Evolution Theory of the Hunter (ETH)
Volume 1 Chapter 6
“Oh. I thought you would have forgotten my name.”
“How could I?”
“To be honest we weren’t really all that close.”
“Well, that wasn’t the reason why I didn’t forget your name.”
Just as he said, we weren’t really close enough to call each other friends. We probably said hi to each other a handful of times in school and later when we met at a dungeon entrance by chance we exchanged a brief hello. We even had alcohol together once. But that was the first time and the last time about 2 years ago.
“Anyway it seems like we’re meeting after almost 2 years now. Did you graduate? I just left in the middle without really finishing.”
“The tuition seemed like a waste. I was going to be a porter anyway so I felt like there wasn’t really a point in me graduating. So I just told a white lie to my parents, a little white lie and kept the tuition money. I bought some equipment with that and here I am.”
As Won Jongtak spoke, he spread out his arms and legs to show me the protective gear that was covering him. It wasn’t quite hunter quality so it wasn’t something that would really impress anyone, but the difference between having it and not having it was still huge. I have some protective gear myself.
Due to the heavy gear I always had to carry, I found myself reducing any protective gear to the bare minimum: Waist protector, head and neck protecting headgear, mail made from synthetic resin, and arm protectors. I also had a pair of fire resistant gloves.
My gear may look humble but all of it cost me nearly 10,000 dollars. I know. Ridiculous.
“Hey. It has been a while though so we should at least exchange numbers or something, don’t you think?”
I wanted to stop the small talk and leave but this bastard grabbed my arm. I reluctantly gave him my business card.
“What is this? Pretty boy porter Jeon Sangmin? Ke ke ke. I guess nothing’s really changed huh?”
“Is anything different with you?”
I grabbed and looked at the business card he handed over my way. It had a black background with ‘Ultimate Porter’ written in bold white gothic print.
“Doesn’t it leave quite an impression? Anyway, you’re on their team right?
This guy. He put his stupid arm over my shoulder and pointed at Mr. Jung and red hair.
When I turned my head a bit, I saw Mr. red hair secretly stroking the girl porter’s leg. How is it that he can act exactly like you would expect him to act? Slimeball.
“Yeah, I guess.”
“I know that guy…you’ll have your hands full.”
“Who? Red hair?”
“Yeh. He’s the youngest son of a rich construction company owner. He has a bit of an anger management issue. So prepare yourself to get hit a few times.”
“That kind of stuff is a given in this line of work. I got this.”
I was about to tell him that I had just left another guy with anger management issues and almost had my head crushed in the process…but why bother?
“That’s not it though. This is all rumors…but I heard that he even raped some porter girl in a dungeon.”
“What the hell. What kind of a man can do something like that in a dungeon? I call bull.”
“Hey. I’m serious here. You don’t get why you got picked to do this job?”
“Why did I get picked. Tell me.”
“Because that piece of trash is always going around and doing that crap so they require another guy porter.”
“Yeah right. It’s not as if I’m the only guy porter who’ll take the job. And if he was bold enough to do something like that, would he even care what another porter thinks? Who do you think those guys are?”
“Well, don’t say I didn’t want you. You be careful. If you make one wrong move. Oh yeh. Should we go get a cup of coffee too? You buy. 😛 “
“Come on. I gave you some good tips. You know right? That I wouldn’t give any old person something juicy like this.”
“It didn’t even seem like good intel, and why should I buy you something just because you wanted to gossip a bit?”
“Heyyy. Loosen up.”
“I’ve had enough of you especially since what you pulled the last time 2 years ago, so just drop it ok?”
“2 years ago…? What are you talking about?”
“Don’t say you don’t remember”
“Um…I don’t remember. What happened two years ago?”
“Damn. I hate to say it with my own mouth but last time 2 years ago when we shared a drink, you ran away without paying the bill. You don’t remember?”
“Hm…Nah. I don’t. I do things like that quite often hehehe.”
“Geez you still go around pulling crap like that?”
Won Jongtak turned bright red in the face and stared daggers into me at this point.
“What do you want then? You want to smack me a good one?”
Jongtak took a deep breath and said.
“If you know you’re sorry just don’t do it again.”
“To be honest, I haven’t really been doing so hot lately.”
“What do you mean lately. I’m sure it was since 2 years ago.”
“Aw come on.”
“For someone who dropped out of school to be a full time porter, are you crying about being poor now? And didn’t you just come out from clearing a dungeon? I’m pretty sure you have money in your pockets right now.”
“I’d gotten paid in advance and it went to all the collection agencies. And I didn’t get any tip”
“Collections? Where did you borrow money from?”
“Not long ago I got hurt pretty badly so I had to borrow money for the emergency ward.”
“You’ve got to be shitting me. That’s the worst!”
Porters, compared to other regular jobs, are paid on the pretty decent side. If he/she clears a dungeon once, they can earn from 100 to 1,000 dollars, and if they’re pretty popular they can do this work all day every day. Depending on how good you are, you have the potential to make 10,000 dollars a month.
But because it was so physically demanding, if you get hurt even once the hospital fees are ridiculous. And, adding insult to injury, you’re hurt so you can’t even earn any income. Because it isn’t a steady job in the first place, getting a loan from the bank is not an option and you have to resort to a loan shark. It’s all pretty shitty.
“You think I don’t know that?”
“You should have told your parents.”
“If they find out that I got hurt while being a porter, they’ll probably make me quit right away.”
I couldn’t help but relate to him on that point. Because I pretty much lied to my parents that I was employed full time while instead I have been portering the whole time. I guess I pretty much lied to myself saying it would be fine once I became a famous hunter and I gave them a lot of money to compensate.
I pretended to fall for whatever garbage he was spewing and bought him a cup of coffee before getting up. I figured there was no point in butting heads with someone who was in the same occupation and similar situation as me. I could definitely get the feeling that he played me as I watched him shaking my hand gleefully and trotting off down the hill but, well, I shouldn’t be too stingy over a stupid cup of coffee.
If you look at a dungeon from the outside, it looks like an elliptical black hole. Where a dungeon appears can really vary, but they were most common in a mountain or forest. No one knows why. Well. No one even knows why the monsters appeared so of course no one would know why the dungeons appeared either. Duh. Honestly, 50 years had come to pass since they first appeared so there isn’t really anyone who is curious as to the reason why, any more. To all of us, it’s now just a normal thing.
Dungeons vary in all sorts of ways. If I were to try and explain every single kind of dungeon, a whole book wouldn’t be enough. But below are the most important points:
- You can go into a dungeon and come out of it of your own free will.
- The dungeon automatically resets after it is completed.
- The monsters appearing in a dungeon are random. The only rule is that the monsters appear according to the dungeon’s level.
- The moment you die in a dungeon, all your items disappear.
Looking at the black hole ahead of me, I swallowed a small lump. It’s not my first rodeo but I can’t help the little butterflies I get every single time. I could see red hair didn’t like that I showed some anxiety but a hunter and porter’s position are just so different.
To give you a general idea. Barring that the hunters didn’t come here for the sole purpose of suicide, there is almost no chance of them dying. Case in point: those clothes they’re all wearing, it may look super light and flimsy but they can withstand even a sniper rifle at close range. And the robe Mr. Jung is wearing? If he just rolls himself into a little protective ball, there’s nothing that can hurt him.
“Well. Let us all go in now.”
Mr. Jung spoke.
The inside of the dungeon was pretty bright and it was big enough where five people could stretch out and hold hands and still have room. At 10 meters, the dungeon was also pretty high so there wouldn’t be any problem of space.
“Let us proceed slowly. If a monster is to appear, please do not make any pre emptive attacks. It is best to follow my instructions.”
And so they began.