Deep scars, muscular physique, and an all too familiar voice. It was a face I’ve never seen before, but I knew who it was.
I got up from the ground as I said.
“How did you find me here? Mr. Jong Sawon.”
[TN: Jong Sawon is helmet guy…in case you guys don’t remember.]
“So you recognized me.”
“Well, I never knew your face since you always had that helmet on, but I could tell by your voice.”
“Ah. Is this man helmet man? Didn’t he go to the hospital ward?”
“I was able to check out fairly quickly. I just had a basic physical done to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong.”
“That’s a relief. That you weren’t seriously injured.”
“So why did you come find me? If you came to ask me to pay for your hospital bills or to fight me in the name of your brother…I don’t have time for any of that, I’ll tell you right now.”
“That isn’t why I’m here.”
“My overall impression of helmet guy wasn’t bad at all. When I had first met him and Eum Hyunjoon at Baekoonsa dungeon, we had good fighting chemistry. I thought we got along fairly well. He didn’t have a bad personality either. It was just that one incident with the irregular that left a bad taste.
“Can I join your party please?”
That was not what I was expecting. And it wasn’t an appealing offer to me either. Maybe he read that in my expression because then he said.
“There will not be a repeat of the incident from the last time.”
“How am I supposed to trust that? And I think you mentioned this at that last incident. That you didn’t have long to live. Do you have some kind of illness or something?”
“Terminal cancer. I have about 6 months left. If I undergo treatment, they said that I can extend it a bit more…but that’s not a route I want to take.”
“Thank you for being honest, but…”
Is he saying that since he’s dying anyway, he’d rather do it while killing a monster? That kind of an attitude is not at all helpful in a party. Why? Because a person on the cusp of death is selfish. Even if they were the more giving and altruistic person in the world, when death is at their front step…all they can think about is themselves.
If I allow that type of person into my party and something happens, it would only hurt us.
“Why don’t you go and ask Eum Hyunjoon? Aren’t you on better terms with him?”
“I came to you after already being rejected by him. It’s probably for the same reason you are thinking right now.”
“If you just came to me as a last resort, then I can only give you the same answer.”
In one way, you had to respect the guy for his brutal honesty.
Jong Sawon drew his sword. Jung Sooah and glasses girl stepped back and stared at him with wary looks. I raised my hand to calm them before taking the sword he was now handing over to me.
This…I’ve seen this before.
“This is a level 3 Rubicon sword. From what I can remember, this has a value of 700,000 dollars. But how did you…”
“I purchased it with the money from my brother’s life insurance and from selling the house.”
So he was trusting in this sword when he went to fight the level 4 monster. Since he only had a level 1 sword when I had first met him, he must have purchased this in between that time.
“A level 3 weapon…”
If I said I didn’t feel a bit of sway from this new turn of events, I would be lying. And this man would be dying soon. Since he sold his house and used the entirety of his brother’s insurance money on this sword, that meant he probably didn’t have any family left.
That meant if he died, then the probability of this sword coming into my possession was very high. When I realized that the direction of my thoughts flowed so easily in that sequence, I instantly started hating myself for it. How could I be so calculating with a man who was on his way to his deathbed?
But this was a level 3 weapon. Even if I didn’t inherit it later down the road, getting it to appear in my Item Fusion book would still be a great asset. The only thing I had to do was include him in my party.
[TN: I changed the name of the “How to Combo” book to “Item Fusion” book.]
What to do? It wasn’t a bad choice no matter what I decided to do.
All of a sudden, Jong Sawon dropped to his knees in front of me.
“What are you doing? I really hate this kind of thing. Please get up.”
“I’ll promise you one thing if you just accept me into your party. I will always listen to any order you make. Though I can only ask you to trust me when I say this. I only need one chance.
“I can’t understand why you are going so far as to beg me like this. If you have a level 3 weapon, can’t you just make your own party?”
“I don’t think I could create a party that is capable enough to kill that level of monster.”
“Ok. Let’s say that another irregular appears. If I order a retreat, what will you do?”
“…That is the only order I cannot obey.”
So his word changes already. No, he’s probably saying he will do everything I say except this one thing.
Stubborn. Well…stubborn and determined people can turn out useful…but can also be disastrous.
I lightly sighed and nodded my head.
“Fine? You’ll accept my answer even with that one exception?”
“I wasn’t going to believe you if you said you would obey my order of retreat anyway. But I do have one condition.”
“If you ever ignore a command or order from me and do whatever you feel like doing, know that I will not follow you or try and save you like I did last time.”
If I couldn’t control him, I just didn’t have to. It was enough to have stopped him from suicide one time.
Jong Sawon nodded his head.
“Oh yeah. And one more thing.”
“What is it?”
“That sword. Let me try using it once.”
I tried wielding the sword and swinging it about a few times, but it didn’t appear in the Item Fusion book. That only brought me to one conclusion. I needed to use a weapon on an actual monster for it to appear in the book.
Since we had decided to leave the mercenary team, we needed to pick another dungeon to raid.
I thought over all the dungeons in my database and chose a select few that would be the best fit for us.
The closest dungeon among those was none other than the Bookhansan dungeon.
This dungeon was originally known for being popular with the leisure parties. This was because the terrain was plain and open, and it was usually full of fairly easy to defeat monsters such as goblins and orks.
Just as I was thinking all of this, there was a special news report.
All the ores that came out of dungeons were, by practice, managed by the country. And the news was now reporting that they will be reducing the reservation raid time in a dungeon from 4 hours to 2 hours.
This was because since the level 1 dungeons had disappeared, it had directly impacted the already dwindling country’s ore supply. They were probably aiming to increase the turnover rate in the dungeons to boost ore gathering.
“That’s not jackport. Stupid. That’s bad. If it’s two hours, that means our raid time is reduced by half.”
And if you clear a dungeon in 2 hours, an irregular would appear. And, like what happened last time, it might appear even if we didn’t clear the dungeon. This could only mean that clearing a dungeon quickly wasn’t the trigger. The actual trigger, more specifically, was the rate at which you went through the dungeon.
And if you clear a dungeon in 2 hours, an irregular would appear. In that instant, I just realized another clue to the irregulars from what happened last time. Since the level 4 monster appeared even if when didn’t clear the dungeon, that meant that clearing a dungeon quickly wasn’t the trigger. The actual trigger, more specifically, was the rate at which you went through the dungeon.
[Hey at least they’re reducing the admission fees.]
“30 percent? Since they’re cutting our raid time in half, shouldn’t they be cutting our admissions in half too?”
[That is true. But it’s better than nothing.]
“Hm…I guess I could look on the bright side…”
Previously, since the dungeons were always so booked in advanced that no matter how quickly you reserved a spot, you could only do a raid every three days. But with this new change, we would probably be able to go hunting once every two days…or maybe even once a day if we got lucky. If none of us get injured, we could potentially earn much more.
[And they also say that leisure parties will be allowed again.]
“Looks like they’re desperate.”
It hasn’t even been 3 months since the last incident. For them to allow leisure parties to resume to quickly was a considerable risk. For the government, known to hate taking on unnecessary responsibility, to burden themselves with this risk…meant that there was considerable pressure from the business community from that lack of minerals and ores.