Han Joonseok said,
“They do make exceptions. Some pre existing parties are allowed to move independently. But they are required to register. So it might be a good idea to apply…”
“Wow. Then does that mean we get to create a name for our party?”
Jung Sooah asked excitedly.
“I thought we would just call it Team Jeon Sangmin.”
Everyone gave me a funny look.
“Doesn’t this make it easy?”
“But the name is like branding. Using just your name is kind of…”
“Then do you have a better name in mind?”
“Team. Sooah Love. How’s that?”
“You want to die? Do you want us to die from embarrassment before even going up against any monsters?”
“I don’t think the team name really makes too much of a difference but. Wouldn’t it be better if we went for a name that had more impact? Like…Team Joonseok’s the best….”
“…You were that kind of person?”
“I was kidding. I guess this is harder than it seems huh?”
“How’s team Zero? Party head and unnie both have level 0 skills. Plus it’s easy to remember.”
“Hm. Something about that name sounds too common.”
Manager Kim slowly shook his head.
Even after bouncing one name after another off each other for the longest time, we couldn’t find one we agreed on.
Right when I was about to just decide on using Team Jeon Sangmin, a word whispered in my mind.
“What? What’s that?”
“I think that’s the name of the new system. Though I’m not sure.”
That was what the manual had said. Delta v.01.
“Hm. It’s not bad.”
Sooah raised her hand.
And so we had decided to name our party, Team Delta.
If you take route 32, you now come across a beach that used to be the Manripo Beach.
Once a desolate place, it was now packed with thousands of people. There were temporary residences stationed in addition to a busy shopping center.
It was where our country and the West Sea was now connected.
“Wow, this isn’t a joke.”
Sooah said with her head out the car window.
Where there should have been the sea was an endless horizon of new land.
The land was nearly completely flat with some small hills and boulders sprinkled here and there.
“Aren’t there any mountains? I think this is the first time I’ve seen such flat lands in our country like this…”
“From what we know, the highest point is about 500 meters.”
The Yellow Sea topography was well known – satellites are amazing.
It seemed that the high level hunters have been getting dropped into the new land by helicopter already.
“But do you think that’s true? That the parties able to clear an area of the new land will be given partial ownership of it.”
Cho Youngoo, driving the vehicle, asked.
“Since it’s coming from the government, I’m sure it’s not entirely false. But the “partial” aspect of it is a bit iffy. It might just be some sweet talk to seduce a bunch of hunters here.”
“So what are they going to do when the hunters all come together and ask them for payment by land.”
“If the government was smart enough to think that ahead, they wouldn’t have operated the dungeons in that half-assed manner.”
Homeland Busan Dungeon Management Team.
These were the guys who had charged exorbitant admission fees while paying pennies on the dollar for ores found in the dungeons.
On top of that, since they charged taxes on everything as well – you could say they were making income three ways.
The problem I had with them was that they had zero intention of cultivating general parties.
If they had just made the admission fees even a bit more affordable or paid a bit more for the ores, general parties probably would have flourished.
And if that had happened, they would have been able to level up faster and we would have had that much more hunters in our country.
But rather than reduce the fees, they hiked the admissions every year.
It was probably the government’s main source of income at the end of the day.
The hunters were probably akin to a goose that lays golden eggs to them.
But China was worse – from what I heard. They paid their hunters a very low salary and worked them like slaves. Talk about a disincentivizer. If it wasn’t true, China would have easily overthrown us with the sheer volume.
Sooah and glasses girl disappeared somewhere saying they wanted to look around while Manager Kim stayed in the ccar.
It took 30 minutes for us to complete the procedure of registering our party.
“It was faster than I thought it would be. I thought there would be way more people than this too.”
Han Joonseok said.
“There are probably a lot of people standing by for now. No matter how sweet the payout is, it’s never more precious than a life. And one team can keep only so much land clear of monsters. And who said there are only level 1 and level 2 monsters. This is all so new.”
“And the goal should be the reward from ores and drops from monsters…not the land. Keeping the land clear of monsters that constantly reappear…it’s the government’s way of pushing off that annoying job to hunters with the golden carrot of land.”
Han Joonseok said in return. I agreed.
“In any case, those two are a bit late in getting back.”
Cho Youngoo murmured. It had been over 10 minutes since Jung Soah and glasses girl headed over to the stalls.
“They probably got lost track of time doing a bit of shopping.”
“The only thing they sell here are basic food supplies and hunting equipment. There probably isn’t anything they’d be interested in…”
That was when it happened.
A red light burst into the sky from behind a container.
It was far, but I recognized what it was. A flame enchanted arrow.
“Could it be Ms. Bae Yeonkyoung…?”
“Let’s go see first.”
I kicked at the ground. I ran almost fast enough to leave an afterimage.
What could it be?
Seeing me running at such a fast speed, the surprised onlookers hurriedly moved out of the way. I left a trail of dirt clouds in my wake.
I was able to find them after running several hundred meters in less than 30 seconds.
This was because there was a crowd of hunters that seemed to be threatening some other person…or two.
“We said we already have a party!”
Sooah yelled out.
“All you have to say is you don’t like us if you don’t like us. You don’t have to lie like that. Hurting our pride.”
I lightly sighed as I pushed aside the group of hunters surrounding Sooah and glasses girl.
All I did was push them lightly with one hand but a bunch of them toppled over like dominoes.
A look of relief came over both their expressions as they caught sight of me.
A thick hand clamped over my shoulder.
“Who the hell are you? These betches said they had a party already…is that you? And you look weak as hell too…”
I probably broke that hand.
“We were wondering where you guys were. And you guys end up being here getting pushed around like this?”
“We were just minding our own business when those guys came and threatened us to join them on a raid.”
“Is that true?”
Glasses girl nodded her head.
I heard a rough yell from behind me.
“This bastard, do you know what the hell you just did?”
“Do I have to know?”
I turned around. There were 12 of them. And all of them looked like they had bad attitudes.
I knew exactly what to expect from guys who would threaten girls at a place like this. Trash.
“I guess we need to teach you a lesson. Since you were the one who made the first move, I’m sure you won’t have any problems with us showing you a thing or two.”
“I know that you want to justify starting a fight but do you think that kind of reasoning will go over with the officials?”
“As if they’ll really care.”
All of this was something that happened suddenly. There wasn’t really anyone on standby regulating it.
Other hunters, seeing the mood, started backing away.
Sooah grabbed the bottom of my shirt in a squeeze.
“Stop trying to get close.”
“…But I was so scared. Really.”
I put on my glasses.
Items: Level 2 armor and bloody sword.
All 12 of them went from surprise to panic instantly.
“What? Did you think I’d fight all of you guys with my bare hands?”
“Shit. Everyone hold your weapons!”
In a matter of seconds, things got even more heated. Here we go.
I was probably barely 3 meters away from the group of idiots. Close enough where if we just stretched out our arms toward eachother, we would be able to touch fingertips.
Right at the peak of it all…
“Yo. Who is this?”
A familiar face peeked out from among them.
Comically slanted eyes, a pointed chin, and a long face.
Just like a weasel.
“I was wondering if you were alive. I didn’t think I’d meet you someplace like this.”
Both ends of his lips began to curl up.
“Uh….who are you?”
“….You’re saying you don’t remember me?”
“No. Your face is a bit familiar, but I can’t seem to quite place you.”
“I’m SoulPredator Ban Shihyung. Come on. We even did a raid in a dungeon together.”
“Uh…I don’t remember such an embarrassing name as that.”
“Keuk…then do you remember this guy?”
He brought into view a magician holding a cane.
“I guess you remember now huh?”
“Sorry. My mistake. I thought he reminded me of a friend.”
Ban Shihyung started grinding his teeth. I guess he was kind of annoyed.
I could hear Sooah and glasses girl trying to stifle their giggles behind me.
His face started to turn a bright red now. I guess it must have been pretty embarrassing to put on such a grand entrance for naught.
Of course I remembered who he was. I just wanted to piss him off a bit.
He was the partyhead I had raided a dungeon with before. He was the one who partnered with the magician to purposely retire a bunch of his own party members. That bastard.
He was someone I didn’t have any desire of acknowledging.
“Well, that’s fine. I was going to let it slide since we knew one another…but now.”
“Ah! Now I remember! Yeah. You were the one who threw friendly fire at your party members right?”
“I figured you wouldn’t live long since you did PK as casually as someone would eat food so I’d erased you from memory!”
“This…this bastard…shut that damn mouth!”
Not only was his face red now, it looked like it would explode like those cartoon thermometers that get really really red at the top.
I had to keep myself from laughing.
“Hey. Head. Is that true?”
“What do you mean is that true! You think I would do something like that?”
“No….I never saw it myself…but I did hear some rumors…”
“Shut up! Don’t believe some nonsense coming from a youngster like that!”
After shutting up his little group, he walked over to me.
“I was about to ask you to join my group because I thought you had some skills but…”
“I’ll save you the trouble and say nahhhh.”
I could hear him grinding his teeth again. Maybe I should stop now.
“I don’t know what kind of nerve you have with just the three of you…But you think you can win against all of us? Especially with those betches that look like they can’t do shit.”
“I wonder. I don’t think you’re counting correctly.”
A golden light rose above their heads. It was manager Kim’s sleep magic.
“….why am I…so….”
His spell dropped five of them to sleep.
“What, what the hell’s going on!”
Ban Shihyung started jumping around in a circle to figure out what just happened. Then he saw behind him, about 20 meters away, a middle aged man holding up a cane.
And next to him stood Cho Youngoo, Han Joonseok, and Jong Sawon…all in a row.
Han Joonseok had his bow drawn and locked on the weasel already.
“Now, it looks like we’re a bit more even doesn’t it?”
Out of the total 15 (not the initial 12 I counted), 5 were now asleep. We had a total of 7.
It was fine though because Jong Sawon, Cho Youngoo, and I had level 3 equipment.
Ban Shihyung was just a level 2 hunter if my memory serves correctly.
“Ahhhhhhk! Shit! Shit shit shit!”
He started to kick at the ground after seeing he couldn’t win.
“I’ll! Just watch! I’ll get you! Just watch!”
I shrugged my shoulders as I watched them make their retreat. How embarrassing. Soon after, Han Joonseok and the rest caught up to where we were.
Han Joonseok said with a wooden face.
“SoulPredator Ban Shihyung…It’s a name I’ve heard before.”
“I guess he’s pretty well known.”
“Not really…there’s just word about him because he’s been going around with a group of 30 people.”
“Looks like he has only 15 now including himself.”
“Well, you know how rumors go. But is it ok to just let him leave like that? I’m sure he’ll try to exact some kind of petty revenge later.”
Han Joonseok looked worried. I can’t say I wasn’t a little concerned myself.
I thought we should have handled it…but this wasn’t the place for it. Too many prying eyes.
“There are too many witnesses. It’s not like we could kill him. And if we took care to not kill them, we could end up getting unnecessarily hurt. Plus…he’s riled up. If he makes a move, he won’t do it with a calm and calculated mind.”
“…You’re expecting him to strike back?”
“I’m just thinking worst case scenario.”
Both sides knew fighting here would not do.
But we would be heading to the Yellow Sea road shortly.
That land had no governing laws. It was a land of monsters. It was a land where anything could happen and no one would bat an eye.
Ban Shihyung…he was someone I could handle anytime.
After finishing up, we all got into Cho Youngoo’s car and headed to the Yellow Sea road. This was only possible because it had 4 wheel drive. It was a land without any paved roads so the car bumped the entire way.
Cho Youngoo said,
“I guess I’ll have to get it properly maintenanced later…”
“I’ll be sure to compensate you properly for that.”
“No. That’s not necessary.”
“We’re all using it together. I need to do at least that much.”
If it wasn’t for his car, I would have had to purchase a car myself. It was only right to pay him for maintenance.
After riding for 10 minutes, we saw some monsters ahead in the distance.
They were in a groups of a little over 10. But they were just toddling around – they probably didn’t spot us yet.
We braked to look around and saw that there were parties already engaging in fights.
“Let’s get started too.”
The sun was starting to set.
We fought against cave wolves, goblins, wedge moles, and water slimes all day.
We covered a distance of about 10 kilometers in that time – slower than walking speed.
“Whew…let’s call it a day.”
We parked the car and made a fire so we could take a break.
Since monsters typically avoided fires, it had that added benefit.
Of course there were monsters that didn’t avoid fires, but it was better than being attacked in the dark.
All we needed to create a bonfire were some dry shrubs.
There weren’t any tall trees, but there were quite a few shrubs that came up to the waist.
There were even some animal that weren’t monsters.
This made me start to wonder if this was not land that rose from the sea.
“I think this is the most monsters I’ve seen since ever.”
Jung Sooah commented while poking at the fire with a stick.
I agreed. We had probably killed about 150 monsters today. All of them were level 1s.
Thanks to that, we were able to collect over 70 ores. Save for a few I needed to use on Item Fusions, I put the rest towards upgrading.
Carrying them around would only make the car heavy. It was better to invest them into the upgrade.
But it was definitely alot of ores. Altogether, they probably had a market value of 90,000 dollars.
“It’s like a land of prosperity here.”
Han Joonseok murmured.
Everyone nodded in agreement. And this was from covering only 10 kilometers of land bordering the Yellow Sea.
If it was like this here, just how many monsters would there be towards the center. I couldn’t even imagine how many ores and items we would be able to pick up there.
Everyone’s face was filled with excitement and hope.
“Let’s organize everything for now.”
Three total dropped items. They weren’t really anything special – we did only kill level 1 monsters.
Longsword (1): Generic sword. Can give damage to level 1 monsters.
Agile Sword (1): Increase reflexes by 15%.
Backpack (1): Can carry 30% more items in the bag. Weight of the items are 30% lighter.
“All three items will be used by Sooah.”
Sooah said with a dumb look on her face.
“I’m using the same method as before. I will keep all the ores while we pass dropped items to those it is best suited for. Whatever is left over will be sold and distributed evenly per member. I hope everyone agrees with me on this.”
“Well, I guess it’s easier to do it this way anyway. Plus items will keep dropping so it’s not a bad deal.”
Han Joonseok responded. I nodded my head.
There would be plenty of items to go around.