I Alone Level-Up Chapter 89
A black sedan stopped on the side of the road. A man wearing sunglasses and a black suit got off from the car. He was the Hunter Surveillance Department's (HSD) Chief, Woo Jincheol. Following him, three other HSD Hunters also got off from the car.
"Chief, why did we stop here? Weren't we going directly to the Association?"
"I just have something I want to check out."
Woo Jincheol turned his head towards the Gate in the distance.
'No matter how many times I see it, an A-rank Gate is a dreadful thing.'
The HSD chief furrowed his brows. If that giant hole opened up and unleashed the magic beasts within… Even just imagining it made the A-rank Hunter shudder.
'So why would that man volunteer as a miner in such a scary place?'
And not just for a single day but two. Even if Association President Go Gunhee had not asked him personally, Woo Jincheol would've tried to find out on his own.
'We can't… investigate him behind his back.'
"Him" was an S-rank Hunter. It was impossible for an A-ranker like Woo Jincheol to secretly investigate an S-rank Hunter without being detected. As such, the HSD chief had decided to appear boldly to check out what Jinwoo was up to. Since the HSD had another job nearby, he had thought to use the excuse that he was just passing by and wanted to give his greetings.
'That won't come off as too strange, right?'
If a Hunter that was confirmed to be an S-rank was doing a job digging away at the ground, anyone would be curious. On top of that, Sung Jinwoo was someone who had the attention of the Hunter Association, especially the association president. The association president must've really liked the man; recently, Woo Jincheol noticed that Go Gunhee had perked up both eyes and ears whenever Jinwoo was mentioned.
'No, if anything, the strange one isn't me.'
Being curious was obvious, and asking few questions out of that curiosity was normal. With that in mind, Woo Jincheol approached a Hunters Guild employee.
"Hello, I'm looking for the mining team."
"Excuse me... but who are you?"
"I'm from the Association."
After confirming Woo Jincheol's identity, the employee gestured to where the mining team was on standby.
"You can find them over there."
The four HSD Hunters went over to the mining team. Having heard that they were on the way, Team Leader Bae came out running,
"Oh boy, to think that the Association's HSD Hunter-nims would be paying us a visit today. How can we be of service?"
Having been resting comfortably only moments ago, the Hunters of the mining team now looked uneasy. To Hunters, "HSD" was a rather threatening word to hear. After all, the HSD Hunters were the ones that dealt with Awakened Beings that could not be controlled by society's laws and enforcement. They would arrest, imprison and at times… eliminate such criminals. And now, these HSD Hunters were standing before them.
"What is it?""The HSD's here."
"Why is the HSD…?"
Something was about to happen. With a curiosity, the miners gathered next to Team Leader Bae. Woo Jincheol removed his sunglasses.
The A-ranker looked for Sung Jinwoo's face. When he didn't find it, he decided to ask the team leader,
"Where is Hunter Sung Jinwoo-nim?"
"I knew it!"
Suddenly, a man pushed his way through the miners. It was the man who had tried to bully Sung Jinwoo yesterday, Lee Sunggu. The man spat on the ground and went off in to a rant,
"That fucker turned around and looked at me while smiling! I swear, his eyes looked like they could swallow a person whole! Shit man, even thinking about it now makes me shake."
Woo Jincheol's brows furrowed slightly,
'Eyes looking like they could swallow a person?'
Just what happened? The miners started to whisper among themselves. Woo Jincheol ignored them and asked Lee Sunggu,
"Did something happen?"
The miner was about to reply, then realized that he was the one who tried to bully Jinwoo. He quickly waved his hand,
"That's not important. I'm telling you, the man's eyes were just too scary."
Woo Jincheol turned to Team Leader Bae again,
"Where is Hunter Sung Jinwoo-nim now?"
"Er… Sung-ssi is inside the Gate right now."
Sung Jinwoo entered an A-rank Gate while the Raid was in progress? The HSD chief's eyes grew wide.
"Why would Hunter Sung Jinwoo-nim be in the Dungeon?"
"Well, the attack team's porter didn't come today. Sung-ssi was the only one who volunteered to go into the Dungeon as their porter."
"You know it's strange."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, it's nothing but… just now, Hunter Cha-nim, I mean, Hunter Cha Haein-nim also looked for Sung-ssi. When she heard that he had entered the Gate, she also went in. I just thought it was strange…"
Team Leader Bae tilted his head. When he heard the man's words, Woo Jincheol's mind started turning frantically.
'The Deputy Guildmaster of Hunters Guild looked for Sung Jinwoo? And she actually followed him into the Dungeon?'
Just what was going on? Woo Jincheol had only come here to give Sung Jinwoo his greetings, but it appeared that something was going out of hand.
'First, let's check out the Gate.'
As members of the HSD, that was the least they could do.
"We'll be checking the Gate out."
As Woo Jincheol turned to leave with his subordinates, Lee Sunggu suddenly stopped them and spoke up,
The miner's face was filled with anticipation and excitement,
"That fucker, Sung Jinwoo or something. Did he do something bad? Like kill a man? He seemed like the type."
Woo Jincheol scrunched his face. Suddenly, he realized just why Sung Jinwoo would glare at this man.
'You look like you'd keel over if Sung Jinwoo so much as sneezed in your direction…'
Still, there were too many eyes here. A representative of the Association couldn't just berate or show anger at an ordinary Hunter. At times like this, Woo Jincheol disliked his status in the organization. The HSD chief did his best to speak as diplomatically as possible,
"You'll find out on tomorrow's evening news."
As if that was the reply he was looking for, Lee Sunggu looked satisfied and vindicated,
"You see? What'd I tell you? That fucker was suspicious as hell!"
"He didn't seem like that to me…"
"Yeah, seemed like a good worker. Pretty diligent."
Lee Sunggu ignored the lukewarm responses of his teammates and held his nose high at the idea that he was right all along. Having enough of the pathetic man, Woo Jincheol took his subordinates and left toward the Gate.
Woo Jincheol instinctively stopped few steps before the Gate.
The HSD Hunters looked at Woo Jincheol with confusion. The man's face was frozen.
'What the hell… this is impossible.'
Woo Jincheol took out his phone and pulled up this A-rank Gate's information. He was shocked at what he read,
'Why is the magic power so low?'
He shook his head,
'The measurement was off.'
Not all A-rank Hunters were equal. Woo Jincheol was at the upper echelon of the A-rank Hunters. And his skilled senses were telling him: the magic power measurement was wrong. He quickly turned to his side and gave an order,
"Magic power measuring device, now!"
Reading the mood, a subordinate quickly ran to the car and returned with the device. The miniature measuring device used by the HSD were of a different class than the ones used by the ordinary Association employees. As expected of a device made with a magic core costing a billion won, it rarely ever produced an incorrect measurement.
The measurement finished.
'I was right…'
The results were noticeably different than the measurement done by the normal Association employees. If a Guild relied on the initial data from the Association in planning their raiding party, it would've ended in a disaster.
'Shouldn't be an issue now that two S-rankers are in there but…'
Woo Jincheol reached down to pick up the measuring device when suddenly,
The Gate shook with a powerful vibration; it was not the same phenomenon as a Gate closing. It was caused by a powerful wave of magic power being released from within. Putting the highly skilled Woo Jincheol aside, even the weaker senses of his subordinates were able to detect the powerful wave. Each of them flinched and shook when they felt it,
"What is this?"
Woo Jincheol looked at the youngest member who had turned pale,
"Are you alright?"
After replying, the man carefully looked at the back of his hand. It was filled with goosebumps. Woo Jincheol rose from the ground.
"We're going inside."
"You want to go in there?"
Woo Jincheol continued,
"Those afraid can remain behind."
The only ones who knew the measurement was wrong were the HSD Hunters here. They had to relay this information to the Hunters inside. On top of managing and monitoring Hunters, it was the Association's first and foremost duty to help Hunters.
"N-no. I'll go."
"Let's go together."
Woo Jincheol nodded then turned to the youngest employee,
"You, stay here and report this to the Association."
"You can do it, right?"
Woo Jincheol tapped him on his shoulder, and the youngest employee nodded with effort,
"Yes, I will do that."
The HSD chief turned back to the Gate. On top of what they had felt just now, even more powerful wave of magic power poured out from the Gate.
'Just what's happening in there?'
With Woo Jincheol taking the lead, the three HSD Hunters threw themselves into the Gate.
A moment ago.
Cha Haein was tracing the steps of the raiding party inside the Dungeon.
'Weird. Why aren't there any magic beasts?'
If it was an ordinary Dungeon, there should've been corpses of magic beasts from the entrance all the way to the boss room. However, she had come across no such corpses. Were all the magic beasts gathered in one place or something? While moving with that in mind,
She had finally come across corpses of the magic beasts.
step, step, step
As fitting of an S-rank Fighter-class Hunter, she reached the site of the battle in a blink of an eye.
Her eyes widened. The corpses were high orcs. The high orcs were easily distinguished from ordinary orcs due to their red skin and long tusks.
'How did Son Gihoon-ssi's team win against this many high orcs?'
Not only that, it looked like there was no casualties among the Hunters. If there were, the raiding party would've surely retreated from the Dungeon.
'Did I look down on A-rank and B-rank Hunters too much?'
Perhaps… Looking over the battlefield, it looked like an ordinary clash between Hunters and magic beasts- Wait.
Cha Haein lowered her body to take a closer look at something she noticed. Her eyes opened wider. Getting up, she went from corpse to corpse.
'Here… and here… also here…'
Her suspicions quickly turned to confirmation.
Did this happen? Almost every high orc corpse had a wound caused by a small and sharp weapon.
'It's not enough to be fatal, but…'
It would've been more than enough to weaken the high orcs' combat prowess, and it was clearly done by a single Hunter. Ultimately, all the other Hunters had to do was finish off the heavily wounded prey. In reality, it was the same as a single Hunter massacring twenty high orcs. On top of that, she noticed two high orcs that had died in a different fashion. One of them had its head ripped off by a powerful force and another was killed by blunt trauma to the head.
'Other than these two, someone had single-handedly injured the high orcs so the other Hunters could take them down easily.'
Was that possible? Even with pride in her speed, Cha Haein was not sure she could do something like that. And to her knowledge, there was no Assassin-class Hunter wielding daggers in Son Gihoon's team.
Suddenly, a memory flashed across her head.
That man who stood before the boss room yesterday.
Sung Jinwoo was definitely holding some kind of small weapons in both of his hands.
'Was it that man?'
As she reached that line of thought, the S-ranker's head turned sharply towards the interior of the Dungeon. Somewhere from deep within the Dungeon, a wave, no, a tsunami of magic power that she had never experienced before was pouring out. The woman's face darkened. The air itself shook at the magic power.
Cha Haein bit her lips and ran with all her might towards the boss room.
If this was the boss's magic power, Son Gihoon's team would be annihilated.