Chapter 28 Part 1: Plan
“… I’ll lure the boss monster out.”
“What are you talking about?”
They all looked excited, and rightfully so. How long has it been since they entered the gate? A month and a little more before the Hidden Gate, and two weeks after we came out? They’ve been spying on me for about two weeks now even before they entered the hidden gate… That means they’ve been inside this gate for over two months already. No wonder they were so adamant to go out.
“Mr. Jeon Chung-Woon.”
He looked up.
I continued in a calm voice.
As soon as I finished, Jeon Chung-Woon turned to Kim Ki-taek.
“I think you’re a little out of it after we left that stage gate.”
He treated me like I was completely insane. Kim Ki-taek snorted and made a “Hmmm” sound, so I guess he had partially agreed.
“No, no. I’m fine.” He said.
“Han Seoha-Ssi, It’s not the first time that we have been unable to keep up with your line of thinking, but…”
He seemed to be thinking of the time I suddenly jumped into the flames inside the Stage-gate, or maybe it was the time when I ignored his warnings about the dangers and wandered around the swamp by myself when I found an opening while hunting monsters. There are so many things to consider.
“For once, I’m not going to let you off the hook without you giving us a suitable explanation. Explain it to us clearly, and if I determine that there is something wrong with your mind, I will remove you from all activities.”
The cold warning was quite chilling. The Stage-Gate is a trap aimed at the human mind. While Field-type Gates seeks to disintegrate the physical body of a human, Staged-type ones gnaw at their mental body.
I used to assume that these were two of Toluk’s tricks to invade Earth, but it was just my assumptions. I know what Kim Ki-Taek is worried about. Slurred speech, speaking gibberish, or off-the-cuff remarks immediately after exiting a Stage-gate can be considered as one of the ‘Red Flags’. One of the most important things that was taught at the Hunter Academy was managing a Hunter’s mental state of mind. Humans are very fragile creatures after all.
“That boss monster thinks of me like a toy. A fun toy.”
They stared at me intently, listening to every word I have to say.
“He told me that I have to keep him entertained. Remember the monster he sent last time? The White-Tailed Blade Rodent? When it stabbed me with its tail, where was it?”
Jeon Chung-Woon answered. That’s right. It was the leg. It’s bizarre, because I’m preparing to stab him in the back of his head, and he attacks my leg with his tail instead. How inefficient is that?
“You know the habits of the White-tailed Blade Rodents, They would often cut their prey in half with their razor-sharp tails.”
“But The Blade Rodent didn’t cut you, or even mortally wound you, Which is strange.”
Both are contrary to their original habits. Why did it stab her with a blade, which is supposed to be used at slashing preys, and why did it stab her at the leg and not at the head or the heart?
“… You think that was the boss monster’s command.”
Even though I didn’t say anything afterwards but it was obvious. Jeon Chung-Woon made a face as if he agreed and that I had a point.
“There’s no other reason. If you consider that there was probably an order not to damage my body or kill me. That would explain everything.”
“So when your life is in danger, the boss monster will come out, too?”
Sounds like a load of crap. I know. I mean, what kind of monster would come out and save the life of a human, whom he considers his toy? But Beelzebub is different, and I know he will. However, I can’t prove it, but he can!
“It’s too dangerous. Do you mean to tell me that you’d risk your neck for that tiny bit of possibility?”
“Half a chance.”
“What do you mean ‘Half a chance’, Han Seoha-Ssi, is it because you have two lives and I can take one away from you?” He asked in disbelief.
“Well, maybe it’s similar to that.”
That’s because I was already living my second life. If I die this time, will I go back to my elementary school this time? Or will I start my third life at the grocery store again? He’s actually pretty close to the truth…
“What do you mean similar? Get a grip, you only have one life.”
“I’m all for it.”
“Mr. Jeon Chung-Woon!”
“What other way can we hang on to? It seems like the most likely thing that we can think of at the moment.”
He sounded theoretically right. Kim Ki-Taek muttered, “Am I the only one with a general sense of ethics here?”
It’s foolish to look for ethics inside this gate, or to be so uncharacteristically naive… Weren’t they the one who came to me in the first place, and cited that the safety of the majority is the most important at the expense of the few? That’s why I’m protecting the recruits, who are also ordinary people, at will. They were willing to sacrifice their own lives to clear this gate, and I was also willing to lay down my life for them.
“I’m in favor.”
“Even Ms. Sun Ha-Rang…”
Sun Ha-Rang didn’t say anything else. In the end, Kim Ki-taek nodded as if he had no choice. He probably knew it in his head. That this was the best option, regardless of common definitions or beliefs. A man’s life at the gate is worth less than an ant’s. We can’t waste it, or we won’t be able to escape this gate.
“The Boss Monster might hear about this and anticipate everything, so I’d like you to conduct the meeting without me. You have to do everything without me knowing.”
With those words, I slipped out of Kim Ki-Taek’s tent. If we can obscure the timing, we’ll have a better chance of success. If that didn’t work, I’d have to use… a last resort.
“What the hell, why are you coming out of there?”
Jo Yeon-ho asked me as we bumped into each other on the way out. I glossed over it and said that it was nothing. He nodded with an annoyed look on his face. I returned to my tent and laid down.
With this, I completely entrusted my life to them. Whether there were any minimal safeguards, when, where, and how they would threaten me, all of it is up to them.
‘Even if it’s Beelzebub, he wouldn’t be able to verify the items, that’s the system’s domain, so he can’t easily interfere with it, and that Holy Grail is part of Theo’s arrangements, so it’s not even a verified item.’
So even Beelzebub doesn’t know about the Holy Grail’s additional effect, 「…When an item is placed inside the Holy Grail, it will be imbued with divine power for a proportional amount of time.」
I can only imagine what a great divine weapon a Holy Grail-powered weapon would be. I was already looking forward to it. So far, I haven’t encountered any undead or demons powerful enough to need a divine weapon, so… They won’t be able to anticipate it.
Oh so they planned it all along! Phew~ I was worried for nothing.
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