At dinner time, Mustafa was welcomed to the team under Franz’s lead.
“Now then, let’s all give the newly invited Mustafa a welcoming applause.”
Mustafa held a glass filled with apple juice at the crowded table. He looked at Sungjin and the other Chosen Ones as he said,
“For hunters to be able to gather like this and have dinner together… What a remarkable sight…”
“It’s been a while since you were last able to talk to others like this, right? You’ll get used to it soon.”
“Indeed. It was a good decision to come to this gathering between the ‘One who Chooses’ and the ‘Chosen Ones’.”
Mustafa briefly looked around before he added,
“I have a large family. At home, we would always sit together at a huge table like this as we shared our meals, so I was not used to dining alone. However, after coming here… I had to eat by myself for a while… Because of this, every time during dinner I could not help but think of my family.”
The mood became a touch gloomier once the topic of his family was brought up. Perhaps he realized this, as Mustafa immediately changed the subject.
“However, it is great to be able to eat a meal with others like this again. Let us gather our strengths and finish these accursed raids so that we may save those we love.”
At first, Mustafa was a bit solemn as he kept his guard up, but soon he relaxed and began to get along with the other hunters. He had acted the same with the previous final ten people as well. It was something that made Sungjin a little relieved. Throughout the meal, there was a buzz of excitement in the air from gaining a new comrade. After some time had passed, Sungjin surreptitiously got up from his seat. When he did so, Serin and a few other hunters looked at Sungjin with a questioning gaze. Sungjin waved his hand as he said,
“Ah. Restroom. Be right back.”
Soon, the hunters turned their attention back towards their various eating utensils. Sungjin moved towards the back and entered the restroom. He locked the door, just in case another person wanted to come in, before taking out the star-shaped accessory that he had picked up today from his vest.
The reason that Sungjin chose to use an item that let him see the future at this time when everyone was having dinner was simple: if he was having the meal with the same members during tomorrow’s dinner, then it meant that tomorrow’s raid would have been safely completed as well.
The shining star-shaped accessory gave off an even brighter light for an instant; it was a brilliant radiance that was almost blinding. When the light filled up the restroom in which Sungjin stood, the future began to unfold before him.
Franz shouted as he held up a glass filled with orange juice,
‘In this moment, a new ally has joined us. Let’s give him our blessings. Congratulations!’
Sungjin tilted his head in confusion,
‘What? This… Isn’t this what happened just a moment ago?’
However, the person being welcomed was a different person.
‘Thank you for the warm reception.’
It was a young man with a katana equipped on both sides of his waist.
‘I am truly moved to be reunited with my master, as well as find teammates on top of that.’
A familiar face. It was the young man he had met at Greysoul Cemetery, the swordsman Hiroaki. Sungjin felt joyous, but decided to figure out the situation first.
‘This is… Something that is happening tomorrow?’
He could see Mustafa clapping his hands on the side. Therefore, what he was seeing now was not what had happened today. Sungjin glanced at the other hunters. Serin, Nada, Franz, Mahadas, and Baltren were all energetically smiling as they applauded.
‘Good. If it’s like this, then… Nothing should have happened.’
Afterwards, dinner proceeded with a slightly spirited atmosphere, similar to today’s dinner. Sungjin observed the proceedings in a relaxed mood. After a while, the surroundings suddenly began to grow darker, before turning pitch black like at Darker than Black. Alarmed, Sungjin wondered to himself,
Sungjin was back inside the restroom the next moment. He then gazed at the star-shaped accessory in his hands.
‘So it shows you about… 3 minutes of the future…’
This number was not exact, but a rough estimate. Sungjin placed the star inside his vest and unlocked the door to the restroom before stepping out. However, Baltren was standing in front of the door with a strange look. He slightly opened his mouth before staring at Sungjin as if there was something out of the norm.
Was his act of looking into the future discovered? Sungjin asked him,
“Wh… What, Baltren?”
“No, it’s just… When you said that you were going to the restroom… For some reason, I also felt the need to use it, so I was going to wait for you to come out… But you unlocked the door and came out right after locking it… I just thought it was strange.”
Sungjin tilted his head.
“You’re saying that, just now, I locked the door and then immediately opened it and came out.”
Baltren nodded his head again.
Though Sungjin had seen about three minutes of the future, to others, it was strange that he came out right after he had entered the restroom. Sungjin and Baltren stood there facing each other for a moment, when Sungjin came to realize that he was blocking the entrance to the restroom.
“Ah, right. Please go ahead.”
He got out of the way. Baltren looked at Sungjin with an inquiring gaze, but soon entered the restroom. It seemed that he really needed to use it. Sungjin returned to the dinner table and picked up some buckwheat noodles with his chopsticks as he thought about the last dream he had.
‘… Now that I think about it… I only saw Edward glowing for a moment… Then… Does time not flow when you’re looking at the future?’
In the first place, seeing the future was something that defied imagination, so it was reasonable for time to stop when he was looking into the future.
‘In any case… If it turns out like what the star had showed me… Then nothing in particular should occur tomorrow as well. That is, if I don’t do anything strange.’
Just as he had observed in Edward’s case, it was possible to change the future that you had seen. For example, tomorrow he could teleport to the other hunters’ dimensions and troll, but then he would be eating dinner by himself. Sungjin slurped up the buckwheat noodles as he made a promise to himself.
‘I’m going to go through tomorrow as ordinarily as I can. Ordinarily. Like I’ve always done.’
After dinner was over, Sungjin saw the other hunters off and then went to bed early. In the past, he had slept early in order to visit Darker than Black. Now, he did so in order to peek into Edward’s past.
‘I was able to see the future, but… That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t see the past.’
Sungjin put on the eye mask and fell asleep. Soon, Edward’s past began to unfold before his eyes.
The bones were glued together in the air. The lower jaw moved on its own as it incanted a spell.
“All-freezing winds! Razor-sharp ice! Blizzard Storm!”
As the Lich’s spell activated, Edward chanted a spell of his own.
“Spell-devouring magic field, Anti Magic Shield!”
It was as if he had already been prepared. Covered by a magic nullifying barrier, Edward ran towards the Lich. Upon seeing Edward charging at him, the Lich attempted to chant another spell, but Edward struck the first blow.
“Be quiet! Silence!”
The Lich’s lower jaw clacked noisily several times against the upper jaw but it was unable to chant a spell. Edward did not let this opportunity go and incanted a spell directly into the Lich’s face.
“The sacred flames descend! Holy Fire!”
Soon, a pure white flame erupted on the Lich’s body. The Lich screamed in surprise.
“No! This spell?”
“Just what are youuuuuuuuu…”
The flames spread to all of the bones that made up the Lich’s body in an instant. The other hunters could be seen standing behind Edward.
“A… Amazing, Edward.”
“How… Such spells?”
Edward received the same reactions that Sungjin had before. Then, they again spoke up.
“It was incredible. It was as if you knew which spells the Lich was about to use.”
Sungjin looked at that unknown hunter and thought,
‘That’s right. He’s fighting while knowing everything there is to know.’
Edward was using the foundation knowledge created by the lessons learnt from his previous attempt to incredible effects, similar to what Sungjin had done when he went back in time. Edward was able to obtain an incredibly high contribution in Count Dimitri’s Castle Ruins, Tahrakhan Plateau, and Dark Elven City and improve just like Sungjin.
However, there was something that Edward was lacking in. Sungjin saw Edward giving up on fighting some of the strong Hidden Bosses when he failed to reach an agreement with the other hunters. This was the limit of someone who mainly used magic, like Edward.
To begin with, a mage could only shine when he or she was able to act freely in the rear during the fight. It seemed like it was not possible for one to go around ripping bosses apart solo like Sungjin had done.
Edward was born with an incredible talent for magic, but was hopeless when it came to using weapons. There were several occasions when he attempted to use weapons, and Sungjin even saw him investing points into dexterity.
But that was it. No matter how high his stats were, Edward would always fall behind in skill when compared to people like himself or Ryushin who had already trained for nearly their entire life before. Especially since there was no one teaching such techniques in the Raid.
In the end, unlike Sungjin, Edward chose to go all out with magic. From the beginning to the end, he threw everything into magic. Because of this, Edward couldn’t help but skip over hidden bosses with incredible physical prowess such as the Dark Elven Swordsman Calian when he didn’t have the support of his teammates. Because he had to skip a few Hidden Bosses, it was inevitable that he would receive lesser rewards than Sungjin.
When Sungjin saw all of this, he muttered,
‘Hrmph. I’m better than you, Edward.’
However, he suddenly felt his hair stand on end after he said that.
I’m better than you.
This might just be the reason why Edward had sent him back in time.