Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Putting the bowl down, Min Sung looked around with a furrowed brow. The restaurant was in a state of panic. At that moment, hellhounds, monsters resembling hunting dogs, rushed into the restaurant, shattering the window. With his eyes filled with annoyance, Min Sung put the chopsticks down audibly and rose from his seat. Meanwhile, the hellhounds ripped their helpless prey into shreds, making ghastly, terrifying sounds while doing so, tearing into their necks and biting their limbs off. Blood splattered all over.
With his face twisted into a scowl, Min Sung picked up the chopsticks in front of him by the bunch and chucked them at the hellhounds. Then, the seemingly ordinary wooden chopsticks started to glow blue and spread all across the restaurant, piercing through the hellhounds.
Whimpering, the hounds fell to the ground and writhed in pain. However, the worst was yet to come. Looking at yet another endless wave of hellhounds rushing into the restaurant, the champion took his Orichalcon Dagger out of his inventory. Then, with a loud crackle that echoed throughout the restaurant, the hellhounds that were attacking the customers became sluggish, their movements noticeably slower.
After that, the champion swung his dagger, and streaks of lightning flashed out of it, stretching across the restaurant and toward the hellhounds, ripping them apart. Then, he swung his dagger yet again at the next wave of hellhounds charging at him. Streaks of lightning shot out of the dagger like a spider web, reducing over twenty hellhounds to moths flying into a fire in a matter of seconds.
Standing still in a restaurant that now lay in ruins, Min Sung looked around. With only a third of the customers alive after the attack, the casualties were rather substantial. Curled up into balls against the wall, the survivors shook and sobbed with terror, staring at the champion with fear. Staring back at them for a brief moment, Min Sung redirected his gaze to what was left of his spicy seafood noodle soup. Picking up the bowl with the spicy broth, Min Sung downed what was left in it in a single gulp. Although cold by that point, it was still deliciously spicy.
Putting the bowl down audibly, he took out his wallet and walked toward the counter, where the employees were frozen in fear, their faces covered in tears. Looking at a waitress, Min Sung took out a ten thousand won bill, placed it on the counter, and walked away, leaving the sobbing behind.
When the champion came out to the dark, rainy street, he saw a pack of hellhounds running about, slobbering as if they were rabid. Seeing that, Min Sung's eyes grew ice-cold, and he vanished into thin air like smoke. Shortly after, lights started to flash through the pack of hellhounds, and the hounds fell to their demise one by one. About a minute later, the sound of hellhounds that had once filled the streets was no longer, leaving only the stench of dog blood behind.
After wiping his dagger on the clothes of one of the corpses around, Min Sung tossed it into his inventory and made his way home through the rain. In the place where the champion had once stood, only the sound of raindrops hitting the ground remained.
After tossing his bloodstained clothes into the trash can, Min Sung took a shower in order to wash the blood and its stench off of his body. After that, having changed into comfortable indoor clothing, he sat on the couch and turned on the TV. Just as he had expected, the news was covering the recent reports of citizens being attacked by monsters that had escaped from the dungeons.
Countless hunters had fallen at the hands of the terrorist known as Paul Ace, leading to a shortage of hunters. Citizens were at greater peril than ever, and the packs of hellhounds running around the streets in a frenzy only served as a reminder that the country was in a severe state of vulnerability.
Now, the citizens had no choice but to start relying more on hunters for protection, regardless of their previous views on those same hunters.
After watching the news for a little while, Min Sung turned the TV off and went into his room. After setting an alarm, he sent Ho Sung a message and closed his eyes in the dark.
While Ho Sung was eating a baguette and looking through a bundle of pages of a doc.u.ment on labyrinths, he received a message.
[We leave for the labyrinth first thing in the morning.]
Upon reading it, Ho Sung's jaw dropped open, and the piece of baguette in his mouth fell out.
'We're going to a labyrinth. WE'RE GOING TO A LABYRINTH!'
Chucking the doc.u.ment on the ground, Ho Sung danced for joy. However, the celebration was short-lived as the reality started to set in. Labyrinths were not places to be taken lightly. In fact, death was at every corner within the dungeon, making them dangerous places for even the most seasoned of hunters.
'All right, Ho Sung. Stay calm,' Ho Sung thought as the situation became more real. His heart started to race with apprehension, making his blood curdle. Catching his breath, Ho Sung picked up the pages of the doc.u.ment on the ground. Although his level was now in the 300s, labyrinths still remained just as intimidating as before.
Standing straight, Ho Sung read through the information on the doc.u.ment carefully, fighting through the apprehension.
The time kept ticking, and for some unknown reason, it felt faster than usual.
The next morning, Min Sung left the house in comfortable attire. There was a car in front of the mansion, and Ho Sung was leaning against the hood while smoking a cigarette.
"Oh! Good morning, sir," he said, putting the cigarette out in a hurry and bowing. Getting in the backseat of the car, the champion said, "We head for the labyrinth after breakfast."
While putting the seat belt on after getting in the driver's seat, Ho Sung looked back at Min Sung and asked, "Uh, sir? May I ask why you're going to a labyrinth? Don't get me wrong. You're free to do as you wish with the time you have, but it does feel kind of sudden"
"Monsters have been attacking civilians more and more because there aren't enough hunters around."
"... Riiight," Ho Sung said with uncertainty. It wasn't until he received a frustrated look from the champion that he caught up to what Min Sung was referring.
"Ah More monsters means more danger for the restaurants in the area, which would inevitably hinder your meal experience!"
"Got any breakfast recommendations?"
"Right. So, I've been thinking since last night..." Ho Sung dropped off while he started the ignition.
"And I figured we should eat as much as we can before the labyrinth," he added, showing a screen capture of a blog.
"Bean sprout soup?" Min Sung asked, tilting his head and saying, "Doesn't sound very filling to me."
At the champion's response, Ho Sung smiled and said, "Not if we each get a bowl to ourselves on top of seafood green onion pancakes and some makgeolli. That's the breakfast of champions if you ask me."
'Of course,' Min Sung thought, impressed, nodding heavily and affirmatively. Should Ho Sung have stopped at bean sprout soup, the champion planned on making Ho Sung a chew toy for Bowl.
Thankfully, the combination of seafood green onion pancakes and makgeolli added charm to an otherwise boring menu.
"Let's go," Min Sung said, leaning back as he looked away from Ho Sung's phone.
"Off we go."
Just like that, the car carried the champion away.
Contrary to the champion's concern, the restaurant was still open for business despite the rampant monster attacks.
"Uh, sir? Would you mind if I eat here?" Ho Sung asked cautiously.
"If you must. Just sit at a different table."
"Thank you, sir."
As the two stepped into the restaurant, they were greeted by a middle-aged waitress, who seemed to be in her fifties, wiping the tables, "Hello!"
The time was 7 a.m, perhaps slightly too early for most people to eat breakfast.
When the two sat at their respective tables, the waitress' eyes darted back and forth between the champion and Ho Sung, confused.
"Aren't you guys together?" she asked as she brought Ho Sung, who was sitting closer to the kitchen, some water and a cup.
"He prefers to sit alone," Ho Sung replied bashfully.
"All right. Whatever floats your boat. What would you like?"
"We'll take two orders of bean sprout soup, an order of seafood green onion pancakes. Oh, could you cut that in half, please? And we'll each have an order of makgeolli as well."
Then, realizing that Ho Sung was a hunter, the waitress removed the puzzled look from her face and quietly brought Min Sung some water. Sipping on the cup of water, Min Sung looked out of the window and realized just how used to life on Earth he had gotten. Drinking crystal-clear water no longer felt unnatural to him. If anything, his time in the Demonic Realm was the thing of the past.
Reminiscing to his distant past, the champion looked out the window and studied the weather. It was a bright, sunny day, and the heavy rain was no longer. At that moment, a bowl of boiling bean sprout soup and a bottle of makgeolli arrived at the champion's table, making the champion's stomach growl.
Taking a spoon out of the spoon stand, Min Sung uncovered the lid of the aluminum bowl.
'So, they use black rice here.'
Due to its iron content, black rice was known as an effective food for treating anemia and constipation. Because he had been spending most of his free time researching, the champion had been growing increasingly knowledgeable about food.
'I don't think I've ever had black rice since I've returned to Earth.'
Taking a spoonful of it, Min Sung brought it up to his mouth. Both chewy and soft, it was perfectly cooked. Then, he followed up with a spoonful of the broth of the bean sprout soup. Flavored with dried chili powder, the clear broth was refreshing and deep in flavor. It was the perfect food with which to start the day. With a piece of kimchi crunching in his mouth, Min Sung took some bean sprouts from the soup and placed them on the bed of rice. Then, after bringing the mixture up to his mouth, he followed it up with a spoonful of the savory, refreshing broth. The grains of black rice and the crunchy bean sprouts mingled with the deep flavors of the broth, creating a combination of flavors that was deeply satisfying and providing the champion with enough energy to wipe out every monster that came his way.
Taking the bowl of rice, Min Sung mixed the rest of it into the soup. Then, while he was still stirring, half a piece of seafood green onion pancake made its way to the table. When he looked at it, Min Sung remembered the bottle of makgeolli that had also arrived with the soup. At that moment, Ho Sung came rushing to his table with a bottle of makgeolli in his hand.
"Sir! Before you drink that makgeolli, remember to hold it tightly by the mouth of the bottle and tilt it at a forty-five-degree angle as you pour," he said, demonstrating it himself.