Levelling Up In An Exclusive Dungeon - Chapter 26
Shortly after the firefighters put out the fire, Detective Cho Kyungyeon arrived at the scene upon a call from the Association.
Seeing the first floor almost completely burnt down, Kyungyeon immediately understood why she was the one called to respond.
“It’s that hunter that did this, right?”
The junior detective following Kyungyeon hurriedly took out a notebook and checked the reports.
“Yes, yes. According to the report, a masked hunter used his skill inside this department store at around 11:34.”
“What sort of skill?”
“I believe it’s called flame storm.”
“What a crazy bastard. He used that sort of skill indoors?”
Detective Cho Kyungyeon belonged to the Toksu Department which was responsible for settling cases that involved hunters.
The detective was very much familiar with the skills mainly used by hunters.
Just by hearing the skill’s name, the detective could determine what sort of effect it had and just how powerful the skill is.
“How’s the damage report?”
“As you can see, the scene is as good as completely burned down. There are 25 wounded and 7 dead as of now.”
“Fxck. That’s a lot.”
The detective took out an electronic cigarette from her front pocket and took a big puff.
The junior detective looked surprised by this image.
“Sunbaenim, since when did you switch to electronic cigarettes?”
“I’m aging too fast. I should take care of my health too.”
“Why don’t you just quit completely? I heard e-cigarettes are just as harmful.”
“Pff. You think I could continue this line of work without relying on cigarettes?”
The department that she belonged to ensures that every scene that the detective deals with is as disastrous as this one.
You could say that she’s used to seeing dead bodies by now, but she knows that she might lose it if she didn’t have nicotine to help her.
“Quit the nonsense. Where’s the person who made the report?”
“They told me he’s behind the fire truck.”
The junior wasn’t able to answer so he urgently began to search the fire trucks around the scene.
After a while, he was able to find the person that matched the description.
“O-over there. Behind that fire truck on the left.”
“It’s my first time seeing that guy. You’re telling me he’s the one who subdued the masked hunter?”
“Yes. He looks very exhausted. Well, that’s expected given that this is the state he left the masked hunter in. Would you like to talk to him?”
Cho Kyungyeon frowned when the junior showed the picture on his smartphone.
It was a natural reaction to see the body whose head exploded and died in broad daylight.
“Why’d you show me that… Now I don’t want to eat my lunch.”
“Ah, was I not supposed to do that?”
“Well, it’s done now.”
Ordinary people don’t have those kinds of pictures saved on their phones.
It’s to the detective’s shock to learn that the junior actually saves all the photos of the cases they’ve handled so far.
From this junior’s first day, Kyungyeon knew that he was fit for this job.
The junior had been following her around in all her cases and not once did he show signs of a weak stomach.
“Flame storm… It’s a pretty high-level skill. It couldn’t have been easy being on the receiving end of that.”
The hunter should be at least B-rank or higher.
It takes a considerable amount of ability to strike such a hunter’s head in just one stroke.
It sure sounds impossible for an unknown C-rank hunter.
“I don’t think he’s lying. There’s a lot of witnesses.”
“Hmmm. You’re right. No one in their right mind would lie about killing someone.”
Working in this field, the detective has met a lot of crazy people.
However, this hunter doesn’t seem like the ones she’d met before.
Except for his poor complexion, he seemed like a pretty normal guy.
“What did you say that guy’s name was?”
“Eh? You forgot already?”
“Hey, bastard. I got dragged here while I was working on another case, didn’t I? Of course, I’d forget. Isn’t that obvious already, you punk.”
Cho Kyungyeon half-jokingly punched the junior.
“Aigoo! Must you hit me that hard!”
“That’s no way to talk to your sunbae!”
The junior shut his mouth and urgently searched his notebook for a name to avoid being hit again.
“His name is Kang Jinhyuk. He recently rose to C-rank.”
It sounds like a name she’s heard before.
Cho Kyungyeon racked her brain and remembered that she’d recently read an article that mentioned the name “Kang Jinhyuk”.
“It’s the guy that caught the new monster.”
“Ah…! You mean the guy that helped the Titans during the massive invasion?”
“Right. That guy.”
He caught the most threatening monster that has appeared recently.
There’s been a lot of talk about that among the hunter community.
“There’s actually some rumors that the monster he caught wasn’t actually that impressive though.”
“Not that impressive? How can more than ten A-rank hunters be seriously injured by a monster that’s ‘not that impressive’?”
“Still… Would S-rank hunter Seo Sangho give it up easily if the monster was that big of a deal?”
“Well, well look at you. You get those kinds of conspiracy theories over the internet?”
If it was a monster that was “not that impressive”, the prideful Titans wouldn’t have asked for help from other hunters.
The people who undermines Kang Jinhyuk’s skill were the narrow-minded people who were jealous that a C-rank hunter was gaining attention.
Experts all agreed that Kang Jinhyuk has some kind of hidden abilities.
And Cho Kyungyeon was also one with those kinds of hidden skills.
Seeing the internet articles made the detective feel excited, so seeing Kang Jinhyuk in person seemed like a dream.
“Let’s go and talk to him first.”
Jinhyuk was still staring at the scene of the incident when he noticed the two detectives approaching him.
As their eyes met, Cho Kyungyeon showed her badge.
“You’re Kang Jinhyuk-ssi?”
“Yes, that’s me.”
As Kang Jinhyuk faced the detective, his expression and tone naturally hardened.
He couldn’t stand tall because he felt that to some extent, he was responsible for this incident.
Cho Kyungyeon interpreted Jinhyuk’s body language as him being terrified that he had killed someone.
The detective said some words to reassure him.
“You acted out of self-defense. You’re fine, you don’t have to be so scared.”
“Self-defense…? I killed a man. You’re telling me I can get away with that so easily?”
Kang Jinhyuk’s question was expected.
Even if it was a bad man, it doesn’t change the fact that he killed a person.
In principle, the ‘self-defense’ reasoning had to go to a proper trial to be recognized.
However, this case was an exception.
“If you tell me one thing, I can ensure that you won’t have to go to trial.”
“Is that true?”
“Of course. Because we have clear evidence against the other hunter.”
Kang Jinhyuk had no idea what the detective was referring to.
An evidence so clear that he wouldn’t have to go to trial at all?
Detective Cho asked Jinhyuk a question in order to make things clearer for him.
“You have killed a man. A notification involving the word ‘evil’ showed up for you, didn’t it?”
“A-ah, how did you…”
“Killing in the act of self-defense doesn’t give you the title of ‘evil’. You can think of it as an open secret between detectives.”
Kang Jinhyuk looked surprised.
What he thought was something that only he knew of was actually widely known among detectives.
“Wait, so should I keep this a secret? Should I not say anything about this?”
“That’s right. It would be inconvenient for us detectives if this information becomes widely known.”
When someone kills another, the title ‘Evil’ is attached to their name unconditionally.
That’s what most hunters thought.
That misconception is actually what people of authority use in order to keep the hunters from killing, even in the act of self-defense.
It is indeed easier to have the hunters believe that any sort of killing would lead to them being titled as ‘Evil’.
If hunters were aware of the self-defense exception, it’s a danger that some hunters would go around killing bad people like they were apostles of justice.
That situation would lead to an increase in vigilantes and the sorts.
The government and the association wanted the hunters to hunt monsters only.
The government was careful not to let these hunters think that they were some sort of a movie superhero.
Jinhyuk nodded after hearing the detective’s explanation.
What the association wanted was to preserve societal order.
When the first monsters and hunters appeared in this world, the association worked very hard to keep the lawless hunters under control.
The association would never want to return to such chaos again.
Even if the hunters were to kill bad people, it would deviate discipline and order in this society.
“I’ll keep that in mind. I will never tell anyone.”
“…I’d like to believe you, but this is a very important matter.”
Nothing was more fragile than a promise made in words.
Cho Kyungyeon gave a small brooch-shaped device to Kang Jinhyuk.
This was the usual procedure that they do.
“From now on, please carry this device with you everywhere you go.”
“What is this?”
“To put it bluntly, this is a surveillance device. If you say the three specific words that you’re not supposed to say, we’re going to get a signal.”
“What are those words?”
“Murder. Evil. Self-defense. Those three words. If you don’t keep this in mind, we’ll see each other very often.”
Kang Jinhyuk took the device.
There’s one thing he didn’t understand though.
Even if he can’t say those three words, couldn’t he just write the words instead?
No matter how much he thought about it, the surveillance policy seemed a little bit sloppy.
“Can I go home if I take this? Only this one device”
Jinhyuk indirectly asked if there was another device that he needs to receive, but the answer that came back was negative.
“Of course. I understand that you’re under shock, so I recommend that you take a rest for a while.”
Cho Kyungyeon didn’t mention anything about the device’s ability to surveillance what its wearer writes.
However, the device given to Jinhyuk can actually do that.
Hunters are careless because they don’t think that such a function is technically possible.
If Jinhyuk can prove that he’s trustworthy, the detective would consider him to be a reliable person and retrieve the device within a year.
However, if Jinhyuk tries to reveal this secret through handwriting, the surveillance level on him will go up further and more restrictions on his life would be applied.
Cho Kyungyeon intentionally didn’t let Jinhyuk know of these things.
‘The government and the association aren’t as careless as you think.’
Hunters become sloppy when money becomes a variable.
The government and the association have to be meticulous when dealing with this matter.
‘I’ll have to ask the Dwarf to take a look at this later.’
Jinhyuk’s unsure if the Dwarf would be familiar with human-made devices, but it’s still worth a try to ask.
“Uhm, can I ask one more thing before I go?”
“Of course. What is it?”
“…Is there any other phenomenon, besides self-defense, where hunters can avoid being labeled as ‘evil’?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Just out of curiosity.”
The detective intuitively realized that Kang Jinhyuk had something to hide.
But the detective didn’t ask yet.
All hunters hide something after all.
The detective decided to give an ambiguous answer.
“None that I’ve heard of yet.”
“Ah, I see. Thank you for telling me.”
Jinhyuk bowed to the detective and hurried out of the scene.
Looking as if Jinhyuk was running away, Cho Kyungyeon’s hoobae looked suspicious.
“Doesn’t it seem like something’s up with that hunter?”
“Seeing that you noticed it, I bet it’s not something much.”
“…Is my evaluation not that trustworthy, sunbaenim?”
“If you think it’s unfair, then try to make some progress, kid. Don’t make mistakes all the time.”
The detective moved to see the scene in person since the investigation into Kang Jinhyuk was now over.
During the subsequent investigation, the junior made some nonsense remarks.
Something like “I can smell a criminal in here.”, or “What if this was a self-composed drama that he made?”
Like the junior detective, Cho Kyungyeon also felt something was off about Kang JInhyuk, but she doesn’t think that the man was a criminal.
In their experience, the most common reason hunters act that way was…
‘I bet he’s got a hidden skill or a hidden class.’
The detective didn’t say it out loud, careful to not let the light-mouthed junior spread unconfirmed rumors.
Sure enough though…
The first thing Kang Jinhyuk did when he got home was to check his hidden class and hidden skill.