The townspeople started eyeing Zin suspiciously after hearing the burst of gunfire. They have probably never heard gunfire before, and their nerves showed. Everyone stayed in the shadows to escape the dangerous hunter.
Nothing mattered for Zin - he had received his payment.
Zin sighed as he left the small town.
He thought about the townspeople living like slaves in fear of a fake gun, and about the man who lied to everyone, believing the power of the fake gun granted him authority.
“What a fool’s world.”
Zin walked toward a message that appeared before his eyes.
[Darkborn energy 0.32%]
[All functions inactive excluding biological activity, remaining energy operation limit 392 days 2 hours 32 seconds.]
[Find devil’s blood.]
Zin would cease to function if he uses up all of his energy. In other words, he would die. However, Zin knew more than anyone that devils no longer existed in this world.
Zin put 100 of of the 210 blue chips that he received as payment in his mouth. Though it would have been considered a crazy act for a normal person, Zin chewed the chips like crackers.
[Replacement energy absorption 100 chips]
[Operation limit extended 100h.]
Each chip extends life by one hour. Zin’s Darkborn level was at an all-time low. He was moving solely for the sake of survival, as any intense use of strength would reduce his lifespan.
[Replacement energy inefficient. Find devil’s blood.]
Zin sighed at the sickening warning message.
A hundred years ago, the last devil was hunted and killed.
It has been 211 years since the world met the Doomsday.
It was still a fool’s world, and as a devil hunter in a world without devils, Zin also took his place as a fool.
After the Doomsday, people naturally sought tall and thick walls. The taller the walls, the easier towns grow. However, in a world without technology, resources necessary for proper construction were hard to find. Their so-called ‘trash walls’ made of fallen rocks and pebbles were weak to the core.
The world’s strongest and tallest walls were built before the Doomsday. However, mankind prior to the Doomsday lived in a world that no longer needed walls, so such walls were uncommon.
‘Uncommonness’, however, implies that these walls actually did exist for places that required them: prisons.
All of the numerous jails that held prisoners became safety houses for people afraid of monsters.
The narrow prison cells allowed a large number of people to live in a severely limited amount of space; the tall watchtower allowed them to easily detect outside threats; finally, the stockpile of weapons provided a defense against monster attacks.
When it came to prisons, the ones with the biggest and tallest walls were the best places to inhabit.
Of course, over the course of two hundred years, the weapons have all disappeared or malfunctioned. But prisons, with their high walls and safe interiors, still offered a fine place for people to live.
The original function of prisons was keeping people from escaping. Now, its function has shifted to keeping others from intruding.
‘This must be Ard Point.’
Zin looked up at the tall wall in front of him.
“Who’s there? Why are you here?”
The guards emerged from the rampart as they saw Zin approach, and aimed their bows at him. An eerie feeling swept over Zin as he saw the drawn out bowstrings.
More than a hundred years ago, back when there were still guns and bullets, the people who stood on top of walls would aim their guns to defend the wall.
The weapons changed from machine guns and sniper rifles to rifles, from rifles to submachine guns, from submachine guns to pistols, from pistols to bowguns - now there were bows. Zin wondered what would come next. Slingshots and stone throwing, perhaps.
History now moves towards degradation rather than advancement.
Every time he feels this, Zin realizes how long he has lived. Pushing aside this passing thought, Zin raised up both his arms.
“He’s a hunter.”
Whether it’s a town, a point, a fortress, or a castle, there are only two attitudes towards a hunter: rejection or acceptance. There isn’t a big difference between hunters and slaughters, for they both kill humans and monsters, but they are distinguishable in that slaughters kill for no reason while hunters kill for chips, whether it be humans or monsters.
If a hunter is needed, the hunter will be accepted, which also means that there will be a job. If a town has no problem, then they will most likely reject hunters.
The guard’s welcome implies a job.
The rusty iron gate opened with a strange noise. Zin walked through. The two gatekeepers continued to stare at Zin with watchful eyes. The guards, armed with machetes and wooden spears, aimed their weapons at Zin.
“There’s no need to worry. It’ll be his loss if he starts any trouble here.”
As soon as the man who climbed down from the wall said this, everyone lowered their weapons. Though the level of armament was poor, the command structure was stout. The man came down and reached out his hand to Zin.
“My name is Beck Gu, leader of the security team of Ard Point.”
“That’s an interesting name.”
“Speak for yourself.”
“Ha, is it?”
“Before the Doomsday, Beck Gu was a name for dogs.”
Rather than feeling offended, Beck Gu laughed out loud.
“Hahaha! My father did use to beat me up as if I were a dog.”
At Beck Gu’s animated reaction, Zin smirked, amused by the vibrant personality of Ard Point’s security team leader.
“I said it to offend you. Didn’t mean to be rude.”
“That’s alright. A hunter with a bit of bad manners is no problem.”
Beck Gu lead the way with a gesture.
“We are very desperate right now, so we can tolerate that.”
Beck Gu walked in a hurry into the prison. Jin followed right behind him. Within Ard Point’s prison grounds, there was a vegetable garden that was being tended by someone who looked like a resident.
‘It’s a commune.’
Every town had their own way of living. Here, it seemed like the guards and the people who tended the crops lived together and shared the benefits of each other’s labor. Zin figured that there were at least two to three hundred residents at Ard Point.
In a communal village, it is inevitable that the leader’s authority becomes more powerful, which comes with both advantages and disadvantages.
Of course, Zin witnessed more disadvantages than advantages in such cases, but he couldn’t see any hardship or gauntness in these people’s faces.
“They look like they’re living a good life.”
“There are edible monsters that live here. There aren’t even any attacks these days. It’s great.”
“That sounds good.”
It is possible to hunt and eat monsters that are not poisonous. However, the undead types or the poisonous types are useless to kill except for the chips you can extract from them.
“Who is this town’s leader?”
“Are you speaking of the Elder? He’s very old, but very wise. We’ve been able to survive up until now thanks to his wisdom.”
Every town has their own way of naming their leader. Apparently, this town named their leader the ‘Elder.’
The Point seemed as if it didn’t have any problems, but Zin grew a little serious.
‘This is going to be a pain in the ass…’
Generally, the problems of a suffering town are quite clear; they take the forms of poverty, monster attacks, or the pillaging of a Slaughter group. It’s beyond just a matter of whether or not these problems are easy or difficult to solve.
On the outside, Ard Point appeared to be a peaceful town. However, the fact that they were in need a hunter proved there were problems lurking from within.
According to Zin’s years of experience, these types of towns gave him dangerous and shady jobs. Beck Gu spoke to him.
“The Elder may not request anything from you, so don’t expect too much.”
“He may not request anything from me?”
Beck Gu tilted his head from side to side as if he himself couldn’t understand either.
“Five hunters have visited so far, but none of them got the job.”
“Honestly, I don’t know who the Elder wants either.”
Beck Gu talked about the Elder’s recent travels and how he had exclaimed that he needed a hunter all of a sudden. He’s turned away every hunter that’s visited him, despite his declaration. He rejected them all without explanation, demanding another hunter. He allows the visiting hunters to stay for one night before sending them away.
“So if you don’t receive the job, just think about it as being able to rest for one night before you leave.”
“Either way, there’s nothing to lose.”
It was a good thing to be able to lay your head in a safe bed for one night. Even if the Elder was a bit off, Zin knew that he couldn’t be that bad.