Auto Hunting - Chapter 175
One week later, the crack in Suwon, which could not be closed by the existing pulse breaker technology, had finally been shut.
The citizens felt pleased and curious at the same time.
“It is said that the unclosed cracks in other countries are still open.”
“Then, does that mean Suwon is unique?”
“Maybe they miscalculated or something. Perhaps it could have been closed from the start.”
“Then why did it they let it drag on for days?”
Besides, the number of unclosed cracks had been increasing worldwide. In smaller countries, not being able to cope with the beasts coming out of the rift was already a common outcome.
Requesting assistance from other countries was their only choice.
However, strangely, Korea was fine amid such turmoil, and not just in the case of Suwon’s now-closed crack.
“I don’t know. Something seems to have changed…”
“It feels like there aren’t that many cracks these days, right?”
“Yeah! That’s it!”
Medical centers for hunters, as well as various training and rest facilities, had been experiencing a boon they had not enjoyed in the past few months. It was quite a peaceful time for hunters to rest and recover, perhaps more peaceful even than before the sudden increase of cracks.
“Won’t this mean that the hunters’ incomes will decrease?”
The general public, who did not know the circumstances, thought so. However, the situation had improved the hunters’ moods exponentially.
The more cracks that appeared, the more their fatigue accumulated. This sometimes led to injury and death. Now, for the first time, the hunters could enjoy the income they had made from the explosion in cracks.
There were even cases of hunters retiring early, even if they were still healthy enough to stay active. However…
Just because they were happy at the moment did not mean that the hunters weren’t concerned about what was happening.
Rumors had thus circulated.
“In Suwon, Lee Jaeh-hak and Oh Yoo-seong entered the crack together.”
“Then, was it Oh Yoo-seong who closed that crack?”
“Perhaps, but that’s not what matters…”
“The two hadn’t come out yet when the crack was closed.”
There had been no official announcement yet, but there were witnesses who’d spread the news.
Oh Yoo-seong and Lee Jae-hak. Those two were still inside the rift.
And while it wasn’t certain, perhaps what they were doing in the world beyond the crack was why Korea was not experiencing cracks at the moment.
Of course, it was just speculation.
Still, the hunters couldn’t help but share their opinions about it over any other issue.
No one expected the answer to come all of a sudden.
Then came an emergency notification from the Special Defense Agency.
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It was a reminder to attend a conference meeting two days from now.
[…by 17:30, all available hunters should watch through the public community’s FH-23 channel.]
FH-23 was a channel exclusive to domestic hunters. Originally, its purpose had been only for remote viewing of license tests.
Everyone was on edge about the meeting. Numerous hunters emptied their schedules so they could watch the announcement.
“What kind of bullshit is this?!” Lee Jun-seok, the CEO of Gung-on, yelled. “Did you call all the executives of the big firms here just to speak nonsense?!”
Unlike most hunters, who were attending the meeting through the virtual channel, the CEOs and key executives of major domestic organizations had come to meet directly with Yang Chang-guk.
They, too, were curious about the announcement. However, what Yang Chang-guk had just told them was…
Lee Jun-seok’s reaction was just natural. Even the other CEOs couldn’t hide their shock.
Except for Yoon Kang-cheol of QR Corporation, who stared at the Director with a dull expression.
The gist of what Yang Chang-guk had just declared was simple.
‘We will amend the hunting laws as soon as possible.’
It was what he’d said next that made Lee Jun-seok burst out.
‘-Hunters, including newly licensed ones, must secure a hunting certificate under a specific organization operating under the Special Defense Agency. Hunting without this certificate is forbidden unless for emergency reasons.’
“CEO Lee Jun-seok… please remain calm,” Yoon Kang-cheok said.
“No! This… nonsense—” Lee Jun-seok continued to rant.
“Stop right now!”
Everyone in the meeting room froze. Their wide-open eyes turned to the spot where the voice had come from. The Director of the Special Defense Agency, who had the reputation of never showing anger, had pulled out his claws.
“You seem to be mistaking this place for something else, but listen carefully, CEO Lee Jun-seok. There is a definite reason why I gathered all of you here, despite knowing your busy schedules.”
“Do you mean the ridiculous statement you just made?” Lee Jun-seok fired back.
“Do you think it was my statement alone?”
Lee Jun-seok was rendered speechless.
“Tell me, CEO. Do you think I devised that rule by myself?”
“This is an agenda that has been approved by the Committee and the Blue House. This has been stamped by your country’s government!” Yang Chang-guk looked around the room with fiery eyes. “Sure! I know what you think. As for the committee, they are just outsiders who have never gone hunting in person, and it is natural that you guys would object to them. But this—”
His index finger stretched out toward Lee Jun-seok.
“Behavior like this is not acceptable right now!”
“Also, have you forgotten that this is a live broadcast and that many hunters and officials are watching us right now?”
At this, the people in the room lowered their eyes.
“I’ll ask you, CEO Lee Jun-seok. Who do you think you are?”
“No… Director Yang. First, listen to me…”
“Do you think you have the right to undermine the government announcement that was taking place through this meeting?”
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“I don’t think so… I don’t.”
“Then please take a seat right away. It is not only your patience that can reach its limit.”
There was no answer.
Lee Jun-seok was the CEO of Gung-on. It had overtaken Yoon Kang-cheol’s QR Corporation and had become the number one company in Korea through Chinese support.
He was also a person living within the system. He would have no choice but to lower his head if the government pressured him.
“Okay… I’m sorry.”
Lee Jun-seok took a seat and licked his wounds silently.
‘I don’t know what the hell your reason is,’ he thought, ‘but if you can’t convince the hunters watching the broadcast, the Special Defense Agency will face a heavy backlash.’
“I respectfully ask you to continue what you were saying earlier,” he told the Director.
“I’ve already said what I needed to.”
“What?!” At Yang Chang-guk’s words, Lee Jun-seok almost stood again. “Are you kidding me right now?!”
“No. I’m not kidding,” Yang Chang-guk said, stepping back. “Someone else will continue relaying the news for me.”
A blue line appeared where Yang Chang-guk stood.
This time, all the hunters in the room stood up and raised their Aura.
A crack was forming right before their eyes. However…
“How was it?”
Their anxiety soon turned into amazement and silence when they saw the person walking out of it.
“Another surprise appearance. Quite fun, isn’t it?”
“That’s an undeniable fact,” Yang Chang-guk nodded.
To other people’s eyes, it looked like Yoo-seong had magically popped out at just the right moment after entering the Suwon crack a week ago.
In reality, he had communicated with Yang Chang-guk outside the crack several times now. The timing of his appearance had already been discussed in advance.
After greeting the Director, Yoo-seong looked around the room. When he saw Lee Jun-seok, he gave the CEO of Gung-on a little wink.
The reaction that came back turned out to be pretty violent.
“How are things going with Tenz?”
Before Lee Jun-seok could refute what he’d said, Yoo-seong immediately raised his voice and continued.
“From what the Director said, the accreditation body operating under the Special Defense Agency will be an organization that I have been building. I will launch it soon. It will be called ‘Auto-Hunting Company.’ Please take good care of me.”
A major turmoil now spread among the people in the room.
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Not only Lee Jun-seok, but a number of hunters began to raise their voices.
A second person came out of the crack.
“Whoa, there are more people here than I thought,” the person said. It was Lee Jae-hak, carrying a figure larger than himself on his shoulders.
The ground shook when he placed it on the floor.
It wasn’t human, but it had a surprisingly human shape. It was a monster no one had ever seen.
The creature was about fifty feet tall, with bulging muscles of an ominous purple color. Even more surprising, the creature seemed to have some sort of ‘clothing.’
The garment it was wearing was made of leather and seemed like it was tailored to fit its massive body.
“It’s one of the species that Oh Yoo-seong and I captured together in the unofficial Dive. We have temporarily named them ‘Dokkaebi.’”
Perhaps it was the actual basis of the myths.
These creatures were once the masters of the Korean Peninsula, just like how the Grays had once ruled their land.
“Since it was captured without any special trauma, it will be possible to study it soon. This is a sentient creature, with intelligence about the same as or even more than a human.”
Lee Jae-hak looked at the faces of the stunned audience in the room before continuing.
“The horn on the top of its crown unleashes an ability that can create hallucinations to trap its prey. It can also overpower its victims with its superior physical ability. It’s a pretty powerful enemy, so it’s been quite difficult to catch.”
Lee Jae-hak’s words weren’t mere pretense. His body, as well as Yoo-seong’s, was wounded and scratched in places. To think that two of the strongest Singles in Korea had gone through such hardship to capture a single beast…
“Director,” Yoo-seong prompted Yang Chang-guk.
The Director nodded. As he did, the lights went out, and a giant projector came out on one side of the room.
A presentation prepared by the Special Defense Agency unfolded. Slides containing information and photos about the Grays and the Dokkaebi, the causes of unclosed cracks, appeared.
“Perhaps these don’t make a lot of sense now.” Yoo-seong’s voice resonated in the darkness. “But everyone in the industry must have felt it by now. The pace at which cracks occur has been slowing down.”
Everyone turned to look at him and listen eagerly to his story.
“Lee Jae-hak and I went over to the world beyond the crack and cut many of the ley lines that cause rifts to open. Following the end of this meeting, we will Dive again, and after we come out, no more rifts will appear in this country.”
“Now… wait a minute,” a team leader belonging to the 4T said, his voice trembling. “If there are no more cracks in this country, this industry…”
For the hunters, Yoo-seong’s declaration felt like a bomb.
“I’m sorry,” Yoo-seong said. “But of course, I am a hunter, and I don’t intend to starve everyone in this industry,” he added.
Yoo-seong raised his voice, aware of the hunters watching his broadcast right now. He knew that his words would soon spread to the public and beyond this country.
“From now on, the tasks for me and the Special Defense Agency are as follows. First, I will use my abilities to block all the rifts that exist in Korea.”
After that, Yoo-seong wouldn’t close cracks in other countries unless he was requested to do so.
“From now on, all Korean ‘hunting’ activities will be Dives into the rift.”
Of course, a Dive was something only a few hunters could qualify for.
“And that’s where the organization I’ve set up comes in.”
With Yoo-seong’s recently obtained Tech from Japan, along with his experience as probably the best Dive hunter in the world, he would educate and certify his fellow Korean hunters.
“Of course, that won’t mean all of you can Dive right away. But does that matter?” He paused and looked around the room before continuing. “There are many talented people in this country. Those who are capable will obtain the certification as soon as possible. Then…”
Yoo-seong’s firm voice rang through the microphone.
“From now on, this country will no longer be a place that monsters invade from the rift. It will be the opposite.”
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With the ability to open and close cracks at will, Korea would do things that no other country had ever tried before.
The next words from Yoo-seong’s mouth caused a thrill in every hunter who heard them.
“From now on, we will be pioneers and colonize the world beyond!”