Chapter 19: Awakening

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His chakra alone was something alright. 

Kanghyun constantly felt inferior to Jiwoo while working with him.
He would’ve broken down many times if Taein had not been there.
Because of Taein’s presence, Kanghyun was able to reassure himself that he was still considered above average.

Jiwoo was like a monster. 

Every Hunter could hold a certain amount of chakra.
However, Kanghyun never thought about that before he met Jiwoo.
Hunters raised their chakra proficiency by increasing their chakra levels.
Their attack and defense would also go up in response.
That was all Kanghyun knew about the topic.
He did not try to understand the limitations to a Hunter’s chakra. 

When Hunters ran out of chakra, they had to wait until it was recovered again.
In a similar sense, Dealers also required a recharge period when they attacked monsters using chakra.
They needed time to recover their consumed chakra so they could keep fighting.

F-rank Dealers with a base attack stat of 200 could deal 200 raw damage in a single attack.
This excludes any buffs they receive from their chakra level and the attack amplifiers from their weapons.

The average Long-distance Dealer needed 20 seconds to recharge.
In an hour, Dealers could inflict 36,000 damage for 180 hits they get in.
Close-combatants were known to deal roughly three times more damage than Long-distance Dealers.
It took them about seven seconds to recharge.

The number of Hunters that could enter the swamp was limited to 10 people as such they could not simply throw in anyone at any given time.
Therefore, the time it took to clear a raid could take longer or shorter depending on the members.

For a 5th-class swamp, one Tanker, two Close-combatants, and seven Long-distance Dealers would engage in battle.
In some cases, only the Dealers fought which was possible for higher-level Hunters.
Close-combatants and Long-distance Dealers could switch weapons and positions as well.
However, once they settled on a position, they rarely changed it after they entered the swamp as problems could arise.

Even if the assault team had an inexperienced Hunter, they would still succeed in hunting a 3 million HP monster from the 5th-class swamp without a hitch.
The raid’s success would not be at stake.
It just took longer for those types of Hunters. 

Having an E-rank and D-rank Dealer among them would drastically reduce the clear time as well.
Furthermore, they could finish the raid within three to four hours if they put to use their chakra control and attack amplifiers.
It was also not impossible to do a raid solo if they were asked to do so.

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‘But if Jiwoo didn’t need to recharge…’

‘Which shouldn’t be possible when even an A-rank Hunter needed a recovery period.’

‘What is…he?’ 

That curious thought had already raised expectations.
In all honesty, they looked down on Jiwoo before because of his low stats.
Now they didn’t.
Solo raids would be difficult for him indeed, however, there was no doubt in their minds that Jiwoo would pull his weight if he somehow managed to squeeze into a raid.

While Kanghyun was lost in his thoughts, Gyutae approached the monster first to examine its body.

“Hmm, this is interesting.”

Gyutae showed the fatally wounded monster to them before he started dissecting it.

“You’ll learn a lot from examining carcasses.
This is one example of a case where a raid was completed at record speed.”

Gyutae pointed to the monster’s knees and chin with his cane.

“Don’t the wounds in both places appear almost the same? It’s likely they came from the same weapon.
The Hunter attacked in a continuous fluid motion.
He hit the knee first, Yoko then fell down from that attack.
You do know that this thing is called a Yoko, right?”

The surgeon looked at Kanghyun and Jiwoo back and forth.
He wondered if he overestimated his students and skipped too many parts in his explanation.
But then he realized he was supposed to be teaching Taein and so he turned to him.

The three repeated its name almost simultaneously.

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“It wasn’t known to be a common creature before but it’s been discovered a lot in swamps lately.
Some Japanese kids found it first and named it Yoko so that was the name that stuck.” 

“I see they intended to share this information?” Jiwoo asked.

“This is info that everyone would find out eventually.
They wanted to boast that they had made a contribution to an educational cause.
Information would never be shared unless there is profit to be made.”

Understandably so.

“For starters, the weapon must’ve been an excellent dagger.
Personally, I’m curious as to who killed this monster.
A person who wields a short knife like this tends to be aggressive when it comes to interpersonal relationships in real life.
They’re the fearless type who don’t think much and run after something the moment they see the chance.
They confronted their enemy with a knife this size.
They wouldn’t be able to maintain their distance and have to keep pressuring it until the end.
Their mindset is different from a bow user.”

Gyutae looked at Jiwoo then at Taein.
At some point, Taein came last in his thoughts.

“I believe they attacked it like this.”

Gyutae crouched down and aimed for Taein’s knee, hitting it then grabbing his shoulder to pull him down.

“Yoko was attacked in the knees, it bent down or toppled over as a result.
Our Hunter would have targeted its neck with a series of consecutive attacks at that moment.
Let’s see the direction.
Hmm, that’s pretty much it.
They hacked the knee, changed their grip on the knife, then immediately stabbed it in the neck.
Yoko must have been in intense pain before it collapsed.
The other Dealers would’ve joined in the attack too.
It was a one-sided beatdown.
I’ll give a point each to their agility.
I’m curious about this Hunter though.
This is how you should fight in battles.”

“It’s most likely a Tanker not a Dealer.” Kanghyun said.

“I’m inclined to think that as well.
Now then, I’ll start dissecting in a minute.
If there’s anything else you need to look at, hurry up and do so.”

Gyutae rushed them so they could keep their schedules on track.
Jiwoo was shocked at how the surgeon deduced the way the Hunter attacked from examining its corpse.

“That was like an autopsy.”

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“It’s not like I only participated in one or two raids.
I’ve seen a lot of weapons that people have used.”

Gyutae spoke of it as if it were nothing, but no one saw it that way.
He had wasted a lot of time by unintentionally demonstrating “an autopsy.” Gyutae focused his attention on the dissection.
Fortunately, it didn’t take much time since it wasn’t that big of a creature. 

Jiwoo watched and imitated the way Gyutae held the knife.
When Gyutae took a step backward, he secretly did the same.
The surgeon saw what he was doing but pretended not to notice.

Normally, they would transport the corpses after the surgeon amputated them and filled up the body packs.
But their team worked a bit differently.
They could do so because their job didn’t require them to do work beforehand.
They didn’t have more work later in the day either.

Gyutae was helping them out.
The three Hunters wanted to learn more from him since they knew these lessons would aid them later on.
But they had to reduce the time they took to transport the corpses out of the swamp.
They also worked harder after hearing Gyutae was paid by performance.
The Hunters transported the carcasses as soon as the body packs were on sight.
If they had time leftover, they would take a break or get additional lessons.

Gyutae taught them about the maps as well.

“The size of the map varies from swamp to swamp.
The environment also varies.
Not all places Yoko appears in have the same environment.
If the map is big, obviously the raid becomes tricky too.
That said, you could exhaust the monster.
A crisis can turn into one’s fortune.
A Hunter’s disadvantage can also be a monster’s disadvantage.”

If Jiwoo had heard this from anyone else, he would’ve just thought they were trying to be slick with their words.
But it sounded touching when it came from Gyutae.

“If you find yourself in a certain situation, it’s best to think positively and find a way to twist things in your favor.
You can use the terrain to come up with many types of strategies.”

Every piece of information was thoroughly absorbed.
The three low-level Hunters stuck close together all while smelling their own sweat so they could listen in and not miss a word.

“In bullfighting, the bull and the matador face off in a ring.
There’s something called a Querencia which is a spot where the bull runs back to rest.
It’s an important place for the bull to recharge its energy.
This in turn helps the bull make its stand again.
Now if we were to view things in the matador’s perspective…”

“We can jump the bull in its Querencia since it’ll be off guard.” Kanghyun added.

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“It does sound cruel but yes, that’s right.
You can’t pity others when you’re in battle.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the map, you’ll be able to find the monster’s Querencia.
While you catch your breath, you can figure out where the monster goes and where it feels the safest.
You can use that tactic then.”

Gyutae looked around after he said that.

“Yoko’s Querencia must have been there.”

There were exceptionally a lot of dented marks where Gyutae pointed to.

“It’s a sign that it was making its defensive stand.
The extensive marks in that spot meant Yoko felt comfortable there.
Its body headed there out of habit.
If you have 10 seconds to rest, where would you naturally go? It’s often best to think from the perspective of the monster.
Let’s start heading out.”

As Gyutae took his leave, the Hunters took another look at Yoko’s Querencia before leaving the swamp.

“Look at the dent.
It’s no joke.” Kanghyun said.

He could feel a great deal of energy.

“Let’s go now.
We still have a lot of swamps we need to get through.” Jiwoo replied.

This was a lesson they could not learn anywhere else even if they paid for private tutoring. 

The day went by in a flash without them realizing it.
When they left, they didn’t have the energy to wave goodbye.
But they were all in a pleasant mood.

Jiwoo always checked the deposited money after he finished work.
He saw 570,000 won deposited into his account.
Whether it was paid in advance or at a subsequent time, there was a reason behind any bonus.

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