I Alone Level-Up
Kaisel landed in front of the Hunter’s Association building.
Naturally, stunned folks of the Association all came running outside when a massive monster suddenly descended in the middle of Seoul – not only that, right on the front lawn of the Hunter’s Association, no less.
Hunters of the Monitoring Division, normally tasked with detecting the approach of all beings possessing magical energy, also ran outside with various weapons in their hands.
But, their complexions all lost colour after Jin-Woo hopped off from the back of the creature.
Kaisel heeded Jin-Woo’s order and immediately disappeared into his shadow.
Meanwhile, people gathered here began recognising who he was.
‘W-was that Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s summoned creature?’
‘He can even control a monster like that, too??’
All these people had seen Jin-Woo’s ability through their TV screens. So, it didn’t come as much of a surprise that he could control a monster.
Jin-Woo walked over to an Association employee he recognised and addressed him. This person was a Hunter working for the Monitoring Division and was often seen accompanying the Association President.
“I’d like to speak to the Association President.”
You wouldn’t normally get to meet the President just because you wanted to. Even a government minister had to wait for a whole week for a meeting with Goh Gun-Hui.
However, who here was brave enough to tell that to the young man in front of their eyes?
A Hunter, who wasn’t originally a member of the raid team, suddenly appeared out of nowhere and easily disposed of the ant monster – a monster so powerful that it toyed around with several rank S Hunters.
So, wouldn’t the Association President be dying to speak to this man more than anyone else right now?
The Association employee quickly replied.
“The Association President is in the hospital at the moment.”
“Is he feeling unwell?”
Jin-Woo asked while remembering that the Association President’s health wasn’t so good, to begin with. It was possible that he somehow worsened his condition because he watched the raid broadcast.
“No, not at all. He went over to observe the situation with Hunter Cha Hae-In.”
Jin-Woo nodded his head. Did that mean it’d be hard to meet him today?
Just as he was preparing to leave, the employee continued on.
“Let me call the President on the phone. If you will, please wait for a little while at the reception room.”
Jin-Woo felt relieved. There was something he wanted to tell the President as soon as possible, actually.
Cha Hae-In was admitted to the largest Association-designated Hunter hospital there was. Goh Gun-Hui quietly waited for the examination results, and soon, his personal doctor approached him with some news.
The Association President hurriedly asked.
“How does she look?”
“We haven’t performed an in-depth examination yet, but… she seems to be 100% normal, at least outwardly speaking. She’s resting comfortably at the moment.”
Goh Gun-Hui nodded his head, thinking ‘I thought as much’ to himself.
The doctor was alongside Goh Gun-Hui when they watched the raid together. Cha Hae-In’s current condition was as much of a mystery even for him.
“Her complexion was really poor from the massive haemorrhaging, so how did her condition improve in such a short period of time?”
Goh Gun-Hui had already been debriefed by the Korean raid team members, but he chose to keep his mouth shut here.
‘Would he even believe me if I tell him?’
….The fact that Hunter Seong Jin-Woo ‘borrowed’ the power of the dead Hunter Min Byung-Gu to heal Cha Hae-In?
Hunter Seong Jin-Woo wanted the camera turned off, because he didn’t want to reveal his powers.
The Association President wasn’t stupid enough to reveal that information so carelessly to other people. Other Hunters were thinking along the same line as well.
“The rank A Healers I had on standby managed to save her.”
“She looked to be in such a precarious position…. Well, it’s a relief that the treatment was carried out in time.”
Thankfully for Goh Gun-Hui, the doctor seemed to have believed him.
The personal doctor opened his mouth again after recalling something just now.
“Sir, it’s regarding Hunter Seong Jin-Woo.”
Goh Gun-Hui’s ears perked up after Seong Jin-Woo’s name was brought up.
“What about Hunter Seong Jin-Woo?”
The doctor was quick to continue, having seen the light glinting in Goh Gun-Hui’s eyes change like that.
“You know that his mother was a patient in our hospital, yes?”
“The Eternal Sleep disorder, right?”
Goh Gun-Hui did get to read up on Jin-Woo’s family back when the investigation to the youth’s background was still ongoing. He suddenly thought of the worst possible scenario and asked, his expression hardening rapidly.
“It can’t be…. Did she pass on?”
The doctor shook his head.
“It’s the exact opposite, actually.”
“The exact opposite?”
“I heard that she actually woke up from the ‘final sleep’ stage and was discharged recently.”
“Are you telling me the truth?!”
“Those in the know are in a huge uproar over this whole thing, sir. We may not have made any official announcement, but well, it did happen in our hospital, so….”
The higher-ups of the hospital naturally saw today’s raid, as well. And that meant they continued to talk about Seong Jin-Woo’s matter, and eventually, even Goh Gun-Hui’s personal doctor got to hear about it.
“But, Eternal Sleep was cured? Was that even possible?”
“I believe this is the first time ever in the world, sir.”
“When did she wake up?”
The doctor confirmed the date in his head.
“About five days ago.”
Now it made sense.
The day he asked Jin-Woo to join the raid, and the day the youth’s mother woke up, were almost the same.
‘Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s father went missing inside a Gate, didn’t he?’
A wife who lost her husband to the Gate. Hunter Seong Jin-Woo would’ve found it very hard to leave such a mother behind all alone to participate in the Jeju Island raid. Not to mention, to participate in the subjugation operation that had failed three times in the past as well.
Goh Gun-Hui reflected on his carelessness for failing to check upon his situation.
‘That’s why he couldn’t participate in this raid.’
Jin-Woo’s situation, and the feats he performed today, combined to wash away the misunderstanding that almost managed to block up his chest. Goh Gun-Hui’s heart began racing once more.
He really liked this young man. Such a man was a rare breed, indeed.
It was then, an Association employee approached him.
“Did something happen?”
“We couldn’t get in touch with Hunter Min Byung-Gu’s family.”
“You mean… His mother?”
That was to be expected. She learnt of her son’s passing through a d*mn TV. She then called the Association on the phone, her voice trembling non-stop. The Association had no choice but to be honest with her.
“I’ll go and see her personally.”
“Sir, you’re planning to go there personally?”
“A parent is about to hold a funeral for her child without his body. You really think she’s in any state of mind to pick up a phone?”
“I’ll go and speak to her personally and inform her of everything that happened. And I’ll express my condolences as well.”
The employee turned around with a hardened face. But then, his phone began ringing quite noisily and made him stop.
He saw that the call came from the Association, so he got permission from the President to answer it.
“Mm? There’s someone who wishes to speak to the Association President? What?! It’s him?”
Goh Gun-Hui shook his head.
“Tell them I’m not meeting anyone today.”
The employee covered the phone with his hand and quickly spoke up.
“Sir, the person who wishes to speak to you is… Hunter Seong Jin-Woo.”
“Hunter Seong Jin-Woo??”
Goh Gun-Hui opened his eyes wide and retracted what he said just now right away.
“Tell them I’ll be there shortly.”
Jin-Woo got to the Association President’s office under the guidance of an employee. He was then asked rather affectionately as soon as he settled down on the couch.
“Would you like something to drink?”
Jin-Woo was about to decline the offer, only to feel a bit of thirst creeping up on him. Now that he thought about it for a sec, he hadn’t taken a sip of water even though he had fought such an intense battle.
“Water will be fine.”
“Thank you very much!”
What was he so thankful about?
The employee’s face reddened after blurting his words out from sheer nervousness. He placed the bottle of water in front of Jin-Woo and deeply bowed his head.
“If you need anything else, please don’t hesitate to call me.”
Jin-Woo thought the employee’s attitude was far more cautious and sincere than the last time he came here.
‘It’s probably because of the raid broadcast.’
He guessed that the attitude of many people, as well as the way they looked at him, would change greatly from now on. Not too long afterwards, Goh Gun-Hui entered the office.
“Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim!”
Jin-Woo tried to get up, but the Association President Goh Gun-Hui dissuaded the youth from doing so.
Jin-Woo just returned from Jeju Island. And he even fought a mutated ant monster that almost annihilated a team of rank S Hunters.
So, the current Jin-Woo was a VIP among all VIPs.
Goh Gun-Hui was definitely not planning to treat with disrespect a person who saved the lives of South Korea’s rank S Hunters.
Goh Gun-Hui settled down on the couch opposite to Jin-Woo, rather than in his usual spot at the seat of the honour.
“I’ve heard what transpired inside the ant tunnel.”
“Ah, I see.”
In that case, this talk should proceed quite swimmingly, then. Jin-Woo felt that this was for the better. Goh Gun-Hui continued on.
“Also, I’ve been informed on how you got here, as well.”
Countless witnesses saw Kaisel flying now. There was no way the President of the Hunter’s Association wouldn’t hear about it.
“Did you get to Jeju Island while riding on the back of that creature?”
Well, Jin-Woo used ‘Shadow Exchange’ to reach the island, but was there a reason to reveal all of his cards here?
Jin-Woo was rather economical with his words.
“Something like that.”
This was the same thing as him making a confession that the flying monster appearing in Seoul a few nights ago was his doing. But, this would prove to be more convenient if he were to continue riding on Kaisel from now on.
“So, that was the case.”
It was as expected. The Association President nodded his head.
Jin-Woo was able to utilise the powers of dead monsters. So, it’d not be such a strange thing for him to ride around on the back of a creature if he managed to kill a flying monster somewhere.
Goh Gun-Hui’s curiosity had been satisfied now. And it was time to get to the main topic.
“You said you wanted to speak to me….?”
“Is something the matter?”
“I’ve taken care of all the ants on the island.”
Goh Gun-Hui jumped up from his seat.
“You managed to kill every single one of those ants?!”
Jin-Woo confidently replied.
“You won’t encounter any problems when entering Jeju Island.”
No, Goh Gun-Hui could already guess the ‘how’ of it.
The TV camera caught the sight of hundreds of Jin-Woo’s summons. If those things combed every inch of Jeju Island, then it wouldn’t be a problem for him to annihilate every single ant in such a short period of time.
The important point here was, of course, entry into Jeju Island was possible now.
And it also signified that they would be able to retrieve Hunter Min Byung-Gu’s remains resting deep within the ant tunnel, too.
Goh Gun-Hui was greatly troubled by the fact that the remains of Hunter Min Byung-Gu had to be left abandoned there until the ant monsters were all gone, but now….
The ends of his eyes reddened up with emotions. He then wholehearted thanked Jin-Woo.
“Thank you very much, Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim.”
Inside a suite of South Korea’s top luxury hotel.
Although his presence had been buried under the huge news of the Jeju Island raid recently, it was still an undeniable fact that one of the world’s most powerful Hunters had taken up a temporary residence there.
Thomas switched off the monitor still playing the video of the raid. He had already seen that recorded video three times by now.
Laura, who stood next to him, asked him. She accompanied him to Korea as his sole subordinate.
“What do you think, sir?”
“Well… it’s as you can see.”
He leaned against the couch and placed his legs on the coffee table.
Thomas had fair blonde hair and a high nose. A seemingly never-ending happy smile was deeply etched on his sunglasses-wearing face.
“So, are you sure that’s the Hunter Mister Hwang was investigating?”
“And he asked you what would happen if he killed someone in Korea?”
Thomas ordered the potential connection between Hwang Dong-Su and Seong Jin-Woo to be secretly investigated as soon as Laura made her report. And, as it turned out, there was only one connection between the two.
That would be Hwang Dong-Su’s older brother, Hwang Dong-Seok.
He and Seong Jin-Woo entered the same dungeon together, but only the latter walked out alive, while the former went missing.
No one would question what happened inside a dungeon. That had become common sense throughout the world now.
“So, it’s revenge, is it?”
“And here I thought that he had no family. He hid it pretty well.”
“I heard that Mister Hwang’s brother was meticulous in hiding the family connection, sir.”
“Probably because he was involved in shady stuff, that’s why.”
So shady, in fact, it’d greatly affect his own younger brother if the word got out. Laura used her silence to indicate her agreement.
And then… the Jeju Island raid happened.
“I guess it will become far harder to meet Seong Jin-Woo now, what with an incident like that taking place.”
“I believe so.”
Laura replied confidently.
There was only one reason why the Master of Scavenger Guild, as well as one of the most renowned Hunters in the world, Thomas, gave himself some time off and came to this small nation. And that was to meet Seong Jin-Woo.
More specifically, he wanted to find out what might happen if Mister Hwang did get to have a go with Seong Jin-Woo for real.
He told the management of the Guild that he was coming here to scout yet another rank S South Korean Hunter.
“I really wanted to meet him, too. What a shame this is.”
Thomas’s voice was thick with the emotion of wistfulness.
Laura cautiously asked him from the side.
“As I thought… It’d be for the best to prevent Mister Hwang from encountering Hunter Seong Jin-Woo, yes?”
Thomas slowly scratched his chin, before replying to her with a smirk.
“The South Korean government did save Mister Hwang’s life, that’s for sure.”
The Korean government immediately blocked Hwang Dong-Seok from entering the country. After all, he did abandon his mother nation to emigrate to the States as soon as he was evaluated to be a rank S, didn’t he?
The whole thing could’ve turned into an international incident, but Thomas was able to utilise the time earned that way to come and visit Korea first.
Too bad, Mister Hwang wasn’t someone who’d simply give up just because he was refused entry to a country. Especially so, if his purpose was revenge.
In all honesty, Thomas didn’t have a stuffy personality. He had no thoughts of stopping Mister Hwang at the risk of being on the end of his hostility when the latter wanted to avenge the death of his family member.
But then, that man was an important asset to Scavenger Guild. And that was precisely the reason why Thomas thought of finding out the exact skill level of Seong Jin-Woo, who was also ranked S.
Because, it’d prove to be troublesome if Mister Hwang ended up kicking the bucket, instead.
The impression Thomas got from seeing Seong Jin-Woo was that, the American should be thanking the lucky stars right about now.
“No matter what, never let Mister Hwang step a foot inside South Korea. With that, hopefully, these two won’t run into each other.”
“Understood. I’ll also withdraw the legal procedures.”
“I should be the one to talk to Mister Hwang. That friend’s got a fiery personality, so I guess I’ll have to do my best on this one.”
Laura studiously jotted down everything her Guild Master said on a memo pad. But then, a question popped up in her head.
“What if… even after we did all this, the two of them end up fighting…. What will you do then, sir?”
“Laura. Don’t you know me?”
Thomas grinned deeply.
“Mister Hwang is Scavenger Guild’s asset. And Scavenger is my property.”
His lips might be smiling, but the eyes hidden beneath the sunglasses certainly weren’t. He always wore a pair of sunglasses to hide his incredibly sharp eyes.
He sat back up straight and lowered his voice.
“I will never forgive anyone who dares to touch my property. Even if that’s the American government itself.”
One person’s power equalled that of an entire country.
His name was Thomas Andre.
One of only five in the entire world. This was the confidence that only a Special Authority-rank Hunter, an international powerhouse, could possess.
< Chapter 125 > Fin.