Sungjin paused from eating the strawberry yogurt that had come out as a dessert and looked at the notes that Dalupin had handed him last night.
‘Information pertaining to the City of Crimson Moon.’
‘Hrm… This was a really strange place…’
This chapter was a particularly bizarre place, even among the twenty or so chapters he had seen. The monsters that would appear in the other chapters were creatures that one could have read about in fairy tales or novels, but this place contained monsters that were completely otherworldly; they would appear and disappear like ghosts from nightmares. They were typically aberrant creatures with incomplete forms.
‘Back then… I recall that we barely cleared it…’
Sungjin had narrowly had cleared the chapter after losing several of his allies the last time.
“The boss is called Tezer…”
‘What was it again…’
Sungjin looked at the information sheet. The name of the boss was ‘Tezer’burunda’bas’.
“Tezer’burunda’bas… How should I put this… It has a freely changing form made of… floating faces of angry spirits that are bunched up like slimes.”
“It’s made of floating vengeful spirits that are bunched up like slimes?”
“Yeah. That… That’s the only way I can describe it… It’s made of all kinds of vengeful spirits: laughing ones, crying ones, angry ones…”
Sungjin wanted to describe the boss, but it was not easy to find the proper words. He gave up and listed points that they should pay attention to.
“You’ll understand when you see it. What’s special about this guy is that when a part of its body falls off, it will move independently. However, it can’t be damaged. Only the biggest piece can be wounded, so aim for that.”
The ‘Chosen Ones’ wrote down simple notes or silently nodded their heads as Sungjin spoke. Baltren raised his hand and asked,
“Master Hunter. What about the Hidden Boss?”
Sungjin did not have anything to say about that, since he himself had never encountered the Hidden Boss of this chapter. Sungjin replied truthfully,
“I don’t know either. Since the Hidden Boss is unknown… Be careful. Don’t force yourself to kill it, and if it seems difficult, call me immediately. Understood?”
From Sungjin’s perspective, it would be great if the Chosen Ones could kill the boss and grow in strength by themselves, but it would be a huge loss if someone died while doing so. He had only gathered seven Chosen Ones so far, but the Darker than Black’s shop owner was gone, and Sungjin only had two Holy Water of Baptisms left. Because of this, not one of them could be allowed to die if he wanted to create the party of final ten hunters.
“Then, I hope to see everyone at dinner time in good health.”
“See you tonight.”
The hunters separated and returned to their respective dimensions. Sungjin sat alone at the joined tables in Ninety Nine Nights, which Dalupin now left connected together, and gazed over the empty spots.
‘Well… When I saw the future yesterday, no one had died so… There shouldn’t be anything in particular, but…’
In any case, it was likely that no one would die. That is, so long as Sungjin did not do anything strange that was ‘capable of changing the future’ similar to when Edward had cast spells at his allies’ backs.
‘But more importantly…’
Sungjin took out a Holy Water of Baptism from his vest. There were two remaining. It was now Chapter 17. Until Chapter 21, which Sungjin did not know anything about, only Chapter 18, Ser’corist Prison, Chapter 19, Khadhi Azel Magic University, and Chapter 20, Demon King’s Castle, remained. From these four chapters, he had to select two additional Chosen Ones.
‘But there were only eight people at today’s dinner…’
It meant that the possibility of making a new connection did not exist.
‘Then, for now, I’ll not worry about it and just focus on clearing the raid.’
Sungjin believed that this would not be too difficult to do and finished the remaining yogurt.
Late at night, in a medieval city where the streets were lit up by shabby torches, the sound of a metallic object scraping against something could be heard.
It was unknown if it was a human or an animal, but the moans of some creature could be heard.
Above the clock tower that was located at the center of the city, a crimson, full moon could be seen rising. It was an exotic sight. This place which emanated a terrifying atmosphere was Chapter 17, ‘City of Crimson Moon’.
‘Last chapter was great since it was on a warm beach… Here, the atmosphere is too…’
Sungjin waited for the other hunters to appear as he complained to himself.
The other hunters appeared one by one, and surprisingly, a familiar person came into view. It was the tall, blue-eyed monk, Mahadas.
“Oh!… Mr. Kei. By coincidence, it seems that we will be able to carry out this raid together.”
“Indeed, that seems to be the case.”
“As I thought… Is this because there are not many people left in the raids anymore?”
“That’s a possibility.”
Previously, when they had finished Chapter 14, there were about 6700 hunters remaining. Though it was impossible to know the exact number of people remaining, it was likely that there were approximately about 2-3000 hunters alive. As it was a five man raid, there would be about 400 to 600 parties and because of this, it would not be particularly difficult to meet with an acquaintance.
“This is the second time that we’ve been partied together since that time at the Castle. It’s a pleasure, K.”
Before his regression, Sungjin had been partied with Mahadas twice as well. Strangely enough, it seemed that he and Mahadas had deep ties to each other.
Sungjin looked at the other three hunters, wondering if there was someone from the previous final ten people or a familiar face. There was a black person, a white person, and an Asian person, but they were all people that he had never seen before. But on the contrary, there was someone that recognized him.
“Huh, are you? The Master Hunter? Kei?”
“That’s you, right? Master Hunter. The famous troll hunter!”
A short, but sturdy Asian man with a sharp face approached Sungjin and held out his hand.
“From what I hear, you’re Korean?”
Now that he looked at him, Sungjin could tell that his speech matched the movements of his lips. Seeing that he did not require the automatic translation of the Operator, this person must also be a Korean. Sungjin grasped his hand as he replied,
“Yeah… It’s a pleasure to meet another Korean.”
In truth, he was not particularly glad. This was because Koreans would act rudely to Sungjin since he would tend to be younger than them, even though they were in a raid. However, the man replied,
“Ah, I’m not Korean.”
Sungjin tilted his head.
‘Huh? Is he Chinese? Does he just know how to speak Korean?’
However, unexpectedly, the man said,
“I’m from the North.”
He was a North Korean.
A North Korean. It was his first time seeing one in both this current raid and the previous one.
“Still, it’s nice to meet someone of the same ethnicity. Why did all of this madness began…”
When he considered it, he felt that it would not be difficult for North Koreans to adapt to the raid. Because North Korean males were people who had to serve for nearly ten years in the army, they would find it easier to adapt into circumstances as difficult as these.
‘Though I’m worried about cultural differences…but if he is good then maybe he can join…’
However, in the preview that he had of tonight’s dinner, the man was not there. Sungjin wondered why this was the case, but the answer was soon made clear.
“You’re a North Korean?”
The white person who was behind him interjected.
“I’m supposed to depend and fight alongside a terrorist… this is a problem.”
At that, one of the North Korean man’s eyebrows shot up high.
“Terrorist? What are you implying?
As the voices of the two people got louder, the black person alarmingly said,
“Woah, woah. Hey there, let’s not fight. Did both of you forget that we have to fight for our lives soon?”
Despite the black man’s attempts, the two bared their teeth at each other as if they were about to duke it out. Sungjin glanced at the Caucasian.
‘Does he think that all North Koreans are terrorists… No, even if he thought such things, he should not have said it out loud.’
Having started a fight with another person even before the raid had started, this person was automatically disqualified.
‘It’s amazing that he was able to make it this far…’
The fight between the two was stopped when the monk Mahadas stepped in between them.
“The two of you, please calm your minds and temporarily put away your anger.”
A blue-eyed monk. Whether it was because of his unique appearance or his calm voice, the two strangely settled down when they heard Mahadas’ words.
“No, I wasn’t… Trying to…”
“A monk, here…”
The North Korean scratched his head and turned around. Then, he matched gazes with Sungjin before saying,
“Haa, this is why I normally don’t say where I’m from… I made a mistake since I met someone of the same ethnicity.”
On another thought, the man was a bit pitiable. Being considered a terrorist just because he had said his country of origin. It was also possible that something like this had happened more than once before as well since North Korea was seen poorly by the rest of the world. Sungjin looked at him as he thought,
‘Hrm.. Even if his skill is good, it might be difficult to take him with us…’
Sungjin also had to consider the relationships between his allies. When he now considered the previous final ten, the Muslim-hating Illich was always in a conflict with Mustafa, and Ryushin, who looked down on Japanese people, had problems with Shunsuke.
‘Though it doesn’t really matter to me if he’s from North Korea…’
Although Sungjin himself, as a South Korean, did not have any particular feelings about it, he did not know whether the American Baltren, or the European Nada and Franz would be averse to the guy. If they thought like that, then there was nothing he could do about it.
‘Is that why there’s only eight people at tonight’s dinner… Whew, whatever. Let’s just finish the raid quickly.’
[The raid will begin 10 seconds. 10, 9, 8…]
Sungjin took out his sword as he contemplated about the matter. Since Mahadas was here as well, this raid was bound to be especially easy.
Though it’s difficult since my ability to read (English) is not so good, I am reading everyone’s comments.
I took the idea for Blood Vengeance from the sword Chikage from the Playstation game Bloodborne. While the special ability and the lore is different, the idea of a sword whose medium is blood left a profound impression on me.
Artemio, Moon Specter, and Ariane are completely original swords.
The exiled Dark Elf Calian, the owner of Artemio, is, of course, me paying homage to Drizzt Do’urden (from Dungeons and Dragons). When I saw him, I knew that I wanted to write about a protagonist that dual wields swords.
I got the name ‘Sungjin’ from the classic Korean work, ‘The Cloud Dream of the Nine’. The name ‘Sungjin’ is typically a Buddhist name, and the world of novels is something that exists only in our imagination, so I named him with the hope that the readers will discover their purpose in life. (Translator believes the Author means: 省 Sung, as in ‘To search’, and 眞 Jin, as in ‘Truth’).
I got the inspiration for Baltren from the former kickboxer and K-1 fighter Jerome Le Banner, though he’s originally a French person.
I got ‘Hiraoki’ from the samurai Hiroaki from the manga Blade of the Immortal. I consider it as one of the top 10 mangas that I’ve read in my life.
Illich is the superior of the Russian Special Forces Member, Igor. A small hint of this can be seen from their conversations. I did not have any intention of purposefully making a Russian person into a villain. It was simply that such things were famous amongst the Spetsnaz. I anthropomorphized the Special Forces into characters, but it unintentionally depicted a country in a villainous light. I do not have any particular reason to dislike Russia.
I wanted to include many more usages of the White Coin, but could not do so because I felt that the work would become excessively complicated.
The Red Dragon Ariane is from a divine bloodline. She could be seen in the worlds of my other works.
Not only this, but details on items or information about the chapter (Ariane’s mother and grandmother, the person responsible for injecting the count with the blood of the vampire, the one who caused an inferiority complex on the boss of the magician’s ivory tower, forbidden magic etc) and others I’ve included pieces of details are taken from my other works. It will likely take a very long time, but I hope that the English readers will one day encounter them in my other works.
Also, if there’s something you’re curious about, if you ask in simple English and refrain from using abbreviations or internet slang, then it’s possible that I can reply to you directly.