SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 44
The choking smoke filled up the interior of the dungeon.
Yu Jin-Ho covered his nose with the back of his wrist and loudly coughed out. However, he was far more worried about Jin-Woo at the moment. The firepower of the Lizardman Mage was that strong.
Fortunately, Jin-Woo rapidly emerged from the smoke completely unscathed, meaning there was no need to worry in the first place.
Yu Jin-Ho inwardly exclaimed out in admiration.
‘As expected of hyung-nim!’
Jin-Woo was able to evade the attacks of the Lizardmen, reputedly the hardest monsters to deal with in dungeons ranked C, without getting a single hair disturbed. Not only that, from a Mage, too!
From Yu Jin-Ho’s perspective, it was as if Jin-Woo was getting faster every day.
‘…..I must be imagining things, right?’
Meanwhile, Jin-Woo spat out pieces of rubble that somehow found their way inside his mouth.
The colour of his saliva landing on the ground was black.
He became really p*ssed off by the fact that he had to breathe in unhealthy smoke because of a lone lizard and its cheap tricks. And his dissatisfaction could be seen clearly in his expression.
Jin-Woo was frowning deeply now.
[You’ve used ‘Skill: Intimidation’.]
His angrily glaring eyes ‘shot’ out powerful murderous intent.
[‘Effect: Fear’ has been activated.]
[All Stats of the targets will be reduced by 50% for one minute.]
The Lizardmen began panicking grandly after being exposed to his powerful murderous intent.
Jin-Woo didn’t miss this chance and threw the Poison Fang of Kasaka with everything he had. The dagger flew in a dead-straight line and splendidly pierced the forehead of one of the Lizard spearmen.
The speed of Jin-Woo’s flying dagger was too fast for a weakened monster to evade.
The remaining spearman roared out in anger after witnessing the death of its comrade. However, Jin-Woo was no longer standing where the creature’s spear was pointing at.
The Lizardman Mage cried out nervously.
When the Mage repeated the same ‘words’ as before, the spearman turned around to face the Mage and roared out.
The spearman bared its fangs and approached the Mage in a threatening manner. However, the Mage didn’t back down, either.
It happened then.
Suddenly, the spearman’s chest burst open.
The Mage’s face was now covered in blood; it cried out in alarm and hurriedly took several steps back.
The ‘Stealth’ slowly came undone and the spear stabbing through the chest of the Lizard spearman revealed itself.
The man holding that spear was, of course, Jin-Woo.
When he let go of the shaft, both the spear and the Lizardman that got skewered by it crashed to the ground simultaneously.
In the meantime, Jin-Woo rapidly recovered his Poison Fang of Kasaka from the head of the other Lizard spearman.
Red beams of light appeared again in the hands of the Lizardman Mage. However, Jin-Woo didn’t give it time to complete its actions.
The distance between Jin-Woo and the Mage disappeared in an instant. The Mage’s repulsive-looking reptilian eyes grew really wide.
Jin-Woo ducked and avoided the flames erupting out from the Mage, slid to the monster’s rear, and stabbed his dagger near the target’s spinal area.
‘Vital Points Targetting!’
The Mage cried out in pain.
But, when Jin-Woo stabbed again, the following scream wasn’t as lengthy as the previous one.
The Lizardman Mage spat out a mouthful of blood and collapsed forward.
Jin-Woo inwardly punched the air. No matter who judged it, that was an excellent victory for sure.
And as if to congratulate him on his victory, he could hear the System’s crisp mechanical beep ring inside his head.
[‘Player’ has reached the required level.]
A strange message followed right after the familiar one.
Having only heard this simple message, he couldn’t figure out what was going on here.
But by the time the following mechanical beep rang, Jin-Woo ended up expending a huge amount of willpower just to calm his heart that beat so hard to the point of causing him pain.
[Class Change Quest is now available.]
[Will you take on the Class Change Quest now?] (Y/N)
‘C…Class Change Quest..??’
He was so focused on raising his levels and his Stats that he had been forgetting all about a certain column in his Status Window.
[Name: Seong Jin-Woo]
Indeed, that would the third column in his Status Window, the ‘Class’. And now, he was given an opportunity to replace that ‘None’ with another word.
He’d be given a Class.
In most video games, a character would receive many benefits after getting a Class. It’d be no different with the System, since it operated almost the same as a game.
His heart was beating harder and faster now.
When he realised that he’d be one step closer to the goal of being strong after going through with this quest, he simply could not calm himself down anymore.
[Will you take on the Class Change Quest now?] (Y/N)
‘Yes’ and ‘No’ continued to flicker in front of his eyes.
‘Of course, I would….’
What kind of an idiot would refuse such an opportunity??
Jin-Woo was about to choose yes and take on the quest to change his Class. However, he stopped almost instinctively.
‘No. Hang on a sec.’
Who knew just what kind of a quest might show up here?
Following right after the notice from his instincts, the warning bells from his brain rang true and clear inside his head.
‘I’m inside a dungeon.’
A dungeon was one of the most dangerous places in the world. Even though he was fully accustomed to the rank C dungeons by now, a dungeon was still a dungeon after all. There was no reason for him to increase the risk even more.
Besides, Yu Jin-Ho was standing next to him as well.
It wasn’t as if he didn’t trust the kid, no. Still, he didn’t have any particular reason to let the kid in on the existence of the System, or explain the weird phenomenon that might occur when he changed his Class.
Things would get too complicated in this way.
‘And also, the content of the quest might end up hurting Yu Jin-Ho, too.’
What if strong monsters suddenly appeared out of thin air?
‘Well, that would be more preferable, actually.’
Because, he’d only have to kill those monsters and that would be the end. But, a quest asking for something more than that could show up. For instance, something similar to those two emergency quests he had to complete in the past.
‘Yeah, the goal of the quest could be to eliminate the nearest Hunters.’
It was a distinct possibility. Sure, it was nothing but speculation at this point in time, but still.
Still possessing an excellent sense of timing, Yu Jin-Ho walked over and called out to him.
The magic the Lizardman Mage flung about must’ve landed pretty close to him, because he was covered from top to bottom in dust.
“Just how did you do that? Disappearing and reappearing again?? Did you have a skill like that before?”
Yu Jin-Ho’s eyes sparkled brightly as he spoke. He looked really pumped up, too. He must’ve found the rare skill ‘Stealth’ really mystifying or some such.
‘Well, I find your appearance far more mystifying, kid.’
Instead of a reply, Jin-Woo pulled out a handkerchief from his Inventory. He got this as a reward from the Daily Quest.
Jin-Woo used that cloth to mercilessly rub Yu Jin-Ho’s face.
The previously-white handkerchief was now dyed jet black. Yu Jin-Ho took a look at the fabric and only then realised what the state of his face was like.
He embarrassedly retreated to a corner and carefully wiped his face clean.
“Something urgent just came up.”
Yu Jin-Ho quickly raised his head.
“Are you planning to leave now?”
“After we finish up here.”
“Okay, understood. Then, I’ll cancel our bookings for the remaining Gates.”
Yu Jin-Ho couldn’t show it in front of Jin-Woo, but he was feeling rather pained about the three Gates that had been booked by him.
‘My funds are running out quickly, too.’
Yu Jin-Ho didn’t have any method to earn money, so the allowances he got were basically everything he had. He was doing this without his father’s knowledge, so the amount of cash he could shift around was limited.
If he had to cancel the bookings, then he wouldn’t get refunds on the booking fees he paid in advance. It was the same as him throwing money away.
So, how could he not feel pained about this?
Also, because of this ‘unusual’ method of clearing Gates, he ended up spending more than usual for today’s raids.
But now, he had to throw away his investment, just like that. Yu Jin-Ho’s shoulders couldn’t help but droop real low, almost instinctively.
However, Jin-Woo replied with an unmoved expression.
“Why are you cancelling our bookings and wasting money like that?”
Yu Jin-Ho tilted his head.
“Pardon? If we don’t enter a Gate within two days of booking it, our permit will be automatically rescinded, hyung-nim.”
Of course, Jin-Woo already knew something like that.
“Leave them to me. I’ll sort them out.”
Did Jin-Woo think of a good way to resolve this?
Yu Jin-Ho was curious, but at the same time, he felt relieved as well.
Inside the headquarters of the White Tiger Guild.
“Chief Ahn!! Just what on earth were you thinking?!”
A loud roar reverberated within the offices of the Second Division.
The owner of that roar was Baek Yun-Ho.
He was none other than the Master of the White Tiger Guild, and its CEO as well. It could never be a good thing if a CEO-level character made his way down to the lower floors to make his ire known to his staff members.
“What the, how can any of this make sense?? How can there be no Gates to train our new recruits?? Don’t you realise that you’ve delayed the training schedule by four days already?!”
All the employees within the Second Division lowered their heads. They all looked anxious, wondering if they would also end up in the crosshair.
Chief Ahn Sahng-Min too lowered his head as Baek Yun-Ho continued to point and shout at him.
Ahn Sahng-Min wasn’t dumb or inexperienced enough to p*ss off his superior officer even further by replying to every little thing being said, in the way Hyun Ki-Cheol would have done.
In cases like this, keeping his mouth shut was for the best.
Whether the boss man knew Ahn Sahng-Min’s thoughts or not….
Baek Yun-Ho angrily shook around the report from the Second Division that showed up on his desk this morning.
“You’re using this as an excuse?! The other team paid far higher bids so we can’t book a single Gate? Are you saying our Guild lacks enough funds? Or is the other party being supported by a bloody billionaire or something?!”
Ahn Sahng-Min’s lips twitched real hard just then, but he endured like a champ and didn’t say anything.
He made a promise to Jin-Woo, after all.
‘If I open my mouth now, I’d end up blabbering about Yu Jin-Ho and Seong Jin-Woo.’
Not knowing the pained inner thoughts of Ahn Sahng-Min, Baek Yun-Ho continued to roar at the top of his lungs, loud enough to shake the entire office.
“I don’t care whether it’s a hundred million, two hundred – just book the d*mn Gates! Do you understand me?!”
It happened, then.
Suddenly, Ahn Sahng-Min’s phone began ringing loudly.
[Ah! I’m sorry I couldn’t answer you earlier, I was meeting a friend, shy, shy, shy ~?]
When he sneaked a glance at his phone to confirm who the caller was, Ahn Sahng-Min’s eyes grew real wide.
“Sir, I need to answer this call.”
The Second Division’s main role was to recruit new talents, and nothing was more important to them than good timing!
And, Ahn Sahng-Min was the Chief of that Second Division.
Even if Ahn Sahng-Min had made a big blunder, no matter how angry Baek Yun-Ho got, stopping him from answering that call was not a smart thing to do.
“What are you doing, Chief Ahn? Answer it quickly.”
Bake Yun-Ho consented to it with an unhappy voice.
Ahn Sahng-Min bowed his head slightly, asking Baek Yun-Ho for his understanding, and he quickly answered the call.
“Hello, Ahn Sahng-Min from the White Tiger Guild speaking.”
While Ahn Sahng-Min was answering the call, Baek Yun-Ho crossed his arms and waited for it to end.
“Yes, yes. I understand. If you’re waiting for us by the ground floor cafe, I shall go there right away. Yes, see you then.”
Ahn Sahng-Min ended the call and quickly spoke up.
“Sir, looks like I’ll have to go downstairs for a moment.”
Ahn Sahng-Min was the ace of the Second Division. If such a man was getting ready to rush downstairs with only one phone call, even when he was facing his boss’s fury…
“By any chance, was that call related to scouting someone?”
Seeing that confident, assured face of Ahn Sahng-Min, Baek Yun-Ho realised that something major was going on here.
‘Chief Ahn is personally trying to scout this person?’
Which could only mean that the other guy was someone extraordinary, right?
Baek Yun-Ho’s angrily-crumpled visage reverted back to a smiling one in an instant.
“How can I stand in the way of our scouting specialist trying to do his job? Don’t worry about the matters up here and do your best downstairs.”