Auto Hunting - Chapter 34
The non-hunters in the venue flinched from the explosion onstage.
The hunters had been through enough battles and had heard worse sounds to be shaken by such. Their eyes remained on Yoo-seong as they calmly analyzed what they had just seen.
Yoo-seong had fired an ordinary Aura bullet; however, the rubber pillars turned inside out.
Rather than simply destroying the pillar, the bullet tore through the column as though it was a rotating blade.
Moreover, one rubber pillar was torn apart. The effect was so controlled that the fragments didn’t even bounce off the stage.
No Tech or Psy skill known to them could do that.
It must be from pure Aura. Yoo-seong put the pistol down on the table.
“That is all.”
Small beads of sweat covered his forehead; however, his face didn’t show any signs of exhaustion.
“I hope the technique I showed you was something you could understand.”
No one, including Cha Jae-gil, could say anything.
Cha Jae-gil could neither do what Yoo-seong showed nor grasp its principle and point out the shortcomings. That rendered him speechless. The Gung-On members beside him were silent as well.
Even Lee Jae-hak couldn’t speak.
What Yoo-seong had just shown was a technique that no one but Sung-Wook and Yoo-seong had seen yet. No matter how skillful a hunter was, the technique wasn’t something that could be grasped after seeing it once.
“Mr. Cha Jae-gil?” Director Yang Chang-Guk said, urging the silenced senior to speak.
There was a small smile on his lips.
“Mr. Oh Yoo-seong is waiting for a response.”
“Me…” Jae-gil stuttered.
“Yes?” the Director asked.
There was no other way. He had to admit it.
“I admit that the suspicions I had raised concerning the qualifications of Mr. Oh Yoo-seong and the screening process of the Defense Bureau were unfounded and wrong.”
It was a simple answer, but Cha Jae-gil’s expression looked pained after saying that.
He knew what would come next.
The stories of his embarrassment and Oh Yoo-seong’s skill would spread quickly. The hall was filled with people with great influence in the hunting industry.
“Thank you,” Yoo-seong said, giving Cha Jae-gil and the Director a bow.
Then, he walked towards the exit. The people who had been watching him started to move to approach him, but he suddenly turned again.
“Yes, Yoo-seong. Please speak.”
“I’d like to ask if it’s okay for me to take care of personal conveniences in the restroom.”
Director Chang-Guk Yang weighed Oh Yoo-seong’s intentions for a moment.
His request seemed quite odd.
He realized that Yoo-seong wanted to leave the hall without anyone following him. He was asking for help to do that.
Director Yang nodded. He was grateful to return the favor to the rookie that had saved his face.
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“Oh, of course,” the Director said with a smile.
“As for the rest of us, we can rearrange the hall and have our seats. We have prepared a simple buffet, so we all can eat and return home. Yoo-seong will also return after seeing to his business.”
“Thank you,” Yoo-seong mouthed as he walked out of the venue.
Thanks to Yang Chang-guk’s words, no one followed him.
He went through the door and walked through the corridor till he was by the restroom. He paused for a while; then, he continued walking till he reached the emergency exit.
Yoo-seong went through the doors and down the stairs till he arrived at the ground floor.
Then, he slumped and fell to the floor in exhaustion. He was breathing heavily, and his shirt was completely soaked in sweat.
Yoo-seong clutched his right hand. It was trembling.
To perform the ‘Parasitic Bees’ technique, he had used the auto-hunting extensively.
It was like fighting the Queen of Gray Ant with the Blade.
The Aura control that was required was too much for his veins to keep up with.
Of course, he couldn’t fall like that in front of everyone. He had had to act strong till he was out of their sight.
He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. That was when he heard the sound of footsteps coming down the stairs.
Yoo-seong opened his eyes with heartache.
“Emergency exit was a bad choice,” a stern lady’s voice said, as though she were a teacher pointing out her student’s flaws.
“Even if you breathe quietly, the echoes will give up your location.”
Shin Yoo-hee approached Yoo-seong and bent so that she could stare directly into his eyes.
“Why did you follow me?” he asked.
“You’ll find out,” Shin Yoo-hee said as she took Yoo-seong’s right hand. “Relax.”
She gently stroked his arm.
“As I watched you, I wondered if it were possible to master such a skill in such a short time. Now, I realize how overwhelming it must have been for you.”
Shin Yoo-hee took out an electronic cigarette from her jacket and held it out to Yoo-seong.
“Take a puff,” she offered.
“I’m fine,” he said, shaking his head.
When Yoo-seong opened his mouth to reply, Shin Yoo-hee snuck the cigarette’s end in, and then slightly raised his chin to close his mouth.
Yoo-seong had no choice but to do what she said.
As he breathed it in, the liquid-based smoke flowed through his throat.
It wasn’t a cigarette. It was more like a kind of herb. A familiar scent that he couldn’t place filled his nostrils.
Very gently, it permeated his whole body, calming down his nervous system.
“You can draw more until you feel comfortable,” she said.
Yoo-seong drew more till all the pain and cramps disappeared.
All that was left was the sweat that still poured out of his body.
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“Thank you,” he told her.
“Purple Deep. You know what it is?” she asked.
“Of the alien world?”
Plants of the alien world were often taken by hunters operating inside the rift.
Purple Deep was known to have analgesic and sedative effects, but it was forbidden from personal possession, except in special cases.
“I believe it will be kept secret,” she said.
Shin Yoo-hee stood first and held out her hand. However, Yoo-seong politely shook his head and stood on his own.
He managed to put on his composed demeanor again though he hadn’t fully recovered.
“Please keep this a secret,” he said to her.
“Of course. You didn’t want to be seen like this by others. That’s why you walked this far, wasn’t it?” she said, putting the cigarette back in her pocket.
He didn’t reply.
“Why did you act strong when you needed help? Why do you do the things you do? Why do you take the risks you take?” she asked, wanting to be sure of her hunches.
“Do I have to tell you why?”
“No, you don’t have to.” Shin Yoo-hee said as she raised her hands and turned, pretending not to be interested. “I’m just going to believe that you’re not the type to do things just to get people’s attention or honor.”
“No. You’re wrong.” Yoo-seong said, and she turned around in surprise. “It Is because of attention and honor.”
“If you really want that, why don’t you film some commercials? It’ll only take one call. Then, you can easily get money and admiration.”
For the first time, she realized she raised her voice.
“I want to,” Yoo-seong answered. “It’s just not the time yet. I still have to train, enhance my skills, and be certified.”
“The way I see it…” she began, but he cut her off.
“You’re free to think whatever you want of me, but my image, which the world now sees, is an image made by your company, not me. Fame and wealth are what you want for me.”
Shin Yoo-hee was speechless. Yoo-seong was right.
He was a hunter who valued life above all else. She hadn’t said the words, but that had been her hope for him all along. She had just been concealing her admiration for him.
Shin Yoo-hee’s chest was clogged.
“You jumped in with me. You volunteered despite the risk of death,” she whispered.
“Because that’s my job,” he said. “If it remained open any longer, the problems could escalate. Thousands of people would have died, and the industry reputation would have been destroyed.”
He fixed his collar as he continued to speak.
“I could help, and so, I did. However, money and fame are the aftereffects of doing my job. I’ll give my life to save a civilian. But, if I’m rewarded for it, I won’t say no.”
Shin Yoo-hee remained silent as she watched him.
She realized the two things that were important to Yoo-seong:
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Work – the path that he was on; and the people who helped him walk that path.
That had to be the reason why he displayed the Parasitic Bee: to honor Sung-wook’s talents.
“Anyway… I appreciate your help. Do you have anything more to say to me?”
She remained silent and kept watching him. She thought about apologizing, but she had another idea.
“Well, you’ve shown what great contributions your master, Sung-wook, has made towards the industry. Walk back in there, looking strong and confident, and you’ll earn more respect. Besides, being chosen among the five is honor enough.”
Yoo-seong raised his brow.
“Well, there’s no reason to refuse,” he said.
It would be hard for him to stand calmly in the hall, but he had to bear it, not only to give and receive business cards but to show them that Sung-wook’s technique had no aftereffects.
He moved to walk again, but Yoo-hee raised a finger at him.
She pulled out the cigarette and handed it over to him again.
When he acted reluctantly, she tilted her head.
“This is too m-” Yoo-seong began, but Yoo-hee slammed the cigarette into his raised palm.
“I’m not giving it to you forever. Of course, I’ll take it back when I see you later. For now, use it. And don’t get caught, or else!” she said.
“I can’t take it.”
“Think of it like an apple.”
Yoo-seong tilted his head in amusement.
“When I first saw you in the last operation, I treated you as a completely incompetent person, right? I judged from your appearance.”
“Well, it was natural to judge that way.”
“The same is true this time. I almost judged you based on an appearance you created. So, accept this as my apology, and let’s move on with clean slates, shall we?”
Yoo-seong did not decline this time. He had experienced the effects of the drug firsthand, and he couldn’t say no.
“I’m going to go now. I hate buffet food,” she said as she began to walk away.
“So, I’ll see you at QR later?”
“No. I’m quitting.”
Yoo-seong opened his eyes wide.
“I have already made up a good story and sent it in with my resignation letter. I guess I’ll do freelance hunting for the time being,” she said with a smirk.
“Well, then, I hope you do well,” she said as she walked on and disappeared around the corner.
Yoo-seong went into the building and up the stairs.
He went through the corridor and stopped at the doors of the hall.
Before walking in, he pulled out the cigarette and put it in his mouth, taking in the gas.
He felt the drug flow through his body.
Somehow, it felt as if the fragrance was Shin Yoo-hee’s, and not from an alien plant.
It made him feel confident.
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He swung the door open and walked in.