Standing before me, she was dressed in her Arachne leather armor and had on her Redemption necklace. On her hip, she had her Bastard sword.
She was staring back at me, fully garbed in her hunter gear.
“What’s this? Why are you all dressed in your hunter gear?”
“Because it’s obvious exactly what you were thinking. Let’s go. You want to test your new weapon right? There’s no point in testing it out without my gear.”
“Were you always this quick thinking?”
“I’m not an idiot. Give me some credit ok?”
She gave a smirk before walking towards the hostel door while dusting her armor off.
“Here, take this.”
I passed her a long cloak that had been hanging on the wall.
“What’s this for?”
“If you walk around dressed like that in this neighborhood, something bad is bound to happen to you. Use common sense.”
The man to woman ratio at the West Sea City was completely off. It was almost 9 to 1.
This meant it was very easy for a female hunter to get into troubleeven more so if she were to be dressed in armor that hugged every curve as hers did.
There were too many men in this city who were lacking in morals.
“Ho? Are you showing some jealousy? Possessiveness, perhaps?”
“That’s not it ok?”
It was because I didn’t need some unnecessary trouble to happen when it can be easily prevented. There was even that time when Sooah and Yeonkyoung stirred trouble at the market with that weasel and his crew. But I can’t deny that I did feel a little something. Maybe it was a bit of jealousy. Anyway.
If I wanted to upgrade the dancing sword again, I would need another 500 ores.
The ores I had left (invested in my manual) was 676. I decided to first gather enough ores to upgrade my manual first before I performed a second upgrade on the dancing sword.
“Where are we going?”
“Just follow me. I don’t want us to practice in an area with lots of people and end up becoming a spectacle.”
“I was just curious hehe.”
I don’t know why she was so happy but she was smiling ear to ear the entire time we traveled to our destination.
It was about 20 minutes of walking after leaving the city that we finally found an empty area.
Since there weren’t any monsters in this area, it made sense there wouldn’t be any hunters either.
“This spot looks good. If someone were looking this direction from far away, they won’t even notice we’re here.”
This area was like a plain with few grass and trees. If there were any suspicious characters or monsters nosing around, we would be able to spot them right away. It was really not a bad place for some training.
Sooah looked around for a minute before she hugged the cloak around herself and said.
“Hummwhat are you trying to do after bringing me to such a remote and empty place like this?”
I brought out a level 1 bow from my manual. This was something I had stored specially for Kelby to eat. Since it was an extra item, it didn’t take up a slot in my manual.
And aside from this item, I had a few more in storage that were broken.
“Can I really shoot you?”
“It’s fine. With your skill, I could easily dodge anything you shoot at me. I just want to see just how good the dancing sword’s defensive skills are so don’t worry and shoot.”
She held the bow I handed off to her and pulled back the drawstring.
Though she didn’t have any real experience shooting with a bow and arrow, we were only 10 meters apart.
At this distance, even an absolute beginner should be able to hit their target.
“I’m going to shoot now.”
“Whenever you’re ready.”
The arrow flew at me with a frightening speed. It might have been because she was strong but even without any archery skills, she was able to shoot one scary ammo. If I didn’t concentrate, I was sure I would find myself with an extra unwanted hole somewhere.
But almost immediately the dancing sword parried the arrow away.
It was a pretty fast and strong arrow, but the sword was able to block it easily. I had a feeling the sword would be able to block at least level 2 attacks.
I made her shoot the arrow several times with different speed. But after confirming the sword continue to parry them all time and time again, I had her change tactics to a frontal assault.
Sooah took the level 3 bastard sword off her belt and held it up.
After telling the dancing sword to defend me, I stood in front of her.
I was a bit more frightened than before this time around. If I felt the sword couldn’t block her attack, I needed to act quick and dodge her myself so I needed to be all the more focused.
Even if it was me, I knew I wouldn’t escape unscathed if I were to receive a direct hit from someone wearing the Redemption Necklace that allowed her to copy my ability speed in this case.
“Why don’t you start out attacking me using all the techniques you have. I want to know the extent of this sword’s abilities.”
“I’ll start slow then.”
“I’ll leave it to you.”
She hit the ground hard as she jumped up into the air.
I thought she said she would start out slow….?
The bastard sword and dancing sword clashed violently.
I worried that one or both of the blades would shatter but, surprisingly, the dancing sword was able to parry the ferocious attack made by Sooah with no issues though it did get pushed back a bit.
But it was enough to shock Sooah so much that it kept her from making an immediate second attack.
“Thisthis doesn’t make any sense? I literally put all my strength behind that blow.”
“I meanso why did you goumfrom the start…”
“If I go easy on you, the test won’t be a test.”
Sooah said with a bit of emotion mixed in her voice.
Did I do something wrong again?
Anyway, thanks to her help, I was able to finish the test on the sword’s defense and offensive abilities successfully. Put simply, the dancing sword was able to defend against even a level 4 attack.
We also confirmed that the dancing sword was unable to respond if Sooah were to copy my speed and move as fast as she could.
But since there aren’t too many people who would be able to move that quickly, I wasn’t overly concerned about that point.
I did find one thing that was lacking with its offensive ability. Since it was ‘blunt’ after all, cutting something was a foregone conclusionit would only be able to deliver blunt force attacks.
I had it try and attack Sooah, but it was unable to hit her even once so I had her take off her Redemption necklace and try the test again.
This time, I told the sword to attack the ‘armor’ instead and it was finally able to get a few attacks in. Since her armor as the level 3 Arachne armor, she didn’t get hurt at all.
For now I would just have to make do with its defensive ability being the key point of the weapon.
Trying out different methods and fighting scenarios to fully understand the sword helped the time fly by.
Without even realizing it, almost two hours had passed.
“Should we keep at it? I’m kind of hungry.”
“Let’s stop here. I feel like we pretty much found out everything we need to know about this thing anyway.”
I brought Kelby out.
“Why’d you bring him out?”
“Ah, to feed him this.”
I gave the level 1 bow we had used during practice to the fella.
“Ah, such a waste. It was probably worth 100k.”
“No you can’t think of it that way. This guy has an important role in keeping everyone on the party safe. It’s an investment.”
Seeing Kelby eat the bow with such vigor really stirred my appetite.
Ignoring Sooah’s excited clamor to eat alone, I called everyone else and we headed over to where they were.
Jongsawon and the rest of the bike enthusiasts were still at the motorcycle store.
Han Joonseok said, the first one to realize I was there.
“Did you guys find anything good?”
“Yes, we found a few that would be suitable to ride even on unpaved roads. I figured if we were going back to the forest, we would need bikes that would be able to move quickly in that landscape rather than one to stow in the truck.”
Though we were there only for a brief time, it was quite apparent that mobility would be an issue with just the truck alone.
The narrow forest pathways were restricted even further by the growing branches of the trees.
The roads that our truck would be able to drive through were limited.
We definitely needed a different mode of transportation for that reason.
But there weren’t too many of our party who could ride a bike. Park Hanbum and Jong Sawon could ride one skillfully.
Han Joonseok and Cho Youngoo knew how to ride from their time delivering chicken, but riding one on the unpaved roads of the forest was a different matter altogether.
So what he had chosen was an ATV, All Terrain Vehicle a vehicle that would be able to traverse across all terrain.
It was a four wheel bike that could be seen in many a touristy areas.
“With this, even someone who isn’t used to riding a bike would be able to get around. They even have two seater vehicles for those who aren’t comfortable driving at all. They can just ride shotgun in the passenger seat.”
“Well, let’s just keep it in mind as an option for now. We might not even have to go back to the forest area for a while.”
If I were to be completely honest, I hoped we wouldn’t have reason to go back there.
The main reason being because fighting against humans has a much higher risk factor than fighting against monsters.
Though the reward was that much higher as well, what use is all that money if you were dead?
Ring ring ring-
As we were headed to go eat, my cell began to ring.
I glanced at it to see that it was Lieutenant Sohn Aram. I sent everyone else to go ahead to the restaurant while I took the call.
She was quiet for a moment. Unable to wait a second longer, I spoke first.
“Is there anything wrong?”
-[That isI have a sort of difficult request to ask of you.]
“What sort of request…?”
-[Would you be able to accompany me to the forest?]
I immediately said no. There was no reason for us to go. But what she said after that made me halt mid-step.
Lieutenant Aram was hand selected by the inspector to head the Forest Research Committee, and one of her duties involved hiring the appropriate hunters to explore the area.
I couldn’t shake off the feeling this all happened because of the bulletin I had posted.
Because of that bulletin, we forced the police’s hand and someone had to go explore the validity of that posting. Since no one volunteered to enter the dangerous forest, they hand chosen her.
“SoI guess this is pretty much my fault.”
-[It isn’t entirely your fault. And it wasn’t my goal to use your guilt to force you to join me. But it is the truth that you are the only person I thought would be of any help on this task.]
“Hm. It’s a bit difficult for me to make my decision immediately. I’ll meet with my party members and discuss the situation with them first before I commit to an answer.”
-[I will await a positive response.]
I never imagined things might end up this way. I expected that we would be able to get some more rest while we pondered the issue of the Chinese hunters and awaited updates from our bulletin. Since we had earned quite a bit of money, we would have had the freedom to do so.
But this changed things accelerated our plans quite a bit. In fact, they were scheduled to explore the forest by tomorrow; meaning I had to make my decision by today. Would my party members be up for going back into the forest?
“I want to go.”
“We have to go.”
“It would be better to go.”
Instead of answering, Jong Sawon just nodded his head in agreement with everyone else.
It was a unanimous decision to go. It seemed I was the only reluctant one of the group.
“I have said this several times, but I will say it again. It might become dangerous in there.”
“Why are you worrying so much? Were we ever not in any danger? I don’t know why you are always stressing danger as if we can’t take care of ourselves?”
Sooah said as she stared at me.
“Because this isn’t a decision we should make lightly.”
I was concerned that no one was taking this seriously. One wrong move and it could mean a life lost.
No one knows just how many enemies could be hiding within the forest.
Han Joonseok spoke up.
“I can understand why you are worried. But we are all hunters here. We are all aware of the dangers we face and the dangers we could face at any moment.”
“I feel like Sunbeh Oppa only thinks of us as children or people you have to take care of.”
“Haha, are you saying you can’t trust us that much?”
At their responses, I could feel the heat rising to my cheeks as they turned a bright red.
They were right.
Each and every one of them were fellow hunters, not people I had to look after as if they were my children.
“Anyway, even though I don’t like that Sohn Aram lady, since this happened because of us, I think it’s only right that we take responsibility.”
“But are we going to be paid for this? I mean, we can’t lend ourselves out for free. Right?”
“I will call her and ask.”
-[I’m sorry butwe can only pay 2,000 per person.]
“Isn’t that the same thing as not paying us anything?”
-[Haa, this is all we can do with our budget. Can you understand better now why I contacted you instead of other hunters?]
I had expected that they wouldn’t be paying us much. But 2,000 was a bit harsh. Even if they were to hire level 1 hunters, they would have had to pay more than that.
“The price is too low. It would be difficult for me to persuade my party members with that amount.”
-[Can’t we work something out? I know this is a favor but…]
If she needed to, she could have forced me to come for that low fee by playing on my guilt. Her not doing that was considerably attractive to me.
My team wanted to help, and so did I. But we could not do it for free. And 2,000 was the same thing as free. We needed to be paid in some way or another that matched our worth.
“Would it be possible for us to get some ores out of this deal then?”
-[Ores? Why on earth…]