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Chapter 20 Part 2 - Second Life of a Dragon Raising Hunter

Domain magic was simply the manipulation of magical power and didn't require any special rituals. However, when it came to magic that interfered with the physical world, activation words were necessary.

The only image of light that came to mind at the moment was the dim lamp hanging on the cave wall. Yeon-woo focused on the lamp as he gathered his magical power, then gave the command.


A faint light, not quite bright, appeared around Yeon-woo's shoulders. Like Root magic, the most basic Dragon magic involved creating a light-emitting sphere. This was the technique he had learned last Thursday in the 'Mana Heart Composition and Control' class...!

It was a bit underwhelming to say it with confidence, but Baek In-hwa looked very surprised. It was understandable. Mana cores and mana hearts were generally incompatible.

"...How can you use magic?"

"Just think of it as a special ability of the contractor."

This much, Baek In-hwa couldn't doubt. Whether it was the reassurance of having some light or the sudden surge of trust, Baek In-hwa moved forward with a slightly more relaxed demeanor.

The interior of the gate was a wider passage than the mine, but the structure didn't seem to have changed much.

Damp and uneven walls, a musty smell and humidity, and a straight path. Occasionally tar dolls consumed by the doppelganger appeared, but they weren't the main body, and Baek In-hwa could handle them alone.

As they progressed through the cave, Yeon-woo decided to explain about doppelgangers. Baek In-hwa seemed to have gained enough confidence from dealing with the tar dolls, but how many people had he seen die to doppelgangers thinking the same thing?

Depending on the doppelganger's state, even Baek In-hwa would struggle if it was fully grown. Fortunately, judging from the state of the dolls they had seen so far, it was unlikely to be an adult, so Yeon-woo regained some composure.

"As for doppelgangers... think of them like spiders. They spin webs and eat the bugs that get caught. The difference is that the ones eaten are left as empty shells."

"You knew that and still stabbed it. You're pretty level-headed for a newbie."

"I can't let myself be held back by the dead. I've made up my mind."

In the end, the dead rarely took precedence over the living in actual combat. Moreover, before his return, there were countless times when he had to kill even the living.

The living must live. That was the deeply rooted belief in the hunter world back then.

This was especially true when monsters capable of controlling humans appeared. There were times in the world when nothing could be done, no matter how hard you tried. It wasn't so much that he had made up his mind, but rather that he had no choice but to do so.

"The fact that you're not asking more questions means you've been through something too, haven't you?"

Hunters who experienced killing for the first time usually made a fuss, no matter the situation, even if they didn't get their own hands dirty.

Yeon-woo had no intention of judging such behavior, but in situations like this, the presence or absence of such experience was easily revealed. And from that perspective, Baek In-hwa possessed a kind of detachment, as if she had already taken a life.

"...There are things I don't really want to talk about."

"Don't talk about it if you don't want to."

Yeon-woo replied somewhat coldly to Baek In-hwa's muttering. The environment where the Ice Palace was located, even if they chose it themselves, was harsh. It wouldn't be surprising if they had to kill a person or two occasionally. It was foolish to pry into something she didn't want to talk about.


Baek In-hwa chuckled and smiled. After that, they walked in silence. The tar lumps in the shape of humans didn't appear again. There were four missing people from the mine. So, were two of them with that thing? Regardless of the number, he had a rough idea.

"This guy is still young."

"How can you tell?"

"You know what a doppelganger is, right? Not the monster kind."

Baek In-hwa nodded at Yeon-woo's question. The German myth, the doppelganger. An urban legend about a person with an identical appearance somewhere in the world, and encountering them would lead to death.

And among the monsters that appeared in myths and legends from all over the world, it was a being that had never been discovered in a gate before.

Some said they had already infiltrated human society, while others scoffed and said they didn't exist, but in the end, the name "doppelganger" was claimed by this monster, albeit in a slightly different form than the legends.

Doppelgangers were a species that could perfectly mimic humans. This was no different for the monster doppelgangers. In fact, the doppelganger dolls he encountered in his past life were indistinguishable from humans, making it extremely difficult to tell them apart.

However, the doppelganger in this gate could only create these crude dolls that barely resembled humans. With only four humans collected, it lacked the experience to perfectly mimic them.

"If we can just avoid getting eaten, this might be manageable."

"I wish you hadn't said that."

Yeon-woo joked as he looked at the door that appeared before them. The boss room. He didn't know what the structure inside was like, but the doppelganger was definitely in there.

"Since we've come this far, I have to ask."

Yeon-woo responded to Baek In-hwa's sigh-filled words.

"You mean the way doppelgangers fight directly?"

"Yes. How they fight... Does Shar-nim know anything?"

Shar-nim? Yeon-woo couldn't help but let out a small, empty laugh. Baek In-hwa just looked at him as if wondering what was so funny.

Fortunately, communication with Baek In-hwa was going quite smoothly. She seemed to be actively engaging in conversation.

"It's hard to put into words... Hmm, do you have any idea what it would be like to wield darkness?"

"...Not really."

Perhaps she had never seen such a martial art. Baek In-hwa tilted her head. It couldn't be helped.

"Once we go in, I'll expand Stella as much as I can, to the limit of what I can maintain. That will create shadows inside the room, right?"

"I guess so...?"

"The attacks will suddenly come from those shadows. I'll try my best to keep them away from you, but be careful."

"...So you're going to fight the doppelganger head-on?"

"Yes. I don't have any means of wide-area extermination right now. Please take care of the dolls quickly and come help me. I'm counting on you."

Baek In-hwa, after listening to Yeon-woo's words and thinking for a moment, said in disbelief,

"You make it sound so easy."

"You can do it, can't you? You're the great Baek In-hwa."

It was a risky gamble with his injured body, but this was the option with the highest chance of success. Even if the matchup was bad, he could endure.

Baek In-hwa smiled faintly at his words.

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