Leveling with the Gods - Chapter 11
JooYeon and SeongChan followed WuWon.
The convenience store was right there, but right now, survival took priority over food. If they remained here and got attacked by more monsters, they likely wouldn’t survive.
“Um… Where are you headed?”
“My hunting grounds.”
YuWon continued walking while he answered. He led them down a strange path. They had no memories of such a place inside Hongdae Station.
‘The layout really did change,’ JooYeon thought.
Hongdae Station had become larger and deeper. She was certain the stairwell that she was walking down at that moment hadn’t existed before.
“We’re going further in?”
“The real hunting grounds start on basement level 2.”
JooYeon was surprised. ‘There’s a second level?’
None of the people that went inside the station had returned, which is why YuWon was the only person that knew of the stairs that led deeper inside the station.
‘There… really is another dungeon on the second level.’
It was another basement dungeon the width of a subway car.
While pulling out his weapons, YuWon asked them, “You guys knew it was dangerous, so why did you come here?”
JooYeon tightly gripped her weapon with both hands, answering his question with a quivering voice, “You might not know this because you’ve been in here since the start of the 3rd Tutorial, but it’s complete chaos out there.”
YuWon nodded his head. He already knew. ‘That’s because this isn’t a video game.’
On the surface, it might seem like a simple hunting mission, but the 3rd Tutorial was far more complex than that. When hundreds of people are gathered for a simple objective like obtaining items by hunting, it creates a complex ecosystem.
“Groups formed, and people started distrusting each other. Right now, there are ongoing fights to rob each other for these tiny marbles,” JooYeon explained.
“So, you guys ran here because you were being attacked?”
“Yes. I guess they didn’t want to risk their lives since they gave up on chasing us once we entered here.”
“But you guys almost died here instead.”
“We survived in the end. Thanks to you.”
A sound echoed. It was a cry that JooYeon and SeongChan had never heard before. It made their bodies freeze up.
However, Yuwon was used to the cry. Showing no response, he instead turned his back to the source of the noise, looking at the two people.
“Who’s to say I won’t kill you guys and steal your essence?”
The two of them started backing away from YuWon.
It was a terrifying thing to hear. Right now, YuWon was a much scarier enemy than any monster.
“Ha-Haven’t you already collected enough essence?” Seongchan asked.
Yuwon nodded yes. He had already collected enough essence before the 3rd Tutorial even started.
“Then do you have any reason to kill us?”
“I’m still collecting more essence.”
“Besides, even if I don’t kill you myself, you guys will die.”
It was the truth. If Yuwon didn’t help them now, they were destined to die without him having to lift a single finger.
“What exactly do you want from us?”
JooYeon’s question made Yuwon smile.
She was a pretty quick thinker. She knew that YuWon wouldn’t have talked with them for as long as he did if didn’t want anything from them.
“I promise it’s not a bad deal. If you guys do a good job, I’ll even give you guys some essence.”
Their faces lit up from his offer. They would have been content leaving the station in one piece, but now they were being offered essence. They had to gather 50 essence within one day, so this was an irresistible offer for the two of them.
YuWon stared at SeongChan.
“You didn’t hurt your legs, right?”
“Huh? Yes, they’re fine.”
YuWon nodded his head towards the dungeon.
A large snake approached.
It was the Subterranean Snake. It had appeared a few times near the subway entrance. It was a monster that could swallow a monster in one bite, currently making it the hardest monster to hunt.
And right now, SeongChan was running with all his might away from that Subterranean Snake.
His Dexterity stat was pretty high, relative to his other stats, but the Subterranean Snake was much faster than SeongChan. It closed the distance between them in an instant, making Seongchan scream.
The snake was right behind SeongChan, its mouth opened wide.
A knife flew inside the snake’s open mouth. It blinked a few times, then the Subterranean Snake collapsed on its side.
The Subterranean Snake’s blood splattered everywhere.
Roll, roll, roll—
An essence fell on the floor.
SeongChan looked behind at the monsters that were chasing him.
‘Already that many…’
In an instant, a few monsters began spurting blood everywhere. Starting with the Subterranean Snake, monsters unknown to him started dropping dead one at a time.
YuWon jumped into the air.
A two-meter tall, muscular Red Lizard opened its jaws wide for Yuwon.
A long knife glowed blue. The moment YuWon and the Red Lizard came into contact, a red line was drawn across the lizard’s body.
He sliced it apart from its head to its torso. With minimal force, YuWon had killed the Red Lizard.
Essence continuously fell to the floor.
SeongChan quickly picked up the essence that was rolling around.
‘Five essense from 15 monsters… The drop rate is significantly higher.’
If he had hunted outside, he might have maybe gotten one essence after killing 15 monsters. Was it because it was a different hunting ground?
Compared to zombies or Moss Spiders, the Subterranean Snakes, Red Lizards, and other monsters that YuWon was hunting right now had a much higher drop rate.
‘This hunting speed is incredible…’
If he’s been hunting like this the entire time, how much essence does Yuwon actually have?
In just the last two hours, they managed to obtain over 50 essence.
The final monster dropped another essence. YuWon picked it up and put it in his inventory pouch.
The knife he had purchased from the new Lackey was now coated in layers of clotted blood. YuWon turned around and asked SeongChan, “How many was that?”
“That was six.”
It was another successful horde hunt. Counting the one he just picked up, it was a total of seven. YuWon took five essence from SeongChan, letting him keep one.
“JooYeon is a bit late.”
“I’m sure she’ll be back soon.”
SeongChan and JooYeon had one job—to be bait for the horde.
In the subterranean dungeon, there were a lot of strong monsters. Until now, Yuwon hunted those monsters by individually searching for them. They might have a higher drop rate, but he was capped by the limitation of being a lone wolf.
“Bring back a horde of monsters. About ten is probably good”
At first they thought, how could that be any good? But they soon realized.
‘We can’t bring back monsters fast enough for him.’
It was unbelievable.
SeongChan collected his breath, peeking over at Yuwon.
‘Just calling him strong would be an understatement. He’s like a different species than me.’
No matter how much they struggled, forest critters would still be forest critters at the end of the day. If the two of them were mere forest critters, YuWon was a species far above them, like a dinosaur.
Outside, there were a few people who had become strong by being the first ones to start hunting. However, they were simply strong relative to the pack. They couldn’t hold a candle to Yuwon’s might.
‘What does he plan on doing with all that essence…?’
Yuwon already had 50 essence when they met him. For some reason, that wasn’t enough for him, so he continued to hunt.
SeongChan suddenly became curious.
“What level are you?”
“Yes. With your rate of hunting, I’d imagine that you’d be leveling up pretty fast.”
Yuwon shook his head.
“It’s slowed down a lot.”
“I’ll have to wait for the next Tutorial to really level up properly.” YuWon shrugged as he answered.
“By the way, levels are personal information. Don’t ask others about it, and if you’re asked, don’t answer. It’s the same for stats.”
“Didn’t you ask me about my Constitution earlier?”
“You’re right. I should have just let your arm rot off.”
“Haha…” SeongChan let out a nervous laughter before responding. “I’ll take it to heart.”
In this new world, information like social security and phone numbers were meaningless. The most important information about someone would be their levels and stats. SeongChan realized how foolish of an act asking and sharing them was.
YuWon observed SeongChan, who was getting ready to go gather another horde.
‘With this, I’ll be able to gather many more than I originally planned.’
It’d been two hours since SeongChan and JooYeon started helping him hunt. His hunting speed significantly increased. It was thanks to him not having to go search for monsters individually.
‘This is about 50% more efficient.’
He was pretty satisfied. The increase in efficiency meant he was gathering essence much faster.
‘The spawn rate is unable to keep up with us…’
YuWon was actually pretty disappointed that there wasn’t a harder dungeon within the subway station.
“YuWon-ssi*! I’m here!”
T/N: -Ssi is a commonly used honorific used amongst people of approximately equal level.
In the midst of their break, JooYeon had returned with another horde of monsters.
Yuwon got back up. There wasn’t a lot of time left. It was time to keep grinding.
* * *
The hammer in his hand crushed the Subterranean Snake’s head. As the Snake stopped squirming, SeongChan shouted in joy, “I-I caught it!”
He heard the level up message. He and JooYeon managed to catch a Subterranean Snake all by themselves.
While helping Yuwon hunt hordes, the duo were not negligent, killing a monster here and there. They were leveling up, as per Yuwon’s advice.
“Did your level go up?”
“Yep. You too?”
“As for essence…”
An essence fell out of the Subterranean Snake’s mouth. This was their essence. It wasn’t Yuwon who caught the snake, but them.
“All done?” YuWon asked.
SeongChan nodded his head to YuWon, who had been watching over the duo.
“So we can have this?”
“That’s the last one, right?”
YuWon picked up one of the essence on the ground and tossed it over to JooYeon.
“And this is your last, too.”
JooYeon nodded her head.
They finished gathering the 50 essence that was required to pass the 3rd Tutorial. They had only managed to collect 20 before meeting YuWon. They had managed to complete what seemed like an impossible task.
YuWon checked the time.
[02 : 57 : 15]
‘I should hurry.’
There wasn’t a lot of time left. Once there were only two hours remaining, the gate to the next Tutorial would activate. He had to get outside before then.
“If you’re all done, let’s head on out.”
YuWon started walking up the stairs.
“So we’re finally going back up. Will outside still be in utter chaos?” SeongChan asked nervously, walking behind YuWon.
SeongChan started remembering the situation above ground before they entered the subway station. He and JooYeon were running away from a group that had attacked them. They had lost two friends in that attack, and inside the subway station, they lost another friend. Remembering those events made him afraid of facing them again.
“Still?” JooYeon shook her head in response to SeongChan’s question. “I bet it’s become worse.”
When they were attacked, there was still quite a bit of time remaining, but people already started attacking each other, worried about falling short on essence.
Now that the 3rd Tutorial was about to come to an end, there was no reason for the chaos to calm down.
“Think it’ll be okay?”
JooYeon stared at YuWon who was leading the way.
“I’m worried for the people outside.”