Black clouds blocked out the sun. Ash fell like rain from the sky, and scalding gas shot out of the cracks in the earth.
Lava flowed down the path, melting all in its way. Sungjin arrived in the middle of the cave.
A round obsidian above helped keep the temperature down. The Operator began an explanation.
[Welcome. This is the Angor Volcano]
[It is the place where the Fire Dragon Khal Gal made his lair.]
[Please be warned. The Red Dragon Khal Gal just reached full maturity]
[and is infamous for his brutality.]
The level of difficulty for this raid was really high. If the ten hunters aren’t able to cooperate effectively, then it was purgatory time for everyone. Sungjin stopped to try and recall the events from the past.
‘It’s been a while. I thought I was going to die here for sure.’
During the previous raid, the tank had died and Sungjin was forced to take vanguard, but he was blown away by a single strike from the dragon’s paws leaving him in a half-dead state.
By the time he regained consciousness, only 3 of the original 10 were still alive.
‘Now I should be able to pull the same weight as 5 people so the clear shouldn’t be impossible… but I should still be cautious…’
Just then a terrible thought crossed his mind.
‘But… does this map have a hidden boss too?’
It was difficult to imagine that there would be a boss on this map who was even more powerful than the Red Dragon Khal Gal. In fact, the raid title was ‘Red Dragon’s Lair’; having a creature or being more powerful than a Dragon coexisting in the lair seemed illogical.
‘Well, it is possible. Since not all chapters have hidden pieces…’
He could just check later with the ‘Treasure Hunter’ skill since he now had ‘Star of the Nameless’.
‘But wouldn’t it be really difficult alone… I think this time I really do need the help of others after the Red Dragon is defeated. I think majority of the hunters…’
While Sungjin was preoccupied with his plans, the Operator announced the arrival of the other hunters.
Nine hunters began to appear around Sungjin. The titles and the gears of the hunters were extravagant by this point since they were wearing the best titles they had obtained during the process of overcoming adversity.
The gear was also purchased and sold via the Auction House, allowing them to match their gears more effectively to their style of combat. To the point where they were no longer any different from Sungjin at first glance.
But because of that, it could prove to be a problem. Because everyone was strong, they could be unwilling to listen to others.
Despite the need for cooperation, their belief that ‘I am great’ would close their minds and hearts to the words of others. And because there were now 10 individuals, it would be difficult to rally them under one banner.
The boss was one thing, but the true difficulty of this raid lay in effectively working as a team.
The previous final 10 were annihilated for the same reason.’
The chance of a troll appearing was higher than ever before. Sungjin prepared to use ‘Jeremiah’s Eye’
‘…I’ll preemptively check for anyone having strange thoughts.’
Meanwhile, someone said
“Everyone has seen the information sheet right? Let’s split up according to roles and discuss our strategy.”
The 10 hunters split up by roles and began to discuss among themselves.
“The tanks are us two for this round. We could take turns aggroing the Red Dragon. Is anyone here able to cast recovery Magic?”
Sungjin was able to use healing magic, but he stayed quiet. If he were to cast spells, he would be able to do it better than anyone else, but pigeonholing him to a healer role was a waste of his abilities.
Not to mention he didn’t look anything like a healer while carrying three swords.
“Melee DPS please gather here.”
The ‘Barbarian’ wielding a giant Halberd was gathering people. Sungjin went to join them. A total of four hunters were gathered. The ‘Barbarian’ addressed the group.
“You should be aware from the information sheet, that the dragon is able to use claws and breath attack from the front, and his tail from the back. We should split up and attack the dragon from the sides. Since being clumped up into one group is a bad idea, splitting up into teams of two will probably be better.”
“How do we decide on the grouping?”
“Well everyone present should have roughly the same level of skill… so wouldn’t it be okay no matter how we split up? Let’s just group up the way we are standing right now.
The ‘Barbarian’ used his giant Halberd to divide Sungjin and himself away from the other two. So Sungjin was put into the Right flank attack group along with the Barbarian.
In truth, there was a large difference in skill level…the other groups were making plans as well. The most obvious was
“For archers, please try to be wary of the Dragon’s front. I’ll warn you as soon as I think the breath attack is coming, so please dodge it.”
It was a tall and skinny black man with the title of ‘Immortal’. He was taking on the leadership role with his loud voice.
He looked just like the black sidekick from Ironman as he passionately gave instructions to the others.
“Others as well. I will shout out warnings so pay attention to my signals.”
Sungjin watched him with interest. This gathering of hunters was now considered the cream of the crop; being able to assume the role of the leader in such an environment meant that he was gifted as a leader.
“Magicians please come here for a moment. What are your school of magics?”
“I use Red and Black Magic.”
“I use Green and White Magic.”
“It’s great that your classes don’t overlap.”
After discussing with the magicians, he addressed the four melee DPS.
“How did you divide the left and right flank attackers?”
Barbarian indicated Sungjin and himself and said, “We are the Right flank.”
And pointed towards the other two.
“They are the left.”
The ‘Immortal’ glanced over the four men. Then his gaze fell on Sungjin and he froze.
He stared at Sungjin for 3 seconds. Sungjin also stared back.
‘Have we met before?’
He had difficulty remembering faces of foreigners. He tried to compare faces of other black men he met with the ‘Immortal’s’ face. But he couldn’t quite grasp it. It was someone he had never met before.
But then he said
“Master Hunter… Master Hunter Kei?”
Sungjin was shocked.
‘How did he know my name?’
Kei was his alias, but very few people were told thus far. The ‘Immortal’ came forward to shake his hand enthusiastically. He looked even more like the black movie star from Ironman.
‘What’s going on? There’s no way I can’t recall anyone that looks like this.’
While he was thinking so, the man continued to say
“I wanted to meet you at least once, Master Hunter Kei.”
Sungjin asked him
“…how did you know my name?”
“I have heard of you. A man on a completely different level from anyone else. Someone skilled enough to clear a chapter alone.”
His words brought the attention of the other eight hunters onto him.
“Master Hunter Kei, that is you right?”
Sungjin didn’t respond. He was not in a position where he could deny it. But he decided to ask once more
“How did come to know my name?”
“A man you saved told me.”
Sungjin realized what had happened. The one spreading rumors about him was the ‘Elite Samurai’ he had met in the 3rd chapter. Sungjin asked him
“When did you meet him?”
“Dark Elven City… so Chapter 8.”
He had survived.
“He was incredibly strong so I praised his skill, saying I’ve never met anyone so good with the sword… but he said there was a man he couldn’t hope to match… I asked him for the name and he gave your name. Master Hunter. Master Hunter Kei was the man.”
He had thought something like this might eventually happen later on but this was faster than he expected. Everyone was focused on the two men’s conversation.
He didn’t typically like having the attention focused on him, but this was the moment when he thought it would be the perfect opportunity to utilize ‘Jeremiah’s Eye’. There was no timing as good as when everyone’s attention was on him to read their thoughts.
Sungjin touched the earring on his left ear as he gave a half-hearted reply.
“Well, he’s such an enthusiastic child… he must have exaggerated the truth.”
He could hear the inner thoughts of the 9 other hunters.
‘Master Hunter… I didn’t think it was an ordinary Title… as I thought…’
‘That Helm… isn’t that the head from the vampire castle’s hidden boss… yeah, it’s the head of the secret boss! Did he kill him? I couldn’t even touch him…’
‘He has a ring on almost every finger. Where did he get all of them?’
‘Three swords… the worn out one looks terrible… but the other two are without a doubt of the legendary class.’
‘He’s probably only a little stronger than others… it’s unreasonable to believe he is able to beat chapters alone.’
‘Lucky. It looked like this raid was going to be dangerous, having someone strong is really reassuring.’
‘Was he really someone that strong? I guess I’ll find out… since he’s going to be on the right flank with me.’
‘Where did he get that? How many hidden bosses did he defeat?’
‘He has a similar build to Hiro… is he really that strong?’
There was a problem. Because he heard all nine voices at once, he was unable to tell whose voice belonged to whom or properly recall what was said. The only ones he remembered in detail was that of the ‘Barbarian’ and the ‘Immortal’ who still grasped his hands.
‘If I want to listen to nine people’s thoughts at once…. It’s going to require a hell of a concentration…’
Sungjin thought as he addressed the nine others.
“Even if I am strong, it doesn’t change the fact that we will need to cooperate on this round. Please trust one another and let us work together.”
He heard voices once again.
‘Ah… he’s strong and a good human being. A great man.’
‘Trust? What empty words. How can I trust strangers? There are trolls everywhere.’
‘Immortal and… two dependable teammates. I guess this raid will go smoothly.’
Among the voices, one stood out to Sungjin.
‘I’ll cooperate for now. At least until… but if I monopolize 10 people’s worth of contribution… how much would that be?’
Sungjin focused on the voice. A rough voice. But he didn’t know who the owner of the voice was yet.
The only two voices he knew for sure was the ‘Immortal’ and the ‘Barbarian’. Sungjin continued to speak.
“If we work together we will be able to finish this raid without a single casualty.”
‘Hmph. I don’t know how this raid is going to go… but if only two or three remain… I’ll make my move then.’
He was a troll without a doubt. He was looking for an opportunity to strike. Sungjin paid a close attention to his voice.
‘Killing the dragon is one thing… if I wait for a chance while avoiding harm, an opportunity will…’
That was as far as he heard. The ‘Jeremiah’s Eye’ must have run out of time. The Immortal said
“Yes, just as you said, we will all get out of this alive if we all work together.”
He put his hand out among others and said
“Let’s do a cheer before we begin.”
The others came forward and placed their hands on top of his. Sungjin participated as well.
“Let’s win, go team!”
He shouted raising his arms.
Sungjin raised his hands but didn’t shout along, choosing to concentrate on his hearing.
Among the voices, he heard a familiar rough vocal from before