I Alone Level-Up
How should one go about deciphering this situation?
The jaws of the students watching this sight fell to the floor.
They were about to avert their gazes before the scene of their classmate getting murdered played out, yet these ‘soldiers’ decked out in black armour suddenly appeared without a single warning.
No, hold on – was it even okay to call those things ‘soldiers’?
But, these monsters looked more Orc-ish than Orcs themselves, and were at least double the size of an Orc and featured red skin? Really?
When standing before the black-armoured Orc, that scary-looking Orc now resembled a boy about to enter his teenage years, instead. But, that was to be expected.
The Shadow Soldiers Jin-Woo had left behind in Jin-Ah’s shadow were the High Orcs serving as the guards of the boss monster ‘Fangs’ from the high-ranking dungeon. Not only that, these guys were the cream of the warrior crop found there.
Regular Orcs dared to have a go against High Orc warriors? What a funny notion that was.
As if to demonstrate that clear gap in power, the High Orc threw a powerful punch.
An Orc’s head shattered from the impact and the dead monster crashed down to the classroom’s floor. Meanwhile, the students were freaking out properly now.
The terrifying monsters threatening their lives up until only a few seconds ago were getting massacred by even more monsterish monsters now.
Their current level of shock and fear had gone far past what they could tolerate, and caused the inside of these students’ heads to completely blank out. Except for one person, that was.
Only Jin-Ah knew the significance of those black armours and began crying softly.
‘Oppa? Did oppa….?’
Jin-Ah could sense her oppa’s trace from these three High Orcs surrounding her like a trio of bodyguards.
The two High Orcs standing behind her didn’t even need to step forward. The High Orc in front, having destroyed the head of the scout leader Orc, reached out to grasp the scruffs of the two remaining Orcs trying to flee.
Now raised up high in the air, two monsters kicked and struggled desperately. But their struggles were ultimately in vain as their heads were violently slammed into one another.
The dead monsters and their shattered foreheads fell in a pair of heaps on the floor.
In the blink of an eye, the three Orcs invading the classroom were taken care of. That was the end.
The High Orcs stopped moving again from their spots and quietly guarded Jin-Ah’s sides.
Just how many seconds ticked by like this?
The students had regained some semblance of calmness by then; while trying their best to suppress their still-pounding hearts, they silently exchanged glances with one another.
‘W-what’s going on here?’
‘Did those monsters save us?’
‘Are we being protected?’
At the bare minimum, they felt sure of these black-armoured Orcs weren’t going to harm them.
“W-where is oppa? Is he here?”
Jin-Ah tearfully asked for Jin-Woo, but the High Orc soldiers didn’t reply back to her.
Instead, they lightly stopped her when she tried to go somewhere else.
When Jin-Ah cautiously looked up at the High Orc, the creature silently shook its head. The top priority for these High Orcs was to secure Jin-Ah’s safety. They couldn’t let her roam around the building when it was packed full of enemies right now.
And, sure enough, footsteps climbing up the stairs could be heard coming from outside the classroom.
Step, step, step!
Step, step, step.
High Orc soldiers began pulling out their weapons housed on their backs and waists.
The students got tenser and tenser as those footsteps approached closer, but at the same time, hope wormed its way into their hearts as they watched these High Orcs calmly get ready for battle.
The hope that they could get out of here alive, and the sense of relief that there were powerful allies protecting them.
Among them, though, there were still a few who cried from the jumbled mixture of emotions – from fear, worry, anxiety, sorrow, etc.
Students hugged tightly their sobbing friends and held their breaths.
The footsteps were getting closer and closer.
And so – the Orcs spread around the school building all heard the death throes of their brethren and began gathering near the classroom of the third year seniors.
The signal was coming through loud and clear.
The High Orcs tasked with protecting his sister were sending out powerful signals.
‘Did something happen near Jin-Ah’s vicinity?’
Jeong Ye-Rim called out to him again, still sounding anxious.
With his lips firmly shut, Jin-Woo walked past her.
She tilted her head in utter confusion.
‘What’s gotten into him?’
The attitude of Hunter Seong Jin-Woo, who was practically a paragon of relaxation up until a few seconds ago, suddenly did a complete 180. She could even say that he had to be someone else just from looking at the expression on his face now.
Hunter Seong Jin-Woo was a rank S. Such a man was now looking behind him with a grave expression etched on his face. Could that mean he had discovered something on the path they walked past earlier, something they all failed to notice back then?
She suddenly felt her anxiety spiking up.
Jeong Yun-Tae looked behind after sensing the approach of a person.
“Hyung-nim? Seong Hunter-nim is walking over here.”
Park Jong-Su stopped his advancement, which meant that the assault team’s advance also naturally came to a halt, as well.
‘Why would Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim….?’
He turned around to look, only to gasp out inadvertently after locking gazes with the approaching Jin-Woo and his eyes.
Jin-Woo’s atmosphere was completely different from only a few moments ago.
‘What’s going on?’
In that brief moment, Park Jong-Su quickly combed through his memories to see if he had done anything stupid to get on Jin-Woo’s nerves. But, regardless of how hard he wracked his brain, he couldn’t come up with an answer.
‘If that’s the case….’
If that was the case, then how was he to interpret that young man’s hardened expression and that murderous glare?
Park Jong-Su nervously swallowed his saliva after finally realising what it felt like to deal with a stronger being who was clearly not having a good time at the moment.
This here was inside of a dungeon. Anything could happen in here and that wouldn’t be seen as strange at all.
Park Jong-Su’s attitude became a level more cautious.
“Hunter-nim, is there something troubling you?”
Jin-Woo was feeling really pressed at the moment, so he didn’t bother to beat around the bush.
“Something urgent came up and I must leave now.”
Park Jong-Su freaked out. This was a far worse situation than his expectations.
The raid had been a relatively easy one so far. Indeed, it was chugging along so painlessly that he even wondered if it was a necessity to ask Jin-Woo to accompany them in the first place.
However, Park Jong-Su was one of the very first Hunters to appear when this whole started all those years ago. Meaning, he wasn’t some naive rookie who might forget that accidents always happened when one was being too careless.
‘Nothing happened until now, so we need to be even more cautious from here onwards.’
In a situation where no one could tell what kind of dangers were hiding up ahead, losing the most powerful combat potential would prove to be a big, painful blow.
Park Jong-Su’s complexion darkened.
“Without your presence, Seong Hunter-nim, we could find ourselves in great danger. You know this too, don’t you?”
Park Jong-Su did his best to dissuade Jin-Woo in the most roundabout way he could think of. He was acutely aware that agitating Jin-Woo was far more dangerous than attempting to clear this dungeon without the young rank S Hunter’s help.
That was how badly contorted Jin-Woo’s current expression was.
Park Jong-Su felt as if he was walking on a tightrope suspended at a dizzying height, as he cautiously observed Jin-Woo’s reaction.
As his lips dried up from the nervousness….
Jin-Woo finally raised his voice.
“Then, let me do this.”
Park Jong-Su ended up nodding his head even before hearing what Jin-Woo had to say.
“Right now, let me call on a friend that you can place your trust in, as much as you’d trust me. From here on, that friend will take care of everything.”
Park Jong-Su’s ears perked up. Not just anyone, but another Hunter whose ability was guaranteed by none other than Hunter Seong Jin-Woo himself?
‘Who could it be? Choi Jong-In? Or is it Cha Hae-In?’
Now that Park Jong-Su thought about it, didn’t he see a document containing Hunter Cha Hae-In’s profile in Jin-Woo’s office yesterday?
‘If its Cha Hunter-nim, then yeah, she’ll be more than enough.’
Although it was regretful that he couldn’t stop Jin-Woo from leaving, but still, Park Jong-Su’s expression got brighter at the prospect of the potential replacement. As long as it wasn’t Mah Dong-Wook from the Shining Star, then he’d welcome anyone.
“If you do that, then we will…..”
Park Jong-Su’s eyes sparkled brightly now. How powerful would this Hunter be, that he was capable of subbing for Hunter Seong Jin-Woo?
Anticipation began filling up the void left behind when anxiety receded in his mind. The rest of the team members also eavesdropped on the conversation and began looking at Jin-Woo with eyes half mixed with anticipation and misgivings.
Jin-Woo didn’t waste time hesitating and summoned forth the most powerful soldier in his shadow army.
The king of ants, its body shrouded in black mist, answered its master’s call.
‘Oh, my king….’
Beru emerged from the shadow and politely knelt before Jin-Woo, its head respectfully lowered.
Beru didn’t bother to mask its overwhelmingly evil magic energy and that freaked the Hunters out so much that they had to retreat far away immediately.
That absolutely horrendous amount of magic energy, and the exact same outer appearance as ‘that’ thing.
“C-could that be….??”
“N-no, but how come?!”
These Hunters immediately recognised the identity of Beru.
Without a doubt, this was the very same mutated ant monster that toyed around with the Korean rank S Hunters back inside Jeju Island’s ant tunnel. Park Jong-Su quickly asked, unable to hide his shock in his voice.
“H-Hunter-nim, isn’t that the mutated ant monster from Jeju?”
Jin-Woo nodded his head. With these high-ranked Hunters recognising Beru, it became more convenient for him now since he didn’t need to explain himself any further.
The whole of the country witnessed Beru’s power, after all.
“From here onwards, this guy will sub for me.”
Park Jong-Su’s eyes grew extra wide. Jin-Woo knew what he was about to say. But he simply didn’t have enough time to answer all of their questions. He ignored the panicking Park Jung-Su and gave a new order to Beru.
‘Protect these humans.’
‘I shall follow.’
Beru made a short reply and raised its head.
‘In that case, oh my king. What should I do about the existences besides these humans…?’
Jin-Woo shifted his gaze over to the deepest part of the dungeon for a second or two, before issuing one more order to Beru.
‘Do whatever you wish.’
It was right then. Beru’s repressed desire to kill morphed into an unbridled joy and spread all over its body.
Beru stood back up and screeched out loudly, the entire cavern reverberating from that horrifying sound.
Hunters began trembling from that screech, even though it wasn’t even directed at them.
‘W-wait… we, we need to finish the raid with that, that thing?!’
Cold perspiration trickled down Park Jong-Su’s back.
Jin-Woo didn’t even pay any mind to the reactions of the Hunters and simply summoned twenty more ‘ant’ Shadow Beast Soldiers to aid Beru’s cause.
Having breathed in the ‘fresh’ outside air for the first time in a long while, the Beast Soldiers began screeching out loudly as well. And quite obviously, every Hunter bearing witness to this spectacle froze up where they stood.
Jeong Ye-Rim quickly turned around and called out to Jin-Woo.
“A-are you going to leave just like that? After letting loose this monsters here??”
“If you want, I’ll simply undo the summoning. But, when that happens….”
Jeong Ye-Rim flinched when Jin-Woo’s cold glare landed on her.
“….I’ll no longer care about what happens to the Knight Order Guild.”
Jin-Woo made a promise. And that was, he’d protect the members of the Knight Order Guild and ensure that they wouldn’t get harmed.
However, if the other side declined his act of goodwill first, then he didn’t see the need to stay responsible for these people, either.
Jin-Woo’s unyielding declaration shut up the mouths of not just Jeong Ye-Rim, but the rest of the Knight Order’s Hunters, as well.
Jin-Woo spun around. And almost instantly, he could no longer be seen by the Knight Order’s raid team members.
‘How long do I have left until the cooldown time ends?’
As his distance from the raid team grew, Jin-Woo summoned up his Skills window to confirm.
[Skill: Shadow Exchange Lv.1]
…..[01:02:16] remaining before the skill can be used again.
Jin-Woo bit his lower lip.
He needed to wait over an hour if he were to use the Shadow Exchange skill. The signals from his soldiers were still coming in, even right now.
He was getting a really bad premonition here.
‘I can’t wait for another hour.’
He needed to exit from this dungeon first. Making up his mind thus, Jin-Woo took another step, but then….
Undead monsters that were supposed to be finished off after the assault team went past here began raising their bodies up again.
Jin-Woo’s eyes burned brilliantly from rage. He was enraged by these worthless monsters trying to block his path.
When that happened,
Like a lie, the undead monsters all knelt down towards Jin-Woo.
There was not one exception here. Every single revived undead monster was prostrating before Jin-Woo now.
Jin-Woo tilted his head. Could the reason for every monster encountered by the assault team being so terrified be all because of him?
‘Is it because I possess a higher ranked Class than a Necromancer capable of controlling the undead?’
The current situation was puzzling, but he didn’t have enough time to think about this too deeply. He stored the shortsword back in his Inventory and ran with all his might to exit from the Gate.
The attention of the people waiting outside the Gate focused on him in an instant.
Why did only Hunter Seong Jin-Woo get out of the Gate?
They sent their curiosity-filled gazes in his direction, but Jin-Woo ignored them all.
Suddenly, a Sky Dragon covered in black mist revealed itself.
The spectators immediately recognised the Sky Dragon, which had appeared in the news a couple of times before, and they began crying out while pointing to Jin-Woo.
“That’s Seong Jin-Woo!!”
Jin-Woo quickly climbed above Kaisel’s back as the people cheered on, and he issued a command to his mount.
‘To where my little sister is! At your fastest speed!’
If something tried to block his way, he’d smash past them regardless of what they were.
Kaisel roared out in happiness, knowing that now it could flap its wings without any restrictions whatsoever.
Right away, Kaisel unfurled its massive wings and took to the sky.
< Chapter 141 > Fin.