Solo Leveling Novel, Chapter 18
Solo Levelingi 18
As she was shaking her head in disbelief, Jinwoo suddenly came back out and held an umbrella towards her .
“Why an umbrella?”
She took the umbrella and looked up to the sky . It was still dark at dawn, but the sky appeared to be clear .
“I don’t think it’s going to rain today . ”
“Just take it . ”
“It’s going to be a hassle…”
“Just take it still . It’s not that heavy, stop crying . ”
He closed the door and went back inside .
“Sigh- always so stubborn . ”
She tapped the door rebelliously with her foot few times, then put the umbrella in her bag and started walking .
She recalled her brother’s figure just now . It was strange . Her brother was distinctly taller than she had remembered .
“Do men still keep growing after 20?”
She shook her head again and walked towards school .
Jinwoo locked the door and opened his inventory .
“Storage . ”
Storage . Inv . Inventory .
After experimenting, he found that the spoken command did not have to be that exact . Same with the messages . Various phrases with the intent and meaning of “opening” worked .
He took the umbrella obtained from today’s Random Box and put it into the digital storage before his eyes .
“Today’s was a bust again . ”
It had been four days since his first trip into an Instant Dungeon . Since then, he had hoped for another key from the Random Boxes but was not so lucky .
‘How disappointing . ’
He went to his room and sat on his bed .
There was something he had to decide today .
“Stat . ”
Strength: 48 Constitution: 27 Agility: 27 Intelligence: 27 Sense: 27 (Available stat points: 12)
Four days’ worth of stat points were piled up in his stat screen . He had not missed a single daily quest, and of course, diligently collected the rewards . But he had not used any of the points yet . He wasn’t sure what to do with them .
“ . . . This is hard . ”
Indeed it was . It was not an easy decision to make .
Strength . Good stat . No regrets in dumping every point in it so far .
Agility . Also good stat . Not needed against low level enemies, but absolutely critical against stronger foes . Speed was relative, after all .
Constitution and sense . Having higher health was always a good thing, and sense turned out to be surprisingly useful as well .
. . . This was the problem . This was the sole attribute that he had no information to go on . Even after his levels rose, he didn’t really feel smarter . His memorization didn’t exactly improve, nor did his mental math become any faster .
‘I’m sure it’s related to magic…’
Perhaps he didn’t need it after all .
That left just strength, agility, constitution and sense .
“ . . . Still, it’s hard . ”
Even with one less choice, he still was not sure . The synergy between strength and agility was clear; no matter how hard he could hit, it meant nothing if he couldn’t hit his target . On the same hand, no matter how accurate he was, it meant nothing without power behind the attack . With that in mind, strength and agility were a set .
‘Since my strength is at a good place, I should bring up agility to a similar level . ’
At the same time, if he chose to raise the agility stat, he would have to put a lower priority on constitution . The synergy between agility and constitution was bad . With high agility, his ability to evade the enemy’s attack would increase; on the other hand, constitution only shined when he took the enemy’s attack head on .
‘Of course, I’ll always need some minimum amount, just in case…’
Still, raising both agility and constitution at the same time did not seem like the best distribution of his points .
After thinking about it for some time, he came to a conclusion:
First, agility . Second, sense . Third, constitution .
He had already invested quite a bit into strength, so he’ll leave it as is . He’ll focus on bringing agility to a matching level; with the focus on agility, he’ll also put sense ahead of constitution .
Having made his decision, Jinwoo put 2 points into strength .
Stats Strength: 50 Constitution: 27 Agility: 27
Intelligence: 27 Sense: 27 (Available stat points: 10)
He just wanted to have his strength at an even 50 . Wouldn’t anyone do the same?
He put the next 8 points into agility for the same reason . He wanted the number to end on a nice “5” .
Stats Strength: 50 Constitution: 27 Agility: 35 Intelligence: 27 Sense: 27 (Available stat points: 2)
‘Numbers always look nice when they’re in multiples of 5 . ’
50 strength and 35 agility . The multiples of 5 gave him a pointless sense of satisfaction .
‘And the last 2 points . ’
He put them into sense . And with that, the distribution of his points was over .
Stats Strength: 50 Constitution: 27 Agility: 35 Intelligence: 27 Sense: 29 (Available stat points: 0)
The fact that he couldn’t get sense to 30 felt a little sad .
‘Can’t do much about it with no points left . ’
Other than that, everything looked good to him . Constitution and intelligence would have to be raised through level-ups .
“Is this good enough?”
Of course, he could not be satisfied 100% in everything . Still, having made the decision after much thought, he felt that it was good enough .
He heard the phone ring from the living room .
‘Is it a call from the Association?’
In the past, he would hold out picking up as long as he could, afraid to be called to Raids . But now, his body was itching to face magic beasts with his raised attributes . He quickly went and picked up the receiver .
“This is Hunter Sung Jinwoo . ”
-”Ah, there you are . ”
It was not the Association . Jinwoo felt a little disappointed .
-“Student Jinwoo, why haven’t you picked up the phone in a while?”
It was a familiar voice . It had been 4 years since Jinwoo had graduated from high school and left behind the title of student, but the landlord, who had watched over Jinwoo since he was a kid, still called him one .
“Sorry landlord ahjussi . I was hospitalized for a while after an accident . ”
-“Oh no . Is that so? That explains that . So, er . . Student Jinwoo, I haven’t received this month’s rent yet . How is it, do you want to push it back to next month?”
“Oh no, that’s fine . I’ll send it now . ”
-“Ah, okay . Don’t push yourself too hard . I know you’re working hard to take care of your mom and little sister . Money is money, but don’t neglect your body . ”
“I understand . Thank you very much . ”
He ended the conversation and took out his bankbook from a drawer . His account had 800 thousand won .
He could not help but let out a long breath . After 500 thousand won for rent, the amount left over for living expenses this month would be just 300 thousand won . Even the 500 thousand rent was due to the fact that he lived at a worn-down apartment on the edges of the city; on top of that, the landlord, who had a soft heart for Jinwoo’s situation, had not raised the rent in the past few years .
It would be hard to find a place for 500 thousand these days . It would be even harder to live on 300 thousand for the month .
“First, let’s earn some money . ”
He had picked out the priority goal .
He was not the same man who had struggled in taking down a single E-rank magic beast .
How does a Hunter earn money?
The best way was to take down magic beasts .
The A-rank and S-rank Hunters had the luxury of being sponsored, filming commercials and making TV appearances, but they were in the minority . For the rest, the Hunters earned their keep in Dungeons .
Your income was dependent on the quality and quantity of the Dungeon . And your Dungeon was dependent on your capabilities .
Higher the Rank, higher the Dungeon . More experienced you were, more Dungeons you could get into .
As an E-rank Hunter under the Association, Jinwoo had never entered anything above a D-rank Gate . As such, he had neither the rank nor the experience to prove his worth .
Jinwoo furrowed his brows .
‘Forget any conditions, if I could only get into a raiding party . . . ’
He browsed through the job boards on Hunter websites and even made a few phone calls but made no progress . Nobody wanted an E-rank Hunter . The Hunters who put up listings on the job boards were there for personal raids . As such, they were looking for reliable people to watch their backs and were strict in their criteria for selection .
These people were those that fell in an awkward place in the Hunter world . Too weak for Guilds but too strong to work under the Association .
‘Even those Hunters make several ten million a month . ’
High risk, high return . Putting their lives on the line, the reward was just as great . There was a reason Hunters were the target of envy . To Jinwoo, it was rather frustrating .
‘Should I just go get retested and raise my rank?’
Jinwoo shook his head . No matter how long he thought about it, it was a stupid idea . It didn’t matter if his new rank was A-rank, B-rank or even C-rank . A Hunter’s Reawakening would be big news . The people loved gossip, and Hunters made prime gossip material . If he got re-tested now and entered the public’s perception, it would only be a matter of time before his special circumstances would be discovered . After all, he had no plans to stop his growth .
“A Hunter that can raise his abilities?”
“He gets stronger with time?”“Who is that Hunter?”
“How could he do such a thing?”
“How could I do something like that?”
Surely, many people would become interested . There was never a Hunter like him in history . Amidst their interest, there would definitely be those that would try to use him or antagonize him .
‘And if any of them are stronger than me…’
The thought scared Jinwoo . He still lacked power . Until he was confident in his ability to protect himself, he did not want to reveal himself to the world . So, a ranking retest was out of the question .
‘Still, I need a way to make money somehow…’
He couldn’t get an ordinary job . He did not know when the Association would come calling . If he got called to a Raid, he would be able to earn experience points and money; he didn’t want to throw that chance away for some pocket money .
As Jinwoo pondered on what he could do, he noticed a new listing on the job board .
We’ll take anyone, regardless of ranking, first come first serve!
His eyes shot open . It was a newly created post . Quickly checking the details, he realized the location wasn’t far from his house . Jinwoo quickly picked up the phone . As if waiting, the other side also picked up quickly .
Jinwoo gave a brief introduction and inquired about the job posting .
-“Ah, you’re an E-rank?”
The response was better than he had hoped .
-“That’s fine . You just have to come and help us fill the headcount . But since it’s a C-rank Gate, you probably won’t be much help in the fighting . So we’ll have to leave you out of the loot distribution . Instead, we’ll give you a flat amount of 2 million, how’s that sound? Could you make it?”
Flat amount of 2 million!
It was an incredible compensation for just filling the headcount . The conditions were not that bad . Although regrettable that he’d be excluded from the loot, he could not let 2 million slip out of his hands .
‘For now, let’s start with this . ’
An opportunity like this didn’t come every day . 2 million would be more than enough for the month .
Jinwoo accepted the proposition,
“I’ll be there in 15 minutes . ”
: This goddamn troll .
: “bankbook” (통장): In Korea, people often have these physical representations of their bank balance, which also records deposits and withdrawals . A relic from days before online banking, you’d have to take these to banks to get an update on your account status . They look like thin checkbooks .
: Just a reminder, when converting from KRW to USD, just divide it by a thousand (it’ll be off by few %, but good enough for story purposes) . His rent is ~$500 and he would have ~$300 left over for the month .
: “raiding party” (공격대): “attack/attacking” 공격 + “group” 대 . Since the context refers to hunters that would group up and attack a dungeon, I decided to translate it as “raiding party” .
: “job board” (구인란): “wanted” 구인 “board/column” 란 . Normally refers to “wanted” section or “classified” in newspapers . I really wanted to call it the “LFG” board of the Hunter website but thought that’d be going too far .
: “retested” (재심사): “re/again” 재 + “test” 심사 . I used it as a verb for the context but will come up as a noun in the future .
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Solo Leveling Novel Chapter 18
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