Twelve divine beasts that protect the East.
They were animals commonly known as ‘zodiacs’.
It was known that the twelve divine beasts with mysterious powers select suitable awakeners* to make a contract, and ‘contractors’ are said to acquire special skills or characteristics in addition to their unique abilities.
tl/n: awakeners = people with unique abilities
Among them, one person chosen as an ‘incarnation’ would have unimaginable power, such as being able to borrow the appearance of a divine beast or being granted the power of a divine beast.
However, it is said that signing a contract with a divine beast is harder than winning the lottery.
In fact, there were only two contractors Eunha had ever met.
There was only the training centre manager and the instructor in charge.
Eunha did not see them in action, but she could see in their daily lives that their basic physical abilities, such as muscle strength, had improved significantly after signing a contract with a divine beast.
Especially in the case of the instructor in charge, they were fine even if they hadn’t slept for three days.
‘Certainly, if I sign a contract with a divine beast, the battles will be much easier than it is now.’
It wasn’t a bad situation for Eunha.
There was only one thing that bothered her.
Eunha lifted her head and stared at the yellow message window.
“The only twelve divine beasts I know are the twelve animals.
I don’t think there’s a cat there.”
[The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ stiffens.]
[After a moment’s pause, the divine beast blurts out that there are difficult circumstances.]
It would be a lie if Eunha said she wasn’t suspicious.
In the first place, she didn’t know what the cat was offering through the contract.
Currently, Eunha was just a mouse in a jar.
Even if she made a contract with the divine beast, what benefits would it bring to the cat? Simple curiosity or fickleness?
[The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ wiggles its tail as if it is displeased with your suspicions.]
[When you burned your arm, who do you think was the one who healed you? The divine beast said proudly and condescendingly.]
“…Did you cure me?”
Somehow, she knew that she was in better shape than expected.
It was hard to think it was because of the hunter’s self-healing power.
However, it was foolish of Eunha to believe the words of a cat she met for the first time.
But it would also be foolish to ignore such an opportunity in her situation.
Eunha slowly licked her lips while being immersed in her thoughts.
She had to ask the most important thing.
“…If I accept the contract, can you let me out of here?”
[The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ said it’s not possible.]
According to the cat, that was how it was.
The gate was a black gate.
In other words, an Unknown Gate wrapped in mystery.
‘As expected, it wasn’t an ordinary gate.’
At that moment, Eunha’s expectations turned into certainty.
When she entered the gate with her colleagues, the colour of the crack was clearly white.
At what moment did it change to an Unknown Gate?
Eunha didn’t know.
Well, if she had known, it wouldn’t have been called ‘unknown’.
Another yellow message window popped up in front of Eunha.
[The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ said that if you want to escape from the gate, you must collect all five items to achieve the escape condition.]
“What are the five items?”
[The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ gestured to the parasol on your left.]
“This is one of the five items? Then, the other four—”
Eunha suddenly stopped.
After a moment of silence, Eunha, whose expression changed, opened her mouth again.
“…Maybe, the other four Named monsters will drop it?”
[Ding Ding Ding! The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ lightly knocked on the xylophone.]
[The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ nods, saying you’re smart and that it has a good eye for people.]
“…You’re saying you’ll give me the power to beat the rest of the Named monsters?”
It was a sweet proposal.
Eunha wanted to accept the proposal right away, but somehow she found it difficult to nod her head.
[The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ added later, saying that there will be two restrictions on her contract with it.]
There was a saying that nothing is free in this world.
Rather, it would’ve been harder to believe if there were no conditions or restrictions.
[The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ is the first and thirteenth divine beast; you should not mention its name.
Secondly, you should give it your name.]
There was no way she would mention anything about its identity because there was nobody else but Eunha in the gate.
But what bothered her was the second restriction.
‘You want my name?’
Eunha narrowed her eyes.
“What does that mean?”
[Literally, it says that your name will be mine, and you can no longer use it.]
Perhaps it noticed that Eunha was hesitating, and the message window popped up once again.
[The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ said check it out yourself if you don’t believe me.
Will you accept? ► Accept / Reject]
The two buttons appeared in front of Eunha.
She hesitated for a moment before raising her finger and pressing the ‘Accept’ button.
[Golden eyes shine like stars.]
A bright, golden light enveloped Eunha.
[Object Identification Completed.]
The golden light that surrounded Eunha suddenly changed to pure white.
In an instant, a beam of light spread throughout the darkened cave.
It had been a long time since Eunha saw light, so her eyes were tingling.
When the rays of light finally disappeared, her vision finally came back.
Eunha suddenly turned her head and dropped the parasol she was holding.
“My right arm…”
‘It came back.
It also feels fine.
Is this the power of the divine beasts?’
Eunha fiddled with her right arm, which had returned intact.
It was magic, or rather a power close to a miracle.
[The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ shrugged its shoulders with a confident face.]
Eunha didn’t know if the cat was a divine beast or a monster, but it has proven that it was mysterious and powerful anyway.
[The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ offered you a contract.
Do you accept?]
There was no need to hesitate any longer.
‘It bothers me that it’s asking for a name…’
The gate monsters.
Eunha was ready to sell her soul to the devil if she could get revenge on those who took away her dreams, future, and even her family.
Her concerns didn’t last long.
Eunha’s fingertips touched the ‘Accept’ button.
A short and cheerful notification sound followed.
[The contract was successful!]
[Your soul is now bonded to ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’!]
[Agility is greatly increased!]
[Passive ► ‘Night Reader’ Activated.
It brightens your vision at night.
Accuracy increases significantly when fighting in the dark.]
Several message windows appeared in front of Eunha one after another, and the last red system window she saw for the first time popped up.
[The power of the divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ ► Acquired ‘Cat’s Claws’.]
Cat’s claws? No, it was more powerful than that.
Unlike the skills and characteristics given by the contract, this power was special.
Wasn’t it something that only a few contractors who received the approval of a divine beast could acquire? Eunha heard that neither the training centre manager nor the instructor in charge had any powers.
Eunha checked her nails.
Except for her body feeling a little lighter, there was no noticeable difference.
Ring, ring, ring…
After a few more notifications, the cat’s message window popped up.
[The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ is wearing a meaningful smile.]
[I have given you the power, so I encourage you to use it well.]
“Use it well—”
Before Eunha could finish her words…
There was a loud echo that made her hair stand up.
There was a series of heavy roars.
Eunha instinctively grabbed the ‘Elegant Parasol’.
The inner walls of the cave were crushed like dough and a pair of huge front paws appeared.
78 Mutant ‘Red-Eyed Black Tiger’ has found you!]
It was the second mutant monster.
Without warning, it swung its paw at Eunha, and she evaded it as gracefully as a butterfly.
Not the monster, but me.’
Eunha was surprised by her own movements and checked her hands and feet.
Still, nothing had changed.
78 Mutant ‘Red-Eyed Black Tiger’ is very angry!]
[Status: Rage – Monster’s attack power is greatly increased.]
The Named monster ground its teeth.
If it had not been blocked by the parasol, Eunha would’ve been hit.
Sparks gathered in the centre of Eunha’s palms, as if small seeds were gathered to make flowers bloom.
Soon, a huge spark came together, hitting the monster.
However, the monster did not fall.
It was a stronger blow than the one in the battle with the first Named.
How could she not knock it down? The ten level difference seemed to be bigger than Eunha had expected.
While preparing to launch the next attack, a message window appeared in front of Eunha.
[Power ►Do you want to activate ‘Cat’s Claws’?]
There was no use crying over spilled milk.
Eunha was going to use everything she had available.
As soon as Eunha made up her mind, the yellow message window lit up.
[You have succeeded in activating the power.]
[The ‘Cat’s Claws’ will be maintained until a separate setting.]
However, there was no explanation on how to use the power anywhere in the message window.
Eunha clicked her tongue and quickly closed the message window.
78 mutant monster in front of her was significantly stronger than the Lv.
68 one that she had previously fought.
Even though her right arm regenerated and various stats increased due to the effect of the contract, she couldn’t easily subdue it.
‘I have to get its attention first.’
But in an empty cave, how could she get its attention? Because it smashed the surrounding stalactite columns and cave walls, it became an open field with nowhere to hide.
And there was only one hunter on that field, Cha Eunha.
Her hands began to sweat.
‘What should I do?’
As she clenched her fists tightly, the sparks in her hand ignited.
At that moment—
The red eyes which were fixed on Eunha, suddenly shifted to the spark.
The tiger’s red eyes moved back and forth, following the movement of the sparks.
[The golden eyes of the divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ sparkle! They’re glowing.]
Eunha slowly opened her fist to confirm something, then clenched it again.
The remaining sparks were scattered around like ashes.
It looked like fireflies.
The tail of the giant monster began to sway with a booming sound.
[The divine beast ‘Cat Wandering in Darkness’ leans low and wiggles its hips.]
As soon as she was certain, Eunha did not hesitate any longer.
She created numerous sparks using both hands at the same time.
The sparks began to wander around the cave as if it had a soul.
‘Yeah, like a mouse.’
The Named monster swung its front paws at the sparks and approached them as if it had forgotten Eunha’s existence, not even sparing her a glance.
‘If I run, I would be like a cat.’
Eunha grabbed the parasol.
The sharp end of the parasol shone brightly.
She only had one chance, and she won’t be fooled twice.
She put her strength on her heels.
Seeing a gap, she rushed forward instantly.
Without hesitation, Eunha stabbed its red eyes.
The monster staggered with a tearful roar.
As the huge body shook, the surrounding area began to vibrate violently as if there was an earthquake.
Eunha pulled the parasol from its eyeball, this time lowering it to the floor.
She kicked the floor with all her might and jumped up.
One final blow must be delivered before the monster regains its sight.
That was the switch that gave Eunha power to grip onto the parasol.
Flames scattered around the parasol, engulfing it.
It was supposed to melt in the strong flame, but the parasol made the flame even bigger as if it was covered with oil.
Eunha took a deep breath and swung the parasol as if swinging a baseball bat.
It left a black, sharp afterimage along the round curve drawn by the parasol.
The tiger’s neck turned one hundred and eighty degrees with the sound of bones breaking.
Eunha seemed a little surprised by the immense power which went beyond her imagination rather than a dull hit.
The monster sank to the floor with its neck turned and didn’t move an inch afterwards.
Eunha put her hands on her chest, which was rising and falling slowly, silently staring at the monster.
After a few seconds passed, a message window appeared in front of her.
[You have killed the second Named!]
[Update in progress.]
After checking the message window, Eunha lowered her guard and her upper body.
The sparks could be seen on the skin of the monster.
‘With this size, it would be possible to peel off its skin and use it as a blanket.’
The monster’s skin wouldn’t be able to serve as a blanket due to the holes that have been made.
While looking at the body of the monster with a disappointed face, a cheerful BGM came along with a familiar notification once again.
Eunha lifted her gaze which was fixed on the corpse and checked the message window.
[Congratulations! You have obtained ‘Black Silk Dress’ form ‘The Princess of Dark Flare’!’]
‘What is that?’
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