Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
Countless people across the globe came pouring out into the streets to witness the historic moment of dungeon gates disappearing into thin air. Looking up at the dungeon gates that were slowly turning translucent, some clapped, while some laughed or prayed. It seemed as if they were celebrating the long-awaited peace that was to come. However, contrary to the civilians, who no longer wanted to depend on hunters for safety, the disappearance of the dungeon gates was disconcerting news for those same hunters. Without dungeons, the hunters would surely become a thing of the past. Soon, the dungeon gate at the center of the crowd's attention disappeared completely. At which point, the crowd erupted into applause while the hunters dropped their heads.
Meanwhile, contrary to the rest of the world, where dungeon gates were disappearing, a black shape started to form above the waters by the Statue of Liberty. Resembling a black hole, the sphere grew bigger, blowing a violent gust of wind around it and causing the water around it to swell violently. Shortly after, the black hole started to elongate itself vertically and slowly take a tangible shape, eventually becoming what appeared to be a tower. The water still trashed around it violently.
At that ghastly sight, the cars and pedestrians stopped in their tracks, staring at it intently, stunned.
[This just in. An anomaly has occurred near the Statue of Liberty in New York. Following the worldwide disappearance of the dungeon gates, what appeared to be a sign of impending peace turned out to be a foreshadowing of something much worse. Let's take a look at the footage from one of our reporters.]
After that, the screen transitioned to a video clip showing a tower-shaped dungeon forming above the water. Lightning crackled, thunder flashed, and the water around it swelled violently like a tsunami, causing severe damage to the Statue of Liberty. The phenomena grew worse and more violent, showing no signs of letting up.
While watching the news, Ho Sung dropped his head and put his hand on his forehead. Although not exactly unexpected, seeing it with his own eyes in the news was much more frightening. With a dejected look on his face, Ho Sung rose from his seat and made his way to the champion's room, hoping that the champion would be awake. However, to his disappointment, Min Sung was still sound asleep. He had been like that for the last two days, in fact.
Frustrated, Ho Sung looked down at the champion, his cheeks twitching.
"C'mon, Sleeping Beauty! Wake up already!" Ho Sung said. However, despite Ho Sung's rude remark, Min Sung remained silent. "At this rate, he just might find the world around him in ruins when he wakes up."
At that moment, the doorbell rang.
'Who could that be? I don't think anybody's out,' Ho Sung thought, puzzled. When he checked the intercom, a woman of dazzling beauty appeared on the screen. It was Ji Yoo Kim. After Ho Sung pressed the button to let her in, the Great Lord came in through the door.
"Where's Mr. Kang?"
"... Come again?" Ji Yoo asked, blinking awkwardly while wondering if she had heard wrong.
"He's asleep. You know, like Snow White. It's been days. I don't know what's going on. He doesn't sleep that much usually."
Then, rushing past Ho Sung, Ji Yoo made her way to Min Sung's room and flung the door open. Sure enough, the champion was fast asleep, completely unaware of his surroundings. Perplexed, Ji You chuckled.
"Mr. Kang? Mr. Kang. Wake up," she said, shaking Min Sung by the shoulder. However, there was no response.
"What'd I tell you?" Ho Sung said, leaning against the doorpost.
"Is he sick?" Ji Yoo asked, looking down at the champion with concern.
"Last time I checked, he had no fever, and he was breathing just fine."
Hearing that, Ji Yoo sighed and took her phone out.
"Yes, is this the Central Hospital? Central Institute. I have a patient who needs medical attention. I need you to send me some doctors. I'll give you the address."
Hanging up, Ji Yoo sent the hospital the address to the champion's house and looked down at the champion intently amid the heavy silence.
The black hole had shaped itself into a tower. Floating above the sea, the tower appeared to be entirely indestructible. In addition, the violent waves and thunderstorms surrounding the tower made it unapproachable.
The Sun fell, and there was rain. The American Hunters' Institute cut off all public access to the tower and strictly prohibited civilians from entering the premises. Because the residents nearby had to be evacuated from their homes, there was not a single living soul within the vicinity of the black tower. With all of its citizens evacuated, Manhattan looked as bleak as a ghost town. As the calamity drew nearer, the drearier the city became.
The doctors from the Central Hospital, which was the best hospital in the nations, arrived at the champion's house. Known for their surgery and neurology departments in particular, the staff was led by hunters with top-class healing abilities.
Greeting Ji Yoo, the doctors brought their equipment into the room and examined the champion's body, using both their healing abilities and medical prowess. The result turned out to be
"We didn't find any issues. He's fine."
"Then, why has he been sleeping for so long? He's been sleeping for two days straight!" Ji Yoo said. Unable to look at the Great Lord in the eyes, the doctors shook their heads. Looking at the champion lying on the bed, Ji Yoo breathed a small sigh and called for Ho Sung.
"Give me a call when he wakes up," she said, and Ho Sung nodded affirmatively. At which point, she left the house with the doctors.
Ethan, the Great Lord of the American Hunters' Institute, hardened his face while watching the news. Although he had already received data regarding the phenomenon from Korea, the Great Lord hadn't bought into it. However, with the black tower having fully taken shape, the Great Lord had no choice but to work with the information at hand. Besides, the data from Korea seemed to be accurate.
Turning the TV off, Ethan returned to his desk. Massaging his temples, he immersed himself in deep thought about exploring the mysterious dungeon gate. Although his first choice was to send the investigation teams, there was something about the dungeon gate that sent chills down his spine.
'Can't hurt to give it some thought,' he thought, pressing the call button. Then, after a series of signal sounds, the screen showed the face of a certain individual. It was Ji Yoo Kim.
"We don't have much time, so I'll get straight to the point."
"By all means," Ji Yoo said politely and calmly.
"I was thinking the Central Institute could look into the black tower. What do you think?"
Hearing that, Ji Yoo furrowed her brow slightly and replied, "I'm afraid we're severely shorthanded. Also, this isn't just an ordinary investigation. This must be a joint effort with the rest of the world. It shouldn't fall exclusively to the US and Korea."
At Ji Yoo's response, a displeased look appeared on Ethan's face.
"The decision has already been made on our end. All I need from you is a yes or no," he said emphatically.
"Then, I'm afraid I can't help you, Ethan. It's much too risky, and we'll suffer tremendous casualties. Now, I'd like to emphasize once again that we have to reach out to the rest of the world"
"I have more questions than answers at this point, but I know this much: the Central Institute is anything but reliable. We will NOT work with a country whose people seem to have no sense of responsibility and shame. In fact, from here on out, Korea will no longer have anything to do with us or benefit from us in any way."
"That is preposterous!" Ji Yoo let out. Then, hanging up before Ji Yoo had a chance to reply, Ethan rose from his seat, lit a cigarette and looked out the window.
'That prideful bitch,' he said to himself, scoffing as he thought of the Great Lord of the Central Institute.
Taking her silver-framed glasses off, Ji Yoo breathed a small sigh. It was clear what the US wanted. In fact, she saw right through Ethan's threat. For the sake of humanity, she, Ji Yoo, had no intention of falling for such a cheap trick.
'You gotta do better than that, Ethan,' she thought. Of course, things would have looked significantly different if the black tower had appeared in Korea as well. However, the tower only existed in Manhattan, which meant the burden of having to keep watch and anticipate a monster attack fell entirely on the US. Should things get dire, it was likely that the US would send an investigation team of their own. Should that team not make it out of the dungeon alive, only then, would the world respond by coming together. In the end, the only thing Korea could do as the smaller and weaker country, was to wait patiently and hope for the best.
Sitting on the couch, Ho Sung shook his leg nervously while scratching his Cupid's bow. It had been three days since the champion had fallen asleep. Yet, the champion still showed no signs of waking up, as if he had fallen into a coma. Dungeon gates across the globe had disappeared, and the Tower of Demons had appeared in the US since Min Sung had fallen asleep. At that point, there was nothing Ho Sung could do except hope that Min Sung would wake up soon.
At the same time, the champion's extended slumber also meant that now was the time to enjoy a happy, peaceful life. The moment Min Sung woke up, there was no doubt that he was going straight to the Tower of Demons, which meant Ho Sung would get dragged into a series of nightmarish torments that could very well be life-threatening.
'Maybe now is the only time I can finally get some rest. Besides, who knows if I'll even make it out of that tower alive?' Ho Sung thought, which led him to the thought, 'Maybe I should ask Sia out on a date. What have I got to lose?'
Just the thought of going on a date with her made Ho Sung's heart race with excitement.
'Gotta seize the moment,' Ho Sung said to himself with determination. Rising from the couch, Ho Sung stood in front of a mirror to straighten his hair and clothes and made his way upstairs, reminding himself, 'We're just watching a movie together, that's all.' Clenching his hand into a tight fist, Ho Sung stood in front of the door to Sia's room and knocked.