SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 144

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 144

Because of the nature of the incident itself, a massive crowd of people had rushed towards the school’s perimeters.

“My son goes to this school!!”

“Get out of the way!”

“I need to confirm what happened with my own eyes!!”

“Aigo, aigo!!”

If it weren’t for the desperate crowd control efforts by the police and the Association’s employees, the scene of the incident would’ve
descended into pure pandemonium from the maddened crowd.

The reporters had also rushed here as soon as word got out and were now busy snapping away with their cameras.

“Uh? It’s Seong Jin-Woo!”

“Take his pictures!!”

Jin-Woo evaded their gazes and wordlessly walked over to someone that seemed to be a staff member of the Hunter’s Association. This
staff member immediately froze up in nervousness after seeing Jin-Woo’s face. That was how scary the Hunter’s complexion looked at that
moment.

“S-Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim….”

“Where’s my sister?”

“Miss Seong Jin-Ah and other students have been transferred to the Seoul Il-Sin hospital.”

“…..”

Jin-Woo nodded his head, his expression still remaining grave, and turned around to walk away. The staff member unconsciously
swallowed dry saliva while watching his back get further away.

Gulp.

The first thing those arriving here did was to confirm the status of the student named Seong Jin-Ah, as per the instruction from the
Association. Thankfully, she was unhurt. With the exception of abrasions suffered around her neck and wrists, there were no other injuries
on her.

Hunter Seong Jin-Woo was the one who had rescued her, so he should know that fact better than anyone, yet….

‘Even then, for him to be that p*ssed off….’

It was a good thing that he arrived on time, otherwise, how would he have reacted if something happened to his sister? The staff member
shuddered from the terrifying dizziness he suddenly felt just then.

It indeed was a huge relief.

Contrary to the relief of the staff member, though, Jin-Woo was feeling quite gloomy at the moment as he pulled out his phone.

‘I’m sure Mom’s about to get the news.’

Too many students lost their lives at the hands of the monsters. Rather obviously, his mother would feel like her world was about to
crumble after receiving the news.

‘Before that happens, I need to tell her that Jin-Ah’s okay.’

He thought as such and was about to tap the “Call” icon, but then, he heard an unexpected voice coming from behind him and stopped.

“I’ve already sent some of the Association’s agents over to speak to your mother, Seong Hunter-nim. They should be on their way to the
hospital as we speak.”

Jin-Woo looked behind him.

“Mister Association President.”

Goh Gun-Hui stood there, his complexion as dark as Jin-Woo’s.

Even though the President himself was not at fault here, as the person representing South Korea’s Hunter’s Association, he was feeling
the burden of responsibility for failing to prevent this tragedy. Jin-Woo could only express his gratitude for Goh Gun-Hui looking out for his
family even under the current circumstances.

That prompted Goh Gun-Hui to shake his head.
“No, it’s us that should be thanking you.”

Seventeen students survived.

It was only because of Jin-Woo’s arrival that those students among the trapped in the school building were able to get out of there alive.

“We are constantly in your debt, Hunter-nim.”

Jin-Woo could only smile bitterly at that.

He could have saved a lot more students if he were able to use the Shadow Exchange and get here right away. Such regret seeped clearly
into his expression.

Goh Gun-Hui could faintly sense what Jin-Woo was feeling right now from his expression. But the older man shook his head.

‘Now isn’t the time to wallow in our emotions.’

Indeed, didn’t he have something important to say to this young man? Goh Gun-Hui raised his head.

“Will you be heading to the hospital now?”

Jin-Woo thought back to the Gate in Gwang-An-ri, but quickly stopped worrying about it.

His MP remained the same as before. Meaning, Beru and his ants were conquering the dungeon without encountering any problem at the
moment.

‘Well…. It’s not just any soldier but Beru, so it’ll be fine.’

There was no need to worry about the progress of the raid right now.

“Yes, I am.”

“Please, let me give you a ride there.”

“No, I’ll be fine.”

“Please, allow me. There is something else I wish to talk to you about on the way, as well.”

Jin-Woo initially declined thinking that the offer was made out of courtesy, but he nodded his head after seeing the earnest attitude of the
Association President.

“Alright, I will.”
Jin-Woo followed Goh Gun-Hui’s guidance and they both climbed into the back seat of the waiting car.

Even though it was a full-size saloon, the back seat felt cramped after Goh Gun-Hui’s huge frame and Jin-Woo’s wide shoulders climbed
aboard. Woo Jin-Cheol was sitting in the driver’s seat, and nodded his greeting through the rear-view mirror.

Jin-Woo also nodded slightly as his greeting.

The car slowly set forward and only then did the Association President stop hesitating and speak up.

“…In a way, you could say that today’s tragedy has been foretold in advance.”

His expression was hard.

On the other hand, Jin-Woo was feeling confused.

‘Does that mean the Association didn’t do anything about an incident they could have prevented in advance?’

Before his confusion had the chance to transform into anger, the Association President pulled out his phone and showed Jin-Woo its
display. It showed a graphical chart.

“This shows the increase in the Gate activity around the city of Seoul for the last six months.”

The dots drew a gentle curvature but when it got nearer to present, it suddenly spiked up steeply.

“And this side shows the stats from around the world.”

If the Association President didn’t make that clear, Jin-Woo might have mistaken them for two of the exact same thing. That was how
similar-looking the inclines in those two graphs were.

“The numbers of Gates appearing has spiked up noticeably throughout the world.”

Goh Gun-Hui’s complexion got darker and darker.

“However, that isn’t the only strange thing.”

He returned the phone back into his inner jacket pocket and carried on.

“People wanting to confirm their Awakened rankings are practically lining up in a long queue outside the Association every day now.”

The number of Gates where monsters come out was increasing, and at the same time, the number of Hunters who were supposed to
block the Gates was also increasing? As if to maintain a balance?
Seeing Jin-Woo’s interested expression, the Association President spoke in a complicated tone of voice.

“We think that…..”

Goh Gun-Hui ended his lengthy explanation while implying that it was only his personal hypothesis.

“….Something is changing.”

Jin-Woo nodded his head.

This was indeed interesting information. Anyone could tell something big was afoot from that data. Unfortunately, that didn’t mean Jin-Woo
could do anything about them right now. It was the same story for Goh Gun-Hui, as well.

Also, a simple phone call would have sufficed if it was about sharing of information and a hypothesis. Jin-Woo thought that Association
President wouldn’t have taken time out of his packed schedule to simply have this conversation.

“In that case, what you wish to talk to me about was…..?”

As if he was waiting for that, Goh Gun-Hui picked up a briefcase resting by the footwell and pulled out various documents from there.

“Japan, the States, China, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, and even from the Middle East….”

All the nations with some international clout were brought up abruptly.

“These are all the official documents sent in from those nations that wish to make contact with you, Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim. I’m fairly
certain that some of them even have made unofficial contacts with you already.”

Jin-Woo briefly recalled the incident involving the American Hunter Bureau’s people, but decided not to mention it.

“In all honesty, we at the Hunter’s Association simply don’t have any rights to stop these people. No, we can only protect your personal
information according to your request.”

Jin-Woo silently listened to the older man’s story.

“I know that everything depends on your decision, Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim, but…. But, I fear that our country will not be able to adapt
to the incoming changes if you decide to leave us.”

Rather than a concrete answer, Jin-Woo shifted his gaze out of the car’s window. As he fell deeper into a myriad of distracting thoughts,
one of the biggest hospitals in the country entered his view.

It was the very hospital where Jin-Ah had been admitted to.
“We will provide you with every convenience we can possibly provide.”

Goh Gun-Hui stuffed the documents back inside the briefcase and asked Jin-Woo with a tense expression.

“So, would you please remain in South Korea?”

***

The Knight Order’s assault team chased after the ants and arrived at the boss chamber’s entrance.

Jeong Yun-Tae’s eyes grew extra large after he spotted the ants that began entering the boss chamber.

“Hyung-nim, shouldn’t we try to stop them??”

“….I don’t think I can.”

Indeed, Park Jong-Su was not confident at all of persuading the summoned creatures that they needed to stop the raid for the moment, so
they could start retrieving the remains of the dead monsters and the Magic Crystals.

He could only spit out a resigned sigh.

‘Yup, let’s just forget about it.’

His thoughts just went and did a 180.

They entered this Gate in order to let the world know that the Knight Order Guild was still going strong, didn’t they? It’d be perfectly
acceptable to show the world that they could still clear a rank A dungeon, the highest rated one at that, without a single casualty or
someone getting injured badly during the raid itself.

‘Not only that, without Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s presence, too!’

Wasn’t it the case of no one would know of what happened inside a dungeon?

Even if those ants managed to defeat the boss, the folks outside would only remember the name of the Knight Order Guild, not the
creatures Hunter Seong Jin-Woo summoned out before leaving in a hurry.

Better still, once the boss died and the Gate closed, there would be no way to confirm the truth. Judging from Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s
personality, he wasn’t the type to go around blabbing his mouth, either.

Park Jong-Su’s thought process arrived at that point and a smile floated up on his lips.

‘Well, isn’t this a fortune among misfortunes?’
It was then. The Hunters at the back of the pack suddenly became rather noisy.

“Chairman? There are a lot of things coming from our rear!”

“Yeah, I can hear them coming, too.”

“….Mm?”

Park Jong-Su tilted his head and walked to the rear of the team. And for sure, he could hear lots of footsteps as well.

‘Wait, did the retrieval team enter the Gate already?’

But, the highly-trained retrieval team of the Knight Order Guild wouldn’t have entered a dungeon without receiving an order first, so how
could this be?

Just as such thoughts entered his head….

“….Heok?!”

Park Jong-Su’s brows shot up high. Because, the undead monsters, those the ants didn’t snack on, were busy rushing to where the
assault team was, all of them fully revived back to how they were.

‘C-could it be….??’

Did the ants chow up the undead because they knew this might happen?

Such a thought only lasted for a moment in his head. Park Jong-Su realised that his team wouldn’t be able to deal with that many
monsters, and hurriedly shouted out to his teammates.

“Everyone, enter the boss room, now!”

Their sole hope for survival was the summoned creatures left behind by Hunter Seong Jin-Woo. The assault team didn’t even have a
chance to confirm what was waiting for them inside the boss chamber and hurriedly jumped in.

After confirming that every last Hunter had entered, Park Jong-Su shouted out, veins popping up in his throat.

“Block the exit!!”

Jeong Ye-Rim activated her skill, ‘Holy Wall’, and blocked up the entryway connecting the boss room and the passageway before it.

Slam-!
Boom-!!

The Death Knight standing in front of the rushing horde noisily pounded on the invisible barrier. Her forehead soaked in cold sweat now,
Jeong Ye-Rim turned her head towards Park Jong-Su.

“Chairman! I won’t be able to hold this for more than five minutes, tops!”

“I know!”

Not only Park Jong-Su, but the rest of the assault team members had finished preparing for a battle in case the wall was breached.

But, when they took a good look at the undead monsters pressing forward like a horde of insects on the other side of the wall, they began
doubting whether they had any chances of winning here.

“All we can do here now is to pray that the summons kill the boss quickly and open up the path for us.”

Park Jong-Su looked back at the ants that should be facing off against the boss with a pair of desperate eyes. He prayed that the boss
was an easy monster to fight.

‘….Oh, my dear lord.’

His eyes opened even wider than before.

The boss monster currently standing in a face-off against the ants was something even Park Jong-Su knew of, after hearing about it many
times in the past.

A pale-faced ‘Mage’ wearing a tattered robe – the Arch Lich.

It was the strongest undead-type monster, thought to be the creature at the top of the undead food chain.

‘Why did it have to be a d*mn Arch Lich?!’

Park Jong-Su’s complexion darkened considerably.

He prayed for the summoned creatures to quickly kill the boss and help them out, but then, the opponent turned out to be a d*mn Arch
Lich. It’d be more realistic for the Hunters to get rid of the scores of undead first and help the summoned creatures out next.

It was then.

Beru took a step forward towards the Arch Lich.

The Arch Lich then immediately summoned over a dozen Death Knights around the ants and surrounded them.
“Kiiiieeehhhk-!!”

Beru bared his fangs and extended its claws out.

‘…..?’

The Arch Lich recognised the black smoke continuously rising up from Beru’s entire body. It was almost as if the completely-empty eye
sockets had widened for a second there.

“The Shadow Army??”

The language of the monsters came out from the Arch Lich’s mouth. Beru retracted his claws after hearing the boss’s words.

The Arch Lich swept its gaze around the ants behind Beru and asked in a puzzled voice.

“Why is the king’s personal army attacking us?”

Kekeke.

Beru leaked out a sound that sounded like a cackle of ridicule, before pointing to himself.

“We have been chosen by the king.”

And then, he pointed at the Arch Lich.

“And you… weren’t.”

The Arch Lich couldn’t believe it, its voice now containing a trace of anger.

“That can’t be! I shall personally report to the king, and…..!”

Unfortunately, even before the Arch Lich could finish its sentence, Beru appeared right before its stunned eyes.

‘….!!’

The shoulders of the Arch Lich quivered momentarily.

Beru was a high-class monster that the owner of a rank S dungeon sacrificed its own lifeforce to create. Even if its overall Stats had fallen
a little ever since becoming a Shadow Soldier, there was just no way that an owner of a measly rank A dungeon, an Arch Lich, could fight
against Beru.

The former ant king simply thrust its hand into the shocked boss’s chest without hesitation.
Stab!!

The hand pierced through the chest, along with a pendant hanging on the Arch Lich’s neck.

“Keok!!”

Beru’s hand exiting from the back of the Arch Lich was grasping the pendant now. That piece of jewellery was basically the heart of the
Arch Lich.

It wasn’t all that difficult for Beru, once a top monster himself, to detect what was supplying the lifeforce to his enemy. The Arch Lich
desperately shook its head.

“No…. This can’t be….!”

However, Beru didn’t pay any attention to the pleading of his enemy and simply crushed the pendant in his hand.

Crack.

“You talk too much for someone about to die.”

Along with Beru’s words, the body of the Arch Lich crumbled to dust.

FIN SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 144

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 143

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 143

Right away, Guroktaru felt every hair on its body stand up.

‘What is this?’

As time slowed down from the extreme tension it felt, the Orc Chieftain’s instincts of a warrior, trained to their very limit, sent out countless
warning bells. It said that a truly ‘terrifying’ being was headed this way.

Badump!!

The sound of the Orc’s heartbeat rang around painfully in its eardrums, like a series of thunderclaps.

If it didn’t get out of here right now, it’d be killed.

The sharp instincts of a warrior, honed like a fine blade, would sometimes display powers close to that of the gift of foresight. Just like right
now!

‘…….!!’

Guroktaru quickly discarded the human female and with the movements akin to a wild animal, fled to the door of the classroom.

BOOM!!

A mighty, ear-splitting explosion occurred next, the shards of glass flying out like shrapnel. Meanwhile, Orcs manning the doorways began
hastily retreating away after the back of their Chieftain suddenly appeared in front of their eyes.

‘……’

Guroktaru wordlessly glared forward, its breathing now becoming extremely cautious.

It was picking up on an unusual and eerie vibe. It could see a human male it hadn’t seen before standing on the spot where the human
female was just now.
Guroktaru shifted its gaze ever so slightly to the side.

Its opposite corner was where the windows were. Nothing remained of the entirety of that wall as if it had been struck by a powerful siege
weapon.

‘Did the human enter by breaking through the windows?’

Even with its excellent dynamic visual acuity, the Orc Chieftain still failed to follow that man’s movements.

‘…….’

Guroktaru could only swallow its saliva at the sudden entrance of a powerful opponent. A strand of cold sweat trickled down its temple.

Kiiiaaahhk-!!

Guroktaru’s head snapped upwards after it heard that screech.

Past the ceiling, beyond the roof – yet another powerful enemy was circling around above the Orc’s head like a hawk waiting for prey to
emerge.

‘This might become a difficult fight.’

Guroktaru’s eyes were now dyed in the colour of nervousness, something that didn’t exist only a few moments ago.

The new enemy completely ignored the presence of the Orc Chieftain and its underlings, and simply proceeded to confirm the human
female’s condition.

Guroktaru spoke to its enemy.

“I am Guroktaru, from the proud tribe of Red Blade!”

That was the warrior’s introduction only granted to an opponent capable of reaping away the Orc’s life. Having completed its introduction,
Guroktaru asked the human male.

“And who are you?”

Jin-Woo raised his head and quietly spoke.

“Shut your mouth and quietly wait for your turn over there.”

A human just used the language of the Orcs?
The Orc’s surprise lasted only for a moment.

Perhaps it was because of the power carried in that man’s voice, none of the Orcs, which included Guroktaru itself, could even dare to
budge an inch from the spot.

***

“Cough, cough.”

Jin-Woo gently patted Jin-Ah’s back as she continued to cough and wheeze while he carefully checked to see if she had sustained any
injuries. Thankfully, he couldn’t see any.

….With the sole exception of the handprint clearly visible on her neck, that was. Jin-Woo asked, his expression hard and unforgiving.

“Are you alright?”

“Oppa!!”

Jin-Ah finally stopped coughing and jumped into his embrace, tears streaming from her eyes.

Jin-Woo gently stroked her hair as if he was soothing a scared child.

‘…Oppa?’

‘Jin-Ah’s Oppa… that means….?’

‘Ah!’

The students finally realised who the man in front of their eyes was. He was Seong Jin-Woo, a Hunter ranked S!

‘We’re saved!!’

The students confirmed Jin-Woo’s face and began sobbing again. These tears weren’t of despair and fear like the ones from before, but
were formed from the mixture of joy and relief they felt.

“Sob, sob…”

“It’s fine now. I’m here, so everything will be okay.”

Jin-Woo gently soothed his sobbing sister, while extending his sensory perception to the rest of the school. And, within this large school
building, the only presence of humans he could pick up on was…. 17.
‘…….’

Jin-Woo’s hardened complexion was now dyed in the darkness of rage.

He very cautiously separated his sister from him as she tried hard not to leave his side. He then called out his Shadow Soldiers matching
the exact number of the surviving students.

“Everyone, follow my summons out of the building.”

The students nodded their heads, and the soldiers proceeded to pick up them up in an embrace. As for Jin-Ah, he entrusted her especially
to Igrit.

“Please wait for me downstairs, okay? I’m going to join you very soon after dealing with this.”

Normally, Jin-Ah would try to stop her oppa, telling him that they should go together regardless of whether he was a rank S Hunter or not.
No, she’d still say that even if he was something greater.

But now…. She couldn’t do that.

Because, Jin-Woo’s current expression was far, far too scary for her to say those words. So, Jin-Ah could only nod her head.

Jin-Woo gave out his signal, and the soldiers carrying the students jumped outside of the destroyed wall one by one. Orcs in the corridor
flinched slightly at the sight of the almost-caught prey making their escape. When that happened, Jin-Woo glared at them with his ice-cold
eyes.

“I told you not to move.”

Like some kind of a lie, all Orcs stopped moving altogether. None of them could go against his glare.

One of the Orcs, its complexion utterly pale, sneaked its gaze around and cautiously whispered to Guroktaru.

“C-chief….”

“Shush.”

Guroktaru was in agreement with that Orc, though.

It was true that right now wasn’t the time to care about those weak prey escaping. No, they should be minding the ‘hunter’ right in front of
their eyes. A fight between hunters would commence very soon, where who eats who would be determined.

‘Even then…. We can’t let them get away that easily.’
Guroktaru sent out a sneaky little signal, and two of its guards moved without making any sounds.

After confirming that all of the students had left the classroom safely, Jin-Woo turned around to face the Orcs. He didn’t let them leave
because he was worried about them getting injured.

‘These measly Orcs….’

He was confident of killing them all in the blink of an eye.

He simply didn’t want to show his little sister or other kids what was about to happen in here, that was all.

And now, there were no more eyes watching. Meaning, there was nothing to restrict his actions now.

‘……’

Jin-Woo’s gaze briefly drifted towards the stairs outside the classroom. He sensed two Orcs going downstairs while hiding their presence
to the best of their abilities. It seemed that they were going after the kids, but… it didn’t matter.

He had sent Igrit there, and Kaisel was circling around in the air, too.

‘So, the remaining task is to deal with these lot, then.’

Jin-Woo exhaled softly. The exiting air contained a heavy, dense amount of magic energy.

Guroktaru asked him again.

“Who are you? How can you speak our tongue?”

Jin-Woo ignored the Orc’s words and slowly made his way over to them. Realising that the human male had no intentions to answer back,
Guroktaru bared its fangs and shouted out.

“Attack!”

The brave Orc warriors pounced on Jin-Woo all at once after hearing the Chieftain’s order.

“Kurururuk!”

“Kurarak!”

When they did… the time froze.

Within this freeze-frame of a moment, Jin-Woo leisurely walked in between the Orcs that were moving agonisingly slowly, and proceeded
to destroy them one by one.

He didn’t even need to take his weapons out. He only needed to use his finger. Every time Jin-Woo’s finger brushed by an Orc, heads,
shoulders, wrists, waists and midriffs of the monsters exploded into bits. And after utterly destroying over twenty Orcs in one blink of an
eye….

Jin-Woo stood before Guroktaru.

The Orc Chieftain could only barely keep up with Jin-Woo’s afterimage with its eyes. Its trembling lips parted with much difficulty.

“W-what….?”

It didn’t even have a chance to swing its scimitar. Jin-Woo’s left hand grabbed Guroktaru’s mouth and jaw, and the Orc could only whimper
pathetically.

“Keok!”

Jin-Woo walked forward just like that and slammed the Orc’s head against the corridor’s wall.

SLAM!!

The empty corridor reverberated with the thunderous boom.

Jin-Woo’s gaze shifted towards either end of the corridor. It was filled with the remains of the students. It was truly a hard-to-look
gruesome sight to behold.

However, Jin-Woo didn’t avert his gaze and imprinted the sight of every single one of these kids in his mind, just so he could demand
reparations from the guilty one responsible.

Jin-Woo shifted his eyes to Guroktaru.

“Why?”

His voice was incomparably icy.

“Why does your kind want to kill humans to this extreme level?”

Guroktaru had long lost its desire to resist and could only tremble in fear as it replied.

“In, in our heads, telling us…. to kill humans….”

Jin-Woo became momentarily confused.
‘Kill humans?’

He had heard of the exact same thing before. But, back then, he interpreted the word ‘humans’ as another term for ‘Hunters’.

But it seemed that the word ‘human’ really did mean all humans, now that he got to hear this monster’s reply.

“Then? What about me?”

Jin-Woo asked the Orc again.

“Do you not hear the voice telling you to kill me?”

He brought his face closer.

It was inevitable that Guroktaru would look into Jin-Woo’s eyes. The Orc began shaking its head and shivered hard as if it had discovered
something in there.

“F, f-forgive…. Forgive, me….”

Something impossible happened. The brave and mighty great warrior of the Orc race began shedding tears like a little child. Jin-Woo felt
the inside of his head suddenly cool off as he watched the terrified monster cowering before him.

‘So, that’s how it is….’

He was not being seen as a human even in this guy’s head, was that it?

‘….Well, it doesn’t really matter.’

Jin-Woo wasn’t all that interested in how monsters viewed him. No, he simply killed them because they were out to harm humans.

Guroktaru shivered and continued sob as the fear it couldn’t overcome completely enveloped it.

“Please…. forgive…..”

Jin-Woo replied.

“I’ll forgive you.”

And then, he summoned the ‘Demon King’s Shortsword’.

“However, do not think that the process will be a painless one for you.”
***

The Knight Order Guild’s assault team could only gasp out in astonishment while spectating on the battles of the monsters.

“Heok!”

“H-how could it be….”

How could anyone call this a raid now? Because, the ants very easily subdued the undead monsters and then, began greedily devouring
them.

Crunch, crunch….

The eyes of the Hunters opened wider and wider from this horrifying spectacle.

“B-but, if they eat up everything like that, nothing will be left behind, you know?”

“Right. Even the Magic Crystals….”

The Hunters could only anxiously look on as the top-class Magic Crystals all ended up in the stomachs of these monsters, no, summoned
creatures.

Unable to watch from the sidelines any longer, Jeong Ye-Rim hastily ran out.

“Don’t you know how expensive that is?!”

She tried to wrestle away the corpse of a Vampire, but that only managed to annoy the ant, and the creature swung its arm at her
direction.

“Ahk!”

She cried out and tumbled backwards after the ant’s claw cut into her forearm.

Plop.

“O-ouch.”

Just as she tried to get up while rubbing her butt….

“Kururuk-!”

By the time she regained her wits, the ant monster that swung its arm was standing before her. The creature had its gigantic maw and its
horrifying mandibles wide open as if to swallow her head whole.

Jeong Ye-Rim’s expression froze stiff at that moment.

“Ah…. Ah….”

It was then. Beru had come swooping in and turned that ant around. He opened his own maw wide just like how this ant did a moment
ago, and then….

“Kiiiieeeeehhhk-!!!”

…And then, he screeched out incredibly loudly.

Being subjected to the rage of an existence on another level, the ant creature couldn’t even meet Beru’s gaze and simply shivered in fear.

“K-keeiick….”

Beru let go of the ant’s shoulder, causing the creature to hurriedly scurry away from there. Jeong Ye-Rim watched this scene play out in a
total daze, but Beru approached her and extended his hand out.

‘Uh…..?’

Still stupefied over everything, she grabbed the offered hand and was able to finally stand back up.

“I, uh… T-tha….”

She was about to say something, only for her lips to stop. Because, she saw the gentle blue light circulating around Beru’s fingertips, that
was why.

“….Healing magic?!”

Jeong Ye-Rim’s brows shot up real high in surprise.

The wound in her arm healed up immediately the moment that blue light touched her. After confirming that her wound was completely
cured, Beru turned towards the ants and shouted out.

“Khe-ehck!”

That caused the ants to end their mealtime and began moving deeper into the dungeon’s interior.

Jeong Ye-Rim watched the back of Beru and murmured to herself.
“How can…. a summon cast better healing magic than me??”

***

The Hunters finally arrived in the school.

They followed the direction the needle of the magic compass was pointing to and climbed up the stairs. An incredible magic energy
reaction was coming from the sixth floor’s corridor.

The man in charge of the Hunters looked behind at his group and spoke.

“Be careful.”

The Hunters nodded their heads.

And when they eventually arrived on the sixth floor, they got to discover two things.

“Heok!!”

One, an Orc sliced up into so many pieces that it was impossible to count; two, a lone man covered in blood standing still with a
shortsword in his hand.

‘And that person is….?’

The leader of the assault team met Jin-Woo’s icy cold eyes and his breath nearly came to a sudden stop. But he recovered somehow and
picked up the walkie talkie.

“Yes, Hunter Seong Jin-Woo is here.”

The leader took a look around and made another report.

“The situation has been resolved.”

FIN SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 143

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 142

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 142

The last restriction was finally undone.

Finally gaining the freedom of movement, the ‘owner of the dungeon’ left the boss chamber and strode outside the Gate. It was the
Chieftain of the Orcs, ‘Guroktaru’.

Its entire body was covered in black tattoos, seemingly not leaving behind even a single patch of empty skin.

Tattoos signified victory to Orcs. These were proof of how many battles this creature fought and how many enemies it had slain so far.

“Guroktaru!”

“Guroktaru!!”

The Orcs waiting for the Chieftain in front of the Gate chanted out its name and lowered their heads.

On the other hand, Guroktaru raised its head towards the ceiling without saying anything.

‘……’

Because, it was getting rather noisy up there.

It had been some time since the advanced scouts took away a few of the warriors while declaring that they would conquer this castle of
humans.

However, they still hadn’t ended their battle yet?

A sweating Orc received the furious glare of its Chieftain and hurriedly explained the situation.

“High Orc warriors are aiding humans.”

“High Orcs?”
Indeed, High Orc warriors were strong. Regular Orc warriors wouldn’t be able to fight against them. Meaning, it was now time for the
Chieftain to step up.

“How many?”

“Three.”

Even if their opponents were strong, what a shameful notion it was for dozens of great Orc warriors to fail at subduing only three High
Orcs.

“Pathetic….”

Guroktaru’s expression crumpled.

The Orcs were scared stiff from the Chieftain’s anger and began trembling like leaves. It was then, the Orc great warriors that had been left
behind by Guroktaru’s speed, finally emerged out of the Gate one by one.

There were a total of five out-of-breath Orc great warriors.

Confirming that all of its guards had escaped from the Gate now, Guroktaru gestured at the Orc making that report with its chin.

“Lead the way.”

The Orc lowered its head and stood at the front. The Chieftain and its guards strode right behind. Meanwhile, lights of madness were
burning furiously within Guroktaru’s eyes.

‘Insolent b*stards….’

It was now time to demand appropriate compensation from the High Orcs, who dare to interrupt the hunting of the Orc warriors.

***

Suddenly finding himself left behind along with ant monsters, Park Jong-Su was feeling rather dumbstruck at the moment.

“Hyung-nim…..”

“Leave me for a bit, okay? I need time to think.”

Kiiieeehhk-

Keeck, keeck…
Ka-ahahak!

Being surrounded by over twenty of these monsters, no, ‘summons’, Park Jong-Su was getting this close to abandoning this raid
altogether.

Not only that….

Well, this guy over there. This one guy, with a far bigger physique and with wings on its back. Wasn’t that guy the same mutated ant
monster that made an utter mockery out of the rank S Hunters?

This guy’s horrifying level of magic energy was making Park Jong-Su’s skin crawl just by being near the dang thing.

‘If I think about a creature like this turning on us…..’

He suddenly thought that the rank S Hunters willing to fight against this thing were a rather amazing bunch of folks, instead. And, at the
same time…

‘Hold on a sec….’

…And, at the same time, a certain suspicion bloomed in his head.

Just what was the identity of Hunter Seong Jin-Woo controlling this mutated ant monster as his summoned creature?

‘Didn’t Hunter Seong Jin-Woo solo this guy, too?’

When his thoughts reached that point, his heart began pounding even harder.

‘No, wait. I’ve gotten sidetracked.’

Park Jong-Su shook his head to throw away all the distracting thoughts.

Indeed, he needed to think about whether to continue on with this raid along with these monsters or not, instead of wasting time on
nonsense like how strong Hunter Seong Jin-Woo was or what his true identity could be.

‘Okay, so… let’s say that we give up on this raid.’

If so, then how should he explain the result of this raid to the reporters waiting outside?

Could he say, Hunter Seong Jin-Woo had to suddenly leave the assault team and therefore they couldn’t afford to advance forward
anymore?

Or, they had to give up on the raid because they got too scared of the new ‘friends’ Hunter Seong Jin-Woo summoned here for them?
‘What kind of an embarrassment would that be…..?’

Didn’t matter which excuse was used, it’d become a source of ridicule for them, probably for forever.

Park Jong-Su clenched his teeth.

‘Fine. We go forward.’

Did it really matter if they were scared of these summons? At the end of the day, weren’t they Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s slaves?

When Park Jong-Su thought about this, his mind calmed down just a tad.

‘I mean, seriously. These guys are Seong Hunter-nim’s summoned creatures, so they won’t do anything weird to us, right?’

Park Jong-Su’s confidence filled eyes shifted over to Beru, and the latter approached the Hunter after sensing his gaze.

‘Heok….’

The confidence of a few seconds ago evaporated real fast, and Park Jong-Su could barely squeeze out a trembling voice.

“L-let’s get going.”

Rather naturally, he began speaking in a super-polite tone. However, Beru showed no reaction even after hearing Park Jong-Su’s voice.
No, ‘it’ just stood there and simply stared back.

Wondering if his manner of speech was still not good enough for this creature’s whims, Park Jong-Su became even more polite in his tone.

“Should…. Should we get going now?”

Even then, Beru showed no sign of budging from the spot.

Park Jong-Su’s consciousness was gradually getting fainter as he had to stare longer and longer into the powerful glare of the creature in
front of him.

It was then, Jeong Yun-Tae approached him from behind.

“Hyung-nim, will we be continuing with this raid alongside these guys?”

Park Jong-Su was already feeling jittery, so when his deputy began pressing him, he ended up blurting out in anger.

“Just keep quiet, will ya?!”
The words, ‘Or, why dontcha become the leader of this assault team and tell these things we’re going to give up’, almost jumped out of his
throat but somehow, he managed to swallow them all back down.

Park Jong-Su glared daggers at the poor Jeong Yun-Tae for a bit before shifting his attention back to Beru.

Gulp.

His dry saliva went down the throat all by itself. Park Jong-Su desperately wanted this awkwardness to go away as soon as possible.

But, then suddenly a thought popped up in his head.

‘Could it be that this guy can’t understand what I’m saying here and that’s why it’s not moving?’

When Park Jong-Su’s thoughts reached this point, he forced his facial muscle to contort into an ungainly smile. And then, he pointed
towards the interior of the dungeon.

“In front. Forward.”

In that moment.

Pii-shook!

The mutated ant monster disappeared instantly, along with the sound of a bullet leaving the silenced gun.

‘….Uh?’

Where did it go?

Even before Park Jong-Su could scan his vicinity with puzzled eyes, Beru returned to his original position.

Taht.

Beru then pushed forward something held in his hand towards Park Jong-Su’s face.

‘W-what the heck?’

When the flustered Hunter took a closer look, he realised that the mystery object was actually the head of a monster.

Not only that, it was the helmet of one of the most powerful undead monsters, Death Knight, with a rotting head still trapped inside. It
dangled oh-so innocuously in the hand of the mutated ant monster.

“U-uwaaaahk?!”
Park Jong-Su freaked out and plopped down his butt, real hard.

The other members of the assault team also were jolted into stunned silence and hurriedly gathered around Park Jong-Su.

Beru disinterestedly scanned the Hunters now grouped together in one spot, then tossed the Death Knight’s head away somewhere. He
loudly screeched out to the rest of the ant monsters.

“Kiiiieeehk!!”

With that, the ant army began to march forward in perfect order.

‘……’

Beru looked down at Park Jong-Su still on the ground for a little while, before he slowly turned around and followed after the marching
ants. The Hunters hurriedly checked out Park Jong-Su’s current condition.

“Hyung-nim!!”

“Chairman, are you alright?!”

“Are you okay?”

Park Jong-Su replied to them with a stupefied face.

“Uh, uh. I’m okay.”

His body was fine. But, for some reason, his heart ached, instead. It felt as if he got ridiculed by a summoned creature.

‘There’s no way that’s true, surely not….’

Indeed, a summoned creature couldn’t have possessed such a level of intelligence. Whatever the case may be, though – he couldn’t give
up on this raid now that he even got humiliated somewhat like this.

Park Jong-Su dusted off his butt and got back up.

“Let’s go, as well.”

The expressions of the Hunters stiffened up.

“Eh?”
“You want to follow after those things?”

“How can we go on a raid with monsters? I won’t do it.”

“Yeah, me too.”

Park Jong-Su spat out a groan as if he was feeling annoyed now.

Was there a need for him to waste his breath convincing these folks with words here? He quickly searched for the head of the Death
Knight discarded by the mutated ant monster and picked it up.

“Heok!”

“H-hey, isn’t that the head of a Death Knight?”

“A Death Knight, you say??”

The experienced Hunters among the group recognised the helmet of the Death Knight and gasped out in pure shock.

Park Jong-Su calmly explained it to them.

“You are all aware of how much Magic Crystals coming out of high-ranked monsters sell for, yes?”

Gulp.

Hunters swallowed their greedy salivas.

“All we have to do is to follow them and simply pick those Crystals up.”

The expressions of the Hunters, filled with dissatisfaction up until a second ago, gradually brightened up. That was an expected and
perhaps, inevitable reaction in this situation. Park Jong-Su used a question to end his speech.

“So, anyone still unwilling to continue?”

Hunters moved in an even more orderly fashion than the ant army. Those who had already advanced far forward looked back and called
out to Park Jong-Su.

“Chairman? What are you doing at the far back?”

“Please hurry up! We might leave you behind, you know?”

“Hyung-nim, how long are you planning to stay there?”
Park Jong-Su bitterly smacked his lips.

“Well, I’ll be… these people. Seriously.”

And so, the momentarily-halted raid of the Knight Order Guild recommenced from this point onwards.

***

Jin-Woo directed his gaze below him.

People, roads, cars, buildings, rivers, trees, mountains, mountains, and even more mountains – the scenery kept changing every time he
blinked over and over again.

‘So fast.’

Kaisel’s unrestricted speed had reached a truly gobsmacking level.

If he was a simple, regular powerless person and not a highest-ranked Hunter out there, then he wouldn’t have been able to withstand the
air pressure his body was being subjected to right now.

Even then….

Despite this amazing turn of speed….

Jin-Woo was getting more and more anxious.

The signals from his soldiers were still getting to him, but they were gradually getting weaker.

Not only that…

‘Status window.’

[MP: 8,619/8,770]

From a short while ago, his MP began declining as well. That definitely was not a good sign. Because it could only mean that the High Orc
Shadow Soldiers were repeatedly being destroyed only to get revived again.

‘An enemy on the level of destroying my Shadow Soldiers are aiming for Jin-Ah.’

Grit.
Jin-Woo’s expression hardened.

Even if not a single strand of his little sister’s hair was harmed, he swore to never let this enemy get out of there alive. Murderous rage
filled up in Jin-Woo’s eyes.

‘Faster. Faster!’

Kyaaahhh-!

Kaisel heard Jin-Woo’s order and screeched out again, before increasing its speed even further.

***

The High Orc warriors were indeed strong. Unfortunately, they were still no match for the Orc Chieftain, Guroktaru.

The Orc’s leader left behind its guards in the corridor and stepped forward to fight all by itself. And then, while easily evading the attacks of
the High Orcs, pulled out a scimitar sheathed on its back.

“Is this all you have?!”

The interior of the classroom was filled with the corpses of the Orcs. Even at a casual count, there were 50 of them here.

Over 50 of its underlings were done in by these three High Orcs.

“Make me enjoy this more, warriors of the High Orc race!”

The Chieftain’s rage was transferred directly into merciless swings of its curved blade.

Guroktaru’s scimitar drew elaborate arcs in the air and began shaving away the High Orcs, their armours and all.

“Ahh!!”

“Kyaaahk!”

The screams didn’t come from the High Orcs, naturally, but from the mouths of the humans hiding behind them. Guroktaru’s forehead
creased up in displeasure.

‘Annoyingly noisy.’

After taking care of these High Orcs, those bugs would be next.

Guroktaru sliced off an arm of a High Orc and chopped it up in fine pieces until it got eventually bored of doing that, and spun on its heels
to cut off the opponent’s neck clean off.

Slice!

When that happened, other Orcs who had retreated outside the classroom because of the High Orcs all began raising loud cheers.

“Guroktaru!”

“Guroktaru-!!”

It was then, Guroktaru’s brows quivered.

The headless High Orc morphed to black smoke before reverting back to how it was originally, right in front of its eyes.

‘Is this shamanism?’

Even after the Orc Chieftain cut and sliced its enemies several more times, the story remained the same.

“Kuwahk!”

Guroktaru eventually became really frustrated and roared out. It had sliced and hacked these High Orcs numerous times to death, yet they
all reverted back to their original shapes again and again.

‘It won’t be hard killing them hundreds, thousands times.’

However, there would be no end in sight if that happened.

Even right now, that d*mn voice in its head was repeatedly ordering Guroktaru to kill humans. As a matter of fact, the Orc was beginning to
suffer from a migraine as the voice continuously rang inside its head.

But that didn’t mean it could ignore these High Orcs and try to kill the humans, either.

‘….Time to finish this.’

Guroktaru rolled its brain into gear.

If these High Orcs were creations from some kind of sorcery, then without a doubt, there must be a shaman controlling them somewhere.
Guroktaru had fought against many different kinds of sorcery in the past battles, and therefore, it subsequently knew how to end this dirty
trick once and for all, as well.

‘That female!’
That human female, standing far behind these High Orcs and holding her breath! Although faint, she was somehow connected to these
High Orcs.

Guroktaru’s eyes gleamed dangerously.

‘So, is it you?’

The monster’s target for its murderous rage was redirected to her. The moment Jin-Ah met Guroktaru’s gaze, her entire body shuddered
uncontrollably.

That human female definitely knew something – Guroktaru decided as so, and pointed at Jin-Ah while glancing behind itself.

“Kill that human female!”

Even before its words were finished, the guards observing the fight from the back rushed forward to carry out Guroktaru’s order.

Then, the High Orcs ignored Guroktaru in front of them to desperately block against the advancing guards.

‘I thought as much.’

Indeed, the Orc Chieftain’s guess was correct.

By seizing the opening created from the High Orcs being held up, Guroktaru stood before Jin-Ah.

“So, it was you.”

The Orc used the hand not holding the scimitar and grabbed Jin-Ah’s neck, before lifting her up.

“Ah….”

The female, with her airways squeezed tight, couldn’t even scream properly. This caused Guroktaru to tilt its head.

It was such a weak, slender neck that it’d get broken just from the monster squeezing a little harder than usual. But, how could such a
weak human manage to complete a high-class sorcery that changed warriors into immortals?

There was a simple way to find out.

‘Kill her and I’ll see.’

And, just as Guroktaru began squeezing the female’s neck to snap it in half….

Kiiiaaahhk-!
From afar, the cry of a Sky Dragon resounded out.

FIN SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 142

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 141

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 141

How should one go about deciphering this situation?

The jaws of the students watching this sight fell to the floor.

They were about to avert their gazes before the scene of their classmate getting murdered played out, yet these ‘soldiers’ decked out in
black armour suddenly appeared without a single warning.

Soldiers?

No, hold on – was it even okay to call those things ‘soldiers’?

But, these monsters looked more Orc-ish than Orcs themselves, and were at least double the size of an Orc and featured red skin?
Really?

When standing before the black-armoured Orc, that scary-looking Orc now resembled a boy about to enter his teenage years, instead. But,
that was to be expected.

The Shadow Soldiers Jin-Woo had left behind in Jin-Ah’s shadow were the High Orcs serving as the guards of the boss monster ‘Fangs’
from the high-ranking dungeon. Not only that, these guys were the cream of the warrior crop found there.

Regular Orcs dared to have a go against High Orc warriors? What a funny notion that was.

As if to demonstrate that clear gap in power, the High Orc threw a powerful punch.

Kwajeeck!!

An Orc’s head shattered from the impact and the dead monster crashed down to the classroom’s floor. Meanwhile, the students were
freaking out properly now.

‘Heok!!’

The terrifying monsters threatening their lives up until only a few seconds ago were getting massacred by even more monsterish monsters
now.
Their current level of shock and fear had gone far past what they could tolerate, and caused the inside of these students’ heads to
completely blank out. Except for one person, that was.

Only Jin-Ah knew the significance of those black armours and began crying softly.

‘Oppa? Did oppa….?’

Jin-Ah could sense her oppa’s trace from these three High Orcs surrounding her like a trio of bodyguards.

“Gururu….”

The two High Orcs standing behind her didn’t even need to step forward. The High Orc in front, having destroyed the head of the scout
leader Orc, reached out to grasp the scruffs of the two remaining Orcs trying to flee.

“Kururuk!!”

“Kheuwahahahk!”

Now raised up high in the air, two monsters kicked and struggled desperately. But their struggles were ultimately in vain as their heads
were violently slammed into one another.

KWAHNG!

The dead monsters and their shattered foreheads fell in a pair of heaps on the floor.

Plop.

Plop….

In the blink of an eye, the three Orcs invading the classroom were taken care of. That was the end.

The High Orcs stopped moving again from their spots and quietly guarded Jin-Ah’s sides.

Just how many seconds ticked by like this?

The students had regained some semblance of calmness by then; while trying their best to suppress their still-pounding hearts, they
silently exchanged glances with one another.

‘W-what’s going on here?’

‘Did those monsters save us?’
‘Are we being protected?’

At the bare minimum, they felt sure of these black-armoured Orcs weren’t going to harm them.

“W-where is oppa? Is he here?”

Jin-Ah tearfully asked for Jin-Woo, but the High Orc soldiers didn’t reply back to her.

“Oppa?”

Instead, they lightly stopped her when she tried to go somewhere else.

“…..?”

When Jin-Ah cautiously looked up at the High Orc, the creature silently shook its head. The top priority for these High Orcs was to secure
Jin-Ah’s safety. They couldn’t let her roam around the building when it was packed full of enemies right now.

And, sure enough, footsteps climbing up the stairs could be heard coming from outside the classroom.

Step, step, step!

Step, step, step.

High Orc soldiers began pulling out their weapons housed on their backs and waists.

The students got tenser and tenser as those footsteps approached closer, but at the same time, hope wormed its way into their hearts as
they watched these High Orcs calmly get ready for battle.

The hope that they could get out of here alive, and the sense of relief that there were powerful allies protecting them.

Among them, though, there were still a few who cried from the jumbled mixture of emotions – from fear, worry, anxiety, sorrow, etc.

“Sob…. Hic….”

Students hugged tightly their sobbing friends and held their breaths.

The footsteps were getting closer and closer.

Step, step, step.

And so – the Orcs spread around the school building all heard the death throes of their brethren and began gathering near the classroom
of the third year seniors.
***

The signal was coming through loud and clear.

The High Orcs tasked with protecting his sister were sending out powerful signals.

‘Did something happen near Jin-Ah’s vicinity?’

“Seong Hunter-nim?”

Jeong Ye-Rim called out to him again, still sounding anxious.

“…”

With his lips firmly shut, Jin-Woo walked past her.

She tilted her head in utter confusion.

‘What’s gotten into him?’

The attitude of Hunter Seong Jin-Woo, who was practically a paragon of relaxation up until a few seconds ago, suddenly did a complete
180. She could even say that he had to be someone else just from looking at the expression on his face now.

‘Hold on….’

Hunter Seong Jin-Woo was a rank S. Such a man was now looking behind him with a grave expression etched on his face. Could that
mean he had discovered something on the path they walked past earlier, something they all failed to notice back then?

She suddenly felt her anxiety spiking up.

‘Ng?’

Jeong Yun-Tae looked behind after sensing the approach of a person.

“Hyung-nim? Seong Hunter-nim is walking over here.”

“What?”

Park Jong-Su stopped his advancement, which meant that the assault team’s advance also naturally came to a halt, as well.
‘Why would Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim….?’

He turned around to look, only to gasp out inadvertently after locking gazes with the approaching Jin-Woo and his eyes.

‘Heok!’

Jin-Woo’s atmosphere was completely different from only a few moments ago.

‘What’s going on?’

In that brief moment, Park Jong-Su quickly combed through his memories to see if he had done anything stupid to get on Jin-Woo’s
nerves. But, regardless of how hard he wracked his brain, he couldn’t come up with an answer.

‘If that’s the case….’

If that was the case, then how was he to interpret that young man’s hardened expression and that murderous glare?

Park Jong-Su nervously swallowed his saliva after finally realising what it felt like to deal with a stronger being who was clearly not having
a good time at the moment.

This here was inside of a dungeon. Anything could happen in here and that wouldn’t be seen as strange at all.

Park Jong-Su’s attitude became a level more cautious.

“Hunter-nim, is there something troubling you?”

Jin-Woo was feeling really pressed at the moment, so he didn’t bother to beat around the bush.

“Something urgent came up and I must leave now.”

‘Heok!’

Park Jong-Su freaked out. This was a far worse situation than his expectations.

The raid had been a relatively easy one so far. Indeed, it was chugging along so painlessly that he even wondered if it was a necessity to
ask Jin-Woo to accompany them in the first place.

However, Park Jong-Su was one of the very first Hunters to appear when this whole started all those years ago. Meaning, he wasn’t some
naive rookie who might forget that accidents always happened when one was being too careless.

‘Nothing happened until now, so we need to be even more cautious from here onwards.’
In a situation where no one could tell what kind of dangers were hiding up ahead, losing the most powerful combat potential would prove to
be a big, painful blow.

Park Jong-Su’s complexion darkened.

“Without your presence, Seong Hunter-nim, we could find ourselves in great danger. You know this too, don’t you?”

Park Jong-Su did his best to dissuade Jin-Woo in the most roundabout way he could think of. He was acutely aware that agitating Jin-Woo
was far more dangerous than attempting to clear this dungeon without the young rank S Hunter’s help.

That was how badly contorted Jin-Woo’s current expression was.

‘……..’

Park Jong-Su felt as if he was walking on a tightrope suspended at a dizzying height, as he cautiously observed Jin-Woo’s reaction.

As his lips dried up from the nervousness….

Jin-Woo finally raised his voice.

“Then, let me do this.”

“Ah, yes.”

Park Jong-Su ended up nodding his head even before hearing what Jin-Woo had to say.

“Right now, let me call on a friend that you can place your trust in, as much as you’d trust me. From here on, that friend will take care of
everything.”

Park Jong-Su’s ears perked up. Not just anyone, but another Hunter whose ability was guaranteed by none other than Hunter Seong Jin-
Woo himself?

‘Who could it be? Choi Jong-In? Or is it Cha Hae-In?’

Now that Park Jong-Su thought about it, didn’t he see a document containing Hunter Cha Hae-In’s profile in Jin-Woo’s office yesterday?

‘If its Cha Hunter-nim, then yeah, she’ll be more than enough.’

Although it was regretful that he couldn’t stop Jin-Woo from leaving, but still, Park Jong-Su’s expression got brighter at the prospect of the
potential replacement. As long as it wasn’t Mah Dong-Wook from the Shining Star, then he’d welcome anyone.

“If you do that, then we will…..”
Park Jong-Su’s eyes sparkled brightly now. How powerful would this Hunter be, that he was capable of subbing for Hunter Seong Jin-
Woo?

Anticipation began filling up the void left behind when anxiety receded in his mind. The rest of the team members also eavesdropped on
the conversation and began looking at Jin-Woo with eyes half mixed with anticipation and misgivings.

Jin-Woo didn’t waste time hesitating and summoned forth the most powerful soldier in his shadow army.

‘Beru.’

The king of ants, its body shrouded in black mist, answered its master’s call.

‘Oh, my king….’

Beru emerged from the shadow and politely knelt before Jin-Woo, its head respectfully lowered.

“Uh?! Uh-uh!!”

“Uh?!”

Beru didn’t bother to mask its overwhelmingly evil magic energy and that freaked the Hunters out so much that they had to retreat far away
immediately.

That absolutely horrendous amount of magic energy, and the exact same outer appearance as ‘that’ thing.

“C-could that be….??”

“N-no, but how come?!”

These Hunters immediately recognised the identity of Beru.

Without a doubt, this was the very same mutated ant monster that toyed around with the Korean rank S Hunters back inside Jeju Island’s
ant tunnel. Park Jong-Su quickly asked, unable to hide his shock in his voice.

“H-Hunter-nim, isn’t that the mutated ant monster from Jeju?”

Jin-Woo nodded his head. With these high-ranked Hunters recognising Beru, it became more convenient for him now since he didn’t need
to explain himself any further.

The whole of the country witnessed Beru’s power, after all.

“From here onwards, this guy will sub for me.”
“EH??”

Park Jong-Su’s eyes grew extra wide. Jin-Woo knew what he was about to say. But he simply didn’t have enough time to answer all of
their questions. He ignored the panicking Park Jung-Su and gave a new order to Beru.

‘Protect these humans.’

‘I shall follow.’

Beru made a short reply and raised its head.

‘In that case, oh my king. What should I do about the existences besides these humans…?’

Jin-Woo shifted his gaze over to the deepest part of the dungeon for a second or two, before issuing one more order to Beru.

‘Do whatever you wish.’

It was right then. Beru’s repressed desire to kill morphed into an unbridled joy and spread all over its body.

Kiiiiieeeehk-!!

Beru stood back up and screeched out loudly, the entire cavern reverberating from that horrifying sound.

Shiver.

Hunters began trembling from that screech, even though it wasn’t even directed at them.

‘W-wait… we, we need to finish the raid with that, that thing?!’

Cold perspiration trickled down Park Jong-Su’s back.

Jin-Woo didn’t even pay any mind to the reactions of the Hunters and simply summoned twenty more ‘ant’ Shadow Beast Soldiers to aid
Beru’s cause.

Kiiiehhk-!

Kiiieehk!

Having breathed in the ‘fresh’ outside air for the first time in a long while, the Beast Soldiers began screeching out loudly as well. And quite
obviously, every Hunter bearing witness to this spectacle froze up where they stood.

“H-hold on!!”
Jeong Ye-Rim quickly turned around and called out to Jin-Woo.

“A-are you going to leave just like that? After letting loose this monsters here??”

“If you want, I’ll simply undo the summoning. But, when that happens….”

Jeong Ye-Rim flinched when Jin-Woo’s cold glare landed on her.

“….I’ll no longer care about what happens to the Knight Order Guild.”

Jin-Woo made a promise. And that was, he’d protect the members of the Knight Order Guild and ensure that they wouldn’t get harmed.

However, if the other side declined his act of goodwill first, then he didn’t see the need to stay responsible for these people, either.

“….”

Jin-Woo’s unyielding declaration shut up the mouths of not just Jeong Ye-Rim, but the rest of the Knight Order’s Hunters, as well.

Jin-Woo spun around. And almost instantly, he could no longer be seen by the Knight Order’s raid team members.

‘How long do I have left until the cooldown time ends?’

As his distance from the raid team grew, Jin-Woo summoned up his Skills window to confirm.

[Skill: Shadow Exchange Lv.1]

Class specific…

…..[01:02:16] remaining before the skill can be used again.

‘D*mn it…..’

Jin-Woo bit his lower lip.

He needed to wait over an hour if he were to use the Shadow Exchange skill. The signals from his soldiers were still coming in, even right
now.

He was getting a really bad premonition here.

‘I can’t wait for another hour.’
He needed to exit from this dungeon first. Making up his mind thus, Jin-Woo took another step, but then….

Undead monsters that were supposed to be finished off after the assault team went past here began raising their bodies up again.

‘……’

Jin-Woo’s eyes burned brilliantly from rage. He was enraged by these worthless monsters trying to block his path.

When that happened,

‘……..??’

Like a lie, the undead monsters all knelt down towards Jin-Woo.

Plop.

Plop.

There was not one exception here. Every single revived undead monster was prostrating before Jin-Woo now.

‘But, why?’

Jin-Woo tilted his head. Could the reason for every monster encountered by the assault team being so terrified be all because of him?

‘Is it because I possess a higher ranked Class than a Necromancer capable of controlling the undead?’

The current situation was puzzling, but he didn’t have enough time to think about this too deeply. He stored the shortsword back in his
Inventory and ran with all his might to exit from the Gate.

The attention of the people waiting outside the Gate focused on him in an instant.

Why did only Hunter Seong Jin-Woo get out of the Gate?

They sent their curiosity-filled gazes in his direction, but Jin-Woo ignored them all.

‘Kaisel!’

Suddenly, a Sky Dragon covered in black mist revealed itself.

Kiiiaaahhk-!!
The spectators immediately recognised the Sky Dragon, which had appeared in the news a couple of times before, and they began crying
out while pointing to Jin-Woo.

“Waaaahh-!!”

“Look! That!!”

“That’s Seong Jin-Woo!!”

Jin-Woo quickly climbed above Kaisel’s back as the people cheered on, and he issued a command to his mount.

‘To where my little sister is! At your fastest speed!’

If something tried to block his way, he’d smash past them regardless of what they were.

Kaisel roared out in happiness, knowing that now it could flap its wings without any restrictions whatsoever.

Kiiiaahk!

Right away, Kaisel unfurled its massive wings and took to the sky.

FIN SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 141

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 140

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 140

The handling of trivial matters was now over. Along with the members of the Knight Order Guild, Jin-Woo moved to the front of the Gate.

Before they were about to enter, though….

“Please wait.”

Chairman Park Jong-Su and his deputy, Vice-Chair Jeong Yun-Tae, began going through their equipment as well as the conditions of the
team members for the last time.

Maybe because they were now standing before the entrance, the noisy atmosphere from before was now long gone, replaced by weighty
silence.

‘……’

He wasn’t sure from when it started, but Jin-Woo began liking this state of tension just before entering a dungeon. It felt as if the inside of
his head was settling down.

Such a thing would’ve been totally unimaginable back in the past when he avoided answering phone calls out of the fear he felt for the
Hunter Association’s periodic call-ups.

“Hyung-nim, there are no problems.”

“Very good.”

Park Jong-Su nodded his head and walked over to Jin-Woo, standing a step away from the rest of the raid team. The latter shifted his
gaze to the leader of this raid.

“Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim?”

“Yes?”

Jin-Woo uncrossed his arms and stared directly into Park Jong-Su’s eyes, and the older man lowered his head right away.
“We’ll be in your care from now on.”

Although short, those words contained many of Park Jong-Su’s feelings and worries. Jin-Woo used similar words as his reply.

“I’ll be in your care, as well.”

Park Jong-Su and Jeong Yun-Tae entered the Gate first, and the rest of the Hunters entered one by one after them. And after confirming
that the Hunters had all gone inside, the last person still standing outside, Jin-Woo, slowly walked into the Gate as well.

***

[You have entered a dungeon.]

As usual, the System message no one else could see beside him welcomed Jin-Woo before anything else could happen. But then….

‘Mm?’

Jin-Woo tilted his head.

He was greeted by a dungeon with passageways large enough to accommodate giants passing by.

He hadn’t entered a lot of high-ranked dungeons before, but he was lucky enough to be inside one this huge. That was why Jin-Woo
wasn’t puzzled by the size of the dungeon. No, it had to do with this strange feeling he got from the air of the dungeon itself.

‘What’s this….?’

For some reason, he felt incomparably comfortable inside here.

He felt ominous sensations being carried in the air of the dungeons countless times, but this would be his first time feeling like this.

However…

“It’s the Ogre!”

Somewhat different from Jin-Woo’s own premonition, the assault team was greeted by huge trouble from the entrance, instead.

“It’s the Twin-Head Ogre!!”

“Everyone, be careful!!”

A monster that would typically appear as a boss in other high-ranked dungeons was standing in the entrance, its bloodshot eyes glaring at
the Hunters.
“Grooooaaaar!!!”

A Twin-Head Ogre was about twice the size of a regular Ogre. But it was difficult to quantify how many times greater the creature’s powers
were.

If it were any other ‘regular’ assault team that had to face off against a Twin-Head Ogre in a dungeon, they would have been utterly
frightened out of their senses and have tried to escape right away, but….

“Let’s go!”

….It was a different story with the elites of the Knight Order.

Park Jong-Su the tanker raised his shield up and rushed towards the Ogre.

Discovering the human approaching it, the monster raised above its two heads a huge club that looked as if it was made from a tree
yanked straight out of the ground, roots and all.

SLAM!!

The impact force actually shook the interior of the dungeon!

However, Park Jong-Su activated his skill in time to balloon up his muscle mass and managed to endure against the incredible physical
strength of the Twin-Head Ogre without being brought down to his knees.

“Hyung-nim!”

“I’m fine!”

“Then, I’m coming, too!”

The sub-tanker, Jeong Yun-Tae, stood next to Park Jong-Su.

Succeeding in his mission to get the Ogre’s attention locked firmly onto himself, Park Jong-Su yelled out loudly, veins in his neck standing
up.

“Attack!!”

With that, the counteroffensive of the Knight Order commenced. Arrows, magic spells, swords, and spears rained down on the Twin-Head
Ogre.

Krrroooaar!!
The Twin-Head Ogre became agitated and began rampaging around. However, Park Jong-Su didn’t give the monster a chance to divert its
attention elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Jeong Yun-Tae quickly ran over and defended the others whenever they were targetted by the Ogre.

THUD!!

Just now, Jeong Yun-Tae defended against the Ogre’s kick and was shoved back greatly as two lines were gouged on the ground by his
feet. Thanks to him, though, other Hunters suffered almost no damage at all.

“K-krooar, Kheu-uh-uhrk!”

The body of the Ogre was gradually shaved away due to the combined attacks of the damage dealers. It was a spectacular teamwork!

From this spectacle alone, Jin-Woo could now understand why the Knight Order Guild managed to lock down on the position of Yeong-
Nam district’s number one for such a long time.

“Gheo-uh-uhrk!”

Eventually, the Ogre fell backwards, bubbles foaming in its mouths.

THUD!

It was the moment when a boss-level monster fell without injuring a single person. A perfect victory, in other words.

“We did it!”

The leader of the team, Park Jong-Su, tightly clenched both of his fists.

Was it because they had a guest today? Not just him, but even the rest of his teammates were much more motivated than usual.

How would they have looked in Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s eyes just now?

‘I’d be beyond ecstatic if he got moved by our teamwork and suddenly decides to join our Guild….’

Sneak…

Park Jong-Su sneaked a glance and immediately encountered Jin-Woo’s gaze.

Feeling as if his inner thoughts had been laid bare, Park Jong-Su became a bit sheepish and began wondering what he should do next,
before deciding to approach Jin-Woo with a warm smile.
“We’ll stay here for a bit longer to recheck our equipment before advancing forward.”

“Ah, okay. Please do.”

Jin-Woo nodded his head.

While he only needed to drink potions to refill his magic energy or stamina, other Hunters clearly suffered from a physical limit to their
magical energy reserve or fatigue. It was a must to take a break, even if it was a short one, after fighting against a powerful monster like
that.

Park Jong-Su was now standing next to Jin-Woo. He stared at the dead body of the Ogre and spoke with an awkward look on his face.

“This is going to be big trouble.”

“…?”

Jin-Woo shifted his gaze over to Park Jong-Su. The latter continued on.

“It seems likely that this raid won’t be easy, unfortunately. To think, we’d end up running into a Twin-Head Ogre right from the start.”

He rubbed his chin before turning to look at Jin-Woo with a grin.

“Do you know what the nickname of a Twin-Head Ogre is, by any chance?”

Jin-Woo shook his head, and the older man replied as if he expected that answer.

“It’s the ‘grave keeper’.”

Did that nickname come about because it was such a powerful monster that killed a lot of people? However, Park Jong-Su’s explanation
was far off Jin-Woo’s estimations.

“The thing is….”

The older man cast his gaze deeper into the cavern’s interior. An ominous aura seemed to be oozing out from the other side of the cavern
still enshrouded in darkness, at least in his eyes.

“….When you meet one as the boss of a dungeon, it’s fine, but when you run into one right at the beginning, then well, you’ll find that this
dungeon…”

Park Jong-Su sounded worried as he finished his sentence.

“….This dungeon is full of undead monsters.”
***

An urgent call came through to the Hunter’s Association emergency hotline. The caller’s voice belonged to a young teenage girl.

– “Is, is this the Association?!”

The call centre employee heard the scared sobbing coming from the other side of the line as soon as the call got connected, and realised
something was wrong.

“Yes, it is. Please speak.”

– “This, I’m in, sob, my school, but….. There are, sob, there are monsters outside.”

“Outside? Where are you making this call from?”

– “I’m hiding, I was with, my f-friend, but my friend, I, sob, I’m in the bathroom.”

Her sobbing meant that her words were constantly being cut off and it was hard to carry on a conversation. However, the call centre
employee was experienced enough to piece together those stuttering words and figured out what this girl was trying to say.

Immediately, an urgent message was sent to the Association’s main building.

[Monsters appeared in the local school, one confirmed victim, the informant in hiding.]

Could it be that a dungeon break occurred inside a school? The employee shuddered from the horrifying images taking root in his head
and focused all of his being in trying to keep this female student alive.

“How many monsters are there? Are they any near you right now?”

– “I don’t know, I really don’t know. Ah, ah! I hear screams. Sob, sob. I can hear so many screams. I, am I, sob, am I going to die?”

“Please calm down and listen to my voice.”

This employee knew very well from his extensive experience about how weak-kneed humans could get when faced with life-threatening
situations. He knew he had to be calm and collected in such situations while answering the call.

He had to calm the caller down sufficiently enough and then, had to suggest some kind of a plan for the current situation. That was his
role.

“Right now, Hunters from the Association are headed your way. These Hunters will not give up on you guys. That is why you need to stay
calm and rational, okay? Can you hear me?”
– “Really? I-in that case, sob, can I, can I survive?”

The voice coming from the other side of the line was gradually recovering from the panicked state. That was a good sign.

The employee thought that he succeeded in calming the female student down, and then asked the question that could prove to be most
important in saving the girl’s life.

“By any chance, those monsters… do you know what kind of monsters those are?”

– “Yes, yes. I know. I know. I saw them. On TV.”

“Which monsters are they?”

If the monsters possessed weak senses and chased after humans using their eyes, then hiding in a bathroom would work as a suitable
solution for the time being. The employee prayed that such monsters had invaded the school, instead.

– “They… they have human bodies, but, sob, but they have ugly faces. Ah, and their skin is green.”

‘Can it be?!’

The eyes of the employee grew wider and wider.

“Orcs… are they Orcs?”

– “Yes, I think it was what they were called. Orcs.”

‘N-no, this can’t be!!’

The employee shot up from his seat before he realised it and cried out.

“You need to run away from there! Hurry! Orcs can…..”

It was then.

Despite the employee’s earnest prayer, he could hear the sound of the bathroom door being destroyed, followed soon by a sorrowful
scream.

– “Kyyaaaahk!”

***

The Knight Order’s raid was trucking along quite smoothly.
As a matter of fact, things were working out so well that the Hunters felt the whole thing was strangely too easy.

For instance, there encountered yet another monster, but….

“Kuwaaahk!”

A rotting creature the size of a house tried to escape from the assault team, only to get ensnared by the restriction magic spell cast by the
Mage-type Hunter, and soon, it too met with a grisly end.

And when the exact same thing repeated itself over and over again, the Hunters were getting progressively more puzzled.

“Isn’t this weird?”

“Why are these monsters running away when they see us?”

“Isn’t it like they were being chased away?”

Powerful undead creatures, such as Vampires, Lichs, Dread Worms, Red Ghouls, etc., continued to pop up inside this dungeon.

Undeads were difficult opponents to fight against.

Not only were they difficult to kill, but even after killing them, Hunters couldn’t let their guards down. Because no one knew when they
would regenerate or get revived to start attacking again.

However, these creatures couldn’t do much to display their prowess for some reason, and continued to get powerlessly massacred at the
assault team’s hands.

‘It’s like they are too scared and can’t even think about resisting us…..’

That was Park Jong-Su’s assessment after observing the monsters and their strange behaviour. He even thought that maybe there was no
need to bring Hunter Seong Jin-Woo along when things were this easy.

‘Seriously, man. You really can’t tell what’s going to happen inside a dungeon.’

Who’d have imagined that they were clearing a highest-difficult rank A dungeon this painlessly?

‘Even still….’

Being able to end a raid without a single person getting injured was always a good thing. There might have been an unnecessary loss of
profit here, but result-wise, it sure was a big relief.
On the other hand, Jin-Woo was inwardly feeling quite disappointed.

‘Here I was, really hyped up because this place was supposed to be the hardest rank A dungeon there could be….’

There was still that enormous magic energy leaking out from the deeper part of the dungeon, but would he even be able to earn any
experience points if things continued on at this rate?

Because of the spirited attacks by the members of the Knight Order Guild, he didn’t even have a single chance to step forward at all.

‘……..’

Jin-Woo inwardly sighed out. But then, he abruptly halted his steps.

‘Uh?’

When Jin-Woo looked behind him, Healer Jeong Ye-Rim also came to a stop as well.

“What’s the matter, Seong Hunter-nim? Is something following us?”

Jin-Woo didn’t answer her. As a matter of fact, his heart was beating so madly that he didn’t even have any leeway to answer her
questions.

‘Could it be…..?’

Jin-Woo’s eyes, as they stared towards the outside of this dungeon, began quaking violently. Only then did Jeong Ye-Rim also realise that
something was wrong as well.

“Seong Hunter-nim??”

It was then.

Jin-Woo’s expression hardened like stone.

***

“Uwaahhk!”

“Kyaahhk!”

Heartbreaking screams rose up from all corners of the school.

Less than half of the students managed to escape from the school alive. As for the rest, either they had all ended up as corpses, or were
busy running around inside the school’s premise trying to evade the Orcs. Unfortunately, their futile resistance could only buy them a brief
respite.

The hunts of the Orcs that started from the lowest floor continued on to higher floors and drove all victims caught in their wake to
gruesome deaths.

“Uwaaahk!”

The students who couldn’t run away in time and remained trapped in their classrooms could only cover their ears as more screams rose
up from the lower floors.

The classrooms for the third year students were located on the top floor of the school building. Jin-Ah was also among those 3rd-year
students who couldn’t run away in time. The doorway shoddily blocked up with junk was the only thing that could defend them against the
marauding Orc horde.

“Ah….”

“….F*ck me.”

The male students grabbed onto chairs and mops or whatever that could serve as weapons with their trembling hands. But, none of them
helped to instil a sense of confidence in the scared students.

No, all they could do was to wait and pray fervently for the Hunters to show up before those Orcs stepped foot inside their classroom.

KWANG!

The bent classroom door was flung away.

“Uwaaahk!”

“Kyaaahk!”

As the screams of the frightened students resounded out, two Orcs covered in the blood of the countless number of people they had
murdered stepped into the classroom.

“U-uwaaahk!”

A male student holding a mop near the door threw away his make-shift weapon and ran to the back entrance, before yanking it open.

However, another Orc was lying in wait there, and it slammed an axe down on the forehead of this fleeing male student.

Kwajeeck!
The male student fell powerlessly, the light of life leaving his eyes.

“Kyaaaahk!”

“Uwak!”

Both entrances of the classroom were now blocked off by the Orcs.

The remaining students screamed out loudly and crowded against the windows, but they all knew that the results would largely end up the
same regardless of whether they chose to jump out from a sixth-story window or get caught by the Orcs.

‘Oppa, oppa!!’

Finding herself stuck in the middle of the students fleeing towards the corners of the classroom as they tried to get away from the Orcs,
Jin-Ah squeezed her eyes shut and called out to Jin-Woo.

Her oppa, the rank S Hunter. If she called out to him, it felt as if he’d show up here right away. That was her only hope.

“Kurururuk.”

“Ku-euk?”

The Orcs stopped advancing after they surrounded the students from all corners. They began conversing to each other in their native
tongue.

“Boss. There is a human with magic energy coming off.”

“Kill that one first.”

Unlike regular humans, those that knew how to wield magic energy were dangerous opponents. Therefore, these Orcs had to deal with a
threat like that first.

The Orc, having received the boss’s order, began scanning the students before eventually locking onto Jin-Ah’s location.

“Ah!”

The Orc grabbed her wrist and dragged her out to the middle of the classroom.

“Is this female the one?”

“It is, boss.”
The underling was right. Although faint, they could sense magic energy coming from somewhere on this girl. Whether that came from this
female’s abilities or some sort of a weapon she possessed, it didn’t change the fact that she had to be eliminated first before everyone
else.

The boss raised its axe up.

“Ah, ah….!”

Jin-Ah saw the axe rising up high above her head, and eventually squeezed her eyes shut.

“Kuruk.”

The boss twitched its nose and swung the axe down with a disinterested face.

Swiiiish-!

‘Oppa!’

But then, this happened.

Rumble-!

A veil of black smoke suddenly exploded out from Jin-Ah’s shadow and took on a solid shape.

Grab.

The brows of the advanced scout’s boss shot up high in surprise.

Because, it just realised that a High Orc wearing black armour suddenly appeared out of nowhere to grab onto its wrist, that was why.

“Kuruk?”

Before the puzzled Orc could say something….

The High Orc threw a simple punch and shattered the head of the monster like an exploding watermelon.

Kwajeeck!

FIN SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 140

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 139

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 139

Orcs were natural-born hunters.

Their level of intelligence fell some way short of that of humans, but they easily exceeded humanity when it came to tracking and hunting
prey weaker than they were.

And now, the doorway had been shattered. The ‘wall’ blocking the dungeon from the rest of the world was gone, and these hunters began
pouring out from the Gate.

“Kururuk.”

“Keuk.”

The Orcs shoved away the annoying corpses of the high school boys and scanned their surroundings.

“Sniff, sniff.”

“Kuruk.”

These hunters had been trapped inside the dark dungeon for the whole week, quietly waiting for this day. It was rather obvious that they
would get excited from all the smell of blood and flesh coming from their surroundings.

However, this group was merely advanced scouts. Even if their blood was boiling, they weren’t supposed to act as they pleased. Dozens
of their brethren were waiting impatiently for their reports just beyond the roundish doorway.

These Orcs looked around and spotted straight walls with many doors and windows.

The Orc in charge of the advanced scouts immediately realised that they were standing inside a complicated artificial structure like a
castle.

“Kururuk.”

Its nostrils twitched.
There were two choices here to make. One, leave this ‘castle’ and kill every prey they could find with utter impunity.

Or, kill every human found within this ‘castle’ and turn it into a fortress – and then, commence with their hunting in earnest. There was no
need to even consider which one was the safer choice.

The leader Orc ordered its underling.

“Summon our brothers.”

And then, it raised its head to glare at the ceiling above. The monster’s ears twitched and caught onto the noises coming down from upper
floors.

Above, and then, more above that, still; this structure was seemingly filled with prey.

Its head was currently ringing painfully with a voice that kept telling the creature to kill every single one of those prey.

“Good.”

The monster’s maw parted and its yellowing fangs were revealed to the world.

“First, we cleanse this place completely.”

There was a sizeable crowd of people gathered in the coastline of Gwang-An-ri. Even though the weather was overcast and gloomy, there
was this one thing that made these people show up here in morbid fascination.

And that would be the gigantic Gate floating above the beach.

The members of the local police force, whose assistance had been requested, and the employees of the Hunter’s Association, Busan
branch, had cordoned off the area and strictly prohibited civilians from approaching the location.

But, for some reason, the number of folks gathering around hadn’t lessened at all.

“Senior?”

A newbie female employee, who enjoyed the misfortune of being knocked around by the waves of people, formed a tearful expression and
asked her senior as she sought shelter from the storm of curious humans.

“Do we have to repeat this same thing every time a Gate appears?”

The senior employee was also feeling flustered over this matter as well. This would be his first time seeing a commotion of this level
around a Gate.

“Well, I guess it can’t be helped, since this Gate is the biggest one ever to open up in Busan.”

He then sneaked a glance behind him. There it was, the ginormous hole, silently floating in the air.

Just looking at it made him feel like he was being sucked inside, so he was consciously trying to ignore its presence.

But, of course….

‘I know that thing can’t harm people unless there’s dungeon break, but still…..’

Even then, he still disliked these Gates just like how some people irrationally feared outer space or the depths of oceans.

That was why he always prayed in his mind that Hunters would quickly take care of the ominous hole every time he was dispatched to a
Gate’s location.

In a way, though, there was this thing that made him feel a lot more reassured about this raid. The newbie must’ve remembered the reason
too, because she suddenly began talking to him.

“Ahh! Senior, did you hear?”

“Hear what?”

“A rank S Hunter from Seoul is supposed to come today, right?”

Was anyone here who didn’t know that already? Probably, half out of everyone here came solely to see the rank S Hunter with their own
eyes while the other half, to spectate on the Gate itself.

“You mean, Hunter Seong Jin-Woo?”

“Yes, him!”

“Why are you so happy? You personally know him or something?”

“N-no, not really.”

The newbie quickly shook her hands around and began writhing her body with a hyped-up expression on her face.

“Actually, it’ll be my first time seeing a rank S Hunter, so…..”

The senior employee formed a disappointed expression, instead.
“Hunter Seong Jin-Woo is a newbie, and you’re also a noob, yet how come the two you could be this different??”

“S-senior?!”

“If you still have this much energy left to fool around, then why don’t you go over that side and lend them some help?”

“But, I came here to take a short break, you know? I’ve been standing around since the early morning and my legs are killing me, you
know!”

The senior agent tutted unhappily.

Seeing her narrow her eyes angrily like that, she must’ve felt that he was being unfair to her, but he couldn’t quite trust what she was
trying to sell here.

Still, it wasn’t as if he couldn’t understand where she was coming from, either.

“Well, yeah. I’m also a little bit curious, too. Everyone’s been talking about him lately and all.”

“See? Even you too, senior.”

“I mean, he solo hunted a boss from the rank S Gate, didn’t he?”

Originally, the true boss monster of the rank S Gate appearing on Jeju Island was the queen ant. However, many of those who watched
the broadcast thought that the mutated ant monster was the boss instead, all thanks to the visceral visual impact that creature had left
behind.

Killing the boss-level monster meant that the Gate itself would close up soon. And that young man was a Hunter who could close shut a
rank S Gate.

It wasn’t for nothing that the noises of Hunter Seong Jin-Woo being a potential ‘Special Authority-rank’ were gaining momentum recently. It
was only natural that the attention of the public was focused on him.

“A rank S Hunter, of all people! I wonder, what will be like seeing one for real?”

The senior employee looked at the sparkling eyes of his junior and his thoughts became complicated in an instant.

‘This kid, maybe she applied for a job in the Association not because she likes the work, but because she hankers after Hunters or
something??’

The newbie employee didn’t care how her senior was looking at her. Her eyes continued to sparkle brightly and her voice remained all
giddy from anticipation.

“Senior, senior!”
“What now?”

“I hear that you can’t even look the really strong Hunters in their eyes. Right, I hear you once saw a rank S Hunter in the past? Is that
true?”

The senior employee recalled his business trip to Gwang-Ju last year.

“….Yeah, I have.”

“Wow-!”

Suddenly, the senior employee felt his shoulders straightening up a bit after seeing his junior display her admiration like that.

“So? What was it like, senior? Was it really scary?”

“Hey, hey. Don’t even mention it, okay? Last year, I had a chance to meet Hunter Mah Dong-Wook of the Shining Star Guild because of
the work from the Association, and…..”

“….Excuse me, coming through.”

“Ah, sure.”

The two Association employees quickly stepped aside to create a path for a young man, and came back together again. But, then….

“….Uh?”

The senior agent looked behind him at the youth wearing a hoodie.

“What’s wrong, senior?”

“No, well, I thought that guy kind of looked familiar.”

“Uh? Really? That’s so weird. I was thinking the exact same thing.”

“Is he also a staff member from the Association?”

“H-mm….”

“Hold on, where was I with my story?”
“That was…. Ah, Hunter Mah Dong-Wook from the Shining Star!”

“Ahh, right. I had a chance to meet Hunter Mah Dong-Wook in person, and well, that guy was so huge that his shoulders were thiiiis wide.”

“Wow-!”

These two senior and junior employees sure got along so fabulously well, it seemed.

***

“Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-niiiim!”

Park Jong-Su welcomed Jin-Woo with a tearful voice that certainly didn’t suit his late-thirties age group. That just went to show how much
was riding on this particular raid.

Jin-Woo quietly confirmed the time even as he was subjected to Park Jong-Su’s passionate reaction. The numbers as indicated on the
phone’s screen switched from 10:59 to 11:00.

‘Very good.’

Jin-Woo grinned brightly.

In order to avoid raising chaos, he remained in ‘Stealth’ and got to somewhere a bit away, before walking back here, but he still managed
to make it in time nonetheless.

The raid was yet to start, but he was feeling good about it already. And when he raised his head to look….

‘….Looking at it for real now, it kinda looks bigger, doesn’t it?’

He could see the Gate right in front of his eyes that looked way bigger than the one from the video clips. The amount of magic energy
leaking out of that thing was as serious as what the Association had told the Knight Order Guild, too.

‘What kind of monsters will I find inside?’

A smile unconsciously bloomed on his lips.

Besides that nonsensically huge Gate, though – everything else looked the same, more or less. Just like how it’d be with raids being taken
on by other Guilds, there were two groups of low-ranked Hunters nearby.

‘That’s the retrieval team, and that’s the mining team.’

And the old saying said that you’d see as much as you knew. He could easily tell apart their roles through the attire and their equipment.
This was indeed all thanks to ‘participating’ in the raids of the Hunters Guild in the past.

‘Annnd, back then or now, the Guild’s officials are running around and keeping themselves busy, too.’

He felt more relaxed now compared to back then, when he was still clueless and didn’t know which end was up. Indeed, experience
proved to be the best teacher there was.

“Huh??”

“He really came!”

“It’s Mister Seong Jin-Woo?!”

The elite Hunters began gathering around after hearing Park Jong-Su’s call sign, and began forming bright expression after they
recognised Jin-Woo.

He shared simple greetings with them and observed each and everyone present here.

30 high-ranked Hunters had gathered for today’s raid. Like Park Jong-Su’s confident declaration, the numbers and quality alone didn’t lose
out to the Hunters Guild at all.

‘As expected….’

Should he say, as expected of a Guild representing this part of the country?

And they were all kitted out in proper metal armours or special defensive equipment imbued with magical effects, so they certainly fit the
bill of ‘Knight Order’ rather well.

To think, such a Guild would be underestimated solely because they lacked a rank S Hunter. What a regretful thing that was.

Jin-Woo could now understand a little bit of the mindset of Park Jong-Su who asked him out of nowhere if he was interested in joining the
Knight Order.

While he was thinking of this and that, it didn’t take long for the Hunters to gather all around him.

“Excuse me….”

“Hm.”

They sneaked glances at each other before engaging in a competition to see who could start talking first.

“Hunter-nim! The Jeju Island raid was really amazing!”
“How do you summon those black soldiers? Wait a sec, are they even summons?”

“Will you be taking the lead in today’s raid, Mister Seong Jin-Woo??”

Just as Jin-Woo was feeling progressively lost from the outpouring of all these questions….

“Argh, stop! Will you just stop?!”

Healer Jeong He-Rim, responsible for coming up with the idea of bringing Jin-Woo in the first place, pushed aside other Hunters and
stepped up to the front.

“Why are you trying to trouble Seong Hunter-nim to this degree?? You aren’t some country bumpkins either, so why?”

Her eyes glaring at her wayward colleagues were as sharp as a pair of blades.

A high-ranked Healer was comparable to one’s own mother in a way; because, she was responsible for the raid team’s overall well-being.
The team members had to swallow their dissatisfaction and keep their mouths shut, as if they were being scolded by their mother.

‘Fut.’

Jeong Ye-Rim formed a grin. She then airily spun around and extended her hand to Jin-Woo for a handshake.

“I’m the main Healer of the Knight Order’s elite assault team, Jeong. Ye. Rim. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

She formed a soft smile with her eyes and continued on.

“I don’t know about others, but seeing that you’re about to lead the team, and the fact that I’m the main Healer, we should be at least on
the same page before we start, yes?”

Jin-Woo avoided meeting her ulterior motive-filled eyes and looked at Park Jong-Su, instead.

“You haven’t explained to them already?”

“Oh, that. Well…..”

Park Jong-Su scratched the back of his head as if he was embarrassed about something.

“My schedule had been just too tight, you see. I was so busy with going through all the formalities and summoning these guys out here that
I’ve ended up forgetting about it. Sorry about that.”

He sheepishly smiled and swept his gaze over the Hunters.
Well, it was certainly nice that he didn’t have to repeat himself over and over again, what with the members of the assault team having
gathered in one spot already.

“I, Park Jong-Su, will take the lead for today’s raid.”

Team members began murmuring to themselves after Park Jong-Su declared himself to be the leader of this raid.

“Chairman, it’s you again?”

“But, we have Hunter Seong Jin-Woo here, so why….?”

“Is it okay to even do that?”

Park Jong-Su was a tanker at the very top of the rank A, so it was definitely not a strange occurrence to have him lead a team. Excluding
those times that he couldn’t participate due to his condition being less than ideal, the majority of the raids happened under Park Jong-Su’s
leadership.

However, didn’t they have a rank S Hunter among the team now?

The strongest Hunter present taking up the lead – this was one of the commonly-accepted rules in raiding a dungeon.

Park Jong-Su quickly offered up an explanation for the sake of his confused teammates.

“Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim will take up the role of guarding our rear, and will ensure our safety during the raid itself.”

Watch the assault team from the back and take care of the safety of the team members – this was Park Jong-Su’s demand. This was for
the safety of the team, of course, but also for the sake of the Guild’s honour, as well.

It was true that the Hunters with high physical combat abilities stood in the front of the team. The rear of the formation would usually be
taken up by the Hunters ill-equipped to deal against ambushes, such as Mage-types, Healers, or support-types.

Knight Order was finding it hard to recruit new blood to their roster recently, so the survival of these Hunters was essential to the fate of
the Guild itself. And, by placing Hunter Seong Jin-Woo there?

The assault team could commit to a speedy raid of the dungeon without worrying about their rear being attacked.

No, hold on!

If enemies did show up from the rear, now that would be a cause for celebration, instead.

Just who was this man standing there for them?
It was none other than Seong Jin-Woo, who forcibly broke through thousands of rank S monsters without so much as batting an eyelid
once. If enemies kept appearing behind the team all the time, then well, they could even aim to end this raid early and go home.

That was Park Jong-Su’s first reason.

And, the much-more-important second reason was….

Gulp.

Park Jong-Su looked at the throng of reporters gathered just beyond the police line and swallowed down his dry saliva with some effort.

That was proof that a lot of people were interested in this raid. If he wasn’t careful here, then all those people might end up thinking that
the Knight Order Guild was leeching off on Hunter Seong Jin-Woo.

‘Well… that might be true, but….’

Whatever the case may be, he couldn’t allow others to see the situation that way. To the Knight Order, the true aim of this raid was to let
the world know that the Guild was still going strong, that it was still at its peak.

That was why Park Jong-Su desperately pleaded with Jin-Woo.

And this was the result.

“I’ve already discussed the matter with Seong Hunter-nim and agreed to do the raid this way, so if you have any complaints, save it until
we finish the raid.”

Park Jong-Su finally got to tell the rest of the team members the result of the negotiation. However, this happened then.

“Yo, hold up. I really don’t get something here, so I gotta ask.”

A rank A Hunter suddenly stepped forward. He was a rookie who hadn’t been working for the Knight Order Guild for long.

“Since when did we become such weak Hunters that we need protection from someone else?”

That one sentence caused the complexions of the senior Hunters to go utterly pale.

‘Keok…..!!’

‘N-no, junior, don’t!’

The young Hunter, who looked to be around the same age as Jin-Woo, formed an expression overflowing with confidence.
“Don’t you agree with me? Hyung-nim? Noo-nim?” (TL: Noo-nim – a respectful way to call an older female)

Because… this rookie just so happened to receive the second-most attention from the potential suitors after ‘Kim Cheol’ in this year’s crop
of new Hunters. Indeed, he had a reason to be confident of himself.

Unfortunately, there was a problem, and that would be the guy he was talking to.

“Do the elites of our Knight Order look that weak to your eyes, Mister Seong Jin-Woo?”

‘……’

Jin-Woo suppressed the rising fit of laughter to the best of his abilities and silently stared at this newbie rank A Hunter. It was the task of
other Hunters to feel their blood all dry up, not him, so it was fine.

‘What the hell, with what idiotic confidence is that kid trying to….?’

‘No, wait. That punk… I knew that he’s a country bumpkin from Busan, but could it be that he has never even seen a rank S in action?’

‘Someone, please stop that guy!’

‘But, you can only stop someone who knows when to spew nonsense in the right time and at right place….’

Seeing that his seniors were all rendered speechless, and that Jin-Woo was maintaining his silence, the newbie Hunter’s confidence
swelled up even more.

“Besides that, Chairman, you went too far, you know!”

“What, me?”

‘Why is it me this time?!’

Park Jong-Su dumbfoundedly pointed to himself.

“Even if the name value of a rank S Hunter is high, how can you agree that easily to the condition of a freelancer taking away a Guild’s
worth of the loot?”

“….”

A migraine had developed in Park Jong-Su’s head by now, and he sent a quick glance to Jin-Woo.

‘Seong Hunter-nim… I leave our junior in your capable hands.’
Jin-Woo nodded briefly.

“Whatever the case may be, I simply can’t understand this nonsensical contra….”

It was then.

Right in front of the rookie making his passionate speech, Igrit was summoned.

‘Heok!’

The rank A newbie flinched from the massive magical energy emanating from the black knight and hastily took a step back. However, he
ran into something hard on his back even before he could take a second step.

Stunned silly now, he quickly turned around only to find another knight, several heads taller than the one before, looking down on him. It
was Iron, of course.

“Heok!!”

The gasp he tried to hide jumped out of his throat all on its own.

And then, ‘it’ came from the side.

Someone tapped him on the shoulder, and the newbie slowly turned his sweat-soaked face to find a figure draped in black robes standing
there this time.

“U-uwahhk?!”

The newbie lost all of his leg strength from the ominous magic energy oozing out from Fangs, and plopped down on to his butt.

‘He looks way too pitiful, so I shouldn’t summon out Beru, no?’

Jin-Woo flicked his hand once and the three knight-grade soldiers surrounding the newbie Hunter quickly returned to their shadow state.

Jin-Woo walked over to the pale-faced newbie and reached out with his hand.

“You still can’t understand anything yet?”

The rank A newbie took his hand and unsteadily stood back up, before nodding at the speed of light.

FIN SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 139

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 138

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 138

The boss-level monsters were responsible for the majority of losses suffered in dungeons. And to minimise the potential losses to his raid
team, Park Jong-Su made an aggressive move and asked Jin-Woo to deal with the boss monster, instead.

‘With the strength Hunter Seong Jin-Woo displayed back inside the ant tunnel, he should be able to deal with the boss monster all by
himself.’

Feeling nervous that this offer would be rejected, Park Jong-Su kept his mouth shut and waited for Jin-Woo’s answer. However, in a
complete contrast to Park Jong-Su and his gradually-stiffening face as time ticked by….

‘Keu-heuph….’

In order to hide a smirk trying to break out of his lips, Jin-Woo lifted the hand previously supporting his chin right up below his nose and
covered the entirety of his mouth. Then, formed an impressive frown.

He wanted to look as if he was giving it a very serious consideration here. And it worked wonders.

Park Jong-Su forgot all about the passage of time and solely concentrated on Jin-Woo’s decision, as his hands were soaked in sweat.

After a long while, Jin-Woo let out a soft sigh, and then….

“Alright.”

….Continued on with what he wanted to say.

“We’ll do it that way.”

Park Jung-Ho’s two hands, hidden under the table, clenched into tight fists.

‘Yes! It’s done!’
Just from hearing Jin-Woo’s consent, Park Jong-Su felt that all his worries and burdens weighing down on his shoulders were being
washed away.

Why did he even waste his time worrying about this problem until now? He should’ve done this from the very beginning.

For the first time since leaving Busan, the frozen-stiff face of Park Jong-Su broke out into a bright smile.

The only remaining thing now was to contact the Association and get the raid permit. What with Hunter Seong Jin-Woo agreeing to
cooperate, there was no point in hesitating anymore.

“It’s been some time since the Gate first appeared, so at the latest, we need to start the raid tomorrow.”

“Then, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Ah.”

Park Jong-Su stopped packing his stuff and hurriedly made a suggestion.

“Instead of that, how about we travel south together in our car?”

Since they were going to meet again tomorrow anyway, wouldn’t it be more efficient to move around together, instead of making a promise
like this? Park Jong-Su made his suggestion with that in mind.

“We’ll guide you to the best hotel in the city, and we will also pay for your lodging.”

However, there was no reason for Jin-Woo to travel a long distance inside a cramped car. All he had to do was to insert one of his Shadow
Soldiers inside Park Jong-Su’s shadow, and that’d be it.

With that, he’d never get lost and would never be late, either.

He sneaked a glance at the circular-shaped shadow crawling away on the floor and came up with a suitable excuse.

“I already made a prior arrangement for this evening, so it’ll be difficult for me to go with you.”

“Aha!”

“But, don’t worry. I’ll definitely make it in time.”

There was no way a Master of a Guild like himself would be late to a party, after all!

It was then.
Jeong Yun-Tae, the Vice-Chair of the Knight Order, had to leave the conference suite briefly to take care of some “personal business”
earlier on. He was just about to walk back inside, but he stopped and screamed at the top of his lungs.

“H-hyung-nim!!”

Park Jong-Su panicked and jumped up to take a wild look around him.

“What?! What now?!”

“The shadow! It just moved! From that side to this side!”

Park Jong-Su froze up for a second, before he stood straight back up and glared at Jeong Yun-Tae.

“Hey, Yun-Tae…. Are you drunk right now?”

“….”

Sensing the atmosphere had suddenly gotten a bit chilly all of a sudden, Jeong Yun-Tae forgot what he wanted to say and rubbed below
his nose with his index finger.

“I said, are you drunk right now?”

“Uhm, I had a couple of beer as an appetizer back in the motorway service station, hyung-nim.”

“Didn’t I say that you gotta be more mindful when we’re trying to conduct official business?”

“I’m sorry, hyung-nim.”

Jeong Yun-Tae bowed to Park Jong-Su, before bowing to Jin-Woo as well.

“I’m sorry, Hunter-nim.”

Park Jong-Su proceeded to push the back of Jeong Yun-Tae’s head further down and bowed himself as well.

“This guy here, he means well, but he also sometimes spews out nonsense with a couple of drinks in him. I apologise if we ended up
making a fuss.”

“No, it’s fine. I mean, shadows can move around sometimes.”

And so, as the meeting was coming to an end in a friendly atmosphere, Jin-Woo’s phone resting on the conference table suddenly
vibrated.
Vrrrrr….

‘Who’s this?’

He took a look at the caller, but he couldn’t recognise the number.

“Excuse me. I’ll have to answer this call.”

“Ah, yes.”

Jin-Woo asked for his guests’ understanding like a gentleman and made his exit from the conference suite. Both Jeong Yun-Tae,
responsible for making a bit of racket just now, and Park Jong-Su with his nervous heart, spat out a long, long sigh of relief.

Soon after that, though, Jeong Yun-Tae tilted his head and softly muttered to himself.

“Argh, but the shadow really moved….”

“Imma just…. You!”

Jeong Yun-Tae finally shut his mouth up over this matter after being subjected to Park Jong-Su’s fierce glare.

After a short silence….

Jeong Yun-Tae grew curious about the result of the negotiation and opened his mouth again.

“Hyung-nim, so, like, what happened?”

“What do you mean, what happened? He agreed to cooperate.”

“Now that’s great news!”

The previously-tense face of Jeong Yun-Tae brightened up immediately. A wide grin still attached to his face, he asked some more.

“By the way, did you ask him about joining our Guild?”

“Don’t even bring that up. He shows me this, saying that he’s making a Guild for himself.”

Just like what Jin-Woo did earlier, Park Jong-Su picked up the file [List of applicants for the Guild founding member spot] and showed it to
his companion.

Jeong Yun-Tae cackled to himself.
“The Guild situation in Korea has more or less been stabilised by now, so how big would his Guild get by making one at this stage? If he
just joined up with ours, he’d be treated like a king, yet he’s willing to go through so much pain for nothing here.”

“Yeah, what a shame that is.”

Park Jong-Su licked his lips in regret over the missed opportunity and tried to put the file back in its original position, but then, an
application form slipped out of there. He got startled and quickly picked it back up only for his expression to freeze up right there.

“Huh?”

A photo of a rather familiar-looking woman was attached to the application form.

“Keok!”

Even Jeong Yun-Tae’s expression froze up as well.

“H-hyung-nim, isn’t she…..??”

Jeong Yun-Tae couldn’t believe it even though he saw it with his own two eyes. Park Jong-Su nodded his head as a confirmation.

“Uh, you’re right. That’s the Vice-Chair of the Hunters Guild.”

Jeong Yun-Tae silently observed Cha Hae-In’s photo for a bit, before sneakily checking out Park Jong-Su’s mood.

“Hyung-nim. Shouldn’t we also do stuff like mergers and acquisitions?”

Right away, Park Jong-Su’s expression crumpled.

“You dang idiot….”

***

After making his way out of the conference suite, Jin-Woo tapped on the ‘Answer’ icon. Then, a familiar voice came out of the phone’s
speaker.

– “Son?”

After confirming who it was, Jin-Woo felt rather relieved but at the same time, felt a bit rueful as well.

“Mom, did you buy a new phone?”

– “Ng. I wanted to hear your voice as soon as I got it, so I called you abruptly like this. I hope that I didn’t interrupt you while you were
doing something important.”

Jin-Woo glanced at the conference suite with two people from the Knight Order Guild still inside and smirked slightly.

“Nah, it’s fine, Mom.”

– “That’s a relief. By the way, I don’t know if I bought the right phone. I’m just not used to this sort of things.”

“Did you go to the store alone? Why didn’t you take Jin-Ah along with you?”

– “She’s busy with her studies, so I shouldn’t disturb her.”

It’d been nice if Mom thought of herself instead of her children every once in a while. Jin-Woo ended the call with his mom and sighed
softly under his breath.

However, why did he feel a bit disappointed when he found out that the call was from his mom?

‘What was I waiting for?’

Jin-Woo smirked to himself and pocketed the phone, before raising his head up. Renewed vigour was gleaming brightly in his eyes.

He was about to breathe in the dungeon air again tomorrow, all thanks to the nice guys of the Knight Order coming to visit him like this.

‘A rank A Gate that’s close to being a rank S, is it?’

It felt as if he hadn’t cut loose and went all out in a long while now. Hadn’t it been a week already since the end of the Jeju Island raid?
Besides entering that rank B Gate, he hadn’t done anything worthy of mention lately.

Ba-dump, ba-dump….

His heart began pounding away again after a long while of nothing much happening, and Jin-Woo hyped himself up for tomorrow’s raid.

***

The cream of the Knight Order’s crop had gathered in one place. They were all in a buzz right now from anticipation and excitement. It
couldn’t be helped, though.

They would probably have had to take a big gamble with their lives by going on this raid. And if it turned into a Red Gate, then avoiding a
complete annihilation would have been impossible.

But then, Hunter Seong Jin-Woo agreed to join them on such a raid.
“Kyahhk!”

The one to come up with this idea, Jeong Ye-Rim, cried out in happiness when she first heard the news of Seong Jin-Woo’s participation.
Other Hunters also rejoiced in their own ways at the knowledge that a powerful safety net was about to cast below them.

There was only one person among them feeling mighty nervous at the moment. And that would be the Master of the Knight Order Guild,
Park Jong-Su. He couldn’t stay still and paced up and down in nervousness as he waited for Jin-Woo to show up.

‘Aww…. I should’ve just brought him along with us yesterday.’

Park Jong-Su confirmed the time through his watch. It was five minutes before eleven in the morning. According to their schedule, the raid
was supposed to get underway in five minutes.

It was a little wonder that he was suffocating from anxiety, since the promised person hadn’t shown up yet. Without him, this raid couldn’t
even get underway.

The Hunter’s Association immediately issued the raid permit as soon as the Knight Order let them know of Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s
participation. It was as if they were waiting for this chance all along.

There was little doubt that Seong Jin-Woo’s name had proven its worth there. But then, to start a raid without him around?

‘Even if I put that aside…..’

Park Jong-Su took a look at the faces of the raid team members. Would you look at those eyes filled with anticipation? This raid might not
get underway not because of the Association, but because of his own Guild members, instead!

‘There are three minutes remaining…’

Park Jong-Su pulled his phone out of sheer anxiousness, but he pocketed it again after mustering up a superhuman-level of patience. It’d
be a bit rude to call someone who said he’d be here shortly about ten minutes ago, now wouldn’t it?

However, he couldn’t sense anyone possessing great aura approaching this location, nor did he receive the call from Jin-Woo saying that
he arrived at the vicinity.

Park Jong-Su looked for something else to chew on instead of his innards, and eventually settled on a cigarette.

‘Just where are you, Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-niiiim….!’

*

Around the same time….

Jin-Woo was stepping outside his apartment. He was kitted out in easy-to-move clothing and a pair of sneakers. He looked at his watch,
and it said one minute before eleven AM. He raised his head up to see an overcast, gloomy sky.

‘I wonder, did Jin-Ah take an umbrella with her in the morning?’

Such thoughts only lasted for a short while.

‘Okay, time to make my way there, then.’

Jin-Woo pulled up the hood to hide his face as a smile crept up on his lips. First of all, he activated ‘Stealth’, and then….

‘Shadow Exchange.’

He immediately swapped his position with the soldier currently in the shadow state.

***

Meanwhile, somewhere in Jin-Ah’s high school….

Three male students and their faces were currently full of unhappiness at being asked to run an errand for their art teacher.

“Isn’t this clearly exploitation of labour force?”

“Yeah, I wonder about that myself.”

“I mean, why are we doing something that guy was supposed to do it himself in the first place?”

The male students continued to complain bitterly as they unlatched the bulky lock of the second art classroom, currently serving as their
school’s storage unit.

“Argh, look at all this dust.”

“Bleurgh~.”

The thick coating of dust befitting a disused, forgotten storage greeted the trio of students.

Several worn art supplies, pieces of paintings thrown away by their original owners, and plaster statues once used for sketch exercises lay
discarded in this place.

“Hey, how many of these plaster statues were we supposed to take with us?”

“There are six of them here, so it must be six.”
“Argh, come on…. That means we have to come back here again.”

“Why don’t you carry four of them at the same time, then?”

The male students rolled their sleeves up in order to carry the plaster figures away. But then, the student picking up the dusty figure tucked
away at the deepest corner ended up discovering ‘something’ else.

“Uh?”

After hearing his surprised-sounding voice, his friends quickly walked over to take a look.

“Uh? Isn’t this….?”

There was a large ‘hole’ in the wall. It was a Gate about the size of an adult human. The biggest student among the trio smirked after
taking a look at the Gate.

“And here I was, wondering what was up.”

The male student pressed his hand on the surface of the Gate and carried on.

“A closed Gate like this one is safe. Only Hunters can go inside, and the things inside can’t come out, either.”

It was then.

Crack.

A crack suddenly formed on the surface of the Gate and at the same time, a ‘hand’ shot out to grab the head of the male student.

“Huh?”

The male student struggled fiercely to get out of the grip, but the hand didn’t even budge an inch.

And then…

Kwajeeck-!!

Accompanying the sound of a hard surface of a fruit shattering into pieces, blood splattered all over the dust-filled storage.

“Euh, euwaaaahk?!”

“Joon-Seok-ah!!”
And, as the two blood-soaked male students screamed out, the black ‘curtain’ covering up the entrance of the Gate shattered like glass,
and the monsters trapped inside began pouring out.

FIN SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 138

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 136

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 136

“Hyung-nim, I heard that it might be difficult for us to get the permit for the Gate that appeared yesterday.”

The first thing that the chairman of the Knight Order Guild, Park Jong-Su, did after arriving for work was to harden his expression.

“What was that?”

The Vice-Chair Jeong Yun-Tae hurriedly explained himself.

“The result from the Association folks measuring that thing apparently came out higher than they expected.”

“What, it’s a rank S?!”

“No, not that. They say it’s a rank A, but right at the top of the scale.”

“Gimme a freaking break, man. Really now.”

If it was a rank S Gate, then they could have given up on it without hesitation. The Knight Order Guild didn’t have a single rank S Hunter in
their midst, so it wouldn’t make much sense for them to attempt clearing a rank S Gate, after all.

Just like back in the Jeju Island raid, the Association would have to summon every rank S Hunters in the country just to deal with such a
Gate.

However, the story would change drastically if the magic energy emission measurement came out to be rank ‘A’. The Knight Order Guild
would be ridiculed for being unable to deal with a rank A Gate, even though they were supposed to be one of the five major Guilds in
South Korea.

Their already thinning presence could become even more invisible at this rate.

“Hyung-nim, what will you do?”

“Not sure yet.”
“If we don’t get involved, then the folks from the Shining Star would definitely show up….”

The Shining Star Guild from the district of Honam. Fine blood vessels bulged within Park Jong-Su’s eyes when he heard that name.

“You want to gift that big Gate hovering right in front of our house to the hands of Mah Dong-Wook?!”

“No, I’m just saying, hyung-nim.”

“I won’t let that happen, even over my dead body.”

“Then, you wanna take it on, hyung-nim?”

The previously-agitated Park Jong-Su suddenly closed his mouth shut.

His reaction was obvious, though. Just one word from him would decide the fate of not just him, but the rest of the raid team members, as
well. Even if he was agitated, he shouldn’t mutter whatever he felt like.

A migraine crept into Park Jong-Su’s head.

‘The rank A Hunters in my Guild can stand toe to toe with the rank As from other large Guilds.’

No, if one were to consider the number or the overall quality of the rank As in the Knight Order’s roster, then his outfit easily equalled the
best Guild in South Korea, the Hunters.

The only issue was to do with the lack of rank S Hunters.

Because they didn’t have any rank S Hunters in their roster, the Knight Order was in real danger of being kicked out of the so-called five
major Guild of South Korea.

For the same reason, the elites of Knight Order were more than good enough to deal with regular rank A Gates. However, if it was a Gate
measured to be at the top end of the rank A spectrum, then as they didn’t have a rank S Hunter, the Knight Order had to risk the lives of
their raid team members when attempting to clear it.

Even though it was rated nominally at rank A, the difficulty of clearing such a dungeon would be a lot closer to a rank S in reality. The
Hunter’s Association also knew of the dangers, and that was why they hadn’t decided on whether to issue the raid permit or not to the
Knight Order.

‘……..’

As Park Jong-Su’s silent deliberation grew lengthier, Jeong Yun-Tae cautiously voiced his opinion to his boss.

“Hyung-nim. If that thing turns out to be a Red Gate, then we’ll all die for sure.”
“I’m sure we will.”

It was already tough trying to deal with the highest-rated rank A Gate, but if it were to morph into a dang Red Gate? Even thinking about
that horrified him.

If lady luck was on their side, half of the team would survive. If not, the whole of the raid team, including himself, would perish inside the
dungeon.

‘If I think about it objectively, then I should give up on this one.’

But then again, he should consider the fate of the Knight Order as good as finished if the story of them giving up on a rank A Gate gets
around. Just which newbie would want to join a Guild that didn’t have a single rank S Hunter, and couldn’t even deal with a rank A Gate?

“In that case, hyung-nim, how about forming an alliance with another Guild?”

Park Jong-Su shook his head.

“Who’d wanna form an alliance with us when they already know we can’t go at it alone and need help?”

Especially when they monopolise everything a rank A Gate could offer if the Knight Order was removed from the picture altogether? And,
even if they formed an alliance, it’d prove to be problematic, still.

‘It’s the same as us walking around advertising our incompetence.’

Deep frowns of worry drew upon their faces. It was then.

“If allying with another Guild is a problem, then how about working with a freelancer?”

The two men’s heads snapped in unison towards the direction of the woman’s voice, coming from their side. It was from the rank A Healer
charged with mending the elite raid team, Jeong Ye-Rim.

A Healer was given a lot of say in the matters of a raid. And if that Healer just so happened to be a rank A possessing various skills, then
there was no need to even mention that.

However, as the fate of the Knight Order Guild was hanging in the balance here, Park Jong-Su couldn’t easily hide his troubled
expression.

“We want to go inside the hardest rank A Gate, so how could a single freelancer help…”

But then, Park Jong-Su stopped his words right there.

‘Ah!!’
Because, he just remembered a certain someone in the middle of his own speech. A man capable of sweeping away rank S monsters all
alone, never mind rank As!

Unable to suppress his excitement anymore, Park Jong-Su shot up from his seat.

‘If Mister Seong Jin-Woo joins us, then….!’

That man easily brushed off a monster that the combined might of the Korean rank S Hunters couldn’t do anything about. If he chose to
participate, then the safety of the raid team members was as good as 100% guaranteed. And, was that all?

They could also avoid the ignominy of having to borrow another Guild’s power to clear a rank A Gate, too.

‘On the contrary, the fame of the Knight Order would increase, instead.’

Allying with the best Hunter in the country to complete a raid would not negatively affect the Guild in any shape or form.

The guaranteed safety of the team members, as well as a boost to the honour of the Knight Order Guild itself – this was a wonderful way
to catch two birds with one stone.

Feeling really excited now, Park Jong-Su spoke with an eager voice.

“What is Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim doing right now?”

Both Jeong Ye-Rim, who originally came up with the idea, and Jeong Yun-Tae quietly listening from the side, shook their heads.

“Since he cleared the Gate appearing in the middle of the road not too long ago, he’s gone pretty quiet nowadays.”

Jeong Yun-Tae recalled seeing Seong Jin-Woo on one of the TV news broadcasts recently, and pulled his phone out.

“Should I find out the contact number for Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim, hyung-nim?”

“No, don’t bother. Put your phone down.”

“Eh?”

“Do you think you should try to solve something this important over a phone call? No, we gotta meet up with him and discuss it face to
face.”

“Aha!”

Jeong Yun-Tae agreed with that opinion immediately, and Park Jong-Su continued on with a smile.
“Let’s go up north.”

***

That evening.

Cha Hae-In was lying on her bed with sheets pulled right up over her head. But she was writhing around in great distress at the moment.

‘Why did I go and say, I think so?! Just why!!’

Wasn’t that the exact same thing as confessing?!

She wildly kicked the sheets away, and finally stopped moving only after a thought popped up into her head out of the blue.

‘Then…..’

How was she to decipher Mister Seong Jin-Woo’s reply, then?

[“In that case, isn’t there a better way than to join my Guild?”]

She wanted to quickly escape from that situation and told him that she’d think about it before leaving in a hurry, but simply from recalling
that moment caused such distress that her thought process ground to a complete halt almost immediately.

Blush.

Her face blushed from the memories she remembered yet again.

Back when she looked into the maddened eyes of the enlarged summoned creature, she predicted her unavoidable death. She felt
absolute terror. This was the fate of the prey.

Cha Hae-In even squeezed her eyes shut as ten claws descended upon her from both sides. But, then….

She felt the warmth coming from her back. At the same time, a familiar scent gently wrapped all around her.

‘Ah….’

Cha Hae-In cautiously opened her eyes and looked behind her. And she found Jin-Woo standing there, busy glaring with angry eyes at the
summoned creature while stopping the claws with his bare hands.

It was true that her heart skipped a beat in that moment.

But then….
[“Are you perhaps interested in me?”]

Wasn’t it patently unfair to ask a question like that in that sort of a situation?!

‘No, wait.’

Cha Hae-In shook her head hard as if to shake off all the distracting thoughts. Even if he asked her like that, she shouldn’t have answered
him truthfully.

‘He might start seeing me as a strange person, after all.’

Even though she knew she shouldn’t, her lips parted on their own.

Maybe because her mind felt more relaxed when she was around Hunter Seong Jin-Woo, she ended up revealing a side to him that she
always kept hidden. It was as if she wasn’t herself anymore.

‘….As if I wasn’t myself?’

Those words sounded rather familiar for some reason.

Where could it have been from? She could vaguely remember hearing a similar expression from somewhere.

It was then – a piece of memory once erased from her mind brushed past her brain.

– ….Please, pass it on.

Cha Hae-In quickly bolted upright.

‘…..!!’

She finally recalled that voice, a voice that seemed to slowly fade away to the other side, just like a waking dream. Even though it couldn’t
have been that long ago.

– ….Please, pass this message on.

‘I, I….’

Cha Hae-In did her very best to remember the contents of the voice as well as the owner of it. The full scope of the memory, blurry and
indistinct as if a thick veil of fog was covering it, slowly regained its former glory.

– ….Please, pass on the message that he needs to be wary.
‘….I met with Hunter Min Byung-Gu.’

Back when she lost her consciousness and was being dragged into the endless void, Hunter Min Byung-Gu appeared out of nowhere and
pulled her back by her wrist. She felt momentarily displeased from her peaceful rest being interrupted back then.

She remembered being puzzled by the black armour covering the entirety of Hunter Min Byung-Gu. Only his face was visible outwardly.

Even that face seemed quite sad for some reason, which was unlike his usual self.

As the memories of those moments slowly crept back into her mind, Cha Hae-In felt a chill run down her spine.

Hunter Min Byung-Gu spoke to her, his expression barely holding back his tears.

– To Hunter Seong Jin-Woo….

‘To Hunter Seong Jin-Woo, what….?’

– Please pass on the message that he needs to be wary of the power he possesses.

***

After ending the shower, Jin-Woo stood before the bathroom window.

‘Hmm….’

He sure looked okay from where he was standing, but….

But, to think that he was so good looking that a beauty like Cha Hae-In felt enough interest to try switching Guilds!

‘Am I really that good looking?’

Jin-Woo peered deeper into the mirror. And a smirk leaked out of his mouth. He wasn’t planning to drown in narcissism even if no one told
him to.

He was confident of only one thing about himself, and that would be….

….That would be his taut muscles, getting progressively firmer through repeated daily quest routines, as well as his height that suddenly
grew up much higher than before, probably due to the influence of the System. That was about it. Meaning, all he had was his body and
not much else.

As for his face…. Well, minus his sharper than normal eyes, wouldn’t it be on the level of an average man commonly seen on the streets?
It was at this point that he noticed something.

‘Hold on.’

Jin-Woo’s expression became serious as he stared into the mirror. He leaned his head slightly to the side, and took an even closer look
than before. The Jin-Woo of the mirror’s reflection and the Jin-Woo of reality stared at each other for a long while.

‘Uh?’

A strange light flickered in Jin-Woo’s eyes. His gaze swept all over his face. And as he thought…

He really did change.

Those small scars, spots and nicks that couldn’t be seen normally and needed to be looked at really close, had all disappeared from his
face even before he had time to notice it.

‘Is this because of the ‘Will to Recover’ buff?’

One of the buff effects he got as the reward for becoming a Player said that ‘all his damaged body parts would be recovered back to their
original state’.

This buff even managed to regenerate the leg that got cut off by one of the stone statues, too. So, it wouldn’t be so strange for those little
skin damages to be healed completely, as well. However, what really came across as mystifying was….

‘….I think I’ve actually grown younger?’

He was originally in the middle of his twenties. But the him in the mirror looked two, three years younger, in his early twenties. Now that
was a surprising thing.

The magical energy apparently could delay the ageing process of the Awakened to a certain degree, so could this be a similar effect to
that?

‘Gimme a break….’

Jin-Woo thought that it was a funny notion for a grown man to stare at himself in the mirror like this, so he decided to leave the bathroom.
With excellent timing, his younger sister also emerged from her bedroom, and the siblings got to have a brief reunion in the living room.

Jin-Woo grinned and called out to Jin-Ah.

“Hey, sis?”
“Ng?”

“How do I look to you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like, my appeal as a man.”

“Huh??”

Jin-Ah furrowed her brows.

“And where did you find your baseless confidence from? Because, you’re still the same stay-at-home oppa in my eyes, you know?”

“Alright, thanks for that.”

Jin-Woo grinned and pinched her cheek lightly, and she too threw a rather sharp kick to his shin as a retaliation. Of course, the one
jumping around in pain was Jin-Ah.

“You forgot what kind of a person your oppa was? Can you even study properly with that head of yours?”

“What was that?”

Jin-Ah pouted and narrowed her eyes at him.

“I was ranked first place in the mock test in the entire school, I’ll have you know.”

Jin-Woo really enjoyed his sister’s reaction and had a hard time swallowing back his laughter.

One of the best things about having your family around was that, even if you changed, they still treated you the same with exactly the
same attitude as before.

Jin-Woo used the towel to rub his wet hair and walked past Jin-Ah.

“Work hard.”

“You too, oppa.”

Just before he slipped into his room, though, he remembered something and looked behind him.

“Ah, right. I’m thinking of creating a Guild soon.”
“Ohhh!”

Jin-Ah’s expression brightly and her eyes sparkled brilliantly as well.

“Oppa, are you going to be called a ‘chairman’ from now on, too?”

“If it all works out.”

“What’s the name of the Guild?”

“That’s what I wanted to hear your opinion on.”

“Oh! What is it? What is it??”

Jin-Woo cautiously asked his little sister busy looking at him with eyes full of expectations.

“What do you think of ‘Solo Play’ Guild?”

FIN SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 136

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 135

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 135

Beru was the first to make his move. His Sovereign had given him only one order.

‘Defeat the enemy without harming her.’

Beru once stood at the peak of his species, and he knew what the best method to perfectly fulfil that order was. And that would be this:
Make the opponent lose her will to fight by imprinting the clear gap in power between them in her mind.

Paht!

Beru disappeared from Cha Hae-In’s view the moment he moved, before reappearing right in front of her nose even before she had the
chance to realise it.

“…!!”

Cha Hae-In’s animal-like instinct kicked in even as the astonishment at Beru’s speed nearly overwhelmed her, and she swung her sword
at her opponent. She followed that up with dozens more.

However, Beru stood in the spot and evaded all of her attacks without taking a single step.

It was a precise movement that eliminated all necessary motion. He was so bloody quick that afterimages were left behind in his wake.
This was the display of an unbridgeable gap in their power levels.

‘This is impossible!’

Cha Hae-In’s eyes shook hard every time she missed.

‘It can dodge all my attacks at such a close distance without moving its legs once?’

Just one more time!

She took aim at the neck of her opponent and took a swing, but the creature lightly evaded it by leaning back slightly. No matter where she
attacked from, or how she changed her attacks, her opponent easily dodged them all.
‘How can this be….?!’

This thing wasn’t even alive anymore. This thing was a summon borrowing the powers of the dead monster, so how could it still be this
strong?

And also….

‘Mister Seong Jin-Woo, who can freely control such a summon, just what…..’

Cha Hae-In’s movements became a tad dull from the vague fear invading her, and Beru seized upon this opportunity to smack her
incoming sword away with the back of his hand. And then, pressed his face closer to hers.

Cha Hae-In froze up on the spot as the stench of death blew right into her face.

‘This is the end.’

She inadvertently gasped out the moment those huge mandibles filled up her view.

“Ah!”

However, the creature didn’t crush her head by snapping shut its maws but instead, chose to screech out loudly right in front of her face.

“Kiiiieeeeehhhk!!”

She was knocked away ungainly from the screech containing his magical energy.

“Kyahk!”

Jin-Woo grimaced while watching that. Indeed, there was no way he’d start enjoying the sight of someone else getting knocked around
one-sidedly like this.

However, she stood back up again and fixed the grip on the sword as if to show that she wasn’t giving up at all. Jin-Woo tilted his head.

‘What is she trying to do?’

The Cha Hae-In he knew wasn’t a low-class Hunter who didn’t want to accept the difference between her and her opponent even after
confirming the truth with her own eyes.

‘And she’s definitely not reckless enough to keep attacking when she knows of the gap, too.’

In that case, could she still be in possession of one more card up her sleeve?
‘Whatever it is, I hope she’s not making an incorrect call.’

Jin-Woo was mentally linked with Beru, so he could feel how much his soldier was suppressing its killing intent at the moment. On the
other hand, Cha Ha-In’s will remained unyielding, even though she found herself in an absolutely disadvantageous position.

He was getting a bad premonition here. Jin-Woo’s expression became even more serious as he watched the two of them.

‘…..?’

On the hand, Beru had failed to understand Cha Ha-In’s decision.

He had displayed their overwhelming gap in power several times by now. So, why hadn’t she stop her challenges yet?

The former king of ants, a being who lorded over others at the apex of the food chain, was beginning to get displeased by the human
female’s stubbornness. The basis of his anger stemmed from the past memory of him being a ruler.

‘How dare…..’

The moment Beru made up his mind, he arrived before Cha Hae-In in the blink of an eye. He then pressed his face closer to glare straight
into her eyes.

Any lifeform still breathing would’ve immediately realised who was the predator and the prey in this situation just from their gazes meeting
like this. It would be a warning from one’s primal instinct.

Beru planned to awaken that instinct of his opponent and make her lose her will to fight in that manner, but unfortunately, his ploy wasn’t
as effective as he thought.

Just as Jin-Woo had predicted, Cha Hae-In still held one last trump card to fall back on.

The skill, ‘Sword Dance’, one she was most proficient in wielding. Her movements sped up as if she was performing a deadly dance, and
the tip of her sword drew splendid arcs in the air.

Paht! Paht! Paht!

Too bad….

Beru used his claws to easily defend against all those smoothly flowing attacks that had no interruptions in between. At the end of the
barrage, his expression crumpled unsightly.

‘No more playing around.’

Beru snatched the sword flying at him with his bare hand and crushed it.
Kwajeeck!!

She only had half a sword left, but rather than falling into despair, her glare became icy cold, instead.

‘I have only one last chance!’

Every single drop of magic energy in her was poured into the broken sword to activate her skill, ‘Blade of Light’.

The magic energy expenditure for this skill was far too great and she could only use it as the final hurrah. And for the first time during this
fight, she revealed it in its full glory.

The blade of light shone brilliantly.

Beru had lowered his guard for a moment after breaking her sword, and she used that opening to jump into his front and stabbed the blade
of light forward.

Jin-Woo’s eyes widened.

‘Nooo!’

Of course, he wasn’t worried about Beru. Utterly disregarding his worries, the blade glowing in golden light pierced deeply into Beru’s
tummy.

“Kiiieehhk-!!”

In that brief moment, Beru’s mind spun quickly.

‘This woman is an enemy.’

It’d not be a problem for him to die. However, if he fell here, then this woman’s sword would point towards his Sovereign next.

It was then.

An instinct buried deep within all Shadow Soldiers’ psyche, one designed to activate in times of great distress and override everything
else, wiggled back into life.

– “Protect the Sovereign!”

In that moment, inside of Beru’s head blanked out into a ‘reset’ state and the order Jin-Woo gave him, ‘defeat the enemy without harming
her’ was wiped away completely.

Beru transformed into a terrifying monster in order to protect Jin-Woo. His body ballooned up to a giant proportions. His mandibles split
wide open as if he was getting ready to chew on steel, and finally, his claws extended out to resemble a group of sharp blades!

“Stop!!”

Beru finished getting ready to rip apart his owner’s enemy, and swung all ten of his claws and their sharp edges at his target.

Swish-!!

Just before all ten blades reached Cha Hae-In….

Grab!

Jin-Woo managed to make it just in time.

“….I told you to stop, didn’t I?”

Jin-Woo stopped both sets of Beru’s claws with his bare hands and began glaring at his soldier. Beru met that enraged glare and began
shuddering. He quickly leapt back and, while not even bothering to pull that sword of light from his midriff, prostrated flat on the ground and
begged for forgiveness.

“Oh, oh my king. Mercy…..”

Jin-Woo knew what this guy was thinking of the moment he was about to act. Hell, the singular thought of ‘Protect the Sovereign’ was
ringing really loud inside his head, too.

‘……..’

Jin-Woo glared at Beru for a little while, before shifting his gaze away.

Plop.

Cha Hae-In was completely spent and, unable to stand any longer, plopped down to the ground. She knew that she just came face to face
with death again during that brief moment.

“Are you alright?”

Jin-Woo walked closer. She was trying to push herself back up, but gave up in the end and, while keeping her gaze rooted to the floor,
nodded her head.

“I am fine.”

‘Fine, my foot.’
Jin-Woo supported her up and asked.

“Why were you pushing yourself that hard? I mean, you shouldn’t have any reasons to enter my Guild while putting yourself through a
wringer like this, right?”

“…..”

Indeed, this was supposed to be a simple test. More than that, this was a ‘test’ he cooked up to reject her tactfully. But, to think, she’d be
this obsessed about winning, even to the extent of using such a dangerous skill, too.

This couldn’t be chalked up to her desire to win at all costs. That was why….

“Could it be…..”

….Jin-Woo cautiously asked her, so as to not damage her ego.

“Are you perhaps interested in me?”

“Excuse me??”

Cha Hae-In got flustered and formed a dazed expression of someone getting hit in the back of her head. Jin-Woo tilted his head.

‘That wasn’t it, either?’

But then, Cha Hae-In carefully reorganised her thoughts and corrected her answer.

“….Yes, I think so.”

***

Within the United States’ Hunter Bureau.

The director was feeling rather unhappy after receiving the news of Hunter Seong Jin-Woo’s recruitment ending in failure. Instead of
getting a report, he summoned the deputy director to the conference chamber.

The deputy director brought Madam Selner with him.

“Explain what happened back there.”

The director asked even before they had the chance to sit down. This was the first time since the founding of the Hunter Bureau that their
scouting offer, accompanied by Madam Selner no less, had been rejected by the subject.
The deputy stood up with a darkened expression and lowered his head.

“I’m truly sorry, sir.”

“I didn’t call you here for your apologies, Michael.”

The director pressed a certain button, and all the glass walls were covered up and the exit was locked tight. The interior had become
perfectly soundproof.

In order to prevent the leakage of information, all matters pertaining to Madam Selner were never discussed over the phone or through
emails. That was why the director was still unaware of what went down in South Korea until now.

“Now, please explain to me what happened.”

The deputy director glanced at Madam Selner for a moment or two. She slowly nodded her head, and only then did the deputy open his
tightly-shut lips once more.

“Madam Selner was able to ‘observe’ Hunter Seong Jin-Woo.”

“What was the result?”

The director knew how her power operated, so the result of her ‘observation’ was as important as the result of the ‘recruitment’ itself.

“Hunter Seong Jin-Woo is….”

The deputy licked his dried-up lips from tension and continued on.

“….Is apparently one of the ‘kings’.”

“What?!”

The director jumped up from his seat.

Of all the powerful Hunters she had met over the years, she described only three people as ‘kings’. And all three of them were powerful
enough to shake the world by the scruff of its neck, too.

Quite literally, they were the zenith of Hunters! And the man named Seong Jin-Woo had to be included in that list now, as well.

The director shifted his gaze over to Madam Selner and asked her.

“Does that mean Hunter Seong Jin-Woo possesses the level of power equal to other Special Authority-rank Hunters?”
Strangely enough, she promptly shook her head.

“Excuse me?”

Frowns formed on the director’s forehead.

The deputy could amply understand how his boss must be feeling right about now. He, too, had displayed a similar reaction back when he
heard the exact same answer, after all.

Madam Selner let out a long sigh.

“Looks like… I’ll have to explain myself a little.”

Her talk began from those words.

“First of all…. I’ll assume that both of you know just what kind of an ability I possess.”

The director and his deputy both nodded their heads simultaneously. The former spoke first.

“You said that the Awakened are people connected to the powers of the ‘other side’.”

By staring into the eyes of the Awakened, Madam Selner could sense the ‘passageway’ connecting said Awakened to the other side.

However, she said that there were certain Awakened who were receiving so much incredible power from the ‘other side’ that it ends up
resembling a blinding flood of light, instead.

These were precisely the ‘kings’ she talked about.

“So, what is different about Hunter Seong Jin-Woo, then?”

“He doesn’t have a passageway.”

Madam shivered in fear again.

“When I looked into his eyes, the darkness within him was staring back at me. Oh, my god. He was the darkness itself.”

The deputy director refuted this immediately.

“But, he has helped out a lot of people during his tenure as a Hunter, and I can’t see him as someone as evil as you describe him to be….”

If Hunter Seong Jin-Woo was indeed a vicious, evil individual, he’d have immediately killed the two agents who pointed guns at him where
they stood. However, he just let that slide without caring too much about it.
Madam shook her head.

“I wasn’t talking about whether Hunter Seong Jin-Woo was a good or evil man, deputy director.”

The light shining in her eyes was determined.

“No, I’m talking about the origin of his power.”

The director had been listening to her with his hands pressed below his chin until then, but he finally raised his voice.

“There’s no mistaking that he’s a powerful Hunter, yes?”

Madam nodded her head.

“Hunter Seong Jin-Woo, he’s not borrowing someone else’s power. He only relies on the power residing within him, so he’s not restricted
by the passageway. Which means…..”

“There’s no limit to his power…..”

The deputy director muttered absently before breaking into an abrupt shudder. He couldn’t even begin to imagine how absurd the level of
power gushing out without any limit could potentially be.

The director fell into a deep thought after he heard both of his guests. And a short while later, he nodded his head, evidently having made
his mind up over something.

“Madam, thank you for your hard work.”

After seeing Madam Selner off, the director headed down to the underground floors of the Hunter Bureau with his deputy in tow.

“Director, where are we going?”

“Ninth basement floor.”

“Isn’t that where we store old records?”

“We have something else secured there besides the records.”

The director watched as the number on the elevator’s display panel steadily decrease and continued on.

“If we can’t rely on Madam Selner’s power, then we should use a different method to bring him in.”
That man was still so young. And he possessed unfathomable power.

If Hunter Seong Jin-Woo indeed possessed incredible power just as Madam Selner had eluded to, then it no longer mattered whether that
was the power of light or the power of darkness.

A knife you picked up to protect yourself would look like a deadly weapon from someone else’s perspective. And the director wanted to
possess the knife called Seong Jin-Woo.

They arrived at their destination, and while unlocking a series of electronic door locks, steadily walked deeper into the ninth underground
floor. A few Bureau agents greeted them as they walked past, but the director didn’t even spare a single glance.

“Do you still recall the very first rank S Gate ever to appear?”

“Of course.”

How could anyone forget the worst dungeon break in history that destroyed a portion of the Western United States?

The American government summoned in the world’s most powerful Hunters with an unbelievably huge amount of reward on offer, and
eventually, they succeeded in killing the boss-level monster that emerged from that rank S Gate.

However, only five survived that encounter. Meaning, just a single monster managed to kill dozens of the best Hunters out there. Without
their sacrifice, the nation of the United States of America might have ceased to exist altogether.

That was why the American government bestowed the five remaining saviours the rights equalling that of the country itself, and that’s
where the term ‘Special Authority-rank’ originated from.

The director mouthed the name of the monster that brought upon one of the worst tragedies in the history of mankind.

“Kamish the Dragon….”

Didn’t the Mage-type Hunters say that ‘Kamish’ meant an undying flame?

They entered the deepest room on the floor, and the director opened the safe found in there. And that’s when a single Rune Stone, under
a heavy guard and being monitored constantly, revealed itself.

The deputy director flinched in surprise.

“In that case, could that thing be….?”

“Your guess is correct.”

The director placed his hand on top of the reinforced glass shielding the Rune Stone and formed a smile.
“This Rune Stone came out from that Kamish’s corpse.”

Two of the Special Authority-rank Hunters settled down in the US after the end of the Kamish raid. In a way, they were the gifts that
Kamish managed to deliver to the US.

To avoid another calamity like this, the Americans established the Hunter Bureau and focused all their might on improving the strengths of
the Hunters. Around eight years passed by since then.

Simply because no Mage-type Hunters were among the surviving Special Authority-rank Hunters, Kamish’s Rune Stone was tucked away
in this cold underground storage beneath the Hunter Bureau, waiting for a new owner to come along.

The director formed a meaningful smile as he peered into the glass case.

“Kamish will present us with yet another invaluable gift to our beautiful country very soon.”

FIN SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 135

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 134

SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 134

The moment the ground disappeared and they got sucked into the shadow, Jin-Woo looked at Cha Hae-In falling together at the same
time.

‘As I thought….’

His expectation was on the money.

He wondered if the skill ‘Shadow Exchange’ worked in this manner while using it a few times in the past, and he was right.

The identity of the skill ‘Shadow Exchange’ was actually a ‘Gate’. That theory was proven correct when Cha Hae-In travelled alongside him
through the shadow.

‘The entrance is generated below my feet, and the exit is where the determined coordinates are.’

And those coordinates would be the location of a Shadow Soldier.

Even though there was a limitation of the three-hour-long cooldown time, he was still able to create a Gate with this skill. If he wanted to,
then wouldn’t it be possible for him to move to the other side of the planet every three hours? Jin-Woo unconsciously swallowed his saliva.

But, his stunned state lasted only for a brief while longer.

His view covered up by the inky darkness reverted back to normal almost right away. And the two of them found themselves inside the
Association’s gymnasium.

The last time he came here, Jin-Woo left behind a shadow just in case he found himself in an urgent need to visit the Association.

Ting! Ting! Ting! Ting!

The overhead lighting system sensed the magic energy from them and the bulbs came on one by one, brightly illuminating the
gymnasium’s interior. Cha Hae-In opened her eyes after sensing the brightness through her closed eyelids.

“But, how…..?!”
Her brows shot up as she failed to hide her astonishment. They were already in a familiar place.

She sensed only about one second passing by, yet the surroundings were completely different when she opened her eyes.

‘How is this even possible?!’

She had never heard of such a skill existing in the world. Cha Hae-In looked around in utter amazement before shifting her gaze back to
Jin-Woo.

“You…..”

She had so, so many things she wanted to ask, but in the end, she couldn’t open her lips to voice any of them.

The first reason for that was because she didn’t even know just where to start her questions, and secondly, their distance was far, far too
close for a spot of civilised conversation.

“It’s safe now, so….”

Jin-Woo lightly grasped her wrists and unwrapped her arms around his waist.

“….You don’t have to hold on to me anymore.”

Nod, nod.

Cha Hae-In lightly rubbed her wrists he had grasped and wordlessly nodded her head.

“Okay. Let’s get started.”

Jin-Woo walked out of the corner the High Orc Shadow Soldier was probably hiding in, and strode towards the centre of the gymnasium.

“Alright.”

She too followed behind him only to remember that she left her sword back in her car. Although a weapon was an indispensable tool for
her trade, it would be quite rude to visit someone else’s office fully armed, now wouldn’t it?

Cha Hae-In quickly spoke to him.

“I left my weapon back in my car…..”

“Oh, you mean that pickaxe?”

“Excuse me?”
“You know, the one you were carrying around back in the rank A dungeon with High Orcs in it.”

Her face reddened as soon as she remembered a small detail she’d been wanting to forget.

“N-no, my weapon is….”

She then spotted Jin-Woo giggling to himself, and belatedly realised that he was teasing her just now.

“….”

Jin-Woo waved his hand after seeing Cha Hae-In’s reddened complexion.

“I was just joking with you.”

Time to stop kidding around, however.

‘Seriously, though. What should I do?’

Even if it was Cha Hae-In, she wouldn’t be able to fight against the soldier he was planning to summon out. Of course, he wanted his
soldier to win, but that didn’t mean he wanted to see her get hurt, either.

“It’ll be fine.”

Cha Hae-In shifted her gaze towards the storage located within the gymnasium.

“I’m sure there will be a weapon I can borrow in the storage.”

‘Oho.’

A light gleamed within Jin-Woo’s eyes after learning of something new. She walked up to the storage and diagonally swiped her Hunter
licence on the electronic lock found on the side of the door.

That prompted the storage door to automatically slide open.

Rows of not-too-shabby-looking spare weapons were displayed inside the storage. Looking into the interior from a bit of distance away,
Jin-Woo was inwardly impressed by the preparedness of the Hunter’s Association.

‘So, there was even stuff like this inside the Association….’

He wondered where all those high taxes Hunters had to fork out over the years ended up, but it looked like they were being put to good
use. Cha Hae-In scanned the displayed items before picking up a sword similar in length to the one she’d been using and exited from the
storage.

“I’m ready.”

“Will that be fine? It’s not a sword you’ve been using before, so wouldn’t it feel off in your hands?”

Cha Hae-In shook her head.

“It doesn’t really matter what weapon it is. Monsters don’t care about what weapons Hunters are wielding when they fight us, after all.”

Those were some wise words.

Jin-Woo carried the same opinion as her, so he didn’t argue with her there. At the very least, he found her straightforwardness rather
likeable.

‘So, calling out my soldier is next, right?’

As if to prove that she wasn’t joking about being ready, a sharp, focused aura oozed out of her. Against someone like her, any ol’ regular
soldier would be sliced up into tiny pieces in no time.

That’s why, Jin-Woo called for the best card he could bring out under the current circumstances.

‘Come out.’

A small portion separated from Jin-Woo’s shadow and moved away a couple of steps from him. Then a black knight rose up from the
unmoving shadow.

The jet-black armour and the helm; the red plumage attached to the helm, extending all the way down to his waist. The best sword-
wielding Shadow Soldier in his army. It was Igrit.

‘I told her that I’d be summoning the most powerful guy out, but…’

But, he thought that calling out Beru was a bit too much. Before he was turned into a Shadow Soldier, Beru was the terrifying creature that
nearly drowned the entirety of Korean team members in the pit of pure terror. Hell, even Cha Hae-In herself almost died from his attack,
too.

Jin-Woo couldn’t bring Beru out when considering the potential mental shock she could suffer after seeing him again.

As for Fangs, he might end up destroying the gymnasium, so he was excluded. That’s why he chose Igrit.

‘Yup, at the end of the day, it can only be you.’
Jin-Woo knew he made the right call when looking at the wide, dependable back of Igrit. But then…..

“Mister Seong Jin-Woo.”

Jin-Woo shifted his gaze over to Cha Hae-In.

“What are the conditions for victory and defeat?”

When he heard her icy voice that was cold enough to instantly freeze the listener’s heart, his belief began wavering somewhat. Jin-Woo
pondered a bit before making his reply.

“Either my summon is destroyed, or Cha Hunter-nim admits defeat first.”

Nod.

Cha Hae-In briefly nodded her head. Then, unsheathed the sword she got from the storage.

She was only holding a simple, plain magic sword one could buy pretty much anywhere, but even then, the aura oozing out of her was still
quite incredible to behold.

‘Yup, she’s definitely strong.’

Jin-Woo could sense it. Her surging aura, after she decided to get serious, was definitely fitting for a woman whose skills were rated as the
best even among the rank S Hunters.

Igrit also unsheathed his sword. As a matter of fact, he was now holding a longsword each in his hands. Even then, Jin-Woo couldn’t help
but think that Igrit would be defeated by her at this rate.

But then…..

‘Wait a sec…. Didn’t she say that it doesn’t really matter what weapon it was, right?’

Jin-Woo recalled what she said just now and a smile floated up on his lips as he asked her for a small favour.

“Can you turn around for a second, please?”

“…..?”

Cha Hae-In tilted her head for a bit, but didn’t complain and turned around as he asked. Using that gap, Jin-Woo summoned the ‘Demon
King’s Longsword’ out of his Inventory and handed it over to Igrit.

‘Use this.’
By saying that she didn’t mind what weapon she used, it could also be interpreted as she didn’t mind what weapon her opponent was
using.

Having been bestowed a sword straight from his sovereign, Igrit tried to kneel down to express his profound gratitude, but Jin-Woo quickly
stopped him.

‘I’m telling you, you don’t have to stand on ceremony all the time, you know?’

If only Iron could learn half of Igrit’s attitude….

In any case, the preparation was done, so Jin-Woo called out to Cha Hae-In again.

“It’s fine now.”

She turned around and spotted Igit now holding a brand new sword that crackled with blue arcs of electricity. Which he clearly wasn’t
holding a minute ago.

“……..”

“Will it be fine if we start now?”

Jin-Woo pretended to not notice anything and asked her if she was good to go.

“….Yes.”

Cha Hae-In, having already agreed to do this, could only say yes again with a begrudging expression.

“Okay then, begin.”

Soon after Jin-Woo signalled the beginning, Igrit swung the ‘Demon King’s Longsword’ to activate its passive ability as his opening attack.

Crack!

A strand of lightning flew in a straight line at Cha Hae-In. She flinched for the briefest of brief moments. But then, like an agile cat, she bent
her upper body back and evaded the lightning.

Crackle!!

The wall of the gymnasium was scorched jet-black after getting struck by the stray lightning.

Shudder.
Cha Hae-In righted her torso and sent her sharp glare in Jin-Woo’s direction, but he averted his gaze to stare into the distance, still
pretending to not notice a thing.

‘……..’

Without saying anything, Cha Hae-In gripped the sword tighter in her hands.

It was right then. Igrit rushed towards her at a frightening pace from her front to heed his Sovereign’s order to bring her down. However,
she didn’t even blink once and also flung herself forward towards her opponent.

***

The office of the Association President, located on the top floor of the main building.

One could clearly see not just other Association buildings but the surrounding scenery when sitting inside this office.

‘Mm?’

The Association President was in the middle of going through a report, but then, his gaze abruptly shifted over to the window. There
should have been no one inside the gymnasium, but the lights there came on just now.

Goh Gun-Hui tilted his head slightly, before picking up his phone to speak to his PA.

– “Yes, sir?”

“Did someone book out the gymnasium today?”

– “….Sir, I confirmed and no one has booked it today.”

“Is that so?”

Goh Gun-Hui covered the phone’s receiver and organised his thoughts for a bit, before speaking to his subordinate again.

“Can you send the CCTV feed from the gymnasium into my office?”

– “Yes, sir. Please hold on.”

Shortly thereafter, the live feed was displayed on the giant TV occupying the entire wall of his office. And that’s when he got to see Seong
Jin-Woo and Cha Hae-In hugging each other inside the gymnasium.

“….Keu-hum.”
Stunned by what he saw, Goh Gun-Hui hurriedly coughed to clear his throat. He looked over and over again, but it was definitely those
two. He then tilted his head again.

‘Did those two people have such a relationship?’

But then again, the very first person Hunter Cha Hae-In searched for when she regained consciousness briefly inside the helicopter was
none other than Hunter Seong Jin-Woo.

‘It seems that I was very slow on the uptake, huh.’

A content smile spread on Goh Gun-Hui’s face as he gazed at the two young people on the TV screen.

Both of them requested for their private information to be protected as soon as they got their rank S licences. Even then, there was not
one person in this country who didn’t know Cha Hae-In, or for that matter, Seong Jin-Woo.

So, if two such people wished to spend some quiet time together, there would be no better place than the Association’s gymnasium after
the closing time.

To think, they’d chose a gymnasium as their date venue, quite unlike the youths of today. What a wonderfully wholesome date this was.

Goh Gun-Hui maintained a heartwarming smile and shook his head wryly.

‘Yup, being young is indeed wonderful.’

He reached out to the resting phone’s receiver and picked it up once more.

“I’m sorry about this, but I want you to switch off all the CCTV feed coming from the gymnasium.”

– “Sir? But….”

“Just say that today was the maintenance day in the records.”

– “I understand, sir.”

The giant TV screen in the President’s office showing the CCTV feed switched off as soon as he ended the call. Goh Gun-Hui took one
last look at the gymnasium and returned to perusing the report, a grin still etched on his lips.

But, it was then.

RUMBLE…

The surface of the water in his cup vibrated softly as he sensed a minute tremor coming from the gymnasium’s direction.
“Huhuh.”

Goh Gun-Hui didn’t bother to look at the gymnasium and simply carried on smiling.

‘Indeed, being young is the best.’

***

‘This is…..’

Jin-Woo massaged his aching forehead.

It seemed that he had been greatly underestimating Cha Hae-In’s actual skills up until now. Igrit’s strength had been boosted overall by the
‘Demon King’s Longsword’, but in the end, he couldn’t win against her skills.

Right after Igrit’s left arm flew away from being cut, Jin-Woo ended this match.

“Stop!”

Even though they would regenerate back to full, he still couldn’t stand the sight of his soldiers getting destroyed.

“Fuu-.”

Cha Hae-In reined in her rough breathing and let out a long sigh. Her opponent must’ve been tougher than expected, because she was
soaked in sweat from head to toe. Her slender, white fingers wiped the droplets of sweat forming on her forehead.

Jin-Woo looked at that with a rueful expression, inwardly accepting his loss today, and called Igrit back.

“It’s my loss.”

Shururuk….

Igrit returned back inside his shadow. However, Cha Hae-In spoke directly to him, her hands not letting go of her sword.

“No. Please, this one doesn’t count.”

“…?”

What did she even mean by that, out of the blue? Didn’t count?

Cha Hae-In explained herself.
“Didn’t you say that you’d bring out the most powerful summon?”

Cha Hae-In walked closer and only stopped when she was one step away from Jin-Woo.

“Was that black knight really your strongest summon?”

She wasn’t asking him here. No, it sounded as if she was just trying to confirm what she knew already.

Jin-Woo quietly shook his head. As if she was waiting for that, Cha Hae-In immediately carried on.

“Please call out your strongest summon. We agreed to do from that get-go, didn’t we?”

“But, you may get injured.”

“It’s fine. I wanted to fight it at least one more time, anyway.”

Jin-Woo’s eyes widened from her declaration.

“Wait, you knew?”

Nod, nod.

“I saw the video footage.”

Cha Hae-In had watched the raid video starring Jin-Woo several times by now.

The giant monster that made its appearance during the clip – she definitely remembered seeing that monster shooting out the pillar of
flames from somewhere.

“That summoned creature, that was the High Orc Shaman, the boss of that rank A dungeon. Am I correct?”

If that was the case, then the mutated ant monster he hunted down this time would also have become his summoned creature, as well.
From the word go, she chose to go through the test while thinking of fighting that mutated ant.

‘There is no meaning in a victory like this.’

She wanted to defeat the summoned creature that used the powers of the mutated ant monster, and thereby get Jin-Woo to acknowledge
her true value.

He pondered for a little bit, before nodding his head.

‘Beru’.
Right away, a Shadow Soldier enshrouded in jet-black smoke rose up behind Jin-Woo. Cha Hae-In instinctively jumped back and created
some distance as soon as she saw Beru’s entrance.

Back then or now, that guy carried a truly horrendous aura.

Jin-Woo got genuinely worried when all colour drained out of her face and quickly asked her.

“Will this really be fine?”

Even if Beru had gotten weaker compared to when he was alive, this guy was originally a killing weapon born solely for the purpose of
eliminating Hunters.

Cha Hae-In’s lips were squeezed shut in a straight line, as she weightily nodded her head.

Beru had been staring at her quietly for a while, before lowering his head to whisper a question to Jin-Woo.

‘Oh my king. How should I deal with this female?’

Cha Hae-In must’ve been unable to hear what Beru was saying, because she showed no particular reaction at all.

‘Defeat her without injuring her.’

‘It shall be done.’

The former king of the ants and the current Shadow Soldier turned towards the deeply tense female warrior.

Gulp.

Cha Hae-In swallowed her dry saliva. She felt goosebumps break out on her skin from the enormous amount of magic energy emitted by
her opponent.

‘Mister Seong Jin-Woo fought against a creature like this and won??’

Her eyes that showed no signs of hesitation while fighting against Igrit were now trembling greatly. Beru was done with the necessary
preparation to follow his sovereign’s order, and suddenly, spat out a mighty screech.

Kiiiaaaahhk!!

Blade-like claws began extending out from the ends of Beru’s fingers, so Jin-Woo standing behind him sent over an unhappy glare.

‘….Retract the claws.’
The high-spirited Beru immediately retracted his claws. Jin-Woo drilled one more instruction into his soldier’s head.

‘If you injure that woman, it won’t be nice for you, either. Got that?’

‘I shall follow your will.’

Only after hearing that definite answer from Beru did Jin-Woo declare the start of the second bout.

“Begin!”

FIN SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 134