Solo Leveling Novel Chapter 54

16

< Chapter 54 >

[Skill: Shadow Storage Lv. 1]

Class-specific skill.

Mana required to activate: None.

Stores the shadow soldiers inside the summoner’s shadow.

The stored soldiers can be summoned back into the open or absorbed back at any time the summoner chooses to.

Number of stored shadow soldiers: 0/20

‘I knew it.’

Jin-Woo nodded his head.

Since the skill’s name had the word ‘storage’ in it, he expected it to have something to do with storing away the soldiers. Unfortunately, there was a part that proved to be completely out of his expectations.

‘How come the number is….’

The number of soldiers he could store was noticeably lower than those he could create.

Indeed, he could create 30, yet he could only store 20. Meaning, he had to unsummon 10 more.

‘Now this sucks.’

Just which finger out of the ten in your hands wouldn’t hurt when you bite them? Just discarding one made his heart bleed, but now, he had to discard ten??

‘Hmm….’

Jin-Woo stared at the soldiers with a rather lonely expression on his face.

Obviously, the knight-grade Igrit was excluded.

Three ‘magic soldiers’ were also excluded, since they would be harder to replace and also fewer in numbers.

At the end of the day, the most disposable remained the infantrymen. Last time, he chose the one closest to him, so this time, he chose the ten that were furthest away from him and cancelled their summoning.

‘Sorry.’

He prayed for their happiness in the afterlife, and then….

Poof…

In the blink, those ten soldiers turned into dust and disappeared from this world.

Thankfully, his heart didn’t ache as badly as the first time. Did the wise old ‘they’ mean this by saying that the first time was always the hardest?

In any case…

Jin-Woo took one last look at the soldiers and activated the Shadow Storage.

When he did that, all the shadow soldiers, including Igrit, all returned to being shadows, as if they were melting like an ice cube caught in extremely high temperatures. Those shadows all gathered beneath his feet next.

‘So, this is that absorbing into my shadow thing….!’

It was as the label said; the shadows were absorbed into Jin-Woo’s shadow. It happened so quickly, too.

All of his soldiers disappeared without a trace in less than a blink of an eye.

‘….I’m the one who did it, yet I can hardly believe it myself.’

Utterly amazed now, Jin-Woo continued to stare at his own shadow.

It was then.

As if it was waiting for this, the mechanical beeps resounded out one after the other.

Tti-ring.

[You have experimented with all the class-specific skills.]

[Class Change has been now concluded.]

[Exit Gate will now be generated.]

‘So, it’s finally over, huh….’

What a long and difficult road this was.

Jin-Woo scanned the interior of the boss room, his eyes full of reminiscence. The evidence of fierce battle could be seen everywhere.

Broken-down knights; walls with cracks on them; a shattered stone pillar. And the Iron Golem responsible for shattering that very pillar, now nothing more than a scrap heap.

However, as the compensation for his struggles, he was now walking away with so much profit.

A new Class and skills, several other important things besides those, as well as powerful new allies.

A wide grin naturally floated up on his lips.

Without hesitation, Jin-Woo turned around. The Gate connecting to the outside world was quietly waiting for him as if to congratulate him on his successful adventure.

When he took a step outside, the surroundings changed in an instant. And he was back in the empty lot of the local mountainside. It was none other than the very spot where he initiated his Class Change Quest.

The time indicated was five in the morning. It was already time for the sunrise.

‘Oops.’

Jin-Woo clicked his tongue while confirming the time.

‘If I knew the quest would end up taking this long to complete, I should’ve left a message for Jin-Ah earlier.’

What a relief then, that he’d often come home late from raids taking longer than expected, back when he was working for the Association.

Jin-Woo took one last look behind him. But the Gate he exited from just now was already gone without a trace.

‘Huh….’

When looking at the spot where the Gate used to be, it kind of felt like he had woken up from a long dream.

Was it a dream?

No, that wasn’t possible.

Jin-Woo scanned his immediate vicinity.

The soldiers decked out in pitch-black armours – as soon as he thought about them, they rapidly emerged from his shadow.

‘……..’

At first, he simply thought of them as nothing more than monsters.

The shadow soldiers…

The monsters that stepped out from the shadows of the dead after they were summoned by him.

However, if these things were monsters, then just what should the guy who could freely control them be called now?

Jin-Woo smirked softly.

‘Well, it doesn’t matter one way or the other….’

Jin-Woo stored the soldiers back into his shadow.

He noticed that his steps going down the mountain were rather light and cheery.

Jin-Woo slept until late in the day. But, that couldn’t be helped. By the time he got back home, the sun had risen up pretty high already.

Ring~ ring~

Jin-Woo’s sweet slumber was eventually disrupted by the ringtone from his smartphone. His hand fumbled around near his head and with some difficulty, located his phone.

“H-Hello?”

His voice cracked up from his dry throat.

“Hul…. Oppa, you were still asleep?? You know what time it is?”
Jin-Ah’s shocked voice came out from the speaker. So, he asked her back.

“Okay, what time is it now?”

“It’s two in the afternoon!”
“Eh? What?”

He glanced at the time on the phone’s screen with half-open eyes. She was telling the truth.

“…..Oppa, you haven’t forgotten that you’re supposed to come to my school today, have you?”
Her voice sounded anxious.

Jin-Woo finally raised his upper body, albeit very slowly.

“What time should I get there at the latest?”

“Before five!”
“I won’t be late, so don’t worry.”

“As expected of my orabeo-nim! When you’re near the school, gimme a call first, okay?” (TL: orabeo-nim = a higher form of honorific than ‘oppa’.)
Jin-Ah switched on her charm attack and ended the call soon afterwards.

Scratch, scratch….

Jin-Woo scratched his unkempt hair for a bit before slowly getting up from the bed. He didn’t have a lot of time left if he were to get ready.

‘Well, I’m going to meet my sister’s homeroom teacher after all.’

Not only that, this teacher would be in charge of her third year in high school, one of the most important periods in a person’s life.

‘So, I can’t just wear whatever now, right?’

He opened the closet and rummaged through the clothes in there. However, he was greeted by a rather dusty, mouldy odour.

Of course, it was not something pleasant to smell at all.

Jin-Woo’s frown deepened.

He continued to dig around, but all he could find was an old business suit he wore once during his own high school graduation.

‘Will it even fit me now?’

He was hoping against hoping but well, as expected – the clothes were too snug and he couldn’t even move his arms.

‘Yup, my body has grown much bigger lately.’

Putting on the old clothes painted a stark picture of his current reality. The suit was nearly bursting at the seams, literally.

….What should he do now?

Jin-Woo was pondering what to do, but then he spotted the bank book that Yu Jin-Ho gave him a day before. It was for the account filled with the proceeds from selling off all those magic crystals.

He alternated his gaze between his nearly-torn clothes and the bank book with its new stamp still sealed together, before a smile formed on his lips.

‘Been a while, but should I go on a shopping spree, then?’

Before that, though, there was this small thing he had to confirm first.

Actually, it was a bit bigger than that, but still.

Jin-Woo took off the old business suit and while sitting on the edge of the bed, summoned his Status Window.

‘Stats.’

With that, a long board full of letters and numbers appeared before his eyes.

Tti-ring.

[Name: Seong Jin-Woo]

[Level: 51]

[Class: Shadow Sovereign]

[Title: Slaughterer of Wolves (extra 1)]

[HP: 11035]

[MP: 1022]

[Tiredness: 0]

[Stats]

Strength: 132

Stamina: 91

Agility: 111

Intelligence: 70

Perception: 93

(Available points to distribute: 10)

Reduction in physical damage: 46%

[Skills]

Passive skills:

(Unknown) Lv. Max
Tenacity Lv. 1
High-Grade Dagger Technique Lv. 1
Active skills:

Dash Lv. 2
Intimidation Lv. 1
Vital Points Targetting Lv. 2
Dagger Throw Lv. 1
Stealth Lv. 1
[Class-specific skills]

Active skills:

Shadow Extraction Lv. 1
Shadow Storage Lv. 1
[Equipped items]

Red Knight’s Helm (S)
Gatekeeper’s Necklace (A)
Superior Knight’s Breastplate (B)
Superior Knight’s Gauntlet (B)
Superior Mage’s Ring (B)
Intermediate Assassin’s Shoes (C)
(TL note: the author forgot to put ‘Ruler’s Reach’ in the Skills column. I left it as is.)

“Huh…”

Jin-Woo could only chuckle wryly as his Status Window seemed to go on forever and ever.

‘It was only a short while ago that there was nothing on this section over here.’

Indeed, there had been a time like that once. But now, just from looking at his skills and equipped items, his head grew fuzzy.

Even then, his Class still managed to snag his attention for sure.

[Class: Shadow Sovereign]

This column used to be ‘None’ only yesterday.

To be honest, he was kind of bothered by that word whenever he had to look at his Status Window. The reason for that was, naturally, the word that came before that ‘None’ being his ‘Class’.

If a Hunter was not participating in a raid, he’d be no different than a jobless bum. That’s what most others would think, anyway.

But then, he had to keep looking at the ‘No job’ in the Status Window where his Stat values were recorded, so how could he not feel bothered by it? (TL note at the end)

They said that once you got shocked by a turtle, you’d keep getting frightened by the pot lids; whenever he took a look at his Class column in the past, he couldn’t help but feel a bit frustrated.

He knew that it didn’t really mean his job status, but he still felt quite bothered by it. However, from today onwards, he didn’t have to mind such things anymore.

“Hahaha!”

Jin-Woo chuckled out uncontrollably.

‘Yup, this must be what they call an inferiority complex, isn’t it?’

If he made lots of money like other Hunters, he wouldn’t have really cared about what others thought of his life outside of raiding dungeons.

But he couldn’t do that.

He couldn’t confidently reveal his status as a Hunter to anyone. Because, he was a measly rank E who could barely protect his own life, that was why.

‘I’m a rank E Hunter.’

Whenever he said those words….

Anyone with some knowledge of Hunters would always say that he was doing something very difficult for everyone’s sakes, but they would start mocking him when his back was turned.

That was why he ended up minding it even more than necessary.

But now, he was the possessor of a really cool job – no, a really special trait. His job still remained as a Hunter, of course.

If he were to describe it, then…. well, it’d be more correct to say that he now possessed a special trait of ‘Shadow Sovereign’.

‘Although this wasn’t the career path I was looking for….’

But, he had no regrets. No, rather than regrets, he was completely and utterly satisfied by how things had turned out.

If this wasn’t his room, he’d have summoned Igrit and the other soldiers right away. He really wanted to confirm the combat capabilities of his summons with his own eyes.

What if these guys were able to display 100% of their combat prowess while they were still alive?

‘I’m sure that won’t be the case, though.’

Still, just imagining it made his heart race.

Thump, thump…

Jin-Woo felt his heart beating roughly as he ran several simulations of future raids in his head.

Suddenly, he became really curious about how Yu Jin-Ho would react.

Smirk.

When Jin-Woo imagined seeing Yu Jin-Ho’s round, stunned eyes and his slack jaw falling to the floor, a chuckle automatically leaked out of his mouth.

‘Wait, now that I think about it….’

If he could transform any dead lifeforms into his soldiers, and if the targets weren’t restricted to only monsters, then….

‘Does that mean I can extract shadows from the dead Hunters, too?’

It was quite obvious, but he didn’t want to picture such a situation since he was talking about another human being here.

An undead soldier, emerging from the shadow of a dead person after hearing his call….

Just thinking about it gave him chills.

Even then… even still….

‘What if I extract the shadow of an A or an S rank Hunter?’

The combat potential of the resulting shadow soldier would simply be out of this world.

Even if a shadow soldier could only exhibit 50% of its original strength, it’d be eminently possible to solo high-ranked dungeons, as long as he had his shadows to back him up.

His beating heart picked up its pace really quick.

Thump, thump, thump!!

Still, Jin-Woo shook his head.

‘Even if that’s the case, turning a person into an undead is a bit…’

….Now that was something only a villain would do.

His combat potential might improve that way, but he didn’t want to go that far. Unless a really evil b*stard showed up that was worthy of such a treatment, he’d definitely not go down that route.

‘However, it’s not like opportunities to fight other dirty Hunters would come around every day, right?’

And, even if he did find that elusive opportunity, there would be many hurdles to overcome first. Well, a human wasn’t a monster, to begin with, after all.

Indeed.

For the time being, he had to be satisfied with the current soldiers.

‘Besides, I have Igrit and he used to be a boss, so that’s something.’

The level 7 knight-grade shadow soldier.

Just how good would its abilities be?

Jin-Woo couldn’t wait for the next raid.