“What did Executive Director Oh say?” Yang Sang-Won asked.


“He said to wait because everything will be resolved soon…” his subordinate timidly reported.

“Shit!” Sang-Won cursed, pounding his desk with his fists.

Thud!

He noticed that the sound had made his subordinate flinch, but he could not afford to care.
He had bigger fish to fry.

The Secret Tiger Lab had practically been the core pillar and foundation of the White Tiger Clan for the past ten years.
Ever since the [Seven Cryptical Books of Hsan] were discovered, the Secret Tiger Lab had invested a lot of time and manpower into deciphering and making use of the Divine Script on the three scrolls, following Executive Director Oh’s lead.

From the [Dream Spheres] that created ‘Ghost Soldiers’ to the [Starlight Coordinates] that had played a crucial role in transforming the Three Basic Skills into the Three Derived Skills, the lab had succeeded in achieving remarkable results; they had even created several divine weapons, relics, and Authorities…

Sang-Won had always been proud of his achievements, never doubting that he would make significant contributions toward making the White Tiger Clan stronger than most of the large clans in the world.

Thus, he had thought that secretly making some personal profit would be no problem.
Why would it be a problem when he had already sacrificed so much for the Clan? Besides, he had always been confident that he wouldn’t get caught.

The Secret Tiger Lab was classified as top-secret, which meant a very small number of people in the Clan even knew of its existence.
Because only a few people monitored the facility, it had been very easy to hide his minor personal gains, and he had had no reason to worry with Executive Director Oh backing him.
In fact, Executive Director Oh was the one who had ordered Sang-Won to siphon off money in the first place.

However, unexpectedly, that siphoned-off money had become a noose around Sang-Won’s neck.
The scandal surrounding the Highoff Clan, which had been working as the lab’s subcontractor, had been exposed, placing the world in an uproar.

Thus, the lab staff had needed to quickly incinerate all the materials that could link them to the Highoff Clan, and had even been forced to stop the [Dream Sphere] manufacturing lines.
The White Tiger Clan members had quickly moved to silence the Highoff Clan members, but during that process, the fact that Sang-Won colluded with the Highoff Clan behind the White Tiger Clan’s back had been exposed.
The White Tiger Clan’s ‘cleanup crew’ had also discovered traces of another project that had not been reported to the White Tiger Clan’s executive committees.

The lab staff had naturally begun whispering among themselves about how the White Tiger Clan inspectors would soon search the facility.
Sang-Won’s friend in the Inspection Department had actually tipped him off, so he was fairly sure the inspectors would barge into the lab today.
The problem was that the inspector who arrived could turn out to be Director Gwon himself, the Inspection Department Leader who was known as the ‘Grim Reaper.’

Director Gwon was officially the White Tiger Clan’s third-in-command, and the only person who could challenge Executive Director Oh.
It was no secret among the White Tiger Clan members that Director Gwon was hell-bent on finding Executive Director Oh’s weaknesses.
In such a situation, Sang-Won had become Director Gwon’s first target, which left him scared to death.

Before anything else, he had incinerated any materials that could raise suspicion.
However, it was the Investigation Department members, who were known to even dust a target’s underwear, who were on the move.
Thus, it would not be strange if they found something in a place Sang-Won had not expected.
Perhaps he would even be framed, or be abandoned by Executive Director Oh just like the Highoff Clan.
In fact, he had sent Executive Director Oh distress calls several times, but the only answer he had gotten was ‘wait’.

‘I’ve paid him so much this whole time!’ Sang-Won thought bitterly, gritting his teeth.

Thus, Sang-Won had been desperately searching for a way to survive, even as he felt betrayed.
He had even considered fleeing to some other organization with all the lab’s confidential documents.

If anyone were to see the ‘Gildal[1] Project’ that had been initiated and supervised by Executive Director Oh… they would be interested.
Of course, the Council would be a dangerous place for a demonic being like him, so he had to go somewhere else.

As the organization he would join had to be as big as the White Tiger Clan, he thought the Sword of Ohsung Clan would be his best choice.
Despite the fact that the Ohsung Group’s official advocacy was social justice, it was still a chaebol, giving Sang-Won a sense of baseless confidence that the Sword of Ohsung Clan would take him in.

‘I’ve obtained a fine vessel too,’ Sang-Won thought, remembering the test specimen he had acquired after hearing his subordinates’ report a couple of days prior.

The current batch of trainees was strangely very talented, and many had exceptional abilities.
If the Highoff Clan scandal had not been revealed, Sang-Won would have gone to great lengths to capture all of them; however, he only had enough time to capture one.

‘His name was… Baek Gyeo-Ul, wasn’t it? I was most curious about Lee Chang-Sun and Baek Gyeo-Ul… I can’t tell where on earth they disappeared to, though.
It would be for the best if I could monitor him and take him along.’ 

Sang-Won was a little disappointed, but the test subject was still extremely talented—no, he was actually better than most test subjects Sang-Won had captured through the training sessions.
It was just that he could not help but compare the specimen to Lee Chang-Sun due to Chang-Sun’s sheer fame.

“Phew…!” Sang-Won finally heaved a sigh of relief after making a rough sketch of his plan, telling himself to calm down now that things had already turned out this way.


He planned to wait for only one hour.
If Executive Director Oh did not provide him with any solutions within the hour, he would leave the lab immediately.

“Why haven ’t the guys I sent out to retrieve the [Dream Sphere] returned?” Sang-Won asked suddenly.
Seemingly having gathered his wits after deciding on a plan, he frowned, realizing that the two subordinates he had sent out to kill the Jigwi this morning were nowhere to be found.

“I-I’ll order someone to quickly investigate the matter,” his subordinate stuttered.

“Move quickly before the Inspection Department members find out about this! If they do, we’ll be in more trouble!” Sang-Won yelled.

“Y-Yes, sir!” his subordinate replied, hurriedly exiting the lab director ’s room.

Although Sang-Won had made his subordinate a Ghost Soldier using a [Dream Sphere], the man was somehow a worse worker than other Ghost Soldiers.

Grit!

Sang-Won subconsciously chewed on his fingernails after gritting his teeth, an indication of how nervous he was despite the fact that he had reassured himself many times over.

* * *

[The Skill ‘Windstalking Tiger’ has been activated!]

Chang-Sun ran quickly toward the research facility, leaving only traces of dust and wind in his wake instead of footsteps.
Although it had not been long since he acquired the skill, he was already using [Windstalking Tiger] with great proficiency.

However, he was not heading directly to the lab called… Silver Tiger or Gold Tiger or something[2].
Instead, he was heading to the Jigwis’ nest, which was on the way to the research facility.

‘A Jigwi couple only lays one egg every hundred years,’ Chang-Sun recalled.
 

He had no clue whether the two Jigwi’s offspring had already hatched or not.
In the former case, he would simply take the hatchling’s fire and Jeweleye, just as he had done to its parents.
Although he was a little saddened by the thought of killing a baby bird, letting such a bird loose would certainly cause substantial damage.
However, in the latter case…

‘I’ll take the offspring.’

Jigwis looked like birds, but were clusters of spirits; that meant they were spectral beings without fixed shapes.
They had simply chosen to look like birds for no reason other than following the habits of their ancient ancestors, which meant they could change into other forms depending on the environment they grew up in.
It was even possible to train them to have a good nature, and the owner could bestow them a certain level of intelligence.

‘I really want to have the offspring, because there’s a possibility that it can become a mythical creature—no, a divine creature,’ Chang-Sun thought, smiling faintly.

As the offspring had the fire attribute, it would be best if it grew up to be a fire-type divine creature.
Perhaps it could become a phoenix that could rise from the ashes multiple times, or a phantom dragon that fed on illusions.
It could even become a Bulgasari[3], considering its death attribute.

However, it did not matter what the offspring grew into; Chang-Sun was confident that he could get any result he wanted after hatching the egg.
Besides, he had also become a Jigwi, so raising a Jigwi would not be a problem.

‘I’ll have to decide after checking on the egg’s condition,’ Chang-Sun concluded.

Depending on how close it was to hatching, the potential options Chang-Sun had to choose from for the offspring would vary greatly.


[The Celestial ‘Abyss-Chasing Great Devil’ is interested.]

[The Celestial ’Twilight-Piercing Owl’ wishes for a righteous divine creature that resembles you to hatch from the egg.]

The two deities reacted with interest, realizing what Chang-Sun had planned just from seeing where he was heading.
As usual, Minerva misunderstood Chang-Sun very nicely (?), but Mephistopheles unexpectedly revealed a different reaction.

Even after Chang-Sun had rejected him in the ‘Choose a Guardian’ Scenario Quest, Mephistopheles had just continued to watch without saying anything.
Although Chang-Sun was unsure why Mephistopheles was acting that way, he had moved on without paying much attention to it, as no one could tell what Mephistopheles was truly thinking.

[The Jigwis’ nest has been found!]

It was not difficult to locate the nest’s exact location; Chang-Sun simply had to follow his ‘gut feeling’.
The area near the nest was covered with scorch marks, as well as piles of half-eaten monster corpses.
His nostrils filled with the stench of rotting corpses, Chang-Sun drove the Nameless Spear into the ground just as Baek Gyeo-Ul had done.

Boom!

Search bit.ly/3iBfjkV for the original.

The ground was overturned several times, revealing an egg buried beneath it.
Like the Jigwis, the egg was quite large, the size of a human torso.

‘I found it.’

[Jigwi Egg]

The egg laid by a Jigwi couple.
It looks as if it will take a while to hatch.

· Type: Egg.
Ingredient.


· Effect: Hatch Demonic Creature.
Bestow Attributes*.
(*If it is used as an ingredient.)

After examining the Jigwi egg from multiple angles, Chang-Sun’s eyes shone.
The pattern on the egg’s shell was vivid, and the shell itself was also firm.
On top of that, when he examined it with [Viper Eyes], the entire egg shone with a bright blue light, which meant the Jigwi couple had taken very good care of it.

‘Its power balance, growth status, and health… The egg is in perfect condition.
It’ll be best to raise the egg into a divine bird.’

There was a divine bird called the Yukdeokwi.
It resembled an eagle, and flew as swiftly as a hawk.
However, it was so large that a person could ride on it, and powerful enough that it could hunt the king of the mountain, the tiger.

The Yukdeokwi ate evil creatures and stopped misfortune.
As it fed on the energy of death, it only did good things for humans, saving any beings who ought to live and devouring all those who ought not to.

Thus, Yukdeokwis were normally found on battlefields, as they brought victory to the righteous and defeat to the wicked.
They were also known for blessing warriors and cheering for heroes, acting as guides to the Underworld whenever those warriors and heroes died.
In many ways, a Yukdeokwi was a perfect divine bird for Chang-Sun, who moved constantly from battle to battle collecting lives.

Whenever a Yukdeokwi encountered a tiger, it would swoop down on the tiger’s head to enjoy a delicacy, the tiger’s eyes.
That made Chang-Sun like the bird even more, as he was trying to hunt a tiger named Heoju.

[The Celestial ‘Calamity Tiger’ is curious as to what kind of creature you will hatch the egg into.]

[The Celestial ‘Calamity Tiger’ advises that it would be better if the egg hatched into a rare wild animal-type creature, especially a tiger-type, instead of a nasty winged animal-type.]

Although Chang-Sun inwardly mocked Heoju, he outwardly bowed in Heoju’s direction as if he were grateful for a blessing.

[The Celestial ‘A Good Season to Hunt’ objects to ‘Calamity Tiger’s opinion!]

[The Celestial ‘A Good Season to Hunt’ advises that a hawk or a hound-type creature is the best match for a natural-born hunter such as you.]

[The Celestial ‘A Good Season to Hunt’ advises that a Boramae or a Yinshan Tiangou would be a good match for you.]


‘Surprisingly, she decided to speak up,’ Chang-Sun thought.

A Boramae[4] was a bird of prey-type mythical creature that was known to accurately read its master’s mind, and a Yinshan Tiangou was a dog-type monster that stopped unfortunate events from happening with its calming howl.

It was said that a little knowledge could be a dangerous thing, but sometimes a person would say the right thing even with such little knowledge.
That was what Pabilsag was doing at the moment.
Of course, however, Heoju would never think of such a thing.

[The Celestial ‘Calamity Tiger’ snorts, saying that such creatures are mere snacks for him.]

[The Celestial ‘A Good Season to Hunt’ glares at ‘Calamity Tiger’ for making fun of her friends.]

[The Celestial ‘Calamity Tiger’ bares his fangs and stares at her, asking what she will do about it.]

[The Celestial ‘A Good Season to Hunt’ searches her belongings to find arrows.]

[The two Celestials ’ relationship is worsening very quickly!]

The other Celestials who watched Chang-Sun usually did not care what Pabilsag babbled about, but Heoju was different.
Due to his greedy and violent nature, he never left anyone who challenged him alone.
Even though he was going against the ‘Primordial Evil Dragon’ Tiamat’s daughter, he seemed not to care.

‘Birds of a feather flock together,’ Chang-Sun thought without paying much attention to the deities’ fight.

In any event, he had no reason to waste time, as he had obtained such a good egg.

Swish―!

Chang-Sun hurried onward to the Secret Tiger Lab.

1.
Gildal (길달) is a Dokkaebi (supernatural creatures often likened to Korean ‘goblins’) that appears in the text Samguk Yusa (삼국유사), but depending on the source, he is also occasionally described as a ghost or monster.

2.
Chang-Sun is talking about the Secret Tiger Lab.
This is Korean wordplay.
‘은’ has various meanings, such as ‘은’밀하다 (secret), 은 (silver), etc.

3.
Also called Bulgasal, this is an unkillable monster from Korean mythology that can provide protection against disasters and fire.

4.
This is actually a Korean term for a baby hawk, but the novel uses it to refer to a mythical creature.

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