Chapter 34: Chapter 34

Translated by: ShawnSuh

Edited by: SootyOwl

Glancing at the champion walking next to him, Ho Sung was still filled with astonishment. After having casually knocked out a number of Central Institute soldiers, the champion had proceeded to eat and drink without a care in the world. On top of that, his alcohol tolerance was, in simple terms, inhuman.

‘How can one drink twenty bottles of soju in just one hour? Is this guy even human?’ Ho Sung thought. The more he looked at him, the more astonished Ho Sung became.

“Uh… sir?”

“What?”

“Have you been that strong since you’ve been enlightened?”

“Enlightened? What does that mean?”

“There were a handful of chosen individuals who were appointed as hunters and given powers when the monster break first took place.”

“I was never part of such a peaceful time,” the champion replied, chuckling. When the champion told him of a time that could only be described as hell on Earth, where monsters flooded the planet, causing innumerable casualties and practically turning the world upside-down, Ho Sung became even more confused.

“You wouldn’t believe or understand even if I were to describe to you the time and place I lived through,” Min Sung said, staring into the air with blank eyes. At that point, Ho Sung got the impression that it was something he couldn’t even dare to imagine.

‘Does he have some sort of a big secret?’ he thought. However, he shook his head and reminded himself, ‘Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter anymore.’

“Sir, in your opinion, do you think one simply tries harder at becoming stronger? You know, going through the grind, hunting repeatedly and leveling up as much as you can. Do you think that’s the path to true power?”

“Try several thousand,” Min Sung said, chuckling at Ho Sung’s question.

“… Sir?” Ho Sung asked, looking at the champion with a puzzled expression.

“I’d imagine anybody could be strong if they lived like a beast and survived whatever life-threatening circumstances came their way,” the champion replied as if reminiscing to his past. There was something desolate about the look on his face.

‘What could he have meant? Something greater than effort? Putting oneself through challenges that transcend life and death?’ Ho Sung thought, and asked, “Speaking of which, may I ask you one last question? It’s something I’ve been meaning to ask.”

“Go on.”

“There’s no mistake that you’re unimaginably powerful, and the way I see it, your potential is practically limitless. At least to my eyes, anyway.”

“And?”

“I also get that you have no interest in money or power. It’s a matter of preference. BUT, in terms of human instinct, it’s not quite the same story. You possess the kind of power that would attract practically any and every woman that exists on this planet. Yet, you take no interest in them. Why is that?”

“That’s one of the things that made me who I am today,” the champion replied, and Ho Sung felt as though there was a large bell going off in his head.

‘Not letting his desires control him. Remaining steadfast, unwavering. Was that the secret to his strength all along?’ Ho Sung thought, his mind boggled.

After dropping the champion off, Ho Sung returned to his home and sank into his couch, still mind-blown by the champion’s answer.

“That’s one of the things that made me who I am today.”

Reciting the champion’s words, Ho Sung chuckled.

There was a reason for everything. If one could conquer the world simply by trying harder, then nobody would have to experience failure. The path to true power often entailed tremendous pain, and in order to obtain that power, one had to push not only their body, but also their mind beyond their limits. For that reason, becoming stronger was impossible for those who were drunk with wealth, power, and women. Only a hero was given the right to pursue power in its utmost purity.

Yet, Ho Sung was no more than a chain-smoking thug on the streets, thirsty for women, wealth, and power.

‘How can somebody like me even hope to become more powerful?’

At that moment, his eyes gleamed with determination.

‘I’m gonna change. I’m gonna push myself and I WILL become stronger. I have to be prepared for the challenges that will come my way.’

After some contemplation, Ho Sung nodded determinedly, rose from the couch, and walked toward the kitchen. Then, he pulled out a pair of scissors, unfastened his belt and pulled his underwear down below his knees. Looking down at his genitalia, he brought up the scissors.

“…”

At that moment, the air sank into a suffocating silence, and Ho Sung hesitated. After a long pause, he swallowed nervously, said, “No, this isn’t the way to do it,” and tossed the scissors into the sink, pulling his pants up and shuddering at the thought of what he had been about to do to himself.

“Let’s not get ahead of myself here. What’s the point of becoming stronger if I don’t have the one thing that makes me a man? I just gotta look away from women and focus on getting stronger, like Min Sung Kang.”

Nodding, he went into his room and sat in front of his computer. Upon turning on the power, the data on the champion he had typed out a few days back appeared on the screen.

[Min Sung Kang’s Profile]

[Name: Min Sung Kang]

[Age: ???]

[Level: N/A (Misc. type)]

[Pet: ‘Bowl,’ the Lich Doll (Lv1,000)]

[Personality: Lonewolf. The epitome of arrogance and heartlessness.]

[Likes: Eating]

[Dislikes: Anything that bothers him]

[Goal: Having three meals a day]

[Weaknesses: None]

[Threat Level: Extreme]

Then, Ho Sung stuck a cigarette in his mouth, lit it, and took a deep drag off of it. Breathing out the smoke, he added another item to the list of information on the champion.

[Characteristics: Sterile]

After saving, Ho Sung leaned back and stared up at the smoke billowing up to the ceiling with dismay.

“So, that’s what it took, huh…”

“Ma’am, I think there’s a high probability that there’s a third party involved in this case,” Tae Gyum said, and Ji Yoo, the master of the Central Institute took off her glasses, smiled bitterly, and said, “Yes, I’m looking into this mysterious individual personally.”

“Ah…! Right! I apologize, ma’am. I had no idea,” Tae Gyum said, caught off guard, staring intently at Ji Yoo as she immersed herself in thought. Then, he jumped all of a sudden, looked down, and apologized profusely, “F-forgive me, ma’am!”

“For what?” Ji Yoo asked, giving Tae Gyum a puzzled look.

“N-nothing. Is there anything else you’d like me to do?”

“I just need you to focus on this case for now. Not only are there dungeon gates appearing out of thin air in the middle of the city, but there are monsters crawling out of them. So, concentrate your resources on this investigation.”

“… Yes, ma’am,” Tae Gyum replied, bowing politely.

As per usual, Ho Sung checked his phone next to his pillow after waking up in the morning. Then, upon checking the message, he jumped out of bed. Rubbing his eyes in disbelief, he read the message again.

‘We’re going to a dungeon. Meet me at my house.’

With a bright smile on his face, Min Sung changed out of his clothes and rushed into the bathroom to wash up. Although he slipped on a puddle of his dog’s urine, that wasn’t enough to remove the smile from his face. Ho Sung was finally getting the champion’s help to level up by his side.

‘I didn’t think he’d get back to me this soon!’

Knowing Min Sung’s lazy side, Ho Sung had been on his toes, anxious that the champion might not keep his end of the deal. Now that he had received a confirmation from the champion, Ho Sung was determined to become stronger more than ever.

After getting ready in a hurry, Ho Sung arrived at the champion’s house. While waiting for the champion anxiously, Ho Sung thought, ‘You’ve come a long way, Ho Sung Lee. That old life as a slave is gone for good.’

Now that he had the goal to become stronger, Ho Sung sensed a noticeable difference in his life. After all, defeatism only dragged one deeper into self-pity and lack of growth.

‘If I’m leading a dead-end life, I might as well make the most of it. The harder I work and the more pain I put myself through and endure, the stronger I’ll become. Besides, I’m alongside a miscellaneous type!’ Ho Sung thought. Excited that there was a means to turn his life around, Ho Sung rang the doorbell. Soon, Min Sung came out, and the two headed for the dungeon together.

The two entered the dungeon. Since Ho Sung wasn’t at a high enough level to enter the labyrinth, he ended up in Dungeon 12, the dungeon with the highest difficulty among ordinary dungeons. Dungeon 12 was also a place most optimized for players like Ho Sung, who was being accompanied by another player at a higher level. Due to the resilient monsters within it, many hunters tended to shy away from training in Dungeon 12. At the same time, the monsters rewarded players with an abundance of experience. Besides, the monsters couldn’t possibly stand a chance against the champion, who was practically invincible.

‘My level will go through the roof by the time we’re done here,’ Ho Sung thought, his eyes sparkling with hope and anticipation. Then, he witnessed something strange.

‘What’s he doing?’ he wondered. Min Sung, who had taken a mat out of his inventory, was on the ground, looking into his phone. Ho Sung blinked and stared at him in confusion.

“Uh… Sir?”

At Ho Sung’s voice, Min Sung tapped his pocket. After which, Bowl came crawling out, half asleep, shaking his head as if trying to wake himself up. Then, walking up to Ho Sung, Bowl poked at his leg.

“…!?”

As Ho Sung stared at the doll, puzzled, Min Sung opened his mouth with his eyes fixed on his phone, “Bowl will draw the monsters to itself. Kill ’em, get the loot, and hand the carcasses over to him.’