Auto Hunting - Chapter 27
Before the control center’s briefing arrived, the Team 1 hunters could already visually confirm the monsters’ type.
Several black dots were falling from the crack again.
However, this time, they were larger than the head of the Maruchan team leader.
They were about the size of human beings. The creatures that fell from the crack raised their arms as though they were enjoying the new world.
The first one to reach the ground looked towards the building. It had the face of a lizard, with rotting folds around its head.
More came pouring down the cracks.
“Shantiga?” one of the hunters gasped.
There was a small fuss among the hunters.
“Why are they coming out here?” another one asked.
The Shantiga was not the beast they were expecting. It was the first time they had ever faced one.
The world beyond the rift usually mirrors the real world.
If a rift appeared 100 meters from the North Pole on Earth, it would open up at the world beyond the rift’s North Pole as well. Because of this, hunters could predict which type of monsters would appear through the cracks.
It was just like on Earth: there were no tigers in Africa, and there were no elephants within the Korean Peninsula.
The same was true of the Shantiga. They usually appeared in the mountainous regions of North America. The hunters only knew the creature’s name through the internet.
Suddenly, Shin Yoo-hee’s voice rang out through the communication network.
“All personnel approach the crack while maintaining the charge formation. Do it now!”
Many team members opened their eyes wide in shock. They couldn’t understand the order.
Even with their long years of experience, it was everyone’s first time to face a Shantiga.
How was it possible for someone as cautious as Shin Yoo-hee to give this order?
However, despite their reservations, their feet began to move.
They were professionals. It was compulsory to follow the commands of the field director.
Before long, they began to understand the reason behind the instructions – and their expressions grew darker with the realization.
“CEO,” Shin Yoo-hee said to Yoon Kang-cheol through her device.
“I’m watching,” he responded.
Yoon Kang-cheol’s voice revealed his nervousness as he watched Team 1’s action cam.
“I will direct the field. If possible… I’ll go inside the crack and finish the closure.”
“I’ll leave it to you,” Kang-cheol said.
At first glance, it was a reckless decision.
The Maruchan was one of the four leading teams in Korea.
Though they were small in number, they were skillful enough to finish off 6- to 7-star monsters.
However, even they had been annihilated.
It was not because of incompetence. They had simply been overwhelmed.
They must have been surprised by the Shantiga, too.
Despite that, they bravely remained within the cracks to close it.
The Shantiga had three outstanding characteristics, a combination of which no other monsters on the Korean Peninsula had:
A risk rating of 4 stars or higher.
The habit of living in large groups.
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The Shantigas lay prone after landing. Then, the wings on their backs gently unfolded.
They started taking off.
The hunters began to fire at the monsters immediately.
“Don’t think about capturing them! Kill as much as possible!” Shin Yoo-hee ordered as she raised her Geller Gun to the sky and started shooting.
“…Yes. Yes, that’s right. …Yes,” Yoon Kang-cheol said into the telephone.
He sighed as he ended the call with the military general,
He prided himself as a very skillful coordinator. Regardless of his many years away from active duty, his strategizing skills were still exceptional.
Through his tutelage, every QR hunter could catch a monster that had, at most, a star above their ranking.
However, he knew his recent decision had been foolish.
He agreed with Shin Yoo-hee’s quick decision.
The problem right now wasn’t Team 1’s ability. They were strong enough to fight the monsters in a one-on-one battle. The problem was that the crack remained open, and thus, monsters kept pouring in.
Yoon Kang-cheol stared at Team 1’s action cam on the monitor as he pondered.
The number of Shantigas falling from the rift was increasing. Now, their wings were already spread out as they fell, as though they realized the danger waiting for them below.
Still, the number of Shantigas is not infinite, and Team 1 wouldn’t have so many casualties.
The greatest danger was what would happen if the monsters went beyond the crack area.
The number of beasts that the hunters could stop is limited.
That was why Team 1 tried to get as close to the rift as possible, allowing hunters on the outer areas to handle the monsters that escaped.
But this time, things were different.
The Shantiga was a surprise. Their strength was rated at 4-stars.
Apart from the Queen Ant, they were the first flying monsters that the hunters had faced.
If the outlying hunters couldn’t stop the Shantigas, they would go beyond the hunting line and find the civilians.
It was a disaster in the making.
“Um, CEO,” one of the hunters started.
“What is it?”
The other teams had received information on what was happening and headed towards the QR main control center.
“Well, several teams have sent requests to withdraw.”
Yoon Kang-cheol’s face gradually turned red.
“They are saying it’s too dangerous… and well… technically, they have the right to withdraw…”
His newfound anger made Kang-cheol forget about the Alpha Team’s failure.
He thought that would be the biggest tragedy that day, but this…
“What do those good-for-nothing-hunters think their job is? What are their names?”
He felt as though his blood was flowing the wrong way. He couldn’t get the right words.
Yoon Kang-cheol pressed a hand on his forehead.
Of course, not all hunters are the same, even if they were on the same team.
It was indeed daunting for hunters assigned to outer areas to be facing a 4-star flying monster.
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“We need to finish this job…”
He wasn’t going to chicken out with them, even if he had to go out himself.
Yoon Kang-cheol looked around the control camp.
Then, he pointed to the personnel around him – employees and hunters who had just retired from active duty.
“Get the equipment.”
“Why?” one asked.
“We are going in. We have to shoot down those lizards. If there is a problem, I will take responsibility. It’s your choice, though. Come out if you want.”
The employees who were not hunters wore surprised expressions.
“It is illegal to enter a blocked area without reporting it,” a lady said.
However, the retired hunters nodded their heads silently and equipped themselves according to the CEO’s instructions.
“CEO, the media contacted me. They are asking for information about the emergency.” the lady said suddenly.
“Hang up the phone,” Kang-cheol said as he put on his gear.
He remembered the call from the Military General earlier. In the event of an unavoidable situation, the army will move to blow up the crack and force it to close.
However, the crack was at the heart of a new city.
There would be astronomical property damage, one that only happened during the earlier days of the rifts.
The damage wouldn’t end there. It would cause the public to believe that hunters are unable to handle the cracks. Getting help from the military would cause anxiety to the people. No one would understand that the Shantiga appearance was an unprecedented situation.
“Please,” Yoon Kang-cheol prayed earnestly for Team 1 to finish the job.
Despite her dire mental state, each of Shin Yoo-hee’s five Geller Gun bullets hit a Shantiga.
The gun was a two-star weapon that channeled Aura and shot them in the form of bullets.
At first glance, it was an unsuitable weapon for her. In fact, the Shantigas, who had been hit by the bullets, simply shook it off for a while before flapping their wings again.
Shin Yoo-hee clenched her left fist, activating her Psy.
Suddenly, five light spheres flashed in the air.
Fist-sized holes appeared where the Shantigas were hit with the bullets.
Yoo-hee sighed with relief as their bodies crashed to the ground with her explosion sparks.
However, she couldn’t rest.
More Shantigas were pouring out of the crack.
She planned to gradually approach the crack while suppressing Shantigas with firepower along the way.
Thanks to her excellent skills, she was successfully suppressing the Shantigas to some extent…
However, she couldn’t reach the crack by herself.
She was right under it, but she couldn’t reach it.
‘If there was only one person, only one person more…’
She needed an expert who had mastered some Tech-type mobility that could get her up the rift, or someone who could control a Shantiga telepathically and allow her to ride it up the crack.
“Commander! 9 o’clock!” A team member cried out.
Shin Yoo-hee turned her head.
Three Shantigas were flying towards the building with their wings spread out.
Shin Yoo-hee immediately fired.
Unfortunately, as soon as she fired the second shot, another Shantiga appeared in front of her, blocking her sight.
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Along with the swear words, Shin Yoo-hee extended her left hand.
She aimed three fingers to the side of the lizard’s neck and activated her Psy.
There was an explosion as her Aura was released. It was another method she seldom used because of its inefficiency. It used a tremendous amount of CE and only worked in close range.
However, no one considered inefficiency while face-to-face with death.
She quickly tried to recover her aim, but the remaining Shantiga was already flying too high, out of her range.
It was about to fly over the rooftop of a tall, high-rise building.
Suddenly, a line extended vertically on the rooftop. Like a rope thrown by a cowboy, it accurately wrapped itself around the Shantiga’s neck.
“A rope?” Shin Yoo-hee muttered. It was a capture rope used for catching large monsters.
Team 1 had several of these ropes prepared for capturing Whippers.
But who threw the rope on the roof?
Shin Yoo-hee’s confusion did not last long as Yoo-seong, holding the other end of the rope, appeared at the building’s roof.
Then, he jumped off.
Yoo-hee gasped, expecting a free fall. However, he was not falling.
From the roof of a building with more than 30 floors, he ran down the wall vertically, dragging the Shantiga along. The lizard tried to flap his wings, but there was no use to resist.
When they finally reached the second floor, Yoo-seong grabbed the rope with both hands and swung it with force as his Aura focused on his arms.
The Shantiga body was smashed to the concrete ground.
Then, with Aura on his legs, Yoo-seong leaped and landed beside Yoo-hee.
Wasn’t he running away?
Shin Yoo-hee glanced at him sideways as she continued to pull the trigger and ignite the bullets.
There were ropes wrapped around his suit.
He must have run to the supply truck to get supplies and equipment.
There was a moment of silence between the two.
Yoo-seong remained standing.
“If you have anything to say, please do it right away,” she said breathlessly.
Yoo-seong answered. However, he didn’t use words. He turned his back to the team leader and went on one knee.
Then, he lifted his arms backward slightly.
“What?” she asked. The next second, she understood the posture.
He wanted her to ride on his back.
They stared at each other in silence.
Then, Yoo-hee began to speak.
However, she spoke to the vice team leader, not Yoo-seong.
“Lee Jin-wook. From now on, you will be in charge of the field command.”
“I’ll try to enter the crack.”
Shin Yoo-hee made the decision based on fourteen years of intuition.
She had decided that she was going to trust the rookie.
She hopped on Yoo-seong’s back and wrapped her left arm around his shoulders.
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She kept her right hand free to shoot the gun if necessary. It was the mobility that she had wanted so much.
The temporary duo was formed.
With Aura around his legs, Yoo-seong began to run up a high-rise building.