“Yes, all of the prisoners are C-rank, but the HSD Hunter is a B-rank, so there’s nothing to worry about . ”
Kim Sangshik relented and nodded . It was a basic theory that you needed at least 10 C-rank Hunters to defeat a single B-ranker . If such a B-ranker was offering to not only watch the prisoners but also help with the Raid, there was nothing to complain about .
‘A single B-ranker and three C-rankers…’
Jinwoo stared at the HSD Hunter and the prisoners with confusion .
‘Something’s weird . ’
There was a strange killing intent spilling forth from one of them . Was this an effect of the sense stat, or was he just imagining things out of worry? Whatever it was, Jinwoo could not help but feel uneasy .
He whispered to Juhee,
“Juhee-ssi, please don’t go on this Raid . ”
She looked around then responded,
“What about you?”
He answered her question with a question,
“If I go?”
“Then I’m also going . ”
Her face was determined to follow him .
‘I understand you’re worried about me, but…’
Having experienced her stubbornness in the past, Jinwoo relented .
‘I suppose everything should be alright if I’m there . ’
After all, he had single handedly defeated Hwang Dongseok’s party, which included 5 C-rankers .
“Alright . Alright . ”
The HSD Hunter finished with the documents then appeared before all the Hunters .
“I’m Kang Taeshik of the Hunter Surveillance Department . I’m sure you’ve already heard the situation . I’ll be keeping a close eye on them, so don’t worry about those bastards . ”
He gestured towards the prisoners, and they came to him and held out their cuffed hands . One by one, Kang Taeshik uncuffed them .
“Aw man, that was really uncomfortable . ”
“You can’t drag us around like this . We’re not slaves, ya know?”
The freed prisoners rubbed their wrists and complained . Ignoring them, Kang Taeshik turned toward the Hunters .
“Who’ll be leading the Raid today?”
Having taken the responsibility normally, Song Chiyeol half-heartedly raised his hand .
Kang Taeshik nodded,
With Song Chiyeol in front, the Hunters started entering the Gate .
“Let’s go . ”
Jinwoo and Juhee also stood before the Gate . Remember her last trip into a Dungeon, Juhee lightly held on to Jinwoo’s sleeves as they entered .
The Dungeon this time was filled with goblins . Faced against the weakest humanoid type magic beasts, the Raid was a lot easier than expected .
Even before he had powered up, Jinwoo could take on these bizarre looking things . He carefully defeated of them one by one . His combat prowess surprised Juhee and Song Chiyeol, who had not remembered him like this .
Jinwoo was using the bare minimum power required, as to not get noticed, but the difference between his old self was still noticeable .
Juhee approached him and asked,
“Have-have you been learning somewhere?”
“That’s er… I’ve been running every day . ”
Juhee was confused, but it wasn’t exactly a lie .
‘But… I’m not getting any experience points…’
The enemy’s level was too low . You’ve gained no experience points .
The enemy’s level was too low . You’ve gained no experience points .
Jinwoo was disappointed . All he kept getting was the message that the goblins’ levels were too low .
‘At this rate…’
Even worse, the magic cores from the goblins were the lowest tier possible . Jinwoo looked around . Excited at the freedom of movement after a long time, the prisoners were going all out on the goblins .
It was hard to tell who was the human and who was the beast .
‘Looks like I don’t have to do that much . ’
Still, he wasn’t getting experience or good income . This concerned Jinwoo,
‘If it’s going to be like this all the time, should I just leave the Association?’
The Raids under the Association were mostly D-rank or E-rank Gates, and if he was not getting any experience points in those low-level Dungeons, there was no point to staying with the Association .
‘And at this point, I can easily take care of mother’s hospital bills…’
He could leave the Association whenever he wanted . This was why having money was good . It allowed Jinwoo more freedom in the paths that he could take .
While he was lost in thought, the party had ventured deep into the Dungeon .
They came across three different paths . Kang Taeshik suggested to Song Chiyeol,
“The Dungeon’s difficulty is rather low . Shall we split up here?”
“Sounds good . ”
Song Chiyeol agreed . Jinwoo closed his eyes and focused his senses .
‘Now which path leads to the boss?’
He had hoped at least the boss would give him some small amount of experience . Soon, the energy of the various lifeform in the Dungeon entered his senses . Opening his eyes, Jinwoo told Song Chiyeol,
“Ahjussi, let’s go to the left path . ”
“Alright . ”
Jinwoo, Juhee and Song Chiyeol chose the left path . Kang Taeshik and the prisoners chose the right path . The remaining two went down the middle path .
Jinwoo’s heartbeat increased slightly .
‘The boss is at the end of this path . ’
It couldn’t be called strong, but it definitely gave off a tougher presence than the goblins . Jinwoo wanted to get to the boss quickly . But just after taking few steps into the left path, a group of goblins appeared and blocked their way .
“Kikik . ”
“Kiriririk . ”
“Kiiik . ”
There was about ten of them . Holding wooden clubs, wooden swords and wooden staves, the goblins gave absolutely no sense of danger to Jinwoo .
‘Aren’t they tired of this?’
Jinwoo scrunched his face in annoyance . These worthless things that ran at him with no experience points or money were just a thorn at his sides .
“There are ten of them…”
“What should we do? Should we group with the others and come back?”
However, the other two with him were taking it much more seriously .
“Well, since they’re just goblins, we should just give it a go . ”
“Hmm… Okay . ”
A fireball appeared in Song Chiyeol’s hand and Juhee began preparing her healing magic . Jinwoo scratched the back of his head .
‘Now that I think about it, I’ve never been this relaxed in a Dungeon before…’
Was it because he had become incomparably stronger? Applied to a familiar situation from his old life, Jinwoo finally began to feel the changes that he was undergoing .
Song Chiyeol interrupted his thoughts,
“Sung-ssi, are you ready?”
“Yes . ”
Jinwoo matched the pace of his teammates and slowly stepped up towards the goblins . Suddenly, a scream rang forth from somewhere .
It wasn’t goblin . It was a human scream . Jinwoo and co . looked at each other . Just as they thought the screams had died out, another one rang forth .
Song Chiyeol’s face hardened,
“Let’s go check it out . ”
The three Hunters quickly ran towards the direction of the scream . Jinwoo could’ve easily went ahead of the two but decided to match their speed for their safety . After running for some time, they came across the source .
Juhee discovered someone and shouted,
“Over there! Someone is…”
The HSD Hunter Kang Taeshik was kneeling on the ground, covered in blood . He shouted at the approaching party,
“B-be careful! Those bastards are still around somewhere!”
Appearing to have shouted with the last bit of his strength, Kang Taeshik collapsed face-down onto the ground . Unable to ignore him, Juhee quickly ran toward his body .
“I’ll heal him!”
Even after everything she had gone through, Juhee still held pride as a B-rank Healer . Even if there were enemies around, her healing would be quick . She concluded that it would be best to heal Kang Taeshik before they could attack .
“Please just wait . ”
She held out her hands in front of Kang Taeshik, and a light gathered in her hands .
It was in that moment, Kang Taeshik shot up from the ground and stretched a hand filled with magic power toward Juhee’s throat .
Before his hand could reach Juhee’s throat, someone grabbed his wrist in the nick of time .
Taking few steps backwards in surprise, Juhee fell onto the ground .
Kang Taeshik was surprised .
‘Someone stopped my attack at this distance?’
It was easy for a higher-ranking Hunter to dispose of a lower-ranking one . That’s why his first target was the female Hunter, who was a B-ranker like him . Fortunately for him, she was a noncombat-class Hunter, so he had expected to take care of her easily through a surprise attack .
But his attack… was stopped .
The efforts he put toward acting disappeared in a puff of smoke .
Kang Taeshik’s eyes followed the hand holding his wrist to Jinwoo’s face . Jinwoo’s eyes were filled with murderous intent . Kang Taeshik frowned,
“Just a shitty Association-affiliated Hunter?!”
Kang Taeshik’s other fist flew towards Jinwoo’s face, but the man easily turned his head and dodged the attack .
Kang Taeshik threw aside Jinwoo’s grip with strength .
Jinwoo was also surprised . It was a strength worthy of a high-ranking Hunter .
Having freed himself from Jinwoo’s hands, Kang Taeshik rained his fists upon him mercilessly . Not losing to his speed, Jinwoo dodged and counterattacked .
Hit! Strike! Woosh! Bam! Pow!
The two men ceaselessly traded and evaded each other’s blows . Neither of them backed off .
While they were fighting, Song Chiyeol grabbed Juhee and pulled her away from the danger .
Juhee could not speak, stunned . Song Chiyeol was even more surprised than her .
‘How is this possible…?’
Their offense and defense were happening at an unbelievable speed . It was too fast even to track with his own eyes . The high-ranking Hunter’s movements made sense, but Sung Jinwoo was not the man he had remembered . The young man was keeping up with the B-ranker .
‘His speed is too fast even for this C-ranker’s eyes!’
He was correct on his feelings earlier . The Jinwoo that was fighting before him was not the same weak E-ranker from before .
Having traded dozens of exchanges in a blink of an eye, the two fighters backed away from each other to catch their breath .
Jinwoo looked at Kang Taeshik with narrowed eyes,
“The blood on your clothes… It’s not yours, is it?”
Kang Taeshik rubbed his wrists replied,
“That’s right . It’s those fuckers’ blood . Putting that aside, to think that I’d meet a Hunter like you here . ”
He was truly awed . He had no idea that there was an Association-affiliated Hunter that was a high-ranker .
‘This is not good . ’
He had thought that today was the best opportunity to act, but Jinwoo’s appearance had thrown a wrench in his plans .
Kang Taeshik asked out of curiosity,
“Who are you? What’s your ranking?”
Jinwoo summoned Casaka’s Poisoned Fang in his hand and answered .
“Sung Jinwoo . E-rank . ”