Chapter 9. Where do I belong?

 

 


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Translator: Hiro02

Editor: Taochaidee

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The next day.

 

Do-joon opened his eyes like a knife at the time he always woke up. He spent almost a week in tension and fatigue, but his habit of doing business every day didn’t go anywhere.

 

Originally, he would have gotten up right away, cleaned and opened the store.

 

‘Let’s take a rest today.’

 

No, not today, but for the time being, the store seemed to have closed altogether. Since, there were so many things going on.

 

It had been three hours since Do-joon, who closed his eyes and went back to sleep again, woke up.

 

* * *

 

After 10 o’clock, he had a late breakfast and left the store. First, he had to stop by the association. He had to check if he was really declared as a dungeon refugee or not, and if he was, then he had to cancel it.

 

Andhe had to get his cell phone from there.

 

“Welcome. How can I help you?”

 

Upon entering the association building, a smiling employee greeted him. Do-joon said.

 

“Is Lee Ji-ah there? She’s my employee…….”

 

“Please wait.”

 

The employee headed inside, maintaining a commercial smile.

 

After a while, Lee Ji-ah came out with a cold, and somewhat dark expression as usual but when she saw Do-joon’s face. She hardened on the spot.

 

“Long time no see. My cell phone….”

 

“Do-joon!”

 

The voice was so loud that everyone in the building turned towards them.

 

All the employees were shocked to find out that it was Lee Ji-ah who made the sound. How could she, who always spoke in a low-pitched tone, speak so loudly?

 

Naturally, their eyes turned to Do-joon, the reason that made Lee Ji-ah sound like that.

 

However, the two did not even pay attention to the eyes of the people around them. Lee Ji-ah was out of her right mind, and Do-joon was not very conscious of other people in the first place.

 

“How… … No, that… … You’re really Do-jun… … ?”

 

It was as if she had witnessed a ghost.

 

“Really, it’s me.”

 

Dojun replied with a bitter smile. This kind of reaction was expected. There were more collectors and hunters going missing from dungeons every year than expected.

 

And, it was very rare for them to come back alive.

 

“I thought you were dead, Do-joon…….”

 

“What do you mean died? I became a dungeon refugee.”

 

“That’s what it is……. There are only a handful of dungeon refugees who manage to return safely.”

 

“There’s one more case today.”

 

“Ha…”

 

Lee Ji-ah made a frustrating sound at Do-joon’s insignificant speech like usual. It was real. Do-joon was back.

 

Only then did Lee Ji-ah begin to observe her surroundings and realize the disturbance around her. Staff and guests, looking at them, chattering.

 

She was more conscious of others than Do-joon. She pulled Do-joon with a slightly red face.

 

“……Dojun, this way.”

 

“What?”

 

“You’re here for administrative purposes, aren’t you?”

 

“Yeah, I’m going for that and my cell phone back.”

 

* * *

 

The place where the two entered was a well-decorated drawing room. Lee Ji-ah quickly brought Do-joon’s cell phone and went outside again, with the words to wait for a moment.

 

Has it been 30 minutes? She came back with a man. It was a man with a rather disheveled suit and frizzy hair.

 

He reached out to Do-joon first.

 

“Hello. I’m Park Han-soo, the team leader of the support team.”

 

“I’m Kim Do-joon.”

 

Park Han-soo held an outstretched hand and they shook hands. Park Han-soo briefly flinched at the polite yet firm force he felt in his grasp.

 

‘I was sure he was a collector.’

 

However, the feeling he felt in his hands was similar to that of active hunters.

 

“Mr. Park Han-soo?”

 

“Yes? Oh, yeah. I’m so glad you’re alright.”

 

When Do-joon called, Park Han-soo came to his senses, and coughed embarrassingly. Then he handed him some papers.

 

“This is a list of compensations you will receive for this event. Originally, it was supposed to be paid to the family.….”

 

A dungeon is a place where you don’t know what will happen. So the association had several compensation policies for hunters and gatherers entering the dungeon.

 

Do-joon received the document and read it. Various tables, numbers, and related laws were written, and the last page had a large amount of money written on it. Zeros were one, two, three, four……. barely over seven.

 

It was a small price to pay for one’s life, but he couldn’t help it because he was a gatherer. The gatherers were less supported than hunters who were forced to be called up in emergencies.

 

‘Still, I won’t be worried for a while.’

 

The store could be closed for a while, so it was fortunate that they gave the money.

 

“Jia stayed up all night and handled it. She had to even put calls directly to the upper level.”

 

“Is that so?”

 

He looked at Lee Ji-ah standing behind the team leader. As he heard it, he noticed the dark circles that had settled down in her eyes.

 

“Thank you, Jia.”

 

“…… It’s just because of your family.”

 

She was coy, but Do-joon was more grateful for the answer. The answer was that he thought of his daughter more than himself.

 

After a short greeting, Park Han-soo brought up the next topic.

 

“Here’s the identity recovery process, as Do-joon is currently classified as a dungeon refugee. You’ll need to go through a simple identification process to restore your identity.”

 

“Confirming myself?”

 

“It’s like a fingerprint or a blood test. DNA testing is also included.”

 

It was a prescribed procedure since there was a possibility  it could be someone else. He explained Do-joon’s list of necessary tests, schedules and locations he needed.

 

Do-joon listened intently. It didn’t seem to be much of a fuss.

 

Before he knew it, Lee Ji-ah brought two cups of tea.

 

By the time he drank it all, the whole explanation was over.

 

“…… That’s it.”

 

Slurp.

 

Do-joon took the last sip of tea and put down the glass. The sound of a teacup echoed in the quiet parlor.

 

“May I ask you a question?”

 

“Yes, you can ask me anything.”

 

“Which guild are those hunters from, who came out hunting that day?”

 

Park Han-soo’s eyes widened.

 

Why was he asking? Feeling a little uneasy, he hesitated.

 

“Ah, that… … .”

 

Park Han-soo recalled the memory of that day. The memory of Karma’s lawyer condescending order to shut them up.

 

Was he thinking of going to the guild and arguing?

 

But it didn’t sound like a very good idea. Of course, they would have taken it off because it was just a mistake, and the media would have already blocked the news.

 

‘Well, it’s not like I can hide it just because I’m keeping my mouth shut…….’

 

Anyway, if he does a little research, he could find out everything. At that thought, Park Han-soo opened his mouth.

 

“That’s….”

 

Park Han-soo told Do-joon all about meeting Karma’s lawyer that day. However, except for the lawyer’s attitude or threats, he only elaborated on the part where he said that he could not give compensation.

 

“I see.”

 

Do-joon nodded his head.

 

Park Han-soo talked only about office-related content as much as possible, but Do-joon drew a picture of what kind of situation he would have been in. Although he was not a hunter, he had six years experience in dungeons.

 

Park Han-soo carefully examined Do-joon’s expression. He has been dealt with many hunters and was proud to have developed a good eye for people.

 

However, Do-joon’s expression was calm. There was no indication of a person having a bad feeling towards someone.

 

“Then, I’ll be going now.”

 

“Yes? Oh, yeah.”

 

“Oh, I’ll walk you.”

 

Park Han-soo stared blankly at Do-joon, who turned around, and Lee Ji-ah, who was chasing after him. He let out a long sigh. Suddenly, he felt a sense of unease.

 

Maybe I shouldn’t have said that?

 

‘Ah, please. He’s not a hunter, he’s a collector. What’s the big deal?’

 

Soon he shook off his worries and returned to his seat.

 

* * *

 

‘Karmaa…’

 

Do-joon also had ears to listen to and eyes to see. He knew a lot of rumors about the major guilds.

 

‘I heard that they have been aggressively increasing their power lately.’

 

There are four most famous guilds in Korea, called the Four Great Guilds, and Karma was the fifth guild located just below them.

 

He heard that this time, they were determined and pulled out their swords. There was a riot about beating 4th place and becoming one of the top 4 guilds.

 

Well, that was not the point.

 

Karma’s response to his disappearance was a problem.

 

‘I didn’t expect any compensation, but… … . With that attitude, anyone would have kept their mouth shut.’

 

The association may have already heard what they said. They may come across each other someday. Everyone tried their best to keep their mouth shut, but now that the person was back.

 

He had no intention to make a big deal out of this, and he didn’t think they would believe him if he said that.

 

‘I need to remember it.’

 

Do-joon placed the name Karma in the corner of his head.

 

“…… I’m glad you’re safe.”

 

Leaving the association building, Lee Ji-ah talked to him.

 

“Were you worried?”

 

“Yes.”

 

It was a short answer as usual. Do-joon shrugged his shoulders and changed the topic.

 

“I have something to tell you.”

 

Lee Ji-ah thought in her serious tone. The day has come.

 

Maybe he’ll bring it up that he won’t go to the dungeon anymore? He entered the dungeon and went missing, and so he must have been traumatized. There was nothing strange about it.

 

‘Maybe it’s a good thing.’

 

Entering a dungeon, to say the least, was to risk one’s life. It may not be suitable for him who has a daughter to protect.

 

The tail of her eyes drooped unknowingly. However, she didn’t show any noticeable change because she didn’t change her expression much.

 

Then Do-joon opened his mouth to her.

 

“The next Hunter exam schedule is…….”

 

Suddenly.

 

Creak. Creak.

 

The ground began to vibrate violently.

 

The untimely earthquake shook asphalt and buildings. Everyone in the neighborhood began to evacuate relatively calmly, even though they were panicked.

 

“Hey, hey, let’s run away!”

 

“Is it an earthquake?”

 

“I don’t know. Isn’t that a dungeon?”

 

“Shut up and run!”

 

Do-joon and Ji-ah faced each other with stiff faces.

 

The two of them knew for sure. This was not a natural earthquake. That’s…….

 

Crack! Craaash!

 

It was a vibration when the roots of the World Tree grew up.

 

“Fuck! It’s a dungeon!”

 

“So just for now, I say!”

 

The evacuation drill was usually intense, so there was no panic. But it was true that it was a tumult in a flash.

 

Looking at the roots that had broken through the asphalt not far away, Lee Ji-ah said.

 

“Do-joon, let’s run away quickly.”

 

But

 

Do-joon didn’t move.

 

“Mr. Do-joon?”

 

As if to ask why he was not moving, she called hurriedly. But Do-joon’s eyes were locked on the roots of the world tree.

 

“Kika-ga-ga-gak! Guka!”

 

He hadn’t even tried to escape from the monster that popped out there.

 

[Goblin Rider]

 

Fit Rate

– 17%

 

A monster protruding from the roots. A green dwarf riding a raptor-like beast without a saddle.

 

The Fit rate was displayed above his head.

 

After checking the monster’s fit rate, Do-joon took out the Kujika axe from his inventory.

 

“…… Mr. Do-joon? Don’t tell me you’re going to fight?”

 

He just held the axe without answering back.

 

Did he sense hostility? Goblin Rider suddenly looked at him. And when he saw Do-joon holding a weapon, it started to go berserk.

 

“Kakagukka! Kakaku!”

 

He started rushing with his dirty tongue hanging out. The raptor he was riding ran at great speed in an instant. Lee Ji-ah’s face went blue after seeing it.

 

“Mr. Do-joon! Ahn……!”

 

Instantly.

 

Do-joon took a step back, covering Lee Ji-ah from his back.

 

The Goblin Rider and the Raptor were about to pass by just in time. Do-joon grabbed Raptor’s head with a vicious hand. He was wearing the gauntlet on his left hand as he took a hold on it.

 

Then he raised the axe in his right hand high.

 

Thwack!

 

He slashed the raptor’s neck.

 

The head was ripped off by one blow, and the Raptor’s body, which had lost control, slid into the asphalt with inertia. The Goblin Rider on top bounced off in a ridiculous way.

 

And Raptor’s head, dangling in Do-joon’s left hand.

 

Blood flowing from the severed neck. Do-joon threw the head and called Lee Ji-ah.

 

“Miss Jia.”

 

“Yes, yes?”

 

Lee Ji-ah, who could not accept the situation in front of her, replied in an unusually flustered voice.

 

And Do-joon.

 

“What’s the schedule for the next Hunter exam?”

 

As if something hadn’t happened, he just calmly continued the conversation that had been cut off earlier.