Necromancer Before Awakening Chapter 20

Episode 20: The Moving Mechanisms (1)

It had been four days since Kang Sahoo entered the F-grade solo gate. His team members, who had reserved and already hunted in other gates, were waiting for their leader in front of the gate.

“Just come out and see, I won’t leave it be. Really, slipping out for solo training suddenly for growth? And he’s the leader?!” Kang Jiye sat on a chair provided by the gate manager, munching on snacks filled with emotion.

Behind her, Bae Deokho cleared his throat to comfort her.

“Well, he must have had his reasons. And it’s not like our leader left irresponsibly without any plan. He even laid out everything in detail for us.”

Bae Deokho fluttered a printed message from Kang Sahoo, defending his actions. Indeed, the printed chat detailed who was assigned to which gate and why, reflecting the depth of thought and time put into these plans, sent just before entering the gate.

Following these directives, they were able to hunt the remaining gates without any difficulty.

Despite this, Kang Jiye’s frown remained unyielding, prompting Bae Deokho to strike with heartfelt words.

“More importantly, do you like the outfit I picked out? I tried to choose something that suits you.”

“…Hmm, you picked out something pretty. I really appreciate and will wear this new outfit well.”

At Bae Deokho’s light-hearted remark, Kang Jiye pouted turning her head away. True to his word, the designer T-shirt she wore was a gift from Bae Deokho—a peace offering for spitting grapefruit ade on it and for a mishap while hunting a frog monster.

Blushing with regret, he had insisted on buying her an expensive shirt despite her saying a simple 30,000 won T-shirt would suffice.

As the conversation turned to clothes, she softened slightly, and Bae Deokho didn’t miss his chance.

“See, you got all dressed up, don’t frown like that. Smile a little.”

“…Alright.”

At his coaxing, Kang Jiye activated her phone’s camera to see herself. She smiled slightly at her reflection, clad in the long-coveted attire she had only imagined wearing.

“Giggle!”

Kim Ho Myung watched them with a bleak expression before turning his attention back to the gate.

Near the gate, Yoo Lim paced back and forth incessantly, her arms crossed and her expression anxious.

“Yoo Lim, try to relax and sit down. You’ve been pacing around like this for four days every time you come here, you know?”

“It’s okay.”

Despite his concern, Kim Ho Myung sighed, cutting off any further persuasion at Yoo Lim’s sharp response.

Watching the gate intently, Kim Ho Myung murmured to himself,

“The captain is not only skilled but also remarkably insightful. Who would have thought he’d use a gate for training…”

The gate, connected to another world, provided vast land use without any reservation.

Of course, to do so, one must have the power to restrain attacking boss monsters without having to kill them. Apparently, this was no issue for their leader, who had incapacitated the boss monster, using the space for training until the gate’s collapse.

This strategy, far from ordinary hunters focused only on hunting and killing, would not have crossed the minds of those obsessed with slaughter.

Someone like Kim Ho Myung might build a sports field on unused land instead, but for others, it represented a seismic shift in thinking.

“Hmph. Either my brother is very creative, or he just thinks differently from others.”

Given his ability to manipulate flesh and blood and requiring contact with corpses, Kang Sahoo needed a space to train—somewhere secluded to avoid misinterpretation as a serial killer or mad psychopath.

“No matter if someone’s chasing him or not, he can’t stand undone work. Oh dear.”

Though Kang Jiye grumbled as if complaining, she inwardly respected her brother’s focus and effectiveness as a necromancer.

Moreover, although unspoken, the fellow companions had also shown trust and faith in Kang Sahoo, gathering here in a short span.

As they spoke, the gate swirled from yellow to blue signifying the end of the hunt.

“Ah? Looks like he’s finally coming out!”

Kang Jiye sprang up, drawing everyone’s attention to the gate. As it turned fully blue, a foot appeared from within.

“Brother! Why are you only coming out now?! Just sending a message and doing as you please…!”

Kang Jiye, who had been brimming with words, suddenly froze mid-sentence.

Along with the others, she widened her eyes in shock at Kang Sahoo’s appearance.

His already thin face was gaunter, cheekbones starkly visible, his eyes hollow.

Moreover, his unwashed body displayed bloodstains and muscle tissue.

Above all, a rotten smell wafted around him, almost aura-like.

“C-Captain…?”

Bae Deokho barely managed to speak, calling out to Kang Sahoo, who looked back with hollow eyes.

“Everyone’s gathered, what have you been doing?”

“Well, we came to meet you as soon as you would exit, Captain.”

“Is that so. Thank you.”

Kang Sahoo bowed his head in a greeting, seemingly casual, yet to the onlookers, his neck appeared dangerously fragile.

“What’s going on! Brother, what happened inside!”

The first to recover, Kang Jiye screamed, rushing toward him. However, Kang Sahoo shook his head reassuringly and put forth his hand in a stopping gesture.

“You put on some nice clothes. Don’t come near me now, my condition isn’t good. Your clothes will get dirty.”

“Are clothes really the issue right now?!”

As Kang Ji-ye aggressively pressed for answers, Kang Sa-hu glanced at her, gauging her reaction before turning away to respond.

“I made a mistake.”

“What! What kind of mistake did you make that led to this?!”

“…While gathering other materials, I didn’t bring enough food supplies. The work took longer than expected as well.”

“……?”

A question mark appeared over everyone’s heads at his response.

“…Leader, could it be…?”

Yu-rim, trembling, shook her head as if she didn’t want to accept the possibility.

“Have you been… starving… for four days…?”

“…No. I completely starved only for two days.”

Hearing Kang Sa-hu’s response, Yu-rim’s legs gave way.

As Yu-rim sat down with a thud, staring blankly at him, Kim Ho-myeong urgently interjected from the side.

“I’ve made a reservation at a nearby restaurant. We can head there so you can eat right away.”

“If we go in this state, we might be turned away at the door. First, let’s get cleaned up….”

“Hey! Is showering the problem right now? Just drink this! Eat!”

Kang Ji-ye shoved the snacks she was carrying into his mouth.

Kang Sa-hu tried to spit out the snacks, but the strength in his arms, weakened after several days, could not match the force of Kang Ji-ye, who used to enjoy meat bought with her hunting rewards.

Fortunately, Baed Deok-ho and Yu-rim intervened in time, saving Kang Sa-hu from what seemed like an imminent death.

After quenching his thirst with the drink Kang Ji-ye provided, Kang Sa-hu moved around without thinking, led by the others.

His vitality returned only after cleaning up at the accommodation Baed Deok-ho had reserved, changing into clothes Yu-rim had bought, and eating at the high-end restaurant booked by Kim Ho-myeong.

“Phew, I barely survived!”

Kang Ji-ye, who hadn’t exactly exerted herself, wiped off her sweat and spoke, causing everyone but Yu-rim to look at her incredulously.

“Did she do anything other than eat vigorously at the restaurant…?”

“What did you say?”

As Kang Ji-ye turned to face Kim Ho-myeong, his mouth shut tight.

“I didn’t say anything.”

The emergency handling by Kang Sa-hu seemed to have softened the atmosphere, and everyone felt more relaxed.

With the improved mood, Baed Deok-ho, unlike his usual self, spoke up quietly.

“Then, shall we grab a coffee to help digest our meal? How about it?”

“Wow… What a solid atmosphere… Just like cement…”

At Kang Ji-ye’s shocked reaction, Baed Deok-ho’s face turned red.

“Why do you only say that to me, Ji-ye?”

“It’s because you keep saying weird things! Besides, Ho-myeong oppa and Yu-rim unni hardly talk, so there’s no problem with them!”

“What, what? Fine. Then I won’t talk either!”

Pretending to be upset, Baed Deok-ho turned his head, only to stiffen suddenly.

Mistaking his reaction for sulking, Kang Ji-ye shook her head disapprovingly and consoled him.

“Ah, why aren’t you saying anything? It’s just a joke, a joke. We all know you’re the mood maker, Deok-ho ahjussi~”

Despite Kang Ji-ye’s comforting words, Baed Deok-ho didn’t respond, causing her to panic.

“Deok-ho ahjussi? Are you really mad?”

Just as she called him again,

three men in black suits approached them.

Only then did Kang Ji-ye realize that Baed Deok-ho wasn’t sulking but was wary of the strangers approaching. She too turned to look at the men in suits.

And for some reason, Yu-rim’s eyes widened, showing a faint hostility as she looked at them.

Among the group, the man in the middle with black sunglasses stepped forward and addressed Kang Sa-hu.

“Hello, Hunter Kang Sa-hu. It’s an honor to meet you. Was your hunt successful?”

“Yes, it was. Who are you?”

Kang Sa-hu greeted him calmly in return.

The calm and unmoved demeanor of Kang Sa-hu seemed to fluster the man in sunglasses.

“You’re not perturbed at all?”

“Why should I be?”

His reply, indicating genuine perplexity, momentarily stumped the man, who then chuckled.

“Oh, perhaps I should introduce myself first. This is what I do.”

He pulled a business card from his suit pocket and handed it to Kang Sa-hu.

As he took the card, all eyes, except for Baed Deok-ho’s, turned towards it.

“Is it alright if we all look at it?”

“Normally, I’d be reluctant… but if Hunter Kang Sa-hu trusts you all, then it’s fine.”

Kang Sa-hu nodded in agreement and without hesitation, tilted the card so everyone could see.

The immediate sharing of the card surprised not only the men in suits but also Kang Sa-hu’s colleagues; however, the bewilderment quickly turned into a much greater shock when they read the card.

“Na, na…!”

“Ah! Surely you’re not going to say that aloud, are you? After going to the trouble of giving you this card so secretly.”

“Na… I want to eat rice!”

Kang Ji-ye awkwardly fumbled her words, but no one paid attention.

“Why do you want to meet our leader here?”

Yu-rim, full of suspicion, posed the question; the man in sunglasses shrugged and shook his head.

“I didn’t come to seek you specifically. Don’t be so hostile. I am here to meet the unprecedentedly EX-ranked Hunter Kang Sa-hu.”

“What do you want with me?”

At that, the man turned from Yu-rim and smiled slyly.

“I’d rather explain in a proper place. It’s not a long story, but it’s definitely not a short one either.”

Kang Sa-hu silently stared at the man’s sunglasses, showing no reaction, prompting him to sigh softly and add,

“This matter concerns the prophesied Grade C gate that’s about a week away. Aren’t you curious about it?”



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