Chapter 214: Chapter 214
For a while after that revelation, Su-hyeun asked to hear more about this and that from Hamil and his wife. Most of his questions were general knowledge, such as the geography of the village or the history of the continent they were living on, etc.
After spending a few hours with the older couple, Su-hyeun was able to leave again to get some wood, ax in tow. He cut down some trees quickly to fill the quota, then took a good look at the village’s surroundings.
He studied the village as the setting sun cast an amber glow over the horizon to signal the pa.s.sing of another day.
Su-hyeun then picked up and placed all the logs and branches on his back and returned to Hamil’s residence.
“Goodness me! Why did you get so much firewood?”
Hamil’s wife was stunned at the amount of logs Su-hyeun brought home. She hadn’t expected much since it was his first time wood logging, but here he was, bringing home a lot more than anyone could have bargained for.
He replied, “Looks like I might have a talent in this profession.”
“Nice job. Well now, it feels like I need to reward you with a daily wage or some such.”
“Where is Mister Hamil?”
“I wonder? He’s not back yet. I guess he’s running a little late today. Supper might get delayed at this rate, so I hope you aren’t feeling too hungry?”
“No, I’ll be alright. I also need to go out again for a little bit, anyway.”
“Surely you don’t have anywhere urgent to go?”
“On the way home I met someone whom I can’t stop thinking about, you see.”
Su-hyeun put the logs down and replied while getting ready to leave again, and Hamil’s wife asked back with a brightened expression, “Ah, could it be someone you recognize?”
“Well, yes…” He replied as he stepped outside the house. “Something like that.”
Su-hyeun opened the wooden plaster serving as a door and stepped into the road, glowing in the amber hues of the setting sun.
This wasn’t the modern world, so there were no street lamps to speak of, and the road around him had already become as dark as the middle of the night as a result. It was obvious that meeting someone would be rather difficult now, and, unlike how it was during the day, the stillness was so heavy that not a single squeak could be heard.
Only Su-hyeun’s footsteps reverberated around the road.
His steps eventually came to a halt in front of a run-down house in the corner of the village. Only a sliver of light leaked out from it.
A baby’s cry could be heard coming from the house. Other than that, there were no other sounds.
Su-hyeun unhesitantly walked up to the house. “Anyone home?”
He asked again, but, other than the baby’s wail, there was no reply.
“Pardon my intrusion.”
Su-hyeun brushed aside a door made out of straw and entered the house. It didn’t seem like anyone was home, yet two figures were lying next to each other inside.
A man sweating profusely from his entire body, as if he’d kick the bucket at any second, forced himself up. Maybe he was asleep because he was rubbing his eyes while looking at Su-hyeun.
But Su-hyeun wasn’t looking at the waking man. He stared at the spot next to him. “Is that person your wife?”
“W-who are you? Why did you enter someone’s house without permi…”
“Is she even breathing?”
The man gasped in shock and hurriedly pulled the bedsheets away.
His wife, who had been hurdled next to him, was silent for some reason. The man shook her, but she didn’t budge an inch.
“Dear, dear! Please wake up!”
The man initially shook his wife’s body, but soon resorted to pounding on her as if he was. .h.i.tting her. A living person would’ve woken up already from the sheer pain, but his wife still showed no signs of movement.
Only then did the man realize the truth. That his wife was no longer with the living.
“Ah… ah, ah…”
“Are you sad?”
“But, why… there was no warning…”
The man buried his face on the wife’s corpse and despaired, before raising his head again and glaring at Su-hyeun. “You did this, didn’t you?!”
“I’ll ask you one more thing.” Su-hyeun didn’t bother to reply to the man’s accusation and instead proceeded to say something else that would stab coldly into the grieving man’s heart. “Are you a living person yourself?”
A dazed expression floated on the man’s face when Su-hyeun asked that. But then, the man raised both of his hands to cover his face.
The man began growing fainter and fainter. At the same time, the previously-faint aura grew stronger.
It was the distinct aura emitted by the dead.
[You’ve discovered the soul of the dead.]
[Dispose of the soul of the dead.]
[Stop the spread of the plague.]
A ma.s.sive amount of aura of death began oozing out, with the man at the center.
It was the sickness that had been slowly spreading earlier. But it began spreading at a much faster rate the moment the man realized what he actually was.
Su-hyeun’s call prompted Miru’s head to pop out from the s.p.a.ce right next to him. He lightly rubbed the red dragon’s head and gave an order.
“Stop that from spreading.”
A thin, transparent barrier materialized to enshroud the small house in a dome. The pathogen and the aura of death leaking outside were blocked off and began circulating within the inside of the dome, instead.
Right after that…
A large flame blazed within the protective barrier Miru had set up.
A person’s scream and a screech belonging to the dead resounded at the same time. Soon, the flames burning inside the house dissipated along with the screams.
Laughter drifted in from the distance, laughter that was filled to the brim with the aura of death.
Su-hyeun’s head spun in that direction.
There were twelve souls of the dead in total. He had only managed to eliminate one of them
Su-hyeun recalled a rather unpleasant memory from the past and hurriedly made his next move.
* * *
The middle of the road, covered in darkness, was suddenly illuminated by an explosion of light. Yet another soul had dissipated from the burning flames.
[Dispose of the souls of the dead.]
Their number had ballooned. Even at this moment, more people were turning into evil spirits.
The area to be covered was just too wide. The speed of their increase would eventually outpace him if he tried to hunt down and eliminate them one by one.
“H-help me! Aaaahk!”
A man’s screaming came from a distance. The voice was familiar to Su-hyeun. He quickly spun around in that direction.
He could see Hamil running away in the distance.
Behind the poor man was a half-transparent evil spirit with a distorted expression, busy giving chase.
Su-hyeun grasped the spear tied to his back, then injected his magical power into the weapon. Right afterward, he bent his body and threw the spear with quite a lot of power.
The face of the evil spirit, which didn’t actually possess a physical body, was pierced straight through. Su-hyeun injected magical energy into his hand again and recovered his spear.
He was now far more adept at throwing and catching the spear.
Su-hyeun hurriedly rushed toward Hamil. “Uncle, are you alright?”
“Pant, pant. T-there, the ghost, it…”
“It’s gone now.”
Hamil looked around this way and that to check his surroundings. The evil spirit doggedly pursuing him up until a second ago had vanished.
Hamil trembling away with a slightly dazed expression plopped down to the ground. Su-hyeun watched that and asked the older man. “Where is… auntie?”
“Right b…” Hamil pointed behind him like a man with half of his mind gone. “She was behind me… until a second ago…”
[Dispose of the souls of the dead.]
The total had increased by one.
Su-hyeun clenched his fists tightly. His insides were boiling. Even more so than usual, since this wasn’t his first time experiencing an event like this one.
The cackle of another evil spirit came from a distance.
Su-hyeun squeezed his eyes shut and muttered inwardly.
Miru’s voice called out from a distance. It was the signal he’d been waiting for.
Su-hyeun spoke. “Don’t move from this spot and be still, uncle. Okay?”
“It’ll be over soon.”
Su-hyeun lightly tapped Hamil’s shoulder.
[Doppelganger- Shadow Attachment.]
At the same time, Su-hyeun’s shadow stuck onto Hamil’s body.
Even if it was just a shadow, it was still Su-hyeun’s. It possessed some level of intelligence and even could share consciousness with him, as well.
An existence that could use some magical powers, albeit weakly, sticking close to Hamil should be enough to ward off the lower-ranked evil spirits and protect him in the meantime.
Su-hyeun’s figure rapidly leaped up into the air.
He then activated ‘Leap’ skill to quickly make his way. The view around him seemed to instantly change every time the skill was activated.
The destination he headed to was the foot of the mountain located behind the village.
Along with Miru’s cries, small explosions could be heard.
He was getting closer to their location. And, soon after that…
Su-hyeun’s foot stomped down on the head of someone as he arrived at his destination.
The sensation of the head being crushed was different from that of a normal person’s. He had some suspicion after sensing the aura of death from the villagers, and, as it turned out, he was spot-on.
The moment he arrived, Su-hyeun swept his gaze over Miru and the countless ‘men’ wearing robes surrounding his dragon.
He quipped to himself, “Aren’t there a lot of you here today?”
“Are you the master of this dragon?”
These robe-wearing beings had loose-fitting hoods pulled down to cover their faces. Hearing their question, Su-hyeun glanced down at the bone shards crushed below his feet.
Bones without any bits of meat on them. But, this guy used to be alive and standing on two feet only a second ago.
“You aren’t Liches, so… Skeleton mages below that rank, I suppose?”
“We shall ask again.” A husky but dry voice droned on. “Are you the master of this…”
It didn’t even get to finish its question.
The robe was flung back and the bones underneath were crushed to powder. Before anyone had the time to notice it, Su-hyeun’s leg flashed and destroyed the head of the nearest skeleton asking the question.
“You don’t need to know.”
An incredible level of magical power roused up all around Su-hyeun. The conflagration from the divine Flame spread out and illuminated the night sky like the middle of the day for a moment just then.
“Get the h.e.l.l out of this village.”
Flames completely blanketed the surrounding land. Although he only used the weaker orange-colored Flame with a lower concentration of magical energy, this was still more than enough for the job.
He was facing off against skeleton mages that hadn’t even reached the rank of Lich, after all.
The trees on the foot of the mountain were left unscathed. The only things burning away were the skeleton mages kitted in robes as well as the magic circle with thick lines drawn on the ground below.
The magic circle emitted a scarlet color. It gradually lost its effect as the divine Flame burned it away.
Su-hyeun took a look at the magic circle dozens of meters wide in diameter and thought to himself.
As expected, the commotion in the village was caused by this bunch of skeleton mages.
It was the right call to send Miru out to search for the magic circle while he stayed back to protect the villagers. He figured that Miru, the highest-ranked among the dragons, would be far better suited at seeking out all things magic-related than he could ever be.
[Dispose of the souls of the dead.]
[You have cleared the first trial.]
The messages entered his head.
All the evil spirits in the village had vanished. Those things were only able to exert some influence in the world of the living by relying on the magic circle’s power, so when it disappeared, they disappeared, as well.
Su-hyeun glared at a skeleton currently thrown into a corner. While all the other skeletons were burned to ashes, only this one was left unscathed.
“You do know that you didn’t get lucky, don’t you? I chose to let you live.” Su-hyeun walked up to the monster, lowered himself, and sat before it. “I’m gonna say this once. You want to kill me, right?”
He then pointed to himself.
The skeleton raised its head and looked at Su-hyeun. Through its hollow eye sockets, someone was staring straight back at him.
Su-hyeun directly addressed that someone.
“I’ll be waiting here, so all of you better show up. I’m giving you exactly one hour.”