Chapter 54: Chapter 54

Translated by: ShawnSuh

Edited by: SootyOwl

A large metal gate opened, and a yellow cab drove through a long courtyard. When the car stopped in front of a mansion, the driver got out of it and walked toward the front door, banging on it with his fist instead of ringing the doorbell. Shortly after, a maid answered the door and bowed to him politely.

“Where is my brother?”

“He’s in the study upstairs, sir.”

Hearing that, Ace, walking right past her, walked up to the second floor. Upon arriving at the study, he knocked, flinging the door open. In the dimly-lit room, there was a man wearing a black robe sitting at a long table.

“There, he is,” Ace said, smiling and spreading his arms wide.

“Sit,” the man in the black robe said, looking at Ace with cold eyes. Shrugging, Ace walked over to him and sat close to the man.

“I’m impressed. How did you find me?”

“It was hardly a challenge,” the man in the black robe said. Then, he picked up a briefcase, which was widely recognized for its appearance in a certain spy movie franchise, and slammed it down on the table.

Ace pulled the briefcase toward himself with eyes filled with excitement and asked, “And the password?”

“Zero-zero-zero-zero.”

“Heh! Cute.”

After setting the combination, Ace opened the case. A high-quality enchanted stone came into view. After staring at it with excitement, he closed the briefcase audibly.

“I knew I could count on you, brother,” he said, smiling and getting ready to leave. Then, just as he was about to leave the study, he stopped in his tracks and turned toward the man in the black robe. “Oh, just to make sure. You really don’t mind if I go around blowing stuff up? You know how I like to play rough,” Ace said.

The man in the black robe stared intently at him with emotionless eyes and replied, “Seems to me like you’ve already started.”

“Man! You just know me so well! We really are like brothers! Oh, before I go. You know somethin’?” Ace asked, his smile turning upside down while he was shaking his head. “That robe’s gotta go.”

With that, Ace slammed the door shut behind him. Standing by the window, the man in the black robe stared quietly at the yellow cab driving off.

Dusting himself off, Min Sung stared dazedly at the chaos around him. While the emergency alarm blared unceasingly, the crowd of bystanders kept growing. Reporters started turning up, and the paramedics, in cooperation with the Institute, were busy at work moving the injured to the ambulance. Although the champion survived the explosion, there had to be countless civilians who had lost their lives. At that moment, a familiar voice called to the champion. It was Ho Sung.

“Sir!”

Running toward the champion, Ho Sung stood next to him and said, “I heard about the explosion. I had a feeling that you would be here. Were you inside?”

“Yes, I was.”

“Wait, what’s that in your hand?”

“A drumstick,” Min Sung said, showing it to Ho Sung. It was burned to a crisp.

“So… you were treating yourself to some fried chicken, and that’s when the building exploded,” Ho Sung said, looking at the drumstick in the champion’s hand and swallowing nervously.

“Something tells me that this was an act of terrorism. The blast was much more powerful than an ordinary explosive.”

“Wait, are you saying that somebody actually blew up the building!?” Ho Sung asked. Then, seeing Min Sung’s eyes glowing white, he shuddered at the champion’s intimidating presence.

“Heeheehee!” Ace chuckled ominously with his creation in his hand. It was a special bomb made using the high-quality enchanted stone, which was powerful enough to reduce anything within a hundred-meter radius to ashes, including hunters. While he was sitting on the safety rail on the rooftop of a building, a question rose to his mind.

‘Wait a minute… How did that bastard survive the explosion?’ he asked himself, remembering a mysterious man who had walked out of the ruins alone. However, with his new toy in hand, his curiosity didn’t last.

‘Now, what should I blow up next?’

After immersing himself in thought, he opened his eyes and smiled evilly as he thought of his next project.

Since the explosion made it impossible for him to experience the dish in its freshest state at the restaurant, Min Sung ordered himself more fried chicken on the car ride home. After he got out of the shower and changed into comfortable clothing, the fried chicken delivery arrived at the champion’s door. Taking the box of half and half chicken and a can of beer, Min Sung sat on the couch, turned the news on, and opened the box. Thankfully, the chicken was still warm.

Listening to the news, Min Sung removed the foil on top of the chicken, revealing the half-golden-brown, half-fiery-red glory of the pieces. The anchor was reporting on the explosion that day. After opening the lid of the pickled radish, which was soaked in vinegar, Min Sung walked over to the kitchen sink, drained about half of the liquid in the container, and came back to his seat. Then, he picked up a piece of plain fried chicken.

‘Always start with a drumstick.’

When it came to eating, the champion didn’t believe in the philosophy of saving the best for last. Unless he was having a course meal, he firmly believed that the best part of the dish was best enjoyed while his appetite was still intact. With that, he bit into the drumstick. The cloud-like batter on the outside shattered with a satisfying crunch, revealing the succulent, meaty inside.

Since it had been delivered to his door, the chicken wasn’t exactly fresh out of the kitchen. However, the delay seemed to have no effect on the crunch and juiciness of the chicken.

Without waiting any longer, Min Sung bit into the drumstick again and let the savory flavors linger in his mouth, leaving only the bone. When he opened his eyes, the news was reporting on the possible cause of the explosion.

[This just in: The cause of the recent explosion has been identified as a terrorist attack. According to the experts, the bomb made using an enchanted stone can be devastating enough to kill even high-level hunters despite the short radius of its explosion.]

Fixing his eyes on the TV, Min Sung picked up a wing.

“A terrorist attack, huh?” he murmured as anger welled up from within. Countless innocent civilians had lost their lives to a mindless terrorist. Even worse, the fact that his authentic fried chicken experience had been ruined by the same terrorist made the champion furious.

‘Whoever you are, you and I have a score to settle,’ Min Sung thought while eating the chicken wing, followed by a piece of pickled radish.

Then, the photo of the potential suspect appeared on TV. The man had a hooked nose, long, thin eyes and lips, and a very skinny face. Although not exactly good looking, his face was covered in knife scars. On top of that, the fact that he was a foreigner made it even easier to recognize him. Glaring fiercely at the suspect’s face on the TV, Min Sung threw the bone away and moved on to the sweet-and-spicy half of the chicken.

The succulent, tender meat with the sweet, spicy, and savory sauce on the outside created a delightful harmony of flavors in his mouth. While chewing the chicken by the mouthful, he brought a piece of pickled radish up to his mouth.

‘I wonder who came up with this ingenious combination,’ he thought, impressed by the new dimension of flavors the pickled radish brought about. After tasting the fried chicken, Min Sung naturally found himself comparing the experience to that of the Schweinshaxe, the German roasted pork hock. In the end, the champion decided that his experience with the fried chicken was much more memorable. Although he recognized that the two were completely different dishes and that his trip to Germany hadn’t necessarily been a waste, there was something riveting about Korean-style fried chicken that made it relevant at an international level.

After wiping his hands with wet tissues, Min Sung opened the can of beer and brought it up to his mouth without delay.

‘Gluck-gluck, gluck-gluck!’

The cold, refreshing liquid came flooding into the champion’s mouth and washed the lingering greasiness away.

“Ah…!” Min Sung let out, biting down on his lower lip inadvertently and thinking, ‘I see how this dish has become something almost sacred in Korea.’

With that, he picked up another piece of plain fried chicken: the breast. Because it had been cooked perfectly, it was moist, juicy, and tender. Then, after following up with a piece of thigh, he picked up a piece of drumette, which had a completely different texture to drumsticks. Though slightly tougher, it had a satisfying chew to it and a flavor distinct from that of drumsticks. For those reasons, drumettes were one of the most popular parts of the chicken among chicken lovers. Going back and forth between the plain and its sweet-and-spicy counterpart, Min Sung had a feast of his own. Two seemingly contradicting flavors came together to create a foolproof experience.

Ji Yoo Kim, the miscellaneous type in charge of the Central Institute, walked into a massive conference hall within the Institute’s building. Her black suit gave her a weighty appearance. As the miscellaneous type walked into the hall, all of the high-ranking hunters rose from their seats at the same time. Walking past them, Ji Yoo went up to the stage and stood in front of the mic. Scanning the audience with a hardened expression, Ji Yoo started off, “A terrorist who threatens the safety of our citizens with a bomb is roaming freely in Korea. As you all know, there was an explosion recently that caused a substantial number of civilian casualties. We’re talking hundreds of innocent lives here. Massacred.”

The audience remained silent. Then, with eyes filled with grief and sadness, Ji Yoo kept on, “Now, with the deepest condolences to the victims of the incident, we will proceed with our meeting on the recent terrorist attack.”

After the end of the meeting, the Central Institute declared that they would do everything they could to bring Ace, the terrorist, into custody. Because of that, a bounty had been placed on him, and a whopping 40 percent of the Institute’s military was being put to work across Seoul to investigate and set up a security network by collaborating with the police. Because of the explosion, the entire country was now trembling in fear.

Within the lowest basement of the Central Institute building, was a special jail designed for serious criminals, who were often psychopaths, called ‘Villains’ Detention Center.’ In order to prevent the inmates from using their powers, every arriving inmate was implanted with a device called ‘Black Hunt’ under their skin. Black Hunt sapped them of every bit of power coursing through their bodies, making them no different from civilians. On top of that, the entire prison was made of mithril of the highest quality, making it impossible for the powerless hunters to escape.