I Alone Level-Up
Yu Jin-Ho was taken by surprise.
‘….The Red Gate?’
Why was the story of the Red Gate brought up here, out of the blue?
Since the incident had been talked about non-stop in mass media, even Yu Jin-Ho knew what had happened. But, this timing was suspiciously coincidental and so, he found it difficult to figure out where his father was going with this.
‘And this man here…’
A man who was supposed to be a survivor of that incident.
Why did the survivor that the media was madly scrambling over to find appear here? Yu Jin-Ho’s curiosity continued to balloon greatly.
After staring at his son for a little while, Yu Myung-Han slowly opened his mouth.
“Looks like you haven’t heard of it yet.”
Yu Myung-Han disregarded the still-confused Yu Jin-Ho for the time being and shifted his gaze over to Goh Myung-Hwan, sitting there in nervousness.
“Please inform my son who was there besides the White Tiger Guild’s new recruits on that day.”
Goh Myung-Hwan’s stare now was directed to Yu Jin-Ho.
Unintentionally, Yu Jin-Ho met Goh Myung-Hwan’s gaze, and a question mark floated up on his face.
Goh Myung-Hwan opened his mouth.
“There was a young female Hunter who looked to be a high schooler, and…..”
‘A young female Hunter?’
Even then, Yu Jin-Ho couldn’t imagine just whose name would pop out from Goh Myung-Hwan’s lips.
“….And, Mister Seong Jin-Woo.”
Yu Jin-Ho thought that he could hear his own heart fall to the pit of his stomach.
‘H-hyung-nim was there at the Red Gate incident?’
What was going on here?
He was already feeling quite confused, but now, his thought process devolved into an even more complicated mess. In the middle of his confusion, he suddenly remembered something.
‘Wait. Now that I think about it, a few days ago….’
….Hyung-nim was conversing with such familiarity with Hahn Song-Yi, someone whom he didn’t even share a casual greeting before that day.
“Do you still remember the name of that female Hunter, by any chance?”
“It was Miss Hahn Song-Yi.”
How can this be?
Yu Jin-Ho’s jaw dropped to the floor.
To think, there was such a secret to the mysterious relationship between those two people…..
‘Wait, if that’s the case, then…?’
Then, the identity of the potential helper the news outlets were talking about was….
As if he knew what Yu Jin-Ho was about to ask, Goh Myung-Hwan quickly confirmed the truth.
“We, the members of the White Tiger Guild and Miss Hahn Song-Yi, could escape from the Red Gate all safe and sound thanks to Mister Seong Jin-Woo.”
‘Hah, haha, ha…’
….Hyung-nim, just what did you do in there?
Yu Jin-Ho formed an expression comprised of half surprise and half joy. He even forgot that he was in front of his father, and asked out loud.
“What happened inside the Red Gate?”
Goh Myung-Hwan glanced to his side, to the head of the dining table.
Yu Myung-Han nodded his head.
Goh Myung-Hwan carried a face of a man dying to open his mouth until then, and as soon as the permission was given, he began to tell his story with great relish.
“So, what happened was….”
Yu Jin-Ho’s eyes twinkled as he listened.
“At first, everyone was taken back somewhat, after learning that a pair of rank E Hunters were coming to observe the new recruit training process. But then….”
Goh Myung-Hwan began describing what happened that day with a hyped-up voice reminiscent of a little kid proudly showing off to a friend the brand new toy he got as a gift.
“He did what to a rank A Hunter??”
Goh Myung-Hwan wasn’t the only over-excited person in the room.
“Exactly!! With his palm, he went like, Pah!! He smacked the back of Kim Cheol’s head, and….”
As he listened to the exploits of hyung-nim, Yu Jin-Ho’s heart beat faster as if he was there, experiencing everything personally.
‘As expected of hyung-nim….’
To him, hunting down high-ranked monsters was nothing. Well, he could knock out a rank A Hunter with a single slap, after all.
Yu Jin-Ho felt so moved and proud at the same time after realising that such an incredible person had been standing by his side until now.
Meanwhile, Goh Myung-Hwan continued on with his story.
“….I really thought that we’d die for sure when dozens of Ice Elves showed up. But then again….”
Was he paying too close an attention to the story? Time flew by really quickly. The definitely-not-short story of that day’s events was finally coming to its end.
The excited Goh Myung-Hwan’s voice became louder.
“So, what I’m saying is, this whole thing is just too unfair. Mister Seong Jin-Woo saved our a*ses back there. He’s my life’s saviour.”
Yu Jin-Ho unconsciously nodded his head in agreement. He could understand where Goh Myung-Hwan was coming from. He also had received similar help before, too.
“But then, I’m not supposed to reveal the existence of Mister Seong Jin-Woo? I find it difficult to accept the decision of the White Tiger Guild. However, Chairman Yu has given me a call out of the blue, and so, here I am.”
It was at this point that Yu Myung-Han stopped Goh Myung-Hwan in a dignified manner.
“Goh Myung-Hwan Hunter-nim.”
“I believe that should be sufficient.”
“Ah. My apologies, sir. I got carried away.”
Goh Myung-Hwan embarrassedly lowered his head.
Yu Myung-Han’s stare then shifted over to his son, Yu Jin-Ho.
“In the process of investigating more about Hunter Seong Jin-Woo, a name that I never expected to hear popped up.”
At the ends of Yu Myung-Han’s pointing finger….
His index finger pointed to a piece of paper with Yu Jin-Ho’s name written on it. And it was none other than the raid records Yu Jin-Ho handed over to his father.
His index finger pointed lower and stopped at the three words ‘Seong Jin-Woo’ next.
The raid leader, Yu Jin-Ho. The raid member, Seong Jin-Woo.
This was irrefutable evidence.
The truth about hyung-nim helping him out during the process of acquiring his Guild Master licence was now out in the open. Yu Jin-Ho’s expression hardened.
“Hunter Seong Jin-Woo aided you greatly during your attempt to earn the Guild Master licence. Do you acknowledge this fact?”
“Is there anything else you want to add?”
Yu Jin-Ho’s vision darkened.
Now that the matter of hyung-nim lending aid was out in the open, it was impossible to convince his father that he was the right person to take on the position of the Yujin Guild’s new Master.
He sensed his father’s strict eyes bearing down on him. In the past, being subjected to that withering glare, Yu Jin-Ho would lose all strength in his legs.
He couldn’t give up like this. For the first time ever, Yu Jin-Ho summoned his courage in front of his father.
He lowered his head and raised his voice.
“Can you entrust the Yujin Guild to me, Father?”
At that refreshingly simple answer, Yu Jin-Ho hurriedly raised his head.
“I shall entrust the Yujin Guild to you.”
“Didn’t you say it yourself? It is too risky to entrust the Guild to an outsider. With you here, is there a reason to take on that risk now?”
“B-but, I tried to deceive you, father.”
“You thought I’d scold you and kick you out because of that?”
Yu Jin-Ho thought that his father was smiling, for some reason. But, Yu Myung-Han’s lips would always remain in a straight line, no matter what the occasion was. So, how come?
“If you entered the dungeons without any plans whatsoever, then I’d have done just that. Because I don’t remember raising an idiot son like that.”
Yu Jin-Ho’s face became hot at that moment.
‘If I hadn’t met hyung-nim, then I’d be getting scolded by father right about now….’
No, wait – he’d be dead long before that.
Yu Jin-Ho spat out a sigh of relief inwardly.
“However, I have a condition.”
“This Hunter Seong Jin-Woo… can you bring him over to Yujin?”
Yu Jin-Ho’s eyes opened wider.
“You mean, hyung-nim??”
The light within Yu Myung-Han’s eyes flickered a little just then. But that didn’t last for long.
Yu Jin-Ho became speechless, then.
Even a snot-nosed brat would know that now was the right time to confidently say something in order to leave behind a positive impression. However, the one they were talking about was none other than hyung-nim.
Yu Jin-Ho could ask, sure, but he wasn’t confident of anything else besides. So, he replied honestly.
“I can’t be certain.”
“Very good. There is no meaning if the challenge is too easy for you.”
The Chairman Yu Myung-Han took a sip of water and lightly wiped the corners of his lips with a handkerchief.
“If you fail, I shall hand over the Guild to your brother. So, how about it? Will you accept?”
Yu Jin-Ho’s expression became grave.
‘This is the shot I struggled so hard to get….’
If he backed out now, then he wouldn’t be able to show himself in front of hyung-nim, who helped him right until the end for this opportunity.
Yu Jin-Ho became deeply earnest as he replied.
“I accept, Father.”
With that reply, the negotiation between a father and a son had come to a conclusion. Yu Myung-Han wordlessly nodded his head, and Yu Jin-Ho stood up, bowed his waist, and left the room.
Yu Myung-Han took the handkerchief away from his lips. It was getting harder to suppress the smile trying to form on his lips.
This boy wanted Yujin Guild.
He suspected something was up when they agreed to meet today, but he didn’t expect his son to be this daring.
‘Indeed, a tiger’s cub is still a tiger at the end of the day.’
The smile finally began to spread on Yu Myung-Han’s lips.
‘….That famous Chairman Yu Myung-Han is actually smiling!!’
Goh Myung-Hwan’s eyes were growing large as he witnessed everything.
The widely-known nickname of Chairman Yu Myung-Han was ‘Pokerface’. He was famed for never showing any emotion whatsoever, whether it be a joyful occasion or a sorrowful one.
When Goh Myung-Hwan continued to stare utterly mystified, Chairman Yu Myung-Han turned to him and asked.
“Hunter-nim. Was there anything you wanted to add?”
Suddenly finding himself on the receiving end of that stare, Goh Myung-Hwan got flustered and hurriedly shook his head.
“N-no. Not at all.”
….47, 48, 49, 50.
With a frightening clearing speed, Jin-Woo climbed up the floors.
[You have killed the Mid-Ranked Demon.]
[You have earned 300 experience points.]
[You have acquired (1) Soul of Demons.]
He didn’t feel tired at all when looking at the total experience points and the accumulated number of souls climbing up higher every time he hunted a monster down.
[Collected Number of Souls: 4,388/10,000]
‘It’s not even at the halfway mark yet, huh.’
He had been endlessly hunting demons down ever since entering this place, but as expected, the wall of ten thousand souls was indeed high, and difficult to overcome.
However, what about his level?
In the space of one day, it had risen by another two.
The levelling up speed had slowed down compared to the beginning, but it could still be considered as blistering when looking at the rate of collecting the required souls. Even now, the experience points were quietly piling up.
[….Killed the Mid-Ranked Demon.]
[You have collected (1) Soul of….]
After finishing off the last demon still standing before his eyes, Jin-Woo stretched his back and scanned his surroundings. Beneath the confidence-inspiring shadow soldiers standing around him, the countless corpses of mid-ranked demons could be seen littering the ground.
Jin-Woo smiled deeply and clapped his hands.
The soldiers who fought hard for him all returned to his shadow in an instant. The magic crystal could be collected by them, sure, but loot had to be manually collected by Jin-Woo.
[Will you take…..]
Well, he had to manually click ‘yes’ on every System message that popped into his view, that was why.
‘This is a bit cumbersome, isn’t it.’
So, that was why when there weren’t that many demons, he took care of them himself real fast. And, when there were in a big group like this time, he fought together with his soldiers.
As soon as the battle was over, he’d start collecting the loot right away.
‘Just what’s so fun about this that Yu Jin-Ho insisted on doing it?’
Jin-Woo extracted a piece of loot from the dead demon and smirked to himself.
There was one more cumbersome thing about this place; it was impossible to extract shadows inside the Demon’s Castle.
Didn’t matter whether it was a mid-ranked or low-ranked, the black fog-like thing that denoted if he could perform the shadow extraction or not didn’t rise up from the demon’s corpses.
‘Even when I’m staring at the remains, too.’
[This Mana is tainted.]
[It’s impossible to perform shadow extraction.]
Nope, he only got some messages saying that he couldn’t extract shadows because Mana was supposedly tainted.
‘Is there anything I can do about this?’
Just as Jin-Woo scanned the remains of the demons with a helpless expression on his face, a new message popped into his view.
[You have discovered 29 ‘Item: Horns of Mid-Ranked Demon’.]
[Will you take them all?]
Jin-Woo grinned brightly.
Jin-Woo quickly shook away the regret he felt over the shadow extraction problem, with the help from the abundant loot falling on his lap.
‘Nothing I can use directly among the pile, eh.’
In that case, sell them all!
As soon as he sold off all the japtem, more Gold got neatly deposited into his bank balance.
[Current Gold: 914,690,772]
Jin-Woo checked his Inventory without thinking too much, only for his eyes to shot open real wide. The amount of Gold sitting pretty in there had shot past 900 million already.
‘Well, each pair of demon’s horns are worth about 200,000, and I hunted down well over 4000, so….’
Not to forget, he also sold off other unnecessary japtem on his way here as well, so it was understandable that Gold would accumulate at a frightening pace.
‘Should I buy a rarity S weapon or armour?’
Before long, though, Jin-Woo shook his head.
He wasn’t in a need for one, so no real need to force himself to spend money just because he had some.
‘Right, there will come a time when I need to splurge on something.’
Jin-Woo closed the Inventory window and lightly dusted his hands.
He was done with cleaning up his surroundings.
He had procured the important entry permit for the 51st floor a long time ago. So, the only thing remaining was to get to the floor-transfer magic circle and go upstairs, but….
Jin-Woo’s sight shifted towards the pillar of light. More specifically, a short distance in front of that pillar.
And a massive demon, plus scores of high-ranked demons, were standing there, waiting.
Jin-Woo raised his sight up higher.
And he could see the giant demon’s name, floating in the air in a deep crimson hue.
[The Sovereign of the Lower Floors, The Avaricious Vulcan]
That thing consisted of a huge mess of fatty flesh that must’ve weighed dozens of tons. No, maybe even several hundred, instead. And then, the massive club this thing was holding in hand looked rather horrifying as well.
However, a smile was etched on Jin-Woo’s face.
‘So, that’s the mid-boss of this place, huh?’
He held only the nicest memories of the bosses found inside the instant dungeons. They all gave him plenty of experience points as well as wonderful items.
Compared to the boss-level monsters found in regular dungeons that required lots of hard work to kill but little reward to show for it, these boss monsters of instant dungeons were more like boxes of gifts, all nicely wrapped up.
So, then. What items would that guy cough up?
Jin-Woo smiled brightly and began drooling.
< Chapter 71 > Fin.