The TV in the living room was showing the scenes of yet another accident that took place within a dungeon. Those seemed to happen frequently nowadays.
Although no events that could be called truly enormous happened so far, the number of Hunters dying during the raids was on the rise lately, according to the news broadcast.
“I wonder, will my boy be okay?”
His mother, watching the news, recalled Jin-Woo and whispered to herself in a worried voice.
Didn’t matter how excellent a Hunter her son was, there was no helping with a mother worrying about her child’s safety.
Beru, hiding within the shadows to protect this home as per Jin-Woo’s instruction, heard her whispers.
‘Oh, the mother of my king. If my liege meets with an accident that even he can’t survive, then no one in this world can.’
Beru did his best to suppress the words trying to jump out of his mouth. Obviously, he couldn’t surprise the mother of his liege needlessly, now could he? As his reward, he’d have to suffer in silent frustration all by himself.
He also found the liege’s mother, currently equating his liege against those low-class monsters shown on the TV screen, rather cruel and unkind for doing that. However, he roused up a super-human level of endurance and suppressed his desire to preach the incomparable might of his dear liege to her.
[Next up. We bring you the news on the conference organised by America’s Hunter Bureau….]
The scene shown on TV changed yet again to that of a certain American airport as the news related to the International Guild Conference played out. And then, Jin-Woo appeared on the screen as he stepped foot into the airport.
She saw her son walking forward as he was swarmed by the constant explosions of camera flashes. The worried look on her face was soon replaced by a contented smile.
“Jin-Ah? Your brother’s on TV.”
Jin-Ah abandoned her studies and quickly trotted out of her room. This wouldn’t be the first time, but regardless, seeing her oppa on the TV screen remained a mystifying and welcoming viewing experience to her, even now.
But the thing was – both Jin-Ah and her mom had no idea.
They simply had no idea that there was someone very close, cheering on even more passionately then they did while watching the TV screen.
‘Oh, my king….!’
Beru’s deeply-moved eyes were firmly fixed on the screen as he watched the clip being played out.
But then, a powerful chill began invading his body out of the blue. Literally, without warning, his body hidden in the shadows began trembling non-stop.
This sensation, hadn’t he felt something similar to this in the past?
When was that?
Beru combed through his memories and finally recalled that moment. Back then, right when the king’s gaze filled with killing intent was looking down on him. It was at that moment.
A feeling of death that could not be avoided. The warning bells rang out loudly via his instincts after detecting the unmistakable stench of death.
The king’s rage he felt for the first time since becoming his Shadow Soldier was so great that Beru’s entire thought process froze up. However, he was still his king’s loyal soldier!
He regained his wits quite quickly.
‘….My king has been truly enraged.’
Now that he realised something had happened to his king, he couldn’t just sit around quivering in fear like this. Beru quickly sent a signal to Jin-Woo and tried to engage him conversation.
‘Oh, my king. Please compose yourself. I shall get to your side immediately.’
The response arrived immediately.
[You…. Don’t make a move.]
Beru heard the king’s voice which sounded like unchecked rage being compressed into a volatile mass. He could only tremble like a leaf against stormy winds.
‘I shall obey.’
He could only say that he’d submit to the command, that was all. But at the same time, he became also curious about the moron who managed to earn his king’s wrath.
‘Why would anyone do something so reckless and ill-advised….’
To numb the fear, even if only by a little, Beru hid his still-trembling body ever deeper into the shadow.
In the city of Busan.
The Knight Order Guild was in the middle of preparing for a raid.
The Master of the Guild, Park Jong-Su, was confirming the raid party members and their current conditions one last time, as the will to make this raid a success burned fiercely within his heart.
“There’s been a lot of accidents happening in dungeons lately. So, everyone – keep your wits about you at all times! Let’s make sure that not a single person gets injured today!”
The Guild members had become rather docile after experiencing a raid together with Jin-Woo’s summoned creatures. And now, they even sounded properly disciplined, as well.
It was at that moment something strange happened.
The Vice-Master of the Guild, Jeong Yun-Tae, was standing behind Park Jong-Su to nod his head and provide suitable reactions to his boss’s words. But, he discovered something and his eyes nearly popped out of his sockets.
Park Jong-Su hurriedly looked behind him.
“What?! What happened?”
Jeong Yun-Tae pointed to the ground and alternated his gaze between Park Jong-Su and the shadow beneath his boss’s feet.
“H-hyung-nim!! Your, your shadow! The shadow on the ground was vibrating….”
Jeong Yun-Tae discovered that Park Jong-Su was glaring at him with narrowed eyes and stopped talking right there and then.
“Hey, Yun-Tae? How many times have I told you not to touch booze before a raid?”
“N-no, hyung-nim! I haven’t had a drop of the stuff today! But your shadow, it really did vibrate! Like it was alive!”
Park Jong-Su stared at Jeong Yun-Tae with criticising eyes and spat out a long groan.
“This won’t do. Take a day off today.”
“Hyung-nim! I’m telling you the truth!”
“Okay, everyone! Time to go inside. The Knight Order Guild, let’s do our best today, too! Fighting!”
“Ahh! B-but, hyung-nim…!”
Just as Jeong Yun-Tae’s voice that protested his innocence resounded in the air…
Unbelievable sightings of shadows trembling streamed in from all the spots where Jin-Woo had left behind his Shadow Soldiers. Shadows trembled noticeably as if they didn’t care for the presence of witnesses or not.
But then again, the Shadow Soldiers had no choice but to shiver from the emotion of pure rage their lord was feeling at that moment.
The High Orc soldier disappeared, only to be replaced by Jin-Woo.
Hwang Dong-Su’s group froze up like a mouse confronted by a snake the moment this unexpected intruder entered the stage completely unannounced. Especially for Hwang Dong-Su himself, he nearly even forgot to breathe after recognising Jin-Woo’s face.
Meanwhile, Jin-Woo simply strode past the stunned rank S Hunter, as if the latter didn’t even exist, and stopped before Yu Jin-Ho. No one said anything, yet the two Americans standing near the unconscious kid quickly stepped back at the same time, as if they agreed to do so beforehand.
After summoning out a healing potion, Jin-Woo began easing a little bit of liquid down into Yu Jin-Ho’s mouth.
[When the remaining HP is less than 10%, it is impossible to recover HP with healing potions.]
….The message saying it was impossible to heal the kid’s wounds popped up in his view along with the familiar ‘Tti-ring’.
The empty vial of healing potion shattered in Jin-Woo’s hand.
The ‘Divine Water of Life’ was meant to heal diseases and illnesses. It couldn’t help in matters of physical injuries like this. It was the same principle of healing magic not being able to cure illnesses.
‘I need healing magic.’
Too bad, the only Shadow Soldier capable of using healing magic, Beru, was currently back in Korea house-sitting. Even if Jin-Woo recalled him now, who knows just how long he’d take to get here…
….It was around this time that Hwang Dong-Su finally regained his wits and tried to engage Jin-Woo in conversation.
“You… You, what the hell? That Orc, just now… What the hell did you do?”
Jin-Woo didn’t respond to that and simply asked the two men before him, instead.
“Is either one of you a Healer?”
Hearing the word ‘Healer’, the Healer-type Hunter ended up reflexively nodding his head. Jin-Woo pointed to Yu Jin-Ho.
“Heal him. Now.”
The Healer’s gaze shifted over to Hwang Dong-Su. The latter shook his head. Jin-Woo carefully lowered Yu Jin-Ho’s upper torso back down and stood up.
“Final warning. Heal him.”
The Healer’s gaze shifted back to Hwang Dong-Su again, but the answer remained the same. So, the Healer stared straight at Jin-Woo and the corners of his lips arched up.
“You see, dude, you should talk to the boss first before…”
He didn’t get to finish his sentence.
Just like how Hwang Dong-Su had done to Yu Jin-Ho, Jin-Woo slammed the Healer’s head on the ground. It happened so fast that no one saw his movements.
Hwang Dong-Su might have been a rank S himself, but he simply failed to even sense Jin-Woo’s attack and only belatedly discovered the Healer lying face down on the ground.
Jin-Woo shifted his gaze to the second of the Americans.
“Are you a Healer?”
This man finally confirmed the face of Jin-Woo walking closer to him and his jaw began trembling in shock.
“S-Seong Jin-Woo?! Hunter Seong Jin-Woo??”
He back-pedalled in panic and began glaring at Hwang Dong-Su before shouting out.
“Mister Hwang Dong-Su! You promised that this matter had nothing to do with Seong Jin-Woo! What the f*ck is this?! Ah?? What is this sh*t?!”
“I asked you if you are a Healer or not.”
“N-no, I, I’m not. I’m just….”
His answer was also abruptly cut off there.
Struck by an unseen hand, the man’s head crashed to the ground like his friend’s before him. In the blink of an eye, two high-ranked Hunters had lost their consciousness.
Finally getting to witness Jin-Woo’s real strength with his own two eyes, Hwang Dong-Su felt his heart pounding away like crazy.
It was then.
Perhaps because the ground rumbled loudly twice in a row? Yu Jin-Ho had regained his consciousness somehow.
Jin-Woo lowered his body and listened closely to the kid’s voice.
“Hey, Jin-Ho. I’m here.”
Yu Jin-Ho managed to crack open his swollen eyelids. He barely managed to move the muscles on his bloodied and messed-up face, his words clearly being formed with great difficulty.
“Hwang Dong-Su… little brother… Hwang Dong-Seok…. Be careful…”
Jin-Woo looked at Yu Jin-Ho breathing weakly with a helpless expression before stopping the kid’s words.
“Shh. It’s fine. Don’t speak anymore.”
Yu Jin-Ho grabbed Jin-Woo’s hand as tears pooled on the edges of his eyes.
Jin-Woo quietly asked.
“Can you hold on for a little longer?”
It became harder to speak so Yu Jin-Ho made do with a nod to answer the question.
Jin-Woo carefully let go of his dongsaeng’s hand and slowly got back up to his feet, before shifting his gaze back over to Hwang Dong-Su.
However, Hwang Dong-Su didn’t back down and shot a glare right back. His legs were weakly trembling from the pressure of Jin-Woo’s murderous eyes, but he was not someone who’d cower and run away.
In the meantime, Jin-Woo’s coldly-flickering eyes were getting closer and closer. Hwang Dong-Su did his best to look unruffled and raised his voice.
“It was you, wasn’t it? You killed my older brother, Hwang Dong-Seok. Am I right?”
Hwang Dong-Su’s scared face grew closer with every step taken. And then, a certain someone’s face who enjoyed being strong against the weak, but remained weak against someone stronger, overlapped with his face in Jin-Woo’s view.
That caused his glare to become even colder.
Meanwhile, Hwang Dong-Su cried out.
“Answer me!! Seong Jin-Woo, didn’t you murder my brother and his team?!”
Jin-Woo stopped right in front of Hwang Dong-Su’s nose and replied.
“Ask him after you meet him again.”
Hwang Dong-Su punched with his fist wrapped in bright light. He was aiming for Jin-Woo’s face. Unfortunately for him, the latter simply ducked lower to evade that and shoved his own fist deep into the former’s stomach.
Just one hit and Hwang Dong-Su vomited out a mouthful of blood.
“Stop the car!”
“I said, stop the d*mn car!”
Thomas Andre roared out and the car he was riding in came to a sudden halt. As the vehicle in front carrying their Guild Master came to an abrupt halt, the chasing cars ferrying the Guild members all hurriedly came to a stop as well.
Loud noises resounded out from everywhere. Completely disregarding that…
….Thomas Andre kicked the car’s door away and climbed out in a hurry so he could glare in a certain direction. His expression crumpled into a vicious scowl.
The elites of the Scavenger Guild, often referred to as the world’s best, jumped out from all the halted vehicles.
“Master, what is it?”
“Did something happen?”
Thomas Andre answered briefly to all the hurried questions from the Guild members.
“It has already begun. I’ll go ahead, so hurry and follow after me.”
What had already begun?
Before anyone could ask him for an explanation, though, Thomas Andre bent his knees. The muscles on his legs expanded powerfully and the asphalt on the ground began melting down. Other Hunters naturally took two, three steps away from him.
Thomas Andre exploded up from the ground and in an instant, disappeared from their view.
‘Something is…. coming.’
Something strong, that was.
Just as Thomas Andre had sensed Jin-Woo’s powers, the latter also sensed the former’s presence. So, he stopped moving his punching hand.
His other hand was still grabbing onto the collar of Hwang Dong-Su, who now was suffering from just as many grievous wounds as Yu Jin-Ho.
A part of the disused factory’s ceiling caved in and through the open gap, one of the four remaining Special Authority-rank Hunters in the world, Thomas Andre, flew in and landed on the ground.
Since he knew that a guest was arriving anyway, Jin-Woo wasn’t surprised in the slightest as he calmly took a look at the landing zone.
Thomas Andre stood up straight and quickly confirmed the situation.
He first saw Yu Jin-Ho, then Jin-Woo, and finally, the end of Jin-Woo’s hand. His gaze moved in that order, until stopping at Hwang Dong-Su.
Right away, Thomas Andre’s forehead creased up. Jin-Woo’s incredible magical energy emission had completely masked Hwang Dong-Su’s presence and he couldn’t initially sense it.
Thomas Andre took off and discarded his sunglasses.
“Hwang Dong-Su… Is he still alive?”
Thomas Andre resorted to using simple English and enunciated each word loudly so that Jin-Woo, someone who might be not familiar with the language, could hear him clearly.
“Let him go. If you do that, we’ll forget that today’s event had ever happened. I’m asking you for a favour.”
Jin-Woo strengthened his grip on Hwang Dong-Su’s collar and asked.
“What if I don’t want to?”
“Then, well. A favour won’t be a favour anymore.”
One of the most powerful Hunters in the world bared his fangs.
A regular Hunter would start p*ssing their pants right about now. However, Jin-Woo’s own aura didn’t lose out to Thomas Andre’s.