SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 46
Jin-Woo’s Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. Indeed, it was rather scary not knowing what kind of quest would pop up.
However, his anticipation was even greater than his fears.
While he was looking for a suitable location to start the quest, he used his phone to search for topics related to changing one’s class online.
Benefits to one’s growth.
Exclusive weapons reserved for a particular class.
They were all from video games, sure; but, the accepted norm was that changing one’s class would result in many benefits.
‘And level 40 was when I could get my Class.’
Of course, it wasn’t all good news, either. He often spotted ominous sounding thread titles as he browsed through online forums.
I chose the wrong class and now I’m bummed out.
Only if I knew, I’d have gone with a different class, f*cking hell.
A moment of bad decisions later, I’m quitting my dearest game and returning to the normal society.
Should I erase this character and start all over again?
….Well, these were also related to video games, anyways.
He certainly had far less to worry about here since he only used daggers as his main weapon until now. All the skills he had acquired leaned towards the profession of ‘assassin’.
‘Right, I’ve got dagger techniques and Stealth as my skills.’
Not only that, he invested mainly in raising the Stats of Strength and Agility, so it was kind of hard to imagine getting another class other than ‘Assassin’.
As his thoughts arrived here, Jin-Woo summoned the ‘Poison Fang of Kasaka’ from his Inventory.
This feeling of the hilt falling so perfectly in his hand….
‘Yeah, this for me is the most comfortable.’
He nodded his head like a wise old sage.
While gripping the dagger tightly, Jin-Woo shifted his gaze towards the message floating in the air.
Now that he was all done with getting ready for any unexpected events, he firmed his resolve and answered the message.
[Will you take on the Class Change Quest now?] (Y/N)
‘Yes, I’m taking it on.’
The moment he thought of taking on the quest, another message popped into his view.
[You’re now partaking in the Class Change Quest.]
[A new dungeon will be generated for this quest.]
‘Generating… a new dungeon?’
Before he had the chance to interpret what that message was saying, a change took place before him really fast.
A black ‘hole’ formed right in front of his eyes. That was merely the beginning, too.
The black hole the size of a bean expanded to the size of a coin, then to that of a volleyball, and eventually, it grew large enough for a person to walk through.
Jin-Woo’s eyes grew wider.
He was expecting to see a new message with the contents of the quest pop up in front of his eyes, but this….
What appeared before him was, without a doubt, a Gate.
‘To think, a Gate would show up here….’
This one didn’t seem any different from the others he was familiar with. Only that, it was a bit smaller than usual.
The System sent him a new message as if to urge him on.
[Please enter the dungeon through the Gate.]
‘I need to calm down.’
Jin-Woo quickly collected himself.
If he thought about it, there wasn’t much of a difference whether he used a key or a Gate to enter a dungeon. Indeed, he was simply taken aback just now by the sight of a Gate forming ‘artificially’ like this.
Also, this would be his first time seeing a Gate form. He always just walked into one that was already there, so…
When the chain of his thoughts stopped there, a new question popped into his mind.
‘Hang on… can other Hunters enter this Gate as well?’
Too bad, he had no method to experiment on this one today.
Well, there were no Hunters nearby that he could call for ‘assistance’, nor did he have anyone who would rush over here because he gave them a call.
He momentarily recalled Yu Jin-Ho’s face, but slowly shook his head.
‘How will I take care of the aftermath if I called him and something bad happens?’
It was then.
As if to urge him on again, the message blinked.
[Please enter the dungeon through the Gate.]
The mechanical beep brought him back to his senses. He slapped his cheeks a couple of times to wake himself up.
‘This is no time to daydream.’
If he succeeded, then a new class and all the rewards that followed would be his. And if he failed, then he couldn’t even tell what might happen to him.
So, he needed to focus here.
After taking a deep breath….
Jin-Woo held the Poison Fang of Kasaka in reverse grip and entered the Gate.
[You have entered the dungeon.]
He entered in a state of taut tension, but to his surprise, there was nothing here.
He was greeted by the sight of an ordinary cave-like dungeon.
“Isn’t this exactly the same as the others….?”
He heard that high-ranking dungeons were often linked to ‘other worlds’ so he was kind of worried about such a thing happening to him, but thankfully, he was spared from that.
Instead, a strange message popped up into his view.
[The current location forbids the usage of potions as well as the functions of the Store, and your physical state will not recover even if you level up.]
Jin-Woo confirmed that there was no presence of monsters nearby and put away his dagger. Then, his head began tilting this way and that.
‘…..This isn’t going to be easy, is it?’
Maybe because his class change was up for grabs, there were quite a few restrictions here to contend with.
The most important one was that he couldn’t replenish his spent energy or stamina, and couldn’t heal himself using potions or level ups.
‘The damage will stack, in other words.’
If he got injured, then that would spell his doom.
Since he couldn’t heal himself, he had no choice but to be thorough and cautious with every action he took.
‘Meaning, I gotta keep my wits about me.’
Jin-Woo closed the message.
And as he’d do every time when entering a dungeon, he confirmed the presence of the exit.
[You can’t leave until the Class Change process has been concluded.]
A message popped up as soon as he touched the surface of the Gate. He put some strength behind his hand, but it didn’t even budge.
Jin-Woo retracted his hand.
‘The exit is blocked off.’
An unknown grade, impossible to heal himself, and no exit; this dungeon was a pretty risky proposition. Even a Hunter with balls of steel wouldn’t want to tread in a place like this one.
‘However, high risk doesn’t always equate to bad things, does it?’
Indeed, the higher the risk, the higher the reward. He learned that through experience.
If clearing this place was difficult because of all the restrictions, then didn’t that also mean there was an amazing opportunity waiting for him at the end?
There was only one way to find out.
‘I’ll know once I get there.’
Jin-Woo took his first step forward.
His eyes gazed far forward, and all he could see was the cavern-like passageway with seemingly no end. And there were no monsters nearby.
‘Wait, since this is still within the System’s influence, should I call them monsters, and not monsters?’ (TL: Well, sorry about this line. The author had been using the Hanja word for monsters to describe those found in the regular Gates/dungeons, while using the romanised English word ‘monster’ to describe those found in instant dungeons. They mean the same thing, obviously, but well, wordplay and all that….)
Even though they both meant the same thing.
In any case, that wasn’t the only difference to consider. There were lit torches lining up at a fixed interval along the cavern walls as well.
‘Instead of luminous stones, I got torches, huh.’
Unfortunately, the light from the torches was not an effective source of illumination.
No matter how many there were, they were still not enough to light up the entire passageway. So, there were plenty of hidden shadows.
With the deafening silence being accompanied by the gloomy shadows, this place came off far more eerie and ominous than a regular dungeon.
‘I can see no problem, but still….’
Should he say it’s down to the atmosphere of this place?
Jin-Woo pulled out the nearest torch and held it. His front brightened ever so slightly with the torch in his hand.
‘Yeah, this is better.’
Jin-Woo formed a satisfied smile.
He took one last glance behind him and slowly made his way forward, the torch lighting the way.
Just how long did he walk?
When he walked for a long, long time, he finally got to a bend in the passageway. And just beyond it, he sensed multiple presences.
‘Are they finally here?’
Jin-Woo carefully placed the torch on the ground and stood back up.
His right hand was now holding his favourite dagger instead.
He briefly entertained the idea of using ‘Stealth’ to quickly deal with his enemies, but gave up on that after remembering the crazy expenditure of his Mana. Well, he wouldn’t be able to use potions to replenish the spent Mana in this place, after all.
If he carelessly spent Mana here, then he might be unable to use the necessary Skills when he really needed to.
‘….It’s coming this way.’
Jin-Woo pressed tightly against the wall and waited for the enemy to show up around the bend.
Whenever this thing took a step, the metallic clang reverberated loudly in the passageway.
The noises were getting closer.
Hearing that strange noise, Jin-Woo tilted his head.
‘Could it be carrying some kind of chained weapons?’
He was curious, but there was no need to get anxious. He’d get his answers soon enough.
‘5, 4, 3.’
Jin-Woo tightly held the dagger in the reverse grip and stopped breathing. It was to prevent the opponent from hearing the sound of his breathes.
Finally, the enemy’s shadow could be seen.
When his countdown hit 0, the enemy revealed itself.
Jin-Woo aimed for the side of its neck.
But, he got to hear metal hitting metal instead.
The blade didn’t go in.
Jin-Woo’s eyes widened.
Finally confirming the identity of his opponent, Jin-Woo quickly took several steps back.
“It’s a human?!”
He was now facing a knight decked out fully in a suit of armour. Its face was hidden behind the helmet and he couldn’t see what they looked like.
Jin-Woo called out to it while thinking to himself, ‘Could it be….?’
However, the knight didn’t even utter a word and simply lunged in Jin-Woo’s direction.
Thud, thud, thud!!
The knight rushed forward like a raging bull and tried to shoulder tackle him, but Jin-Woo lightly tilted out of the way and evaded the attack.
The knight couldn’t win against the momentum and continued to run forward for a bit longer, before somehow bringing itself to a stop.
‘Maybe, it’s not a human?’
He was able to take a quick peek at a close distance and he could tell something was off. He couldn’t sense the beating heart that a normal person should possess.
So, most likely, it was not a human.
He was now facing off against a type of monster he’d never even heard of before.
….A monster that armed itself from head to toe, no less.
Wasn’t this like he was actually fighting against another person?
The knight turned around and unsheathed the sword mounted on its hips. Just as Jin-Woo had done, this ‘knight’ probably didn’t plan on letting him go alive.
After sensing its intense hostility, Jin-Woo’s glare became a level sharper.
[Your movement speed has increased by 40%.]
The first one to strike, wins!
Before the enemy made its move, Jin-Woo dashed in first.
Jin-Woo evaded the hurried swing of the knight’s longsword and stabbed his dagger at various points in its amour.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t damage it.
‘The armour’s too thick.’
Not only was it thick, the surface was smooth as well, so when he landed a straight blow, the blade didn’t go in but simply slid off to the side.
It was at this point that the knight swung its sword in a huge arc.
Jin-Woo ducked lower and evaded it. The blade swung past Jin-Woo’s head by a hair’s breadth. A big move like this would inevitably expose a big opening.
Another chance had come by!
Jin-Woo lunged in closer to the knight and gathered his strength in his dagger-holding arm.
‘Vital Points Targetting!’
The tip of the dagger penetrated past the armour.
‘Did it work?’
However, it must’ve not suffered any damage, since it swung its sword down vertically with great force, not caring at all about the dagger stuck to its side.
Jin-Woo rapidly threw himself back.
The blade slammed into the ground and sparks flew everywhere.
Jin-Woo took several steps back and corrected his posture. His dagger remained stuck to the knight’s side.
Jin-Woo clicked his tongue.
‘It’s not really that strong, is it?’
That was his earnest assessment.
Probably because of all that heavy armour, its movement was dull, and its attack pattern was also rather simple, too. Only that, its defence against bladed weapons was truly exceptional.
Jin-Woo rolled up his sleeves.
‘Well, I’ve already fought against an enemy with thick armour that blades can’t penetrate.’
His relaxed demeanour came from previous experience.
The boss monster, ‘Poison-Fanged Blue Kasaka’ that broke a steel sword infused with magical energy in one hit – he had experienced killing such a snake before.
‘Compared to the Kasaka, that thing is nothing….’
A thin smile slowly formed on Jin-Woo’s lips, since that was a pretty good memory to recall.
Thud, thud, thud!
The knight stupidly charged in again, perhaps trusting the protection provided by its armour.
‘I knew it. It’s a really simple creature.’
Jin-Woo easily evaded the knight’s attack aimed at his shoulder, slid to its back, and caught it in a headlock.
Since its neck area was also protected by armour, it’d not choke to death, but….
Jin-Woo’s arm muscles expanded and veins bulged. Jin-Woo wasn’t planning to choke the knight, to begin with.
He gritted his teeth, his eyes shooting up wide open.
And when that happened…
Along with a pretty sickening noise, the helmet was ripped off.
This was the moment when his Strength Stat exceeding 100 points had begun shining ever so brightly.
‘I did it!’
The knight lifelessly knelt down on the ground once its head was separated from the body.
[You defeated the knight.]
A simple but concise message announcing the end of the battle popped up.
A flickering light indicating the presence of loot came from somewhere on the armour, but Jin-Woo’s attention was elsewhere.
‘What the heck? There’s nothing inside?’
The helmet he held in his hands was totally empty.
He quickly checked inside the armour to make sure, but it was the same story: empty.
‘Does that mean I was fighting against a suit of armour that was moving by itself?’
Just as he arrived at his conclusion, two more knights rushed into view from around the bend. It seemed that they had belatedly sensed the unfolding battle.
The knights discovered Jin-Woo, and as if they had made a prior arrangement, they unsheathed their longswords in unison.
Jin-Woo tossed the empty helmet away and loosened the muscles on his neck and shoulders.
He now knew how to fight these things.
‘So, this is the real beginning, huh.’
Thud, thud, thud, thud!!
Jin-Woo’s lips formed a slight grin as he stared at the knights rushing towards him.
His first step in clearing this dungeon proved to be on the right track.
SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 46