I Alone Level-Up
‘The raid must’ve started by now.’
The Association President Goh Gun-Hui looked at his wristwatch and smiled softly to himself. The raid in question was, of course, Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s.
If it was at all possible, he wanted to see for himself, but…. due to the nature of his job, it was simply not feasible, so all he could do was to send in an Association employee he trusted greatly as a proxy, instead.
He was getting all worked up already, thinking about what Section Chief Woo Jin-Cheol’s report would entail.
‘Ah, right. I shouldn’t be doing this right now.’
Goh Gun-Hui shook his head lightly to get rid of the distracting thoughts. There were mountains of documents sitting on top of his desk right now. They were practically forming the towers of documents at this point.
Ever since the dungeon break inside the high school happened, this pile of documents didn’t want to decrease no matter how hard he worked every single day. No, they seemed to get even taller, instead. That was how insanely busy he was, yet his interest in Hunter Seong Jin-Woo didn’t wane one bit.
If only his body was healthy – wouldn’t he have cleared some dungeons together with Hunter Seong, too?
‘Huh, I’m also being hopeless, aren’t I?’
Goh Gun-Hui shook his head one more time and returned to his work with a smile on his face.
And so, just how long did he concentrate on the documents?
He raised his head after hearing the knock on the door, and realised that three hours had flown by.
“It’s Woo Jin-Cheol, sir.”
The news he was waiting for had finally arrived. Without a single hint of fatigue visible on his countenance, Goh Gun-Hui welcomed Woo Jin-Cheol into the office.
“Please, come in.”
Goh Gun-Hui’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets after he saw Woo Jin-Cheol’s face as the latter cautiously entered the office.
He expected there to be no problems, yet Wool Jin-Cheol looked as if he got dragged through a wringer, instead.
‘It’s not just anybody but Hunter Seong Jin-Woo we are talking about here, so how come Chief Woo looks like that….??’
His confusion only lasted for a short while, though.
“May I sit down for a little while, sir?”
Woo Jin-Cheol sounded desperate, so Goh Gun-Hui quickly pointed to the couch.
“Of course, it’s fine. Do take a seat.”
He then got up from the President’s chair behind the desk to settle down in the opposite side to Woo Jin-Cheol.
Woo Jin-Cheol powerlessly sunk deep into the couch. He rubbed his face with his hands, showing how tired he was.
Just what happened inside the dungeon?
Even before Woo Jin-Cheol could start explaining himself, Goh Gun-Hui couldn’t win against his curiosity and started first.
“What happened to you? Why does your face look like….?”
“Pardon? Is there something on my face, sir?”
“You look incredibly tired right now. As if you couldn’t sleep a wink for the past few days.”
Woo Jin-Cheol wordlessly nodded his head a few times as if he could understand everything now.
“It’s probably because I’m just too shocked, that’s all. Sir.”
“Shocked….? Please, tell me more in detail. My friend, didn’t you accompany Hunter Seong Jin-Woo to observe his raid?”
Woo Jin-Cheol lowered his gaze and slowly shook his head.
“That, sir, that wasn’t a raid. It was…..”
Woo Jin-Cheol raised his head, shock and fear still writ large in his trembling eyes.
“Sir, it was the scene of a massacre.”
The charismatic leader of the Monitoring Division, Woo Jin-Cheol, often thought to be possessing an inborn heart of steel, was speaking with a voice that trembled ever so softly.
“A massacre, is it…..?”
Goh Gun-Hui swallowed his saliva.
Woo Jin-Cheol replied without hesitation, evidently not even thinking of changing or denying his description.
Was there any other description that fit what happened in there? It was as the word suggested, a total massacre. Woo Jin-Cheol didn’t hold back on anything and confessed to everything he saw at the behest of the Association President.
“The dungeon was a nest of Nagas, sir.”
Goh Gun-Hui narrowed his eyes as he combed through his knowledge of various monsters.
‘If it’s a Naga….’
Creatures that resembled a hybrid of a human and a sea snake, preferred to live in damp areas, and experts of both melee and magic attacks, capable of giving many experienced Hunters a hard time – those points were the Nagas in a nutshell.
They were also known as really tough opponents to contend with as they moved around in large groups, even though they were high-ranked monsters.
‘But, someone of Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s level shouldn’t be having a hard time against a handful of Nagas going around in groups?’
As if he had read Goh Gun-Hui’s inner thoughts, Woo Jin-Cheol clarified himself.
“….I even felt sorry for the Nagas at some point, sir.”
Woo Jin-Cheol recalled the scenes back then. When a group of 30-strong Nagas suddenly made their appearance, he even momentarily forgot who was next to him and tensed up greatly. Nagas were dangerous enough existences to warrant such a reaction from him.
“….The surrounding areas suddenly became ‘dark’, sir.”
Or, more specifically, he should have said that a massive black shadow suddenly extended out from beneath Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s feet.
All the hair on Woo Jin-Cheol’s body stood up after he realised that something big was about to happen. And precisely at that moment, soldiers emerged above ground one by one from the extended shadow.
And the battle – no, a massacre, commenced.
Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s summoned creatures pounced forward and proceeded to mercilessly rip the Nagas apart into many bloody pieces.
“At least, those summons wearing black armours, like the humanoid types and the High Orcs types, were a bit more humane. But then…..”
The summons resembling bears and ants were far too feral even for his tolerance level.
“Some of the ants even began eating the corpse of the monsters. Hunter Seong Jin-Woo became so incensed that he even physically kicked them.”
Woo Jin-Cheol began shuddering after remembering this one ant that tried to sneak a dead Naga’s head into its mouth, only to get discovered by irate Hunter Seong. It got splendidly buried deep into a wall from a powerful kick.
Although, he still couldn’t tell whether he was shuddering from the horrifying summons, or from Jin-Woo who could unhesitatingly kick a summon like that into a wall.
Seeing the tense look on Woo Jin-Cheol’s eyes, even Goh Gun-Hui became extra tense as well, dry saliva gliding down his throat.
“Were his summons strong?”
“They were really strong, sir.”
There was no need to even mention it. Soldiers resembling humans, Orc-type soldiers, bears and ant type soldiers; not one of them could be called weak by any stretch of the imagination. But, the biggest highlight of them all was….
“There was this one summon with a red mane attached to its black helmet.”
Woo Jin-Cheol raised his dipped head again and stared straight into Goh Gun-Hui’s eyes.
“Would you believe me when I told you that particular summon could shoot lightning out of its sword every time it took a swing, sir?”
“Oh my god…..”
Goh Gun-Hui was feeling completely astonished now. The lightning magic contained the destructive power of fire-based magic as well as the speedy nature of the light-based magic.
Because of that, only a handful of very high-class Mage-type Hunters could cast such magic spells. Even then, firing them consecutively was out of the question.
But then, a summon could shoot such magic all the time by swinging its sword around?
Goh Gun-Hui could only shake his head in helplessness. He definitely wouldn’t have believed it if it weren’t coming from the subordinate he deeply believed in. But then, the unbelievable story continued on even further.
“In my opinion, that particular summon should be above rank A in terms of power, sir.”
“Are you serious??”
Goh Gun-Hui’s voice rose up higher.
How could a single summon possess powers almost at the level of a rank S?!
Unfortunately, Woo Jin-Cheol guaranteed it. And he was right at the peak of rank A Hunters too, ability-wise, so he knew what he was talking about.
“If I were to fight that summon one on one…. Honestly, I’m not confident of winning, sir.”
Indeed, if such an evaluation came out from Woo Jin-Cheol’s mouth, someone with strong self-confidence, then it would be no problem to evaluate that summon as a rank S.
Goh Gun-Hui leaned against the couch’s back.
He already had a good idea how capable Hunter Seong Jin-Woo was, but to think, each and every one of his summons would possess such a high level of power, too.
What a regretful thing it was, not being there to personally confirm it with his own two eyes.
Goh Gun-Hui was getting shocked just from hearing it second-hand, so how would Woo Jin-Cheol have felt as he was actually there? Suddenly, it became rather easier to understand the worn-down appearance of Woo Jin-Cheol. He must’ve been slapped in the face constantly with one surprise after another.
“However, sir, there was an even more shocking spectacle, sir.”
Woo Jin-Cheol carried on as if that was not even the end of the tale.
“The ants…. they began ‘working’, sir.”
Woo Jin-Cheol’s eyes trembled again as he recalled those scenes.
Ants received pickaxes from the bag carried by Ah-Jin Guild’s Vice-Master. And then, they proceeded to mine out the Mana Stones from the dungeon walls.
Ants were also in charge of carrying away the mined Mana Stones as well as the remains of the dead monsters. Woo Jin-Cheol simply couldn’t tear his eyes away from the perfectly-organised ants and their unbelievably fast working speed. They were basically the incarnations of efficient ‘operation’.
Woo Jin-Cheol was deeply astonished back then, and he was feeling admiration now.
“What I saw, sir, it wasn’t something as simple as a one-man raid team. Not at all.”
No, this one man was capable of clearing a dungeon, retrieving the remains, and also mining out the minerals, too.
Woo Jin-Cheol was definitely sure of it. And that would be – calling Hunter Seong a one-man raid team was actually insulting the man.
“No, sir. That man, he’s actually an entire Guild rolled into one.”
He was not a one-man raid team, but a one-man Guild, instead. Technically speaking, there was that not-that-helpful Vice Master too, but nothing would’ve changed even if he wasn’t present, so Woo Jin-Cheol’s assertion wasn’t wrong at all.
Goh Gun-Hui slapped his knee.
‘I knew it. My eyes weren’t wrong!’
A broad smile didn’t want to leave his face now.
Like how he had been anticipating it since the beginning, Hunter Seong Jin-Woo would definitely go on to become the brand-new ballast that keeps the balance neutral in the Korean Hunter community. But now, he began to think that the youth might even go on to change the map of the Hunters worldwide, too.
“And then…. we finally arrived at the boss chamber, sir.”
The story hadn’t ended yet??
Goh Gun-Hui quickly refocused on the tale once more. Woo Jin-Cheol carried on.
Normal Nagas would be around two, three times larger than regular human beings. But, he said that the boss Naga found within the boss room was easily four-times larger, and the pressure it emitted was incredible as well.
“Did Seong Hunter use his summons to quickly finish off the boss-level monsters?”
Woo Jin-Cheol slowly shook his head.
“No, sir. He actually cancelled the summoning altogether, except for those ants busy with retrieval and mining operations.”
“What? But, why would he??”
Goh Gun-Hui gasped out in surprise, and Woo Jin-Cheol could only reply with a stiff face.
“I was also curious as to why, so I asked him. I questioned him why he would cancel the summoning when he was about to fight the boss.”
Goh Gun-Hui was so invested in the tale that, unbeknownst to him, he had begun leaning forward.
“And what did he say?”
“Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim told me this….”
Woo Jin-Cheol took his time a little as if to drag out his unwilling memories to the surface, and cautiously opened his mouth.
“If he relied too much on his summons, then his…..”
“….My instincts would become softer, you see.”
Jin-Woo spoke up and took a step forward as the pair of ‘Demon King’s Shortsword’ was grasped in his hands.
He didn’t even need to call out his soldiers. There was only one boss-level monster and four others guarding said boss creature, after all.
Jin-Woo kicked the ground and dashed forward.
Even before any of the guardian monsters could react, he slipped past them and closed the distance with the giant Naga at the back.
Dozens upon dozens of silvery light flickered and descended on the lower body of the boss monster.
The boss writhed and screamed, and in the meantime, the guardians tried to pounce on Jin-Woo. But he simply used the head of one of the guards to jump straight upwards.
And when his eyes drew level with the boss’s way up above in the air, he swung his shortsword sideways.
The boss’s head was sliced off clean and it flew away. At the same time, a new System message popped into his view.
[You have killed the owner of this dungeon.]
Jin-Woo’s expression brightened at once from that wonderful message.
He landed softly back on the ground and spun around once. That caused all of the guard monsters trying to rush at him to collapse to the ground at the same time.
Strangely enough, the System messages didn’t end there.
Tti-ring, tti-ring, tti-ring….!!
Suddenly, he was inundated with a constant barrage of mechanical beeps.
His fluster could only last for a short while, though.
[You have reached level 101.]
[Levels of all your Class-specific skills have risen.]
[Skill: ‘Shadow Extraction’ has levelled up.]
[Skill: ‘Shadow Storage’ has levelled up.]
[Skill: ‘Sovereign’s Territory’ has levelled up.]
[Skill: ‘Shadow Exchange’ has levelled up.]
Jin-Woo’s eyes almost bulged out of their sockets at the rising wall of messages.
< Chapter 148 > Fin.