Auto Hunting - Chapter 87
They were, inevitably, the size of motorcycles.
“Razor” wasn’t even a description for their teeth; it was for their fur, made of sharp, metal-like material that could shred their prey into ribbons.
Of course, when dealing with such creatures, the strategy was to keep one’s distance.
Skillful hunters could hunt these monsters without any problems. Unfortunately…
The skillful hunters weren’t currently on their best form.
Kim Ji-woo was breathing heavily, his panting more dog-like even than the Razor Wolves. He was busily counting in his head.
‘Twenty-eight? No, is it thirty-eight?’
He was doing it simply to distract himself. Every part of his body was aching, and his eyes were about to close any moment now.
Kim Ji-woo looked around the street. It was lined with the corpses of the Razor Wolves he had killed. There were too many bodies, more than he had thought himself capable of even when he was in peak condition.
However, it couldn’t be helped.
‘I have no choice. I am a hunter’, he reminded himself.
It wasn’t just him. Every hunter around him was exceeding their limits. They had no choice. They had to.
Right above them, a Storm-class crack was about to reach its widest point. Kim Ji-Woo could hear his team leader’s voice through his radio.
-Everyone, assemble at Division C-4.
-The crack is expanding faster. It’s impossible for the rush team at the moment.
-This is the recommendation of the Defense Agency. Cooperate and establish a defense at the center.
The team leader’s voice was heavy.
The Bunker wasn’t an organization qualified to defend the center. It was above their class.
However, the civilian evacuation was not over yet. The larger the crack was, the wider the area that needed to be cleared of civilians. In this case, the crack that had appeared turned out to be twice as large as had been predicted. As a result, several areas had been caught unprepared.
The blocking area that had been formed had also turned out to be ridiculously narrow.
The street where Kim Ji-woo’s team had been assigned was at the blocking area’s outermost edge. If the monsters could get past them…
-As the crack widens… the rate of the monsters’ spread is much faster than the evacuation speed.
The team leader’s voice was heavier than ever.
-If you don’t want to… we don’t have to go to the center.
Immediately, the team members’ answers followed:
-I will go.
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-I will participate, Team Leader.
Everyone spoke up, including Kim Ji-woo:
-I will go too.
The team leader went silent. Even if they couldn’t hear it, the team members knew that their leader was overwhelmed by emotion.
-Good. I’m proud of you guys. Fuck it; we’re the best team!
Kim Ji-woo couldn’t help but smile as his teammates’ voices rang out.
-Gosh, don’t swear, please!
-If you’re really proud of us, you should raise our salaries!
The team leader delivered the next message in a livelier tone of voice.
-The good news is that reinforcements are coming. They will arrive in twenty minutes.
-Five rankers are coming with them.
-All we need to do is block the center for twenty minutes, then we can go home…
But at the very next moment…
It was the sound of thunder. Kim Ji-woo stared at the sky.
‘There is no God.’
He was sure; the crack had been gradually growing wider as the seconds passed.
Now, it was the size of a Storm-class rift.
In an instant, Kim Ji-woo’s head went blank. His phone was vibrating like crazy. Frantic voices were coming from his radio, but he couldn’t hear anything. He could only think of the crack above them.
Kim Ji-woo clenched his fists.
Then he turned his senses on. It was time to fight.
Okay, let’s do this!
A wolf was hiding in a blind spot, looking for a chance to attack. It lunged toward him.
“This dog…” Kim Ji-woo’s response was quick. He drew out his three-stage stick and struck the wolf in the head.
“Die!” he yelled as he struck its head over and over again.
After ensuring that it was dead…
He sped out of the blocking area, but he wasn’t running away. He was headed toward the civilians. Block line boundaries were now completely meaningless, as the Storm-class crack had reached its full size.
“Run away! Come on!” he yelled at a policeman who was still guarding his post.
“Huh?” The policeman’s expression was blank.
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“Run! Take your car and get as many people as you can! Run!”
Something fell from the sky and crashed into the police car. The policeman turned his head and collapsed in fear when he saw what it was.
It was a four-star flying monster that had surprised Korean hunters months ago. It was now an indigenous species in the Korean Peninsula. In just a few moments, it would chew the policeman’s head off.
Kim Ji-woo did his best to move. He took a bold leap forward while pulling out his Gellar Gun. Its form was similar to a fully automatic shotgun.
The shell hit the Shantiga square in its chest.
It was not a durable monster. However, using the Gellar Gun had used up a lot of Kim Ji-woo’s CE. With the CE he had used to fight the wolves, his total amount was now at half.
As he watched the Shantiga’s body fold to the ground, Kim Ji-woo turned. He had sensed another presence behind him.
However, he was too late.
No. Worse than that, he would never have been able to escape it, even if he’d seen it coming.
A Shantiga Prime.
A six-star beast with transcendental speed.
Kim Ji-woo was snatched and slammed into the ground in seconds.
It was a struggle even to speak. Kim Ji-woo felt blood pouring from his side.
With Kim Ji-woo crushed, the Shantiga Prime raised its head and howled at the sky. Before long, dozens of Shantiga and a few more Primes flocked around Kim Ji-woo.
‘Like a family sitting together for dinner,’ he thought.
He squeezed out all his remaining strength and lifted his Gellar Gun.
He shot all his remaining CE at the Shantiga Prime’s abdomen.
The six-star beast didn’t even grunt. When Kim Ji-woo ran out of energy, it casually snatched his gun away and crushed it with its forefoot.
Now Kim Ji-woo realized the truth of his situation.
The reason the monster hadn’t killed him yet was that it wanted to toy with him first.
He couldn’t win, his instincts told him. Even if the whole team were with him, they would only be wiped out.
“Huh…” Kim Ji-woo trembled.
He felt fear. Resentment. He was just going to die, helplessly. He had dreamt of protecting people but had ended up as nothing more than monster food.
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Kim Ji-woo closed his eyes and waited for death.
Even after waiting ten seconds, death had not come. He dared to peek.
The Shantigas were all looking skyward. The surroundings had gone quiet. The screams and cries of the monsters had all died down.
Even the Shantigas before him were unmoving.
Kim Ji-woo followed the Shantigas’ gaze. The crack was surprisingly quiet, with no monsters falling from it. Suddenly, Kim Ji-woo recalled something he read in the manual.
If you can’t see monsters even though the cracks are open, it is the sign of a top predator’s presence.
A super monster.
Something that could kill all the monsters gathered inside and outside the track.
Something was falling out of the quiet crack.
‘Here it comes,’ he thought.
It was much smaller than Kim Ji-woo had expected. A Shantiga Prime shrieked just before the dark figure fell on it.
The Prime was flattened. The top predator had used it as a cushion for its landing.
Once the dust from the impact settled, Kim Ji-woo tried to see the figure more clearly. It was human-shaped but had a dark red color, and metallic sounds came from its every movement.
Then he realized that it was actually a human.
It was wearing armor, but its surface was covered with vines and leaves of plants.
Another metallic sound.
The helmet was pulled off.
Kim Ji-woo’s eyes widened in shock. A man with a shaggy beard seemed to be taking the longest breath ever. Then the man turned to look at him.
“I’m… finally back,” the man said, a dreamy expression on his face.
The beasts began to cry out of instinctive fear.
The man put his helmet back on, then began hunting.
Everyone would remember that day. The worst-case scenario had happened, yet not one single civilian life was lost.
On top of that…
It was the day the hero had returned.
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