Novel Name : Auto Hunting

Auto Hunting - Chapter 148

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Chapter 148
Episode 148
Ali’s voice boomed over the crowd’s laughter.
Soon, another large man – though younger, about twenty years old – walked out of the crowd. Like Ali, he had a very well-balanced body of the kind that was unique to hunters. However, Yoo-seong felt weak Aura within him, typical of rookie hunters with only a small amount of CE.
The other thing that stood out to Yoo-seong was that Danny looked Asian.
“The captain says he will speak through me,” Danny said in Korean. “He said we know you and your recent achievements. We respect you as a hunter,” the young man added.
“Thank you for that,” Yoo-seong acknowledged.
“But we’re not sure why you are here.”
“Why I’m here?” Yoo-seong’s eyes narrowed. His actual reason would be quite embarrassing to admit to the young man.
“Well, aren’t you here to hunt?”
“Not really” Yoo-seong lowered his voice, despite knowing that the people around him didn’t understand their language. “I only stopped here for a break,” he said.
When Danny conveyed the words to Ali, the CEO of the Kowala company scowled at Yoo-seong.
“Why the hell would you stop by Hawaii on your flight to the US?!” the big man exclaimed. It was obvious to him that Yoo-seong was lying.
“I was crossing the Pacific Ocean with my Tech,” Yoo-seong answered truthfully.
Danny’s eyes opened wide with shock. Then he delivered the message to his boss.
Ali looked as if Yoo-seong were insulting his intelligence.
“Are you mocking us? Do you think we’re such fools we would believe that?”
Instead of listening to Ali’s words, which he couldn’t understand, Yoo-seong paid attention to the crowd’s reaction. Several of them had stepped back a few steps after feeling the hostility. Others had stepped forward with determined looks on their faces.
‘Hunters,’ Yoo-seong recognized.
There were roughly thirty of them, and they all seemed to be with Ali. Even without feeling their CE, he knew it because of their tattoos.
“I don’t care who asked you to come here or how great a hunter you are,” Ali continued. His big hand took Yoo-seong’s fork and crumpled it into a metal ball. “Leave,” he seethed. “We don’t need outside help. If you try to intervene with our operations, even a man who can walk on air can be put in jail.”
All the hunters in the area felt it. Ali was raising his CE. He intended no real harm but wanted to show his feelings clearly, even beyond Danny interpreting his words.
Until that point, Yoo-seong had only been listening silently. Now, he spoke.
“Did you say your name is Danny?” He turned to the young man who had delivered Ali’s frustrations to him.
Danny nodded meekly.
“I’ll give you a choice,” Yoo-seong said in a quiet tone.
“What? If you have anything to say, please tell him instead, and I’ll…”
“No. You can choose one of these two responses. Choose which one to tell your boss.”
Danny felt intense pressure as Yoo-seong’s eyes bore into him.
“This is the first option.” Yoo-seong held eye contact with the young man. “I don’t know what the hell you are talking about, and I don’t have any intention of trying to convince you I have no particular reason for stopping by.”
Danny’s eyes widened.
It wasn’t simply because of Yoo-seong’s harsh words. It was because Yoo-seong was now channeling Aura, like Ali. The difference between the two was significant.
This time, even ordinary people quickly felt the change in the atmosphere.
“The wind…”
A cool breeze blew against everyone on the left side of the store.
Only the hunters who recognized it felt astonishment as it passed behind their backs. It wasn’t a natural wind.
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Yoo-seong was sitting still in his chair. Aura was flowing constantly from his whole body, causing a Corona invisible to the crowd’s eyes.
One second.
Three seconds. Four. Five seconds, ten seconds.
The wind continued to blow without showing any sign of stopping. It was also spreading more widely across the stall now, even causing a few bills and tissues to scatter.
‘How much CE does one need to make such a sustained Corona possible?’ the hunters wondered.
“So,” Yoo-seong continued, “if you have any dissatisfaction about my presence, now is the right time to show it. But I promise you that no matter how many of you there are and no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to make me leave against my will.”
The very next moment…
The wind suddenly stopped.
The hunters looked at each other before turning their gazes back to Yoo-seong.
“The second choice is a bit simpler.”
Yoo-seong looked at Danny with a still-unchanged expression.
“I understand your meaning well, and I have no intention of intervening, so I will quietly eat here and rest for a while before leaving. That’s it.”
Yoo-seong flexed his neck muscles.
“Choose one and tell him.”
Danny bit his lip. Did he really have a choice when the answer seemed so clear?
‘Is there a hunter here who doesn’t understand how strong Yoo-seong is based simply on the wind he just caused?’
If he told Ali the first response, the Kowala Group wouldn’t have a choice. They would have to protect their pride. However, it would be a battle they would surely lose.
Finally, he decided.
“Boss.” Danny turned to Ali. “He says he has no intention of causing problems, and after he’s finished his meal and rested for a while, he’s leaving.”
Ali seemed satisfied with the response.
“Good. Tell him to leave as soon as possible and that if we sense that he’s trying to overstay his welcome, we won’t hesitate to act.”
“Yes,” Danny nodded energetically.
Then Ali stood, and taking the group of hunters with him, he turned around and left.
Yoo-seong also stood from his seat, taking his meal and drink and walking toward the beach.
After hesitating for a few moments, Danny followed Yoo-seong.
“Hey, Oh Yoo-seong!” Danny called out.
“What?” Yoo-seong turned, and Danny felt dumbstruck as he stood in front of him again.
“Did your boss ask you to tell me something? Don’t hesitate to say it. I don’t care.”
Danny looked around for a moment.
They were already at a distance from the store. There were no people around to hear the conversation.
He suddenly bowed to Yoo-seong.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”
Yoo-seong raised his eyebrows.
“You’re sorry? For what?”
“Well… I heard from my girlfriend that you were here. She works at that store you were in. I’m the reason Ali learned you were on the island.”
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Yoo-seong pursed his lips and nodded. At least that was clear. He’d thought it was pure coincidence that Ali and his team had arrived at the kiosk.
“Okay then,” he told the young man.
“Wait… you said you stopped here while crossing the Pacific. I know that you use that Tech where you release Aura from both legs to walk in the air. Is that what you used to cross the ocean?”
“I never said that,” Yoo-seong shrugged.
Danny’s eyes widened with apprehension. It was considered rude to talk about the principles of another person’s Tech.
“But honestly, I don’t really care, so don’t worry,” Yoo-seong said as he sat down in the middle of the quiet beach.
“If you’ve finished talking, you can go. I’ll eat this and sleep here for a while. Tell your boss that.”
Danny felt like crying. Hunter Oh Yoo-seong was his idol. How could he not be? Even though he was a second-generation Korean-American, it was difficult to break the link with his roots.
Besides, the young man was a rookie who had just turned twenty years old. From that standpoint, it would be rather strange if he didn’t idolize the unrivaled star-making achievements around the world.
‘Someday, I will also become like Oh Yoo-seong,’ Danny remembered thinking as he trained and reviewed for the hunter examination.
He’d also cherished the hope of meeting his idol in the future. If that happened, he’d planned to go up to Yoo-seong and talk about how he was his inspiration.
However, he hadn’t expected his wish to come true in a different way.
He had indeed met Yoo-seong face to face, only to convey Ali’s hostile words to him.
Right now, Yoo-seong’s impression of him wasn’t all that positive.
‘After longing to meet my idol for such a long time…’
Danny couldn’t help but feel sad about his situation. Unknowingly, tears began to fall on his cheeks.
“Huh?” Yoo-seong, who was focused on his meal, saw it. “What’s happening?” He sighed at the young man. “Why don’t you sit down here for a bit?”
“Uh…” Danny sobbed as he hesitated.
“Sit down,” Yoo-seong said in a firmer tone. “If you’re going to cry, cry here and finish it quickly. You can’t go back there with swollen eyes.”
Danny sat on the floor, desolated.
“Why is your boss so mad at me being here?” Yoo-seong asked instead of trying to comfort the young man.
Danny hadn’t expected the question and wiped his tears to focus on his answer.
“Captain Ali thought you were sent here from the mainland for some purpose.”
“Still, that shouldn’t be a reason for him to be hostile.”
“Well…” Danny hesitated. “I don’t know if you know, but there’s only one hunting firm in Hawaii.”
It was the Kowala Company, headed by Ali. In a sense, it was a monopoly, but it didn’t feel like one. Rather, the team felt like a part of the local community, ensuring the safety of the natives rather than going after profits.
Surprisingly, since the rifts’ emergence, Hawaii had remained one of the safest places on Earth. The unique Tech that one of the natives had passed on was the key. For native Hawaiians, who had been violently exploited by the “mainland Americans” for decades, it had become a source of pride for their community.
Aboriginal families with Tech disclosed their secrets to other families in order to protect their island. It didn’t matter what race their neighbors were. They had all shared some painful history. With that, anyone could get a tattoo that was the medium of the Tech, as long as they had a hunter’s license.
For that reason, the growth of hunters in Hawaii was faster than anywhere else in the world. For young people, it was hard to choose a different career.
Thus, all of the hunters in Hawaii were united and had been protecting their own for the past twenty years.
However, recently, they had faced a problem.
Hawaiian Salamander-★★★★
As the name suggested, this was a rare monster that only appeared in the Hawaiian Islands.
However, it wasn’t that rare for Hawaiians.
Because of the beasts’ prolific reproduction, the monsters poured out endlessly every time a crack opened. Their bodily fluids acted as quite awful biotoxins, causing damage not only to the hunters’ skin but also to their equipment and the island’s soil.
As such, mainland hunters were reluctant to send hunters into Hawaii.
“Sometimes, when the size of the rift is too large… we used to put in requests for support to the mainland. However, mainland firms rarely responded to us.”
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Despite this, the Hawaiian hunters had fulfilled their duties and struggled with the tricky beasts without help. That was, until two years ago.
A researcher had discovered that the Hawaiian Salamander’s fluids could be used to easily melt a metal that had previously required astronomical costs to process.
Of course, the price of the Hawaiian Salamanders had soared.
“Suddenly, mainland hunters began bidding for our cracks.”
“That’s pretty…”
Danny nodded and clenched his fists. “Imagine, all those years we never received any help, but now…”
‘Don’t come in now and try to disrupt us.’
That was the position of the Kowala Company and their hunters, who were all native Hawaiians. They wanted to use the profits from the now-in-demand Hawaiian Salamanders to restore the damage their agricultural industry had suffered.
However, they faced quite a bit of opposition.
Several firms that coveted the supply of the fluids had objected to the Kowala Company, saying that they were selfishly monopolizing the bidding rights on cracks.
“The motherfuckers.” Danny gritted his teeth as he recounted the story to Yoo-seong. “While we talked about our right to hunt, they talked about money and how we were delaying the advancement of human technology.”
“But shouldn’t it be your right, without question? It’s under your jurisdiction,” Yoo-seong remarked. He was not familiar with the rules of the United States, but even he was convinced that the Kowala Company was on the right side.
“Yes. Finally, after a hard battle, we won exclusive rights, but… they gave us a wider area to operate in.”
“What?” Yoo-seong was stunned.
The area that the Hawaiian Islands was in charge of had been limited to the islands’ territorial waters in consideration of their size. However, in recent years, stating the increase in the cracks, the government had widened the maritime area that Hawaii’s hunters were in charge of.
Naturally, as the scope of responsibility increased, the hunters’ fatigue and injuries had accumulated. Eventually, they would reach their limit, and by then, they wouldn’t have any choice but to request external support.
“How can that be…?”
Danny smiled bitterly at Yoo-seong, who was not familiar with the U.S. government’s design.
“We tried to protest, but… they told us that if we needed support, they would send in other firms to help us, so there wasn’t really a problem with the wider range. But so far,” Danny continued with a forced smile, “we haven’t requested support even a single time. It’s our pride. But we probably can’t keep going like this in the future.”
Even if they were enduring the overwhelming increase in cracks, for now, the Kowala Company would eventually have to raise a white flag at this rate.
The mainland firms had been waiting for it.
The Salamanders’ bodies and fluids would soon fall into the hands of businessmen, who would sell them at a much lower price, decreasing their value.
“On behalf of Captain Ali, I apologize.” Danny bowed once more to Oh Yoo-seong. “Everyone is sensitive right now. A Genesis-class rift is scheduled to appear on the island soon.”
According to Korean standards, Genesis was at the level of a Storm-class rift.
“There has been a lot of talk that Kowala will have no choice but to seek support this time. But we don’t hate you here. Every hunter on this island, especially those my age, knows you and talks about you.”
It was just a matter of bad timing. Just when they were at risk of being infiltrated by outsider firms, the best foreign hunter had been spotted on their beach. It was enough for Ali and the Kowala Company to assume that Yoo-seong’s presence was a message.
“I’m really sorry. I apologize again.” Danny bowed once more.
Yoo-seong placed his plate down with a bland expression.
Just as he was about to say something to Danny…
His phone rang.
Yoo-seong’s eyebrows raised as he checked the caller’s information. The call wasn’t from Korea.
-You are currently in Honolulu.
An unfamiliar voice on the other line spoke immediately.
-I’m just going to tell you what to do. Soon, a crack will open there.
-Please do not intervene. You have no right or need to do so.
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-This is a warning…
“Hey,” Yoo-seong interrupted the caller. “Who are you?!”
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