< Chapter 16. Finding the Master (2). >
There was a plaza in front of Bucheon city hall. It was usually used for municipal events and festivals so it was big enough that it wouldn’t feel too crowded even with 100 people in it.
But now the plaza looked so full that it seemed like not a single additional person could fit in there even though there were only around 100 people.
It was because each person in the plaza had a strong, powerful, and large aura that filled up the area.
The proof of those auras were the marks on the back of their right hands.
The awakened. The hunters who use their awakened abilities to hunt monsters.
‘How long do I have to wait?’
‘Sh*t, they said it was at 3 pm!’
Also, they were the groups who gave the Maek Clan the most monster stones from the stones they acquired from hunting.
From 1st to 7th, in order.
They were now beasts accustomed to the scent of monster blood. They had a strong aura around them.
‘It’s 6 in the afternoon.’
‘... They let us stand in the cold for three hours.’
‘The sun’s set already.’
They had been facing the harsh, blistering cold winter wind that cut their bodies like blades for hours.
It wasn’t very beasty of them. Beasts had no patience nor did they need any.
There was only one reason they were waiting in this cold weather outside of city hall.
‘There’s nothing I can do. Gotta stay till I can.’
‘I’ll die if he thinks I’m not good enough.’
Kim Taehoon. The master of the Maek Clan and the master of all in here had summoned them. That was why they were being patient.
There would be no dog that did not wait for its master.
A man appeared, not a cold wind, in front of them.
“Ah, so cold. Today’s so cold.”
It wasn’t the man who they were waiting for. Jang Sunghoon, the right arm of Kim Taehoon, appeared wearing a very thick, warm looking jacket.
Some of them clenched their teeth with Jang Sunghoon’s appearance.
No one was scared of Jang Sunghoon. There was no reason to be. He wasn’t an awakened and wasn’t very strong even for a civilian. He didn’t even carry guns like other soldiers of the clan.
“Cold everyone? Do you all need a hand warmer? It’s used though.”
But no one ever looked down on him. What he says is equivalent to what Kim Taehoon says.
“Anyway, it’s been a while seeing everyone like this. First time since negotiating after Lee Jinsung’s death. Some of you look familiar, others don’t.”
So no one was complaining but they were all staring at Jang Sunghoon.
‘They are going nuts wanting to kill me.’
The stares contained the hostility to kill Jang Sunghoon if it wasn’t for Kim Taehoon.
Jang Sunghoon smiled a bit in front of them.
‘Those are the exact eyes that I want.’
That was the reason why Jang Sunghoon showed up three hours late on purpose.
‘People lie easily when they are comfortable. This will make them speak their minds.’
Today, at this point, they will be changing Maek Clan into Maek Guild. At the same time, they will be choosing the clans that would be under the Maek Guild.
They were also planning to provide the clans with firearms, ammo, and relics.
Certainly, it was a rather dangerous decision.
Guns were very powerful weapons. If they decided to turn the guns on the Maek Guild, the damage would not be small.
They were humans, you could never trust an animal with black hair!
Despite that, they needed to provide them with guns and knives.
‘This day eventually comes.’
They couldn’t do anything if they stayed the way they were. It wouldn’t be a wise choice to keep their hands tied while they had the ability and the possibility to be a useful armed force; especially in this kill or to be killed situation.
On top of that, there were already enough threats out there.
‘Well, it would be better if there would be a person who’s powerful enough to threaten the boss.’
It would be better to have someone who would be as strong as Kim Taehoon. There would be a limit to what Kim Taehoon could do by himself.
“Then, I’ll start talking now.”
Of course, it would be stupid to give them things without reasoning. That was why he left them in the cold for three hours. He wanted to hear what they were really thinking, and not have anything sugar-coated.
No matter how high their Energy level was, their brain should have been frozen for some time in this winter blizzard.
“From today on, Maek Clan will become the Maek Guild. At the same time, Maek Guild will be taking applications for clans that would be working under us. Of course, there will be some sort of support materials from the guild to the clan.”
The cold eyes of the awakened started to change.
“The support materials will be in two big categories. One will be guns and ammo.”
All of the people’s eyes changed as soon as they heard the first support material.
‘This day did come.’
The awakened here were strong. They enhanced their abilities by consuming monster stones and created items from the monster hunts.
But their strength was not as powerful as a gun yet. A gun was that powerful of a weapon and it wasn’t a tool that was very hard to handle.
‘I could take down the orange monsters if I get the gun.’
It would not be such a hard thing to take down the orange grade monsters if they had guns.
It was one of the reasons why the people gathered here had given Maek Clan the monster stones so far without any complaints. They were waiting for this day to come and showed their loyalty to the Maek Clan.
If the clan wasn’t stupid, they wouldn’t hand over their guns to people who did not show any sense of loyalty.
“The second support will be this.”
But Jang Sunghoon’s speech isn't over yet.
When Jang Sunghoon waved at them, the soldiers of Maek Clan, no Maek Guild, brought some things out.
The things they brought were obviously and definitely relics.
Everyone’s focus was immediately on the relics.
‘They don’t look like ordinary things?’
‘If that’s a relic, it would be the biggest thing among those.’
Dae Poong Moo Ae.
Everyone was focused on Chusa Kim Jeong-hui’s writing. Some of them put their hands inside their pocket and grabbed their smartphones. They were eager to figure out the relic’s level and effect.
But Jang Sunghoon was not going to quench their curiosity.
“It was about the support so far. Of course, there will be conditions. There are actually several of them. The contracts are ready as well. It’s seven pages. You don’t know how hard it was to get the copier working… The papers and electricity are scarcer than a Rolex watch these days.”
Flap, Jang Sunghoon waved the contracts in the air.
“Before we do that, let me talk about the most important condition.”
At that moment, one man started to walk towards Jang Sunghoon.
Everyone swallowed something down their throat as the man approached. That was a clear sign of who he was to them.
With khaki pants and a jacket, and holding the Sword of the Great General in his left hand, he definitely had a different vibe than everyone else.
A beast, it was more than that. If you had to compare, the vibe he had was equivalent to the yellow-eyed devil, the black snake.
“Guns, relics. They are all dangerous things. We don’t have any guarantee that the guns and relics that we provide are not pointed at us, do we?”
Kim Taehoon soon stood in front of Jang Sunghoon and Jang Sunghoon stopped talking.
“The pass down of the hunting know-how, providing hunting areas, as well as providing items including guns and relics, along with other benefits.”
The sword showed itself from the sheath in Kim Taehoon’s left hand after he was done talking.
The sword got stuck into the ground with such a great speed that you couldn’t see it with your bare eyes.
‘He moved the swords with his telekinesis?’
‘That was super fast!’
It was like lightning from the sky had struck the ground.
“I can’t give these out for free.” Kim Taehoon said standing in front of the sword.
“The price you should pay for establishing the clan and getting the support would be your finger. I don’t care which finger it would be. Just one.”
The Sword of Great General shined as if it were smiling. The sword that gets stronger with the blood on it seemed like it was happy to get human blood after so long.
But everyone else had a chill on their back to that. Their bodies forgot about the cold winter but were still frozen from the shock.
On the other hand, Kim Taehoon and Jang Sunghoon were very calm. The things they were trying to do now was not out of evil, it was just very important to them.
The establishment of the clan and the support to them would be a double-edged blade to Maek Guild as it was explained before. There was absolutely no guarantee that the people who acquired guns would not betray the Maek Guild.
And there was no reason to give the things out for free.
‘Nothing comes for free. Ever.’
They were going to take a price, of course. But in this new world, gold and money cannot be the payment. A half bottle of gasoline has more value than a Rolex watch in this world.
The red monster stones were the same. The most valuable things people could provide was that, but the red monster stones were not as valuable compared to the relics and guns or the other support they would be getting.
He wasn’t planning to sell the relics and the guns for that cheap of a price.
Then what should he take for a price? He would be losing out if he took the price right now.
So the payment should be made later. As time goes by when people who couldn’t pay now had the ability to pay then he would take the price.
That was the key point. Would they be able to pay the price or not after some time?
‘They should be able to give up on one finger to get the guns and the bullets.’
He couldn’t give out things to people who were not determined to give up one finger to get bullets and guns that would help them in hunting more monsters.
“I will take volunteers.”
Kim Taehoon finished his speech.
Of course, most of them were hesitant. No, it was more like they were scared to do anything.
They had been standing on the cold empty ground for three hours. It wouldn’t be easy for their brains to function properly.
As Jang Sunghoon calculated, most of them were just thinking whatever their minds were telling them.
‘Are you nuts? Give up a finger?’
‘Is this some sort of Yakuza….’
‘This is absurd and crazy. I didn’t do anything wrong but I have to cut my finger off?’
No one was going to jump right into this madness. Nothing would be crazier than offering your own finger to get bullets and guns.
But not everyone was like that. There were people who were determined enough to give up their fingers as long as they get guns and bullets which were powerful enough.
Two of them raised their hands. The heads of the top two parties that offered the most monster stones, Yang Junghwan and Lee Sooyoung. They were not hesitant at all.
They started to walk towards the Sword of the Great General as if they were competing with each other. Shhhs! But when they got close to the sword, the sword went right back into Kim Taehoon’s sheath.
It was also a very fast movement.
“I will allow only two clans to establish. The two of you choose one relic each. Jang Sunghoon.”
“Get the contracts ready.”
Kim Taehoon left as soon as he was done talking and Jang Sunghoon handed Lee Sooyoung and Yang Junghwan the contracts.
The two who got the contracts did not carefully read the contracts. They signed their names on the contract right away.
Everything was done very quickly. The others were just looking at how it was done without any words.
When everything was complete, Jang Sunghoon lightly waved at the others and said his last words.
“We will see you here again soon. If I could give some advice, my boss is not looking for loyalty. Just how worthy the investment would be or wouldn’t be. How well and how many monsters can you hunt with the guns. That’s all.”
“The contracts. And this is the smartphone that has the picture of the awakened marks of the new clan members.”
Jang Sunghoon handed over the contracts and the smartphone.
Kim Taehoon did not bother to look at those. He couldn’t turn back what he has done by looking at those.
“What relics did they choose?”
“The decision was pushed since they wanted to try them first.”
“They want to choose the relics they could master, that’s it.”
“People would only want to hunt them down for their relics if they couldn’t utilize them well.”
The original plan was to find the right master for each relic. Finding the master of the relics meant that they would give the relics to the awakened who had the ability to use the relic.
But it didn’t seem necessary.
So Kim Taehoon moved to the next plan.
“Give the mission to both of the clans. Hunt one orange level monster within a week.”
“We’re giving out missions right away?”
“Do we need to give them a probation period?”
“I will let them know.”
Jang Sunghoon nodded.
Kim Taehoon threw a question at Jang Sunghoon out of nowhere.
“When would be the black snake leather armor be done?”
“Meister Park Gabsoo said he could complete the prototype by tomorrow. If you give him the okay sign he would be able to make 2 sets per day.”
The black snake leather armor. It was the most powerful defensive gear they would have so far.
As soon as they get it, they should hunt something that suits it.
“It’s about time to find new prey.”
“I will check the Daedongyeojido and make a list of possible ones.”
As he spoke, Jang Sunghoon pulled out the Daedongyeojido from the bag he usually carried and then he turned to the page that he remembered, the page that displayed the area of Bucheon.
Jang Sunghoon said with a nervous face.
“The green lights around Bucheon moved.”
< Chapter 16. Finding the Master (2).> The end.
 Korean Idiom: meaning Never trust a human.