Solo Leveling Novel, Chapter 80
Solo Levelingi 80
It was not a bad offer. With Go Gunhee’s backing, even an ordinary man could quickly reach the upper ranks of government. After all, there was no place the association president’s influence did not reach. But if that man was an S-rank Hunter?
‘I can’t even imagine how high I can go.’
Jinwoo imagined himself wearing a clean suit and neatly standing next to Go Gunhee in the National Assembly. His heart raced a little.
‘It’s not an opportunity that comes everyday.’
The road offered by Go Gunhee was not a path just anyone could follow.
However, there was something critical missing in that road.
‘If I enter the Association, I won’t be able to level up anymore.’
The Association’s staff Hunters did not go raiding. Their primary role was to fight other Hunters, not magic beasts. Even if they occasionally entered an Association Raid,
‘The Association’s Raids are limited to the D and E-rank Dungeons that the Guilds don’t even look at.’
Could he live the rest of his life as a low-level without earning any more experience points? No, there was no way. A strong determination cried out inside of Jinwoo,
‘I want to become stronger.’
To a higher place. As high as he could go. If he had reached his limit, it would be a different story, but he knew that he had not. How could he give that up? From the bottom of his heart, Jinwoo could not.
‘As long I can keep leveling, my growth will not stop.’
ba dum ba dum
Compared to his image of neatly standing next to Association President Go Gunhee, Jinwoo’s heart beat much faster. Go Gunhee also noticed the change in Jinwoo,
‘His breathing sped up. Has he reached a decision?’
If only it was a good decision.
‘No, it has to be a good one.’
When he thought of his remaining time.
Go Gunhee was as excited as Jinwoo as he waited for the young man’s reply. A single second felt like a full minute.
Jinwoo finally opened his mouth,
Go Gunhee’s face darkened.
‘I swear his face was filled with determination just now… Was I mistaken?’
The elder could not hide his disappointment,
‘In the end, this is all that the man amounts to.’
He was not lying when he said he would help Jinwoo down a different path. In fact, he had thought of a place higher than that.
‘The first S-ranker in two years…’
He planned to place the young man at his side and teach him many things, and if the man showed potential, he would’ve made him the heir to his work. The strong power that could uphold the Association after he died. That was what he had meant by a “different path”. Go Gunhee was prepared to give everything to the young man. And to think that this was his reply.
‘I must look like a fool.’
Go Gunhee put away the badge he was holding and asked defeatedly,
“In the end… is it money?”
Jinwoo sharply replied,
Go Gunhee snorted in his head,
‘Of course you would say that.’
But he knew. Everyone was the same. All they thought about was money. The fame was just the cherry on top of the cake.
It was human nature to seek material wealth. He did not criticize that fact. It was just a little insulting that they were always so dishonest.
“Then why did you refuse?”
Even knowing the answer, Go Gunhee asked. He just wanted to see the man’s reaction.
“Because I want to fight.”
Jinwoo’s immediate reply, spoken without an ounce of hesitation, slapped Go Gunhee across the cheeks.
No, not slapped, it felt like a punch to the guts.
“You mean… you want to fight with the magic beasts?”
Jinwoo did not add any unnecessary clarification and told the truth,
“I want to enter the Gates and eliminate the magic beasts. The place where I belong is the Dungeon.”
Go Gunhee’s eyes widened. As a man standing at the top, he could tell by looking into someone’s eyes whether or not they were lying. After all, such insight was needed to reach the top. And looking at Jinwoo’s eyes right now, Go Gunhee knew,
‘Those eyes… are telling the truth.’
His opinion of Jinwoo made a 180-degree turn.
‘How long has it been since I felt like this?’
When he first became an Awakened Being, Go Gunhee was already too old to make full use of his power. And so, instead of fighting magic beasts, the man looked for a different way to help the world. He sold his private company to obtain the funds to create the Association, collected Hunters and used his influence to enter the National Assembly to create laws for the Hunters. However, no matter how hard he worked, there was a core disappointment in his heart,
‘If I was just twenty, no, just ten years younger, I could be fighting alongside men like these…!’
ba dum, ba dum, ba dum
Go Gunhee placed a hand on his chest. The heart that could’ve stopped any minute was now beating furiously.
‘To think that my heart could make a sound like this.’
It was a good sound. Meanwhile, Jinwoo was confused,
He had refused the offer, expecting to be shunned by the Association. Instead, the association president was maintaining a happy expression for some reason.
‘Well, not that it matters…’
Jinwoo had said all that was needed. He stood up from his seat,
“My little sister’s at home alone, so I’ll be taking my leave now.”
“Thank you for your time.”
Go Gunhee rose after Jinwoo and held something out to the young man,
It was a business card.
“If you need my help, please feel free to call me at any time.”
Go Gunhee smiled brightly. Jinwoo was right. A strong Hunter belonged in the Dungeon. Although he had failed to recruit Sung Jinwoo, as the Hunter Association’s President and as a fellow Hunter, Go Gunhee wanted to help the young man in what ways he could.
If he was being a little more honest,
‘I like this youth’s spirit.’
Still, he had to leave with a word of advice. An interest in someone often brought about nagging.
“It’ll be impossible for you to enter a high-level Dungeon on your own. So please be careful in what Guild you decide to join.”
After all, your decision will make a great wave.
Hearing the elder’s advice filled with sincerity, Jinwoo briefly showed a smile.
Placing the business card in his wallet, Jinwoo lightly bid farewells to Go Gunhee and Woo Jincheol and left the building.
With a sigh, Go Gunhee collapsed onto his chair.
“Are you alright, sir?”
Fearing for the elder’s health, Woo Jincheol quickly rushed to his side. However, Go Gunhee held up a hand while smiling,
“No, no. I’m fine.”
Yes, yes. He was fine. It had been a long time since he had felt this much joy. After enjoying the feeling for a while, Go Gunhee turned to his secretary and gave an order,
“Cancel all my appointments today.”
“But sir, you have the meeting with the cabinet members to-”
“Every single one of them.”
And he smiled widely,
“I don’t want to sour this feeling by seeing those geezers.”
Even for just the rest of the day, Go Gunhee wanted to savor this happiness. Suddenly, he turned his gaze to Woo Jincheol. Because of seeing the rare smile of the association president, Woo Jincheol was also elated,
“Do you have something you need, sir?”
“Well, it’s nothing, but…”
Pausing for a moment, Go Gunhee placed a hand on his chin,
“Why don’t you and I go for a drink today?”
At the unexpected request, Woo Jincheol smiled awkwardly,
“I’m not very good with alcohol… Is that okay with you?”
“Huh, didn’t think that about you.”
Go Gunhee clicked his tongue jokingly,
“Haven’t you heard a saying? ‘The size of your drinking glass is how much of the world you can put in it’?”
“I apologize, association president.”
Embarrassed, Woo Jincheol put a hand on the back of his head.
“I’m joking. This good mood even makes me crack jokes.”
Well, the real person he wanted to share a drink with already left. Go Gunhee stared off into the hallway Jinwoo disappeared off to.
‘Hunter Sung Jinwoo…’
How much could that fellow drink? Go Gunhee hoped to share a glass with him someday and continued to smile.
Jinwoo got off the bus near his home.
‘I used Jinah as an excuse but…’
Looking at the time, it would be a while before his little sister would come home. Jinwoo slowly headed towards the apartment.
At an unfamiliar sound, he turned his head. At a distance, a street light was flickering on and off.
‘Now that I think about it.’
It was too dark around here. Because they lived in an obscure neighborhood, leaving the main roads would greet you with a darkness. And Jinwoo remembered the recent news,
‘There was a string of cold blooded murders around here.’
The victims were all female. His little sister often traveled on this path, late at night.
‘We can’t even move since her school is so close.’
He began to worry. If he caught the perpetrator, it was a different story. But he could not patrol the nights just because he was worried. Was there something he could do? While thinking with his arms crossed, Jinwoo suddenly smiled.
‘I could leave it someone else.’
There were plenty of “someone else”s that he could use in situations like this.
At his calling, the Shadow Soldiers appeared.
‘Five should be enough.’
The soldiers had climbed the Demon Castle with Jinwoo and had grown quite strong. They looked very dependable.
“From now on, you will be the neighborhood watch around here. Your patrol begins now.”
The moment he finished, the soldiers returned to their shadow forms. The flat shadows disappeared in and out of the various buildings and objects’ shadows and moved across the neighborhood.
‘Yes, just like that. Patrol without being noticed by anyone.’
Aw, they were adorable. As long as the serial killer was not a high-ranking Hunter, the Shadow Soldiers would not lose. Even if one of them fell, Jinwoo would know in an instant if something happened to one of his soldiers.
He was an S-rank Hunter now.
‘Wait, wait. I don’t have my official license yet, so I guess I’m just an S-rank Awakened Being for now.’
Whether it was a Hunter or an Awakened Being, this was a neighborhood protected by an S-ranker. If his 24-hour free surveillance system was revealed to the world, how high would the land values rise around here? Jinwoo laughed.
With this, he abated his worries. He took one last look around then headed home.
“You said you wanted to eat, so I came over running. But you’re treating me to some sliced samgyupsal?”
“What? Are you looking down on samgyupsal?”
“This is a precious place where hyungnim and I shared an unforgettable memory!”
His face red with drunkeness, Yoo Jinho flared his nostrils as he put down his shot glass.
“So why did you call me to your precious place?”
Yoo Soohyun looked incredulous. She was about to go to sleep when Yoo Jinho called him.
– “Noona, come cheer me up.” 
“What happened that you’re calling me noona?”
His crying voice sounded so pathetic that she decided to come out. To think that the place he took her was here. The young woman had grown up under a nice chaebol household and even worked as a famous model right now. She could not help but be shocked at Yoo Jinho’s choice. She left her home in a hurry and dressed casually. Even though she was wearing a hat, the gazes of men kept falling on her.
“So what is it? Say something, put it in words.”
She filled Yoo Jinho’s empty glass with soju and asked.
“Look at this, look. Hyungnim’s ignoring my calls, right?”
Yoo Jinho held out his phone with tears in his eyes. The screen was on call history. It showed one connected call followed by four missed ones. And the connected call was ended mid-conversation.
“Did you seriously call me out because you couldn’t get in touch with someone?”
Yoo Jinho nodded.
Dumbstruck in awe, Yoo Soohyun ripped Yoo Jinho’s phone out of his hand.
“Here, let me see.”
She pressed the call button.
The ringing stopped in matter of seconds. Yoo Soohyun glared at her cousin.
Yoo Jinho raised his head.
“It hangs up exactly after 15 seconds. This isn’t him ignoring your call. It means his phone is off. And if your first call ended in the middle of conversation, that probably means his battery died.”
“If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.”
As she said, the ringing stopped exactly after 15 seconds.
Yoo Jinho’s face brightened.
“You’re good now, right? I’m leaving.”
The young woman got up to leave, but then Yoo Jinho clung to her sleeves.
“Noonaaaa- at least finish the soju we have here!”
“Why am I noona only in times like this?”
This bastard normally called her “you”. Eventually, Yoo Soohyun relented and sat back down.
“Huh? You’re going to drink too?”
“Didn’t you just say let’s finish the soju we have here? It’s going to take forever if it’s just you drinking.”
“As I thought, I can depend on my noona.”
Despite the mood until now, the pair began to drink in a friendly atmosphere.
“By the way, who’s this ‘hyungnim’ you keep talking about?”
“You’ll know soon.”
If he came to Yoojin Guild. Yoo Jinho was about to say as much when he saw something on the TV.
“Huh? That man…?”
Yoo Soohyun also turned to face the TV. On the screen, the news reported the Awakening of one of Korea’s top celebrities, actor Lee Minsung. The actor shyly spoke in front of a multitude of reporters,
[Well, I’m still in the middle of filming a project… I won’t know until my rank is revealed.]
The captions below noted that Lee Minsung planned to go to the Hunter Association in the near future to undergo the ranking tests.
“Whoa… As expected of the Korean Wave’s star Lee Minsung! Look at the reporters. Oh look, there’s even reporters from China.” 
Yoo Jinho was in awe. However, his cousin scrunched her face.
“Man, how could he lie so openly in front of that many people?”
“Everyone in the industry already knows. All that on the TV right now is just for show. He’s already received an A-rank and now wants to show off after grabbing all the attention.”
“He’s making a show of it? That symbol of humility, Lee Minsung?”
Yoo Soohyun clicked her tongue.
‘Why is everyone so ignorant?’
She held her tongue, not wanting to talk behind people’s backs. But in reality, people who really knew what Lee Minsung was like held an incredibly low opinion of him. He was a completely different person away from the cameras. It was Yoo Soohyun’s least favorite type of person. If the man was just a two-face, she might be able to ignore it, but he had relentlessly pestered and flirted with her. Even just a while ago, she had to do her best to hang up on the man who called her, prancing on about “becoming a Hunter just like her”.
‘What a shitty man…’
He was already so arrogant before he became an Awakened Being. Just how much more unbearable would he become now that he was an A-rank Hunter? On top of that, he made it so that the entire country would watch him receive the A-rank results.
‘He’s really good at scheming shit like that.’
Yoo Soohyun shook her head and drained her glass.
: “noona” (누나): Oh hey, I think this is the last of the sibling titles (also used by nonrelated people). Younger male to older female of relatively close age. (think we covered hyung, oppa and unni up until now).
: Multiple forms of informal “You” are written here in Korean… But English really only has one informal “you”.
: “Korean Wave” (한류): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Wave . not much to say about this.
SHARE THIS MANGA
Solo Leveling Novel Chapter 80
Click on the image to go to the next page or next image. Or use the left and right keys on the keyboard to move between the Chapters.