Evolution Theory of the Hunter (ETH)
Volume 1 Chapter 5
I got off at my stop and stood at the entrance to the mountains. After checking to see that there was no one around, I opened the skillbook to see what was inside.
The skill name was “effort”.
Weird. So weird. I couldn’t tell what kind of skill this was just by the name. I thought maybe I should just try learning it, but then again I realized I shouldn’t waste my one skill slot with a level 0 skillbook. There was another reason why I couldn’t learn this.
I wanted to become a hunter.
I even planned which skillbook I would buy. “Bursting light” – a level 1 active skill. If you just had this skill, you could pierce through a monster’s hide without the aid of hunter equipment. I had plenty of dungeon experience and I had saved up to about 8000. If I could sell this skillbook, I would be able to get to my goal that much faster.
Thinking about this as I was walking, it wasn’t too long before I reached the dungeon. The dungeons in Ansan are known to be the lowest level 1 dungeons. Though it had recently become the butt of jokes among hunters for being an “easy dungeon” with the advent of so many high-level hunters, there was once a time when this dungeon was considered highly dangerous. And it was.
“I came too quickly.”
I looked around for the first-time hunter that my broker had told me about. I was about to call but decided it would be better to just wait until the promised time.
There were actually quite a few people aside from myself. They all looked pretty well dressed too. Their armor shined brightly and their blades looked sharp.
“Could it be them?”
At the base of a small hill, I could see a group of people dressed similarly standing around. Four teenage boys, one middle-aged man, and one girl in her mid-twenties holding a huge backpack. Six in total.
I was puzzled. It was standard for there to only be 5 people in a group embarking into a dungeon. This was because the admission price started at 5 people.
“Are you the person that Mr. Song had recommended as a porter?”
The middle aged man asked me as I walked towards them. He was clothed in a robe that covered his entire body from neck to ankle but it didn’t cover up his bald head and round stomach. It was safe to assume that he was the leader of the party.
“Mr. Jung. Doesn’t this young man look much too young? I cannot trust him.”
The one with red dyed hair and piercing on his lip as well as both ears asked as he glanced me up and down. I didn’t know that a rich family’s kid did things like that, but I guess I’m not always right.
“I am a level 2 porter, Jeon Sangmin. And your name is…?”
“You don’t need to know. Just do your job. You know that if we catch you stealing any items, we’re going to cut off your hands right?”
“My experience is 6 years. You don’t have anything to worry about.”
I tried to respond as professionally as possible. You meet all sorts of people doing this for six years. I was good at hiding my derision.
He walked to the girl carrying the heavy backpack.
“Sooah. Why don’t you hand that backpack over to that kid.”
“Oh no? But I need this so I can…”
“If I ask something of you, you must do as I say ok?” In a slimy tone
The girl looked at me apologetically and handed it over. It seemed there was a good amount of equipment loaded in this backpack from the weight of it. I could tell that it was about 20 kg. Seeing that she could carry this all the way up here without breaking a sweat, she was probably a porter as well.
There was no reason for me to ask why they needed two porters in one party. From the way he talked to the girl porter, the answer was so obvious. He wanted her with him to lighten his mood.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen something like this happen.
Ugh watch the face. I can’t let him see my disgust. Carefulll.
“Will it be all 7 of you?”
The person stationed in front of the dungeon’s entrance collecting the admissions asked. Dungeons were managed by the country, so the person collecting the entrance fee was most certainly a government official. It wasn’t really a high up position. It was more of an entry level position that the newbies took turns doing.
The starting salary of a civil servant was about 40k. This was about double a normal person’s salary. Most private businesses went bankrupt so government jobs became the best ones somehow. So these kids collecting admissions at the entrance would be considered the elite of the elites of South Korea.
“Two are porters. Including myself, there are 5 hunters.”
Mr. Jung shoved to the front and held out a card. It was probably a corporate card. Level 1 dungeon admissions started at 3,000 for a party of five. Though less expensive compared to the 5,000 admission fee for Level 2 dungeons, it was still not cheap.
“We usually only allow one porter. If you would like to take both into the dungeon, there will be an additional fee.”
“Geesh. Such a stiff rule. How much is it?”
“Just put it all on this card. It looks like we’re about to spend 600 just on hiring a porter.”
Mr. Jung glanced at me. Why is he looking at me. I’m the one who’s really going to be working. If he wants to get mad at someone, it should be the punk who brought the girl.
The high walls had barbed wire curled at the top and when you walked in, the very first thing you could see was an emergency ward. This was probably so that any accidents that happened within the dungeon could be attended to right away at the location. The doctors at this dungeon had healing skills at the very minimum. This was because stab wounds and other injuries happened quite often within a dungeon where this was necessary.
“Do you mind if we rest a bit here before heading in?”
The boy carrying a golden bow asked with an anxious expression. When the red haired boy nodded his head, the middle aged man responded.
“Yes sir. You have done well walking so far up until this point. We shall rest. We have plenty of time so there should be no problem in resting for at least 30 minutes.”
Everyone went into a café except for me. It just seemed that I was naturally excluded from going into such a nice atmosphere, so I stayed back.
While waiting outside the café, I observed the boy with the golden arrow. From the way everyone was speaking to him, it was obvious that the wealthy son was this kid. What was most dangerous in clearing a dungeon was not the red haired and cheeky boy nor was it the extremely slow moving Mr. Jung. It was a beginner like the bow boy.
No matter how much you treat a dungeon as if it were a playground, there is no quelling the fear of your first time. Especially with a boy who looks like he couldn’t even kill a fly, he had an extremely high chance of turning tail and running as soon as he encountered a monster. If you have an expert and just follow his directions, it was easy to clear a level 1 dungeon without an incident but boys like this had a hard time keeping their composure. Wherein lied the issue.
This is where big incidents can happen.
Well, I guess that was the whole reason why the broker had given me this job. It wouldn’t make sense that the job would be easy if it paid $200 in one shot. It’s a good thing I have the skill to back it up.
“Hm..But isn’t that Athena’s bow?”
I fixed my eyes on the boy’s weapon. One of my many talents includes examining and remembering all the items that pop up in the hunter market. Though everything there was so damn expensive that I couldn’t even dream of buying it, I had put some items in my basket a few times before putting it back. Don’t act like you’ve never done that before in your life.
Honestly, just doing that made me feel like those items in my basket were truly mine even if only for that moment. Happiness isn’t too far away if you know just where to look.
Anyway, one of those items I had put into my basket one time or another was that golden bow. It seemed I had really taken a liking to it since I still remember the exact name of it even now. It was something you could use even without experience, and since it was a level 4 weapon, killing a level 1 monster with it was a foregone conclusion. The best thing about it was that the arrow could only hurt a monster and never a human. If any weapon had this characteristic, the price of it automatically doubled. If you have a weapon of that caliber, anyone holding it could call themselves a hunter and get away with it.
And then there was that little fact about the golden color of it being so damn cool.
Someone called out my name as they tapped me on the shoulder.