Hahn Song-Yi displayed her happiness as tears formed in her eyes.
It wasn’t as much as Hahn Song-Yi, but still, the two male Hunters’ expressions also brightened up considerably. Park Hui-Jin also breathed a sigh of relief after confirming Jin-Woo’s face.
Unfortunately, Jin-Woo didn’t have much leeway to respond to their welcomes.
Jin-Woo placed his finger on his lips and gestured them to keep quiet. The four people, seemingly getting ready to embrace Jin-Woo at any moment now, all froze up like ice statues.
Park Hui-Jin cautiously asked.
“W-what’s the matter?”
Jin-Woo glared at the fainted Kim Cheol, the dumb b*stard who deserved to be beaten up, before turning around.
“Looks like Kim Cheol brought along unwanted visitors.”
He sensed countless presences hiding in the forest. Right now wasn’t the time to worry about Kim Cheol or Go Cheol or whatever. The real problem lay elsewhere, after all.
After sensing Jin-Woo’s glare, the White Phantoms undid their stealth and revealed themselves one by one. At a quick count, there were around 20 of them.
And among them…
Jin-Woo’s glare was fixed on a long-haired White Phantom riding on horseback.
‘….That has to be the boss.’
An overwhelmingly mighty aura was coming from that creature, incomparably heavier than any Ice bears and the White Phantoms near it.
If that guy wasn’t the boss of this dungeon, then just who else could be?
For the first time in a long while, Jin-Woo’s skin broke out in goosebumps.
Just as Jin-Woo was shivering ever so softly from its powerful aura, the boss also recognised Jin-Woo’s strength in one go.
“So, there really was one. A truly worthy being among all the human trash.”
“….What did you just say?”
When Jin-Woo spat out a response purely out of reflex, the boss displayed an expression of pure surprise.
“You, can you understand our language?”
Jin-Woo was also taken aback.
‘How is it possible to converse with this guy?!’
Not only could he understand what a monster was saying, but he could also actually converse with it, too.
A language he couldn’t even remember learning before fluently rolled out of his mouth as if it was his mother tongue.
“You…. You know how to speak the language of the monsters?!”
Park Hui-Jin’s expression said her shock was so extreme that she didn’t know what to do now. Seeing that, Jin-Woo realised that only he could understand what that boss was saying here.
‘Is this because of the System?’
Like, an automatic translation feature?
Jin-Woo shifted his gaze back to the boss. The boss returned the gaze with great interest.
“To be able to converse…. Very good. There is someone I wanted to introduce to you.”
The boss pointed at one of the White Phantoms standing behind it.
“I’m sure you’re familiar with him already.”
Jin-Woo’s glare sharpened instantly. Indeed, he recognised that particular White Phantom.
‘That guy is….’
That guy was none other than the bstard that fired an arrow at Hahn Song-Yi before breaking out in a mocking grin. How could he forget that arrogant bstard’s face?
That exact same smile was still etched on the monster’s face.
“This friend informed me of a truly strong being among the humans. And this friend wishes to challenge you to a duel, so how ab…..”
Even before the boss finished his words, the ‘Knight Killer’ Jin-Woo threw flew in a straight line.
And the dagger landed right in the middle of the grinning White Phantom’s face.
The shocked cry came from the Hunters, though, Yun Ki-Joong hurriedly covered his mouth to stifle the cry he let loose inadvertently just now.
The White Phantom collapsed on the ground.
Jin-Woo extended his hand out, and the ‘Knight Killer’ buried in the dead Elf’s face shook around a little before it got pulled out and flew back to him. Jin-Woo grasped the returned ‘Knight Killer’ in reverse grip and lowered his posture.
“Anything else you want to say?”
The boss spoke up in admiration.
“….You are indeed very strong.”
Then, it climbed off the horse. However, as if it wasn’t planning to fight yet, it didn’t draw its weapons nor showed any willingness to engage in battles.
“However, you know this already, don’t you?”
The boss maintained a leisurely expression and continued to engage him.
“….That you can’t fight this number all by yourself.”
There were over twenty Ice Elves here.
However, their number wasn’t important. No, the real danger came from the fact that there was the boss monster among them.
The rest of the White Phantoms were no match for Jin-Woo, who had raised his level as much as he could by hunting every single Ice bear in this forest.
….Exactly like the fool who got killed with a dagger to its face.
‘So, how should I go about killing the boss?’
While Jin-Woo began kicking his brain into gear, the boss continued on.
“So, I shall make a simple suggestion.”
“That’s right. It won’t be such a bad suggestion for yourself.”
Jin-Woo was inwardly surprised.
It was a well-known fact that humanoid type monsters possessed intelligence. But he never expected to see a monster trying to negotiate with a human. So, he couldn’t help but get curious here.
“….I’ll hear it.”
The boss smiled as if it had expected that answer and opened its mouth.
“Before that, I want to ask you something.”
“Why are you among these humans, when you’re not one of them?”
Jin-Woo’s expression crumpled deeply.
“What nonsense are you talking about?”
“Ahaha. It seems that you have no idea.”
The boss guffawed out loudly, before pointing to its temple.
“Every one of us can hear a certain voice repeating itself in our heads. It tells us to kill humans. However, I can’t hear that voice when I’m looking at you.”
That’s what this guy meant?
In that case, Jin-Woo could think of a reason for that.
‘When the boss says humans, it’s probably talking about Hunters.’
The thing was, he had changed to this strange something called ‘Player’ through the System, during his ordeal in the underground temple. Technically speaking, he was slightly different from other Hunters – meaning, other Awakened human beings.
‘That’s why that guy thinks I’m not a human.’
That made perfect sense.
When Jin-Woo’s expression slowly changed to that of an understanding, the boss nodded its head.
“There is no need for us to fight each other. And our side does not wish to see needless casualties, as well.”
The boss finally got to the main topic.
“Hand over the humans behind you. Then, we will guarantee your life. How does my suggestion sound to you?”
Before he answered, Jin-Woo asked back.
“I want to ask you something, too.”
“Fine. Go ahead.”
“Just who are you? Where did you come from, and why do you wish to kill humans?”
It happened then.
The smiling face of the boss suddenly froze stiff. But, that odd state lasted only for a brief moment. The boss regained its original expression and continued on.
‘What the hell was that?’
Jin-Woo frowned deeply.
The boss repeated itself like an NPC from a game that was asked a question that was not in the script, or one that it was not permitted to answer, to begin with.
Its expression showed how relaxed it was. In other words, it had not recognised how odd its own actions were. The White Phantoms standing behind didn’t display any reaction towards the boss’s strange behaviour, either.
Jin-Woo continued to wordlessly observe then, prompting the boss to begin urging him.
“Will you accept my suggestion or not?”
Jin-Woo wanted to find out more about the monsters’ origins and their true intentions, but as it turned out, it was all a waste of time.
‘In that case….’
The only thing remaining was to choose. But then again, he had made up his mind already a long time ago.
The corner’s of Jin-Woo’s lips arched up.
‘You see, you possess a far too tempting shadow for me to let go.’
He was planning to kill the boss and take away its shadow. And there was no way he’d change his mind now when he was constantly thinking about how to carry the plan out ever since the boss made its entrance.
“Are you planning to fight my soldiers all by yourself? Do you truly believe that you can overcome the disadvantages in numbers all alone?”
Jin-Woo smirked derisively.
‘Soldiers’, was it?
‘You think you’re the only one? I’ve got them too.’
He summoned his shadows. According to his wishes, the soldiers hiding in Jin-Woo’s shadow all revealed themselves in the blink of an eye right behind him.
Again, the cry came from the Hunters this time as well.
Yun Ki-Joong cried out in fright as the shadow of the Ice Bear, the shadow beast soldier, suddenly materialised right next to him and he fell hard on his a*s.
When Jin-Woo took a glance at the pale faces of the surviving raid team, he felt that it was a bit regretful, but this was an emergency situation. There was no time to explain things to them here.
‘Well, I wouldn’t explain things to them even if this wasn’t an emergency, though.’
After summoning 29 shadow soldiers, Jin-Woo stood before them and glared at the boss.
“So, who’s disadvantaged now?”
Finally, the boss displayed its hostility.
“…You seem to know some petty tricks, don’t you? Fine. If it’s your wish, I shall grant your death.”
The boss unsheathed two daggers from his sides.
This was what Jin-Woo wanted, as well. He grasped the ‘Knight Killer’ in his right hand, while the left grasped the ‘Poison Fang of Kasaka’ as he got ready for battle.
‘Petty tricks, is it?’
The boss had a point there. Jin-Woo might hold an advantage in numbers, but his ‘army’ was slightly lacking if he wanted to hunt the boss down.
Jin-Woo knew this very well.
The boss’s self-confidence could have come from this fact.
Indeed, he now needed more comrades. Powerful comrades.
‘If it’s a powerful comrade, then….’
There was one candidate here.
Jin-Woo sneaked a glance to his side. The still-unconscious Kim Cheol was lying there, unmoving.
When the boss issued the order, the White Phantoms pulled on their bowstrings.
Jin-Woo placed the beast soldiers at the front.
Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab!
The beast soldiers, with arrows sticking out of their bodies, all roared out in anger.
Before the White Phantoms could nock the next volley of arrows, the infantrymen rushed forward. The magic soldiers also began chanting their spells.
Meanwhile, Jin-Woo’s eyes gleamed dangerously.
Jin-Woo deliberately pushed Kim Cheol’s longsword towards its owner with his heel, before pouncing forward himself as well.
His sight was fixed solely on the boss of the White Phantoms. The boss too was waiting for Jin-Woo’s arrival.
Soon, sparks endlessly flew as the four daggers wielded by two creatures clashed in mid-air.
Clang! Clang!! Clllaang!!
At the same time, the shadow soldiers and White Phantoms also slammed into each other as well.
Goh Myung-Hwan looked at Park Hui-Jin next to him.
“Uhm…. So, like, shouldn’t we lend assistance here?”
Park Hui-Jin shook her head.
“This isn’t a fight where we can butt in, you know.”
This was a battle where huge black monsters were swinging their giant claws; the destroyed black soldiers were regenerating to their original state in the blink of an eye; and the gleaming blades and the arrows fired from the upper-rank monsters, White Phantoms, were chaotically flying around in the snowy field.
‘So, what can a rank B or C do in this place?’
Indeed, the only thing they were permitted to do here was to pray. Park Hui-Jin could only stare at Jin-Woo with a tight chest as he fought the long-haired White Phantom.
Jin-Woo gasped out.
As expected of a boss from the high-ranking dungeon!
The fight looked to be even from the side, but Jin-Woo was getting cut and sliced constantly all over his body. Would he be able to last three minutes at this rate?
His MP was also rapidly depleting away as his soldiers constantly regenerated.
Finally, the magic soldiers managed to finish their chants. A ball of flames larger than a volleyball flew in the midst of the White Phantoms.
That was the power of the levelled-up magic soldiers in full display.
Awakened by the resounding eardrum-shaking explosion, Kim Cheol regained his consciousness and opened his eyes.
Kim Cheol raised his head to look.
Clang! Clang!! Pow-!!
His blurry vision picked up on the sight of White Phantoms fighting against the unknown black soldiers.
‘What the… hell is going on here?’
He couldn’t figure out what happened while he blacked out, but at least, he knew very well why he was lying on the ground like this.
The hand that slapped him in the back of his head!!
And the voice that came from behind him!
‘That voice definitely belonged to Seong Jin-Woo!!’
Now that he had regained his bearing, the sense of shame and rage bubbled over like crazy and the ends of his fingertips trembled.
How fortunate that he could feel the hilt of his sword.
If he was surrounded by the White Phantoms, then he’d not get out of here alive. In that case, he must….
‘I’ll kill that b*stard Seong Jin-Woo with my own hands.’
His maddened eyes finally spotted the back of Seong Jin-Woo.
…..There he was!
He was too busy fighting a White Phantom and wasn’t paying any attention to his rear.
This was his chance.
Kim Cheol stood up right away. And then, ran.
After sensing Kim Cheol running towards him, Jin-Woo laughed out inwardly in elation.
‘Right, if it’s you….’
Kim Cheol ran with all his might and after taking aim at Jin-Woo’s neck, swung the sword, hard.
In front, the boss. From behind, Kim Cheol.
Even though he was stuck in a seemingly dangerous situation, Jin-Woo still managed to shout out.
As if he’d been waiting for that call, Igrit jumped out from his shadow immediately and easily deflected Kim Cheol’s sword.
Kim Cheol’s bloodshot eyes opened wider.
However, even before he could say anything, Igrit’s sword pierced deeply into his chest.
The blade ran straight through his chest and emerged from his back.
Jin-Woo quickly took several steps back.
‘I knew Kim Cheol would act this way.’
This fool was someone who didn’t think about anything in depth, and only acted according to his emotions. They had been together only for a short while, but that was enough for Jin-Woo to figure this guy out.
Kim Cheol glared at Jin-Woo.
And with that, Kim Cheol breathed his last.
As Igrit stepped up to delay the boss, Jin-Woo issued an order to the shadow of the dead Kim Cheol.
When that happened….
Accompanied by a heavy, sombre cry, a huge hand emerged from the shadow.
< Chapter 63 > Fin.