Hunter Academy’s Battle God
[Translator – Bob ]
[Proofreader – ilafy ]
A refreshing morning…
Sumire rubbed her eyes with the back of her hands and yawned as she slowly woke up. At first, her vision was fuzzy. But as her consciousness resurfaced more and more, she could make out that what she was looking at was YuSung’s face.
A high-pitched keen bled out of her mouth.
Sumire, shocked, quickly let go of YuSung’s arm.
“…Oh, you woke up, Sumire.”
The boy himself also woke up from her frantic movements. He also yawned, having slept quite soundly—possibly due to the fact that he had let his guard down.
Sumire combed her frizzy hair with her fingers and smiled shyly. “Ah, ha, haha… s-sorry. You must have been uncomfortable.”
“No, it’s fine.” YuSung shook his head. “More importantly… why don’t we start preparing for the raid? I know we talked about it before, but the dungeon this time around is rank 5.”
He tied up his hair with his ribbon, voice steady as he continued. “It’s on a completely different level from the rank 4 dungeons we’ve challenged up to this point.”
Even among members of the Hunters’ Association, high-level hunters were the ones raiding rank 5 dungeons. Even so, YuSung and Sumire were allowed to challenge it despite being students because, as Gaon’s representatives, their skills had been acknowledged.
Sumire tilted her head in confusion at the odd sound emanating from behind her and turned her head.
Sugoro, despite his small size, loved to eat. At some point during the day, he had already woken up and was crushing a rice cracker, called a senbei, between his teeth.
Sumire deftly picked her brother up and placed him outside of her room.
“H-how about we get started then?!”
She smiled as if nothing had happened. YuSung nodded his head.
* * * *
Choten Academy’s portal zone…
Sakura stared at the humongous portals laid in a row in amazement.
“I know this is our school and all, but man, we’re loaded. Don’t you think, Seiji~?”
He didn’t answer her question, causing her to smirk. She then spoke again in a manner that didn’t directly address her companion but still expected him to listen.
“I can’t believe Isshin actually didn’t come out here to see us off. He’s got an unexpectedly sullen side to him, huh?”
“Haha, even he… has his own issues to deal with, I’m sure.”
Sakura made a face, bored with Seiji’s answers, and began looking around the area.
An academy with a portal zone was a mark of its having good facilities. Thanks to those portals, students could travel to various dungeons from their own school.
From it, a tradition was born at Choten Academy. Its first-year students were lined up in a row in order to greet Seiji and Sakura.
– 頂点になれ– (Become the top–)!
All of the students began to shout, following the lead of their class presidents.
Seiji strode confidently up to the portal.
Another set of footsteps could be heard coming from the hallway on the opposite side. Seiji grinned and turned his head towards that direction.
He energetically waved his hand.
Sakura watched YuSung and Sumire slowly approach them. She began whispering to her team leader as she did so.
“Is he gonna be able to show off the skills that won against Adela?” Her eyes narrowed into slits. “Can we even rely on them in this rank 5 dungeon~? They’re both F-rank, after all.”
Sakura began laughing, much like a fox.
Seiji also laughed. “Doubts will only tear us apart. Since we’re one party now, the only thing we can do is trust in each other.”
“Heeh~ you really are no fun.”
The four party members had gathered. The head teacher of Choten Academy, Yamada, fiddled with their glasses before giving the group a short explanation in Korean.
“The target location is the rank 5 dungeon, the Castle of Phantasms. Defeat the boss, the succubus, and return safely. I wish you well.”
An immense sound began to emanate from the portal as it glowed blue. The newly-formed Korean-Japanese collaboration party stepped in.
* * * *
A mysterious structure… The Tower.
The Fist King, Yu WonHak, was the hunter who had managed to reach the highest level of the Tower among all existing mankind. However, the place he was currently at was the first floor— the starting point.
“It’s been a good while.”
He looked up at the Tower, its end beyond sight. It existed and could be seen with eyes, for sure, but the hunters who had scaled the Tower knew that its outside appearance was nothing more than an illusion.
The first floor…
The fifth floor…
The tenth floor…
The twentieth floor…
A new, separate world existed on every floor of the Tower. One could contain a swamp with opaque fog and another could contain a gothic castle.
What every hunter conquering the Tower needed was overwhelming skill that not even the unknown could dampen.
“Kuhaha! To think that the Association president himself would come out and greet me. You have quite the integrity, YuChan-ah!”
Yu WonHak looked at the other man and laughed boisterously, in a good mood.
Kang YuChan nodded with a serious look on his face. “True, true. If you take my integrity away from me, nothing would be left. Huh huh!”
His eyes narrowed. “More importantly, what are you thinking? You, personally, going to the Tower? Don't tell me you’re going to try and raid it…”
Yu WonHak scratched his head with his thick fingers. “I just came here because it popped up in my head. YuSung is going to start climbing it soon, after all.”
Kang YuChan joined the other man in staring up at the Tower piercing through the heavens.
“Look at you, getting all emotional. How rare. You aren’t about to die on me, are you?”
Yu WonHak, Kang YuChan, the Sword God in China, and the Witch from the United Kingdom—The four had formed a party that had raided the Tower together. These two men who were standing side-by-side were comrades who had gone through life and death together.
“…I was just curious about how far my disciple would go. I taught him everything I knew.”
“Hmm. YuSung… hey, who knows? He might actually conquer the entire Tower…”
“Kuhaha! That’s music to my ears. He’ll have to conquer the dungeon you gave him first, though.”
Kang YuChan shook his head at the other man’s statement.
“You look like a tiger, but you sure do act like a snake.”
“But… a rank 5 dungeon for an expedition? You’re quite the slavedriver yourself.”
Yu WonHak was correct. The man who had allowed just four students to raid a rank 5 dungeon was none other than Kang YuChan.
“You’re right, I did go a bit too far. Even Association hunters have failed to clear rank 5 dungeons, that’s how advanced they are… it’ll be difficult for students to succeed.”
But Kang YuChan’s experience as the Association president—no, his instincts as a hunter had told him something else.
“But… And I don’t want to acknowledge this… YuSung has the same eyes as you.”
In the Association president’s smirk was his trust towards the other man.
“The sort of gaze that doesn’t know how to give up… that grows stronger in the face of adversity.”
Yu WonHak nodded silently. No matter how infamous rank 5 dungeons were for their difficulty, he was certain that his disciple, YuSung, would succeed.
‘And after the raid, I’m sure you and your comrades will have grown much stronger.’
It was a hurdle that they had to overcome for the International Competition.
* * *
Translator - Bob
Proofreader - ilafy
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* * *
A gothic castle from the Middle Ages…
Purple clouds swam across the sky, darkened even during the day. True to its name, an eerie, spiritual aura enveloped it and the surrounding area.
Sakura, an archer, supplied mana to her eyes to scan the place.
“Checking done~ no enemies on the outside, just like what the map said.”
Seiji grew pensive, arms crossed, but only for a moment, after which he looked back up at YuSung.
“We’ll enter through the back door then head down the right passageway!” he said confidently.
YuSung nodded in lieu of an answer. It was no easy feat trying to find the boss monster, the succubus, in that large castle. On top of that, the path leading to the succubus’s room had traps and devices in every nook and cranny. Splitting up was the only way.
Sumire stared at YuSung with a serious expression on her face.
“Y-YuSung-ssi. Then I’ll… go through the left passage as we planned?”
“Yep. Keep increasing the number of undead while going through the passage. And… Sumire, contact us with your Pocket immediately if you’re in danger.”
“Yes! I understand!” she answered energetically.
YuSung looked at the right passageway that led from the front door. He placed a hand on the wall.
’…Something’s off here.’
His sensitive awareness alerted him to that fact. The distinctly thick mana of the Castle of Phantasms was evenly distributed along all locations of the castle, including the inanimate objects.
‘…And a mere rank 5 boss is the one maintaining this entire place?’
YuSung had once heard from the Fist King that the majority of dungeons that had assimilated with the real world showed just how powerful its boss was.
Rank 4. Rank 5. Rank 6. Rank 7…
Bosses appeared in dungeons that were proportional to their strength.
Something about the Castle of Phantasms was weird to YuSung, now that he was looking at it. Even the density of mana that was spread throughout the air was not on the level of a rank 5.
‘The boss monster guarding this dungeon is the succubus, that’s a fact. The Association investigated it themselves… Then how…’
But no matter how much he thought about it, he couldn’t find an answer to his question. An investigation was in order.
* * * *
The first room Sumire had entered had no monsters. Instead, there was a stone tablet with an incomprehensible language written on it that had been placed in the beautiful, well-furnished room.
Her right hand began to emit a purple light as if it was reacting to the tablet. Sumire stopped in her tracks to stare at the object.
There was definitely something weird going on.
The mana spewing forth from the stone tablet looked much too similar to Sumire’s Trait.
“Th-this is? I-It can’t be…”
The closer Sumire got to the tablet, the stronger the resonance became between her and the mana emanating from it.
She had heard about something like that before. It was less likely to happen than getting an artifact.
But all of the signs were pointing to one conclusion…
YuSung’s skeleton furiously pointed its finger towards the stone tablet as if encouraging her to approach it.
The sound emanating from the tablet grew louder.
Her hand was shaking from the mana resonance.
Sumire’s power was black magic.
The succubus herself was nothing but a familiar that black magic could summon, meaning the one whose power was emanating from the stone tablet belonged more in the territory of the witch who had summoned the succubus.
The fact that Sumire’s power, which was a different type of magic, was resonating with something inside the Castle of phantasms was weird.
‘B-but… I can’t stop!’
However, Sumire looked as if she was in a trance. Her hand drew itself towards the tablet as if it were fate.
As soon as she laid her hand upon the stone, everything was revealed.
A purple light began to shine from both the tablet and Sumire’s hand. She closed her eyes at the assault on her senses, slowly opening them up after a bit of time.
[Deciphering the language using data stored in the Pocket.]
[The item in question is the (Witch’s Fragment–Laplace’s Tablet).]
What she saw in front of her eyes was a hologram from her Pocket.
Nervous, she gulped.
[The power stored inside the Witch’s Fragment is becoming aware of the power of its awakener.]
[Calculating Synchronization Rate…]
‘I… I messed up.’
It was a development she couldn’t have ever imagined.
Sumire fiddled with her fingers as cold sweat began to pour down from her body.
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