I Alone Level-Up Chapter 36
'I wish he would say something…'
The silent figure of Jinwoo felt cold to her. Gathering her courage, Juhee opened her mouth first with great difficulty,
"So… I don't think I can eat anything today, so I'll return this…"
Juhee gave Jinwoo a magic core. It was the same core that he had given to her back in the underground temple. Her hand that handed over the magic core was trembling.
'I suppose that time was less than a month ago… And we had another incident today.'
Jinwoo realized just how scared Juhee must be. He fully understood that she would lose her appetite after everything that happened today.
"Today's not the only day we could grab dinner. You don't have to return it like this."
Juhee shook her head,
"I'm going back home next week."
As she had retired from being a Hunter, she must've planned to return to her hometown. Jinwoo became disappointed,
"Because of that incident?"
"Not just that…"
Remembering the Double Dungeon, Juhee's face darkened. Jinwoo quickly steered the conversation away,
"Where is your hometown?"
"Busan. So, Jinwoo-ssi."
Suddenly, her eyes became serious.
Having sensed the mood, Jinwoo erased his smile and also became serious. Juhee stared at his face. She thought about his eyes that were filled with life. When everyone else had fallen into despair, he held onto the light in his eyes. Juhee remembered being right next to him and looking into them.
'He said something about coming back alive.'
The ray of hope that his eyes held onto resulted in saving the lives of many people, including her own. It was an act that could not be imitated by any other.
ba dum ba dum
As she thought back on that day, her heart started pounding.
She had no regrets about retiring as a Hunter; she knew she was not fit for the life. But thinking about how hard it will be to see Jinwoo again filled her with regret.
'If I asked him now, "can I see you again", he'll probably think I'm a weird person…'
But there was nothing she could do. To dwell on such matters would be foolish. After some time, Juhee chortled and lightly shook her head,
"No, it's nothing. If you're ever down in Busan, please give me a call. I'll buy you some food."
Jinwoo smiled, and Juhee returned the smile. And so, having said the words she wanted to say, the two bid each other farewell.
The road home had never felt this long.
After seeing Juhee off, Jinwoo returned home. The sight of the worn-down apartment came into his view from afar. He lived on the 9th floor. He passed by the parked cars and headed towards the building, then an aged voice stopped him,
"Young man from unit 902."
It was the elderly guard ahjussi. Jinwoo greeted the guard he had known for a long time.
"Have you not gone home for the day?"
"Ah, I'm on the night shift today."
"Ah," Jinwoo nodded.
"Here, a package came for you."
"Ah, thank you."
It was from the Association.
'Was it supposed to arrive today?'
The Hunter phone from the Association was supposed to arrive soon. Jinwoo took the phone out of the box. It was a sparkling new phone.
Lately, there was much public interest in the Hunters. Jinwoo recalled a news segment where an increasing number of people who were not Awakened Beings tried to illicitly buy a Hunter phone.
'Forget the buyers, what are the thieves thinking?'
They say it's not that a country doesn't have money, but it has too many thieves. Whether it was the Association or the military, wherever people gathered produced all kinds of corruption. Whenever money leaks from such organizations through said corruption, it decreases the ability of the organization to provide support for the people. And if the support for the people decreases, the society suffers. When society suffers, eventually, someone who needs help will be hurt because they cannot get it.
Thankfully, there appeared to be no flaws with his new phone. 
While he was waiting for the elevator, he turned on the phone. It was packed with notifications.
'Sigh, how long will it take to go through all of this?'
Among the missed calls and messages, two numbers kept repeating. Neither of the numbers seemed familiar to him. One of the numbers had repeatedly called him, the other had repeatedly sent him a message.
'I don't think I know anyone who would contact me this much.'
Jinwoo looked at the phone with a tilted head, then started checking the messages.
Hi, it's me from that time at the hospit...
Are you free this week by any chan...
Was I being too annoying? I hop...
He remembered who this was. It was the nurse that had asked for his contact information on the day of his discharge.
'I think her name was Choi Yura?'
Her messages were not particularly annoying, but Jinwoo felt that once he replied, it would get really annoying.
'I'll pass on this then…'
Next was the number that had repeatedly called him. Jinwoo clicked the call button on the number. The caller ringtone was a loud pop song that had just come out. Jinwoo had a feeling he knew who this would be. The person on the other end picked up quickly.
Having predicted the person, Jinwoo chuckled and spoke,
"It's me. Call me on this number from now on."
-"Ah! You've received your new phone, hyungnim!"
It was Yoo Jinho.
Jinwoo had remembered the young man's number, but not having called him before, it had slipped his mind. Yoo Jinho spoke with an excited voice,
- "I was actually about to call you. Hyungnim, the raiding party is complete! I'll come pick you up tomorrow!"
Even just hearing his voice, Jinwoo could imagine Yoo Jinho's smiling face. Jinwoo also smiled widely.
"Alrighty, I'll see you tomorrow."
Right on time, the elevator arrived as he ended the call. Finally, the real Raids would begin tomorrow. Jinwoo's heart beat in anticipation.
'Time to level-up a ton.'
He'll level-up, raise his stats and become stronger than anyone else.
Once he became a strong Hunter, money, fame, influence, he would be able to obtain it all.
Tomorrow would be the first step towards that dream.
Eastern United States.
Deep into the night.
Hwang Dongsoo, one of the main Hunters of one of the top Guilds of North America, "Scavenger", received a shocking news before he was about to go to bed.
"...My older brother is dead? How? Explain it… slowly…"
His older brother's name was Hwang Dongseok. The person on the other end told him that the man had lost his life in a C-rank Gate.
"...Hyung's main team of eight members all died, but two others got out alive?"
And those two were a D-ranker and an E-ranker?
Something was fishy. The older brother he knew would not risk his life for a weakling. On top of that, they were filler members? There was no fucking way.
But here it was, his brother and his C-rank teammates had died, and the D and E-rankers had lived.
'Something's definitely wrong…'
Hwang Dongsoo's eyes became sharp. Even though he was scouted by a famous American Guild and was currently away, back in South Korea, Hwang Dongseok was an older brother who took care of him more than anyone else in life. He could not be called a good man, but he was a good brother.
'Once I solidified my position here, I was going to bring him over…'
To think that he would die before he could. Hwang Dongsoo bit his lips.
"Fax me the two survivor's information, my number is…"
Hwang Dongsoo hung up and called the manager.
- "Mr. Hwang, what is it at this hour?"
"Laura, what would happen if I killed someone in South Korea?"
- "Are you serious?"
It took the woman a moment to respond,
- "...At the moment, there is no Criminal Extradition Treaty between the U.S. and South Korea. As Mr. Hwang is a Hunter under the American government, you'll be tried back here in the states. But considering our relationship with the government, I don't think the sentence will be that high."
"Good. Something came up, so I'll have to go to Korea for a bit. Can you clear my schedule?"
- "But Mr. Hwang, if you left just like that, it'll have an impact on the Guild's business. Could you let me know what this is about?"
"It's personal. Of course, I have no intentions of hurting the Guild. How backed up is my schedule?"
- "It's packed for about two months."
"Two months… Alright, clear my schedule beyond that. Doesn't have to be long, just two weeks. Give me two weeks and I'll be back from Korea."
- "...Got it. What should I tell the brass?"
"Tell them I'm going for my brother's funeral, and I'll need some time to grieve."
- "Ok. I'll do that. But Mr. Hwang… If there's anything I can-"
Hwang Dongsoo ended the call. Whether it was words of comfort or a warning. He was not in the mood to hear either.
The fax that he had requested earlier had arrived. Hwang Dongsoo looked at the printed documents. It contained the information on the two Hunters. Their names, pictures, brief profiles, etc…
"D-rank Hunter Yoo Jinho. E-rank Hunter Sung Jinwoo."
Hwang Dongsoo looked back and forth between the two faces and made a determination.
'I should be able to obtain some answers if I questioned these two.'
And if he should detect a hint of lie in their answers…
"You'll regret coming out of there alive."
Hwang Dongsoo's eyes were red with rage.
-6. A Strange Raid-
Jinwoo received the call from Yoo Jinho and went outside. He was greeted by a large Bongo out in front.
He was about to ask who the hell was blocking someone else's house when the driver seat window rolled down. The owner of the smiling face was… Yoo Jinho.
"Hyungnim! Get in!"
Yoo Jinho slapped the side of the car. Hearing that Yoo Jinho was coming to pick him up personally, Jinwoo had expected a Benz… Anyway he looked at it, this was an ordinary van. Well, it was a bit larger.
"Aren't you a second generation chaebol?"
"Well, I felt like if I brought my car, we'd get noticed a bit. I bought this one to use in our Raids."
Jinwoo did realize the car was clean and sparkling.
'He must've bought it pretty recently.'
The young man diligently came to pick him up early in the morning and had even bought a new car so they would not be noticed. Yoo Jinho's preparations were thorough. His expectations on this arrangement was that high. Yoo Jinho mistook Jinwoo looking over the new car for something else,
"Is this not satisfactory to you, hyungnim?"
"No, it's good."
He cut him off and got in the passenger seat.
"We're off, hyungnim."
Excited by the official start of their Raids, Yoo Jinho hummed happily as he drove. After some time, they arrived at a vacant lot.
"Hyungnim, this is it."
There were 8 Hunters waiting in the promised location.
: I think the way I translated the passage is a bit confusing. Basically, it seems like Jinwoo is going into a philosophical rant about society being hurt by corruption, when in reality, he was worried about him not getting his new phone ("help to someone who needs it"). This troll...
: In South Korea, people can set-up their own receiving ringtones to different sounds/music. As in if you call that person, you'll hear their personal ringtone in the receiver (and not the standard ring ring ring sound you'd hear in the West). Young folks often set-up the songs that they like as their ringtone.
: Criminal Extradition Treaty (범죄자 인도 조약): literal translation.
: "Chaebol" (재벌): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaebol ("large industrial conglomerate that is run by an owner or family in South Korea")