Book 2: Chapter 105
The Korea Branch connected the Warp Portal much more easily than they expected.
Min Ha-rin couldn’t help but wonder how Kim Min-chul, who had been an ordinary civilian just a few years ago, had obtained that much authority. She was a bit skeptical about the fact that he accepted her words without asking about the particular circumstances, but she couldn’t ask that at the moment.
One of the reasons was that they were using an emergency communication line, which meant that they couldn’t talk for a long time.
“The portal will be open for one day, so please come over before it closes.”
Kim Min-chul had said these words with a smile.
That meant that they could go to Korea as soon as they were ready.
Now, they just needed to step into the portal, and with the push of a button, they would immediately be sent over to the Korea Branch.
Vincent looked at the three people who would be embarking on the mission.
Lukas, Min Ha-rin, and Sedi. They all stood in front of the Warp Portal, looking at him.
“Are you going to be okay?”
“Yes, it seems Nodiesop’s influence hasn’t reached there yet.”
This wasn’t necessarily good news.
Regardless of whether it was Nodiesop or not, the atmosphere of the Korea Branch that they had seen through the monitor was different from before. Unfortunately, they would only be able to learn the details by going through the portal.
“Are you sure you don’t need more pe—”
“It’s fine, Vincent. You saw the video from the training ground, right?”
Vincent’s gaze subconsciously shifted to the side, to Sedi, who was yawning with a bored expression on her face.
He wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t seen the video of the fight with his own eyes. That this thin, young girl was able to single-handedly overwhelm a group of the North America Headquarters’ best hunters.
‘She’s stronger than a Branch President.’
It was possible she might have been much older than she looked.
The higher the level of a being, the slower their body aged. And if they went a step further and reached a certain level, their entire body could be reconstructed.
Of course, these were only conjectures that had been written in martial arts manuals for centuries, but he’d heard that some Warriors had experienced this phenomenon.
‘This girl should be a member of as well.’
Vincent felt a brief hint of admiration.
Following the defeat of one of the Five Dukes, if this mission was a success and they went on to save the President of the Hunter Association, there would be no hunters who didn’t know their name.
“There’s no time to waste. Please activate the Portal.”
Vincent nodded at Lukas’ words.
“…I wish you good luck.”
Then, a bright light enveloped the area around the portal.
* * *
The feeling of weightlessness gradually disappeared and she became aware of the fact that she was now standing on the ground.
The Warp had been successful.
Before the bright light that surrounded her body had even fully dissipated, Min Ha-rin began to cough.
The quality of the air was horrible. It was like she had just breathed a bunch of dust into her lungs. Was it because she had just come from a place with incredibly clean air?
No. The air in Busan shouldn’t have been this bad.
After a short while, the light completely disappeared and the surroundings became visible.
Like North America, the Warp Portals were installed outside in an open area, not in a building or underground.
But the landscape they saw was a perfect contrast to the beautiful North America.
It was once one of the port cities that represented East Asia.
Of course, the appearance of the Demons caused some damage, but it hadn’t been as bad as in other regions. That’s why the Korea Branch was established in this city.
However, the view of the city that she could see now made Min Ha-rin speechless.
Collapsed buildings, hazy smoke, and utter silence created an image similar to that of a world on the brink of destruction.
Lukas also took a breath of the air. The air wasn’t bad because it had been contaminated by demonic energy. Instead, the air itself had been contaminated by several harmful gases.
“Welcome to the Korea Branch.”
A man standing beside the portal smiled and spoke to them.
Min Ha-rin immediately recognised him as Kim Min-chul, whom she had known since childhood, but at the same time, she didn’t recognise him.
This was probably because of the clothes he was wearing.
His clothes were similar to those worn by clerics of the church. But instead of black, they were bright, pristine white.
It was a strange sight. Almost as though the dust that circulated in the air avoided him.
“You look even prettier in person. You grew up so beautifully. I’m glad you’re okay, Ha-rin.”
Kim Min-chul smiled gently.
It was the same warm smile that she often saw in the past, but there was a strange feeling hidden behind it that made Min Ha-rin speechless.
Kim Min-chul’s eyes turned to Lukas and Sedi at the back.
“And who might you be?”
“I’m Frey Blake. A European Hunter. Min Ha-rin and I are in the same sect.”
“Ah. I see.”
For a moment, Kim Min-chul was puzzled by what he meant by being in the same sect, but he quickly hid his expression and bowed politely with her unique, gentle smile.
“I’m Kim Min-chul. I’m just an old man who watched Ha-rin grow up. I knew her since she was just a kid with dreams of becoming a hunter, and now, she’s all grown up… Time is a scary thing. Hahaha.”
It seemed that he was trying to lighten the mood, but Lukas only nodded his head in a businesslike manner.
This attitude made Kim Min-chul a bit embarrassed, and he scratched his head with an awkward expression.
“By the way… Why are you here in Korea?”
“We heard that the Saint is here.”
Lukas spoke in a blunt tone.
Min Ha-rin looked at her Master with a slightly startled expression. They hadn’t talked about this before coming.
Kim Min-chul looked at Lukas with a strange, indecipherable gaze before nodding.
“Excuse me. Mr. Kim Min-chul, do you know the Saint?”
Kim Min-chul chuckled and shook his head.
“I don’t think there is anyone in this city who doesn’t know him.”
He smiled, turning around.
“For now, follow me.”
The group nodded and followed Kim Min-chul.
It seemed that it had rained a short while ago as there were small puddles scattered across the street.
As they walked down the muddy street, only the patter of their feet could be heard. This street had probably been something of a shopping center in the past, but now, the only proof of this was the slanted, flickering neon lights attached to bent poles.
“Did you hear anything from China?”
“Ah. Do you mean the man named Nodiesop who became the new President?”
“He contacted the Branch President a few times.”
“What did the Branch President say?”
“He said no.”
“How did he respond to that? I’m sure he must have pressured you.”
Kim Min-chul smiled at that.
“We do not have to be wary of the Asia Headquarters anymore. Not to mention Asia, even the Demons won’t come to this place anymore.”
“You’ll find out soon enough.”
After saying that, Kim Min-chul increased his pace, leading them further into the city. Lukas and Sedi, who were walking at the back of the group, exchanged glances.
[Father, this guy is suspicious.]
Sedi’s voice rang in Lukas’ head. He nodded slightly.
[I could get this guy to tell us everything he knows. It would only take me a minute.]
This time, he shook his head.
If they were to use Sedi’s method, Kim Min-chul’s mind would be destroyed and his body wouldn’t be left in much better shape. However, as he was Min Ha-rin’s acquaintance, they couldn’t do that without any confirmation.
Sedi turned her head away and pouted in dissatisfaction at Lukas’ refusal.
“Is big brother Sung-hyun…”
Min Ha-rin deliberately trailed off at the end of her sentence.
“It was about 2 years ago. He fought bravely, but in the end, he could not escape death.”
Kim Sung-hyun was Kim Min-chul’s only son and a hunter. Unfortunately, his talent was only ordinary. So, unlike Min Ha-rin, who traveled throughout Asia, Kim Sung-hyun served as a security guard for the Korea Branch.
Korea had not been directly exposed to the threat of the Demons yet. That’s why she hadn’t thought that Kim Sung-hyun would lose his life.
Min Ha-rin looked at Kim Min-chul’s back.
She could imagine how terrible it must have felt when he lost his son.
His wife had died shortly after giving birth, so Kim Min-chul gave Kim Sung-hyun all of the affection that was meant for his wife. If it was the Kim Min-chul she knew, it wouldn’t be strange if he collapsed after the death of his son and become a wastrel.
That was why Min Ha-rin’s doubts deepened.
Suddenly, Kim Min-chul stopped.
It was a place that Min Ha-rin knew well.
It was the entrance to the Korea Branch of the Hunter Association, which was a renovated underground shopping mall in the center of Busan.
But it felt completely different from back then.
First of all, the people guarding the hideout weren’t Korean. Also, instead of clothes that normal hunters wore, their clothing was similar to Kim Min-chul’s.
The skyscraper that sat above the shopping mall had originally been used only as a decoy, but now, the entire building was lit.
Above all, flags and banners covered the building. Each of these flags, which fluttered in the wind, had the symbol of two eyes on a pure white background.
When the guards spotted them, they bowed politely.
“Father, you’ve returned.” (TL: Like the way one would address a priest of the church)
“The people behind you…?”
“They are the guests I mentioned before.”
“Ah… I see.”
One of the guards looked over to the group and bowed slightly.
“Welcome to the Church of Eternal Life.”
(TL: Should I change ‘branch president’ to something else? I feel like I used ‘president’ too much. Maybe something like ‘branch manager’ instead?)