I Alone Level-Up
On the way home.
Jin-Woo was busy licking his lips in unhappiness as he drove the van.
Was it because the gap between his Stat values and the extraction target’s were too great? What a disappointment it was, but his extraction attempts ended in failure.
‘What a waste, but there’s nothing I can do now.’
He’d still be able to kill a boss from a high ranking dungeon in the future. What’s important now was to quickly raise his skill levels high enough so that he’d not miss out on another chance.
Levelling up. Now that was something Jin-Woo excelled in.
Jin-Woo’s hand left the steering wheel for a little while, as a dagger with an elegant, flowing, arched blade appeared in his grip.
[Item: Baruka’s Dagger]
A dagger used by the great warrior ‘Baruka’. Weight reduction magic has been applied to it, allowing the wielder’s movements to become even more agile than before.
Well, he didn’t walk away completely empty-handed; this was the dagger the boss had been using. There were two, but one of them was broken, so he threw that away and took the remaining dagger.
‘The Baruka’s Dagger, eh?’
Not only did it feature high attacking power, but it also raised his Agility, too.
On that front alone, there was no need to compare it to ‘Knight Killer’, a dagger ranked ‘B’ he paid handsomely for, never mind the rank C ‘Poison Fang of Kasaka’.
Its rarity alone was at A, too!
This was probably one of the best weapons to replace the Poison Fang of Kasaka that had been losing its effectiveness lately.
‘I like the way it feels in my hand, too.’
While he was mulling over the things that happened inside the Red Gate, they had arrived before Hahn Song-Yi’s home.
She had been sitting in the passenger seat without saying a word as if she wasn’t even there in the first place. As soon as the van came to a stop, she climbed out of the seat and bowed her head.
“I will. Good night.”
Hahn Song-Yi turned around to leave.
Seeing her slumped shoulders and powerless gait, it seemed that the original goal of this trip had been met, one way or the other.
‘Well, although things did get a lot complicated, I was trying to change her mind anyway….’
It was rather likely that she wouldn’t try to become a Hunter in the future. It’d be the same story for anybody if their first dungeon experience just so happened to be a Red Gate.
He nodded his head in satisfaction and was about to start the van again, but then, the passenger side door was abruptly opened from the outside.
Jin-Woo shifted his gaze. Hahn Song-Yi had returned to the van and was holding on to the door.
‘What’s the matter with her?’
His curiosity only lasted for a little while.
Hahn Song-Yi bowed her head deeply again, this time looking much calmer than before.
“Thank you for everything, oppa.”
He only now realised that, from some time ago, the honorific she used to address him changed from ‘ahjussi’ to ‘oppa’.
“Uh, sure thing. Don’t mention it.”
“Uhm, excuse me….”
“Tomorrow…. No, see you later.”
Before he could ask her for clarification, Hahn Song-Yi hurriedly ran away. After her back disappeared from his view did he realise what she was talking about.
From today onwards, he’d be teaming up with Yu Jin-Ho again to mop up the rest of the raids. Hahn Song-Yi was a raid team member, so of course, they’d see each other again later on.
‘Ah, so she meant that, huh.’
What a relief that was, though.
His plan would’ve been affected pretty badly if Hahn Song-Yi refused to come out of her house because of the trauma from this incident.
‘This worked out for the best.’
And now, he would use his shadow soldiers to clear out the rank C dungeons even faster than before. He felt utterly confident of clearing up the remaining raids in the shortest time possible.
Also, he couldn’t wait to see how Yu Jin-Ho would react after witnessing his shadow soldiers in action, too.
‘The reactions of that man Yun Ki-Joong were really priceless, weren’t they?’
Jin-Woo chuckled softly and leisurely turned the steering wheel.
The next morning.
Jin-Woo yawned grandly as he stepped out of the apartment’s foyer. He only closed his eyes for a bit, but hell, it was time to meet up with Yu Jin-Ho already.
“Hyung-nim, good morning!”
He heard the familiar energetic voice greeting him. Yu Jin-Ho was already here, waiting.
“You don’t even have a car, so how did you get here?”
The raid team’s favourite ride, ‘Mister Van’ had been commandeered by Jin-Woo last night and was currently parked neatly in the apartment’s parking lot nearby.
“I caught a taxi, hyung-nim.”
“Ah, a taxi.”
And here he was, thinking of going to fetch the kid instead….
“Oh no, it’s fine, hyung-nim. I’m the one asking for your help, so it’s only right that I’m the one driving you around, at least.”
Yu Jin-Ho grinned happily and replied.
This morning started like any other.
Yu Jin-Ho discovered something new. And that was a cylindrical something held in Jin-Woo’s hand. Yu Jin-Ho’s curiosity peeked in an instant.
“Hyung-nim, what is that?”
Jin-Woo grinned mysteriously.
“I’m going to use it inside the dungeon today.”
Suddenly, the chill invaded Yu Jin-Ho’s back.
‘Is it a weapon he’s going to use inside the dungeon?’
Hyung-nim had already displayed many extraordinary things before; just what kind of a horrifying weapon was he bringing to a dungeon today, then?
Yu Jin-Ho was getting pretty psyched up already.
Yu Jin-Ho swallowed his dry saliva and raised his head after finally settling his mind.
“Hyung-nim, let’s get going.”
Jin-Woo pulled out his phone and dialled someone.
“There’s someone we should take along, as well.”
“Excuse me? Who?”
“Hey, Song-Yi. It’s me. Meet us at the parking lot. We’ll go to the Gate together.”
Song-Yi…. Could it be that Song-Yi?
As soon as Jin-Woo ended the call, Yu Jin-Ho asked him.
“Hyung-nim, the person you want to take with us, is she that high-schooler in our team?”
Jin-Woo nodded his head.
Hahn Song-Yi lived near here, and their destination was the same, so there wasn’t any reason to go there separately, now was there?
Unfortunately, Yu Jin-Ho didn’t see it that way.
The rather-cute high school girl with her hair tied up in a bun.
‘He already knows her number, and can talk to her in such a friendly manner, too…. Could hyung-nim and her have formed a much deeper relationship than meets the eye?’
For sure, hyung-nim was a cool guy even from another man’s perspective.
‘Especially when he uses nothing but a dagger to totally rip apart a monster….’
While hyung-nim wouldn’t be interested at all, it’d not be a strange thing for an impressionable school girl to fall for a man like that.
Yu Jin-Ho nodded his head. If this was the case, then there was something he had to make sure right away.
“Hyung-nim. Should I call Miss Hahn sister-in-law from now on?”
‘….Did this guy fall off the bed and hit his head or something??’
Jin-Woo’s crumpled expression was implicitly implying that. Even if Yu Jin-Ho was not too quick on the uptake, he should still be able to figure that one out pretty easily.
“Uhm…. You two aren’t dating?”
“She’s a friend of my little sister.”
So, that’s what happened. Yu Jin-Ho finally understood the situation. He didn’t even know what was going on, yet he was thinking of calling that girl his sister-in-law….
His face reddened up considerably.
Soon enough, Hahn Song-Yi came to the parking lot.
Not only that, she was noticeably better dressed than how she was usually.
Seeing this, Yu Jin-Ho grinned slightly.
‘Yup, she’s definitely a teen girl, wanting to look nice in front of the brother of her friend and all.’
As the leader of the raid team, he was thinking of praising the fellow raid team member’s choice of wardrobe, but then, Jin-Woo greeted her first.
“Did you get some sleep?”
In that instant, Yu Jin-Ho’s expression froze stiff.
Hahn Song-Yi smiled and shook her head.
“I couldn’t catch a wink.”
“I’m sure you’re still exhausted, so get some rest in the van.”
Listening to the two young people’s conversation, the thought process of Yu Jin-Ho became more and more messed up.
Hahn Song-Yi asked Jin-Woo this time.
“What about you, oppa? Did you get some sleep?”
“Well, only for a little bit. It was already 4 AM by the time I got back home, anyway.”
“Well, true that….”
Night? Couldn’t catch a wink? Still exhausted? 4 AM by the time he got back home????
Just as Yu Jin-Ho’s panicked state was morphing into a full-blown freak-out, Jin-Woo stopped walking towards the van and looked back at him.
“What are you doing, Yu Jin-Ho?”
“Uhm….. Well, uh, hyung-nim?”
“Well, the thing is…. Miss Hahn Song-Yi is still a minor, hyung-nim.”
“…..Never mind, hyung-nim.”
Truly now, hyung-nim was a man among man.
Yu Jin-Ho was deeply impressed by Jin-Woo who didn’t care about the glares of the public and thought that….
‘Indeed, he’s extraordinary.’
He also began to reflect on his foolish ways of trying to apply the standards of the regular people on hyung-nim.
Around the same time.
Inside the private conference room of the White Tiger Guild.
“That’s everything I saw.”
Park Hui-Jin finished her report.
Although Baek Yun-Ho tried to dissuade her, saying that she should rest up first, she readily agreed to participate in the debriefing right away.
She added that her stay over there was comfortable (?), comparatively speaking.
The two men who sat through the debriefing, the Guild Master Baek Yun-Ho and the section chief Ahn Sahng-Min, were left utterly speechless.
The agent in charge of yesterday’s disastrous training, Hyun Ki-Cheol was not present, currently in the Hunter’s Association to discuss how to handle the fallout from this incident.
So, there were only three people inside this conference room.
Ahn Sahng-Min was the first one to break the silence.
“Everything you told us, are they all true?”
“You can speak to Goh Myung-Hwan and Yun Ki-Joong. They will corroborate everything I’ve said.”
Those two Hunters went home right away, saying they missed their families. Park Hui-Jin was 100% certain that her testimony and theirs would not be any different.
‘Well, I only described the things I saw, after all.’
Such as, when that man wasn’t around, she’d hear the pitiful screams of Ice Bears every now and then coming from the forest some distance away, or such as, when he’d suddenly wake up in the middle of the night to perform push-ups while everyone was fast asleep.
She didn’t bother to talk about things other Hunters might have experienced, those that she didn’t get to see.
Ahn Sahng-Min spat out a gasp that could either be a sigh or a groan.
Seong Jin-Woo knocked out cold a rank A Hunter in one hit, he could use separate space magic freely, and most important of all, he controlled dozens of summoned creatures.
Every one of those were unbelievable things to swallow.
And even more shocking news than that was….
“He had cleared the upper-rank dungeon almost all by himself.”
Baek Yun-Ho broke his silence and said that sentence, word by word, syllable by syllable. He was qualified to say that, because he was an S rank.
“Now that is the most unbelievable thing out of all of them.”
Sure, the summoned creatures fought alongside him, but then again, those summons weren’t his comrades, to begin with. No, they were simply a part of Seong Jin-Woo Hunter’s skill.
In other words, it was pretty much the same thing as Seong Jin-Woo clearing the dungeon alone.
“Even if you’re a really high-ranked Hunter, clearing an upper-rank dungeon by yourself is incredibly difficult.”
Not only that, it was a Red Gate, to boot.
What if it was Baek Yun-Ho?
Perhaps, he might be able to solo a rank B Red Gate, albeit just barely.
This feat was only achievable because Hunter Seong Jin-Woo was capable of summoning and controlling dozens of summons.
Ahn Sahng-Min remained stupefied as he spoke up.
“There’s no doubt that he’s a Re-Awakened possessing an extremely rare skill.”
Baek Yun-Ho agreed.
“It is already rare to see a Hunter controlling a summoned creature, but he can control several tens of them….”
While working as the S-rank Hunter, Baek Yun-Ho had met countless other capable Hunters, and had talked to a lot of them, too. But he had never, ever heard of such a skill before.
“A Re-Awakened possessing a rare skill that’s on another dimension compared to every other rare skill….”
Baek Yun-Ho expressed his admiration once more.
It was here that Ahn Sahng-Min thought of a question.
“If we were to evaluate Mister Seong Jin-Woo’s ability in monetary terms, how much could it possibly be?”
Even Baek Yun-Ho couldn’t answer that.
However, without a doubt, it didn’t matter what Seong Jin-Woo’s current value was – as soon as he went through the re-assignment test, his value would shoot up several times more.
They needed to sign him up before that happened.
The White Tiger Guild had already lost a rank A and several rank Bs through this incident. If they failed to secure the winning lottery ticket called Seong Jin-Woo at this time, then the losses incurred would be rather too severe to just write them off.
“I shall place my full trust in you, Chief Ahn.”
Baek Yun-Ho’s eyes gleamed in the light of faith. Ahn Sahng-Min formed a dignified expression.
It was then.
The gazes of Baek Yun-Ho and Ahn Sahng-Min were directed to Park Hui-Jin. She had her hand raised slightly.
Baek Yun-Ho asked her.
“Is there something you’d like to ask us?”
Succeeding in her mission to draw the attention of the two men, she lowered her hand and spoke.
“Please, allow me to participate.”
“The recruiting of the raid team leader… No, I mean, Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim.”
Baek Yun-Ho and Ahn Sahng-Min exchanged glances for a bit, before looking back at her.
The person in charge of scouting and recruitment, Ahn Sahng-Min, tilted his head.
“But, why would Park Hui-Jin Hunter-nim….?”
“I’ve spent the most amount of time with Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim out of everyone in the White Tiger Guild, so surely, my familiarity with him would prove to be useful in reeling him in.”
It had been six hours in reality. But, inside the Red Gate, it was almost a week. Park Hui-Jin’s suggestion sounded logical from Baek Yun-Ho’s and Ahn Sahng-Min’s point of view.
On top of this, Park Hui-Jin was a beauty as well.
One could say that the power of a beautiful face was absolute when seducing another person.
Sensing that the thoughts of the Guild Master and the section chief had been swayed, Park Hui-Jin finally got to the main topic.
“However, I have a condition.”
“And what could that be?”
“When Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim signs up with our Guild, please place me in his raid team, no questions asked.”
< Chapter 65 > Fin.