Chapter 76: Chapter 76
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
While traversing the desolate land with the champion, Ho Sung, aching all over, coughed. Despite having focused entirely on defense and drinking healing potions, the shockwave had simply been too powerful, leaving Ho Sung with lingering damage.
‘This is way harder than I expected. Ugh, my aching body…”
Fortunately, the reward made the effort of clearing the labyrinth well worth it, allowing Ho Sung to reach a realm that he would have only dreamed of reaching before. Ho Sung had been raking in experience points simply by keeping up with the champion.
Looking at the champion walking ahead, Ho Sung chuckled silently. There was only one thing driving Min Sung to clear the labyrinth as soon as possible and eradicate the monsters running amok throughout Seoul: the restaurants.
Unlike most heroes, who were driven by their will to rescue humanity from evil, Min Sung’s sole interest lay on keeping the restaurants in Seoul safe. Nevertheless, Min Sung was humanity’s only hope. Having killed Ace, the ruthless terrorist, and a world-class hunter named Jan Bred, Min Sung was more than just a restaurant-fanatic hunter. Rather, he was closer to a hero at the end of the day. Because of this rule-abiding hero who stayed true to his primitive instincts, Korea now had the opportunity to continue existing.
Ho Sung opened his inventory. Nearing the end of the Infernal Labyrinth, his level was at a whopping 420.
‘The human mind is such a mystery,’ he thought. Ho Sung still remembered feeling like he had had the entire world at the palm of his hand after reaching level 200. Now, being well on his way to reaching level 500, that memory of when he reached level 200 had started to fade. Shaking his head, Ho Sung said to himself, ‘Get it together, Ho Sung. There’s something much more important than your level. You gotta focus on sharing in Min Sung’s glory and find value in walking alongside him. You gotta get stronger. Stronger than you had ever imagined yourself being. You WILL leave your old self behind and overcome your limits. You can do it. Yeah! With Min Sung Kang by your side, you’ll tread into a realm of unimaginable…’
At that moment, Ho Sung’s thoughts were interrupted as Min Sung kicked him from behind.
“Ugh!” Ho Sung let out, grabbing his butt and shaking from the pain.
“Are you trying to get yourself killed? Pull yourself together.”
“S-sorry, sir,” Ho Sung replied, rubbing his butt while furrowing his brow and thinking, ‘Dick… Of all the places he could’ve hit.’ However, seeing the champion glaring fiercely at him, Ho Sung forced a smile and rubbed his butt in order to soothe the pain.
Looking at the countless monitors in front of him, the man in the wheelchair furrowed his brow. At that moment, the door opened, and the man in the black robe came into the room.
“Well?” the man in the robe asked.
“Jan’s dead,” the man in the wheelchair replied with a dark expression on his face.
“I’d figured he wasn’t just an ordinary hunter, but this fellow is impressive.”
“That’s not all,” the man in the wheelchair said. When the man in the robe gave him a puzzled look, he swallowed nervously and replied, “One blow. This man took out Jan Bred in one blow.”
Hearing that, the eyes of the man in the robe shook ever so slightly. Made of a special material found in the labyrinth, Jan’s wristwatch had allowed the man in the wheelchair to overhear the conversation between Jan and Min Sung.
“This Min Sung Kang seemed to know about demons as well,” the man in the wheelchair said.
“How…?” the man in the robe murmured, looking shaken.
“There’s no telling. The real issue here is that this Min Sung Kang character is far more powerful than we’d imagined.”
The deaths of local hunters were of no interest to the two mysterious men. However, the death of Jan Bred, who had once been a member of the AH, was nothing short of startling. Looking at one of the monitors, the man in the wheelchair clenched his teeth and said, “We were just following orders. Everything will go as planned.”
With a brief, acquiescing nod, the man in the robe asked, “Do you think Jan was sent to Korea because of Min Sung Kang?”
“I wouldn’t rule out the possibility,” the man in the wheelchair replied, staring ambivalently at the monitor showing details on Min Sung. Then, looking intently at the man in the robe with eyes filled with suppressed emotion, he added, “We have no reason to be at odds with Min Sung Kang. Don’t let him provoke you. Remember, I’m only here because of your ambitions.”
“Of course. How can I forget?” the man in the robe replied, staring into the air as the dark monitoring room fell into a heavy silence.
Faced with an unexpected situation, Min Sung brushed his hair up while furrowing his brow. Nothing had seemed out of the ordinary up to that point, including his first encounter with Jan. However, the situation at hand was causing him a great deal of stress.
“What’s going on?” Min Sung said, his face twisted into a frustrated scowl. Flustered, the champion clicked his tongue and added, “Where’s the boss?”
“This place must be pretty big. I say we keep looking,” Ho Sung replied. If what Jan had said was true, Seoul was surely being reduced to ruins as they spoke. Countless hunters had been killed and injured by Ace, many of whom were part of the Central Institute. That meant a significant weakening of the country’s military might, which would leave them vulnerable to monster attacks. Needless to say, the absence of a boss monster drove the champion crazy, making him and his companions feel as though they were wandering the desert.
Thirty minutes into the search, Min Sung and Ho Sung still couldn’t find a single landmark, be it ‘The Boss Room’ or ‘New Entrance.’ No matter how long they walked, nothing appeared in their field of view. In the end, Min Sung took Bowl out of his pocket. After Bowl landed next to Ho Sung and looked up at its master, the champion said, “This isn’t going anywhere. You two wait here. I’m gonna look around for a bit.”
“… Sir?” Ho Sung let out, his face pale. Similarly, Bowl shook from fear.
“Y-you mean here? Wait HERE?” Ho Sung asked.
“We’ll get nowhere at this pace. At this rate, all the restaurants in Seoul will have been destroyed by the time we’re out of the labyrinth.”
“B-but… This place doesn’t feel very safe…”
“I don’t see any monsters around. Do you?”
“I-I guess not…” Ho Sung said, looking around apprehensively. At that moment, with what sounded like a cannon going off, the champion kicked the ground and disappeared in plain sight, leaving behind a cold breeze that chilled Ho Sung to the bone. Scratching his nose awkwardly, Ho Sung looked down at Bowl, who was also shaking uncontrollably, like it was afraid of being away from its master. Ho Sung looked around then, only to be deterred by the darkness, which amplified his fear even more, triggering the most horrific images in his imagination. Sniffling, Ho Sung picked up the doll and held it tightly against his chest.
“Hang in there, buddy. I’m sure he’ll be back soon,” he said, trying to sound hopeful. However, staring in the direction Min Sung had disappeared, Bowl continued to shake from fear.
Lost in that desolate land, a monster groaned in distress, breathing smoke out of its mouth. Complete with red, sturdy scales covering its entire body, a smoking horn jutting out of its forehead, and a pair of red wings on its back, the monster had the look of the devil himself. The monster was Heckel, the final boss of the labyrinth.
“Why is he here?! HOW?!” the monster grumbled, discombobulated. Noticing the human slaying his way through the labyrinth at a frightening rate, Heckel had approached the human cautiously in order to observe him. At which point, the monster had the misfortune of seeing the man’s face, and it was someone with whom he was well acquainted. Known as the ‘Black Slaughterer,’ the man had been at the absolute top of the food chain in the Demonic Realm and had been responsible for massacring demons of all ranks, including the ones Heckel had served under. Despite his ordinary human appearance, his powers were far beyond those of normal humans.
‘I thought he was dead?! How is he in the labyrinth?!’
While a wave of confusion washed over the monster, Heckel had sensed a human presence approaching. At which point, the monster had started to run away. Thankfully, knowing its way around the vast labyrinth was certainly working to the monster’s advantage, allowing it to escape the champion’s grasp without being seen.
‘He might be the Black Slaughterer, but he won’t last without eating. Once he’s starved long enough, I’ll strike when he’s at his weakest,’ the monster thought, flapping its massive wings and flying away. Despite its massive figure, the monster soared nimbly up to the sky.
While the champion was busy looking for the final boss of the labyrinth, an endless wave of monsters flowed out of the dungeon gate like water. Having established a defense line in the forefront of the wave, the hunters of the Central Institute faced the monsters head-on. However, vastly outnumbered, the hunters simply couldn’t kill all the monsters pouring out of the dungeon gate, particularly those monsters with quick movements, advanced intelligence and/or cloaking abilities. The more monsters that got away from the hunters, the greater the damage caused, as they attacked civilians in the street and within stores. After flipping cars upside down, the monsters brought one of the major bridges down, and the damage caused quickly became catastrophic.
Min Sung looked around irritably. Despite having searched through the entire labyrinth multiple times, the final boss was nowhere to be found. Even heightening his senses yielded no result. It was almost as though the monster was actively hiding from the champion. At that point, Min Sung decided to try a different approach.
‘There’s gotta be a way to lure the monster out,’ he thought, returning to Bowl and Ho Sung.