Quit Being A Hunter
An enormous monster with a head of a cow collapses onto the floor with a short death cry. With an impact big enough to crack the stone floor, the cow-headed monster, covered in subtle silver light, took its last breath after a few agonising attempts to breathe again.
With a tense face, a blonde woman puts on her deactivated Aether sword then slowly looks around.
“Are we done?”
A black haired man, Kang-Joon, puts his Aether blaster back into its place. His face is covered with crimson blood and his clothes are looking almost like pieces of rags. Looking around with an evidently tired face, Kang-Joon murmurs.
“I know it is a tough world for the hunters to live through but they are all going off-track big time.”
Murmuring, Kang-Joon injects the Aether extractor into the collapsed boss monster’s body. Soon, with buzzing sound from the machine, silver Aether crystals flow out.
“Whatever, in the end, it’s all good for us.”
The dead men around the collapsed boss monster were actually a work by Kang-Joon and the blonde woman. Although they were exploring a B-Ranked dungeon, a boss monster is still a boss monster and it was indeed expected of them to cooperate. However, as soon as the party stood before the boss monster zone, the other men tried to murder Kang-Joon and the blonde woman as if that was their plan all along.
Of course, it was because of money. A boss monster is a rich resource of Aether crystals and Aether crystals are one of the most valuable and expensive products of this time.
“How could a Knight even know what I’m feeling right now?”
“Huh, you know, we’ve been through a lot together. No need to be sceptical towards me.”
It was a fight against five men for Kang-Joon and the blonde woman. Avoiding the blows from the boss monster, the two succeeded to pay those men back for their betrayal and finally hunt down the boss monster itself. The blonde talks back at Kang-Joon sarcastically.
“Still a shitty thing to do to kill those hunters even when they are dirty betrayers.”
“Man, really? You really want to say that while your pick pocketing all those corpses?”
“That’s that. They still got to pay up.”
Kang-Joon carefully picks up every single equipment from the corpses with blown out and even missing heads. Then, he takes off any Aether, Cube, or Cores from them and makes sure to store them properly. After all the process, he looks back at the blonde woman. It is an indication of his intention to share the loot if she wishes, but the blonde woman shakes her head right off.
“Ah, I don’t take something from corpses. Makes me feel shit.”
“Shitty money is still money, right?”
“You mean, any money is good money.”
Grinning, Kang-Joon places the loots into a box then wipes the blood off his face with his sleeves. The Aether crystal extracted from the boss gets evenly distributed among the two.
“Still got to do a funeral for these people.”
Kang-Joon uses the plasma explosion of the Aether crystal to get rid of the bodies. It is true that the two got betrayed and attacked first, but the other five are the ones dead now. There is no evidence to really prove their betrayal and it would have been annoying for the two to see any issues made out of this situation. In most of situations like these, the bodies normally get terminated quietly.
The surrounding of the dungeon slowly evaporates. No matter how many times one has been through the dungeons, the scenery of two divided worlds coming back together as one always seems strange and disparate.
Different to the dungeons which is always kept to certain temperatures and humidity, the outside is somewhere with scarring dry, hot winds. They are in South Africa. The winds are enough to make the blonde frown. Although there are no passengers since the area has been quarantined as a dungeon, it is not really a good scenery for others to see them covered in blood as well.
“Place like this is good in a sense that the first to come can take it all, but all these betraying assholes piss me off. Always.”
Places with weak security, in other words, places full of monsters and dungeons, there is no particular order to conquer the dungeons. However, the ‘first to conquer takes it all’ systems always results in frequent betrayals. This happens even more frequently among the hunters. Hunters are essentially just normal people with no particular power, so they have learned to survive by being even more materialistic and petty.
To the blonde’s whine, Kang-Joon just shrugs.
Due to the mass appearance of dungeons in South Africa, this region has been the centre of chaos. The news of unconquered dungeons have called in countless number of hunters, Knights and mutants, and in the midst of that, treason has become something rather common.
The fact that it is a rather big job for those who conquer the dungeon – big enough for them to be able to take a holiday for quite some time – only encouraged all the dirty business to grow.
The blonde woman and Kang-Joon have not seen each other for a long time until this business. They used to hunt together, searching for dungeons and cores, but it is all a history now. The blonde casually gets changed in front of Kang-Joon. Although there is no one to witness, it is indeed a bold thing to do.
“Want to go for another dungeon? B-Ranked one should be fairly easy just with us two.”
“Nope. Not really feeling it.”
“Well, in that case, I guess we can call it a day here. Just contact me somehow later if you feel like it. With one more knight, It shouldn’t be too much of a problem to conquer a A class one.”
“Until when are you going to stick around with this job?”
“Until when…? Hmm….to be able to build a holiday house with a yacht in Greece…at least five more years. Maybe it’s time for me to get a management as well.”
Kang-Joon giggles. Along the process of hunting, the actual fighting part surprising does not take up that much time. It is always those boring chores that a lot of people waste their time with. It takes fair bit of time to gather a party, prepare a transportation medium especially flights and the tax claim procedure is also rather complicated for them. In fact, quite a number of people get accused of tax evasion and get jail time just because they delayed to go through the annoying tax process.
The management takes care of all the chores like that. It is true that the profit gets divided a little bit, but for the hunters, just the existence of such service is enough for them to decide to join management. Additionally, there also have been some really good feedbacks as well. Even the blond woman, who prefers to be working alone as a freelancer, has been a little sceptical towards her standards as she witnesses her partners joining management one by one.
“I’m going to get a management myself.”
“Oh, really? Why don’t you introduce me with somewhere good?”
“No, that’s not what I’m saying.”
“What are you trying to say then?”
“I’m just going to be a manger now. I’m sick of all this.”
There is no need to question why the blond woman suddenly gets quiet with her mouth open wide.
“Is it the weather? Yea, I know it is hot here. Is that why you are talking crap?”
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while.”
There is only so much hunters can do after quitting hunting. The blonde woman realises what Kang-Joon has in mind.
“Not going to be so easy for you to suit up and get away from swords and weapons.”
“As if hunting was any easier. What kind of mangers wear suits these days anyway?”
The blonde giggles.
“It’s better to make money off someone else’s life than my own.”
“Why don’t you establish a company yourself then? Managers still have to work for bosses and get salaries.”
“I need to figure out how the industry works first. After a few years, I’m going to then start up a company myself.”
Listening to the grand plan from Kang-Joon, the blonde shakes her head left and right slowly with a small smile on her face.
“You’ve always been like that. Surprising people with random plans.”
“Whatever, it’s so hot here by the way. I’m a normal person, different to a knight like you.”
Knights fundamentally do not really get affected by the weather. Different to Kang-Joon struggling in the heat, the blonde looked rather calm. However, the phrase ‘normal person’ from Kang-Joon seems to have humoured the blonde woman.
“Oh well, surely, your word must be true, the great B-Rank hunter.”
“Shut up already. I am a very weak person compared to S-Rank knights like you.”
“Yea, yea, sure.”
No enhanced bodies like the knights, no mutagens like the mutants, and no psychic abilities like the awakes.
The name ‘Hunter’ is originally and exceptionally given to those with no abilities that hunt down the monsters. That’s why, according to the official rank system, B-Rank is the highest achievable rank for the hunters.
‘B-Rank Hunter’ may seem like an insult, but among the hunters, it means the one at the very top. ‘A-Rank Hunter’ does not exist neither practically, nor officially in the rank system.
Which shows, how much of an experienced hunter Kang-Joon really is. Saying that those who don’t know about the real scenes are always the one obsessed with the ranks, the blonde whines a little bit.
Moving to avoid the heat, they take place under the roof of an empty building. The blond casually breaks into the house, pulls out some beer cans then gulps it down as if it is hers. To Kang-Joon’s look, she shrugs.
“What, never seen someone living well without laws before?”
“You mean, someone who can live only with no laws?”
The blonde giggles brightly. The residents of this area already ran away long ago and they will be back soon. A few monsters raiding their house, breaking a few windows and stealing two cans of beer should not be that of a big problem for them.
“Yea, you are right. Things have been pretty boring these days. At least there was more thrill back then.”
The monsters are being hunted, and there is obviously no fear of extinction due to the monsters. Although they may be threatening at times, they are always hunted down, then extracted to become resource.
“What kind of horrible plot…”
“Why, another Grand Ragnarok won’t really be a big issue, right?”
“You, are a psychopath.”
“Really, says the one who blew out three people’s heads with the blaster while I was taking care of one.”
The blond laughs out, and Kang-Joon reacts with a giggle as if he is really fed up with everything. With this much of experience, it is almost a must that they have all murdered someone. It is even more so for Kang-Joon especially, since he has been working with hunters for a long time.
His lies have become better, his sense to see through other people’s dirty and cheap plots has become sharp. Those things could get better by experience, but Kang-Joon was also born with those things as well. Emptying his can, Kang-Joon leaves his sit, getting dirt off his clothes.
“Homesick or something? Why back there all of a sudden?”
“They love materialism there.”
“Good place to do business. Good place to bullshitters to make through.”
Good place to resolve a lot of annoying issues with just some money. However, Kang-Joon avoids to say that last thought out loud. The blonde sighs.
“I will never ever go join your management.”
“Even with 9:1 ratio?”
“Just give me a ring. I will be right over.”
To her sudden change in attitude, they face each other and burst out in laughter.
“How was that? Already fooled on innocent customer before I even started. Don’t you think I’m talented?”
To Kang-Joon’s cheesy attitude, the blonde toughly puts up her middle finger. They have been through a lot of battles together and met each other again as they were walking down their own paths after they separated. Back in that time, Kang-Joon was a boy hunter, and the she was a girl knight.
Kang-Joon has already been gone off to somewhere and can’t be seen anymore. The blonde crushes the empty beer can, tossing it up into the air and catching it.
Making through the tough survival every day, the two have now become one of the best in the industry.
One has quit being a hunter,
One remained as a knight.
She falls into a sea of thoughts, looking at the seat Kang-Joon sat on. Kang-Joon, who may seem jolly on the surface but filled with lies and façade inside, reveals himself to her. On the other hand, the blond cannot ever show Kang-Joon her sincere emotions when she meets him.
“Dishonesty. Biggest problem with me.”
She murmurs, with no one to hear.
Maybe that is exactly why she does so.