SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 232
ALONE LEVEL-UP CHAPTER 232
His heightened emotion was all-too-clear to see on Chairman Yu’s face.
Regardless of what he wanted to say, it shouldn’t be discussed here. Jin-Woo remembered his mom and little sister, and took a quick look towards the dining table, before shifting his gaze back to Chairman Yu.
The older man was anxiously waiting for Jin-Woo’s reply. After a short deliberation, the latter’s lips finally parted open.
“If it’s somewhere private to quietly talk, then, well….”
Chairman Yu’s expression brightened and a genuine smile quickly formed on his face.
“Allow me to guide you to such a place. Shall we get going, then?”
Jin-Woo went back inside the apartment and told his mom that he’d be out for a bit, put on his coat, and made his way down to the lobby of the building while being accompanied by Chairman Yu and his entourage.
And as expected, the front entrance of the building was occupied by the reporters that had set up a camp there. Most likely, the three well-built young men were Chairman Yu’s bodyguards here to overcome the wall of the reporters.
As for those said reporters, they were far too busy shouting out angrily while pushing and shoving against the Monitoring Division’s Hunters protecting the entrance.
“What the hell?? How can this make sense? It’s fine for the Chairman of Yujin Construction, but we aren’t allowed to go inside?!”
“He’s a guest coming to visit Hunter Seong Jin-Woo? Why can’t reporters be guests, too?! We’re also guests from now on!! We’re guests!!”
“Aaah, is that so? The biggest financial supporter of the Hunter’s Association is okay, but reporters are not, is that it?!”
The reporters crazily pushed and shoved forwards as if they were planning to stampede past the wall of humans were it not for them being Hunters and not regular people.
Things were so bad that the Hunters of the Monitoring Division looked rather pitiable right now.
“Didn’t Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim announce that he won’t do any interviews?!”
“Hey, over there! Step back!!”
“If you wish to visit Hunter-nim’s residence, you must go and obtain a permit from the Association first!!”
Since they were up against regular people, they couldn’t resort to using their real strengths, so the agents from the Monitoring Division could only sweat profusely under the current circumstances. Jin-Woo studied them with sympathetic eyes and eventually, extended his hands out.
The reporters began floating up into the air.
This time, forget about ten centimetres, Jin-Woo lifted the reporters ten metres up in the air. When he stepped outside the entrance, Hunters quickly bowed their heads to welcome him.
“Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim!”
Compared to these Hunters who didn’t get too surprised by what was happening – as if they were familiar with this whole thing already – the eyes of Chairman Yu and his three bodyguards went extra round from the sheer unbridled shock.
“O-oh, my god….”
The businessman’s gaze was fixed to the reporter helplessly flailing in the air. He could see their complexion paling greatly, too. For the first time ever, Chairman Yu felt sorry for these people, even though he often times felt sick and tired of dealing with them in the past.
The person in charge of this batch of the Monitoring Division’s agents walked over to Jin-Woo and although there was a troubled expression on his face, his lips began forming a smile, as well.
“Hunter-nim… If you keep doing this, it’s going to come and bite us in the rear later.”
“Well, they were getting a bit too noisy to be left alone, you see.”
The reporters were continuously shouting something out, but even before anyone had noticed it, a barrier made out of magical energy was surrounding them to cut off all sounds made by their mouths.
The person in charge looked up at them for a little while, before asking Jin-Woo.
“How long will you keep them up there this time?”
“I’m thinking about something like five minutes, so that they can cool their heads up there.”
The Hunters from the Monitoring Division burst out in laughter after hearing his declaration to rewrite the existing record.
The person in charge did his best to suppress his own laughter and chided his subordinates before replying politely back to Jin-Woo.
“I pray that you make sure no reporters are harmed today.”
“You don’t have to worry about that.”
It’s been a while since he had become a master in ‘Ruler’s Authority’, or the technique to move Mana to influence an object. Even if he wasn’t here, the Mana would safely lower the reporters at a later time.
‘Nothing I can do about them feeling a bit sick, though…’
However, not only did they try to barge into his home even though his private details were being protected, they even tried to raise a huge ruckus as well, so this level of a warning shouldn’t pose a problem at all.
Soon, the waiting limousine Chairman Yu brought along came to a stop before them, and both him and Jin-Woo climbed into the back seat.
The vehicle smoothly glided forward and headed off to Chairman Yu’s private residence.
Chairman Yu guided Jin-Woo to the drawing room of his mansion, which should probably be the quietest place they could talk in. They settled down on the couches while facing each other.
“I’d like not to be interrupted during my chat with Seong Hunter-nim.”
After he sent away everyone near their vicinity, Jin-Woo broke the ice first.
“How did you find out?”
There shouldn’t have been any evidence of him helping Chairman Yu out. So, where could he have made a mistake? As Jin-Woo stared with a curious gaze, Chairman Yu began telling him the truth of what happened.
“My daughter saw you leaving the hospital on that day.”
If it was Chairman Yu’s daughter, then….
Jin-Woo recalled Yu Jin-Ho’s older sister, the one he ran into in front of his Guild office. He thought that she looked kinda familiar back then. But to think, she was the same person as the one he walked past in front of the hospital that Chairman Yu Myung-Hwan had been admitted to.
Realising that the actions he thought were watertight had been undone by a simple coincidence, Jin-Woo could only form a helpless smile.
At the same time, Chairman Yu was carefully studying Jin-Woo’s expression, and after seeing that smile, he felt greatly relieved.
‘What a relief.’
Even if the deed was done out of goodwill, Jin-Woo tried to hide it so Yu Myung-Hwan was inwardly worried that the young Hunter would get angry at him for exposing the secret like this. He wouldn’t even be able to look the other party in the eye if he somehow ended up displeasing his life’s saviour.
Thankfully, contrary to his worries, Jin-Woo didn’t look unhappy at all. Indeed, what a wonderful turn of events this was for Chairman Yu.
“As I expected, it was you, Seong Hunter-nim.”
“Yes, it was.”
Jin-Woo didn’t try to deny it.
The moment he heard the answer straight from the person, Chairman Yu’s eyes, locked onto Jin-Woo, shook about greatly.
Up until now, he lost count of just how many people had tried to get in his good books because they wanted something from him. Some of them didn’t even bother to put in any effort whatsoever and simply reached out, hoping to get a hand-out somehow.
But then, what about this young man before his eyes?
He saved a person’s life. No, he saved the life of the top executive of the biggest corporation in the country, yet he wasn’t asking for anything in return.
If Chairman Yu’s daughter didn’t see him and simply walked on by, he would never have found out how he recovered from that illness for the rest of his life.
Yu Myung-Hwan was famous for being a poker face, but just this once, his expression betrayed how emotionally moved he was.
He had to say something in order to suppress his overwhelming emotions.
“Why did you help me?”
Back then, even though the demand for a helping hand was made, accompanied by a huge financial incentive, Jin-Woo simply rejected it while saying that he didn’t possess such powers.
So, what made him change his mind, then?
Yu Myung-Hwan brought Jin-Woo here pretty much to ask that one question, even at the risk of offending him.
Ba-dump, ba-dump, ba-dump….
His heart was beating faster and faster as time went by; every passing second felt as long as ten minutes before Jin-Woo chose to make his reply.
And that he finally did.
“I judged you to be a trustworthy person, that was why.”
At that rather unexpected answer, Chairman Yu’s brows rose up higher.
“But…. What does that mean?”
“If you were the type of person who did whatever it takes to accomplish your goal, then I wouldn’t even have considered risking it for your sake.”
“By that, you mean…. Is it because I never tried to use my son, Jin-Ho?”
Jin-Woo nodded his head.
As expected of the leader of a global corporation, Chairman Yu instantly figured out what Jin-Woo was trying to say here.
It was true that Yu Myung-Hwan did possess the one trump card that could have made Jin-Woo act. And that would be his son, the Vice-Chair of the Ah-Jin Guild – Yu Jin-Ho.
However, after his proposal was rejected, he didn’t obsessively cling on and cleanly backed away. Meaning, he believed in Jin-Woo’s words of not possessing the cure.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth – Jin-Woo religiously adhered to this principle so, to Yu Myung-Hwan who believed in him, he replied in kind as well.
Although, it did take a bit of time to figure out whether the businessman was worthy of his trust or not.
‘Still, I didn’t make a wrong decision.’
Jin-Woo formed a grin.
At the same time…
A single teardrop trickled down Yu Myung-Hwan’s eye.
“I’m not sure how to express my gratitude to you.”
He quickly wiped the tear away with the back of his hand and stared at the young Hunter with a determined expression on his face.
“Please, allow me to repay this debt, even if it’s only half, no, half of that half. I beg of you.”
Only by doing this, the debt of gratitude he felt in his heart would lessen just a tad. Yu Myung-Hwan quickly carried on.
“Is there anything you’d like, Hunter-nim?”
“It’s not that I want something, but….”
Yu Myung-Hwan’s ears perked up right away. If Hunter Seong Jin-Woo wanted money or something else, he was planning to do everything in his power to make it happen.
However, Jin-Woo’s answer was a bit different to what Yu Myung-Hwan had been thinking of.
“If something ever happens to me…. Can you look after my mother and my sister?”
That was his reply after a short bout of hesitation.
To prepare for the worst-possible-case scenario that may or may not happen, Jin-Woo asked for the favour of his family being taken good care of. He may have already amassed enough money, but unfortunately, money wouldn’t be able to protect them from certain things.
Surely, Chairman Yu Myung-Hwan would prove to be a dependable buffer during those times.
“….Are you really okay with only that, Hunter-nim?”
“Yes, I am.”
It was difficult to imagine something untoward happening to Hunter Seong Jin-Woo, but since he decided to say yes to whatever demand the young man would make, Chairman Yu Myung-Hwan didn’t even hesitate and nodded his head right away.
“I give you my word.”
The lengthy conversation had come to an end here.
Jin-Woo tried to get up to leave.
Yu Myung-Hwan watched him and felt rueful about the fact that their conversation had come to an end. He then belatedly realised how much he liked this young man named Jin-Woo.
If Hunter Seong Jin-Woo could become a part of his family…..?
Never once did Yu Myung-Hwan entertain the idea of using his beloved daughter as a tool in an arranged marriage, but he still found himself asking the question anyway.
“By any chance, are you dating someone at the moment?”
If it was this young man, then he’d not feel short-changed by giving away Yu Jin-Hui – for the first time ever, Yu Myung-Hwan had met a young man who made him feel this way.
Too bad, though, Jin-Woo grinned brightly as his reply.
“Actually, there is someone I like.”
It was then, Yu Myung-Hwan realised that he just asked a really embarrassing question and his face reddened visibly.
That was how impressive this young man was.
However, Chairman Yu wasn’t someone who’d obsess over things he couldn’t obtain. He soon raised his head back up and with a smile on his face, bade him goodbye.
“I shall pray that the promise I made today won’t ever come true in the future.”
Jin-Woo smiled in reply and stood up fully from his seat.
“I’ll do my best to make sure of that, too.”
Now that all of his Stat values had reached their maximum attainable limit, the only area left to improve was his ability to command his Shadow Army.
Jin-Woo returned to the entry prohibited area in Japan in order to get his final preparation ready.
The uninhabited sea of forest stretched on forever in his view.
Grand-Marshal Bellion had split the Shadow Army to three separate groups as per Jin-Woo’s instruction and assigned the commands of each to himself, Igrit, and Beru.
Jin-Woo nodded his head while looking at the three separate groups of his soldiers below the hill. He guessed from the aura emitted by the soldiers below that a great deal of thought had been given to creating the balance of strengths between the three groups.
The Grand-Marshal bowed his head after meeting Jin-Woo’s gaze. It seemed that this guy was also the perfectionist-type like Igrit.
On the other hand….
Jin-Woo turned around to take a gander at the so-called ‘lodging’ built on the summit of the hill.
“Beru, get over here. Now.”
Beru dashed forward from the bottom of the hill right up to the summit in the blink of an eye and knelt down before Jin-Woo.
“Oh, my king!”
Even before those words finished coming out of his king’s mouth, Beru quickly rammed his head on the ground. Right away, Jin-Woo yelled out.
“How can you call this a small ‘shelter’? Am I supposed to take a break inside that?! Setting aside its size, is this even a shelter, to begin with?!”
Beru cowered from Jin-Woo’s loud shouting and replied with the voice of a guy being wrongfully accused.
“For a lodging befitting my king, at the bare minimum, it must be….”
Jin-Woo slowly massaged his forehead. He had completely overlooked the small fact that ants specialised in building ‘houses’.
Indeed, he should’ve seen just what the human-sized ants possessing greater physical strength than superhumans might end up creating in the name of a mere ‘house’.
He slowly raised his lowered face and ended up being overwhelmed by the dignified air of the so-called ‘small shelter’ once more.
A massively-tall fortress built out of white stone – so it could be spotted pretty easily from afar – stretched from this part of the land all the way to over there. It was also dizzyingly tall that, while trying to see where its roof was, his neck actually began aching instead from looking up for too long.
Jin-Woo’s head pulsed painfully again after witnessing the fruit of the ants’ unnecessary devotion. He didn’t even order them to do this, yet here they were.
He roughly massaged his temples before groaning out and asked another question.
“What about that black flag flapping around at the end of this castle…. That, just what were you thinking when putting that up there??”
It was then, Bellion hurriedly ran to where his master was and suddenly planted his head on the ground alongside Beru.
Jin-Woo was rendered speechless for a while and alternated his dazed gaze between Bellion and Beru. He slowly turned around and shouted out.
“My soldiers! Now, commence with the combat drill!”
With that, the thunderous roars of the Shadow Soldiers powerfully reverberated throughout the land.
< Chapter 232 > Fin.