Season 2 Chapter 8: (Season 2) – Chapter 8
Min Ha-rin didn’t know just how many times she had asked this, but she had no choice other than to do it again.
“I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it right now, so I’ll teach you later, after I manage to find a suitable place.”
Min Ha-rin was speechless.
She couldn’t keep up with the flow of the conversation at all.
He was going to teach her magic?
No, in the first place, who the hell was this guy?
These questions poured into her head one after the other, but the atmosphere didn’t allow her to ask them easily.
Nevertheless, she had to confirm one thing.
“Is Duke Sandro really dead?”
“Didn’t you see it for yourself?”
This answer made her speechless again.
She forced herself to open her mouth.
“How the hell… I heard that Demon Dukes have power similar to God.”
At those words, Lukas stared at Min Ha-rin for a moment before walking towards her.
He was getting closer and closer.
Sandro’s death flashed in Min Ha-rin’s mind. She didn’t realise it, but she was stepping back.
But Lukas was faster.
She heard the sound of something breaking. Then, Min Ha-rin realised it had come from the collar which restricted her freedom.
Incomprehensible things were happening over and over.
She felt like she was dreaming. She hurriedly put her hands to her neck.
It was an unfamiliar feeling because she could feel her skin for the first time in a long while.
This wasn’t like the paralysing function that Allida had mentioned. He had destroyed it. It was that simple.
“Sandro’s power isn’t even close to a Demigod’s. He’s not worth comparing to God.”
Min Ha-rin had mentioned God because she couldn’t think of a more appropriate metaphor, but Lukas’ words felt a bit strange.
Before she could think about it too deeply, Lukas spoke again.
“To Lee Jong-hak.”
Lukas’ voice was calm.
“Their plan went awry. We shouldn’t be too late.”
* * *
It was a long day.
Rutan stretched as he had this thought.
He was tired. He felt like he would doze off even if he closed his eyes at that moment.
But he couldn’t yet.
He got up from his seat. Then he looked at the list of products that had been sold that day.
Min Ha-rin’s name was on that list.
“Why did I do that?”
It would have been more dramatic to reveal Min Ha-rin on the last day.
Of course, selling her on the first day didn’t cause a big loss. She was sold for a high price, so his boss would be satisfied with his performance.
Nevertheless, Rutan didn’t understand his price.
It was an item that could have been sold even more expensively, and yet, he’d rushed it like an amateur.
It was even stranger that when he recalled that time, it was faint like he was in a dream.
“…I haven’t been sleeping much lately.”
That was probably why he felt so tired.
He should have had some free time after he was done bookkeeping. He felt like he should sleep in order to ensure that tomorrow went smoothly.
Just as Rutan tried to close his tired eyes.
An uninvited guest came from nowhere.
Sihard entered his room without knocking.
In an instant, Rutan’s anger soared and he was about to kill him, but he quickly reined in his temper.
Sihard knew his personality well. He would never have committed such a rude act if it wasn’t an urgent situation.
“What is it?”
“Th-, the hunter slaves escaped.”
“What did you say?”
The sleepiness immediately went away.
Rutan immediately got up and grabbed his coat that was hanging on the back of a chair before putting it on.
“Tell me everything.”
“A-, as you know, I check on the slaves every hour. I just went to the room about 5 minutes ago…”
Sihard closed his eyes as he continued.
“A-, and all the slaves are gone.”
Rutan didn’t get angry right away.
Instead, he felt his head get cold.
The voice that came out of his mouth wasn’t excited either. It was very low and gloomy.
“I don’t think you came here just to report to me.”
“Right. Of course you’re sorry. Come here.”
“Did you not understand what I said? Come here. Come closer to me.”
Sihard gulped before closing the distance. Then, Rutan grabbed him by the throat.
“If you know you did something wrong, then you know that you will be punished. Right Sihard?”
“What about the pursuit?”
“Already… sent them…”
“Three… groups… under my command…”
Rutan clicked his tongue before throwing Sihard to the floor.
Sihard fell heavily to the ground and coughed a few times.
If it was another time, then Rutan would have definitely killed him, but he was short of hands at the moment. And venting his anger wouldn’t change the fact that the slaves escaped.
“Capture them all.”
Sihard tilted his head to the side.
“Don’t you get it? It doesn’t matter if they escaped. They have nowhere to go anyway, and this land is our territory. They are literally flies in a jar. It won’t be difficult to capture them again. The important thing is to hide this fact from the customers.”
It was only then Sihard realised.
That was definitely true.
It wasn’t a big deal that the slaves had escaped. In a sense, the fact that the customers might have noticed the movements of the three groups was more important.
“I will lend you command of the . Use them to comb the surroundings.”
“I, I will follow your orders. But what about you, Rutan?”
“I will look for them, too. But I will move on my own.”
Although Rutan was not titled, his fighting power definitely surpassed that of most low-ranking nobility. Even if he encountered them alone, it would not be hard for him to deal with 10 or so weakened hunters.
“If they escaped from the basement, they could have only taken one of two paths. There must be traces left. Search thoroughly then move as stealthily as you can.”
Sihard’s figure disappeared.
Rutan went straight to the basement. This was to check the situation.
He headed to the room in which the slaves were being held.
Then he saw it.
The cage bars had been bent by force.
“Someone didn’t release them. They escaped from the inside. Only pure brute strength could bend these cage bars.”
In the first place, if there was anyone there who could help them, it would only be a Demon. And that was impossible.
The only way a noble would steal slaves from under Sihard’s eyes was if they were poor and had no pride.
But it was clear that wasn’t the case. If a Demon had really helped them escape, then there would not be any traces left.
“I’m sure they would have done things smarter.”
Rutan closed his eyes.
“That means they escaped on their own.”
It would have been impossible for them to pull the iron cage open with the collar around their necks. No, it would have been impossible even without the collar.
“It might be possible for Lee Jong-hak.”
It was impossible for the other slaves, but that might not have been the case for Lee Jong-hak. However, he also had the collar on.
The possibility that the collars were defective?
After all, it was Rutan himself who put the collars on. There was no way he wouldn’t have been able to tell whether the collars were defective or not.
“…The collars were still on. If they were taken off or broken, then the pieces would still be here. They wouldn’t have had the time to care about the mess.”
He could tell that they were in a hurry just by looking around the room.
Of course, the collars also had a tracking system. So as long as the slaves didn’t take them off, Rutan would be able to find them.
‘If that’s not possible…’
Rutan’s thoughts churned.
It wasn’t long before he came to the most realistic conclusion.
“…they must have paralysed the collar’s functions.”
Magic. They must have used magic.
He knew some of the humans’ tricks. He was not only knowledgeable about magic but also about witchcraft, sorcery, divination, and curses.
However, none of the slaves were Witches, Sorcerers, Seers, or Shamans.
But there was a Wizard. She was also one of the titled humans.
“It’s strange, though. She shouldn’t have been able to use magic with the collar on.”
He could no longer figure anything out no matter how he turned it around in his head. He would only be able to find out when he saw them for himself.
There were a lot of people there, so there weren’t many places they could hide. Nevertheless, the fact that they escaped meant that they believed they could.
He had a feeling that he knew where they went.
“There’s nothing more miserable than a half-brained idea.”
* * *.
“I can’t tell if it’s day or night.”
Drisa grumbled as he looked up at the black sky.
This was what happened to land that had been occupied by the Demons.
The ground became purple, and the sky became black. (TL: Sounds familiar.)
“…anyway, did we really manage to escape?”
“This is only the beginning.”
When Lee Jong-hak spoke in a low voice, Allida nodded.
“But we did cross the hardest bridge. Now, all we have to do is get to the hideout.”
“How far is it?”
“We have to go to the cathedral first.”
Allida pointed towards a cathedral at the side.
The cathedral was a huge building that could have been seen from any part of the city. It was built in a gothic style with stained glass windows glimmering even under the dark sky.
“Is that cathedral the hideout you were talking about?”
“It’s not, but beneath the building is a passage that leads outside the city. If we use that path, then we will find ourselves only a short distance away from the hideout.”
The hunters’ faces brightened.
There weren’t many Demons on the streets. It wouldn’t be impossible for them to reach the cathedral if they were careful.
“How long will this ice spell last?”
“About two days. But it could be shorter.”
“So we have to activate the portal and get to an association branch equipped with advanced equipment before that.”
It wouldn’t be easy.
Lee Jong-hak took a deep breath before saying.
“Let’s move immediately. I’ll take point.”
After saying those words, he strode` forward without hesitation.
Drisa, who followed nervously, couldn’t help but say.
“Can we really walk so confidently?”
“That’s right. It should be morning now.”
“The Demons are usually asleep at this time.”
“Oh. I see, but…”
It was common knowledge among the hunters that Demons usually slept during the day and were active at night.
“…how do you know it’s daytime?”
“My body clock is relatively accurate.”
Was he joking?
No, he didn’t believe that this serious guy would make a joke in this type of situation.
Drisa chuckled slightly.
If someone else had said that, he would have dismissed it as bullshit, but because it was Lee Jong-hak, those words had a strange weight.
Drisa and the other hunters silently followed Lee Jong-hak’s steps.
Allida looked around at their surroundings.
She knew how beautiful this city used to be. Of course, she’d never seen it in person, but she’d seen many pictures. Her heart felt heavy.
One of the most beautiful cities in Italy had lost its former appearance.
If it wasn’t for the cathedral, she wouldn’t have even known what city it was
‘There aren’t many Demons on the street.’
Looking at the empty streets of the city that seemed to lack vitality, she couldn’t help but feel a bit scared.
Even walking through a zombie-filled city would not have made her feel so nervous.
Fortunately, Lee Jong-hak’s senses were excellent. He didn’t even get close to places where the Demons were likely to be, but he didn’t divert much either.
Because of this, they were able to arrive at the cathedral in less than an hour.
“I’m gonna lose my tension. This is too easy.”
Drisa laughed, revealing his teeth. She didn’t say anything, but Allida agreed with him.
Nevertheless, she held her breath and said.
“It’s still too early to relax. There might be Demons inside the cathedral. Now, this way.”
Allida stepped into the cathedral before heading to the chapel(1).
“Can you help me? We need to remove these chairs.”
The hunters moved the chairs aside as directed by Allida. And finally, a door handle was revealed on the exposed floor.
When Drisa pulled on the handle, a stairway leading underground was revealed.
“It’s too dark. Do you have a light or something?”
“I tried to turn it on, but it seems there is no power. Or the Demons cut the wires.”
Allida flicked the light switch at the entrance as she said this.
“Damn, if we run into a Demon in the darkness, we’ll probably die.”
“We can go another way if you’re dissatisfied.”
“…Mm. I politely decline. At least if I die underground, I won’t have to worry about being a slave.”
Drisa forced himself to speak positively, then he immediately went down into the underground passage.
It was dark and damp. A rotten smell also filled the air, and sewer rats ran past their feet.
This gloomy atmosphere, together with the darkness that their eyes could have only barely pierce through, caused the hunters to be extremely nervous.
Fortunately, Drisa’s worry did not become a reality.
There were no Demons in the underground passage, and they were all able to get out without a scratch.
“W-, we survived.”
“Did we do it?”
“I’m relieved now that we were able to come this far…!”
But Drisa’s expression was not good.
When she saw this, Allida asked.
“Why do you look like you’ve eaten poop?”
“Do you remember what I said just now?”
“You can now be relieved? What about it?”
“I feel like I said something that shouldn’t have been said. You know. Like a jinx.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Have you never seen the cartoons?”
When she heard those words, Allida’s expression became grim.
“Alright, let’s hurry to the portal. I’m sure it’s a mess, and staying here means we are wasting the time we could have been using to fix it.”
Even if Allida took Drisa’s premonition seriously, there was nothing they could’ve done about it.
The hideout was located at the foot of a small mountain, and the entrance was covered by a large boulder. This boulder was larger than most houses, so it was easy to recognise.
“That’s the boulder.”
Lee Jong-hak called out in a firm voice.
The other hunters didn’t question him. Instead, their faces quickly became pale.
“I thought you’d come here.”
It was the host of the Chester Company’s auction and the Demon who put the collars on them.
Rutan looked at them with a smile.
Drisa’s expression crumpled.
(Note: 1. A chapel is the space in the church/cathedral that is dedicated for prayer or worship. It could be a room in the building or a separate building of its own. Chapels are usually the places where Mass and other such services are held.)