The people that emerged in front of Sungjin were, once again, of different physique and races. A bespectacled young Westerner, a white-haired old man, a very short Southeastern Asian, and a tall white man.
But truth be told, their actual physique, size or race did not matter. The more reliable indicator of their strength was the titles they earned until now. Sungjin looked up and glanced at the titles.
The young Westerner had “Novice Swordsman”, the Southeastern Asian had “Novice Scout”, the white-haired old man had “Lumberjack”, and the tall white man had the “Hooligan” title. Sungjin shook his head in disappointment upon seeing their titles.
No one was particularly talented. But it was alright. As it was now, Sungjin had enough combat spec to solo this raid’s objectives for a Full Clear. The Operator began the mission briefing.
Phase 5 – Ahenna’s Forest Raid
Objective – Hunt the Wolf Queen ‘Ahenna’
Time Limit: 25 Minutes.
[Complete the objective within the Time Limit.]
[If you cannot, you will die.]
Once the Operator’s briefing ended, the tall white man with the ‘Hooligan’ title stepped forward and addressed the group.
“Gentlemen, gather up so we can see your ugly mugs.”
The man truly embodied the word ‘Hooligan’; a tattoo covered his shoulders, and he carried himself with a subtle air of arrogance and authority.
The ‘Novice Scout’ Southeastern Asian man and the bespectacled ‘Novice Swordsman’ hesitated for a moment and moved closer to join the ‘Hooligan’. The Hooligan complained.
“Wow… all I get are these weaklings.”
The ‘Lumberjack’ old man and Sungjin maintained their distance from the campfire, watching wordlessly. The ‘Hooligan’ took a note of it and addressed them.
“Hey, Old Jack, can’t you hear me? Get over here. And you, Master Hunter? Get over here if you don’t want to die.”
The mood was just horrible, much like the first Raid.
‘…I’ll have to carry out this raid by myself again.’
Sungjin gave up trying to solicit cooperation. It didn’t even matter as he did not require their help. He had enough skill and power to complete the raid by himself. The only part that gave Sungjin insecurity was the secret location and the hidden boss.
Even though Sungjin was confident he could fight any battle perfectly, he didn’t feel the same when it came to searching and defeating the hidden boss within the time limit.
‘In the end, the biggest obstacle is the time limit.’
[The Raid begins in 1 minute.]
Before the Raid began, Sungjin called upon the Operator.
“Operator, add all stat points to Dexterity.”
[Dexterity rose by 60 points.]
Raising Dexterity was the obvious choice. After the tutorial, he didn’t feel that anything in this raid could seriously threaten him.
He could already cut the strongest mob in this forest, the Grizzly Bear, in a single strike. Instead of raising strength, it made more sense to invest in Dexterity to increase his speed even further.
But now that he had invested in Dexterity, he was regretting investing into Endurance.
‘Maybe I wasted the points. I know I have to raise it at some point, but speed is more important right now.’
And while Sungjin was reflecting over his point allocations,
From the woods, a thin man walked out. The 6th person. Everyone’s gaze was drawn towards him.
He was carrying a rucksack almost as large as his body. When Sungjin saw him, he recalled his memories from the past.
‘Oh yeah, he exists.’
“I am the wandering merchant Aindell. Please purchase some goods from me before the raid begins. Since we are way out in the boonies, the goods here will be more expensive than those in a regular shop. He he”
The Operator’s cube only sold items during the first chapter. Now the only place available to buy them from was the Black Market.
But from time to time, Wandering Merchants arrived at the raid location to sell on site. The Hooligan approached him.
“Who the fuck are you?”
The Merchant smiled sheepishly.
“As I explained, I am the wandering merchant Aindell. I sell potions and other small goods. Also…”
The Hooligan gripped him by the collar and lifted him up threateningly.
“You don’t get Coins, give me all you’ve got, bitch”
A warning came from the Cubes.
[Attacking a non-hostile lifeform will cause penalties from the Raid Rewards.]
The Hooligan let go of the merchant immediately.
“Whoa whoa. That’s no good at all. My bad, sorry about that.”
Aindell let out few fake coughs and continued.
“As I was saying, the wildlife here are afraid and weak to fire…. So I recommend purchasing some Salamander’s ash. For archers, I also sell fire arrows. I don’t need to explain how useful Recovery Potions are, right?”
At his sales pitch, ‘Novice Swordsman’, ‘Novice Scout’, and even ‘Lumberjack’ lined up and bought items from the merchant.
“Three Salamander’s ash please.”
“How much are the fire arrows?”
“I want three Salamander’s ash too, and three Recovery Potions.”
The others quickly spent their coins earned from the previous raid on consumables. Their actions made sense since they all just wanted to survive.
[Raid begins in 30 seconds].
The Hooligan watched for a few moments, and then hesitantly asked,
“Hey, uh… give me some Salamander’s ash too.”
He was also able to purchase an item. The Merchant did not hold a grudge against the Hooligan and magnanimously sold it at the same price. Aindell directed his gaze towards Sungjin once he was done finalizing the transaction.
“Sir, do you need any items?”
Sungjin declined, shaking his head.
He smiled and laughed jovially. But Sungjin found that to be even more unsettling. He could not tell if this was a human or something else.
‘Is it like an NPC in an MMORPG?’
The Operator finally began the countdown.
[Raid will commence in 10 seconds. 10,..]
‘I guess it’s nothing strange when there’s even an Operator.’
Sungjin pushed aside his thoughts and drew out his sword.
“Hey, I told you to get over here!”
The Hooligan tried to get Sungjin to join him, but Sungjin replied
“Be careful and move as a group. Hunt the lone Wolves and Bears so you won’t die. Be careful about the Pumas that suddenly drop out of trees.”
Sungjin suggested to them.
[2, 1, 0 the Raid Begins!]
At the same time as the raid start, Sungjin dashed into the dark forest. He heard Aindell’s voice from behind.
“I will remain in this location. If you need consumables during the middle of the raid, please come by at any time!”
Hearing that, Sungjin thought to himself.
‘There is no chance of that happening. I need to save up money and buy my Katana.’
Sungjin rapidly hunted every wild beast he could lay his eyes on as he charged through the forest. He hunted packs of wolves led by the Dire Wolves, as well as Pumas that silently dropped out of trees.
A grizzly bear charged at a speed unfitting of its size. But Sungjin cut it down in one swift strike. Thanks to more than 200 points invested in both Strength and Dexterity, any wildlife that came in contact with his sword was cut down like a piece of paper.
Sungjin didn’t concentrate on the fights, but rather on finding anomalies in the area. Clearing the raid was not high on his priority list.
Clearing the Chapter and having high contribution points were nice. But because Sungjin had both the Heart of Gold and the ‘Master Hunter’ title equipped, missing out on a few stat points and Black coins were acceptable.
The most important thing was the Item rewards obtained from the hidden bosses and locations. These items were guaranteed to be rated ‘Heroic’ at the minimum. Items he would gladly spend tens of thousands of Black Coins in the market to buy.
From time to time, Sungjin saw Direwolves mixed within the crowd. Unlike other mobs, even he couldn’t take them on lightly. They were strong, dexterous, and most importantly, cunning.
They called upon Gray wolves to perform cooperative attacks. Of course, the side that perished were the wolves.
Sungjin addressed the Operator after spending a considerable amount of time cutting the animals apart to pieces.
[19 minutes 49 seconds remaining.]
He spent almost 5 minutes turning the forest inside out.
‘It should be fairly close now…’
The Wolf Queen ‘Ahenna’ was not in a set location. She appears automatically after the number of wolves slain pass a certain threshold.
Sungjin quickly twisted his body and spun around with his Katana. Above, a Shadow Puma was cut from the neck to its armpit.
‘These guys always ambush just as I forget about them.’
When Sungjin was about to sheath his Katana, he spotted a Gray wolf between the trees. Sungjin drew the Katana out once more.
But, unlike other Gray wolves, it neither attacked nor watched him. It faced the sky and let out a howl.
Soon, other wolves in the area joined in.
The surrounding was now filled with the howl of the wolves.
With so many wolves, the howling continued without an end. Listening carefully, Sungjin could tell.
And as if to confirm his feelings, the Operator announced the arrival of the boss.
[Warning! Boss Monster]
[The Queen of Wolves ‘Ahenna’ has appeared!]
A Moment later, a wolf twice as large as a Grizzly Bear appeared. Cunning eyes and a coat as white as snow, Ahenna looked almost divine.
‘But foes are foes.’
Sungjin prepared himself, drawing his Katana.
Ahenna howled in the wind, and a dozen or so Dire Wolves appeared at her side. Each of the Dire Wolves brought with them several Gray Wolves. Sungjin quickly estimated their numbers.
‘Just a rough guess… 50 to 60…’
The most difficult part about this raid was that there was a massive numerical disadvantage.
‘Last time, I had great teammates, and so we were able to overcome this Boss somehow…’
And while lost in thought, he was interrupted by voices coming from behind him.
“Where is she? That queen bitch?”
“I think I heard the howling from over there, sir…. Wait, wha wha?”
“What the hell? That gigantic beast is a wolf? We’re supposed to fight that?”
Sungjin did not turn. It was obvious who it was. He gripped his katana tightly and bit his lips.
EDIT: The author posted updates as we requested, and we have updated our numbers to match the raws.