We were currently about 60 kilometers away from Manripo.
Walking would take at best 10 hours – not an impossible distance, but not worth doing either.
We ultimately decided to leave the car in an area that was bare of all grass and trees. Why? Because monsters could be hiding anywhere. We didn’t want to be surprised later when coming back to the car.
We decided that we wouldn’t stray any further than 1 km away from the car and started on our hunt.
We didn’t walk 50 meters when we came across a goblin. Goblins never travel alone so we started looking around for the rest of its group.
“I’ll take care of this one.”
Han Joonseok raised his stalker. For a monster that we were already prepared for, just one stalker was all that was needed to take it down.
The arrow that had flown over 50 meters, impeccably ripped into the goblin’s neck.
Sooah raised up her thumb and made a pose. Of course this was basically due to the arrow’s ability, but that’s what a hunter is – someone raised up by the ability of items and equipment and skills.
We walked up to the fallen goblin’s body and inspected it.
There was the arrow in its neck…but there was another arrow lodged in its back.
We had only shot one arrow. Then where did the other one come from?
“Who is it!”
I drew my sword and swung my head to where the sound was coming from.
A male holding a longbow came out. He had a green headband on that had a feather of the same color attached to it.
It wasn’t just any headband. It was a level 2 item that, using the mockingbird feather, camouflages the wearer with his/her’s surroundings.
This kind of item could actually be even more useful than a lot of high level items.
If you didn’t have a counter or another item, you were at their mercy. Because you wouldn’t see them coming. Of course once your location is revealed…that’s a different story.
“I had my eye on that monster first.”
“But we were first to make the killshot.”
“Well….agreed. I guess there isn’t really a point in arguing over who killed it first. In exchange, can you lend me your ear for a moment?”
He did seem a bit suspicious but I didn’t feel any evil intentions from him.
I scanned the area around us first. You couldn’t be too careful – there might be more of his crew hiding around. And they could be hiding in plain sight if they also had the mockingbird feather headband.
Luckily there weren’t too many places to hide around this area.
The shrubs were too small to hide behind.
When I confirmed there really weren’t any other people, I walked towards him.
“Are you alone?”
“Yes I am.”
“Can you wait just a moment?”
I went back to my party.
Manager Kim spoke first.
“Who the hell is this guy?”
“It seems he’s a solo hunter. He looks to be about a level 2 and I don’t think he really has any ill intentions. It just seems he has something he wants to discuss with us.”
“Is that so. It’s not a bad idea to at least listen to what he has to say.”
“He might ask to join our party too.”
Jun Sooah spoke up. That was a possibility. Especially since there weren’t any party number restrictions like there were in the dungeons.
Other than contribution distributions, there wouldn’t be any issues in adding more people to the party.
Additionally if we were short on profit, all we had to do was just hunt more monsters.
We decided to hear him out. After I invested the ores dropped from the monster into my manual, I went to the car with the archery guy.
“I’m Park Hanbum. You might have guessed but I’d like to join your party.”
He said. I already had an answer prepared for such a request.
“That would be difficult. Adding someone we cannot trust to the party is just asking to put our lives in danger.”
“Do I look like such a bad guy?”
“You can’t judge a person just from their outside appearance.”
“That’s true…such a pity. Then I’ll see you again next time.”
He didn’t seem disingenuous. I grabbed him from leaving. I had some more questions for the guy.
“Just a moment. I’d like to ask you something.”
“How did you come to this place alone. You don’t seem to have a car…”
“I have a motorcycle way back there. I hid it from sight.”
“Then why are you hunting solo?”
“Ah…my skill is hunting while hidden so it works better alone rather than with parties. Thanks to that, I was able to pull in a good amount of money the past few days – I didn’t have to share any of it with another person. But I came to a realization. If I hunt alone, I run the risk of being robbed of monsters…and maybe even my equipment or life…by other teams. Do you know just how long I waited hidden out of sight so that I can kill that goblin?”
“Two hours. And that was taken away in the blink of an eye by your team. And it’s getting worse with the influx of hunters that are coming in daily.”
“But another monster will appear if you just wait.”
“That isn’t true.”
Park Hanbum shook his head.
For a moment, I didn’t understand what he meant.
“You’re saying they don’t regenerate?”
“At least not in the places I was at.”
“That’s…a bit…odd isn’t it?”
Usually, no matter how much you killed a monster again and again…they would appear again.
That was why fortresses were usually built in rural areas to keep them away.
Laying down asphalt was also something else we did to try and keep the ever regenerating monsters away.
“There’s no record in history of something like that ever having happened…”
“Well…this is a new land. Who knows what the laws of monsters are around here.”
Han Joonseok said. I guess that would be an easy answer.
But there needed to be a reason this was happening.
First, the level 1 and 2 monsters that had disappeared with the monsters were probably transported over to this land.
So instead of this land being part of a new system, it was probably the byproduct of the old system.
But the old system had regenerating monsters.
There’s only one reason why the monsters were not regenerating here.
“Have you thought of something?”
“No….this is merely speculation but…”
But it wasn’t impossible. It was just…
“It might be that this new land is a dungeon in itself.”
“But if it’s a dungeon, then shouldn’t dead people’s items disappear?”
Han Joonseok made a good point.
“Yes. That’s why it’s all speculation. But this huge land that appeared out of nowhere. And the monsters that immediately appeared as well. If this isn’t a dungeon, there is no other explanation.”
“Hm….that’s true too.”
“Of course whether or not this is a dungeon isn’t important. The important thing is that it will be hard for us to come by another monster.”
“We need to move to a different location.”
“But team Ezekiel is pretty much blocking all roads. I tried a bunch of times but they won’t budge.”
Park Hanbum said.
“Are you thinking of traveling on foot?”
Cho Youngoo spoke up. If we did that, we would have to throw away the car. It was probably not an appealing prospect for him.
Manripo was now about 100 km to the north. It would be too much distance to cover without a car.
“We need to try and see if we can push through somewhere.”
“We’re only 8 even if we included Mr. Park Hanbum. And those guys will not stand by while we try to push through. It’s true that we’ve come this far with a bit of wrecklessness on your part, partyhead, but this is not something that will be resolved so easily.”
Han Joonseok said with a worried look on his face.
“So you’re saying they’ll fight back.”
“That’s the most likely reality.”
“What are your thoughts on taking on that risk?”
Han Joonseok scoffed at my question.
He knew what I was saying.
“….you want them to fight back.”
He said quietly.
It was a big problem if the monsters were disappearing without regenerating.
Hunters were coming in in droves.
We needed to do something to find new land and get to the dwindling number of monsters before they were all gone.
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