Novel Name : Auto Hunting

Auto Hunting - Chapter 23

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Chapter 23
Episode 23
Lee Un-seol patted her ponytail for a moment.
Neither of them was sure of what to say.
In the meantime, he brought his palms to his mouth and blew on them. He wasn’t just doing it because he felt confused. The night was extremely cold.
“What do you mean by ‘once more, shall we?” he urged.
She took a deep breath before boldly saying,
“Fight with me again!”
Yoo-seong became both confused and embarrassed. Obviously, the calmness he had seen from her earlier was just a front.
“What do you mean by that?” He asked, hoping he had heard her wrong.
However, her intention was quite visible on her face.
“You know what I mean. Spar with me,” she repeated.
“This is ridiculous. See you around some other time,” he said as he bowed his head and walked past her.
“Oh no! Wait a minute!” she called as she ran to stand in his way.
He frowned, not expecting that reaction.
He tried to walk around her, but she kept blocking his path. He was losing his patience, and the snow was falling heavier.
“Wait a minute, what’s wrong with you?” he sighed in exasperation.
“I’ve told you that already. I want you to fight me!”
“I know, but why do you want that?”
One look at her face made him understand why. The twenty-year-old lady was still a child. She hadn’t become mentally mature yet.
She was still angry that she had been beaten by Yoo-seong.
He couldn’t imagine an adult like him playing such games with a child.
“You and I are now licensed hunters. That was just a test. There is no need to attach any meaning to it,” he said, trying to be patient.
“I’m asking you because I need it!”
“Well, the use of force by hunters is illegal except against the monsters from the cracks or against each other in government-approved training facilities.”
“Who cares about that? Are you afraid that I’ll get hurt or die? Oh, don’t be afraid of that. Fear for yourself. I dare you to face me just this once.”
“I’m not interested.”
“Please, just once,” she pleaded.
Lee Un-seol stopped and shouted as though in tears.
“What’s the worst that can happen if you fight me once?”
Only then did Yoo-seong stop. He looked back and made trails in the snow with his feet.
“I’ve conversed with you only twice. In that time, I’ve only seen that you find it hard to let go of grudges, but I think Lee Jae-Hak is actually a respectable person. I will not disrespect him by fighting you.”
“And now, you bring in my brother-”
“By the way, for someone with an older brother who has big plans for her, you’re putting yourself in too much danger. You could end your life or career,” Yoo-seong said, cutting her off.
Lee Un-seol trembled, speechless. Yoo-seong looked at her as if he was looking at a little child. He just hoped she wouldn’t turn out to be an adversary.
The words that followed were even worse.
“I’m getting this fight now, whether you like it or not!”
“Could we do this some other time?” he asked.
He was exhausted.
He wasn’t sure if it was because of their conversation or because of the excess training.
He decided to give her a fight. Of course, it wouldn’t be right away; neither would it be there.
He planned to set a date with her in a training room. There was nothing to gain from defeating such an opponent.
Lee Un-seol watched his actions. He was treating her with scorn.
She had always been told that she had a hot temper. It was a bad trait; however, she couldn’t always control it.
Before she could stop herself, she reached for her bag and pulled out a wooden sword.
Yoo-seong pressed the button once he noticed the move.
Immediately, a tragedy followed. They hit each other with a force that was enough to throw them both backward, though they weren’t harmed.
She was also reinforced; however, she noticed that his speed was more than it had been back at the test. She suspected that it was because of the close range of attack.
Her blow was supposed to enough to knock him out. However, he slid backward in the snow, taking a strange expression when he came to a stop.
She was embarrassed by how he had easily parried her blow.
She swung her sword at him again. Fortunately, all street lights were off.
There were no cars and pedestrians on the road as it was late into the night on Sunday. With no one watching, the two of them chased each other through the streets.
Lee Un-seol swung her sword as she chased after him.
Yoo-seong easily maneuvered and dodged her blows. Unlike her, whose every step was audible and left traces, Yoo-seong’s footsteps were as silent as light.
There weren’t any traces of his feet in the snow.
Lee Un-seol bit her lips in anger.
Within the first two minutes of her attack, she realized she had made a terrible mistake.
If she had managed to hit Yoo-seong, she would have gotten back to her senses and would have apologized on her knees, blushing and pretending as though she didn’t know what had come over her. Unfortunately, that hadn’t been the case.
Unlike when they took the test, where he had barely managed to block her attacks, she could barely touch him now. Her rashness embarrassed her. But beyond that, she was embarrassed by the widened gap between her and Yoo-seong.
She had to find a way to end the fight without losing her dignity once more.
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She drew on her CE. This time, though, it wasn’t Aura.
A week ago, a Psy ability had awakened in her. It was a blessing imprinted in her genes.
She swung her sword with more force. This time, with each swing, a vortex hit Yoo-seong, sending him doubling back.
It couldn’t throw him to the floor, but it could weaken his stance. Soon, his back was against the wall of the dead-end of an alley.
Glad that she had cornered him, she swung her sword one last time to end the fight.
Lee Un-Seol’s wooden sword hit the wall, not Yoo-seong.
“What?!” she gasped in shock.
He was neither at her left or right.
Yoo-seong stood horizontally on the wall itself.
Was it Psy or Tech?
She wasn’t about to stop, though. She swung her sword, hitting him with the vortex.
But he remained unshaken.
Instead, he stood on the vortex her attacks sent. Sung-wook had sent him the document on the skill called ‘Spiderwalk’- Spinnenschritt.
“Which language is this?” he had asked when he had seen the name.
“Is it German? Perhaps? Can’t I just say it in English? Like ‘Spider walk’?”
“No, call it what as you wish,” Sung-wook had told him.
The name had looked funny, then. However, one could hardly laugh when in a battle.
He took another step, this time upon Lee Un-Seol’s sword.
She tried to shake him off, but it was too late. Yoo-seong kicked her hand away.
“Ouch!” she shouted as she closed her eyes and staggered back.
She had never felt that kind of pain before.
Yoo-seong landed on the floor. Before she could open her eyes again, she felt another hit. This time, it was so hard that she fell to the ground.
In an instant, Yoo-seong was upon her torso. She tried to move, but he held her down.
“This is solely self-defense,” Yoo-seong said as he pressed his button again.
“If anyone looks at the footage on the street CCTVs, it will be clear that you attacked first. Your license might be revoked. I would be glad if you don’t land in jail. It will be major damage to your honor.”
Lee Un-seol furiously stared up at him.
Despite being attacked first, Yoo-seong had completely defeated her without receiving a single injury.
She was like a rat in the hands of Yoo-seong.
“Now, what?” he asked.
“Now, what? What do you mean?” she asked, close to tears.
She had been humiliated, beaten up by someone who was still recuperating.
“Come on, don’t act this way. It was just a test. Your worth doesn’t depend on it,” he said, tired of her attitude.
She couldn’t stop herself from crying. Even though he had to use a special ability, there was no excuse for her to get beaten that way.

The convenience store clerk fixed his eyes on his phone screen.
He was oblivious to the man and woman drinking coffee at the corner of his store.
If the woman knew that she was the reason his eyes were fixed on his phone, she would have been shocked.
-Lee Jae-hak’s younger sister is going to China!
ran through his mind as he read the article.
Perhaps she didn’t want to start hunting under her brother’s team.
Perhaps she had found another group that would pay her in billions in China.
There were even rumors that three of the ten zones were competing to get her to join their groups.
However, no one could have guessed that her trip to China was about to end even before it started.
“I am neither your parent nor your brother. If you do something like this again, you will be arrested by the police immediately. And if you are caught using violence against someone else, I will stand as a witness against you,” Yoo-seong said as they sat together at a table.
Her head was bowed, and she couldn’t even respond.
“You must first think about civic safety before settling your differences with people. This time, no one was injured, but what if it had been in the daytime? Then again, you should think of your brother. You could ruin his reputation with one stupid act.”
She still said nothing as her head hung low.
“Do you understand?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she said in a small voice,
After being defeated by Yoo-seong, she had been unable to raise her head. She wasn’t sure which was worse: the shame from defeated by him, or from acting so rashly.
She just fiddled with the mug of coffee.
“So, you knew that I frequented this hospital?”
“Then, you should have just come in to get what you wanted. Why did you stand waiting outside late at night?”
“Well, the idea to meet you just came to me after dinner. It’s not as though I go there for treatment or training.”
Her answer surprised him.
“Ha,” He said as he put his hand on his forehead.
Something was quite wrong with her common sense.
He was going to say more, but he suddenly saw Lee Un-seol’s hand.
It held the mug of coffee as if it was desperate for warmth. It was the same hand he had kicked.
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He sighed. He had to hurt her. He was grateful he hadn’t had to do more.
He swallowed what he was about to say and rose from his seat,
“I’ll be leaving now.”
“Uh,” she said as she looked up.
“The next time we meet, I hope you’re more mature. Then, I’ll forget about today’s drama.”
Just before he turned away, she spoke.
“Can I ask you one more thing?”
“What is it?”
“My brother likes you. You are a great person. You don’t seem like one who was privileged to learn the basics from a professional. You seem like more of the type who learns everything with his natural senses.”
Yoo-seong listened quietly as Lee Un-seol spoke, wondering where she was going.
“Well, a person like you who excels so well without any special privileges must feel quite good about himself,” she told him.
“I guess that’s where we’re different. I have someone who teaches me everything and always tells me to be better than I was even when I’m at the end of myself… Without that, I really feel…”
“I don’t understand what you are trying to ask,” Yoo-seong said, cutting her off.
Firstly, her presumptions were wrong.
Lee Un-seol looked at his face.
He had the same expression that had caused her to act in anger.
She felt he was looking down on her. However, he wasn’t.
“I am not a special man. I do not excel without any help,” he finally said.
Without automatic hunting, without a benefactor who believed in him, he’d be nowhere.
Yoo-seong’s expression was sad.
Without Lee Un-seol challenge, he wouldn’t have ever tried the Spider Walk.
He had wanted to learn it by himself, but it hadn’t worked without Automatic Hunting.
However, when Lee Un-seol cornered him, it had been the only way to escape.
That was when he realized how easy it was.
“Ultimately, it boils down to luck.”
Lee Un-seol thought that what Yoo-seong was talking about was talent. There was no significant difference, according to Sung-wook’s words.
It was luck in the end, just as Lee Un-seol had entered the bloodline and tutelage of Lee Jae-hak.
“So, I am struggling in my own way. In order not to somehow be ashamed of the luck that came to me… at least to be proud of myself and to prove that I deserve it.”
Lee Un-seol felt sympathy towards him.
The environment in which they grew up and the privileges they enjoyed were different, Yoo-seong felt the same way towards her.
“So, don’t come up those silly theories,” he said, emotionless. He needed to be hard on her.
“I am not…”
“I don’t know what kind of psychological pressure is mounted on you by your brother, but that gives you no excuse to wield a sword at an unarmed person,” he said.
She remained silent.
Yoo-seong turned and opened the door of the convenience store. She wasn’t afraid to go after him. She held the door of the convenience store before it closed and shouted after him.
“The reason I’m going to China is that I don’t want to lose to anyone!”
Yoo-seong kept walking as though he hadn’t heard her.
“If you step on everyone you meet there to get to the top, you will become a greater hunter than your brother, but you will have no friends,” he said over his shoulder.
She thought about his words before responding.
“I won’t! I know I was stupid before, but this time, I’ll win without trampling on others!”
Yoo-seong disappeared around a corner before she could finish talking, but she didn’t stop. She didn’t care if he couldn’t hear her anymore.
“So, please… let’s talk again, then.”
The bell rang as she released the door. Lee Un-seol entered the convenience store again and sat for a while with her mug of coffee.
The clerk froze in shock as he noticed who his customer was for the first time.

Two weeks later, the summer of April began.
Seven hours were left until the crack appeared.
The crack was a ‘storm’ level one and had only appeared once that year.
The space around the crack had been evacuated and had been bounded by barrier lines.
Several hunters waited for the crack to open, ready to rush in.
All of them were hunters under the QR Corporation, and Yoo-seong was among them.
“How do you feel?” asked Yoon Kang-Cheol as he put his hand on Yoo-seong’s shoulder.
“Really, this is huge,” Yoo-seong said, meaning every word.
Unlike small organizations that rented state-owned buses because they didn’t have the funds to own a dedicated vehicle, QR even had a dedicated medical team outside the barrier line.
For QR, this would be the first actual battle for the Alpha Team.
The team was composed of first to third-year hunters, all with Silver seals.
Yoo-seong was among them. QR needed to scout him.
“Everyone, this is Oh Yoo-seong,” Kang-Cheol Yoon introduced him to all Alpha team members.
Everyone welcomed him, but it was obvious it wasn’t from their hearts.
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He was the elite who had broken through the tight competition to get a place with the Alpha team without even a formal process.
Yoon Kang-Cheol understood how they felt, but he couldn’t help it. Besides, all Yoo-seong could do in this hunt was to watch.
The 10 Alpha Team members were already in perfect harmony from months of teamwork training.
No matter how talented Yoo-seong was, it was an organized hunt. He’d be protected, but he’d have to stand back and watch the Alpha Dogs play.
Yoon Kang-Cheol’s strategy was simple. After seeing the sophisticated teamwork of Alpha Team and the know-how of the prestigious QR, Yoo-seong would want to be a part of them.
Yoon Kang-Cheol had already positioned the second team of rookies called ‘Beta Team’ as the successors to the Alpha team. He told Yoo-seong that he had a place on the Alpha team, but in fact, he was going to entrust him to be the Beta team leader.
If there is ever any tension between him and the Alpha team members, he might become a beta team leader. His competitive spirit will grow that way.
For that to happen, Yoo-seong had to be impressed by the Alpha Team’s character and skill. That was why he first introduced Yoo-seong to the Alpha Team only a few hours before they began.
“He won’t be doing much but observe you, guys. There is not much time left, but let’s try to interact with each other, okay?” Yoon said before walking away.
And as he expected, no one interacted with Yoo-seong.
“Oh Yoo-seong,” someone said as he walked over.
It was Jang Yoong-cheol, the Alpha Team leader.
“Yes?” Yoo-seong said, turning around.
“No equipment? Protective gear?”
Of course, Yoo-seong was wearing basic protective gear, but it was a one-star rated suit – a modest outfit used by novice hunters.
“Well, you weren’t told in advance about the essential consumables, so it’s no problem.”
“Isn’t it possible to wear this outfit?” Yoo-seong asked.
“There is nothing that can be done at this point, and it’s not as if it’s compulsory to wear these. But the bright colors distinguish us while in the center of the crack,” Jang Yoong-cheol explained.
He pointed at his protective gear and the protective gear of his team members.
In reality, in terms of their careers, they were supposed to wear one-star gears like Yoo-seong. However, because QR supported them, most of them wore 3-star equipment- the highest-end equipment for their class.
“I don’t know your skill, but if you run on defense alone and get injured, it could become a burden to find you. It’s a matter of mindset, though. If you come on a tour, you should be prepared.”
“I see,” Yoo-seong said, nodding his head.
“I think you could try borrowing from someone, though.”
The other Alpha team members smiled as they watched.
“Fortunately, there are other seniors on the team who aren’t going out on the operation. Most of their suits have a rating of at least 3-stars.”
The Alpha team members were on the verge of laughter.
Obviously, among the waiting personnel, there were many people with equipment of 3 stars or higher. However, most of them used custom-made products made from the corpses of beasts they hunted, rather than purchasing ready-made suits with money.
They didn’t part easily with their equipment.
It was just like telling a soldier to borrow a gun from his captain.
“I think I’ll pass,” Yoo-seong said.
“Why? Come on, go get geared up,” Jang Yoong-cheol encouraged. He intended to embarrass Yoo-seong.
“Thanks, but no.”
“What? No, then you really mean to go in there like this? You can’t be serious.”
“I will wait a little bit. When I called earlier, my manager said some extra gear would arrive within an hour.”
“Huh? You have about ten minutes left,” Jang Yoong-cheol said to scare Yoo-seong.
Suddenly, a truck stopped in front of a temporary camp at the QR Corporation.
“This is the QR area!” one employee shouted.
But it wasn’t a hunter group’s truck. It bore the mark of a famous monster corpse equipment manufacturer.
-Haechi and Anvil Co., Ltd.-
“Oh, we just need to make a delivery,” the driver said as he looked through the window.
“Delivery?” the employee asked.
“Yes. Is Oh Yoo-seong here?”
As Yoo-seong waved; the truck driver stepped down from the car with a paper clipped to the board and a ballpoint pen.
“You can sign it here.”
“Oh, thank you,” Yoo-seong said as he signed the document.
“We’re not late, right? Sorry. It took a little longer than expected. Our boss delayed for a while. He said good-quality ingredients came late.”
Yoo-seong finished signing. He smiled as he looked at Jang Yoong-cheol, who watched him.
“Fortunately, I don’t need to borrow equipment.”
“It’s custom-made equipment, but it came a little late.”
The driver pulled out a black box the size of a large refrigerator from the truck.
Yoo-seong’s equipment was in it.
Two months ago, Sung-wook had used the Queen and Centurion to make the equipment which, had it been bought instead, would have cost a fortune.
Sung-wook could have bought it anyway. He had was wealthy enough.
As the box was opened and the new suit was unveiled, all the Alpha team members gawked.
Not one person’s suit was up to its standard.
Due to the Blade thinness, the armor had been perfectly preserved without any scratches and had been remade into a suit for Yoo-seong.
The Queen was a 4–star beast.
The 3-star Centurion was used as replenishment.
Besides, the artisan’s commitment to the ingredients was added.
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It had reached a whopping 5-star (★★★★★) level at the official certification stage.
Yoo-seong knew about it beforehand. He had signed the receipt for it days ago.
“I wanted to wear my 1-star equipment first while waiting for this to arrive,” he said as he walked away to gear up.
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