daily pastebin goal
13%
SHARE
TWEET

2.txt

a guest Jan 24th, 2019 119 Never
Not a member of Pastebin yet? Sign Up, it unlocks many cool features!
  1. I Alone Level-up: Chapter 65
  2.  
  3. On the drive home.
  4.  
  5. zooom-
  6.  
  7. The face of the van’s driver was clouded with disappointment.
  8.  
  9. ‘Sigh…’
  10.  
  11. Was it because the extraction target’s abilities were far greater than his own? Unfortunately, Jinwoo had failed in the Shadow Extraction of the ice elf boss.
  12.  
  13. ‘Shame, but what can I do…’
  14.  
  15. Surely, the opportunity to take down another high-level boss would come again someday. The important thing was that when that opportunity came again, he would be strong enough to not fail.
  16.  
  17. Level-up.
  18.  
  19. It was something he was quite good at.
  20.  
  21. Still, the Raid wasn’t all for naught. He took his left hand off of the steering wheel; an elegant, curved dagger appeared in it.
  22.  
  23. Baruka’s Tanto [1]
  24. Rarity: A
  25.  
  26. Type: Dagger
  27.  
  28. Attack Power +110
  29.  
  30. Agility +10
  31.  
  32. It is the tanto wielded by the great warrior, Baruka. A magical enchantment makes both the dagger and the wielder more agile.
  33.  
  34. Jinwoo had not left the Dungeon empty-handed. While one of the twin daggers wielded by the boss was destroyed by Knight Killer, he had claimed the unbroken one as his own.
  35.  
  36. ‘Baruka’s Tanto.’
  37.  
  38. It had the highest attack power out of all the daggers he had found so far; on top of that, it even had an effect of increasing his agility. It was obviously better than the C-rank Casaka’s Poisoned Fang, and even the B-rank Knight Killer, bought with gold, could not compare to it. An A-rank dagger! It was the perfect weapon to replace Casaka’s Poisoned Fang, which was gradually losing its effectiveness in battle.
  39.  
  40. ‘The grip doesn’t feel bad either.’
  41.  
  42. While he was going over the events of the Red Gate, the van had arrived in front of Han Songyi’s house.
  43.  
  44. screech.
  45.  
  46. The student, who was silent throughout the entire ride, bowed her head to Jinwoo,
  47.  
  48. “Then, take care.”
  49.  
  50. “Okay.”
  51.  
  52. Watching the girl walk back to her house with sunken shoulders, Jinwoo felt like he had accomplished his mission.
  53.  
  54. ‘Things got a little complicated, but the original goal was to convince Han Songyi.’
  55.  
  56. It looked like the girl would not be continuing as a Hunter anymore. Well, anyone whose first ever Dungeon was a Red Gate would do the same. Jinwoo was about to drive away in satisfaction when the passenger door opened.
  57.  
  58. ‘...?’
  59.  
  60. He turned to see Han Songyi holding the door open.
  61.  
  62. ‘What’s wrong with her?’
  63.  
  64. His curiosity only lasted for a brief moment. The girl deeply bowed her head again,
  65.  
  66. “Thank you for today, oppa.”
  67.  
  68. Now that he thought about it, her title for him had changed from “ahjussi” to “oppa”.
  69.  
  70. “Oh, yeah, no problem.”
  71.  
  72. “So…”
  73.  
  74. “Hmm?”
  75.  
  76. “I’ll see you tomorrow- I mean, few hours from now.”
  77.  
  78. Few hours from now?
  79.  
  80. Before he could ask her what she meant, Han Songyi ran inside. After she disappeared into her home, Jinwoo realized,
  81.  
  82. ‘Oh right.’
  83.  
  84. It was already dawn, but the Raids with Yoo Jinho would resume today. As Han Songyi was still part of their raiding party, they would see each other again.
  85.  
  86. ‘That’s what she meant.’
  87.  
  88. Oh shit… If Han Songyi completely retired from anything related to Hunters, Yoo Jinho’s team would’ve lost a team member, and it would’ve delayed their plans. Thankfully, it looked like the girl would at least finish the remaining Raids.
  89.  
  90. ‘Thank god...’
  91.  
  92. With the Shadow Soldiers, the clearing speed of the C-rank Dungeons would rise a level higher. Jinwoo was confident he could complete the remaining Raids in a record time. He was also looking forward to Yoo Jinho’s reaction when the young man saw the Shadow Soldiers.
  93.  
  94. ‘That man, Yoon Gijoong, his reactions were top notch.’
  95.  
  96. Jinwoo grinned widely while turning the steering wheel.
  97.  
  98. Few hours later.
  99.  
  100. “Yawn-”
  101.  
  102. Jinwoo arrived at the lobby of his apartment while yawning. When he opened his eyes after a brief nap, it was already the promised time.
  103.  
  104. “Good morning, hyungnim!”
  105.  
  106. A familiar voice filled with energy greeted him. Yoo Jinho was already waiting for him.
  107.  
  108. “I took the car. How’d you get here?”
  109.  
  110. Jinwoo had borrowed the workhorse of their raiding party, “Bongo”, for last night’s events. The van was parked nearby.
  111.  
  112. “A taxi, hyungnim.”
  113.  
  114. “Ah, taxi.”
  115.  
  116. Jinwoo had hoped to flip their positions for once and go pick up the young man.
  117.  
  118. “It’s okay, hyungnim. I’m the one receiving your help. I should be the one accommodating you.”
  119.  
  120. Yoo Jinho spoke while chortling. After a one day break, their morning exchanges had resumed as normal.
  121.  
  122. “Huh?”
  123.  
  124. Yoo Jinho discovered something. Jinwoo was holding something cylindrical in his hand. The young man asked curiously,
  125.  
  126. “Hyungnim, what’s that?”
  127.  
  128. “What, this?”
  129.  
  130. Jinwoo smiled widely,
  131.  
  132. “I’m going to use it in the Dungeon today.”
  133.  
  134. Holy… Yoo Jinho’s stomach fluttered.
  135.  
  136. ‘Is it a weapon to be used in the Dungeon?’
  137.  
  138. Hyungnim always showed off something crazy in Dungeons. Just what kind of a terrifying weapon was he holding now? Yoo Jinho already began to feel anxious.
  139.  
  140. gulp
  141.  
  142. Yoo Jinho gathered his courage then raised his head,
  143.  
  144. “Hyungnim, let us go.”
  145.  
  146. “Hold on.”
  147.  
  148. Jinwoo put up a hand, then took out his phone.
  149.  
  150. “We’ll be picking up someone on the way.”
  151.  
  152. “Huh? Who?”
  153.  
  154. Jinwoo ignored him and spoke into the phone,
  155.  
  156. “Yeah, Songyi, it’s me. We’ll pick you up and take you to the Gate.”
  157.  
  158. Songyi… That Songyi? When Jinwoo hung up, Yoo Jinho asked,
  159.  
  160. “Hyungnim, is the person we’re picking up our team’s highschool student?”
  161.  
  162. Jinwoo nodded. Since she lived really closed to his house, he felt like it would be efficient to just pick her up before leaving the area. However, as he had done in the past, Yoo Jinho completely misread Jinwoo’s intents.
  163.  
  164. Han Songyi.
  165.  
  166. A cute-looking girl with short hair falling just below her ears.
  167.  
  168. ‘If hyungnim knows her number and talked to her with such familiarity… Is their relationship like… that?’
  169.  
  170. As he had always known, hyungnim was an amazing man.
  171.  
  172. ‘Especially when I watch him go to work on giant magic beasts with a single dagger…’
  173.  
  174. The young man was sure his hyungnim had no interest, but it made sense that the female student would fall for his hyungnim. Yoo Jinho nodded to himself. If that was the case, there was something he had to clear up,
  175.  
  176. “Hyungnim, so should I be addressing Ms. Han Songyi as “missus” from now on?” [2]
  177.  
  178. What the fuck.
  179.  
  180. Was what Jinwoo’s eyes were saying. Even Yoo Jinho, who was terrible at taking hints, was able to read as much from the man’s expression.
  181.  
  182. “Er… Were you two not dating?”
  183.  
  184. “She’s just my little sister’s friend.”
  185.  
  186. “Oh. Oooooh.”
  187.  
  188. So that’s what it was. Yoo Jinho finally understood the situation. To think that he accidentally almost called her his sister-in-law. The young man’s face turned red with embarrassment.
  189.  
  190. Soon, Hang Songyi came down from her apartment. Compared to their previous meetings, the girl appeared to have paid a little more attention to her looks this time. Yoo Jinho smiled,
  191.  
  192. ‘She’s just like a teenager who wants to show off before her friend’s oppa.’
  193.  
  194. Yoo Jinho was about to act like a leader and compliment the girl’s clothes when Jinwoo greeted her first,
  195.  
  196. “Did you get some sleep?”
  197.  
  198. Yoo Jinho’s face froze.
  199.  
  200. ‘...’
  201.  
  202. Han Songyi smiled and shook her head,
  203.  
  204. “I couldn’t sleep a wink.”
  205.  
  206. “You must be tired, get some shut-eye in the car.”
  207.  
  208. At the pair’s conversation, Yoo Jinho’s mind became more and more chaotic.
  209.  
  210. ‘Huh? Huuuuuh?’
  211.  
  212. Han Songyi asked Jinwoo a question,
  213.  
  214. “Oppa, did you get any sleep?”
  215.  
  216. “Just a quick nap. It was already 4AM when I got home.”
  217.  
  218. “Right…”
  219.  
  220. Couldn’t sleep? Must be tired? 4AM? Yoo Jinho’s confusion turned to horror. Jinwoo was heading toward the Bongo and turned around,
  221.  
  222. “Yoo Jinho, are you coming?”
  223.  
  224. “Err… Hyungnim?”
  225.  
  226. “...?”
  227.  
  228. “That’s er… Ms. Han Songyi is underage, hyungnim.”
  229.  
  230. What the fuck.
  231.  
  232. “So?”
  233.  
  234. “...Nevermind, hyungnim.”
  235.  
  236. As expected, hyungnim was the manliest of men. Yoo Jinho was in awe of Jinwoo’s personality that gave no thoughts to society’s rules.
  237.  
  238. ‘He’s truly not a normal man.’
  239.  
  240. Yoo Jinho berated himself for judging his hyungnim with laws of ordinary people. [3]
  241.  
  242. At the same hour.
  243.  
  244. Baekho Guild’s Meeting Room.
  245.  
  246. “-And that’s pretty much all I saw.”
  247.  
  248. Park Heejin finished recounting the events of the Red Gate. Before she began, Baek Yoonho had asked if she needed some rest out of concern, but the woman insisted that they complete the investigation. She explained that she was relatively comfortable(?) in there.
  249.  
  250. “...”
  251.  
  252. “...”
  253.  
  254. The two upper management members who conducted the interview, Guildmaster Baek Yoonho and Chief Ahn Sangmin, were at a loss for words. The one who was in charge of the training, Hyun Gicheol, was sent to the Association to argue about the incident. As such, only three people were gathered in the meeting room. Ahn Sangmin broke the silence,
  255.  
  256. “Was all that really true?”
  257.  
  258. “You can contact Go Myunghwan and Yoon Gijoong. They’ll tell you the same story.”
  259.  
  260. The two C-rankers had returned to their homes, stating that they wanted to see their families. Park Heejin could confidently say that their statements would not differ from hers.
  261.  
  262. ‘All I did was explain what I experienced in person.’
  263.  
  264. How the forest that man disappeared off to rang with screams of ice bears, or how that man was doing push-ups while everyone else was sleeping. She didn’t dare to include any hearsay from the other teammates, only what she had seen with her own two eyes.
  265.  
  266. “Huh…”
  267.  
  268. Ahn Sangmin made a strange noise with his mouth. Knocking out an A-rank Hunter in one hit. Freely using spatial magic. Wielding dozens of summons. Each one of them alone would be an unbelievable thing. And the man in question had done it all. But the most shocking fact was,
  269.  
  270. “So he solo cleared a high-level Dungeon.”
  271.  
  272. Baek Yoonho uttered after a long period of silence. It was because he was an S-ranker that he was able to say,
  273.  
  274. “That is an incredible feat.”
  275.  
  276. Although the man had fought with summons, those summons were not comrades but Hunter Sung Jinwoo’s skill. It was the same as solo clearing the Dungeon.
  277.  
  278. “No matter how high one’s rank is, it is difficult for a Hunter to solo clear a high-level Dungeon.”
  279.  
  280. A Red Gate on top of that.
  281.  
  282. What if he himself was there? Could he solo clear a B-rank Red Gate? It was possible for Hunter Sung Jinwoo, who wielded not one or two but dozens of summons. Ahn Sangmin spoke with amazement,
  283.  
  284. “With this, it is clear that he’s an Awakened Being with special powers.”
  285.  
  286. Baek Yoonho agreed,
  287.  
  288. “Among Hunters, those that can use summoning are rare. And to think that he’s a Hunter that can wield multiple summons…”
  289.  
  290. Having worked as an S-rank Hunter, Baek Yoonho had met and conversed with many different Hunters. Not one of them ever spoke of a Hunter wielding that many summons.
  291.  
  292. “An Awakened Being with a special power in a different dimension than the average special power…”
  293.  
  294. Baek Yoonho was amazed. Ahn Sangmin thought of something and asked,
  295.  
  296. “If you had to put a value on Sung Jinwoo-ssi’s abilities, how much do you think he’s worth right now?”
  297.  
  298. “...”
  299.  
  300. Baek Yoonho could not easily reply. But one thing was for sure, regardless of what the value of Sung Jinwoo was right now, it would multiply explosively once the man underwent the retest. They had to act before that happened. Baekho had just lost an A-rank Hunter and multiple B-rank Hunters. If they were not able to obtain the power known as Sung Jinwoo, their losses from this incident would be too great.
  301.  
  302. “I trust you, Chief Ahn.”
  303.  
  304. Baek Yoonho sent a look of faith towards the man. Ahn Sangmin replied with a determined expression. Suddenly, the two men turned toward Park Heejin. The woman was raising a hand.
  305.  
  306. “Do you have something to ask?”
  307.  
  308. Succeeding in grabbing the two men’s attentions, Park Heejin lowered her hand,
  309.  
  310. “Please allow me to help.”
  311.  
  312. “With what?”
  313.  
  314. “Raid Lead- I mean, Hunter Sung Jinwoo-nim’s recruitment.”
  315.  
  316. Baek Yoonho and Ahn Sangmin exchanged glances. The Recruitment Specialist Ahn Sangmin tilted his head,
  317.  
  318. “Why would Hunter Park Heejin-nim be…?”
  319.  
  320. “Of the members of our Guild, I’m the one who spent the most time with Hunter Sung Jinwoo-nim. I believe I can be of great assistance.”
  321.  
  322. 6 hours outside of the Gate. Nearly a week inside. Baek Yoonho and Ahn Sangmin thought Park Heejin’s words made sense. On top of that, the woman was a beauty. Her appearance wouldn't exactly be a hindrance in their efforts to obtain Sung Jinwoo. Realizing her suggestion was moving the minds of the Guildmaster and the chief, Park Heejin continued,
  323.  
  324. “But I have one condition.”
  325.  
  326. Baek Yoonho asked,
  327.  
  328. “What is it?”
  329.  
  330. “Once Hunter Sung Jinwoo-nim enters Baekho, please be sure to place me in his raiding party.”
  331.  
  332.  
  333. Translator’s Notes:
  334. [1]: “Baruka’s Tanto”: Tanto was covered before; it is a word for a japanese dagger/knife. Baruka (바루카): “ba” + “ru” + “ka”. Translating the “r” or “l” sound from east asian languages often is shortened to remove the vowel sound, but in this case, I kept the “ru” as it was. If it was “르” (reu) instead of “루” (roo), I might’ve shortened it to Balka.
  335.  
  336. [2]: “missus” (형수님): I chose not to do the usual and put this in korean. I don’t think it’s a word that’ll come up that much throughout the story. The korean word here means “wife of older brother”. More commonly used in actual blood relative situations, but jokingly/friendly used by non-related people as well to their hyung’s wife/girlfriend.
  337.  
  338. [3]: What the fuck.
  339.  
  340.  
  341. I Alone Level-up: Chapter 66
  342.  
  343. Park Heejin had learned something in the last Raid: the terror of a high-level Dungeon and just how powerless she could become.
  344.  
  345. ‘In the end, I ended up learning the lesson Sung Jinwoo-ssi was trying to teach Hang Songyi...’
  346.  
  347. It was embarrassing, but it was true. To stubbornly claim that something terrifying wasn’t scary was just foolishness. What happened in the Red Gate was certainly a terrifying experience. However, she did not want to give-up the benefits of working as a B-rank Hunter. A high salary! Multiple career choices! And the acknowledgment of society on top of that! If you put aside the danger involved in the job, being a Hunter was the perfect profession. If anything, it was because of the high risks involved that the rewards were just as high.
  348.  
  349. However, Park Heejin had found a way to reduce that risk.
  350.  
  351. ‘It’s to raid with Raid Leader Sung Jinwoo-nim.’
  352.  
  353. The person she was most jealous of in the Red Gate was in fact Han Songyi. The reason was simple. It was because of the promise Sung Jinwoo made to Han Songyi on their first day:
  354.  
  355. “I brought you here, so I’ll be responsible for your protection.”
  356.  
  357. In other words, Jinwoo had no responsibility to protect anyone except Han Songyi. Park Heejin and the two C-rank Hunters were just added baggage. The woman had always held a fear that they would be thrown aside. And on the 6th day, Sung Jinwoo cleared the Dungeon and protected Han Songyi until the end. The man had kept his promise. Watching all of this, Park Heejin obtained an assurance.
  358.  
  359. If she raided under that man, she wouldn’t be in any danger. After she had realized this, her heart began to race. In fact, her heart was still beating vigorously right now.
  360.  
  361. The ability to cooly make decisions. A powerful strength. And a sense of responsibility to boot.
  362.  
  363. She wanted to be at Sung Jinwoo’s side in the next Raid. And that was her condition.
  364.  
  365. ‘Place me in Sung Jinwoo’s raiding party.’
  366.  
  367. Baek Yoonho and Ahn Sangmin talked among themselves for a bit. Soon, they came back to Park Heejin,
  368.  
  369. “Alright.”
  370.  
  371. Baek Yoonho laughed excitedly,
  372.  
  373. “Then Park Heejin-ssi will be acting together with Chief Ahn for a while.”
  374.  
  375. “Thank you.”
  376.  
  377. Of course, the recruitment would not be easy. Sung Jinwoo was someone who knew the value of his ability.
  378.  
  379. ‘He was so confident in the Red Gate too.’
  380.  
  381. Convincing him would not be an easy task.
  382.  
  383. ‘Still…’
  384.  
  385. She obtained the opportunity to see him again. Park Heejin smiled in her head.
  386.  
  387. Meanwhile, after thinking about something, Baek Yoonho opened his mouth with difficulty,
  388.  
  389. “Chief Ahn,”
  390.  
  391. “Yes sir.”
  392.  
  393. “I would like to know Sung Jinwoo-ssi’s contact information.”
  394.  
  395. “Guildmaster, that’s…”
  396.  
  397. Ahn Sangmin finally explained his experiences with Sung Jinwoo. How they had first met. Why he had hidden the man’s existence up until now. Listening to his story, Baek Yoonho nodded understandingly,
  398.  
  399. “If he had that amount of power, it makes sense that he would want to hide it. After all, there are certainly people in this world who do not want the attention of society.”
  400.  
  401. However, that man had shown his abilities in front of many people this time. Of course, it was during an emergency, but it also meant that the man was ready to show himself to the world.
  402.  
  403. “I’m sure as long as it doesn’t get out of hand, Sung Jinwoo-ssi won’t blame Chief Ahn.”
  404.  
  405. Ahn Sangmin nodded. Of course, there was no chance what they discussed here would be leaked to the outside. Sung Jinwoo had his reasons, but at the same time, Baekho had no intention of inviting unwanted competition by revealing the truth.
  406.  
  407. “I understand that, but…”
  408.  
  409. What Ahn Sangmin was worried about was something else. The chief was afraid that, not knowing Sung Jinwoo’s stern personality, the Guildmaster might mess things up with his impatient personality. He wanted to avoid that at all costs,
  410.  
  411. “I think the Guildmaster contacting him directly is a bit…”
  412.  
  413. Baek Yoonho understood what Ahn Sangmin was worried about,
  414.  
  415. “Oh, I’m not trying to contact him about the recruitment.”
  416.  
  417. “Oh? Then why…?”
  418.  
  419. “It’s as Sung Jinwoo-ssi said last night.”
  420.  
  421. Baek Yoonho realized it after listening to Park Heejin’s story; Sung Jinwoo was the savior of the Baekho Guild. The man had rescued three of the new recruits of the Guild; on top of that, he had prevented the Dungeon Break of a Red Gate in their area and saved their reputation as well. Even if it was the Association’s fault, how much would the Guild’s image fall if they lost all of their new recruits in this incident? Just imagining it made Baek Yoonho’s stomach sink.
  422.  
  423. ‘To think that I was being so hostile to that savior.’
  424.  
  425. Baek Yoonho understood why Jinwoo was in a bad mood. Now knowing the full story, there was something the Guildmaster had to do,
  426.  
  427. “As a representative of Baekho, I would like to give my gratitude to Sung Jinwoo-ssi. I also have to apologize for my behavior last night.”
  428.  
  429. ‘Oh, if it’s just that…’
  430.  
  431. Ahn Sangmin fully agreed with his Guildmaster. Knowing the man’s personality, the chief knew the S-ranker would not do something as low as bringing up the idea of recruitment while thanking Jinwoo.
  432.  
  433. “I understand.”
  434.  
  435. Ahn Sangmin took his phone out and found Jinwoo’s number.
  436.  
  437. “What’s his number?”
  438.  
  439. Baek Yoonho also took his phone out.
  440.  
  441. “It’s-”
  442.  
  443. Ahn Sangmin was about to read off the number when he realized something weird. The chief raised his head,
  444.  
  445. “Er, Hunter Park Heejin-nim, why do you have your phone out?”
  446.  
  447. “Oh, er… haha…”
  448.  
  449. Park Heejin smiled awkwardly and put away her phone.
  450.  
  451. South Korea’s #1 Guild, Hunters Guild. [1]
  452.  
  453. The Guildmaster and active S-rank Hunter Choi Jongin was going over an interesting report.
  454.  
  455. “Is… this all true?”
  456.  
  457. Well, would he have bothered the Guildmaster with a false report? The Head of Recruitment, Jo Myunggi, nodded.
  458.  
  459. “Yes sir. It’s the information we’ve obtained from the Association today.”
  460.  
  461. Every large Guild had a discrete line of contact in the Association, a spy of sorts. It was a little underhanded, but it was necessary to obtain information on new high-ranking Awakened Beings. And today, the Hunters Guild’s line of contact had leaked an interesting tale. After looking over the report, Jo Myunggi decided to bring it to the Guildmaster’s attention.
  462.  
  463. ‘The recently rising Baekho is one of the large Guilds after Hunters Guild’s position.’
  464.  
  465. The man thought it was worthy enough to look into. As expected, Choi Jongin was greatly interested.
  466.  
  467. “A C-rank Gate became a Red Gate? And the lone A-ranker and multiple B-rankers died, but two C-rankers came out alive? And they cleared the Dungeon? This is completely impossible.”
  468.  
  469. Even if there was a single B-ranker among the survivors. Reading up and down the report, Choi Jongin shook his head,
  470.  
  471. “There is someone, a helper, who was left off of this report.”
  472.  
  473. Choi Jongin was completely sure. His extensive raiding experiences were telling him so. Jo Myunggi replied,
  474.  
  475. “The Association had also suspected as much, but…”
  476.  
  477. “But?”
  478.  
  479. “Baekho closed their mouths on the incident.”
  480.  
  481. “And the Association’s just going to let it go?”
  482.  
  483. “Well, I heard that there was some fault on the Association’s end this time, so it looks like they don’t want to escalate the issue.”
  484.  
  485. “Hmm…”
  486.  
  487. Choi Jongin put a hand to his chin. It was the man’s habit whenever he fell into thought. If they had made a mistake, the Association’s attitude was understandable. But why was Baekho also maintaining a silence? There was one answer,
  488.  
  489. “Looks like Baekho received help from someone that they don’t want to reveal.”
  490.  
  491. “I also think that way.”
  492.  
  493. The two men were in agreement. Choi Jongin’s head ran with quick calculations,
  494.  
  495. ‘A nameless helper that was able to save the low-rank Hunters in a difficult Dungeon where multiple high-rankers died…’
  496.  
  497. The S-ranker became filled with curiosity,
  498.  
  499. ‘A new recruit that didn’t even receive a rank yet? Or a criminal that couldn’t reveal their identity?’
  500.  
  501. It didn’t matter. If it was a newbie, they would be recruited by Hunters Guild. If it was a criminal, they would use it to besmirch the name of Baekho. Choi Jongin’s eyes sparkled,
  502.  
  503. “We have to find out who that was.”
  504.  
  505. “Do you have a plan?”
  506.  
  507. “To smoke out a tiger, you set fire to his den.”
  508.  
  509. Jo Myunggi could not hide his shock,
  510.  
  511. “You want to set Baekho on fire?”
  512.  
  513. “What?! No, I’m not crazy enough to light someone else’s company on fire.”
  514.  
  515. “Ah, sorry. But you know you have a reputation for your magic…”
  516.  
  517. There was a reason why Choi Jongin was called the “Strongest Soldier”[2]. If the Mage-class Hunter wanted, it was an easy feat for him to blow away a building or two. Anyways, Choi Jongin continued,
  518.  
  519. “No, no, I meant that we’ll create a fire.”
  520.  
  521. “Okay, you keep using that word, ‘fire’-”
  522.  
  523. Jo Myunggi shut up when Choi Jongin’s eyes flared,
  524.  
  525. “I mean. Let’s leak this to the press.”
  526.  
  527. ‘Oooooooh!’
  528.  
  529. Jo Myunggi finally realized what his Guildmaster was saying,
  530.  
  531. “Just imagine the headlines, ‘The Association’s Mistake, a Large Guild’s Misfortune, and the Mysterious Hunter behind it all.’ Isn’t this just what the press loves?”
  532.  
  533. The head of recruitment nodded. Choi Jongin chuckled,
  534.  
  535. “Once the media’s attentions fall on Baekho, they’ll have to eventually reveal the identity of their mysterious helper.”
  536.  
  537. “That could work!”
  538.  
  539. Jo Myunggi also laughed. This was the opportunity to strike at Baekho, who was steadily coming after Hunters Guild. The corner’s of Choi Jongin’s mouth rose,
  540.  
  541. “Contact the reporters immediately.”
  542.  
  543. You’ve entered the Dungeon.
  544. Jinwoo took in the Dungeon’s air when he entered.
  545.  
  546. ‘Whew-’
  547.  
  548. Having being stuck in a field-type Dungeon for several days, the cave-type Dungeon’s air felt new to him. Yoo Jinho followed in after him,
  549.  
  550. “What do you think the magic beasts this time will be?”
  551.  
  552. “I wonder…”
  553.  
  554. ‘I definitely sense something nearby.’
  555.  
  556. But he did not see anything. However, the moment he took a step, bodies started rising here and there from the floor of the cave.
  557.  
  558. dudududududu
  559.  
  560. dududududu
  561.  
  562. The humanoid magic beasts made out of rocks. Yoo Jinho remembered their names,
  563.  
  564. “Hyungnim, it’s the stonemen.”
  565.  
  566. Jinwoo nodded. Of all the magic beasts that could be found in low-level Dungeons, the stonemen boasted the strongest defense. Basic logic called for magic to overcome the tough exteriors of the stonemen.
  567.  
  568. “Here, hold this.”
  569.  
  570. The man for whom basic logic did not apply handed the cylindrical object to Yoo Jinho.
  571.  
  572. ‘Holy!’
  573.  
  574. Not knowing what was inside, Yoo Jinho flinched as he took the object from Jinwoo, but nothing happened.
  575.  
  576. ‘Is it not a weapon?’
  577.  
  578. Meanwhile, Jinwoo stepped towards the stonemen and summoned Baruka’s Tanto and Knight Killer.
  579.  
  580. slash!
  581.  
  582. In an instant, a stoneman’s head fell to the floor. Jinwoo looked at Baruka’s Tanto with satisfaction,
  583.  
  584. ‘Not bad.’
  585.  
  586. The smiling figure of Jinwoo moved faster than the eye could see.
  587.  
  588. step
  589.  
  590. The Hunter reappeared behind the group of stonemen. Ten magic beasts fell to the ground.
  591.  
  592. collapse
  593.  
  594. ‘My body feels a lot lighter since the Red Gate.’
  595.  
  596. Of course. The man was currently Level 60. Hunting the bears and White Walkers had raised his levels by 9 from Level 51. The magic beasts of the C-rank Dungeon now felt like the goblins from E-rank Dungeons.
  597.  
  598. ‘I don’t think I need take out a weapon if it’s only this much.’
  599.  
  600. His warm-up was complete.
  601.  
  602. ‘Time to raise the speed.’
  603.  
  604. It was time for them to mobilize. Right on cue, more stonemen appeared from further down the cave.
  605.  
  606. ‘Come forth.’
  607.  
  608. As his order fell, the Shadow Soldiers waiting in his shadow all appeared behind him. A scream followed their appearance,
  609.  
  610. “AHHHH!!!!!”
  611.  
  612. Oh right. Jinwoo facepalmed.
  613.  
  614. ‘Forgot about him.’
  615.  
  616. In his excitement, Jinwoo had forgotten about Yoo Jinho.
  617.  
  618. “H-hyuuuungnim.”
  619.  
  620. The young man was on his rear wagging a finger at the Shadow Soldiers,
  621.  
  622. “W-what are those?”
  623.  
  624. “It’s hard to explain… Just think of them as my skill.”
  625.  
  626. “Y-you can make something like that with a skill?”
  627.  
  628. Jinwoo nodded. Yoo Jinho could not close his mouth.
  629.  
  630. “Ah…”
  631.  
  632. This was his 11th Raid with hyungnim. The young man had thought that he had seen everything with Jinwoo. That was a grave mistake. As always, hyungnim was someone who surpassed all expectations.
  633.  
  634. gulp
  635.  
  636. Feeling a dangerous presence coming from the soldiers clad in pitch-black, Yoo Jinho gulped. Jinwoo turned back to the magic beasts. The lumbering stonemen had already arrived before them. Jinwoo raised a chin.
  637.  
  638. “Go.”
  639.  
  640. The Shadow Soldiers had been waiting for that order.
  641.  
  642. STEP STEP STEP STEP
  643.  
  644. When the soldiers that neared 40 in number[3] charged at the enemy, their combined movements shook the floors of the cave. As the army included Iron and the Shadow Beasts, the weight of the army had certainly become heavier.
  645.  
  646. ‘Feels like I’ve added a tank division in my army.’
  647.  
  648. Jinwoo looked at the scene with satisfaction. Once his forces were mobilized, the Dungeon was cleared in a blink of an eye. All that remained were the destroyed corpses of the stonemen. The C-rank Dungeon was obliterated in an instant.
  649.  
  650. Wow-
  651.  
  652. Jinwoo was in awe.
  653.  
  654. ‘At this rate, we can finish the remaining Raids in no time.’
  655.  
  656. It looked like the remaining eight Raids would be over soon.
  657.  
  658. step, step, step
  659.  
  660. After the battle, the Shadow Soldiers collected the magic cores and lined-up in front of Jinwoo. At their head was Iron and Ygritte[4]. The two knights stood at attention. When the Shadow Soldiers stopped their movements, Yoo Jinho was finally able to move. The young man nervously approached Jinwoo,
  661.  
  662. “Hyungnim, here…”
  663.  
  664. He returned the plastic bag with the cylindrical object back to Jinwoo. Jinwoo took out the tumbler and started drinking from it.
  665.  
  666. “Hyungnim, what is that?”
  667.  
  668. “Vegetable juice.”
  669.  
  670. “Oh…”
  671.  
  672. “It’s not bad.”
  673.  
  674. sip siiiip
  675.  
  676. When the tumbler was nearly empty, Jinwoo asked,
  677.  
  678. “Jinho, how many Gates did we reserve today?”
  679.  
  680. The young man was in the middle of reaching out to touch the fur of a Shadow Beast and froze,
  681.  
  682. “Four, hyungnim.”
  683.  
  684. Four today, then five after that. There was no need to delay it any longer.
  685.  
  686. “Then let’s end it tomorrow. It doesn’t matter if we have to travel a bit.”
  687.  
  688. “Tomorrow?”
  689.  
  690. Yoo Jinho looked around. The traces of the massacred stonemen were all around them. The young man nodded,
  691.  
  692. ‘With this speed, it’s more than doable…’
  693.  
  694. “Understood, hyungnim. But…”
  695.  
  696. The young man hesitated then spoke with difficulty,
  697.  
  698. “...Is it okay if I pick up the magic cores?”
  699.  
  700. “Why?”
  701.  
  702. “I feel like my job was taken away from me, hyungnim.”
  703.  
  704. Jinwoo laughed.
  705.  
  706. ‘He’s really an amusing guy.’
  707.  
  708. And a day later, Jinwoo completed the 19 Raids he had promised to Yoo Jinho.
  709.  
  710.  
  711. Translator’s Notes:
  712.  
  713. [1]: Okay, I wondered how I would distinguish “Hunters” (guild) from “Hunters” (profession). I’m just going to always make sure their name is followed by the world “Guild”. Please note that the guild’s name, “Hunters”, is straight up english written in korean. It is not possessive like “Hunter’s Guild”. “Hunters” is their name.
  714.  
  715. [2]: Strongest Soldier (최종병기): Pretty literal. There is a little pun in Choi Jongin’s name. The “Strongest Soldier” is pronounced Choi-Jong-Byung-Gi. Btw, anyone remember a certain Hunter called the “Weakest Soldier”? Now we meet that Hunter’s opposite, hue hue hue…
  716.  
  717. [3]: Okay, so the passages up until now haven’t gotten into detail, but it’s assumed that Jinwoo’s maximum storage limit had been increasing with either level-ups or intelligence increases. This has not been specifically clarified yet. Right after class advancement, the storage limit was 20. During ice bears part in the red gate, the storage limit was 30, and now, the storage limit is “nearly 40”.
  718.  
  719. [4]: Not sure if people were joking or not, but best girl Ygritte is a man.
  720.  
  721.  
  722.  
  723. I Alone Level-up: Chapter 67
  724.  
  725. “Hyungnim! Now that we’re done, how about a celebratory dinner?”
  726.  
  727. On the drive home, Yoo Jinho carefully brought up the subject.
  728.  
  729. “Celebratory dinner? Just us two?”
  730.  
  731. With the final Raid, their raiding party had been disbanded. Han Songyi had told them she had somewhere to be, so it was just Jinwoo and Yoo Jinho in the car. Yoo Jinho shyly continued,
  732.  
  733. “Well… I’ve just been getting help from you left and right. I thought I’d treat you today.”
  734.  
  735. Why was he so shy about just asking to eat together? Jinwoo grinned. The young man had offered to pay, so he didn’t have any reason to refuse.
  736.  
  737. “Alright.”
  738.  
  739. When Jinwoo casually agreed, Yoo Jinho’s face lit up noticeably.
  740.  
  741. “Hyungnim! There’s a high class restaurant at a hotel that I know, how about it? Their steak is to die for.”
  742.  
  743. “Nah, nothing like that.”
  744.  
  745. Jinwoo wanted to eat with Yoo Jinho somewhere comfortable. A suitable restaurant came into view while driving.
  746.  
  747. tap
  748.  
  749. Jinwoo tapped the car window with his finger.
  750.  
  751. “How about there?”
  752.  
  753. “Ah, did you want some hanwoo beef?” [1]
  754.  
  755. “No, next to it.”
  756.  
  757. Yoo Jinho’s eyes narrowed. Next to it… There was only one other restaurant.
  758.  
  759. [Flower Samgyupsal Day - Thin slice specialty] [2]
  760.  
  761. “Are you talking about the thinly sliced samgyupsal place, hyungnim?”
  762.  
  763. “Do you not like samgyupsal?”
  764.  
  765. Yoo Jinho smiled brightly,
  766.  
  767. “No, hyungmin. I like it too.”
  768.  
  769. After parking the van, the duo entered the shop, only to find it bustling. It was 7 PM, just about time for most restaurants to be packed.
  770.  
  771. “Welcome.”
  772.  
  773. A waiter greeted them with a smile.
  774.  
  775. “How many?”
  776.  
  777. “Two.”
  778.  
  779. “Please, this way.”
  780.  
  781. The waiter led them to a spot in a corner. Suddenly,
  782.  
  783. “Hold on.”
  784.  
  785. Looking around the restaurant, Yoo Jinho gestured to an empty spot near the windows,
  786.  
  787. “Can we sit there?”
  788.  
  789. “Ah, I’m sorry. Those tables are reserved…”
  790.  
  791. It appeared that a large group had reserved a section of the restaurant. Yoo Jinho looked at the wide open tables with disappointment then shook his head. And so, the two men ended up being seated at a corner deep into the restaurant. Yoo Jinho lowered his head,
  792.  
  793. “I’m sorry, hyungnim.”
  794.  
  795. “Hmm? What do you have to be sorry for, I was the one who wanted to come here.”
  796.  
  797. “Still, I should’ve treated you to somewhere better.”
  798.  
  799. Jinwoo smiled and tapped Yoo Jinho’s shoulder,
  800.  
  801. “Don’t worry about that and just enjoy the food, ya punk.”
  802.  
  803. In fact, Jinwoo was worried that this cheap establishment might not have been to Yoo Jinho’s expensive tastes.
  804.  
  805. ‘And I didn’t want to mention it, but...’
  806.  
  807. Jinwoo looked around. The restaurant was packed with people. Because he had often spent time in a quiet solitude at home, a lively atmosphere like this wasn’t exactly bad.
  808.  
  809. “Here is samgyupsal for three and two bottles of soju.” [3]
  810.  
  811. Their order had arrived.
  812.  
  813. sizzle-
  814.  
  815. The meat cooked nicely over the pan. The two Hunters dug into the food. One by one, pieces of meat disappeared from the pan. Fortunately, it looked like the young master of a chaebol liked the food.
  816.  
  817. “I often eat samgyupsal with my friends, hyungnim.”
  818.  
  819. “Oh yeah? College friends?”
  820.  
  821. “Yep. Compared to the rich kids from expensive and prestigious schools, I get along much better with my peers from a normal college.”
  822.  
  823. Jinwoo smiled and nodded as Yoo Jinho spoke. It was rather fitting of the young man he had gotten to know.
  824.  
  825. “Here, hyungnim.”
  826.  
  827. Yoo Jinho poured Jinwoo a shot of soju.
  828.  
  829. “You too.”
  830.  
  831. Jinwoo returned the gesture.
  832.  
  833. gulp gulp
  834.  
  835. They filled each other’s glasses, clinked then drank the shot it one go.
  836.  
  837. “Kyaaaah-”
  838.  
  839. However, compared to Yoo Jinho who made a delicious expression, Jinwoo’s face scrunched up in annoyance and realization.
  840.  
  841. “Huh? Hyungnim, is it not to your liking?”
  842.  
  843. “No. It’s not that…”
  844.  
  845. Jinwoo stared at his empty glass. Amidst the busy schedule he maintained, he had forgotten about this.
  846.  
  847. ring~
  848.  
  849. A harmful substance has been detected.
  850. The effects of the ‘Detoxification’ buff will be activated.
  851. 3, 2, 1… Detoxification complete.
  852. ‘Right. I can never get drunk again.’
  853.  
  854. No matter how much he drank, the results were the same.
  855.  
  856. ring~ ring~ ring~
  857.  
  858. With the ‘Longevity’ buff in effect, all harmful effects were removed from Jinwoo. The soju he drank was nothing more than bitter water. Jinwoo cursed internally,
  859.  
  860. ‘Fuck.’
  861.  
  862. Rather than putting down this useless, bitter liquid, he was better off drinking soda.
  863.  
  864. “Excuse me,”
  865.  
  866. Jinwoo flagged a server,
  867.  
  868. “Could we get two more orders of samgyupsal and a bottle of soda?”
  869.  
  870. “Of course.”
  871.  
  872. When the server walked away, Yoo Jinho tilted his head,
  873.  
  874. “Hyungnim, you’re not going to drink anymore?”
  875.  
  876. “I’m not that good with alcohol.”
  877.  
  878. Jinwoo had replied with an expressionless face, but as always, Yoo Jinho did not take the hint. His face was becoming red with drunkenness, and the young man smiled moronically,
  879.  
  880. ‘To think that even hyungnim has a human side like this…’
  881.  
  882. Yoo Jinho sent a strange look at Jinwoo, but the man ignored it.
  883.  
  884. ‘Not like this is the only time the kid’s being weird.’
  885.  
  886. There was something Jinwoo was curious about however,
  887.  
  888. “So what’s your plan now?”
  889.  
  890. When a serious question appeared, Yoo Jinho suddenly sat upright like an interviewee on his first job interview,
  891.  
  892. “After a simple written test at the Association, I will obtain my Guildmaster license, hyungnim. With it, I will go and try to make a deal with my father.”
  893.  
  894. The young man’s eyes were filled with determination. He had invested quite a bit of his own money into this plan; there was no room for backing out now.
  895.  
  896. ‘And I have my promise with hyungnim.’
  897.  
  898. That building he promised to Jinwoo. He would only be able to keep that promise if he was able to convince his father to hand over the Guildmaster’s position. Meanwhile, Jinwoo was rather carefree about the entire affair.
  899.  
  900. ‘It’d be nice to get that 30 billion won building, but,’
  901.  
  902. That was just the tip of the iceberg. His real goal was to level-up. And with the 20 C-rank Dungeons he had conquered with Yoo Jinho, he managed to fulfill that goal plenty of times. The results of that level-up? Kim Cheol was an A-ranker with contract fees probably in the billions, and Jinwoo knocked him out with a single hit.
  903.  
  904. ‘That means at the very least, I’ll be able to earn more than that shitbag.’
  905.  
  906. Great income would naturally follow great abilities. There was no need for Jinwoo to worry about money. Because of that, Jinwoo’s face was filled with a carefree expression. As Jinwoo reminisced on the past few days with a smile, Yoo Jinho asked a question,
  907.  
  908. “What about you, hyungnim? What’s your plan now?”
  909.  
  910. “Me?”
  911.  
  912. Was it something he shouldn’t have asked? Yoo Jinho panicked for a second but relaxed when Jinwoo softened his expression.
  913.  
  914. “I’ll be out of contact for a while. There’s somewhere I have to go.”
  915.  
  916. With that sentence, a noticeable frown appeared on Yoo Jinho’s face. The young man looked like a puppy abandoned on the road and drained his glass.
  917.  
  918. tap
  919.  
  920. Yoo Jinho’s placed his glass loudly down on the table. With help from the liquid courage, the young man opened his mouth,
  921.  
  922. “Hyungnim, if I’m just a bother to you, please let me know. I won’t bother you anymore.” [4]
  923.  
  924. ‘This brat…’
  925.  
  926. It seemed that Jinho had mistaken his words about being “out of contact” for something else. Jinwoo scratched his temple and spoke,
  927.  
  928. “Jinho.”
  929.  
  930. “Yes, hyungnim.”
  931.  
  932. “What exactly am I to you?”
  933.  
  934. “To me…”
  935.  
  936. Unable to reply immediately, the young man’s eyes looked to the ceiling.
  937.  
  938. “I have an older brother, about 10 years older than me, hyungnim.”
  939.  
  940. Jinwoo had heard of it. Yoo Myunghan’s firstborn, Yoo Jinsung.
  941.  
  942. “My hyung doesn’t like me that much. To be honest, I’ve probably spent more time with you in the past few days compared to my entire life with my hyung. Compared to that older brother, hyungnim saved my life, helped me with my plans…”
  943.  
  944. Yoo Jinho looked at Jinwoo with a clear eyes,
  945.  
  946. “To me, hyungnim feels more like my older brother than my real brother.” [5]
  947.  
  948. Well, he was still scared of Jinwoo from time to time. Still, the memories he had made with Jinwoo in their days together were something he could never forget. The respect Yoo Jinho had for his hyungnim was far greater than any fear.
  949.  
  950. “If you think of me as your older brother,”
  951.  
  952. Jinwoo spoke with a smile,
  953.  
  954. “I’ll think of you as my little brother.”
  955.  
  956. “H-hyungnim…”
  957.  
  958. With his nose turning red, Yoo Jinho began to cry. Well, Jinwoo could’ve tolerated just crying, but the young man suddenly pushed himself toward Jinwoo,
  959.  
  960. “Hyungnim! I want to give you a hug!”
  961.  
  962. “Hey, hey! You’re drunk, you punk!”
  963.  
  964. “No, hyungnim! My head has never been clearer than now!”
  965.  
  966. “At least keep your eyes open when you’re talking!”
  967.  
  968. “Waaaaaaah!”
  969.  
  970. Whether he was truly moved or was just drunk, Yoo Jinho put his head on the table and began to cry loudly. Jinwoo gently patted the young man on the shoulder. Soon, Yoo Jinho fell asleep.
  971.  
  972. “Sigh… He’s really something else.”
  973.  
  974. Jinwoo leaned back on his chair and bit his tongue.
  975.  
  976. Yoo Jinho. In many ways, he was an annoyance, but Jinwoo did not dislike him.
  977.  
  978. [-And here’s the next report.]
  979.  
  980. Jinwoo turned his head towards the TV. The TV in the restaurant was turned to a news channel.
  981.  
  982. ‘Is it already 9?’
  983.  
  984. Jinwoo absentmindedly stared at the screen when a familiar face appeared.
  985.  
  986. ‘Oh?’
  987.  
  988. Jinwoo’s eyes widened. Leaving his Guild HQ, Baek Yoonho was assaulted with a barrage of questions from reporters surrounding him.
  989.  
  990. [We’ve received a report saying there was a big accident with the new recruit training, is it true?]
  991.  
  992. [We’ve heard that all the high-ranking Hunters died and only low-rank Hunters lived, do you have any comments?]
  993.  
  994. [There were reports that an unknown helper rescued the survivors, what are your thoughts on this?]
  995.  
  996. The S-ranker did his best to ignore the reporters but eventually relented,
  997.  
  998. [The incident has already been investigated by the Association. It is true that there was an accident during the training, but there was no such thing as an outsider helper. Baekho’s members worked together to clear the Dungeon, but many Hunters fell during the process. That is the final story.]
  999.  
  1000. A reporter asked,
  1001.  
  1002. [Then why are you preventing an interview with the survivors?]
  1003.  
  1004. [They’ve just barely escaped with their lives from the jaws of death. I would not let them be held to questioning after what they’ve been through. That will be all.]
  1005.  
  1006. The TV showed Baek Yoonho quickly getting into a car and driving away. Jinwoo’s eyes were wide open.
  1007.  
  1008. ‘...Aren’t they talking about me?’
  1009.  
  1010. Some time ago.
  1011.  
  1012. Eastern Seaboard, United States.
  1013.  
  1014. “AHHHHH!”
  1015.  
  1016. James fell to the ground. With the strength in his legs gone, the man crawled on the floor to escape but realized he had come across a dead-end. All hope left the american.
  1017.  
  1018. “Oh jesus!”
  1019.  
  1020. The Dungeon this time was A-rank. A raiding party with the appropriate level of power was put together to clear the Dungeon, but the entire party was wiped out. To be accurate, they were knocked out.
  1021.  
  1022. ‘Impossible!’
  1023.  
  1024. With his back against the wall, James collected his breath and shook his head repeatedly. It truly was an impossible occurrence. When they had first entered the Dungeon, the raiding party had discovered it was completely empty. Not a single magic beast was found.
  1025.  
  1026. “A Dungeon with no magic beasts?”
  1027.  
  1028. “Is that even possible?”
  1029.  
  1030. “Then where did all the magic power measured outside come from?”
  1031.  
  1032. The Hunters were confused in unison. However, past this strange issue, something even more surprising was found in the boss room. They found a lone magic beast there. A magic beast that looked exactly like a human. That single enemy knocked out the entire raiding party. Strong didn’t even begin to describe this thing. Only James was able to barely escape the boss room.
  1033.  
  1034. ‘Wait, was all the magic power measured outside coming from just that one magic beast?’
  1035.  
  1036. The A-rank designation was given to the Dungeon after measuring the magic power seeping from the Gate outside. In an ordinary situation, that magic power would be the combined amount leaked by every magic beast in the Dungeon. This time, there was only one entity releasing said magic power. [6]
  1037.  
  1038. ‘Impossible.’
  1039.  
  1040. But.
  1041.  
  1042. “Sigh… Come on.” (In Korean)
  1043.  
  1044. That magic beast had appeared in the distance. James screamed,
  1045.  
  1046. “AHHHHHH!” (Screaming in English)
  1047.  
  1048. “Ow, my ears” (In Korean)
  1049.  
  1050. The magic beast, no, the asian man with overgrown hair and facial hair scratched his head.
  1051.  
  1052. “Ah, ahh…”
  1053.  
  1054. Jame’s screams turned into a groan. The mysterious man stood before the american and put his hands on his hips.
  1055.  
  1056. “I mean, why’d you attack me like that? I told you, I’m not a magic beast. I’m human.” (In Korean)
  1057.  
  1058. James could not understand the man. His face just turned whiter and whiter. The asian man stared at the panicking american, wondering what he should do. He sighed deeply.
  1059.  
  1060. “Not like you yankees can understand me.” (In Korean)
  1061.  
  1062. Still, the man attempted communication. He squatted down to sit at an eye level with James, then tried to speak as friendly as possible,
  1063.  
  1064. “Hey, hey” (In broken English)
  1065.  
  1066. The man tried to remember what little English he knew.
  1067.  
  1068. “Aim Coreaun.” [I’m Korean]
  1069.  
  1070. He did his best to speak as clearly as possible,
  1071.  
  1072. “Ai wanteu to go hom.” [I want to go home]
  1073.  
  1074.  
  1075. Translator’s Notes:
  1076.  
  1077. [1]: “Hanwoo beef” (한우): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanwoo . Just a breed of cattle in Korea famous for their deliciousness.
  1078.  
  1079. [2]: “Samgyupsal” (삼겹살): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samgyeopsal . staple of korean bbq; pork belly meat to be self grilled over a flame.
  1080.  
  1081. [3]: “Soju” (소주): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soju . we are just going all over korean culture today. Traditional korean alcohol that often (often is an understatement) accompanies group meals.
  1082.  
  1083. [4]: BEST LITTLE BROTHER
  1084.  
  1085. [5]: BEST. LITTLE. BROTHER.
  1086.  
  1087. [6]: Just a small reminder that as you go up in the rank of Dungeons, the difficulty rises exponentially (just like power level of Hunters). Logically speaking, multiple X-rankers are needed to conquer an X-rank Dungeon. If all the magic power of a dungeon came from a single entity in a X-rank Dungeon, that entity would be massively stronger than a single corresponding X-rank Hunter. On top of that, high-level Dungeons (B, A, S) require Hunters with higher rank than a given Dungeon’s rank. For example, Baek Yoonho implied that multiple A-rankers would be needed to clear a B-rank Dungeon (Chapter 59). A larger number of A-rankers and maybe even some S-rankers are needed to clear an A-rank Gate, and a shit ton of S-rankers are needed to even have a chance of clearing an S-rank Gate (Jinwoo notes in Chapter 28 that a team of only S-rankers would have 50% of clearing an S-rank Dungeon).
  1088.  
  1089.  
  1090. I Alone Level-up: Chapter 68
  1091.  
  1092. It was an unprecedented news!
  1093.  
  1094. A living human came out of a Dungeon!
  1095.  
  1096. The Federal Bureau of Hunters (FBH) was called in an emergency. The Deputy Director of FBH arrived at the interrogation room. He was on one side of a one-way mirror, looking at an asian man in handcuffs on the other side.
  1097.  
  1098. “Is that him?”
  1099.  
  1100. “Yes, sir.”
  1101.  
  1102. “Looks human to me.”
  1103.  
  1104. “I agree, sir.”
  1105.  
  1106. Indeed. If he cleaned up his messily grown hair and facial hair, he would’ve looked like an ordinary, middle-aged asian man.
  1107.  
  1108. “Did he say anything about himself?”
  1109.  
  1110. “He’s claiming that he’s a Hunter from South Korea.”
  1111.  
  1112. “South Korea?”
  1113.  
  1114. “Yes, sir.”
  1115.  
  1116. “How the hell did a Hunter from South Korea come out of a Dungeon on the other side of the world?”
  1117.  
  1118. “He says he was stranded in the Dungeon 10 years ago when the Gate closed before he could leave.”
  1119.  
  1120. “And when he opened his eyes, he was in the states?”
  1121.  
  1122. “That’s what he’s claiming.”
  1123.  
  1124. The deputy director placed a hand on his forehead. How to explain all this to the director? He already felt a headache coming on.
  1125.  
  1126. “So why are you just waiting out here? Shouldn’t someone be in there interrogating him?”
  1127.  
  1128. Forget the director, this might make its way up high into the chain of command. They shouldn’t be wasting time like this. However, the head of interrogation had other thoughts,
  1129.  
  1130. “It is one of our theories that that man is a magic beast that somehow obtained a human’s memories.”
  1131.  
  1132. “So?”
  1133.  
  1134. “If it reveals its true nature during interrogation, the entire capitol might be placed in danger.” [1]
  1135.  
  1136. It certainly was a possibility. According to the report, even a raiding party with multiple A-rankers were taken down by this thing. They could not make any careless movements.
  1137.  
  1138. “So we need a capable Hunter to perform the interrogation.”
  1139.  
  1140. An S-ranker if possible. The head of interrogation nodded,
  1141.  
  1142. “Fortunately, there is an S-rank Hunter nearby fluent in Korean.”
  1143.  
  1144. The deputy director’s face brightened. He was the Deputy Director of the FBH; the man was familiar with every single S-rank Hunter working in the U.S.
  1145.  
  1146. “Mr. Hwang! Is he on the way?”
  1147.  
  1148. “Yes, sir.”
  1149.  
  1150. One of the main Hunters of Scavenger, Hwang Dongsoo. Bringing him to the U.S. required quite an effort by the FBH.
  1151.  
  1152. ‘But if it’s him…’
  1153.  
  1154. There shouldn’t be any problems. The deputy director smiled.
  1155.  
  1156. “Oh right,”
  1157.  
  1158. He had forgotten to ask. To report this to the higher-ups, he had to at least know the target’s name.
  1159.  
  1160. “What did that man say his name was?”
  1161.  
  1162. The head of interrogations had trouble pronouncing the name. He checked the report from his subordinates,
  1163.  
  1164. “A Hunter from South Korea. His name is Sung Ilhwan.”
  1165.  
  1166. Hwang Dongsoo was a merciless person. Especially to magic beasts. Because of a Dungeon Break, he had lost his parents and grew up under his older brother. And when he Awakened as an S-ranker, he considered it a blessing from the heavens.
  1167.  
  1168. ‘The chance to rip apart magic beasts without mercy!’
  1169.  
  1170. And so, the S-ranker entered the interrogation with a cold attitude. A man from a Dungeon. They even said the wavelength of his magic power matched the pattern of magic beasts.
  1171.  
  1172. ‘If it’s a magic beast imitating a human…’
  1173.  
  1174. He would kill it on the spot. He had accepted the request from the FBH with that in mind.
  1175.  
  1176. Hwang Dongsoo met the eyes of the man.
  1177.  
  1178. ‘...’
  1179.  
  1180. ‘...’
  1181.  
  1182. The pair exchanged looks. Hwang Dongsoo placed the man’s file on the table and leaned back on the chair,
  1183.  
  1184. “I suggest you cooperate. My word will determine whether or not you’re a human or a magic beast.”
  1185.  
  1186. “Alright.”
  1187.  
  1188. Before starting the official interrogation, Hwang Dongsoo asked a personal question. They said his brother died in the Dungeon. Was there a chance he could come back? The S-ranker wanted to know,
  1189.  
  1190. “Is it possible for other Hunters to come back like you?”
  1191.  
  1192. The man shook his head. Hwang Dongsoo’s brows twitched,
  1193.  
  1194. “How can you be sure?”
  1195.  
  1196. “Because I know the reason why I was able to return.”
  1197.  
  1198. “Reason? What reason?”
  1199.  
  1200. “Before that, let me ask you something,”
  1201.  
  1202. “...I’m the one asking the questions.”
  1203.  
  1204. Hwang Dongsoo’s eyes narrowed[2]. However, the man ignored him and continued,
  1205.  
  1206. “Gates, magic beasts, Dungeon Breaks. Just what do you know about all of that?”
  1207.  
  1208. “...”
  1209.  
  1210. If it was a boring question, Hwang Dongsoo would’ve used his strength to silence the man. But it was not a boring question. Since the Gates first started appearing 10 years ago, followed by the Awakened Beings, many had challenged that question but to no avail. This might be an opportunity to finally obtain some answers.
  1211.  
  1212. “Deputy director…”
  1213.  
  1214. “Shh.”
  1215.  
  1216. The FBH employees across the one-way mirror gulped. Hwang Dongsoo asked,
  1217.  
  1218. “Are you saying you know?”
  1219.  
  1220. “Dungeons, Gates, magic beasts… They are all but a prelude to the real war that’s coming. And the existence that will become the greatest disaster of that war just opened its eyes.”
  1221.  
  1222. “Then the reason you are here is?”
  1223.  
  1224. “To prevent that disaster.”
  1225.  
  1226. “What exactly is this “greatest disaster”?”
  1227.  
  1228. “...That I cannot say.”
  1229.  
  1230. Hwang Dongsoo sneered,
  1231.  
  1232. “If you truly are a human who came here to prevent a disaster, why can’t you reveal any details? No matter what it is, wouldn’t it be better to work together?”
  1233.  
  1234. The man shook his head,
  1235.  
  1236. “Numbers mean nothing in front of its power. Weaklings grouping up will only become used by it.”
  1237.  
  1238. “And only you can stop it?”
  1239.  
  1240. The man nodded. Hwang Dongsoo clicked his tongue in his mind.
  1241.  
  1242. ‘He’s fucking crazy.’
  1243.  
  1244. Well, it made sense if the man was stranded in a Dungeon for 10 years. Or, it could just be that a magic beast imitating a human made an error. Hwang Dongsoo decided to entertain the man’s delusions,
  1245.  
  1246. “You must be quite confident in your abilities.”
  1247.  
  1248. “I have a certain qualification other than abilities.”
  1249.  
  1250. “Well, of course, of course.”
  1251.  
  1252. What could they hope to learn from a crazy man? Hwang Dongsoo decided he was done asking questions. Instead, he opened the file given to him by the FBH. It was a list of information and questions to confirm the man’s identity.
  1253.  
  1254. “Name, Sung Ilhwan…”
  1255.  
  1256. The picture in the file was a perfect match.
  1257.  
  1258. ‘Instead of 10 years, it looks like only few weeks or months passed.’
  1259.  
  1260. But Hwang Dongsoo did not pay it much mind. After all, they say high-ranking Hunters can even slow their aging.
  1261.  
  1262. “Your accomplishments as a Hunter are rather impressive. You could earn quite a bit in today’s world.”
  1263.  
  1264. Sung Ilhwan did not reply. At the time, the system of classifying Hunters did not exist. They were not even assigned rankings. Hwang Dongsoo continued through the document,
  1265.  
  1266. “Wife, Park Gyunghae. Two kids, son’s name is…”
  1267.  
  1268. Absentmindedly reading down the list, Hwang Dongsoo froze for the briefest of moments when he got to the son’s name,
  1269.  
  1270. ‘Sung Jinwoo?’
  1271.  
  1272. Hwang Dongsoo continued without showing any indication,
  1273.  
  1274. “...Sung Jinwoo. What is your daughter’s name?”
  1275.  
  1276. “Sung Jinah.”
  1277.  
  1278. “Okay, next.”
  1279.  
  1280. Suddenly,
  1281.  
  1282. “Hold on.”
  1283.  
  1284. Hwang Dongsoo was about to flip to the next page when Sung Ilhwan stopped him. The S-ranker raised his head without much thought. Sung Ilhwan’s face had turned as cold as Hwang Dongsoo’s,
  1285.  
  1286. “Why did I feel a killing intent when you read my son’s name?”
  1287.  
  1288. “...”
  1289.  
  1290. tak
  1291.  
  1292. The file was tossed to the table. Hwang Dongsoo turned off the microphone connecting to the outside.
  1293.  
  1294. “I thought I said I would be the one asking questions.”
  1295.  
  1296. “I need to hear your answer.”
  1297.  
  1298. “And if I refuse?”
  1299.  
  1300. “I’ll have you talk with force.”
  1301.  
  1302. Sung Ilhwan’s eyes flared. The man was not about to back off. With that, Hwang Dongsoo sneered widely,
  1303.  
  1304. “Alright. You’re a magic beast.”
  1305.  
  1306. How dare a mere magic beast threaten a Hunter? Feeling Sung Ilhwan emit a powerful hostility toward him, Hwang Dongsoo felt that it was enough evidence to claim the man was a magic beast.
  1307.  
  1308. ‘Perhaps the heavens have blessed me again.’
  1309.  
  1310. Having made his conclusion without much thought, Hwang Dongsoo turned on the microphone again.
  1311.  
  1312. beep
  1313.  
  1314. “Deputy director, this man is a magic beast. He’s going to attack soon, please evacuate.”
  1315.  
  1316. - “What? Hey, wait!”
  1317.  
  1318. beep
  1319.  
  1320. The presences he felt on the other side of the one-way mirror panicked then ran off. The a siren rang loudly throughout the building. Hwang Dongsoo’s fists began to glow with a silver light.
  1321.  
  1322. “I will be visiting Korea soon.”
  1323.  
  1324. Finishing his preparations, Hwang Dongsoo’s lips made an ugly smile towards Sung Ilhwan,
  1325.  
  1326. “What should I tell your son his father’s last words were?”
  1327.  
  1328. The TV continued to report on the Red Gate incident. Jinwoo scratched the back of his head.
  1329.  
  1330. ‘Things are about to get really loud.’
  1331.  
  1332. However, he did not feel an annoyance. Just a strangeness. Strangers on the TV were reporting left and right trying to figure out Jinwoo’s identity. And if they succeeded? It did not matter.
  1333.  
  1334. ‘I’ve become strong enough.’
  1335.  
  1336. The reason why he had hid his power up until now was to avoid being used by someone. But things were different.
  1337.  
  1338. Baek Yoonho.
  1339.  
  1340. Jinwoo was able to throw aside the grip of the S-rank Guildmaster of Baekho. That’s how strong he had become. It was an unthinkable action in the past.
  1341.  
  1342. ‘I would’ve probably pissed my pants if I saw those eyes in the past.’
  1343.  
  1344. A light smile appeared on Jinwoo’s face. It was moments like this you had enjoy in drunkenness.
  1345.  
  1346. ring~
  1347.  
  1348. A harmful substance has been detected.
  1349. The effects of the ‘Detoxification’ buff will be activated.
  1350. 3, 2, 1… Detoxification complete.
  1351. Unfortunately, that much was not allowed for him. Jinwoo chuckled in defeat. Putting down the shot glass, his expression became serious again.
  1352.  
  1353. ‘Still, I’m not stopping here.’
  1354.  
  1355. Jinwoo brought up the status screen.
  1356.  
  1357. ring~
  1358.  
  1359. Name: Sung Jinwoo
  1360.  
  1361. Level: 61
  1362.  
  1363. Class: Monarch of Shadows
  1364.  
  1365. Title: One Who... (...1 more)
  1366.  
  1367. HP: 13,001
  1368.  
  1369. MP: 1,677
  1370.  
  1371. Fatigue: 0
  1372.  
  1373. Stats
  1374.  
  1375. Strength: 142
  1376.  
  1377. Constitution: 101
  1378.  
  1379. Agility: 121
  1380.  
  1381. Intelligence: 99 [3]
  1382.  
  1383. Sense: 103
  1384.  
  1385. (Available stat points: 0)
  1386.  
  1387. Physical Damage Reduction: 46%
  1388.  
  1389. Level 61.
  1390.  
  1391. Having invested all the points from the daily quest, even his intelligence was nearing 100.
  1392.  
  1393. ‘I still have a long way to go…’
  1394.  
  1395. Yes, a long way to go. To a higher place. Somewhere no one could dare to reach him.
  1396.  
  1397. For a start, he would begin with the Demon Castle.
  1398.  
  1399. ‘The System definitely told me it’s something I want.’
  1400.  
  1401. He recalled the description on the Blessed Random Box,
  1402.  
  1403. Blessed Random Box
  1404. Will provide what the ‘Player’ wants.
  1405. And the Demon Castle Key came out of that box. High-leveled monsters and great rewards. He had already confirmed this with the Cerberus. No matter what was inside, Jinwoo was sure that it would be just as great. It was finally time to return to that place. In fact, he planned on staying there for a few days. He just had one issue,
  1406.  
  1407. ‘Once I’m inside, I won’t be able to make contact with the outside world.’
  1408.  
  1409. What would he tell his little sister? He would have to think of an excuse. Jinwoo stood up.
  1410.  
  1411. tap tap
  1412.  
  1413. “Jinho.”
  1414.  
  1415. tap tap
  1416.  
  1417. “Yoo Jinho.”
  1418.  
  1419. “Mm-what.”
  1420.  
  1421. Jinwoo shook and lightly slapped the young man, but Yoo Jinho was completely out. What to do now?
  1422.  
  1423. ‘Didn’t this fool say he was going to take the test at the Association tomorrow?’
  1424.  
  1425. Forget the test, Jinwoo had to get Yoo Jinho home somehow. He picked up Jinho’s phone.
  1426.  
  1427. “Of course I can’t call Chairman Yoo Myunghan or Yoo Jinsung.”
  1428.  
  1429. Was there anyone else he could call to pick up Yoo Jinho? Looking through the contact list, Jinwoo noted a name.
  1430.  
  1431. ‘Yoo Soohyun?’
  1432.  
  1433. Unlike the heir’s father or brother, the young man had contacted this person quite a bit. It looked like a girl’s name… Considering calling her for a moment, Jinwoo put the phone down.
  1434.  
  1435. ‘What if,’
  1436.  
  1437. Jinwoo looked through the shop and found what he was looking for.
  1438.  
  1439. Status Recovery Potion
  1440. Rarity: E
  1441.  
  1442. Type: Consumable
  1443.  
  1444. Drink to recover your status.
  1445.  
  1446. You may keep this item in your inventory.
  1447.  
  1448. Untradeable.
  1449.  
  1450. After confirming the transaction, a yellow bottle appeared on the table. It was different from the red healing potions or the blue mana potions. Jinwoo looked around, then quickly tilted Yoo Jinho’s head back and poured the potion down his throat.
  1451.  
  1452. The effects took in an instant.
  1453.  
  1454. Yoo Jinho’s eyes shot open.
  1455.  
  1456. “Hyungnim?”
  1457.  
  1458. “You awake now?”
  1459.  
  1460. His head was tilted back. His hyungnim was standing over him, looking down.
  1461.  
  1462. “Hyungnim, what are you doing?”
  1463.  
  1464. “...”
  1465.  
  1466. Jinwoo could not figure out how to explain all this. He decided to feign ignorance.
  1467.  
  1468. “Let’s go.”
  1469.  
  1470. “Yes, hyungnim!”
  1471.  
  1472. Yoo Jinho quickly got up from his seat and was confused.
  1473.  
  1474. ‘Huh? Why does my body feel so light?’
  1475.  
  1476. The young man stretched his body here and there, then ran after Jinwoo with a bright expression.
  1477.  
  1478. As the pair left the restaurant, the news on the TV continued,
  1479.  
  1480. [-Here’s the next report. The U.S. government remains silent on the explosion at the FBH headquarters few days ago…]
  1481.  
  1482.  
  1483. Translator’s Notes:
  1484.  
  1485. [1]: It was noted in previous chapters, but the FBH HQ is in Washington, D.C.
  1486.  
  1487. [2]: Found another mistake in the original text! In the original text, it says Hwang Dongseok (the dead older brother’s name) here, xD. Your welcome, author!
  1488.  
  1489. [3]: Ok, I think I found another error here. The original text says his intelligence was 89, but that doesn’t make sense considering he gained 10 levels since the last time we saw his status screen (level 51, int was 80). So his int should be at least 90. Also, right next in the passage, he says he put in all of the daily quest points into int. It’s been 3 days since he left the red gate, that should be 9 points into int, so I think it should be 99.
  1490.  
  1491.  
  1492. I Alone Level-up: Chapter 69
  1493.  
  1494. Next morning, Jinwoo went straight to Daesung Tower.
  1495.  
  1496. ‘Man, it’s still so tall.’
  1497.  
  1498. A skyscraper with a hundred floors. Standing near it, you’d have to strain your neck to look up to the top.
  1499.  
  1500. ‘There are a lot of people here today.’
  1501.  
  1502. Compared to the last time he had come here, there were a lot more people around. Guess that was the literal difference between night and day. Whether it was the lobby, entrance or the sidewalk, people came and went nonstop.
  1503.  
  1504. ‘Man, if I just disappeared into thin air like last time, it’ll cause quite a commotion.’
  1505.  
  1506. There were already many eyes looking for him because of this so-called “unknown helper” incident. Was there a need for him to reveal himself and purposely attract attention?
  1507.  
  1508. ‘Of course not.’
  1509.  
  1510. Jinwoo did not enjoy having attention focused on him. He walked over to a hidden corner and took out the Demon Castle Key. It was a slender, golden key. At a casual glance, it was clearly nonfunctional.
  1511.  
  1512. ‘No one’s looking, right?’
  1513.  
  1514. Jinwoo looked around and nodded.
  1515.  
  1516. ‘Time to go.’
  1517.  
  1518. The Hunter used the ‘Stealth’ skill.
  1519.  
  1520. shooo-
  1521.  
  1522. The invisible man came out of his hiding spot then made his way through the crowd to the building. Because of how packed the streets were, he couldn’t avoid bumping into few people here and there, but none of them paid any mind.
  1523.  
  1524. ‘Man, this skill can be used for some really bad things.’
  1525.  
  1526. No wonder high-rankers with ‘Stealth’ were under a lot of surveillance.
  1527.  
  1528. flaaaare!
  1529.  
  1530. In the meantime, he passed through the invisible threshold into a completely different world.
  1531.  
  1532. ‘If I can hear the flames from here, just how hot is it?’
  1533.  
  1534. Jinwoo looked up at the massive tower on fire. It stood where Daesung Tower was moments ago. The Demon Castle nearly filled his entire vision. Still, they say humans can get used to anything.
  1535.  
  1536. ‘Feels less oppressive than last time.’
  1537.  
  1538. Indeed, Jinwoo’s anxiousness was practically nonexistent this time.
  1539.  
  1540. Or perhaps,
  1541.  
  1542. ‘It’s because I’ve grown that much.’
  1543.  
  1544. Jinwoo returned the golden Demon Castle Key to the inventory then took out a gray key.
  1545.  
  1546. Castle Gate Key
  1547. Rarity: A-rank
  1548.  
  1549. Type: Key
  1550.  
  1551. It is the key to the Demon Castle’s gates.
  1552.  
  1553. Obtained after killing the Gatekeeper.
  1554.  
  1555. It was what he obtained after killing the watchdog, Cerberus. He was unable to use it in the past, having just barely defeated Cerberus. Now, he would finally enter the castle. Next, he took out his weapon. Baruka’s Tanto in his right hand, the gate key in his left, Jinwoo carefully walked towards the castle gate. Curiously, he did not see Cerberus.
  1556.  
  1557. ‘Do monsters not respawn in the Demon Castle Dungeon?’
  1558.  
  1559. Might be just limited to the dog, but there was a strong possibility that it was a special rule of this place.
  1560.  
  1561. ‘If that’s the case…’
  1562.  
  1563. The interiors might be a little different than the Instant Dungeons where monsters respawned. Jinwoo sharply focused his senses.
  1564.  
  1565. BA DUM BA DUM BA DUM!
  1566.  
  1567. Because of the sense stat that had reached over a hundred, focusing his senses made his own heartbeat sound like thunder.
  1568.  
  1569. ‘But I am not afraid.’
  1570.  
  1571. Compared to the past, what he felt now was not fear but an overwhelming confidence resulting from his power. Maintaining a sharpness and being afraid were two completely different things.
  1572.  
  1573. ring~
  1574.  
  1575. A message appeared in front of the castle door.
  1576.  
  1577. Would you like to use the Castle Gate Key and enter? (Y/N)
  1578. ‘No, miss System, I’ll just turn back and go home.’
  1579.  
  1580. Jinwoo laughed at the stupid question and selected “Yes”.
  1581.  
  1582. creaaaak-
  1583.  
  1584. He had not touched the door, but the giant gates swung open on their own.
  1585.  
  1586. Clunk!
  1587.  
  1588. ‘Huh…?’
  1589.  
  1590. Jinwoo was taken back. Even though his senses were focused, he did not sense any monsters past the doors.
  1591.  
  1592. ‘No monsters?’
  1593.  
  1594. He had prepared for the exact opposite. His worst case scenario visioned a scene where a ton of monsters jumped him the moment he opened the door. It was this pessimistic thought that had carried him to the penalty zone for training.
  1595.  
  1596. ‘But…’
  1597.  
  1598. Just what was this? It seemed like his efforts were in vain. The inside of the castle was almost pathetically devoid of any monsters’ presence.
  1599.  
  1600. ‘Huh… What now?’
  1601.  
  1602. With a disappointed feeling, Jinwoo returned Baruka’s Tanto to the inventory and stepped into the Demon Castle. As these things usually go, that first step into the area triggered the response.
  1603.  
  1604. ring~
  1605.  
  1606. Jinwoo reflexively called his two daggers to his hands in a flash.
  1607.  
  1608. ‘What! What is it?!’
  1609.  
  1610. A quest has arrived.
  1611. ‘A quest?’
  1612.  
  1613. And it’s not the daily quest? Well that would’ve been weird; he had already made sure to complete the daily quest before coming here. Then this must be… just a quest.
  1614.  
  1615. This was the first time he had received “just” a quest.
  1616.  
  1617. ‘Every other quest up until now was hidden, emergency or something.’
  1618.  
  1619. Jinwoo checked the quest with a tilted head.
  1620.  
  1621. Ordinary Quest: Collect the Demon Souls! Part 1
  1622. The Demon Castle is full of demons. Please hunt them and collect their souls to earn a special reward. Normal demons contain only one soul, but the upper floors will have demons with multiple souls.
  1623. Quest Requirement: Enter the Demon Castle
  1624. Quest Goal: Demon Souls 0 / 10,000
  1625. Rewards:
  1626.  
  1627. Pick one item from every item possible
  1628.  
  1629. Stat points +20
  1630.  
  1631. Unknown Reward
  1632.  
  1633. 20 Stat points! As always, the first thing that grabbed Jinwoo’s attention was the stat point reward.
  1634.  
  1635. ‘I can raise my intelligence by 20!’
  1636.  
  1637. He could not help but smile. The disadvantages of low mana could not be understated.
  1638.  
  1639. ‘I need a ton of mana to keep my soldiers regenerating.’
  1640.  
  1641. And mana wasn’t the only benefit of the intelligence stat. Jinwoo was finally able to learn that as his intelligence increased, the number of shadows he could extract and store increased as well[1]. Because of all this, increasing his intelligence was urgent.
  1642.  
  1643. ‘There’s a limit with just level-ups and daily quests…’
  1644.  
  1645. If he could earn 20 bonus stats through the quest, it would take care of a large problem.
  1646.  
  1647. gulp
  1648.  
  1649. ‘And…’
  1650.  
  1651. Jinwoo looked up from the stat reward.
  1652.  
  1653. “Pick one item from every item possible”
  1654.  
  1655. Just the bonus stats were an insane reward, then there was this.
  1656.  
  1657. ‘Really? Every item possible?’
  1658.  
  1659. Jinwoo remembered the absolute highest-class equipments from the shop.
  1660.  
  1661. ‘There were even…’
  1662.  
  1663. S-rank equipment that cost billions, some even tens of billions, of gold. Jinwoo looked at Knight Killer in his left hand. This powerful dagger cost nearly three million gold, and he was still using it.
  1664.  
  1665. ‘If a B-rank dagger costing nearly three million is this good, just how good are the S-rank daggers costing tens of billions?’
  1666.  
  1667. He became curious. Looking at just the first and second rewards, even ignoring the unknown third reward, this was an incredible quest.
  1668.  
  1669. ‘Considering the rewards, taking down few monsters will be as easy as eating-’
  1670.  
  1671. Because Jinwoo’s eyes fell on the quest rewards first, he had not taken a closer look at the quest goal. The man finally looked at the number of zeros and was shocked.
  1672.  
  1673. “Ten… thousand?”
  1674.  
  1675. Jinwoo could not help but exclaim loudly. This was not just “taking down few monsters”.
  1676.  
  1677. ‘It’s really, really not an ordinary quest.’
  1678.  
  1679. No matter what kind of monsters these demons were, killing ten thousand of them would be an ordeal. However, the Hunter smiled widely.
  1680.  
  1681. ‘That is… if I was alone.’
  1682.  
  1683. The current number of soldiers was 50. They each just had to take down 200 demons. Yes, with those soldiers, this quest would be doable.
  1684.  
  1685. Would you like to accept the quest?
  1686. ‘Of course.’
  1687.  
  1688. There was no way he would refuse.
  1689.  
  1690. You’ve accepted the quest.
  1691. If he failed, the “penalty” would be just the wasted time.
  1692.  
  1693. ‘Compared the penalty of those other quests… bleh…’
  1694.  
  1695. His life was on the line for the Class Advancement Quest and the Emergency Quests. Compared to those, this was truly a blessed quest. Jinwoo raised his head,
  1696.  
  1697. ‘So that’s going to keep track of my progress?’
  1698.  
  1699. The moment he accepted the quest, a counter appeared in the air.
  1700.  
  1701. Collected Demon Souls: 0 / 10,000
  1702. ‘10,000… This’ll be a long road.’
  1703.  
  1704. With the numbers he imagined in his head actually visualized, Jinwoo chuckled in disbelief. Suddenly, he discovered another counter to the left to the souls counter.
  1705.  
  1706. ‘Huh?’
  1707.  
  1708. Exp. to Next Level: 60,000
  1709. The holographic letters clearly displayed a number, and it was telling him that he would level up once he filled that number.
  1710.  
  1711. ‘Am I finally able to see my experience?’
  1712.  
  1713. But he was Level 61. 61 didn’t particularly seem like a milestone level for something like this to happen. Not only that, Jinwoo didn’t see such a counter before heading into the Demon Castle.
  1714.  
  1715. ‘Let’s see…’
  1716.  
  1717. Jinwoo took a step back and exited the Demon Castle. With that, both the soul counter and the experience counter disappeared. When he went back in, the two counters returned as if they were always there.
  1718.  
  1719. ‘Looks like it’s only for the Demon Castle.’
  1720.  
  1721. It was a shame he wouldn’t be able to see the experience counter on the outside, but it would surely be convenient while he was in here. On the other hand,
  1722.  
  1723. ‘Does that mean it’ll take that long to conquer this place?’
  1724.  
  1725. That was certainly a possibility. Jinwoo pored over the details of the quest once more, then closed the message box.
  1726.  
  1727. ‘Think I got the details down.’
  1728.  
  1729. Finally, it would be time to explore the interiors of the Demon Castle.
  1730.  
  1731. ‘Whoa!’
  1732.  
  1733. wooooooooo-
  1734.  
  1735. A ruined city lay before his eyes. Unexpectedly, it was another field-type Dungeon.
  1736.  
  1737. ‘Where is this? Is this Seoul?’
  1738.  
  1739. Perhaps if everyone in Seoul died and a hundred years passed, it might look like this. A lifeless city faded to gray. Few street lights flickered on and off here and there.
  1740.  
  1741. ‘To think that it’d be another field-type Dungeon…’
  1742.  
  1743. On top of that, it was using the great city of Seoul as its base. Next to the Instant Dungeons that used a subway station or a mall as their base, this was incomparable. Jinwoo’s eyes narrowed.
  1744.  
  1745. ‘Where do I go first?’
  1746.  
  1747. Where was the goal? Jinwoo looked over here and there. Thankfully, he did not have to wonder for too long. From a distance, where Namsan Tower should’ve been, a giant pillar of light stood in its place.
  1748.  
  1749. ‘Let’s try over there.’
  1750.  
  1751. Jinwoo started heading towards the direction. In case he got lost, he carefully remembered the area where the castle gate was. However, he did not go too far when he was interrupted,
  1752.  
  1753. “Kik kik.”
  1754.  
  1755. “Kikikik.”
  1756.  
  1757. Small monsters crawled out from between the buildings here and there.
  1758.  
  1759. ‘Low-level Demon’
  1760.  
  1761. Jinwoo read the dark red names above their heads and understood what they were.
  1762.  
  1763. ‘They look like…’
  1764.  
  1765. If the gargoyle magic beasts had wings, it would look just like them. There were eight of them. Jinwoo smiled.
  1766.  
  1767. ‘Got eight souls.’
  1768.  
  1769. Pierce!
  1770.  
  1771. One of the demons sported Baruka’s Tanto out of its forehead.
  1772.  
  1773. You’ve defeated a Low-level Demon.
  1774. You’ve earned 100 experience points.
  1775. You’ve earned 1 Demon Soul.
  1776. “Kiak?”
  1777.  
  1778. “Kiek?”
  1779.  
  1780. While they were distracted by their fallen comrade, Jinwoo quickly ran over and removed another’s head.
  1781.  
  1782. slash!
  1783.  
  1784. You’ve defeated a Low-level Demon.
  1785. You’ve earned 100 experience points.
  1786. You’ve earned 1 Demon Soul.
  1787. These things gave a hundred experience points each.
  1788.  
  1789. ‘And I need 60,000 experience points to level-up…’
  1790.  
  1791. Defeating 600 of these low-level demons should level him up. The remaining demons fell quickly.
  1792.  
  1793. “Kiiiiiiek!”
  1794.  
  1795. “Kek!”
  1796.  
  1797. Current souls at 8. Experienced gained was 800.
  1798.  
  1799. ‘Not a bad start.’
  1800.  
  1801. A marathon starts with just a few steps. Jinwoo’s eyes sparkled, looking for the next prey.
  1802.  
  1803. Baekho Guild. Guildmaster’s Office.
  1804.  
  1805. After being busy for the past few days, Baek Yoonho was going through the documents and reports that he had been neglecting.
  1806.  
  1807. Beep-
  1808.  
  1809. He picked up the phone.
  1810.  
  1811. - “Guildmaster, Hunter Min Byunggu-nim is calling. Would you like me to connect?”
  1812.  
  1813. “Yes, please.”
  1814.  
  1815. - “Alright.”
  1816.  
  1817. A moment later, a familiar voice came from the receiver.
  1818.  
  1819. - “Baek hyung, why is your cellphone off?”
  1820.  
  1821. Baek Yoonho sighed deeply,
  1822.  
  1823. “Because of those damn reporters. I’m going dark until this damn story dies down.”
  1824.  
  1825. - “Oh, yeah, that! Red Gate! I saw the news from Japan. Hyung, you look pretty good on the TV.”
  1826.  
  1827. “Don’t test me. I’m not in the mood to joke around. Once I find who leaked that story, I’m going to just…”
  1828.  
  1829. - “Don’t worry about that too much, hyung. That story’s going to get pushed over by a big news soon.”
  1830.  
  1831. “A big news? From Japan?”
  1832.  
  1833. - “Yeah. The problem is worse than we thought. It’s going to make waves in Korea soon.”
  1834.  
  1835. “Why? What happened?”
  1836.  
  1837. A week ago, Japan secretly contacted the Korean Hunter Association and the large Guilds of South Korea. They were informed that Japan needed a consultation with Korea’s Hunters. And so, several Hunters representing Korea headed over to Japan for a meeting. Min Byunggu was one of those Hunters. Baek Yoonho had been curious about the matter,
  1838.  
  1839. “Stop messing around and spill it. This is the first time those Japanese bastards asked for our advice on something. Just what’s going on over there that could rattle those arrogant fucks?” [2]
  1840.  
  1841. - “Baek hyung, you remember the ants of Jeju Island, right?”
  1842.  
  1843. An S-rank Gate underwent a Dungeon Break four years ago on Jeju Island. The Dungeon was populated by ant type magic beasts. South Korea had attempted to reclaim the island three times. They failed three times. Eventually, the government gave up on the jewel of Korea, and Jeju Island became the land of the magic beasts.
  1844.  
  1845. “How could I forget? I almost died during one of the reclamation efforts.”
  1846.  
  1847. - “There’s been a development in that area.”
  1848.  
  1849. “Development? Who the hell cares. Let them kill and eat each other on that island.”
  1850.  
  1851. - “That’s…”
  1852.  
  1853. The voice on the phone became filled with worry and continued,
  1854.  
  1855. - “They discovered a corpse of a winged ant on the coast of Japan.” [3]
  1856.  
  1857.  
  1858. Translator’s Notes:
  1859.  
  1860. [1]: Oh, here it is. The actual confirmation that intelligence increased his maximum shadows.
  1861.  
  1862. [2]: Err, in case anyone’s uncomfortable with the rather blatant racism, the relationship between Korean and Japan, especially for older folks, is not that good.
  1863.  
  1864. [3]: In the next arc of SoloxLeveling, we’ll be visiting the Chimera Ant Island :P
  1865.  
  1866.  
  1867. I Alone Level-up: Chapter 70
  1868.  
  1869. You’ve defeated a Low-level Demon.
  1870. You’ve earned 100 experience points.
  1871. You’ve earned 1 Demon Soul.
  1872.  
  1873.  
  1874. You’ve defeated a Low-level Demon.
  1875. You’ve earned 100 experience points.
  1876. You’ve earned 1 Demon Soul.
  1877. Jinwoo had been hunting the low-level demons for two hours now. He checked the current soul count.
  1878.  
  1879. Collected Demon Souls: 309 / 10,000
  1880. The quest was 3% done. Additionally, at the current rate, he would level-up in about two more hours of hunting. His current level was 61. It took nine C-rank Dungeons to level-up from 60 to 61, and that was over two days. Compared to that, he would be able to gain one level after four hours of hunting here.
  1881.  
  1882. ‘That’s crazy.’
  1883.  
  1884. A smile appeared on Jinwoo’s face. How long had it been since he enjoyed hunting this much?
  1885.  
  1886. ‘I think it’s the first time since that day.’
  1887.  
  1888. He recalled his first Instant Dungeon with nostalgia. Jinwoo had alternated hunting between the first and second levels of the subway Dungeon nonstop until he stopped leveling up.
  1889.  
  1890. “Kiek!”
  1891.  
  1892. Everytime Jinwoo’s dagger flashed, a low-level demon fell.
  1893.  
  1894. “Kiaaak!”
  1895.  
  1896. “Kiek.”
  1897.  
  1898. “Keh geck, kek!”
  1899.  
  1900. Sometimes, more than one with a single swing. In no time, he took down 20 more low-level demons.
  1901.  
  1902. ‘This is amazing.’
  1903.  
  1904. The experience points and soul counts increased appropriately with the fallen demons. On top of that were the drops. A smile bloomed on the face of the Hunter collecting items.
  1905.  
  1906. ‘Looks like the horns are a guaranteed drop.’
  1907.  
  1908. Low-level Demon’s Horn
  1909. Rarity: None
  1910.  
  1911. Type: Junk
  1912.  
  1913. A horn from the low-level demon’s head. As a valuable magic reagent, a demon’s horn sells for quite an amount.
  1914.  
  1915. The junk item, “Demon’s Horn”. Selling it at the shop earned him 200,000 gold.
  1916.  
  1917. ‘Even Cerberus’ teeth sold for 150,000 each… The monsters of the Demon Castle sure are generous.’
  1918.  
  1919. Having tasted the value of the shop recently, the junk items were no longer just “junk” to Jinwoo. They were valuable gold would become his flesh and blood.
  1920.  
  1921. ‘There’s really nothing to throw away.’
  1922.  
  1923. Jinwoo happily sold what needed to be sold and stored whatever he didn’t. While he was going through the corpses, he discovered something.
  1924.  
  1925. ‘What’s this?’
  1926.  
  1927. He found an item he had not seen before.
  1928.  
  1929. Entry Permit
  1930. Rarity: ???
  1931.  
  1932. Type: ???
  1933.  
  1934. It’s a permit to enter the 2nd Floor.
  1935.  
  1936. Usable in the interfloor movement magic circle on the 1st Floor.
  1937.  
  1938. It was a document rolled up like a scroll.
  1939.  
  1940. ‘Entry Permit?’
  1941.  
  1942. Unfurling the scroll, Jinwoo found a bunch of letters and shapes he could not interpret. The only information he could find was in the item’s information box.
  1943.  
  1944. ‘An item that lets me go from the first floor to the second…’
  1945.  
  1946. Could it be? Jinwoo looked around the area. While this was the interiors of the Demon Castle, in a way, its base was Daesung Tower. If the Demon Castle was divided up into floors like Daesung Tower, then this would be the 1st Floor.
  1947.  
  1948. ‘It never even occurred to me that a field-type Dungeon could have multiple floors…’
  1949.  
  1950. Did that mean this place also had a hundred floors like Daesung Tower? Imagining the sheer scale of the Dungeon, Jinwoo stuck out a tongue.
  1951.  
  1952. ‘...It can’t actually be a hundred floors, right?’
  1953.  
  1954. Only one way to find out. He had to find that magic circle.
  1955.  
  1956. ‘Only place that the interfloor movement magic circle could be is…’
  1957.  
  1958. Jinwoo looked over to the pillar of light that reached to the sky.
  1959.  
  1960. ‘...That.’
  1961.  
  1962. Well, it was his goal from the start, but he was distracted by hunting the low-level demons and ended up in the opposite direction.
  1963.  
  1964. ‘Guess I’ll head over there now.’
  1965.  
  1966. He had hunted all the low-level demons in the area anyways. Jinwoo smiled.
  1967.  
  1968. ‘Come forth.’
  1969.  
  1970. The Shadow Soldiers stored by Shadow Storage did not need any particular command to be summoned. All he had to do was call on them with intent.
  1971.  
  1972. shooo-
  1973.  
  1974. The Shadow Beast spawned from the alpha ice bear stood before Jinwoo.
  1975.  
  1976. grrrrl
  1977.  
  1978. The monstrous bear stood on its hind legs. It towered over a house. However, in front of Jinwoo, it was no different than a trained puppy.
  1979.  
  1980. “Down.”
  1981.  
  1982. whimper
  1983.  
  1984. The Shadow Beast obediently lowered its body, and Jinwoo got on its back.
  1985.  
  1986. “Hiyah!”
  1987.  
  1988. Jinwoo kicked the side of the beast, and his ride shot forward towards the pillar of light with a terrifying speed.
  1989.  
  1990. koong koong koong koong!
  1991.  
  1992. Combined with the large strides of its giant body, doubled up with its unnaturally fast speed, the objective came closer with great haste. Well, there was an obstacle every once in a while.
  1993.  
  1994. “Kirik!”
  1995.  
  1996. “Kik kik!”
  1997.  
  1998. ROOAR!
  1999.  
  2000. The beast swiped its claws with a lightning speed, and the obstacles disappeared in an instant.
  2001.  
  2002. Oh?
  2003.  
  2004. Jinwoo nodded in satisfaction.
  2005.  
  2006. ‘I just got on for kicks and giggles, but he’s better than I thought.’
  2007.  
  2008. Jinwoo decided he would use him as a mount in the future and even gave it a name.
  2009.  
  2010. “From now on, your name is Tank.”
  2011.  
  2012. “Guoooo!”
  2013.  
  2014. The Shadow Beast, no, Tank raised its head and howled. Jinwoo wasn’t sure if it liked or disliked the name. Slowing down, Tank reached and stopped before the pillar of light.
  2015.  
  2016. “Good boy.”
  2017.  
  2018. Jinwoo dismounted, petted the Shadow Beast then returned him to his shadow. He turned around.
  2019.  
  2020. ring~
  2021.  
  2022. You’ve discovered the interfloor movement magic circle.
  2023. A circle magic seal was drawn on the floor. The light from the magic circle reached the sky. Jinwoo stepped in the light.
  2024.  
  2025. ‘...’
  2026.  
  2027. Nothing happened. Confused, Jinwoo took few more steps and reached the center of the circle.
  2028.  
  2029. There are no other open floors.
  2030. Which floor would you like to go to?
  2031. “How many floors are there?”
  2032.  
  2033. There was no reply.
  2034.  
  2035. ‘To see the top, I just have to climb the tower, eh?’
  2036.  
  2037. Jinwoo thought for a moment. He was almost leveled up. Should he level-up here or go up a floor?
  2038.  
  2039. ‘Compared to the other Instant Dungeons, monsters don’t respawn here. There’s no point in staying in one place.’
  2040.  
  2041. On top of that, the quest told him that there would be demons with multiple souls in the upper floors. With regards to both experience points and souls, Jinwoo decided it would be better to go up to higher floors.
  2042.  
  2043. ‘Alright.’
  2044.  
  2045. Let’s go up.
  2046.  
  2047. Jinwoo spoked to the air,
  2048.  
  2049. “2nd Floor.”
  2050.  
  2051. An entry permit is required.
  2052. Following the instruction, Jinwoo took out the scroll from the inventory. The moment it left the inventory, the scroll disappeared with a flash of light.
  2053.  
  2054. The 2nd Floor of the Demon Castle has been opened..
  2055. You will now go up to the 2nd Floor.
  2056. wooooong-
  2057.  
  2058. The magic circle began to glow fiercely. At the same time, Jinwoo understood what was happening.
  2059.  
  2060. ‘Oh.. so this is…’
  2061.  
  2062. Just an elevator.
  2063.  
  2064. The moment he understood the pillar of light’s purpose, Jinwoo was sent to the 2nd Floor with a blinding flash.
  2065.  
  2066. 2nd Floor, 3rd Floor, 4th Floor… And now, 27th Floor.
  2067.  
  2068. This was Jinwoo’s progress in the past two days. He had told Jinah that he would be traveling for a week.
  2069.  
  2070. ‘I have five days remaining.’
  2071.  
  2072. Considering the increasing speed at which he was clearing each floor, Jinwoo gained hope that it might be possible for him to reach the 100th Floor in the five days remaining. Jinwoo looked around area. It was a completely destroyed city.
  2073.  
  2074. ‘I can’t even tell what city this is based off of.’
  2075.  
  2076. Every floor was a different city. Additionally, the destruction of the cities worsened as he went up the floors. On the 27th Floor, it started becoming harder to even call it a city anymore. Is this what a city would look like if it was carpet bombed? Jinwoo dismissed the thought and shook his head.
  2077.  
  2078. ‘Not the time for such thoughts.’
  2079.  
  2080. He checked his watch; it was 11 PM. There was no night or day in this place. He had to rely on his watch to keep track of the time. If it was 11 o’clock, he should grab some rest. Proper sleep was necessary to continue the Raid. Before that,
  2081.  
  2082. ‘Let’s check the progress.’
  2083.  
  2084. Collected Demon Souls: 2,116 / 10,000
  2085. ‘2,100…’
  2086.  
  2087. It was a rate of roughly a thousand demons a day. He had made good progress in the past two days. There was still a long way to go to ten thousand, but Jinwoo had great expectations on those demons with multiple souls on the upper floors.
  2088.  
  2089. ‘Looks like the most important thing is to keep going up.’
  2090.  
  2091. After that would be leveling.
  2092.  
  2093. “Wow!”
  2094.  
  2095. Jinwoo opened his eyes wide.
  2096.  
  2097. Level: 67
  2098. He had reached Level 67 in no time. Going from the low-level demons that gave 100 experience points to mid-level demons that gave 300, the progress he made towards leveling increased explosively.
  2099.  
  2100. ‘Man, I really am leveling up fast here.’
  2101.  
  2102. Ton of monsters. Generous experience points. A proper difficulty.
  2103.  
  2104. The Demon Castle was truly a heaven for leveling. And that was not all. Jinwoo had diligently worked on raising the proficiency of his kills. Even now, he was keeping Knight Killer hovering over his hand. The ‘Ruler’s Hands’. It was a skill that allowed him to move physical things without touching them.
  2105.  
  2106. ‘Thankfully, the “Ruler’s Hands” don’t cost any mana.’
  2107.  
  2108. It was a bit tiring to keep his mind concentrated on maintaining the skill, but compared to the benefits of raising his proficiency, it was worth it. As if on cue, Jinwoo received the good news.
  2109.  
  2110. ‘Ruler’s Hands’ has leveled up!
  2111. ‘Alright!’
  2112.  
  2113. Jinwoo beamed in happiness and rested his back against the wall. Everytime he became stronger, his heart relaxed a bit. His eyelids began to droop.
  2114.  
  2115. ‘Hmm, he should’ve gotten his license by now.’
  2116.  
  2117. Wonder if Yoo Jinho was well? It’s been a while since Jinwoo moved on his own. It made him think of the young man who had always clung to his back in Dungeons. The fight between the older brother who had already proven his worth in the financial world and the younger brother who was only a college student with a Guildmaster license. It would not be an easy battle.
  2118.  
  2119. ‘Stay strong, Yoo Jinho.’
  2120.  
  2121. Cheering Yoo Jinho on in his heart, Jinwoo slowly fell into deep slumber.
  2122.  
  2123. Yoo Jinho entered the high-end Korean restaurant with a determined face. He handpicked the location to accommodate his father’s tastes.
  2124.  
  2125. “The chairman?”
  2126.  
  2127. “He’s waiting inside.”
  2128.  
  2129. Yoo Jinho gulped.
  2130.  
  2131. “Please, this way.”
  2132.  
  2133. Yoo Jinho was led to the room his father was in.
  2134.  
  2135. slide-
  2136.  
  2137. The sliding door opened, and the young man saw his father’s face across the room. His nervousness multiplied. The moment of weakness lasting only a moment, Yoo Jinho gathered his courage and sat down across his father.
  2138.  
  2139. “So what is this all about? To think that you of all people would actually set-up a meeting with me.”
  2140.  
  2141. “Father, before I say my piece, please take a look at this.”
  2142.  
  2143. “This is…?”
  2144.  
  2145. “It’s my Guildmaster license and my raiding records.”
  2146.  
  2147. “A Guildmaster… licence? You?”
  2148.  
  2149. When Yoo Myunghan looked at him with a suspicious gaze, Yoo Jinho nodded happily,
  2150.  
  2151. “Yes, father.”
  2152.  
  2153. Without a word, Yoo Myunghan took the documents Yoo Jinho took out and looked over them. As the chairman pored over the information, a light appeared in his eyes.
  2154.  
  2155. “So,”
  2156.  
  2157. Yoo Myunghan put down the documents on the table.
  2158.  
  2159. “You’re telling me you want Yoojin Guild?”
  2160.  
  2161. “Yes, sir.”
  2162.  
  2163. “Hmm…”
  2164.  
  2165. For a brief moment, traces of surprise and contemplation appeared in Yoo Myunghan’s face.
  2166.  
  2167. ‘To think that father actually has to take the time to choose between me and my brother.’
  2168.  
  2169. Yoo Jinho was amazed. Even just that was a great result for the young man. If it was him in the past, he would’ve been satisfied with that. However, Yoo Jinho had changed. The young man did not want to back off after coming this far.
  2170.  
  2171. “Father should know already, but leaving the Guildmaster’s position to an outsider gives too much power to someone not under-”
  2172.  
  2173. “Enough.”
  2174.  
  2175. Yoo Myunghan held up a hand. At the same time, Yoo Jinho closed this mouth. In the Yoo clan, the word “enough” from Yoo Myunghan was an absolute order no one would dare refuse.
  2176.  
  2177. “There is someone I want to introduce you to.”
  2178.  
  2179. “Sir?”
  2180.  
  2181. Yoo Jinho was caught off guard. The one who called for this meeting was him, so how could his father have someone to introduce him to? Who could it be? As the young man’s curiosity reached its peak, another entrance to the room opened.
  2182.  
  2183. “Er… Hello.”
  2184.  
  2185. A man in his 20~30s stood at the door and awkwardly greeted them.
  2186.  
  2187. Who?
  2188.  
  2189. Yoo Jinho did not recognize the man. Yoo Myunghan gestured with his chin, and the man sat down next to him.
  2190.  
  2191. “This is Hunter Go Myunghwan.”
  2192.  
  2193. ‘Go Myunghwan?’
  2194.  
  2195. Yoo Jinho was confused. It was a name he had never heard of. His father nodded understandingly then continued,
  2196.  
  2197. “That Baekho Guild’s Red Gate news making its rounds lately, he’s one of the survivors of that incident.”
  2198.  
  2199.  
  2200. I Alone Level-up: Chapter 71
  2201.  
  2202. Yoo Jinho was shocked.
  2203.  
  2204. ‘...Red Gate?’
  2205.  
  2206. Why would that be brought up here? Because of how much attention it was getting in the media, Yoo Jinho was well aware of the incident. However, he was not sure why his father was bringing it up in this meeting.
  2207.  
  2208. ‘And that man…’
  2209.  
  2210. The so-called survivor of the incident. The press was looking for anyone related to the incident with fervor. How was that man even called to this place? Questions piled up in Yoo Jinho’s mind. Watching him, Yoo Myunghan slowly opened his mouth,
  2211.  
  2212. “It appears that you are not aware.”
  2213.  
  2214. “Sir?”
  2215.  
  2216. Putting aside the confused Yoo Jinho, the chairman turned to the nervous looking Go Myunghwan.
  2217.  
  2218. “Hunter-nim.”
  2219.  
  2220. “Yes?”
  2221.  
  2222. “Please inform my son who was there on that day, other than the Baekho’s new recruits.”
  2223.  
  2224. “Understood.”
  2225.  
  2226. Go Myunghwan turned to Yoo Jinho. Looking at the man, Yoo Jinho still showed confusion on his face.
  2227.  
  2228. “There was a young female Hunter, about the age of a highschooler, and-”
  2229.  
  2230. ‘A young female Hunter?’
  2231.  
  2232. Up until that point, Yoo Jinho could not have dreamt of the name Go Myunghwan would say next,
  2233.  
  2234. “Sung Jinwoo-ssi.”
  2235.  
  2236. sink
  2237.  
  2238. Yoo Jinho could almost hear his heart sinking to his stomach.
  2239.  
  2240. ‘H-hyungnim was at the Red Gate incident?’
  2241.  
  2242. How could this have happened? Yoo Jinho’s mind fell into chaos. But then the young man remembered something,
  2243.  
  2244. ‘Wait, few days ago…’
  2245.  
  2246. Han Songyi, who had completely ignored hyungnim in the past, was sharing a friendly conversation with the man.
  2247.  
  2248. “What was the female Hunter’s name?”
  2249.  
  2250. “It’s Ms. Han Songyi.”
  2251.  
  2252. My god. Yoo Jinho’s mouth opened wide. To think that this was the secret of hyungnim and Han Songyi’s relationship.
  2253.  
  2254. ‘That means…’
  2255.  
  2256. The “unknown helper” theorized all over the news is… As if finishing his thought, Go Myunghwan continued,
  2257.  
  2258. “It was because of Sung Jinwoo-ssi that Ms. Han Songyi and our Baekho members were able to leave the Red Gate with our lives.”
  2259.  
  2260. ‘Oh my god…’
  2261.  
  2262. Hyungnim, just what were you doing over there. Yoo Jinho was half surprised and half happy at hearing his hyungnim’s name. The young man forgot about his father in front of him and brazenly asked,
  2263.  
  2264. “What happened in the Red Gate?”
  2265.  
  2266. Go Myunghwan looked to his side for permission. Yoo Myunghan nodded. The Hunter was already itching to go off into details, so the man happily explained everything that had happened in the Red Gate,
  2267.  
  2268. “Well, where to start…”
  2269.  
  2270. Yoo Jinho listened with his eyes sparkling.
  2271.  
  2272. “We were flustered at first, when we heard that two E-rank Hunters would be joining in our training. But…”
  2273.  
  2274. Go Myunghwan began regaling the tales that happened like a child showing off his new toy to his friends. However, he was not the only one excited by the tale,
  2275.  
  2276. “An A-rank Hunter?!”
  2277.  
  2278. “I know, right! He just slapped him like pow! And Kim Cheol just went down like boom!”
  2279.  
  2280. “Wow…”
  2281.  
  2282. Everytime he heard a new accomplishment of hyungnim, Yoo Jinho’s heart beat faster.
  2283.  
  2284. ‘As expected of hyungnim.’
  2285.  
  2286. Taking down the high-level magic beasts was nothing. But to think that he could knock out an A-rank Hunter in one blow. The fact that that man was his hyungnim filled Yoo Jinho with awe and pride. Go Myunghwan continued his story,
  2287.  
  2288. “-Then dozens of ice elves appeared out of thin air. I really thought we were done for then, but-”
  2289.  
  2290. Was it because they were so focused on the story? The time passed by quickly. The tale of the Red Gate was not a short story, but in no time, Go Myunghwan reached the end. The man spoke a little too excitedly,
  2291.  
  2292. “It was something impossible. Sung Jinwoo-ssi was the savior of everyone there.”
  2293.  
  2294. Yoo Jinho nodded along without realizing. He fully understood Go Myunghwan’s feelings. He himself was saved by hyungnim several times.
  2295.  
  2296. “And to think that we couldn’t tell the story of our savior! It was hard for me to accept Baekho’s decision on this matter. Fortunately, the chairman contacted me and-”
  2297.  
  2298. Yoo Myunghan cut off Go Myunghwan at the right time,
  2299.  
  2300. “Hunter Go Myunghwan-nim.”
  2301.  
  2302. “Sir?”
  2303.  
  2304. “I think that’s good enough.”
  2305.  
  2306. “Ah, I apologize. I got a little too excited.”
  2307.  
  2308. Go Myunghwan slightly bowed his head in embarrassment. Yoo Myunghan turned back to his son,
  2309.  
  2310. “And when I investigated Hunter Sung Jinwoo, an unexpected name appeared.”
  2311.  
  2312. Yoo Myunghan pointed to a name on a document in front of him. The man’s finger was on Yoo Jinho’s name. The document was one of the raiding reports the young Hunter had handed to his father in the beginning. The finger slid over to a second name on the document, Sung Jinwoo.
  2313.  
  2314. Raid Leader Yoo Jinho. Raid Member Sung Jinwoo.
  2315.  
  2316. The evidence was clear.
  2317.  
  2318. ‘He got me…’
  2319.  
  2320. The fact that he had borrowed a powerful Hunter’s abilities for his Guildmaster license plan was found out. Yoo Jinho’s expression hardened.
  2321.  
  2322. “The fact that Hunter Sung Jinwoo’s help was great in your plans to obtain the Guildmaster license. Do you deny it?”
  2323.  
  2324. “...No, sir.”
  2325.  
  2326. “Do you have anything else to say?”
  2327.  
  2328. “...”
  2329.  
  2330. The road ahead looked bleak to the young man. The moment hyungnim’s involvement in the plan was revealed, it became impossible to convince his father that he was worthy of Yoojin Guild.
  2331.  
  2332. ‘...’
  2333.  
  2334. His father continued to look at him with a fierce gaze. In the past, Yoo Jinho would’ve lost all strength before that gaze.
  2335.  
  2336. ‘But.’
  2337.  
  2338. He could not back off like this. For the first time in his life, Yoo Jinho gathered the courage to stand up to his father. The young man bowed his head and raised his voice,
  2339.  
  2340. “Could you please leave Yoojin Guild to me, father?”
  2341.  
  2342. “Alright.”
  2343.  
  2344. “Eh?”
  2345.  
  2346. At the cool reply, Yoo Jinho raised his head.
  2347.  
  2348. “I’ll leave Yoojin Guild to you.”
  2349.  
  2350. “Huh…?”
  2351.  
  2352. “You said it yourself. It’s too risky to leave the Guild to an outsider. With your existence, is there a need for us to take on unnecessary risk?”
  2353.  
  2354. “B-but, I tried to deceive you, father-”
  2355.  
  2356. “So what. Did you think I would scold you and chase you away?”
  2357.  
  2358. Was he mistaken? His father’s face remained stern; his mouth closed in a straight line. But Yoo Jinho felt like his father was smiling.
  2359.  
  2360. “If you had carelessly entered these Dungeons without a plan, perhaps I would’ve done so. I do not recall raising a fool for a son.”
  2361.  
  2362. Yoo Jinho felt his face becoming hot.
  2363.  
  2364. ‘If I never met hyungnim, I would be yelled at and sent away by father right now.’
  2365.  
  2366. Well, he would’ve probably died before that. Yoo Jinho sighed in relief in his mind.
  2367.  
  2368. “However, I have a condition.”
  2369.  
  2370. “Yes, sir.”
  2371.  
  2372. “This Hunter Sung Jinwoo… Could you bring him to Yoojin Guild?”
  2373.  
  2374. Yoo Jinho’s eyes opened wide,
  2375.  
  2376. “Hyungnim to our Guild?”
  2377.  
  2378. ‘Did he just say hyungnim?’
  2379.  
  2380. A light flashed across Yoo Myunghan’s eyes for a split second.
  2381.  
  2382. “Yes.”
  2383.  
  2384. Yoo Jinho could not reply easily,
  2385.  
  2386. ‘Argh…’
  2387.  
  2388. The young man knew he had to appear confident before his father right now. However, the target in question was hyungnim. All he could do is ask and hope for the best. So, he spoke truthfully to his father,
  2389.  
  2390. “I’m not sure.”
  2391.  
  2392. “Good. There would’ve been no point to a condition if it was that easy.”
  2393.  
  2394. Chairman Yoo Myunghan drank some water then wiped his mouth with a handkerchief.
  2395.  
  2396. “If you fail, I will turn the Guild over to your brother. How about it, will you give it a go?”
  2397.  
  2398. Yoo Jinho’s face filled with determination.
  2399.  
  2400. ‘I’ve worked hard for this opportunity…’
  2401.  
  2402. If he walked away now, he would not be able to raise his head in front of hyungnim, who had helped him until the very end. Yoo Jinho spoke with a serious look in his eyes,
  2403.  
  2404. “Yes, I will try.”
  2405.  
  2406. “Good.”
  2407.  
  2408. With his father’s last word, the deal between father and son was complete. Yoo Myunghan silently nodded to dismiss his son, and Yoo Jinho bid his goodbyes and left. Yoo Myunghan removed the handkerchief from his mouth; the man had difficulty hiding the smile on his face.
  2409.  
  2410. ‘That brat…’
  2411.  
  2412. To think that he would ask for the Yoojin Guild. He had a rough idea of what Yoo Jinho wanted when his son asked for this meeting, but it was beyond Yoo Myunghan’s expectations that his son would come with such determination.
  2413.  
  2414. ‘As expected, the tiger’s son is a tiger.’
  2415.  
  2416. The smile on Yoo Myunghan’s face slowly widened.
  2417.  
  2418. ‘Holy shit! THE Chairman Yoo Myunghan is smiling!’
  2419.  
  2420. Go Myunghwan was beyond shocked. The chairman’s nickname was “Pokerface”. Whether something good or bad happened, the man was famous for maintaining his stern and fierce expression. Sensing Go Myunghwan’s awed stare, Yoo Myunghan turned to his side and asked,
  2421.  
  2422. “Hunter-nim, do you have anything else to say?”
  2423.  
  2424. At the sudden question, Go Myunghwan hastily shook his head,
  2425.  
  2426. “N-no, sir.”
  2427.  
  2428. ...47, 48, 49, 50.
  2429.  
  2430. Jinwoo climbed toward the upper floor with a terrifying speed.
  2431.  
  2432. You’ve defeated a Mid-level Demon.
  2433. You’ve earned 300 experience points.
  2434. You’ve earned 1 Demon Soul.
  2435.  
  2436.  
  2437. You’ve defeated a Mid-level Demon...
  2438. You’ve defeated a Mid-level Demon...
  2439. However, looking at the piling up experience points and souls every time he defeated a demon, Jinwoo did not feel tired.
  2440.  
  2441. Collected Demon Souls: 4,388/ 10,000
  2442. ‘Not even halfway, huh?’
  2443.  
  2444. He felt like he had hunted an endless horde of demons here, but the wall known as 10,000 was still very high. What about his level?
  2445.  
  2446. Level: 69
  2447. He had gained two more levels after a day. It definitely had slowed down, but was still fast compared to the rate of soul collecting. Even now, he continued to gain experience points.
  2448.  
  2449. “Kkieeeek!”
  2450.  
  2451. ...Mid-level Demon.
  2452. You’ve earned 300 experience points.
  2453. You’ve earned 1 Demon Soul.
  2454. “Whew-!”
  2455.  
  2456. After taking down the last demon in front of him, Jinwoo stretched his back and looked around. Between the Shadow Soldiers standing at attention, countless corpses of mid-level demons were scattered about.
  2457.  
  2458. clap
  2459.  
  2460. Jinwoo smiled and put his hands together.
  2461.  
  2462. “Good job, everyone.”
  2463.  
  2464. The soldiers that fought hard returned to his shadow. While they could be used to collect magic cores in normal Dungeons, in here, only Jinwoo was able to collect the drops.
  2465.  
  2466. Would you like to acquire it?
  2467. After all, only he could respond to the System’s messages.
  2468.  
  2469. ‘This part’s a bit inconvenient.’
  2470.  
  2471. And so, if the number of demons was low, Jinwoo would take care of them on his own. Only against a larger group, were the soldiers summoned. After each battle, he went from corpse to corpse, stretching his hand toward the light and collecting drops.
  2472.  
  2473. ‘What was so fun about this that Jinho kept volunteering?’
  2474.  
  2475. Remembering his dongsaeng, Jinwoo smiled as he continued to work.
  2476.  
  2477. There was one more inconvenience here. In the Demon Castle, Shadow Extraction was impossible. The low-level and mid-level demons he fought did not give off the black smoke that indicated a soldier could be raised.
  2478.  
  2479. ‘Even when I stare at the corpses, all I get is-’
  2480.  
  2481. The mana is contaminated.
  2482. It’s not a possible target for Shadow Extraction.
  2483. The message that told him extraction was impossible due to contaminated mana.
  2484.  
  2485. ‘Well, what could I do?’
  2486.  
  2487. With a disappointed feeling, Jinwoo went from corpse to corpse and piled up the drop messages.
  2488.  
  2489. ring~
  2490.  
  2491. You’ve found 29 “Mid-level Demon’s Horns”
  2492. Would you like to acquire them all?
  2493. Jinwoo smiled widely,
  2494.  
  2495. ‘Of course!’
  2496.  
  2497. Looking at the items that piled up on the ground out of thin air, Jinwoo forgot about the disappointment regarding Shadow Extraction.
  2498.  
  2499. ‘Nothing I could use.’
  2500.  
  2501. Then everything has to go! The mass sale of junk items in the past few days had massively increased his hoard.
  2502.  
  2503. Current Gold: 914,690,772
  2504. Damn! Looking at the amount of gold he had amassed, Jinwoo was satisfied once more. His funds for the System’s shop had risen above 900 million.
  2505.  
  2506. ‘Makes sense. A single demon’s horn is about 200,000, and I’ve hunted 4,000 of them.’
  2507.  
  2508. And adding the other random items sold here and there, the gold piled up with terrifying speed.
  2509.  
  2510. ‘Should I purchase an S-rank weapon or an armor?’
  2511.  
  2512. Jinwoo shook his head. He didn’t particularly feel the need right now and did not want to forcefully spend gold.
  2513.  
  2514. ‘I’m sure I’ll have a need for it someday.’
  2515.  
  2516. Jinwoo closed the inventory and dusted off his hands. The area was roughly cleared. He had long since obtained the entry permit for the 51st Floor. All that was left to do is head over to the magic elevator…
  2517.  
  2518. Jinwoo moved his gaze to the pillar of light. Guarding the magic circle was a single giant demon surrounded by multiple high-level demons. Jinwoo looked above the giant demon’s head. Its name was floating in the usual place, in black letters:
  2519.  
  2520. ‘Overlord of the Lower Floors, Volkhan of Avarice’ [1]
  2521.  
  2522. The demon had a giant muscular body that looked like it weight several dozen, no, several hundred tons. In its hands was a terrifyingly large club. Still, Jinwoo smiled,
  2523.  
  2524. ‘So that’s the halfway boss?’
  2525.  
  2526. Jinwoo had no bad memories when it came to the bosses of the Instant Dungeons. They had always given a large amount of experience points and dropped good items. Compared to the boss-level magic beasts that often gave little reward, boss-level monsters were practically gift boxes. The Hunter wondered just what this thing would drop.
  2527.  
  2528. gulp
  2529.  
  2530. Jinwoo smiled as he gulped in anticipation.
  2531.  
  2532.  
  2533. Translator’s Notes:
  2534.  
  2535. [1]: “Overlord of the Lower Floors, Volkhan of Avarice” (하층의 지배자, 탐욕스런 볼칸): Wew, long name. “Lower level/floor” 하층 + “ruler/overlord/dominator” 지배자. “Greedy/Avarice” 탐욕스런 + proper name (ball 볼 + khan 칸). Note, the title for “overlord” 지배자, is the exact same word as “Ruler” from “Ruler’s Hands” skill (지배자의 손길), but I am purposely using a different word here. Don’t ask why.
  2536.  
  2537.  
  2538. I Alone Level-up: Chapter 72
  2539.  
  2540. ‘Shall we get started?’
  2541.  
  2542. The Shadow Soldiers appeared behind Jinwoo’s back. His army was composed of infantry, mages, beasts and the two knights. At their head stood Jinwoo. The two knights stepped forward and took place at Jinwoo’s sides. Ygritte to his right, Iron to his left. Looking at the pair, Jinwoo beamed with pride.
  2543.  
  2544. ‘They’re rather dependable.’
  2545.  
  2546. Even if it was his skill, they felt like comrades that protected his back. It gave Jinwoo a sense of security.
  2547.  
  2548. However,
  2549.  
  2550. ‘Facing that thing head on is a bit…’
  2551.  
  2552. Dangerous. Mainly because of the giant wooden club that Volkhan was holding.
  2553.  
  2554. ‘It’s amazing there’s a tree large enough to make that thing.’
  2555.  
  2556. Taking Volkhan’s giant body and the size of the wooden club into account, a single swipe would wipe away his entire army.
  2557.  
  2558. ‘Well, being wiped away is fine.’
  2559.  
  2560. The problem was the limited amount of mana he had to regenerate his entire army. Jinwoo knew his mana would plummet to the ground if he stupidly rushed at the demon with everyone at his disposal. That left one option,
  2561.  
  2562. ‘That musclehead is mine.’
  2563.  
  2564. His army would take care of the trash mobs around Volkhan, while Jinwoo fought the giant demon on his own. He felt that that was the best way to approach this fight.
  2565.  
  2566. ‘I just have to not get hit.’
  2567.  
  2568. Unlike his soldiers, Jinwoo was confident in his ability to dodge Volkhan’s attacks. The Hunter ordered the Shadow Mages to fire the opening shot.
  2569.  
  2570. ‘The ranged attacks will grab aggro from the trash mobs. When that slow looking thing lumbers behind the high-level demons, I’ll go fight it one-on-one.’
  2571.  
  2572. It was a straight forward tactic.
  2573.  
  2574. ‘Now.’
  2575.  
  2576. When he gave the signal, fireballs shot out from the Shadow Mages’ hands.
  2577.  
  2578. wooosh-
  2579.  
  2580. wooooooosh-
  2581.  
  2582. BANG!
  2583.  
  2584. The fireball exploded near the mobs around Volkhan and signaled the start of battle.
  2585.  
  2586. ring~!
  2587.  
  2588. The Overlord of the Lower Floors, Volkhan of Avarice has noticed an intruder!
  2589. Volkhan’s Bodyguard has noticed...
  2590. Volkhan’s Bodyguard has noticed...
  2591. ring, ring, ring!
  2592.  
  2593. The warning tones came one after another repeatedly. With the warning, Volkhan and the bodyguards turned their gazes toward Jinwoo.
  2594.  
  2595. ‘Alright…’
  2596.  
  2597. They succeeded in grabbing the enemy’s attention. Jinwoo activated ‘Stealth’; his plan was to flank around the trash mobs and get to Volkhan.
  2598.  
  2599. shooo-
  2600.  
  2601. Everything was going to plan.
  2602.  
  2603. ...Or so he thought.
  2604.  
  2605. BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM-!
  2606.  
  2607. ‘...!!!’
  2608.  
  2609. Contrary to Jinwoo’s expectations, Volkhan was the first to run towards the Shadow Army. If it wasn’t for the fact that they were about to engage in a difficult battle, it would’ve almost been comical sight. Instead of lumbering slowly, the giant demon was running at full sprint towards them, almost as if,
  2610.  
  2611. ‘What the hell?! What’s with its movement?! It’s like someone pressed fast forward on a video!’
  2612.  
  2613. Indeed, Volkhan had reached them in a blink of an eye! Leaving behind his bodyguards, the giant demon stopped before the Shadow Soldiers.
  2614.  
  2615. ‘I fucked up!’
  2616.  
  2617. Jinwoo’s eyes opened wide. The demon’s mountain-like body displayed a speed that betrayed all logic.
  2618.  
  2619. “Mm!”
  2620.  
  2621. Volkhan raised its club and brought it down. As the club fell down towards the exposed Shadow Mages, Iron appeared out nowhere and raised his pitch-black shield to block.
  2622.  
  2623. SMASH!
  2624.  
  2625.  
  2626. CRACK!
  2627.  
  2628. It was a valiant effort… While the giant knight managed to blocked the attack, Iron’s two arms were completely destroyed. The Shadow Soldier with the highest defense was rendered useless after a single attack.
  2629.  
  2630. thud
  2631.  
  2632. Pieces of Iron’s two broken arms fell onto the ground.
  2633.  
  2634. “Mm? Mm?”
  2635.  
  2636. As if disappointed by its last attack, Volkhan tilted his head and squinted at his club. Well, the demon’s confusion only lasted for a split second. The wooden club was brought down once more.
  2637.  
  2638. “Mm!”
  2639.  
  2640. CRACK!
  2641.  
  2642. With no way to defend anymore, Iron and the Shadow Mages behind him were crushed without resistance.
  2643.  
  2644. snap
  2645.  
  2646. Watching this scene, something snapped inside of Jinwoo.
  2647.  
  2648. ‘You fucking…’
  2649.  
  2650. The Hunter bit his lower lip. His body moved before his mind could give the order.
  2651.  
  2652. jump!
  2653.  
  2654. Before he realized, Jinwoo was already in the air, flying towards Volkhan. His target was clear. Compared to its mountain-like body, the demon’s head was tiny. Jinwoo twisted his hips midair, pulling his right arm back. The muscles on the Hunter’s right arm and shoulder flexed. As he focused every ounce of his strength into his clenched fist, ‘Stealth’ was released.
  2655.  
  2656. “Mm?”
  2657.  
  2658. Volkhan discovered Jinwoo too late. Jinwoo was not about to miss a target at this range.
  2659.  
  2660. WOOSH-!
  2661.  
  2662. The man’s fist shot forth like a bullet into the side of Volkhan’s face.
  2663.  
  2664. BAM!
  2665.  
  2666. The body of the giant demon was thrown back. The demon rolled on the ground for some time, finally stopping when it struck a building with only frames remaining.
  2667.  
  2668. Collapse!
  2669.  
  2670. What remained of the building collapsed when the giant demon crashed into it.
  2671.  
  2672. step
  2673.  
  2674. Jinwoo nimbly landed on the ground but was surprised.
  2675.  
  2676. ‘Why did he fly so far?’
  2677.  
  2678. He looked down at his fist with disbelief. There was not a scratch on the fist that blew away giant demon. Then he realized,
  2679.  
  2680. ‘Oh right…’
  2681.  
  2682. Jinwoo looked up. The stat screen was pulled up.
  2683.  
  2684. Stats
  2685.  
  2686. Strength: 150
  2687.  
  2688. Constitution: 109
  2689.  
  2690. Agility: 139
  2691.  
  2692. Intelligence: 109
  2693.  
  2694. Sense: 111
  2695.  
  2696. (Available stat points: 0)
  2697.  
  2698. Physical Damage Reduction: 46%
  2699.  
  2700. ‘...I forgot.’
  2701.  
  2702. Because he had mostly received Assassin-class skills and obtained a Mage-class as his class, Jinwoo had forgotten about something:
  2703.  
  2704. Strength: 150
  2705. ‘...’
  2706.  
  2707. Even though he had invested every point into intelligence lately, his strength was still nearly 50% higher than intelligence.
  2708.  
  2709. ‘I really invested a stupid amount of points into that, huh.’
  2710.  
  2711. On top of that, he had explosively raised his levels in the past few days. Looking at the stats, he was able to feel his growth.
  2712.  
  2713. And the results of that growth was… that. Jinwoo looked at Volkhan’s body in the rubbles of the building in disbelief. It was hard to tell when he fought the low-level and mid-level demons. But using his powers against the boss-level monster gave him assurance,
  2714.  
  2715. ‘I… have become strong.’
  2716.  
  2717. clench
  2718.  
  2719. Strength filled Jinwoo’s fist and spread throughout his entire body. Suddenly, the familiar electronic tone rang,
  2720.  
  2721. ring~
  2722.  
  2723. ‘What is it?’
  2724.  
  2725. Jinwoo raised his head.
  2726.  
  2727. “Mm? Mm?”
  2728.  
  2729. Volkhan used its club as a support and rose from the ground.
  2730.  
  2731. ‘Is it warning me that a monster is getting up?’
  2732.  
  2733. Had the System ever been that friendly? With a tilted head, Jinwoo realized the true meaning of the System’s warning tone.
  2734.  
  2735. The Overlord of the Lower Floors, Volkhan of Avarice has used ‘Rage’.
  2736. ‘Huh?’
  2737.  
  2738. ring, ring, ring
  2739.  
  2740. The warning tones continued.
  2741.  
  2742. It will permanently enter a state of rage.
  2743. Volkhan’s all attributes are increased by 50%.
  2744. Volkhan cannot feel any pain.
  2745. ‘That skill is…?’
  2746.  
  2747. Before even Jinwoo could recall the memories of Cerberus, Volkhan charged at him with blood-red eyes.
  2748.  
  2749. BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM-!
  2750.  
  2751. The ground shook with each deafening footstep. Jinwoo took a quick glance back; his Shadow Soldiers and Volkhan’s minions were in a fierce battle.
  2752.  
  2753. “Guoooo!”
  2754.  
  2755. “Kiiek!”
  2756.  
  2757. Amidst the chaotic battle, Jinwoo found Iron. As a testament to Volkhan’s destructive power, the giant knight was still in the middle of regenerating.
  2758.  
  2759. “Iron!”
  2760.  
  2761. Jinwoo shouted. His knight immediately understood his liege’s order. Iron threw his shield with strength towards Jinwoo. The Hunter quickly snatched it out of the air. When he turned his gaze forward again, Volkhan was already before him.
  2762.  
  2763. ‘If I dodge, my soldiers will be hit.’
  2764.  
  2765. It would be impossible to take down Volkhan and his minions without his army. And so, Jinwoo selected the best method to protect his soldiers. He raised his shield and focused strength into his arms.
  2766.  
  2767. “Mm!”
  2768.  
  2769. Volkhan’s club fell.
  2770.  
  2771. BANG!
  2772.  
  2773. BANG!
  2774.  
  2775. BANG!
  2776.  
  2777. The brutal attacks that made the earth cry rained down mercilessly on Jinwoo, but the Hunter held his ground. It was only made possible due to his high physical damage reduction and constitution stats.
  2778.  
  2779. “Mm? Mm?”
  2780.  
  2781. Enraged that his attacks were ineffective, Volkhan started swinging his club with fury.
  2782.  
  2783. BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
  2784.  
  2785. However, Jinwoo’s knees did not buckle.
  2786.  
  2787. ‘Still…’
  2788.  
  2789. Just blocking like this would never bring down that mountain. Jinwoo’s brows furrowed. Unlike Cerberus, Volkhan’s ‘Rage’, while it was less effective than the dog’s, did not have a time limit. He could not wait for it to time out like last time.
  2790.  
  2791. BANG! BANG!
  2792.  
  2793. Jinwoo clenched his teeth.
  2794.  
  2795. ‘Not really my style to be a Tanker anyways…’
  2796.  
  2797. BANG!
  2798.  
  2799. The moment Volkhan’s club retracted for the next blow, Jinwoo leaped towards demon’s head again. However, Jinwoo wasn’t the only one looking for an opportunity.
  2800.  
  2801. “Mm!”
  2802.  
  2803. Timing its movements, Volkhan stepped back as Jinwoo flew towards him.
  2804.  
  2805. ‘What?’
  2806.  
  2807. Jinwoo saw the club swinging towards him horizontally.
  2808.  
  2809. ‘...He got me.’
  2810.  
  2811. If he was on the ground, it would’ve been a different story. But there was no way to dodge midair. Even if he blocked, he would be smashed into something.
  2812.  
  2813. woooooooosh-!
  2814.  
  2815. In a world of slowed time, Jinwoo saw the club making its way to him in slow motion.
  2816.  
  2817. ‘Is there anything I could do?!’
  2818.  
  2819. If only he could move his body somehow. Suddenly, a thought flashed across his mind,
  2820.  
  2821. ‘If I could only move my body?’
  2822.  
  2823. There was no time to think. Jinwoo quickly used ‘Ruler’s Hands’ to try and push Volkhan.
  2824.  
  2825. “Mm?”
  2826.  
  2827. Of course, moving that mountainous body with his current level of proficiency was impossible. However, the rebounding force instead pushed Jinwoo’s body back.
  2828.  
  2829. woooosh-!
  2830.  
  2831. The tip of the club passed before his eyes.
  2832.  
  2833. ‘Thank you Newton ahjussi!’
  2834.  
  2835. Because of the erratic movement, Jinwoo lost his balance and rolled on the ground for a bit, but it was nothing compared to the damage he would’ve received if he was struck by the attack.
  2836.  
  2837. “Phew-!”
  2838.  
  2839. Jinwoo collected himself and sighed in relief.
  2840.  
  2841. “Mm?”
  2842.  
  2843. On the other hand, Volkhan’s face scrunched hideously in anger. Missing its planned attack made every inch of its body tremble in rage.
  2844.  
  2845. “Mm, Mm!”
  2846.  
  2847. Looking at the demon’s face turning red, Jinwoo scratched the side of his head.
  2848.  
  2849. ‘Now what?’
  2850.  
  2851. It just displayed the ability to dodge when he jumped at its head. Additionally, it did not feel like Jinwoo could do much damage to the rest of its body considering its size.
  2852.  
  2853. ‘Is there anyway I can prevent it from dodging?’
  2854.  
  2855. Jinwoo thought of an idea. The corners of his mouth rose. The Hunter turned around and ran. Mistaking it for Jinwoo trying to escape, Volkhan rapidly chased after him.
  2856.  
  2857. BOOM BOOM BOOM-!
  2858.  
  2859. Jinwoo controlled his pace so Volkhan could follow right behind him. His eyes lit up when he found a suitable building.
  2860.  
  2861. ‘That should work.’
  2862.  
  2863. Meanwhile,
  2864.  
  2865. “MM!”
  2866.  
  2867. As the distance between it and Jinwoo closed, the demon swung his club.
  2868.  
  2869. This insectile existence!
  2870.  
  2871. The chance to crush this annoyance was here. A disgusting smile appeared on Volkhan’s face. But as his club fell down towards the ground, the insect suddenly sped up and ran up the side of a crumbling building.
  2872.  
  2873. “Mm?”
  2874.  
  2875. Something felt off, but it was too late to slow down.
  2876.  
  2877. “Mm, mm?”
  2878.  
  2879. The insect on the building reached the demon’s eye level, then kicked off the building with all his might.
  2880.  
  2881. CRACK!
  2882.  
  2883. The wall he kicked off of cracked like a spider’s web, and something flew toward Volkhan’s face faster than it could react. It was the insect.
  2884.  
  2885. “Mm!”
  2886.  
  2887. Volkhan’s eyes widened. Jinwoo met its eyes with a smile. Wielding Baruka’s Tanto in his right hand, Jinwoo sliced the bulging artery on demon’s neck.
  2888.  
  2889. Slash!
  2890.  
  2891. As fitting of its large body, blood spilled out like a fountain from the wound.
  2892.  
  2893. splash!
  2894.  
  2895. “Mm? Mm!”
  2896.  
  2897. Volkhan threw away its club and quickly put a hand over the wound.
  2898.  
  2899. “Mm!”
  2900.  
  2901. However, it was not enough to stop the bleeding. The giant demon’s eyes began to tremble.
  2902.  
  2903. “M-mm?”
  2904.  
  2905. Jinwoo had already climbed behind its back and used his two daggers to stab the demon’s neck.
  2906.  
  2907. ‘Is once not enough?’
  2908.  
  2909. With a tilted head, Jinwoo used the skill again.
  2910.  
  2911. ‘Vital Stab!’
  2912.  
  2913. The two daggers dug into Volkhan’s neck again.
  2914.  
  2915. stab!
  2916.  
  2917. stab!
  2918.  
  2919. And finally, the victorious message appeared.
  2920.  
  2921. ring~
  2922.  
  2923. You’ve defeated the Overlord of the Lower Floors, Volkhan of Avarice.
  2924. You’ve earned 150,000 experience points.
  2925. Volkhan has thrown up the Demon Souls in his stomach.
  2926. You’ve earned 72 Demon Souls.
  2927. You’ve leveled up!
  2928. You’ve leveled up!
  2929.  
  2930. I Alone Level-up: Chapter 73
  2931.  
  2932. BOOM!
  2933.  
  2934. Volkhan fell. From the dust blown up by its giant body, Jinwoo stepped out. He looked around. He was about to go to the aid of his army, but it looked like they were finishing up as well.
  2935.  
  2936. “Kiiiiek!”
  2937.  
  2938. “Kekek!”
  2939.  
  2940. “Keeeek!”
  2941.  
  2942. With the combined might of the Shadow Army, Volkhan’s minions rapidly fell left and right.
  2943.  
  2944. ‘Status screen.’
  2945.  
  2946. Jinwoo looked over his status. Because he had just leveled up, he had recovered all of his health, mana and stamina.
  2947.  
  2948. ‘With my mana refreshed, I don’t need to help them.’
  2949.  
  2950. As long as there was mana, the Shadow Soldiers were immortal. That was the power of the undead army. Deciding to leave the trash mobs to the soldiers, Jinwoo turned back to Volkhan’s corpse to collect the drops.
  2951.  
  2952. “Hmm.”
  2953.  
  2954. It felt like he was about to open his Christmas gifts. Jinwoo could not help but smile while looking at Volkhan’s body.
  2955.  
  2956. ‘Wonder what I’ll get?’
  2957.  
  2958. There were multiple lights coming from the corpse. As always, Jinwoo stretched a hand towards the light. The item message appeared.
  2959.  
  2960. ring~!
  2961.  
  2962. You’ve found the “Monarch of Demons’ Earrings”
  2963. Would you like to acquire it?
  2964. You’ve found the “Marble of Avarice”
  2965. Would you like to acquire it?
  2966. You’ve found 2 “Volkhan’s Horns”
  2967. Would you like to acquire it?
  2968. You’ve found a crafting ingredient, “Fragment of the World Tree”
  2969. Would you like to acquire it?
  2970. [1]
  2971.  
  2972. Jinwoo had a good feeling while fighting Volkhan. As expected, multiple items dropped from the boss’s corpse. A joy filled the Hunter’s face as he looked over the drops.
  2973.  
  2974. ‘Of course, Volkhan’s Horns are probably junk items.’
  2975.  
  2976. Just looking at the name and the amount acquired, Jinwoo was sure Volkhan’s Horns were the same as the horns dropped by the other demons: just junk items to be sold. That left the other three items… One of them grabbed Jinwoo’s attention.
  2977.  
  2978. You’ve found a crafting ingredient, “Fragment of the World Tree”
  2979. Would you like to acquire it?
  2980. ‘Crafting ingredient?’
  2981.  
  2982. What could he craft with it? Or was it part of the quest? His curiosity peaked at the new type of item he had found. In order to read the item’s information, he had to first solidify the item from the light. And so, Jinwoo decided to pick up all the items.
  2983.  
  2984. “Acquire all.”
  2985.  
  2986. The multiple lights disappeared from Volkhan’s corpse, and an equal amount of physical objects appeared in front of Jinwoo out of thin air. Two earrings, a red marble…
  2987.  
  2988. ...And a giant piece of wood the size of a grown man.
  2989.  
  2990. Jinwoo instantly knew which one of these was the Fragment of the World Tree. He stared at the giant piece of lumber, and the corresponding information popped up.
  2991.  
  2992. Fragment of the World Tree
  2993. Rarity: ??
  2994.  
  2995. Type: Ingredient
  2996.  
  2997. Volkhan’s Club was made out of wood from the World Tree. This piece of wood remained after the contaminated parts were removed from the club. The wood obtained from the World Tree contains a strong magic power and is the highest-class material for crafting magic items.
  2998.  
  2999. ‘The ingredient for the highest-class magic items.’
  3000.  
  3001. Jinwoo wanted to know just what he could make with this thing. Unfortunately, that information was nowhere to be found. Still, it was certain this was not an ordinary item. Standing close to it, he was able to feel a powerful energy emanating from the piece of wood.
  3002.  
  3003. ‘I have a feeling… this wood will be useful somehow.’
  3004.  
  3005. Instead of selling it, Jinwoo put the Fragment of the World Tree into his inventory. He pored over the other items’ information.
  3006.  
  3007. The Monarch of Demons’ Earrings
  3008. Rarity: S
  3009.  
  3010. Type: Accessory
  3011.  
  3012. Strength +20, Constitution +20
  3013.  
  3014. Set: The Crown Jewels of the Monarch of Demons[2]
  3015.  
  3016. 1. The Monarch of Demons’ Earrings
  3017.  
  3018. 2. The Monarch of Demons’ Necklace
  3019.  
  3020. 3. The Monarch of Demons’ Ring
  3021.  
  3022. Set Bonus:
  3023.  
  3024. 1. ??? (2 Items)
  3025.  
  3026. 2. ??? (3 Items)
  3027.  
  3028. ‘A set item?’
  3029.  
  3030. While the base effects were similar to the A-rank Gatekeeper’s Necklace, the Monarch of Demons’ Earrings had an unknown set effect. Even without knowing the set effects, it was an amazing item, increasing both strength and constitution by 20 points.
  3031.  
  3032. ‘Since one level-up is equivalent to five stat points.’
  3033.  
  3034. In that line of thought, this was the same as leveling up eight times. With a happy heart, Jinwoo picked up the earrings.
  3035.  
  3036. Would you like to equip the “Monarch of Demons’ Earrings”?
  3037. ‘Equip.’
  3038.  
  3039. Like always, the earrings disappeared and its effects were applied to Jinwoo. He smiled in satisfaction at his increased stats.
  3040.  
  3041. The Crown Jewels of the Monarch of Demons.
  3042.  
  3043. ‘I’m sure the other pieces will drop here.’
  3044.  
  3045. With a name that included the word “Demon”, it was to easy to understand that the full set would drop from a place called Demon Castle. Just what would the set effects be? Even though he had obtained only one part, Jinwoo’s expectations were great. However, his smile would soon disappear.
  3046.  
  3047. ‘This is…?’
  3048.  
  3049. Marble of Avarice
  3050. Rarity: A
  3051.  
  3052. Type: Magic Tool
  3053.  
  3054. Effect ‘Desire for Destruction’: Your magic damage is doubled.
  3055.  
  3056. It’s a marble made from the blood of the archdemon Volkhan. The marble will empower the wielder’s magic and increase the destruction caused.
  3057.  
  3058. It was a red ball the size of a billiard ball. Jinwoo held the Marble of Avarice in his hand. There was no change to his stats. He pulled up the skill information on the only thing he had that might qualify as magic, his class-specific shadow skills, but there were no changes. The limits on the number of shadows remained the same.
  3059.  
  3060. ‘Is it not something I could benefit from?’
  3061.  
  3062. Jinwoo tilted his head.
  3063.  
  3064. Doubling the magic damage. Its effects were incredible.
  3065.  
  3066. Out in the real world, magic tools that empowered the user’s magic were prohibitively expensive. Because of that, they were only used by a handful of the Mage-class Hunters. However, Jinwoo had never heard of an artifact that increased your offensive power by a 100%. If something like this was found, it would’ve made waves across the entire world. There was no way someone had kept something like that hidden.
  3067.  
  3068. And here he was, holding an item that doubled one’s magic damage.
  3069.  
  3070. ‘Still, it’s useless to me.’
  3071.  
  3072. An item that simply increased magic damage did nothing for him. After all, the shadow skills technically did not do damage on their own. His offensive skills weren’t even magic. If only an item that increased intelligence appeared.
  3073.  
  3074. ‘Tsk.’
  3075.  
  3076. While he tossed the marble up and down disappointedly, the Shadow Soldiers had finished the trash mobs and gathered before him. The fastest among them was Ygritte.
  3077.  
  3078. Three in his right hand. Three in his left hand.
  3079.  
  3080. The knight walked up to Jinwoo and placed six demons’ heads in front of the Hunter.
  3081.  
  3082. “...”
  3083.  
  3084. Jinwoo scratched his temple while looking at the kneeling knight.
  3085.  
  3086. “Could you please stop doing that?”
  3087.  
  3088. Of course, the respectfully bowed head of the knight did not reply.
  3089.  
  3090. “Because when you do that…”
  3091.  
  3092. Jinwoo was not sure when the other knight managed to do it, but Iron had cut off Volkhan’s head and dragged it over to his master as well.
  3093.  
  3094. “...He also does it.”
  3095.  
  3096. ‘I mean, I’m the one who took it down, right?’
  3097.  
  3098. Jinwoo fixed his gaze on Iron and sighed deeply. Looking at the kneeling giant knight, an interesting idea occurred to him.
  3099.  
  3100. ‘What if I can give the Marble of Avarice to one of them like how I was able to use Iron’s shield?’
  3101.  
  3102. Right on cue, the Shadow Mages were slowly approaching Jinwoo behind the infantry. Compared to the knights or even the infantry, the mages were rather slow. Jinwoo called over the nearest one to him. When he gestured with his hand, the indicated mage slowly walked over to his master.
  3103.  
  3104. ‘...Maybe I should go to him.’
  3105.  
  3106. Jinwoo shook his head then quickly walked over to the mage. He placed the Marble of Avarice onto the mage’s hand, then pointed to the building he had used to jump towards Volkhan. As the Shadow Soldiers moved according to his will, he did not particularly need to explain the details.
  3107.  
  3108. Jinwoo gave the signal,
  3109.  
  3110. “Fire.”
  3111.  
  3112. With it, a fireball twice the size of what he was used to seeing appeared in the mage’s hands.
  3113.  
  3114. ‘Whoa!’
  3115.  
  3116. Jinwoo’s eyes widened. Ignoring his shock, the fireball flew from the mage’s hands.
  3117.  
  3118. WOOOOOSH-!
  3119.  
  3120. BAAAAAANG!
  3121.  
  3122. “Wha-!”
  3123.  
  3124. Jinwoo’s mouth opened wide. The building was swallowed by the explosion and blew apart like a toy house. The fire consuming the building did not look like it could be put out easily.
  3125.  
  3126. Flaaaare!
  3127.  
  3128. Watching the fireworks caused by the mage’s spell, Jinwoo quickly took back the Marble of Avarice. He pored over the item information, looking for a specific phrase,
  3129.  
  3130. ‘It’s not there. It’s really not there.’
  3131.  
  3132. No matter how much he looked up and down on the description, the item did not say that it was untradable. Did that mean he could sell this?
  3133.  
  3134. gulp
  3135.  
  3136. Jinwoo looked back at the burning building.
  3137.  
  3138. flaaare!
  3139.  
  3140. Even few parts of the building that remained standing fell eventually with a crashing sound. Jinwoo smiled at the destruction.
  3141.  
  3142. ‘This thing…’
  3143.  
  3144. It’ll drive the Mage-class Hunters crazy. His disappointment was nowhere to be seen, replaced by an anticipation.
  3145.  
  3146. A bright afternoon.
  3147.  
  3148. “The young man in 902?”
  3149.  
  3150. A middle-aged woman thought for a moment then replied,
  3151.  
  3152. “Hmm, I’m not sure. Haven’t seen him around lately.”
  3153.  
  3154. “Ah, okay. Thank you.”
  3155.  
  3156. Hyun Gicheol bowed his head. It had been four days since the deputy had been waiting for Jinwoo near his house, but the man had not ran into the Hunter. He had been making vegetable juice nonstop. With a sigh, he took out his phone.
  3157.  
  3158. ring~ ring~
  3159.  
  3160. Someone picked up.
  3161.  
  3162. - “Oy, Gicheol.”
  3163.  
  3164. “Chief.”
  3165.  
  3166. It was Chief Ahn Sangmin.
  3167.  
  3168. “I haven’t seen Hunter Sung Jinwoo-nim. The neighbors also said they haven’t seen him recently.”
  3169.  
  3170. - “Really?”
  3171.  
  3172. “Yes, sir.”
  3173.  
  3174. - “Well, can’t be helped. Start coming to the office tomorrow, then.”
  3175.  
  3176. “Yes, sir. Understood.”
  3177.  
  3178. click
  3179.  
  3180. Ahn Sangmin hung up and tilted his head. Where did Hunter Sung Jinwoo go? The man fell off the grid few days ago. Thinking that he might be purposely avoiding their calls, Hyun Gicheol was sent to the Hunter’s residence but could not find him. The Second Management Division Chief began to worry if something had gone wrong.
  3181.  
  3182. ‘Well, not sure who’s worrying about whom.’
  3183.  
  3184. Still, the man felt restless.
  3185.  
  3186. tap tap
  3187.  
  3188. Someone tapped him on the shoulder. Turning around, he saw Hunter Park Heejin behind to him.
  3189.  
  3190. “According to his little sister, he’s gone on a trip with a friend for about a week.”
  3191.  
  3192. “Hunter Sung Jinwoo-nim?”
  3193.  
  3194. “Yes.”
  3195.  
  3196. “If that’s the case… I don’t think the destination is on Earth.”
  3197.  
  3198. “Huh?”
  3199.  
  3200. Park Heejin was taken aback. Ahn Sangmin quickly explained,
  3201.  
  3202. “There’s no record of him leaving the country. And there are also no records of him pulling funds or using his card from the bank.”
  3203.  
  3204. “You can obtain that kind of information?”
  3205.  
  3206. “Well, it’s our job to keep an eye on Hunters.”
  3207.  
  3208. “Oh my.”
  3209.  
  3210. “On top of that, according to the Association’s tracking records, the last place he was noted in was in the middle of the city, five days ago. Isn’t it all too mysterious?”
  3211.  
  3212. “Do you think he got kidnapped?”
  3213.  
  3214. The moment the words left her mouth, she realized how stupid they sounded. The pair met each other’s eyes and laughed.
  3215.  
  3216. Just who was Sung Jinwoo? He was the man who solo cleared a high-level Dungeon, a Red Gate at that. Ahn Sangmin scratched his cheek and spoke,
  3217.  
  3218. “If you want to nab Hunter Sung Jinwoo-nim, you’ll need to call in that Chinese special forces unit. The one solely comprised of Hunters.”
  3219.  
  3220. Park Heejin nodded in agreement. Stifling his laughter, Ahn Sangmin became curious and asked a question,
  3221.  
  3222. “By the way, how did you find out that he was going on a trip?”
  3223.  
  3224. “Oh, it was Han Songyi. We still keep in touch. She goes to the same school as Sung Jinwoo-ssi’s little sister, so I asked her to find out.”
  3225.  
  3226. “Aha…”
  3227.  
  3228. With that, the pair’s conversation was over. But they were thinking the same thing,
  3229.  
  3230. ‘Just where did the man go?’
  3231.  
  3232.  
  3233. Translator’s Notes:
  3234.  
  3235. [1]: Lots of item names
  3236.  
  3237. 1. “Monarch of Demons’ Earrings” (악마 군주의 귀고리): Pretty literal. The word used for “monarch” is the same words as “Monarch of Shadows”. “Demon” 악마 + “monarch/king/lord” 군주 + “earrings” 귀고리. One thing to note here, just like “Shadow Monarch vs. Monarch of Shadows”, 악마군주 is more closely read “Demon Monarch or Demonic Monarch”. I am making a purposeful style choice to flip the words.
  3238.  
  3239. 2. “Marble of Avarice” (탐욕의 구슬): Pretty literal. Same word “Avarice” as Volkhan’s title. “greed/avarice” 탐욕 + “marble” 구슬
  3240.  
  3241. 3. “Fragment of the World Tree” (세계수의 파편): Also literal. “world tree” 세계수 + “fragment” 파편. “World tree” can also refer to Yggdrasil from nordic mythology, but I don’t know if it fit the context of the story.
  3242.  
  3243. [2]: Original korean says the “Accessory Series of the Monarch of Demons” (악마 군주 장신구 시리즈). I styled it up a bit.
  3244.  
  3245.  
  3246. I Alone Level-up: Chapter 74
  3247.  
  3248. ‘The upper floors are a different level.’
  3249.  
  3250. Jinwoo recalled the first and only boss of the Demon Castle he had fought, the Overlord of the Lower Floors, Volkhan of Avarice. The bastard’s title was the “Overlord of the Lower Floors”. After going above the 50th Floor where the demon was, the difficulty of each floor increased rapidly. Before, he was able to climb 10 floors a day, 20 on a good one. Now, he was barely able to clear 7~8 floors a day.
  3251.  
  3252. Jinwoo was currently on the 74th Floor. The normal mobs here were the top-level demons and occasionally archdemons. They were in a different class than the demons from the lower floors.
  3253.  
  3254. stab!
  3255.  
  3256. A top-level demon size of a two story building fell with a tanto sticking out of its chest.
  3257.  
  3258. Koong!
  3259.  
  3260. You’ve defeated a Top-level Demon.
  3261. You’ve earned 1,700 experience points.
  3262. You’ve earned 1 Demon Soul.
  3263. Jinwoo removed Baruka’s Tanto from the fallen demon’s chest. It was the last enemy of the latest group. Another battle was won. The victorious Shadow Soldiers all gathered before Jinwoo. He looked over his army. It was impossible for the undead army, but Jinwoo swore his soldiers actually looked tired. That was how tough the monsters were on the upper floors. Thankfully, an archdemon was not involved in the battle just now, so it was relatively easier than the others.
  3264.  
  3265. ‘Each of those damned things are boss-class.’
  3266.  
  3267. This was not a conclusion made idly. The description of the Marble of Avarice indicated that Volkhan himself was an archdemon. While Volkhan may have been the boss of the lower floors, the archdemons were just normal monsters on the upper floors. After the 70th Floor, they started appearing more and more commonly.
  3268.  
  3269. ‘If it was just the monsters getting stronger, I can manage it…’
  3270.  
  3271. But there was a bigger problem. It was the change in the environment in the upper floors. Starting with the 51st Floor, the city was on fire. The fires became stronger with each floor. After the 70th Floor, the heat became strong enough to shave away at his health. Just moving his body a little bit increased his fatigue greatly.
  3272.  
  3273. Not a “Demon Castle” but a “Tower on Fire”. That feeling he had before entering the place was on the mark.
  3274.  
  3275. ‘...Let’s leave.’
  3276.  
  3277. He would end his Raid here. He needed a way to deal with the heat of the flames.
  3278.  
  3279. ‘I need to obtain an artifact that can increase my resistance against fire-type magic.’
  3280.  
  3281. The equipment used by high-ranking Hunters were incredibly expensive. On top of that, if they were enchanted with protective magic, it would be doubly so. He recalled seeing on the news that the some of the more expensive items cost tens of billions of won. While he had earned quite a bit of real money while raiding with Yoo Jinho, Jinwoo wasn’t sure if it would be enough to buy the artifacts he needed. So he needed an insurance,
  3282.  
  3283. ‘This should be good enough.’
  3284.  
  3285. Jinwoo looked at the Marble of Avarice in his inventory and smiled. Any Mage-class Hunter would drool at the sight of such an item. What would happen if he put the marble up for auction? If its effects were proven, the high-ranking Mage-Class Hunters would line-up at the door. Jinwoo closed the inventory.
  3286.  
  3287. His goal in this Dungeon was to level-up. He had achieved that goal wonderfully. He did not feel any shame in putting off the Raid for the future. However, one thing lingered in his mind. He raised his head.
  3288.  
  3289. Collected Demon Souls: 9,624 / 10,000
  3290. ‘Only 400 souls go to.’
  3291.  
  3292. Just a little more, and he could finish the quest. Today was the 6th day. One more day would be more than enough to collect the remaining souls. A silver lining of the upper floors was the existence of demons that gave multiple souls. 400 could be collected in a flash.
  3293.  
  3294. ‘Let’s leave after finishing the quest.’
  3295.  
  3296. With that determination, Jinwoo headed forward. Because he had a solid goal in mind, there was more strength in his steps.
  3297.  
  3298. Floors 1 through 74 are open.
  3299. Which floor would you like to go to?
  3300. In the middle of the magic circle, Jinwoo spoke,
  3301.  
  3302. “75th Floor.”
  3303.  
  3304. What was this unexpected boon?
  3305.  
  3306. Jinwoo stared at the monster guarding the interfloor movement magic circle in the distance.
  3307.  
  3308. ‘The Guide of Souls, Metus’ [1]
  3309.  
  3310. Looking at the name, it was clear that it was a boss-class monster. The monster was clad in a black robe, wearing a silver necklace.
  3311.  
  3312. ‘And that must be the Monarch of Demons’ Necklace.’
  3313.  
  3314. In his path to just complete the quest and leave, he had unexpectedly come across the next piece of the set items. However, the reason why Jinwoo was smiling was not because of the item. No matter how good the drops were, you couldn’t obtain them if you couldn’t kill the monster. Jinwoo smiled as he realized there was something critically different about this monster that would help him kill it. The Hunter held his two daggers in his hands and ran forward. The skeleton mage clad in black robes discovered him.
  3315.  
  3316. ring~
  3317.  
  3318. The Guide of Souls, Metus has noticed an intruder!
  3319. As expected of a boss-class monster, Metus completed its spell in an instant. A blood-red magic circle appeared at its feet and a gloomy energy gathered around it.
  3320.  
  3321. The Guide of Souls, Metus has used ‘Cursed Voice’.
  3322. Receiving Metus’s calling, an undead army rose from the ground.
  3323.  
  3324. Their numbers were in the thousands!
  3325.  
  3326. A normal person would’ve suffocated just looking at this terrifying army, but Jinwoo was not phased in any capacity.
  3327.  
  3328. ‘As I thought…’
  3329.  
  3330. He had predicted this. Out of the entire Demon Castle, this was the first place he saw that familiar black smoke rising from the ground. Looking at the strange phenomenon, it was easy for Jinwoo to tell what kind of a monster Metus was.
  3331.  
  3332. ‘The Guide of Souls.’
  3333.  
  3334. The boss’s title only added onto his suspicions.
  3335.  
  3336. And as expected, Metus had called forth a powerful undead army. However, in that area of expertise, Jinwoo had the strongest class.
  3337.  
  3338. “ARISE!!!”
  3339.  
  3340. UWAAAAAH-!
  3341.  
  3342. With a piercing scream of pain, soldiers rose from the shadows of Metus’s undead army.
  3343.  
  3344. Their numbers were in the hundreds! [2]
  3345.  
  3346. It was a greatly lacking to Metus’ army, but it was more than enough. The ones doing the job would be his real army.
  3347.  
  3348. “Make me a path!”
  3349.  
  3350. And here was the real army. The pitch-black soldiers rising out of Jinwoo’s shadow. The hundreds of soldiers made from Shadow Extraction distracted Metus’s army. Meanwhile, the members of Jinwoo’s real army, having leveled up together with their master while clearing the Demon Castle, cleared a path for Jinwoo.
  3351.  
  3352. There was only one target!
  3353.  
  3354. Ygritte and Iron took the vanguard and cut down the undead with an incredible speed. The distance between Jinwoo and Metus had shortened in an instant.
  3355.  
  3356. ‘This is good enough.’
  3357.  
  3358. Jinwoo ran ahead of his knights.
  3359.  
  3360. ‘Sprint!’
  3361.  
  3362. ‘Sprint’ has leveled up!
  3363. Having used it to run all over the Demon Castle, ‘Sprint’ leveled up.
  3364.  
  3365. ‘Good.’
  3366.  
  3367. Jinwoo smiled widely. Having escaped the encirclement of the undead army in a flash, Jinwoo stood before Metus. The two commanders of the undead met each other’s gazes.
  3368.  
  3369. ‘Didn’t expect this, did you?’
  3370.  
  3371. While the light of victory filled Jinwoo’s eyes, Metus’s shoulders jumped at the sight of Jinwoo. At least, that’s what it looked like.
  3372.  
  3373. ‘Do monsters feel fear?’
  3374.  
  3375. Well, this was not a moment to think of such things. The flashing daggers moved with such speed that they created dozens of afterimages.
  3376.  
  3377. thud
  3378.  
  3379. The boss-class monster fell without a fight. Jinwoo knew through his experiences that mage-class monsters that commanded minions were incredibly weak at one-on-one combat. He knew this from the moment he laid eyes on Metus. The Hunter returned his weapons to the inventory.
  3380.  
  3381. ring~
  3382.  
  3383. You’ve defeated the Guide of Souls, Metus.
  3384. You’ve earned 200,000 experience points.
  3385. The Demon Souls sealed in Metus’ pendant were released.
  3386. You’ve earned 220 Demon Souls.
  3387. You’ve leveled up!
  3388. You’ve leveled up!
  3389. Jinwoo pumped his fist in victory. He had earned 220 souls in one go. It was truly an unexpected boon.
  3390.  
  3391. Collected Demon Souls: 9,971 / 10,000
  3392. A smile bloomed on Jinwoo’s face.
  3393.  
  3394. ‘Not many left now.’
  3395.  
  3396. Just 29 souls to go. He just needed to kill a few more demons. Jinwoo quickly grabbed the items off of the boss’s corpse and moved to the magic circle.
  3397.  
  3398. Which floor would you like to go to?
  3399. “76th Floor.”
  3400.  
  3401. Eastern Seaboard, United States.
  3402.  
  3403. A sleeping man struggled like he was in a nightmare, then awoke with a start. It was Hwang Dongsoo.
  3404.  
  3405. ‘...?’
  3406.  
  3407. The first thing he saw was the white ceiling. In an unfamiliar environment, the man looked left and right.
  3408.  
  3409. “A… hospital?”
  3410.  
  3411. Dream.
  3412.  
  3413. Was it not a dream?
  3414.  
  3415. When Hwang Dongsoo wiped away a streak of sweat beneath his chin with the back of his hand, he discovered something. On top of the hospital gown, an IV needle was stuck to his hand. The man’s face hardened. A cold voice came out of his mouth,
  3416.  
  3417. “Just say what you’re here for and go.”
  3418.  
  3419. The Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Hunters (FBH) stood across the room. He was a middle-aged american with more whites in his hair than black. The man slowly approached Hwang Dongsoo.
  3420.  
  3421. “I had something I wanted to ask you, so I was waiting here.”
  3422.  
  3423. What did he want to ask? Hwang Dongsoo raised his head. The deputy director met his gaze and spoke,
  3424.  
  3425. “That man, Sung Ilhwan… Are you really sure he’s a magic beast?”
  3426.  
  3427. “Do you think I attacked an ordinary person?”
  3428.  
  3429. “It’s not that I don’t believe you. I just wanted to confirm what I saw with my eyes.”
  3430.  
  3431. The deputy director handed the Hunter his phone. A video was playing.
  3432.  
  3433. “What is this…?”
  3434.  
  3435. “It’s a security footage from that day.”
  3436.  
  3437. In the video, an asian man was rescuing FBH employees from the collapsing building. Hwang Dongsoo did not need to ask who the man was. How could he forget? It was the last face he saw before losing consciousness, Sung Ilhwan. The deputy director continued with a darkened expression,
  3438.  
  3439. “I’ve… never heard of a magic beast that helped humans. Are you still certain that that man is a magic beast?”
  3440.  
  3441. “...He’s most certainly a magic beast.”
  3442.  
  3443. “Is that so.”
  3444.  
  3445. The deputy director put away his phone,
  3446.  
  3447. “Once you’re discharged, come to the FBH, there are few things we need to put on record.”
  3448.  
  3449. As the deputy director turned around to leave, Hwang Dongsoo asked,
  3450.  
  3451. “What happened to that man?”
  3452.  
  3453. “He disappeared after fighting you. While the bureau’s working hard to track him down, we’re not sure if we can get someone who was able to defeat you…”
  3454.  
  3455. Before leaving, the deputy director asked one more question with difficulty,
  3456.  
  3457. “Do you… by any chance know of a place he might go to?”
  3458.  
  3459. “...”
  3460.  
  3461. Watching the Hunter close his mouth with a finality, the deputy director headed out of the hospital room. The moment the man left, Hwang Dongsoo ripped out the IV needle from his arm.
  3462.  
  3463. “Fuck!”
  3464.  
  3465. Hwang Dongsoo combed through his memories.
  3466.  
  3467. It was a humiliating defeat.
  3468.  
  3469. Before he realized what was happening, Sung Ilhwan’s foot was on his neck. He was sprawled out on the floor like a weakling. While he was coughing, Sung Ilhwan spoke to him,
  3470.  
  3471. “Do not take a step into Korea. This is for your benefit, not my son’s. If you do, you will not be able to rest even in death.”
  3472.  
  3473. And he couldn’t remember anything after that. When he had opened his eyes, he was here.
  3474.  
  3475. ‘I won’t be able to rest even in death?’
  3476.  
  3477. What did that mean? Was it a threat that he would be viciously killed?
  3478.  
  3479. ‘You dare… threaten me?’
  3480.  
  3481. Hwang Dongsoo’s fists trembled. It was humiliating enough that he lost to a magic beast, but to think that he would be further disgraced by a threat.
  3482.  
  3483. ‘I know where he’s going.’
  3484.  
  3485. He will kill that thing.
  3486.  
  3487. But how? Whether or not he truly was a magic beast, Sung Ilhwan was undeniably strong.
  3488.  
  3489. ‘I need a proper gear to take him down.’
  3490.  
  3491. Fortunately, it would be easy to obtain such gear.
  3492.  
  3493. ‘I’ll call the Guild.’
  3494.  
  3495. The Guild Hwang Dongsoo belonged to, Scavenger, was one of the top Guilds across the entire world. Just the value of the artifacts owned by Scavenger was greater than a small country’s budget.
  3496.  
  3497. ‘It won’t be a problem as long as I can borrow few artifacts.’ [3]
  3498.  
  3499. Hwang Dongsoo’s eyes flickered with a powerful light.
  3500.  
  3501. To Korea.
  3502.  
  3503. The man decided on his next objective.
  3504.  
  3505. You’ve defeated an Archdemon.
  3506. You’ve earned 2,200 experience points.
  3507. You’ve earned 1 Demon Soul.
  3508. You’ve earned 3 Demon Souls from the Archdemon’s slaves.
  3509. ‘I’M ALL DONE!’
  3510.  
  3511. Jinwoo could not hide his joy. Luckily, the last monster he took down gave him four souls, just the amount needed to complete the quest.
  3512.  
  3513. Collected Demon Souls: 10,001
  3514. ring~
  3515.  
  3516. You’ve completed the ‘Ordinary Quest: Collect the Demon Souls! Part 1’
  3517. The reward for completing the quest has arrived.
  3518. Would you like to verify? (Y/N)
  3519. ‘Of course!’
  3520.  
  3521. With his mental reply, the rewards appeared.
  3522.  
  3523. You’ve received the below rewards.
  3524. Reward 1. Pick one item from every item possible
  3525. Reward 2. Stat points +20
  3526. Reward 3. Unknown Reward
  3527. Accept all?
  3528. Of course, every reward was amazing, but Jinwoo was most interested in the first reward. It would’ve been worth it to complete the quest just for that reward.
  3529.  
  3530. ‘Accept Reward 1.’
  3531.  
  3532. ring~!
  3533.  
  3534. You may pick one item from every item possible.
  3535. Which item do you want?
  3536. An item I want.
  3537.  
  3538. There was one.
  3539.  
  3540. It was an item Jinwoo had thought about ever since he saw the quest. He took his memories back to the day he had to make a similar decision. What would’ve happened if he picked the other item? The possibility had plagued his mind ever since that time. He wasn’t sure if that item was even a possibility here but decided to try.
  3541.  
  3542. You may pick one item from every item possible.
  3543. Which item do you want?
  3544. As if pressuring him, the System asked again. Jinwoo spoke after some thought,
  3545.  
  3546. “Cursed Random Box.”
  3547.  
  3548.  
  3549. Translator’s Notes:
  3550.  
  3551. [1]: “Guide of Souls, Metus” (망령의 인도자 메투스): pretty straightforward. “souls/spirits” 망령 + “guide” 인도자 + proper name (meh 메 too 투 ss 스).
  3552.  
  3553. [2]: “Their numbers were in the hundreds!”: I know he gained a ton of levels (and intelligence points correspondingly), but I didn’t expect his Shadow Extraction limit to increase by this much… Nothing else in the passage indicates that this is some special occurrence. Not sure if it’s plot-hole or rule-of-cool, but Jinwoo apparently can raise hundreds of soldiers through Shadow Extraction now. Shrug. OR, since all the other stats are weighted (i.e. gaining 1 point from 100 to 101 strength gives far more benefit than going from 10 to 11), maybe intelligence is the same (i.e. gaining 1 point from 109 to 110 gives far more Shadow limits than going from 50 to 51).
  3554.  
  3555. [3]: Just a small reminder all the way back from the first arc, but “artifacts” are what people call magic items (tools/equipment/gear) from Dungeons.
  3556.  
  3557.  
  3558. I Alone Level-up: Chapter 75
  3559.  
  3560. On that crossroad in the past, Jinwoo had selected the Blessed Random Box over the Cursed Random Box. It was from that Blessed Random Box that he had obtained the Demon Castle Key. Through that key, he had earned many things. Level-ups, new items, and… so much gold that he was starting to worry if he had to start spending it.
  3561.  
  3562. ‘Even if the same choice was presented to me, I would pick the Blessed Random Box.’
  3563.  
  3564. However, that didn’t mean that he was not curious about what the other choice would have resulted in. The blessed box that would give him what he “wanted”, and the cursed box that would give him what he “needed”. Just what was the thing that he “needed” from the cursed box?
  3565.  
  3566. ‘The Blessed Random Box certainly had what I wanted.’
  3567.  
  3568. And now, Jinwoo had the opportunity to finally satisfy his curiosity.
  3569.  
  3570. ‘...’
  3571.  
  3572. Jinwoo waited for the System’s reply with an anxious heart. For some reason, the System appeared to be more delayed in its response than usual.
  3573.  
  3574. ring~!
  3575.  
  3576. Abating his worries, the System’s reply came a moment later,
  3577.  
  3578. You’ve chosen the “Cursed Random Box”.
  3579. The chosen item will now be provided.
  3580. shooo-
  3581.  
  3582. A small box appeared in front of his feet.
  3583.  
  3584. ‘Alright!’
  3585.  
  3586. With a shaking heart, Jinwoo picked up the box. He was shocked when he picked it up; its weight was very familiar to him.
  3587.  
  3588. Could it be?
  3589.  
  3590. Jinwoo quickly opened the box. His eyes were widened.
  3591.  
  3592. “...This is?”
  3593.  
  3594. After leaving the Demon Castle, Jinwoo quickly headed home. The first thing he wanted to do was wash-up. It was a luxury not afforded while being in the Dungeon for a week. Although he could obtain water from the System’s shop, he had neither the time nor the place to clean his body.
  3595.  
  3596. ‘After all, showering while being in a place packed with monsters is a bit…’
  3597.  
  3598. splash-
  3599.  
  3600. Feeling the heat of the water wash over his body, the Hunter finally felt like he had left the Dungeon.
  3601.  
  3602. ‘This is why home is the best.’
  3603.  
  3604. After showering, Jinwoo had changed into a fresh set of clothes and sat on the bed with a wet towel draped over his head. It was time to review some things. First, he pulled up the status screen.
  3605.  
  3606. ‘Status screen.’
  3607.  
  3608. ring~
  3609.  
  3610. Screens filled with enough words to spin one’s eyes appeared. Jinwoo’s gaze stopped at the stat screen.
  3611.  
  3612. Available stat points: 20
  3613. The bonus stat points from the quest was neatly waiting for his decision. Of course, Jinwoo put it all into intelligence.
  3614.  
  3615. ring~
  3616.  
  3617. Stats
  3618.  
  3619. Strength: 178
  3620.  
  3621. Constitution: 137
  3622.  
  3623. Agility: 147
  3624.  
  3625. Intelligence: 149
  3626.  
  3627. Sense: 119
  3628.  
  3629. Finally, intelligence began to overtake the other stats. It was not quite at the strength stat’s level, but compared to the past, it had made an amazing progress.
  3630.  
  3631. Strength, Constitution, Agility, Intelligence, Sense.
  3632.  
  3633. A balance was forming across the attributes.
  3634.  
  3635. ‘There are no wasted stats.’
  3636.  
  3637. Before he knew it, he underwent periods where he had solely invested into a single attribute. Periods where he had solely invested into strength, periods where he had solely invested into agility, and lately, the period where he had solely invested into intelligence. Now, he fully understood that each stat had its own benefits and uses.
  3638.  
  3639. ‘You know…’
  3640.  
  3641. Now that he had reached this point, what if he just distributed his points evenly across the board from now on?
  3642.  
  3643. An All-Stat Player.
  3644.  
  3645. A desire for something like that appeared in Jinwoo’s mind. It was a rather happy quandary, born out of knowing that not a single attribute was useless.
  3646.  
  3647. ‘Once intelligence reaches the level of strength, let’s raise the other stats accordingly.’
  3648.  
  3649. Having made his decision, Jinwoo turned to the skill screen. The third reward was in that space.
  3650.  
  3651. Reward 3. Unknown Reward
  3652. Because of just how great the first and second rewards were, Jinwoo had not paid much attention to this unknown third reward, having looked at it with a passing curiosity. Still, he was not a man to ignore any reward given to him.
  3653.  
  3654. Reward 3 will now be provided.
  3655. What appeared in his hand with the message was a scroll, similar to the Entry Permits from the Demon Castle.
  3656.  
  3657. ‘What’s this?’
  3658.  
  3659. Surprised at the reward giving him an unexpected item, Jinwoo unfurled the scroll.
  3660.  
  3661. Recipe: Holy Water of Life [1]
  3662. Learn how to craft the “Holy Water of Life”.
  3663. Jinwoo’s eyes widened.
  3664.  
  3665. ‘I can make an item myself?’
  3666.  
  3667. Only the Mage-class Awakened Beings could make weapons with magic power… Oh wait, he was technically a Mage-class now.
  3668.  
  3669. ‘Still, to think that I can make an item if I just have the recipe…’
  3670.  
  3671. Jinwoo heart began to race. At the same time, a question appeared in his mind. Just what exactly could he make?
  3672.  
  3673. ‘What’s a Holy Water of Life?’
  3674.  
  3675. Jinwoo read over the item information of Holy Water of Life on the recipe scroll.
  3676.  
  3677. Holy Water of Life
  3678. Rarity: S
  3679.  
  3680. Type: Consumable
  3681.  
  3682. Heal any and every illness.
  3683.  
  3684. Effects will only be shown after a full bottle is used.
  3685.  
  3686. It is a divine potion filled with a powerful magic to cure every sickness.
  3687.  
  3688. ‘Cure… every sickness?’
  3689.  
  3690. The moment he read the words, Jinwoo thought of his mother in the hospital. Through his experiments with Yoo Jinho, Jinwoo knew that potions can be used on other people. If he could truly obtain this Holy Water of Life, it meant that he could save his mother. The hands that held the scroll trembled in excitement. The ingredients were simple.
  3691.  
  3692. ‘Fragment of the World Tree.’
  3693.  
  3694. Was obtained after killing Volkhan on the 50th Floor.
  3695.  
  3696. ‘The Spring Water from the Echoing Forest’ [2]
  3697.  
  3698. Was obtained after killing Metus on the 75th Floor.
  3699.  
  3700. And the last ingredient.
  3701.  
  3702. ‘...The Purified Blood of the Demon King.’ [3]
  3703.  
  3704. This was the only item he had not obtained yet. However, looking at the floors he had gotten the two ingredients, it was clear to him where the last would come from.
  3705.  
  3706. The top of the tower.
  3707.  
  3708. ‘It’ll probably come from the final boss of the Demon Castle on the 100th Floor.’
  3709.  
  3710. As such, clearing the Demon Castle Dungeon would net him all the ingredients to craft the Holy Water of Life.
  3711.  
  3712. It was in this moment Jinwoo realized,
  3713.  
  3714. “Ah.”
  3715.  
  3716. He uttered without thinking. The shock of his realization was that great.
  3717.  
  3718. What if… the thing that he “wanted” from the Blessed Random Box was this Holy Water of Life?
  3719.  
  3720. ‘Mother…’
  3721.  
  3722. His eyes glistened with tears at the thought of seeing his mother healthy again.
  3723.  
  3724. ring~
  3725.  
  3726. You may learn a crafting skill through Recipe: Holy Water of Life
  3727. Would you like to learn the crafting skill?
  3728. At the electronic tone, Jinwoo snapped back to reality. To craft the Holy Water of Life, he had to succeed in conquering the Demon Castle. In order to accomplish that, he had to quickly obtain the proper raiding gear and return. There was no time to be lost in his feelings.
  3729.  
  3730. “...Teach me.”
  3731.  
  3732. You’ve learned how to make Holy Water of Life
  3733. ‘This is not a dream, is it?’
  3734.  
  3735. As if reminding him, the skill screen now showed a section for crafting skills.
  3736.  
  3737. Crafting Skills
  3738.  
  3739. -Consumable: Holy Water of Life (2/3)
  3740.  
  3741. The numbers at the end probably referred to the number of ingredients he had on hand.
  3742.  
  3743. ‘Oh right. Forgot about this.’
  3744.  
  3745. Jinwoo took out an item next to the Spring Water in the inventory. It was a necklace made out of skulls of small animals.
  3746.  
  3747. The Monarch of Demons’ Necklace
  3748. Rarity: S
  3749.  
  3750. Type: Accessory
  3751.  
  3752. Agility +20, Intelligence +20
  3753.  
  3754. Set: The Crown Jewels of the Monarch of Demons
  3755.  
  3756. 1. The Monarch of Demons’ Earrings
  3757.  
  3758. 2. The Monarch of Demons’ Necklace
  3759.  
  3760. 3. The Monarch of Demons’ Ring
  3761.  
  3762. Set Bonus:
  3763.  
  3764. 1. ??? (2 Items)
  3765.  
  3766. 2. ??? (3 Items)
  3767.  
  3768. The Spring Water from the Echoing Forest wasn’t the only thing he had earned from the Guide of Souls. He had also obtained this rather distasteful looking necklace filled with bad vibes.
  3769.  
  3770. ‘Why are all these necklaces like this…’
  3771.  
  3772. Jinwoo’s face scrunched at thinking about the dog collar he was “wearing” right now. He held the Monarch of Demons’ Necklace to his neck.
  3773.  
  3774. ring~
  3775.  
  3776. Would you like to replace the “Gatekeeper’s Necklace” with the “Monarch of Demons’ Necklace”?
  3777. The boost from the two items were pretty similar. Both of them increased two stats by 20. However, the new item had a set effect.
  3778.  
  3779. ‘Exchange’
  3780.  
  3781. shooo-
  3782.  
  3783. The “Monarch of Demons’ Necklace” has been equipped.
  3784. The skull necklace disappeared and was replaced with a dog collar in Jinwoo’s hand. He put away the dog collar into his inventory and checked the set bonus of the Crown Jewels of the Monarch of Demons.
  3785.  
  3786. The Monarch of Demons’ Necklace
  3787. ...
  3788.  
  3789. Set Bonus:
  3790.  
  3791. 1. All Stats +5 (2 Items)
  3792.  
  3793. 2. ??? (3 Items)
  3794.  
  3795. ‘All stats increased by five.’
  3796.  
  3797. Just a single set bonus was equivalent to increasing his levels by five, and there was still one set bonus remaining.
  3798.  
  3799. ‘The Monarch of Demons’ Ring…’
  3800.  
  3801. Usually in video games, the set bonuses became better and better as you equipped more items in the set. In that line of thinking, the unrevealed set bonus should be something crazy.
  3802.  
  3803. Still, the S-rank equipments he had earned were but the side benefits of his time spent in the Demon Castle.
  3804.  
  3805. The true benefit was the great leap he had made in his levels. Jinwoo looked at the progress he made while climbing 77 floors and smiled.
  3806.  
  3807. ‘I went up 16 levels in one week.’
  3808.  
  3809. It was a speed unthinkable in the C-rank Dungeons. This was the result of his efforts spent in the wild(?) for seven days. Of course, he still had business left in the place, but the Demon Castle Raid was an incredible success.
  3810.  
  3811. ‘But there’s this…’
  3812.  
  3813. One thing he could not understand. Jinwoo held the item from the Cursed Random Box under the light from a lamp.
  3814.  
  3815. ‘What is this?’
  3816.  
  3817. It was a black key that seemed to absorb all light. No information box popped when he stared at it.
  3818.  
  3819. ‘I’ve never had the information box not pop up from an item from the System…’
  3820.  
  3821. Just Instant Dungeon Keys were rare enough from normal Random Boxes, but he had never seen something like this before.
  3822.  
  3823. ‘Where do I even use this?’
  3824.  
  3825. Because it was an item from a “cursed” box, he did feel a little anxious holding it. Still, it was something that had been earned with effort, so he couldn’t just throw it away.
  3826.  
  3827. ‘I’m sure I’ll find a use for it someday.’
  3828.  
  3829. After all, the Cursed Random Box did say it’ll give him something he needed.
  3830.  
  3831. Returning the key back to the inventory, Jinwoo stood up. Now, he had to focus on obtaining artifacts to help clear the Demon Castle.
  3832.  
  3833. ‘And there’s something I want to sell.’
  3834.  
  3835. However, the problem was that an E-rank Hunter could not easily buy or sell high-level artifacts. If a low-ranking Hunter (and Jinwoo was known to be the weakest) put up an item for auction (an item that even high-rankers would be pressed to obtain), who wouldn’t be suspicious of him? Same goes for buying. With the title of “E-rank Hunter” attached to him, it was hard for Jinwoo use the funds he had amassed.
  3836.  
  3837. ‘It’ll be hard to explain where I want to use the artifacts too.’
  3838.  
  3839. And so, he had to overcome this awkward situation.
  3840.  
  3841. “Is it time…”
  3842.  
  3843. Time to cast aside the facade of the E-rank.
  3844.  
  3845. Ranking Retest.
  3846.  
  3847. It was time for him to earn his true ranking.
  3848.  
  3849. The Hunter’s expression became serious.
  3850.  
  3851. ‘At my current level, I probably won’t be used by others against my will.’
  3852.  
  3853. From the start, that was one of the objectives of leveling up. To prevent a stronger power from forcing him under their control, Jinwoo had masqueraded as an E-ranker.
  3854.  
  3855. But now? He was able to stand face to face against Baekho’s Guildmaster Baek Yoonho. No, even if it wasn’t Baek Yoonho, he was confident that he could remain strong in front of anyone. There was no longer any reason to hide his powers.
  3856.  
  3857. ba dum, ba dum, ba dum
  3858.  
  3859. Thinking about throwing away that annoying title of “E-rank” that plagued his past, Jinwoo’s heart began to beat faster.
  3860.  
  3861. ‘Before that,’
  3862.  
  3863. There was one thing he had to check. Jinwoo turned on his Hunter phone. After a week of no contact, his phone was filled with missed calls and messages. Most of them were unknown numbers. He felt sorry, but he did not particularly want to check who they were.
  3864.  
  3865. ‘If it’s urgent, I’m sure they’ll call again.’
  3866.  
  3867. With a cool mind, he kept going down the call history and found the number he wanted. Jinwoo called the number.
  3868.  
  3869. [Follow me~]
  3870.  
  3871. Before the song even finished a verse, the person on the other end picked up the phone with an incredible speed.
  3872.  
  3873. - “Hyungnim!”
  3874.  
  3875. Was he in the Dungeon for that long? To think that this brat’s voice would sound so welcoming. Jinwoo smiled and opened his mouth,
  3876.  
  3877. “Did the talk with your father go well?”
  3878.  
  3879. - “Yes! It went well, hyungnim!”
  3880.  
  3881. ‘Oh yeah?’
  3882.  
  3883. That was good to hear. Jinwoo did not want to take the retest while Yoo Jinho and his father’s deal was not completed. And if their side was all good, he had no problems anymore. He had guessed that Yoo Jinho’s happy greeting meant good news, but hearing it from the young man’s mouth gave him the assurance he needed.
  3884.  
  3885. - “Hyungnim! I was actually going to go see you about-”
  3886.  
  3887. click.
  3888.  
  3889. ‘Huh?’
  3890.  
  3891. The call was suddenly ended. Jinwoo checked his phone; it had died because the battery ran out.
  3892.  
  3893. ‘Well… I did forget to charge it before going into the Demon Castle.’
  3894.  
  3895. Still, it was good that he was able to confirm Yoo Jinho had succeeded. Jinwoo changed his clothes. The Association HQ was not far from here. He could finish the retest in an instant.
  3896.  
  3897. “Oh right.”
  3898.  
  3899. Jinwoo was half way out of the door and quickly came back in. He forgot about his little sister. She would probably worry if her brother, who said he’d be home after a week, left the house again without a word. He left a brief note on the kitchen table.
  3900.  
  3901. [Oppa came home and left.]
  3902.  
  3903. With a satisfied smile, Jinwoo left the house.
  3904.  
  3905. It had been a long time since Jinwoo had stood before the Awakened Being Ranking Test Office.
  3906.  
  3907. ‘Has it been four years?’
  3908.  
  3909. Maybe five? With a nostalgic face, Jinwoo walked up to the employee at the reception desk. The employee didn’t even look up,
  3910.  
  3911. “Your proof of identity and contact information please.”
  3912.  
  3913. Remembering how the proceedings went last time, Jinwoo put down the documents he had already prepared.
  3914.  
  3915. ‘Hmm?’
  3916.  
  3917. The employee looked at Jinwoo’s proof of identity and tilted his head,
  3918.  
  3919. “This is a Hunter’s License.”
  3920.  
  3921. “Yep.”
  3922.  
  3923. The employee looked confused,
  3924.  
  3925. “If you have any complaints about the results of your rank, that’s for a different office.”
  3926.  
  3927. “No, I’m here for a retest.”
  3928.  
  3929. “Huh?”
  3930.  
  3931. The employee looked back and forth between Jinwoo’s face and the license then put up a finger,
  3932.  
  3933. “O-one moment.”
  3934.  
  3935. The employee stood up and went behind him to a middle-aged man who looked like he had a temper.
  3936.  
  3937. “Deputy, some Hunter came here for a retest, what should I do?”
  3938.  
  3939. “Retest? What’s his current rank?”
  3940.  
  3941. “E-rank, sir.”
  3942.  
  3943. The deputy looked behind the employee at Jinwoo.
  3944.  
  3945. “It happens from time to time. Deluded Hunters who come here, unable to accept their reality.”
  3946.  
  3947. “So you think that man is?”
  3948.  
  3949. The deputy nodded,
  3950.  
  3951. “Reawakened my ass… He’s just unable to accept the fact that other Hunters earn a ton and are more famous than him.”
  3952.  
  3953. “Ah.”
  3954.  
  3955. “People like that become a headache if you entertain them for too long. Just tell him that he’ll have to pay the retest fee and send him to the testing building.”
  3956.  
  3957. “Yes, sir.”
  3958.  
  3959. Having rid of his worries, the employee returned to the reception desk. The deputy stared at the employee and Jinwoo and clicked his tongue, then returned his gaze to his computer. Suddenly, the deputy’s fingers stopped. That Hunter’s name… He felt like he had heard it before.
  3960.  
  3961. ‘Where was it?’
  3962.  
  3963. After the man disappeared off to the testing building, he quietly went up to the employee.
  3964.  
  3965. “That E-rank Hunter just now, what was his name?”
  3966.  
  3967. “It was Sung Jinwoo. Do you know him?”
  3968.  
  3969. “No, I don’t think so.”
  3970.  
  3971. But the deputy couldn’t shake the feeling he had heard of the name before. Combing over his memories, he suddenly realized and widened his eyes.
  3972.  
  3973. ‘Ah!’
  3974.  
  3975. That man had asked him! To let him know if a Hunter named Sung Jinwoo came to the testing office. Why didn’t he remember?! The deputy disappeared to a corner and quickly called someone.
  3976.  
  3977. ring, ring
  3978.  
  3979. - “Hello, this is Baek Yoonho.” [4]
  3980.  
  3981. “Ah, Guildmaster Baek. It’s about that Hunter you asked about before. That Hunter Sung Jinwoo. He really came here. I mean, how did you know he would come?”
  3982.  
  3983. - “Sung Jinwoo-ssi came to the testing office?”
  3984.  
  3985. “Yes, he just requested a retest just now.”
  3986.  
  3987. - “...”
  3988.  
  3989. The deputy thought the call was ended, but a moment later, an urgent voice continued across the phone,
  3990.  
  3991. - “Could you please delay his testing, even for a little bit? I’ll be right there.”
  3992.  
  3993. The deputy tilted his head.
  3994.  
  3995. Was he mistaken? That Baekho’s Guildmaster’s voice sounded anxious.
  3996.  
  3997. ‘What a strange day.’
  3998.  
  3999. Unfortunately, the matter was already out of his hands. The deputy scratched his temple and replied,
  4000.  
  4001. “Er… He already left for the testing building.”
  4002.  
  4003.  
  4004. Translator’s Notes:
  4005.  
  4006. [1]: “Recipe: Holy Water of Life” (도안: 생명의 신수): two parts here to go over,
  4007.  
  4008. 1. “Recipe” (도안): lit. “design”. “Design” is probably more appropriate in context of learning new crafting items, but I went with “recipe” since the crafting item in question is a consumable.
  4009.  
  4010. 2. “Holy Water of Life” (생명의 신수): “life” 생명 + “god” 신 + “water” 수. Closest cultural approximation of “god water” (신수) is the ceremonial water used in certain east asian religious rites, so I decided to go with “holy water”.
  4011.  
  4012. [2]: “Spring Water from the Echoing Forest” (메아리 숲의 샘물): quite literal. “Echo” 메아리 + “forest” 숲 + “spring water” 샘물
  4013.  
  4014. [3]: “Purified Blood of the Demon King” (정화된 악마왕의 피): quite literal. “Purified” 정화된 + “demon king” 악마왕 + “blood” 피. Please note that this is one of the reasons why I translated 군주 as “Monarch” and not “King”. It’s because the word 왕 (“King”) exists, and that word can only be really used for “King”.
  4015.  
  4016. [4]: corrected a mistake on the original. Baek Yoonho’s name is written as Baek Yoonhob. :P
  4017.  
  4018.  
  4019. PrivateBin - Because ignorance is bliss1.2.1 PrivateBin is a minimalist, open source online pastebin where the server has zero knowledge of pasted data. Data is encrypted/decrypted in the browser using 256 bits AES. More information on the project page.
RAW Paste Data
We use cookies for various purposes including analytics. By continuing to use Pastebin, you agree to our use of cookies as described in the Cookies Policy. OK, I Understand
 
Top