Solo Leveling Novel, Chapter 123
Solo Levelingi 123
“What? The camera?”
“Yeah . ”
The cameraman looked reluctantly at Jinwoo—the S-rank hunter’s expression was dead serious .
“Why the camera, all of a sudden…?”
Jinwoo didn’t answer the cameraman’s question .
” . . . ”
It was a tough decision for the cameraman to make .
On one hand, Hunter Sung Jinwoo is his savior .
In fact, Jinwoo was responsible for the lives of everyone there—why should he refuse a request from this man?
‘But… to turn off the camera…’
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the whole nation was watching the broadcast . For a former broadcaster like the cameraman, of course it was hard to cut the live feed of this historic event .
But as he hesitated, weighing his options, Jinwoo interjected:
“If you don’t turn it off… I’ll break it . ”
Jinwoo’s ice-cold tone sent a shiver down the cameraman’s spine .
If Hunter Sung Jinwoo decided to destroy the camera, would all the hunters there combined be able to stop him?
It didn’t matter why the S-rank hunter wanted the camera off—the cameraman didn’t have a choice .
“U-understood . ”
The cameraman took the camera from his head and turned it off .
Once Jinwoo confirmed that the camera’s power light had switched off, he took Cha Hae-in’s unconscious body from Baek Yoon-ho’s arms .
‘I didn’t want to scare the cameraman, but . . . ‘
That was the cost of trying to save Cha Hae-in .
While holding her, Jinwoo surveyed the room, took a deep breath, and closed his eyes .
‘What is he doing?’
Every hunter focused his attention on Jinwoo .
Soon, Jinwoo opened his eyes .
After finding what he was looking for, Jinwoo suddenly started to make his way through the mountains of ant corpses .
He walked quickly, but paced himself for the sake of Cha Hae-in .
No one took their eyes off of Jinwoo .
Soon, he stopped and delicately laid Cha Hae-in down . He started to clear away the ant corpses around him and Cha Hae-in .
The cameraman, the first to see a grotesque figure underneath the carcasses, let out a disgusted groan .
The other hunters swallowed their groans .
The figure was the corpse of Min Byung-ku—a cold, gruesome corpse, its head brutally torn from its base .
Now the others realized why Jinwoo asked the cameraman to turn off the camera—who would want to see this?
Baek Yoon-ho—who was closer to Min Byung-ku than anyone else—closed his eyes tightly and turned his head away .
But then . . .
‘Hold on . . . ‘
A thought occurred to the hunter .
‘How did Hunter Sung Jinwoo find Byung-ku, amidst all these dead ants?’
He quickly thought through the possibilities: unless Jinwoo had used a special skill, there was only one way he could have found Byung-ku’s body .
Humans and magic beasts possess emanate different magic wavelengths—had Jinwoo identified the body of Min Byung-ku through his wavelength?
If that was the case, Jinwoo had a truly amazing sense ability—so amazing, in fact, that Baek Yoon-ho himself couldn’t match that feat, even with his “Beast Eyes . ”
When Baek Yoon-ho considered this possibility, he turned his head back toward Jinwoo . The sight of his dead friend broke his heart—but he wanted to witness whatever was going to happen with his eyes open .
‘Hunter Sung Jinwoo . . . what are you up to?’
Baek Yoon-ho’s tense anticipation while watching Jinwoo, Cha Hae-in, and the body of Min Byung-ku caused him to break out in a cold sweat .
Jinwoo confirmed the state of Min Byung-ku .
Black smoke was rising from the body . “Shadow Extraction” was possible, just as expected .
[Shadow extraction is possible . ]
The system’s familiar electronic tone and message served as a friendly reminder of his ability .
Of course, when Jinwoo heard that Byung-ku had fallen, he knew that he could have reanimated the S-rank healer as a powerful shadow soldier .
He just didn’t want to .
But now, he would have to turn an innocent man into an undead soldier . Even if that man was an S-rank hunter in life, Jinwoo still mentally recoiled at the thought .
It was not something a mere man should do .
Jin-woo looked down at Cha Hae-in’s face, which was turning more and more pale .
‘ . . . this is for the best . ‘
What would you do if you could bring your wounded to the best healer in Korea in a critical situation?
Would you even have to think about it?
Jinwoo was sure that if he and Min Byung-ku swapped places, Byung-ku would make the same decision a hundred times out of a hundred .
Jinwoo issued a command to the shadow with a determined expression .
“Arise . ”
However, the results were different from what he expected .
[Shadow extraction failed . ]
Jinwoo’s expression betrayed confusion and unease .
Was his “Shadow Extraction” level too low, compared to the skill of his target?
Or did he lack the resolve to use the skill successfully?
Jinwoo pondered this possibility . Then, with renewed vigor and willpower, he bid the shadow with a forceful voice:
“Arise . ”
Then, his surroundings began to change .
*SHOOOOOO . . . *
A deep, ominous noise—almost like a low shout—echoed through the cave, and a chilling wind sent shivers down the hunters’ spines .
“Oh my god!”
“That is . . !”
A solitary black hand rose out of the shadow of Min Byung-ku .
The black hand reached out and grabbed the dirt floor tightly, almost as if it wanted to escape the shadow .
The hand then proceeded to pull itself out of the shadow .
Baek Yoon-ho, who had gathered the mental fortitude to watch the entire sequence play out, felt close to collapsing .
He wasn’t sure if anyone else saw what was happening .
Min Byung-ku’s magic power, which had successfully rid itself of the shadow, was slowly assuming the form of human .
It then slowly took on the appearance of soldier in black armor .
Soon, Jinwoo’s summon stood before them, fully-formed .
” . . . ”
The hunters couldn’t utter a single word, as they gazed upon the entity that Jinwoo had invoked .
They sensed an overwhelming magic power emanating from the summon—a power comparable to an S-rank hunter .
‘No! Can it be . . . ?’
Choi Jong-in, eyes wide open, was the first to notice something alarming about Jinwoo’s creation—and the discovery made him shudder .
As everyone watched with bated breath, Jinwoo gazed upon his newly-created shadow soldier with a calm expression .
And the shadow soldier, meeting Jinwoo’s gaze, nodded its head .
As soon as the shadow reanimated as a soldier, it became connected with Jinwoo . It could immediately perceive the commands and desires of its master .
As such, Jinwoo didn’t have to give any instructions .
The shadow of Min Byung-ku bent its body low, and started to cast healing magic on Cha Hae-in .
A warm light covered the shadow soldier’s hands, and Cha Hae-in’s face immediately started to regain color .
It was the highest level of healing magic .
‘I knew it . ‘
Cha Hae-in’s rapid healing process confirmed Choi Jong-in’s suspicions—and he trembled at the reality of the situation .
The black soldier couldn’t be anyone but Min Byung-ku .
Now, two hunters had fully grasped the situation: Choi Jong-in, and a bewildered Ma Dong-wook . Ever since Min Byung-ku’s hand had risen up from the shadow, Ma Dong-wook face had worn a stupefied expression .
“You’re… you’re no ordinary summoner, are you, Master Sung . ”
Jinwoo didn’t deny Ma Dong-wook’s timid accusation .
And he didn’t need to—each person present was an exceptional hunter, and each one represented a large guild .
Even if Jinwoo didn’t reply, they could figure out what was happening .
“I . . . Hunter Sung Jinwoo is able to control the dead?”
Choi Jong-in asked with an uneasy expression .
Jinwoo nodded his head .
Since he had come this far, there was no good reason to hide his power—and he didn’t want to make something up on the spot .
‘It’s not like they’re going to be fooled that easily . ’
It felt nice to finally reveal his true abilities .
His abilities might frighten other people, but that was the power that had gotten Jinwoo this far .
He was proud of his strength as a shadow monarch .
The hunters, in the face of Jinwoo’s unflinching gaze, faltered at the thought of his strength .
‘He can manipulate the magic power of the dead to create a summon?’
‘An ability that only grows stronger as the battle grows fiercer… what a terrifying ability . ’
‘It really makes no sense . ‘
In that cave, Jinwoo’s ability came to life for the hunters… in two different ways .
But Baek Yoon-ho knew one more secret that the others didn’t .
‘Not only can he use the dead as puppets now… he’s able to grow even stronger…?’
That terrifying power could become even more deadly as time passed . Yoon-ho couldn’t fathom the limits of Jinwoo’s potential, and trembled with fear when he tried .
Meanwhile, the cameraman came to a realization .
“Oh, so that’s why you asked me to turn off my camera…”
Jinwoo’s power was enough to frighten even these superhuman hunters .
Anyone could see why he wouldn’t want to put his power on display in front of the entire nation .
Min Byung-ku’s shadow rose, the healing spell having run its course—the color had already returned to Cha Hae-in’s face .
After confirming her condition, Jinwoo breathed a deep sigh of relief .
She wasn’t conscious yet, but her breathing and the pulse had returned to normal . And her wound had closed up completely .
Jinwoo placed his hand on the shoulder of shadow Min Byung-ku, to say “good work . ”
“ . . . ”
By the warm gaze that the shadow gave him, Jinwoo could tell what kind of man Min Byung-ku was in life .
Jin pulled his hand from the shadow’s shoulder .
“Extraction Cancel . ”
Jinwoo gave the shadow soldier a faint smile, and returned it to the void .
No matter how much he thought about it, Jinwoo refused to use a noble man who had sacrificed his life fighting magic creatures as a foot soldier .
That wouldn’t be proper treatment of a warrior .
“ . . . Let’s go . ”
With a slight tinge of regret, Jinwoo hoisted the warm body of Cha Hae-in from the ground .
Having lost their two leaders—the Ant Queen and King—the rest of the ants had already scattered around the island to avoid the shadow soldiers .
As a result, the ant cave—formerly buzzing with magic creatures—was empty .
After walking a few steps, Jin-woo stopped to look back at the exhausted hunters .
“Let’s go . ”
Thanks to the potions, the hunters had no physical injuries—but their mental stamina had all but disappeared . Jinwoo’s command roused them from their stupor .
It was finally over .
Their faces expressed a full spectrum of emotions .
The rescue helicopter met the beleaguered hunters just as they exited the cave .
“The hunter-nims are coming out!”
When the helicopter landed on the ground, the hunters boarded their ride home one by one .
Jinwoo and Baek Yoon-ho were the last to board the plane .
When Jinwoo was about to board, he instead gently handed Cha Hae-in to Baek Yoon-ho .
“Hunter Sung Jinwoo?”
“I still have some work to do here . ”
Hearing those words, Baek Yoon-ho chuckled .
There were still live ants on Jeju island .
If any other man had decided to stay behind, Baek Yoon-ho would have called them crazy… but the man in front of him was not just “any other man . ”
Monsters to monsters .
Baek Yoon-ho felt like he couldn’t be surprised by anything that Jinwoo was about to do .
“Er . ”
Just before he boarded, Baek Yoon-ho finally asked the question that was eating at him .
“I don’t know much about your ability, but what about that summon? Is it going to continue to fight for you?”
Jinwoo shook his head .
“I canceled the summon—it’s not possible to call him anymore . ”
Baek Yoon-ho nodded his head and gave a smile of satisfaction .
“I’m grateful to hear that . ”
“Min Byung-ku didn’t want to fight anymore, so he’s probably thanking Hunter Sung Jinwoo . ”
With that, six brave warriors and a photographer left Jeju Island .
Their fight was over .
But for Jinwoo, his adventure on the island was only beginning .
‘One more level until I reach 100 . ’
The remaining magic creatures should be enough . And to sweeten the deal, there were a lot of ant shadows to extract .
Where should he start?
‘First, let’s clean up the ants that ran away…’
Jinwoo smiled and called out to Kaisel .
The Japanese Hunter Association .
Association President Matsumoto turned off the TV with an irate expression .
One Korean hunter had handled the monster who casually overpowered ten of Japan’s top-class hunters .
‘Why, why . . . ‘
Matsumoto grabbed the sides of his head, his fingers trembling in rage .
What an absurdity!
Thanks to that situation, the power of the Japanese hunter force has been reduced to less than half—and now his position as president was in jeopardy .
If Korea had failed too, at least he could have covered the failure up and maintained his image .
But South Korea wiped out thousands of ants, eliminated the Queen, and escaped safely .
Sung Jinwoo .
One hunter destroyed everything .
‘Sung Jinwoo . . . Sung Jinwoo . . . ‘
He suddenly recalled the conversation he had had with Goto while the hunter was in Korea .
“In Korea… there’s an incredible hunter in Korea . ”“Stronger than you?”“Perhaps . It’s possible . ”“ . . . ”“I think it’s necessary to adjust our plans a bit . ”
If only then . . .
If only he had listened seriously to what Goto said .
Goto knew more about the power differences between hunters than anyone else .
For the first time, Goto had evaluated a hunter as “incredible” . . . and it was a Korean .
‘How could I have been so arrogant…’
If he had thoroughly researched Sung Jinwoo, he could have worked with Korea to solve the crisis without any issue .
Even if Japan had taken no action, with a hunter like Sung Jinwoo, Korea might have been able to handle Jeju Island by itself .
By ignoring Goto, President Matsumoto had doomed himself to failure .
The employee, seeing the sullen face of President Matsumoto, called out anxiously .
However, Matsumoto didn’t even raise his face to respond—instead, he dismissively waved the employee away .
The staff member bowed and walked away .
Matsumoto’s wrinkled his face, deep in thought .
‘There’s only one way for me to survive . ‘
In order to revitalize the Japanese Hunter Association, he only needed one man on his side .
‘Sung Jinwoo . . . ‘
President Matsumoto needed to bring the Korean hunter to his side somehow .
Now that Goto had lost his life, that was the only way to revive the association .
It wouldn’t be easy, because all the eyes of Korea were on Hunter Sung Jinwoo . . . but South Korea had already lost one of its own S-rank hunters once before .
‘How can we bring Hunter Sung Jinwoo to us?’
Matsumoto’s brain, which was momentarily scrambled because of his dire situation, began to scheme .
Eastern USA .
riiiiiing . riiiiiing . riiiiiing .
After what seemed like an endless series of rings, a groggy David Branon finally picked up the receiver .
‘What moron is calling this late?’
David Branon was the head of the Hunter Bureau, the most powerful authority in the United States .
If this was a prank call, David would have thrown the caller in jail without a second thought .
“Chief, you need to look at this . ”
“Deputy director . . . ?”
David, who had was on the verge of falling asleep again, partially sat up to rouse himself .
“What’s going on?”
“There is a video you have to see . ”
“A video . . . ?”
He checked his cell phone—there was a messaged video file accompanied by seven missed calls .
He had set his phone to silent, so he had missed all those calls .
“Ok, I’ll watch it and call you back . ”
“That won’t be necessary . ”
“ . . . what does that mean?”
“I’m in front of your house now . ”
“ . . . what?”
David shot up from his bed and checked his desk clock .
It was 4:12 in the morning .
He practically threw the receiver down, and ran to the window . The deputy director was really there, outside of his parked car .
The deputy director met David’s eyes, and greeted him with a nod .
David stared at the man outside his house in disbelief, and turned around, utterly bewildered .
‘What’s going on?’
His gut told him that something abnormal had just occurred . He gripped his cell phone tightly, waiting for the video to load .
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Solo Leveling Novel Chapter 123
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