Solo Leveling Novel - Chapter 1
I Alone Level-up: Chapter 1
Part 0: Prologue
[The Daily Quest has arrived .]
An articulate voice of a young female.
This was not a video game. Nor was it a dream.
But, her voice definitely resounded within my head. Hell, I could even see the quest window floating in mid-air, too.
‘Could it be… Even today?”
While fervently praying in my head, I cautiously opened the information window.
Daily Quest: The Preparation To Become Powerful Do 100 Push-ups: (Incomplete) (0/100) Do 100 Sit-ups: (Incomplete) (0/100) Do 100 Squats: (Incomplete) (0/100) Run 10 kilometers: (Incomplete) (0/10) *Warning: Failing to complete the Daily Quest will result in a Penalty Quest.
As soon as I got to confirm the contents of the Daily Quest, I began cussing out reflexively.
“Awww… Just how many days has it been already?!”
Part 1: Rank E Hunter
Rank E Hunter, Seong Jin-Woo.
No matter where he went, this title always followed him around.
Jin-Woo’s overall strength was almost the same as a regular human being. With the exception of being a bit stronger and his wounds healing slightly faster, Jin-Woo was about the same as regular people in every other aspect.
It was par for the course then, that he’d always end up getting injured. He nearly died several times, too.
But he was not a Hunter because he enjoyed the job.
It was dangerous, filled with ridicule, and the pay was disappointing.
If it weren’t for the medical aid paid out by the Hunter Association to the Hunters in their “payroll”, he’d have turned in his hunter license and quit by now, and live his life like a regular person.
Unfortunately, someone like Seong Jin-Woo, in his mid-twenties and lacking in any tangible job skills, there was no other way but to remain as a Hunter if he wanted to pay for his mother’s hospital fee of millions of won every month.
Should one say that he had no choice in the matter?
That was why, even though he didn’t want to, he simply had to participate in the raid supervised by the Association.
Hunters operating within the same area tended to know each other pretty well. In the event of a Gate opening up, all the Hunters in that district would be asked to come, that’s why.
The Hunters who had arrived early sipped on the cups of coffee handed out by the Association’s employee and shared cordial greetings with each other.
“Oh, hey. Mister Kim, Over here. Here.”
“Oh? Mister Park, what are you doing here? I thought you were giving up on being a Hunter?”
“Hahahaha, is that so. Yeah, for a Hunter to earn big in one go, participating in a raid is the best, isn’t it.”
Mister Kim jovially burst out in laughter. Mister Park followed suit with a sheepish chuckle, before asking Kim.
“By the way, why do I feel like that the Association is calling on us less and less nowadays? Did the number of Gates decrease or something?”
“Eii, of course not. That’s only because the Guilds are getting all worked up over clearing the Gates; it’s got nothing to do with the Association. I hear that various Guilds are jumping in with both feet since there is big profit involved in this whole thing.”
“Well, in that case, since this raid is being supervised by the Association, it should be safe, no?”
Mister Park took a glance around as if he was getting nervous.
If a Guild was not involved today, that meant there wasn’t enough profit to be had, and if there wasn’t enough profit to be had, then that could only mean that this particular Gate’s difficulty would below.
Of course, nothing in this world was 100% absolute.
It wasn’t just Mister Park; other Hunters were nervously glancing around as well.
“Hmm. I wonder….”
Mister Kim finished the rest of his coffee while avoiding answering his friend, before spotting a certain someone and raised his hand in happiness.
“Uh! He’s here. Hey, Mister Seong!! Mister Seong!”
Other Hunters also displayed joy at discovering that young man.
It was none other than Seong Jin-Woo.
Jin-Woo performed a simple nod of the head at the joyous Mister Kim and walked by.
After making sure Jin-Woo was well out of earshot, Mister Kim began sniggering while confidently speaking up.
“So, Jin-Woo showed up. Then it’s going to okay today, too.”
Mister Park’s eyes widened up and he hurriedly asked Kim.
“What was that? Is that Hunter Seong Jin-Woo really strong?”
“Ahh. Right, of course, you wouldn’t know who he is. He’s a Hunter who started working shortly after you left, you see. However, every Hunter here knows who that kid is by now.”
“He’s really that strong? Wait, why is he working for the Association, then? Why not for a Guild or as a freelancer?”
Kim sniggered some more before narrowing his eyes.
“You know what that guy’s nickname is?”
“How should I know that? C’mon, man. Just tell me already.”
“Humanity’s weakest weapon.”
“….Weakest? Not something like the ultimate weapon?”
“Dude, that’s the nickname for the rank S Hunter Choi Jong-In. That kid is the ‘weakest weapon’. I’m pretty sure he’s the weakest Hunter in the Republic of Korea.”
Park began frowning deeply.
Why would other Hunters greet this Seong Jin-Woo if he was really that weak? After all, didn’t they need someone to trust their backs if things went south?
Park couldn’t really understand the reactions of other Hunters.
When Park’s head tilted this way and that, Kim chuckled and poked the side of Park with his elbow.
“Eii! The raids Seong Jin-Woo participates in will only have low difficulty because he’s so weak. The Association would never entrust him with a tough job, don’t you get that? They don’t want to see him get killed, right?”
Only then did Park’s expression brightened up.
His wife was deeply worried about him since this would be his first raid in quite a while. Honestly, even he himself was worried, too. However, now that he listened to Kim’s words, he felt like a weight was lifted off his mind.
Kim continued on.
“That guy, there was a rumor not too long ago that said, he got injured participating in a raid of a rank E-Gate and spent a week in the hospital.”
“A Hunter got injured by a rank E-Gate?”
“That’s right. No one expected to see a Hunter getting injured during a rank E-Gate raid, so they didn’t even bring along a Healer, apparently!”
“That’s why he spent a week in a hospital?! Pu-hahaha!”
When Park began guffawing too loudly, Kim hurriedly hushed him.
“Stop it, man. Mister Seong might hear you.”
“Aigoo. I didn’t think of that.”
Park cautiously checked Jin-Woo’s reactions as he continued to giggle.
Thankfully, the distance was far enough and the youth didn’t seem to have heard them.
Of course, they were mistaken.
‘I can hear everything, you geezers.’
A bitter smile formed on Jin-Woo as he tried hard to ignore them. At times like today, he couldn’t help but blame his unusually-acute sense of hearing.
It seemed that he arrived too early and the raid was yet to commence.
‘Did I arrive too early?’
Jin-Woo looked around to while away the waiting time, spotted the Association employee handing out warm coffee, and walked closer.
“Can I get a cup of coffee as well?”
“Oh. Seong Jin-Woo Hunter-nim… I’m really sorry, but we ran out of coffee just now.”
The cold Winter breeze brushed past the tip of his nose.
Jin-Woo quietly wiped his nose with his index finger.
What a sad day it was, for the coffee to run out as soon as it was his turn to get one.