I Alone Level-Up Chapter 20
As the Hunters began to leave, Yoo Jinho asked with a worried expression,
"You want just me and Jinwoo hyung to stay here? In the boss room?"
With laughter in his eyes, Hwang Dongseok replied,
"The thing didn't even wake up after all that cheering. You guys will be just fine. I have some things I want to discuss with my teammates over a cigarette. We'll be back in a jiffy."
Jinwoo listened to Hwang Dongseok's half-assed explanation and smiled inside.
'So, they've revealed their true selves. But to think that they're all going to just leave. Aren't you looking down on us a little too much?'
It was probably because Jinwoo and Jinho's ranks were low. But just as Jinwoo guessed, Hwang Dongseok and co. were moving according to expectations. Even if it was a little different than what he had in mind.
It had been 4 years since Jinwoo had started working as a Hunter; in that time, he had met many different Hunters. One of them was Oh-ssi ahjussi. He was a freelancer who occasionally helped with Association jobs.
"Watch out for lizards."
It was something Oh-ssi repeated every once in a while. It was common to come across danger in Raids. In those times, there would be certain Hunters who would sacrifice their own comrades to escape safely. Whether it was because the victim wasn't a part of their crew or the victim was much weaker than they were, it did not matter. They would be thrown aside all the same. Like a lizard cutting off its tail to escape.
'Cutting off the tail…'
Oh-ssi would call those Hunters "Lizards", and their act, "cutting off the tail".
The minimum number of people required for C-rank Gates was 10, yet Hwang Dongseok's main team was composed of 8.
"You should know, it's really hard to get a Healer-class Hunter for a personal raiding party. We've always been like this."
If they've "always been like this", it meant that they had entered many C-rank Gates before.
'Of course they didn't bother to fill the remaining two spots.'
You needed to leave room for the tail, after all. There was a reason why they didn't care if the filler member was an E-rank or a beginner.
And now, just because they were not part of the original group, Hwang Dongseok was planning to abandon Sung Jinwoo and Yoo Jinho.
'I suppose this is good for me.'
Having figured out Hwang Dongseok's intentions, Jinwoo did not feel bad. Rather, it was what he wanted. However, Yoo Jinho, who was on his first Raid ever, was not as confident. He asked with a worried voice,
"Well, still… Don't you think we should all go together?"
Jinwoo noticed one of the Hunters move his hand toward his weapon. He went up and put a hand on Yoo Jinho's shoulder.
"It's alright. We'll stay behind and watch the spot."
The Hunter's hand stopped.
Yoo Jinho looked at him with a pleading expression, but Jinwoo did not respond and instead lightly shook his head. The young man was annoying, but he couldn't let him die just like that. After all, even with no benefit to himself, Jinho tried to help Jinwoo out with the contract earlier.
Hwang Dongseok smiled at the two.
"Our car's parked right in front. We won't take long. See you soon, then."
And the 8 Hunters left the boss room. Their footsteps quickly disappeared in the distance. Yoo Jinho turned and questioned Jinwoo accusingly,
"Hyung, how could you say that? What if that thing wakes up?"
He was terrified of the spider.
'Looks like he hasn't fully understood the situation yet.'
Jinwoo clicked his tongue in his mind. It would be annoying to explain every little detail to this kid. Instead, he started warming up his body.
It was at that time Hwang Dongseok turned around and faced towards the boss room. The following Hunters also stopped. They were actually not that far away from the boss room, just enough so their voices would not reach.
Smiling, Hwang Dongseok raised his chin towards Jo Gyuhwan.
"Gyuhwan, block the entrance to the boss room."
"Should I blow it up?"
"Yeah. Not too hard though, we still have to go back inside."
Lee Cheoljin interrupted them,
"Hwang hyung, why go through all this trouble? Why didn't we just kill'em both right there?"
Hwang Dongseok turned a sharp gaze toward the man, eyes narrowed. There was no need to put up a front anymore.
Hwang Dongseok clicked his tongue.
"And if the spider woke up while we were fighting? How would we mine the mana crystals?"
Jo Gyuhwan joined them,
"Hwang hyung, now that you mention it, wouldn't the spider still wake up if we tried to mine the mana crystals? It's not exactly going to be quiet."
That thing was something that ate the dangerous bug type magic beasts for food. If they were caught off guard while mining, it would result in a disaster for their party.
"And that's why,"
Hwang Dongseok smiled widely,
"We're gonna feed those two to it."
Jo Gyuhwan nodded, understanding his meaning. At the moment, they did not know when the spider would wake up. It could be 10 hours from now or 1 minute. So the best option was to wake it now and feed it, to refresh its sleeping cycle. The sound of the entrance being boarded up should definitely wake it up.
Hwang Dongseok continued,
"We can go mine the mana crystals when the spider goes back to sleep after eating."
The Association had allotted 5 days for their Raid, which meant that they still had 4 days remaining. They would wait to see if the spider would fall asleep. If it didn't, they would just take it down and try to mine as much crystals before the Gate closed. They probably couldn't get it all in just an hour, but with two less shares to give, they probably could still walk away with a great income. Wasn't that better than working away in fear? The most important thing was their safety, after all.
'And of course, that's the worst-case scenario…'
If they were lucky, they would be able to grab all the mana crystals, take down the spider, and get Yoo Jinho's gear to boot.
'That sword and shield… at minimum, they'd be worth a few hundred million each.'
There was little they could lose. The corners of Hwang Dongseok's mouth rose.
"Alright, block the entrance and let's go out for a smoke."
As he replied, a blinding light gathered in Jo Gyuhwan's hands.
Yoo Jinho's eyes were fixed on the spider, doing his best to quiet his breath. He asked with a fearful expression,
"That spider… You don't think it'll wake up, do you?"
Jinwoo saved his words. He had an idea of what was about to happen, but he felt like explaining it in full would make the young man faint.
'Now that I think about it…'
Yoo Jinho's words to him just now was after five minutes of silence. Compared to his chatty demeanor earlier, it seemed like the young man was truly afraid.
It was in that moment,
With a disastrous sound, the entrance of the boss room collapsed.
Yoo Jinho ran towards the entrance in panic, but the fallen stones had already blocked off the exit. He pushed with all his might, but the rocks did not budge. Jinwoo approached him casually.
"Hng-! Hyung, help me with this!"
The young man was still trying to clear the rocks with every ounce of his strength.
'The mage's name was Jo Gyuhwan?'
Jinwoo noticed a flash of light before the collapse. A C-rank Mage who used light. This was definitely his doing.
Jinwoo placed a hand on one of the rocks.
'I could get out of this easily.'
He was able to feel the weight of the stone through his touch. It was lighter than expected. Putting a little bit of power into it, he felt the nearby rocks budge slightly. However, he had no intention of leaving.
"Ah! I got it!"
Yoo Jinho suddenly stopped pushing and spoke understandingly. He turned to Jinwoo with a red face and continued,
"Those sons of bitches are trying to kill us! They don't want to share the mana crystals so they're going to block us in and let the spider do their job!"
'Yes. You got it. Good job.'
Jinwoo held back a sigh.
"You got it. Looks like we're in trouble."
The face that was red with anger quickly turned pale. Jinwoo didn't need to ask why. He saw the movement of the giant magic beast reflected in Yoo Jinho's eyes. He turned around.
The spider, having woke up from the sound, was slowly moving his giant body.
Size of a house.
Dozens of eyes.
Long, thick legs.
Seeing the thing in motion made it seem much more terrifying than when it was sleeping.
Yoo Jinho began to moan in terror. His entire body froze up. On the other hand, Jinwoo fixed his gaze on the spider and calmly called for Casaka's Poisoned Fang from his inventory.
It was finally time to test his increased abilities. Casaka's Poisoned Fang appeared in his right hand. Holding it as if it was always there, he tightened his grip.
Now would begin the real hunt. Time to show why Hunters are called Hunters!
Yoo Jinho frantically stopped Jinwoo, who was walking toward the spider.
"W-what are you going to do?"
The hands holding onto Jinwoo were trembling. Jinwoo pointed at the spider with his left hand.
"I'm going to take it down."
This was the reason why Jinwoo had followed Hwang Dongseok up until now. If he attempted to 'cut off the tail', Jinwoo would take all the magic beasts of the Dungeon for himself. It was a good opportunity to obtain valuable experience points and magic cores.
'If only the boss hadn't eaten all the magic beasts…'
He could've earned so much more. It was regrettable.
In the meantime, Yoo Jinho, who did not know the truth about Jinwoo, looked at him incredulously.
'What is this hyung even saying?'
Jinho recalled hearing somewhere that people would sometimes go insane after a great shock. And now, this E-rank Hunter was saying he would solo a C-rank Dungeon's boss. What was this, if not insane?!
"You're going to take that thing down?"
Jinwoo scratched the top of his head,
"Do you want to do it?"
-10. Give and Take-
Before he could respond, Jinwoo turned back to the boss. There was no need to hear his response. Yoo Jinho just stood with shaky legs. From the start, Jinwoo expected nothing from Yoo Jinho. Rather, he was glad that the young man didn't offer to help.
'He'll just get in the way.'
Jinwoo slowly walked towards the spider. Having discovered him as well, the spider moved its eight legs and faced Jinwoo.
It was coming.
As if amused by a new type of food, the spider did not hurry. It took small steps with its long and thick legs and slowly closed the gap between the two.
Faced with the spider's giant figure, Jinwoo felt his breath speeding up. His heartbeat raced crazily.
ba dum ba dum ba dum
He controlled his breathing and tried to bring down his excitement. He had to be calm. The image of him standing before the third level entrance at the subway station came to mind.
'The Blue Poison-fanged Casaka...'
Thankfully, the pressure he felt from the spider in front of him was not as great as that time. He felt fully confident in his ability to take it down. After all, if he had felt that it was an impossible boss to face, he would not have stayed behind.
The spider was close enough that he could see his face reflected in its eyes.
Jinwoo's eyes narrowed.