Solo Leveling Novel, Chapter 33
Solo Levelingi 33
-4 . B-ranker Kang Taeshik-
Kang Taeshik felt like he got slapped in the face . Even amongst the B-rankers, he had never lost in speed, and now this man who had kept up with him was introducing himself as an E-ranker .
‘Who is this fucker kidding?’
Kang Taeshik grinded his teeth .
There was something that tripped him up .
‘If he’s really a high-ranking Hunter, there’s no way he would be here . ’
The Hunters who worked for the Association basically groveled for scraps . After all, the Gates that the Association had to clear were those that were passed up by the Guilds or private parties for being too weak . Compared to the other Hunters, the Association-affiliated Hunters did not earn much and were even looked down on by most .
So this bastard was surely an E-ranker . Just one that was hiding his skill .
‘Still, even a false ranker wouldn’t be working under the Association . ’
After all that, Kang Taeshik came upon a conclusion .
‘…Awakening after Awakening . ’
Now that he thought about it, he recalled a short time ago when the upper management of the Association was excited at the news of a potential Reawakening happening in this area .
‘They said it was an Association-affiliated Hunter…’
Kang Taeshik cursed himself, as he realized he should’ve remembered the Hunter’s name . If the man was putting off his retest, he would’ve still been working in the area as an E-ranker . To think that he would be facing off against him now… He had thoroughly looked over the list of Hunters participating in today’s Raid but did not pay attention to the possibility that the Reawakened Hunter would be here . 
‘That’s some bad luck I’ve got…’
He could not help but think this way .
‘If I knew this, I should’ve asked for more money…’
Kang Taeshik thought back on the event that occurred few days ago and licked his lips .
Few days ago .
A café near the Association Headquarters .
Kang Taeshik spoke as he sat down .
“Why did you call me?”
The middle-aged man sitting across from him looked emaciated .
‘He said he was a president of some business?’
He had never met the man, but after repeatedly being called, Kang Taeshik relented and decided to give the man his time .
The man seemingly spoke to himself,
“I heard nobody know what happens in a Dungeon . ”
His voice was so small; Kang Taeshik had to ask him to clarify,
“What do you mean by that?”
“This is all the money I’ve gathered . ”
The man slid a bankbook across the table . Kang Taeshik stared back and forth between the man and the bankbook, then picked it up and checked its contents . The bankbook contained 2 billion won .
“And you’re giving this to me… why?”
The man replied to Kang Taeshik’s suspicious face,
“One of the prisoners under your watch violated my daughter . She hanged herself afterwards . My wife collapsed out of shock and is still hospitalized . ”
The man spoke with tears on his face .
“And they say the son of a bitch who did it is going to go free in just a few years… How could I sleep knowing this?”
The man raised his eyes, and his face was filled with rage and sorrow .
“I think you know what I mean by this . ”
The man bowed his head,
“Please, Hunter-nim! I beg of you!”
A quietness fell between the two men .
Kang Taeshik leaned back on his chair and fell into deep thought .
After some time, he opened his mouth,
“Do you know why I went into the Hunter Association’s Hunter Surveillance Department?”
“As a B-rank Hunter, I would be considered a high-ranking Hunter . It wouldn’t be strange for me to receive offers from various Guilds . Yet do you know why I chose this job with its shitty pay?”
“I… I don’t know . ”
The corners of Kang Taeshik’s mouth rose,
“Compared to fighting monsters, I much rather enjoy fighting humans . ”
For that purpose, working for the HSD was a dream job . He was able to legally beat up other Hunters . And occasionally, if they resisted too hard… He couldn’t help but kill them .
‘Couldn’t… help it… . pft…’
Kang Taeshik swallowed his laughter .
“As you’ve asked, it won’t be much for me to take care of the bugs you’re referring to . The problem is, there will be Hunters other than the bugs in the Dungeon . Well, they’re all bugs to me, but still, what would you have me do about those other Hunters?”
At Kang Taeshik’s words, the man frowned disappointedly . All he wanted was revenge for his daughter . As if mocking him, Kang Taeshik put on an ugly smile .
“I’m going to ask 1 billion more for taking care of the other Hunters . Does that work for you?”
However, if those other Hunters included a Reawakened Hunter, 3 billion would not nearly be enough . His life was on the line, after all . The so-called E-rank Hunter was expelling an oppressive amount of pressure . He was poised to leap at any opening Kang Taeshik showed . The man gulped .
‘He’s not an easy target . ’
He had the confidence to win . Even before he became an Awakened Being, Kang Taeshik had never lost a duel . Still, it would not be an easy victory . He may need to change up the plan a little .
Suddenly, the E-rank Hunter spoke,
“Those prisoners… why did you kill them?”
“One of them raped a girl . Her father came to me and asked me directly for it . They were beasts that deserved it . All I did was to kill that beast . ”
The E-rank Hunter listened without speaking . Perhaps it’d be possible to talk his way out of this . Kang Taeshik moved into action,
“After all this, I don’t really feel like killing you . Why don’t you just look away for today? If you promise to be quiet, I won’t touch you guys anymore”
Of course, he had no intention of letting them go . But a direct confrontation here could result in him being injured, and he wanted to avoid that . He would let them go, then take care of them one by one later .
But the E-ranker laughed in his face,
“That’s something you should’ve said before attacking . Now that you’ve failed your ambush, you’re going to try and talk your way out of this?”
Well, he was not wrong . Kang Taeshik also smiled .
‘So it’s going to be this way after all . ’
Then, he would give it all he has . Kang Taeshik’s eyes became filled with bloodlust . His eyes quickly scanned the E-rank Hunter up and down .
‘Where did he get the dagger?’
Before he had realized it, the E-ranker was holding a dagger .
‘Well… whatever . ’
It did not matter where he had gotten it . Only what he was holding . Kang Taeshik finished a brief analysis . The enemy was a dagger user with a quick body, an ultra short range fighter . His class was probably assassin . Coincidentally, it was the same as his own class . But the bastard only Reawakened a short time ago, so the difference in experience would be massive . He would not have the chance to show off his skills .
“This sunbae will teach you a few things . ”
Kang Taeshik took out a knife from his waist and mocked the E-rank Hunter .
“Can you do something like… this?”
Kang Taeshik used the skill, ‘Stealth’, and his body became invisible . At his disappearance, the E-ranker panicked and looked around .
‘Of course . ’
The ‘Stealth’ skill was not just a simple invisibility .
Appearance, sound and smell!
All the traces detectable by the normal senses of a human being would be erased, that was ‘Stealth’ . Even among the Assassin-class Hunters, only a handful of them could use ‘Stealth’ . Regardless of their rank, only the lucky ones received this skill at their Awakening .
Kang Taeshik moved behind the E-ranker in an instant . His back was completely exposed .
‘It’s over . ’
He had expected a difficult fight, but this was a lot more boring than he thought . If the opponent had anticipated the ‘Stealth’ skill, he might’ve been able to do something . The difference in experience ended up being the deciding factor, after all .
Kang Taeshik’s knife stabbed straight towards Jinwoo’s ribs .
Two daggers clashed and sparked . With his ‘Stealth’ released, Kang Taeshik’s eyes widened .
The E-ranker’s dagger was blocking his own .
Kang Taeshik looked up at the E-rank Hunter’s face in surprise .
The man opened his mouth with an expressionless face .
“It finally came up . ”
“What came up…?”
Unable to understand Jinwoo’s words, Kang Taeshik felt an unknown sense of terror wash over him .
Emergency Quest: Deal With The Enemies! Those with murderous intent towards the ‘Player’ have been detected . Ensure your safety by dealing with these enemies . Enemies to deal with: 1 Enemies dealt with: 0 Non-compliance will result in a penalty .
Jinwoo confirmed the contents of the emergency quest and sighed in relief .
‘This wasn’t all for nothing . ’
He had hoped that letting Kang Taeshik make the first move would result in an emergency quest, just like the time with Hwang Dongseok’s party . He tested it to make sure and the results were as expected . The moment Kang Taeshik struck with a killing intent, the message popped up . There was a reason he had refused the offer and pretended to panic .
‘Well, I didn’t expect to see him use ‘Stealth’…’
When Kang Taeshik disappeared before his eyes, it did surprise him a little bit . After all, the ‘Stealth’ skill was a rare sight to behold . But the moment Jinwoo focused his senses, he was able to feel the man’s presence even with his eyes closed . This was the power of his raised sense stat . At first, he had invested points into it to determine whether he had to fight or run from an enemy, but now it had found another use .
‘I got lucky . ’
And thanks to that, Kang Taeshik was startled as if he had seen a ghost .
“How, how did you?”
All that was left was to deal with him and get the quest’s reward .
‘If I’m going to fight, might as well get paid for it . ’
It was his turn now .
Time to attack .
The two men put strength behind their daggers, attempting to push towards the other .
Their strength was evenly matched .
‘Should I try something else?’
Jinwoo quickly slammed his foot down on Kang Taeshik’s .
: Just a reminder, the Reawakening is Kang Taeshik’s theory in the moment . Jinwoo confirmed before that what he was going through is NOT Reawakening .
: “Stealth” (은신): Lit . “hide/stealth” .
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Solo Leveling Novel Chapter 33
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