Chapter 4: The Survivor
Leon Dragonia Lionheart.
The Hunter Association and the government found themselves in a perplexing situation with the arrival of a survivor from the third Black Gate, after a gap of 13 years.
The survivor is an extremely rare individual from another world beyond the gate.
Each of them had lived in diverse cultures and environments, and among them were beings who were oppressive or hostile towards Earthlings.
There were war heroes sealed within ice walls, immortal vampires, dragon descendants, and dwarves who dug underground caves to defend fortresses.
They were all formidable opponents, each with their own stubbornness, but they tended to be satisfied with being treated as survivors, acknowledging the destruction of their own worlds.
The policies of governments around the world regarding the survivors were the same.
They would do whatever it took to bring them in. If being under government jurisdiction was difficult, they would at least settle them domestically.
Since they were survivors of a destroyed world, many of them possessed exceptional combat abilities and remarkable qualities.
Of course, not all survivors were readily accepted. Among them, several possessed values that the current human civilization simply could not accept.
And in the midst of it all, there was the most recent survivor. Leon was a type that they had no idea how to handle.
“What should we do? Should we use courtly manners or something?”
“Well… I’ve seen historical dramas, but…”
Chief Kim Jin-Su and his assistant Han Hari wore perplexed expressions as they looked at their benefactor and the survivor who saved them.
Leon Dragonia Lionheart.
He claimed to be the king of the Lionheart Kingdom.
He called himself the proxy of the Gods, a Demigod, and an honorable knight.
Based on his tone and behavior, Leon appeared to be a person from a society with a strict class system. Despite being interrogated by three investigators in succession but were released due to his threatening behavior.
He refused to eat seolleongtang (ox bone soup) and kimchi, considering them to be food for commoners.
He briefly showed some interest in jjajangmyeon (black bean noodles), but rejected it, deeming it a crude dish that inevitably splatters sauce.
When offered chicken, he also declined, citing the fact that he would have to eat it with his hands.
“…He’s like a ghost, reading our minds.”
Merely by looking at the appearance of Earth’s food, he refused them, categorizing them as food for commoners. As a result, they had to bring food from nearby upscale restaurants.
“Hari… You go first.”
“M-Me? I’m not good at speaking in a historical drama-like manner?!”
“But it seems like he has a good impression of you. I heard he even gave you compliments.”
“All he said was that I had courage!”
Deputy Han Hari was assigned to deal with this picky survivor. Everyone’s conclusion was that since she received a friendly gaze from Leon at the gate, she wouldn’t be easily kicked out.
Han Hari carefully approached Leon while he was elegantly slicing a prime T-bone steak and sipping a 1993 and sipping vintage red wine.
“Y-Your Majesty… May I disturb you during your meal?”
“Are you the swordsman from earlier? Have a seat.”
She wasn’t immediately kicked out. Han Hari took a cautious breath and clenched her fist toward the modified magic mirror.
She believed that her colleagues on the other side would be cheering her on, saying, “Fighting!”
“Y-Your, Your Majesty, is the meal to your liking?”
“It’s not bad. It’s infused with the chef’s sincerity and years of effort.”
“To think that it pleased you, I am humbled… I have committed a grave sin by serving you such humble food…”
“There seems to be a misunderstanding.”
Setting down his knife, the blonde man spoke as if he were consoling them.
“What I pointed out to you was your attitude toward the king.”
“Wh-What do you mean by that?”
“When nobility meets a representative from another country, they should be treated with the appropriate dignity. It is also connected to the dignity of your own nation.”
“I-Is that so?”
“I myself can eat commoner’s food without any problem. I didn’t grow up to the point of hiding food on the battlefield. However, if you stand before me as representatives of your country’s will, it means you should show the appropriate dignity.”
In other words, he hadn’t scolded them because of the food.
While Han Hari honestly thought that they could just eat, upon further reflection, when a head of state visits, don’t they present a Big Mac meal to a person like Ronald McDonald?
“I understand. I apologize for my lack of knowledge and disrespect…”
“That’s enough. By the way, what was your name? Han something?”
“Yes, yes… I am Han Hari.”
Leon didn’t ask Han to speak more comfortably while imitating a clumsy historical drama manner of speaking.
There’s no way a royal can treat a commoner too casually.
“I’ve heard a bit about this world of yours.”
While expressing his discontent to the investigators, Leon had diligently collected information about this world.
Since the investigators tried to explain Earth and the situation it was in as best as they could, Leon had grasped a certain amount of information.
“It seems that this place is also under some kind of invasion. They mentioned something about a gate. Those creatures appeared in my world as well.”
“Is that so?”
It was a common testimony among the survivors.
Gate. Portal. Interdimensional rift.
Called by various names, but with common characteristics.
“Demons. Those peculiar beings also appear on this Earth?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
Han Hari had one mission.
The best-case scenario was to have him integrated into the Hunter Association under the jurisdiction of the South Korean government.
As a second option, it was to somehow settle in this country called South Korea.
The appearance of survivors always garnered attention from governments around the world. They would go to great lengths to incorporate them into their own countries.
In the intelligence world of the 21st century, scouting survivors was a key task.
Leon’s value? There was no need to mention it from the perspective of being a survivor.
Combat prowess? It had already been proven by various association members.
If there were any issues, it would be his assertive stance and his uniqueness, but when it came to conversation, he wasn’t someone with whom communication couldn’t be established. Above all else…
“This person is clearly confident in his own worth.”
Just the fact that he took an authoritative posture against unfamiliar residents of a different world was proof of his self-assurance.
Among the survivors, there were many types who were submissive when dealing with countries. They instinctively knew that they couldn’t defeat a massive group like a nation, and there was nothing to gain by turning them into enemies.
However, this man named Leon was the pinnacle of pride and self-esteem.
He boldly demanded what he didn’t know, and insisted on immediate delivery of what he needed.
Considering himself as someone noble, he could confidently face anyone.
“Your Majesty… If it pleases you, the position going forward will be taken care of by the South Korean government.”
“What does that mean?”
Han Hari slowly presented him with options.
Becoming a hunter under the jurisdiction of the country.
Settling down and finding a different path.
Regardless of the choice, it was clear that the association intended to provide support for the survivors. Especially if he became a hunter under the government, they emphasized the tremendous support they would provide.
The higher-ups in the association still didn’t know Leon’s value. However, if his value were recognized, they would gladly try to attract him to South Korea.
“This place is under invasion by demonic beings. A knight of honor should fight without hesitation. If you choose to settle in our world, it is your duty to head to the battlefield.”
Hari’s face brightened. Was he someone with more solid thoughts than expected?
Among the survivors, there were many who refused to engage with demons or enter the gates. They claimed that they had no obligation to involve themselves in the fights of another world.
Yet, those same individuals were quick to take the settlement support funds without fail.
At least this person didn’t seem to be that inconsistent.
“In that case, if you become a member of our Hunter Association—”
“No, a king cannot serve under the banner of another king.”
Huh? What does that mean?
Hari looked perplexed.
He had considered the possibility of him not joining the government. Even Hari himself thought that joining the association wouldn’t benefit him.
‘But if that’s the case, wouldn’t that mean he would refuse to join any other hunter guild?’
“I will establish my own knight order in this world.”
Hari could only nod in agreement at Leon’s declaration, which contained his ambitions.
* * * *
“The situation is turning in a strange direction.”
As Kim Jin-Su, the manager, comprehended Leon’s story, he scratched his head. Still, Hari gave a positive assessment.
“It’s not bad, is it? He has plenty of will to fight.”
“That’s true. He doesn’t seem to be planning to go to another country or anything.”
Survivors as capable as Leon are rare among all survivors.
He has sufficient power, the will to enter the gates, and he isn’t hostile in this current world.
Being a human in a hierarchical society does raise some concerns, but it doesn’t mean he would act against reason.
“Still, I was shocked when he said he wanted to meet the president.”
“Uh… They didn’t give permission?”
“What if he meets and starts swinging his sword? He can put his sword into a pocket dimension and summon it at will.”
“But he doesn’t even have a pocket dimension. What’s the principle behind it?”
If, by any chance, a reckless survivor suddenly attacked the president with a sword… That would truly be a national disaster.
“What are you going to do?”
“Well… We have to provide as much support as possible.”
That was the conclusion reached at the association’s meeting.
They would support him to the maximum extent possible to win his favor and ensure he settles in this land.
Even if it required a substantial astronomical budget, it was worth a try.
“Our country’s government is too weak… It’s all because of those large guilds that only care about money and power.”
The deep-rooted ailment of stagnant Korea continued to afflict the nation even now.
“By the way, didn’t a new Crimson Gate appear recently before we entered the Black Gate? Somewhere in the Honam Plains.”
“Yes, it was discovered by the Phoenix Guild.”
“It should go well… But if something happens over there, it’ll be a real problem.”
Since the great upheaval, dungeons had been breaking out all over, causing the world to become desolate.
The problem with dungeon breaks was not just the influx of monsters. It was the emergence of “demonic energy” along with the opening of the gate rifts.
Demonic energy was a deadly toxin that corroded space and cursed the land. Land contaminated by demonic energy required a purification process of at least one year before crops could be grown.
In other words, a dungeon break in a fertile area was as catastrophic as deciding the year’s harvest.
“The Phoenix Guild does have S-rank Hunter Yoo Yong-Wan. Even the Crimson Gate shouldn’t be at such a difficult level for them.”
Manager Kim Jin-Su pondered whether he should share the intelligence he received from the National Intelligence Service with Deputy Han Hari.
The Phoenix Guild had shown suspicious movements ever since they demanded exemption benefits from the government and were denied.
At that moment, both Manager Kim Jin-Su and Deputy Han Hari’s phones vibrated simultaneously. Emitting an ominous siren sound, beep-beep!
“Emergency Dungeon Break in the Honam Plains. All available personnel are ordered to be on high alert.”
Upon confirming the message, the two individuals exclaimed in unison.
“Those damn Phoenix Guild bastards!!”
* * * *
Leon thought that the sound wouldn’t reach him behind the Magic Mirror, but he could clearly discern the voices coming from beyond.
His blessed body had already transcended the limits of human flesh. He was a living saint, or in other words, a demi-god.
“They seem to be in trouble.”
The dungeon break itself wasn’t the issue. The problem was that it happened in the fertile region of the countryside.
From what he heard, when a dungeon break occurred, the land became contaminated, and crops wouldn’t grow…
“As expected, it’s not here.”
Through this, Leon was certain that ‘it’ was absent in this world.
The fact that there were discussions about ‘famine’ or ‘crop failure’ was clear evidence.
‘Lady Demera, are you well?’
He inquired about her well-being within the hidden ‘shrine’ inside his heart.
She gladly responded to him, the emissary of the Pantheon.