Book 2: Chapter 145
Joanna’s eyes were bloodshot. Her hair was a mess and her skin looked dry and lifeless. It looked like she had been awake for more than two nights straight.
Shaking her head, she continued in a low voice.
“The Association President isn’t in Pilsky Tower right now. I thought you would know where he was, but…”
Lukas remained silent.
Lukas had intended to choose this man, the President of the Hunter Association and arguably the strongest human, as his final team member.
Of course, he knew that Neil’s twisted mindset was not something he could easily fix. However, he thought that he would be able to change it slightly with a bit of teaching, and he’d believed the qualifiers would have been the perfect opportunity to do so.
It was that thought that brought him to North America, but he found that Neil Prand had already disappeared from the Association Headquarters.
“Did he say anything before he disappeared?”
“If he did, we wouldn’t be so panicked right now. We checked the surveillance cameras in the room… Look at this. Up until the moment he disappeared, he had been laying on the bed.”
Joanna pointed at a monitor, upon which was the footage from Neil’s sickroom.
After being treated by Arid, there was no longer any risk of him losing his life, but he had still been unconscious. And he should’ve remained in that state. According to Arid, he would need about a week before his condition was completely stable.
Neil’s upper body raised like a puppet being controlled by strings, and his head turned to look in a certain direction for no apparent reason.
—Or at least that’s how it appeared to anyone other than Lukas.
“He continued to stare blankly in that direction for a while before he got up, walked out of the view of the camera, and disappeared.”
“…of course, this isn’t the first time he has disappeared on his own. But I’m worried because he’s not in the best condition right now.”
Lukas clicked his tongue as he looked at the footage replaying on the screen.
He had been a step too late. This was the thought he had as he stared at the sparks of electricity bouncing in the direction Neil was staring.
He’d come for Neil a step ahead of Lukas. In all likelihood, he probably intended to take him into the qualifiers with him.
He’d lost a potential member. Lukas felt discouraged for a moment, but he soon thought of another of his potential candidates. His gaze turned to Joanna, who continued to express her concern for Neil despite her tired expression.
She was one of the other candidates he’d thought about. Joanna was a talented Wizard and she even had the potential to become one of his disciples.
But it was only then that Lukas realised. If he did choose Joanna, then he would have too many backline fighters.
Lukas, Arid, Min Ha-rin, who he was confident would participate, and Joanna…
That would mean four backline fighters.
Of course, Min Ha-rin was technically a Magical Swordsman, but it was still not a good match to put her on the frontline together with Sedi and Leo.
‘The talent I needed the most was Kran.’
He had a similar power level to Sedi, a lot of combat experience, and his secret ability to demonise himself. If he had been able to take it, it was obvious that he would have been the perfect helper for Lukas along with Sedi.
However, he had been kidnapped by Kasajin. So Lukas had no choice but to come for Neil. But even he had been taken away by Letip.
‘…Nina is still suffering from the after-effects of her injuries.’
With a sigh, Lukas thought of his last candidate.
That man was unlikely to obey his orders, but at this point, he didn’t have much of a choice.
* * *
South Hwanghae Province, Korean Peninsula.
Not so long ago, this was a land that had been filled with Demons and Demon Beasts, but recently, the demonic energy in the area had become much less apparent.
This was because a group of Demon Hunters had recently begun cleaning up the area.
“Busan was attacked.”
While battling a Demon, he heard a voice.
Usually, they wouldn’t have conversations during battle, but the fight was already coming to an end.
He stabbed his sword into the neck of the Demon, who continued to struggle despite losing all of its limbs, causing its blood to splash on his face.
Wiping the blood roughly with the back of his hand, Lee Jong-hak replied.
“Are you talking about the rumors that the Five Dukes appeared?”
The Sword Saint, Jong Ho, nodded as he returned his sword to its sheath.
“I thought those rumors were probably false, but…”
“Not long ago, I felt a great disturbance in the sky.”
Jong Ho let out a laugh.
“Can you read the heavenly ki too?”
“Of course I can’t. What I felt was closer to intuition.”
“Ah… you’re talking about back then.”
Two terrifying presences had flown across the sky in the blink of an eye. They flew beyond the clouds so they couldn’t even catch a glimpse of what these beings looked like, but one of them reminded Lee Jong-hak of something.
The Duke he met in Africa.
And the other was a being that was even more powerful. So much so that they were on a completely different level.
At that time, even Lee Jong-hak had trouble breathing as he felt the terrifying presence fly past. A few of the weaker hunters even directly fainted, foam dripping from their mouths.
“They came from the direction of Busan.”
Jong Ho stroked his chin slightly.
They felt an enormous presence appear in the sky above them.
Jong Ho looked up at the sky and sighed slightly.
“…that’s a frightening amount of pressure. However…”
“Yeah. That’s not a Demon.”
Nevertheless, neither of them relaxed or removed their hands from their swords.
However, when the owner of the immense pressure in the sky revealed themself, their expressions had no choice but to change.