Episode 61

Imbalance Point (1)
3 weeks ago
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The task of mining enough Latheus Magnetite was completed with ease once the group at the entrance had been dealt with.

Kang-hoo had worried about the intricately set traps designed to deter intruders.

But it turned out he had overestimated them.

The traps that were clearly visible were almost laughably easy to avoid.

Of course, they seemed easy to Kang-hoo, but for another hunter, it might have been a different story.

Things went smoothly.

Nevertheless, some of the group had witnessed the battle and had headed back toward the entrance, a situation Kang-hoo noted.

Even if there were no issues here, there might be some when trying to leave the dungeon.

In an open-type dungeon, unlike a closed-type where the exit opens after completion, the entrance and exit are the same.

“Let’s think about that when the time comes.”

Kang-hoo put his worries aside.

There was no use in thinking about what might be at the entrance or how things could go wrong.

That would be dealt with when leaving, after checking and assessing the situation. Escape strategies could be formed then.

Kang-hoo called Ban Se-yeong over and shared the Magnetite with her.

He gave her the promised amount and took a little more than he had been commissioned for himself.

The battle at the entrance had been surprisingly easy, but Kang-hoo wasn’t heartless.

Even her mere presence likely deterred or inhibited some hunters from engaging in active combat.

Upon receiving the Magnetite from Kang-hoo, Ban Se-yeong bowed in gratitude.

“Thanks. I thought things were going to get tough.”

“Well, I also got to mine Magnetite without going far, so it’s a win-win.”

“Seon-kyu oppa.”

“Yeah?”

“Which organization are you with? You seem like you’d belong to a famous guild, right?”

Hunters often ask about affiliations first if they think someone has skills.

It’s a sort of prejudice, thinking that such a skilled hunter wouldn’t go unnoticed by the world.

Of course, there are skilled individuals who choose to work as mercenaries.

Ban Se-yeong, standing right in front of Kang-hoo, was one such case.

Despite her skills, which Kang-hoo recognized, she chose not to join a guild due to her ‘fatal weakness’.

Yet, to Kang-hoo, she seemed like a perfectly optimized support gunner.

Her accuracy with magical bullets was particularly impressive.

Unlike regular guns, firing a magic bullet involved accounting for mana flow, output, and air resistance.

Factors such as the target’s toughness and anti-magic resistance also had to be considered, complicating the task of landing a hit.

It was no surprise that gunners were highly valued in their profession.

At the same time, they were often viewed as inefficient. But she was an exception.

“No affiliation.”

“Really? With your skills, and you’re still unaffiliated?”

“It’s my choice.”

“That doesn’t make sense. In the fight earlier, you utilized a variety of skills in quick succession. How?”

Ban Se-yeong had assumed Kang-hoo was a hunter backed by substantial guild support.

She believed he must have had regular access to skill books, given the variety of his attacks.

But upon learning he was unattached, she narrowed her eyes, suspecting that something was amiss.

She considered the possibility that Kang-hoo was lying.

Yet, what reason would he have to lie about his affiliation?

“Looks like we’re done here. Would it be okay to get your number?”

Kang-hoo, who didn’t usually ask for numbers, made an exception this time.

His request wasn’t out of courtesy, but from the thought that her joining as support would greatly enhance team efficiency.

“I’d be happy to! But, do I really match up with oppa?”

Kang-hoo’s presence had already left Ban Se-yeong feeling quite intimidated.

If she had seen his level information, she might have wished to hide in a mouse hole.

In her mind, Kang-hoo was portrayed as a hunter of level 250 or possibly even higher.

“Whether we match or not, we’ll have to meet again and find out.”

“True.”

With that, Ban Se-yeong quickly jotted down her number in response to Kang-hoo’s candid request.

She quite liked Kang-hoo’s style—restrained yet communicative.

“Let’s meet again.”

Kang-hoo took her number and immediately left the scene.

There was no reason to stay at this now-deserted mining spot.

Now it was time to seek out the Imbalance Point.

The moment to benefit from the errors created by space-time and dimensions had come.


Meanwhile, at the same time.

Jang Si-hwan was continuously reviewing data about the mysterious figure who had taken Gong Tae-su’s left arm.

He was spending more time on this than usual, to the point where Chae Gwanhyeong jokingly teased him for his interest.

It was a combination of instinct and intuition.

Jang Si-hwan had always trusted his thoughts and feelings when it came to expanding his circle of useful colleagues and subordinates.

He felt that if there was even a hint of a connection, that person could become a significant ally.

Chae Gwanhyeong and the executives of the Jeonghwa Guild were prime examples of such connections.

The CCTV footage from the scene of Gong Tae-su’s ambush was inconclusive.

Therefore, Jang Si-hwan secured all available footage from buses, street cameras, and even rooftop cameras in the vicinity on that day.

After an initial filtering by his information team, they eliminated obvious civilians and hunters of the magic and healing types.

The categorization was easy, discernible by weapons and attire.

Furthermore, hunters affiliated with any guilds were excluded, as it was unlikely that they would target Gong Tae-su’s arm unless they were insane.

This way, Jang Si-hwan was compiling a list of potential mercenary suspects.

The hunter who cut off Gong Tae-su’s arm was undoubtedly a mercenary.

But then.

“Huh?”

A face, not widely known but familiar to Jang Si-hwan, appeared on the screen.

The face was familiar, but the memory was not immediate. Why was that?

He redirected his thoughts to the past.

“Ah, the observation deck?”

Then it came back to him.

The hunter had sat beside him at the observation deck.

The hunter whose expression remained unchanged even after seeing him.

His first impression stood out from other hunters, and that hunter’s face was now captured on video.

“Heh… he moved alone. Armed with a dagger? And he even chose the rooftop over a convenient bus?”

Jang Si-hwan’s lips curled up in amusement.

It was Kang-hoo, caught on a CCTV that had inadvertently turned due to a loose joint.

With the high resolution, Kang-hoo’s brief appearance on the screen allowed for easy recognition of his face.

Of course, hunters with strong jumping abilities often hopped between buildings, either in pursuit or flight.

However, doing so for fun was uncommon, and there was another suspicious point.

At that time, Gong Tae-su was traveling on a bus on the road.

Meaning, the route Kang-hoo took in the video closely mirrored the bus’s.

“Hey, this is getting interesting.”

The thought that the man who had severed Gong Tae-su’s left arm might be this very person sparked Jang Si-hwan’s curiosity.

The man from the observation deck, who had intrigued him from their first meeting, was now increasingly likely to be the hunter targeting Gong Tae-su.


Meanwhile.

“The dungeons are vast, and there are many crazies.”

Kang-hoo had just dispatched two hunters who had been tailing him, attempting a surprise attack. He was now examining the list of constellations they had acquired.

[Great Dictator]
[Solo play grants an additional 10% experience. Health recovery speed is doubled.]
[Desert Fox]
[In desert terrain dungeons, grants an additional 25% experience. Health recovery speed is doubled.]

Initially, Kang-hoo had assumed the two hunters were a couple or twins because their constellations were so alike.

Regardless.

The Great Dictator constellation synergized well with Kang-hoo, who almost always played solo.

And the Desert Fox was an efficient constellation for those who frequented desert-type dungeons.

It was pathetic how these two, despite possessing such constellations, had died in a cowardly ambush.

“Even gave me items before dying; they were like trees generously giving fruit.”

Kang-hoo collected items worth 1 billion Won from the two hunters.

Since they were mana-related items, they were useless to him, so he planned to sell them to Lee Ye-rin later.

After the brief commotion.

Kang-hoo, back on his original path, quickly located his destination, recalling the content of the story.

The Imbalance Point was hidden in a place one could never find without a clear memory of the original story.

“There it is.”

It became visible.

A scene that couldn’t be seen without close observation became identifiable to one who knew where the error lay.

Among the dense forest trees swaying in the wind, there was one whose branches moved in the opposite direction.

Being a product of the system and data, the dungeon had this kind of error in its creation.

Among hundreds of trees, only this one branch defied the natural course.

A hidden space to activate the Imbalance Point lay behind that tree.

Since the space was transparent, one would never guess the existence of the Imbalance Point without prior knowledge.

‘It’s like spiritual medicine in martial arts novels or mandragora in fantasy novels. Exclusive to the protagonist.’

Imbalance Points carried such significance, serving as a turning point to aid the protagonist’s rapid growth.

In the original story, Jang Si-hwan regularly enjoyed the benefits of every Imbalance Point.

But that was no longer the case.

Approaching the spot, Kang-hoo extended his hand into the air, slowly releasing mana.

He was also ready to consume Solarkium if the strain became too much.

He could tolerate a moderate headache, but if the pressure intensified beyond that, he planned to consume it.

Wooong. Wooong. Wooong.

The once-transparent space began to overlay with an opaque sky-blue as Kang-hoo infused mana into it.

For a brief moment, the Imbalance Point devoured a whopping 100 mana.

Fortunately, Kang-hoo had an almost infinite supply of mana; otherwise, the attempt would have ended there.

How much time had passed?

The energy in the space, now a vivid sky blue, began to swirl around Kang-hoo.

Shaaaaa!

It was quickly absorbed into Kang-hoo’s body as if drawn by a magnet, happening in an instant.

And then,

[Level Up!]
[Shin Kang-hoo Lv. 55]
[Level Up!]
[Shin Kang-hoo Lv. 56]
[Level Up!]
[Shin Kang-hoo Lv. 57]

The level information in the status window updated continuously, rapidly climbing in numbers.

It marked the beginning of an experience point bonanza!

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