Chapter 217 Showdown (1)
Translated by: Ddomigan
The following afternoon, they departed for Shizuoka. Yoojin was wondering what mode of transportation was prepared for them when he saw five helicopters waiting idly. The helicopters were headed for Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture, a piece of land that protrudes out towards the sea.
“There used to be the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in Shizuoka Prefecture.”
The guide explained. They were in a car enroute to their lodging after unboarding the helicopters.
“But since the discovery of magic stones as an energy source, it has been converted to the Hamaoka Magic Stone Power Plant, so you don’t have to worry about being affected by any potential harmful effects.”
As if that mattered, the place had already blown up before the dungeons appeared. It had been a global headache right until the matter was resolved with dungeon items and materials, as well as help from the hunters.
All nuclear power plants in Korea had been replaced with magic stone power plants. All other countries did so as well, of course. Since no one knew how long the dungeons would last, the basic facilities were left intact so that they could be operated again at any time.
The adoption of magic stones as the primary source of energy started from the most dangerous nuclear power plants, followed by all other plants, with a few exceptions. Cars that ran on magic stones instead of gas were also scheduled to be released soon. The air would soon become much clearer from those inventions as it did before the regression.
Thanks to the infinite, clean and safe source of energy, the Hunter Association was able to quickly establish itself, and society, which had become chaotic with the appearance of monsters, was able to stabilize to some level of order. If only the management of dungeons had been better, the world would have been more prosperous.
As dungeons became increasingly difficult to handle, most countries eventually fell. Even so, some countries, including Korea, have held up quite well.
‘What will happen to dungeons and awakeners once humanity triumphs over the doom?’
Yoojin wondered. Would those aspects disappear, or would they remain as is? He became curious of the things that would happen after the endeavor. If those aspects were to disappear, would everyone return to their old lives? He wondered if the Immoral People would be able to answer his curiosities… Surely, it wouldn’t affect the beasts that he’s tamed, right? Yoojin had to be sure of this one thing.
“It’s the ocean! It’s right in front of us!”
Yerim, who was the first to get off the car, exclaimed.
“This is the private beach of a ryokan owned by the Amaterasu Guild. Do utilize it to your heart’s content.”
Ryokan? Was it like a villa? When Yoojin got out of the car, he saw a traditional Japanese building. He was quite surprised as he had expected a Western-style mansion.
“Ahjussi, let’s go swimming!” Yerim suggested.
“…But, we already went swimming.”
“The ocean and swimming pool are different, you know!”
‘Please cut me some slack, Yerim,’ Yoojin thought to himself. His stamina has already been depleted and he doesn’t even have the strength to hold onto Peace right now. He enjoys having fun on the beach, Peace and Chirpie as well as Velare would probably prefer it even more as well, but…
“We should start with visiting the stadium first today. We can go for a swim tomorrow morning.”
While tomorrow afternoon is when the match starts, a little swim shouldn’t affect Yerim’s physical condition. It’ll only be like a warm-up to her.
“Since you might not want to leave once you get in the ocean, let’s go straight to the stadium.”
Yoojin said. Yerim looked at him and shook her head.
“No, it’s alright, ahjussi. You should just go and get some rest. I’m the one who’ll be fighting in the stadium after all. You don’t have to come with me.”
Moon Hyuna then chimed in, “Right, then it’s settled, the two of us will go. So, get some rest, Director Han.”
Even Moon Hyuna had put in a word for him. ‘It’s nice of them to be so considerate of me,’ Yoojin thought.
“Be careful and come back safely. Take care, Hyuna.”
The two of them left in a separate car with the guide and the remaining people went inside the villa. The villa had a Japanese-style landscape which Yoojin sometimes saw on TV.
‘What’s with this lion?’
In the middle of the garden, there stood a large lion statue. It’s a dynamic and vigorous piece depicting a fierce roar, but where it’s located feels out of place. There were even lion-themed Western-style flags hanging under the eaves of the roof.
He was seriously too obsessed with lions.
“I shall show you to your room.”
There were western-style rooms and japanese-style rooms. Having grown accustomed to the comfort of a bed, Yoojin opted for a western-style room. The room came along with a private garden and an open-air bath. Yoojin felt he might turn into a prune if dipped in any more water, by then, he might as well return to Korea.
– Bbiyak bbiyak.
As Yoojin opened the door that led to the garden, Chirpie jumped up and Velare crawled out. They seem to enjoy playing together. ‘What if I become reluctant when it’s time to part ways with Velare?’ Yoojin wondered. If he asked to keep it, Riette would probably say no. Maybe he could mention something like, ‘Velare’s growth has been abnormally slow, so I’ll need to find a replacement to raise another jewel snake as soon as possible,’ of sorts…
“Are you going to take a bath?”
Yoohyun asked when he saw Yoojin staring vacantly at the open-air bath.
“I’ll do it after dinner. Peace, come here.”
Yoojin brought Peace into his arms and sat down on the floor. Despite the room being styled in a western manner, the living room still had floor seatings set up inside. Peace’s fur was so clean and soft and smelled so pleasant that it was making Yoojin’s eyes drowsy.
“Sleep on the bed.” Yoohyun said.
“I’m not sleeping, I’m just closing my eyes.”
Even if he said that, Yoojin felt like he might really fall asleep. Since he still has to get up later, he decided to step outside. The slippers provided by the villa hurt the crest between his toes, so he slipped on his sneakers before leaving the room with Yoohyun.
They went for a stroll in the garden at the center of all the guest rooms. While Myeongwoo and Noah were not in their rooms, Yoojin spotted Sung Hyunjae sitting by the stone table with a cup of tea in hand. Yoojin hesitated a little before eventually sitting across from him. Yoohyun sat down next to Yoojin, and Peace quietly followed. Sensing that Yoojin was tired, Peace climbed onto his lap by itself rather than waiting to be picked up.
“You seem tired, yet you don’t rest.”
Sung Hyunjae spoke affectionately. While Yoojin did refuse Sung Hyunjae’s proposal, he has still made up his mind to change his behavior towards him.
‘Well, even if It’s just an act.’
Yoojin thought. He supposes he could manage this much, given the situation. Perhaps there was a bit of goodwill in Sung Hyunjae’s desire to uncover the things Yoojin was keeping hidden. In any case, he can rest easy knowing Sung Hyunjae doesn’t intend to cause him any harm for the purpose of finding out his secrets.
…Still, he feels a bit strange recalling yesterday’s events. Despite the excessive conditions, the proposal itself is fundamentally just an investment to Sung Hyunjae. Had Yoojin chosen to be taken care of, he would eventually start to feel at ease and allow himself to confide in Sung Hyunjae. Thereafter, Sung Hyunjae would get the answers he wanted.
He said that he’d take care of everything, and that Yoojin would not have to worry about anything. Looking back on it now, Yoojin felt it was kind of cringe that he was treated like a child when he’s actually 30 years old. Even during his younger years, there weren’t many adults who would unconditionally embrace him like that. While he may have really been taken care of as an infant, he doesn’t remember much of it.
Yoojin wondered if he really looked so distressed that it made Sung Hyunjae think he needed to take care of him to that extent. It felt strange. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it was kind of awkward. The more he thought about it, the more unfamiliar and strange Sung Hyunjae’s words felt… Honestly, not even his parents said anything like that to him.
Even so, Yoojin could tell his mind was at ease because of Sung Hyunjae’s words. His proposal definitely had an effect on him. ‘Ugh, he seems to be really good at reading me.’ Yoojin thought to himself.
“…About the Amaterasu guild leader.”
Yoojin brought up the topic, turning his gaze towards the lion flag which was hung there for no reason.
“From what I saw in the Japanese broadcasts, he’s apparently well received. But of course, you can’t believe everything that’s shown in the media.”
While it’s said that he was ‘well received,’ there were also broadcasts that praised him to the point of worship. After talking extensively about the hunters from Korea, Shishiou began to talk about a whole lot of other things, which gave off a feeling similar to that of the propaganda broadcasts from the past dictatorships.
Yoojin then recites a quote from the broadcasts, “Japan was saved thanks to the Amaterasu Guild. They are the country’s savior.”
“That’s not entirely untrue.”
Sung Hyunjae responded with a smile.
“Japan was among one of the developed countries whose government was not good at dealing with the dungeon shock. Particularly, they had urged non-awakened individuals to venture into dungeons while not providing any countermeasures which resulted in the loss of a lot of manpower.”
Huh, their government did such crazy things. Even Korea had sent special forces to perform dungeon reconnaissance before organizing raid teams with awakened individuals.
“Why on earth did the Japanese government do that?”
“Well, after a large number of non-awakened individuals survived from being sent to a dungeon and awakened to their abilities, the Japanese government came up with the idea of reusing that method to mass produce awakeners that’ll protect Japan. They even went and accepted civilian applicants.”
…Wow, what a great idea they had. Their government really went and did the things illegal brokers for awakening would do. Wasn’t it the nation’s job to prevent unawakened people from entering dungeons even if they volunteered? While Yoojin had also looked for brokers to evade the authorities, Japan’s situation was just outrageous.
“Thereafter, Japan was not able to properly handle the dungeon breaks nor its subsequent management. And that’s when the Amaterasu guild appeared.”
“I can tell what happened after.” Yoojin said.
In the midst of the chaos caused by the dungeon explosion, an S-class hunter appeared and resolved the situation, making him seem like a savior. The Japanese government’s loss of power was ultimately their own fault. Even though Shishiou has a fixation on lions and acts like a king, an S-class hunter that’s capable of dealing with dungeons is indubitably better than a government thatshoves its civilians into dungeons. Either way, both parties are arrogant and tyrannical.
“Do you find the Amaterasu guild leader likable?”
Yoohyun, who had been quietly listening, suddenly asked.
“Huh? Well, he’s surely better than I initially thought. He’s pretty interesting.” Yoojin replied.
It’s funny in a way. Even if Shishiou really had issues, those are the issues of another country that’s across the sea. And compared to the Japanese government, he is a better leader. There are many people who benefit from his presence, so that earns Shishiou 1 point. In Yoojin’s heart, the Thunderbird’s Robe is worth 99 out of 100 points, but since it’s from the Lion King, it earns him 5 points.
“…Shall we not pick a fight with him, then?” Yoohyun said.
“Since it seems like you take kindly to him, hyung. It’ll probably be difficult to end things pleasantly if we were to really get into a fight. After all, he’s a combat type hunter who awakened early and is said to rank first in Japan.”
Yoohyun spoke while observing Yoojin’s reactions, he was trying to gauge the latter’s opinions. It’s possible to subdue an opponent when a big disparity in strength exists, like how it was between Yoohyun and Noah, but against the Lion King, it doesn’t seem plausible. Yoojin recalls that before the regression, Shishiou’s tournament ranking results were fairly good. That was how Yoojin remembered his face in the first place, though his items were much more eye-catching.
“It’s fine! Just don’t kill him, we’ll need him to manage the Japanese dungeon.” Yoojin said.
“Are you sure it’s fine?”
“Of course. You can do whatever you want. As long as you tell me beforehand, it’ll be fine.”
‘I was looking forward to the fight, so don’t try to hold back on it.’ Yoojin thought to himself. Anyway, the problem was that Yoohyun was too nice. What’s with him being called ‘icy’ anyway?
“Let’s have the duel after everything is dealt with and before we leave. It’ll be perfect.” Yoojin suggested.
The duel shall be held after Yerim’s match with Kakuto, followed by obtaining ingredients for the stamina potion, and then right before they leave for Korea. Once Shishiou experiences defeat firsthand, and later learns about the stamina potion, would it make him less arrogant then? Yoojin wondered.
“Sure,” His younger brother, who had obediently agreed to the scheduling, was so cute it made Yoojin chuckle. He then felt a gaze on him. As he turned to look, he saw Sung Hyunjae staring at them.
“Why are you looking at us like that?” Yoojin asked.
“I think you two are a pair of very affectionate siblings.”
“Have you never seen a close-knit family? It’s often shown on TV.”
Well, regardless of whether it’s real or not.
“There is no such thing as a relationship between siblings like the one you two have. Not before, not after. Even if I were to live for a few hundred more years, I don’t think I would ever come across a relationship this rare like the two of yours. Hence why I should keep an eye on it while it lasts, no?” Sung Hyunjae said.
His words were an exaggeration, but it was also true. No caregivers of natural S-class awakened individuals ever survived and lived in harmony with their awakeners, since caregivers which are natural S-classes themselves are also rare. Although Sung Hyunjae hadn’t known about that fact, he was needlessly sharp as always.
“You seem to really like rare things. Well, to be fair, when one has everything, anything short of rare would probably be boring.” Yoojin said.
Sung Hyunjae seemed to be particularly interested in Song Taewon for some reason. Could it have been due to a sense of déjà vu caused by the regression? More so than rare things, Sung Hyunjae seems to show more interest in rare people. He’s also helped Yoohyun before only because he found himself strangely interested. As for Yoojin, he’s a caregiver for natural S-classes… An individual that’s rare to come across even when one searches over countless worlds over a long period of time.
Was he like a rare collector? Something like that is said to be a hobby of the chaebols. Fortunately, Sung Hyunjae doesn’t have weird inclinations towards preservation and preferred things that are whole and intact.
Yerim returned to the villa around dinner time and commented on the appearance of the stadium. She said that it looked presentable from the outside, but…
“It’s kind of empty inside.”
When Yoojin asked about what she meant, Yerim said that he would know when he went. In any case, the stadium was located right by the sea, just as they promised, which Yerim was pleased with since she could make use of the seawater.
They left for the stadium early the next afternoon. There weren’t many people at the stadium and all the nearby villages had been evacuated. If they got swept away, the Amaterasu Guild would probably have to compensate them.
“We mobilized high-ranked hunters to push away the rocky cliffs and transformed the area into a flatland, which we then built the stadium on!”
The Japanese guide said proudly. This town was apparently somewhat of a tourist attraction, so is it really okay to deface it like that? The beach, which could have had a nice natural landscape, had been completely carved away. And in its place, a circular stadium resembling a colosseum was erected.
‘It’s made of wood, isn’t it?’ Yoojin thought.
Unless it’s made of wood, it couldn’t have been built in such a short amount of time. But it will probably collapse as soon as the match starts.
“It’s made of dungeon materials.”
Myeongwoo said while looking at the stadium.
“Still, it’s best to avoid sitting in the stands.”
“Of course.” Yoojin agreed.
Apart from the broadcasting personnel, there weren’t any other common people in the stadium. It would have been better if they had designated the area which encompasses the stadium just like the A-class Ranking Event in Korea. That would have been more efficient.
The broadcasters probably just wanted to make the opening of the match seem impressive. If it were Yoohyun who were to come out instead of Yerim, they might have said something like, ‘The stadium lights up on fire! The rings of flames are burning brightly!’ at the start of the game. Hmm, that doesn’t sound too bad. It might be enjoyable to watch.
Later, the broadcasting personnel from the Korean and Japanese TV stations signaled that they’ve finished their preparations. Yerim and Kakuto stepped forward and gave simple interviews expressing their determination and thoughts. After which they were instructed to enter the stadium.
“I’ll go first~”
Yerim said, leaving Kakuto behind as she jumped over the stadium wall. The sight of her effortless jump over the stadium wall elicited small cheers from the Japanese. Kakuto, however, frowned deeply.
Kicking off the ground violently, Kakuto jumped up over the wall and landed heavily inside the stadium, making a loud noise.
“The tension is already intense!”
At the exciting commentary, everyone entered the stadium.
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