Book 2: Chapter 56
Early in the morning on the next day, Lukas walked down the main street in the city.
Beneath the slowly brightening sky, there was barely anyone walking around the dirt-covered city, causing it to feel like it was an abandoned city.
It was a stark contrast from Manhattan, America, where he’d been just a day before.
That city and this city. There shouldn’t have been such a large distance between them. They were both places humans lived in.
“You’re up early.”
It was Destin.
Lukas didn’t sleep a wink, but he nodded instead of telling the truth.
“I woke up earlier than expected.”
“Hmm. You weren’t in your room, so I came to look for you. And I couldn’t knock on the door of a lady sleeping.”
Destin didn’t seem like such a polite person, so Lukas was a bit surprised.
Upon closer inspection, he realised that Destin’s eyes were red. His hair was a mess, and his body was covered with the scent of cigarette smoke. He’d probably stayed up all night.
He spoke in a tired voice.
“All the preparations are complete, so you can leave when the sun is up. I also got a map for you. It’s old, so it might not be completely accurate, but it’s better than nothing.”
When Lukas opened the map that Destin gave him, he found that there was a detailed route to Egypt, and it included the danger zones and places they could rest. It looked like he had filled out the additional information on the map himself.
Lukas was surprised.
Unlike what he’d initially thought, Destin was a man who did not neglect his duties.
“It would be better to move only when the sun is up. I’m sure it’s the same all over the world, but it’s particularly dangerous to travel in Africa at night.”
This advice was given with the Demons and Demon Beasts in mind, so Lukas nodded in thanks.
Then, Destin looked at him with a slightly suspicious gaze.
“Are you the attendant of that woman named Joanna?”
“Or maybe you’re her manager…”
When Lukas only stared at him blankly, Destin shook his head.
“It seems I was wrong. My apologies. I’ve heard that American hunters have them because of their busy schedules.”
When he heard that, Lukas couldn’t help but think about the suit-wearing man who he’d seen beside Joanna the first time they met. Of course, he wouldn’t be there now.
“But you don’t seem to be an American hunter.”
“I’m a European Hunter.”
“Hmm. I see. No wonder you’re so calm while looking at this city.”
Destin’s tone softened slightly. Relations between Africa and Europe had always been strong.
This was because a feeling of camaraderie had developed between the two regions who had suffered the most damage due to the Demons’ invasion.
In fact, the two regions would not hesitate to assist each other in emergency situations.
“Then I don’t need to worry as much, and I don’t need to warn you about the Demons. I hope you get good results.”
* * *
By the time it had truly reached dawn, Joanna appeared.
She had a blank face, dark circles around her eyes, and her hair was a mess. She also trudged around like a zombie. It seemed that she had been tossing and turning all night.
Lukas felt that she had probably been thinking a lot about what Destin had said the night before. And in the end, she probably couldn’t reach a conclusion. After all, it wasn’t something that could have been thought over in one night.
Even her voice was cracked as she spoke.
“All the preparations are complete?”
“Yeah. Are you ready?”
“I am. Hum.”
Joanna suppressed a yawn as she responded.
The distance to Egypt was about 3,000km, but that was only when measured in a straight line.
It didn’t take into account the mountainous or dangerous regions, rivers, or the weather.
Assuming that there were no unforeseen circumstances, it would probably take them a few weeks of consistent travel.
The military truck that they were going to use was larger and seemed to be more performant than they expected.
The tires were durable enough to pass through the rough wilderness terrain and the bed of the truck, which appeared to have been modified, and had plenty of space even after storing food, gas, and daily necessities. A small sleeping area, which took up most of the extra area, had been added.
These modifications made the vehicle feel like a camper instead of a military truck.
“It’s mainly used by hunters going on long-term missions. It’s much heavier and more durable than normal trucks, and it won’t roll over easily.”
Joanna nodded. It seemed that she was very satisfied with the truck’s specifications.
With a slightly haughty expression on her face, she climbed into the passenger seat.
“I’ll have to ask you to drive.”
“I don’t know how to drive.”
Joanna, who was buckling her seatbelt, froze.
“…what did you just say?”
“I have never driven a vehicle before.”
“That… that doesn’t make sense…”
“Do you not know how to drive?”
“I do, but…”
Joanna looked at the vehicle and suddenly felt like crying. It wasn’t a ridiculously large vehicle, but it was still bigger than a 1-ton truck. Nevertheless, it was by no means something for a common 2nd-class license holder like her.
“Can you really not drive? Or is it just that you don’t want to drive?”
“Vehicles are rarely used in Europe. In the first place, there are only a few vehicles still in working condition. It’s the same here.”
It was Destin who answered for Lukas. Then he looked at Joanna with a slightly sympathetic gaze.
“This truck is one of only three vehicles in our branch. Perhaps you were dispatched to fill the role of driver from the start?”
Joanna suddenly closed her mouth at Destin’s words.
It was possible.
It was almost impossible for them to travel from Congo to Egypt using magic, which meant that they would have to travel using other means.
Considering Neil’s personality, he certainly would have taken that into account. And if he knew that this guy couldn’t drive…
‘Did the President really send me here to be a driver?’
When this thought appeared in her mind, she couldn’t help but make a pitiful expression.
But that only lasted for a while. In the end, she resigned herself and trudged over to the driver’s side with drooping shoulders.
This was the fate of a subordinate.
Just as Lukas was about to step into the passenger seat, Destin spoke.
“I think you’re stronger than that woman.”
Lukas turned to look at Destin. At that moment, he wasn’t displaying any of his power. And very few people who saw him in this state would say those words.
Perhaps Destin had come to this conclusion because he was unable to feel any power from him. This showed that either his perception had reached the level of a master or that his sixth sense was dozens of times better than wild animals’.
“Watch out for Gray Sun. I don’t know how strong you are, but in a sense, they are more dangerous than a Demon Duke.”
This advice contained decades of experience that had been engraved into the bones of a hunter. Naturally, it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“I will keep that in mind.”
“Please be careful. And I wish you all the best.”
* * *
The truck sped through desolate lands.
To put it bluntly, the ride was terrible. This was especially true for Joanna, who was used to traveling in luxury vehicles.
It was fortunate that the roads that had been built decades ago were still maintained, but even that would disappear once they left Congo. Then they would encounter truly rugged terrain.
‘I have to adapt to this as much as possible before then.’
As she thought this, Joanna sighed.
The vehicle’s interior was stiflingly quiet. She didn’t know what to say, but Lukas didn’t seem to have any intention of breaking the silence.
Complex emotions created by dissatisfaction at being made to drive, the pressure of driving such a large truck, and her own insecurities made it impossible for her to open her mouth first.
Perhaps, over time, Lukas would eventually say something first.
Or, at least, that’s what she thought, but that man didn’t say anything even as sunset approached.
‘…even a statue would have been better company.’
Joanna shot an irritated look at Lukas, who was beside her.
She was very famous amongst the American hunters. Her natural appearance, the way she spoke, her excellent magical skills… And above all, Joanna knew how to make all of those virtues stand out. That last part was the key point.
In order for American hunters to gain recognition, they had to have some skill in the entertainment industry. In America, hunters weren’t just Demon hunters; they were also celebrities and stars. They were obligated to meet the expectations of the people.
And among the hunters, Joanna’s popularity was particularly high.
Even the most snobbish hunters would become docile in front of her. But Lukas didn’t change his attitude for her at all.
She shot Lukas a fierce glare. This time, she didn’t do it from the corner of her eye. Instead, she glared at him openly.
Joanna made a solemn vow to not say a single word until Lukas opened his mouth.
Perhaps her earnest desire(?) reached the heavens, for the sun finally went down and Lukas spoke.
“Let’s stop here for today.”
Of course, it wasn’t what she wanted to hear.