SOLO LEVELING NOVEL, CHAPTER 48
The door to the boss room finally opened.
The interior was completely shrouded in darkness.
Even with Jin-Woo’s eyesight, greatly enhanced by his Perception Stat, he found it hard to see one inch in front of him. All he could see clearly was the ground beneath his feet.
The floor was covered in stone tiles.
The ash-coloured tiles, laid with no visible gaps in between, gave off this feeling of heaviness and barren chill.
As soon as he set foot on this floor….
Countless torches lining up the walls lit up all at once and illuminated the interior.
‘As I thought… it’s almost the same as back in that underground temple.’
Jin-Woo maintained his vigilance. He scanned his vicinity and cautiously stepped forward.
Several giant stone pillars stood erect to his left and right; at the far end of this ‘room’, he could see a tall throne.
‘It’s as if….’
This place reminded him of the king’s audience chamber from a fantasy movie. Of course, the scale was noticeably larger, though.
A few steps later, the door issued a loud bang and closed shut behind him.
Jin-Woo glanced back, but he didn’t panic. He already expected something like that to happen. Jin-Woo resumed his careful march forward.
‘….I can sense a powerful presence.’
He kind of got this really strong gut feeling that, in order to conclude his class quest, he had to arrive before that throne.
Just as important, his gut feelings on matters such as this one were on the money, most of the time.
It was then.
From the gap between stone pillars, which couldn’t have been more than ten steps, a ‘doll’ walked out from its hiding spot and stood before him, blocking his path forward.
The ‘thing’ stopped its walk and turned around to face him.
Jin-Woo swallowed his dry saliva.
He only had to take one look at the creature’s red name floating just above its head to know that the boss had finally made its entrance.
[The Captain of the Knights, Igrit the Crimson]
It was a knight wearing a suit of blood-red armour.
The way it was kitted out from head to toe in metal armour was similar to other knights he fought so far, but quite unlike those that looked dull and slow, this thing looked incredibly agile.
What caught his eyes next was its helm.
The red-coloured mane extending rearwards from the top of the helm reminded him of a stallion’s tail and it left a rather deep impression.
While he studied its helm, Jin-Woo discovered one more difference between it and the other knights.
‘This guy…. has eyes?’
But, were they eyes, or irises?
Whatever the case may be, the pair of silvery lights oozed out from where one’s eyes should be. They felt so cold and uncaring, utterly mechanical and lifeless.
Those cold eyes were now fixed on him.
The hair on the back of his neck stood up.
‘So, the aura of the really powerful enemy was coming from this guy, huh…..’
The goal of the class quest could be to defeat this knight, for all he knew. If that was the case, he needed to be doubly cautious.
Jin-Woo observed the movements of this Igrit while slowly raising his clenched fists.
‘My dagger won’t work on it anyway.’
What was needed in defeating a knight was blunt force. He needed Strength to overwhelm him.
Igrit quietly observed Jin-Woo for a while, before it abruptly took off its red cape.
The cape fell to the floor.
‘What’s it doing?’
The b*stard’s strange actions didn’t end there.
It proceeded to take off the longsword on its hips, and the two daggers hidden behind its back, and dropped them all to the ground.
Not only that, it showed them to him, before dropping them one at a time.
The interior of the boss room had been quiet until then; the loud clangs of the metal hitting the stone tiles reverberated noisily throughout this vast chamber.
Igrit finished discarding all of its weapons, and as if to imitate Jin-Woo, clenched its fists and got into a fighting stance.
Jin-Woo’s eyes grew wider.
‘Could this b*stard be thinking of….?’
Was this thing going to fight him bare-handed because he was also bare-handed?
Jin-Woo bit his lower lip.
‘….It’s looking down on me.’
The monsters’ provocation that really wasn’t one only served to rapidly cool his head. The hotter his emotions boiled, the colder his head got.
On the contrary to his heart beating faster and faster, Jin-Woo’s eyes became sharper and calculating.
Perhaps reading his mind, Igrit made a beeline towards him.
Tap, tap, tap, tap!
The speed it produced was so fast that he found it hard to believe it was wearing a suit of armour.
‘The speed penalty of the armours only comes into effect when the Strength Stat is lower than 80, right?’
Meaning, this thing’s Strength was at least 80!
Judging from its nimble movement, its Agility would also rival some of the highest-ranked Hunters out there.
Igrit closed the distance in the blink of an eye, and leapt up into the air. Once flying, the thing stuck its knee out and aimed at Jin-Woo’s face.
However, Jin-Woo had been ready as well, his own movement speed pushed to the extreme. He bent his back almost 90 degrees and let Igrit’s attack brush past him.
Jin-Woo then rapidly stood back up.
Quite unlike other knights that needed some distance to stop after their tackle had failed, Igrit simply landed on the ground without much fanfare.
There was no time to admire that perfect landing, though.
Jin-Woo rushed in and before Igrit could turn around all the way, he diagonally kicked its head.
Shockingly enough, the thing still could move its arm accurately even when its posture was unstable.
Jin-Woo’s right leg was easily blocked by Igrit’s left hand.
‘How can this be?!’
Jin-Woo’s eyes opened wider.
While one of his legs was blocked, Igrit’s other fist flew in at his face.
He raised both of his arms instinctively to guard himself, but the impact force still got transmitted to the rest of his body.
His guard broke and his entire body became airborne.
A shocked gasp escaped from his mouth.
But soon, it turned into a groan.
Because, Igrit had already appeared right in front of his eyes.
Even before he had the chance to do something about it, Igrit’s left fist powerfully slammed into Jin-Woo’s left cheek.
He slammed into the floor and bounced up from the impact, before continuing to roll away. He only managed to force himself back up after a while.
The inside of his ears rang noisily.
Jin-Woo shook his head around a couple of times. Only then did the loud ringing die down somewhat.
However, the much bigger problem than that was coming closer to him. His blurry sight captured Igrit as it walked towards him.
Jin-Woo opened his eyes wider and got ready.
Eventually, Igrit arrived right before Jin-Woo’s nose.
And so, a bloody dogfight erupted between the two.
Igrit didn’t even try to dodge Jin-Woo’s punches. No, it simply took on the hits and counter-attacked right away.
Igrit’s head was forced slightly to the side.
But, even before Jin-Woo could correct his posture, a sharp and accurate counterpunch flew at him.
Jin-Woo tottered about like a drunken man.
This time, Igrit took a step back.
After his stomach was kicked in, Jin-Woo’s body bent forward 90 degrees.
Blood welled up in his mouth.
‘What is this nonsensical bullsh*t….?!’
Currently, Jin-Woo’s physical damage reduction Stat had exceeded 30%.
However, each of Igrit’s attacks hurt like crazy, as if he was being pounded on by a hammer. On the other hand, his attacks almost didn’t inflict any damage to the enemy.
Their exchange didn’t last for long afterwards.
Jin-Woo teetered about unsteadily, before falling to his knees.
He tried to stand back up, but his legs didn’t want to listen.
Igrit stood before Jin-Woo, but stopped attacking him. It wordlessly stared down at him for a while.
Then, while ignoring Jin-Woo’s question-filled gaze directed at it, Igrit extended its hand out towards the sword discarded to the ground some distance away.
Then, the sword was automatically reeled in.
Igrit grasped the sword in both of its hands and walked to the side of Jin-Woo.
Soon, the tip of the blade was pointing to the sky.
‘You want to execute me, is that it?’
This b*stard certainly lived up to its title as the captain of the knights.
When it looked like Jin-Woo wasn’t going to resist his final moments, Igrit went ahead with the execution.
Of course, Jin-Woo wasn’t going to let that happen without a fight.
The sword fell down in a straight line.
However, Jin-Woo reached up with his left hand and blocked the descending blade.
The noise of metal hitting metal!
The gauntlet he found just before entering here protected his hand.
He sensed Igrit being taken back just now. Jin-Woo didn’t miss this chance and threw a punch with his right hand.
As expected, Igrit didn’t try to dodge.
‘You’re thinking of countering me again, right?’
It had probably calculated that getting hit once while countering that was far more productive. Too bad, it failed to take something important into its calculation.
‘Poison Fang of Kasaka!’
The Poison Fang of Kasaka was summoned instantly into his hand.
And Jin-Woo stabbed the dagger in the creature’s eye.
A scream that couldn’t have come from a human being exploded out.
At the same time, a fierce light poured out from the eye with the dagger sticking out.
Jin-Woo hurriedly stood back up.
Just damaging one eye wouldn’t be able to determine the winner of this battle. He needed an attack even more powerful than that if he wanted to win.
It was then, a thought entered his mind.
The horrifying attack that almost pushed him to the brink of death the other day! He wanted to let Igrit taste that attack, too.
Before he could finish thinking that, his body moved first.
Jin-Woo bent down and bear-hugged Igrit’s midriff.
And then… he began running.
Igrit thrashed about in pain and managed to land several solid blows on Jin-Woo’s back. However, he gritted his teeth and didn’t let Igrit go.
No, he increased his speed instead.
[Your movement speed has increased by 40%.]
Jin-Woo’s legs were now moving so much faster. He felt the electrifying speed sending chills down his entire body.
‘Yes, this is it. And now….’
And now, he’d slam this b*stard!
While gripping the midriff of Igrit even harder, he dashed towards the nearest wall with every ounce of energy he had.
Of course, if they collided against the wall at this speed, the impact his own body received would be substantial as well. However, Jin-Woo had a hidden trump card in the form of a certain passive skill.
The distance closed in the blink of an eye!
The wall was right behind them.
Along with the huge explosion, Igrit crashed into the wall.
At the same time, a message from the System popped up.
[Your HP has dropped below 30% and ‘Skill: Tenacity’ has been activated.]
[All damage received will be reduced by 50%.]
The impact force was great enough for the entire boss room to tremble momentarily.
Jin-Woo took a step back.
Igrit was buried half-way into the wall, yet it was still alive. The ‘flame’ of life burning under the helm was still flickering visibly.
‘….I need to finish this.’
Jin-Woo yanked the Poison Fang of Kasaka, still buried in its eye, loose.
That caused Igrit’s body to quiver once.
Jin-Woo held the dagger in a reverse grip, and stabbed hard at the b*stard’s neck.
‘Vital Points Targetting!’
The attack failed to work.
One more time.
‘Vital Points Targetting!’
Sparks flew off from the tip of the dagger.
A small nick formed on the metal covering the monster’s neck.
One more time.
‘Vital Points Targetting!’
‘Vital Points Targetting!!’
The Poison Fang of Kasaka broke past the protective metal and dug deep into its neck.
[You defeated the Captain of the Knights, Igrit the Crimson.]
Jin-Woo raised both of his hands up high into the sky.
He took several steps back, before losing all strength in his legs and faltered to the floor.
Jin-Woo spat out the heavy breaths he’d been holding in until now.
He won, somehow.
It was an incredibly close fight.
‘However… wasn’t this the end of the quest?’
Jin-Woo collected his breaths for a long time, before painfully raising his body up.
He expected the class quest to end once he killed this guy, but not one message popped up in his view. He looked around, but he failed to spot anything different in the boss room.
No, there was one thing that was different from before.
Several strands of light began flickering on Igrit’s body. Meaning, his loot was now ready.
‘For the time being, let’s grab those.’
After all, he couldn’t tell what else might happen here.
Grabbing things that he could grab when there was a chance was the smartest move one could make, wasn’t it?
Jin-Woo reached out towards those lights.
[‘Item: Red Knight’s Helm’ has been found. Take it?]
[‘Rune Stone: Ruler’s Reach’ has been found. Take it?]
[‘Item: Leather Pouch’ has been found. Take it?]
[‘Item: Immediate Return Stone’ has been found. Take it?]
Why were there so many?
Jin-Woo felt rather puzzled, but still, he couldn’t hide his elation, either.
‘Acquire them all.’
The first thing to enter his Inventory was the Leather Pouch.
[‘Item: Leather Pouch’ has been opened.]
[1,500,000 Gold is inside.]
[1,500,000 Gold has been acquired.]
Jin-Woo’s eyes went extra round.
‘The level of reward is on another scale altogether!’
It definitely was worth it, defeating it after going through so much crap.
He wasn’t expecting all that much, to begin with, yet the leather pouch spat out an unbelievable amount of 1,500,000 Gold.
With this amount, he’d be able to buy something useful from the Store now.
However, Jin-Woo’s attention was directed elsewhere at the moment.
If the leather pouch he didn’t even hold high hopes for managed to produce such wealth, then just how high was the value of the helm or the Rune Stone?
Jin-Woo tried very hard to calm his heart and brought up the information on the helm.
[Item: Red Knight’s Helm]
Reduction in physical damage: +15%
Stamina +20, Strength +20
“It’s an S!!”
Jin-Woo cried out in elation.