I Alone Level-Up
The sole surviving Lycan, the one that flew over Jin-Woo’s head just now, lowered its tail after seeing this scene and began taking faltering steps backwards.
Was this the result from him raising his Strength Stat?
The utterly stunned Seong Jin-Woo couldn’t close his slack jaw as the headless Lycan’s legs shook like a leaf, before its movement stopped for good.
That was when he heard the familiar mechanical beep going off again.
[You’ve killed an Iron-Fanged Lycan.]
“My level rose up?”
To make sure that he didn’t mishear that, Jin-Woo hurriedly accessed his Status Window.
Name: Seong Jin-Woo
(Available points to distribute: 0)
– (Unknown) Lv. Max
– Tenacity Lv. 1
– Dash Lv. 1
His level really did go up.
And when a level went up, a single point was added to all of his Stats.
As it turned out, it wasn’t only the quest rewards that could impact the values of his Stats. It was also possible to improve his Stats through levelling up, too.
‘To think, I can actually level up!’
He only carried a vague expectation, but it actually became reality. His heart began to beat faster and faster.
‘On top of that, I get more additional points from levelling up.’
The Stat points he got from the quest rewards were 3. Meanwhile, he got 5 from levelling up once.
Although he didn’t like the fact that he couldn’t freely distribute those points the way he liked to, but still, his growth through levelling up was much greater.
Also, there was the thing about quests only being available once per day, but there was a good chance that levelling up wouldn’t suffer from such restrictions.
‘I only killed two, but my level rose up.’
This was the same as in video games. When his level was low, he could raise it up by a lot during a short space of time.
And currently, Jin-Woo was only a level 2. It was not an exaggeration to say that he was right at the bottom of the pile. However, he was not what one would call a normal low-level player, either. His Strength stat already exceeded 30.
If the Strength stat rose up by one point every time one levelled up, then the Stat value of Jin-Woo’s Strength was equivalent to level 20 or higher.
What if a ‘user’ possessing level 20’s worth of Strength stat hunted in the ‘level 1’ beginner’s hunting area?
‘In other words, explosive levelling up….’
As if to prove his guess, the destructive might behind that punch easily exceeded his own expectations.
‘The Strength stat might have been multiplied by just over three times, but…. The difference in actual, physical strength was well beyond that.’
Jin-Woo’s original Strength value was 10.
There was the difference of three times the value between the Strength stat of 10 and 30, but the difference between the actual forces produced was well beyond that.
‘Could it be….?’
What if, as the Stat’s value rose up, the weight was also added as well? If that was the case, then such a destructive power output could easily be explained away.
Besides that, his movement speed had increased as well.
If it was in the past, there was no way he’d be able to lightly evade the all-out attack of an animal, nor could his punch move fast enough to produce the sound of the air splitting apart.
“Right, the physical strength in my muscles has increased so, obviously my speed would have increased along the way, too.”
Simply by raising his Strength stat higher, both his power and speed had gone up. The battle against the Lycans proved this.
So, what would happen if he increased his Agility, instead?
His curiosity was at its peak, but he didn’t have any method to find out at the moment. If he wanted to satisfy his burning curiosity, then he simply had to increase his Stats, ASAP.
He couldn’t help but think that investing points he got as quest rewards in the Agility Stat kinda felt a bit wasteful. If he shored up his Strength Stat, both his power and speed would go up anyway, so what was the point of investing in the Agility Stat?
Since his thoughts were as such, there was only one way to go forward here.
‘I gotta level up lots of times, really fast.’
Indeed, he’d raise the Agility Stat through levelling up. Every little cent saved would eventually net him a buck later down the line. If he increased the values one point at a time, he’d feel the difference sooner or later.
Jin-Woo pried loose the sword off the ground.
‘In that case, shall I get started for real, then?’
There was one more monster he needed to kill, after all.
“By the way…. Where did it disappear to?”
The Lycan that was definitely somewhere nearby had gone with the wind before he had noticed it. Jin-Woo hurriedly scanned his surroundings, but he couldn’t find a single trace of the creature.
Quite likely, it had turned tail and ran away while he was immersed in the Status Windows. Well, he should’ve known something was up when it lowered its tail and cautiously studied his ‘mood’.
Jin-Woo smacked his lips, realising that a bundle of experience points had just escaped from his grasp.
‘Hang on, do these things give away things like magic crystals, too?’
The sudden thought popping up in his head stopped him in his tracks.
Monsters appearing within the Gates all possessed one, or sometimes, several, magic crystals in them. If one got lucky, a Rune stone might drop, too.
Magic crystals could be used for a variety of purposes and they alone exchanged hands for princely sums; no need to even mention the Rune stones, which could be used by Hunters to learn brand new skills.
It was not an exaggeration to say that the reasons why Hunters participated in raids was not just because of the promised payment from the related organisations, but also these magic crystals, as well.
Jin-Woo was also a Hunter.
He was successful in killing these monsters, so not being rewarded for his work kind of felt a bit like he was wronged somehow.
Feeling a little rueful, he sliced open the Lycan’s stomach, but it turned out to be a waste of time. It seemed that these creatures were fundamentally different from the regular monsters.
The thing was, he had entered quite a few different dungeons in his career so far, but he had never seen these wolf-like monsters before.
Jin-Woo dusted his hands and was about to stand back up, but then….
He spotted something glittering within the dead Lycan’s mouth. So, he opened the creature’s maws. One of the Lycan’s fangs was emitting a beam of light. When Jin-Woo reached out, a new message popped up before him.
[You found the ‘Item: The Canine of a Lycan’. Take it?]
[Item: The Canine of a Lycan]
A large and sharp canine of a Lycan. Can be stored in the Inventory or can be sold at the Store.
Jin-Woo got flustered a bit while staring at the canine tooth.
‘There was a Store, too?!’
Where would you find a System less friendly than the one he was saddled with?!
To think, it was designed in such a way that the end user had to personally experience it with his own body before learning about any of its functions….
Hell, he wasn’t given much of an explanation during the penalty quest and he almost died as a result back then.
Jin-Woo gnashed his teeth and tried to summon this ‘Store’ thing.
He couldn’t help but feel his anticipation build up, wondering if a shop with a signboard declaring ‘Store’ and manned by an NPC merchant, kinda like from video games, might really appear before him.
However, what appeared instead was a bunch of green letters floating in the air like hologram projections, just like when he accessed his mailbox.
And there were only two words there, too.
‘Buy’ and ‘Sell’.
What a simple-tastic Store this was.
Jin-Woo selected ‘Buy’.
He didn’t have a single cent in his pockets, but he was still curious about the stuff available within the Store.
Unfortunately for him, the Store turned out to be one cold customer.
[Your level is too low to access the ‘Buy’ function.]
He was already familiar with the cold-shoulder treatment from the places that required him to pay up, so this was fine.
Jin-Woo didn’t think too much about it and shifted his gaze away to ‘Sell’.
[Will you sell ‘Item: The Canine of a Lycan’?]
With the clinging sounds of coins, his Inventory appeared next. Right at the bottom of the display, in the column saying ‘Gold’, he could see the number 20 appearing there. That space had been empty yesterday.
’20 Gold, eh,’
He couldn’t really use that ‘money’ in real life, and he couldn’t even use the Store properly yet, so he had no idea just how much this 20 Gold was actually worth.
‘Oh well. A creature from the rank E dungeon wouldn’t have given me any decent loot, to begin with.’
Even if there was a difference between the dungeons found beyond the Gates and this so-called instant dungeon, it would be the same difference at the end of the day.
Still, Jin-Woo wanted to make sure, so he was about to collect the canine from the other dead Lycan, but he ended up doing a facepalm, instead.
“Ah. I blew away its entire head, didn’t I….”
Jin-Woo felt bitter as he turned around to go somewhere else.
20 Gold and its unknown worth were calling back to him, but he couldn’t waste time searching for a single canine that could’ve flown to pretty much anywhere under this dim lighting.
However, as soon as he turned around, the feelings of bitterness dissipated in an instant.
Well now, the Lycan he thought had ran way actually came back with a bunch of its friends!
A wonderfully bright smile bloomed on Jin-Woo’s face. Even at a casual glance, there must be over 20 of them here.
Hang on a minute, was that the right word to use in this sort of situation?
It was definitely a word to express one’s joy, anyway.
Jin-Woo tightly grasped the sword and spoke up.
“With the exception of your canines, I’m gonna massacre all of you.”
When the chilling glare of a man who was obsessed about making money landed on the Lycans, they became intimidated and shuddered slightly.
It was at this point that Jin-Woo pounced on them without mercy.
As he expected, his levels rose up quite quickly.
Simply from searching every nook and cranny of the first floor and killing all the Lycans he could find, Jin-Woo’s level shot right up to 7.
He had jumped up five flights of stairs, in other words.
When he caught up and killed the very last monster running desperately away from him, a strange message popped up into his view.
[You have acquired the ‘Title: Slaughterer of Wolves’.]
[Title: Slaughterer of Wolves]
A Title given to a hunter skilled in hunting wolves. When facing animal-type monsters, all of your Stats will increase by 40%. (TL: the ‘hunter’ is a lower case here, because that’s what’s in the raw. The ‘Hunters’ until now had been written in English, actually.)
When he opened his Status Window to take a look, the ‘Title’ column indeed had been updated.
Title: Slaughterer of Wolves
A bonus boost to his stats when fighting against animal-type monsters….
Although the effect was a bit restricted, still, having his Stats increase by 40%, now that didn’t sound too bad at all.
‘There are plenty of animal-type monsters out there, so would this apply to them as well?’ (TL: the author had been using the Hanja word for monsters to describe those found in the Gate’s dungeons until now, but the creatures found in the instant dungeon are written in the English word, ‘monster’. That’s why we get this line.)
If that was the case, then he’d be able to easily kill monsters when participating in the future raids.
However, he still earned big time even when disregarding his new Title.
’34 wolf canines, two rusted daggers, a set of traveller’s clothes, and one return crystal.’
While killing these wolves, he learned that he could sometimes find loot from their bellies. Of course, none of them was all that useful.
The rusted daggers possessed lower attack power bonus compared to the sword he’d been using until now, and the traveller’s clothes were not something he could actually wear, but just some random japtem (ED: ‘Vendor Trash’, essentially.) that he could hawk off to the Store.
When he sold them all off, he earned just over a thousand Gold.
[Current Gold: 1,060]
‘….Even then, I can’t really celebrate, can I?’
Well, no matter how much he hoarded this Gold thing, he couldn’t use them anyways. At least not for now.
The only thing remaining, besides the Gold, was the return crystal. When he was trying desperately to escape from the dungeon back then, the message said he’d need a return crystal if he wanted to leave. And now, if he wanted to, he could escape at any time.
He found himself on a crossroads.
In front, the stairs leading down to the second floor.
And in his hand, a single return crystal grasped tightly.
‘Do I continue on, or do I back out….?’
If it was in the past, he’d not hesitate and choose the latter. That was how he managed to survive all those raids with his pathetic Stats. Everyone said that him surviving until now was a miracle, but well, he was trying to be smart about his choices, actually.
However, the story was different now.
He didn’t want to retreat here.
He felt that, if he turned away to leave now, then he’d never be able to take another step forward in his life.
“I’ve retreated enough times already, right?”
Wouldn’t it be okay for him to jump in headlong, at least once in his life?
Jin-Woo pocketed the return crystal. His steps climbing down the steps to the 2nd floor was light.
< Chapter 14 > Fin.