SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 24

Yu Jin-Ho empathised the words ‘deserved reward’ for some reason

‘Yeah, for sure…..’

Certainly, that method was the safest way to dispose of the magic crystals.

These crystals no longer had any owners. No matter how avaricious Hwang Dong-Seok was, he still couldn’t take them to his grave. That left just one person, Yu Jin-Ho, as the sole claimant to the rights of these crystals.

However, such a guy was saying that he’d voluntarily offer them up.

Jin-Woo didn’t want anything to do with them if they were to be taken away forcibly, but…..

‘But, there’s no reason for me to refuse things that are willingly entering my pockets, no?’

Without his help, Yu Jin-Ho would either have been killed by now, or get dragged around as a hostage, instead. When looked at that way, the claims of them being ‘deserved reward’ made some sense.

Seeing that Jin-Woo’s expression lighten up, Yu Jin-Ho was now sure of his guesses being on the money.

‘As I thought, the magic crystals are the deserved reward of blood for hunting down Hwang Dong-Seok and his gang, so he’s not going to say no here.’

The meaning of the word ‘deserved’ as imagined by these two men had what you’d call a significant difference, but they had no way of knowing that.

1

“Okay.”

As soon as Jin-Woo agreed, Yu Jin-Ho’s face brightened up in an instant. Hell, Yu Jin-Ho was even feeling a bit awestruck by how steadfast Jin-Woo was with his personal beliefs.

However, Jin-Woo’s face became emotionless next.

“However, how do I trust you?”

Jin-Woo had recalled his initial goal once more.

He wasn’t trying to scare the kid so he could line his pockets in the first place. No, he started this intimidation antics so he could avoid being inconvenienced later down the line.

“How can I betray you, hyung-nim, who saved my neck multiple times already?”

“You could ignore our promise and just yap on to anyone you meet, no?”

Actually, it wouldn’t be too big of a hassle if the kid did that. Killing Hwang Dong-Seok and his goons were 100% acts of self-defence, after all.

There were eight of them, not to mention they were fully armed as well. Heck, they even attacked first with a powerful magic spell, too.

Laws had changed ever since the emergence of the Hunters, so Jin-Woo knew that he’d walk away scot-free only with that much justification.

Jin-Woo wanted to let things die down quietly in this manner. And Yu Jin-Ho’s help would be needed to facilitate that. There might be a slight ‘problem’ with how he went about asking for that help, but as far as the end result was concerned, this was the best method available.

“So? Speak up.”

Jin-Woo stared at the other guy with eyes that demanded answers.

Yu Jin-Ho formed a determined, dignified expression.

“I will never do something so cowardly, hyung-nim. Especially for someone who has saved my life.”

‘Hang on a minute….’

Jin-Woo thought that he had seen those determined eyes from somewhere, before realising that they were rather similar to back when Yu Jin-Ho refused the ‘suggestion’ of Hwang Dong-Seok to become their accomplice not too long ago.

‘This kid…. He’s being serious.’

The ‘Give and Take’.

When his life was hanging in the balance, Yu Jin-Ho chose to stand with Jin-Woo. He trusted Jin-Woo and tried to go up against eight other Hunters.

1

That was why Jin-Woo decided to trust Yu Jin-Ho, at least once.

1

Of course, not right away, and not quite like this…. Maybe, after planting the fear of god into the kid first.

Jin-Woo reached down and picked up Hwang Dong-Seok’s discarded shield.

“Hmm. The back of my head is still aching from Hwang Dong-Seok’s sneak hit, you know.”

Jin-Woo pretended to study the shield from this way and that, before powerfully flinging it towards the wall of the cave.

Kaboom!!!

More than half of the shield got buried deep inside that wall.

Cold sweat drops dripped down Yu Jin-Ho’s face as he nervously swallowed his saliva.

“I hope that ‘my dongsaeng’ isn’t going to disappoint me, too.”

“B-b-but, of course, hyung-nim.”

It happened then; the dungeon began shaking much harder this time.

RUMMMMBBBLLLEEE….

Their time was clearly running out. Jin-Woo never held any thoughts of harming Yu Jin-Ho from the get-go, so he figured that this much would be enough.

So, he ordered Yu Jin-Ho.

“Collect all the magic crystals. We’re leaving.”

“Thank you very much, hyung-nim!!”

Yu Jin-Ho stood back up and bowed his waist 90 degrees. A smile found its way back onto his face, too. While Yu Jin-Ho went around to fill up the bag, Jin-Woo began rummaging through Hwang Dong-Seok’s pockets.

‘I gotta get paid what’s mine, too.’

He was promised 2 million Won for the day’s work. And he couldn’t afford to let a single cent slip by.

Hwang Dong-Seok’s wallet was filled with lots of fifty thousand Won bills. When he counted, there were 45 of them. Just over two million, in other words.

The bearded man promised to pay in cash as soon as the raid was over, so he must’ve had them ready, just in case. Because, well, he wouldn’t have been able to cut the tail all the time.

“Thanks for the pay.”

Jin-Woo said the words of thanks to no one in particular and left the boss room first.

Yu Jin-Ho was almost finished packing up the magic crystals, but then, belatedly noticed that Jin-Woo had disappeared, and hurriedly began searching for him.

“H-hyung-nim?”

All he found were the rapidly-cooling corpses of the Hunters that lost their lives to Jin-Woo.

“Hiiick!!”

Yu Jin-Ho and his deathly-pale complexion hurriedly chased after Jin-Woo as if he was scared of being alone.

***

The agent from the Association’s Investigation Department swiftly arrived at the location of the Gate.

The procedure to follow when there were casualties during a raid was rather simple. The remaining survivors only had to report the matter to the Association and let the investigators do their job. That was all.

The investigator for today was a strict-looking aunty.

“And your names are?”

“It’s Seong Jin-Woo.”

“My name is Yu Jin-Ho, ma’am.”

Hunters dying inside dungeons happened pretty much every single day so this procedure was more like a formality at this point. To be more precise, it was now more to do with record keeping, actually.

That was, if there were nothing to be suspicious about.

“…So, every rank C Hunter in the raid team was killed, yet how did one rank D and one rank E manage to escape unhurt?”

The investigator questioned the duo while adjusting her glasses. Her glaring eyes narrowed to a slit.

‘Now normally, it’d be the weakest Hunter in the team to die first, most of the time. Yet….’

She intensely scrutinised the two men before discovering something particular and raised her voice.

“Oh my gosh!!”

Her eyes began sparkling as she approached closer.

“Isn’t this the longsword ‘Kalion’ that’s been launched recently by the Maya Company? Oh my gosh, isn’t this one of the Royal Series shields crafted by the one and only master craftsman Gredos?”

Yu Jin-Ho’s face brightened immediately.

“You seemed to be well versed in weapons, ma’am!”

“Eii, it’s nothing to feel proud about, really. No, it’s only on the level of browsing through the catalogues every now and then. Ohohohohoho!”

The price of the longsword was around ₩700,000,000, while the shield was around ₩500,000,000. (TL: $620,000 and $443,000, respectively.)

These powerful armaments were crafted with magic crystals costing well over hundreds of millions of Won, as well as other expensive materials, and they were capable of boosting the abilities of a rank D Hunter past that of a rank C.

2

With this revelation, the agent began imagining the events that had taken place inside the dungeon.

‘With these types of armaments….’

A lone rank D Hunter managing to hunt down the boss monster seemed rather feasible now, even when considering that all the rank C Hunters had been annihilated along the way.

‘And that rank E probably hid in a corner somewhere and barely saved his life.’

1

Of course, the reality was opposite of that, but….

In any case, she came to a conclusion.

The odds of a man with enough financial wherewithal to purchase such armaments stabbing his comrades in the back for a handful of magic crystals were low at best.

3

On top of that, it was also impossible for a rank E to do anything to several rank C Hunters too, so the deaths of Hwang Dong-Seok and seven others could only be chalked up to an unfortunate accident.

“I understand what happened now.”

1

The investigator closed the case file with a satisfied face.

“The investigation will conclude with this, so you may go home now. I’m sure it had been a difficult day so far, so thank you for taking the time out to aid us with the investigation.”

“Thank you for your hard work.”

Jin-Woo said goodbyes on behalf of both men.

The investigator and her car left just as quickly as they had arrived.

“You also worked hard, hyung-nim.”

Yu Jin-Ho bent his waist 90 degrees once more. Even after they had exited the Gate, Yu Jin-Ho’s overly polite attitude didn’t change.

He must’ve been pretty darn scared, even now.

Jin-Woo inwardly clicked his tongue.

“Yeah, you too.”

“Well, I haven’t done much anyway. You did most of the work, hyung-nim. Oh, here are your magic crystals.”

Yu Jin-Ho very courteously handed the bag over to Jin-Woo with two hands. And indeed, the bag was filled to the brim with magic crystals.

The highest price a magic crystal from a rank C Gate could fetch was around ten million Won. Even the smallest ones fetched several millions.

Jin-Woo’s eyes scanned the number of crystals and he inwardly cried out in elation.

‘Just how much will these….?’

He tried so hard to suppress a grin from breaking out on his face.

It was then, a drop of water suddenly fell inside the bag.

Splash, splosh.

Jin-Woo raised his head.

They were raindrops falling from the sky that had been gradually getting darker as the afternoon rolled by.

‘It was a good thing… sending her off with an umbrella.’

2

Jin-Woo formed a subtle smile while thinking about his little sister.

***

Later in the evening.

Jin-Woo summoned his Status Window as soon as he arrived back home.

“Stats!!”

1

[Stats]

Strength: 53

Stamina: 30

Agility: 38

Intelligence: 30

Perception: 32

2

(Available points to distribute: 10)

2

The ten points he got as a reward from the emergency quest still remained, waiting. His entire body was itching from the desire to spend them.

If he wanted to earn them through Daily Quests, then he’d have to spend the next three days and still had to find one more point from somewhere, and if he wanted to earn them through levelling up, then he had to raise it by two.

‘The priority is with Agility, then Perception next.’

2

He spent 7 points on Agility, and the rest 3 on Perception.

2

[Stats]

Strength: 53

2

Stamina: 30

Agility: 45

Intelligence: 30

Perception: 35

(Available points to distribute: 0)

“Okay.”

His Stat values looked more even now.

Agility had almost caught up with Strength, and Perception was already at 35. Once Agility’s values got closer to Strength, he was planning to increase Stamina next.

3

Leaving alone the Stat of Intelligence and its unknown uses, for the time being, he wanted to raise all of his other Stats as uniformly as possible.

“Should I check out today’s results?”

Name: Seong Jin-Woo

Level: 21

Class: None

Title: Slaughterer of Wolves

6

HP: 2600

MP: 390

Tiredness: 0

[Stat]

Strength: 53

Stamina: 30

Agility: 45

Intelligence: 30

Perception: 35

(Available points to distribute: 0)

[Skills]

Passive skills:

– (Unknown) Lv. Max

– Tenacity Lv. 1

Active skills:

– Dash Lv. 1

– Intimidation Lv. 1

The level that had risen up by three and the new skill ‘Intimidation’ caught his attention the most. And his Stats also had received a healthy boost from the ten extra points.

These alone would qualify today’s earning as quite spectacular, but there were more, weren’t there?

‘Two million Won I got for today’s work, and….’

And, all those magic crystals filling up the bag, as well.

Jin-Woo counted the number of the crystals once more.

’11 from the spider, and 38 from Hwang Dong-Seok and his lackeys.’

In total, 49 of them!

If he asked five million for each, he’d still earn well over 200 million Won.

2

“200 mil from a single day’s hunt!!”

1

The profit that should’ve been shared by ten people – no, nine, had been swallowed up by him, so the amount had no choice but to balloon up. This was the same thing as the unexpected kiss of lady luck landing squarely on his cheeks.

‘All I have to do now is to sell these things.’

Selling magic crystals wasn’t difficult. Since the demand was so high, when he put them up for sale, they would all sell out pretty quickly.

The question was, though, where he should sell these.

2

There were several cases of a direct trading between individuals, and Guilds and corporations also bought them in large quantities, as well.

For his case, since there were so many of them, he figured that it’d be for the better to seek out the help of professionals, rather than try his hands on dealing with individuals or sell them online.

‘Can’t I just sell them to a store or something?’

It’d be so much more convenient for him if the Store bought his crystals at their retail value, as it would with the japtem.

While thinking this and that, Jin-Woo pushed the bag full of magic crystals to the corner of the room.

And then, he abruptly recalled one last fruit of today’s labour.

‘Right, the System said that I can start buying stuff from the Store.’

Jin-Woo immediately summoned the Store.

Although it wasn’t much, all the Gold he had saved up from the Hapjeong Station’s instant dungeon still waited for their turn inside his Inventory until now.

“Buy.”

Tti-ring.

Accompanied by the familiar beep, the list of purchasable items popped up in his view, and they continued to do so quite literally without an end.

Everything from cheap potions and trinkets, all the way up to absurdly expensive defensive items and eye-catching weapons could be found here. There were so, so many items that could be bought with Gold.

It was pretty obvious, but the more expensive an item was, the better its ‘options’ got. One of the best items available even cost as much as 10 billion Gold.

“Whoa….. 10 billion, is it?”

His current Gold was just over 112 thousand. It was way too short to buy anything truly useful. But, there was no need for him to fret here.

Why? Because, he had plenty of time on hand.

‘I can buy any of these, as long as I have enough Gold, right?’

Jin-Woo hummed to himself and continued to browse through the list of really expensive items.

There was one more reason to seek out instant dungeons now.

Already, he couldn’t wait to receive the prize of the Daily Quest for tomorrow, the random box.

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