die or live…and the choice was mine to make. Their lives were literally in the palm of my hand.
Park Jungbeh said with a gloomy expression.
“I’ll do whatever you want. Tell me. What is it that you need.”
Finally. What I was waiting for. I pretended to ponder of this for a bit and carefully said.
“To start. I need something to protect me against that monster’s attacks.”
I said this as I glanced briefly at Park Jungbeh’s armor. I could see his face immediately harden. That armor was probably about 500,000 dollars. I was curious. Would he give it to me?
“I don’t want to die either.”
“This bastard! Do you know how much this is!…”
“Shh. The wolf might hear us.”
He shut up again and sat down. I stared at Park Jungbeh as if I had all the time in the world.
Now. How much is your life worth to you. I wonder…hehe
I love extorting people before they inevitably get eliminated at a later date