Novel Name : Auto Hunting

Auto Hunting - Chapter 32

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Chapter 32
Episode 32
Everyone knew what the meeting’s agenda would be: the cross-rifting around the world.
No one knew its cause or if it would reoccur.
And unlike the civilians who remained comfortable about the situation, the hunters felt things were about to get worse. The civilians had been safe from the Shantigas because QRs force had been concentrated in that area.
Despite some problems with the personnel they sent, they had dealt with the 4- and 5-star Whippers.
And, despite their lack of the necessary tools for the job, they had been able to restrain the flying Shantigas.
“Therefore, we will increase the number of participants for each rift until the cause of the current problem is identified and countermeasures are put in place,” Yang Chang-guk said.
That was the first bombshell.
The number of with the rift’s size. The advantages of having more hunters were clear: the odds of monsters going beyond the barrier lines were less, and the hunters’ casualty rate decreased.
However, the disadvantages were more glaring.
The profits would be reduced, and companies that were already struggling to make ends meet would go under. Everyone began to murmur.
Not only would the profits have to be shared among more people, but there would also be more conflict over the distribution of profits.
Even with action cams, there had always been clashes about profit distribution.
Just then, the second declaration was dropped.
“Also, to determine the cause of the situation and to prepare for any reoccurrence, there would be changes to the Special Defense Agency’s Exploration policy.”
There were fewer reactions this time; however, the hunters with longer experience responded with vigor.
“Yeah, right!” Lee Jae-hak said beside him.
Yoo-seong turned to see Jae-hak’s face turn red.
“Therefore, diving is legalized on a limited basis,” Chang-guk continued.
“That’s it!” Jae-hak said, louder this time.
Some hunters turned to look at him.
He was usually quiet; they were surprised he had acted that way. However, he wasn’t the only one to react that way.
Some hunters even jumped up and shouted questions in a disorderly manner.
“From when?”
“What is the minimum achievement grade qualification…?”
It was only after the Director coughed several times that the turmoil diminished.
In the industry, it meant leaving a hunter in the world beyond after the crack was closed.
There was a return route, so it wasn’t necessarily suicidal.
Usually, the hunter was left behind if there was a confirmation that another crack was opened nearby.
The hunter followed the trail to find the new opening point while learning all he could about the world beyond.
Once, dives used to be popular.
With it, hunters improved their abilities quickly, and mankind began to gain more outstanding victories against monsters. When fear was dealt with, curiosity raised its head.
What was in the world beyond?
There was a lot to learn from the new world, and there was a possibility for mankind to pioneer civilizations in an alien world.
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It wasn’t just the dream of the private sector- each country had expectations, too.
It was an adventure to go into such worlds.
However, the consequences of such arrogance were disastrous – annihilation.
“Of course, there would be a limit to the diving time allowed.”
In Korea, the highest dive record was 41 hours.
Hunters and various volunteers had gone in.
There had only been one survivor from that unfortunate expedition. His words hadn’t been too encouraging.
“We had only been fighting on the home ground all this time. In their world… death took us out, one after the other.”
No one had been interested in spending that much time in the rift any longer.
It wasn’t just the beasts that roamed there. From the soil to the plants to the air, the world beyond was full of supernatural phenomena.
“As all of you know, diving is a dangerous act. That cannot be disputed. It is frowned upon internationally. So, we have selected qualified hunters to be a part of a test dive at the Defense Agency’s discretion. If the selected hunters come out successfully, we will consider increasing the number of permits.”
The murmuring began again.
“Of course, this does not mean that the selected hunters are obligated to be a part of this. It is a request given to them for the sake of humanity. They would obtain useful information from a dangerous environment,” Yang Chang-guk said.
There was hardly any hunter who would refuse.
It was a dangerous quest, but all the hunters gathered had been chosen for their skill and bravery. Every hunter wished to dive.
“Also, there are no restrictions on your actions while you’re in the world beyond as long as you give us the information we need. Any other thing you bring back belongs to you,”
It was the turn of the research and industry workers to swallow in desire.
Biomaterials found in the alien world had more potential than monster corpses.
Executives began to wonder who would be selected for the mission. They needed to offer contracts to these hunters first.
“Now, I will announce the selected hunters. The selected hunters are all within the current top-twenty ranking.”
Everyone held their breath.
“From the first place in the rankings. Lee Jae-hak.”
There was no reaction. Everyone had expected that.
“From the fourth place. Kim Yo-han.”
The announcement continued.
People began to become surprised as the Director skipped some ranks.
He called out the names of the seventh and ninth place.
Finally, he called out the name of the nineteenth place.
“Ranking 19th, Park Kang-han.”
All eyes in the venue turned to Yoo-seong. Murmurs filled the hall.
“They skipped from the 10th to the 19th?”
“It’s too far…”
“The screening criteria is being neglected.”
The Director coughed again and spoke.
“The choosing of hunters for this task has nothing to do with the ranks. The reason diving was prohibited in the past was the death of so many talented hunters. The industry suffered losses, and national security was jeopardized. This time, we shall conduct the dive as a solo activity instead. Rather than trying to subjugate monsters, we expect you all to engage in passive exploration focused on survival and investigation.
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“Again, we inform you that this selection was based on flexibility and survival skills rather than hunting ability. You might be wondering why we included Kang-han. For as long as we have known, he has hunted solo instead of in a group.”
“I have objections!” A voice full of rage came from a table in front, and everyone’s eyes went in his direction.
Cha Jae-gil. He was one of the directors of Gung-On, a firm belonging to the 2F.
He was also ranked 8th in the Top 20.
“It is not time to ask questions. Please sit down,” Yang Chang-guk said.
“Oh Yoo-seong over there is a beginner with less than half a year on his record,” Jae-gil shouted, ignoring the Director’s remark.
No one took notice of his rudeness. Instead, his statement raised more questions around the hall.
“It’s been less than half a year?”
“No. 19? He called that person Yoo-seong. Doesn’t he mean Park Kang-han?”
“Is that possible?”
Just as Cha Jae-gil hoped, murmurs filled the hall.
“No matter how fast he rose through the ranks, I doubt that man’s skill. I admit it’s very impressive, but isn’t it foolish to entrust an important mission such as this to a rookie?”
The Director sighed.
“This decision was made by the government as a result of reviewing all of Park Kang-han’s personal action cams.”
With his authority, Yang Chang-guk could put Cha Jae-gil in his place, but the problem was that Jae-gil’s words had put suspicion in everyone’s minds.
Everyone in attendance was important people in the industry.
“Can those recordings serve as sufficient evidence that a newcomer can dive? He has no experience in these things. This decision is ludicrous when you think about it reasonably,” Jae-gil said.
“Again, with a solid basis for our decision, we-” Chang-guk began before Jae-gil interrupted him once more.
“I think you must at least reveal the action cam footage to everyone. For fairness sake.”
Murmurs of assent filled the hall.
Before joining Gung-On, Cha Jae-gil had been a solo hunter, so he had some experience.
After he joined the organization, his influence had increased due to the influence of Gung-On. That, coupled with the fact that his reasoning had been somewhat plausible, gave him the crowd’s support.
Of the five hunters selected, Yoo-seong’s selection had been the easiest to counter.
“So, I am suspicious of the Defense Agency’s selection. Perhaps they selected based on popularity,” he finished.
“Well, I can provide the footage,” a calm feminine voice said from the crowd.
“You-” Cha Jae-gil said in surprise.
“I saw Oh Yoo-seong’s performance from inside the crack.” Shin Yoo-hee said while on her seat.
She was poised gracefully with her both palms on her knees. Cha Jae-gil gritted his teeth as both of them stared at each other.
“I give Oh Yoo-seong the credit he deserves. He is in no way deficient to go on that dive,” she said with finality.
Yoon Kang-cheol and the QR directors sitting next to her did not try to stop her.
They were in support of her, and they had a lot of influence in the industry. Even if they tried to stop her, Yoo-hee’s position in the industry was quite significant.
She was currently second place, rising from ninth place after the last operation in the rift.
She had the skill, track record, and network. The relationship between Gung-On and QR wasn’t good.
“Well, then, do you have anything more to say, Cha Jae-Gil?” Director Yang asked.
The hall turned quiet. Cha Jae-gil closed his eyes and sighed in defeat.
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“Good,” Yang Chang-guk said with a small triumphant smile.
Cha Jae-gil then threw his gaze at Yoo-seong.
“I just wanted to ensure the process was fair. I had no intention to deny Oh Yoo-seong from joining the dive. I also watched him through the broadcast. He has potential. But, any hunter who’s been in the industry for a while industry knows that soloing means not only survival but also coping with whatever situation you’re presented with in battle,” he said.
He wanted to stretch his argument. He couldn’t lose.
“One look at the video, and one would spot it – Oh Yoo-seong’s main attack is with a close-range weapon, right?” he said.
He was sure of it. Anyone who watched the broadcast closely would have seen it.
Yoo-seong did not possess expertise in long-range weapons such as the Gellar Gun.
“Of course, not all hunters can do both long-range and short-range. With diving, it’s better to focus on the most rewarding possibilities than experimenting. Remember, this would be a solo task,” he finished.
“Oh, that’s really annoying,” Lee Jae-hak Lee muttered.
By the time Shin Yoo-hee had intervened, Cha Jae-gil had already been pushing him to his limit.
The only thing that had kept him back from reacting was the reputation of Gung-On.
Now, his patience had run out.
He wondered why some hunters looked down on other hunters and didn’t want to see their development.
Jae-Hak believed he owed it to Yoo-seong to stand up for him.
He saw Yoo-seong as his younger brother. He moved to stand up.
However, Yoo-seong stood up first, moving his seat loudly on purpose.
He looked apologetically at Jae-hak. He knew what the senior had wanted to do for him and was grateful, but he didn’t want to owe him any favors.
He looked pointedly at Cha Jae-gil and Shin Yoo-hee as he spoke.
“I am Oh Yoo-seong. I know many of you are confused over my identity as I have been going by an alias all this time. I apologize for that. I also understand the need for your objection, Mr. Cha. At the same time, I am grateful to those who have supported me,” he said as his gaze swept over the hall.
“I was going to say that-” Jae-gil began, trying to interrupt Yoo-seong, but the younger man raised his voice a little, silencing him.
“But I do not intend to deny the high evaluation and expectations given to me by the Defense Agency and throw away the opportunity that has come to me.”
The murmurs grew louder than ever.
“As a hunter, I am happy to have the opportunity to dive, and I will do my best to do all that I should. I am ready to prove it.”
His words were polite yet unconventional.
He had been in the industry for less than a year, yet he spoke confidently to his superiors.
Yoo-seong stared at Cha Jae-gil.
“As Mr. Cha Jae-gil said, I haven’t been equipped with long-range skills for hunting.”
“Great. You admit it-” Jae-gil tried to interject again, but Yoo-seong’s voice went up a notch.
“I’m not finished, sir,” he said sternly.
“What?” Cha Jae-gil’s eyes widened.
“I have learned enough. I know what I need to do in every hunting situation.”
Yoo-seong turned to meet the Director’s gaze.
“I would like to have the opportunity to prove myself in light of the complaint against me. If possible, I’ll like to do it in front of everyone gathered here.”
Everyone was stunned.
The Director of the Defense Bureau thought about it for a moment.
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If Yoo-seong proved himself worthy, Yang Chang-guk’s prestige and that of the Defense Bureau would increase. Above all, the cheeky Cha Jae-Gil would be put in his rightful place.
“Alright, then.”
It would be pretty fun, the Director thought.
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