I Alone Level-Up Chapter 58
'Alright. That's taken care of.'
Jinwoo ended the call. At first, Ahn Sangmin was flustered but upon hearing Jinwoo's explanation, the man happily agreed to his request. Thank to that, Jinwoo would be able to see how Baekho trained their new recruits in a Raid.
'I've already got the van.'
Yoo Jinho had helped him out with that even on his busy day. The young man had told him that he could only vacate wherever he came from for a brief moment and apologized. Jinwoo thought the young man's attitude was rather mature compared how he had acted in the past.
Anyways, Jinwoo was ready. He was currently in front of the residence of the trouble student that Jinah's teacher had asked him to convince.
'It's kinda close to our place.'
It was about a two minute walk. Jinwoo probably could've hit it with a rock from his own room. He took a look around the neighborhood. It was a small neighborhood filled with worn down buildings. He was able to roughly gather that, like his own family, she probably did not grow up that well. He understand why she wanted to be a Hunter. It reminded him of his past.
'Still, it's people like that who are the first to die.'
He himself had gotten hurt many times before. The E-rank Hunter even teetered between life and death few times. If it wasn't for his mother's rare illness, he would've never started the job. For an E-rank Hunter, the Dungeon was that much of a dangerous place. If he did nothing, she would surely come to regret her decision. Forget regret, she might even lose her life.
'And that's not all that rare.'
After all, dozens of Hunters died everyday across the world. Jinwoo did not care about any of them; it was their decision.
The person this time around was not a complete stranger. If she was, Jinwoo would've ignored the teachers request, even if it was Jinah's classmate. But the young girl's name was familiar to Jinwoo. He felt a presence approaching; looking up, it was the problem student. Seeing her face, Jinwoo confirmed it was indeed the same girl.
The student noticed Jinwoo and tilted her head,
"Ahjussi, why are you here?"
As expected, the girl recognized him.
'Sigh… it's a really a small world after all.'
Jinwoo scratched the side of his head.
A female highschool student who wanted to be a Hunter. She was the sole female member of Yoo Jinho's raiding party; the one whose age concerned Jinwoo in the beginning.
"Is it okay to bring that one?"
"I went ahead and got some legal counsel. There isn't any legal reason why she can't join us. It's just going to be a big problem if she gets hurt."
When he heard her name from Jinah's teacher, Jinwoo was sure it was her. Just in case, he asked for her records. The day that she stopped coming to school was the day he started raiding with Yoo Jinho's team. Once he realized this, Jinwoo realized all this might've been partially his fault, so he decided to take responsibility. The circumstances of their raiding party were special, and he did not want to mislead the girl into thinking that what she earned with them would be the norm going forward. After all, she had earned 30 million won in the past week; that was an unthinkable amount for a highschooler.
'One thing's for sure.'
If he heard in the future that she died in a Dungeon, he knew it would be a thorn in his heart. And so, he decided to take the time today to convince her. It wouldn't be that difficult.
"So why are you here?"
Han Songyi stared at Jinwoo with wide open eyes. She looked a little hesitant.
"No way, the Hunter that the teacher wanted to introduce me to was you, ahjussi?"
He was bothered at the fact that she kept calling him ahjussi but nodded with a smile.
"I don't know what the teacher told you, but I'm not interested in school anymore. I don't plan on giving up the Hunter life."
She attempted to cut him off firmly from whatever he was planning on doing. Back in the raiding party, she was a rather quiet girl, but when it involved her future, her attitude had changed. It was a precocious behavior fitting of today's children.
'Reminds me of another precocious brat living at home.'
Jinwoo smiled widely. Having attempted to come off as stern, Han Songyi was flustered by Jinwoo's unexpected response. Jinwoo calmly spoke,
"Yeah, I don't plan on telling you to give it up either."
The girl's eyes widened in surprise,
Jinwoo knew, telling kids like her to not do something was the best way to get them to do that thing. From the start, he had no intention of convincing her through words. He would just show her a glimpse of reality.
'I was the same.'
He realized that truth on his first Raid. That reality was much more cruel than he thought. Han Songyi tried to keep up a stern demeanor and asked,
"Th-then why are you here?"
Jinwoo stepped forward. The girl almost took a step back in surprise but kept her composure as to not appear weak. In front of Han Songyi, Jinwoo put on a smile. He did not mean to do so, but it was a rather evil looking smile, filled with ulterior motives.
"I want to make you into an amazing Hunter."
She did not need any convincing to go into the Dungeon. Enticed by the prospect of watching Baekho's new recruit training in person, she excitedly tagged along without a shred of suspicion at Jinwoo. When she asked how he knew her homeroom teacher, Jinwoo showed her a picture of him and his sister.
"Ahjussi, you're Jinah's oppa?"
A certain word kept hitting a nerve on his mind, but Jinwoo overlooked it since things were going according to plan.
Jinwoo drove Han Songyi to the place where Baekho would be holding their new recruit training in the form of a Raid. He was told that they would begin their training at 9 PM, so he had plenty of time.
The van that was too large for just two people traveled to their destination like it was flying. Was it because of the agility and sense stats? Jinwoo, who had never driven a car after obtaining his driver's license, was skillfully navigating the road. Even focusing just a little bit slowed down the other cars.
'Man, these attribute stats sure are useful.'
From his side, Han Songyi struck up a conversation,
"So does Jinah really spend all day studying at home? I heard she even uses an encyclopedia as wallpaper so she can constantly look at something to memorize."
Did his little sister really have such a reputation? At home, she was just a chicken-loving girl who loved to sleep.
"She's the same as everyone else. When she comes home, she plays around, eats and sleeps."
Well, mostly sleep.
"Eh… No way. How could her grades be so good if that was the case?"
"I couldn't believe it either. Back in junior high, she was just a girl who went to arcades with me."
While the pair shared a conversation, they had arrived at the Gate. Jinwoo stopped the car.
It was a neighborhood that produced a lot of Gates for some reason. Because of that, most of the people had moved away, and it was easy to find parking. Jinwoo heard that there were at least 8 residential buildings in the area that were abandoned. Once the remaining people moved away, the government planned to just flatten the entire area.
Jinwoo and Han Songyi got out from the car. There was a strange foreboding feeling in the air.
Jinwoo swore he could hear a cheering coming from his shadow. He chalked it up to the atmosphere. Han Songyi was slightly scared because of that atmosphere but quickly cheered up when she saw other Hunters in the distance. Her sparkling eyes were like someone looking at a celebrity.
'Well, they are THE Baekho's Hunters.'
He supposed to a student who wanted to be a Hunter, they were no different than celebrities. When he remembered the image of Hunters in the media, it was not a strange thing.
"Oh, you really came."
Hyun Gicheol noticed Jinwoo and came over.
"Do you remember me?"
Jinwoo lightly nodded. When Hyun Gicheol greeted him with a genuine and not a business-use smile, Jinwoo smiled back despite of himself. He had only met the man few times, but it seemed like he had a likeable personality.
"I heard from the chief. So this is the student?"
Hang Songyi bowed her head. They were lightly exchanging greetings when a large musclehead split off from the Hunters and came over,
"Can we get going already? We're not here for a picnic. It's almost nine."
Without waiting for their response, the man returned to the Gate. Jinwoo could tell he was not an ordinary man; he turned to Hyun Gicheol,
"Who was that?""Ah, he's an A-rank new recruit that just entered the Guild. When we informed him about you and the student, he was annoyed. Said something about a Dungeon not being a playground…"
Hyun Gicheol nodded. The man being an A-rank would explain the presence Jinwoo felt. Jinwoo asked another question,
"What's the level of the raiding party?"
"One A-rank, seven B-ranks, four C-ranks for a total of twelve members."
"You're taking an A-rank and B-ranks for just a C-rank Gate?"
"Well, even if their rank is high, they're newbies. It's to give them a taste of what the Dungeon is like."
Hyun Gicheol spoke with pride. Once they completed their Raid today, he added that they would be placed in official high-level Raids going forward.
'Still, an A-rank and seven B-ranks are a bit too much…'
Jinwoo's eyes changed. In fact, this was the real reason why Ahn Sangmin let him tag along so easily. The chief wanted to show off the elite new recruits of Baekho to Jinwoo, to show him the value of the Guild. However, contrary to Ahn Sangmin and Hyun Gicheol's expectations, Jinwoo looked over at the raiding party with a disappointment in his eyes.
The Gate was a C-rank. Compared to that, the raiding party was too strong.
'If the Raid is too easy, my plan won't work.'
This was his worry, but he shook his head.
'Eh, I'm sure once she see what it's like in there, she'll realize the truth.'
The truth of how powerless an E-ranker was in a Dungeon. That should be enough.
"When are we going in?"
Not realizing Jinwoo's true intentions, Han Songyi impatiently asked when they would start the Raid. Turning to his side, Jinwoo saw that her face was filled with excitement and anticipation.
'Let's see how long you can keep that up.'
He laughed in his head and turned to Hyun Gicheol,
"Then, we'll be going as well."
Hyun Gicheol looked around then leaned in and whispered to Jinwoo,
"Er… If Hunter Sung Jinwoo-nim steps up, the Raid will be over in a flash. Could you please just stay in the back and watch?"
Well, that was his plan.
"Yes, I'll do just that."
He would resume the Raids with Yoo Jinho tomorrow; he had no need to interfere with Baekho's new recruit training. However, tomorrow would be the inaugural combat for his shadow army, so he decided to bring Han Songyi here.
'I don't want to show off the Shadow Soldiers in front of her.'
If the girl saw him easily taking down magic beasts with his shadows, her delusions might worsen. Jinwoo and Han Songyi went before the Gate. Unlike the A-ranker, some of the other Hunters greeted them with a smile.
"Please to meet you."
As the purpose of the Raid was not money, having more people was a good thing. They took turns introducing themselves. When it was the A-ranker's turn,
He turned and entered the Gate first.
"Let us go as well."
Baekho's new recruits entered the Gate one by one. Han Songyi stopped before the Gate and turned to Jinwoo,
"What about you, ahjussi?"
Jinwoo crossed his arms and replied,
"I'll see you go in first."
With a face filled with nervousness, the girl nodded and entered.
Jinwoo lightly sighed then stood before the Gate. Turning around, he saw Hyun Gicheol waving to him and cheering.
Jinwoo turned back to the Gate.
Something was wrong.
The Gate was rippling and trembling nonstop.
'Unless someone is in the process of entering or leaving, it should stay still like a black curtain.'
But right now, even though no one was entering or leaving, the Gate was rippling like someone had disturbed the surface of a lake. Something was different. Jinwoo placed a hand on the Gate. The surface of the Gate clung to his hand like a sticky substance and started crawling up his hand.
'Wait, this is..!'
Jinwoo sharply turned his head and met Hyun Gicheol's eyes. The employee also realized something was wrong. Jinwoo shouted at the man,
"CALL YOUR MAIN HUNTERS, RIGHT N-"
Before Jinwoo could finish, he was sucked into the Gate.
"W-what was that?"
Hyun Gicheol ran to the Gate. The three other Baekho employees also went up behind him. In front of the Gate, Hyun Gicheol was panicking in terror.
"No… no way!"
The Hunters weren't the only new recruits here. The employees standing behind him were also new hires. Of course they would be confused at what was happening. They looked at Hyun Gicheol like deer in headlights.
"D-deputy! The Gate is turning red!"
As if a drop of blood fell on the surface of water, the Gate's surface was quickly turning red. Hyun Gicheol ignored the employees and quickly made a call.
- "What is it, Gicheol?"
"Chief! It's a Red Gate! The new recruits just entered a Red Gate!!!"
Ahn Sangmin's voice became serious.
- "What the hell?! How did a Red Gate come out of a C-rank Gate?!"
Hyun Gicheol looked up at the Gate that had turned completely red. The rippling had already stopped. The deputy gulped.
"I… I don't know, but it's definitely a Red Gate."