Solo Leveling Novel, Chapter 9
Solo Levelingi 9
Startled by the deep voice that spoke to him from a corner, Jinwoo straightened his back and turned his head towards the source .
“I apologize if I’ve surprised you . ”
“Unfortunately, we can’t afford to delay here any longer . ”
Two men, dressed in black suits, walked towards the bed .
Jinwoo tilted his head and asked,
“May I ask . . . who you are?”
He did not recognize their faces . One of the men, sporting a military-esque short hair, handed him a business card .
“This is where we’re from . ”
Jinwoo read the card he received,
‘Korean Hunter Association, Hunter Surveillance Department, Section Chief Woo Jincheol?’
Of all the departments of the Hunter Association, the Hunter Surveillance Department (HSD) was the only one composed of strong Hunters . As the department in charge of monitoring and keeping the Hunters in line, it made sense that it would be filled with high-level Hunters .
“What does the Hunter Surveillance Department want with me?”
Woo Jincheol pulled up a chair and sat down . The other man who appeared to be his junior stood behind him . With the two men’s imposing physique close before him, Jinwoo felt a great deal of pressure .
They began explaining the situation . As he listened to their words, Jinwoo uttered in surprise,
“I was asleep for four days?”
“Do you by any chance remember anything before you lost consciousness?”
“I think so . ”
“Could you please tell us your recollection?”
Leaving aside the detail regarding the mysterious voice, he recalled everything he went through until his passing out .
“…And so that’s when you lost consciousness, is that correct?”
“Yes . When I opened my eyes, I was here . ”
Woo Jincheol and his junior exchanged glances . Since the victim of the incident did not appear to know anything, they were at a loss regarding the situation . Of course, the one who wanted to know what happened the most was Jinwoo .
“How did I end up here? Did a large Guild take care of those things?”
Woo Jincheol explained awkwardly,
“…After being contacted by the survivors, the Hunter Surveillance Department and Baekho Guild arrived at the scene of the incident, only to find…”
With a large member count, Baekho Guild was one of the top 5 Guilds of Korea . If they were pulled into the situation by the Association, it meant the Association had recognized the magnitude of the danger . Jinwoo gulped, just what had happened there?
“Nothing . Everything had disappeared . No traces of any statues or that Statue of God . Only the unconscious Hunter Sung Jinwoo-nim, lying in the middle of the room . ”
Jinwoo’s expression was one of disbelief .
“We couldn’t believe it either . If there were any gaps or disconnects between the survivors’ statements, or if we hadn’t found the remains of the other victims, we might’ve suspected some other possibility . ”
Woo Jincheol scratched his chin . It had been 6 years since he Awakened as an A-ranker and started working in the HSD . He felt like he had seen everything since then, but this was the first time he had come across something like this . Even after reaching out to other Guilds and contacting foreign agencies, no one had ever heard of what the survivors described .
And that’s why,
“It’s just a theory at the moment…”
Woo Jincheol carefully started,
“It’s undeniable that there were dangerous entities in that room . But someone or some people had taken care of them all . Until the Gate closed, no otherworldly existences came out of it . ”
They had to consider all possibilities, no matter how unlikely . After much deliberation, the Association had come to a possible answer .
Woo Jincheol looked at Jinwoo and continued,
“We… we believe that there is a possibility Hunter Sung Jinwoo-nim may have undergone a Second Awakening . ”
A Second Awakening!
Jinwoo’s eyes widened . It was a rare event, one where a person who had Awakened underwent another Awakening . More commonly known as ‘Reawakening’, nearly all the Hunters that Awakened again after their first Awakening received an incredible amount of power . Under normal circumstances, the power that someone received after Awakening could not be increased; as such, a Hunter’s power was fixed at the amount they received in their first Awakening . This was not the case for the Reawakened Hunters . Leaping over their original limit, there were cases of C-rank Hunters becoming A-rank, and B-rank Hunters becoming S-rank .
Woo Jincheol gulped .
‘Sung Jinwoo… If he underwent a Reawakening and achieved a power of an S-rank, no, perhaps even a greater power, it’s possible that he single-handedly took care of the monsters described by the survivors . ’
The Association employee recalled the enemies from the gruesome tales . Especially that Statue of God; the survivors described how it was able to disintegrate a C-rank Hunter just with its eye beams . To slay that kind of a monster in an unconscious state, just what kind of power were they talking about here? In preparation of such a possibility, the Association had put a moratorium on the information regarding incident and requested the silence of all those involved .
The reason why Sung Jinwoo was placed in a private room in the hospital and provided the best medical assistance was the same . Woo Jincheol’s heartbeat quickened .
‘Perhaps… There’s a chance that Korea might be able to obtain a Nation-level Hunter…’
An existence whose individual might surpassed that of nuclear weapons; the number of Nation-level Hunters across the world was in the single digits . Woo Jincheol contained his excitement at the thought of such power being born here in his own country .
Thankfully, it was easy to confirm a person’s Reawakening . Woo Jincheol gestured to his subordinate,
“Bring it . ”
And the man went to the corner and carefully took something out of a bag .
Woo Jincheol responded before Jinwoo could finish his question,
“It’s a tool to measure magic power”
It was a portable version of the Association’s official measurement device, located at their headquarters, but the difference in their capabilities were not that big .
“Just place your hand here . ”
He gestured towards the Magic Core embedded on top of the device . A size of a human fist, its black color was reminiscent of a black hole . The Core was something that came from A-rank Magic Beasts; the highest quality item that carried a price of 1 billion won .
Seeing his silent gaze towards the Magic Core, Woo Jincheol asked again with a stern expression,
“This will be crucial to our investigation of the incident . May we ask for your cooperation?”
Jinwoo nodded .
Reawakening . The thing of his dreams . If it truly had happened to him, it would completely turn his life around . And if they were offering to check it for free? Why shouldn’t he accept?
He placed his hand on the Magic Core, and the stone responded by radiating a faint light . The Association employees’ foreheads moistened with cold sweat .
Then the light surrounding the Magic Core disappeared . Removing his sunglasses, Woo Jincheol checked the results . His eyes started shaking at what he saw .
“This can’t be!”
No matter how many times he checked, the numbers stayed the same .
‘How could this be…?’
How could the magic power of a man who had the qualifications to obtain a Hunter license be only 10?! Even though they stood at the lowest of the ranks, the average magic power of an E-rank Hunter was still between 70 and 100 . Compared to this, Sung Jinwoo was barely above an ordinary person .
“Is it Reawakening? If it is, what rank am I now?”
Jinwoo clenched his sweating hands . Looking at the responses of the HSD staff, he suspected a great result . Meanwhile, Woo Jincheol looked at Jinwoo’s historical data and the current results .
‘His first result was 12 . And four years later, 10 . It decreased by 2, but that’s within a margin of error . ’
So it was not the fault of the measuring device . Sung Jinwoo’s powers were simply incredibly weak . The fact that he was able to come this far was nothing short of a miracle .
Concluding that any more time spent was time wasted, Woo Jincheol rose from his seat .
“Let’s go . ”
“Yes sir . ”
Jinwoo started speaking to the two men who were packing up,
“Wait, please say something-“
Woo Jincheol nodded at the young man,
“Thank you for your cooperation . If you remember anything else, please feel free to contact us . ”
Moving as if they wanted to be somewhere else, the two men quickly left the hospital . The hospital room that felt cramped until moments ago now felt empty .
Jinwoo rubbed the back of his neck .
‘Guess it was nothing after all…’
Now that he thought about it, other than the fact that his condition felt great, nothing else seemed different about him . And even if he had undergone Reawakening, it was probably impossible for him to defeat all the enemies in that place .
‘I wonder if Hunter Choi Jongin, the “Strongest Soldier”, or Hunter Go Kwonhee, the “S-rank among S-ranks”, could’ve taken them on?’
As he had never seen those two in action, he had no way of knowing . There was a lot of secrets behind the information regarding the S-rank Hunters, whose existences were regarded highly as the clouds in the sky . It was in that moment of contemplation, he noted something .
In front of his eyes, words were floating in the middle of the air .
You have unread messages .
He closed his eyes then opened them .
You have unread messages .
The floating letters did not disappear . He shook his head and rubbed his eyes, but the words still remained . He put his palms to his forehead and lowered his head .
‘On top of hearing voices, now I’m seeing things…’
Did something happen to his head? He recalled the condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) . Having lost a large number of comrades, his own life reaching the brink of death, it was not weird that his mind might’ve broken down somehow .
Before he could settle on that simple conclusion, there was something else lingering in his mind . He looked towards his legs .
The leg that had been cleanly removed by that statue’s shield was now attached to his body, as if nothing had ever happened .
A temple hidden away in a Double Dungeon, the voice in his head, the spontaneous healing of his leg, and now this message .
Too many things were happening .
‘What if… . ’
The occurrences were not separate instances, but connected somehow?
As he arrived at that conclusion, the thoughts that clouded his head cleared up a little .
‘Okay . ’
He raised his head . With his agitation gone, and his heart feeling lighter, his curiosity turned to the contents of the message . Perhaps it contained the clues that may help him solve the many mysteries .
He stretched his hands toward the floating words .
They passed right through them .
‘Guess it’s not a touch screen . ’
He was too used to using a smartphone and couldn’t think of another way . As he wondered on how he would open the message, he recalled his last moments in the temple .
“Ah, right . ”
He remembered his last interaction with the mysterious voice was through words .
‘Then I should just give the commands in my head or speak them out loud?’
To test his theory, Jinwoo repeated all the phrases he could think of that might work:
“Confirm . ”
“Message . ”
“Confirm message . ”
“Check message . ”
“View . ”
“I’ll view . ”
“Show me . ”
“…What do you want to see so much?”
He turned his heads toward the voice . Peeking through the half open door, his little sister in her school uniform was coldly staring at him .
Jinwoo was at a loss for words .
An oppa that was making a request to the ceiling for something .
He could not find the words to explain .
: “Hunter Surveillance Department” (감시과): “Surveillance/Monitoring” 감시 + “Department” 과 . I’ve decided to add “Hunter” in front of the department to distinguish it going forward and will shorten it to “HSD” when they come up again .
: “Second Awakening” (각성 후 각성): Lit . “Awakening after Awakening”, but I shortened to “second awakening” due to the usage as a noun in the passage . No impact on story down the line .
: “Reawakening” (재각성): This is more literal translation than the above .
: “Nation-level” (국가 권력급): “nation/country” 국가 + “power/authority” 권력 + “level” 급 . I shortened it to Nation-level .
: “It’s a tool to measure magic power” (마력 측정기): Pretty straight forward, “magic power” 마력 + “measurement device” 측정기
: “oppa” (오빠): Like ahjussi, a commonly used korean noun . A way for little sisters to call their older brothers . It’s also used in general population between unrelated people (female addressing an older male of a close age) .
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Solo Leveling Novel Chapter 9
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