Level Up - Chapter 8: Power Up Kit -3
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Chang Soo was sitting in a quiet little coffee shop with his group, while Hyun Seok wasn’t present.
It’s been a month since they last saw Hyun Seok.
This also marks the first month since they took the “antidote”, and they just received another one yesterday.
“We need to come up with a solution. Until when are we going to hunt Thunder Dragonflies like slaves for Hyun Seok?”
At Chang Soo’s words, everyone started fidgeting.
What he said wasn’t entirely true but it’s not like he’s wrong either.
“What’s with your reactions? You guys aren’t trying to say that you’re fine with this situation, right?”
“The thing is… Well, aren’t we doing better now?”
Myung Seok pointed out while diverting his eyes.
Hearing this, Chang Soo tried to calm down and stared at Myung Seok.
“Just think about the times when we weren’t with him.”
Chang Soo kept his mouth shut. Even if Myung Seok didn’t say those words, Chang Soo already knew what he meant.
Their group back then really acted like trash.
Of course, even now, it was hard to say whether they’re good guys or not, but they were better than before.
Even at the time when they acted like trash, they still weren’t able to obtain any magical cores from the dungeons. But because of Hyun Seok, they had come this far in just a month.
“Compare that to how we are now. Yeah, the hunting is tough, but at least each of us can make 5 million won per day.”
Considering the amount Hyun Seok took, it really wasn’t fair. But compared to how they were before, they were making much more. Back then, they’d only be able to get 5 cores per month.
Also, the ones that they were able to obtain only held about 500 mana at max.
A core with around 500 mana was the most common, so the selling price wasn’t that high either.
If a magical core had over 1000 mana, it was worth at least 100 million won. But the one with 500 mana was worth only 10 million won.
Of course, there were other byproducts, but how much would that be when added up?
At the end of the month, each person won’t even be able to make 10 million won.
But think about it now. Although the work was hard and arduous, they made at least 5 million won daily. That means that in one month, they would be able to make over 150 million won. Even if they rested a couple of days, they would still make over 100 million won.
How many players would be able to make that much? If they thought about it, Hyun Seok was allowing them to live their dream life.
Chang Soo glared at his group members.
“So, are you saying that you guys want to continue living as slaves?”
Honestly, they weren’t actually living like slaves. They were working hard and honestly earning their living, but Myung Seok could not bring himself to say that.
There was nothing to gain in arguing with Chang Soo anyway.
The atmosphere became awkward as Chang Soo looked at them one by one.
He had to approach them carefully.
Although they called each other comrades, in reality, they were Chang Soo’s subordinates.
However, Chang Soo couldn’t do as he pleased. If they decided to rebel against him, he had no means to subdue them.
“I’m not saying that this lifestyle is bad. Of course, it’s good that we’re working hard to make an honest living.”
Chang Soo’s acknowledgment was unexpected. Everyone turned their eyes on him to listen to what he had to say.
When Chang Soo saw that his scheme was working, he laughed at their foolishness. He already knew that their hearts had parted from him a long time ago. But there were many ways to turn them back to his side.
“All I want is a little equality.”
They stared back at Chang Soo with their eyes wide open as if asking him what he was talking about.
Chang Soo spoke with an unhappy expression.
“Do you really think what’s happening right now is fair? He was just using us as baits. Think about it carefully.”
At those words, everyone started to slowly nod their heads.
Acting as bait wasn’t an easy task. The thunderbolts that the Thunder Dragonfly emanated were extremely dangerous. Although they’ve leveled up a few times, the fact that it was dangerous didn’t change.
On the other hand, the only thing that Hyun Seok did was hide and then kill the Thunder Dragonfly while it was being distracted by the others.
Although it requires a lot of strength and skills to successfully slay a dragonfly, it was the safest and easiest job. Even the group members couldn’t deny that.
But Hyun Seok took the most out of all the obtained things. The group members also didn’t know how much Hyun Seok was making because they weren’t able to confirm the number of magical cores that he had extracted. In addition to that, they even suspect that Hyun Seok actually has a way to hide the cores from the mana meter.
“Seeing that no one is denying it, I’ll assume that all of you agree that this is unfair.”
Again, no one answered. Choi Chang Soo smiled in satisfaction.
“Then I’ll try to talk with him later today. Just support me with a few sentences now and then. Alright?”
Everyone hesitated a moment but soon nodded.
“But… If he threatens us with the antidote, there’s nothing much we can do, right?”
“There should be a limit to that. Don’t worry and believe in me. I’ll handle it.”
Chang Soo understood a few things about Hyun Seok by observing him for a month.
He knows that as long as he doesn’t ask for something absurd, Hyun Seok would probably allow it. If not for realizing this fact, Chang Soo would’ve stayed low.
“Alright then, it’s time. Let’s go.”
Everyone stood up and they headed towards the dungeon spawning area.
The closer they got, the more determined their expression became.
* * *
Hyun Seok was looking around the dungeon area and was checking the translucent name tags above each vortex.
– Giant Ant’s Nest
– Goblin Hill
– Blade Wolf Valley
Hyun Seok kept looking and soon found the one he wanted.
– Thunder Dragonfly’s Nest
His next step was to turn that into a mutated dragonfly’s nest.
The way to change a dragonfly’s nest was straight forward.
While waiting for the party, Hyun Seok sprayed the essence that he had extracted from the mutated Thunder Dragonfly’s egg into the dungeon.
Of course, he didn’t do it openly. Instead, he controlled his mana to spray the essence slowly.
After finishing the preparations, Hyun Seok waited for Chang Soo and his group to come.
A few minutes later, they arrived at the dungeon spawning area. The group looked around for Hyun Seok and saw him at the distance.
Hyun Seok noticed them and noticed that their expressions were different from usual.
The group came up to Hyun Seok swiftly and took a short pause as they needed some time to set the right atmosphere to bring up their request.
Chang Soo organized what he was going to say in his mind, and just as he was about to speak up, someone else came up to Hyun Seok.
“Excuse me… Hello?”
Surprised, Hyun Seok turned his head towards the person who called him.
Chang Soo and his party also did the same.
And as they did, they saw an incredibly charming woman standing there while smiling brightly.
Choi Chang Soo sensed an emergency and stepped out first, blocking Hyun Seok’s way.
Ryu Ji Hye smiled and said softly.
“I don’t have business with you.”
Her eyes were focused at Hyun Seok, who was behind Chang Soo’s back. Then she smiled with confidence and pointed her finger at Hyun Seok.
“I’d like to talk to that handsome oppa over there.”
However, Choi Chang Soo didn’t back down easily.
For some inexplicable reason, he sensed danger from her and blocked her way once again.
“If you want to talk with him, you’ll have to get through me.”
Ryu Ji Hye smiled.
“I don’t think that’s up to you. Don’t you think so, Oppa?” she said while looking past Chang Soo and asked Hyun Seok.
“What makes you call him Oppa? No matter how you look at it, you’re much older than him.”
At his remark, veins popped up on Ryu Ji Hye’s forehead, but it disappeared in an instant as she smiled even more brightly.
‘Woah… That’s kind of creepy.”
Her smile looked a little scary now, but Chang Soo didn’t back down. He was determined to stop her. [*]
Ryu Ji Hye just shifted her gaze on Hyun Seok alone. After all, no matter how hard Chang Soo tries to interfere, if Hyun Seok decides to talk to her, Chang Soo couldn’t do anything.
And her judgment was spot on. In the end, Hyun Seok approached her as he didn’t want to waste any more time.
“What’s going on?”
Ryu Ji Hye gave Chang Soo a smirk before talking to Hyun Seok with gentle eyes…
“I see you around here a lot recently. Would you like to go hunting with me?”
Hyun Seok pondered over her question for a moment, but he didn’t reply. Instead, he looked at Chang Soo and asked,
“You seem to have something to say to me. If you do, tell me now.”
Chang Soo was startled. He didn’t expect Hyun Seok to call him out while he was still talking with that girl.
He thought in his head, “What the heck! Did he plan this?”
Chang Soo stuttered as he didn’t know what to reply. He glanced at his group and saw everyone shaking their heads furiously.
“I know that much, you bastards.”
Chang Soo was not a fool and knew that he couldn’t bring up his request right now. He also realized that their next opportunity to bring it up wouldn’t come anytime soon.
“It’s nothing.” Chang Soo smiled as he replied.
Hyun Seok nodded and turned back to Ryu Ji Hye.
“I don’t think our team needs any more people.”
Ryu Ji Hye was surprised at his firm rejection.
“Come on, think about it. I’m stronger than I look!”
She wouldn’t gain anything from a dungeon that was low leveled, nor would the small amount of mana from clearing the dungeon help her level up because her level was almost at 40.
The dungeons Hyun Seok was clearing were level Bronze 1, which was mostly for players around level 20.
She was confident that if she hunted with them once, she would be able to stay in their party.
However, she wasn’t even given a chance to hunt with them even once.
And Hyun Seok’s reaction did not change.
Hyun Seok began to walk away, but Ryu Ji Hye followed and asked again,
“Don’t be like that, why don’t you give it a thought?”
Ryu Ji Hye smiled and said, “I might just follow you guys into the dungeon.”
Hyun Seok stopped at those words. He turned around and stared at Ryu Ji Hye.
It was bad manners to sneak in a dungeon when another party was clearing it.
In fact, the dungeon headquarters strictly banned this act because there were cases where people attacked the party while they were hunting.
“So, let’s hunt together just once. I’ll be a great help.”
“You’d better keep in mind that you’re not registered as a member of our team.”
Ryu Ji Hye’s expression stiffened at Hyun Seok’s words.
If a player who doesn’t belong to the team enters the dungeon, the party would have the right for self-defense. So no matter what happens in the dungeon, the party will be justified.
“That’s one hell of a threat.”
Ryu Ji Hye stepped back and gave off a look of surrender.
“Aren’t you being too stingy? All I’m asking is to hunt together just once.”
Hyun Seok stared at her and said, “Why would I allow a liar into the team?”
“What? Me, lying? What makes you say that?”
“That’s because you haven’t been in this area even once for the past month.”
Ryu Ji Hye responded shamelessly, “Do you check every single person who comes here? How would you know whether I came? I might have just spied on you.”
Hyun Seok then looked around.
“As you can see, there’s nowhere to hide. And yes, I always check who is around me.”
Ryu Ji Hye was speechless.
She had never even dreamed that there would be a person like Hyun Seok. How could he identify everyone?
Although his words were a bit exaggerated, he did not lie.
Hyun Seok doesn’t remember a person by their face, but by other sensory information. Furthermore, he could also remember the unique mana pattern of every player.
And if someone like Ryu Ji Hye, who has a distinctive mana pattern, came to this area, he would have noticed it at least once.
There was another reason too, but he didn’t have a reason to tell her what it was.
Hyun Seok then grinned at Ryu Ji Hye.
“You’re dressed up so fancy that you’ll stick out anywhere you go. I hope you come up with a more plausible excuse next time.”
After saying those words, Hyun Seok left her just like that and headed for the dungeon.
Chang Soo then returned a smirk on Ryu Ji Hye as he followed Hyun Seok.
Ryu Ji Hye glared at the vortex they’ve just entered and said with pride,
“This job is getting interesting. Let’s see who will win at the end.”
Translator and Editor Notes:
 Oppa is used in Korean culture by a female to a male, who is older than her by the boundary of 10 years. Females use this title for their older brother, older male friend, or even in a flirtatious way. – Urban Dictionary.
ED: [*] Idk. I like Chang Soo now. Lol
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