Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Flabbergasted, Ho Sung chuckled while his eyes shook.
"Well, if it has to be somewhere close by there's a place called 'Bareum' in the alleyway by the convenience store near Non-Hyeon Station."
Picturing the place in his head, Min Sung smiled and said, "Sounds like a hole in the wall."
"Sure, you could say that, but home cooked family food is their specialty, so you won't find yourself getting tired of eating there anytime soon," Ho Sung said, clenching his lips upon realizing that he was blabbering, staring at Min Sung nervously.
"Thanks," the champion said genuinely and walked away, leaving Ho Sung, still dumbfounded, behind in order to sell his items. Standing in front of the truck, he saw a sign that read: 'Item Mania.' When he looked to the side, he saw an impressive array of items on display. They all looked about even at a glance. At that moment, a large, one-eyed man came out of the truck and asked, "You here to buy somethin'?"
"To sell, actually," Min Sung said, shaking his head.
Pointing at Min Sung with his chin, the man said, "Well, let's see what you got."
Opening his item inventory, Min Sung grabbed all of the items in it and placed them on the long wooden table in front of the truck. Then, as if expecting that, the man took his wallet out and handed Min Sung thirty-five thousand won. Taking the money from the man, the champion stared at the merchant, taken aback.
"... That's it?"
"What? You think I'm rippin' ya off?"
"No, it's just that it's a lot less than I thought."
"Look, Mr. Hunter. It seems to me that you don't really know the market these days. The item values have been plummeting. You won't make any money with anything you find below the thirtieth floor. What you brought here is mostly trash. I'm the one being generous here."
"So, how high up in the dungeon do I have to go to start finding things that are worth something?"
"Let's see... I'd say at least the fiftieth floor."
Looking cynically at Min Sung, who was nodding, the one-eyed man threw all the items on the table into a sack and got back into the truck.
'Well, I should be able to have a decent meal with this much,' Min Sung thought, looking down at the thirty-five thousand won in his hand. Remembering the restaurant the head of the Diamond Clan had recommended to him, the champion made haste.
"Is he seriously on his way to eat?"
Still dumbfounded, Ho Sung scratched his cheek and licked his lips.
'What was it about him that made me so nervous? It's almost as if my body knows that it should be intimidated.'
He still couldn't make sense of the mysterious man. Although the man had reached level 50 at a frightening speed, the reality was that he was still at level 50. From level 50, leveling up became significantly more difficult, which meant there was a world of difference between hunters who were level 50 and level 100.
'Haha! I can't believe I was so tense in front of some level 50. I'm the head of a clan for crying out loud!' Ho Sung thought. Then, throwing the cigarette in his mouth out, he started following Min Sung while texting his entire clan the location of the restaurant. Soon, the highest-ranking hunters in the clan would gather. No matter how big or small the prey, hunters had to hunt earnestly and with all they had. It had been that very philosophy that had enabled the Diamond Clan to grow to its current size without getting caught by the Central Hunters' Institute.
'How did he become so powerful in such a short time? I might not know what happened in that dungeon, but I'm sure that he's equipped with nothing but legendary items,' Ho Sung thought with an evil smile on his face.
'Oh, you just wait. I'll make sure that you have nothing left when I'm done with you. Hehehe!'
Standing in front of the restaurant, Min Sung looked at the exterior with reverence. Although the place was tiny, it had a traditional-yet-classy look to it, and the fact that it was made entirely of wood accentuated the welcoming exterior even further.
Much like its exterior, the restaurant had a rather pleasant name. Though humble in size, it exuded tradition.
'I already feel good about this,' Min Sung thought. Something was telling him that upon walking into the restaurant, he'd be greeted by an old, generous owner.
'This is it,' the champion said. Breathing slowly, he stepped into the restaurant through the wooden door. Aside from the blatantly pornographic calendar on the wall, the interior had a traditional Korean feel to it as well. There were six wooden tables, and in the kitchen, which was exposed, there was an old man, who was skinny but energetic, sporting a white mustache and a white chef's hat while preparing the ingredients. Even at a glance, it was clear that the owner took hygiene seriously.
"Welcome!" the old man greeted Min Sung with a bright smile. While the owner was washing his hands, Min Sung sat at a table and looked at the menu on the wall.
[Soybean Paste Stew]
[Soft Tofu Stew]
[Stone Pot Bulgogi]
Min Sung was moved by what he saw. Although it was ordinary as far as menus in Korean restaurants went, much like he had expected, seeing it in person turned out to be much more impactful.
'What to eat?' Min Sung asked himself. Seeing the items on the menu, he realized just how hungry he was. His mouth watered, and his back straightened inadvertently. Everything on the menu sounded delicious, which made it difficult for Min Sung to decide. While he was deep in thought, the owner of the restaurant walked out of the kitchen in order to bring his guest a jar of water and a cup.
"My! Look at your hair! And that beard! Quite the style you have going on there! Hahaha! It's got personality. I like that! I almost thought you were my age there! Hahaha!" the owner said. Seeing that his customer was completely preoccupied with the menu, the owner added, "Haha! You look like you're ready to eat!"
"Yes, sir. I'm starving," Min Sung said, his gaze still fixed on the menu as he nodded.
"Yes, I'm sure you are. Now, what's it gonna be?"
"They all sound amazing. I think I'm having trouble deciding."
"You know, I completely understand that. Take your time! Oh, and you do have money, right?" the owner asked, slightly wary. At which point, Min Sung took some crumpled up bills out of his pocket.
"Hahaha! Of course, you do! Take all the time you need!"
Laughing heartily, the owner returned to the kitchen humming. Meanwhile, having stared at the menu for quite some time, Min Sung crossed his arms and furrowed his brow. As difficult as it was to make a decision, it had to be done. In the end, with a hardened look on his face, he nodded.
"Sir," he called out to the owner while looking toward the kitchen.
Then, dusting his hands off, the owner came out of the kitchen and asked, "Did you make up your mind? What would you like?" Waiting patiently for Min Sung's reply with a smile on his face.
"I'd like a soybean paste stew and the stir-fried pork, please," Min Sung said.
"Haha! Why so serious? Wait a minute, that's two. The stir-fried pork comes with a side of seaweed soup with sea urchin. Are you sure about this?"
At the mention of the seaweed soup with sea urchin, Min Sung felt his mouth water even more.
"Yes. I can eat every bite," he said.
"My! You've got quite the appetite, haven't you? Hahahaha! Wait just a little bit. I have a batch of freshly steamed rice in the kitchen," the owner replied, rolling up his sleeves as he returned to the kitchen to start cooking.
Meanwhile, seeing the water, Min Sung was deeply moved once again. Never had he seen such clear water while in the Demonic Realm. As if the water there had been mixed with dirt, there had always been a yellow tinge to it. Even that had been hard to come by, which had forced the champion to cherish every drop. Naturally, clean drinking water was a dream come true for Min Sung. With shaky hands, he poured himself a cup. The sound of the water filling the cup was nothing short of a top-notch orchestra's performance.
'What a blessing,' Min Sung murmured, bringing the cup up to his mouth slowly. As the cold, insurmountably refreshing water came pouring into his mouth, it rehydrated his parched mouth.
'... Refreshing!' Min Sung said to himself. Having downed an entire cup in no time, he poured himself another without a delay. That time, pouring a bit quicker and less patiently. Upon filling the cup to the brim, the champion drank the entirety of its contents in a single gulp. After two cups of water, Min Sung carefully put the cup down on the table, breathing slowly, refreshed. It felt as though his heart had been washed clean.
'Who would've thought a cup of water could bring so much joy?' he asked himself. He almost couldn't believe he had been able to withstand the living hell that was the Demonic Realm for such a long time. At that moment, a loud sizzle came from the kitchen, and the champion's head jolted in the direction of the sound. The owner seemed to have started making the stir-fried pork, cooking the marinated meat with cuts of vegetables on the frying pan over a big fire.
Grasping the pan with his veiny left arm, the owner stirred the ingredients with the spatula in his other hand. The savory aroma came wafting from the kitchen and tickled Min Sung's nose, which was more than enough to make the champion antsy. The smell alone was unbelievably appetizing, and he realized that he had forgotten the smell of meat cooking. Moaning, the champion closed his eyes.
'... The smell is irresistible. This is far more dangerous than those demons,' Min Sung said to himself, clenching his hands into tight fists, trying to resist his appetite desperately with every bit of his willpower. Eventually, sensing the owner's presence, Min Sung opened his eyes and saw the old man bringing the food out from the kitchen. At which point, the champion's heart started to race, and his face flushed bright red. With a dull sound, the plates and bowls were placed on the table. First, the bowl of freshly steamed rice came into view, which had an enticing shine to it, followed by a steaming pot of soybean paste stew, and a plateful of stir-fried pork, complete with a bowl of seaweed soup with sea urchin. Min Sung couldn't have asked for a better meal.
Seeing the champion swallowing anxiously, the owner asked with genuine concern, "You don't look so good. Are you all right?"
"Yes, I am. It's just that this looks out of this world," Min Sung replied, breathing heavily.
"Haha! You look and sound like somebody who hasn't eaten in days! ...Wait, is that what actually happened here?"
Starvation couldn't describe the hunger Min Sung had to live with during his century-long stay in the Demonic Realm. At the sight of the real, home-cooked meal in front of him, the champion started choking up.
"Haha! Well, what are you waiting for? Dig in! Just try not to eat too fast. You don't wanna feel sick," the owner said with a warm smile before he returned to the kitchen.
Taking a spoon and a pair of chopsticks out of the utensil holder, the champion prepared himself for his very first meal since returning to Earth. At that moment
The sliding door to the restaurant flung open violently.