I Alone Level-Up
[Shadow Extraction was a success.]
‘There you go!’
Jin-Woo clenched his fist tightly. The final piece of this puzzle called the boss raid had fallen into its place.
The black knight that emerged from Kim Cheol’s shadow was far bigger and sturdier than the original version. And it even carried a huge war hammer in one hand as well.
The other hand held a shield as tall as a grown man, and the overall impression this guy gave off was truly oppressive and threatening.
‘Kim Cheol was a muscular man, but this shadow is just too over-the-top….’
Even though it was an urgent situation, Jin-Woo couldn’t help but leak out a gasp of admiration.
[Please set the soldier’s name.]
‘Ah, right. The name.’
Jin-Woo sneaked a glance to his side.
Perhaps finding the battle quite tough, Igrit was having a hard time right now, being pushed around by the boss. Currently, he was barely buying enough time by relying on his cheat-like regenerative ability.
Igrit’s arm was sliced off, then.
‘I don’t have much time to waste here.’
A name, was it?
Should he go with whatever? Maybe, Kim Cheol?
Jin-Woo immediately shook his head.
To call an undead with a name it used while it was still alive… That just didn’t sit well with him.
‘Right, his name was Kim Cheol. Cheol, so Iron, it is!’ (TL: ‘cheol’ is a Korean word for ‘iron’)
The name had been decided.
As soon as Jin-Woo thought of that name, it was bestowed on the newly-birthed shadow knight.
[Iron Lv. 1]
A knight grade!
It was the same grade as Igrit, but again, there was no time to celebrate.
‘I can’t waste any more time than this!’
Jin-Woo pointed to the boss.
Iron’s large frame lumbered forward quite heavily like a mountain.
Thud, thud, thud!!
Jin-Woo really liked the new guy’s huge frame, but he couldn’t help but worry whether that lumbering speed could even catch up to the agile boss or not. Fortunately, such a worry was put to bed really fast.
Iron leaned back and roared out loudly.
‘What was that?!’
Just as Jin-Woo was getting flustered, several messages popped up in his view.
[Iron has used ‘Skill: Shout of Provocation’.]
[The owner of the dungeon has fallen into an ‘aggro’ed’ state.]
“An aggro skill!”
Kim Cheol was actually a rank A Tanker.
So, quite obviously, he possessed a high-level aggro skill, and the shadow knight extracted from his shadow, Iron, had retained that skill in full and was able to use it no problem.
The head of the boss swivelled towards Iron.
Although it could’ve chosen to finish Igrit off right in front of its eyes, the boss simply pounced on Iron as if it had been hypnotised by a ghost or some such.
Iron used the skill ‘Reinforcement’ and endured the sharp dagger attacks of the boss digging into his body.
Jin-Woo nodded his head in approval.
In the meantime, Igrit’s sliced arm regenerated to full.
The black smoke began oozing out from the stump and coagulated to form a new arm.
Meanwhile, the boss was still preoccupied with Iron.
And seizing this chance, Jin-Woo and Igrit’s combined assault began on the boss.
Park Hui-Jin became utterly speechless as the unbelievable spectacle unfolded right before her eyes.
What she was seeing right now proved to be too unrealistic, too outlandish. She didn’t even want to ask for clarification. Not anymore.
From her side, Hahn Song-Yi asked her with a timid voice.
Park Hui-Jin responded belatedly to her.
“Do all fights of Hunters look like that?”
She must’ve been frightened silly, because Hahn Song-Yi’s voice was trembling noticeably. Park Hui-Jin replied to her, sounding helpless as well.
“….If that were the case, then I’d never have earned my licence, you know.”
Goh Myung-Hwan asked next, looking utterly dazed out of his mind.
“Could it be…. that we are dreaming right now?”
If this was indeed a dream, then it must’ve been a nightmare, instead.
Park Hui-Jin looked back at the battlefield where the monsters and the black ‘somethings’ were having a chaotic throwdown, and spat out a long sigh.
At the same time, a new worry formed in her head.
‘When we get out of here, without a doubt….’
There was no doubt that, as a survivor, she’d be asked several uncomfortable questions. How should she go about explaining what she was seeing here, then?
Park Hui-Jin couldn’t even begin to fathom just where she’d start her explanations on what happened inside the Red Gate, and in particular, the man named Seong Jin-Woo.
After she raised that point to everyone….
Yun Ki-Joong, sitting on the ground and shaking like a leaf, spoke with some difficulty.
“Isn’t it an incredible thing that we can actually worry about what’ll happen to us once we get out of here?”
The Hunters all nodded their heads in unison.
This was an upper-rank dungeon. Not only that, a Red Gate, too.
Even though they found themselves in such a dangerous area, they were now worrying about the matters that would take place outside.
This was all due to the power of one man.
Park Hui-Jin’s gaze was directed to Jin-Woo.
‘Mister Seong Jin-Woo, you’re…’
Her feelings had moved way past shock and gratefulness, and she was beginning to feel a sense of awe towards him now.
The ‘Poison Fang of Kasaka’ stabbed into the boss’s shoulder.
[‘Effect: Paralysis’ has been activated.]
[The effect has been cancelled due to the high resistance of the target.]
[‘Effect: Bleeding’ has been activated.]
With the increased levels of the enemies he’d been facing lately, the additional effects of the ‘Poison Fang of Kasaka’ failed to activate properly more often than not.
Still, inflicting injuries was a good thing in a fight.
The boss’s agile movements were being hampered gradually due to the increasing number of wounds being inflicted on its body.
The smile had disappeared from the boss’s face a long time ago.
The boss had been dodging the combined attacks of Jin-Woo, Igrit and Iron rather freely until then, but now, it was quite obviously running out of breath.
‘Just a little bit more!’
Iron suddenly bear-hugged the boss.
When Jin-Woo gave the signal, Igrit rapidly retreated. Jin-Woo too quickly stepped back. The boss’s eyes widened in confusion.
“What are you tryin…..?”
Before he could finish, the magic soldiers completed the explosion spells and they rained down on Iron’s position.
For the first time ever, the boss spat out a sharp cry of pain. The b*stard twisted its body around, and Iron’s arms fell off.
The boss’s enraged, murderous eyes were now firmly fixed on Jin-Woo.
Seeing this, Jin-Woo could only feel admiration towards the boss once more.
‘Even with such a heavy wound, it can still exhibit that much strength!’
As expected of a high-level dungeon’s boss. Unfortunately for it, the scale had tilted away from it some time ago.
Just like what he did to that arrogant White Phantom, Jin-Woo threw the ‘Knight Killer’ at the boss, and added even more momentum by using the Ruler’s Reach.
The dagger flew to its target in the blink of an eye.
The boss realised that it was difficult to dodge the throw, so it used its own dagger to deflect Jin-Woo’s blade.
The ‘Knight Killer’ flew at such a frightening speed that the boss’s dagger actually cracked from the impact force.
And at the same time….
Jin-Woo used ‘Stealth’ and ‘Dash’ skills to close the distance to the boss, and stabbed the ‘Poison Fang of Kasaka’ deeply into the b*stard’s waist.
The boss’s eyes widened considerably.
However, the boss still managed to grab Jin-Woo’s wrist even in the midst of all this. It was not that hard to see the boss’s desire to not go down without a fight from its crazed eyes.
Just as the boss raised its dagger above its head to stab at Jin-Woo….
Jin-Woo simply smirked. At the same time, a huge war hammer slammed into the head of the boss.
The boss’s face crashed into the snowy ground.
Behind the boss, Iron was raising his hammer up high again, both of his arms already fully regenerated.
The huge hammer flew down again.
Igrit was getting ready to attack, but then, sheathed his sword back into the scabbard attached to his waist.
Jin-Woo also stored his daggers back inside the Inventory.
And the expected messages popped up right away.
[You’ve killed the owner of this dungeon.]
‘Whew, it’s finally over.’
Jin-Woo sighed grandly in relief.
What a hard-fought victory this was.
He was about to take a breather, but then, saw Iron and his eyes went extra round in surprise.
“Hey, hey! You can stop now.”
Jin-Woo hurriedly stopped Iron.
He was about to smash down with his hammer again, but finally stayed his hands. Perhaps it resembled the original too much, because the guy turned out to be a bit simple in the head like the original.
Meanwhile, the boss’s corpse had been pummelled into a meat paste already.
‘However, its shadow isn’t affected, so it’s fine.’
Jin-Woo smirked deeply.
Finally, the reward for this incredibly hard battle, the one he’d been salivating over, was right by his feet, waiting to be taken.
Jin-Woo issued his order.
It was now 3 AM.
The facial expressions of four men waiting around the Red Gate were, as expected, not so good.
Unable to endure any longer, Hyun Ki-Cheol finally opened his mouth.
“Guild Master, we’ll remain here and wait, so how about going home first, sir?”
“My Guild members are trapped in there, so how can I even think about going home to relax now?”
Baek Yun-Ho was resolute in his decision. Indeed, that wasn’t something the leader of a large Guild, not to mention as a currently-active rank S Hunter, should entertain under this sort of situation.
It was here that Ahn Sahng-Min’s eyed widened.
“Huh? Look, the Red Gate!!”
Hyun Ki-Cheol and Joo Sung-Chan also discovered an oddity with the Red Gate.
“The, the Red Gate is opening up!!”
“The dungeon’s been cleared!”
“There are… there are people coming out!!”
Baek Yun-Ho clenched his fists tightly.
‘That Kim Cheol!! Did he manage to pull it off?’
Everyone waiting there hurriedly rushed towards the front of the Gate.
Baek Yun-Ho, unable to hide his excitement, began searching for the leader of this team, Kim Cheol.
However…. even though all of the survivors came out, the big guy couldn’t be seen.
‘Uh? Huh? This can’t be right.’
The one who had been insisting on believing in Kim Cheol, Joo Sung-Chan’s previously confident attitude was gone now, and his expression was getting warped as well.
“Park Hui-Jin Hunter-nim!! Goh Myung-Hwan, Yun Ki-Joong Hunter-nim!!”
“Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim!!”
After spotting Jin-Woo walking along with Hahn Song-Yi right behind the others, Ahn Sahng-Min’s face was quickly filled up with a huge smile.
‘I thought as much!’
It was such a noticeable contrast from the face of Joo Sung-Chan.
However, his smile also faded away quickly. When five people, including Seong Jin-Woo, walked out from the Gate, the portal to another world slowly disappeared from their view.
“It can’t be…. Is this everyone?”
Jin-Woo nodded his head, looking rather exhausted.
Hyun Ki-Cheol had asked that question, and after getting that silent answer, his expression hardened instantly.
‘How can this be….?’
Hyun Ki-Cheol’s eyes teared up, and he reluctantly began crossing out the names of the deceased off the member list. This was a terrible job, but it had to be done regardless.
Baek Yun-Ho had been staring at this in a daze, before gasping out in sheer shock and disbelief.
‘Only the lower ranked Hunters returned?! Never mind the A rank, only a single rank B survived?!’
Such a thing should not happen. Just what on earth happened inside that dungeon?
“Let’s go. I’ll take you home.”
Jin-Woo was about to lead Hahn Song-Yi and leave the location, but Baek Yun-Ho reached out and grabbed his wrist first.
“Excuse me. Wait.”
Jin-Woo fiercely shook off that hand. Baek Yun-Ho’s eyes sharpened immediately.
“We need to talk for a second here.”
Jin-Woo turned around.
“I’m too tired. If you have questions, you should ask your own Guild members.”
Baek Yun-Ho couldn’t hold back and revealed his identity.
“I’m Baek Yun-Ho, the Guild Master of the White Tiger.”
Jin-Woo’s eyes remained cold, however.
Being on the receiving end of Jin-Woo cold response, Beak Yun-Ho’s eyes suddenly transformed to that of a monster’s. No, they completely resembled a beast now, instead.
“We lost nine Guild members through this incident. As the Master, I have the right to ask you a couple of questions regarding this matter.”
This was no longer a request.
It was an order.
Or, even a threat.
Didn’t matter what anyone thought of his words, he was not planning to let Jin-Woo go that easily here.
But then, Jin-Woo too angrily glared back.
He was not being cowered by the intense hostile aura oozing out in full force from the rank S Hunter, Baek Yun-Ho.
“I rescued three of your people. If you’re really their leader, shouldn’t you be saying thanks to me first?”
It was Baek Yun-Ho who had to withdraw his threatening aura first, as he was bombarded with this incredible pressure emanating from Jin-Woo.
Besides that, what he said was logical, as well. Baek Yun-Ho couldn’t argue against the point raised.
Baek Yun-Ho lowered his head. Seeing this, Jin-Woo turned around once more to leave.
“Hahn Song-Yi, let’s get going.”
Hahn Song-Yi carefully studied the mood of this place and followed after Jin-Woo. The two of them got on the van and not too long after, left the location.
‘This doesn’t make any sense….’
Baek Yun-Ho’s thoughts were now in complete disarray. He quickly ran towards the sole surviving upper-rank Hunter, Park Hui-Jin.
“Excuse me, Miss Park Hui-Jin.”
She had been trying to warm herself up with the cup of hot tea Hyun Ki-Cheol had handed over. She raised her head to meet Baek Yun-Ho’s gaze.
“What is the matter with that guy? Why was he so downbeat like that?”
Indeed, that man had probably gone through an unimaginable hell and finally managed to escape from the Red Gate, yet why was his attitude so murderous?
Park Hui-Jin shook her head, displaying her own confusion.
“I also don’t know, sir. After killing the boss, he stood in front of the dead body and shouted something out three times, and after that, he’s been like that….”
“He was okay until then?”
Park Hui-Jin looked at Goh Myung-Hwan and Yun Ki-Joong. The two men nodded their heads simultaneously.
“What a strange man….”
Baek Yun-Ho muttered to himself as he stared helplessly at the street Jin-Woo had disappeared in.
Ahn Sahng-Min saw the state his boss was in, and became incredibly nervous as if he had done something wrong instead.
“My apologies, Guild Master. I’m sure he’s like that because he’s just exhausted. He’s not a bad person, I assure you. At least, I believe he’s not.”
“No…. That’s not the problem.”
Baek Yun-Ho turned around to stare squarely at Ahn Sahng-Min.
“Why haven’t you scouted that man already?”
Ahn Sahng-Min couldn’t hide his fluster. But, it wasn’t strong enough to best the fluster Baek Yun-Ho had felt just now.
Baek Yun-Ho recalled Jin-Woo’s fierce glare and could only nervously swallow his dry saliva.
Abruptly, he thought that, were he to fight that man, he’d have to resolve himself to lose an arm or two.
‘Maybe, even worse than that….’
Quickly figuring out what Baek Yun-Ho meant, Ahn Sahng-Min hurriedly replied.
“We’re doing our very best, sir.”
“That is clearly not enough.”
Baek Yun-Ho’s eyes began to sparkle rather dangerously.
Indeed, Chief Ahn’s discerning eyes were on the money again.
“From today onwards, you’ll receive all the resources you need. You must bring that man into our Guild, no matter what.”
< Chapter 64 > Fin.