Solo Leveling Novel, Chapter 8
Solo Levelingi 8
Front . Back . Left . Right .
To cover the four cardinal directions, a minimum of four people were needed .
Jinwoo, Juhee, Mr . Song and Mr . Kim .
If even one more person left amongst the remaining four, a gap would open up in their coverage .
“Mr . Sung, what’s happening? Please explain . ”
Mr . Kim asked while wiping away the sweat on his forehead .
“We just have to wait like this! Until all of the blue flames disappear!”
Jinwoo revealed all that he had surmised . Mr . Kim listened with attention and nodded along . Finishing his explanation, Jinwoo added,
“We can all survive this . ”
The rules of this room always opened a path to survival for those that followed it . The last rule should be no different . As long as they believed in each other, everyone could leave without being hurt . This was Jinwoo’s conclusion .
“ . . . ”
Mr . Kim’s thoughts were different . He asked after hesitating,
“Mr . Sung… You might be correct on all this, but… Isn’t there a possibility that the door might just close once the timer ends?”
“ . . . ”
Jinwoo could not answer him . Although his theory was gathered from the multiple trials and the evidence observed so far, it was not 100% guaranteed that he was correct .
And Mr . Kim needed an assurance . To him, the certainty of his own survival outweighed the uncertain survival of the entire group .
“I’m sorry… I don’t think I can do this . ”
“I’m sorry . ”
And with that, Mr . Kim stepped off of the altar . Ignoring Jinwoo’s voice, he ran towards the door . After taking one last look at the people he left behind, Mr . Kim went through the door and did not come back .
Jinwoo clenched and grinded his teeth .
He had saved their lives . Instead of repaying his actions with kindness and gratitude, they betrayed him .
As expected, a hole appeared in their coverage of the statues .
The statues inched closer and closer towards the group .
After looking at their surroundings, Mr . Song spoke to Jinwoo and Juhee .
“You guys should go . ”
It was a voice filled with resignation .
Jinwoo turned his head and looked at the man .
“Mr . Kim was right . Who was it that brought you all here? It’s only right that I remain behind . ”
“If anyone should live, it’s you youngins with your many years of life remaining . ”
Mr . Song smiled . They were words meant to comfort the two that would have to leave him behind .
“ . . . ”
Jinwoo nodded in defeat . His heart was heavy, but they were not in a situation where they could argue on who should stay and who should go .
“Ms . Juhee, could you please take Jinwoo?”
But suddenly, Juhee who was approaching the two men collapsed onto the ground .
Struggling to get up, tears filled her eyes .
“I… I can’t move my legs…”
Jinwoo and Mr . Song’s expressions darkened . She was not in a good state . Her lips had turned blue, and her entire body was spasming lightly . It was the side effect of overusing one’s mana to near emptiness, made worse in her exhausted state .
‘Only because she tried to heal my leg…’
Jinwoo struggled to speak as the guilt weighed heavily upon his heart . But this was not a time to waste away like this .
The statues were continuing to move towards the center of the room .
Jinwoo pulled away from Mr . Song’s arms and collapsed onto the floor of the altar .
Mr . Song’s eyes widened,
Jinwoo spoke to him with a determined look,
“Ahjussi, please take Juhee and get out of here . ”
“I told you, I would remain . ”
“Then who will take Juhee?”
Jinwoo wasn’t able to walk on his own . It was impossible for him to take Juhee, also incapacitated, to the doors .
There was the option of leaving her behind .
But she was someone who had saved his life countless times before . And even her current state was due to spending all her mana in efforts to heal him . He hated the thought of carrying the guilt of leaving such a person behind for the rest of his life
“There’s no time . Please go . ”
“ . . . ”
Mr . Song picked up Juhee with a heavy expression . Juhee cried and shook her head in defiance .
“No… we can’t… Jinwoo, you can leave, I’ll stay behind…”
“I promised to buy you dinner, right?”
Jinwoo took out the E-rank magic core from his pocket and placed it in Juhee’s hand .
“Go ahead first and eat with this . I’ll come collect the change later . ”
Juhee flared at his smile .
“How could you even joke in a time like this!”
Jinwoo nodded toward Mr . Song, who struck the back of Juhee’s neck, knocking her out . Mr . Song carried her over his right shoulder .
“ . . . I’m sorry . ”
“It’s my decision, after all . ”
Mr . Song bowed his head toward Jinwoo, and stepped down from the altar with Juhee .
The statues were quickly nearing the altar .
Sitting down, Jinwoo took in a deep breath .
Noticing the sword that Mr . Kim had left behind, he reached out and grabbed it .
‘Now that it’s like this . I’m going to take at least one of you with me . ’
Turning around, he saw Mr . Song and Juhee safely make it through the open doors .
‘Thank god… I’m the only one that’ll die now . ’
It was not a sentiment borne of some noble self-sacrifice . Just a matter of simple calculation . Even if he got out somehow, he would have to live the rest of his life as a cripple . Forget being a Hunter, it wouldn’t be possible for him to even live a normal life . With no special talents or learned skills, he did not see a happy life ahead of him .
‘Then there’s mother’s hospital bills… and Jinah’s education expenses…’
Since there was no way he’d be able to support them with this injury, he thought to at least provide for them through his death .
‘Let’s see, the compensation for death during a Raid was… three hundred million won to the surviving family? Or was it four hundred million?’
Compared to the worthless life of an E-ranker, it was a rather generous compensation .
They were here .
The first statue to arrive took a step towards the altar .
Jinwoo looked towards him and raised his sword .
“Come . ”
But the first attack came from behind .
The spear that pierced his back now protruded out of his chest .
Jinwoo threw up a large amount of blood . The pain assaulted his senses like hail .
“If the place you were stabbed in was just a bit higher, it would’ve pierced your heart!”
Juhee’s words from earlier flashed across his mind .
The statue raised its spear and with it, Jinwoo . Still skewered to the weapon, Jinwoo found himself suspended in air . As he flailed his legs in pain, the statue slammed him towards the ground .
crack crack crack
He heard the sound of bones breaking throughout his entire body . There was nowhere he did not feel pain .
One by one, the statues gathered around the convulsing Jinwoo, who glared up at them .
‘I don’t… I don’t want to die like this…’
As death crept closer and closer, tears formed in his eyes .
His family appeared in his mind . Juhee, who worried for him until the last minute, also appeared in his mind .
‘I don’t want to die…’
To end his life at a young age of 24 .
A statue wielding a sword walked towards him with an expressionless face .
Even as his entire body shook, Jinwoo did not look away from its gaze .
Finally, the statue’s raised sword fell down towards him .
‘Just one more, if I had just one more chance!’
Jinwoo’s eyes widened at the falling sword .
It was in that moment .
tickticktick tick tick tick tick tick tick… .
As if someone had pressed the pause button on a video, the falling sword stopped before his eyes .
No, not stopped .
Slowed to a crawl, almost as if it was stopped .
Millimeter by millimeter, the sword was definitely still coming down at him .
He could not hide his surprise .
Then, a female voice he had never heard before in his life rang throughout his head .
[You have fulfilled all conditions of the ‘Secret Quest: The Weak One’s Courage’ . ]
Secret quest? Fulfilled all conditions?
He had no idea what it was saying .
‘No, before that, where is that voice coming from?’
Ignoring his thoughts, the voice continued .
[You’ve obtained the right to become a Player . Do you accept?]
Obtained the right? Accept?
‘It sounds like it’s giving me something…’
Growing up in poverty, he knew there was no such thing as free in life .
‘But I supposed that was in life . What does any of it matter in death?’
“ . . . ”
As he waited in hesitation, the voice in his head asked again .
[You do not have much allowed time remaining . In the case the right is refused, your heart will stop in 0 . 02 seconds . Do you accept?]
Whether or not this was a hallucination, one thing was certain: his impending death .
On top of the sword slowly coming down on his head, the other statues’ weapons were also finding their way towards him .
At this point, Jinwoo gave himself up to resignation .
‘ . . . Sure, why not?’
He did not speak the words out loud . Merely thought them in his head .
But the voice answered his thoughts .
[Welcome to becoming a Player . ]
A blinding light surrounded his body, and Jinwoo lost consciousness .
-6 . Penalty-
He opened his eyes .
A bright white ceiling . The stinging smell of disinfectant . Feeling of a hard bed behind his back .
Jinwoo immediately realized where he had opened his eyes .
Although he found himself coming less and less after meeting the B-rank Healer-class Hunter Juhee, the hospital was still a place Jinwoo could call a second home in his job . After all, there were even rumors that there was a room reserved just for him here .
Jinwoo sat upright . Holding his hand up to his chest, he felt the regular beating of his heart .
‘I’m . . . alive?’
Not just alive, his entire body felt lighter than usual . Compared to the heaviness he felt when he would normally open his eyes here, something was different . It was as if he woke up after a good rest in his own home .
‘ . . . What?’
When he remembered the scene before he passed out, it was an unthinkable occurrence .
The falling sword . The statues that surrounded him .
Even if he had somehow dodged the sword, it would take a party composed of A-rank, no, S-rank Hunters to defeat the enemies in that room .
‘And I came out of there alive?’
Was it a dream?
Thankfully, there was an easy way to find out . Jinwoo looked underneath the blanket covering him . If it was all real, he would be missing a leg .
Then, a deep voice interrupted him,
“Have you regained consciousness?”
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Solo Leveling Novel Chapter 8
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