[One hour left before the Raid commences]
Sungjin woke up to the Operator’s voice.
When he came to, he was laying on top of the bed in ‘Ninety Nine Nights’. Sungjin normally set an alarm two hours before raid start, but tonight he had allowed himself to sleep in. Sungjin thought for a moment.
‘Did I remember to distribute points?’
Yes, he recalled the bath last night. Sungjin closed his eyes again. Everything urgent had already been taken care of. It would not take him longer than 50 minutes to get ready.
“Operator, remind me in 10 minutes.”
But, 5 minutes later,
Dalupin came knocking.
Sungjin had no choice but to get up.
He answered as he opened the door. Outside, Dalupin stood waiting, holding items in each hand. One was a waterskin, and the other was a long piece of cloth.
“You usually get up earlier… but since you were taking your time this morning, I decided to deliver this to you myself. These are supplies provided to all hunters. As you have already found out, the Raid will be taking place in the Desert, so…”
Sungjin nodded. Dalupin first handed over the water.
“This waterskin contains cold water. It is constantly refilled by magical means, so feel free to use it as much as you like.”
Sungjin accepted the waterskin.
“And this long cloth…”
“I know. I’ll eat first, and I’ll make sure to take it with me before the raid begins, so please wait for now.”
“Understood. I have prepared a variety of clothes which…”
“I know. Later.”
Dalupin bowed deeply and excused himself.
He closed the door and left. Sungjin went to take a quick shower and checked the closet.
The closet was mostly full of large muslin cloth that Arabians are often seen wearing. For the second time ever, Sungjin wore the muslin clothes. It did not suit him, but he had no other choice.
[10 minutes have elapsed.]
The alarm from earlier went off.
“I got it, I got it.”
Sungjin tapped the top of the cube and climbed down the stairs to the first floor.
After greeting Cain, Sungjin ordered Cain’s food first.
“Please give Cain the best cut of beef. In the future, please provide him three meals a day, something Cain would like, and in enough quantities.”
“As you wish.”
“And for me…”
Sungjin paused for a moment to consider his options for breakfast and said the first thing that came to mind.
“Korean meal, with Doenjang Jjigae as the soup.”
Once he was done ordering, it occurred to him that this was a topic recently.
‘Where was it again…?’
It didn’t take long until he recalled who it was.
‘Between Kimchi Jjigae and Doenjang Jjigae, which is your favourite?’
Sungjin couldn’t help but grin. Dalupin soon brought over the bubbling hot soup, and few side dishes to go along with the rice.
While Sungjin was enjoying some fruit punch after the meal, the Operator gave out an announcement.
[Raid will commence in 10 minutes.]
He had just finished eating moments ago.
‘I guess I’ll have to digest food while hunting.’
Turning to his host, Sungjin requested:
“Hey, Dalupin, please do that now.”
Sungjin stood up straight in his chair. Dalupin brought out the long cloth from before and wrapped it around Sungjin’s head into a turban.
Sungjin turned his head left and right. It was his second time, but he was still not used to it. But he tolerated it since it was essential this time.
Sungjin picked up the waterskin he received in the morning and opened it up. He took a quick swig from the waterskin.
It was almost cold enough to cause brain freeze. But it is perfect since the water is meant to be used in the desert.
Once he was ready, Sungjin stood outside the doors of the Ninety Nine Nights and stretched. Soon after, he was teleported into the Raid.
The intense rays of sunlight blinded the eyes and burned the skin. The hot tan sand formed heatwaves, causing things in the distance to shimmer. Following the contour of the landscape, dry winds blew, scattering sand and altering the dunes.
The place Sungjin was teleported to was a scorching desert. The Operator began her explanation.
[Welcome to the Kutan Desert.]
[It is a barren land of death where few survive]
[Please be warned; the few that are able to endure the blistering heat and deadly winds]
[are extremely tough and violent.]
Sungjin frowned and looked up at the sky. The sun was too hot; he didn’t want to stay here for long.
Sungjin stood slightly tilted and watched his teammates appear one by one. ‘High Level Guardian’, ‘Zealot’, ‘Gladiator’, ‘High Level Scout’. Most of the titles were excellent this round.
After four rounds, most of the weak and mediocre hunters have been filtered out, and now only the strong remained. This time, Sungjin looked at his teammates with attention. The ‘High Level Guardian’ was an Asian wielding an enormous shield and mace.
Despite being an Asian man, the Guardian was bulky in size, like a sumo wrestler.
‘He doesn’t look like a Korean man… is he Chinese?’
Even though just last raid there was Xian Wang, if you consider the enormous population of China, it wouldn’t be strange to have at least one Chinese hunter in every round.
The ‘Zealot’ was a tall black man. Not only was he tall, but his muscles were also considerably large. He held an axe in each arm, each emitting a crimson light. His appearance was very fearsome.
‘Dual Axe Zealot… how apt.’
The ‘Gladiator’ was a sharp-nosed white man; one could almost cut paper on his nose. Although his body size looked relatively normal, the tight muscular structure of the man was visible even through his clothes; he must have lifted weights regularly.
He carried a sword somewhere between the length of a Short Sword and a Long Sword. On his left arm was a round shield that covered his entire arm, giving him the appearance akin to a Roman Gladiator.
‘This man is strong.’
Sungjin examined the man carefully. Behind him was the experience of overcoming countless raids.
Just looking at him and reading his demeanor, he could sense that the man was extraordinarily powerful.
Last was the ‘High Level Scout’. He was a long bearded Arabian. He was tall and thin, and his weapon was an expensive looking crossbow.
‘Serin was like that too… Ranged hunters sure invest a lot into expensive weapons.’
There was a variety of races, but everyone was wearing a turban on their head (only the Arabian man looked decent). And each individual looked strong.
All four men probably had their strengths and weaknesses, but all four men had probably taken a majority share of the contribution points in each of their raids.
Everyone carefully glanced at each other. By now, they all probably understood that getting a good grasp of the nature and strength of their teammates would help them survive.
At some point, Sungjin realized that all four men were staring at the title floating above Sungjin’s head.
‘Master Hunter has succeeded in completing the legendary ancient omnibus Romance of the Three Kingdoms’
It was probably due to this message. Everyone had been given this announcement while shopping and resting in the Black Market.
‘Who is Master Hunter?’
And then during the next raid, they find a ‘Master Hunter’ in their team, so the logical progression of their thoughts was ‘is it him?’. Sungjin pretended not to notice the stares.
Titles were not unique to a person, so just because he held the title did not guarantee that he was the same person as the one mentioned in the announcement. Although, getting Master Hunter title was nearly impossible.
The awkward silence continued for a good long while, but eventually it was broken.
“Ok, I think that went on long enough. Let’s introduce ourselves.”
It was the Black ‘Zealot’. He began with his self-introduction.
“I am Ralph, an American. I look forward to working with you gentlemen.”
And one by one the hunters introduced themselves. The Asian ‘High Level Guardian’ answered
“I am Bukitai, Mongolian.”
‘Ah, so he was a Mongol… I thought he was too large compared to other Asian men.’
Next was the Sharp-nosed White ‘Gladiator’
“Igor Janović, Russia”
The cold voice fit his image well. Last was the Arabian ‘High Level Scout.’
“Munir Yusef. Please call me Munir. I am Algerian.”
Last was Sungjin’s turn.
He half-heartedly answered. He didn’t want to reveal his nationality, but he didn’t want anyone to complain again that he had not revealed his country of origin.
When he declared himself Chinese, the other men accepted it without any question.
The only person here who could potentially tell apart Asian men by nationality was probably the Mongol, but he didn’t seem interested in prying.
Instead, he was busy drinking water from Dalupin’s Waterskin. His massive frame was already drenched in sweat.
The ‘Zealot’ banged his axe together as if he was clapping and announced,
“Let’s cooperate and overcome this raid together.”
“Yes, let’s do that.”
Even the Gladiator nodded. The only ones that did not respond were the two Asian men.
The Mongol was too busy spraying his entire body with cold water, and Sungjin was daydreaming about when would be the best time to utilize the power of ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’.
‘Should I try it on boss? Or should I wait until the Hidden boss, since they are usually stronger?’
Sungjin looked far off into the distance at the endless desert. This Chapter was not ideal for him. Limited the area may be, the content was a featureless desert for as far as the eyes could see.
Although it was fundamentally different from ‘Greysoul Cemetery’, it felt the same; he couldn’t tell where was what. Sungjin thought to himself.
‘The Raid boss is one thing… How do I find the Hidden boss in the middle of this desert?
Kutan Desert Raid
Objective – Hunt the King of Lizards ‘Basilisk’
Time Limit: 2 hours
The Operator’s mission briefing popped up. The time limit was much longer than most previous raids at 2 hours, but that actually signified that this raid was going to be very tough on the hunters.
Sungjin looked up at the sky once more. Just standing for 2 hours in this sun would be enough to cause blackouts.
He was already dripping with sweat, and only a few minutes had passed. Sungjin uncorked the Waterskin Dalupin had handed him and drank a few gulps of water.
Monsters were one thing, but resisting the scorching heat was extremely fatiguing.
The American Ralph and even the Russian Igor were drenched in sweat, looking exhausted even before the raid began; Mongol Bukitai’s state goes without saying wasn’t any better. Only the Algerian Munir looked fine.
Uninterested in the Hunter’s circumstances, the Operator began the countdown in an apathetic voice.
[Raid will begin in 10 seconds. 10, 9, 8]
Sungjin licked his lower lip and put his hands over ‘Moon Specter’. And he thought to himself
‘Hidden boss or whatever, I’m going to end this Raid quickly.’