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Solo Leveling - Chapter 133

Published at 25th of March 2019 09:02:51 AM

Chapter 133

Chapter 133: Chapter 133


 

Did he hear that right? Jin-Woo ended up doubting his own hearing, then .

Cha Hae-In was the Vice-Master of South Korea's top Guild, and her skills were ranked to be among the very best, but she willingly walked into a Guild that hadn't even taken its first baby step yet?

Unless she was being threatened into coming here, how could this situation make any sense? But then again . . . .

'Uh, well, just who'd be brave enough to threaten her?'

Jin-Woo decided to bring up the one person with enough clout to potentially threaten her in South Korea .

"Did the Association President order you to do this?"

Cha Hae-In formed a confused expression, evidently not understanding why Goh Gun-Hui was being brought up in this discussion .

"Why would he . . . . ?"

It was Jin-Woo who couldn't understand what was going on here, so why was she making that face even though she was the reason for all this confusion?

'No, hang on . Let's calm down . '

It was a situation where most people would've been left too stunned or get overexcited, but Jin-Woo was able to stay calm as he pulled out a chair to sit on Cha Hae-In's opposite side . He then wordlessly stared at her .

He only needed to focus for a short while . As the time visibly slowed down in his perception, various bits of information about her flowed into his brain, one at the time .

'She's restless . '

Her heartbeat, her breathing, even the glow within her eyes . She was doing her best to look composed, but there was no fooling Jin-Woo's sky-high Perception .

So, the question was – why was she forcing herself to this extent and trying to enter the tentatively-named 'Solo Play' Guild?

Jin-Woo had to ask her .

"Don't you still have some time left in the duration of your contract with the Hunters Guild?"

Now normally, the Guild would negotiate contracts with Hunters in five-year terms . Cha Hae-In joined the Hunters Guild two years ago when she was evaluated to be a rank S, so at a bare minimum, she should still have three years left in her contract .

"I have enough money to pay the penalty for breach of contract . "

Cha Hae-In's collected answer only elicited Jin-Woo's head-tilting .

Most of the time, such a penalty fee would be between two to three times the original signing fee .

Thinking about the exorbitant sum the Hunters Guild must've forked out in order to sign up a rank S Hunter like her, one didn't need to be a genius to figure out that the breach of contract penalty fee would be absolutely horrendous, as well .

Since he was about to speak to her about harsh reality, Jin-Woo's attitude became very business-like .

"Our 'Solo Play' Guild simply can't afford to pay the kind of signing fee your skill set warrants, Cha Hunter-nim . "

"T-the name of your Guild is 'Solo Play'??"

"You have a problem with the name that the Vice-Master and myself came up with?"

" . . . No, not really . "

Cha Hae-In let a soft sigh escape from her, and continued on .

"It doesn't matter . It's fine if you don't pay me the contract signing fee . "

She didn't mind signing a contract without any payment, even though she'd have to pay an enormous breach of contract fee to the Hunters Guild?

'What is she scheming here?'


Jin-Woo's eyes narrowed to a slit .

When their eyes stayed locked for a while, Cha Hae-In could no longer endure the silent pressure and averted her gaze . Her heart was beating a step faster than before, too .

Jin-Woo's ears perked up . His acute sense of hearing didn't miss out on a single change taking place inside her .

'Is she hiding something?'

At this point, he simply had to ask her or he'd die of curiosity .

"Why are you willing to go through such a wringer just to join our Guild?"

" . . . . "

As expected, Cha Hae-In couldn't easily answer him and kept her mouth resolutely shut . And seeing her face redden like that, it became oh-so-obvious that she was hiding something from him, too .

'Wait a minute . . . '

Now that he thought about it, he remembered sensing that something was different about her even back in the funeral venue . He couldn't tell what she was thinking of, but she could have been planning to do this for quite some time already .

Jin-Woo quietly waited for Cha Hae-In's answer . However, she kept her head lowered and for a long while, didn't say a single word .

'… . But, how can I even explain myself to him?

… . That I sensed your presence next to me even after I lost my consciousness from the attack of that mutated ant monster?

… . That, I felt safe and warm after picking up on your scent as I sank deeper into an empty and endless dark void?'

There was no word in this world adequate enough to describe what she felt back then .

'Even if I explain it, he'd only say that I've gone mad . '

Her heart began beating faster after she learned of Hunter Seong Jin-Woo really being there . She felt so relieved, knowing that she wasn't imagining things .

And also . . . .

'What if . . . . '

She discovered that she wanted Jin-Woo to be by her side in the worst case scenario of her being unable to escape from the cold blade of death .

'… . To think, it'd be like 'please be right by my side until my final moments' . '

How could she even attempt saying that, when just thinking about it made her blush uncontrollably?

That was an impossible task for Cha Hae-In who didn't know anything about a normal girl's sensibilities . That was why she finally spoke up an answer she cooked up before coming here .

" . . . To be more comfortable . "

She raised her head to meet Jin-Woo's gaze and continue on with the rest .

"I wish to be live more comfortably . . . . "

Although it wasn't exactly what she tried to say, it wasn't a complete lie, either .

She couldn't even lift her head properly from all the horrendous stink when high-ranked Hunters were standing next to her . But, in contrast, she felt her mind getting peaceful in the presence of Jin-Woo .

The meaning of Cha Hae-In's 'comfortable' was precisely that .

Jin-Woo didn't interpret the meaning that way, but still, he could understand where she was coming from . He slowly nodded his head from her answer .

She apparently wanted to leave a big Guild like the Hunters, and spend a more 'comfortable' time in a far smaller Guild like his .


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According to Jin-Woo's knowledge, Cha Hae-In was either twenty-two or twenty-three years old .

'I'm sure the burden that a rank S must carry would be pretty heavy for a woman in her early twenties . '

Especially more so, after she felt the threat of death during the Jeju Island raid .

Jin-Woo could easily understand her feelings as he too felt like abandoning everything and running away from it all countless times, back when he still worked for the Association .

Unfortunately for her . . . .

'Although her plight is pitiable, but . . . . . '

But, he couldn't just accept her like that .

Why would he have named the Guild 'Solo Play'? That was because he planned to book dungeons using the name of his Guild and clear them all by himself .

If the minimum number of team members proved to be a stumbling block, then he'd simply hire temps to fill the headcount, just like how it was back when he cleared those rank C Gates with Yu Jin-Ho . That was the smartest thing to do in his quest to level up higher .

However, if Cha Hae-In entered the picture, things would become rather complicated in many ways . Even if they forget about her contract signing fee, wouldn't she still need money for her daily necessities?

By hiring a rank S Hunter with huge salaries, someone he didn't even need in the first place and wasn't planning to put to work either, he'd be committing a massive wastage on a national scale .

However . . .

'If I reject a rank S Hunter who's willing to waive the contract signing fee and join my Guild without a proper reason, it's going to look pretty suspicious . '

That was why Jin-Woo quickly came up with a plan .

"Actually, our Guild has an admittance test you need to go through . "

"Pardon? But, the job posting didn't specify anything li . . . . "

Jin-Woo quickly cut off Cha Hae-In's flustered words .

"This rule is pretty new, so it's possible that the Vice-Master may have made a small error . "

The glow in Cha Hae-In's eyes became quite serious at the mention of a test .

"What kind of a test is it?"

Jin-Woo was inwardly taken by surprise from her reaction .

'This gal, she was really serious?'

Because of her professional pride, he expected her to quit after being told about taking a test . However, Cha Hae-In acted the exact opposite . No, she was actually burning up even hotter with the desire to win .

He could sense her fervour hidden behind that expressionless mask of hers .

'Is she the type to face any fight coming her way head on?'

Or, was this the case of misplaced pride?

Whatever the case may have been, Jin-Woo couldn't back off now while staying it was all a misunderstanding .

"It's to win against the summoned creature I pick . "

Crack .

He swore that he heard the physical sound of a crack forming on her ego .

" . . . . "

'Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim, is that how low your assessment of me is?'


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What a mysterious thing this was . He only looked into her eyes briefly, yet it felt like her voice could be heard so clearly inside his head .

However, Cha Hae-In didn't display any of her thoughts and asked in her usual collected manner .

"Which summon will you pick?"

"For you, Cha Hunter-nim, I'll especially have to pick the strongest one . "

" . . . . . Alright . "

She wasn't backing down here .

Most likely, she wouldn't have dreamed it in her wildest imaginations, regarding who became the latest addition to Jin-Woo's summoned creatures – no, his Shadow Army collection .

Jin-Woo thought that, since her will to win was so strong, she'd give up on her own after tasting defeat . He immediately agreed to the bout .

"Okay, let's do it . "

"When will the test be?"

"Right now . "

Jin-Woo wanted to establish his Guild as soon as possible, so he didn't want to waste any more time on Cha Hae-In . Since he came up with this idea, might as well do it now .

The location would be the gymnasium of the Hunter's Association .

A rank S Hunter could rent out the gymnasium whenever he felt like it . It was one of the many special privileges afforded to rank S Hunters .

"Got it . "

Cha Hae-In nodded her head . She too wanted to move things along as quickly as possible . They both stood up at the same time as if they made a promise to do that .

'… . Hold on . '

It was then, a certain thought flashed past his brain . He quickly called out to Cha Hae-In as she was about to turn the door handle .

"Cha Hunter-nim, please wait . "

"Pardon?"

"There's no need to go that way . "

" . . . ?"

Cha Hae-In formed a confused expression .

There was only one door in the conference suite . He obviously wasn't suggesting that they should jump out of the window, so . . . .

Jin-Woo quickly walked over to her unmoving frame .

"I have a quicker way of getting there, actually . "

"Excuse me?"

"But, I must be touching you if I'm to use this method, so will it be alright with you?"

"Oh . . . . . "

Cha Hae-In recalled what Baek Yun-Ho told her about the situation back then . He said that, as all the members of the Korean assault team found themselves in a life-or-death situation, Hunter Seong Jin-Woo suddenly popped up behind him .

'Is he trying to show me that skill?'

She quickly swallowed her dry saliva and looked up at Jin-Woo's face that was now much closer than her initial expectations .


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"Sorry about this . "

Jin-Woo lightly embraced her .

He thought that such a light hug wouldn't mean anything to her since he had carried her unconscious frame around inside the ant tunnel, but Cha Hae-In's face was rapidly dyeing in a beet-red colour .

However, she didn't struggle or try to get out of his embrace .

'… . His nice scent . '

While her face was getting progressively redder and redder, Jin-Woo cautiously held her to make sure they wouldn't get separated and finished getting ready .

'Okay, all done . '

There was this thing he wanted to confirm . And he wouldn't find as good an opportunity as this one in the future .

"It might get a little dizzy . "

Well, he felt that the first time, so there .

Cha Hae-In only then wrapped her arms around Jin-Woo and whispered her reply .

"Okay . "

Jin-Woo raised his head up to his front and issued a command in his mind .

'Shadow Exchange . '

Shururu . . . . .

Two of them soundlessly got sucked into the shadow beneath their feet .

It was right at that moment Yu Jin-Ho opened the door and entered the conference suite . He ran out to the local convenience store to buy some refreshments after thinking that the talk might go on for a bit .

"Please, drink these while you two ch . . . . "

A High Orc Shadow Soldier met Yu Jin-Ho's gaze, and as if he was feeling a bit sheepish over something, scratched the back of his head .

" . . . . "

Claaank!!

The tray in Yu Jin-Ho's hand crashed to the floor, and cups of liquid refreshment shattered from the impact .

"W-what the hell?!"

Yu Jin-Ho freaked out grandly and blinked his eyes, but the High Orc soldier was gone without a trace .

'B-b-but, I definitely . . . . !!'

He rubbed his eyes hard and shook his head to regain his composure . He took another look at his surroundings, but he couldn't spot a single trace of the monster anywhere .

'… . I guess I've been working too hard recently . '

Yup, that must be it, what with seeing a hallucination and all .

Yu Jin-Ho tilted his head and scanned the conference suite one more time, before turning around to find a mop to clean up the mess on the floor . But then . . . .

A thought entered his mind and stopped his feet from moving again .

"Where did hyung-nim and Cha Hae-In Hunter-nim disappear to?"

< Chapter 133 > Fin .

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