Sungjin was teleported to the Hunter’s Hall. The Hall was still overflowing with unfamiliar faces. He could not see the end of the crowd.
‘Well, numbers will thin out soon enough’
This gathering of hunters represented the top 1% of humanity’s strongest individuals. It would have been impossible to clear the first Raid ‘Greenskin Wildlands’ without considerable individual skill and talent.
It was possible that a lucky few were given a free ride to the end, regardless of their individual merit, by overachievers like Sungjin. But those people were typically eliminated during the next raid. No, they won’t even be able to make it to the next raid.
This wasn’t the type of world you could survive by relying on other people. Soon the Operator began her announcement.
[Welcome back. And congratulations]
[To everyone who successfully completed the raid and made it back]
The Operator’s face reappeared on the screen above, but no one was shouting profanities. Most of the people were suffering from PTSD (see note) or mourning the loss of their comrades.
[As you might have experienced for yourselves in the first Raid,]
[You cannot complete the raids with your current physical limitations.]
[Hence, raising your stats beyond human limits is necessary.]
[There are several ways to achieve this.]
Most of the crowd appeared to be exhausted, but everyone listened carefully to each and every word the Operator spoke. It was self-evident that they could not survive without listening to her tips and advice.
[First, Hunt monsters and obtain status points.]
[I believe you have already learned about this during the first Raid.]
[Unallocated Stat points do not benefit you]
[So please remember to allocate them before heading into battle.]
By now, most people should be well aware of their stats. It is nearly impossible to have survived until this stage without putting in stat points.
[Second, Earn Titles and get bonus stat points.]
[Everyone should have earned at least one title from the first raid.]
[Equipping the title enables the selected title to perform at 100% of their listed effect, and inactive titles only provide 50% of their given effects.]
[The more titles you earn, the more advantages you’ll gain. Please use the title that best suits the situation as you progress through the Raid.]
There aren’t many with a title floating above their heads. Among those that do, most have titles like ‘Scout’, ‘Orc Hunter’, and ‘Novice Swordsman’.
Sungjin wore the Master Hunter title, but no one paid much attention to it. Not many understood what it meant yet.
[Third, is equipment. Equipments are undoubtedly important.]
[They give bonus stats, and some even have special skills imbued upon them.]
Most of the hunters were focused on the Operator’s explanation, except for Sungjin. He didn’t need to listen because he already knew all of it.
[It is possible to receive a piece of equipment through the Raid reward system, but are readily available for purchase through the Black Market.]
[Explanation will continue after changing the venue.]
[You will be teleported in 10 seconds. 9, 8]
The Operator began her countdown. But Sungjin still had his arms crossed and was lost in thought.
‘19 Coins from the first round, 505 from the first raid, 76 traded with Baltren. Total is exactly 600 Black Coins…’
[3, 2, 1]
The place Sungjin was teleported to was a Bazaar, with a canopy draped above.
It was a normal marketplace with vendors selling wares at the stalls. Except for one detail. The vendors were not human. To be exact, they were all demi-humans.
The Axe merchant was half human and half cow (Minotaur), the Spear merchant was half human and half horse (Centaur), the Fire Magic merchant was half human and half dragon.
For newcomers, it was a sight to behold, but Sungjin was already familiar with the place. The Operator continued her explanation.
[This place is called ‘The Black Market’. It is a Bazaar where Black Coins are used as currency.]
[Hunters may come here to obtain or sell items by trading with their Black Coins.]
[The goods are not limited to equipment; you could also purchase magic tomes which are necessarily needed to learn magic]
[or consumables and accessories needed for battle, such as the Recovery Potion.]
The Operator continued with her long explanations covering most of the basics, although she glossed over a few important secrets of this place.
[You can no longer use Cubes to purchase items, so please complete your shopping in this place before going out on raids.]
Once the Operator’s explanations finished, Sungjin began walking towards the inner part of the market.
“Dear Customer, please take a look!”
Someone tried to grab his attention, but he ignored the merchant and kept walking. His destination was a stall run by a half human half snake.
[This is the Katana shop called ‘Last Edge’, run by the merchant named Kenneth]
[You will be able to find all sorts of katanas on sale here.]
Once he entered the stall flaps, a Naga greeted him.
“Welcome… to the ‘Last Edge’ SSSssss”
There was a large variety of Swords hung about in the shop, but there was only one sword Sungjin was interested in. A crimson blade hung on the wall on one side.
“May I see that real quick?”
“My my, what a great eye for quality! SSsss”
The Naga merchant replied with a kind tone.
“Please wait a moment. I will go fetch it for you.”
The Naga handed over the crimson blade to Sungjin. Sungjin’s face brightened up for the first time since the Hunt restarted.
This was the weapon he wielded until his last moments. It was like an old friend to him. The Operator opened up the weapon status window.
Blood Vengeance – Blood’s Revenge.
Legendary Katana – Strength SS Dexterity A
Baptism of Blood(IV) – consumes 100 HP per second from the user to increase attack damage.
According to legend, the owner of this Katana lost his family to the treachery of his liege, and carried out his vengeance against the betrayer and all the men loyal to him.
The Operator kept the window open for him, but he did not read it. He already had it memorized. Sungjin swung the sword twice to test it. He wanted to buy it immediately, but the problem was the price.
“It is worth 9700 Black Coins, SSssss”
The coins in Sungjin’s possession now numbered at 600. Not even close. Sungjin returned the sword to the Naga.
‘Right now I can’t even use the active skill for more than a second anyway’
Sungjin had only come here to see his old friend. Now Sungjin headed towards his real destination. A Jewelry shop located deep within the Black Market. After entering deeper and deeper into the canopied bazaar, Sungjin finally arrived at his actual destination.
[This place is merchant Meridian’s shop by the name ‘Eternal Moment’.]
[Various jewelry such as necklace and rings are sold here]
The merchant here was a haughty catwoman who ran this shop. Once Sungjin was inside the shop, he immediately told her what he wanted.
“I came to purchase the Heart of Gold.”
“I do have the item… but it’s a bit pricey for a hunter who only completed the first raid.”
“I already know. 500 Black Coins. I have the money, so please give me the item.”
“Oh, how surprising…”
The shopkeeper’s eyes twinkled as she took out the item.
Heart of Gold – Ring of the Rich
Upon receiving Black Coin as Raid reward, gain an additional 10% more.
Famous jeweler Tarim’s Ring.
It is said that he lost it while traveling across the Mage’s Canyon.
A simple looking ring with a lone blue sapphire embedded on it. It was the ring Sungjin was looking for.
“Operator, carry out the transaction.”
Sungjin’s cube approached Meridian and emitted a bright light.
[Heart of Gold purchased for 500 Black Coins]
The ring appeared on top of Sungjin’s palm.
It moved on its own and fit itself on Sungjin’s ring finger. He inspected the ring on his hand. He was planning on making this item his first purchase with his first 500 Coins.
The reason was simple; it was an item with an excellent rate of return. He wasn’t sure about the payout of the next raid, but later on, it was possible for him to receive more than 5000 Black Coins per raid. In other words, the item more than paid for itself with every raid.
Of course, Sungjin was the only person capable of taking advantage of this absurd item; it did absolutely nothing to improve his combat capability.
If a hunter aside from Sungjin tried to invest 500 Black Coins in the early game, then their chances of survival dropped near to zero. It wasn’t even likely that any other hunter even managed to get 500 coins until now.
Sungjin finished his shopping and left the shopping districts for the outskirts. Not too far away, he saw a small inn with an image of a bed on the sign post.
Above the entryway, a large sign read ‘Ninety Nine Nights’. The Operator began her explanation.
[This place is an inn called “Ninety Nine Nights”]
[It is a place for Hunters to rest until the next raid.]
Sungjin entered the inn straight away. He was already familiar with the place. The Inn proprietor was a half human half owl. The Innkeeper greeted Sungjin politely.
“Welcome to ‘Ninety Nine Nights’. My name is Dalupin, and I am the owner of this inn. I will do my best to take care of your needs. Would you like to check in?”
Sungjin sat at the nearby table.
“I’ll check in later; please bring me some food.”
“What would you like to eat? The menu is in front of you.”
There was a menu placed neatly on top of each table, but he did not reach out for one; he had it all memorized.
“Medium rare Beef rib steak.”
After a few minutes, the owl demi-human brought a plate. On it was a seared medium rare beef rib steak. Sungjin took a fork and a knife and placed a bite-sized portion of meat into his mouth.
The meat melted in his mouth. The quality of the food here would not lose out to any famous restaurants on Earth. Sungjin enjoyed his soft and perfectly cooked meat as he asked the Operator.
“Operator, how much time until the next raid?”
[9 Hours, 3 Minutes and 36 Seconds]
The remaining time was free time for him to spend as he pleased. Eating and sleeping in “Ninety Nine Nights” was free. Not that it alleviated the fear of death.
Sungjin left the plate on the table once he finished eating, and headed towards the room upstairs.
The bath in “Ninety Nine Nights” was quite relaxing. Taking a warm bath in the tub was an excellent way to relieve his stress.
Sungjin sat inside the tub thinking. Why had the Operator revived him, were all ‘last survivors’ given the reset chance? But there was no clear answer.
After all, it wasn’t even understood why it was necessary to host and carry out hunts. All he could think of was that as he fights and survives, the answer might reveal itself one day.
‘…Since this is my second chance…’
Sungjin submerged himself up to his neck.
‘I will perfectly clear all objectives this time…and maybe then… I will find the answers.’
PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
State of mind-numbing shock after life and death ordeal. Most commonly seen in soldiers, disaster victims, or abused children.
In the last chapter, a reader pointed out that the number of coins were inconsistent for Baltren. (he said he had 67 when the operator stated he earned 145 from the raid).
Author has been notified. Thank you all for telling us.