I Alone Level-Up
He had been using his Class-specific skills constantly, but they showed no signs of budging until now. But then, their levels all went up in one go?!
Jin-Woo’s heart began pounding really hard for the first time in a while.
Currently, there were only two other people inside the boss chamber, and that would be Yu Jin-Ho and Woo Jin-Cheol. Since both of them weren’t the type to needlessly complain about small matters, he decided to not to mind their presence and summoned out his Status Window.
Along with the familiar mechanical bleep, all the information about him, starting from his level to every item he was wearing, and even his current physical status, appeared to fill up his view.
Jin-Woo’s gaze stopped at the ‘Class-specific Skills’ list.
– Shadow Extraction Lv. 2
– Shadow Storage Lv. 2
– Sovereign’s Territory Lv. 2
– Shadow Exchange Lv. 2
‘It’s for real.’
Hearing about the truth and actually seeing it were two different things. Jin-Woo clenched his fist tighter, especially from the fact that the level for ‘Shadow Exchange’ had gone up.
The Shadow Exchange skill possessed such an endless potential but he was feeling frustrated by the limitation posed by its lengthy cooldown time.
‘The description said that cooldown will change according to the skill level, right?’
With this, his frustration should go down a little.
This was today’s biggest gain for him. He was far more pleased about the skill Shadow Exchange being enhanced rather than his stalled level rising up again.
‘Should I see how much of it has changed now?’
Feeling like a kid pulling the wrapping off his new present, Jin-Woo accessed the information on the skill Shadow Exchange.
[Skill: Shadow Exchange Lv. 2]
….Once activated, you must wait two hours of ‘cooldown’ period before being able to use the skill again.
The ‘cooldown’ period will change according to the Skill’s level.
Reduction of one hour!!
Just by going up one level, the cooldown time had decreased by one-third. Jin-Woo could barely hide his excitement now.
‘One hour’s gone after going up one level.’
A simple calculation told him that there was a high possibility of yet another hour being chopped off from the cooldown time with the next level up of the skill. And, what if he raised the level of this skill one more time after that?
‘It means, regardless of where I am, mom and Jin-Ah will never find themselves in trouble….’
Just thinking about that made his entire body shiver. That was the most important thing for Jin-Woo, after all. Maybe his excitement showed up on his face, Yu Jin-Ho asked him a question with a jovial smile.
“Hyung-nim? Did something good happen?”
Only then did Jin-Woo realise that Yu Jin-Ho had come closer to him.
‘I was too focused on the Status Window, wasn’t I….?’
He also could see Section Chief Woo Jin-Cheol walking towards this way behind Yu Jin-Ho as well. Jin-Woo grinned and closed the Status Window. Even if these two men weren’t the types to raise a fuss over every single thing, there was no reason for him to look like a madman to their eyes, either.
“Yeah, something like that.”
“That’s cool, hyung-nim.”
Yu Jin-Ho’s wits had become a lot quicker after following Jin-Woo around for a while, so he didn’t try to dig in anymore. Instead, his attention shifted to the sight right next to them.
This would be Yu Jin-Ho’s first time ever seeing an actual rank A dungeon’s boss. This monster’s upper torso looked human-ish, but the lower part looked like a sea snake.
It looked so nonsensically huge from afar, but now that he got to take a look up close, it seemed even bigger and really disgusting to behold, as well.
It was only natural that he couldn’t close his slack jaw after seeing such a humongous monster.
‘I know that hyung-nim has entered several other high-ranking dungeons prior to this one, so does that mean….’
Did that mean he killed creatures like this one every time he entered such a Gate?
Yu Jin-Ho swallowed some dry saliva. For some reason, his hyung-nim looked even more imposing and cool to his eyes today. And he felt incredibly proud of himself, as it was him and not someone else standing beside such an incredible man.
“I respect you.”
Jin-Woo stared wordlessly at Yu Jin-Ho, and the latter averted his gaze after realising how embarrassed he was feeling right now. Meanwhile, Woo Jin-Cheol next to them was also stewing in a bottomless shock at the moment.
‘I knew Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s skills were amazing, but this….’
To think, he’d be able to easily take care of a boss-level Naga like this.
Other raid teams would begin tearing their hair out after seeing this spectacle. Especially when they would need the full participation of tankers, damage dealers, and Healers just to barely bring down a monster of this magnitude.
Woo Jin-Cheol walked up close to the remains of the boss-level Naga and lightly tapped on the monster’s scales. He could definitely sense the steel-like hardness through his fingertips.
Scales of Naga boasted amazing hardness and they were often used in the manufacturing of all sorts of defensive items, such as various armours and shields.
‘But, such scales were….’
Some part of the scales on the lower torso of the monster were crushed and torn into pieces as if they were made out of paper. That was the aftermath left behind by Jin-Woo’s skill, ‘Violent Slash’.
‘Being able to produce such devastating destructive power, while using nothing more than a couple of shortswords.’
Cold sweat formed on Woo Jin-Cheol’s forehead as he observed the monster’s corpse. What a great relief that the youth was their ally and not an enemy.
It was then, Jin-Woo’s voice came from behind him.
“….Can you step aside for a bit, please?”
Woo Jin-Cheol was too deep in his thoughts and couldn’t properly hear that, so he quickly looked behind him in a fluster.
“I’m trying to create another summoned creature, but Chief Woo, you are too close, you see.”
Yu Jin-Ho had already moved to a far enough location and was busy gesturing at Woo Jin-Cheol to come over there.
Woo Jin-Cheol offered an appropriate-sounding apology and quickly stepped aside. He kept staring with great anticipation, though. He had seen how the summoned creatures were created during his trip here, but this would be the first time seeing a boss-level monster become a summon.
‘Could this huge thing become a summoned creature as how it looks?’
Even Yu Jin-Ho’s eyes were sparkling as he waited for the result. Even though he was subjected to two men’s boiling anticipation, Jin-Woo was utterly relaxed as he activated Shadow Extraction.
The shadow of the boss-level monster answered the call of its new owner.
A hand emerged out from the shadow and grabbed hold of the ground, before dragging its body out from the darkness. However, the newly summoned creature was way smaller in size than what the audience was expecting to see.
As a matter of fact, it was only about the same size as the summoned creatures created out of regular Nagas. Maybe, it was slightly larger, but that was about it.
Woo Jin-Cheol was so tense that his palms were soaked in sweat, but now, he could let off a wry chuckle. This result was perhaps an inevitable one.
How could a summon created from borrowing the dead monster’s powers be similar to the actual thing? That would be just about the right size, whether that criteria being its actual power or the physical size.
Woo Jin-Cheol felt relieved for some reason after seeing the summon and its comparatively miniaturised size.
‘Maybe, Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s powers have a defined and clear ceiling?’
Even if that was the case, Hunter Seong’s own combat abilities easily exceeded one’s imaginations, so one could never see him as an easy opponent at all.
Quite different from Woo Jin-Cheol’s thoughts, though, Jin-Woo was shouting out in elation at the unexpected jackpot he just stumbled onto.
[The Sovereign’s voice has roused the fighting spirit of the deceased.]
[You have succeeded in strengthening the shadow!]
[The shadow’s level will start from 13.]
Was this because of the Shadow Extraction had levelled up? For the first time since Igrit’s case, the message regarding the strengthening of a shadow popped out. Jin-Woo quickly checked the new soldier’s information.
[?? Lv. 13]
Elite Knight grade
It wasn’t that surprising to see the grade ‘Elite Knight’ pop up like Fangs before since this guy used to be the boss of the rank A dungeon. However, its starting level was 13!!
Jin-Woo confirmed that level and could barely keep his happy chuckles in check.
‘Is it because its level is so high? Its power is not all that different from the original.’
Unlike the soldiers he had extracted so far, he couldn’t sense many discrepancies between this guy’s stats and those of the dead original. He picked up on the massive magic energy hidden deep within its smaller body.
He was actually puzzled by its different size, but he could make one hypothesis here.
‘Maybe, this is how it looked originally?’
That made sense, seeing that they were all Nagas, to begin with. So, how could the boss be that much bigger than the others? If it used magic like Fangs to balloon up its size, then that made perfect sense.
His hypothesis was supported by the fact that this new guy was ably controlling its own magic energy just like how Fangs did, and also from its great reserve of magic energy as well. That reserve wasn’t as huge as Fangs, though.
It was then.
[Please assign the soldier’s name.]
Just like before, the message urging him to name this new soldier popped up to his view. Jin-Woo didn’t give it much thought and named it ‘Jima’.
[Will you name the soldier ‘Jima’?]
And so, a powerful new mage had been added to his Shadow Army, as well as to his new Naga troops, as well. With the extraction process now over, Jin-Woo absorbed Jima back into his shadow.
Right on cue, the dungeon began sending out warning signals now that it no longer had an owner.
A faint tremor rose up from the ground. It was the signal that the Gate would close in one hour. Yu Jin-Ho stopped staying back and quickly ran over to his hyung-nim’s side.
“It’s time for us to leave this place, hyung-nim.”
Yu Jin-Ho took one last sweeping look around him and smacked his lips as if he was feeling regretful over something.
“But, hyung-nim. This is a bit of a waste.”
His gaze was now fixed on the corpse of the boss-level monster.
“That thing would’ve fetched a handsome amount on the market, you know?”
A Gate would close soon after the dungeon’s boss was killed off. Meaning, one would have to take on a huge risk to bring out the body of the boss monster outside the dungeon.
If you made one mistake and got trapped in here, then you’d literally become ‘missing in dungeon’ forever, so to speak.
Perhaps that was why it was rare to see the corpses of boss monsters outside of the Gates. The first problem being, because they were so much bigger, transporting them itself posed a significant challenge.
Of course, their rarity ensured that the price they fetched was quite substantial, as well. Strangely enough, Jin-Woo replied nonchalantly to Yu Jin-Ho and his wistful longing.
“What’s the problem? We’ll just take it with us.”
Yu Jin-Ho’s eyes opened up wider as he hastily asked a question.
“Hyung-nim, isn’t that too big to take with us?”
Jin-Woo smirked softly.
He didn’t know how strong his guy was physically, but well, didn’t he have someone on his side who was way bigger than that corpse?
When Jin-Woo issued his order, a former High Orc Shaman Shadow Soldier decked out in a black robe made a soundless appearance.
Fangs lowered his head as his greetings, and Jin-Woo pointed at the corpse with his chin.
In the blink of an eye, Fangs grew back into a giant. He then began dragging out the boss-level Naga, which wasn’t even half his size, out of the boss chamber.
Woo Jin-Cheol’s eyes shook hard after witnessing such a shocking spectacle.
‘Wasn’t that thing…..??’
Without a doubt, that was the High Orc Shaman from the Hunters Guild raid not too long ago that Jin-Woo killed in one hit. He clearly witnessed it back then.
But now, that thing was at least twice the size than when it was still alive. And it wasn’t just its size that had grown bigger, too. The emitted waves of magic energy coming from its body when it grew to that size was far, far scarier compared to back then as well.
Woo Jin-Cheol was genuinely astonished by this new development.
‘What is this?! Didn’t the monster’s power drop when turning into a summon??’
If that was the case, then how should he go about explaining that summon created out from the High Orc Shaman?
Jin-Woo could create summons out of the boss monsters from rank A dungeons, and he could even strengthen them, too?
‘How can this make any sort of logical sense…..??’
Jin-Woo asked a nonplussed question to Woo Jin-Cheol and his slack jaw.
“Chief Woo? Aren’t you coming as well?”
If one were to lose some of their lifespan through mental shocks, then Woo Jin-Cheol must’ve lost half of his life here today.
He had a mountain of questions he’d like to ask. But then, he was actually afraid of the kind of answers he might get, so he felt disinclined to ask them, as well.
Woo Jin-Cheol hesitated, but in the end, could only reply with a tired look on his face.
“…..Yes, let’s get going.”
Reporters were thinking of leaving for early lunch but then, their eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets after Jin-Woo leisurely walked out of the Gate.
“What the heck? Has he finished already?!”
He cleared a rank A dungeon in less than three hours?!
A big lightbulb got switched on inside the heads of the gathered reporters.
‘This is a huge scoop! A jackpot!’
The reporters gripping their cameras tightly began flooding towards the Gate, fearing that they might miss Jin-Woo if they didn’t hurry up. Too bad, the Hunters from the Monitoring Division waiting there quickly blocked their progress.
“Argh, let me go! We aren’t going to interview him, you know??”
“I just want to snap a photo! What the heck, will you take responsibility if I get fired for failing to take a single picture today??”
“It’s just one photo, so why are you all behaving like this??”
And just as the desperate scuffle between the reporters and the Monitoring Division’s agents intensified….
The sound of something heavy stepping on the ground resounded out.
One of the reporters dropped his camera in an utter daze.
He didn’t even realise that his fallen camera was stepped on by other reporters. No, he could only point towards the Gate and stutter out in pure shock.
“L-look over there…”
Or, more specifically, he was pointing at the massive, hulking giant of a monster stepping outside the Gate.
“R-run away!! No, no wait! Take its pictures first! Hurry!”
“Are you filming this??”
The reporters quickly forgot about the physical confrontation of a second ago and hurriedly began snapping away with their raised cameras.
They were inwardly fearful of the monster suddenly attacking them, but at the same time, their fingers continued to move at a blinding pace as if they had been bewitched by something.
Fangs was diligently dragging the boss-level Naga’s corpse outside the Gate, but when he felt quite a lot of stares landing on his back, he slowly turned around to look.
And he found that, not just the reporters, but the police, Association employees, and even the passersby on the street stopped in their treks to look up at him.
Fangs was now suddenly overcome with embarrassment and sheepishly scratched the back of his head.
< Chapter 149 > Fin.