Chapter 1. Prologue
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On the morning of the exam.
When he got ready, he found Lee Ji-ah standing in front of the store. Lee Ji-ah greeted Do-joon, who was looking at her curiously.
“I’m here to pick you up.”
“The test site is in Gangwon-do?”
“I know it well.”
Today’s test will be held not in Seoul, but deep in the mountains of Gangwon-do. Assuming it’s really that far, it should take no more than three hours… … …
“This is what a person in charge does. Like a manager. Hurry up and get in.”
Do-joon was a little confused but he got into the passenger seat.
The car made a low roar and took off. When Do-joon smelled the slightly nauseating odor characteristic of automobiles, he fastened his safety belt.
“How are you feeling?”
“Do-joon, I don’t think you’ll have any problems in passing the test. It was amazing to see you kill those goblin riders back then.”
In fact, it wasn’t that great, it was brutal, but Lee Ji-ah said nothing to that extent.
Do-joon answered while scratching his cheek.
“I’m sure you’ll pass. The problem is potential rating.”
Potential rating evaluation.
In general, Hunters start at F level, no matter how good their skills are. It is a common structure to start with F-level and increase the fit rate through hunting, while simultaneously improving and upgrading their skill performance.
However, this does not mean that there are no advantages based on skill performance.
On evaluating how powerful a candidate’s skills are and how good he or she is, prediction and evaluation is done to what class he or she can grow in the future.
That was the potential rating.
“Is the potential rating really that important?”
Do-joon asked, glancing at the traffic light that had just turned red.
Potential ratings were not absolute. Depending on the individual’s efforts, he could rise higher than the potential rating he received the first time, or he could never even reach a rating that he got.
Moreover, Do-joon was in a special situation compared to other hunters. The more variables there were, the more he remained aloof about his potential rating.
However, Lee Ji-ah, who did not know this, was different.
“Of course. First impressions are always the most important thing in anything, right? Guilds are very sensitive about that.”
Do-joon, who had no particular interest in guilds, was still skeptical.
After that, a small chat followed.
Just over two and a half hours later, the two arrived at their destination.
<National Beast Research Institute>
As the name suggests, this is a research facility developed to study magical beasts and monsters of all kinds. Typically, only researchers and employees have access to this place, but twice a year, some sections are opened for hunter exams.
In the north, a forest was formed along the mountain, and in the south, various buildings, including the headquarters building, were located.
Do-joon and Lee Ji-ah arrived in front of the Hunter Test headquarters building. The place was already crowded.
“I’m sure you’ll pass.”
“Don’t be nervous, just do what you normally do.”
“Son, you didn’t leave anything behind, did you?”
Candidates raised by private training centers, academies, or guilds. The seniors cheered for applicants, those of which had nervous expressions.
In addition, many others appeared, even family members. All of these families seemed very worried.
While others were comforting themselves that passing this test will turn their lives around. Their families were nervous about whether they would get hurt in this dangerous test.
Some were hopeful, some were worried.
Either way, it was a human scene.
Do-joon is a self-taught man, so there were no colleagues to learn from, no seniors to encourage him, and no family to worry about since he only had a daughter in a hospital room.
While he was inadvertently smiling bitterly.
Lee Ji-ah tapped him on the shoulder and handed him something. When he received it, it was a small candy that read, “Good luck.”
Do-joon smiled at the cute candy.
“You said I’ll pass.”
“Still, with this you’ll feel better.”
With her usual blunt expression, she gave Do-joon candy, placing it into his hand.
“Then I’ll be waiting for you at the cafe in front of you.”
Leaving with such a remark, she turned around and left.
Do-joon peeled the candy wrapper, tossed it in his mouth, and headed inside the headquarters building.
The building was full of rooms and devices that he had never seen before, he wondered what kind of research they were usually used for.
Following the arrows on the floor and walls, he made it to the first test site.
The first test was conducted in a place similar to a large auditorium, simply to verify that the candidates were capable or not.
When he arrived at the auditorium, he sat down in a suitable place and waited.
“From now on, we will begin the ability test. When your number is called, you can come out and demonstrate.”
There were three large machines placed in the auditorium. One staff member in front of each of them. Probably to verify results.
The machine analyzes power output and characteristics of a skill by reading its mana. The measurement was quickly carried out, it wasn’t a time-consuming test.
In the midst of all that.
Everyone in the auditorium turned to face a brazen young man.
His appearance was ordinary. He looked like he was in his early to mid 20s, there was nothing special about him except for his large figure, and his face was neither handsome nor ugly, to put it bluntly.
In his hand was a spear of light, 2 meters long.
<Estimate Fit Rate> 20~24%
<Attributes> Light, Implementation
People began to murmur at the result that appeared on the screen. What became particularly noisy was where the managers of guilds gathered.
“Is that man, him?”
“Yes. It’s the man who happened to awaken while working as a porter.”
“It’s been a long time since we had that level of output actually… … . But why is his fit rate so high?”
“They say that he went into the dungeon as a porter and did some hunting.”
“Isn’t that more than just a little bit?”
Originally, it was a principle to get a Hunter license and then start killing beasts and monsters, but in this case, there would be some exceptions.
Porters and collectors are allowed to enter dungeons even without a Hunter license, so there are many cases where they used it to raise the fit rate in advance.
In fact, rather than being the exception, many people have used such methods to increase their fit rate in advance. It’s to the extent that dungeon experiences are part of the formal curriculum at various schools and academies.
But even then, it’s rare that they would reach more than 20 %.
“Are you done?”
“Yes? Oh, yes. It’s confirmed. You may go now.”
The young man snorted and returned to his seat. In a way, he seemed confident and, at the same time, somewhat arrogant.
The attention poured on him. Managers were mostly staring with greedy eyes, and the same applicants glanced at him with jealousy.
While this was happening, all Do-joon thought was.
‘When will it be my turn?’
He didn’t think of anything else.
It was the same when Lee Ji-ah talked about it, but now that he had seen his skills in person, he had no interest. Perhaps it’s because what he’s been through so far was several times more shocking.
“Number 58, please come on out.”
After waiting for a while, it was Do-joon’s turn. The employee read the chart he was holding.
‘The skill is the ability to strengthen the body, and age is…35 years old? This isn’t some kind of civil service exam, what’s going on at this age… … .’
The employee shook his head inwardly.
Hunter is a profession where physical ability is paramount. It is true that the Yggdrasil system has transcended them beyond those of ordinary people, but that system does not prevent aging.
It is often said that the heyday of Hunters is around the age of 40.
If you are 35 years old, you will be going downhill after 5 years. It takes at least two to three years to join a guild as a newbie and become a full-fledged member, so the amount of time you can actually be active is even shorter.
In fact, most of the applicants here were in their teens and 20s. Even the big young man mentioned earlier was in his early 20s.
“An uncle, what?”
“At that age, when are you going to get a license and be active…….”
“Continue the work that you were doing.”
Some of the applicants whispered. Other applicants didn’t seem interested at all, nor did managers.
The researcher conducted the inspection. He put several electrode patches on Do-joon’s body and operated the machine.
“Try your skill.”
Do-joon put his will into the mana core in his heart. Then the cold mana began to stir and flow through his body.
Soon, a cold aura appeared around Do-joon’s body.
The staff who read the text floating on the machine opened his eyes wide in surprise.