I Never Run Out of Mana - Chapter 64
Chapter 64 – Enemy? Ally?
Hot air blew, matching the desert like theme of the dungeon.
Meteor Call and Iceberg no longer had cooldowns.
The floor of the dungeon was covered in flames.
If there was one thing, I was kind of disappointed with what happens when I used both skills together.
When both skills met, they cancelled each other out entirely.
It dealt no damage.
But that didn’t really matter.
As long as I continued to cast one of the two skills repeatedly, all monsters would be completely wiped out without any traces left.
The clear time of my hunting was fast enough as it was, but now it became incomparably faster.
I could pretty much clear the dungeon in the time it takes me to run to the end of it.
This clear speed could not be reached even with a 10 man party.
I loved this growth speed, but it worried me that the association would catch on again.
Without any time between each run, they would become suspicious of this party.
The solution I came up with was to purchase a ton of IDs.
I categorized each ID by class and level, dividing it into 4 different groups.
Each time I ran the dungeon, I swapped these four groups around.
With this, they would not become suspicious from just the data alone.
‘Guess I studied hard to come up with great schemes like this.’
Two days ago.
I went to the level 13 succubus dungeon to meet up with Jong Ho.
This was where I met him in the first place.
The level 13 portal that exploded then had become a dungeon, a treasure trove that filled the bellies of the Awakened.
Back then, it took 30 minutes borrowing Jong Ho’s car to get here from the restaurant.
It was an unlit hiking trail before.
However, now the area had restaurants and stores.
Parking lots were a given, and they even had a specific zone for the warp gates.
“Wow. It used to be just a hiking trail with nothing of note… but it developed like this.”
The surrounding area had changed to the point where I couldn’t even recognize it anymore.
Jong Ho and his party group were walking out after clearing the dungeon.
Including Jong Ho, the party consisted of 6 members.
Out of them all, it couldn’t be helped that Jong Ho’s weapons and armor were sticking out like a sore thumb.
In each hand was a Banwol Jincheon, as well as an emerald Lizardman’s Gauntlet that covered his wrist.
Ah. The gauntlet was a gift to him in repayment for all the gauntlets he helped me sell each weekend.
I already had obtained a gauntlet that gave me 20% magic resistance.
That’s why I gave him the one I was wearing before, which gave 18%.
True to his character, he did not put it on until I said I was ‘lending’ him the gauntlet.
Looking from the outside, he looked like a tanker that was running the dungeon to help the other members level up.
I called Jong Ho, who was busy selling the loot after the hunt.
“Armor suits you a lot better than your regular clothes.”
“Do you have to laugh while saying that?”
“I can’t cry though. Do you go on dinner dates while dressed like this?”
“Can’t help but laugh thanks to you.”
I went towards Jong Ho, greeting all of his party members that hunted with him.
“Hello. I’m Jong Ho hyung’s dongsaeng.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“I heard many things about you. My name is Hee Park.”
While I was greeting everyone, a man I was familiar with came into view.
A man in his mid 40s.
He was looking at me, with the faintest of smiles on his face.
A man who seemed too old to be running a level 13 dungeon.
Most people become Awakened before they hit their 20s.
Most people gathered here were in their early to mid 20s.
‘Did he Awaken late?’
Well, there are cases like hyung who was doing managerial work until Awakening late.
This wasn’t about when he was Awakened, or what his appearance was like.
It was because I felt like I saw him somewhere before.
‘Where did I see him before….?’
Jong Ho finished dividing up the loot, and was ready to leave.
Saying farewells to the party members, we distanced ourselves from the group.
I wasn’t sure what was happening, so I casted a spell that prevented us from behind overheard.
“Hyung. Who is that man in his 40s?”
“Ah, someone I’ve been hunting with for a week. Why?”
“I have a feeling that I’ve seen him somewhere before…”
“He said he used to work for the association. You sure you’re not confusing him with someone who looks similar?”
“No. It’s definitely someone I know. I’m sure of it.”
“No way. It doesn’t look like he knows you.”
Wait, Ho Jin?
That was when I remembered his name and face.
Department head of the Awakened special control unit, Kim Ho Jin.
I was sure of it.
He was the one who brought all the association hunters, as well the as cleric ranker to wait for me.
No. He was trying to catch me.
‘What is this. Are they hiding around here?’
My head was filled with possibilities.
A member of the association was clearing a dungeon.
And since he was able to go in and out of the dungeon as he wished, it meant he was an Awakened.
‘An Awakened that works at the association? That’s something mothers would be bragging about to others about her son.’
It was someone I could not understand.
“You said he used to work at the association?”
“Yes. He didn’t go into detail about it, but he said he quit due to a quarrel with his boss.”
“Hyung. Remember how I told you that I wasn’t able to hunt for some time thanks to all those hunters from the association showing up?”
“Yeah, that’s when your fake ID got suspended, right?”
“Yes. The man who is responsible for that is Kim Ho Jin.”
“I’m not sure either on why he’s here right now. It could be that he approached you on purpose because you have a connection with me, or it was a coincidence while he was trying to live the life of an Awakened after quitting the association.”
“What, seriously. Just what is happening?”
“I think he also recognized my face.”
“Of course. Just by looking up your ID, your face would come up.”
“Yes. But back then, I was stealthed, so there is no way he can recognize me. I think I’m just paranoid, thinking that he recognized me.”
“What should we do? Should we change the party members?”
“No. If he left the association completely, he should have nothing to do with me, but if he didn’t, then doing so would only make him more suspicious. Just hunt with him like you usually do.”
“Just hunt as much as you can.”
“Until I find out his identity and what’s really going on, please act normally as you usually do.”
“How will you find out? How can you reveal his agenda?”
“I can stealth. Even if it slows down my hunting, I need to find out.”
“Alright. For now, I get it. Fate really is fickle.”
“If he really did leave the association…..”
Leaving the conference room, Kim Ho Jin was cursing and swearing all sorts of profanities while heading to his office.
This act of corruption by his superior happened right before his eyes.
He couldn’t just stand there and watch the president lead the country down a path of ruin.
Those who worked with him gazed at Ho Jin.
However, he was quietly packing up his belongings in silence.
“Greedily taking tax money from the country. But if you are too busy only caring about your life, how can this country run properly!”
27 years ago. He had Awakened at the age of 18, just like Min-cheol did.
However, instead of wanting to live a cozy life, he decided to become a member of the association.
This was before the radical faction showed, and a time of recovery after the attacks of the portal explosions occurring all over the place.
You could say that mankind was finally stabilizing towards peace after the attacks from the monsters paused.
On the other side of the coin though, the Awakened began causing trouble all over the place, to the point where they could not be handled.
It was because there was no laws clearly set for Awakened, as well as a way to enforce those rules.
This was why he thought he needed to join the association.
It didn’t take him long for him to pack, almost as if confirming that those 20 years were worth nothing.
Half of his entire life was spent dedicated to the association.
But he let go of his title without any hesitation.
The only thing he could do now was to grow stronger.
It was late, far too late for him to trying growing strong enough to fight against the radical faction.
But he couldn’t just stand by and do nothing.
He couldn’t just watch his country and humanity as whole be slowly destroyed from the inside out any further.
Before going out on his first day of hunting, an idea that had come to him hundreds of times over came again.
Telling this juicy story to those crocodiles in the swamp, the reporters of the press.
He wanted to tell the truth.
To the entire world.
But, for someone who has been in the association for 20 years, there was no way they weren’t aware of all the dirty work they do behind the scenes.
He knew that whoever they put on him for surveillance would get rid of him the moment he did anything rash.
If he was the only one who’d suffer, it wouldn’t matter.
If that was the case, he could accept the consequences of doing so.
However, thinking about his wife and daughter, he couldn’t bring himself to do so.
“I’m just the same as them, looking out for my life… How pathetic of me…..”
And so a week had passed hunting.
In between his association work, he leveled whenever he could, reaching level 85.
Well, for someone who has been Awakened for 27 years, he was a very low level.
He was hunting at the level 13 dungeon that was appropriate for his level, forming up a party.
His hunting for the day was nearly finished, and that’s when it happened.
He couldn’t believe his eyes.
It was Kim Min-cheol.
The person who, within two months of being Awakened, clearing dungeons of great difficulty and level by himself, had appeared before him just like that.
It appeared as though he was friendly with Jong Ho, who had first approached him to form a party together.
He couldn’t help but smile.
‘A man of that caliber….. He might be able to change the world.’
Of course, he didn’t know much about him.
He could be part of the radical faction.
But it felt as though he was the only hope left he could bet on.
‘Who are you, Kim Min-cheol.’
‘Mass Stealth Jutsu’
Pausing my regular hunting routine, I began to spy on Kim Ho Jin.
I already had learned of his address by following him back on the day we met at the level 13 dungeon.
If I used Silent and Mass Stealth Jutsu, I should be able to get the information I need without being exposed by anyone.
“Where is the entrance to the girls’ onsen… just kidding. I think it was the 3rd floor of this apartment.”
I finally caught him, just as he was about to leave for work.
I was going to watch him for a while, but if he headed for the association right now, that would mean that he approached Jong Ho and me on purpose.
As Ho Jin was putting on his shoes, his spouse spoke.
“Whew. You are old now. You should just rest at home.”
“I’m a little restless, you know.”
“Even after marriage, I don’t see you staying at home even once. Well, do take care. Keep your promise to stay here at least on the weekends! Jeong-yeon, you should go say bye to papa, right?”
“Haha. Alright. I’ll be heading out now, honey.”
‘Hmm…. Did he really leave the association?’
The reason why I was interested in him was for the information he possessed.
Jong Ho was very knowledgeable in monsters, hunting, dungeons, and the loot dropped.
Unlike him, Kim Ho Jin had stayed in the association for a long period of time.
If I was able to obtain information regarding the radical faction and the government, it would be like obtaining a thousand units for reinforcement.
That was a good reason to keep him under surveillance for a bit longer.
‘Kim Ho Jin, who are you?’
little bro, term of endearment in this case, not actually blood related