I Alone Level-Up

Chapter 73

THUD!!

Vulcan fell to the ground, hard. Jin-Woo relaxedly walked out from the thick, ash-grey dust clouds rising up, and took a look around him.

He was thinking of assisting the Shadow Soldiers right away, but even they seemed to be getting close to finishing up, as well.

“Kiiechk!!”

“Khekeck!!”

“Kheeck!”

As the shadow soldiers hacked away with their swords, the number of Vulcan’s underlings rapidly decreased.

‘Status.’

Jin-Woo studied his Status Window. Since he had levelled up only a moment ago, both his HP and MP were full.

‘I’ve plenty of Mana, so I don’t really need to help out, huh.’

As long as there was sufficient Mana, shadow soldiers would be exactly like immortals. Now that was the true power of an undead army.

Leaving the mop-up of the remnants to his trusty soldiers, Jin-Woo turned around in order to collect the loot.

“Hmm.”

Was this feeling similar to unwrapping a gift? Seeing that dead body of Vulcan, a smile automatically formed on his lips.

‘I wonder what’ll come out this time?’

He could spy several lights sparkling on the body. Just like before, Jin-Woo extended his hand towards the lights. Then, item acquisition messages popped up in his view.

Tti-ring!

[You have discovered ‘Item: Demon Sovereign’s Earrings.’ Will you take it?]

[You have discovered ‘Item: Bead of Avarice’. Will you take it?]

[You have discovered ‘Item: Vulcan’s Horns’ x2. Will you take it?]

[You have discovered ‘Material Item: Fragment of the World Tree’. Will you take it?]

He had been feeling rather optimistic about fighting Vulcan, even before the battle started. And as he expected, items were quite literally pouring out from the dead demon.

Having checked the list only once, Jin-Woo’s face was brightening up considerably already.

‘I can pretty much tell that Vulcan’s Horns should be japtem.’

From its name to the total number he found, it wasn’t that hard to guess that ‘Vulcan’s Horns’ were japtem only good for additional Gold, just like the Demon’s Horns he got after killing various demons.

Which meant the remaining three were the ‘real’ items….

And there was this one item that attracted his attention more than the others.

‘What is this Material Item thing?’

What could he possibly make with something like that? Or, was the System trying to imply that it might be something related to a quest?

Jin-Woo’s curiosity roused from its slumber after reading about a type of item he hadn’t heard of before. If he wanted to read the explanations on the items, he had to acquire them first. So, he chose ‘yes’ on all the item acquisition messages.

“Take them all.”

The lights glittering from different parts of Vulcan all morphed into items and appeared near his feet as soon as he said that.

A pair of earrings, a red marble-like object, and timber as big as a grown woman. He could immediately tell which one was the ‘Fragment of the World Tree’ among them.

Jin-Woo looked at the timber. When he did, the information on the item popped up.

[Material Item: Fragment of the World Tree]

Rarity: ??

Type: Material

Remaining part of ‘Vulcan’s Club’, originally fashioned out of a branch of the World Tree, after the contaminated portion had been removed. Timber from the World Tree possess extraordinary magical energy, and is seen as top material for the crafting of the very best magic tools available.

‘Top material for the very best magic tool, is it?’

He was curious about just what could be made from this piece of wood, but too bad, that wasn’t disclosed. Still, there was no doubt this thing was no ordinary item. Simply by standing near it, he could sense a powerful aura coming off of it.

‘This timber… I think it’ll come in handy later.’

Instead of selling off this ‘Fragment of World Tree’ to the Store, he decided to store it in his Inventory.

After he finished doing that, Jin-Woo confirmed the details on the other loot as well.

[Item: Demon Sovereign’s Earrings]

Rarity: S

Type: Accessory

Endurance +20, Stamina +20

When worn together with ‘Demon Sovereign’s Necklace’ and ‘Demon Sovereign’s Ring’, set bonuses will be unlocked.

Set bonus effect 1. (locked)

Set bonus effect 2. (locked)

‘This one has hidden set bonuses?’

If only its additional Stat boosts were concerned, then it was not that different from the ‘Gatekeeper’s Necklace’ in terms of usefulness, but this ‘Demon Sovereign’s Earrings’ had hidden set bonus effects as well.

Even if those set bonuses were ignored, the item itself was still quite brilliant. Both his Endurance and Stamina got a boost of 20 points, which was considerable.

‘Every level up gives me 5 Stat points, so….’

He’d need to level up 8 times to get that many Stat points, in other words.

Feeling genuinely pleased now, Jin-Woo picked the earrings up.

[Will you equip ‘Item: Demon Sovereign’s Earrings’?]

‘Equip.’

Just like with other items, earrings disappeared from the view, but their options still activated with no problem. A satisfied smile formed on Jin-Woo’s face after confirming the rise in his Stats.

So, the accessory set of a demon sovereign, then.

‘Other accessories should be around here somewhere. Right?’

What with the word ‘demon’ in their names, he could easily guess that those items must be somewhere inside the Demon’s Castle.

Just what kind of set bonuses would be unlocked if he managed to find the other two? He had found only one part of the set, but there was nothing he could do about his anticipation soaring higher.

However, Jin-Woo’s smile didn’t last for long.

‘What is this now….?’

[Item: Bead of Avarice]

Rarity: A

Type: Magic Tool

Bead created by solidifying superior demon Vulcan’s blood. Will strengthen all magical effects and cause greater damage.

Effect ‘Appetite for Destruction’: x2 magic damage

It was a spherical red object the size of a billiard ball.

Jin-Woo tightly grasped the ‘Bead of Avarice’. But, there was no change to his Stats.

He then summoned and checked the Class-related skill windows, since those were the only things that could be called ‘magic’ in his repertoire, but he saw no change to the number of shadows he could extract nor the number that could be stored.

‘Maybe it’s not something I can use?’

Jin-Woo’s head tilted this way and that.

An increase of 100% in magic damage. That kind of performance was quite incredible, indeed.

Now originally, tools that boosted magic cost an arm and a leg, so only a few mage-type Hunters could afford to use them. Even then, Jin-Woo had never heard of an item that could double the power of magic among all those uber-expensive artefacts.

If there were, then it’d been utter chaos, with headlines and special reports and whatnot. So, there was no way he’d be unaware of one until now.

However, this ‘Bead of Avarice’ or whatever could supposedly double the amount of magic damage.

‘But, so what? It doesn’t really help me, anyway.’

Jin-Woo licked his lips.

An item that doubled magic damage but did nothing else, would not have any effect on him. Both his ‘shadow extraction’ and ‘shadow storage’ had nothing to do with damaging something, to begin with. And the rest of his skills weren’t magic-related, either.

At this point, he’d rather prefer to have an item that raised his Intelligence Stat, instead.

‘Tsk.’

Jin-Woo formed a wistful expression and lightly tossed the Bead of Avarice up and down in the air. Meanwhile, his soldiers arrived near him one by one after taking down Vulcan’s remaining underlings. The first one to arrive was Igrit.

In the right hand, three, and another three in the left; he carried a total of six demon heads and placed them before Jin-Woo.

“…..”

Jin-Woo looked at Igrit kneeling before him and scratched the side of his head.

“Uhm, hey man. Can’t you stop doing that?”

Of course, Igrit and his gravely-lowered head didn’t reply.

“Because of you….”

Jin-Woo’s gaze slowly shifted over to Iron.

Nobody could tell just when he did it, but Iron had cut Vulcan’s head off and dragged it all the way to Jin-Woo, before kneeling on the ground

“….This guy is starting to imitate you, you know.”

More importantly, Jin-Woo hunted Vulcan down, not Iron!

Jin-Woo spat out a long groan while keeping his stare fixed to Iron. It was at this point that an amusing idea popped up in his head.

‘Just like how I used Iron’s shield, maybe should I try and let these guys use this Bead of Avarice?’

What a good timing it was, since he spotted the magic soldiers slowly walking behind the regular infantrymen. They were far slower compared to normal shadow soldiers, never mind the two knights.

Jin-Woo summoned the first of the three magic soldiers to arrive in the vicinity.

When he beckoned with his hand, the magic soldier decked out in the black robe hurriedly walked towards him.

‘….Maybe I should go there myself.’

Jin-Woo lightly shook his head and took large strides towards the magic soldier, before handing over the Bead of Avarice. And then, pointed at the remnant of the building he used to run up during his battle against Vulcan.

Since all shadow soldiers could be controlled via his will, he didn’t really need to issue any particular commands here. Jin-Woo simply gave the signal.

“Fire.”

Right at that moment, a ball of flames that was double the size of the usual attack suddenly materialised at the tip of the magic soldier’s raised hand.

‘Heok?!’

Jin-Woo’s eyes opened super-wide. Without giving him enough time to get shocked, the ball of flames quickly flew out from the magic soldier’s hand.

Swooooosh–!!

KWABOOM!!

“Huh?!”

Jin-Woo’s jaw dropped to the floor.

The building was swept up in the grand explosion and collapsed like a house of cards. And the ferocity of the burning flames didn’t show any signs of weakening at all afterwards.

Jin-Woo stared in pure shock at the roaring flames, before he hurriedly took the Bead of Avarice back from the magic soldier. He then quickly checked the item information once more.

‘It’s not there. It’s definitely not there.’

He went through the explanation several times to make sure, but without a doubt, there was nothing about him being prevented from lending this ‘Bead of Avarice’ to someone else.

Didn’t this mean he could potentially sell this item?

Gulp.

Jin-Woo swallowed his dry saliva, before his gaze shifted back to the burning building.

Rumble! Crackle!!

Yet another part of the still-burning building issued a loud rumble and collapsed to the ground. Seeing that, the corners of Jin-Woo’s lips began quivering uncontrollably.

‘Well now. This is…’

Mage-type Hunters would definitely go mad with greed over this thing.

His previous wistful look was long gone by now, replaced by the expression of anticipation slowly filling up his face.

In the middle of a sunny afternoon.

“The young man from the apartment 902, you say?”

An auntie tilted her head and replied a short while later.

“Hmm, I’m not sure. I haven’t seen him lately.”

“Ah, is that so? Thank you for your help.”

Hyun Ki-Cheol lowered his head and said thanks.

It had been four days since he began waiting for Hunter Seong Jin-Woo near the youth’s old apartment building. However, he hadn’t run into his target until now.

At this point, Hyun Ki-Cheol was beginning to feel that making veggie juice every morning was a bit of waste now. He let out a helpless sigh and pulled his phone out.

Ring…. ring….

Shortly afterwards, the recipient answered the call.

“Section Chief.”

The recipient was, of course, the Section Chief Ah Sahng-Min.

“Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim is nowhere to be seen. Residents of the building say they haven’t seen him lately, either.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Understood.”

Click.

Ahn Sahng-Min ended the call and tilted his head.

Just where did Hunter Seong Jin-Woo go to?

No one could contact him for the past few days now. Wondering if he was avoiding phone calls for the time being, Ahn Sahng-Min had dispatched Hyun Ki-Cheol over to where Seong Jin-Woo lived, but the news wasn’t good. No one had seen the young Hunter for a while.

Ahn Sahng-Min couldn’t help but wonder if something had strange happened.

‘I can’t figure out why I should be worried about him, though.’

In any case, this kind of felt rather weird to him.

Tap, tap.

Someone tapped him on the shoulder, and when he turned around to look, he found Hunter Park Hui-Jin standing to his side. She opened her mouth first.

“Apparently, he told his little sister that he’d be going on a trip with his friend for a week or so.”

“You mean, Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim said that?”

“Yes.”

“In that case… he’s probably not on Earth anymore.”

“Pardon?”

Park Hui-Jin’s eyes opened wide. Ahn Sahng-Min quickly explained himself.

“We haven’t found any evidence of him going overseas. And there is no record of him drawing money from his bank or using his credit card, either.”

“You can even find out things like that?”

“Well, it’s our job to follow around various Hunters, after all.”

“….Oh, my god.”

“Anyways. On top of this, according to the Association’s last known location records, the communication with his phone was cut off in the middle of the city, as well. And that happened about five days ago. Doesn’t all this sound too mysterious to you?”

“He couldn’t have been kidnapped, right?”

Park Hui-Jin inadvertently voiced her worry in the ensuing confusion. However, the gazes of the two people soon met, and they began chuckling almost at the same time. It was hard to tell who started first.

Seriously now. Just who was Seong Jin-Woo?

He was none other than a Hunter who soloed a high-ranking dungeon. Not only that, a Red Gate, to boot.

Ahn Sahng-Min scratched his cheek and spoke up.

“If you want to kidnap Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim, well, you’d need at least the rumoured Chinese special forces to show up. You know, the one supposedly made up entirely of high-ranking Hunters.”

Park Hui-Jin nodded her head in agreement.

Ahn Sahng-Min continued to grin, but then, found something rather odd and asked her.

“By the way, how did you find out about him going on a trip?”

“Ah, that. It’s from Hahn Song-Yi. I talk to her often, you see. She goes to the same school with Mister Seong Jin-Woo’s little sister, so I asked her for a favour.”

“Aha….”

With Ahn Sahng-Min’s reply, their conversation came to an abrupt end.

And then, they began thinking the exact same thing.

‘Just where did that guy disappear to?’

< Chapter 73 > Fin.

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