Sungjin clutched his forehead as he watched Edward. Edward was making his way through the raids by cooperating with the other hunters, as he had always done. There was never a time when he had acted as a troll, though there were cases in which he had consequently killed hunters who had attempted to troll. While watching Edward, Sungjin was almost certain.
‘This guy… There’s no mistaking it… Back then, he used that spell to send me back in time…’
As Sungjin considered this, he continued to observe Edward as he slept. After a while, he once again discovered something that shocked him.
‘Huh? This is…’
Edward was currently at Chapter 16, Kor’daum Bay, which was where he had first met Edward. But Sungjin was not there. Instead, Edward was hunting with four hunters that Sungjin had never seen before.
‘What? I definitely… met Edward here? It couldn’t be?’
Sungjin quickly thought,
‘… Show me the scene of Edward’s death.’
The view changed to a bizarre location where crystals could be seen floating above circular trays. The instant Sungjin saw this, he realized,
‘This is… Chapter 19… Khadhi Azel Magic University.’
If Edward died here, then it meant that what he had predicted was correct. He had not been here with Edward.
‘The first time he died was in Chapter 18… So he was able to go further by one chapter.’
Sungjin continued to observe the raid of the final eight hunters. Chapter 19, Khadhi Azel Magic University. Though it was called a University, it was not a place that resembled a university campus. It was where absent-minded specters, who might have originally been students or professors, wandered about throughout the magically destroyed ruins.
‘Right, this is another of those places… Where you can’t predict what is going to happen.’
Sungjin watched Edward and the other hunters. What stood out immediately was the number of hunters. There were only eight of them, even though it was a ten-man raid.
‘… It seems that they have struggled incredibly hard to make it this far.’
The hunters who were barely able to defeat the monsters capable of using magic headed into a pure-white marble building at the center of the campus grounds. As Sungjin saw this, he thought back on his own blurry past.
‘… Hrm… Here…’
All of a sudden, a deafening voice could be heard.
“HOW DARE YOU DISRUPT THE STUDIES OF THE STUDENTS! YOU PIECE OF GARBAGE!”
Once he heard that voice, he remembered everything. Soon, the Operator’s voice could be heard saying,
[The Dean ‘Serdio’ has appeared.]
Quickly afterwards, a giant holding an immense staff appeared from inside the building. An interesting feature was that the giant was wearing a pair of spectacles. Sungjin clicked his tongue as he continued to observe.
‘With just eight… You can’t win against that guy. Normally, that is.’
Sure enough, the hunters began to fall one by one to the Dean’s spells. As a regressor, Edward was able to last until the very end and put up a struggle. But eventually, he died while letting out a valiant cry.
He perished as the last human. Then once again, a voice could be heard.
[You have died.]
[You were humanity’s very last remaining Player.]
[Benefit awarded to the last player to die is “Restart”]
At the same time, a single line of text appeared before his eyes.
Restart – Redo the hunt from the very beginning, but with current memory.
Edward once again opened his eyes from within the white square room. After he looked at his surroundings, he screamed even more loudly than he had during his death just a moment ago.
Sungjin opened his eyes after that shout. As soon as he got up, he took off the eye mask and swallowed once. He had vaguely expected it but actually seeing it had been more impactful.
‘As I thought… Edward didn’t regress only once.’
Sungjin looked out the window. The skies had already changed to a soft navy color.
‘… Is it almost dawn?’
Sungjin roughly washed his face before heading down to the first floor earlier than usual. As always, Dalupin was presiding over the first floor. Sungjin said to him,
“Dalupin, please give me a slightly less sweet cafe mocha.”
Dalupin soon handed over a hot, steaming cup of coffee.
“Here you go, Mister Hunter.”
Sungjin accepted the cup and then cooled it down by blowing air onto it a few times.
He exited Ninety Nine Nights and walked outside. Next to the door, there was a small rocking chair. Sungjin was lost in thought as he sat down on it and watched the sunrise in the distance.
He had finally figured out most of the puzzle. Edward had gone back in time more than once and during all this, he had met Sungjin more than twice. And on their final meeting, after revealing a few secrets to Sungjin, instead of going back in time himself, he had sent Sungjin back in time by forcefully making him the last person alive. Sungjin knew that if Edward had wanted to be the last person alive, he could have easily done so.
‘It really does seem like he didn’t have malicious intent behind his trolling…’
Sungjin felt like all the pieces were falling into place one by one. The only thing that he was not able to find out yet was what Edward had seen in Chapter 21 during Chapter 20.
‘Just why did that guy… Choose me of all people?’
Although Sungjin did not know what it was, there might have been something that Edward could not do anything about in Chapter 21.
‘… Or… It might have been that he was too tired of going back in time again and again…’
This was also a possibility since even Sungjin himself had also felt disgusted by the thought of having to go through this game of carnage twice. When he was viewing Edward’s past, it was obvious that Edward had restarted at least twice. Sungjin sipped away at his coffee as he contemplated on the matter. He came to a conclusion.
‘… It’s not clear exactly what Edward saw that caused him to troll, but… I have to do what I have to do. That is, to complete the raids which is what I had originally planned to do… And… It’s probably also the reason why Edward had sent me back in time.’
Sungjin held the empty coffee cup as he went back inside ‘Ninety Nine Nights’. According to the scene of the future that he had seen, Sungjin would come to meet Hiroaki the middle schooler swordsman in this raid, and he would join them as an ally. Not only was his skill decent, but he also had no reason to betray them, as he treated Sungjin like a teacher. It was natural that Hiroaki would join them as a teammate.
Sungjin narrowed his eyes as he swung his sword. The Nagas were cut down in droves as Sungjin continued his sword dance. The other four hunters followed behind Sungjin, but they did not have anything to do in particular.
Because the strength behind Sungjin’s attacks was significantly superior, the other hunters only assisted by taking care of the occasional scared and fleet-footed Nagas that tried to flee. The green blood of the Nagas was scattered all over Sungjin’s body. He looked around his surroundings as he thought,
‘Let’s see… It was definitely near this beach…’
Then, one of the other hunters pointed towards a cliff near the shoreline as he asked,
“Hey, over there. Isn’t that a cave?”
Sungjin clapped his hands as he said,
“Ah, that’s right.”
That cave was where the Hidden Boss of Kor’daum Bay resided. As Sungjin plodded towards the cave, one of the hunters followed him. It was an incredibly tall man with the title ‘Terminator’ who wielded a halberd that matched him well. The ‘Terminator’ approached Sungjin and spoke up.
“Master Hunter Kei.”
Sungjin looked up at him as he asked,
“Hrm? What is it?”
“I… Heard that you had ‘Chosen Ones’… Is that true?”
Sungjin neither denied nor acknowledged it. This was because he felt that it would be troublesome if he said that he did, but it was difficult to lie about it since the number of hunters using the ‘Chosen One’ title was quite high. Instead of answering the question, Sungjin countered,
“… Why do you want to know that?”
“No, it’s just… I wanted to know if it was possible for you to choose me.”
Sungjin scratched his head. In the future that Sungjin had seen yesterday, this person had not been one of his allies. Furthermore, there were other reasons for this. The hunter was superb with the halberd, but he was somewhat excessively aggressive so he did not harmonize well with his teammates. Sungjin told him,
“I apologize, but… I… Am no longer choosing people.”
The ‘Terminator’’s disappointed expression was obvious.
“Is that so?”
Not particularly proficient in lying, Sungjin simply nodded silently. He had a total of three vials of Holy Water of Baptism left. He felt sorry, but he could not accept everyone just like that. Sungjin left the hunters and the ‘Terminator’ behind and stood in front of the cave. Then, he looked at the hunters as he said,
“I’ll solve it myself, so please do not enter.”
Sungjin then walked into the dark and clammy cave. Inside were strange creatures with the head of an octopus and the body of a human. When Sungjin entered, they held up eerily glowing staves as they started to stand up one by one. The Operator’s warning could be heard.
[Warning! Hidden Boss]
[The ‘Mindplayer’ Sharox and his progeny have appeared!]
Sungjin took out his sword.
‘Let’s quickly cut him to pieces… Then wait for the summon of the ‘Chosen Ones’.’
However, at that moment, the ‘Terminator’ held his halberd as he entered the cave without consulting Sungjin.
“Master Hunter Kei! I came to help. Killing the Hidden Boss by yourself is ridic…”
“No, I told you not to come in…”
However, it was already too late. The staff of Sharox the Mindplayer began to shine. The hunter’s eyes turned yellow, then he started shouting a bizarre scream.
Sungjin kneaded his forehead.
‘Even though I said not to come in…’
Sharox the Mindplayer would control a hunter’s mind and cause him to attack his allies. Sungjin bit down on his lower lip. He could kill the boss by himself, but it would be far more difficult to kill the enemies without hurting the ‘Terminator’. Feeling regretful, Sungjin thought to himself,
‘I should have told them to not come in more clearly.’
But now that he thought about it, he had a spell that could turn back time.
The yellow-eyed ‘Terminator’ began charging towards Sungjin, but in that moment, Sungjin activated the Ring of the Great Sage and reversed time.
Everything began to go backwards, until Sungjin returned to the moment before he went into the cave. Sungjin stopped himself from entering the cave, and looked at the ‘Terminator’ standing next to him and said,
“I’ll say it one more time, don’t come in. Especially Mister ‘Terminator’.”
At Sungjin’s words, the ‘Terminator’ started.
“I’ve clearly seen your abilities already… Entering the cave won’t let you become a ‘Chosen One’. Do you understand?”
The ‘Terminator’ had no choice but to nod his head. Sungjin once again went into the cave by himself.
[Warning! Hidden Boss]
[The ‘Mindplayer’ Sharox and his progeny have appeared!]
He held up his sword and charged towards the enemies by himself. Thankfully, there was no one interrupting this time.
Sungjin stabbed Moon Specter and Blood Vengeance into the sand on the beach and laid down.
The sound of the waves crashing rang in his ears. After clearing the hidden boss, Sungjin attempted to find trolls only to repeatedly hear the Operator notify him,
[No applicable dimension available].
Because of this, he just simply laid down on the sunny beach.
‘Are there really none left… Ack, whatever.’
According to the future that he had seen through his ‘Ios’, he would reunite with Hiroaki today. That was, so long as he did not do anything incredibly strange. Due to this, he did not go anywhere and did nothing but simply lie down like this.
‘If this item that shows you the future is real… Then the future that I saw will happen soon.’
Sungjin did not have to wait long. Roughly ten minutes had passed since he had started sunbathing after killing the hidden boss, and suddenly the Operator’s voice rang out.
[The Chosen One has requested your teleportation. Will you accept?]
Sungjin stood up on the sandy beach, then he said to the Operator,
“I’ll go. Teleport me.”
Soon, Franz’s figure could be seen above the cube.
“Kei. There’s a person in my party who said that he had a teacher named Kei?”
As Sungjin listened to Franz’s report, he thought,
‘It’s just as I saw.’
Sungjin teleported to Franz’s dimension. There, Hiroaki smiled brightly as he waved to Sungjin.
Chapter took a bit of time as we’ve been discussing with author. As you can see the focus now is on Chosen Ones than raid reward and titles which might come off as odd to many readers.