I Alone Level-Up Chapter 61
There was one more reason Jinwoo had chosen the forest.
Name: Sung Jinwoo
Class: Monarch of Shadows
Title: One Who… (...1 more)
Without letting the others know what was happening, Jinwoo quietly changed his title from 'One Who Has Triumphed Over Adversity' to 'Wolf Slayer'.
Wolf Slayer (...1 more)
All stats increased by 40% against beast type monsters.
A title given to a hunter experienced in slaying wolves.
It was time to show off this cheat-like buff.
A beast type monster has appeared.
The effect of the title, 'Wolf Slayer', has been activated.
Confirming his increased attributes, Jinwoo smiled.
It was in that moment, the other Hunters screamed,
"I-it's a bear!"
Having smelled humans, an ice bear was slowly walking towards them. To the beast, they were enemies who had intruded on its territory. The ice bear was not looking at them nicely.
The ice bear bared its teeth and growled; its fangs were as clear as ice. The beast stood up, towering over the Hunters. It almost covered their entire vision.
Although it looked like a polar bear, the beast was twice as big, and adorning its chest was the signature magic core of magic beasts.
A powerful roar that echoed in the area! Hearing its roar, all the Hunters, save for Jinwoo, froze up. Park Heejin frowned,
'What do you mean all we have to worry about are ice bears!'
Was that something that could be said while looking at the beast before them?! She had fallen for Sung Jinwoo's so-called logic. Looking at the ice bear in person, she was now sure,
'We shouldn't have entered this forest!'
Sensing danger, Park Heejin stepped in front of the party and shouted,
"I'll grab its attention, everyone else-ahh!"
A powerful force grabbed the hood of her coat and pulled her back. It was all she could to maintain her balance while being dragged backwards. After collecting herself, she looked up and saw Jinwoo in front of her.
"What the hell!"
Jinwoo pointed a finger at her,
"I'm going to say this once. All the magic beasts going forward are mine."
He could not share valuable experience points after all. To Jinwoo, these cute little bears were just the appetizer before the main course of White Walkers.
Park Heejin could not hide her confusion.
'Did he seriously just pull me back to face the thing alone?'
The two C-rank Mage-class Hunters also stopped their casting and stared with a dumbfounded expression.
"No matter how strong you are, those are high-level Dungeon's magic beasts!"
Jinwoo ignored the fiery protest coming from the woman behind him and slowly walked towards the ice bear.
'Hmm, if I used a dagger…'
The spilt blood would mess up his clothes. Jinwoo had summoned the two daggers out of habit but quickly returned them to the inventory. Instead, the man clenched his fists.
'I know I said I would just watch, but the situation's different now. I'm sure they'll understand.'
Jinwoo met the gaze of the ice bear.
The ice bear swung an arm the size of a tree trunk with a lightning speed.
But its attack struck nothing but air.
'It's fast for its size.'
Having jumped above the bear's head, Jinwoo realized why it had such a dangerous reputation.
The level-ups he underwent were not for nothing. Before the ice bear could raise its head, Jinwoo used all of his strength to punch its forehead.
The bear's head crashed into the ground. Its skull obliterated, the bear stuck out a tongue and did not move again.
You've leveled up!
Alright! Jinwoo felt like he was close to leveling up and realized that it was a good thing that he stopped Park Heejin.
"Who… who the hell are you?"
He turned to face the shaking voice and looked at the four members of his party at a loss for words. Jinwoo scratched his temple.
'I thought I made myself clear.'
Well, they probably forgot after seeing such a shocking scene. Jinwoo firmly spoke his conditions again,
"Once again, no questions. If you don't like it, you can go-"
Jinwoo pointed towards the direction Kim Cheol's team had left in.
His words snapped Park Heejin to attention,
"I just saw you kill an ice bear in one hit. I am NOT leaving your side."
Her heart was beating fast. She had instinctively selected Jinwoo over Kim Cheol but now realized just how correct her decision was. She made a determination after a quick calculation. In order to leave this place alive, she would have to follow Sung Jinwoo. Before Jinwoo could change his mind, she quickly spoke,
"Jinwoo-ssi, please be our leader. I'll follow whatever you have say."
'I also said I won't be accepting any requests…'
After a brief moment, Jinwoo nodded. When he thought about it, this would probably be the best. Park Heejin turned around to the rest of the party. Since Han Songyi was brought here by Jinwoo, she probably didn't need to ask the girl. And the other two Hunters…
"You two also agree, right?"
Suddenly having the attention focused on them, the two Hunters looked back and forth between the ice bear's corpse and Jinwoo then vigorously nodded.
Meanwhile, outside of the Red Gate.
Hyun Gicheol wiped away the sweat on his brows and checked the time. Baek Yoonho asked,
"How long has it been?"
"About three hours."
"Three hours… That means three days have passed inside."
Baek Yoonho's voice was heavy. Of the four gathered here, only Baek Yoonho had actually experienced the Red Gate before. The man was one of the S-rankers who represented South Korea. Even to a man like him, a Red Gate was not something to be taken lightly. With a calm heart, he recalled the memory of the time,
"The true terror of Red Gates is the fact that the inside connects to an entirely different world."
This was a rare sight: an S-rank Hunter was about to tell his experiences with a Red Gate. Ahn Sangmin, Joo Sungchan and Hyun Gicheol all perked up in attention.
"Inside the Gate, you could end up in a desert world with temperatures exceeding 140 degrees fahrenheit. Or perhaps it'll be a jungle world infested with venomous snakes and poisonous insects. Maybe even a tundra world where the tips of your fingers will freeze."
The three listening gulped as one.
"The problems it that until you've entered the Gate, you won't know that it's a Red Gate. This means that there is no way of preparing ahead of time."
Today was the same. An ordinary Gate had turned red after the Hunters had entered.
"Whether burning under the blazing sun, hounded by poisonous insects day and night, or frozen in the cold… The weak will be the first to die."
Hyun Gicheol let out a small moan in disbelief.
"And in that harsh environment, you have to face magic beasts."
Just hearing the circumstances relayed the dark situation the Hunters were in. But that was not all.
"And let's say you somehow managed to get used to the environment. The problem after that is finding sustenance."
At the minimum few weeks, at the longest few months. You had to find your own food in that time. It was not an easy task.
"In the harsh environment made worse by the hunger, the only thing you can rely on is the magic power compass."
It was a tool to point toward strong sources of magic power. Defeating the boss was the only way to leave a Red Gate, outside of letting it undergo a Dungeon Break.
"Imagine looking at that tiny compass and enduring days, weeks or months. Do you think you could keep your sanity?"
The three men shook their heads. If ordinary non-Hunters like them were thrown into such a place, forget the magic beasts, the environment would kill them in a day.
"You said three days had passed, right?"
At Hyun Gicheol's confirmation, Baek Yoonho made a tragic face.
"If it's been that long, all the Hunters below B-rank are dead."
Kim Cheol was an A-ranker. But no matter how skilled an A-ranker was, it was impossible to protect his entire party in a situation like this. At the very least, you'd need an S-ranker with them. And so,
"All we can do is pray that the high-rankers come back alive."
It was a conclusion born from experience.
Back in the Red Gate.
The C-rank Hunters and below were enjoying a feast around a campfire.
On top of the fire, a large piece of meat was being cooked.
"You know this bear meat, it's a little tough, but it's not bad."
"Would you like some more?"
"Oh, thank you."
Yoon Gijoong held out a plate and Go Myunghwan cut up some more ice bear meat and placed it on the plate. These were the two C-rankers of Jinwoo's party. Park Heejin and Han Songyi also ate their fill of the bear meat.
"Unni, could you pass the pepper?" 
"You want the salt as well?"
"No, just the pepper please."
Somehow, they all had gotten used to the Dungeon. Alongside the campfire, they even had tents and blankets for sleeping. They didn't exactly have much discomfort. No… In a bizarre way, they were almost feeling cozy, like they were on vacation. Go Myunghwan looked around and spoke,
"You know, doesn't it feel like the ice bears have been attacking us less and less lately?"
Park Heejin replied to him,
"Well, it's because the Raid Leader took care of them."
"You know, I don't know what grudge that man has against ice bears, but whenever I see him looking at one, it's terrifying. Honestly hope that the Raid Leader never looks at me that way."
In no time, Jinwoo's title among his teammates had turned into "Raid Leader". Feeling his absence, Park Heejin look around and asked,
"Where did our dear Raid Leader disappear off to anyways?"
Yoon Gijoong raised his head that was focused on his plate and replied,
"He said he was going to patrol the area."
What. Park Heejin was incredulous.
"To go around a high-level Dungeon on his own… Is he not scared even a little bit?"
Yoon Gijoong smiled widely,
"I think he'll be alright, don't you think?"
Go Myunghwan added,
"Seriously. The man killed a high-level magic beast with his bare hands."
The man continued,
"You know… now that I mention it… Just how high does your rank have to be to kill a magic beast like that with your bare hands?"
A silence fell on the group. Of course, they were all curious. But they did not want to break the cardinal rule of their group even when Jinwoo was absent.
"...Let's just keep eating."
At Park Heejin's words, everyone nodded.
Jinwoo was combing the forest and walked through a bush.
'It was around here somewhere…'
He felt the presence of multiple ice bears from somewhere. He had been tracking their den since last night. He had started this after realizing that the attacking bears were all coming from the same direction. Walking all over the area, Jinwoo's eyes suddenly sparkled.
Across the thicket, he saw dozens of caves. In each cave, he felt more than one presence. Well, he didn't need to use the sense stat. Just before him, many ice bears were entering and leaving the caves. At a rough count, there were about 30 of them. It was truly a den of bears.
The corners of Jinwoo's mouth rose. He had purposely came alone.
This would be the prime opportunity.
They had been waiting.
This would be their inaugural battle.
Responding to his thoughts, soldiers clad in black armor soundlessly appeared from his shadow and stood behind him.
"You know this is your first battle, right?"
As people had first impressions between each other, your first battle will determine my impression of you. Is what he meant.
The Shadow Soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder.
Jinwoo smiled widely.
The ice bears caught a whiff of Jinwoo and slowly started coming out of their caves.
'Looks like they're also ready.'
Jinwoo pointed a hand toward the ice bears.
At his command, the Shadow Soldiers slid across the land toward the enemy.
: "Unni" (언니): Lit. "Older Sister". Surprised it took this long for this word to appear. Yet another ultra common title in the Korean language. This one is used by females to refer to older females of a relatively close age. Basically the female equivalent of "hyung"