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An expression of disbelief crossed the female magician’s face as she looked up at me with eyes full of fear. Looking down at her with nonchalant eyes, I exchanged gazes with her, noting her beauty with her typical cat eye makeup. I saw her trembling and could feel a sense of déjà vu.
I once dabbled in this line of work in my 1st time around. There weren’t many people who knew me as a person in comparison to my activities, but those who knew me called me the ‘Vagrant Hunter.’
Later, the boundaries between existing users and vagrants blurred. However, the original image of vagrants invoked negative connotations such as murder, robbery, and rape. As the activities of the vagrants became worse, the existing users made a secret clan: a group of users who hunted vagrants. Vagrant hunters referred to the clan of users who expertly hunted vagrants.
The clan didn’t care what they did, as long as the opponents were vagrants. It didn’t matter if they implemented slavery, human experimentation, murder, or rape. If the opponent was a vagrant, the clan member was entitled to forgiveness no matter what they did. Longtime existing users were aware of the situation and tended to avoid the hunters who were in the clan.
I participated in this activity for a while and completed jobs for the clan, drenching my past self’s sword in the blood of vagrants. However, since she had some good skills, I was still curious about the information of the magician.
Name: Lee Bomi (Year 0)
[Strength: 36] [Endurance: 28] [Agility: 42] [Stamina: 34] [Magic Power: 62] [Luck: 40]
As I expected, she was a user who was less than a year old, seeing as she had less experience as a vagrant. Looking at her stats, she could be classified as a magician. While Hyun, Sol, and Yoojung were outstanding, Lee Bomi’s stats definitely exceeded the average. If I had met her in the Rite of Passage, I might’ve considered recruiting her; however, Lee Bomi was now a vagrant who had tried to kill us.
Lee Bomi let out a shriek as she felt my killing intent. The binding gradually loosened and her fingers trembled as I slowly raised my blood soaked blade.
The woman spoke in a desperate voice as she realized that death had come before her eyes, “S-Spare me!”
I looked at the kids who were watching blankly and said,
“Look, you can do it if you try. In any case, this battle was fine. You’ve had experience fighting with users, but this battle was different from what you were used to. Of course, there were some lacking parts, but… overall, it was okay.”
“I’ll do whatever you tell me to! Please! Aren’t we both people from South Korea? Yes? I’m not like this because I want to. Please, please…!”
The faces of the kids changed subtly as Lee Bomi rambled on. They were glad to hear my praise, but their faces looked terrible as they heard the woman screaming. I continued to thoroughly ignore Lee Bomi.
“But you shouldn’t only be good with the familiar battles. Of course, this flaw will be solved once you build up some experience in the future. Just don’t panic and do what you usually do. As I said before, never show mercy when you deal with vagrants. If you leave such annoying people alive… ah. Wait a minute. It’s getting too loud.”
“I’ll give you everything! If you like, even my body, no, I will even be your slave…kueek!”
She closed her mouth as my sword was placed up against her neck. Lee Bomi screamed as the sword’s edge sliced across her neck, causing her to cough up blood by the mouthful.
I lifted the sword and flicked the blood off of it as the kids’ surprised voices could be heard in the background. During the 1st round, I developed a habit from my time working as a vagrant hunter. This was just out of habit. While I only unthinkingly acted like I used to in the Hall Plain, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of distance from the kids.
I ignored the woman’s limp head and looked at the kids.
* * *
The sun went down past the horizon, its light completely disappearing and the darkness gradually encroaching upon the surroundings. Judging from the distance, it was time to stop. It wasn’t a distance that could be covered in a day or two, but I decided not to be too hasty.
Certainly, the kids were growing as they experienced more combat. It was hard to be perfect, but they never made any mistakes similar to the ones they made in the beginning. Today, we experienced six battles in the forest. If it weren’t for the last battle, we could’ve moved further today.
I looked at An Hyun, who was moaning on the forest floor. Above An Hyun was a sweaty Sol, who was chanting a healing spell. Hyun’s body was covered with the scars of wolf bites the result of a raid by 16 wild, black-forest wolves. Half of them, an entire eight wolves, had rushed at An Hyun. However, it was hard to blame him since it was a sudden attack. He thought they would break through to Sol, so he took desperate risks.
Wolves originally weren’t tough opponents, but the aggression and agility of these ones were different because they received the Black Forest’s buff. In the midst of their biting, An Hyun showed appropriate battlefield coordination with the team, managing to knock down eight of them. But after the end of the battle, he couldn’t avoid falling down, covered in blood.
I took out a healing potion and applied half of it to his body and half of it to his neck. Sol was shedding tears, so Cure was taking longer than necessary. Anyway, these wounds were normal in the Hall Plain. Because I took the appropriate measures with the potion, adding onto the fact that there was a priest, there was no fear that An Hyun would lose his life.
Anyway, after finishing the treatment, An Hyun sat up while Yoojung sighed with relief.
“Hoo… Fool. I’m glad.”
“I don’t know if you’re praising or insulting me.”
“Are you worried?”
“Hyung, did the sun set in the east today?”
Yoojung glared at An Hyun as she realized that he was teasing her. I looked at the two of them arguing and shook my head.
“How are you feeling?”
“…Recovered, I guess. There’s still some residual pain, but I won’t have any problems moving.”
“Then the battles can’t continue on for today. The sun has set, so maybe we should prepare a campsite here. Anyway, you’ve suffered. You did well.”
“It was hard work. Without Hyung being there, I probably would’ve collapsed.”
He seemed to have noticed that I was helping him, causing him to swing his spear without any hesitation. No matter how many wolves emerged, they weren’t a big threat to me. Nevertheless, there was no reason to not let An Hyun deal with them.
If he was wounded in combat and recovered, he could increase his endurance stat. In addition, there was a possibility that it might awaken the latent ability ‘Can’t Fall Down.’ An Hyun might be suffering now, but he would surely be rewarded in the future.
They had fought six times today, so I thought that was enough. At my words, everyone prepared for camping, save for An Hyun. He took the bag that Sol was carrying and rummaged through it for a magic power stone.
He swept up the leaves and grass on the ground, while Yoojung opened her mouth,
“Oppa, then are we sleeping in the forest today?”
“Nothing. Isn’t it a bit risky? Monsters might attack at night. I will be nervous if I have to stand guard alone.”
“Yes, I bought a magic power stone for camping, so it will be okay.”
Fortunately, the kids didn’t show any reluctance to talk to me after I killed Lee Bomi. Of course, they might just be pretending. I had killed a person casually without a second thought, so it would be quite annoying if they were too scared. However, the User Academy had thoroughly trained them so the worrying atmosphere from the Rite of Passage didn’t emerge.
Yoojung’s face changed as she heard about the magic power stone. She looked between her weapons, her backpack, the water bottles, and the magic power stone before opening her mouth with a confused expression,
“What is it now? Is it urgent? If not, help me prepare the campsite.”
“Nothing. That’s not it. It isn’t urgent, just… where did you get all of this?”
Yoojung spoke in a matter of fact tone as she pointed one by one.
“Weapon. Lodging expenses. Backpack. Magic power stone. Potions. And so on. The money we gave Oppa and your wage should only be around 10 gold or so? In addition, magic power stones are unbelievably expensive…”
“The magic power stone used for camping isn’t that expensive. It just has enough energy to drive away monsters. In addition, the quality isn’t that good.”
“Still, no matter how I think about it, all of this should be more than 10 gold. Where did you get the money?”
As soon as Yoojung finished, An Hyun and Sol also looked over. I wanted to roughly pass over it, but decided to answer when I saw their curious expressions. I opened my mouth and spoke in a nonchalant voice as I placed four magic power stones around the campground.
“The User Academy.”
“Academy? Did you receive extra money because of your excellent training results?”
“No, I got it when I received offers from the clans.”
“Huh? But Oppa refused. Yet you still got money?”
“Hyung, you still accepted the money despite refusing?”
Yoojung and Hyun asked alternately, making me sigh again. The kids flinched upon hearing it. It seemed that they still remembered when I first got angry. Yoojung stopped asking at my sigh and An Hyun scratched his head with worry.
I licked my lips and said,
“In a sense, it’s like a favor; it’s just in case I change my mind later. It’s a simple gift to them, so there’s no reason to refuse.”
What was with the ‘ohu’? It was a rough excuse, but the kids seemed to understand. I didn’t feel comfortable every time I lied to them. But I couldn’t talk about my past, so I just answered with a calm expression.
“You might think that it is better to not receive it. However, it isn’t like they can’t afford it-after all, they didn’t give that much anyways. If we don’t get any results compared to what I invested in this expedition, then we might not be able to eat meals or stay at inns in the future.”
“Yes, it is heavy. Yes, I don’t like it. However, take a closer look at the belongings of the vagrants. We have to do many things that we don’t like.”
The dark scorpions and wolves didn’t give those those killed them any money. Among the monsters, there were those who gave money and those who didn’t. Vagrants liked killing users because they could earn a lot of money in one shot, compared to the users hunting monsters. On the contrary, if the users killed the vagrants, then we could get a pretty good profit.
Honestly, if it weren’t for the kids, I would’ve stripped the vagrants down until they only had their underwear left. But the kids were watching, so I just took the things that seemed appropriate. It seemed that I couldn’t abandon the unconscious habits from my 1st turn at life so easily.
“Remember this: gold coins don’t grow on trees. Anyways, we’ll rest for the today and start again tomorrow. Get ready for camping.”
As An Hyun went to bed, I reached into my backpack. It seemed a bit heavier after I removed items from the vagrants.
I placed my hand inside and pulled out a sleeping roll while Yoojung and Sol prepared dinner. Both of them seemed exhausted, but they didn’t receive a large shock. There were still many things to fix, but I thought that I could rest assured for now.
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