Sungjin watched the others as he sat with his fingers forming a cage. Unlike their usual selves, they were very nervous. The first ever 300 man raid. This was something not even they would have been able to predict.
Hildebrandt put his hands up and into his hair and said,
“300… is this reasonable?”
Beltran nodded in agreement and said,
You’re right. Just what kind of monster are they planning on releasing upon us now?”
Nada lifted up the information sheet and answered.
“It says there will be mix of random monsters from previous chapters.”
The information sheet she was holding had just two lines written on it.
‘300 man raid. Location: Hunter’s Hall’
‘Random spawn of enemies from the previous 20 chapters.’
“Even though it says random… they’re probably powered up a lot. Since they said it’s adjusted for 300 participants.”
While the hunters were discussing among themselves, Sungjin glanced at Edward from time to time. Edward sat at a table far off to the side with his fingers interlocking. Edward looked like he hasn’t gotten used to this kind of atmosphere and was looking around with just his eyes, even though this in fact was what he wanted. The reason why Edward had Sungjin go through regression was probably that he fell into despair upon seeing the future at the Demon King’s Castle, finding out about the 300-man final raid.
No matter how strong the final 10 hunters were gathered, no matter how much the 10 member team try, they would not be able to complete a 300 man raid. He himself picked Sungjin to replace him. Sungjin apologized to Edward internally even though he would have no idea.
‘Sorry but… I failed at gathering 300 members, Edward.’
Ninety Nine Nights was brimming with the hunters’ sigh.
“Haa… Such a curve ball at the end”
“Damn that Operator, keeping this a secret all this time.”
“But this was always the Operator’s style. We’ve just been forgetting about it as of late.”
“But now… will it be okay?”
Sungjin clapped twice to focus their attention on him.
“Please focus, everyone.”
Nine pair of eyes land on Sungjin. Sungjin said to them
“Everyone… I understand that it is a rather distressing development. But because of that we must be level headed and gather our strength.”
Sungjin’s words seemed to calm them down. Sungjin continued.
“I didn’t expect things to happen this way but… everyone here were all selected by me. Surviving Hunters now number at 256. We are short 44 people for a 300 man raid, but let us try to bridge that gap by ourselves.”
Mahadas spoke up after Sungjin.
“You are right, Master Hunter. For the last raid, it’ll work out if we do our best.”
Franz threw in his opinin as well.
“That’s right. We even have bonus stats as Chosen Ones. We need to pick up the slack.”
Mustafa stroked his mustache and added,
“44 short. If Master Hunter can do the work of 10 hunters… and the rest of us do the work of about 3~4 hunters… then things are just about even.”
Hiroaki from the side piped in.
“I don’t worry at all. If it is sensei, he can do as much as 10…. No, as many as 20 other hunters’ work.”
Sungjin realized that Edward was staring at him with indiscernible look amidst the now-optimistic atmosphere. That was to be expected. Sungjin probably looked like a troll or a psychopath back when Edward was attacked for no reason. But here, Sungjin had absolute trust of others. Aware of Edward’s gaze, Sungjin once again said,
“Then let’s all mentally prepare ourselves as much as possible and I’ll see you all in the morning.”
The Chosen Ones together answered.
Soldamyr approached Sungjin once everyone had left.
“It is finally the last night, Master.”
“You’re right. Thanks for everything until now, Soldamyr. Thank you.”
“Well, for me… serving you as my master and having witnessed a variety of magic is more than enough.”
“I’m grateful if you think that.”
Sungjin got a thought as he was speaking.
“But now that I think of it… what happens to you once the raids are over?”
“That… the Operator will probably decide. Whether I return to Kutan Desert, or become space dust.”
Sungjin asked the Operator.
“Operator. When the raids are over… what happens to Soldamyr?”
Sungjin said without much confidence. He wasn’t sure if the Operator would answer or not. But
[Beings created during the Raid will return to their original dimensions]
Thankfully the Operator answered. Soldamyr was pleasantly surprised and said
“Ooh… That’s very fortunate. If I apply my experiences to my magic research…”
But Besgoro’s voice interrupted him.
‘That’s a relief! I too had more I wished to accomplish!’
Sungjin put his hand over his forehead and said,
“Mr Besgoro. Soldamyr chose to become a familiar and all. But for you… isn’t it more natural that you be turned into space dust?”
‘What are you talking about. My life is just starting.’
Sungjin had more to say when Besgoro spoke the next words.
‘Right, Moon Specter?’
Sungjin opened his mouth
And then he heard the very shy voice of Moon Specter.
‘Yes, Besgoro ssi.”(1)
‘Have you heard of Ghost marriage? We have agreed to become a married couple.’ (2)
Sungjin yelled out of surprise. To his knowledge, Besgoro was an old man in his 50s and Moon Specter was a lady under the age of 20.
But then a marriage… Sungjin said to Moon Specter
“Hey Moon Specter, this 50 year old man covets young girls… I mean… You know because you heard everything, right?”
Moon Specter had been with him the whole time since chapter 3. She was present when Sungjin met Besgoro and had heard everything from the start.
‘That’s okay. Maybe because he’s older he’s understanding… he was kind to me. For me… this is the first time so… I was very touched.’
Sungjin scratched his head. Now that he thought of it, Moon Specter was a virgin ghost (3) who had died without ever having experienced dating.
“But… I said small talk was prohibited when I was not present…”
Besgoro pretended to be sageous and said,
‘Love is like water, trickling down from above. It is not something you can prevent like that, young one.’
Sungjin grit his teeth. He didn’t like Besgoro’s idiocy, but it seemed only right to congratulate them since it was too late to change anything.
“Ok ok. The two of you… I pray for your happiness.”
‘Thank you, master.’
‘Hmph hmph, I see I see. You should go meet some ladies when you return to your world. Just like I have. From my perspective, you aren’t that bad looking. So if you were to loosen your expression…’
Sungjin couldn’t handle it anymore so he took off Besgoro and placed him on the desk and stood up to leave. He was intending to leave right then, but then he thought for a moment before leaving Moon Specter on the table as well. He exited Ninety Nine Nights and walked out the doors.
Cain who now stood at 2 meters tall approached Sungjin and walked in circles around him. Sungjin pet him as he said
“Cain, tomorrow is the last.”
Sungjin said to him
“I don’t know what will happen tomorrow… but thanks for everything Cain.”
Cain responded with a slightly long howl.
Cain seemed to know that no matter what happens tomorrow, they will be separated.
Griffin Rajenta also walked up to Sungjin and rubbed its beak on him.
“Rajenta, you too… thanks for everything. I’ll rely on you until tomorrow.”
Sungjin left the two of them where they were and returned to Ninety Nine Nights. Dalupin, as always, was watching Sungjin with his two large eyes. Sungjin said to him,
“See you tomorrow Dalupin.”
“Yes, Master hunter.”
Sungjin was about to go up the stairs when he suddenly had a thought.
“Dalupin… what happens to you once the Raids end?”
Dalupin closed his beak for a moment as if to buy time before he answered.
“I will receive other customers.”
“I thought all of humanity returns to earth after the raids.”
And here Dalupin said something that seemed completely tangential.
“If reality is a dream, and dreams are reality, then stories are the only thing remaining to humanity.”
But these words seemed familiar.
I will keep my post here forever until the story ends.”
It was a bit cryptic but that was fine. Sungjin bid his goodbye.
“…I see. Either way, I’ll trouble you until tomorrow morning, Dalupin.”
Dalupin bowed at Sungjin’s words and replied.
“Of course, Mr Hunter.”
Once he was back, Sungjin laid down in his bed and stretched out his legs. The last night he’d spend in Ninety Nine Nights. A lot of things had happened. Now once the raids are done, he along with all of mankind would return to earth safely. Sungjin gripped his fist and thought
‘Now… if things go well… this time day after tomorrow I’d be lying down like this in my one room apartment, right?’
But then Sungjin suddenly had a thought.
Upon reflection, he was capable of seeing tomorrow and the next.
Sungjin took out Ios ‘The Revelation of the Stars’ from the cube. Even though he used this every day until the 21st chapter, he had forgotten that he could check on tomorrow with it.
‘With this… if I take a look at tomorrow night or early morning… I could see the result of tomorow’s raid’
It was making his heart race. Sungjin held the star and laid back down on the bed.
‘…If… if I use it immediately when the cooldown is over then… I can see. If the raid is completed successfully then I could see myself returned back on Earth… and if not… I’ll probably see nothing.’
Or alternatively, he could see himself back to chapter 1 of the raids. It was possible that he would end up being the final survivor again.
“That… I don’t want.”
Sungjin spoke out those words while laying down on the bed. In spite of everything, he did not want to experience the Raids again. Sungjin bit his lower lip.
“Operator, what time is it?”
[It is 38 minutes past 8]
Ios’ cooldown reset once a day. There was still over three hours remaining until it was a new day.
‘What should I do? I should probably sleep and check tomorrow morning, right?’
If he were to think calmly, that would be for the best. Having a good rest now would be ideal to produce good results tomorrow.
‘Yeah, that’ll be for the best.’
Sungjin thought to himself and put down the star next to him and closed his eyes. But the worries about the future chased his sleepiness away.
‘Ugh… I’m too curious. It would be so much better if I waited until after midnight and see views of Seoul…’
His thoughts led to more thoughts in a vicious cycle. And in the end Sungjin did not manage to sleep before it hit midnight and became a new day. Sungjin took out the Star-shaped accessory and decided to take a peek on tomorrow after the raid.
Sungjin’s surroundings grew dark and began to show him something. Sungjin focused more than ever before at what he was about to see.
‘Will it be Death, or Life.’
(1) Ssi – polite way to address adults. Can be used between family to show respect
(2) and (3) Pretty sure this is a mix of reference of Corpse Bride and korean legend of unmarried women coming back as a vicious ghost