ETH – Ch 66

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And the next day, we started to hunting monsters in earnest.

The Southern Marsh definitely had more level 2 monsters than in the lands before it. The majority of them were included humanoid orks and lizardmen as well as beast types such as white wolves, grizzly bears, and giant bats.

The prevalence of beast type monsters was good news.

Stab!

[+200]

The white wolf died easily. All I had done was stab it in the rear with the Smash Sword, but it trembled a bit as if hit by an electric shock before dying.

High level weapons are amazing, indeed.

Sooah, who had been supporting the long range attackers, asked.

“Sunbeh Oppa, that sword is crazy good huh?”

“Hell yes. Why else would it be a level 4 item?”

This is what I said, but I was honestly surprised at its power too.

I thought the level 3 Honcheon sword was plenty powerful. But killing a level 2 monster with required a bit of effort on my part. I wasn’t able to kill a monster in one blow as I was able with this weapon.

“Partyhead!”

“I’m coming.”

Cho Youngoo was hollering loudly. He had about 10 or so wolves surrounding him.

The wolf is a relatively clever monster. And the white wolves were the same. They preferred to separate a straggler from a group and surround their prey before attacking.

We had used this bit of knowledge to our advantage by having Cho Youngoo stay a bit further away from the rest of us.

We were up against 30 of them in all.

And while ⅓ of them had surrounded Cho Youngoo, Jong Sawon and I started to attack them.

Slice!

[+200]

Stab!

[+200]

As soon as I felt the blade of my Smash sword hit its target, I didn’t have any need to check if it had done its job. The sword finished off every monster it touched.

And I had done away with 3 wolves in mere moments in that manner. Moving so fast I was leaving an afterimage, the wolves were dying one after one helplessly. They didn’t have a chance.

Seeing this, the rest of them began to avoid me and headed towards Sooah and the archers.

“Five of them! Can you handle it?”

“Yes! Leave it to me!”

Sooah yelled aloud. She was currently borrowing my reflexes with her new item.

Combined with the garter belt that raised her power by 30%, my borrowed reflexes, and the level 3 no name sword, she was well equipped to handle the level 2 white wolves.

Manager Kim asked.

“I can trust you right?”

“Manager. You’re more chicken than you look. Don’t you remember how you lived because of me last time?”

“But Jong Sawon was there that time.”

“I’m probably stronger than him right now.”

Sooah said with a bit of a confident swagger.

A staggering 300% in reflexes. No matter how flawed its design was, if it were me, I’d never pass that off to someone else.

Sooah slashed out with her sword as quick as lightning. She had learned to hold a sword with both hands from me, and the bastard sword was suited for this style.

Slice!

Upon striking, the wolf’s side split out, spilling out blood and guts.

She didn’t bat an eye and just moved on to the next one.

Han Joonseok and Bae Yeonkyoung stuck right behind her and continued shooting their bows while Park Hanbum used his moving shots atop his bike.

And Kelby.

Gnash!

Kelby chomped ferociously on a wolf’s neck, immediately snapping it. Then Kelby immediately chased after the next wolf.

The white wolves were busy trying to run away from Kelby while Kelby was rounding them up so that Jong Sawon and I could cut them all down.

It would probably look like we were fighting blindly to an outside observer.

But this was all planned and coordinated beforehand.

Of course there were little deviations here and there, but the core of it all happened as we expected it to.

“It seems everyone has powered up significantly. Thanks to that I can rest peacefully.”

Manager Kim yelled out. After Sooah took up the sword, he had become the only non-combat member of the party.

It may seem that he was just hanging out while we were doing all the workbut that wasn’t entirely true. There was 7 wolves fast asleep. He had done his part.

Though it was all thanks to his items, but the same went for every one of us.

And we had continued hunting in this way for a week straight.

I don’t know if it was because we were lucky, but we never once crossed paths with the Ezekiel Team in that time.

We had earned a total of 600 ores and 40 items. As for reward points, I earned 60,000 of those.

All the items that dropped from the monsters were pretty much Level 1 and Level 2 items, but I could use these towards item fusion.

I ended up fusing together the Level 2 Ingot sword that Cho Youngoo had with a Level 1 Agile sword to create the Rubicon sword. He was now armed with level 3 equipment.

Then I used up all the blisolnites to fuse level 1 items into level 2 items so that we could sell and earn more money in that way.

The most disappointing aspect was that all the items were from the old system.

It seemed that new system items only dropped from irregulars or hunters.

The former was not something we could laugh at while the latter was something I hoped didn’t happen often.

But I wanted to be able to fuse the new system items.

But since it was so hard to come across new system items, it was hard for me to do it.

If I could even just fuse and create Sooah’s Redemption necklace, I could boost up all of my party members’ abilities in an instant.

Of course it still had the design flaw. But if I could just get my hands on the needed items to perform the fusion, I would make wearing them mandatory.

There was probably no other item as efficient as this in bringing up a person’s abilities. Even Sooah, on wearing the item and copying my reflexes, she was able to become even more powerful than both Jong Sawon and Cho Youngoo.

Not having any injuries the entire week of hunting was largely thanks to her help.

Hic Hic Hic-

A weird sound started chugging from ChoYoungoo’s car.

“I think it’s about time due for maintentance.”

“We only rode it around for a week, and it’s already breaking down?”

At Sooah’s question, Cho Youngoo calmly responded.

“Even if they say 4 wheel drive, there is no such thing as the perfect offroading vehicle. The only vehicles that could survive this kind of beating are those only available to the army or something ok?”

“Do you mean humvees?”

Han Joonseok asked. He was someone who knew a little bit of this and that. It wasn’t surprising that he knew about military grade vehicles.

“No, they have something more suited for us in the form of a truck. You’ve seen them around here remember?”

“Ah, you mean those trucks covered with tarpaulin?”

“Yep. You can stow maybe 20 people in the back and it can also carry a lot of our equipment. And you can even modify it so that people can sleep in there too. It looks a bit bulky on the outside but it’s the best vehicle for offroading.”

“How much does something like that cost?”

I asked. Buying a car or two isn’t a problem if we just hunted for a day or two and sold the items.

“They run up to about 30,000 dollars. They’re a bit on the expensive side but it comes with alot of options just for hunters.”

“Would we be able to make the purchase at Manripo?”

They did have a autobody shop, but I didn’t remember seeing a dealership.

“Even if we can’t immediately, we should be able to soon. Because vehicles are as useful as having two feet in the new land. There is no way that car dealers would not jump at such a great opportunity.”

Han Joonseok responded.

“Hm. Then let’s head back. We’re almost out of supplies and the car is having issues so that would be best.”

We were planning to finish up our hunting through the end of day anyway. Instead of continuing our hunt and getting stranded, it was better to return to Manripo.

***

After leaving the Southern Marshes and returning to the entry point, we saw that a bunch of new temporary shops and buildings had been set up in the span of a week.

They were all in the form of modular buildings. Additionally, we saw long stretches of roads had been paved. It was amazing how fast things changed in such a short time.

The main reason for paving the roads was to ward off monsters.

“It looks like we don’t even have to go all the way to Manripo.”

Cho Youngoo whistled and said. I nodded my head in agreement.

Just the parked cars alone numbered over several hundred. There weren’t any civilian vehicles most of them were 4 wheel drive trucks. There were quite a few motorcycles as well.

“It looks like they moved all the buildings from Manripo to here.”

Han Joonseok said after examining the many buildings. When we got closer, we saw a sign that said The Yellow Sea of the West Sea.

It looked like they had already named this bustling city as well. It was probably not something done officially but, more likely than not, just hurriedly put together and posted up.

They probably did this in an effort to label the land as Korea’s amidst the rising tension with China.

We drove in and parked our vehicle. It didn’t take long for us to find a hostel. The city was organized in groups to make finding everything easier. There were even policemen patrolling around the alleys carrying firearms.

“Wow, pretty scary. Do they have to walk around like that?”

Cho Youngoo asked.

“Of course. Hunters are basically human weapons. If there aren’t policemen around, fights would just break out everywhere.”

“Still.”

“I bet the police force is stretched thin because they’re forced to come here.”

I said as I looked around. The West Sea had appeared out of nowhere so it was likely they were using personnel who should be devoted elsewhere.

***

“Hm….”

My throat was parched. Manager Kim had forced me to drink yet again last night and half the night was a blank.

“Euum…”

I tried to get up to get some water, but my body was very heavy.

I forced my sleepy eyes to open, and I saw a head on top of my body.

Sooah had fallen asleep using me as a pillow.

I placed her head onto the floor and slowly got up.

Squeak.

“Ah….”

Yeonkyoung, who was coming out of the shower, briefly locked eyes with me. She wasn’t wearing a bathrobe, but she had on a white tshirt and shorts. I could slightly see through the areas that were wet from her hair.

Jeez.

I stopped my eyes from trying to glance at areas I shouldn’t and spoke.

“You’re up early.”

“Ahso are you.”

“Uhbut why was I sleeping here?”

We had checked into two rooms. One was for the men, and one for the women. Since the rooms were large, there was no reason for me to have slept here.

“Unnie was a bit drunk and carried you here.”

“Is that so….”

I turned around to look at Sooah. It looked like she was awake too she was rubbing her eyes and staring at us.

Then, surprised, she covered her face with her blanket.

“Huh? Don’t look. My face is probably swollen all to hell.”

I’ve already seen you like that plenty of times. What does covering it now do?

“But what are you doing here so early?”

“From what I hear, you carried me here.”

“HmI guess I did it out of habit.”

Out of all of us, I had the lowest tolerance for alcohol.

And it was Sooah’s job to carry me home because she was the only one physically capable of doing so.

Since no one had to go home yesterday, in her drunken state, she seemed to have done what she always did except dropped me off at her and Yeonkyoung’s room.

“I tried to stop her but she was too strong so…”

“Well. Makes sense.”

Since porters have to be extremely strong to carry around the hefty backpacks, I’m sure that Yeonkyoung wouldn’t have been able to push Sooah back even a little. On top of that, Sooah had the garter meaning I was probably the only one on our team who could rival her in shear strength.

“And then after she put you down on the floor, she immediately passed out.”

“Did I do anything ‘bad’?”

Sooah asked with puppy dog eyes.

“No. You just fell right to sleep.”

“Darn. I can’t believe I missed such a great opportunity.”

“Hey hey. What on earth is going through that head of yours?”

“Well we were both super drunk anyway. Whatever I might have done, it wouldn’t have hurt any of our honor since we wouldn’t have remembered it.”

“Alright alright anyway. Let’s go eat. I’ll go and wake everyone else up.”

“Ah, everyone already went out for the day.”

Yeonkyoung responded.

“Hm? Where?”

I was surprised they were able to get up and about so early after drinking so hard last night.

“They said they were going to check out an autobody shop and a dealership. Ah. Manager Kim is still here though. He’s probably still asleep. As the other three left, they said not to wake him.”

“That old man. Then let’s just go eat by ourselves. We can drop by the hunter market on the way.”

“Oh, you want to sell some items?”

“Well. We need to sell them quickly before the value drops any more.”

Even now, items were flooding the West Sea. At this rate, the price of items will keep dropping.

“Just wait five minutes. I’ll hurry and wash so we can leave.”

Sooah jumped up from where she was laying.

“Hearing that we’re going to make money woke you right up did it?”

“Of course! Money is the best! I’d say it’s something like my life goal?”

“Alright enough money talk. Just hurry up and get washed so we can leave.”

“Yes, owner!”

“Stop. Don’t do that.”

I just got the chills.


The hunter market was on the other side of the city. Saying it like this made it seem really far, but it was only about a 10 minute walk.

“Heuung~”

Sooah’s footsteps were light.

She then turned her head and said.

“How much do you think we’ll get?”

“A whole lot.”

I couldn’t make a more accurate estimate. The price of items were ever changing, and there was a high chance that the value of items  had dropped from our last time here.

On top of that, the market took a 10% commission off the sale of items.

Luckily though, the value of a used and new item were the same because it didn’t change the quality or ability of the item either way.

As we left the rest area with hostels, we entered the commercial area. This was a place where hunters, who put their lives on the line, spent their money without restraints.

The buildings themselves were prefabricated modules, but the food and alcohol being sold within were on the expensive side.

But that wasn’t to say there weren’t any restaurants serving more affordable fare. This was where the hunters who were just starting out at the West Sea came to eat.

“Should we eat first?”

“No. I don’t think I can eat a bite just yet.”

Sooah shook her head. I guess she was really curious just how much we earned. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t either.

As soon as we came to the market, we saw several dozens of people waiting in line.

As there were many expensive items on sale, there were just a ton of guards on duty. Though they weren’t hunters, they were equipped with weapons like stun guns.

Additionally, the market was right next to the police station. Security was high.

“Oh? I’m surprised to meet you someplace like this.”

A woman officer  looked at me and said.

I lightly nodded and looked down. Sooah jabbed me in my said and asked.

“Who is this?”

“You don’t remember?”

“MmI don’t think so. It’s not as if I’d have any business with a copah, wait. Are you that cop from last time?”

“Uh. Lieutenant Sohn Aram, right?”

She was the officer who had checked to see if I had a skill that time we got into a bit of a scuffle with the highschoolers on the playground.

I started wondering why she was stationed all the way out here when she seemed to be higher up in the ranks.

She looked at me in surprise.

“You remembered my name, even?”

“Well, I have pretty good memory so…”

Of course this was a lie. I only remembered her name because she was a beauty.

“But why are you all the way out here?”

“Everyone hunter-related has been stationed out here. Since there are so many hunters coming out here, there really isn’t a reason for us to be back at home. But why are you here at the hunter market?”

“Aren’t there only two reasons a person would be out at the hunter market?”

“So which is yours?”

“Both. We’re here to sell some items, as well as buy some things that might be of use.”

“Wow, it seems you’ve done pretty well.”

“You could say luck was on our side.”

“Lieutenant Sohn!”

At that moment, we heard a voice calling out to her. Her eyes had turned into crescent moons.

Was she the type to smile easily? Her image was a bit different from when I met her at the Mapo Police Station.

“Then I’ll be going in. Don’t get into any trouble.”

“Well, you never know what will happen.”

I said as I shrugged my shoulders. As I watched her walk away, I felt someone burning holes in my back.

When I looked back, I saw that Sooah was not happy at all. She was biting her lip. Hard.

“Do you like her?”

“No, this is only the second time I’ve met her. What are you talking about?”

“I could see the way she kept smiling at you. She’s a complete fox. That girl.”

“An officer was just being polite to a civilian.”

“Definitely not. Ask Yeonkyoung.”

She poked Yeonkyoung side.

“Right?”

“Probably….”

“See. Yeonkyoung agrees with me.”

“Stop spouting nonsense. Let’s go sell some items.”

“If you don’t take care, she’ll swallow you whole.”

“Then I’ll be thankful.”

“Huh? Are you serious?”

“Someone like Lieutenant Sohn Aram is beautiful and she looks like she has a very pleasant personality. There’s no way I’d say no.”

“How can you…”

“And above all, she looks really good in uniform.”

“Partyhead. So you’re that kind of person.”

Yeonkyoung said.

Hm, it was a joke. Maybe I took it a bit too far?

I thought about taking it back, but decided not to.

Sooah started furiously pounding into her smartphone.

“What are you doing now?”

“None of your business.”

I knew she was probably doing something unreasonable again, but I just let her be. She’s a grown woman.


It was only after about 30 minutes later that it was finally our turn.

We went into a small room that was prepped for us inside the the market.

This was to prevent others from seeing what items are purchased and sold.

Theft between hunters was quite high. It was never a good idea to show others what you had.

Now that we had a lot of items in our possession, it was better to perform transactions in a separate room like this.

Tap.

Inside the small room was a wide table.

On the opposite side of the room was a large closet. It would seem that if we put an item in there, someone else on the other side would take it.

“How many items have you brought? If you put them atop this table, I will inspect them, and then give you the total price.”

The male worker said haughtily as if this were a nuisance.

Most market workers were very polite. Was he unhappy that he had to be all the way out here?

I leaned against the table and spoke.

“I kind of have a lot. Is that ok?”

“Our branch inventories several hundreds of items. If we included skills, we have that much more. No matter how many items you have brought, we would be able to afford it. Alsoit doesn’t seem as if you brought that many itemsfrom what I could tell.”

He responded after glancing at me and my two party members.

I didn’t bring any of my equipment here. The equipment that Sooah and Yeonkyoung had brought weren’t for sale, but for protection purposes.

“What you see isn’t all we have.”

“If there’s someone waiting outside, then can you have them step in? We’re a bit busy so…”

“We noticed you did have a long line.”

“We’ve been here for 3 hours without a break. So…”

He was probably trying to tell me to stop wasting his time. Well, I agree with him on that.

Though I didn’t like his attitude, there was no reason for me to keep dawdling.

“Alright then…”

I raised my hand into the air. The worker, who had been looking at me quizzically one second, was staring big Os at me in the next.

Slam! Clam!

What had been just air a moment ago was now spilling out with items galore. Items were piling over on the table and on the floor.

“This….this is…?”

Though he was a worker for a very popular branch, it seems he’s never experienced something like this before.

“There are 37 in all.”

There were originally 40, but I had taken 6 of them to fuse them into 3 level 2 items.

Though this reduced the total number of items, the value of all of them should have gone up by alot.

“Thiswhere did all this…”

“I don’t think that’s what is important right now.”

“Ah. Yes, certainly. Can you please step out for a moment and wait on stand by? It will take some time for me to inspect them all.”

He gave me a deep bow. As we walked out to where he had pointed to us, we were led to a room with VIP written on the door.

The room had a large sofa with drinks available to us. Since the room hadn’t looked big from the outside, we didn’t even imagine there would be an inner room like this.

“This is why people need to earn alot of money.”

Sooah sucked on her cocktail in large gulped as she twittered on.

“You will become something someday alright.”

“Are you making fun of me?”

“Then did you think it was a compliment?”

“Do you know that you’ve been really mean to me recently?”

“Then have you done anything to warrant any compliments?”

Sooah pouted.

“If I think about it, I haven’t really done anything compliment worthy either.”

Yeonkyoung whispered.

I pondered on what she just said. So is she asking me to be mean to her too?

“Since you’re working hard, it’s fine.”

“Ok…”

The only reason I was talking like this to Sooah was because she was the type to bounce back real quick. But Yeonkyoung was sensitive. I needed to be careful what I said to her.

Sock.

Sooah punched me in the side.

“Hey. What are you doing?”

“Oops. It slipped.”

“Wouldn’t people usually pinch or something?”

“But a fist hurts more.”

“Is that right…”

This was true butthis girl. Well, I gave her a light flick on the forehead right back.

“Ahhhk!”

A nice sound rung out as her head rebounded back. Did I do it too hard?

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