Knight, Igris, is requesting permission to be promoted. Do you give your permission?
Surprised at the new type of System message, Jinwoo quickly opened up Igris’s information.
Igris (Lv. Max) Knight Because the required level has been reached, promotion is possible. With the permission of the Monarch, the soldier will progress to the next grade.
‘Igris’s level is…?’
The knight’s level that was in the high 30s had changed to “max”. It seemed that once the limit was reached, the soldiers could be raised to the next grade.
‘Is the required level somewhere between 30 and 40?’
Thinking about the level-ups that followed each battle, that seemed like a reasonable point. Since the average level of his other soldiers were still in the 20s, it was a rather high condition.
‘On top of that, it requires my permission.’
It did seem like knight’s eyes felt different than usual when he approached him. They almost seemed like they were looking at him with eagerness.
Igris remained still, kneeling with his head lowered. Even Jinwoo was able to feel the knight’s determination as he waited for his master’s decision. Jinwoo almost wanted to pat his shoulders as a praise.
He moved his gaze over to the System’s message.
Do you give your permission?
The message blinked as if pressuring his reply. Igris was one of the first soldiers to be raised. The knight had fought at his side well until now. How could he not allow this? Without an ounce of hesitation, Jinwoo replied,
“I give my permission.”
Please choose the command phrase.
‘I need a command phrase for something like this?’
Jinwoo briefly scrunched his face but quickly changed his stance.
His army had grown quite large. It was just Igris right now, but eventually, many of them would also require permission to be promoted. Answering them one by one would be annoying. Especially if it was during battle. A short command phrase would be useful. After thinking about it for a moment, Jinwoo spoke,
Simple is best.
When he decided on the command phrase, a change occurred. It started beneath Igris’s feet.
With a scream that rang from somewhere, a multitude of hands appeared from the shadow beneath Igris. The hands grabbed Igris’s body here and there.
Jinwoo watched the scene with amusement. At first, it looked like the hands were going to pull Igris into the shadow, but what happened was the opposite. The hands holding on to Igris turned to black smoke and spun around the knight, then seeped into his body. It was as if the knight absorbed the black smoke.
Once all the smoke was absorbed, a more powerful energy poured out from Igris compared to before.
The System message informed him of the result.
Knight, Igris, has advanced from Knight to Elite Knight.
Jinwoo calmed his excitement and checked Igris’s information again,
Igris (Lv. 1) Elite Knight
‘The level reset to one, but his grade is the same as Tusk now.’
The most recent addition to his army, Tusk, was an A-rank Dungeon’s boss magic beast. The fact that Igris was at Tusk’s grade meant the knight’s abilities had grown that much.
Jinwoo’s heart raced. He had predicted this the moment he advanced to the Monarch of Shadows.
‘I am not the only one becoming stronger.’
Jinwoo looked over each of his soldiers.
‘They are all growing with me.’
Sensing the great change Igris went through after being promoted, the fact that his soldiers leveled up with him reaffirmed in his head. The desire to promote the other soldiers became strong to the Hunter.
‘Looks like there’s one more goal for me.’
As he stared at his soldiers with pride, Jinwoo saw Tank returning with a demon’s corpse in its mouth.
The beast’s eyes were different.
Those eyes. That similar feeling.
Jinwoo uttered in disbelief,
Tank stopped before the Hunter and spat the demon’s corpse to its side. Then, the giant ice bear gathered its front paws and assumed what looked like a bowing stance.
A similar message as before appeared,
Elite Soldier, Shadow Beast, is requesting permission to be promoted. Do you give your permission?
My god. Jinwoo grabbed his forehead. Checking Tank’s information, the bear’s level had also reached its limit.
Shadow Beast (Lv. Max) Elite Soldier
Because the required level has been reached, promotion is possible. With the permission of the Monarch, the soldier will progress to the next grade.
Something was off. Compared to Igris, who started his career at Level 7 and had fought at Jinwoo’s side the longest, Tank probably had a while to go before he reached the max level that Jinwoo was thinking of. But the System was telling him that Tank was also eligible for promotion. The gap between Igris and Tank’s levels was not something that should’ve been decreased by this battle.
‘Maybe… each grade has a different max level?’
That would make sense. If the Elite Grade Tank had a lower max level and reached advancement quickly and the Knight Grade Igris had a higher max level and reached advancement slowly but with a higher starting point, the timing matched. When he reached that line of thought, a possibility flashed across Jinwoo’s head,
‘Could I reach a level where I can advance?’
Perhaps he just hadn’t reached the required level yet.
Eh, probably not.
Jinwoo shook away the thought with a smile. At the same time, he gave Tank his permission.
When his order fell, Tank underwent the same transformative process as Igris. Hands rose from the Shadow Beast’s shadow, turned to black smoke and was absorbed by the bear.
Just like Igris, Tank had advanced to a higher grade.
Elite Soldier, Shadow Beast, has advanced from Elite Soldier to Knight.
However, there was a slight difference. With multiple rings, multiple System messages popped up:
You may assign a name to soldiers at or above the knight. The given name will be maintained until the soldier is released. Please choose a name for the soldier.
“Tank” was just a temporary name he had given the ice bear alpha out of convenience. Since only the Knight Grade and above could officially receive names, Tank’s official name was “Shadow Beast”. If it wasn’t for the fact that the bear was twice the size of the other Shadow Beasts, it was no different than them. But now, Jinwoo could finally give it its official name.
Would you like to pick “Tank”?
With his reply, the Shadow Beast’s information screen changed.
Tank (Lv. 1) Knight
Realizing its promotion was over, Tank stood up. When the bear raised its upper body up, it was the size of a two story building. Moved by the display, Jinwoo spoke,
“So you finally got your real name, Tank.”
Filled with joy, Tank raised its head and howled.
“Everyone, you’ve done well.”
Rest well until the next floor.
As they melted back to their shadow forms and flowed into his own shadow, Jinwoo caught a glimpse of Iron. As the sole veteran of the army that was left out of advancement, the giant knight’s shoulders were sunken low with disappointment as he melted into his shadow form.
After recalling the soldiers, Jinwoo left the castle.
Hidden Discord Link: https://discord.gg/wsqKy9R
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Outside, Elisa greeted him with a haggard expression.
“I told you, you don’t have to add the ‘nim’.”
After collecting herself from his scolding, Elisa tried again,
“Er, Jinwoo… nim.”
Sigh. It seemed that the demons were too conscious of standings in life.
“Do you know how many clans you’ve destroyed so far?”
They were currently on the 89th Floor. With Elisa’s Radir Clan on the 80th Floor being spared, about nine demon clans? Since the clans were being eliminated with each floor, perhaps Elisa was becoming worried.
“The archdemon nobles will be protecting the floors after 90. They are on a different level than the high demon nobles.”
Jinwoo maintained his pace and asked,
“I was just thinking, maybe we could start trying negotiations? If it goes well, they just might hand over the entry permits like our-”
Jinwoo cut her off,
“If I was weaker than you guys back then, would you have tried negotiations with me?”
Elisa could not answer. A mere human dared to enter the castle of demons without an invitation and demanded something? There was no way he would’ve been allowed to leave alive.
“That’s what I thought.”
Jinwoo smiled. Whether it was magic beast or monsters, the relationship between those entities and humans were as such.
‘The weaker side is eaten.’
Jinwoo agreed with the idea. On top of that, he had no desire to forgo valuable experience points while obtaining entry permits.
Jinwoo glanced at Elisa from the corner of his eyes. The female demon had turned quiet after their last exchange.
“Isn’t it a good thing that the other clans are gone?”
“You told me that the competition for standing between the demon clans were fierce.”
“Ah… well that’s true, but…”
They were about to enter the territory of the archdemon nobles. If Jinwoo failed in defeating one of them, the archdemon nobles’ rage will fall upon her and her clan. That was what she was worried about. Not knowing her concern, Jinwoo spoke,
“I’ll let Radis Clan become number one among the demons.”]
‘Our clan name is Radir, sir…’
All Elisa could do was complain internally.
Soon, they would be going up a floor. Could a single being destroy all the archdemon clans?
Her job was to guide this man to the entry permits. That’s all she would focus on. She gave up on arguing.
But there was something else she wanted to ask.
“Er, Jinwoo… nim.”
Jinwoo turned around. Still scared of the man who had obliterated demon clan after demon clan, Elisa looked at her feet.
“Why did you spare our clan?”
Certainly, Radir Clan could not think to match this man’s might. Knowing the power of the demon clans and seeing Jinwoo’s prowess in action, she knew this better than anyone else. Still, this merciless man had spared Radir. Why? She wanted to know.
Jinwoo stepped into the interfloor magic circle and turned around to Elisa,
“Because I like you.”
After all, even as a monster, she knew to surrender properly. Not only that, she knew how to bargain and even provided him with a variety of information to boot.
Taken back, Elisa turned red all the way to the base of her neck. She stood still while poking her index fingers together. Becoming impatient at her stillness, Jinwoo asked,
“Aren’t you getting on?”
He glanced at the System message asking him where he wanted to go.
“If you don’t get on, I’m going back down to the 80th Floor.”
With a lowered face like a tomato, Elisa quickly got on the magic circle.
Even on the next floor, she could not raise her head.
The members of the Japanese Hunter Association came to South Korea to discuss the matter of the ants of Jeju Island. They had already made appointments with important figures of the country. Along with Japanese Association President Matsumoto Shigeo, the strongest S-rank Hunter of Japan, Goto Ryuji, arrived at the airport. At the strange bustling mood of the airport, Matsumoto looked around the area.
“What is it?”
“…There is someone strong nearby.”
“Can’t be stronger than you, right?”
Goto smiled widely. Looking at his confident expression, Matsumoto did not have to ask further.
‘There’s no way someone like that is in Korea.’
Soon, the Korean Hunter Association employee that was supposed to pick them approached them.
“I apologize, the airport’s rather chaotic right now, so I was delayed.”
The employee lowered his head. Hiding his annoyance, Matsumoto smiled and replied,
“It’s quite alright. But, did something happen in the airport?”
“Ah… It’s not anything serious. It’s just that a Hunter came from the United States.”
“An american Hunter? In South Korea?”
“They said it was for a personal reason. You don’t have to worry, sir.”
The employee worried that Association President Matsumoto might think there was a Dungeon Break nearby and tried to assure the elder. However, Matsumoto’s expression remained dark.
‘An american Hunter… Shouldn’t have anything to do with what’s happening right now, right?’
Goto’s gaze was fixed in the direction where a crowd making a commotion. The American Hunter should be in that direction. Matsumoto checked the time. If they wanted to make the meeting on time, they had to hurry. The elderly man spoke,
“Let us go.”