Just as the title hinted, it was a simple list of items. They were generally level 1 and level 2 items, but I spied a few level 3 items in there as well.
What was most surprising though was the quantity of items. I tried to roughly add them up in my head. All I knew for sure was that there were over 500 unique items in all.
With this many items, it would be safe to assume that all of items gathered by all their hunters stationed here were recorded in this book.
If we could just take possession of all the equipment written in this book…I couldn’t even imagine how much that would be worth.
There was a catch though. The book didn’t say anything about where they kept all of the recorded items.
Manager Kim sidled up to me and peered into the book as he asked.
“What’s that book about?”
“It contains written record of all the items they took possession of from this land. If I include the number of ores too….there is over 100 million items in all.”
Sohn Aram asked with rounded eyes.
That number was definitely something unfathomable to us…I couldn’t imagine what it sounded like to someone who wasn’t a hunter.
“I say this but the problem is that we lack the time and the means to find all of those items.”
“Hm….that’s a pity….”
“Can’t we find some way…it really is a pity.”
Manager Kim and Cho Youngoo whispered to themselves.
I agreed 100%. To know that there was a fortune gathered somewhere….ready for the taking…this was extremely appealing.
My priority took a slight shift. The truck became a smaller worry in the scheme of things. If we could just find their stash of items, the loss of items from that truck was trivial.
“Can’t we just send out Kelby to look for them?”
“Hm? Why do you say that?”
“Well….items are like sustenance for him. I have a feeling that he would be able to track and find them.”
“You know what…now that you say that…it does make sense.”
It was just as she said. But what was this dog doing still not coming down from the trees?
In order to get up to the building that was sitting 30 meters above ground, I had to climb up the tree of climb up the hanging rope.
Both were annoying options, but I had to go up to bring Kelby back down.
During that time, we agreed to have everyone else to bring back the other vehicles to this spot.
When I finally reached the top, I found Kelby. He was leisurely chewing on a sword. It probably belonged to the hunter who fell down to his death early, but from this angle it looked like a doggy treat.
“Hurry up and finish that so we can get down. We have something for you to do.”
At my words, Kelby pawed at what remained of the sword before swallowing it in one gulp. Is there some kind of black hole in that small body of his or something? How is he able to swallow half a sword in one bite?
He is definitely not normal.
While I was up here, I decided to look around a bit. But there was nothing useful here. Those two books that dead hunter had on him were the only things we could really use.
I wondered if he came to steal the books while everyone or if he were assigned caretaker of the books…either way, they were now ours.
“I need you to find where they hid all of their items.”
Yeonkyoung asked Kelby as she hugged him to her chest. As soon as she gave the order, Kelby immediately put his nose to the ground and began sniffing.
A dog’s sense of smell is 1000 to 10 million times stronger than a human’s.
Since a dog is able pick up the scent of food from several kilometers away, it wasn’t unbelievable that Kelby might locate the items.
Kelby gave one loud bark before he started running into the forest. Everyone in their respective ATVs revved our vehicles and quickly gave chase.
“If….there are over 200 hunters…which I suspect from the number of treehouses…this could end up being bloodbath between the Chinese hunters and the Ezekiel group.”
Sohn Aram said from the passenger seat.
“Nothing is for sure yet. But, I can say that the possibility of that is very high. Both sides will suffer a lot of casualties.”
“I want to say I’m rooting for the Ezekiel guys…”
“Why is that?”
Sohn Aram exclaimed in surprise as she looked at me.
“…I’m sorry. I only asked because I had some bad run ins with the Ezekiel group.”
“Ah…I see. I didn’t know…”
“No that’s fine. You’re right. If I had to pick a side to win, it would be better for an enemy of mine but a fellow countryman to win.”
This isn’t because I am giving them a break. It’s because if the Ezekiel group won, they wouldn’t be able to do whatever they wanted on our land as opposed to the Chinese hunters who wouldn’t be bound by our country’s laws.
In the end, we’d probably have to fight with whoever won though…no matter who it was.
“Do you think they can win?”
“I don’t know. Nothing is for sure…”
“But there is a variable that could mean everything.”
“Firearms. If the other side uses firearms, the Ezekiel team could get pushed back fairly easily.”
This was true. Firearms were of no use to hunters because they had almost no effect on monsters. But if the Chinese were armed with firearms that the Ezekiel most likely did not have…it could be a game changer. The Chinese would be able to attack while Ezekiel would only be able to defend themselves using armor. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an armor that covers every inch of your body.
The only saving grace was that the Chinese would not have too many among them with firearms since that isn’t how hunters fight.
It was then. A hunter emerged from within the trees along our path. Because Kelby didn’t warn us, we had been unprepared.
He had a long bow in hand.
“Shit! It’s dangerous…”
Just when I was about to let out a yell of warning, another hunter from behind a tree emerged to throw a spear. The spear lodged squarely into the first hunter’s forehead.
In the next instant, a sword had sliced across the throat of the hunter who had thrown the spear.
We all quickly got out of our ATVs and hid behind it.
Yeonkyoung called out to Kelby. He had run off somewhere and didn’t come back. Seeing how he didn’t give us any warning from this recent events or come back from Yeonkyoung’s call, he was probably distracted by something significant.
Did he find the items already?
But there was something else I wondered. Just where on earth were several hundred hunters fighting?
I don’t feel like there is anywhere in the forest open enough for such a thing to happen.
Then the answer came to me.
There wasn’t such an area.
This was how they were fighting the whole time.
Now that we had lost our scout, Kelby, we moved more carefully. As we moved in this manner, whether it was the Ezekiel or the Chinese, we took care of each and every one of them.
The number of hunters we took care of in this way slowly began to add up until they hit the double digits.
But we had yet to find neither our stolen truck nor the stash of items.
The enemies remained in the cover of the forest and short of having omniscience, we would not be able to get them all.
“It would be nice if we knew where we were…I lost my sense of direction because we were just following Kelby.”
“Ok let’s settle on a goal and move towards that.”
There was no point in just wandering around, hoping to luck on something. I looked for the tallest tree in the vicinity and climbed to the top.
If I were the Chungo group, where would I be?
Hm. If I had several hundreds of hunters attack me, the first thing I would think to protect would be the hoard of items.
I would probably try to drag on the time so that I could move all the items to a safe location little by little.
I knew I was on the right track now because then it made sense why they would steal out truck.
Now we just had to find the spot where they were most concentrated.
The problem was that the dense forest prevented me from being able to see where there were concentrations of hunters.
I got down from the tree and said to my party members.
“Let’s continue following the path. If my thoughts are correct, they will have stored all the items in a place accessible by a truck.”
The Chungho group had invaded the forested area by way of boats. This meant they would not have been able to bring over things like trucks with them.
The trucks we saw them riding around in were probably something they had stolen from other hunters as well. To the Chungho group, each truck they stole was probably treated very preciously – because it wasn’t a commodity they could just go out and buy like we were able to.
Whether by chance or by design, they took our truck and were probably going to use it to move their store of items.
Of course, this was only if they came out as the winners in the battle with Ezekiel.
“Wait. Do you hear that?”
Sooah said. At her words, everyone paused mid step and held their breaths.
Riding on the winds passing through the forest were the faint sounds of people screaming, weapons clashing, and things exploding.
“It sounds like a battle in earnest. Since we can hear them from here, we should be able to reach them in 10 minutes at the latest. And we don’t have any particular reason to hurry, so let’s just get there leisurely at this same pace.”
We didn’t need to hurry towards a battle that wasn’t ours, so we just continued walking in the direction of the sounds.
I felt it was to our advantage to keep ourselves hidden and observe what was happening before we made our presence known – that way we could make an informed decision on which side to join.
If the Ezekiel were losing, we would join the Ezekiel side…and if the Chungho group were losing, we would join their side.
Why? Because evening out the battlefield would drag things out and give us the time we need to take all the items.
I’m sure Lieutenant Aram wouldn’t approve of this plan, but I couldn’t worry about her.
And it’s not as if I needed her permission for anything either.
The forest was a bloodbath. Heads that have lost their owners were rolling around on the ground as if they were rocks.
Sooah put her fingers into her ears as she let out a moan. The explosions caused by the magicians were creating uncomfortable shockwaves hitting our eardrums.
The scene that unfolded before us was a shocking display of violence and full-fledged war between two sides with a total of 400 some hunters fighting for their lives.
I had assumed there wouldn’t be a clearing large enough for a real fight to take place.
I had assumed they would be fighting using the same tactics we saw earlier on the trail, and I had also assumed the fight would be dragged on for a long time.
I was wrong. They were all fighting – using up every free space of clearing.
A hunter who had just been shot in the eye with an arrow fell down screaming.
Hunters were dropping like flies left and right.
So this is war.
Going in was suicide. We would die without because able to use our skills or equipment.
I mimed to my party members to stay hidden and remain as quiet as possible. But I could have saved myself the time. They all knew it was too dangerous to let our presence known.
We slowly moved in this manner, and it took us over a minute to move about 10 meters.
If we wanted to do anything, the number of hunters on the battlefield needed to reduce by at least ⅔.
Kim Soohan, Kim Jungjae, Lee Jonghan, Choi Hansun, Park Wooram, Jung Yoonjae, Suh Sunghan, Park Ilsoo, Liu Angjae, Soon Jeupung, Gga Ohoo, Yoobi, Lee Uhlyang, Gga Oh, Liu Jjangshyung, Ryi Pai.
I took inventory of the hunters’ names and skills as they died.
Most were level 1 and level 2. There were quite a few level 3 hunters as well and the hunters doing the most damage on the battlefield were level 4 and higher.
After we confirmed we were a safe distance away, we climbed up a tree that gave us a clear view and observed.
“That looks like the storage.”
There was a roughly fashioned cabin in the distance. And next to it was our truck.
I felt like Kelby would be somewhere in that vicinity. But it was hard for us to get any closer at the moment.
If we didn’t want to make enemies of both the Ezekiel and Chungho group, we needed to wait it out.
“Whew….I thought I had seen it all but…”
Sohn Aram whispered. She was white as a sheet.
The battle only continued to build in ferocity as time passed on.
Then a hunter from the Chungho group emerged from hiding.
Name: Wee Woongbi
Skill: 7 Stars Sword (6)
Additional Skill: Fugetsu island, can give damage over a large range.
Meteor attack, shower of swords.
Equipment: Unmanned sword (6, 100% skill damage), Agency Mubok (1)
“He looks strong.”
“He’s a level 6. Even if it were our party, we would have a hard time fighting against him if I weren’t here.”
“To think that a level 6 hunter would be all the way out here…”
“If he were that skilled, wouldn’t he have been up in the north and not all the way out here? No, if he were that strong…why is he even risking his life in a place like this?”
Manager Kim puffed out in disbelief. But I disagreed.
If you are that strong, you start looking to become even stronger.
Unless you were incredibly old, there was almost no hunter who chose the path of a peaceful life after hitting level 6.
Wee Woongbi’s skill was a passive skill that affected his handle of the sword.
But he also had two additional options to his skill, and they were both powerful options that optimized his fighting ability.
I had the feeling if they couldn’t block him, the Chungho group would be victorious.
Wee Woongbi kicked the ground as he ran into the battlefield as he released his sword.
The blade’s ki flowed out of the sword like a thread. This was the 7 stars sword. You had but swing the sword to bring out the ki – which had the same deadly cutting ability as the actual blade itself.
If he were to use his two optional skills as well on top of the sword’s main skill, the Ezekiel team would be in big trouble.
What a hassle.
Now I knew I would have to intervene so that the Ezekiel team won’t be utterly slaughtered….was what I was thinking until another hunter appeared out of nowhere.
Name: Han Jungho
Skill: Eye of the wave (6)
Additional Skill: Invoking the Dragon
Equipment: Black uniform (3, Increase proficiency by 10 points)
He had a skill called Invoking the Dragon. I had only heard of this – I’d never seen it in real life so I don’t know what it does.
All I knew was that it was a skill on the same level as the 7 Stars Sword. But Han Jungho was severely lacking in his equipment compared to Wee Woongbi.
I became really curious by now if he would win against the geared up Woongbi.
“I know I shouldn’t say something like this when it’s life and death…but I’m excited.”
Sooah, who had been crouched right next to me whispered with a bright shine in her eyes.
This girl was definitely a peculiar sort. To think something like this would excite her.
But if I were to consider the fact that she was being excited in a situation where she could fall into danger at any given moment, she was definitely a hunter through and through.
It might be that running into countless dangers again and again like a machine had numbed her to them and made her a true hunter.
“You grew a lot. It seems like only yesterday when you were crying and begging me to save your life.”
“I’ll admit I cried, but I never asked you to save my life ok?”
“Is that so?”
“Um. I think?”
I thought about it for a second. It was true. Even when those lowlives had tried to rape her in the dungeon, she had only vowed vengeance while even in fear. She did not give in to the fear.
It was then that a loud ringing sound reverberated throughout the entire forest.
At the same time a loud roar erupted, two streams of blue jettisoned from Han Jungho’s hands in the form of a dragon.
Wee Woongbi, standing opposite of Han Jungho, immediately drew his sword and leapt into the air. Now 4 meters high in the air, he struck down with his blade.
Though it looked like a simple blade, what it did was anything but simple. Hundreds of rays light shot out from the weapon. Meteor attack, each ray of light was led by what seemed like a star that hurtled down with destructive force.
“Run away! Avoid the light!”
“Shit! I can’t move!”
The dozens of hunters who had been nearby were now immobilized by the tremendous energy released by Wee Woongbi and Han Jungho’s two attacks.
The body of the dragon had been split a dozen times over while the stars shattered into pieces as they met the ground.
The unlucky hunters who had been trapped among such power were immediately nothing but dust.
Sooah whispered in awe.
“Do you think you could have blocked it if it were you Sunbeh Oppa?”
“No. Evading is the only option.”
Even if it were me, I wouldn’t have challenged something like that.
“Then I’ll block it and Sunbeh Oppa can hide behind me. How about that.”
“I’m not trash. I wouldn’t ever cower behind another hunter no matter the power I’m up against. And if I had to block it, then I’m sure I’ll come up with something. The meteor shower…I can just block then one by one…While the blue dragon…I could probably aim for the origin point. It’s not impossible.”
“See, I could do something like that too!”
“You can only do something like that if your reflexes and sight were at least at my level…oh…I guess you could do it too then.”
I slowly finished after I saw her pointing to her neck and nodding silently with a huge smile. She had been pointing to the Redemption Necklace hanging around her neck.
The Redemption Necklace allowed her to become as strong as I grew. As long as she had that on, she would try her best to follow in my footsteps. It was too bad that she couldn’t think of battle strategy like this on her own.
I don’t know if these items were designed or made by someone in particular, but if they were, the person who designed that black choker was beyond a doubt a serious pervert.
It kept making me look at her in a weird way.
“It looks like a draw.”
Thanks to Han Joonseok’s voice, I was finally able to rip my attention from Sooah’s neck. Her face had turned a light shade of pink.
Was I staring too intently?
“It would be beneficial to us if they kept at it in this way but…the atmosphere is starting to become weird.”
Naturally, every other hunter had distanced themselves from the two stronger righters.
“If this keeps up, the outcome of the fight will be determined by which of the two wins.”
“That’s not good…it’s better if they all just died…”
I shut up before finishing my sentence. No matter what I felt, I shouldn’t say something so horrible as that.
“Mr. Han Joonseok?”
“Over there, can you shoot an arrow at that guy over there? Something really strong.”
I said as I pointed to Wee Woongbi. His armor was weak. Though the Dragon Killer wouldn’t be sufficient enough to take him out, it would still deal a good amount of damage.