Chapter 215: Chapter 215
* * *
The forest was silent.
Su-hyeun was sitting on a spot at the foot of the mountain, eyes closed. He had used his sword to smoothly cut off the top of a sharp boulder to prepare a place to sit down earlier.
One hour pa.s.sed like that. During that time, he didn’t do anything, simply stayed still, eyes firmly shut.
“They sure came fast, didn’t they.”
He suddenly opened his eyes.
Multiple presences not visible to the naked eye had appeared. Several dark human-like figures began appearing one by one on top of the surrounding trees. Quite a lot of them had shown up as a reward for him diligently waiting for an hour straight.
Although he was guessing, Su-hyeun could still more or less decipher the overall size of the approaching skeleton combat force instantly.
There was no reason to get alarmed here.
After all, even if a Lich was considered high ranked among the undead monster types, a single A-Rank awakener was enough to easily deal with one.
Of course, he was under no illusion that this Lich was the boss of this trial.
“You aren’t a bunch of squirrels, so what are you all doing up in the trees? Come down already. I’m not planning to kill you right away.”
There was no reply.
Su-hyeun straightened his knees and slowly stood up.
It was around then…
Several skeletons descended to the ground. Unsurprisingly, none of them possessed an ego. Only one among these creatures possessed that, actually.
The Lich asked, “What is your purpose for calling us out here?”
“Well, there are several reasons. I thought that seeking you out one by one would get tedious, so I might as well deal with you all at the same time, and…”
“You still think that way after seeing this many of us?”
“You still think that way after witnessing me?”
Su-hyeun scanned the hundreds of skeletons surrounding him and smirked deeply.
He wouldn’t get perturbed in the slightest no matter how many of these undead decided to show up. Everything he had gone through until now would’ve been for naught if enemies playing numbers games managed to scare him at this stage.
Su-hyeun retorted, “Even if you bring an army a hundred times bigger than this, I still wouldn’t get scared by small fry like you lot, so you better stop trying to intimidate me. It’s a waste of time.”
“We shall see about that.”
Su-hyeun’s foot stomped on the ground.
Right after that…
Whir, whirr, whirrr, whirrrr-
A vivid line suddenly stretched out and instantly created a gigantic ‘circle’ with Su-hyeun on one edge.
The Lich sensed the reverberation of magical energy coming from the line that blanketed the land and hurriedly shouted, “Jump up to avoid it!”
But the response came a beat too late.
A ma.s.sive explosion enveloped the huge expanse of the verdant forest.
This fire wasn’t from the skill, divine ‘Flame’. This was just an enormous explosion capable of blowing up the entire forest.
In the center of this explosion, Su-hyeun was nonchalantly tossing a small pebble up and down over and over again. He then asked a question. “You done with seeing now?”
This was the result of a device that caused an explosion when magical energy was injected into it, one of Kim Dae-ho’s creations.
“As a trap, this device is pretty much perfect. Not only can I cover a wide area if I have enough of them, but the explosions can go off with only a little bit of magical energy, too. It’s pretty good at saving my magical energy when dealing with small fry.”
Su-hyeun stared at the sole surviving monster, the Lich, within the flames of the explosion. The creature protected itself by casting a thin barrier around its body.
“Of course, its firepower isn’t really enough to kill an undead on the level of a Lich, though.”
“You dare to lay down a trap…”
“Didn’t expect you to use the word ‘dare’ in this situation, but okay. Anyways…”
In the blink of an eye, Su-hyeun’s hand was grabbing the Lich’s head. “What I’m saying is, you shouldn’t die just yet.”
Magical energy leaked out from the tips of Su-hyeun’s hand and permeated the skeletal head of the Lich, reaching into every corner of its bleached bones.
The Lich’s body went slack. Its soul had abandoned it.
The Lich’s head was crushed to powder in Su-hyeun’s hand.
Then, a thin thread of magical energy materialized from his hand. This unbelievably thin and fragile-looking thread soon lost its shape and scattered away.
His soft call was met with Miru’s energetic cry.
“You saw it, right?”
He meant the magical thread that had materialized in his hand.
The moment Su-hyeun grabbed the Lich’s head, he took over the control of the undead and began searching for the ‘main body’ somewhere else.
A thin thread-like medium existed between this Lich and the main body, and Su-hyeun used magic to connect the two and find the source. And it was Miru’s job to detect the exact location.
Su-hyeun was well acquainted with these monsters called Lichs. They were fundamentally sorcerers. Rather obviously, they enjoyed manipulating things while hiding behind the scenes.
That was why they wouldn’t try a head-on confrontation unless they held a certain degree of confidence in their success.
The Lichs sent out one among their ranks and watched through its eyes. They were probably planning to test the depths of Su-hyeun’s abilities this way.
But that only served to trap these undead creatures, instead.
Miru, flapping his wings and flying in the air, dropped closer to the ground. Su-hyeun activated ‘Leap’ skill and jumped up high to climb on the back of his red dragon. There wasn’t a single issue with flying around on Miru’s back as he had grown quite large recently.
Miru flapped his wings and began flying forward. They were moving so fast that the scenery pa.s.sed them by in an instant. The distance to be covered wasn’t that great.
With Miru’s speed, they should arrive at their destination before the b.a.s.t.a.r.ds had enough time to escape.
Miru carrying Su-hyeun on its back headed towards a tall mountain in the distance.
“If you spot any b.a.s.t.a.r.ds trying to escape, burn them to a crisp and make sure they don’t get out of here.”
“Without making a sound, though. Complete silence, okay?”
Su-hyeun urgently reached down and covered Miru’s mouth, and, while blinking his eyes, the dragon nodded in understanding.
“Okay, then. Now let’s see…”
Su-hyeun opened the third eye in his forehead and scanned the entire mountain. He could clearly see that within the depth of this huge mountain lay a vast network of hidden underground caverns, as well as the magical energies emitted by the Lichs moving inside.
“…Let’s see what kind of a place this is.”
Su-hyeun’s figure descended to the ground below.
* * *
He broke through the surface and descended below the mountain, and was soon greeted by a vast cavern underground. He hadn’t been planning to conceal his arrival in the first place, so Su-hyeun headed to the back of the caverns where the Lichs were waiting for him.
[You have discovered the base of the Lichs.]
[Wipe out the Lichs.]
Two messages popped up.
He had already predicted the ‘first trial’ wouldn’t be the end, but still, it was his first time seeing several trials being chained one after the other.
The majority of the trials were the type that provided you with an explanation of what were their end goals and asked you to figure out a method to clear them.
How many of them could possibly be here?
Whatever the case might have been, it was a big relief that he discovered the Lich’s base so quickly like this.
The cavern was quite damp, and pools of water had formed in several places. Not even a speck of light could be seen.
Lichs naturally hated light. That probably had something to do with why they had made their move at night.
Although everything seemed still and quiet in the cavern, Su-hyeun could vividly sense the presences at the end.
The cavern being so quiet made it easier to detect them, actually. Even though the distance between them was great, he could still sense that the Lichs were agitated right now.
Lichs were smart b.a.s.t.a.r.ds.
They couldn’t be viewed as mere monsters as they possessed even better intelligence than most regular humans. But that was obvious considering that they used to be humans themselves, and also were knee-deep in the study of magic that only geniuses could dip their toes into in the first place.
But the Lichs were currently agitated.
This was their base of operations. Their stage where they didn’t have a reason to retreat.
Even then, Su-hyeun willingly breached their base. Which showed how confident he was.
In such a situation, which of the two options would be wiser—fighting against Su-hyeun who had barged into their base all alone, or abandoning their base and retreating right away?
There was no clear-cut answer. And that was why they were even more confused right now.
Su-hyeun followed along the cave and dashed forward.
He didn’t plan on giving them time to think. No, he wanted to get there even a second faster and sow greater confusion among them.
In the middle of his dash, he ran into a Lich. The monster hurriedly raised its hand to tried to activate a magic spell after seeing the human intruder. But, under the circ.u.mstances, since their gazes had already met, Su-hyeun’s movement would always be several steps faster.
Su-hyeun’s fist shattered the Lich’s head.
That was the result of a strength stat that had reached 99. He didn’t even need to call on his magical powers. Just his physical ability alone was enough to subdue a regular Lich, and then some.
Su-hyeun das.h.i.+ng forward crashed into something in mid-air. Specifically, a thick transparent barrier that had been set in the middle of the pa.s.sageway.
He stumbled several steps back.
Indeed, there were more layers beside the one he crashed into. Several more had been generated behind it. Forget double or triple layers, he could see dozens upon dozens of them.
These barriers had been installed when Su-hyeun invaded this place. It seemed that defense-type magic circles had been installed in the whole of the cavern.
“This isn’t even a modern fortress or something, so what gives? Gotta hand it to them for their preparedness, at least.”
Su-hyeun furrowed his brows while staring at the dozens of barriers. Even if Lichs were involved, it’d still be impossible to set up magic circles of this magnitude in just one or two days.
Meaning, they had been preparing for a fairly long time.
Strictly speaking, he wouldn’t have been particularly surprised to see the Lichs deciding to abandon their base and run away after he had discovered them.
These b.a.s.t.a.r.ds didn’t like getting involved in fights they hadn’t planned for meticulously, and were also famous for running away without a shred of hesitation, too. That’s why Su-hyeun had been expecting them to turn tail and run from the get-go.
He had Miru wait outside the cavern precisely for that eventuality. He wanted his dragon to incinerate any Lichs planning to escape.
But they were not showing any hints of running away. The signs of their initial confused agitation had disappeared, as well.
It seemed that the trial’s theme and this location had some kind of a connection.
Su-hyeun grabbed the spear tied to his back. Finally, he found an opportunity to use this thing properly.
It was the new spear crafted by Kim Dae-ho’s capable hands—the spear whose might had been concentrated in one spot, the speartip made out of adamantium.
He sent his magical powers into the spear.
Although it was crafted for the purpose of dealing with boss-level monsters, that wouldn’t be its only potential application.