At the campfire located at the entrance of the raid, two individuals were exchanging words..
“You mean you only lived in the city your entire life?”
“Yeah. I’ve never even held an axe in my life before. I don’t know what’s going on anymore…”
Old man ‘Lumberjack’ and the ‘Wandering Merchant’ Aindell were having a conversation.
“I see I see. I hope you have a long life, sir.”
“That would be nice… But that crazy guy from before…”
At that moment, ‘That Crazy Guy’ appeared, interrupting the peaceful atmosphere. Their reactions were polar opposites again. Wandering Merchant Aindell bowed, greeting him.
“Welcome, dear customer!”
And the old ‘Lumberjack’ was startled, pointing his fingers at Sungjin.
“Why! You! Why are you here?”
Sungjin, for the first time, approached the two. The ‘Lumberjack’ was being incredibly cautious, but he ignored the lumberjack and approached the Merchant instead.
“Hey, do you know anything about hidden bosses?”
Aindell tilted his head as if confused and replied,
“Hidden… Boss? I don’t know. Is there something like that here?”
He smiled innocently for a moment, and then his expression brightened up.
“Oh! I think I’ve heard of something like that before. A secret boss hiding somewhere in the raid zone. Finding it is really difficult… and it possesses incredible strength. Please be careful, Mr.Hunter, in case you ever run into something like that.”
Sungjin couldn’t help but smile when he heard the reply. And drawing out his katana, he pointed the sword at the Merchant.
“So you have incredible strength?”
As if not understanding his words, the merchant tilted his head again.
“What is this about, dear customer?”
The ‘Lumberjack’ grasped the merchant’s shoulders and said to him,
“Don’t listen to him, son. He’s a crazed monster. You don’t need to listen to him.”
Sungjin addressed the old man.
“Come to my side if you want to live. ‘The Crazed Monster’ is him, not me.”
The ‘Lumberjack’ seemed to be on Aindell’s side. The old man stood even closer to Aindell as he replied back to Sungjin.
“Stop your lies. ..Didn’t you see what happened when that ‘Hooligan’ fellow tried to threaten him?”
‘You don’t get coins. Give me everything you’ve got, Bitch.’
The Lumberjack was probably referring to that situation from earlier. The Operator definitely said at the time:
[Attacking a non-hostile lifeform will cause penalties from the Raid Rewards.]
Sungjin knew better than anyone about this rule. There was no way he was not aware of this.
“…That only applies while he is a non-hostile lifeform.”
But the Lumberjack refused to listen.
“You bloodthirsty animal…”
He seemed to view Sungjin as a battle crazed maniac ever since witnessing him in Zealot (III) mode under the influence of ‘Yanhurat’.
Sungjin shook his head in disappointment. Almost nobody believed in Sungjin since the reset. At the very least, the old man seemed naturally distrustful.
“Well… fine. Do what you like. But, if you don’t run away by the time I count to three, I can’t guarantee your safety. One”
Sungjin put his hand inside the pocket and began to count.
He gripped the ‘Perfect Moonstone.
At the same time when he said ‘Three’, he tossed the stone towards Aindell.
“Hmm? What is…”
Aindell looked down at the stone he caught on instinct. In his hands, the crystal displayed the words ‘Full Moon’
And the moment his eyes landed on the words, his blue eyes turned amber. Sungjin knew,
‘… This is it.”
And to confirm his suspicion, the Operator announced in an urgent tone
[The Hidden Boss ‘Werewolf Aindell’ has appeared.]
Aindell’s short stature grew rapidly, growing hair all over his body, his face extending into a snout. His fangs grew out and extended past his lips.
The time it took for ‘Wandering Merchant Aindell’ to transform into ‘Werewolf Aindell” was 3 seconds. The ‘Lumberjack’ had fallen over in surprise at his transformation. Sungjin yelled at him.
“Hey, run away!”
He didn’t even have the time to scream or shout. Aindell, upon transforming, immediately turned towards the Lumberjack.
The Lumberjack, who until moments ago was sharing a pleasant conversation with the Merchant, had his neck ripped out by the Werewolf Aindell.
Drenched in human blood, the Werewolf let out a howl.
Sungjin frowned and took out his Katana from the sheath.
‘I’m getting real tired of that sound now.’
The Werewolf turned his gaze upon Sungjin. Sungjin clenched his teeth. Moments later, they clashed.
Sungjin swung his sword and leaned his head back as Aindell’s claws cut through the air above him.
Because Sungjin had tilted his head back to dodge, he could not visually confirm the result of the first clash. However, Sungjin did not feel any recoil from the strike.
‘He dodged it.’
Instead of launching a follow-up strike, Sungjin watched for the wolfman’s next move. And just as he predicted, Aindell launched his attack towards Sungjin’s unguarded left. Sungjin quickly let go of his katana from his left hand to guard.
Aindell’s claws and the chains of Free Ark collided, sending sparks flying. If he had not equipped the Free Ark, he would have lost his hand.
‘…deliberate and planned attack…’
Sungjin leaped back in surprise. In the previous strike, Aindell had aimed to strike Sungjin’s arms to disarm him rather than go for the kill. There was no question about it. Sungjin decided to try to communicate.
“…What are you?”
And in a rough and deep voice, he replied.
“You already figured me out! What an interesting Human!”
Sungjin regripped his Katana as he spoke.
“I just thought it was strange, strange that the Operator would willingly throw in a random weirdo to help out in a raid.”
The Wolf gestured to the old man he killed and replied.
“That man was too old; his meat tasted no good. Let’s see how you taste!”
The two combatants resumed the battle. They dodged, attacked, dodged, swung… They exchanged blows at a breakneck speed. Aindell was even faster than Ahenna.
Despite Sungjin’s unmatched investment into Dexterity, Aindell did not lose out on speed. The two exchanged a few more blows, and mutually took a step back. The fight suddenly came to a pause.
Aindell and Sungjin both understood that the other was a formidable foe. Aindell looked nervous. Sungjin gazed into his own reflection on the Katana.
‘This was designed to be difficult to clear alone.’
Similar to “Mad Orc Ruark”, this was not a contest of strength and endurance, but of speed. The problem was compounded by the fact that the speed on both sides was roughly the same.
Sungjin considered using the ‘Yanhurat’ inside his pocket; 3 times the speed for 30 seconds.
‘…If I use this… It’ll take 30 seconds to kill…no, 10 seconds is enough… But… I promised myself I wouldn’t use it unless absolutely necessary…’
For a moment, Sungjin wavered, but he made a firm decision and withdrew his hands. Sungjin decided against using it. If he wasn’t strong enough to overcome a chapter as early as chapter 2 without relying on ‘cheat mode’, then his future looked grim.
Aindell charged once more towards Sungjin. Sungjin lowered his stance and backed off, dodging and blocking all of Aindell’s attacks. Meanwhile, he calculated his next move.
‘If we reach that area…’
Sungjin leaped back further and further to lure Aindell in. Being unable to land a hit, Aindell gave chase as he entered into a frenzy.
And suddenly, Sungjin stood his ground. He was standing next to the campfire. He kicked the logs up towards Aindell.
Fire attack. Aindell paused for the first time to stop the log. The moment he made contact, the fire spread to his fur.
For a thousandth of a second, Aindell stiffened up when the fire spread to his fur. And that brief moment of hesitation was all Sungjin needed. He cut the werewolf’s unguarded abdomen from side to side.
Aindell let out a strange scream. It was difficult to make out whether it was a scream of a wolf or a human. But Sungjin’s Katana was devoid of any mercy.
Sungjin swung and slashed Aindell’s legs. His thin legs were severed without giving resistance. Sungjin had been eyeing them for a while.
Without being able to hold himself up, Aindell collapsed to the ground. He still tried to put up a fight by thrashing about from the ground, but Sungjin stomped on his stomach and simply cut off both of his arms.
Aindell let out another cry of pain and began to pant. Even in his last moments, he glared at Sungjin with eyes filled with malice.
Sungjin held his Katana upside down and addressed him.
“Yeah, that’s the problem with you talkative ones.”
And he thrust the Katana deep in his chest.
He let out one last cry of pain and perished. Sungjin looked down at him and said his parting words.
“You said it yourself. ‘Wild Beasts are afraid of fire.’ What kind of idiot teaches his enemies his greatest weakness?”
The Operator soon gave out an announcement.
[Hidden boss ‘Werewolf Aindell’ Cleared.]
[Congratulations! You have managed to complete all objectives in this Chapter!]
[Disregarding the remaining time and ending the raid immediately.]
Upon hearing the announcements, he finally wiped off the sweat from his brows.
Maintaining 100% completion for a raid, even for Chapter 2, was no easy task. Ahenna and Aindell both were extremely difficult opponents to defeat.
‘Will I be able to go until the end like this…?’
Once he thought of it, he understood the difference between this life and his previous life. The difference was his luck with teammates. The reason why he was struggling so much despite the massive advantage granted by the ‘Restart’ and his unbelievable stats was due to his luck with teammates.
Previously, he was able to make it to the end because he consistently met reliable and rational teammates. But for some reason he had absolutely the worst luck with his teammates this time.
Of all the teammates he met so far in two chapters, Officer Baltren was the only one who was somewhat decent.
Sungjin paused for a moment to look up at the night sky. The half moon was still there. Sungjin briefly thought of Baltren.
‘…I wonder how he’s doing.’
Baltren’s words echoed in his mind.
‘We will meet again, Master Hunter K.’
Meet again… The chances of meeting someone again from the previous raid was astronomically small. Baltren was reasonably strong and had good leadership qualities. But if he gets matched up with poor teammates, he’ll just get killed.
And for a moment, Sungjin felt depressed. But, the Operator’s voice interrupted his thoughts and brought him good news.