< Witch and the Hunter (Part 1) >
Dark smoke rose from the armored vehicles and tanks, and there were dead bodies laying around all over the place.
“Hmm… It looks like our work is done here.”
Charlotte looked around the area. Everywhere she looked, there were armored vehicles and tanks. All of them were motionless.
Wargrave had established a line of defense near the Ap-rock River and the Doo-man River area. The area was the only way out of the Korean Peninsula into the continent. There were a massive amount of armored vehicles deployed to halt the advancement of the White Witch.
Officially, the White Witch was the target. But there was another target. They were stationed in order to kill the spy, lieutenant Charl. If Charlotte were to return to the headquarters behind the Central Asia Division forces, a war would start between the two forces.
Therefore, the Central Asia Division established a defense line.
They knew about lieutenant Charl, but they did not know about Charlotte De Kaltz. The forces at the defense line were decimated by her. It was not hard for Charlotte to slip past the defense line, but she chose to exterminate all the forces.
Charlotte thought that if a war was going to be inevitable, it would be better to weaken the enemy’s forces. So Charlotte went down the defense line, and destroyed all the forces of the Central Asia Division.
Charlotte was a gigaframe cyborg with some body parts replaced with megaframe parts. She frowned and started stretching as she felt something uncomfortable.
[Teraframe protocol deactivated. Total output reduced by 86.54%]
This didn’t work against the White Witch…
Charlotte had the powerful software that would boost the Gigaframe’s capability temporarily. She was able to boost output by overclocking the gigaframe operating system.
Charlotte had the software even before she received the cyborg procedure. As soon as she received the procedure, she gained power well beyond that of an ordinary executor.
She would be getting the teraframe procedure when she returned to headquarters, and she would be the only Wargrave soldier with a teraframe.
At that point, she would be placed in the front of the war against the Central Asia Division.
Charlotte was able to weaken the forces of the fortresses nearby. As soon as Charlotte accomplished her goals, she started heading north.
When Charlotte returned to Central Headquarters, bloodshed would happen in the continent. This was a fact.
I wonder how the devil hunter is doing…
Charlotte was unaware of the battle of the SMCP.
Zin was not able to carry all the items that he earned as part of the psychic reading gig. Zin took a certain amount of food with him, and sold all the items, including the fabrics, to the residents of Jule. He earned 800 chips for his hunter’s reward, an additional 100 chips as bonus, and 139 chips while working as a psychic. Zin was able to earn a total of 1039 chips at the castle of Jule!
It was a pretty good profit!
The lord of Jule had to spend a big sum of chips, but she was happy that the cave ants were exterminated, and that she had solidified her authority at Jule. She got a lot of bang for the buck.
She was extra nice to Zin and Leona. Besides washing their clothes, she gifted them leather pants and cotton clothes to them. And she specially gifted Leona a sturdy brown backpack reinforced with ghoul leather. And she even added two bars of soap in the bag! Leona was extremely excited.
Leona moved around with her new clothes. “It’s very comfortable!”
“There must have been a person with great sewing skills,” Zin observed.
All the people at Jule had great looking clothes.
Leona had received leather shorts and long pants, and was wearing the brown leather shorts, because they were easier to move around in.
She was ecstatic about gaining daily necessities, and she felt great about receiving the bars of soap. It was the first time that Leona had visited a clean village, and worn clean clothes.
But as she was walking farther away from the Jule castle, she smiled bitterly.
“It was a good experience at first, but things went south pretty quick.”
“Well… It’s your first time visiting a castle.”
A lord was a dictator who ruled a castle, and would do anything to maintain control of the castle. The lord of the Jule castle was pretty good and better than average lord.
However, Leona could not forget the scene where the lord lashed a man to death with a scary facial expression. The lord did not look happy at all, and she looked very tired in the middle. But she didn’t stop the whipping.
Young Leona couldn’t easily understand why the lord had to act in such a way, and it was quite scary.
But Leona was an odd one as well, as she didn’t think too much about the whole ordeal. Many kids were trembling in fear and covered their eyes and ears during the execution.
But Leona had watched the whole execution from the beginning to the end. And she didn’t dwell too much on it.
Leona looked at the wilderness and shook her head as if she had already forgotten about Jule. “So, did all the cave ants die?”
“It’s probably happening as we speak.”
Although Zin and Leona were not able to see, the epidemic was probably killing the ants underground.
Zin also stopped thinking about Jule. “It’s a pity I couldn’t extract the chips from the queen ant, but oh well.”
There was no point worrying about something that couldn’t be done, so Zin decided to be happy that he was able to take revenge on the cave ants.
During his stay at Jule, Zin was able to extend his lifetime by more than 1000 hours. He didn’t have to use any ammunition. It was a perfect hunt for Zin.
The weather was getting hotter, but it was not to a point where it hampered their trip.
However, it was not easy passing the mountainous area where the castle of Jule was located. The new clothes got dirty pretty quickly, and although Leona complained at first about the clothes getting dirty, she didn’t care about it after a while.
Time went by quickly as the two walked over a couple of mountains. They had to set up a camp soon because they left Jule late in the afternoon. While Zin was preparing a meal using the food obtained from Jule, Leona asked, “Why is Wargrave looking for you, mister?”
“I don’t know.”
“Charl was a nice person, but maybe Charl is a weird person? Anyways I don’t really trust the Wargrave.”
Leona was right about Wargrave. But it didn’t mean that Charl was a trustworthy person either.
I’m sure he is on his way to hunt the devil. And he probably needs my help.
Ramphil was not able to take down the White Witch using the three connected photon disruptor swords. But Zin was able to almost kill the White Witch with the power of the Phantomvein.
If Ramphil’s mission was to exterminate the Witch, he would need the knowledge of a devil hunter. But Ramphil was probably further north than Zin and Leona, and it was likely that they would not come across each other. Based on the conflict within the Wargrave organization, Ramphil was part of the Central Asia Division, and Charlotte who had hired Zin for help was part of the Central headquarters. After seeing Ramphil on the battlefield, he did not want to fight against him.
Zin had never seen someone with such great battle skills.
I don’t want to get tangled with him.
Zin did not want to ever meet him again. Ramphil was so powerful that Zin was extremely cautious. Zin had to head north to get out of the Korean peninsula, and once he got out to the continent, it would be nearly impossible for Ramphil to track Zin down.
“But if Wargrave has no intention of killing us, isn’t that a good thing?” Leona asked Zin.
“Why do you think so?”
“If he needed to hunt the Witch, he could have gotten help from the Wargrave fortresses.”
“Hmm…” Leona provided a different perspective, and Zin nodded after thinking about it.
“You may be right. If there was a tank, we could get to the Heavenly Power castle much faster…”
They were not even halfway to the Heavenly Power castle yet. It would take much longer to get to the castle as Zin would need to earn more chips to prolong his life. It was similar to how he spent extra days at the Jule castle.
Is Ramphil under the command of the Central Asia Division?
Is he searching for me to hunt the Witch?
It was unclear, but if Ramphil had good intentions, it would not be a bad idea to get help from him. Zin and Leona would be able to utilize a tank to move quicker.
If I don’t talk about the fact that I’m helping the Central Headquarters, he wouldn’t know that I’m helping out Charlotte.
Maybe it’s okay.
Zin could decide from two options. He could move up north slowly with minimal risk, or he could move up quicker with some risk. As Leona spoke, Zin thought that it was not a bad idea to collaborate with the Central Asia Division.
But if he can’t find us, we won’t be able to find him, either.
It was not going to be easy to meet each other in the vast land of the continent.
“Let’s think about it later when we meet him.”
There was no point of thinking about it until they met him.
Zin was ready to go to sleep. Although the cave ants were most likely wiped out by the epidemics, he did not want to take chances by sleeping on the ground and getting attacked by the cave ants. He stood up and created a temporary hammock using some ropes.
Leona was amazed when Zin created a hammock between the trees in a short period of time.
“You look so much cooler when you do such things. Much cooler than when you try to show off on purpose.”
“… You are really good at complimenting and criticizing at the same moment.”
“And that’s what makes me charming!” Zin shook his head as Leona mimicked how Zin joked around.
The temporary hammock was sturdy and comfortable, and Leona layed down to go to sleep.
“This is so nice. Can you make this every night?”
“Nope. It’s too annoying.” Zin did not make a hammock unless it was urgent because making a hammock were tiring. Zin fell asleep shortly, and Leona who was enjoying the new bed, fell asleep as well.
That night, Leona had a nightmare.
Leona woke up in extreme pain, she felt as if she was getting butchered.
“Ack! Ah! Hoob…”
Leona stood up from the hammock, and she started feeling nauseated as she remembered the unexplainable nightmare.
As soon as Leona fell from the hammock, she started to throw up. Zin immediately woke up and stood up as well.
“What’s wrong? Are you sick?”
Leona started to shiver after throwing up. Her eyes were ready, her mouth was open. She was not able look straight as she was still out of her mind. Zin looked at Leona, and lifted his right hand.
Leona finally woke up, and came back to her senses after the slap. She covered her cheeks and murmured, “Ow. Ow… that hurts…”
“Snap out of it.”
Leona became extremely angry, and she shouted at Zin, “How can you slap one’s cheek so hard? I almost lost my tooth!”
Zin shrugged. “You looked so out of your mind, so I got your mind back in you. You should be thanking me, but you are getting angry?”
And then Zin suddenly stopped rebuking her. Leona wiped her cheeks as she felt something and said, “Blood…”
“I think you are mistaken.”
“No, it is actually blood.” Leona was bleeding from inside her mouth because she had gashed her cheeks.