Evolution Theory of the Hunter (ETH)
Volume 1 Chapter 1
The world is an unfair place.
In the very beginning there was a collective understanding of joint ownership and joint distribution. I guess you could think of it as communism in a way, right? Everyone hunted together to support their community and they all shared the spoils. They probably never really ran into too many issues. Probably because the community acted as one family and they never really had anything like an inheritance or passing things on to just their blood.
But then they got smart. They started farming and keeping livestock, and soon food was everywhere right? Now we have a problem. This was when the concept of ownership began to emerge. You get where I’m going with this? Now the stronger ones began to monopolize things like tools, farmland, horses, cows…everything. And the rest..well..yeah.
One day, these guys in power asked themselves. Hey. Why is it that I can survive without having to work all day while those weaklings do? And that was when they realized it. Because they were just a different class. And that was how they turned into the upper class. The elite. The noblemen. Because they were just born with better blood.
After experiencing lots of ups and downs, modern civilization came to a new conclusion. All men are born equal.
Honest to God there was a time when people really believed this.
From there, capitalist societies drew a line and said this line…this line is the divisor between success and loserdom. They now needed a new special word for those special people who crossed the line of success. This was how the mythical word “effort” was born.
It was genius. People were now slaves to the word and convinced themselves anything was possible with just the right amount of effort.
Now if you were poor, it was all your fault. It was because you just didn’t put in enough effort. You loser.
‘I’m different from them. I put in all this effort and came all the way here, while those lazy people sat on their asses and ended up there.’
An era arose where people easily pointed their fingers and called others who worked over 18 hours a day lazy bums.
But then that too passed fairly quickly. Shortly a new revelation came to everyone. They realized that success was built on a foundation of failure and society could not exist without its underdog.
And so the 21st century came to pass and the 22nd century arrived.
What do you think it’s like now? You think things improved even more?
Unfortunately, the world never really truly changes.
That’s why I’m stuck here in this situation.
“You. Clean all of this up and come out.”
I picked up all the odds and ends haphazardly dumped into the dungeon and put it into a bag. The party of 5 had left the area while killing a bunch of monsters, and I was over here picking up all the items they dropped.
These “Sirs” (ha!) dressed in their fancy shmancy armor with their expensive swords never waste their time in picking up these odds and ends – saying it would interfere with their hunt. It doesn’t happen often, really, but once in a while they’ll drop something valuable. But if that happens, someone in the party will make sure to pick it up.
They’re basically looking at me as if I’m a thief.
I put on the backpack weighing over 200 kg and stood up. If I didn’t do my daily training of squats, I probably would have thrown out my back before even getting halfway up.
Let me give you some advice. Squats are a good stamina exercise.
“Damn this weasel is slow as hell. What are we going to do with a porter this slow!”
“Yes sir. I’m coming~”
I nudged the heavy backpack into a more comfortable position and shuffled on a bit faster.
“Thank you sir.”
I bowed deeply. Very deeply. The party head who was probably about 5 years younger than me handed me an envelope with a look on his face that said he didn’t want to give me any of it. There were about 100 dollars in there. This was half the usual pay. I was barely able to hold my composure.
“If you keep doing a crappy job like you did today, I’ll never call on you again.”
“I’m sorry sir.”
I bowed my head again. This jerk was the youngest son of a famous construction company owner. He’s only a hunter for fun but, using his father’s money for some expensive equipment and some skillbooks, he was able to become a level 3 hunter.
If you were a level 3 hunter, you were still in the top 5 percent. If I were to guess how much it cost him to get there, I’d say it was probably about 2 million dollars. To think that he used that kind of money to get to a level 2 dungeon. It seems like such an inefficient way to invest such an amount, but it really isn’t. Honestly, to be able to kill monsters way bigger than yourself. A person who has never experienced that feeling would never truly understand.
For this reason, a lot of the wealthy frequent dungeons. And in these dungeons, there is always a need for people to follow them around. And those people are bagboys – the official term is a porter.
Yeah yeah. I’m one of those porters.
Porters follow around those rich and spoiled kids who call themselves hunters so they can hunt as safely as possible while we can pick up their dropped items and loot for them. They hate picking up dropped items so that job falls under my description. Our job doesn’t end there. We also have to compliment them and hype up their kill when they are successful in hunting a monster. (What are we, seven?) But I can’t be too annoyed because how much we get paid depends on their mood. So if I can get paid more, I’ll compliment their kill all day. If you’re lucky, you might even get paid a tip of several hundred times your normal amount.
But, of course, today was not that day. 100 dollars. Treating me like some kind of a beggar.
The party head must have noticed something in my expression because he suddenly made a frown.
“You have a problem?”
“Then don’t make that face. It might start to really upset me. Understand?”
The jerk nudged my shoulder as he started to laugh. Not wanting to let anything slip again, I looked down. This much I can handle.
I’m currently renting a room in a 3 story red bricked private home. I’ll be 26 this year. I did graduate from college but in this recession, there was no way for me to find employment so I ended up going from being a porter part time to doing it full time. I hope you don’t look down on me just because I’m a porter though. If you want to stay alive in a dungeon, you still need to have at least some degree of skill.
In that sense, I’m quite capable I guess. It’s pretty rare to find someone who can porter at a level 2 dungeon at my age. A porter’s most important skill is survival skills. Because in a dungeon, there is no one there to save a porter’s life.
My cell phone rang. I took it out of my pocket. It’s an older model with a cheap LCD screen. Those guys with money have the new smartphones with the touch panel. Not me though. I only need my phone to be able to make/take calls and send/receive messages. Nothing fancy. It was a good broker buddy of mine. Song Minhan. In his mid thirties, he has over 10 years of experience as a broker, and we’ve worked together for a good number of years since he always seems to find me good porter jobs. If you were to do any sort of freelancing, a good broker is a must have.
“Yes. It is I, your ever vigilant pretty boy porter, Jeon Sangmin!”
“Can you please change the way you answer your phone?”
“The ladies love it though.”
“Yeah right. I need a porter quickly. Do you have time?”
“Just one moment while I check my schedule.”
“Stop being funny. I know you don’t have that much work these days.”
“I just did one today.”
“Great. You’re warmed up then right? Come to Ansan by 3.”
“Ansan? There’s only level 1 dungeons in that area.”
“Don’t worry. The pay ain’t bad. This time, Severance Hospital owner’s son is going into a dungeon for the first time. They said they needed a skilled porter so I recommended you. Shake a leg and get over here will ya?”
“Your fee is 200. Tip is separate.”
“What. Not bad for a level 1 fee. How much are you taking?”
100 was the normal fee for level 1 portering. Level 2 portering was usually 200 but there were a lot of times the fee was docked as was the case today.
“I take exactly how much I’m supposed to so don’t worry your pretty little head alright? How many years do you think I’ve been doing this to play around with money like that?”
“I was just asking. Just wondering if sitting around and making money might be worth doing.”
“I take 100. Feel better?”
“What. Thief. Someone gets to sit around and make that much while others risk their lives for just 200.”
“Someone eavesdropping would think that you were going into level 10 dungeons or something. Are you coming or not?”
“I’m coming. You said 3 right?”
“Yeah. And don’t come at 3 am like you did last time.”
“Yes, yes sir Song Minhan. I am the sowee.”
Jeez how much longer is he going to bring that up. I mean I only did that once.
I quickly checked the time. It was three, so two hours to get to Ansan was doable. I hurried over to the closest train station.
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