Apocalypse Hunter Chapter 39-40-41

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< create="" own="" request="" if="" there="" is="" none="" (part="" 1)="">

The vegabond left, but Zin and Leona decided to stay at the base until the storm died down. Zin was not sure if the vegabond would head to the BH or somewhere else. Leona was feeling uneasy for a while, and ended up speaking up about her experience.

"I… I was able to feel his emotions."

"You felt it?"

"Yeah, it was… as if I was able to read his mind. What is this about?"

Leona had a gloomy look on her face.

"You were able to look into the vegabond's mind."

He didn't tell her that she was able to do so because she was a witch. Leona became gloomy and dropped her head down.

I suppose she can't use her power of her own will.

Whether it was fortunate or unfortunate, Leona was not able to utilize her powers freely yet.

All vegabonds were powerful monsters, but this vegabond used power far superior to other, ordinary vegabonds. And the fact that Leona was able to enter the mind of a monster at the vegabond's level meant that Leona had an extraordinary dormant power within her.

It was even more formidable because she was able to read the mind of a monster that used to be a human.

Zin wondered if Leona knew about the fact. Leona was in a gloomy mood for a while, and didn't speak.

"The storm should die down by tomorrow. Let's leave tomorrow."

"Okay."

Zin changed the subject on purpose, and Leona noticed it, but she didn't speak any further. The vegabond left for some destination, and Zin a.s.sumed that he went towards the BH.

I hope I don't come across him again…

But Zin had a strong feeling that he would meet the vegabond again. Zin, a hunter and a devil hunter, always came across many monsters that he didn't want to meet.

The storm weakened, and as the wind calmed down, the two left the base. Leona was sick and tired of the bas.e.m.e.nt, and she walked quickly to release her pent-up energy. Zin also picked up his pace. The air was humid after the storm, but it was bearable for them.

And as Leona walked through the wilderness, she made many silly gestures.

"Mister! Look! It's an umbrella!"

Leona used a giant leaf of a mutated tree as an umbrella, and she became very happy because it provided her with shade.

"You are acting all silly now…"

"What's wrong? It's keeping me cool."

Leona walked around with the giant leaf with joy, but after thirty minutes, she threw away the leaf.

"c.r.a.p! It's too heavy!"

Leona kept herself busy and entertained even though Zin did not respond to her much. As a kid, she was able to find things to do that would keep her busy. And even though it was a long journey, it seemed like the time flew by pretty quick. Seven days after the storm went away, Zin and Leona were able to reach the northern part of the Korean peninsula.

—bang!—

As soon as the sharp gunshot fired off, the bullet struck the head of a red bear. The red bear was three times the size of a regular bear, and Zin only needed a single shot to take down the bear. Zin slowly put away his M700.

"Looks like we're pretty far up north. I haven't seen any ghouls or poisonous dogs for a while."

"Does that mean we're going to see different monsters?"

"Yeah, it's more dangerous. But as long as we spot them first, there is nothing to be worried about."

The red bear was a monster with burning red fur, and it was powerful enough to take down dozens of poisonous dogs or ghoul by itself.

However, it was sniped down with a 7.62mm bullet while taking a nap in the shade. Zin and Leona started to walk up the hill where the red bear was lying dead. A stronger monster produced more chips, and there was another important fact.

"That is a pretty delicious monster."

"Really? How good is it?"

"It smells slightly, but its taste is similar to a cow's meat."

"Wow! Awesome!"

Leona got excited and jumped with joy. They had not been able to stop by any village, and they have been eating corpse hunter for a while. The meat of the ghouls, birds, and monsters all tasted the same... rotten.

"I was getting worried because I was getting too used to the rotten taste."

Leona was sad that she was getting used to eating such bad-tasting meat. However, because she had been eating well, she gained some weight and looked healthier. She was looking sharp, and was growing up as a kid.

And, Zin was satisfied about hunting the red bear. As Leona looked at Zin, he pointed at the bear.

"The gallbladders are very expensive."

"What is a gallbladder?"

"It's an internal organ."

"Gallbladder? It sounds very bitter."

"It is very bitter in taste."

"Something bitter is expensive? Why?"

"Well, I'm not sure, but there's plenty of demand for it."

"What a strange world."

Along with the chip that could be extracted, the gallbladder could be sold for some good profit. Zin would be able to sell it for at least 20 chips, and he would be able to sell it for 100 chips to lords who were very conscientious about their health.

Zin thought how much he would profit by hunting a red bear using a single bullet. Zin was getting happy at the thought. As he continued to climb the mountain, he looked out for the surroundings. He figured that there might be one or more red bears living around here.

And then something unexpected happened as they were about twenty steps away from the dead bear.

—vwooom!—

"What!?"

The red bear was sucked under the ground and it disappeared in a split second. Leona was surprised, and so was Zin. At the spot where the bear disappeared, there was a hole that looked like an ant lion's pit.

Leona looked at Zin who was in shock, and asked him, "Mister… this… Did we get robbed?"

They were robbed of their prize. They were robbed in broad daylight. With disbelief, Zin kept on looking at the ant lion's pit for a while.

It was a disgrace for a hunter to get robbed of his prize that he hunted down. However, this time around, the situation was a bit dicey.

"It's a cave ant."

"What's a cave ant?"

"They are ants that dig tunnels and live inside it. They rarely come out of the ground."

Zin explained to Leona as he looked at the sunken ground. Zin was still in shock, and couldn't speak for a while.

"They dig a tunnel close to the surface, and when the prey pa.s.ses above the tunnel, several ants attack and shred the prey."

As Zin spoke, Leona looked at the ground in fear.

"What? Does that mean we are in danger as well?"

"They will not hunt anything alive unless they are very hungry… They usually steal dead monsters."

The cave ants usually stole the bodies of monsters or humans that were killed in a battle. They were risk-averse monsters. And therefore, Zin was not worried about the cave ants too much.

"Well, aren't they some sc.u.mbags?"

They could not deny the fact that they were robbed. Leona was very upset by the fact that her delicious meal was robbed, and Zin was shaking in anger, as he was robbed of his chips and gallbladder.

The cave ants moved at a great speed inside the tunnels. They were probably carrying the dead body somewhere underneath.

Zin murmured with a serious look on his face, "A witch can control monsters with her psychowave."

"Huh? Why is that…?"

Zin laid his hands on the both shoulders of Leona, and looked straight into her eyes.

"Control the cave ants and bring them over here. No, you just need to locate them. If you can control them, that will be even better. If you can locate them, let me know. It will be worth the try."

"Hmm?"

"Hurry!"

Zin was fuming in anger, and Leona had never seen Zin get so mad. Zin pulled out his NTW-20 and started loading ammunition. Although the sh.e.l.l of the cave ants were thick, the ammo was strong enough to pierce through them.

—clack!—

"I am going to kill them all."

Zin was planning to kill them at point-blank range with the ma.s.sive rifle.

Leona was not sure what she needed to do, but she closed her eyes, and started to concentrate.

Thirty minutes pa.s.sed by.

"I don't know."

Leona shook her head as she was getting tired.

"Anything you sense?"

"No, I am lost."

Leona was lost as she did not know what she had to do, and she was getting tired as she tried focusing her energy. Leona tried to sense the monsters for a while.

"… Now I feel like peeing."

As if her concentration had affected her bladder, she ran away to somewhere remote. As Leona as struggling, Zin was able to regain his composure. And as he looked at the giant NTW-20 rifle in his hand, he came back to his senses.

"… I got too upset."

He was reacting irrationally, as using a giant rifle was very inefficient. Acting furious and irrational was not the way that a wise hunter would act.

Even if he could sell the gallbladder expensively, at most, he lost out on about 150 chips. Zin took a deep breath to calm himself.

150 chips… 150 hours…

It took a while for Zin to unload the ammo from the rifle, and put it all away.

He thought that he could always hunt other red bears, and he had only used up a single 7.62mm bullet.

When Leona came back, Zin was talking to himself repeatedly to calm down.

"Let's go."

"What's with that face, mister?"

"Hmm? What's wrong with me?"

"You look so ready to kill anything."

Zin had a very dead serious look in his face. Humans were agitated easily at misfortunes, and it was no different for a teenager or a two hundred year-old hunter. Leona laughed as she poked Zin's side.

"Well, let it go, things happen, you know."

"… that doesn't feel too great, getting advice from a kid."

"We still have something to eat, you know? I mean, I was a bit sad that I am going to miss out on good-tasting meat."

Leona was trying to cheer up Zin, and she said things out of the norm. And Zin smiled bitterly looking at Leona who was trying hard.

"Let's go!"

Leona started running, and Zin spoke.

"It's not that way. It's this way."

"Ah! You are right!"

Zin pointed out that Leona was heading in the wrong direction, and she scratched her head and smiled.

They pa.s.sed the mountains, and along the way, Leona spoke again.

"I'm sorry."

She sounded down a bit.

"What do you mean?"

"Sorry, I couldn't help."

At the moment, Zin realized why Leona was trying to cheer him up. Zin talked to Leona who was feeling down.

"No, I'm sorry."

"Why are you sorry, mister?"

"Sorry for asking you to do something strange."

"…" Leona dropped her head down, and tried to hide her smile.

"It's okay…" As Leona replied, she felt something swell up inside her heart, but she was not able to figure out what it was.

< create="" own="" request="" if="" there's="" none="" (part="" 2)="">

As Zin and Leona walked past the mountainous area, they spotted several holes that looked like ant lion pits.

"It looks like the cave ants have been living in this area for a while."

"Ugh, disgusting."

Similar to the regular ants, cave ants formed colonies. As Leona imagined thousands of cave ants crawling underground through the tunnels, she became scared.

"Hmm…"

As they went over one mountain, Zin checked the map.

"If we go north from here, we'll reach a building that used to be a prison. I haven't been there, but it probably turned into a habitat. We will get there within today so let's rest up at that place."

"Sounds good."

Up north was a building that used to be a concentration camp for political prisoners. Such places were easily converted into villages. It was very likely that those places were converted into points or castles because such places with buildings were scarce.

Because Zin and Leona had been on the road for a long time, they wanted to eat a good meal.

And Leona did not have much trouble travelling through the mountains, as she was lightweight.

"Mister, so, are we not going to be able to hunt that cave ant?" After walking for a long time, Leona asked the question curiously.

Zin was extremely upset about the loss, but he didn't actively try to hunt the cave ants. That probably meant that it was near impossible to hunt them, and Leona was curious. Zin shook his head.

"I could hunt them, but it would take a lot of preparation, and it's not worth it."

"Why is that?"

"Hmm… The cave ants can dig tunnels hundreds of yards below the ground. They can crush through rocks to dig tunnels. I can exterminate them, but it will be tough to extract the chips. The tunnels that the cave ants go through are not wide enough for me to crawl through. And even if I'm able to go inside the tunnel, it'll be crazy to fight against the cave ants inside the tunnel."

"Well, they are one annoying group of insects."

"Yes, they are."

So Zin did not recklessly force himself to hunt the cave ants inside the tunnel. It was better for him to let this one go than try to force it.

"Hunters don't hunt every monster. They only hunt those that return a profit. I hunt cave ants only when there are requests to hunt them. If there's no request, it's best to not even worry about it."

It was a very practical view, and it was the only way the hunters thought.

"I see!"

As Leona kept the teaching in mind, she nodded vigorously. There were monsters that were tough to handle, yet had hardly any chips. Hunters didn't like handling tough monsters, but they wanted to hunt weak monsters that yielded many chips.

People had many misconceptions about the hunters, but hunters were human, after all. Cave ants were hard to deal with. They were not worth the effort unless there were requests.

Wait a minute, I've got an idea.

Zin slowly nodded as if he thought of something. "I hope there's a village where we stay. And I hope they have enough chips."

"Why? We don't even have gallbladders to sell."

"… stop talking about it. It hurts."

As Leona pointed out the truth, Zin frowned and started murmuring to himself. Leona asked again, "Then what's the plan?"

"… There will be a request from the villagers for sure."

"How can you be so sure?"

Zin started walking forward as he smiled.

"There may be none. But if there's none, we could create some."

"You are going to create requests?"

"If there's none, you gotta find a way to create some."

Zin was all smiles as he continued to walk, and he appeared to have forgotten about the red bear incident. Leona could not understand what gibberish Zin was talking about. She shook her head, and then shouted out in a hurry, "Mister! Slow down!"

Leona had to sprint to catch up Zin, who was walking too fast.

The camp that they arrived at was on a basin in between the mountains. It was surrounded with a wall that was about twenty feet high. The wall looked st.u.r.dy, and the land inside was cultivated for food.

"Wow, there is a village!"

Walking down the hill, Leona was surprised to see a village as Zin had foretold. Leona was amazed at how Zin was able to predict things.

"What happens if they don't allow us in?

People in the castles were usually unwelcoming, and they usually rejected suspicious-looking people.

"We gotta make them accept us."

Zin talked as if he had some plan. The castle in front of them seemed to have at least 500 villagers. Zin quickly scouted to check for their defenses.

No firearms, but they are all armed with crossbows…

On top of the walls, they had ballistae to defend against large monsters, in lieu of firearms. This meant that there were craftsmen who built such weapons.

The castle appeared to be on high alert, as the weapons were guarded very well.

As Zin and Leona approached the castle, the people outside the walls were getting cautious. They held their positions, and someone started walking towards Zin and Leona.

"Who are you? I haven't seen you around here."

A guard who was armed with a crossbow slowly approached them. He was not aiming at them, but the bolt loaded on the crossbow meant that he was ready to fire at Zin at any given time.

"I am a hunter, and I'd like to rest up at the castle. And I can talk if needed."

Zin was unarmed, as he put all his weapons into void storage. The guard nodded.

"I will ask the command center. Wait here," the guard ordered the others, who were quite nervous with the appearance of a stranger, and ran towards the wall. A lord was in charge of a castle, and held most of the power. The guards were also given power. In this castle, it seemed like the guards were keeping the villagers under control.

"Hey there, don't stand idle, start working again!"

At the shouts of the guard, everybody resumed working in the fields, keeping an eye on Zin and Leona as well.

"Is this your first time at a castle?"

"Umm… yeah," Leona nodded with a puzzled look. It was strange to see that people were being ordered, and following orders.

People lived in different environments, and people in the castle were protected at the cost of living as slaves. They had no other choice.

The guard came back, and waved at them to come in. As soon as they walked inside the wall, the guard captain welcomed them.

"Welcome to the Jule castle, hunter."

"Thanks for welcoming us."

"Is this kid a hunter too?"

"Sort of."

"Ha… really?"

The guard captain looked at Zin weirdly, but Zin didn't say anything.

"Do you have any requests in particular?"

"Nope, we are self-sufficient. But we always welcome visitors spending chips. We have a lot of supplies here."

They did not have any requests at the moment. Hunters solved requests for villages, and they also provided chips to the villages by exchanging for goods.

"That building over there is the visitor's inn. Nightly rate is five chips. Meals cost extra, and you can buy supplies from there. Please do not wander around at night, if you do not want to get involved with any trouble."

"Will do."

"I have asked them to prepare a room, so you'll need to wait a bit."

Zin nodded as the captain was speaking in an intimidating tone. The lodging fee was somewhat expensive, but considering that the castle was a relatively safe place, it wasn't that bad. Zin headed to the building that the captain referred to. The building was in good condition, and the villagers and the kids avoided Zin and Leona.

"What is wrong with them?"

Leona didn't like the way the villagers were looking at them.

"People in the castle are afraid of strangers. They are not free. And they are brainwashed to fear strangers so that they will not run away from the castle."

"How are they brainwashed?"

"They are told that if they come in contact with a stranger, their flesh will rot and die. They are told things that make no sense whatsoever."

"Hah, then why do they believe in those lies?"

"It is easier to be afraid of the unknown."

Leona shook her head as she didn't quite get what Zin was saying.

"Let's rest up first."

Whatever Zin was plotting, he was not planning to execute it right away. The visitor inn was a single-story concrete building, and most of the doors were closed. The rooms that were available had wooden windows, and some of the villagers were cleaning the rooms diligently.

They are a pretty hospitable people.

The guard ordered the villagers to clean up the room, and the villagers were soon dusting off the blankets in the sun. Zin sat on the chair in the hallway, and waited for the room to be cleaned up. The villagers also had water for was.h.i.+ng.

"The people here have very pale faces." Leona looked at the faces of the guards and the villagers, and was amazed that all looked white and bright. Before Zin could answer, a villager walked in with a wooden box holding an item. The ap.r.o.ned woman also had a white face.

"That is because of soap."

"Soap? What is that?"

"It's something that makes people clean, and sanitation is important. People of Jule castle have to wash up every morning when they wake up, and every night before they go to sleep."

At the explanation, Zin nodded as if it was funny.

"Hmm… it's a very special castle…"

"Isn't it? In the Jule castle, there are no epidemics."

"What is a soap? How does it look like?"

"It is tool that contains disinfectants to remove oil and dirt."

"… You deliberately spoke with bigs words so that I can't understand, right?"

"Of course."

"You are a punk!"

The middle-aged villager didn't understand Zin's explanation, either. The woman looked at the wooden box and, took out a bar of hexagon-shaped ivory-colored soap.

The woman explained to Leona how to use the soap, and Leona was surprised as she listened to the explanations.

Leona walked into the bathroom with the woman, and after using the soap, she made strange comments.

"What… this is slippery… I don't like this feeling…"

"Now you can wash with water."

"Huh! Why are you spraying water on my face?"

"Hmm, you are quite dirty. Come over here, I am going to give you a full bath. Take off your clothes."

"Ahh, mister! Help me!"

—Plop!—

—Waacck!—

It sounded like Leona was throw into a bathtub, and she was washed with soap by the woman. Without paying much attention to Leona, Zin looked around at Jule through the door with his arms crossed.

A castle that makes soap… well, all you need is some oil.

Monster oil or bear oil was used to make soap. The soap was used to maintain the hygiene level at the Jule castle, and many washed clothes were hanging on the clotheslines.

In many cases, cities had bad hygiene, and epidemics spread through the cities often. The health of the villagers was directly tied to the stability of the lord. The castle's lord knew what was important.

Zin looked at the washed clothes hanging on the clothesline, and thought that it was very unique.

The castle seemed to be a very good place, as they provided free soaps to the strangers who might carry virus and germs.

Or, it was possible that the lord was just a neat freak.

"Oh my goodness, look at this. Look at the dead skin that came off from your body."

—Smack!—

"Aacck! Why did you slap me, ma'am!"

It was pretty loud inside as Leona was screaming. About an hour later, only the voice of the woman could be heard.

"Look at yourself now. Don't you feel clean and great?"

"My skin hurts so bad, I feel like it got peeled…"

"We need to wash your clothes, too. Change yourself with these clothes. I will get your clothes ready."

Leona was wearing a white one piece dress when she came out again. The cotton dress looked very good, and it seemed to have been made by the villagers. The woman was happy to see the clean Leona, and smiled. The woman took out a mirror from the box, and showed Leona's face in the mirror.

"Look, you are much prettier now, aren't you?"

Leona was amazed to see a mirror, but she was more amazed to see her cleaned-up face.

Her oily hair was cleaned up, and the oil and dust on her face were gone as well. The woman has scrubbed Leona's skin so hard that it was now red, but she was now as clean as a child.

"Wow…!" Leona was amazed and shouted out, "I am so freaking pretty!"

"…" Zin was speechless as he watched Leona, who was acting so funny. Leona looked into the mirror for a while as she fell in love with herself.

She had dark brown hair, brown eyes, and pale white skin even though she wandered under the sun for a long time. And the white dress looked very good on her...

"Look! Mister hunter!"

While the woman was drying Leona's hair with a towel, she started talking to Zin as she thought of something. "You should get washed, too. You are beyond filthy right now, and you smell very bad."

"Don't worry about me…"

"If you keep on procrastinating, I am going to wash you up myself."

"Okay, I'm was.h.i.+ng up now!" Zin stood up in a rush, and headed to the bathroom area.

Apocalypse Hunter Chapter 39-40-41

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Apocalypse Hunter Chapter 39-40-41 summary

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