Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
The east wind blew in the moonlit night. As the lightning crackled, sprinkles of rain started to fall from the sky. Underneath it, was a man standing precariously on the edge of a cliff, staring at the horde of ash-colored demons, whose eyes glowed red like those of the man's.
As he backed away slowly, dirt fell into the gaping abyss behind him. A wave of dark emotions came washing over him. Surrounded by the horde, the man was in grave danger and appeared completely helpless. He was drenched in the blood of the demons he had slain up to that point, and having been poisoned during combat, the champion was growing increasingly exhausted. He was covered in deep wounds, on the verge of death. The fact that he was still standing was a miracle.
At that moment, the champion raised his sword up ever so slightly, and the horde of demons hesitated, trembling in terror. Then, the air fell silent, which was rather brief. However, it wasn't long before the horde of demons charged toward the weak champion, clenching their teeth as if trying to fight off their fear.
As he stood at the end of the world in his last moment, his turbulent life filled with hunger and thirst rushed past his mind like a film reel. The endless war had only made his already-difficult life even more like a living hell. Then, before he even had time to react, dozens of blades tore into the champion's flesh. His hand, with which he was holding a sword, fell lifelessly, and he fell down the cliff into the endless darkness. With his conscience fading, the champion stared up at the dark, ominous sky with lifeless eyes until his body scattered away like a flame.
The man opened his eyes slowly. Although it was quite bright, it didn't take long for his eyes to adjust to the light. First, came the ceiling, and that was followed by the familiar scenery of a contemporary room, modern in its design. As he found himself in the room he had lived in as a Korean citizen prior to crossing over to the Demonic Realm, questions started to flood into his mind. He was now in a place that had only existed in his fading memories. Lying in his bed, confused, the man sprang up as his conscience grasped reality. He was breathing heavily.
'My name' he thought, struggling to remember. '... Min... Sung Kang? Yes, that's it.'
An old memory had been dug into his brain like a sharp nail, and his memories became even more vivid at the sight of the posters of mysterious creatures on the walls. Before being summoned to the Demonic Realm, Min Sung had had a keen interest in the mysterious monsters that were appearing on the daily news. Naturally, seeing the creatures on TV for the first time had been quite a shocking, yet astounding experience, and that had been more than enough to captivate Min Sung. From then on, his daily life upon returning from school had mostly consisted of researching those monsters, on and offline, extensively until bedtime. Of course, he had done so while completely unaware of how helpful his research would be to his survival in the Demonic Realm.
One day, after he had woken up, he had found himself in a cave, and the very subjects of his research had started to appear right before his eyes. Weapons had appeared out of thin air, which ended up becoming essential tools with which he defended himself against the monsters. Remembering the traits and characteristics of the monsters, Min Sung had killed countless of the mysterious creatures in order to survive and move forward, eventually reaching the world outside of the dungeon. However, the champion had been greeted by a world that had looked nothing like Earth: the Demonic Realm. It had been in that world of unrelenting darkness that Min Sung had adapted and survived.
In that desolate land where there had not been a single blade of grass, Min Sung and the monsters had been the only living beings. There had never been a way out. Fighting for his life in the face of death had become his daily reality, and living off of the remains of the very monsters he had slain had become the new norm. Then, one day, a new threat had appeared out of nowhere: demons. Horned and with eyes blood-red, the demons exuded evil from their ash-colored skin, thirsty for blood and war. Although dealing with them individually was hardly a challenge, they were a tremendous threat as a group. Having had to fight against them regularly, Min Sung's life had been a miserable one, draining him both physically and emotionally. Eventually, the champion had met his demise on the edge of a cliff, or so he had thought. For some reason, he was now seeing a place that had existed in his life a long time ago. What had happened?
'Am I back? From the dead?' Min Sung asked himself, checking his body. He was still wearing the same clothes, which were stained all over with the blood of the demons. For some unknown reason, the wounds that had once covered his body were completely healed. Getting out of bed unhurriedly, Min Sung walked over to a wall in the room and touched it. It all felt too real for it to be a hallucination. It wasn't until he had done the same with the posters and his desk that he was convinced that he wasn't hallucinating.
'This is all real I really am back'
While the realization dawned on him, the clock ticked away relentlessly, and his heart started to beat faster, as if about to jump out of his chest.
Upon coming out to the living room, Min Sung's gaze fixed on a certain place like an arrow. It was a portrait of his grandmother, who had been his only family, on the wall, smiling brightly. After staring intently at it for some time, Min Sung looked down at the TV stand underneath it and saw a torn up notebook. Upon picking it up, he dusted it off, opened it and realized that it was his grandmother's will, which, in summary, said that she still believed him to be alive. Then, after he looked up and stared intently at the portrait of his late grandmother, he looked back down at the letter, and a certain sentence from his grandmother's will flashed in his mind: 'Make sure not to skip meals.'
With a sticky noise, the refrigerator door opened, revealing its insides as a sour stench came wafting out. However, the smell paled in comparison to the stench of the freshly-killed monsters of which Min Sung had had to live off. In fact, the smell of the refrigerator was almost sweet in comparison.
As he was looking in the refrigerator, a certain item came into view.
It was Spam: a canned smoked ham.
Taking it out of the refrigerator, Min Sung sat at the table with a pair of chopsticks and stared down at the can. From the moment he crossed over to the Demonic Realm, the champion had never stopped thinking about being able to eat real food. Needless to say, having to feed on dead carcasses was a pain that was bound to drive anybody insane, and it had taken a long time for it to become a habit for the champion. Now, having returned to Earth, Min Sung was staring down at the canful of smoked meat.
'Is this real life?' he thought and slowly opened the top of the can.
The greasy, fatty aroma of the meat rushed into his nose.
'This is beautiful,' Min Sung thought genuinely. The oily exterior of the ham was incredibly appetizing, making him swallow inadvertently. Picking up his chopsticks, he cut off a piece of Spam and put it into his mouth, and the aroma of the meat spread through his mouth as he chewed.
"Wow!" Min Sung let out, enthralled by the fatty, salty flavors dancing in his mouth and wrapping around his tongue. It was out of this world. Although it was raw, it was a heavenly treat for a champion who had been living off of dead monsters.
At the realization that he now had the freedom to eat food that was even better than Spam, his heart thumped with excitement.
Min Sung walked into the bathroom in order to take a shower, his heart racing for yet another reason. The fact that he had returned to Earth was a miracle in and of itself. On top of that, being able to take a shower was an exciting development, to say the least. Although being drenched in blood had been completely normal in the Demonic Realm, things were completely different on Earth. He was back home. However
No matter how many times Min Sung turned the faucet, there was no water.
"The utility bill...!"
The bill had to be overdue, which explained the lack of water. Having returned home after a long time, adapting to the present was proving to be a challenge. In the end, Min Sung was forced to give up on showering. Then, just as he was about to walk out of the bathroom, he was startled by his reflection in the mirror, which somehow reminded him that he wasn't seeing things. His appearance in the mirror made it obvious that he had been to the Demonic Realm. His hair was long enough for others to mistake him for a woman, and his face was covered in a scraggly beard. It was almost hard to distinguish whether he was an ape or a person, and looking at himself in the mirror made him aware of his current appearance. Thankfully, it wasn't anything a shower and a shave couldn't fix.
"Wait What is this thing?"
'Lv1 Min Sung Kang: Newbie'
There was a series of words floating above his head like a hologram. Although he tried to wave them away as he would a fly, it was no use.
'That's strange' Min Sung thought as he opened the door and stepped outside. The front yard covered in weeds came into view. Walking through the yard, Min Sung looked around, hoping to find a newspaper since there was no electricity, which rendered the TV useless in bringing him up to date. Thankfully, there was a newspaper in front of his neighbor's house. Picking it up, Min Sung read through the words frantically, and shortly after, his face twisted into a scowl.
According to his memory, he had been running away from the demons for well over a century. However, according to the newspaper, it had been merely a decade since he had crossed over to the Demonic Realm. What was even more shocking was how much the world had changed. Much like the Demonic Realm, there were now dungeons on Earth, and within them, were monsters, which tended to come out of the dungeon without warning and attack any citizens nearby. Fortunately, Earth wasn't completely vulnerable to unpredictable attacks. Hunters were groups of fighters who were given superhuman strength and during the Monster Break in order to fight against those monsters and maintain balance and order on Earth.
If the world had become a place where monsters and hunters coexisted, Min Sung speculated that it should be an orderly place. However, the more he read the newspaper, the more it became clear that he was wrong. The world was dominated by hunters, and their power had long outgrown the government. Simply put, hunters were at the top of the food chain. Needless to say, the world was far from being balanced, and humanity was reverting back to its lawless age. Reading through the articles in the newspaper, Min Sung thought about what he had to do in order to live on.
Despite his incredible strength, the champion had no intention of being the savior of the world or of bringing the hunters to submission. His primitive instinct to live dictated his thoughts. After immersing himself in thought, Min Sung looked up and thought, 'I gotta go into a dungeon and make some money. I can't do anything while I'm broke. Besides, killing monsters is what I do.' Making money doing something he was good at was the most ideal scenario. Then, Min Sung returned home and ransacked the house in search of money. To his disappointment, however, there was no money anywhere. The only thing that was even remotely useful was his ID.
Taking off the bloodied clothes he was wearing, Min Sung put them in the hamper and opened his wardrobe. Thankfully, the clothes within it were still relatively clean. Although they were a little tight, he had no choice but to wear them until he could afford new clothes. With that, the champion left the house once again without a delay.
The streets were quiet. There was hardly anybody around aside from the cars zooming past occasionally and a handful of people who were armed to their teeth. 'So, those must be the hunters,' Min Sung thought. Then, stopping in his tracks, he immersed himself in thought again. Because he had no access to a phone or the internet, finding a dungeon was like looking for a needle in the haystack.
At that moment, a young man walking with a slouch and who appeared to be a hunter came into Min Sung's view. 'I should ask him,' Min Sung thought, and he said, "Hey, you there."
At the sound of Min Sung's voice, the young man, who was sporting a nose piercing, red hair and red skinny jeans, looked toward Min Sung unhurriedly.