Sungjin sat on the floor with his legs crossed, still holding onto his sword.
The place he was sitting was the ‘Hunter’s Hall. It was an unimaginably immense Hall lined endlessly with pillars.
Shortly, along with a ‘shooo’ sound, other Hunters were teleported to the same place. Sungjin looked up at the others. Everyone was drenched in sweat and covered in sand.
Once the crowd of hunters grew large enough, the Operator’s face showed up as a hologram above the pillars.
[The hunters gathered here have all successfully cleared five chapters thus far.]
Not many were happy despite her announcement. The hunters were fighting and struggling for their lives until just a moment ago.
[The current number of surviving Hunters is 637,024.]
[The raid began with a total of 7,310,067,613 Hunters.]
[Less than 1 out of 10,000 of the original is remaining.]
Sungjin tried to recall the past. He did remember that once the ‘Kutan Desert’ was cleared the Operator gave an announcement about the total number of surviving Hunters, but he couldn’t recall the exact amount.
‘Well based on luck, I bet it would fluctuate greatly…’
While Sungjin was lost in thought, the Operator continued to speak.
[Everyone present here is part of the top 0.01% of the rankings.]
[You have all proven your own self-worth.]
Sungjin briefly thought of “Serin Han’ and ‘Igor’. He also remembered the ‘Coward’ from the first chapter. It was possible that he had survived until now… although the chances were extremely slim.
[Please continue to grow and become stronger]
[And clear all the raids.]
Briefly, the Operator disappeared and was replaced by an image of people. Sungjin decided to look away and observe other people’s faces.
Everyone had deep frowns and angry faces; they were most likely being shown images of their friends and families.
[To remind you]
[Once the final raid is beaten,]
[Everyone trapped in the Purgatory will be revived.]
Someone muttered under their breath.
“Fuck… How are we supposed to believe that?”
Someone else commented
“They’re holding everyone hostage… this is basically an extortion!”
[Starting from this chapter onward, at the center of the Black Market]
Despite grumbling just a second ago, once the Operator began an announcement, the hunters stopped speaking immediately; The Operator’s words were absolute when it came to survival in the Raids.
[A new area will appear.]
[It is very useful in increasing your chances of survival, so I would recommend visiting it at least once.]
[You will be sent to the Black Market in 10 seconds.]
Sungjin could hear people murmur around him.
“New area? What’s that?”
“It’s probably useless without using tons of coins.”
Sungjin couldn’t help but think
‘You don’t need it at all!’
[3, 2, 1, 0.]
Along with the countdown, the people gathered in the Hunter’s Hall were scattered to their own instances of the Black Market.
Sungjin immediately began walking once he arrived. His destination was one and only; Kenneth’s Katana shop. Once Sungjin was close, he asked the Operator for the amount of Coins he carried.
‘Operator, How many Coins do I have?”
[You have 12550 Coins.]
Sungjin nodded and then entered the shop. And as always, Kenneth welcomed him inside.
“Welcome back, Mister Hunter.”
“Hey Kenneth, sorry but… Can I… See the Blood Vengeance again?”
This was already the third time. Kenneth smiled brightly and replied.
“Of course you can, don’t be sorry.”
And for the third time, Kenneth brought Blood Vengeance to Sungjin. Sungjin held the sword in his hands. Then, he held the Moon Specter in the right and Blood Vengeance in the left and tried swinging the sword with the sheath on. The swords smoothly sailed through the air.
Kenneth hissed while clapping.
“I have seen a multitude of customers wield a sword… but it’s the first time I’ve seen anyone handle two swords so proficiently.”
Sungjin was also very happy with himself. The Moon Specter and the Blood Vengeance; he was now able to field both swords simultaneously. With these two swords, he wouldn’t need to purchase any other weapon.
Sungjin lifted up the Blood Vengeance and said
“Please let me buy this. Operator, pay.”
The Cube came forward and completed the transaction. Kenneth bowed and thanked Sungjin.
“9700 Coins received for one Blood Vengeance. Thank you for your business.”
To her sincere and polite gesture, Sungjin replied in kind by also bowing his head.
“Thank you as well. Then, take care.
Sungjin hung the Blood Vengeance on his belt. He had finally become a Dual Wield Swordsman.
Sungjin was going to go straight back to the ‘Ninety Nine Nights’, but he thought of something.
‘Ah… That’s right.’
At the newly created area, there was a business he had to attend to. Sungjin passed many shops to make his way to the center of the Market.
In a previously empty lot, a circular stall had sprung up which was run by three pig demi-humans.
“Do you have anything you wish to sell?”
“Or is there something you’d like to buy?”
“Whichever it is, please come!”
Sungjin walked over. The Operator began her explanation.
[This is the ‘Achi’ Brother’s “Time is money plan’]
[Hunters can put up items for auction at this shop, which could then be purchased by other Hunters.]
Sungjin walked up to the smallest of the three pig brothers. And then
“Operator, give me Manta.”
Receiving Manta from the cube, Sungjin handed over the staff to the pig man.
“Please put this up for auction.”
The Pigman replied
“Oh, this is a Heroic Tier item. The Minimum payout for Heroic Tier items is 2000 coins. If someone makes a bid for the item, the item will remain available until sundown for another bid.”
“I know. Start the auction price at 3000 and set the instant buyout at 6000 coins.”
Sungjin knew the general prices of items thanks to his experience.
Rare was between 500 ~ 5000, Heroic between 2000 ~ 5000 and Legendary was between 5000 ~ 50,000.
Unique Legendary items were priceless, but they were typically unavailable due to the advantage they offered in the raid.
Just like how Sungjin had no intentions to auction ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’.
The Pigman took the item and placed it inside a larger cube at the center of their shop.
“If it gets sold, we will send the earnings to Ninety Nine Nights.”
Sungjin nodded. To be honest, items with magic enhancements like ‘Manta’ weren’t likely to be sold. It was because most hunters were not ready to fight exclusively with magic until after chapter 7 or 8.
But as long as he kept the item available in the shop, someone was bound to buy it. The item itself was not bad at all. Another Pig demi-human approached Sungjin.
“Anything you would like to buy?”
Sungjin shook his head, but he thought he might as well ask.
“Well… Any Legendary Tier items available for sale?”
“There are… no legendary items for sale currently.”
Just as he thought. It was too early for Legendary items to be in the surplus. Since Sungjin had no interest in anything less than a Legendary tier item, he left the market without worry.
“Ok, I’ll have to check back in another time.”
Sungjin immediately headed off to Ninety Nine Nights. He had already decided on tonight’s Menu.
It was the cold noodles, in a bowl with chilled soup. Sungjin drank directly from the bowl that Dalupin served the noodles in. It was so refreshing after the torturous desert Raid.
“You look much better now, Master.”
Soldamyr said sitting across the table. Thanks to ‘Spiritual Link’ he was able to stay at ‘Ninety Nine Nights’ along with Cain.
“Of course. Kutan Desert is the only desert I’ve been to. That being said, don’t you need to eat something?”
“Yes, I only need to absorb mana from the atmosphere.”
Cain was busily wolfing up the chicken meat. Sungjin petted his head.
“Good good, eat a lot, Cain.”
Cain was definitely bigger now. Last time it wasn’t too noticeable, but now Sungjin was absolutely certain. Cain was growing at a very fast pace each day.
‘Does this even make sense?’
Sungjin wondered, but he quickly dismissed his thoughts; time itself flowed strangely in the Black Market.
The Raid always began in the morning, but by the time they returned, it was late afternoon. It wouldn’t be strange if several days passed while Sungjin was participating in the raid. Once he was done with his meal,
“See you later Soldamyr. Bye Cain.”
Facing his host, Sungjin thanked him.
“Thank you for the meal.”
Sungjin left and returned to his room. He was fatigued due to the desert heat.
He filled the tub and lay in the bath as he always did.
Sungjin couldn’t help but sigh. He knew it would be a tough raid, but it was far more difficult than he had anticipated. It was physically taxing, but
‘Kill me, and continue forward. Survive to the end and save us from our imprisonment. Please, bring salvation to mankind.’
After killing Igor with his own hands, he felt an internal turmoil. He had forgotten somehow but
‘Once the final raid is beaten, Everyone trapped in the Purgatory will be revived.’
Igor and the Operator had reminded him of his mission. Very likely, the salvation of mankind rested on his shoulders. It was a heavy burden to take.
Sungjin raised his gaze to the ceiling.
‘But… this isn’t something I can clear on my own…’
If he could complete every raid by himself, it would be perfect, but that was impossible. The way the Raids had been designed, cooperation with several teammates was necessary to clear it.
The further along the raid he progressed, the more important his teammates became. It was not only about having strong teammates but having teammates he could trust. But often it was difficult to find both qualities in the same person.
It was true in the ‘real world’, and it was especially true in the Raid. He couldn’t help but recall Igor’s words.
‘In some ways, isn’t this just like how the world works? Competing over limited resources? This game is structured this way; work together until you clear the raid, and then Kill. Take the contribution points by force. This is a far more profitable outcome.’
He wasn’t wrong. The design of the Raid seemed to encourage troll activity. It would be extremely rare to be able to find kind-hearted yet strong individuals, especially in a system that rewarded team killing.
‘So… does this system favor evil over good?’
If that was true, then something needed to be done, considering his ‘previous failure’. Sungjin lay back in the tub and thought to himself. He recalled Serin and Igor’s case.
‘If I really intend to complete the final raid… I can’t be the only one to grow stronger… I need to overcome the system and be able to influence the raid as a whole…’
And then he thought of something.
‘Overcome the system.’
There was a place where that might be possible. Sungjin got up from the bath and wiped himself down with a towel.
Dalupin appeared as if he knew when Sungjin might be done with the bath.
“Please come in”
Dalupin greeted him politely and then handed over a piece of paper.
“It is the information brochure on the next Chapter.”
Sungjin accepted it and asked Dalupin
“Dalupin I have a special request for tonight.”
Go ahead and ask.”
“Please wake me up at. At 4:20 am… no, make that 4:10 am.”
“Four in the morning?”
The Owl demi-human stared at him quizzically, not understanding what this was about. Dalupin blinked a few times. Sungjin answered
“Yes. You sleep during the day anyway, right?”
There was not an instance where Dalupin ever refused.
After he had left, Sungjin went straight to bed. He had to sleep earlier tonight. He had to wake up at 4:10 am to make it to the hidden market which opened at 4:30.
TL Note: The Romance of the Three Kingdoms was called Legendary Ancient Omnibus, but in this chapter, it is called a Unique Legendary item. It seems going forward, this is the verbiage the Author will be sticking to. Just slight shift in terminology, nothing substantial changed since we already knew that only one could exist (already unique)
Also, we complete our second month today as translators^^ Hope y’all are enjoying our work!