Solo Leveling Novel, Chapter 19
Solo Levelingi 19
Having finished his preparation in a minute, Jinwoo called for a cab and arrived at the promised location .
9 people were waiting for him . A man who appeared to be their leader waved to Jinwoo .
It was a rather hairy man with a large body . He greeted Jinwoo with a smile,
“Yeah . ”
“Alright, glad you made it . Shall we introduce ourselves?”
The man briefly introduced his teammates . Eight of the Hunters, including himself, were a group that had been working together for a long time . The ninth Hunter, like Jinwoo, came after seeing the job post to fill the headcount .
As he greeted his teammates, Jinwoo looked over their faces . Due to his raised sense stat, he was able to discern the relative strength between the gathered Hunters .
‘Five of them are about the same level . Four of them below . So it’s five C-ranks and four D-ranks?’
Raiding a C-rank Gate had rules . It required a minimum of 10 people, and half of the party had to be at least C-rank . Only then, the Association would give raiding permission . It seemed like their need for Jinwoo just to the fill the headcount was true .
“Now that we’ve all been introduced, I’ll explain a few things . ”
Hwang Dongseok, a C-rank Hunter, had a relaxed face born from experience . As he began to explain the various rules and warnings in this Raid, someone approached Jinwoo .
“So- looks like we’re both tagalongs . ”
The young man with a bright face was the other Hunter recruited by Hwang Dongseok to fill the headcount . However, unlike Jinwoo, he was not a noncombatant; he was a D-ranker who would be participating in battle .
His name was Yoo Jinho, 22 years old . Jinwoo greeted him with a light bow of his head and turned back to Hwang Dongseok . Yoo Jinho, who had hoped for a conversation, scratched his head and returned to his spot .
“Hyungnim, let’s just go in already . ”
“It’s just going to be us fighting anyways, so why explain all that?”
“Yeah, I suppose it’s all falling on deaf ears . ”
As his team members complained, Hwang Dongseok laughed and clapped his hands .
“Alright then, I’ll stop the explanations here . Let’s head on in . ”
Everyone began the last minute preparation before heading to the Gate .
“Ah, before that, if you two could just sign this real quick . ”
Hwang Dongseok handed Jinwoo and Yoo Jinho a piece of paper . It was a simple contract .
“You just have to write your name at the end and sign . ”
Jinwoo’s contract stated that he would not be involved in combat or be given part of the loot . Instead, he would receive 2 million won at the end of the Raid . It was same as the conversation Jinwoo had over the phone . However, a line at the end caught Jinwoo’s eye,
‘No matter what accident befalls in the Dungeon, they would not take any responsibility…’
Compared to an official Raid under the Association, a private Raid had no compensation if something happened . Hunters could not even obtain insurance; their lives involved too much danger .
Reading the line, it officially hit Jinwoo that he had entered a raiding party .
Before signing, Jinwoo asked Hwang Dongseok,
“So what do you need me to do?”
“Not much, just follow us around and carry the baggage . ”
Hwang Dongseok gestured to a large backpack his teammates were unloading from a Bongo .
“Inside it are food, clothes, equipment, first aid kit, etc…”
Wait, a first aid kit in a Dungeon?
“Are we going in without a Healer?”
“You should know, it’s really hard to get a Healer-class Hunter for a personal raiding party . We’ve always been like this”
Hwang Dongseok laughed awkwardly .
A raiding party formed at the last minute, only going in with the minimum headcount .
A filler member who mistook the Raid for a social gathering .
And now, the news that there were no Healers in the party, only Tankers and Dealers .
Jinwoo swallowed his laugh,
‘They’re all scrubs . ’
Still, the reason he was able to sign the contract was not because of the 2 million won . It was because he was confident in his abilities to protect himself .
“Here you go . ”
“Mine as well!”
Hwang Dongseok checked the two men’s signatures then proclaimed loudly,
“Then, let’s go!”
The party headed towards the place the Gate had appeared . It was an abandoned construction site for an apartment complex . The construction had been halted partway .
“Tsk . I suppose the economy’s not doing that well . . . ”
Hwang Dongseok clicked his tongue . The traces of the unfinished building stood like a gravestone . It would be a fitting memorial to a giant .
“Did you know?”
Yoo Jinho walked up to Jinwoo’s side and spoke in a lowered voice,
“I heard the investors and the employees who worked here lost everything and are struggling to live these days . But the president of the company ran away from the country with 900 billion won two months ago . ”
“ . . . ”
Although Jinwoo gave repeated indication that he did not want to talk, Yoo Jinho did not appear to want to leave Jinwoo’s side . This might’ve been because the 8 people that excluded the two appeared to be old friends, and it was hard to fit amongst them .
“Hyung, are you usually a man of few words?”
Before he realized it, Jinho was calling him hyung . Even ignoring him was becoming tiring .
“ . . . You’re really bad at taking a hint . ”
“I grew up without having to, haha”
Jinwoo wasn’t sure if the boy was just optimistic or stupid . He scratched his head at Yoo Jinho’s smiling face .
‘Hmm . . . I am tense, however . ’
It was true that he would become more stiff near Gates . He couldn’t help it after all . To other Hunters, it may have been a simple source of income . To Jinwoo, every Raid had been a battle for his life . All those painful memories were the cause of his stiffness .
Hwang Dongseok stopped the party .
The Hunters gasped in awe .
“Hwang hyung, are you sure this is a C-rank Gate? It’s a little big . ”
“Psh, do you think the Association would lie? I heard their surveillance team already checked it out twice . ”
A black hole like entrance that hung in the air, that was the Gate .
Waves of magic power would seep from the Gate, and the amount of magic power in those waves would determine the rank of the Gate . Once discovered, the Association would send special teams that would measure the magic power with a device . The resulting information would be made public, and individuals or Guilds would request the raiding rights from the Association .
Most of the B-rank and A-rank Gates would be picked up by large Guilds . Those were too dangerous for an individual to lead a private party into . Instead, private parties would request and reserve C-rank or lower Gates .
Hwang Dongseok stopped before the Gate and turned to his party .
“I’ll go in first, please follow after . ”
The Tanker took the vanguard, then one by one, rest of the party followed .
‘Just in case . ’
Jinwoo lightly stretched his body . Next to him, Yoo Jinho was taking out various equipment from his bag . The sword and shield he wielded sparked with radiance . Even at a glance, they were high quality equipment . It was not something a beginner Hunter would be wielding .
‘Hmm… “grew up without having to take a hint” . . . Looks like he’s from a wealthy household . ’
Jinwoo looked at Jinho with surprise . Feeling his gaze, Jinho took few steps forward in elation .
“Hyung, you said you were E-rank, right? I’ll make sure to protect you . Please stand close to me . ”
Jinwoo scratched the back of his head . Who was going to protect who? . . .
“ . . . Sure, thank you for that . ”
“Let’s go in as well . ”
Regardless of how Jinwoo felt, the two men safely entered the Gate .
The inside of the Dungeon was quiet .
“ . . . ”
It was silent and dark .
Hwang Dongseok gave his first command .
“Gyuhwan, make a light . ”
“Yessir . ”
The Mage-class Hunter Jo Gyuhwan created a floating light . Their surroundings became lit . Hwang Dongseok lowered his shield and tilted his head .
“What? Where are the magic beasts?”
“I wonder . There’s no light, either . ”
Normally in Dungeons, glowing rocks would be placed here and there throughout the cave to light the way . But this Dungeon did not appear to have any .
Yoo Jinho whispered to Jinwoo,
“Hyung, are there any Dungeons with no magic beasts?”
“Shh . ”
Jinwoo put a finger to his lips, his ears perked . From a distance, he heard numerous footsteps approaching .
“It’s not that there aren’t any . They just haven’t come yet . ”
Yoo Jinho gulped .
The party soon heard the noise that Jinwoo heard . Hwang Dongseok felt something was off .
‘A Dungeon with no glowing rocks…?’
“What lives and moves in the dark and are attracted to the light?”
Hwang Dongseok and his teammates’ expressions darkened as one .
“Fuck, why of all the things, bugs?!”
Hwang Dongseok shouted at the party,
“Everyone, to your positions! They’re coming! Faces forward!”
Somewhere ahead of the tunnel, numerous “somethings” were heading this way .
“This isn’t an ant’s nest, is it?”
“Don’t say something like that . ”
Of the many types of magic beasts, insect types were particularly troublesome . They were hard to kill; they moved in groups; on top of that, even a single one of them had good amount of power . And of the insect types, the worst were the ants . Many Hunters mistakenly entered the nest of ant magic beasts and met tragic ends .
skitter skitter skitter-
The sound of bugs moving across the floor became louder and louder . They were nearing the party . Hwang Dongseok raised his shield below his chins . But the insects did not appear . His juniors muttered from behind him,
“What? Where are they?”
“I can still hear them . ”
“Dongseok hyung, do you see anything?”
Jinwoo interrupted them,
Hwang Dongseok reflexively looked up .
Giant bugs were coming at them across the ceiling . If the warning had been a little late, the bugs would be falling on their heads now . Against the magic beasts that clumped up on the ground like insects, losing your balance spelled a death sentence .
‘If we had discovered them just a little later…’
Hwang Dongseok’s insides squirmed . Thankfully, he did not see any ants among the attacking bugs . He gathered strength in his throat,
“Shoot! Shoot them down! I’ll grab the aggro when they fall!”
Arrows and magic flew across the air towards the bugs .
As few of the bugs fell down due to the Hunters’ attacks, the remaining ones jumped to the ground of their own volition . Their intent was to fight the Hunters . Now would begin the Tanker’s role in the fight .
Hwang Dongseok used a taunting skill and grabbed the attention of the magic beasts . As if ensnared by some promise, all of them turned their gazes toward Hwang Dongseok .
“Over here, you insects!”
Dozens of magic beasts charged toward Hwang Dongseok .
His shield blocked every one of their attacks . Even with their strong claws and mandibles, the bugs were not able to get through the shield The Tanker Hwang Dongseok skillfully held off the bugs .
“Hold . Hold . Hold!”
He was waiting for the right time .
: “Hyung-nim”: Combination of “hyung” and honorific “nim” . “Hyung” is the way younger male would address his older brother . But it’s also used in general population (by younger male to and older male of a closer age) . “Nim” is added as an honorific, denoting respect .
: “Bongo” . A small flatbed pickup truck .
: “glowing rocks” (야광석): “darkness” 야 + “light” 광 + stone “석” . “Light that glows in the dark” > just “glowing rock” . The word “야광” also specially refers to the glow-in-the dark stuff .
: “aggro” (어글): The author’s usage of gaming terminology is becoming more and more apparent . Short for korean pronunciation of the english word “aggression”, it refers to the idea that a video game enemy will be focused on a target with the most threat . Normally, that would be the damage dealers, but tanking roles often have special skills to forcibly increase their threat and draw the aggression or “aggro” of an enemy .
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Solo Leveling Novel Chapter 19
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