Meanwhile, outside of the Red Gate .
Baek Yoonho’s expression was dark again . Ahn Sangmin gave a brief explanation of who Sung Jinwoo was, but the Guildmaster was not convinced .
“In the end, it’s just a theory, isn’t it?”
“Yes, sir . ”
The chief agreed . After all, there was nothing official on Sung Jinwoo yet .
‘If only the Guildmaster had seen Hunter Sung Jinwoo in person, he would’ve understood . ’
There was something definitely different about Sung Jinwoo . Unfortunately, Ahn Sangmin was frustrated at the fact that he could not explain this in words . Baek Yoonho glanced at the Gate .
“Then the person we have to place our hopes in is Kim Cheol . ”
Another voice spoke up,
“There should be no problems with that . ”
Another person had joined Baek Yoonho, Ahn Sangmin and Hyun Gicheol . The three men turned their gaze towards the newcomer . It was the First Management Division Chief, Joo Sungchan . He looked over at the three men and continued with confidence,
“We’ve already firmly educated Kim Cheol to prepare for any circumstances . ”
While new recruitment training was the Second Management Division’s job, the First Management Division directly managed the education of A-rank new recruits . For the talents that would be placed in Baekho’s main raiding party, their starting place would be different in the Guild . At Joo Sungchan’s confidence, Baek Yoonho relaxed a little .
“How was Kim Cheol’s scores?”
“They were very good . His combat abilities weren’t lacking at all compared to our main raiding party members . ”
“Is that so?”
A smile finally returned to Baek Yoonho’s face . Kim Cheol was an A-ranker . An existence among high-rankers that should be treated valuably . If that man was leading the B-rank Hunters of this Raid, he just might be able to clear this Dungeon . It was a shame about the C-rank Hunters, but to Baekho, the most important asset was the high-rankers .
‘Thankfully, it looks like Hunter Kim Cheol’s abilities are top notch . . . ’
The flickering embers of hope lit up again in his chest . Having reassured his Guildmaster, Joo Sungchan turned to Ahn Sangmin,
“I heard something about a Reawakened E-rank Hunter?”
Joo Sungchan snorted derisively,
“Compared a baseless theory like that, our Hunter Kim Cheol will be infinitely more reliable . ”
Ahn Sangmin’s expression hardened . The man was being blatantly condescending . However, Ahn Sangmin did not stoop to arguing with the Joo Sungchan .
‘The results will prove who is right…’
The four men all turned to the Red Gate in unison .
The color of the phenomenon looked like an ill omen of today .
“You . You’re not an E-rank, are you?”
The woman asked brazenly . Jinwoo replied,
“Then let me ask you something . ”
“Sure . ”
Jinwoo looked over to Kim Cheol’s party . They were making various plans before heading out .
“All of you, how could you be so calm as new recruits?”
“The first thing they teach us is that ‘Anything can happen in a Dungeon’ . ”
Anything can happen in a Dungeon . Jinwoo knew this better than anyone else here .
“We’ve all already received some education . Especially that man, Kim Cheol . He’s received a special training . They say he’ll enter Baekho’s main raiding party . ”
They were unafraid just because they had received some education . Jinwoo was aghast . He realized that there was little difference between them and Han Songyi . So they sat down in a classroom and were taught a few things, but how useful would it be in a real situation? They were arrogantly puffing out their chest, not knowing the terror of the Dungeon .
‘There is a huge difference between hearing about it in a classroom and experiencing it in real life . ’
In fact, walking around as if they knew the Dungeon, a slightest crack in their confidence would bring down the dam of their arrogance . It takes time to build up something so fragile but an instant to break it all down . Somehow, Jinwoo was able to see the fate of Kim Cheol’s party . They looked confident and fine on the outside, but he knew they were all beginners .
“You didn’t answer . ”
Jinwoo turned his gaze back to the strange woman .
“My question, you didn’t answer . ”
Was he really an E-rank . She was a rather persistent woman .
“Why do I have to tell you that?”
Although he had chosen to not answer her question, the woman, Park Heejin, pumped a fist inside her mind . She had met many people in her life, and she was able to understand their minds . Just now, Jinwoo’s answer was meant to deflect, but it had betrayed the confidence beneath the man .
‘I was right about him!’
There was one other reason why she was sure . In the past, she had trained with the high-rankers of Baekho and remembered the speed their movements . But Jinwoo’s hand just now . The hand that caught the arrow was faster than any of Baekho’s high-rankers .
‘I was barely able to understand what happened . ’
She was an athlete who Awakened as a Fighter-class . She was confident in her visual acuity but was unable to fully see Jinwoo’s movements . Park Heejin’s eyes were sparkling .
‘At the very least, this man’s an A-ranker . ’
“Could you just tell me?”
“No . ”
The casual conversation would stop here . Jinwoo turned his head . He did not want to continue this back and forth that would go nowhere . More importantly, Kim Cheol was walking towards them . Jinwoo and Kim Cheol’s eyes met .
“We . ”
Because of his gruff and low voice, no matter what his intentions were, the man’s voice was threatening .
“Will be heading down the road . ”
He was not here to simply let them know of their plans . Kim Cheol’s eyes were asking him what Jinwoo’s party would do . A subtle indication of “don’t follow us” was hidden beneath the words .
‘ . . . ’
Jinwoo looked around then replied,
“We’ll be heading down the forest . ”
“ . . . Good luck . ”
Well, the ones who’ll need luck are you guys . Jinwoo swallowed the words .
“You too . ”
Jinwoo’s team headed into the forest . After watching them disappear in the distance, Kim Cheol let out a laughter he had been holding in .
“Morons . ”
“What do you mean?”
“Look over there . ”
Kim Cheol uncrossed his arms and pointed from tree to tree . It wasn’t just in one place . Wherever he pointed, there was a territorial marking placed by some large beast .
“Bears . ”
Of the beast type magic beasts, the bear types were especially dangerous . The marks on the trees signified their territory . The Hunters in Kim Cheol’s team clicked their tongues .
“Tsk . tsk . ”
“Should’ve just waited here . ”
“Looks like that E-ranker’s going to get everyone killed . ”
“What does an E-ranker know?”
Kim Cheol looked towards the forest mockingly .
‘Of course, what does an E-ranker know?’
. . . Wait .
The smile disappeared from his face .
‘Their team has two C-rankers and even a B-ranker…’
So why did he consider Jinwoo to be their leader? He had not realized this until now . Kim Cheol shook his head,
‘ . . . Well, whatever . ’
They’ll all be dead soon anyways . Kim Cheol decided to focus on himself and put the weaklings out of his mind . The dead are dead, but the living should strive to live . Kim Cheol turned to the road and spoke with a strength in his voice,
“Let’s go . ”
Jinwoo walked in front of the group . However, he had only taken few steps when Park Heejin ran ahead of him and blocked his way .
“What is it?”
“Are you crazy?”
Jinwoo did not hide his annoyance and crossed his arms . “Choose your next words carefully” was the message . Reading the mood, Park Heejin lowered her voice,
“Sorry, but I have to say this . ”
She gestured at the trees around them,
“Do you see those?”
A large claw mark on a tree .
“And there . Over there too!”
In fact, it was harder to find an unmarked tree .
“The bears’ territorial marks are all over the place! This entire forest must be the home to bear magic beasts!”
In the animal kingdom, dogs and cats were weak compared to tigers and lions . It was the same with magic beasts . A dog type or a cat type magic beasts were far weaker than a tiger type or a lion type . And what about a bear type? Doubly so when it was a polar bear, a top predator among the animals . And right now, Jinwoo had lead his team into the territory of those terrifying magic beasts . It was understandable that Park Heejin was mad .
“We have to go back right now! Before the magic beasts come!”
Tsk tsk .
Jinwoo clicked his tongue .
Park Heejin had expected one of three responses from Jinwoo: anger, surprise or acceptance . Her expectations were off . Instead of acting like the one at fault, Jinwoo was instead looking down at her condescendingly .
‘Why-why is he looking at me like that?’
Feeling embarrassed, Park Heejin’s face turned red .
Her voice was raised again . Jinwoo sighed deeply and opened his mouth,
“Since it’s hard to find an unmarked tree, that means there are a lot of ice bears, right?”
“E-exactly, so we have to quickly-”
“That’s why we’re heading into the forest . ”
Park Heejin’s eyes were wide open .
‘Does she still not understand?’
Jinwoo decided to take the time to explain,
“In the forest, all we have to worry about are the ice bears . ”
Park Heejin finally understood the meaning of Jinwoo’s actions . If this forest was a home to many ice bears, that also meant that there was nothing here that threatened the ice bears . It meant they didn’t have to worry about any magic beasts stronger than ice bears .
‘Why didn’t I think of that…’
She felt embarrassed at yelling knowingly at the man . She could not raise her reddened face . Jinwoo clicked a tongue in his mind again . One of the scariest things about a Dungeon was that you did not know what kind of an enemy waited around the corner . Knowing the enemy was half the battle after all . And in this forest, the information about the enemy was all over the place .
‘Magic beasts in the form of a bear . ’
No matter how strong these ice bears were, Jinwoo was sure that they were weaker than the ice elves earlier . It was because the elves’ clothing was made of bear pelts . That’s why he selected the forest . His plan was to level-up here while keeping an eye out for Kim Cheol’s team and the White Walkers . That was the safest path he had determined .
‘ . . . ?’
Jinwoo stared suspiciously at Park Heejin,
“Why is your face so red?”
Her face was really red . She spoke with her head lowered,
“I . . . I’m cold . ”
With a deep sigh, Jinwoo pulled up the shop and purchased several articles of clothing, made out of thick fur, and some winter-use shoes .
Warm Fur Coat Rarity: N/A Type: Junk It’s really warm . Cost: 10 gold
Warm Boots Rarity: N/A Type: Junk It’s really warm . Cost: 10 gold
‘Fur coat and boots, ten gold each . ’
Compared to items with special effects, ordinary use items like these were not expensive . Compared to his gold, they were rather cheap .
Current Gold: 431,930
‘Still, to think that I would actually purchase junk items…’
Jinwoo confirmed the transaction . Since he could not discriminate in their current situation, he spent a 100 gold to buy a set for each of the 5 Hunters .
Five sets of fur coats and boots appeared out of thin air in front of his feet . Other than Jinwoo, every one of his party members opened their eyes wide in shock .
“W-what the hell? Spatial magic?”
Park Heejin was also shocked and raised her head . Ignoring their gasps, Jinwoo calmly spoke,
“Everyone, pick one up and put it on . ”
And with that, Jinwoo reached for the nearest fur coat when he felt a tug on his sleeves .
‘ . . . ?’
Jinwoo turned his head to face Han Songyi . The girl gathered courage and spoke with difficulty,
“Ah-ahjussi, what are you? The arrow from earlier… And now this weird magic…”
Jinwoo furrowed his brows . If he let this continue, it would only be a headache going forward .
‘Ok, let’s nip this in the bud right now . ’
Jinwoo sternly spoke, “I brought you here, so I’ll be responsible for your protection . But . ”
His voice lowered, “You can’t ask me any questions . ”
He raised his head and stared at Park Heejin and the other Hunters .
“That goes for all of you as well . Do not ask or request anything of me . ”
He continued, “If you don’t like it, you are more than free to leave . I won’t stop you . ”
Truthfully, the two other male Hunters had followed the B-rank Hunter Park Heejin up until now . But looking back and forth between the warm gear and Jinwoo, they vigorously nodded .