As Sungjin shook his hand, Mustafa stood there blankly for a moment, before shaking him off and asking,
"Who are you, do you know me?"
Sungjin was flustered but quickly regained his calm. Mustafa's response was to be expected. A raid was a battle where one placed his life on the line. Hunters were always tense because of the enemies, as well as their allies who might turn out to be trolls. With this in mind, it was natural to reject a hunter who approached you and abruptly started shaking your hand even though it was the first time you've met him. Sungjin began to introduce himself,
"Ahh, my apologies Mustafa. I am…"
At that time, one of Mustafa's teammates who had been resting in the back suddenly jumped up and pointed at Sungjin as he spoke.
"Hrm? Master Hunter? Master Hunter Kei?"
Sungjin stared at him. For some reason, he looked familiar.
"Do you remember me? We met inside the Dragon's Lair."
It was the 'Barbarian' that had been one of the two people to tank Khal Gal. His outfit and his weapon had changed, but Sungjin still remembered him.
"Ahh, I do remember you. So you've made it this far safely."
"Yes, my luck was good. After we separated then, I wanted to meet you at least one more time and we've come to meet like this. I've heard stories about Master Hunter Kei from the other hunters."
As he had expected, it seemed that there were stories about him circulating amongst the hunters. The 'Barbarian' reassured Mustafa.
"Ahh, Mustafa there's no need to be on guard. This person is Master Hunter Kei. He's not a troll. On the contrary, he's a famous troll hunter."
The suspicion in Mustafa's eyes diminished when he heard the words of the 'Barbarian'. He glanced at the four swords that Sungjin had equipped before saying,
"Hrm… I think I've heard about him as well. A swordsman wielding four swords that goes teleporting through the dimensions in order to hunt trolls."
Sungjin beamed. It would be easier to talk if things were like this.
"However, what is your purpose in coming here? Is there a troll in our party?"
Mustafa inconspicuously looked at the three people that he was sitting with. The other three hunters flinched, before they each spoke up.
"Not me, Mustafa."
"We worked together before, didn't we, Mustafa."
'As expected… His skill from before is still there.'
Just by seeing this, Sungjin knew that Mustafa had an incredible influence over the party. For someone to have great influence over a group of people who had just met, it could only mean that he was powerful. Sungjin asked Mustafa and his teammates,
"Do you mind if… Mustafa and I talk by ourselves for a moment?"
Mustafa's teammates all nodded their heads, while Mustafa was the only one who had a troubled expression.
"We had planned to rest for only 5 minutes before continuing on with the raid… There's also a lady who's off resting by herself…"
At that, Nada came out of nowhere and spoke up,
"I'm okay with that as well."
She was wearing her leather armor once again.
"Please go speak with him and then come back."
Having received the agreement of the other hunters, Sungjin and Mustafa separated from them before the two began to converse. Though this party would not actually be short on time with both Nada and Mustafa in it, but since the group had said that they were in a rush, Sungjin, taking it in consideration, got straight to the point.
"I'm gathering teammates. Strong teammates that can make it to the final raid. Ten people, including me."
Mustafa quickly understood what Sungjin was saying.
"So, what you're saying is that you're picking out ten elite members to enter the final raid with?"
Sungjin nodded his head. Then, to make his proposal more appealing, he added,
"That's right. If you accept my 'Choosing', then you will receive the 'Chosen One' title which will give you an incredible bonus to your Stat Points. What do you think?"
However, Mustafa was interested in something other than the bonus stats that Sungjin could offer.
"From your point of view… You mean to say that only ten people will remain alive out of all of these hunters?"
Sungjin did not deny it.
"That's right. It's a realistic assessment."
Mustafa fiddled with his mustache and did not speak up for a long time. He seemed to be lost in thought. He briefly muttered to himself.
"Elite… Elite… God's will… Is he talking about that?"
Sungjin was incredibly nervous as he was afraid that Mustafa would reject his offer.
'If he rejects it…'
Before Sungjin could finish his thought, Mustafa nodded his head.
"Good. What do I have to do to become your teammate?"
After finishing the raid and returning to the Black Market, Sungjin immediately headed towards the cafe. He was extremely thirsty after roaming through the jungle for several hours.
"Iced Americano. Cold."
This time, after ordering, Sungjin added,
"Ah, right. I'll have it as a takeaway today."
"Understood, Mister Hunter."
Sungjin did this because now there was no point in him visiting the Auction House anymore. The merchant of Darker than Black had disappeared off somewhere. Now that he had no place to use Black Coins, he no longer had any reason to earn them either.
'As for the remaining Black Coins, I should give them to the other hunters if they need any…'
Furthermore, this time he had only managed to hunt a single troll before the Raid got over. Rather than lacking the time to hunt for them, it was because the Trollseeker Marble could not find any trolls and kept reporting,
[No applicable dimension available].
In truth, he had expected this a long time ago. Though the marble could originally find trolls immediately upon use, now the time it took to find them grew longer and longer until finally it did not activate even when the Raid was ending. This meant that now, there were not many trolls remaining amongst the hunters, and even if there were, the trolls did not commit the act.
'Well… It's about time for the spring to dry up.'
It was not something particularly inconvenient. This was because Sungjin's main goal was to 'gather allies'. This time he had managed to recruit the highly qualified Mustafa, so one could describe this raid as very successful.
Sungjin drank his coffee from a lightweight plastic cup as he headed towards Kargos's smithy. If things turned out as promised, then the crafting of the gem should be finished by now. However, Sungjin was surprised when he finally arrived at the smithy. Even just yesterday, the place had been as busy as it could possibly be, but now no one could be seen inside it. Besgoro asked,
'What's this? Where did they all go?'
Sungjin found himself walking faster towards the smithy. However, when he came near the place, he began to hear an incredibly loud snoring noise.
The sound came from behind the anvil. When he approached it, Sungjin found Kargos snoring in his sleep.
Kargos was snoring so loudly that Sungjin felt bad about the thought of waking him up. Instead, Sungjin looked around the smithy. A small iron box could be seen near him. He did not wake Kargos up and walked towards the box instead. There was an indentation in the shape of a hand on the box, as if someone had pressed his hand into clay. Sungjin peered at the indentation closely.
He quickly came to the realization that the shape and size of the indentation were exactly the same as that of his own hand.
'… Did they make it… As a copy of my hand?'
Sungjin briefly considered whether it was possible. If it was Kargos, then he believed that it was completely plausible given his skill. After all, since the beginning, the swords that he used had all passed through Kargos's hands at least once. Sungjin carelessly placed his right hand on the indentation. As expected, his hand fit perfectly. Then, the box opened with a burst of air.
A brilliant blue light began to shine from inside the box. Sungjin opened up the entire lid. Inside there was a blue gem in the form of a star. It was a gem that had the exact same shape as the one Edward had held. Sungjin carefully brought it up and examined it. As opposed to its size, it was rather light. Sungjin held it above his head, and soon an explanation window for the item appeared.
Ios – The Revelation of the Stars
Starlight (I) – You can see what will occur 24 hours in the future from now. If the user exerts his will, then it is possible to change the future. Can be used once a day.
I hold within me the Vision of the Gods
On this day, a new pair of eyes opened from within me.
The explanation was not particularly long, but Sungjin stared at it for a while. This was because the description of the Active Skill was rather shocking.
'You can see what will occur 24 hours in the future from now?'
Sungjin's mind became chaotic. He had been taken aback by the Dragon's eye mask which let him look into the past, but this item was even more surprising than that.
'Just what is…'
He turned his head and briefly looked at the sleeping form of Kargos.
Sungjin wondered if Kargos collapsed in exhaustion after he finished crafting the star-shaped accessory, as he was sleeping incredibly soundly. Sungjin looked between the star and Kargos a few times, before he felt apologetic and decided not to wake Kargos up.
'… He's probably like this because of working on this…'
Sungjin placed the star inside his vest before turning around. After having done so, he worried about simply leaving the box there, but then had a thought,
'Well… I should be the only one who can unlock the locking device… He'll probably think that I took it.'
Kargos was someone who had confidence in his work. He would know that only Sungjin could open the locking device and take away the gem. In the first place, Sungjin was the only person in this dimension anyways. Sungjin left Kargos alone and returned to Ninety Nine Nights.
"Good job today as well, Mister Hunter."
Dalupin greeted him, but Sungjin halfheartedly returned the greeting before heading towards his room like the wind. He sat down on a chair next to the window before taking out the accessory again. The star-shaped gem was shining brilliantly with a blue light.
'This is… Truly beautiful.'
Sungjin briefly lost himself in the captivating blue radiance. It was just like that time in the last raid when Edward took out the star for a moment. A thought suddenly came to Sungjin as he was stroking the star.
'Wait so then… During the last raid… That guy saw into the future with this? 24 hours into the future?'
It was right before the battle with the Demon King. At that time, Edward's expression had changed after looking at this. Afterwards, he trolled as he began to kill everyone in the party. It was not clear yet whether Edward had done so on purpose, but with his own death, he had Sungjin go through regression.
'24 hours after that point in time… Just what was going to happen in the future… Just what did Edward see…'
Sungjin did not know what Edward saw, but it was obvious that what he had witnessed had an enormous impact on him.
'Since the Demon King's Castle is Chapter 20… That means that something had happened in Chapter 21…'
However, he was unable to figure it out right now. He could not discover what Edward had seen since the eye mask that the Dragon had given him would only show him what had occurred in the past.
'In any case, it seems that I can only wait for more time to pass…'
Sungjin examined the shining star from various angles, before he wondered to himself,
"But… when will I be able to use this?"
Note: Author has taken reader feedback and revised chapter 173 which we have also updated. Do read the note below that chapter. Click Previous chap button below for it. Thank you.