Hunter Academy’s Battle God
[Translator – Bob ]
[Proofreader – ilafy ]
Japan, the Kanto region…
The country's greatest academy was situated in a national park in the Tochigi prefecture, a location known for its beauty.
Meaning peak or summit, Choten Academy was the greatest school in the country, sweeping various competitions held all around Japan.
And among its first-year groups, the strongest was the Hunter Club. A peculiar group named for hunters in a school where every single student was one.
In Choten, only nine students were a part of said club. Thus, its members were the elite among the elite in Japan.
All three members of Seiji's party were said elites in the Hunter Club.
They were a group that had never tasted defeat before. However, during the competition in Korea, they had been pushed down to third place, beaten out by Adela, who had participated on her own.
"That guy, Shin YuSung! He's really incredible, you know! To defeat that Adela with an F-rank Trait!"
Seiji, the party leader, laughed boisterously while reading the article.
Sakura, who was sitting on top of a desk, smiled while waving her legs back and forth. "Hmm, that so? I never got a chance to see his skills, but his face was something else. Totally my type!"
Isshin creased his forehead as she followed up that statement with playful laughter.
"…Take this seriously, Sakura."
In response, she made a thumbs-down motion behind Isshin's back.
"I saw that."
Sakura sneakily lowered her hand at his retort.
"But we can take this chance to see his skills. Isn't that a good thing? Since we can see the competition up close if we do the raid together," she said in a sincere tone.
Then, as if telling Isshin to listen to her, she added: "Don't misunderstand me, I wasn't talking about his look~ I was talking about his skills, okay~?"
"…Don't say anything unnecessary," was the temperamental Isshin's response.
Seiji laughed, trying to mediate between the two.
"It's true, this is a great opportunity we can take to prepare for the International Competition. And it's the same for them, too!"
Hearing that, Sakura tossed her hair behind her. The strands of her hair trailing behind her hand in the air looked like the floating petals of a cherry blossom flower.
"You're no fun. Anyways, who's the other party member coming with him?"
Seiji immediately opened his mouth to respond to her question. "Um, according to the rumors, I heard that the person who's the third in student rankings is a part of Shin YuSung's party."
"Hmm, so it's the third place who's coming, as expected." Sakura grimaced. "But isn't she a girl? Ugh~ too bad~ they're totally gonna be all lovey-dovey together."
Isshin slowly rose from his spot.
"…It doesn't matter who they are, as long as they're strong enough for me to entrust my back to," he declared, putting his airs up.
Sakura, still behind him, copied what he said.
'It doesn't mattew~ who dey aw~'
A fit of laughter escaped from Seiji’s mouth at her exaggerated imitation.
Isshin placed his hand on his side as if reaching for a sword that wasn't there.
"I already told you I can see what you're doing, didn't I?"
Once again, Sakura backed away and pretended to not do anything. The two frequently antagonized each other as if they were trying to eat the other up.
The one who managed to find a balance between the two was the party leader, Seiji.
"Okay, then! Let's go and greet our guests now, shall we?"
He patted both of their backs and grinned brightly.
* * * *
Tochigi prefecture, Japan…
YuSung and Sumire had exited the portal. Sumire’s mood had noticeably heightened as she stepped back onto Japanese soil
"Shin YuSung-ssi! Th-this! This Dango is really delicious!"
What she held in her hand were rice cakes on a skewer, called Dango. She was carrying a bunch of Dango in both hands, all slathered in various sauces, in order to let YuSung taste all of the flavors.
"This is soy sauce! This is miso! And this is honey!"
TL/N: Miso is a savory soybean paste.
YuSung tasted each skewer, one by one, as they walked towards their destination.
'…They toasted the rice cake? Genius.'
Even random snack foods like those touched him deeply. Uplifted by his reaction, Sumire went here and there, bringing back more food with her every time.
"H-here! There's also takoyaki!"
TL/N: Takoyaki is fried dough balls that's mixed with various ingredients, with octopus inside the ball.
"Th-these are… chick-shaped Manju! I-I bet you won't even be able to eat these because of how cute they are!"
TL/N: Manju are buns that are usually filled with anko, or red bean paste.
"There's a ramen shop over there!"
YuSung, who had a bottomless pit in his stomach despite his lean figure, and Sumire, who kept suggesting him different foods. They were quite the sight.
Their delightful walk eventually reached its end as they arrived at the national park.
The two sat down on a wooden bench and began speaking with each other.
“I… I think I got too excited. I can’t… eat anymore.”
YuSung was holding a chocolate-covered banana in his hand. “That was fun.”
Sumire grinned bashfully at that, obviously in a good mood. It was the sort of smile she would never have made before meeting him.
“…I was really w-worried before I came here, but… It must have been nothing.”
Sumire wiggled her fingers in response to his question, deep in thought.
But she didn’t clarify. Sumire didn’t know why exactly, but she wanted to hide the weak-willed and wicked part of herself from him for as long as she possibly could.
“A-a lot of things!” she answered, forcing a smile on her face.
Japan was where she had grown up and where her family currently was, but the thought of it made Sumire recall a plethora of bad memories.
‘I… ran away from Japan.’
[Because of you, our teacher…!]
[Shit! I can’t believe I’m in the hospital because of an idiot like you!]
[Just… what the hell was Isshin thinking with a girl like that…]
The bullying from her classmates felt like a given, the more she thought about it. The reason the incident happened in the first place was that she went berserk. All she could feel was apologetic for the damage she had caused.
She felt that things would be different after meeting YuSung. Still, Sumire held the overwhelming burden of her past deeds in the corner of her heart.
‘Is it alright for someone like me… to be happy?’
YuSung could find a good party member, someone who wasn’t her. Someone as strong and virtuous as him had the right to do so.
‘Do I… even have the right to be here?’
The more she chased her thoughts around, the lower her mood sank. Those questions, long familiar to Sumire, began cutting her self-confidence down.
“Sumire?” YuSung called, sitting right next to her.
“Yes?!” She was shaken up from her musings being interrupted so suddenly.
“It’s time to go to Choten.”
Sumire tightly pressed her lips together at the mention of the Academy. Choten, where Japan’s representatives would be waiting. It was time for her to face the past that she had run away from.
* * *
Translator - Bob
Proofreader - ilafy
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* * *
A hospital room in Metro Hospital…
JunHyuk was laying in bed, waiting for his last batch of treatments. EunAh, right next to him, told him about all of the things that had happened in the past two years.
“And we did the intramurals in the Shinsung water park. Oh, yeah, you didn’t forget the place, right? You remember? We went there together before.”
“Course I do.” He nodded, smiling.
A deadpan expression on her face, EunAh gave her brother a look.
“You know, you’re making me depressed all~ over again.”
EunAh’s look turned into a glare. “Is that the face of someone who’s actually sorry?”
“Anyways, EunAh.” JunHyuk scratched his head, abruptly changing the conversation. “I wanted to ask you since I’m really curious, but…”
“What.” Her lips were pursed.
JunHyuk continued, an air of awkwardness around him. “I heard you joined a party?”
“Huh? How did you hear about that?”
EunAh had been surreptitiously avoiding any stories regarding her party up to that point. JunHyuk, however, had already heard about it from someone else.
“Haha, from Lee SuHyun-ssi…”
“…Just how much did you hear?”
“Up to the part where your party leader saved my life?”
‘Fair enough, that’s pretty important stuff.’
And just when she was about to brush the whole thing aside, JunHyuk opened his mouth to add:
“She also told me that you guys slept in a tent overnight together?”
EunAh’s face reddened. “That means you heard everything! God! A-and, for the record, there was another girl there! Why do you guys keep leaving her out?!”
JunHyuk burst out laughing as he watched his sister work herself up.
Eventually, he managed to calm down, settling on a lazy smile.
“…Still, I’m really thankful to him. I can’t believe he fought against Rebellion when he was just a student.”
“Well… it’s why I joined his party. I gotta repay my debts, right? ‘Course, I’ll only be in it until the end of the International Competition…”
EunAh laid the top half of her body on the hospital bed. JunHyuk reached out and patted her on the head, a grin on his face.
‘…We really are family, huh.’
He and his sister were incredibly alike. They both had strong egos that hid fragile hearts. Even the fact that they were awful at opening themselves up first was similar.
“So, uh, EunAh?”
“I want to personally thank the person who I owe my life, but…”
As the older brother, JunHyuk thought that it was his turn to open himself up in his little sister’s stead.
“Where is he…? Your party leader, Shin YuSung?”
“Japan.” EunAh curtly replied.
“…Japan?” He was shocked at how far the distance was between him and YuSung.
“Yeah. Not a place a guy who’s been hospitalized should be going, so calm the hell down and rest. Got it?”
JunHyuk could only smile awkwardly at the violent glare she aimed at him.
Two years… a completely blank period for him, during which he couldn’t meet with his sister. But now that they were face-to-face, he could see that she had grown immeasurably strong in many ways.
* * * *
At Choten Academy’s entrance…
The three members of the Hunter Club were sitting on stone benches, placed to give a great view of the natural scenery while waiting for YuSung.
Seiji checked his Pocket. “It’s almost time.”
Sakura immediately leapt up from her seat. “Isshin,” she began, “don’t speak in Japanese like last time. It’s impolite, especially since your Korean’s pretty good, anyways.”
Isshin clicked his tongue, not a fan of her nor her suggestion.
Language barriers were a thing of the past, thanks to the existence of Pockets. However, back in the day, before Pockets existed, humans needed an [official language] for ease of communication with each other.
The process to choose said official language was simple. That is, whichever language belonged to the country that had the most influence over the Tower. Thanks to that process, the country that was chosen was Korea, which had discovered much of the technology and techniques used in Pockets.
Because South Korea itself had so many gates and dungeons, it could pump out hunters of larger quantity and higher quality, letting them dominate the conquest of the Tower.
The calamitous Outbreak that all people considered misfortune of the highest caliber had, ironically, heightened the strength of the nation in the international sphere.
In the current age, there were plenty of hunters from different countries who were also conquering the Tower. But by that point, the Korean language had already firmly cemented itself as the official language on the planet.
Seiji smiled. “Yeah, there’s no point in needlessly provoking them when your Korean is perfectly fine. We’re going to raid a dungeon as a party from now on, after all.”
As he said that, they could see a figure walking towards them in the distance.
It was none other than YuSung, wearing the Gaon Academy uniform.
Sakura, who had been grinning ear to ear, saw the person next to YuSung. She immediately turned shocked.
Now that she thought about it, there were three members from Gaon during the dungeon raid competition. The students from Choten, however, had only remembered YuSung and Adela.
“Gaon’s last party member is…”
Even their leader, Seiji, was bemused. He chanced a glance towards Isshin.
Their surprise was to be expected. To think that the other party member was Japanese… and such a familiar face, to boot.
Isshin’s murmuring drew Sakura and Seiji’s eyes to him like magnets. The boy in question stood up, a grim look on his face.
Sumire, who looked as if she had been anticipating this all along, had kept her mouth shut tight this entire time.
She finally opened it to speak, but her words faded out.
Isshin slammed his hand against the wall loud enough to make a sound. With eyes full of contempt, he glared down at Sumire.
“Why are you…?”
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