Auto Hunting - Chapter 38
Earthquakes, thunderstorms, and other forces of nature were the signs of a crack opening.
Usually, the larger the crack was, the more severe the natural disaster was.
Outside, there was a thunderstorm, and the clouds were dark. That was enough to tell them that they were about to deal with a large crack. The crack had opened a little earlier than expected. That wasn’t a problem. However, there was a monster sticking out of the crack.
That was the problem.
All they could see so far was what looked like the monster’s mouth. It was black with moss green trails alongside it.
No one could tell whether it was a bird’s beak or an alligator’s snout. What bothered everyone the most was that the entire crack, with its diameter of about ten meters, wasn’t large enough for anything more than the monster’s mouth to come through.
The gigantic mouth kept wriggling.
The tight crack acted as a kind of gag so that the monster couldn’t open its mouth. It couldn’t move back either, as its mouth was stuck.
-Current monster identity is unconfirmed. Please wait.-
Well, should I say thank you? Yoo-seong thought as he rolled his eyes.
The protruding snout acted as a kind of stopper, and no other monsters came out of the crack.
However, sometimes, more than anything else, imagination was often the worst threat.
Inside the bus, everyone was talking.
“I don’t know, but when its face comes out, I’m sure it will look like Kargadon.”
“We might be surprised that the body size is actually insignificant.”
Irrespective of their ranking, all the hunters on the bus were amazed.
-Please wait. Request for additional hunter support and military support in progress.-
The action of the Central Observation Center of the Special Defense Agency was quick.
It was probably because they had already suffered from the unexpected Shantigas attack.
Unlike the Shantiga, they didn’t even have accurate information on what the monster was this time.
Everyone sighed in relief as they read the message. Suddenly, someone else pointed out.
“Wait a minute; did that just get a little longer?”
“No way,” another person said as they all looked out.
There was a large screech as the mouth of the monster was able to open. Its wriggling had finally paid off, and the crack was becoming wider.
At the same time, the snout gradually emerged.
Whatever the identity of the creature was, it was quite desperate to come here. The physical force it possessed was enormous enough to affect the crack’s expansion.
Some hunters inside the bus looked at Yoo-seong, but Yoo-seong’s eyes were fixed on his phone.
He wasn’t reading a briefing, though. A message had appeared on his phone.
-I’m watching the live broadcast. I can see the monster.
Yoo-seong was chatting with Sung-wook.
He needed the veteran hunter’s opinions.
-To rip a crack open with physical force, we know that it will be eight stars or more. It might be a mutation or a new species; we don’t know that. It’s also in the ‘Giant’ category, so it’s not a problem that can be solved by individual efforts or single firepower.
Sung-wook’s opinion was correct. Soon, a new briefing was released.
-Regardless of the area of responsibility, hunters with the means and ability to attack are to move to the central operation area where they can shoot. You are to focus your firepower autonomously.-
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The most important thing in the current situation was somehow preventing the monster from squeezing through the rift.
They weren’t sure if they could kill the monster even with their numbers. However, they had to dissuade it from coming over, at least.
Yoo-seong looked around him.
Everyone had seen the briefing, but they were exchanging opinions rather than taking action.
He rolled his eyes. He had been expecting that. The only reason the central observation center would issue such specific instructions was that the situation was urgent.
Unfortunately, these were low-grade hunters without a professional control team.
Yoo-seong took a deep breath.
As much as he had wanted to avoid giving orders, he had to say something at this point. In terms of years of experience, he was sure that he was a novice compared to the others.
That notwithstanding, he spoke.
“Please pay attention, everyone. I believe you have all seen the briefing. If you have a means of attacking or maneuvering and wish to come along, please follow me.”
The noise in the bus died down at that. No one challenged his authority.
“Three people from our team will go,” one team leader said.
“Our team will also delegate one person along with myself to accompany you,” another team leader said.
The groups on the bus were willing to take action since there was someone to lead.
“Well, we will go, too.” Yoo Jae-gon said, raising his hand.
His face was a little red. He had a team of veteran hunters.
He could have taken the prerogative. Instead, he had allowed worry to rob him of his initiative.
“If we are going to get to the area quickly, we’ll have to go by bus. Please, driver, hurry up,” he said.
The driver mumbled a ‘yes’ and turned the steering so that the bus took a turn and entered a new lane.
Soon, they began to see other buses with hunters.
It wasn’t long before they stopped.
The crack shook, and everyone looked up with worry evident on their faces as if on cue. It was a much more violent vibration than the first.
Finally, the monster’s face appeared, the shape of which was similar to that of a crocodile turtle.
It had the face of a reptile with a curved beak. However, its eyes were far different from that of a turtle.
It had yellow sclera with vertical pupils like a predator. The two giant marbles looked down for a moment, and it roared. Rather than an animal cry, its roar was like the sound of a large earthquake.
Everyone watched in silence as ripples of fear rushed through them.
Their gazes were fixed on the stalactite-like teeth and the bright crimson tongue that fluttered in the air.
Suddenly, it spat. Everyone stared at the trajectory for a moment.
Along the trajectory, there was thick purple smoke rising.
That was when they realized it was poison. The hunters moved quickly, maneuvering their buses out of the way.
The poison landed on the ground, and there was the sound of boiling.
Before long, all that was left of the area was a crater with smoke rising from it.
The monster began to breathe out purple smoke everywhere so that it became increasingly difficult to see the area around the crack.
Several buses reversed and zoomed away from the spot. Even the hunters on Yoo-seong’s bus changed their minds.
“I… I don’t think I can participate in this operation. We don’t have the equipment for spray-type poison. We’re leaving,” one team leader said.
The others agreed and began to opt-out one after the other.
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Yoo-seong didn’t say anything as he watched the smoke rise from the crater. He turned his head and looked at Yoo Jae-gon.
“Will Team Awl desert, too?” he asked.
Yoo Jae-gon blushed and nodded.
“I’m sorry, but there’s no way we’re going in there,”
“I heard you talking before departure. The suits the team members are wearing are flexible enough to adapt to various adverse conditions, right?”
Jae-Gon didn’t say anything as he stared at Yoo-seong in surprise. He hoped Yoo-seong wasn’t going to try what he was thinking.
The bugbear suit might be able to adapt to the purple smoke emitted by that giant crocodile turtle, but the poison was still lethal.
Like other team members, Yoo Jae-gon’s legs were also shaking.
He didn’t know when support was going to arrive, and it was impossible to deal with something like that with hunters who had only prepared to close the thunder-class rift. He seethed in shame as the thoughts ran through his mind.
Yoo Jae-gon opened his mouth with a rat-tailed voice. “Well, at least until more support arrives, I guess we might be able to cover you.”
“Well, then, let’s go,” Yoo-seong said, standing up.
“What? Just like that?”
“Feel free to exchange equipment and ask for help on site. I won’t hesitate to do the same. Everyone’s action cams will act as proof of an oral contract. Please lend me one of your suits if any of your teammates won’t be joining us. I will pay for it.”
Yoo Jae-gon hesitated. The bugbear suits were too valuable to waste in such an impossible situation.
“Well, no way. Are you going to continue the operation?”
“If there is a way to do that. Will you lend me a suit?”
“The suit’s function may or may not work over there.”
“Stop trying to dissuade me. You just have to tell me whether you could lend it to me or not.”
Yoo-seong had figured out that Jae-gon wouldn’t be joining him.
“Hey!” Yoo-seong said in anger as he pointed towards the window.
“Look at how fast that smoke spreads. At this rate, it won’t be long before it reaches us. This is a thunder-class rift, and the wind is blowing. The civilian blocking line is not that far away. It will soon get to them.”
Suddenly, Yoo Jae-gon wished he had the basic manual or the encyclopedia with him to tell him what to do.
The only thing he and the other hunters on the bus could think of was the fact that the poison was spreading. He had been overwhelmed by the giant monster’s visuals and had forgotten the first factor to be considered.
The bus was quiet as everyone was covered by either shame, fear, or both.
Suddenly, one of the Team Awl members stood up and took off his suit.
He was a young man, and his physique showed that he wasn’t too old in the industry.
“Here you go, sir,” he said as he handed it over.
He looked as though he wanted to cry as he stood in only his underwear.
“Thank you. Here is my phone number. Please contact us later to check the equipment,” Yoo-seong said as he took it.
In the meantime, there was a wind current, and the poison mist came near the bus.
“Please open the door and let me down,” Yoo-seong said. Everyone was staring wide-eyed at him.
“Won’t you like to change clothes in here…”? the driver began before Yoo-seong interrupted him.
“I’m fine. Please open the door. Leave once I’m down.”
The driver raised the lever with a look of guilt on his face. He feared he was going to be the cause of Yoo-seong’s death.
Yoo-seong jumped off immediately. He hadn’t even worn the equipment as he headed towards the fog.
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Everyone on the bus watched as he ran behind a moving truck and disappeared. When he reappeared, he was wearing already wearing the bugbear suit.
Everyone was surprised.
Those who hadn’t seen the matte gray suit before felt that it had a quick-change function.
However, Yoo Jae-gon knew better. It was impossible to change suits just like that.
Besides, where was the suit Yoo-seong had been wearing? He became tired of guessing and sat back.
Suddenly, a wave of shame hit him again.
He looked at the mist through the window; then, he looked at the rest of his teammates. They still had their suits on, except for one. He changed his mind.
He wasn’t sure if he could convince them to join him. He had barely even convinced himself.
However, he was a hunter like Yoo-seong.
He had to do the same thing.
The performance of the bugbear suit was impressive.
Despite the purple fog that covered everything, only fresh air came in through the ventilation system.
However, that was the least of the problems. The monster seemed impossible to kill, with its large size.
He doubted it was possible for one person to even send it back through the crack. This time, even Yoo-seong was worried.
He began to move from building to building. Soon, he was on a high-rise building just below the monster. He considered climbing up the monster’s body.
Beneath him, there were no sounds of other hunters. He was alone. He consoled himself.
Just as he had judged correctly that the bugbear suit would completely block the poison fog, Automatic Hunting always utilizes everything he had.
With a new faith, he soared into the mist above him.
The purple mist’s density led it to be diffused downwards, leaving the area above the monster’s beak clear.
As soon as he was out of the mist’s range, Yoo-seong looked at ‘The Queen’s Hug’ in the slot and blinked his eyes.
There was a small click, and the suit appeared on him.
At the same time, the bugbear suit went into the slot. The eyes of the monster had found Yoo-seong.
Now, the monster’s head has protruded out of the crack, almost to the neck.
It turned slowly towards him. Yoo-seong crouched in the air to gain momentum.
The suit had been repaired after the Shantiga Prime had broken it during the last battle. In addition to the repair, the suit had been endowed with the strengths of the monster.
The Shantiga Prime’s muscles that enabled it to move at tremendous speeds had been implanted in the lining and joints of ‘The Queen’s Hug.’
There was a momentary silence as the monster watched him. Then, the monster roared, releasing a building-breaking roar.
Yoo-seong was stunned as he zoomed downwards to lessen the impact of the roar.
This was different from the movements that auto-hunt had seen so far. Of course, every new situation required a new move.
What was the secret this time?
Automatic Hunting didn’t even betray Yoo-seong’s faith.
It utilized all his physical abilities, equipment, and information. It remembered the last fight he had been in, where he hadn’t used his aura.
Chu-yeop had attacked over and over, and, thanks to that, Auto-Hunt had been able to capture his movements.
Yoo-seong landed lightly with his feet on the wall of a building.
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Immediately, he began to use a new technique that Auto-Hunt learned from his previous battle.