Solo Leveling (I Alone Level-Up) - Chapter 110
Lee Sung-Chul, the director of Seoul Hospital, stared at Dr. Choi in shock.
“Are you sure this is true?”
“Yes sir, I witnessed it myself. I saw the patient waking up with my own eyes.”
Lee Sung-Chul sat in silence, stunned. By some miracle, one of the patients who had fallen into the dreaded “Eternal Sleep” coma had managed to wake up.
“Isn’t this unprecedented?”
The doctor nodded, and a wide smile crept across Lee Sung-Chul’s face. This would be music to any doctor’s ears, even if it had happened in another hospital. As luck would have it, it had happened in his own hospital!
“To think I would have such good fortune! Good job, Dr. Choi!”
“Err, thank you sir? I didn’t really do anything…”
“Ah, this guy!”
Lee Sung-Chul threw his head back and laughed heartily, before addressing Dr. Choi again.
“Regardless of the process, it’s the outcome that matters right? A doctor should certainly be praised if the patient makes a full recovery!”
‘In fact, even the hospital where the doctor works should be praised, shouldn’t it?’
“Oh yes…err…thank you, sir.”
Dr. Choi reluctantly bowed to Lee Sung-Chul.
Although Dr. Choi’s reaction seemed bizarrely lukewarm, given the miracle that had evidently just occurred, Lee Sung-Chul was positively beaming inside at this unexpected boon.
‘If we reveal that we were the first ever to cure the Eternal Sleep, we’ll have the whole world’s attention! Well, not that our goal is to seek attention and fame, but still, there’s no harm in being talked about for good deeds right? As soon as word gets out, journalists from all over the world will flock to us, clamoring for a scoop. It’s free advertising! 
Well, the journalists will probably want to know how we cured this patient…ah, but that’s simple enough right? We’ll just keep the patient around for now and investigate how they were cured. Nothing wrong with keeping them in the hospital for now…’
His thoughts were interrupted by Dr. Choi, whose tone betrayed great embarra.s.sment.
“I’m sorry sir, but…you see, the patient’s guardian is requesting that the patient be immediately discharged.”
‘No no no, this can’t -!’
Lee Sung-Chul’s eyebrows twitched as he cursed in his mind. At the moment, although the miracle had happened in his hospital, the journalists would be far more interested in the patient; if the patient left the hospital, they, and wherever they went, would become the center of attention. No, for Seoul Hospital’s sake, he had to keep the patient here.
“What’s the patient’s condition at the moment?”
“Well, that’s the thing sir, she’s absolutely fine.”
“How? You mean to tell me, she’s been in a vegetative state for the past four years and she’s absolutely fine? No muscle atrophy? No damage to her brain or nervous system?” 
“No, she’s in perfectly good health. Maybe it’s the new life support machines?”
Lee Sung-Chul swore internally again. He had previously been very proud when Seoul Hospital had gotten these state-of-the-art life support machines, specifically designed for treating patients who had fallen under the dreaded ‘Eternal Sleep’, but now he cursed their efficacy.
“Tell the guardian that we need to look into the patient’s recovery process, that it’s our policy not to discharge patients without a final evaluation, all that – whatever you need to say to delay them as much as possible.”
“Well I tried to tell him that, but it was useless. He was insistent that the patient be discharged immediately.”
“d.a.m.n!” A hushed curse escaped Lee Sung-Chul’s lips.
‘So I can’t force him to leave for a moment without a good reason huh? Then I guess there’s only one option…’
“Alright, then stall him just a few minutes, and I’ll inform the press immediately.”
Dr. Choi’s face blanched at Lee Sung-Chul’s words, and he shook his head vigorously.
“Sir, I don’t think that’s wise.”
“We…we can’t expose the patient’s ident.i.ty sir, and I think we’ll be in a lot of trouble if we do…”
Lee Sung-Chul blinked, surprised by Dr. Choi’s words. He turned to face Dr. Choi, and gulped as he saw the nervous sweat on the doctor’s face. It did not appear that the doctor was worried over something insignificant, and Lee Sung-Chul immediately grew more cautious.
“I see…so the patient is very important then?” Lee Sung-Chul ventured.
“No, sorry, I apologize, I didn’t explain carefully. It’s not the patient who applied for ident.i.ty protection, but the guardian himself.”
‘The patient’s guardian?’
Lee Sung Chul’s face darkened with a mix of concentration of bewilderment. It wasn’t the patient herself then, that Dr. Choi, had been worried about, but the patient’s guardian. Evidently, Dr. Choi feared that revealing the patient’s ident.i.ty would invite serious repercussions from the guardian, enough to persuade the doctor to totally comply with that man’s wishes.
“Well, who the h.e.l.l is her guardian then?”
“Do you know a Mr. Sung Jin-Woo?”
“Sung Jin-Woo? Hmm…”
‘Was he a politician? Or was he a big business tyc.o.o.n of some sort?’
Lee Sung-Chul racked his brain trying to put a face to the name. He distinctly remembered hearing the name – not too long ago in fact, so the man was probably important somehow, but he couldn’t quite place a finger on where he had heard it from. Sighing deeply, Lee Sung-Chul shook his head.
As if in antic.i.p.ation of Lee Sung-Chul’s response, Dr. Choi quickly spoke up.
“He’s a hunter. He’s the one who was recently announced as Korea’s 10th S-rank hunter.”
No wonder Dr. Choi was being so cautious with the whole case and the guardian’s desires!
‘Thank goodness I didn’t act too hastily. A misstep here could have been fatal…’
The patient’s guardian was an S-rank hunter, Sung Jinwoo. Undoubtedly the man wielded enormous social influence as an S-rank hunter – but beyond that, if Lee Sung-Chul allowed the journalists to flock like vultures in direct opposition to Sung Jinwoo’s express wishes and the man had lost his temper…well, the outcome could’ve been disastrous, to say the least.
Lee Sung-Chul swallowed, suddenly aware of how dry his throat had become. An S-rank hunter was the last thing he had expected.
He shook his head and turned to Dr. Choi.
“Start the patient’s discharge immediately.”
Dr. Choi stared back with a mixture of surprise and relief.
“You think I should?”
“Of course. If the patient is healthy, they shouldn’t really be in a hospital should they?”
What would be the point? We’re gonna make an S-rank hunter wait for a media circus they explicitly wanted to avoid? That would really be killing the golden goose.
At the thought of how narrowly he had averted disaster, Lee Sung-Chul chuckled.
“Go on, discharge her immediately.”
At that, Dr. Choi bowed, and hurried out of the room. As the doctor exited, Lee Sung-Chul closed the door behind them and sank back into his seat, sighing with relief.
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As soon as Jin-ah heard the unexpected news, she immediately sprinted out of her cla.s.sroom (to the great confusion of her cla.s.smates), and rushed to the hospital.
Jinwoo sensed Jin-ah’s approach, and stood up from the chair next to his mother just as the door flew open with a loud bang.
Jin-ah’s voice cracked as she spoke, and tears had begun streaming down her face even before she had entered the room.
“Oh my daughter, you’ve become such a big girl!”
Bittersweet emotions overwhelmed Park Kyung-Hye as she saw her daughter enter the room. She felt a painful unfamiliarity, borne from the fact that the young woman in front of her was so different from the little junior-high girl she remembered. Despite her sadness, she couldn’t help but smile at the sight of her daughter all grown up. Barely able to contain her tears, she opened her arms to embrace Jin-ah.
Jin-ah rushed forward into her mother’s open arms, tears falling from her face with every step.
For a moment, Jinwoo considered reaching out to keep his sister from injuring their mother – she had, after all, just awakened from a coma lasting four years, and a bear hug could have some medical implications. But as he saw his sister crying in their mother’s arms, he couldn’t bring himself to stop her.
A sensation of warmth spread from Jinwoo’s chest. For four years, Jin-ah had acted remarkably mature for her age, but deep down, Jinwoo knew that Jin-ah still wanted to be their mother’s child. The image of the ordinarily strong Jin-ah overlapped with her current vulnerable self, and his nose began tingling.
Jinwoo moved to pull his sister from their mother, but Park Kyung-hye smiled warmly at Jinwoo, pausing him in his tracks. She put an index finger to her lips and shook her head ever so slightly, while her other hand continued patting her daughter on the back.
Jinwoo let out a small breath and stepped back, beaming inside at the serene scene of his sister and mother reunited.
‘My efforts weren’t in vain after all.’
He felt a warm sensation filling his chest, as if something was melting and trickling down inside his torso.
‘Let’s just leave them a little longer, until Jin-ah is less hysterical.’
She was, after all, a smart girl, and would soon enough understand that she shouldn’t put such a heavy burden on their mother. It would just take a little bit of time.
Jin-woo smiled at the heart-warming scene and stared out the window. It was a sunny midmorning, and bright light bounced off the skysc.r.a.pers as it filtered down, bathing everything in a glittering golden shine, as if the weather itself was rejoicing at the reunion of Jinwoo’s family.
Absentmindedly, he took out his cell phone to view his notifications. His eyebrows jumped ever so slightly in surprise. Clearly, he had been away from his phone longer than he remembered, and an endless array of text messages greeted him. The thought of trying to respond to all of them felt too daunting to even attempt.
‘Ah, if it’s really that urgent, they’ll contact me again.’
Although Jinwoo felt the justification was a bit flimsy, he cleared his notifications and opened up his browser.
Jinwoo slapped himself on the forehead as he read through the news headlines.
[Has a new magic creature been spotted flying over downtown Seoul?]
[What is its destination? What are its powers? How much of a threat is it? Read more…]
[Why has the Hunter a.s.sociation not responded to this magic beast? Is the Hunter a.s.sociation simply a waste of taxpayer money? Our experts debate: click here.]
The same blurry pictures were plastered all over the news sites and forums: a black, shadowy winged beast, soaring through the night sky, all the way from near where Jinwoo lived to the Seoul Hospital – without a doubt, Kaisel.
Embarra.s.sment flushed Jinwoo’s cheeks.
‘We flew really fast, in the dead of the night. I didn’t think anyone would notice us, but holy smokes, they took a lot of photos in a really short time. Well, at least it doesn’t look like anybody caught a picture of me riding Kaisel.’
Jinwoo paused, frowning pensively.
‘When I called Kaisel to take me to the hospital, I didn’t really care if anybody saw me – it was more important that I got my way over quickly. But now that it’s a news topic, I do kind of feel bad about it… Well, it figures; anybody seeing a demon like that flying through the skies would probably be terrified if they thought it was just a regular magic beast.’
As if to confirm his suspicions, Jinwoo read through a few articles. All were filled with anxiety and panic.
‘Yeaaaa, maybe I should be a little bit more careful in the future. At the very least, I don’t need to go around scaring people on purpose. But man, if the public’s reaction to Kaisel was this bad, I can’t even begin to imagine how they would react to the gigantified Tusk.’
Jinwoo grimaced. He had been reluctant to accept the necromancer job t.i.tle in the first place for this exact reason: public perception of him would likely be…mixed, at best.
His thoughts were interrupted by a sudden ringing, as an unknown number popped up onto the screen. Puzzled, Jinwoo excused himself and walked out into the hallway before picking up.
“Hunter Sung Jinwoo.”
The voice of an old man, with a slight baritone timbre, deep, but not dark. Jinwoo recognized the voice immediately.
“Yes, this is Go Gun-hee from the Hunter a.s.sociation.”
‘The president’s calling me? What could he be calling me personally about?’
Jinwoo was even more puzzled than before. He looked around, and quietly darted into an empty room, away from the crowds coming and going through the hospital corridors.
“What’s going on?”
“Have you seen the recent news?”
‘News? Don’t tell me he already knows…No, that shouldn’t even be possible.’
“Have you not seen the news?”
‘Wow, news gets around fast.’
Jinwoo decided it would be best to simply admit to his involvement.
“I’m sorry about that, and I’ll be more careful in the future.”
“….What? What are you talking about?”
Jinwoo blinked in confusion. By Go Gun-hee’s bewildered tone, it was clear that Jinwoo had misunderstood what news the old man was referring to.
‘So he’s not talking about Kaisel?’
Jinwoo quickly wracked his memory for what else had graced the front page news recently. The double dungeon? The red gate? The rank solo clear? The Marble of Avarice? He hadn’t even put that up for sale, he recalled. No, there were too many things Go Gun-hee could be talking about.
“…so, what’s going on?”
“…it seems like you really haven’t heard anything then.”
“I was somewhere with no 4G and really bad cell reception the past few days.” 
Technically, Jinwoo was telling the truth.
Go Gun-hee’s voice betrayed his surprise before it dropped lower than normal. From past experience, Jinwoo knew that Go Gun-hee was about to tell him something very important.
“May I come see you?”
At this, Jinwoo’s curiosity grew immensely.
‘Calling me personally isn’t enough? It’s so important that he needs to see me in person?’
Jinwoo’s eyes quickly darted back towards his mother’s room.
‘I don’t want the president to visit me here; I might have to needlessly make up some story about my mother’s condition.’
“I’ll come to the a.s.sociation.”
“Are you sure? It’s no problem for me to come visit you.”
“Ah, thanks for the concern, but it’s really not a problem. It’s more convenient for both of us if I come to the a.s.sociation.”
Jinwoo closed the phone and made his way back to his mother’s room, where Jin-ah had taken up his spot on the chair next to their mother’s bed.
“I have to go somewhere quickly, but I promise I’ll be back very shortly.”
He escaped the room before his sister or his mother could protest.
His eyes stung a bit as he stepped into the sun for the first time in several days, and he had to place a hand over his face to keep from being blinded.
‘Maybe I should just call Kaisel and fly over…’
Jinwoo chuckled, remembering the news and how much panic he had induced the last time. He flagged down a taxi and jumped in.
Written by Aster0x, with translations by Notalk & Null, and editing by warpfall & Monkixote
: Jinwoo: cures his mother Lee Sung-Chul: It’s free real estate!
: So this wasn’t in the original Korean, but it’s just ill.u.s.trative of some things that happen when someone’s in a coma for a long time.
: Junior High School or Middle School: ~ grades 6 to 8.
 They never talk about this, but the story implies that there’s no cell reception in the dungeons.