[You killed a Low-Ranked Demon.]
[You have earned 100 experience points.]
[You have collected (1) Soul of Demons.]
For the next two hours, he madly hunted down every Low-Ranked Demon he could find.
Afterwards, Jin-Woo confirmed the number of souls he managed to collect.
[Collected Souls of Demons: 309/10,000]
He had now completed about 3% of the quest. If he could continue hunting at this speed, then according to his calculations, he could level up in another two hours.
His current level was 61.
In the past, he needed experience points from nine rank C dungeons in order to level up from 60 to 61. And the time spent was around two days, too.
But here, he could already think about levelling up only after four hours?
‘This is crazy.’
A thick smile formed on Jin-Woo’s lips.
Just how long had it been since he could hunt this enthusiastically?
‘Is this the first time since then?’
He couldn’t really remember ever being in a similar situation since he went to the Hapjeong subway station and repeatedly cleared the first two underground floors until his level didn’t want to rise anymore.
Whenever Jin-Woo’s dagger flashed, one Low-Ranked Demon fell without exception.
Sometimes, even several of them, too.
In the blink of an eye, Jin-Woo killed twenty more Low-Ranked Demons.
‘This is a gold mine.’
Both his experience points and the number of souls continued to rise as he continued to hunt down the demons. Not only that, there was the added bonus of loot drops, too.
A bright smile formed on Jin-Woo’s face as he collected the loot.
‘Their horns come out almost all the time, don’t they?’
[Item: Low-Ranked Demon’s Horns]
Two horns attached to the head of a Low-Ranked Demon. Demon’s horns are used as base ingredients for high-grade magic spells and therefore can be sold at a high price.
The japtem ‘demon’s horns’ – selling it in the Store would net him two hundred thousand Gold.
‘Each of those fangs of Cerberus or whatever got me 150 grand each, but this… well, monsters of the Demon’s Castle are really generous, aren’t they?’
After experiencing the usefulness of the Store multiple times recently, these japtems no longer remained japtems in Jin-Woo’s eyes. All the Gold earned through here would eventually become his flesh and blood later.
‘I can’t throw anything away.’
Feeling really chuffed, Jin-Woo sold off what could be sold and stored what should be stored as he rummaged through the remains of the demons.
In the midst of this…
He found an item he hadn’t seen before. And the thing with its end poking out from the busted gut of a demon was….
[Item: Entry Permit]
A permit allowing you to enter the 2nd floor of the Demon’s Castle. Can only be used on the 1st-floor floor-transfer magic circle. (TL: I’ll use the North American way of counting floors from here onwards.)
….It was a document scroll, tightly rolled up.
‘An entry permit?’
When he unfurled it and took a look, he found all sorts of undecipherable drawings and letters adorning its surface. In the end, the only thing that helped him understand its purpose was the item explanation.
‘An item that lets me go up from the first floor to the second, is it….?’
Could it be?
Jin-Woo took a look around.
This place was inside the Demon’s Castle, but at the same time, he was also inside the Daesung Tower. If the Demon’s Castle was also divided into floors like the Tower, then he’d be on the first floor.
‘Since this place looked like a field-type dungeon, I didn’t expect there to be different floors….’
Could it be that, just like the Daesung Tower, there were 100 floors here, too? Jin-Woo was left agape by the sheer scale of this particular dungeon.
‘….It can’t really be 100 floors, can it?!’
There was only one way to confirm this. And that would be to locate that transfer magic circle and see for himself.
‘Now, where would this floor-transfer magic circle thing be in this place….?’
Jin-Woo’s wandering gaze stopped at the pillar of light piercing the sky.
‘Well, that has to be it.’
Getting there was his initial goal, but his attention got robbed by the hunting of the Low-Ranked Demons and before he knew it, he had moved further away from his destination than before.
‘Should I head there now?’
He thought that this might be a good time to think about heading there. Also, he had hunted down all of the Low-Ranked Demons nearby, too.
Jin-Woo grinned brightly.
The shadow soldiers stored inside his shadows via the Shadow Storage skill didn’t require any chanting or whatever to summon them, unlike when he was trying to extract shadows.
In front of Jin-Woo, the giant beast soldier extracted from the leader of the Ice Bear pack appeared silently.
And it was a giant monster-ish bear standing on its hind legs. It was as large as a house. But to Jin-Woo, it was not much different from a mild-mannered lovable puppy.
When the shadow beast soldier laid down on the ground, Jin-Woo lightly jumped on top of its back.
As soon as Jin-Woo lightly tapped the side of the beast with his leg, the shadow creature rushed towards the pillar of light with a frightening turn of speed.
Thud, thud, thud, thud!!
The massive creature also possessed incredible agility as well, and before long, the distance between him and the destination rapidly closed up.
Of course, they still encountered obstructions every now and then.
One thunderous swipe from the beast soldier, and the situation normalised right away.
Jin-Woo formed a deeply impressed expression.
‘I only decided to ride it for fun, but isn’t this actually pretty cool?’
Thinking that he should utilise this means of transportation often from now on, he even named his new ride right there and then.
“From now on, your name shall be Tank.”
The beast soldier, no, Tank, roared out while raising its head high up.
Was it trying to say it liked it, or hated it?
What with its incredibly powerful vocal cord, Jin-Woo couldn’t really tell which was which.
In the meantime, the light pillar got closer and closer. Tank gradually slowed down and eventually, stopped before the light pillar.
Jin-Woo got down to the ground and patted Tank once, before storing the big guy back into his shadow. Then, he turned around to face the magic circle. The familiar mechanical beep rang inside his head as soon as he did.
[You have discovered floor-transfer magic circle.]
There was a magic circle carved on the ground. The light shooting out from it was reaching into the sky. Without hesitation, Jin-Woo stepped inside.
Jin-Woo tilted his head this way and that, before taking a few more steps to stand in the middle of the circle.
Only then another message popped up in his view.
[No floors have been opened.]
[Which floor would you like to transfer to?]
“How many floors are there?”
Of course, there was no reply.
‘Is there no other way to find out how many floors are there, except for finding out for myself?’
Jin-Woo pondered for a moment.
There wasn’t that much left for the experience points, so should he stay and raise his level before going up, or should he just go up and level up there?
‘Unlike other instant dungeons, there is no monster respawn in this place, so staying on one floor will be inefficient in the long run.’
Besides, the System said that demons with more souls existed on upper floors as well. He concluded that, for both his experience points and to clear the quest, it could be more advantageous to get to higher floors as quickly as possible.
Let’s go up, then.
Jin-Woo spoke up.
[You need the entry permit.]
Jin-Woo summoned the scroll as per the instruction. As soon as it appeared, it dissolved into the light.
[The second floor of the Demon’s Castle has been unlocked.]
[You are transferring to the second floor.]
An even stronger ray of light began rising up from the magic circle. At the same time, Jin-Woo realised something.
‘Ah…. So that’s how it works.’
As it turned out, this whole thing was just an elevator.
The moment he realised what this pillar of light actually was, Jin-Woo was immediately transferred to the second floor, along with the blinding explosion of light.
Second floor, third, fourth…. and eventually, the 27th floor. That was the result of grinding for two days straight.
He told Jin-Ah, his little sister, that he’d be on a week-long trip.
‘I have five more days.’
Considering his gradually-increasing clearing speed, he began to think that it might be doable to get to what he assumed to be the last floor, the 100th floor, within the next five days. Maybe even sooner than that.
Jin-Woo took a look at his surroundings. It was still a ruined city.
‘I can’t tell which city this floor is based on anymore.’
Every floor was modelled off on a different city.
However, the higher he climbed, the state of destruction the city was in got worse and worse, and on this 27th floor, he found it hard to tell whether this place used to be a city or not.
Would a city look like this after having experienced a concentrated carpet bombing?
Jin-Woo quickly threw away useless thoughts and shook his head.
‘I shouldn’t be wasting time like this.’
He checked the time with his wristwatch, and it was already 11 in the evening.
There was no daytime or night inside this dungeon. So he needed to rely on his watch to keep time. 11 would be a good time to get some shut-eye if he wanted to continue clearing this dungeon tomorrow with a refreshed body and mind.
But before that….
‘Should I check the result of my hard work first?’
Jin-Woo shifted his gaze over to the quest progress window.
[Collected souls of demons: 2,116/10,000]
‘Over 2,100, is it….’
Meaning, he had hunted down over a thousand demons in a day.
He had killed quite a lot during the last two days, that’s for sure.
It was still a long way off from the goal of ten thousand souls, but he was betting on the demons of the upper floors that allegedly possessed multiple souls.
‘Right, getting to higher floors should remain as my priority.’
Next up, his level.
Jin-Woo’s eyes opened wider.
His level had climbed to 67 even before he had noticed it.
He’d been hunting Low-Ranked Demons worth 100 EXP for a while, but then, his levelling up speed exploded upwards after he began hunting Mid-Ranked Demons that gave out 300 EXP each.
‘My level is climbing up real nicely, too.’
Lots of monsters, rich experience points, and the perfect level of difficulty.
The Demon’s Castle was the best level-up zone one could ever hope for.
His level wasn’t the only thing experiencing a rise, either. Jin-Woo’s proficiency with his various skills was also rising up, as well.
Currently, the ‘Knight Killer’ was floating above Jin-Woo’s palm. He was using the skill ‘Ruler’s Reach’. The power that allowed him to physically manipulate objects without actually touching them.
Even when he was doing nothing, like right now, he devoted himself to increasing his proficiency with the skill.
‘Well, this Ruler’s Reach skill doesn’t require any Mana, to begin with.’
It was a bit tiring mentally because he had to constantly focus on the skill, but compared to the potential uses this skill had, a small little headache was a cheap price to pay.
With a nice timing, a good piece of news arrived before his eyes.
[The level of the skill, ‘Ruler’s Reach’ has increased!]
Jin-Woo grinned brightly and leaned against a wall. He felt safer and more content as he became stronger bit by bit. His eyelids slowly closed.
‘Now that I think about it, the Guild Master licence must’ve been issued by now.’
Was Yu Jin-Ho doing well?
Perhaps because it had been a while since he acted alone, he couldn’t help but recall the mug of Yu Jin-Ho who used to follow him around.
The successful first-born who had become an excellent entrepreneur, and the second born with the qualification to become a Master, but who was still a university student. The fight between them would not be easy.
‘Do your best, Yu Jin-Ho.’
After cheering Yu Jin-Ho on in his mind, Jin-Woo slowly drifted off to a deep slumber.
Yu Jin-Ho entered a luxurious traditional Korean restaurant with a determined face. He chose this place after taking into account his father’s taste.
“Has the Chairman arrived yet?”
“Yes, he’s waiting for you.”
Yu Jin-Ho swallowed his saliva after hearing the maître d’hôtel.
“Please, this way.”
He was guided to the private room where his father, Yu Myung-Han, was waiting for him.
The traditional sliding paper door was opened and immediately, Yu Jin-Ho’s nervousness increased by several folds after seeing his father’s face.
He wondered if he was getting weak-kneed again, but Yu Jin-Ho hardened his resolve and settled down on the opposite side of his father.
“What’s the occasion? You even called me first for this meeting.”
“Father, before I begin, I’d like you to take a look at this first.”
“And this is….?”
“This is my Guild Master licence, as well as the records of the raids I’ve been in so far.”
“Your Master…. licence? Yours?”
When Yu Myung-Han formed a disbelieving face, Yu Jin-Ho nodded his head with a smile.
Yu Myung-Han wordlessly took a look at the documents his son had handed over. And then, a certain light began gleaming in his eyes.
While his father maintained a weighty silence, Yu Jin-Ho’s heart was beating so madly that he found it hard to even breathe properly.
Yu Myung-Han carefully placed the documents on the table and continued on.
“….You wish to run the Yujin Guild, is that right?”
It was at this point that a hint of a dilemma, alongside the emotion of shock, appeared on Yu Myung-Han’s face.
‘To think that father is pondering between me and my older brother….’
Yu Jin-Ho was genuinely moved inside. The fact that his father was thinking about this matter was a big win for Yu Jin-Ho.
If it was in the past, he’d be satisfied with this much. However, he had no desire whatsoever to back off now.
“As you know already, Father, giving the position of the Guild Master to an outsider carries too much risk….”
Yu Myung-Han raised his hand.
At the same time, Yu Jin-Ho’s mouth stopped moving.
Father’s ‘Enough’ was one of the most absolute commands that no one in the Yu household could go against.
“There is someone I want you to meet.”
Yu Jin-Ho’s eyes went round at that. He was the one who called and asked for this meeting, yet, his father wanted to introduce him to someone?
Who could it be?
Just as Yu Jin-Ho’s curiosity peaked, the door opposite to the one he used to enter the room slid open.
“Ah…. Hello, there.”
Was he in the late twenties? Or early thirties? A man around that age group awkwardly greeted Yu Jin-Ho as he entered the room.
Who was this man?
Yu Jin-Ho couldn’t recognise this man at all.
When Yu Myung-Han signalled with his chin, this unknown man settled down next to him.
“This here is… Hunter Goh Myung-Hwan.”
Yu Jin-Ho tilted his head.
He had never heard of this name before.
Father nodded his head as if he had expected this already, and continued on.
“He is one of the survivors from the White Tiger Guild’s Red Gate incident, the one that’s been making so much noise lately.”
< Chapter 70 > Fin.