Chapter 162: Epilogue
On December 31, 2016, monsters appeared in the world. It was unexpected and the presence of the monsters was unimaginably powerful. In front of the monsters, people shouted, “The world is coming to an end!” and through that cry, no one dared to say that man was the lord of all things. Human beings, far from the lord of all things, had become prey for monsters.
It was a series of miserable realities, and miserable days went by. In that wretchedness, the end of mankind seemed to be at hand. Even if mankind survived, there would be no more glory than in the past.
That was what everybody imagined.
However, the Republic of Korea and the land of the Korean Peninsula denied all of that. The 51-story Mac building, towering in the middle of Bucheon City, Gyeonggi Province, Korea, was proof. Above all, the building, which rose upright and dignified, was clear evidence that the world would regain its glory of the past, as well as move on, based on the age of monsters. At the same time, the building was also proof of a man’s influence.
“On December 31, 2016, that big mart over there was the beginning of Mac Guild. There was a revolution in that place that changed the history of mankind.”
It was Jang Sung Hoon, the second master of the Mac Guild, and now a man of power ruling the world. He was a very young man, with the power to decorate his private mansion or villa, with the enormous art treasures of the Louvre or the British Museum. He had no choice but to be very young. On December 31, 2016, when monsters appeared, he was a young man who was just over twenty years old, and that was only five years ago. Naturally, he was still in his twenties.
“And that hospital over there is where the famous doctor Ahn once worked. If Dr. Ahn hadn’t come to buy energy drinks at the large mart at the end of the year for an errand, she would not be here now.”
It was even more amazing that he had more than twice as many days to live in the future than he had lived in the past, since he had accumulated everything he could, power and wealth. Of course, the world envied Jang.
“If you’re done with the explanation, can I ask you a question now?”
“As you wish.”
“What do you think about the fact that President Cho gave preferential treatment in the Mac Building construction process?”
At the same time, they were both jealous and suspicious of Jang. Now, the beautiful reporter in front of Jang Sung-hoon, Song Hye-sun was the same. She was determined to fight against the absurdity of the world with a strong journalistic spirit, and she did not want to condone the Mac Guild, which had saved the world and was still saving the world. If they were full of injustice and corruption, if they were covered with absurdity, she was willing to dig it out.
When she had the opportunity to interview Jang Sung-hoon, she naturally did not avoid it!
When asked such a question, Jang laughed before answering.
“Is my question funny?” Song Hye-sun’s eyes flashed sharply.
“It is funny.”
“What’s so funny?”
“If you look down here, you’ll see a vacant lot next to the big mart I mentioned earlier. It was originally a plaza in front of Bucheon City Hall, and in the process of developing Bucheon City as a special zone for Hunters, I demolished Bucheon City Hall and the surrounding area, but I left that park alone. Do you know why?”
“Many people got a chance there: Yang Jung-hwan, master of Starfish Guild in China, Lee Soo-young, one of the executives of Mac Guild, and Bang Hyun-wook, who is now a Hunter representing Mac Guild. There was a historical and legendary event in that vacant lot, and that’s why I left that park there.”
Song Hye-sun shut up, since if they were reporters, if they were Koreans, if they knew the history of Mac Guild, they would know what Jang was talking about.
At the same time, it was a fact that everyone who had survived the world should remember, keep in mind, and appreciate.
“And you wouldn’t have been a journalist without that historical event, because monsters don’t do an interview, and it’s funny in many ways.”
“Is that the answer to the recent rumors of special preferences for the Mac Guild’s second master, Jang Sung-hoon?” Of course, Song Hye-sun was not discouraged by the fact. If she was going to be discouraged by this, she wouldn’t have come here in the first place.
After Jang Sung-hoon made a sullen look on her appearance, he muttered to himself. “… she does not condone it. They usually condone it here.”
“Nothing.” Jang Sung-hoon, who spoke to himself quickly, continued his speech. “Preferences, that’s ridiculous. Before Cho Sung-yeon was elected president, he was rescued by Mac Guild, protected, and became the first president of the new unified Republic of Korea, but the process was conducted by democratic procedures. If he was a person who gave preference to someone, would he have been president?”
“But there are many indications that President Cho’s recent policies are closely related to the Mac Guild.”
“Korea is still under the threat of monsters, and right now seventy-three percent of the world is still the territory of a monster. Right now, Africa, South America, India, and Southeast Asia are still at war with monsters, and that close relationship is natural when the role of Korea is more important than ever..”
“Then what do you think about the claim that the Mac Guild holds exclusive rights to all the relics and that the other guilds cannot go on a proper monster hunt?”
To that question, Jang Sung-hoon smiled lightly before answering. With that smile, he turned his head. Then a sheet of Daedongyeojido, which was filling one wall, came to his eyes. He opened his mouth in front of the map where no light was visible anywhere. “Why do you think I’m sitting in the Mac Guild’s second master’s seat?”
“The first master said that human greed is endless, and they repeat the same mistakes.”
“Did he really say that?”
“No, he did not… anyway, he left some words similar in nuance.”
“What exactly do they mean?”
“If they eat and become fat, they’re not satisfied by it, and they’ll try to eat more.”
At the answer, Song Hye-sun closed her mouth tight.
Jang Sung-hoon smiled at her and said, “It’s kind of a shame that the master of Mac Guild, the world’s strongest and best Hunter guild, beats those guys who try silly things, and that’s why I became the second master.” At the end of the words, Jang Sung-hoon turned his head and looked at Bucheon City, which was more brilliant than ever.
‘As Boss said, it was not the end of the game to kill Quetzalcoatl. Now that the monsters are gone, humans are going to be monsters.’ He looked at the Bucheon City and remembered a man.
‘How is the boss doing?’ Jang Sung-hoon greeted the man in his heart. ‘I’m doing fine, except I haven’t made a girlfriend yet.’
He gave a very sad greeting.
Located at the southernmost tip of Africa, it was a place of the greatest despair in the monster era. The reason was simple: South Africa could not expect any help or aid from any country, nor did it have the military power or relics to win a victory in the war against the monsters. It did not take long for Johannesburg, one of the major cities of South Africa, to become a huge tomb.
But there were those who survived in such a world.
“Come on! Quickly!” It was the case for a boy and a girl who looked to be about ten years old at best and looked enough alike to be siblings. It was a miracle to have survived in a world that had been worse than hell for a long time. At the same time, the two young siblings were evidence that there was still hope in South Africa.
“Brother!” But now that hope was becoming a candle in front of the typhoon.
Khung! Khung! It was because of a huge dog with yellow eyes that tried to eat that hope in a terrible and grueling way. It was unusual that the dog had two heads, and was big enough to chew up even the elephants out on the savannah. It was a yellow-grade monster, a Killer Dog. This monster of the monsters was twice as ferocious as the two heads, and the two young siblings could not deal with.
Nevertheless, because of the pattern on the back of the two hands, the brother and sister could escape in front of the bloody monster. Though the pattern on the back of the hand might give the young children the power to escape from the monster of the monsters, there was no way they could do anything about it.
“Ugh!” The girl, who was crossing the collapsed building, fell on the ground, and the boy, who was reaching out to his sister through the little hole, was frightened.
“Lia!” At that moment the boy ran towards his sister without worrying, without hesitation.
“Run! Run away!” The boy knew that if he threw his body at the monster, if he wet his skinny neck, his sister could run away while the monster savored him. It was the only way in the world to save one, not two. He knew that there was no such thing as a miracle or salvation in this world. The world in which the eleven-year-old boy lived was such a world. To a boy, no, to a much-too-young man, his sister’s life was more precious than his own in this fucking world.
“Quickly!” The boy’s cry had become a howl at some point. “Quickly!”
The fallen girl rose from the ground. At that moment the girl’s eyes changed. Like a brother and a sister, the girl’s eyes were just the same as the boy’s.
“Brother, you run away!” the girl shouted at her oncoming brother. The cry baffled the boy. At this moment he agonized over what to do to change his sister’s mind.
Khung! Khung!! Meanwhile, the Killer Dog burst into a pleased cry at the tender smell of flesh that was just around the corner.
The despair of the living and the joy of the monster filled ruined Johannesburg.
Thump! The end of that sound was one of something falling from the sky.
Khung? Khung? The appearance of the sound changed the cries of the monster, while the two had looks of admiration and surprise.
At that moment the screaming Killer Dog fell to the ground. Blood oozed from its two-headed temples and began to soak the ground.
Then, the two, who were hugging one another, looked at a man who they could see only in silhouette, his back to the sun, with their trembling eyes. Soon after, young George asked as he looked at the man, “You, you…” George was speechless. At that moment he recalled a word that people had been looking for in the sky from a dark memory.
“Are you a Messiah?”
The man answered the question. “No, I’m Mac Guild’s Hunter…”
Keueoeoeoeong! Before the man’s words could finish, there was an intense scream, incomparably more powerful than the monster before. The source of the scream was a giant dog, Cerberus, with three heads, and burning blue eyes.
At the absurd scream, the faces of George and Leah went white. They remembered that there was not a single being who had survived in front of this monster that ruled Johannesburg.
On the other hand, the man frowned as if he were a little annoyed, instead of being nervous or worried. Tsreung! Simultaneously, as he frowned, one of the two swords on his back moved.
Whoosh! The sword flew through the wind and cut off all three heads in a single breath. The process was so easy, so simple. Soon the drawn sword returned to its original home.
The click of the sword going into its sheath was very clear.
At the end of the clear sound, the man uttered his words. “I am the First Hunter, Kim Tae-hoon.”
On December 31, 2016, monsters appeared all over the world simultaneously.
And on January 1, 2022, I’m still alive.
Translator and Editor’s Afterword:
This novel is over. It’s been a very different sort then the usual slay-all-the-monsters teenage hero sort of thing, which gave its own flavor and charm. We apologize for the delays. We hope you enjoyed this book, it’s definitely different than any we’ve worked on in the past, and Khan would tell you that the guy writing this novel did so in terribly formal, archaic speech, like listening to some royal historian from early last century, so it was definitely interesting for both of us.
Good luck and good reading out there!