Sungjin held ‘Merka – Pulp of Evolution’ without much thought. But as soon as the item emerged from the cube,
Cain and Rajenta stopped rolling around and fell silent. They were staring at the fruit in Sungjin’s hands.
‘Hmm? What’s going on?’
Sungjin was tilting his head. Soldamyr swallowed audibly as he said
“What an… enticing fruit.”
Sungjin moved the fruit closer to take another whiff of the fruit.
It still smelled strange
But all three of the summons had their eyes glued on the fruit as if it was the most delicious smelling food in the world. Soldamyr tried to appear calm, but he couldn’t look away, and Cain was uncharacteristically panting with his tongue out. Rajenta was trying to climb on top of Sungjin’s knees.
“Go away Rajenta; I’m not giving it to you.”
Sungjin pushed Rajenta away. But from the door,
Even Shadowrun had come. Sungjin put the item away for now. Rajenta flew up and pecked the cube few times with its beak. Of course, the Cube remained unscathed.
Soldamyr answered Sungjin’s question.
“I believe that it is a fruit that contains a large amount of Mana. To tell you the truth, I felt a strong compulsion to eat that fruit as soon as I noticed it.”
“Yes. I have never partaken in alcohol or smoking… but I’d imagine that it was similar to an alcoholic man getting a whiff of a drink.”
He must be onto something about the fruit containing large amounts of mana, judging by how Cain and Rajenta were still staring at the cube. Thankfully
“Sir Hunter, your dinner is served.”
Dalupin arrived with a large burger and plates of Raw meat. Cain and Rajenta turned their attention to their own dinners. Sungjin picked up the burger Dalupin had brought him and thought.
‘This item… I should only give it to a summon when none of the others can witness it.’
He took a big bite out of the hamburger.
The sound of the crispy lettuce crunching in his mouth was followed by the soft bread, the succulent meat, and the thick flavor of the cheese coming together in his mouth.
Sungjin let out a satisfied moan as he began eating his burger. While he was busy eating his meal, the Operator suddenly gave an announcement.
[The chosen one requested your teleportation.]
At the same time, the image of Franz appeared above the cube.
[Will you accept the request? 10, 9]
Sungjin stopped eating his burger and stared at the image.
[7, 6, 5]
Franz looked nervous, with his arms crossed and tapped his feet.
[4, 3, 2]
It looked like the time would run out if Sungjin just stared at the image. Sungjin said to the cube
“Okay… I accept.”
[Teleport request accepted.]
As soon as the words had left his mouth Sungjin vanished from the spot and reappeared in the Black market. Seeing Sungjin appear next to him Franz couldn’t help but exclaim
Sungjin took a look around. This was close to the auction house at the center of the Black Market. It looked the same as his market, but it appeared that he had really teleported elsewhere. Franz asked Sungjin
“How is this possible?”
Sungjin was about to answer when he felt a pang of hunger. The hamburger he bit into was gone. Sungjin asked Franz.
“Have you eaten dinner yet?”
“No, not yet.”
“Then… let’s first eat then talk.”
“Sounds good to me.”
The two men entered into the entertainment district of the Black Market.
[Welcome! This is Yaochan’s ThumThum]
[A shop selling many different kinds of steamed buns.]
“What would you like to eat, Mr. hunters?”
A bulky bear demihuman approached them. Being called ‘Hunters’ felt awkward, as he had always shopped alone.
But the shop owner didn’t seem to find it strange that there were two hunters present. As if Sungjin’s presence was expected. Sungjin ordered first.
“Mandu Soup, please. And Shrimp Gyoza.”
Franz ordered as well
“Ah…well… what he ordered.”
Once the order was made, the men fell silent. It wasn’t like they had become best of friends after just one raid. They were slightly awkward.
‘What should I say?’
Sungjin was unsure how to proceed. But
“Oh yeah… you asked earlier, how is this possible?”
He was looking straight at Sungjin. But the only thing Sungjin could tell him now was
“I will let you know when the time is right. So it’s a secret for now.”
That was it. Sungjin had thought this earlier, but allowing him to know about ‘Darker than Black’ was still too early. If he recklessly tells people about the shop, an ‘uncontrollable development’ may occur.
“Ready… you say?”
“Yes, not only for you but for me as well. Going from dimension to dimension…”
The Bear demihuman interrupted them
“Your food is ready”
Gyoza and steaming bowls of Mandu Soup were brought to them. Sungjin picked up the chopstick and said
“Is a quite a dangerous thing.”
It was not a lie. To begin with, Trolls were those who aimed to monopolize points by murdering their own teammates. They broke an unspoken rule to take more points, so they were naturally stronger than most others.
And because they had no inhibitions about attacking others, those with a similar level of skill were put at a large disadvantage. Of course, it was different for a Troll hunting specialist like Sungjin.
“So I will keep it a secret for now. When the time is right, I will let you know.”
Thankfully, Franz did not pry further.
“Ok understood. Then please let me know when the time comes.”
Sungjin nodded and continued to eat the Mandu with his fork. Sungjin thought
If he had demanded to know at this point, Sungjin would have regretted baptising him.
“Oh by the way, what is your name, Sir Adjudicator? I can’t continue to call you Adjudicator, now can I?”
Sungjin looked at him and said
He told him his cover name. There was no reason to let anyone know his real name. He was becoming used to the new name anyhow.
“Ah, I see. Kei. I don’t know how this happened… but thank you for choosing me.”
“Well, there are lots of reasons why I chose you… but first, about that buff, you can probably tell that I am quite strong.”
“Yes, I understand better than anyone how strong you are.”
“And the stronger I become, the more power up you get.”
“What I want from you is cooperation. To work together in overcoming the final raid together… Cooperation, you understand right?”
“Of course. But… isn’t the raid designed for us to work together already?”
“Yes. but along the way, there are plenty of people who have stopped wanting to cooperate with others.”
“You mean Trolls?”
“Yes. Have you come across them?”
“Yes. Twice. Once at the Cemetery. Once at the Plateau. I took too much Contribution… so they became jealous of me.”
As Sungjin thought, Franz had already met trolls. But the fact that Franz was sitting here eating soup with Sungjin meant that the one who died was not himself.
“Do you have the Adjudicator title?”
“No, what does the title do?”
“The title allows you to claim two items when you kill a troll.”
“Oooh… I would love to have a title like that. Those bastards…”
Franz stopped eating to grip his fork tightly. This side of Franz reminded Sungjin of the time Franz came charging towards him.
‘Oh yeah… he was this kind of guy. The title of ‘Adjudicator’ fits him better than I.’
“Anyway, there are always trolls. Even when only a few people remain they ar… will still exist.”
Sungjin was about to say “are there” and corrected himself since he couldn’t reveal that he had experienced things before.
“So… my goal is to eliminate trolls and gather people like you who are, well so to speak, cooperative and good individuals to finish the raid together.”
“That’s… a great plan.”
Franz looked at Sungjin with sparkling eyes.
“Yes. As you might have noticed from your Chosen One title… my stats, you can have as much as 20% of it as bonus. In other words, the stronger I become, the stronger you become. You understand, right?”
“I will continue to become stronger. Which is to say you will become stronger as well. So when there are not very many remaining, in the end, I hope to find you there.”
“That is no problem. If I can’t even survive with his kind of buff… It means that I have no right to be there in the first place.”
“If there is something you can’t overcome yourself, you can call upon my help once a day. I can help take care of business on your behalf.”
“Ah, I don’t think I’ll need to do that though…”
“But in case of Hidden bosses or… trolls…”
Franz became serious at Sungjin’s words.
“If I come across a troll, I will kill them myself.”
“Ok. Good. I’ll rely on you.”
“No, I’ll definitely be the one to rely on you.”
And so the two men shook hands over the bowls of Mandu Soup. Afterwards, the men exchanged small talks.
“So Franz, are you German?”
“No, I am Austrian… Which is closely related to the German people. What about you, Kei?”
“Ah, I am Korean.”
Once the dinner was over, Sungjin said to him
“From now on… if you don’t have anything else to do, call for me at 6 pm. It’d be nice to share dinner with someone else, right?”
“That sounds great.”
“Ah, and I have one more tip. There is a ring merchant close to the weapon shop. Go and buy a Ring of the Rich and equip it.”
“Ring of the Rich?”
“Yeah. Most people aren’t aware of it… but it is an extremely cost efficient item. Make sure you buy it.”
Sungjin said to him at last
“Ok then… Until next time. In… Be careful of the next raid.”
Sungjin was about to return to his own dimension when he remembered something.
“There’s something I have to do before I go.”
Sungjin said to the Operator
“Operator, please give me Cain’s Wooden Figurine, Soldamyr’s lamp, Rajenta’s egg, and Shadowrun’s medallion.”
Items poured out of the cube.
Sungjin stared at them and then picked up Cain’s Wooden Figurine. He threw it in the air. A bull sized Cain was summoned to the Black Market.
Sungjin said to the Operator after watching Cain howl.
“Give me the fruit too.”
When the Merka Fruit appeared, Cain was transfixed upon the fruit. Sungjin threw the fruit towards Cain.
“You wanted to eat it right?”
He picked Cain for two reasons. First, Cain was continuing to grow larger and larger. In terms of being close to the ‘milestone’, Cain would be the closest.
Second, Cain was his oldest Summon that Sungjin was most comfortable utilizing in combat. If anyone deserved to be empowered, it was Cain.
Cain devoured the fruit in one bite.
His entire body was enveloped in bright light, and then he grew rapidly. Sungjin was forced to turn his eyes away due to the blinding light, but the Operator was the one to tell him the result.
[Congratulations. Legendary item ‘Grand Kin – Master of the Forest’ Obtained.]