Its ear twiched. Hm. It seemed to recognize its name.
But does it understand anything beyong that?
“Kelby, attack that guy.”
Surprisingly, Kelby jumped from the ground and ran toward Kim Jaemin.
A pet that can understand the human language?
Wow. It seems I had far underestimated this item.
After swinging his sword a couple of times to no avail, Kim Jaemin started to turn tail and run from Kelby.
As soon as both Kim Jaemin and Kelby departed the scene, the battle resumed again.
“Where are you looking with your enemy right in front of you!”
Out of nowhere, someone had creeped up on me to yell before swinging his weapon at me.
I love these idiots who give out warnings before attacking.
Instead of thanking him for his thoughtful idiocy, I hit him hard enough to send him flying away.
Since the power of the Honcheon sword was proportionate to the power of the wielder, the level 2 armors broke into pieces with every explosive strike.
The thought that I was wasting perfectly good items in this way briefly flitted in and out of my mind.
And after taking care of that last man, I saw that there weren’t any more hunters blocking my way.
“Shit! Where the hell is Jaemin!”
Thanks to Kelby and me, the Ezekiel team was slowly starting to get pushed back.
“I guess I just need to get that one to end this.”
I looked at the back of Kim Jaemin, who was still running away from Kelby.
He was running toward his vehicle.
Kelby was still chasing after him but, compared to its big size, the dog was on the slower side. Since it was still a puppy, I couldn’t expect it to run any faster yet.
But I could finally see who the winner would be. Kelby was still running with its tongue out, jolly as ever, while Kim Jaemin was steadily losing speed. And just as Kelby caught up, it bit out Jaemin’s throat.
And that was the end.
Not long after Kim Jaemin lost his life, all the other Ezekiel hunters started dropping one by one.
We were victorious. While everyone on the Ezekiel team had perished, only two on our side had died. Though two deaths were still not a light burden, it was far better than the deal our enemies had gotten.
Han Joonseok came up to me and whispered,
“Party head, the dead bodies will soon begin to evaporate.”
“Let’s pile them all in one place and burn the bodies.”
This was so that we could hide the fact that they evaporate. Though digging a hole and burying them is also a good idea, it would take too long we couldn’t take that risk.
Luckily, we were able to move them all into a pile fairly quickly. We poured gasoline all over the bodies, lit them on fire, and took care that the fire didn’t go out.
“What will we do with the dead from our side?”
Han Joonseok asked this time.
“We can just leave them. They won’t evaporate.”
There was a reason why I was so sure.
As the manual had upgraded, there were a few new pieces of information that came with it and one of them was information on the evaporation system.
- The dead must have a skill to evaporate
- Only those in contact with people affected by the new system will evaporate
This means that those who are affected by the level 0 skill are affected by the new system meaning everyone in our party since they receive Sooah’s friendship buff.
We began to gather up the still in tact equipment left behind by the Ezekiel team to divvy up between the other hunters and my party.
There were a total of about 30 items. This was a very low number of items since about 40 of them had died.
“Hma lot fewer than I had expected.”
“There are a bunch that I broke while fighting. And Kelby ate quite a few…So you may take all of these items here.”
I used my manual to check Kelby’s stats. Its proficiency was at 13, a far larger number than the count of items it had eaten. But reflecting on that, I realized it was because Kelby had eaten the items I had broken during the fight.
What a fatass.
“You don’t need to do that…”
They began to refuse. Well, since the fight was pretty much won by me and Kelby, I’m sure they didn’t feel right taking everything.
But I was planning on taking all the item drops for my team so I didn’t care.
“Just take the items you would give to us, sell them, and give the earnings to the families of the men who have passed. I feel that would help us rest easier.”
These were men who had joined a battle that was not theirs to begin with. I had to do something for them. It was only right.
“But that monster…”
“It is an item. I don’t think it’ll cause any problems for us, but I hope you would keep this between us.”
“Certainly. I will try.”
They had already seen Kelby in action. I couldn’t hide it or what it can do. News would spread fast. The least I could do is ask that they not volunteer the information if possible.
After those hunters had departed, we put out the fire and collected all the items from the evaporated bodies.
Among some of the items were a some that looked like the Escape scrolls.
“Huh? These didn’t burn?”
“You think an item would burn? Items are hard to damage by conventional means. They can only truly get damaged by skills or other items.”
“But you can rip them.”
“That’s because they’re made for ripping. Now that you’re officially a hunter, you should study the basics at least.”
“Yes! Yes sir! Yes teacher!”
“I’m teacher now?”
“Well I heard that men like it when girls call them that. It’s supposed to be romantic or cute?”
“That’s only if the person saying it is wearing a schoolgirl uniform.”
“Oohuniform you say?”
Let me just ignore her. If I take this conversation any further, she just might show up one day dressed in a schoolgirl uniform. She would not look good in that. A giant in a uniform?
I put all the items into storage and we left. There was no good that could come from staying here any longer.
Wearing only pants, I dove into the water. Since I had brought several changes of clothes, I figured I’d just throw this one away.
We had arrived at a nearby river to rest for the day. The fight had sapped us of our energy. We needed to rest and refuel.
I washed my body under the water as I flitted through my manual.
Not including the items we got from the fight before, we only came up with 2 this last battle. And 12 ores in all.
Though the drop percentage was a bit low, I had nothing to complain about since we got some crazy items.
While I was checking my manual like this, I heard a rustling behind the boulder upon which I had laid out my clothes.
I tiptoed on over.
“What are you doing?”
Sooah, who had been trying to steal my clothes, began to laugh like a pervert.
“Heh heh….I wanted to do a live action play of the Fairy and the Woodcutter…”
“Don’t touch my underwear.”
“Can I touch everything else?”
“I’ll report you to the police.”
“I know you won’t”
“Whew. Now I really feel like doing it.”
I sighed lightly. I’m afraid she might really become some kind of pervert soon.
“Anyway, I’m still a bit worried..do you think everything is going to be alright?”
“What do you mean?”
“Ezekiel. We killed about 40 of them. The police might even decide to step in, no?”
“All of their men evaporated so we have nothing to worry about.”
“Do you think it’ll really be that easy?”
“Unless there is concrete evidence, they don’t interfere with hunters’ business.”
Han Joonseok, who had been soaking in the water with me asked,
“And why is that?”
“Because this job has a high mortality rate to start with. The police can only do so much. They don’t have the resources to check on every death. So, instead, they take on cases selectively. This, of course, means that hunter incidents are almost always excluded from priority investigations.”
This didn’t just apply to deaths but to disappearances as well. There were tons of monsters similar to the predatory toad that can swallow a person whole leading to many disappearances. And when something like this happens, and the dungeon resets, a body is never found. For this reason, there is less incentive to do any serious hunter investigations. But in cases where there is conclusive evidence of a hunter doing something against the law, there are harsh penalties enforced to show the public that they are doing something about it.
But it is all a show that the government puts on to give the public the illusion of control over powerful hunters that they don’t really have in reality.
“Then we really don’t have to worry?”
“We’re fine. At least for now. Plus Team Ezekiel is known for their high mortality rates. Since this land is still fairly new, there is very low chance that anyone would really care what happened.”
This was pretty much why I did whatever I wanted in the end. I wouldn’t have wiped them out otherwise. I’m not an idiot.
And considering how they acted toward us, it’s indicative that they acted in much the same manner to other hunters. We wouldn’t be singled out as a suspect.
“Anyway, let’s just try our best to steer clear of those guys. Let’s consider todays’ events as a sort of lesson.”
“That even if we see Ezekiel guys in danger, we should just let them get eaten?”
“Honestly, I didn’t think they’d be such bastards. But that just goes to show you that I am still too naive.”
“But I like that about you.”
“Thanks. That one comment made all the dirtiness of today seem to fade away.”
After thoroughly washing myself with soap, I went to light a bonfire. Even though it was well into Summer, this new land was weirdly still fairly chilly.
I heated my meal as I dried myself off.
“It’s nice that we don’t have to feed the dog real food. And it probably doesn’t poop either.”
“Almost the perfect pet, wouldn’t you say?”
Han Joonseok laughed as he spoke aloud.
As soon as the battle had ended, Kelby had returned to its normal size and was now fast asleep within Yeonkyoung’s arms.
Speaking of Yeonkyoung, it seems as though she really loves dogs. She never took her eye off the thing from the moment it appeared.
Though she didn’t talk a lot to start with, since the dog appeared, she’s only talked with Kelby.
Wellshe didn’t really talk with Kelby so much as have one-sided conversations. But since Kelby could understand human speech, it wasn’t entirely crazy.
After we finished eating, I brought out all the items again. Since I was the only one who could see the stats via my manual, I had to explain them to everyone one by one.
I first applied all the ores to my upgrade.
The items were as follows:
Escape (0) 5 sheets: Takes the user directly outside the dungeon
Light Wounds Healing Potion (0) 5 bottles: To heal light wounds
Redemption Necklace (3): Can share the ability of one object with another. Effect disappears if too far apart.
Professional Cane (3): Raises spell by 1 level.
The Professional Cane obviously went to Manager Kim.
“Please return the other one. Since you purchased the Amplification Cane, you can keep that one but we will be selling the Floodplain cane.”
“I mean, I could use all three.”
“That’s your greed talking. How are you going to wield all three at one time? Are you really planning on holding one in your mouth during battle?”
“Are you crazy? I just thought I’d duct tape them all together or something.”
“Well, do whatever you want. Just make sure you don’t end up dropping one and running away because things get dangerous. Now, we have the Redemption Necklace left…”
Sooah raised her hand with the quickness. Everyone else quietly averted their eyes to avoid eye contact with me.
Its ability was a pretty good one so I had expected there to be a bit of a squabble over it.
“Did you guys all talk and plan to give it to Sooah or something? She’s more a porter than a hunter so raising her ability wouldn’t really do the team any good.”
“Sunbeh Oppa. Did you already forget how I killed that roach last time? If I just have the right items, I could be a great hunter too.”
“You have a point…”
“But how is it that no one else wants it? If you stick with me, it should bring your abilities up significantly.”
“Are you asking because you don’t know?”
Manager Kim asked.
Hm….I guess it’s because of the design.
The Redemption Necklace, put simply, looked like a dog collar.
It was a black band with a silver pendant that looked like a name tag, and it was just big enough to fit snugly around the neck.
Anyway, I guess no one wanted to put something like that around their necks no matter how great it was. I briefly imagined Manager Kim with this around his neck before I shook it out from memory.
In the end, the Redemption Pendant went to Sooah. I was hoping that Yeonkyoung would take it as a Range Dealer, but since Sooah was support to the Range Dealersit wasn’t a bad idea to have her wear it as well.
“What ability are you going to use?”
“HmI was thinking about strength, but since I already have something for thatI thought about copying your reflex instead.”
She already had the garter belt that raised her strength by 30 percent.
“I agree with that decision. It’ll help you in surprise situations.”
You don’t need to be crazy powerful. My opinion was that she needed to be just a bit strong for real battle since her main role was not killing monsters.
She was support for the party members dealing long range damage from the back. In order for her to help the archers and Manager Kim, who did not specialize in close combat, it was imperative for her to be able to react quickly to surprises.
After divvying up the items in that way, we set up the tent we brought in our car. Thinking this was better than sleeping in the car or out in the open, we had made this purchase the last time we were at Manripo.
Even though there was still time before the sun would set, since we were planning to spend the night here, we decided to pitch it early.
We had purchased a tent that was big enough for 10 people, so there was more than enough room for all of us in the party.
While everyone else was finishing pitching up the tent, I asked Yeonkyoung to pass Kelby over to me.
I thought I needed to learn a bit more about this dog, so I started going through my tutorial.
While looking up any topics related to Kelby, I only saw a simple explanation.
Cerberus was a growth type item it increases its ability by absorbing/eating other items.
This was something I already knew. But there was a new tidbit.
In the case that Cerberus consumed a fully intact item, it would absorb the abilities of that items as well. While if Cerberus consumed the shattered remains of an item, it would only raise its proficiency.
Additionally, Cerberus can increase its size during battle, according to its proficiency the higher the number, the larger it can grow.
Based on this point, it was very similar to a monster. Because monsters were usually bigger in size the higher their levels.
Anyway, since it could understand human language and was pretty obedient, I didn’t think we would have too many issues with it.
Except one point.
Chomp chomp chomp!
The dog ignored my order and continued chomping at the level 1 sword.
This stupid mutt.
I take back what I said about being obedient. Cancel.
I took away the sword that Kelby was chewing at.
Kelby started whining a bit until I lightly flicked its nose to which it became silent. Man, it really does act like a dog though.
Kelby, who didn’t even give a speck of interest to any of our food, immediately perked up at the sight of items.
The reason I had brought out the sword in the first place was to train it.
If Kelby continued to eat every item it saw on the ground without listening to any commands, it would end up costing us a lot.
If possible, I wanted to be able to selectively give items to Kelby. Because if an item we really needed ended up in Kelby’s stomachthat would really suck.
Kelby gave a slight whimper and looked up at me with big puppy dog eyes. Seeing its lifeless tail, it was obvious that it wanted the item back.
When I slowly started to put the sword back down, it raced for the item.
I lightly pushed back on Kelby’s head so that it couldn’t reach the sword.
It tried with all its might to grab at the sword but, in its small puppy form, it couldn’t win against my strength.
Of course it wouldn’t be able to win against me in terms of power even in its larger form. But supposing that it could, my reflexes would still make it all but impossible to take the sword from me.
As soon as I moved my hand, Kelby rushed in and ate the broken item. Seeing it chomp so happily on the sword was enough to almost make me hungry.
And after doing this for about 20 minutes, dinner was finally ready.
As soon as I handed Kelby back over to Yeonkyoung, she immediately began to pet and coo at the dog as if I had put it through some horrible ordeal. And Kelby began rubbing its head into her large breasts.
I don’t know why but that kind of made me angry. Feeling my stare, Yeonkyoung spoke.
“Why are you looking at Kelby with such a scary expression?”
“Well….I don’t think I was making a scary expression exactly…”
“You looked about ready to eat the poor thing.”
“No. I was just looking at it because it wasn’t listening.”
I muttered and shrugged.
I couldn’t say what I was really thinking or else she would think I was a pervert so I kept silent.
Since I was an adult, I needed to be able to have some kind of self control. I could do that much.