Solo Leveling Novel, Chapter 68
Solo Levelingi 68
“Hyungnim! Now that we’re done, how about a celebratory dinner?”
On the drive home, Yoo Jinho carefully brought up the subject.
“Celebratory dinner? Just us two?”
With the final Raid, their raiding party had been disbanded. Han Songyi had told them she had somewhere to be, so it was just Jinwoo and Yoo Jinho in the car. Yoo Jinho shyly continued,
“Well… I’ve just been getting help from you left and right. I thought I’d treat you today.”
Why was he so shy about just asking to eat together? Jinwoo grinned. The young man had offered to pay, so he didn’t have any reason to refuse.
When Jinwoo casually agreed, Yoo Jinho’s face lit up noticeably.
“Hyungnim! There’s a high class restaurant at a hotel that I know, how about it? Their steak is to die for.”
“Nah, nothing like that.”
Jinwoo wanted to eat with Yoo Jinho somewhere comfortable. A suitable restaurant came into view while driving.
Jinwoo tapped the car window with his finger.
“How about there?”
“Ah, did you want some hanwoo beef?” 
“No, next to it.”
Yoo Jinho’s eyes narrowed. Next to it… There was only one other restaurant.
[Flower Samgyupsal Day – Thin slice specialty] 
“Are you talking about the thinly sliced samgyupsal place, hyungnim?”
“Do you not like samgyupsal?”
Yoo Jinho smiled brightly,
“No, hyungmin. I like it too.”
After parking the van, the duo entered the shop, only to find it bustling. It was 7 PM, just about time for most restaurants to be packed.
A waiter greeted them with a smile.
“Please, this way.”
The waiter led them to a spot in a corner. Suddenly,
Looking around the restaurant, Yoo Jinho gestured to an empty spot near the windows,
“Can we sit there?”
“Ah, I’m sorry. Those tables are reserved…”
It appeared that a large group had reserved a section of the restaurant. Yoo Jinho looked at the wide open tables with disappointment then shook his head. And so, the two men ended up being seated at a corner deep into the restaurant. Yoo Jinho lowered his head,
“I’m sorry, hyungnim.”
“Hmm? What do you have to be sorry for, I was the one who wanted to come here.”
“Still, I should’ve treated you to somewhere better.”
Jinwoo smiled and tapped Yoo Jinho’s shoulder,
“Don’t worry about that and just enjoy the food, ya punk.”
In fact, Jinwoo was worried that this cheap establishment might not have been to Yoo Jinho’s expensive tastes.
‘And I didn’t want to mention it, but…’
Jinwoo looked around. The restaurant was packed with people. Because he had often spent time in a quiet solitude at home, a lively atmosphere like this wasn’t exactly bad.
“Here is samgyupsal for three and two bottles of soju.” 
Their order had arrived.
The meat cooked nicely over the pan. The two Hunters dug into the food. One by one, pieces of meat disappeared from the pan. Fortunately, it looked like the young master of a chaebol liked the food.
“I often eat samgyupsal with my friends, hyungnim.”
“Oh yeah? College friends?”
“Yep. Compared to the rich kids from expensive and prestigious schools, I get along much better with my peers from a normal college.”
Jinwoo smiled and nodded as Yoo Jinho spoke. It was rather fitting of the young man he had gotten to know.
Yoo Jinho poured Jinwoo a shot of soju.
Jinwoo returned the gesture.
They filled each other’s glasses, clinked then drank the shot it one go.
However, compared to Yoo Jinho who made a delicious expression, Jinwoo’s face scrunched up in annoyance and realization.
“Huh? Hyungnim, is it not to your liking?”
“No. It’s not that…”
Jinwoo stared at his empty glass. Amidst the busy schedule he maintained, he had forgotten about this.
A harmful substance has been detected. The effects of the ‘Detoxification’ buff will be activated. 3, 2, 1… Detoxification complete.
‘Right. I can never get drunk again.’
No matter how much he drank, the results were the same.
ring~ ring~ ring~
With the ‘Longevity’ buff in effect, all harmful effects were removed from Jinwoo. The soju he drank was nothing more than bitter water. Jinwoo cursed internally,
Rather than putting down this useless, bitter liquid, he was better off drinking soda.
Jinwoo flagged a server,
“Could we get two more orders of samgyupsal and a bottle of soda?”
When the server walked away, Yoo Jinho tilted his head,
“Hyungnim, you’re not going to drink anymore?”
“I’m not that good with alcohol.”
Jinwoo had replied with an expressionless face, but as always, Yoo Jinho did not take the hint. His face was becoming red with drunkenness, and the young man smiled moronically,
‘To think that even hyungnim has a human side like this…’
Yoo Jinho sent a strange look at Jinwoo, but the man ignored it.
‘Not like this is the only time the kid’s being weird.’
There was something Jinwoo was curious about however,
“So what’s your plan now?”
When a serious question appeared, Yoo Jinho suddenly sat upright like an interviewee on his first job interview,
“After a simple written test at the Association, I will obtain my Guildmaster license, hyungnim. With it, I will go and try to make a deal with my father.”
The young man’s eyes were filled with determination. He had invested quite a bit of his own money into this plan; there was no room for backing out now.
‘And I have my promise with hyungnim.’
That building he promised to Jinwoo. He would only be able to keep that promise if he was able to convince his father to hand over the Guildmaster’s position. Meanwhile, Jinwoo was rather carefree about the entire affair.
‘It’d be nice to get that 30 billion won building, but,’
That was just the tip of the iceberg. His real goal was to level-up. And with the 20 C-rank Dungeons he had conquered with Yoo Jinho, he managed to fulfill that goal plenty of times. The results of that level-up? Kim Cheol was an A-ranker with contract fees probably in the billions, and Jinwoo knocked him out with a single hit.
‘That means at the very least, I’ll be able to earn more than that shitbag.’
Great income would naturally follow great abilities. There was no need for Jinwoo to worry about money. Because of that, Jinwoo’s face was filled with a carefree expression. As Jinwoo reminisced on the past few days with a smile, Yoo Jinho asked a question,
“What about you, hyungnim? What’s your plan now?”
Was it something he shouldn’t have asked? Yoo Jinho panicked for a second but relaxed when Jinwoo softened his expression.
“I’ll be out of contact for a while. There’s somewhere I have to go.”
With that sentence, a noticeable frown appeared on Yoo Jinho’s face. The young man looked like a puppy abandoned on the road and drained his glass.
Yoo Jinho’s placed his glass loudly down on the table. With help from the liquid courage, the young man opened his mouth,
“Hyungnim, if I’m just a bother to you, please let me know. I won’t bother you anymore.” 
It seemed that Jinho had mistaken his words about being “out of contact” for something else. Jinwoo scratched his temple and spoke,
“What exactly am I to you?”
Unable to reply immediately, the young man’s eyes looked to the ceiling.
“I have an older brother, about 10 years older than me, hyungnim.”
Jinwoo had heard of it. Yoo Myunghan’s firstborn, Yoo Jinsung.
“My hyung doesn’t like me that much. To be honest, I’ve probably spent more time with you in the past few days compared to my entire life with my hyung. Compared to that older brother, hyungnim saved my life, helped me with my plans…”
Yoo Jinho looked at Jinwoo with a clear eyes,
“To me, hyungnim feels more like my older brother than my real brother.” 
Well, he was still scared of Jinwoo from time to time. Still, the memories he had made with Jinwoo in their days together were something he could never forget. The respect Yoo Jinho had for his hyungnim was far greater than any fear.
“If you think of me as your older brother,”
Jinwoo spoke with a smile,
“I’ll think of you as my little brother.”
With his nose turning red, Yoo Jinho began to cry. Well, Jinwoo could’ve tolerated just crying, but the young man suddenly pushed himself toward Jinwoo,
“Hyungnim! I want to give you a hug!”
“Hey, hey! You’re drunk, you punk!”
“No, hyungnim! My head has never been clearer than now!”
“At least keep your eyes open when you’re talking!”
Whether he was truly moved or was just drunk, Yoo Jinho put his head on the table and began to cry loudly. Jinwoo gently patted the young man on the shoulder. Soon, Yoo Jinho fell asleep.
“Sigh… He’s really something else.”
Jinwoo leaned back on his chair and bit his tongue.
Yoo Jinho. In many ways, he was an annoyance, but Jinwoo did not dislike him.
[-And here’s the next report.]
Jinwoo turned his head towards the TV. The TV in the restaurant was turned to a news channel.
‘Is it already 9?’
Jinwoo absentmindedly stared at the screen when a familiar face appeared.
Jinwoo’s eyes widened. Leaving his Guild HQ, Baek Yoonho was assaulted with a barrage of questions from reporters surrounding him.
[We’ve received a report saying there was a big accident with the new recruit training, is it true?]
[We’ve heard that all the high-ranking Hunters died and only low-rank Hunters lived, do you have any comments?]
[There were reports that an unknown helper rescued the survivors, what are your thoughts on this?]
The S-ranker did his best to ignore the reporters but eventually relented,
[The incident has already been investigated by the Association. It is true that there was an accident during the training, but there was no such thing as an outsider helper. Baekho’s members worked together to clear the Dungeon, but many Hunters fell during the process. That is the final story.]
A reporter asked,
[Then why are you preventing an interview with the survivors?]
[They’ve just barely escaped with their lives from the jaws of death. I would not let them be held to questioning after what they’ve been through. That will be all.]
The TV showed Baek Yoonho quickly getting into a car and driving away. Jinwoo’s eyes were wide open.
‘…Aren’t they talking about me?’
Some time ago.
Eastern Seaboard, United States.
James fell to the ground. With the strength in his legs gone, the man crawled on the floor to escape but realized he had come across a dead-end. All hope left the american.
The Dungeon this time was A-rank. A raiding party with the appropriate level of power was put together to clear the Dungeon, but the entire party was wiped out. To be accurate, they were knocked out.
With his back against the wall, James collected his breath and shook his head repeatedly. It truly was an impossible occurrence. When they had first entered the Dungeon, the raiding party had discovered it was completely empty. Not a single magic beast was found.
“A Dungeon with no magic beasts?”
“Is that even possible?”
“Then where did all the magic power measured outside come from?”
The Hunters were confused in unison. However, past this strange issue, something even more surprising was found in the boss room. They found a lone magic beast there. A magic beast that looked exactly like a human. That single enemy knocked out the entire raiding party. Strong didn’t even begin to describe this thing. Only James was able to barely escape the boss room.
‘Wait, was all the magic power measured outside coming from just that one magic beast?’
The A-rank designation was given to the Dungeon after measuring the magic power seeping from the Gate outside. In an ordinary situation, that magic power would be the combined amount leaked by every magic beast in the Dungeon. This time, there was only one entity releasing said magic power. 
“Sigh… Come on.” (In Korean)
That magic beast had appeared in the distance. James screamed,
“AHHHHHH!” (Screaming in English)
“Ow, my ears” (In Korean)
The magic beast, no, the asian man with overgrown hair and facial hair scratched his head.
Jame’s screams turned into a groan. The mysterious man stood before the american and put his hands on his hips.
“I mean, why’d you attack me like that? I told you, I’m not a magic beast. I’m human.” (In Korean)
James could not understand the man. His face just turned whiter and whiter. The asian man stared at the panicking american, wondering what he should do. He sighed deeply.
“Not like you yankees can understand me.” (In Korean)
Still, the man attempted communication. He squatted down to sit at an eye level with James, then tried to speak as friendly as possible,
“Hey, hey” (In broken English)
The man tried to remember what little English he knew.
“Aim Coreaun.” [I’m Korean]
He did his best to speak as clearly as possible,
“Ai wanteu to go hom.” [I want to go home]
: “Hanwoo beef” (한우): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanwoo . Just a breed of cattle in Korea famous for their deliciousness.
: “Samgyupsal” (삼겹살): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samgyeopsal . staple of korean bbq; pork belly meat to be self grilled over a flame.
: “Soju” (소주): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soju . we are just going all over korean culture today. Traditional korean alcohol that often (often is an understatement) accompanies group meals.
: BEST LITTLE BROTHER
: BEST. LITTLE. BROTHER.
: Just a small reminder that as you go up in the rank of Dungeons, the difficulty rises exponentially (just like power level of Hunters). Logically speaking, multiple X-rankers are needed to conquer an X-rank Dungeon. If all the magic power of a dungeon came from a single entity in a X-rank Dungeon, that entity would be massively stronger than a single corresponding X-rank Hunter. On top of that, high-level Dungeons (B, A, S) require Hunters with higher rank than a given Dungeon’s rank. For example, Baek Yoonho implied that multiple A-rankers would be needed to clear a B-rank Dungeon (Chapter 59). A larger number of A-rankers and maybe even some S-rankers are needed to clear an A-rank Gate, and a shit ton of S-rankers are needed to even have a chance of clearing an S-rank Gate (Jinwoo notes in Chapter 28 that a team of only S-rankers would have 50% of clearing an S-rank Dungeon).
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Solo Leveling Novel Chapter 68
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