The sound of people screaming hit Ji-Cheok’s eardrums.
He was suffocating, and the dinner he had eaten churned in his stomach.
‘Shit, it hurts!’
Before Ji-Cheok was able to get a hold of himself, the bus began to roll upside down.
‘I need to grab onto something!’
In a split second, everything went dark.
When Ji-Cheok opened his eyes, he found himself lying against the ceiling of the upturned bus.
He felt severely ill and had no clue what had happened.
‘F… First, let’s use my Massage skill.’
[You are casting the Massage skill onto yourself.]
[Your Stamina and Strength will gradually be restored.]
Ji-Cheok gently grabbed his swollen right arm and began to massage it with his other hand.
It was a pretty basic recovery skill, but then again, he was just a Hunter who had Awakened the day before.
Since his blood vessels were not particularly tough to deal with, they were quickly regenerated, closing his wounds.
‘This skill even heals wounds?’
It appeared that, having reached Rank D in his Massage skill rank, he had the ability to stop the bleeding.
It looked like he was applying a first aid skill, not a massage.
‘Well, I think I’m stable and okay now.
I better look around.’
Ji-Cheok’s bodycam had automatically turned on as it detected the shock.
That… or it had detected a monster nearby.
Which way was he supposed to go?
There were a total of eight people inside the bus, including the driver, but Ji-Cheok was the only one to shout, “Is everyone okay?!” There had to be someone who needed help.
In the first few moments, Ji-Cheok had only considered which way would be better for him to leave the bus.
But it was all meaningless when he saw the people lying around him.
‘Trying to take the easy way out makes me no different from an ordinary person.’
Ji-Cheok couldn’t just act like any average person.
Instead, he tried to approach each passenger and cast the Massage skill onto them.
“Are you okay? Please be okay.”
[Subject’s HP has been fully restored.]
[Abnormal stun status has been removed.]
[You have increased your Massage skill significantly.]
[You have increased your Massage rank.]
[Massage Rank C.]
[Core attribute has been obtained.]
[From now on, when the Massage skill is used, the Emergency First Aid effects will automatically be applied.]
Ji-Cheok continued to treat the fallen passengers and repeatedly cast his Massage skill onto their broken injuries.
“Where… am I?” someone moaned.
“You’re inside the bus.
Please do not go outside,” Ji-Cheok explained.
Typically, it was sensible to leave the bus in an emergency, but this situation was different.
If the body cam wasn ’t turned on by the shock of the accident, it must have been caused by the presence of a monster.
Staying inside this makeshift bunker could protect everyone.
[You have acquired additional effects by leveling up your Massage skill.]
[From now on, you will automatically receive Likes when performing a massage.]
[You have received 1 Like.]
[You have received 10 Likes.]
Was Ji-Cheok receiving more Likes because he was actually saving lives? He had first started receiving likes for massaging others earlier, but this time he got many more.
Specifically, it seemed like massaging those with serious injuries rewarded him with a larger number of Likes.
He wasn’t entirely sure how the system calculated the number of Likes, but it didn’t matter at that point.
“Thank you, thank you…”
“I can’t believe you’re giving me the same quality treatment as a professional therapist while we’re on a bus…”
The passengers who regained consciousness were relieved that they had kept their lives.
[You have received 10 Likes.]
It looked like Ji-Cheok didn’t just collect Likes when someone gave him a thumbs-up; now, even expressing gratitude would increase his number of Likes.
He wondered how the system worked.
It was great that he was collecting more Likes, but he noticed there was a difference between relaxing someone’s tense shoulders with a massage and saving a life.
Two thoughts came to his mind: surprise at how much his number of Likes increased in a short period, and a desire to receive more likes by saving lives.
“Don’t worry, I’m an Awakened.
I’m going to see how things are outside and come back,” Ji-Cheok said confidently.
He had merely performed first aid on all of these people, and what they really needed was to get treated at a hospital.
All the passengers nodded.
Ji-Cheok opened the bus window and pulled himself out.
It reeked of burning gasoline, and it was complete pandemonium outside.
People lay between the cars, and those who were conscious screamed in panic.
The cries of a baby pierced through the night like knives.
It was hard for Ji-Cheok to stay calm in all this chaos, as he was surrounded by burnt flesh, the smell of blood, and gasoline.
However, he needed to keep his composure.
The first thing he did was to look as far out as he could.
If it were just a simple crash, then he wouldn’t be too worried, but…
In the far distance, Ji-Cheok noticed a white light.
It was a burning halo of light that almost appeared holy, but from which strange beings crawled out.
The first thing that came out was a green dwarf waving a club.
“A G…Gate… It’s a Gate opening!”
It appeared to be a Gate in its early stage, the door to a dungeon full of monsters.
Ji-Cheok had never imagined that a Gate would open in the middle of Seoul.
His hair instantly stood on end and his hands became sweaty.
‘Let’s remember… what I’ve learned.’
Even though it was not as much as the Hunters learned, cleaners and scavengers like Ji-Cheok were required to know how to deal with monsters.
In a sense, he needed to know even better than the Hunters how to truly survive in his job.
‘That goblin in front of me is simply a scout, and when it returns to the Gate, the main troops will come out.’
Fear began to overwhelm him.
No, since it was all happening in the middle of Seoul, the government should be able to call up talented Hunters and block the Gate.
Until then, there was work to be done.
‘Will it be fine? Can I do this?’
If the monsters entered Seoul and scattered, a lot of people would die while pursuing them.
It was like having a crack in a dam.
Someone had to use their fists and protect this place.
‘Will I be able to do this?’
As Ji-Cheok kept repeating this thought, he started to move.
“I think you’ll be able to leave now.
Run as far away as you can,” he explained the situation to the passengers.
His head felt endlessly dizzy, but his body kept going.
Was this because of his grandfather’s teachings or was it due to his own instincts?
The passengers nodded.
Surprisingly, no one was frantically running away by themselves.
“Raise your hand if you’re seriously injured.
Who can’t move by themselves?” Ji-Cheok inquired.
The people who could move would carry the injured on their backs.
After confirming that the passengers were leaving the bus one by one, he immediately called forth the store.
The store menu appeared before his eyes as its theme sound rang.
[The store has been opened.]
[Likes are your power, Hunter.
Become popular and hit the jackpot!]
The god must have been out of his mind again today.
Ji-Cheok quickly bought one of the things he had spotted before.
“Purchase the Beginner’s Package!”
[Opening the Beginner’s Package.
Confirm the package items.]
“Use all my remaining points to build Strength!”
Ji-Cheok would have normally chosen mana, but now he needed the strength to fight right away.
It couldn’t be helped, because the goblins had shown up.
Goblins were usually known as monsters that appeared in hordes.
It would have been different if he had any skills dealing wide-area attacks, but otherwise, Strength was more important now.
[You have increased your Strength rank!]
His Strength went up one level, from D- to the D rank.
That alone made Ji-Cheok feel like his muscles were burning.
It was known that D rank strength was the equivalent of a fitness trainer at the very minimum.
‘This should be enough to smash a goblin.’
After thinking about it, Ji-Cheok prompted the system to check the Beginner’s Package.
It supposedly contained everything that a beginner needed, but actually, most Hunters wouldn’t purchase the package.
The problem was that it was very expensive.
By the time the Hunters gathered the necessary points to buy one, they would’ve already passed the beginner level.
Therefore, almost nobody got one unless a guardian angel bought it with their own money and helped the user level up with it.
But thanks to the Likes he had received, Ji-Cheok was able to buy it early, while he was still at level 1.
“Open the Beginner’s package!”
[As a beginner, you can use 2 skills!]
[The basic equipment set is being created!]
[An item drop rate booster has been applied as well!]
[Your skill proficiency has increased.]
At that moment, a short sword and a shield took shape in Ji-Cheok’s hands.
[Beginner Skill: Steady Heart Class: Beginner Premium (Non-Upgradable, Rank A) You will stay calm and maintain your composure while fighting on the battlefield.
You can also resist the lowest grade of psychic magic.
[Beginner Skill: Sword and Shield] Class: Beginner Premium (Non-Upgradable, Rank A)
Your defense and endurance stats will increase with the number of attacks you block.
Your strength and speed will also increase with the number of enemies you attack.
[The Beginner’s Effects have been applied due to the use of the Beginner’s Package.
A sprout symbol appeared above Ji-Cheok’s head, which indicated that he was a beginner.
Everyone looked at his head in amazement.
“Dad, that man has a plant growing out of his head,” a boy shouted.
“Don’t say that nonsense.
He’s helping us.”
With the situation being so shitty, Ji-Cheok couldn’t even laugh.
He had to buy as much time as possible for these people to evacuate.
As the scouting goblin was returning to the Gate, Ji-Cheok ran towards it and swung his sword.
The goblin noticed him and screeched.
The goblin was more agile than Ji-Cheok, and threw its club first.
However, Ji-Cheok instinctively blocked it with his shield.
He felt proud, as the movement came almost naturally to him.
While the goblin staggered to regain its balance, he sliced its head off with his sword.
The goblin fell down, with a sound like a watermelon splitting, and it surprised Ji-Cheok how calm his mind remained.
‘I can do this.
Is it thanks to my Steady Heart skill that I’m not disturbed at all? This is great.
I’ve been wondering how the Hunters can fight so well.
Does everyone have a skill like this? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it, though.’
Steady Heart was clearly a mental skill.
Ji-Cheok had an idea about what skills were good through his work experience in the Hunter world.
However, he had never heard of such a skill being in a Beginner’s Package.
‘Could this be due to my strange job as a GodTube Star? I’ve heard of ‘Sword and Shield’, but…’
While he was thinking this, he heard another goblin’s roar.
‘Oh shit, too many have come out of the Gate.
Three more scout goblins crawled out from the Gate, and Ji-Cheok knew that the goblins would keep coming as long as the Gate was left open.
Watching the goblins looking around, Ji-Cheok charged at them without hesitation.
He thrust his sword out at one of the bewildered goblins.
The tip of the blade pierced the goblin’s throat.
‘I got one!’
Of the three goblins that had gotten out of the Gate, the one in the middle dropped dead.
The remaining two charged at Ji-Cheok from each side.
They were holding short daggers and wore what seemed to be tattered leather clothing.
One leapt like a frog and lunged to strike him, while the other thrusted his knife from below.
In the fleeting moment, he reacted quickly.
Pulling out his sword from the first goblin’s throat, Ji-Cheok swiftly took two steps back and swung his shield.
He was ready.
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