I Alone Level-Up
As soon as he heard that, Baek Yun-Ho quickly fixed his previously-slouched sitting posture.
‘He woke up on that day?’
Ahn Sahng-Min amended his answer almost right away. But, Baek Yun-Ho thought that the time difference of one day wasn’t important here. No, the truly important bit was the fact that the possibility of Hunter Seong Jin-Woo posting those words had not dissipated at all.
“….I see. That should be enough. Thank you for your help.”
Baek Yun-Ho ended the call there, and after finding the folder containing a certain file on his computer, he opened it. It was the report compiled on Seong Jin-Woo by the Second Division.
Baek Yun-Ho paid greater attention to Jin-Woo’s recent activities as he browsed through the information. He hadn’t displayed anything particularly interesting before that incident. He lived a typical life of rank E Hunter – got injured often, didn’t make a lot of money, etc.
‘After the dual dungeon incident….’
Baek Yun-Ho was present that day as well.
The Association urgently sought after the aid of the nearest large Guild, which was the White Tiger, and Baek Yun-Ho gladly led the elite assault team and went over there.
That’s when he saw the sight of an unconscious young man being taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
‘Well, I didn’t know that was Seong Jin-Woo back then….’
Just what went down inside that dungeon?
In any case, Seong Jin-Woo had changed completely from that point onwards.
He used to quietly help out with the work of Association until then; but, not only he chose to join up with a freelancer raid team, he even cleared several rank C Gates in a single day, as well.
Without a doubt, something in him changed inside that dual dungeon.
‘This is definitely not your typical Re-Awakening.’
Section Chief Ahn theorised that Yujin Construction was testing out Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s powers after he went through the Re-Awakening process, but….
‘No, it’s not.’
But, that wouldn’t be able to explain the continued and rather speedy increase in that man’s powers even though his Re-Awakening process should have ended by now.
So, what if….
‘….What if, there is a Hunter who can continuously grow stronger?’
Not only that, his rate of growth was so fast that, within a span of a few months, his powers rose up from the rank E all the way up to rank S?
Baek Yun-Ho inadvertently let a gasp escape from his mouth.
It was a goosebumps-inducing idea, indeed. Of course, there was no evidence that the anonymous poster and Hunter Seong Jin-Woo were the same person.
However, if Hunter Seong Jin-Woo could increase his strength exactly like how it was written in that post, then just imagining how much further he could grow made Baek Yun-Ho dizzy.
And at the same time….
‘I was being foolish.’
He finally understood why Hunter Seong Jin-Woo was so disinterested in signing up with a Guild.
‘Thinking about it from his perspective….’
If he was given an ability where he could theoretically grow stronger infinitely, would he want to enter someone else’s Guild?
Baek Yun-Ho shook his head.
‘Nope, I’d rather make a Guild of my own.’
Who cared about the number one or two Guilds in the country? After all, his own would soon become the best, anyway.
‘This…. Both Choi Jong-In and I have been wasting time chasing after a pipe dream, huh.’
Thinking about Chairman Choi who should be sweating profusely right about now while trying to woo Hunter Seong Jin-Woo, a wry chuckle automatically broke out of his mouth.
‘If my theory is correct, then this matter isn’t something to laugh about.’
In the not too distant future, that man would surely become an existence that would get to control the community of Hunters in South Korea. No, Hunters of the entire world might focus all their attention on him, at this rate.
He needed to completely rethink the plan regarding Hunter Seong Jin-Woo now.
But before all that…
‘I need to meet him face to face and confirm it first.’
Baek Yun-Ho nodded his head. No matter how hard he thought about it, meeting Hunter Seong Jin-Woo was the number one priority.
‘….How am I supposed to ask him for a meeting??’
Baek Yun-Ho held his head tightly.
When he realised that he just made his mind up to meet with a man who didn’t even reply once to the countless requests for a sit-down until now, his head already began throbbing from a migraine.
The appraiser spoke in a shocked tone of voice.
“You… ‘picked’ it up in a dungeon?!”
Jin-Woo nodded his head.
Technically speaking, he did ‘pick’ it up after defeating Vulcan in the Demon’s Castle ‘dungeon’.
So, he wasn’t lying here, was he?
‘You can find something like this inside a dungeon??’
‘Well, it’s not something the current level of craftsmanship can create….’
The appraiser who asked the question, as well as the two members of the Appraisal Department who heard the answer, all carried unconvinced expressions, but since the person himself said so, there was no other choice but to accept it.
And truth be told, it wasn’t really important where this crimson magic tool came from.
‘No, the important thing would be what this Hunter-nim wants to do with it.’
The department head took a step forward.
“It has been confirmed to be a real deal.”
His gaze was fixed on the bead lying in Jin-Woo’s palm.
“Will you commence with the auction with us? We will ensure that you get the maximum amount for this article.”
So, what should Jin-Woo do now?
Before he could decide on what to do with the ‘Bead of Avarice’, he asked for something else, first.
“By any chance, can I purchase a flame resistant defensive artefact here?”
The department head and Kim Jeong-Ki looked at each other. And then, they looked back at Jin-Woo with somewhat awkward expressions.
Jin-Woo was confused by that.
“Did I ask for something I shouldn’t have?”
“No, not at all.”
“Or is it really difficult to find a flame resistance armour, then?”
The department head smiled and spoke.
“It’s the exact opposite. It’s really easy to acquire one.”
“But, I couldn’t find one online, though?”
“Weapons and defensive equipment with innate attributes cost a lot of money, so they don’t normally appear online all that often. Even still, if you are looking for it, you should be able to find one very quickly. Well, fire-type magic is the most common attack magic spells there are, after all.”
But, of course.
Most of the Mage-type Hunters Jin-Woo met so far either wielded flames or rays of light. He heard that even the rank S Hunter Choi Jong-In specialised in flame attribute magic, too. Not only that, the Shadow Magic Soldiers he controlled also used flames, and even Fangs could breathe fire.
In other words, ‘fire’ type attacks were a pretty common sight.
‘What a relief to hear that it’s easy to find one.’
He did kinda feel a bit pressured after hearing that it would cost a lot, but his mother’s treatment depended on him getting one. As long as he could find one quickly enough, he was willing to pay regardless of what the asking price was.
If the push came to shove, he could sell the ‘Bead of Avarice’, too.
“Can you find one for me?”
“Yes, of course.”
The department head about to exit the appraisal room, but stopped and looked at Kim Jeong-Ki.
“Mister Jeong-Ki? Rather than having our guest wait here doing nothing at all, how about showing him around the items that will go up in auction soon?”
“Ah, of course. I will.”
Kim Jeong-Ki stepped forward.
“Please, come with me.”
So, two men headed off to the display hall exclusively reserved for the VIP clients that exhibited only those ultra-expensive artefacts about to be auctioned off, or still waiting for their willing buyers.
Weapons, armours, Rune Stones, etc., were displayed inside clear glass cases. Jin-Woo stopped in front of a glass display case that contained a longsword. Kim Jeong-Ki approached him.
“Do you see something you’re interested in?”
“No, it’s not that, but….”
Jin-Woo lightly knocked on the glass case.
“Can you really protect these artefacts with such a thin glass? I don’t see any particular security system in here, either.”
Kim Jeong-Ki formed a proud expression.
“They may look that way, but these glasses are reinforced with powerful magical energy by the very best craftsmen. Nothing would happen even if a melee-type rank A Hunter hits them with everything he has.”
“Even when a rank A hits it….?”
Seeing that Jin-Woo seemed rather unconvinced, Kim Jeong-Ki smirked and carried on.
“If you don’t believe me, how about hitting the glass once? If you manage to break it, then I might give you the artefact found inside, Hunter-nim.”
Was this reinforced glass really that strong?
‘I can sense some magic energy in it, but…’
Now feeling genuinely curious, Jin-Woo began gathering strength in his right arm to test it out.
In an instant, his shoulder and forearm expanded, and the surrounding air sank under the heavy pressure.
Kim Jeong-Ki hurriedly blocked Jin-Woo’s way.
“I was only just joking! I wasn’t really asking you to hit it, you know.”
“….Oh. I see.”
“If the case really breaks, then the elites of the Hunters Guild will rush over here. Our Auction house and the Hunters have signed a security contract, you see.”
….This man, telling joking as if he’s being earnest.
Jin-Woo withdrew his strength. As soon as the heavy pressure emanating from him was lifted, Kim Jeong-Ki quickly breathed a sigh of relief.
‘By the way, this guy… Wasn’t he supposed to be a Mage-type Hunter??’
He was supposed to be a Mage-type Hunter, yet why was his aura so outrageous?
Kim Jeong-Ki wasn’t joking when he told Jin-Woo to hit the glass.
He was thinking that, even though this youth was a rank S, he was a Mage-type, so his physical strength couldn’t actually be that high. But then, when Jin-Woo began concentrating, all the hair on Kim Jeong-Ki’s body stood up and instinctively, he knew that he had to stop the youth.
What a relief it was that Jin-Woo backed off without raising a fuss.
‘Well, Hunter-nim’s hand might get hurt if something went wrong, so this is fine.’
Kim Jeong-Ki consoled himself like that and guided Jin-Woo to other artefacts on display.
After taking a look around once, Jin-Woo asked.
“Isn’t there anything that I can actually touch? Daggers, if possible.”
Since he wasn’t really the type who depended on weapons, he hadn’t paid much attention to the matter until now, but after taking a look at the various equipment on display, he suddenly became curious.
Kim Jeong-Ki’s expression brightened.
The reason for showing off these artefacts to Hunters was exactly for moments like this. Hunters may be sellers, but they were also valuable clients as well.
“Of course, we have them.”
After replying, Kim Jeong-Ki used the mic attached to the collar of his suit just below his neck to summon the staff member in charge of the weapons.
Fearing that Jin-Woo might change his mind, the staff member quickly arrived.
“And this gentleman is?”
The staff signalled with his eyes, and Kim Jeong-Ki nodded his head.
“Ah, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m in charge of the weapons section. Please come with me.”
The staff member guided Jin-Woo and they exited from the VIP display hall.
After seeing those two off, Kim Jeong-Ki spat out another sigh.
‘This Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim seems to possess a talent for surprising people, doesn’t he?’
After regaining some of his calm, Kim Jeong-Ki disinterestedly took a look around him, before he walked over to the glass case with the longsword Jin-Woo seemed to be interested in earlier.
He checked the glass case to see if there was a fingerprint or something since Jin-Woo had been standing pretty close to it, but then, he tilted his head slightly.
Something was on the upper side of the case.
“What the heck?”
He spotted a crack in the corner of the glass case that was so small, it was easy to miss with naked eyes.
“Since when did this happen?”
He pulled out a handkerchief and rubbed it, but sure enough, it didn’t get wiped away. It wasn’t some dirt, but an actual crack.
“Well, I’ll be.”
Kim Jeong-Ki frowned deeply.
How disappointed Hunter Seong Jin-Woo would’ve been, someone who could be one of their most important clients, if he saw that?
It was a small relief that the crack was near the corner of the case in a hard-to-spot location.
Kim Jeong-Ki tutted audibly and summoned the maintenance team, before exiting from the VIP display hall, like Jin-Woo had done.
Jin-Woo picked up the dagger that the staff member in charge gave to him. If he were being honest, it was rather lousy in quality.
‘It’s far worse than the Knight Killer, which is ranked at rarity B.’
The attack power was not even half of the Knight Killer, too. With a disappointed expression on his face, Jin-Woo returned the dagger.
“How much is this guy?”
“It’s 30 million Won.” (TL: Around $26,830)
Jin-Woo’s eyes widened.
How much did he say for this measly little dagger??
“30 million Won, Hunter-nim.”
Jin-Woo turned around, and while pretending to rummage around, he summoned the Knight Killer and showed it to the staff member.
“Okay, how much would this guy go for, then?”
It was now the turn of staff to widen his eyes.
“Is this your current weapon? Wowsers. I can definitely sense the touch of a great artisan from this dagger!”
‘No, well, I bought it off the Store, though….’
The staff member hesitated slightly, before raising his voice with a grin.
“It won’t be accurate since I’m not a dedicated appraiser, but at the bare minimum, I think it should cost well over 100 million Won.”
Jin-Woo’s expression hardened.
‘But, uh, I paid 3 million Gold for it in the Store?’
Or was it more like 2.8 million?
Seeing Jin-Woo’s expression, the staff member embarrassedly scratched the back of his head.
“Was I wrong? Since I’m a specialist when it comes to weapons, I thought I could give it a shot, even though it’s not really my place.”
“No, it’s nothing like that.”
Indeed, Jin-Woo was simply shocked by the sky-high price tag, that was all.
The first real weapon he held, Kim Sahng-Sik’s steel sword and its attack damage of 10, was supposedly over three million Won in price, while Yu Jin-Ho’s equipment, which the kid didn’t really get to use all that much, also commanded price tags of over 100 million each.
So, he shouldn’t have been surprised by the fact that items with high Stats sold in the System’s Store could potentially fetch high asking price in real life, too.
‘It’s just that I didn’t pay attention to that side of things until now.’
Because he wasn’t too interested in making a quick buck.
‘Wait a minute….’
Currently, he had so much Gold stored in his Inventory that it was practically bursting at the seams. However, if he could buy items from the Store with that accumulated Gold, and then sell them off at a really high price?
Jin-Woo’s head spun pretty quickly then.
‘Doesn’t this mean I won’t have to sell the Bead of Avarice?’
Just as his thoughts arrived at this point….
Were his emotions to blame?
He thought he could hear the loud cheers of the Magic Soldiers hidden inside his shadow.
< Chapter 97 > Fin.