I Alone Level-Up Chapter 77
The entire Building B became silent.
'Did he just say "measurement impossible"...?'
'Does that mean that man is an S-ranker?'
'I've only heard of it in stories. To think that I would actually see it in person…'
The representatives from the small Guilds gulped as Jinwoo turned to leave. However, not one of them could approach him.
If a C-ranker appeared, a fierce competition would've taken place among the representatives to try and recruit the Hunter. Many of them would line up just to get a word or two in.
And if a B-ranker appeared? The representatives would practically fight each other to offer all kinds of deals, benefits and conditions to the Hunter. To an outside observer, it would look like a war. Every once in a while, B-rankers who wanted to be the head of a snake instead of the tail of a dragon would be won over.
However, A-rankers were a different story. They were the special existences that could find a home in large Guilds and ignore small and middle Guilds. Of course, they would obviously be placed in primary raiding group of any large Guilds they enter, and through their jobs, clear high-level Dungeons and earn an unimaginable amount of money. That was not all. If they wanted, A-rankers could easily make their own Guilds and become the Guildmaster. And so, they had no reasons to give the time of day to small and middle Guilds.
A magic power that cannot be measured means an S-ranker.
S-rank, not A-rank.
It was the difference of a single letter, but it meant that he was among the nine highest-ranking Awakened Beings of South Korea.
'Well, if you include him, it's ten now, right?'
'The tenth S-rank Hunter…'
He was not a target small and middle Guilds could even think of recruiting.
All they could do is silently gulp repeatedly. He was truly a treasure just out of their reach.
'Is this not my chance?'
Some of the more cunning scouts thought of a dastardly idea. What if they reported the information of an S-rank Awakened Being to a large Guild for money? The S-rankers' contractual fees surmounted to several tens of billions at minimum. If they could obtain just 1% of that fee as a finder's fee, they could retire then and there. And if they were lucky, they could even act as that man's personal manager. Didn't some S-rank Hunter's personal manager receive a Porsche as a birthday present?
'...Should I try it?'
'If it's me, I could do it…'
'I should just close my eyes and do it.'
In that short time, many of the scouts became brazen. A failure would result in a moment's humiliation, while a success would change their lives. The scouts glanced at each other and slowly began to make their move. Suddenly, someone pointed at the building's entrance,
"Huh? Over there…!"
Was it because they were all holding their breath in anxiety? Everyone turned to where the man was pointing. The eyes of the scouts opened wide.
Every single person recognized the fashionable man entering Building B.
"Choi… Choi Jongin?"
"Why is the Guildmaster of 'Hunters' here?"
Choi Jongin ignored their attentions, lightly pressed his clothes, then walked over to Jinwoo.
'He can't have arrived after receiving a word. It's too soon.'
'Was that man already contracted with Hunters Guild?'
'Did Hunters Guild already know? Man, the number one Guild sure is something else.'
The scouts nodded in understanding. It was a good thing that they did not approach Jinwoo. If they were found out by Choi Jongin in the process, what would've happened to them? The situation finally looked like it was about to resolve.
'The picture looks completed with Choi Jongin here.'
'Damn, this is so cool.'
'To think that Hunters Guild's Guildmaster himself would come… Man, the S-rankers sure are in a different class.'
While disappointed, the scouts watched the meeting between the Guildmaster of South Korea's number one Guild and the fresh S-rank Awakened Being in anticipation.
Jinwoo saw Choi Jongin's arrival and sighed in relief.
He was confused on what to do when all the attention was on him. Thankfully, Choi Jongin had appeared and took that attention away. Jinwoo silently thanked the man in his heart and walked past him.
Choi Jongin was taken back.
'Huh? Wait, this isn't it.'
The man quickly stopped Jinwoo,
Jinwoo stopped and turned around,
Looking at Jinwoo, a light appeared in Choi Jongin's eyes,
'This man is the tenth…'
He had told the director that he wanted to come along and see what the fuss was about, but truthfully, Choi Jongin was well aware what had happened here.
'They were so loud going on about "measurement impossible", how could I not hear?'
Because of that, he had obtained a large windfall. The man in front of him was an S-ranker. An S-ranker! If Choi Jongin could bring this man to Hunters Guild, his Guild would have three S-rank Hunters. Forget Korea, they could stand shoulder to shoulder with the best Guilds across the entire world. He could not help but drool at the thought.
'There's no need for me to borrow a measuring device.'
Just meeting Jinwoo's eyes, Choi Jongin could feel the other's power. He was undoubtedly the highest-ranking Hunter. There was no need to wait three days.
Choi Jongin started with a refreshing smile,
"I am the Hunters Guild's Guildmaster, Choi Jongin."
Jinwoo already knew as much. The man's face was plastered all over the media. He was curious on why this celebrity was talking to him all the way at the Association, but he did not have the time to ask. Jinwoo glanced at the clock on the wall,
'It's 5:50 right now.'
Taking the travel time into account, he barely had any time. When Jinwoo put on an impatient expression, Choi Jongin continued, a little flustered,
"Ah, well… I heard that you just received your ranking."
"Do you perhaps have a Guild in mind to join?"
With that reply, a bright smile appeared on Choi Jongin's face.
'Yes, this is good.'
He already imagined their future together. "One of the top three Guilds of the world, Hunters Guild." Oh how sweet that sounded in his mind. Starting today, it was no longer a pipe dream.
Choi Jongin calmed his heart and spoke the words that he believed would go down in history,
"I wish to have a discussion with you about that. Could you please spare the time?"
And with that, Jinwoo left the building.
Everything happened so quickly. Choi Jongin was so shocked that he couldn't even stop Jinwoo. The Association employees and the scouts realized what happened and fell into chaos.
"Did Guildmaster Choi Jongin just get rejected?"
"He just got ignored just like that!"
The interior of the building became loud with chatter. Choi Jongin did his best to keep his composure and turned to his side,
The director replied with an awkward expression.
"Did I just mess up my introduction?"
"Er… That's… I'm not sure."
Of course, the director had heard every word from start to finish. However, this was not a time to reply so directly. When the director closed his mouth, the dumbfounded Choi Jongin scratched the side of his face.
'Did I come on too strong…?'
Well, there was no need to be disappointed. He definitely was ahead of the other Guilds on this.
'The only one who knows about the new S-ranker is me.'
The remeasurement would be three days from now. He had time until the official announcement.
'I have to plan a meeting with him somehow until then…'
Was there a good method? While in contemplation, Choi Jongin discovered someone running with all of his might toward the Association building.
It was a familiar face. When the man opened the glass doors and entered the building, Choi Jongin greeted him with shock,
"Guildmaster Baek, why are you…?"
Baek Yoonho also saw Choi Jongin and opened his eyes wide in surprise,
Choi Jongin quickly read Baek Yoonho's expression.
'That's the face of a man who got caught…'
It couldn't have been that the man had come here after receiving word. The timing didn't fit.
'Baekho's offices are too far from the Hunter Association…'
That means… Baek Yoonho knew from the start what would happen here.
'Was he aware of that man's existence?'
No, if that was the case, Baek Yoonho would not have simply let him undertake a retest like this.
'If I was aware of such an existence, I would've made a contract before letting him take a retest.'
In that moment, the scattered pieces of the puzzle began to assemble in Choi Jongin's head.
'...Could it be?'
Baekho Guild. The incident during the new recruit training. Red Gate. The unknown helper.
...And this new S-rank Awakened Being.
"Looks like Baekho received help from someone that they don't want to reveal."
"A new recruit that didn't even receive a rank yet? Or a criminal that couldn't reveal their identity?"
Everything fell into place
'It was that man.'
As a sign of just how hard he ran here, Baek Yoonho was panting. Choi Jongin realized it wasn't that Baek Yoonho had left the man alone; Baek Yoonho couldn't prevent the man from taking the retest. Choi Jongin turned to Baek Yoonho with a smile,
'You didn't get him.'
I'm different than you.
'Thank you for the opportunity.'
Without saying anything to the man, Choi Jongin walked past Baek Yoonho.
Baek Yoonho looked around. He did not see Jinwoo.
'Was I too late?'
Baek Yoonho started at Choi Jongin disappearing in the distance and sighed deeply.
Of all the days the Hunters Guild's master could be here... Baek Yoonho scratched the back of his head and uttered,
"Things just got complicated."
Seoul's Ilshin Hospital's patient visiting hours ran until 8 p.m.
"You're patient Park Gyunghae's guardian?"
"Visitation should be fine. You're aware of the visiting hours?"
"Yes, I'm aware."
Jinwoo headed to the hospital room where his mother was. Because he had hurried, he managed to arrive in time.
After opening the door and entering, Jinwoo saw his mother. The woman was lying on the bed as if sleeping. Her son quietly sat down next to her.
'Just looking at her like this, it feels like she could wake up any minute…'
The sleep which you would not wake up from. It was an illness that appeared after the Gates started appearing.
'They say there's at least ten other patients with the same condition here.'
Jinwoo gently held his mother's hand.
Fortunately, life support devices empowered by magic cores protected her body from wasting away, even after years of unconsciousness. However, magic cores were expensive. Just the monthly cost of the magic cores used to run the machine was in excess of five million won. Without the support provided by the Association, it was not an amount that a man in his 20s could pay. Thanks to working as a Hunter under the Association, Jinwoo was able to hold his mother's hand like this.
But things were different now.
Instead of being just satisfied with the fact that his mother was alive, Jinwoo obtained the means to cure her.
The Holy Water of Life.
The cure gifted by the System.
Whether or not it would work was for the future. Right now, the priority was to make it.
"I'll save you."
The mother that held the family together with her weak body after their father had disappeared. They would soon be able to see their mother whole again.
'Please wait until that time.'
How long did he stay by his mother's side? Some time later, Jinwoo finally got up. After a long visitation, Jinwoo silently left the patient's room and closed the door. When he turned around, he ran into a familiar face.
"As I thought… were you the man who took care of the magic beasts in the Double Dungeon that day?"
A deep voice. Sharp eyes.
It was the Hunter Surveillance Department (HSD) Chief Woo Jincheol.
Jinwoo did not reply. He neither had the reason nor the desire to do so. Instead, he asked a question,
"How did you know I was here?"
"I've theorized the places where Hunter-nim might go. When I contacted the hospital, they told me you were here."
The ones who provided for his mother's hospital bills were the Association.
'Well, not anymore.'
Perhaps the first place they would've looked for him was here. It was a speed fitting of the HSD. Jinwoo smiled widely and spoke,
"Are you here to ask me about that day again?"
Woo Jincheol shook his head,
"There is someone who would like to meet with Hunter-nim. Could you please accompany me?"
Hunter Association's Hunter Surveillance Department.
The HSD's primary function was to monitor and arrest any wrong-doing Hunters. To the Hunters, they weren't exactly a friendly existence. Jinwoo was the same,
"Is that an order?"
Woo Jincheol removed his sunglasses and bowed his upper body in a near 90-degree angle,
"It is a request."
To think that the fierce-looking Woo Jincheol would be this respectful to him. After thinking for a moment, Jinwoo decided he would at least find out who it was,
"Who's the person that wants to meet with me?"
Woo Jincheol raised his head,
"The Hunter Association's President Go Gunhee-nim."
Woo Jincheol gestured to a corner at the end of the hall.
"The association president is here."