Necromancer Before Awakening Chapter 16

Chapter 16: Corpse-eating Ape (1)

The day after the gate was secured, Kang Sah-hoo and Kang Ji-ye were waiting for others at a café near the entrance to the gate, sipping coffee.

“Wow, it’s amazing though, isn’t it? The gate was secured by Kim Ho-myung, right? The competition for the F-class gates has been ridiculously fierce lately, how did he even manage it?”

“It is curious. Plus, all the gates are crowded around the capital region, so there’s no need to go far.”

The locations where gates appeared were completely random. Whether it was behind a nameless mountain, inside a highway tunnel, or even inside a regular home, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the gates appeared randomly all over the country.

“Could it be… maybe Kim Ho-myung is hiding something from us?”

“Hiding something? Like what?”

Although he could have dismissed it as nonsense, Kang Sah-hoo, curious about the secret his sister speculated, asked back.

“Well, for example… what if he actually belongs to the military that measures gates? Or maybe he’s a member of a secret group operated by the government!”

At the mention of a “secret group,” Kang Sah-hoo’s eyes momentarily deepened. However, seeing Kang Ji-ye trying to verify her theory with sparkling eyes, he sighed and shook his head.

“Drink your coffee.”

As soon as she heard the response, Kang Ji-ye pouted.

“Tsk, it could be possible. Why dismiss it like that?”

“It’s not about dismissing it; the real issue is that it could actually be true.”

Without answering, Kang Sah-hoo read the gate information on his phone’s gate app over and over.

Initially, gate information could only be accessed through direct briefings due to concerns about unsettling the public. However, after the citizens battered the government with the fact that “It’s scarier not knowing about a gate that has appeared in our community,” the government reluctantly updated the app to allow viewing gate information.

As a result, hunters and citizens were both happy, as they could now prepare for gates without waiting for a briefing.

“The place you’ll go into is a grassland area.”

“What kind of monster appears?”

“They say a ‘Giant Frog’ appears, which is as big as a dog.”

“Ah, I really hate that.”

At the mention of the frog, Kang Ji-ye was appalled. Imagining a frog as big as a dog leaping around in the vast grassland made her stomach churn. As she suckled her coffee to soothe her uneasy stomach, the chime on the café door jingled, and soon three people entered.

“Hello.”

“Hey, boss, and cutie! How have you been?”

Kim Ho-myung and Bae Deok-ho greeted them. Yoo-rim merely nodded her head without a word. Kang Sah-hoo and Kang Ji-ye returned the greetings, and after ordering their drinks, everyone settled down.

Bae Deok-ho gulped down his sweet grapefruit aid with cheeks puffed full.

“Aah, refreshing. But boss, how did you manage to secure 10 gates? That’s amazing!”

“It wasn’t me.”

As Kang Sah-hoo looked at Kim Ho-myung, everyone’s gaze shifted towards him.

“Oh, really? Outstanding talent! How did you manage it? Do you have some secret?”

“Just like booking concert tickets, I diligently sought out the gates, that’s all.”

“Hmm, really? It never works out for me when I try…”

As Bae Deok-ho shrugged and lifted his cup to drink again, Kang Ji-ye leaned toward Kim Ho-myung.

“Kim Ho-myung, by any chance… are you a member of a secret intelligence agency? You’re part of the NIS, aren’t you?!”

“Pfft!”

Bae Deok-ho’s mouth ejected the grapefruit aid like a fountain, and Kang Ji-ye screamed.

“Yaaah! What is that!”

“Ah, no, this, this…”

Before Bae Deok-ho could react, Kang Sah-hoo, who had quickly dodged the situation, handed Kang Ji-ye a wet wipe.

As she wiped her face with the wet wipe, she glared at Bae Deok-ho.

“Why are you startled! I just asked him! Is it you who’s part of the NIS?!”

“No, it’s not that!”

After receiving a spiny scolding from Kang Ji-ye, Bae Deok-ho managed to earn her forgiveness with a promise to buy her new clothes and a sincere apology. Watching quietly, Kang Sah-hoo observed the scene.

After Kang Ji-ye washed up and came back from the restroom, the damp sofa remained unseated as she stood next to Kang Sah-hoo, who then spoke up.

“Now, let me inform you about the hunting plan.”

As Kang Ji-ye took her seat, all four sets of eyes turned to Kang Sah-hoo.

“First off, today we need to hunt four gates, so I plan to divide the team.”

“…What did you say?”

Bae Deok-ho rummaged his ears then asked with an innocent face. Kang Sah-hoo, thinking he hadn’t heard properly, politely repeated his words.

“Wait a second. Four at once?”

Not just Bae Deok-ho, but Yoo-rim was also surprised, prompting Kang Sah-hoo to tilt his head.

“Didn’t you see the group chat? Although gates are reserved if someone doesn’t participate until the day of, those rights move to the next person.”

“Uh…?”

As Yoo-rim, flustered, turned on her phone’s gate app.

“…It’s true.”

Like her, a bewildered Bae Deok-ho checked the gate app. To hunt all the reserved gates as Kang Sah-hoo mentioned, they needed to move immediately, or there wouldn’t be enough time.

Realizing how surprised the two were, Kang Sah-hoo reassured them.

“However, these are smaller F-grade gates. They won’t have as many monsters or be as large as the ones we’ve hunted before.”

Small size of the gate reassured Bae Deok-ho, who scratched his head then vigorously blew his nose.

“Well, since it’s just the five of us hunting. F-grade and small, we should be able to finish quickly!”

Though Bae Deok-ho cheered up the somewhat subdued atmosphere, Kang Sah-hoo again shook his head.

“Not five.”

“…What did you say, boss?”

As Yoo-rim turned to look back at herself, Instructor Soo internally added her to his list of ‘people who come without properly reading information in advance’ and explained,

“The number of people who can enter a gate depends on the gate’s grade and size. The gates we will be hunting today allow three, three, two, and one person respectively.”

“What, what?!”

“Excuse me?”

Both were visibly shocked by his explanation.

“Then, how will the personnel be distributed….”

“I will explain that part.”

Instructor Soo pulled out a piece of A4 paper he had prepared.

Printed on the A4 paper was a screenshot from the gate app, with the gates they were to hunt today marked with a number one in pen.

“As you can see here, the two three-person gates are clustered together, while the two-person and one-person gates are slightly separated.”

“I see.”

Kim Ho-myoung responded, and Instructor Soo quickly continued,

“I think it would be best for one of the three-person gates to include Kim Ho-myoung, Bae Deok-ho, and Kang Ji-ye.”

“And the reason?”

Yoo-rim asked, to which Instructor Soo replied succinctly,

“It’s to check the difficulty level of the three-person gate with the safest team composition. It’s best to have someone to attack, someone to defend, and someone to heal.”

“Hmm, I agree!”

Kang Ji-ye nodded, and Instructor Soo pointed to a gate a little farther away,

“At the same time, I will hunt in the two-person gate with Yoo-rim. Afterwards, let’s meet at the midpoint between the remaining two gates and decide on the personnel for the next gate.”

“Hmm, the problem is this one-person gate…”

As Bae Deok-ho looked at the remaining gate, everyone else’s faces also showed difficulty.

Being a one-person gate, its difficulty might seem easier, but non-combatant Kang Ji-ye certainly couldn’t be placed there.

For the same reason, Kim Ho-myoung was also excluded, leaving three people.

Both Bae Deok-ho and Yoo-rim felt reluctant about entering the gate alone.

Naturally, everyone’s gaze turned to Instructor Soo, who nonchalantly nodded.

“I’ll go there.”

“…As expected, is that right?”

“Yes, it’s the most logical and safe choice.”

His answer, delivered matter-of-factly as if stating a simple truth, left the others silently nodding in agreement. Indeed, Instructor Soo was more suited than either the long-range attacker Bae Deok-ho or Yoo-rim, who fights at close range.

Having finished his explanation and checked the time on his phone, Instructor Soo looked around at everyone.

“It’s time. Let’s meet here after the gate hunt.”

Instructor Soo pointed to the agreed location and everyone nodded.

Then, as if suddenly remembering something, Kang Ji-ye raised her hand,

“But then, do I really need to go to the gate where the frog appears?”

“I told you before. It’s not possible.”

“Sigh….”

Kang Ji-ye made a gloomy face at his firm response.

* * *

After parting with Kim Ho-myoung, Bae Deok-ho, and Kang Ji-ye,

Instructor Soo and Yoo-rim arrived at the gate they were to hunt. A police officer guarding the gate asked for their hunter licenses.

“Identity confirmed. Please proceed with care.”

With many hunters active, the identity verification was quick and Instructor Soo and Yoo-rim stepped into the gate, just big enough for one person to pass through.

Upon entering, Instructor Soo surveyed the surroundings.

The inside of the gate was just as shown on the gate app.

A dark night, with neither moon nor stars.

Houses built of bricks that might have been seen in medieval times were crumbling, giving off an air of desolation.

And within, small monkeys, as if playing in a playground, scampered about.

Keeek? Kiya! Kiya!

Noticing the two who had crossed the gate, the monkeys began screaming louder.

“Shall we start?”

As the ear-piercing cries of the monkeys put them on alert, Yoo-rim drew out her dagger.

Despite having the appearance of monkeys, they were about twice her size, and above them floated the name [Corpse Eating Ape].

Even before entering the gate, Instructor Soo’s lips were continuously moving, as though murmuring to himself.

“Yes, let’s proceed.”

Yoo-rim was curious why he kept murmuring, but since they were already inside the gate, she suppressed her curiosity.

Expecting him to summon a giant hound as before, she gripped her dagger ready to spring into action.

“……?”

However, even after some time, Instructor Soo did not summon the giant hounds, prompting her to turn towards him with a puzzled look.

“Instructor Soo… captain? Why aren’t you summoning the big dogs?”

“Oh, I won’t be using the giant hounds right now.”

“…What?!”

Startled, Yoo-rim exclaimed in surprise, contradicting her usually calm demeanor.

“But, then how do you plan to fight…!”

Before she could finish her question, the Apes, who had been just shouting, started moving first.

Keeeak!

True to their looks, their leaping ability was tremendous.

More than jumping, it was as if they were being ‘launched’ at her.

Surprised, Yoo-rim gritted her teeth.

However, contrary to her expectations, no collision occurred.

Keeaaaak!

The Ape that had lunged at her didn’t even reach her vicinity and instead twisted in mid-air, crashing to the ground.

The fallen Ape screamed as it clutched its head and rolled on the ground.

Ook?!

The startled Apes yelled out in confusion.

Trying to find the cause, they looked at Yoo-rim, and then turned their eyes to Instructor Soo, whose body stiffened.

Streams of deep blue and sticky dark green light flowed from Instructor Soo’s eyes, like smoke.

Seeing his eyes, the stunned monsters looked at each other, and Instructor Soo nodded.

“That should be sufficient.”

As if concluding his calculations, Instructor Soo waved his right arm.

Accompanied by his gesture, a piercing monkey scream reverberated through the night sky.



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