Auto Hunting - Chapter 26
02 Operation Division.
That was the name of the area the Alpha team was in charge of.
However, it was too small to even be called an operational division. It had a radius of merely 100m, and there were only about three 4-5 star monsters within it.
Yoon Kang-cheol planned to expand the scope of Operation Division 02 once they have successfully defeated the three Whippers.
They would have taken over the remaining areas covered by the support team. The area at the center of the rift was large. Hunting there was no joke.
It was going to be foolish to hand it all over to the new team just to help them grow.
It was too risky for public safety. Of course, Yoon Kang-cheol understood it well.
That was why he placed other areas under the control of the OB-1 Team- the real ‘elites’ of QR.
The OB-1 Team laughed hysterically when they heard of the Alpha Team’s failure. Each of them could successfully head the other teams in the QR.
In fact, many of them were already household names in the industry.
Kang-cheol quickly dispersed about a half of them to take charge of the post-processing of the Alpha Team’s operation. However, not every one of them was happy about it.
“Well, then, why did they send the Alpha Team out here if they couldn’t handle the job?” one asked her colleague.
“Weren’t there just three Whippers? I’d say they were easy opponents. It’s just that those Alpha Team members are too chicken.”
“And think of all the money the CEO invested in them. He should have used it to equip other teams instead.”
Unlike the OB-2 and OB-3 teams who were in charge of covering the Alpha Team, the OB-1 Team had just one goal.
It was to clean up any mess that would be caused by the Alpha Team. Staying in the center of the rift alone was hard work enough.
Now, on top of their task, they have to solve another team’s problem, too.
A hunter in Team 1 kicked the corpse of a monster in front of him.
“What’s wrong with this Alpha Team? Now, we get to do more work because of them,” he said.
The carcass of a reptile a dozen pairs of legs and, at least, ten meters long fell over.
“Ah! You made the venom splash on me!” a junior hunter shouted.
“It didn’t bounce, man,” the first one said.
The junior hunter grumbled and picked up the scale centipede’s body. The center was crawling with dozens of centipedes.
Scale Centipedes were the hunters’ most hated prey.
It wasn’t difficult to catch them; however, they had no value whatsoever.
The poison they secreted damaged not only the soil, but also the hunters’ equipment. Their bodies couldn’t even be used as fertilizer.
“I’d rather be facing cheap Gray Ants than these…by the way, did you guys see Oh Yoo-Seong? He looked good in his gear,” a lady said.
“Of course, he does. He caught the first Queen Ant I’ve seen in three years,” a man said.
“It’s not as though I’m insulting the CEO but, even if a rookie is so good, isn’t he supposed to put a rookie through training for at least a few months, instead of allowing him to participate in the hunts?”
“Well, the CEO is an experienced hunter who knows how to manage the field. He knows what he’s doing,”
“Just because he’s a good player doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a good manager.”
The complaints didn’t stop there.
Like other organizations in the 2F4T, QR was run based on hierarchy rather than skill.
In other words, whatever the leaders said was what happened.
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The CEO had placed an untrained rookie in the frontlines while assigning seniors on side operations.
“Stop, turn off all local broadcasts. Wait quietly. All officers remain alert and stop gossiping.”
Shin Yoo-hee, the Team 1 leader, silenced everyone as she pulled out an electronic cigarette.
She was a platinum-seal hunter. She also disagreed with the CEO’s recent decisions, but, as a manager, she had to act smarter.
The business of hunting was a dangerous one.
Even in ‘simple’ operations, hunters had to remain vigilant regardless of the monster’s rating.
The possibility of death was high.
It was always at the forefront of her mind, even though she had already been in the industry for fourteen years. However, these days, she hardly had any motivation.
All that was left of her was the sense of responsibility for other people’s safety.
“Team Leader Shin.” The voice came from her communication device.
It was Yoon Kang-cheol.
“Yes?” she said as he removed the cigarette from her mouth.
“How are you?” Kang-cheol asked.
“Oh, I’m fine. There have no casualties so far. How are the kids holding up? Anyone dead yet?”
There was sarcasm in her voice. She had been interested in watching the Alpha Team’s performance, and she hadn’t been disappointed.
Their performance had been utterly shameful.
Two 4-star, one 5-star.
Handling three Whippers was supposed to be easy – if they used their thinking faculties well enough.
“Everything is fine. Although, someone incurred some broken ribs,” Kang-cheol replied.
“How?” Shin Yoo-hee asked in amazement.
She had heard a rumor that something big had happened earlier.
For hunters, ‘something big’ was equivalent to death.
“Oh Yoo-seong handled two Whippers. He even saved Kang Yoong-cheol.”
“That’s great,” Yoo-hee said dryly.
She had never seen Yoo-seong – the rookie who had somehow managed to use the Blade. It was enough to be considered an impressive act, but she wasn’t impressed.
Just like the sports industry, sometimes, people with out-of-the-ordinary capabilities appeared.
In the future, though, many of them would fail to meet the expectation from their younger days.
The future belonged to only those who were focused and persistent. She couldn’t judge Yoo-seong, though. She had only heard of him a few times before the operation.
However, it was her opinion that Yoo-seong shouldn’t be a part of QR yet.
The QR wasn’t a good environment for rookies.
It would be better for him to grow through more difficult situations than following the flowery path QR offered him- just like other hunters had to do.
“I’m sending someone over,” Yoon Kang-cheol finally said.
“I don’t think you need us to support the Alpha Team anymore, then,” Yoo-hee thought out loud.
“No. Oh Yoo-seong has sorted it out. I need you to do something else for me.”
“Really? What is it?”
As she looked ahead, Shin Yoo-hee hoped she was wrong.
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She didn’t need Kang-cheol’s answer anymore.
A car was approaching them.
Yoo-seong was in it.
“Thank you for the ride,” Yoo-seong said as he bowed slightly to the Alpha Team member that drove him.
“Oh, it’s no biggie,” the driver said, laughing slightly.
The driver tried to remain calm as he stepped down from the car; however, he felt miserable. He drove the car away,
Yoo-seong turned and saw Shin Yoo-hee standing behind him.
“You told the CEO that you wanted to come here?”
“That’s right,” Yoo-seong nodded.
He waited for the Team 1 leader’s response.
Finally, Yoo-hee spoke.
“Don’t be a hindrance, will you? Stay away. By the way, why?”
“Why did you want to come here, rookie?”
Yoo-seong refused to react with hostility to Yoo-hee’s words.
As the team leader waited for his response, she took a puff from her cigarette. She looked down so that the smoke wouldn’t spread over Yoo-seong’s face; then, she blew out.
Yoo-seong glanced at Yoo-hee’s left hand, which was holding the cigarette.
The hand was scarred as though it had gone through a lot of injuries.
The thumb and the ring fingers have been cut off.
“I felt… it was not enough,” Yoo-seong said.
His words were a concise summary of what he felt after defeating the Whippers.
Unfortunately, the Whippers were too insignificant for automatic hunting to use all of his resources.
“I want to experience the center,” Yoo-seong explained.
It was the same thing he had told the CEO when he was asked what he wanted.
“If you interfere with the people there, we will lose our direction. Isn’t there something else you want?” The CEO pleaded.
Even though he was satisfied with Sung-wook, Yoo-seong knew that coming here gave Yoon Kang-cheol the hope of recruiting him.
Of course, he would refuse his offer, but he decided to explore QR more in the meantime.
“That’s right,” Yoo-seong said, expecting another harsh response.
Surprisingly, Shin Yoo-hee just nodded her head.
“Do you know how to read positions? We’re currently secured. I don’t think there is any more incoming wave, but if there is, we will do whatever we can to maintain control. Watch our operations but don’t interrupt my team position.”
“Okay. Is there anything else I have to do?”
“Not at all. You don’t seem like a person who doesn’t know his limits. If you were, you would be seriously injured or killed. But what do I care? That’s your responsibility, isn’t it?”
“Good. Let’s remember that,” Yoo-hee said.
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Before she turned away, she added:
“I know you are a talented person. Still, the people gathered here are better hunters than you.”
“I understand,” Yoo-seong said politely.
“You can be offended, but…”
Shin Yoo-hee licked her lips while choosing the right words.
“Don’t hurt my team members,” she said and walked away.
“Yes, I understand,” he said.
She had been the prettiest lady he had seen in a while.
“Good,” she said over her shoulders. Soon, she was back with her team.
Yoo-seong found a nearby building and settled in. Shortly after that, the cracks began to vibrate.
“Oh, it’s dripping hard,” someone from Team 1 said, and everyone agreed.
When rifts open, a team enters it to shut it down, while the other teams dealt with the monsters that came out.
The Maruchan Team 2, one of the 4T, was already inside the rift.
From the level of the monsters that were coming out of the rift, everyone knew that their job inside wasn’t an easy one.
For some reason, monsters continued to keep coming from the inside. The crack continued to vibrate – a sign that something was about to come out.
Yoo-hee wished that it would be the Maruchan Team that would appear this time and not another monster wave. Everyone watched in anticipation.
Soon, something like a small black dot came out of the crack, falling freely.
The OB-1 Team remained vigilant.
It could be a plant-like spore or a poisonous mass.
As the black dot kept coming closer, some of the hunters recognized what it was.
With a dull thud, the black dot fell just in front of the OB-1 team’s formation.
Shock slowly filled the faces of the hunters.
The black dot was not a threatening object. However, it implied a threat.
“Prepare for raid formation!” Shin Yoo-hee shouted.
The black dot was the head of the Maruchan team leader.
It was half crushed and bloody. The expression on it was a pain-filled one.
Once again, the crack vibrated.
After that, the silhouette of a creature was revealed.
Shin Yoo-hee’s resolve strengthened as she stared at the silhouette.
Then, she turned her gaze to where Oh Yoo-seong went.
He wasn’t there.
‘Thank God’, she thought.
She could hunt without thinking of his welfare.
He was already in action when she next spotted him.
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And the action he employed wasn’t running away.