Solo Leveling Novel, Chapter 126
Solo Levelingi 126
Kaisel touched down gently . A halo of dust and debris expanded outward from the gusts generated by his massive wings .
The enormous magic beast had parked itself on the doorstep of the Hunter Association Headquarters of all places . People streamed out of the building, trying to get a better look . Sensing the approaching presence of a powerful mana source, the Hunters on duty stormed out of the building with weapons at the ready . Anxious alarm turned to stupefaction when they saw Jinwoo casually dismount the shadowy beast .
‘Return . ’
At his command, Kaisel slipped back into the Stygian darkness of Jinwoo’s shadow, vanishing without a trace .
The gathering crowd recognized Jinwoo .
“Was that a summon of Hunter Sung Jinwoo?”
“He also has a monster like that?”
They had all witnessed the extent of Jinwoo’s power through the TV broadcast . The idea of him having such magic beasts at his disposal, while still shocking, was not an entirely foreign concept for them .
Jinwoo approached a familiar face among the Hunter Association surveillance team, it was the assistant who was almost always accompanying the Chairman of the Association .
“I’d like to see the Chairman . ”
The Chairman of the Association wasn’t an easy person to meet . Even if it was a minister-level official making the request, they would have to wait a week or more for a face-to-face .
But who could say no to the man standing before them?
This hunter – who hadn’t even been a member of the original raiding party – had come out of nowhere to subdue the monsters and save the S-class hunters from being exterminated themselves . It amused the assistant to think that at this moment, there was likely no one who the Chairman would want to meet more .
“The Chairman of the Association is at the hospital right now . ”
“Is he alright?”
Jinwoo recalled that the Chairman’s health was a matter of some concern .
‘Maybe watching the raid broadcast was too much for his heart to handle . ’
“No, he’s there to observe the progress of Hunter Cha Hae-in’s recovery . ”
Jinwoo nodded .
‘Perhaps hoping to meet today was too optimistic of me . . . ’
He was about to turn around and leave when the employee hastily amended his previous statement .
“I’ll get in touch with the head of the Association . Please wait a moment in our lobby . ”
“Alright . ”
Jinwoo thanked the gods of fortune were smiling down on him . There was something he wanted to tell Go Gun-hee as soon as possible .
Cha Hae-in had been admitted to one of the larger hospitals affiliated with the Association . The Association Chairman was sitting in the office of the doctor in charge of overseeing Cha Hae-in’s care . He was waiting on the results of a preliminary examination of the hunter’s condition . Adrift in thought with brows furrowed in concern, the Chairman almost didn’t notice the doctor return .
“How is she?”
“I didn’t do an exhaustive examination, but . . . all signs point to her being in perfect health . She’s just sleeping at the moment . ”
“I see . . . ”
The Chairman of the association nodded, trying to unpack the ramifications of what had just heard .
The doctor had watched the raid broadcast alongside the Chairman . The reason for Cha Hae-in’s current state was also a mystery to him . Even though he was the only one in the room with any formal medical training, he couldn’t help but ask aloud .
“How did Hae-in, who was knocking on death’s door due to excessive blood loss, made such a full recovery?”
“ . . . ”
The Chairman had already heard a detailed account from the members of the Korean team during their debriefing, but kept his mouth shut .
‘Would you believe me if I told you?’
That Hunter Sung Jinwoo solicited the services of the dead Hunter Min Byung-gu and healed Cha Hae-in? Hunter Sung Jinwoo asked for the camera to be turned off because he wanted to keep his ability under wraps .
The Chairman of the Association was not foolish enough to betray the confidence of such a man . The other Hunters felt the same way .
“I had several A-Rank Healers on standby . They healed her as soon as they touched down . ”
“It looked pretty serious . . . I’m glad it wasn’t too late . ”
Fortunately, he seemed to accept the Chairman’s explanation .
“Ah . ”
The doctor remembered something he had been meaning to discuss with the Chairman .
“About Hunter Sung Jinwoo . . . ”
The Chairman perked his ears at the name of Sung Jinwoo .
“What about him?”
Noticing the sudden change in the Chairman’s demeanor, his doctor spoke quickly .
“Remember how his mother used to be in our hospital?”
“’’Eternal Sleep’, was it? . ”
“Yes . ”
The Association President had spent time in the past few weeks using his information network to gather as much information as possible on Korea’s newest S-Rank Hunter . He was familiar with the details of Sung Jinwoo’s family relations . Fearing the worst, the President’s face stiffened .
“Did she pass away?”
The doctor shook his head .
“Quite the opposite . ”
“She awoke and was discharged with a clean bill of health . ”
The Chairman balked .
“Is that true?”
“Yes, it caused quite the commotion internally . We never made a public announcement, but it happened right here at our hospital . ”
Officials at the hospital had also watched the raid today . The name ‘Sung Jinwoo’ was whispered everywhere throughout the wings and corridors of the hospital, but none dared to speak and leak the information about his mother to the outside .
“Are you saying that she was cured of ‘Eternal Sleep’? Is that even possible?”
“As far as I’m aware this was the first recorded instance . ”
“When did this happen?”
“Let’s see . . . ”
The doctor turned his gaze upwards as he tried to recollect the exact date .
“Five days ago, I believe . ”
“ . . . ”
A wave of realization washed over the Chairman . Jinwoo had been asked to join the team at around the same time his mother woke up .
‘Hunter Sung Jinwoo’s father went missing within a Gate . ’
His mother was a wife who had lost her husband to a Gate . It would have been difficult for Hunter Sung Jinwoo to leave behind a mother that had gone through all that, to take part in a Raid .
Let alone the ‘Jeju Island Operation’ that had already failed three times before .
The Chairman reflected on how rude he had been in hindsight as a result of his ignorance of these circumstances .
‘So that is why he chose not participate in the Raid . ’
In any case, given the way the Raid unfolded and this new information coming to light about Sung Jinwoo’s mother, the Association President was confident that any misunderstandings were now behind them .
‘A young man like him is a rare breed these days . . . ’
His quiet lamentation was interrupted by a young female clerk from the Association staff entering the office .
“Association Chairman . ”
“What is going on?”
“We’re having trouble getting in touch with Hunter Min Byung-gu hunter’s family . ”
“Yes . ”
It was something the Chairman would have to personally attend to .
Her son’s death was broadcast on TV during the raid . She had called the Association to confirm and the Association had no choice but to disclose the truth . It pained the President to remember her quivering voice . Denial was all that had been holding back her tears and towards the end of the call all he could do was sit and listen to her choking sobs .
“I will go myself . ”
“You mean . . . in person?”
“Would you want to find out over the phone that you are going to have an empty casket at the funeral for the son you just lost?”
“Th-that, that is, well . . . . ”
“I will go in person and to tell her and give my respects as well . ”
“ . . . Okay . ”
The clerk was in the middle of giving a firm nod when suddenly her phone rang .
It was a call from the Association . He asked the chairman to excuse him before taking the call .
“Huh? Someone wants to see the Chairman? What!? Who?”
The clerk turned to look expectantly at the Chairman . Go Gun-hee shook his head .
“I do not wish to meet with anyone today . ”
The clerk covered their cell phone with her hands to blocked their voices .
“Well, he wants to see you President . . . It’s Hunter Sung Jinwoo . ”
“Hunter Sung Jinwoo?”
The president’s eyes widened . He immediately retracted his statement .
“Tell him I am on my way . ”
A staff member led Jinwoo into the President’s office .
He moved to take a seat while the staff member attended to him .
“Would you like something to drink?”
Jinwoo, who was about to sit down, suddenly realized how thirsty he was . Come to think of it, he hadn’t drank a single drop of water since that fierce fight .
“Just water . ”
“ . . . ”
‘What do you mean, “Thank you”?’
The nervous staff member grabbed a small bottle of water from a cabinet nearby and put it down in front of the Hunter and bowed his head .
“Please call me anytime if you need anything . ”
“Okay . ”
Compared to the relaxed atmosphere the last time he was here, everyone around him seemed to be on edge .
‘Probably because of the raid . ’
Jinwoo guessed that he was going to have to get used to people behaving a little differently around him in the future .
The Association President arrived soon after .
“Hunter Sung Jinwoo!”
Jinwoo tried to stand up, but Go Gun-Hee motioned for him not to bother . This man had just returned from Jeju Island . Among the ants he subdued, there was a monster that nearly annihilated the entire team of S-Rank Hunters .
Jinwoo was an honored guest now .
It was Go Gun-hee who did not want to disrespect him after he had saved the lives of the other S-Rank Hunters . Instead of seating himself at the armchair behind his massive desk, Go Gun-hee moved to sit on one of the guest chairs opposite Jinwoo .
“I heard about what happened at the ant’s nest . ”
“Ah, yes . ”
Jinwoo was happy to hear that the President had been briefed .
‘This will be an easier conversation then . ’
Go Gun-Hee continued .
“As for the matter of how you arrived back in Korea . . . ”
Several people from the Association had seen Kaisel before Jinwoo returned him to his shadow . It was no surprise that the President knew .
“Is that also how you got to Jeju Island?”
Jinwoo had gone through through “Shadow Exchange”, but did he really need to show his entire hand?
Jinwoo decided to withhold the truth for now .
“That’s correct . ”
He’d basically confessed that he was the one responsible for the monster sighting in the middle of Seoul a few days ago . This would make it convenient for him to move around more easily in the future using Kaisel .
“I see . ”
The President of the Association nodded . They’d established that Jinwoo was capable of commanding the powers of dead monsters .
‘If a Hunter could command a magic beast capable of flight, then it stands to reason that he’d ride it . ’
His curiosity sated, it was time to discuss the matter at hand .
“You wanted to see me?”
“Yes . ”
“What is going on?”
“I’ve exterminated all the ants on Jeju Island . ”
The Chairman was on his feet in surprise .
“You mean you killed all those ants?”
“Yes . ”
Jinwoo answered firmy .
“Now you can go to Jeju Island as you please . ”
“How . . . ”
‘No, if he used those, then I can imagine…’ .
He slowly sat back down, remembering the endless waves of shadowy minions he had seen on the screen . If they had scoured Jeju Island with such overwhelming force, it wouldn’t have been a problem to wipe out the ants in such a short period of time .
‘If we are now able to enter Jeju Island…’
It meant that the body of Hunter Min Byung-gu could be recovered from the heart of the ant nest . Go Gun-Hee’s eyes welled with tears knowing that the body of Hunter Min Byung-gu would not be desecrated by those insects .
Go Gun-Hee spoke with sincerity .
“Thank you, Hunter Sung Jinwoo . ”
[In Korea’s most exclusive hotel suite]
Thomas turned off the video of news coverage of the Jeju Island raid .
He’d already watched it three times .
Laura, his attendant who was always by his side, tried to gauge his reaction .
“What do you think?”
“Well . You saw the video, what else is there to say?”
He leaned back into the sofa and stretched his legs out onto the coffee table . He had a high, sculpted nose and a head full of blonde hair . Even though it was indoors, his sunglasses never left his face, and neither did his toothy smile .
“Isn’t that the man that Mr . Hwang was investigating?”
“Yes . ”
“Didn’t he ask us what the consequences would be if he killed someone in Korea?”
“Yes . ”
Laura, who had secretly investigated the relationship between Hwang Dong-soo and Sung Jinwoo, proceeded to brief Thomas on what she had been able to dig up .
There was only one thing that linked the two of them together: Hwang Dong-soo’s brother, Hwang Dong-seok .
He and Sung Jinwoo had entered a dungeon together . Sung Jinwoo came out and Hwang Dong-seok was never heard from again . Anything could happen in a dungeon . This was a commonly accepted notion throughout the world .
“So it was revenge . ”
“I think so . ”
“I thought Hwang didn’t have any surviving family members . I was never told about a brother . ”
“Apparently Mr . Hwang did everything he could to conceal his relation to his brother . ”
“Sounds like he was trying to leave that life behind him, huh?”
If Dong-seok’s ‘hobby’ ever came to light, then his brother’s reputation would have been ruined .
Laura answered the question with silence .
“After all this with Jeju Island, it’s going to be much harder for Hwang to meet Sung Jinwoo . Much harder for anyone, really . ”
“I think so too . ”
Thomas, the world-renowned Hunter and Master of the Guild Scavenger, had even put in for special leave to visit such a small country because of Sung Jinwoo . Specifically, his goal was to determine what would happen if Mr . Hwang were ever to meet Sung Jinwoo .
But now guild officers from everywhere were clamoring to recruit the Korean S-Rank Hunter . Thomas couldn’t help but lament bitterly .
“I had wanted to meet him, but now this happened . ”
“It would be better if we don’t have Mr . Hwang and Hunter Sung Jinwoo meet either, right?”
“Well . . . ”
Thomas grinned as he rubbed his chin .
“Looks like Korea saved Mr . Hwang . ”
South Korea refused entry to Hwang Dong-soo who had left the country long ago to go to the U . S . Thomas himself had risked a diplomatic crisis by choosing to come to Korea . But Mr . Hwang was not one to give up even though Thomas had warned him .
Revenge was a powerful motivator .
Thomas wasn’t exactly righteous either . He had no intention of stopping Hwang from taking revenge for his family .
However he was an important member of Scavenger . So in the spirit of protecting his own interests, Thomas decided it’d be prudent to learn more about Sung Jinwoo’s abilities .
It’d be no good if Mr . Hwang failed .
And now, Thomas’ impression of Sung Jinwoo was that he’d be the heavy favorite in the matchup .
“Never let Mr . Hwang enter Korea . Then they won’t even meet . ”
“Okay, I’ll drop the appeal we started for his visa . ”
“I’ll have a little chat with Mr . Hwang . He’s got a bit of a temper, so it’s better if I personally make sure we don’t have any problems . ”
Laura carefully wrote down her employer’s words without fail . A chilling thought entered her mind .
“If . . . on the off chance you aren’t able to get through to him, what would you do if the two of them were to fight?”
“Laura, don’t you know me by now?”
Thomas grinned .
“Mr . Hwang is the Scavenger Guild’s property . The Scavenger Guild is my property . ”
His mouth was smiling, but his eyes were not smiling at all . He always wore sunglasses because one look in his eyes was often enough to make the average man’s knees buckle in terror .
Thomas lowered his voice, straightening his back against the sofa .
“I won’t forgive anyone who damages my property . Even if it’s the U . S . government . ”
It was a level of self-assuredness wielded by only a few people in the world . Here was a man whose power was equal to that of an entire country .
Thomas Andre .
One of only five Nation-Level Hunters .
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Solo Leveling Novel Chapter 126
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