That surprised her even more.

“What are you…..”

“I can give you all 255 Monster stones.”

“Uh, how come?”

“40 percent per month.”

“40 percent?”

“It’s interest.  Since there are 255, a one month interest would make it 102 Monster stones of red-grade.  You just need to pay back with 357 stones at the end of one month.  If you fail to repay, it will carry over to the following month with 499.8 stones.  After three months, it will be 700.”

“Hey, wait a minute!  What sort of math is that?  That kind of interest rate is not reasonable!”

“I am only proposing.  It’s up to you whether to accept or reject my offer.  If you have a problem with the interest rate, consult international attorney or file a complaint through the US Embassy in Korea.”

Kate kept her mouth shut.

Her thoughts just became complicated.

This is certainly an opportunity.  If she takes all of the 250 Monster stones, her stats would markedly improve.  The basic stats for sure, but also the special stats would improve a lot.

The benefits to be gained from an increased basic ability for a rank-A person like her would be highly merited.

The problem, indeed, was with the 40 percent interest.

She must hunt 12Head(s) Monsters per day in order to collect 357 Monster stones in a month.

‘It’s possible.’

I can do it if it had to be done.  She has had the experience of dueling and capturing Monsters under the command of Kim Tae-Hoon.  Capturing 10 Monsters a day is manageable.  Matter of fact, if she was to take all the Monster stones, the red grade monsters would not even be worthy opponents for her.

But, Monsters don’t just appear when I want to fight them?

Of all things, every move that Kate makes is under Kim Tae-Hoon’s control.  If Kim Tae-Hoon does not venture out, she stays put also.

‘And if it has to be done then it has to be now.’

What’s complicating is that if she was to accept the proposal then it has to be accepted at this moment.

Kate knows that Kim Tae-Hoon is not a man, who understands the term negotiation.

If 30 percent was countered with a 40 percent, he is the type of a person who would be more than easily say 50 percent in response.

If anyone was to accept Kim Tae-Hoon’s proposal then this is the best time and space to do it for the least price.

“Is that all”

So, Kate responded with even stronger resolve.

“Instead of the crimson ones, are there any orange or yellow ones?”

Kim Tae-Hoon giggled quietly in response to Kate.

Kate immediately repeated herself when she saw him giggle.

“As long as we are negotiating, I’d prefer that you give more.  What kind of obscure number is 255, let’s make it 300 even.”

Kim Tae-Hoon replied to Kate’s increasing terms.

“What are you thinking to do if you cannot repay?”

“Get’em from my dad.  I think you are the type of person who will ensure to get everything back no matter how?”

To that point, Kim Tae-Hoon no longer responded.

Kate was correct.

There is no way she won’t repay.  Kim Tae-Hoon will ensure that he gets it all back no matter what.

If she couldn’t pay back for some reason, that would be because she would have died, and that will be the only exception.

So, Kim Tae-Hoon readily accepted.

Kim Tae-Hoon removed an eye-glass case sized leather carton from the inside pouch bag of the twin-head ogre’s leather vest that he was wearing.  He placed the contents of the carton on to his palm.  Three orange monster stones were displayed.

“Orange grade’s interest rate is times 3.”

Kim Tae-Hoon had already completed absorbing the energy from them.  He had brought them just in case they would be needed in a negotiation.

The only things that will be accepted as currency in this world at this time are cigarettes, bullets, and Monster stones.

“And 300 Monster stones… About the 45 that are short.”

With that, Kim Tae-Hoon was willing to accept Kate’s proposal.

“…I will come up with it if you give me just 1 hour.”


Kate gulped down as she watched Kim Tae-Hoon.  And this time, it wasn’t just the watering saliva in her mouth that she had swallowed.



Buyeo County, Province of South Chungchung.

It was a picturesque and beautiful place with Geum River flowing at its front while Buso and Geumsung Mountains formed back walls.

At least that was the case just four months ago.

The falling snow, which signaled the winter’s arrival in Buyeo County, even felt soft and plush, enveloping the senses with tranquility rather than chillness.

Unfortunately, it was no longer appropriate to use the term tranquility for the place since the Monsters have made their appearances.  Furthermore, even after the eradication of much of the Monsters, Buyeo County was no longer peaceful.

“Move, faster, faster!”

“If you don’t want to be made an example and be killed, stop being a slacker!”

On what used to be skating rinks, baseball fields, and soccer fields, people were aerating the land, which the Geum River is flowing through, nonstop with pickaxes and shovels.

And the soldiers in military uniforms had their guns pointing towards the laborers.

It was a scene of a forced labor camp that was only possible in the past North Korea or Africa.

It was an appalling scene.


Reduced to skin and bones, a man fell unable to withstand the force of his own swinging motion of the pickax, and a man armed with a gun approached him immediately.


The man with a gun clicked his tongue in disdain as soon as he saw the man laying there with his mouth foaming and eyes devoid of pupils.

Then he screamed at the assembled men that were watching him.

“I’m not sure how many times you were warned, but if you are going to go down, you better have finished the work!”


A gun fire ensued following the yelling.

Falling to the ground as if a dead body, the man truly became a dead body.  Everyone watching this felt their bodies shake.

But the looks in their eyes did not change.  Drowned in the abyss of despair, their eyes showed that they were already in the darkest, possible place.

That feeling was the same for the gun man who killed the laborer with a single shot.  He pulled out a wrinkled cigarette and lighted it.

Then in a quiet voice, he said to himself.

“Shit, it is so f***ing hard to farm.  At this rate, this will become a cemetery, not a farmland.”

One of his colleagues approached him at that moment.

‘Hey, spare me a cigarette too.”

He leered at the approaching colleague with as terrorizing look as the point of the gun barrel as he spoke.

“F****ing shit.”

“Ass****, one bud, I mean just a single puff!”

“F*** you.”

“Come-on, man.”

“Come on?  Bullshit.  What are you going to give me then?”

“Should I give you my turn?  Do you want to take my turn instead?”

As he replied, he moved his hips back and forth.  The man, who was smoking didn’t show any interest though.

“How about this then?  One Soju.”

At the sound of Soju, the man’s look changed in his eyes.

“There is Soju?”

“We raided a supermarket in the secluded mountain side and found boxes of Soju.  So, I had one swiped.

When he heard that, the man with the cigarette in his mouth simply handed over the same cigarette that he was smoking.

His colleague took a smoke and shook all over.

“Shit, I was not a smoker before all this happened, but now, I feel like I can’t live without this.”

“The Soju… where did you hide it?  You are not bullshitting, right?”

“What bullshit.  I gotta finish it up tonight.  It has been reported already and maybe tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, I will bring it.  We can’t be seen with it as that will be the end.”

“SOBs, we do all the BS work and they take all the spoils.  Damn stigmata.  If only I had the stigmata on the back of my hand….”

He paused and looked up to the skies.

“I can’t wait ‘til the night fall.”

Then he waited for the evening time to come.

Their conversation was also heard by a man, holding his breath, far away down the river.

The man, who had overheard the conversation, also waited for the evening to fall.

Finally, the evening that everyone longed for has arrived.






< Chap. 25 – To Buyeo (3). > The End


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