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Joonbum watched the man carefully transfer a bit of the venom into a small plastic bottle. He remembered Doral’s explanation.
-Gartz regenerate quickly so arrows can’t really hurt them. Even penetrated wounds heal in the blink of an eye. They are really dangerous monsters. What’s most menacing about them is that they’re over 20 feet tall but they’re so fast that only a Galim at full speed can outrun them. No Ainos can survive an encounter with them without being prepared.-
-Yeah, but that chance is still close to none. They live in the far west. So the best way to hunt them is to use Zyelok venom to stop their regeneration first. A bunch of arrows with Zyelok venom slows down their regeneration for a while and paralyzes them. We can then thrust a spear into their head and it’ll be over. Also, we have to wait for the Zyelok poison to dissipate from their blood before gathering it to make healing potions.-
‘If we can kill it and gather the blood right away, it should be possible to create a top-grade potion instead of the high-grade potion they always make.’
That was the part that Joonbum was thinking about.
‘Would my weapons be enough? I think they should be powerful enough.’
Joonbum thought about the sniper rifle he had purchased before from Taesoo. It was a KSA-24 sniper rifle, made in Korea. It was strong enough to penetrate almost anything. The monster had a head the size of three watermelons combined. It was big enough for even Joonbum to aim at with his sniper rifle.
“Uh, I have a suggestion.”
The people who had been working hard to prepare the venom stopped and stared at him. Joonbum flushed and opened his mouth.
“I heard we can create top-grade healing potions if we don’t use the venom. Is that true?”
“Yes. We used all sorts of traps to kill the monster to make top-grade potions in the past. And we did make a lot of top-grade potions, but with huge casualties. So we figured it would be useless to acquire top-grade potions if we had no one left to use it on. That’s why we found an alternative and resorted to using Zyelok venom. It decreased the danger of hunting them, but the only downside is that we cannot make top-grade potions. And as you know, those high-grade potions also decrease in effectiveness with time, unlike the top-grade ones.”
Howen calmly explained it to Joonbum. It was not uncommon to have young ones ask such questions, and he had already prepared answers through experience. Joonbum nodded and glanced at everyone who was looking at him.
“I think my weapon will let us hunt the monster without using the venom.”
A chilly wind blew against Joonbum and Doral who were in white camouflage winter wear. They skillfully sent out a scouting drone to survey the area.
The hunting group for the Gartz departed towards the northwest and had already been walking for three days away from town. They were now within Gartz territory and they began scouting carefully, looking for traces of it.
“I don’t see anything around here,” Doral mumbled as he checked far away into the woods with the binoculars and then checked again with just his normal eyesight.
‘He can almost see better without binoculars…’
Joonbum marveled at the Ainos’ eyesight. They could see something as far as three miles away, and even the old men had better eyesight than Joonbum.
‘My eyesight has been getting better too.’
Joonbum and his mother, Sunsook Lee, were also becoming healthier as the days went by. Recent hospital check-ups showed that everything about them was in near perfect condition.
‘It’s a must to move into this place.’
There were no doubts about that.
A walkie-talkie that was in his chest pocket started ringing as Joonbum was deep in thought. Gazlow’s voice began transmitting from it.
“This is Gazlow. Gartz spotted. Gartz spotted. All scouts return to base camp immediately.”
Joonbum quickly recalled the drones. The time to hunt the Gartz was imminent. Joonbum quickly snatched the drones that returned and packed them into the bag. Doral took the lead to head back to the camp.
‘He’s good at finding paths without any signs.’
Traces of their passage had already been removed by the wind and it would’ve been hard for Joonbum to find his way back, but Doral seemed to be confident as to where they needed to go.
‘Well, they were born and raised on this mountain after all.’
After an hour-long jog, they were back at camp. Joonbum quickly glanced at the pedometer and learned that they had traveled nearly eight miles.
‘My stamina has gotten much better too.’
It took him about two and a half hours to walk a paved road of about five miles in the past. He was also drenched in sweat and out of breath by the time he was done.
‘I am no longer the pig I was before! Haha.’
He became proud of the fact that he just jogged eight miles on a snowy mountain path in just under an hour without much difficulty. However, he was still breathing more heavily than Doral who was in front of him.
‘I will catch up soon.’
People at the camp waved to them. Joonbum waved back.
“Come over here by the fire. It will warm you up.”
There was a bonfire at the camp where many warriors and leaders were sitting around. Howen waved to Joonbum.
“Come over this way.”
Joonbum walked to him with Doral. Gazlow, who was already there waiting, grinned at them.
“Well, since everyone’s here, Gazlow, report.”
“I have spotted a Gartz, one-hour walking distance from here, towards the north.”
“Is it alone?”
“Yes. Fully grown adult male. I’ve checked the area, but there aren’t any signs of more.”
“The rifle is very loud, but since there are no other Gartz around, I think we can give it a try. How about it?”
“I think the same.”
Tedrow, the warrior chief of the Green Leaves, spoke as he looked at Joonbum with a smile and Ogat’neh, the warrior chief of the Duran tribe, nodded in agreement. They looked at Howen for approval.
“Yes, we simulated this at our village before and it seemed very possible. Joonbum, are you willing to do it?”
Howen watched him in silence, but Joonbum knew that Howen trusted him, which made him feel very confident.
“Anyone from the Green Leaves that opposes this idea, please step out.”
Tedrow spoke in a low voice.
Ogat’neh also declared, “Durans, come out and say it if you have any problems.”
There was no one that opposed the plan. Howen then shouted in a loud voice.
“It has been decided. Joonbum will lead our hunt!”
All the warriors shouted in a synchronized chant. Joonbum felt all of his hair rising as if he was electrified at the sound. He felt his adrenaline rushing as he shouted together with them with his fist raised.
150 warriors were chosen to go on the hunt as 70 were left behind to defend the camp. The warriors moved quickly, arriving at the destination in just thirty minutes instead of an hour. Pree-an, who had been keeping watch on the Gartz, was waiting for them.
“This cloth is amazing. It covers me perfectly in the snow.”
Pree-an spoke in amazement in his camouflaged winter wear and Joonbum grinned with pride. Everyone turned their eyes toward the target. Joonbum took out his binoculars as he couldn’t make out anything that far; he only managed to see a moving spot in the snow. After focusing his binoculars, Joonbum was able to make out the monster stomping through the bushes, smashing and kicking the ground as if it were mad.
It was huge, with fearsome features.
‘People will pay a fortune for it if I bring it to Earth… It’s like an all-healing potion. Top-grade potions can even cure diseases so…’
It did have its limits as it could only be used once on a person.
‘But it can still save a life at least once. I will probably be filthy rich if I can bring in that monster alive.’
It was very possible with the technology on Earth. Just a few of these monsters would mean that a dedicated facility could be set up to create top-grade potions by gathering blood without even killing it. Joonbum daydreamed of becoming a billionaire with such an idea.
Doral poked him as Joonbum was grinning foolishly at nothing.
“What’s so funny? Be ready. It’s on you. Our lives are in your hands.”
Joonbum nodded quickly.
Some warriors from a distance started closing on the monster to lure it. Joonbum began looking for a good spot to position the rifle and prepare. He checked the trigger and changed the magazine. It was loaded with fifteen armor penetration rounds. When he was done, he put his hands into his pockets that had hot packs them to warm up his cold hands. When he lay down on the ground to assume his shooting position, Doral alerted him quietly.
The Gartz seemed to take an interest in the drone that had flown close to it and began running towards them.
‘In three… two…’
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