ETH – Ch 37

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Evolution Theory of the Hunter (ETH)
Volume 1 Chapter 37

 

“Everyone stand back.”

Eum Hyunjoon said quietly. The monster was at the base of a hill, wandering around about 200 meters away. It seemed as if it hadn’t noticed us just yet.

I couldn’t understand what he was up to. Just from looking at the monster, I knew it was impossible for our group to go up against it and win.

I went up to Eum Hyunjoon and whispered.

“That’s a level 4 monster.”

“I figured that much.”

“It would be too much to try to kill it with our party. I think it would be best to fall back for the time being.”

“That was what I had in mind too but…”

He had a sort of disappointed look on his face. There were no items dropped this round, and we weren’t able to collect many ores either. But we couldn’t really call it a loss since we were able to gain a lot from our little secret knowledge over the past month. When it came down to it, it was better to miss out on today’s earnings than to lose a life.

“The cons greatly outweigh the pros of going up against a beast like that.”

When I came right out and said it, Eum Hyunjoon finally nodded his head. He waved his arms to get everyone’s attention.

“We’ll call it a day and turn around early. It is unfortunate, but this is for your safety so I hope you all understand.”

“Why don’t we try and fight it?”

“Come on. That guy looks crazy strong. What are you saying?”

“But we did good up until today. And we have over 30 people here. Isn’t that something?”

“The party head has already made his decision. It’s better to follow what he says.”

“So you really want to drop out without anything to show for it?”

“What do you mean show for it? We milked this cow for all it was worth this past month! We could afford to lose out on one raid…”

“Don’t be ignorant. You need to milk every opportunity.”

And the comments went on and on in this manner. I wasn’t surprised the conversation went this way since all our raids had been so easy thus far. Everyone was now full of confidence. Almost too full. I guess it’s not an easy thing to objectively assess your own skill when things get too easy.

Eum Hyunjoon interjected.

“It’s a level 4 monster. It is impossible to go up against something like that with us alone.”

“Level 4? Why is something like that here?”

“It’s an irregular.”

Everyone shut up. All the resistance seemed to disappear in an instant at that one word. The only thing that could be heard was the rustling of the weeds underfoot…nothing else.

That was when everyone started heading toward the exit of the dungeon one by one.

“Hmm…”

Something felt off. I started counting the people leaving the dungeon and the people still left. 30.

We were missing someone.

“Wait.”

“What’s wrong?”

Eum Hyunjoon asked.

“Someone is missing.”

“What? How can that..”

“There is only 30 of us. It seems someone left the group at one point.”

“There’s no way that we wouldn’t have known if he left during a fight.”

“They probably slipped out just recently.”

It most likely happened when everyone was worried over the irregular. We wouldn’t have noticed if they slipped back into the dungeon while we were preparing to leave.

“Who would..”

“That helmet guy…”

Glasses girl said. When I turned to look at her, she said with more conviction.

“That man with the motorcycle helmet isn’t here. I thought it was weird but I didn’t think it was my place to say…”

“That stupid…”

Eum Hyunjoon started cursing.

“Why? Do you remember something?”

“That man’s brother died in that last incident when the same looking monster had shown up in the city. They were both in the same party at the time, but he was the only one who made it out alive.”

“Surely he doesn’t mean to go face that beast alone? It’s not even the same monster.”

“That’s why I wasn’t really concerned…it was my mistake. I should have been prepared something like this would happen.”

“There’s no point in blaming yourself now. We need to hurry up and bring him back..”

GRAAWRD!

CRASH!

My whole body vibrated. Eum Hyunjoon and I immediately locked eyes.

“It’s him.”

“I’ll go get him.”

Eum Hyunjoon hurriedly turned to try and run toward the sound. I grabbed ahold of his arm.

“Wait just a moment. I’ll go.”

“What?…”

“It’s only right that I should go. Your responsibility as the party head should be to lead everyone out of here safely and quickly.”

“But this is my burden”

“The person with the strongest ability in this entire team is me.”

“But…”

“Do you really want to waste time we already don’t have?”

“…Then I’ll entrust this to you.”

I nodded, turned around, and said.

“Manager Kim. Please take care of our team members.”

“I don’t think it’s right.”

“What is?”

“You going this time. It’s an irregular but that one’s different. It’s not just a boss. If you go, you’ll die. I’m sure.”

“You might be right.”

“But you’re still going to go?”

“Compared to the risk, the reward could be amazing.”

“What do you mean reward? What reward is there in fighting such a monster?”

I left Manager Kim standing with a puzzled expression and walked to Jung Sooah.

“I’ll ask you just one thing. Can you please go with me?”

“Ok.”

“You don’t want to ask me why?”

“Do I need to know?”

“I mean. No. I guess not.”

She wouldn’t be in any danger.

I gave her a great big hug.

***

“Woohoo!”

“You’re being too loud.”

“You’re really fast though!. How on earth can you run so fast?”

“It’s not even all that amazing.”

It wasn’t. Of course thanks to the effort skill, I was able to improve my abilities tremendously, something like this could be easily replicated by a special skill or equipment. High level hunters being able to move with almost inhuman speed is all thanks to the aid of their equipment.

If you looked at it that way, my ability was probably now at the same level as a level 3 equipment.

“But do you have a plan on how you’re going to kill the level 4 monster?”

“I was thinking of borrowing a bit of your skill.”

“Oh. That?”

In the case of a particular skill, when proficiency increases, their ability either increases in accuracy or they could even gain a new ability. In Jung Sooah’s case, when her proficiency clocked in at 10, it produced the latter.

She could now pool her entire buffer ability and give it to just one person.

“But if I use it one time, I can’t use it for an entire day.”

“If we kill that thing, then we’re done for the day so don’t worry about it.”

Jung Sooah’s one person buffer gave one person a 50% boost in their abilities for 10 minutes. Unlike the buffer given to 5 people in a party, this one had a much longer cool time. But the 50% increase was worth it.

It was especially worth it in circumstances such as this where I would have to go against a monster that is way above my level. This buffer could put me at enough of an advantage where I would have a fighting chance. On top of that, the skill was not adding to my current ability, but multiplying it. If a person’s normal strength was at 200%, then instead of it being just 250%…it would be boosted to 300%.

“If that was the case, why couldn’t we have done this in the first place. We would have been able to get help from everyone else too.”

“Then we would also have to do the contribution split with everyone. Come on. Use your head.”

“What would be split?”

“Item.”

“How can you be sure it’s going to drop an item?”

“Well…it’s not really a definite thing. But the probability is very high.”

All the irregulars that had shown up, in my experience, have dropped an item. The first and second ones both dropped a level 0 skillbook. The third one dropped the escape scrolls. So it was only reasonable to think that this one would drop something too. And this one was high level. I was almost positive it would drop something really cool.

“Oh. I’m starting to get excited.”

“We don’t know yet though. It might be smart to not even start a fight with it. We aren’t even fully prepared.”

“But you don’t think it’s going to be too dangerous right?”

“Well…if it gets too tough, there’s always the escape scroll.”

I’m not stupid to think of running in blind without a back up plan. I was only doing this because I had a sort of insurance. This was also a great chance for me to rack up more reward points if possible. This one used its strength and its long reach to its advantage. But it lacked in agility.

This meant I would have enough time to run away if need be.

***

The monster was jumping about as if it were crazed. Right in front of it, the helmet wearing hunter was trying to fight the beast with just one sword. He looked and moved as if he was already running out of energy. I don’t know when they started fighting but I thanked the lord he was able to stay alive at least this long.

The monster struck out with its long arm and helmet guy rolled out of the way. The monster struck out its arm one more time, clawing a fist full of dirt into the air, and helmet guy rolled out of the way once more. It looked like he was doing a good job of dodging but who knows. The monster might just be playing around with him.

If the monster really wanted to kill him, helmet guy probably would have been long dead. Nonetheless, it was a relief he was alive.

I let Jung Sooah down in a safe spot and ran toward the monster.

“Sooah, stay ready!”

“Ok!”

Helmet guy and the monster turned in my direction at the same time. I could hear that helmet guy was saying something, but I didn’t hear clearly enough to know what.

“Graawrrr”

The monster yelled out loud.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

In just three steps, I ran in between the monster and helmet guy.

The beast swung out its long arm. What. It couldn’t think of any other move? Its long reach was definitely its strength…but it was also a weakness. The longer the reach, the weaker it was in close combat. I ran head on to close the gap and swung out my longsword.

But I couldn’t even make a dent in its hard leathery skin. Well, it was a level 1 weapon. I immediately swung out with my bloodsword. This didn’t work either. I guess the bloodysword couldn’t do its job right since it didn’t have any blood to increase its piercing power.

“Watch out!”

I heard helmet guy yell behind me. I made a backstep and created distance with the monster.

Tap.

This time it swung out its leg at the area I had been in just a second before. Its big body made it easy for me to see every one of its movements.

“Take this.”

I pulled out one page of the escape scrolls and handed it over to helmet guy. I needed him to leave so that I could properly concentrate on the fight.”

“What’s this?”

“It’s going to take you out of the dungeon. As soon as you rip it, it’ll transport you out!”

“I need to kill that bastard!”

“You know that’s impossible!”

I grabbed helmet guy and tumbled away. The monster’s claw just grazed by us. I didn’t feel like arguing with him.

“I came here just for you. Eum Hyunjoon wanted to come, but I was able to just barely talk him out of it. Who else do you want to come and risk their life?”

“I won’t live long anyway.”

“What…?”

Helmet guy raised his sword and dashed toward the monster once more.

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