I Alone Level-Up Chapter 59
"A Red Gate? How did this happen?"
Baekho's Guildmaster Baek Yoonho immediately came to the scene after receiving the news. Hyun Gicheol, the man in charge of the training, had a dark expression.
"Let me take a look."
Baek Yoonho walked past the employees, who were practically preparing for a funeral in their minds, and walked up to the Gate.
'It's really a Red Gate!'
Baek Yoonho's face hardened.
Red Gates. It was a terrifying phenomenon observed in random high-level Gates. Instead of taking you to a small and confined Dungeon, it would connect to an entirely different world, complete with their own environments and lifeforms. Once the Gate solidified in its red color, no one could enter or leave until the boss was taken down or a Dungeon Break occurred. It was completely closed off from the outside.
Baek Yoonho placed a hand on the Gate. It was definitely blocked.
'This is not good.'
There was nothing they could do. Unlike other emergencies, help could not be provided to the ones inside. Baek Yoonho turned to Hyun Gicheol,
"Was this not a C-rank Gate?"
"Did you confirm with the Association?"
"We did, but… They were unusually adamant that this was a C-rank Gate."
"Those fucking sons of bitches!"
Baek Yoonho swore loudly. The Red Gates were a phenomenon limited to high-level Gates. It would take you to an entirely different world on the other side, and they said the magic power seeping out was only that of a C-rank Gate? It was an unthinkable bullshit. The Gate in front of him was at minimum, a B-rank. If they were unlucky, it could be an A-rank. If they were really unlucky, something above that...
Meanwhile, there was a reason why the Association could stubbornly deny any wrongdoing.
"Should we measure it with our own devices?"
At Hyun Gicheol's question, Baek Yoonho shook his head,
"No, Red Gates stop seeping magic power after solidifying. It's impossible to measure it now."
And this is why the Association could deny everything. It was impossible to remeasure a Red Gate, so there would be no evidence that they had messed up their initial measurements. Regardless, the rank of the Gate was not important right now,
"How many of our own went in?"
'How many were high-rankers?"
"The A-rank Hunter Kim Cheol-nim took the lead, and seven B-rank Hunter-nims below him."
"One A-rank and seven B-ranks…"
"Do… do you think the recruits will be alright?"
Baek Yoonho shook his head.
"We can consider them dead. If we're lucky, the A-ranker and few B-rankers might come back alive."
If they were lucky.
The composition of the party that went in would have a difficult time clearing the easiest of B-rank Dungeons. Anything beyond that was impossible. Without a miracle, the possibility of the new recruits coming back alive was slim. Baek Yoonho's face darkened. Reading the mood, Hyung Gicheol carefully spoke up,
"Er… So… there are two others that entered with our new recruits."
Baek Yoonho raised his head. Did a passing high-ranker tag along out of curiosity? That indeed would be a miracle! Baek Yoonho's voice became louder,
"Who was it?!"
"He's the Hunter that's been on my sights recently."
The reply came from their side. Both Hyun Gicheol and Baek Yoonho turned their heads to face Ahn Sangmin. The division chief was drenched in sweat and was panting.
"Sorry for being late. There was a little traffic."
Because he lived the furthest away from the scene of the incident, Ahn Sangmin had arrived the latest. The man glanced at the Gate. The phenomenon that was like a door to another world was now an iron wall, cutting everyone off from the other side. Just looking at it made it hard for an ordinary person to breathe.
'But if it's Hunter Sung Jinwoo…'
The man who had triumphed over incident after incident. That man just might be able to surpass everyone's expectations here. Baek Yoonho quickly approached Ahn Sangmin,
"He's a Hunter that Chief Ahn had his eyes on?"
Ah. Baek Yoonho remembered the whispers around the office.
'Now that I think about it…'
Lately, people were talking about how Chief Ahn was coming and leaving the office in a hurry. As expected, it was for the recruitment of a new Hunter. The man's eyes were never wrong.
'Could it be…'
The fires of hope lit up in Baek Yoonho's chest.
"What's the Hunter's rank? A? Or maybe B?"
It couldn't have been S. There had only been 10 S-rank Hunters born in South Korea; every single one of them knew each other. But Ahn Sangmin shook his head!
The hardened face of Baek Yoonho relaxed in an instant,
"Are you telling me an S-ranker went in with them?"
Ahn Sangmin calmly replied,
"No sir. He's an E-ranker."
Baek Yoonho looked like he had swallowed a bug.
Jinwoo was surprised.
'So this is the other world that they talked about?'
This was his first time seeing it person, but Jinwoo had read up on the Red Gates on the internet in the past. They all used the expression of being "sucked in". Jinwoo agreed. When the Gate seemingly grabbed onto his hand and pulled him in, all he saw for a moment was darkness, and it felt like he was sliding down a tunnel.
When he opened his eyes, he was in the middle of a forest covered in snow.
"Where are we?!"
"I don't think this is a Dungeon."
"The Gate is gone!"
The other Hunters looked around and could not hide their panic. While they were in chaos, Jinwoo calmly looked around with narrowed eyes.
'I don't sense anything weird.'
Thanks to the System, even in a situation like this, he was able to remain calm. First thing that he analyzed was the trees. Giant evergreens, impossibly large to be found in their country, covered the landscape, reaching high into the sky. The top of the trees were stacked with snow. He lowered his gaze and met someone else's eyes. It was the A-rank Hunter Kim Cheol, who had also been surveilling the surroundings.
The two stared down at each other, then looked away. Han Songyi approached Jinwoo and lightly tugged on his clothes.
"Excuse me… Something went wrong, right?"
Her eyes were filled with fear. The confidence she displayed outside was completely gone. Suddenly, Jinwoo's hand shot toward her face.
The girl's eyes widened.
The arrow Jinwoo caught lightly trembled as if angry at not hitting its target. The target was Han Songyi's forehead.
Realizing what just happened, Han Songyi's face turned white. However, the scream that rang forth did not come from her.
Blood seep out the Hunter's mouth as he fell to the ground, an arrow sticking out of his temple. A crimson flower bloomed on top of the snow. The Hunters began to moan in fear. The two arrows had flown toward them at the same time. Thanks to that, most of them did not see Jinwoo catch the other arrow.
"It was them!"
A B-rank Hunter pointed toward a faint spot on top of a distant tree. Long before he pointed, Jinwoo and Kim Cheol's eyes were already looking in the direction. There were two people standing on top of the trees.
'Or rather, they certainly aren't people.'
White hair. Skin as pale as snow. Silver eyes. And the trademark of their race, pointed ears.
Because of their fair beauty and the fact that you could only see them in high-level Dungeons, they were quite famous among the magic beasts.
Also known as the White Walkers. 
Those that never met them in person refer to them as ice elves. However, those that have faced them directly in battle called them White Walkers. Their reasoning was that a pretty name like "elf" was not fitting for these things. Jinwoo was able to understand why the Hunter sunbaes called these things White Walkers while gritting their teeth.
'...They're laughing at us.'
The two elves had lowered their bows and were laughing disgustingly at the Hunters. It was as if they were deciding which food to eat first at a buffet.
'And this was your decision?'
Jinwoo's eyes became sharp. An arrow to the right of the party. An arrow to the left of the party. Their targets were not random. The Hunter killed by the arrow was a newly Awakened C-ranker in his 30s. Other than Han Songyi, he was the weakest of the group. And the other arrow was aimed at…
The elves had targeted the two weakest members of their party.
'If it wasn't for the System, I would've been the other target.'
The White Walkers' calculating ways annoyed Jinwoo. Making sure they could see him, Jinwoo held out the arrow and crushed it in his hand.
Accepting the challenge, one of the White Walkers slid a finger across his throat. Even between human and magic beast, it was a universal gesture.
Jinwoo's mouth formed a smile. His eyes were not smiling.
'...You. I will kill you myself.'
At a mere magic beast's taunt, Jinwoo's eyes filled with a cold fury. The White Walkers quickly disappeared behind the tree.
"I don't think they're here to be friends."
Kim Cheol finally opened his mouth. As he was the sole A-ranker of the party, everyone turned their eyes to him. He was technically the leader of this Raid after all.
"I'm sure some of you noticed. This is a Red Gate."
Kim Cheol spoke in a condescending manner, but nobody dared to complain.
"That means that until we are all dead or a Dungeon Break occurs, no one will be coming for us."
Many of the Hunters groaned in defeat. Some of the ignorant ones had hoped for a rescue, and the fact that no such help would be coming crushed their spirits. Kim Cheol continued,
"If we stay here, we'll either freeze to death or be ambushed by those bastards. I will go and clear this Dungeon to leave. Who's with me?"
With wide shoulders and a powerful look in his eyes, Kim Cheol looked rather dependable. After a brief pause, the Hunters approached the man in unison,
"Me too please."
"Let's leave here alive."
"I'll help as well!"
However, Kim Cheol shoved a man who had approached him.
He had held back, but it was the power of an A-ranker. The man walked backwards while clutching his chest in pain.
"And you, you, you and you."
In addition to the man, Kim Cheol pointed to several others, including Jinwoo and Han Songyi. Jinwoo's eyes twitched, realizing Kim Cheol's intentions. The musclehead had pointed to a total of 5 people. They were the C-rank and below Hunters.
"Unfortunately, we cannot take you with us."
"What do you know of Red Gates?"
The man shook his head.
"A day in here is an hour outside. Worst case scenario, it'll take months before either we take down the boss or a Dungeon Break occurs. With that in mind, we can't babysit you all."
"What do you mean babysit us?!"
The Hunters that would be excluded tried to protest but were silenced when Kim Cheol gave a fierce look with his eyes. With a false kindness, Kim Cheol continued,
"Don't feel bad. All you have to do is survive until we take down the boss."
The excluded Hunters looked toward the other Hunters in Kim Cheol's group pleadingly, but not one of the stepped forward. They all looked away. Except one.
A female B-ranker in Kim Cheol's team raised a hand.
When Kim Cheol turned around, the woman gestured to Jinwoo.
"We can go from here to there, right?"
"...If you want."
Without a hesitation, the woman walked over to Jinwoo's side. Kim Cheol looked back and forth between the woman and Jinwoo. The A-ranker snorted then spoke with a loud voice,
"Well, looks like we have a spot open. We'll take one more from your end."
The man who was shoved earlier quickly ran over to Kim Cheol's side. That's how it should be, Jinwoo thought.
'This woman's the weird one.'
Jinwoo stared at the woman at his side with a suspicious gaze. Meeting his eyes, the woman quietly spoke so no one else could hear,
"That man, Kim Cheol, he didn't see the arrow coming."
Just because you were a high-ranker, didn't mean that all your stats were evenly distributed. Kim Cheol's agility stat might've been low. Knowing the power of the different stats, Jinwoo did not give it much thought.
The woman smiled widely,
"You. You're not an E-rank, are you?"
: "White Walkers" (백귀): One way to translate is the Japanese phrase for "Hyakki Yako", aka the "Procession of Hundred Demons". It's also could be referring to Korean translation of "White Walkers" from Game of Thrones. I decided to go with the latter. With "Ygritte" and "White Walkers", I think the author might be a fan of the show.