I Alone Level-Up
Adam White urgently confirmed the signs of life on Thomas Andre.
Ba-dump, ba-dump, ba-dump….
He pressed his ear to the chest of the unmoving man and heard the faint beating of the heart. He even brought his hand near Thomas Andre’s nose and felt for his breathing, too. Fortunately enough, he was still alive.
However, he was barely hanging on. He might be alive but, he didn’t resemble a living man right now. That’s how bad his condition was.
‘To think, he’s capable of reducing the one and only Thomas Andre to this state….’
Just how many Hunters in the world would be capable of doing this? No, was there anyone even remotely capable of doing that, to begin with?
If this news got out, then the entire world would be turned on its head almost instantly. Adam White even felt an emotion similar to awe at Jin-Woo’s strength that had easily exceeded the Hunter Bureau’s expectations.
Unfortunately, now wasn’t the time to stand around in awe.
Adam White gestured towards the Hunter Bureau’s Healers.
One of the top-rated Healers quickly ran over and settled down next to the patient on the ground. After confirming Thomas Andre’s condition before the healing could properly commence, the Healer clicked his tongue and spoke up.
“Every bone in his body is broken. Haemorrhaging is quite serious, as well. I alone won’t be able to heal him. It’ll be better for everyone to participate at once.”
Following the Healer’s suggestion, more of his colleagues were added to the process of healing Thomas Andre.
But then, could anyone fill up a lake with water from a tap? Because of how vast Thomas Andre’s overall health reserve was, one needed to expend a great deal of effort in order to heal him.
As the Healers sweated profusely and focused on healing the American Hunter, Adam White stood back up from the ground to survey the landscape. He saw the Hunters from the Bureau keeping themselves busy by pulling out the injured from the abandoned factory.
“My leg, my leg!!”
The state of the Scavenger’s elite Hunters were wretched, to say the least. It was unknown how they ended up in such a miserable state, but it was not that hard to guess just who was responsible for them looking like that.
One man versus one Guild.
Just one Hunter managed to utterly destroy one of the top Guilds in the entire world.
Adam White was utterly flabbergasted by the incredibleness of Hunter Seong Jin-Woo, and his abilities that played a key role in this display of incredibleness.
Now that he took another look, he couldn’t see Hunter Seong Jin-Woo anywhere. Adam White searched around to locate the Korean Hunter, but before he could locate his query, a rather familiar ‘song’ entered his ears, instead.
It was the ringtone coming from his phone.
“This is White.”
– “Agent White, we discovered Yu Jin-Ho Hunter-nim’s current whereabouts.”
The call came from the Hunter Bureau. Out of all the stories he heard today, this had to be the best one so far. Adam White’s gloomy-looking expression brightened up once more.
“Really? Where is he now?”
The caller informed him that the grievously-injured Hunter Yu Jin-Ho was discovered in front of a major hospital nearby, and his life was no longer in danger after having received a timely emergency medical treatment.
“I’ll head there right away as soon as the matters this side are sorted out.”
Adam White ended the call and sighed in relief.
He had no idea how he’d go about dealing with Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s wrath if something really bad happened to Yu Jin-Ho. Just thinking about it made him dizzy.
Spilt milk couldn’t be saved, anyway. Should he say that the glass holding the milk not breaking was a silver lining among the sea of storm clouds?
A small load was taken off his mind and soon, he got to hear yet another piece of good news.
The Healers tasked with mending Thomas Andre stood up from the ground. Adam White asked them for a status update.
“How is he? Is he alright?”
“For now…? What does that mean?”
“His injured body has been healed, but he did suffer many grievous wounds and it will take some time before he regains consciousness.”
Magic from the Healers might be able to restore one’s physical wounds, but they were unable to lighten one’s psychological trauma.
And since Thomas Andre no doubt suffered a huge mental setback this time ’round, his hospital room would have to be closely monitored. Adam White could only look on at the unconscious face of the Special Authority-rank Hunter with a look of pity. Still, the Healer did find words that provided a bit of comfort and delivered them.
“Even then, it was because it was Special Authority-rank Hunter Thomas Andre that he got to survive this long. If it was any other Hunter being on the receiving end of this much punishment, that person would have died ten times over by now.”
“What a reli….”
Adam White nodded and was about to say something suitable as a reply, but then, his words came to a stop.
Only because it was the Special Authority-rank Hunter Thomas Andre, he could survive this event?
If so, what about Hunter Hwang Dong-Su who must’ve been subjected to the one-sided outpouring of Seong Jin-Woo’s rage?
Was that man around here, as well?
Carrying a hardened expression, Adam White quickly made his way into the abandoned factory as more injured were carted out. Once inside, he took a look around and heard someone call out to him.
“Agent White! Over here!”
That urgent voice quickened Adam White’s thought process. He tried to calm his pounding heart and ran towards where that call came from.
One of the Bureau’s Hunters with a serious expression on his face was standing in front of a person lying on the floor. Adam White recognised who it was and whispered out the name of the man like a groan.
That prompted the Hunter next to him to speak his findings.
“This man is not breathing, sir. His heart is not beating anymore.”
“I hope you ain’t gonna waste my time by telling me some bullsh*t story about you kidding around or making a mistake here.”
It was already getting pretty late. The editor of a certain publication had come out to meet a freelance reporter after the latter gave him a call. Understandably, the editor’s glare was icy.
Just who was he?
He was none other than the editor of the newspaper boasting the highest circulation figures in the eastern United States.
Originally, someone like a freelancer wouldn’t be able to summon him out for an impromptu meeting like this. But then, he had no choice but to make this trip after hearing the contents of the phone call.
The editor told himself that, if this freelancer was going to waste his time with a fairy tale, then he’d make d*mn sure that this guy ended up in jail with a fake crime he came up with. That was his thought process as he hurriedly put back on the clothes he wore during the day at work for this meeting in the dark.
The reporter quickly waved his hands around after being subjected to the editor’s suspicious glare.
“It’s d-definitely nothing like that. This thing is 100% real. I thought you only liked stories that are real?”
“So, how much are you willing to offer?”
“Let me see the photos first.”
The reporter looked around his vicinity as if he was scared of something and began pulling out one photograph after another from his bag. The editor took them with an expressionless face and began flipping through them, but then, his hands came to an abrupt halt.
And an almighty earthquake erupted in his eyes next.
‘H-how can this be?!’
The editor’s astonished gaze naturally shifted over to the reporter’s face next.
His expression clearly was asking, ‘Where did you get these pictures?’ and that made the reporter feel like he was on the top of the world. He quickly shrugged his shoulders as his reply.
The editor continued to flip through the pictures with trembling hands.
They were exactly as the reporter had described over the phone.
‘Thomas Andre passes out after getting beaten to a pulp a day before the International Guild Conference?’
Not only that – the face of the man leisurely turning around to leave after defeating the American was captured within these pictures.
Wasn’t that Hunter Seong Jin-Woo??
This was a huge scoop.
No, hang on – that word ‘scoop’ wasn’t adequate enough to fully describe this incredible jackpot. The editor’s breathing became really rough and heavy now.
Meanwhile, the reporter peered at the picture the editor was looking at and added some of his explanation.
“That’s the man who beat up Thomas Andre. If you can investigate and uncover that guy’s identity in an expose, I think you’re going to create one hell of a firestorm, Mister Editor.”
What a moron this guy was!
Allegedly, Westerners had a problem telling Asian faces apart. Maybe because of that, the reporter had failed to recognise Seong Jin-Woo’s face.
In times like these, the editor felt rather thankful for being an Asian American. And at the same time, he began cooking up the headlines that would dominate the front page of tomorrow’s paper.
[The man who brought down the Dragon, bitten & brought back to earth by an Asian dragon.]
[The Hunter of Giants, Seong Jin-Woo – now even hunting down the Goliath?]
[The stronghold of a Special Authority-rank Hunter, collapsing under the new rising star of South Korea?]
Didn’t matter what headlines he decided to use, this news would attract the attention of the entire world. Most importantly, his paper would have the exclusive.
There were dozens of real photographic proof prepared as well, so how could there not be a huge commotion rising up in the world come tomorrow?
The actual worth of these pictures could not be estimated at all. The editor felt his heart quiver.
Having discovered the trembling light within the editor’s eyes, the reporter quickly snatched the pictures back.
The editor could only lick his lips in wistfulness.
“Now that you have confirmed the veracity of these pictures, let’s talk about my price. How much are you willing to pay me?”
“This…. Well, it’s a bit difficult for me to come out with a price for these pictures.”
The editor hesitated greatly before asking the reporter as he carefully studied the other party.
“Why don’t you quote me a price you think is fair? So, how much do you want for them?”
The reporter pondered his options for a while, before unfurling all five of his fingers on his hand. The editor nodded his head.
“Fifty grand? Good. We’ll go with that.”
The reporter immediately corrected the editor on the price.
“It’s five million dollars.”
Five million U.S. Dollars is a huge amount of money equalling as much as 6,000,000,000 Korean Won.
Quite obviously, the expression on the editor’s face hardened instantly.
“If you think the price isn’t right, then I’ll just go somewhere else.”
The reporter shoved the pictures back inside the bag and tried to turn around. However, the editor hurriedly stopped him.
“No, hold on!”
Images of a celebrity couple’s baby would sell for millions of dollars nowadays, so was there a reason not to spend five million on a scoop of this magnitude?
Once this news gets out, all the TV stations and other newspapers would be talking about this story non-stop for the next few days. He simply couldn’t let this opportunity slip through his fingers!
Having arrived at his decision with some difficulty, the editor opened his mouth.
“Fine, you got a deal. However, I want not just the pictures but the originals, too. And you’ll have to swear never to leak this out to anyone else. How about it?”
With that, the deal was made.
The reporter had been working as a freelancer and had to wallow at the bottom of society all this time. He thought about being able to see his parents again for the first time since leaving his hometown. His voice trembled slightly as he made his reply.
“….Let’s do it.”
The hospital room where Yu Jin-Ho was currently admitted to.
He had made it out from death’s doorstep, but he still hadn’t regained his consciousness.
Yu Jin-Ho was still breathing out heavily in pain. The pain-suppressing morphine didn’t seem to be all that effective for him.
A little bit of time later, after the doctor doing the rounds confirmed Yu Jin-Ho’s current status and left….
….A humanoid shape rose up from the blob of shadow sneaking into the hospital room.
It was Beru, who swapped locations with Jin-Woo via ‘Shadow Exchange’.
He reached out to heal Yu Jin-Ho, as ordered by his liege. From the tip of his hands, gentle blue light slowly spread out in this darkened room.
Yu Jin-Ho’s expression, scrunched up from pain and discomfort, softened in no time at all.
Beru already possessed powers incomparable to regular rank S Hunters, so it was quite obvious that his healing magic would be unmatched, as well. The former ant king diligently healed his target’s wounds so he could also mend Yu Jin-Ho’s psychological trauma at the same time.
Yu Jin-Ho stopped tossing around in the bed after sensing the warmth wrap up his entire body, and eventually, creaked open his heavy eyelids.
The first thing he saw was a giant ant head right in front of his face. On top of that, that giant ant head placed a finger to its mouth and went “Shh.” as if to tell him to keep quiet.
“….Oh, so I’m still dreaming.”
Yu Jin-Ho closed his eyes shut and went back to sleep with a happy expression etched on his face.
In the meantime, Beru wordlessly concentrated on healing the kid.
The night wore on.
Seoul, the capital city of South Korea.
There was a 14-hour difference between here and the eastern United States. It may have been in the middle of the night over there, but it was in the morning in Korea.
The current location was a deserted children’s playground.
A black knight with his head pressed tightly on the ground next to a swing set asked.
“Oh, my king. How long should I stay in this position?”
Jin-Woo, currently sitting quietly on the swing and waiting for Beru’s signal, replied disinterestedly.
“I guess…. Until Beru reports back to me that he’s done with Jin-Ho’s treatment?”
Perhaps the knight recognised his faults in this matter because he kept his mouth shut and maintained the ‘Wonsan bombing raid’ posture. (TL note at the end)
Jin-Woo wordlessly stared at the knight before his gaze abruptly landed on his hands.
The back of his hands were all messed up. There were several bruises and he could spot traces of blood as well.
That Thomas Andre, he was truly one nonsensically sturdy dude. Just from Jin-Woo beating the living crap out of him, his hands ended up getting bruised to this degree.
Of course, such wounds would be gone without a trace after a good night’s rest all thanks to the passive buff, ‘Good Health and Long Life’, but still.
He felt a bit of fatigue rush in. A chaotic day was finally drawing to a rather subdued close.
The knight, staying quiet for a while, suddenly addressed Jin-Woo again.
“Oh, my king….”
“What is it?”
“Please, bestow unto me a new name, my king.”
Jin-Woo shifted his gaze over to his brand-new Shadow Soldier.
Knight Commander grade
‘Right, I guess you also need a name, don’t you?’
Jin-Woo pondered this dilemma for a little bit before forming a wry smile as he spoke.
“Since you died because of your greed, how about I call you ‘Greed’?”
< Chapter 193 > Fin.