The Shire

Alien, or an otherworlder.
A Gate appeared, and numerous questions arose for humanity.
However, this was by far the question that aroused the most interest.
Does civilization exist there, too?

Since ancient times, non-human species have been portrayed as a legend.
Of course, since recognizing the universe’s existence, humanity has constantly been searching for the existence of alien civilizations.
So maybe it was just obvious since the existence of another world was confirmed through the Gate, but what mankind wanted to verify was the existence of aliens.

Six years after the Gate appeared, for the first time, they encountered intelligent life other than themselves.
However, it went a bad way.

“…We were attacked by those who used strange powers.”

“Strange powers?”

“I haven’t seen them in person, but some of us managed to retreat after facing them.
It is indeed the same mana that we use.
However, the method is different.
It’s not like they’re using special abilities or simply putting mana around their bodies or weapons.
I heard they could freely manipulate reprocessed mana.”

Lee Kang-chul muttered like that and looked at Kim Bongpal as if he wanted to see how he would react.

“Yeah, it’s just like….”


“Martial arts.
Just like the ones that come out of Wuxia novels, and they used that kind of power.”

For a moment, silence passed between the two.
Kim Bongpal finally reacted, though it was different from Lee Kang-chul’s expectations.

“Is that so?”

That was all.
There was no sign of surprise at all.

“Hmm? Why aren’t you surprised? It’s martial arts! I tell you, it’s martial arts!

“What the fuck? A monster appears on Earth, a Gate appears, and we find life inside.
What’s so great about whether some bastards from another world use martial arts?”

At that, Lee Kang-chul looked somewhat disappointed.

So those bastards kidnapped Hayeon? Is that so?”

That’s right.
It’s better to see the details with your own eyes.
We recovered some of their bodies while retreating.
Would you like to go see it?”

Kim Bongpal accepted the proposal.

“Where is it?”

“The Shire.”


“Don’t you know? The world beyond the Gate, we call it the Shire.”

It was Kim Bongpal’s first trip to another world.


* * *


The Gate, and beyond that, an outpost established by mankind in the Shire.
There, Lee Kang-chul guided Kim Bongpal to where the Iron corporation was.
Several hunters were standing on the border, and they had to pass a cumbersome screening process to go through.

‘The mana…it feels different, huh?’

There was an immediate difference between the world beyond the Gate and the Earth in the mana.
Its quality and density couldn’t be compared.

Kim Bongpal was unaware of this fact, but because of that, there was a discussion in the academic community as to whether the mana that initially didn’t exist on Earth might have flowed from another world.
This theory was supported by the fact that the density of mana on Earth also gradually increased over time after the emergence of the Gate.


“It’s here.”

Lee Kang-chul stopped at the end of the hallway in front of a thick iron door.


Lee Kang-chul swung open the door and entered the room.
The first thing Kim Bongpal thought was that the air smelled familiar.
Someone once told him that humans remembered their sense of smell longer than their vision or hearing.

And that was right.
Kim Bongpal recalled some old memories from the smell in the room.
He knew right away it was the smell of a corpse.
However, it hadn’t fully rotted.

There were two corpses inside.

“Oh, you’re here.”

Accompanied by an oddly dressed man.

“It’s already the second time today, Mr.
Lee Kang-chul.”

Looking at the man, Kim Bongpal felt that he was a little strange.
He had a protruding forehead bone, deep eyelids, and a high nose bridge with naturally brown hair.
He looked like a westerner, but his speech was in perfect Korean.

‘His mouth doesn’t fit.’

The shape of the man’s lips and the sound of the words Kim Bongpal heard weren’t in sync.
Kim Bongpal glanced to Lee Kang-chul.

“By the way, I forgot to tell you.
I have someone to introduce you to.”

Lee Kang-chul said with a meaningful smile.

“Let me introduce you to him.
He’s the first Otherworlder to make friendly contact with us.”

Kim Bongpal couldn’t hide his surprise.
He turned his gaze to the man again and felt something ominous.
No, it was more shady than ominous.
Kim Bongpal’s senses told him that even though the man wasn’t showing his mana.

The faint smell of death lingered on him.

“Nice to meet you.
My name is Johan Hagar.”

It was a name that didn’t match his appearance.
He had deep-set eyelids, pale skin, and boney features.
However, those indescribable eyes were telling them that, unlike his fragile body might suggest, he was a predator, not prey.
It could also be guessed from Lee Kang-chul’s respectful attitude towards him.

But all of a sudden.


Johan, walking toward them, stopped and fixed his gaze on Kim Bongpal.
To be precise, he was scanning Kim Bongpal’s body from head to toes.

Kim Bongpal’s eyes narrowed slightly, feeling uncomfortable under his gaze.

“Ah! Oh my, I’m sorry.”

Johan continued.

“I was lost in thought for a moment.
Let me introduce myself again.
Johan Hagar, I’m a, what do they call it here…necromancer? Well.
No, this would be more accurate.
To be precise, I am a Black Wizard.”


* * *


It was also black magic.
Surprisingly, there were such people among the hunters.
Whether their awakened special ability was to resurrect an animal’s corpse or to cast a curse on others, they started wearing black robes and called themselves Black Wizards.
It wasn’t that they were actually Black Wizards or that they had awakened some magic ability.
It was more like a play by those who wanted to create unnecessarily complex settings for themselves.

Of course, Johan, who called himself a Black Wizard, probably wasn’t the same type of bastard.
If that were the case, there would be no reason for Lee Kang-chul to introduce him to Kim Bongpal.
In other words, Johan was the real deal.

Many things come to mind when you think of Black Wizard.
Most notably curses, necromancy, and spirits.
What if you combined it with Johan, who was examining the dead bodies?

“So what? Does he know where Hayeon is?”

Kim Bongpal could also infer that Johan would be helpful for his purpose.

Who knows? We’ll have to find out.
How is it, Johan? Did you find out anything?”

“As I said before, it is certain that they are Moorim people.”

Judging from the flow of the conversation, they were probably those who used martial arts.
Then there comes one conclusion.
There were at least two separate groups in this world.

Hey, but can we believe this bastard?”

You’re Mr.
Kim Bongpal, aren’t you? You are very suspicious, but I can swear it on my mana.”

Whoever it was, Kim Bongpal didn’t believe in swearing on anything.
He knew that the minds of the animals called humans could change as quickly as flipping the palm of their hands.
He’d seen a lot of cases like that.

However, he couldn’t distrust it in the present case.
It was because when Johan said he would swear on his mana, the mana around him fluctuated enough that Kim Bongpal could easily recognize it.
Of course, he still couldn’t believe everything.

Kim Bongpal had no information about this other world, let alone the Otherworlders.
Who knew if he was trying to fool them by saying that? Anyway, the information provided by the self-proclaimed Black Wizard might still be helpful.
He at least knew more about this world.

“After examining the bodies, I found a few things.”

“Oh, that’s a relief.”

“But let me tell you this.
I’m sure they are from Moorim, but everything else is my guess, and I’m guessing based on the information I’ve gleaned.”

That alone is enough.”

Half-listening to the conversation between Johan and Lee Kang-chul, Kim Bongpal was examining the corpses on his own.

They seemed like trained bodies at a glance.
However, the level of muscle development didn’t seem to be specialized for close combat but more advantageous for hit-and-run tactics.
Nevertheless, they had once been wearing swords.

Assassin, hitman, ranger, and more.
There were several names for it, but that was the vibe he was getting.

“I looked at a few things.
The degree of development of their blood vessels, the location of the intestines, and the skeleton.
You know, don’t you? We- I mean the people from our world, have slightly different bodies than those from Moorim.”

Saying so, Johan looked at Lee Kang-chul and Kim Bongpal in turn.

“You guys are different, too, right? Well, Mr.
Lee Kang-chul was definitely different.
He’s the legendary Dragonian! And….”

Johan gave Kim Bongpal a strange look.

“Mister, you also look special.

And then, Johan laughed.
However, he was quick-witted, and he looked away before Kim Bongpal showed any signs of displeasure.

Their body changes little by little as they learn the technique they call martial arts.
We spent over a decade researching it.”

Johan made a few things clear.
Just as the Earth suddenly arrived here, people from at least two other worlds had appeared, and they’d known each other for at least ten years.

“In conclusion, I could narrow down the groups these corpses would have belonged to while they were alive.
It must be a very unfamiliar name to you.”

Perhaps it was.
Neither had prolonged contact with anything to do with them.
Just like Kim Bongpal, none of the hunters on Earth had information about these Otherworlders.


“Evil Alliance and Celestial Demon Cult! They must be members of these two groups.”

The group’s name that came out of Johan’s mouth was somehow…no, it was pretty familiar.

“…What a stupid naming sense.”

Following the Black Wizard, there were also the Evil Alliance and Celestial Demon Cult.
Kim Bongpal couldn’t help but spit out the thoughts that came to mind.

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