I Alone Level-Up Chapter 43
From 27 to 39, he had gained 12 levels. Other than the time he had entered his first Instant Dungeon at level 1 and left at level 17, he had not gained levels this fast before. Even moreso, he was a much lower level back then and was expected to level-up faster. This was not the case for him right now. As such, all this could be attributed to the number of Raids he had completed with Yoo Jinho.
'It's been four days since we started Raiding together. We've gone through nine Dungeons in those four days…'
And those 9 Dungeons were C-rank Dungeons, the highest difficulty possible for a solo clear. It was indeed a crazy speed. However, to the other Hunters who needed C-rank Gates, it was as if a disaster had fallen upon them. Even Yoo Jinho, who had watched Jinwoo's increasing clear times, was impressed.
Of course, all of this made sense to Jinwoo. After all, with each level-up, clearing the same difficulty became easier. 12 levels from 9 Dungeons, it was practically one level-up per Dungeon. And there were 10 Raids remaining. If he completed the 19 Raids he had promised to Yoo Jinho, he could probably go up another 4~5 levels.
He recalled defeating a B-rank Hunter when his level was in the 20s. He was no longer sure how powerful had become.
'My heart is beating.'
Jinwoo placed a hand over his heart. He felt its vigorous beating.
ba dum ba dum ba dum
It was an exciting feeling to experience the growth of his strength day by day. All of this was something he couldn't even dream of in the past. To think that he would actually enjoy entering a Gate and raiding a Dungeon.
'It's because I can confirm my strength each time.'
As he leveled up. As his attributes increased. Hunting the magic beasts gave him assurance of his changed strength.
He truly had felt that he had become a Hunter. The idea of hunting was no longer awkward to him. Now, he had a new goal:
'...The Demon Castle.'
He was level 21 when he had first entered it. Since then, he had gained nearly 20 levels. Jinwoo wondered if this would be enough, but then thought back on the Cerberus and became unsure.
'If I entered through the castle gates and was met with something that I could not run from…'
He shuddered. It would be good if he could escape using the 'Stealth' skill, but even that was not a guaranteed possibility. You could be successful 10 times in a row, but a single mistake could cost you your life; that was the Hunter's life. So he needed a complete assurance. The assurance that he could fight something like the Cerberus and win.
'Cerberus' name was in red.'
The monster's difficulty was classified by the color of its name. Outside of the Demon Castle, Jinwoo had yet to see another monster with a red name. The other Instant Dungeons he had entered so far all had low-level monsters, including the Mirae Mall today.
But something was off.
'What is it?'
When he thought about the idea that he had only seen a monster with a red name in the Demon Castle, something felt off. As if he was forgetting something…
'Have I seen a red name monster outside of the Demon Castle?'
That was impossible. Even at level 21, he had almost died while fighting the Cerberus. If he had met a red name monster before that, he would've surely died-
Jinwoo gasped in disbelief.
Yes, indeed there was a time.
A time where he ran from a red named monster until he was about to die.
'The penalty quest!'
The centipedes he had encountered in that desert had red names.
'Poison-fanged Giant Sand Centipede'
Because of the time that had passed, doubled up with the fact that he had no idea what was happening at the time, the memory of those monsters had faded in Jinwoo's head.
'If I can take those centipedes down easily!'
Then he would earn the assurance that he could raid the Demon Castle. Since there was more than one centipede, he could even test himself against multiple enemies.
The problem was how he would go back there…
'Is skipping out on the daily quest the only way?'
There was not that much loss involved. He would still earn the same amount of stat points, even if it was the penalty quest.
'Let's try for the Penalty Zone tomorrow.'
To think that he would skip the daily quest so he could get the penalty quest… Jinwoo thought back on the time he ran for his life and chuckled.
"I wonder if they'll give experience and items."
Jinwoo couldn't help but smile.
At that time, Jinwoo felt a presence of someone getting out of the elevator at the end of the hallway outside. It was the light footsteps of a girl. Her walk was familiar to him.
It was 11 o'clock at night, about time for his sister to come home. Jinwoo got up and opened the door before she could even get the keys out of her pocket.
Jinah jokingly praised her brother. The first time he did this, she nearly jumped out of her skin, but she had gotten accustomed to this method of greeting. They say human beings can get used to anything.
Jinah happily greeted her brother then walked to her room. She was about to close the door, then stopped,
She stuck her head out of her room.
"Do you have any free time this week?"
"This week? Why?"
"The teacher asked me to ask you for a parent/guardian meeting. Can't be helped if you're not free, though."
As if her teacher had sent her on an important mission, Jinah looked nervous.
As a senior in high school, Jinah must've been busy with school. He wanted to make an excuse that he did not have the time, but thanks to someone, he did have a day he was completely free.
'Sigh… Yoo Jinho, you're no help at all.'
Jinwoo replied after giving it some thought,
"Really? Thanks, oppa!"
Jinah's expression brightened. Feeling like she was about to run over and give him a hug, Jinwoo held up a hand.
Jinah scrunched her face at him and closed the door. Jinwoo sighed at his situation.
On top of the nonstop Raids, he wanted to visit the Penalty Zone and now, he had to go to a parent/guardian meeting on Thursday.
It was going to be a busy week.
-8. Class Advancement Quest- 
Jinwoo left his house early in the morning. Today's schedule was packed with work. Yoo Jinho had told him that they had reserved 4 Gates. As they would be taking a break tomorrow, the young man wanted to take care of 2 day's worth of Raids in one day.
'Well, when I think about the recent clear speeds…'
He could certainly pull off 4~5 Raids in a day. The only limiting factor was the number of C-rank Gates appearing in a same area. So today was a rather lucky day. He happily walked towards outside of the apartment, but he did not see Yoo Jinho's Bongo that would always be waiting for him. On top of that, he felt an unfamiliar presence nearby.
If it wasn't for what happened yesterday, he would've given it no thought. But not after that meeting.
'I even warned them...'
Jinwoo discovered his watcher hiding around the corner. The man in a business suit was checking the time on his watch and did not notice Jinwoo approaching him. Jinwo spoke up right in front of the man,
The man jumped in surprise,
"H-Hunter Sung Jinwoo-nim!"
He looked like he had seen a ghost.
'Well, that's why I hid my presence.'
Jinwoo clicked his tongue on the inside.
"You're from Baekho Guild, right?"
"Hmm? Ah, yes. I'm Hyun Gicheol of Baekho Guild's Second Management Division."
This appeared to be the subordinate that Ahn Sangmin was talking about yesterday.
"Please to meet you, Hunter-nim."
Hyun Gicheol cautiously held out a hand. He was asking for a handshake, but Jinwoo was not in the mood. Seeing Jinwoo just stare without reciprocating, Hyun Gicheol turned red and retracted his hand.
"Didn't I make it clear that I won't be entering a Guild for the time being?"
Hyun Gicheol frantically held out a hand.
"Ah, that's not why I'm here."
Then, the man held out a tumbler he was holding in the other hand.
In the frosted sides of the tumbler, Jinwoo saw a strange colorful liquid. Hyun Gicheol held his head up with pride and replied,
"It's vegetable juice. I personally made it, and I can guarantee it's quality."
Hyun Gicheol did not lower his hand this time. Jinwoo relented and took the tumbler from him.
"So, you're telling me you've been waiting since dawn, just to give me this?"
"Yes! Hunter-nim has to think about his health, after all!"
Jinwoo wanted to ask why Baekho Guild would be concerned with his health but stopped himself. Hyun Gicheol bowed his head then smiled brightly as he walked away.
"Then, I'll see you again, Hunter-nim!"
The man waved to him as he disappeared in the distance. Jinwoo waved the tumbler back at him.
"...What an amusing man."
After Hyun Gicheol left, Jinwoo stared at the tumbler. He had heard of insurance salesmen who tried to earn brownie points with a potential customer with store-bought yogurt, but that man was probably the first in history to bring handmade vegetable juice to a potential customer.
'Well, I shouldn't throw it away.'
It probably wasn't poisoned. Not that it would work against him.
He thought to at least give the taste a try.
Jinwoo drank the juice and was surprised.
A familiar voice came from behind him,
Turning around, he saw Yoo Jinho approaching him. Brightly smiling as always, the young man gestured towards the direction Hyun Gicheol had walked away to.
"Hyungnim, who was that just now? I saw him standing around for a while."
Jinwoo's reply was short.
"An insurance salesman."
As expected, Yoo Jinho accepted the explanation without a doubt. Jinwoo looked around and asked,
"Where's your car?"
If the young man had seen Hyun Gicheol waiting for him, that meant he must've been also waiting around nearby, but Jinwoo did not see his ride.
"I parked it way over there, hyungnim."
"Haven't there been reports of a serial killer in this area? I'm not from around here, so people were looking at me strangely."
Jinwoo nodded, understanding. It was an incident making its round in the news. The victims were mostly young women. They said there were already two murders just this month. Of course, if people saw a strange Bongo parked at the entrance of the apartment… It made sense the neighbors would be suspicious.
Jinwoo drank the last drops of the juice and started walking towards where Yoo Jinho had parked the car.
The magic beasts this time were lizardmen. As their name implied, the lizardmen were humanoids in the shape of lizards. Walking on two feet, they used both weapons and occasionally magic. The lizardmen magicians were few in number, but they were an annoying enemy.
Two fireballs appeared in the lizardmen magician's hands.
As Jinwoo tried to approach the caster, the two lizardmen that were standing guard at its side raised their spears. Their reptilian reflexes were fast. Jinwo leaped backwards to dodge their spears, but the fireballs launched themselves at him, one after the other.
"Hyungnim, watch out!"
Yoo Jinwoo screamed from a distance.
The cave shook with the explosion.
: "parent/guardian meeting" (학부모 상담): "student's parent" 학부모 + "discussion/counselling" 상담. As highschool students near their graduation and prepare for college in Korea, parent/guardians are often called to the school to sit down and discuss the student's future prospects with their homeroom teacher.
: "Class Advancement" (전직): lit. "to change jobs". I've translated "job" as "class" in his status screen.