Auto Hunting - Chapter 179
The young man, who had been called Miracle Boy for the longest time, had never been seen in an angry mood by the public.
Perhaps that was in part attributable to his family’s social background and class. He had a politician for a father, from whom he had learned how to manage his facial expressions. Thus, he was excellent at hiding his feelings from whomever he was talking to, regardless of the situation.
However, the problem was that he perhaps lacked experience.
Throughout his forty years, there had never been a problem that could affect his confidence. He had always been confident about solving any hurdle that came before him, with or without his abilities as Miracle Boy.
That was, until today.
In Alvin Hawkins’ office, twelve phones, placed side by side, were ringing incessantly.
Each phone was a dedicated line for powerful and influential people from around the world.
It was an unprecedented network Alvin had built to help him reach the pinnacle.
One of the flashing caller IDs showed him his father’s office, the White House.
But Alvin didn’t pick it up.
He couldn’t bring himself to answer any of them.
He didn’t know what to say.
His mouth was busy chewing his thumbnail instead of answering calls.
At some point, he leaned forward as if waking up.
He looked at his tattered fingernails and yelled, “Fuck it!”
One powerful blow smashed the heavy wood desk in front of him.
The tablet PC upon the table was neatly cut in half.
Just a few seconds ago, the device had been playing videos on a loop for more than an hour. This included footage from Jongno-gu street in Seoul, South Korea.
The scene on the rooftop just before Oh Yoo-seong plunged into the rift had already spread through the Internet like wildfire, seen and shared by countless people.
Even before that, the Internet had already been in an explosive state. The contents of the Korean hunter community meeting had already caused a stir around the world.
-Can you really close the cracks? Permanently? For real?!
-Why else would they be promoting it in the Korean industry? But think about it, even if they could actually close them, the related aftermath would be no joke.
└If it’s true, the post-storm will be even bigger.
└I’ll bet it’s real.
-If it’s real, shouldn’t our government also bring Oh Yoo-seong in? It seems that we are just a step away from a catastrophe every day.
└Would Oh Yoo-seong or the Korean government do it for free?
└Are you saying money is an issue?
└Even if it were an astronomical amount, I think it would be right to pay them whatever they ask for, right? I think whatever price they ask is worth it. It’s a matter of people’s lives.
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-Did the other hunters announce their position separately?
The flow of public opinions was not good for Alvin Hawkin’s plans. Oh Yoo-seong hadn’t thought it through and had just yelled it to the world.
And now, this was the result.
Hunters and other special defense-related industries were in a state of panic. Their livelihood was on the brink of extinction.
The tycoons who kept calling Alvin on the phones also belonged to those sectors. They were investors in Alvin’s grand plan. If the crack phenomenon got worse and its image as a life-threatening disaster returned, hunting, which civilians had taken for granted, would soar in value.
Therefore, the entire hunting industry was poised to gain enormous wealth and influence.
Soon, Alvin and the hunters would have been on top of the world, taking control of future societies.
However, everything had turned to dust. Yoo-seong’s declaration had made it so.
While the rest of the world still had doubts on whether Yoo-seong could really prevent cracks, Alvin Hawkins already knew he could. Once the Korean hunter returned from the world beyond and no further cracks appeared in Korea, his grand plan was as good as garbage.
Alvin had vastly underestimated the man.
He had thought Oh Yoo-seong to be someone with strong beliefs and obsessions, one who always pushed for what he believed to be sublime justice. Unfortunately for them, those types of people couldn’t beat someone like Alvin. At best, they would be martyrs buried in the flow of history.
However, while he did have those convictions and obsessions, it looked like Oh Yoo-seong would never be a martyr.
One mobile phone stopped ringing. Then a short message appeared on the screen.
It was from the Dukova family, a giant in the special defense agency, which had dominated Eastern Europe.
‘-We’re sorry, A. Continuing with the investments would be nonsense.’
Red veins stood out in Alvin’s eyes.
Like all businessmen, the Dukova family was wise. They would always take the side of money over anything.
In fact, they had invested in Alvin’s plan, even if it was evil, just because it meant more money for them. However, now that Alvin was defeated…
The other phones stopped ringing one by one, and short messages flashed on their screens instead.
‘-Sorry, it seems that the tide has changed now.’
‘-Forget about the investment cost.’
‘-Let us know if you have another plan. Perhaps we can try again, but not this time.’
All of them had figured out that Yoo-seong’s moves had invalidated Alvin’s plans.
‘The bastard wasn’t satisfied with closing all the cracks,’ Alvin thought furiously.
Yoo-seong was planning to build a team of pioneers and acquire more value in the other world. Rather than being a martyr, he was full of absurd ambition. He had the tools to open and close cracks at will. He had the power to face any kind of monster. And whatever he was lacking, he had their country’s Special Defense Agency to support him.
With those three things, Yoo-seong’s dream coming true wasn’t impossible.
Perhaps that was why Alvin’s defeat was heavier. Because, in the end, he and Yoo-seong were the same. They were two men who weren’t satisfied with the present reality and wanted to lead people into a new world.
Now, there was one last phone ringing.
Miracle Boy stretched out his hand and took it.
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It was his father.
Vice President Hawkins.
-You must have forgotten.
-There is a need to change your plans. This situation is…
“We still have a chance. Oh Yoo-seong’s abilities are limited to the tools he has.”
“You can use what he has done in Nevada to start an international conflict.”
-We have already…
“You have to keep up the pressure! Do not give them a chance!”
Alvin had not recognized what the person on the other end of the line was feeling.
Vice President Hawkins was in a state of shock. It was also his first time experiencing his son’s unfocused anger.
“We are the United States! You have the power! Use it! There may be damage, but… if I somehow take those tools out of his hands… No, if I could get rid of them entirely so he would have no chance of taking them back…”
The Vice President raised his voice.
-It’s over now. Give up.
“W-What… what did you say, Father?”
-You may have lost a lot, but you’re still this country’s hero. And you are still my son. There was always a chance to recover. But right now… if the situation were normal, it might have been different. However, right now, there are six unclosed cracks in the United States.
The cracks in New York alone were causing irreparable economic damage. And several major media outlets were increasing the anxiety felt by the general population.
responding positively to Oh Yoo-seong.
It was a country that loved heroes. Therefore it was natural for its citizens to be enthusiastic about Oh Yoo-seong. And in this situation, anyone who revealed hostility against their perceived hero risked being seen as “evil.”
-This is not a defeat.
The Vice President’s voice softened to console his son.
-Someday, you can still be the president of this country. Then, even greater—
“No. I can’t accept that.”
Vice President Hawkins heard two things after those words.
First, a cracking sound as Alvin’s grip began to crush the phone. Then, his son’s words.
“A victory that I could not achieve myself is worth nothing.”
It was something a boy who hadn’t got what he wanted would say.
After that, the smartphone shattered in Alvin’s hand, and the call was cut off.
Perhaps Alvin’s youthful appearance wasn’t a boon but a bane. It was possible that his mental and emotional maturity also hadn’t grown. It was easy for a child to pretend to be an adult. That was… until life got difficult.
Alvin closed his eyes, his brain making calculations.
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His father was probably preparing to block all of Alvin’s public and private authority right now.
“I don’t care…”
Networks and status. They were only tools.
The only thing he could trust for certain was himself.
On his own, Alvin prepared a counterattack.
An hour later.
Special Security Forces had now arrived at Alvin’s wrecked office. However, they couldn’t find any traces of the Miracle Boy.
The Vice President and other high-ranking executives who had been informed of the confidential situation had no idea what Alvin was planning.
All they could do was pray earnestly to God.
His stamina was running out.
His core had also been empty for a while now.
Lee Jae-hak sealed the stump of his severed left arm with ice, making sure that it was closed.
Squeezing out the very thin shard of ice cost him a great effort.
However, somehow, he was able to do it.
The bleeding stopped completely. The only question now was whether his severed left arm could be reattached.
Despite his injury, he couldn’t help but feel the joy of victory. The bodies of about a hundred Goblins were scattered around him. Each of them had been an entity a lot stronger than those Yoo-seong and Lee Jae-hak had faced in their first Dive.
‘Elites,’ Lee Jae-hak thought.
As Yoo-seong had guessed, the monsters had been prepared for an all-out attack. If they had procrastinated and left the crack, as Lee Jae-hak had argued, these beasts would have poured out into the middle of Seoul and wiped out the city.
‘It would have been terrible.’
The only reason they’d won was that the beasts were extremely inefficient and unorganized.
They’d all charged toward Yoo-seong.
Therefore, Lee Jae-hak had been able to attack them from a comfortable position while Yoo-seong defended himself.
Now, after a long and exhausting battle that had cost Lee Jae-hak his arm, Yoo-seong was walking toward his destination, unharmed.
The ridge in the distance.
Lee Jae-hak had no ability to detect CE presence, unlike Yoo-seong. However, even he could feel a powerful presence from the ridge.
It was the strongest CE he had ever felt in an individual, barring no human or monster.
“But… Yoo-seong will win,” Lee Jae-hak sighed.
He settled on a rock and lay down his body.
He had already done everything he could. Now, all he could do was wait.
The worst thing that could happen would be for another group of monsters to arrive.
In that case, Lee Jae-hak would be eaten alive.
“Well…” Lee Jae-hak muttered to himself, “I don’t even have the strength left to lift my fingers, so…”
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He felt his eyes closing as he surrendered his consciousness to sleep.