The Hero Returns

Chapter 16



Chapter 16: Chapter 16


Creak, creak—


Slither, slither—


Six snakelets.


More accurately, half of them, now grown to be adult Predatory Snakes, darted their tongues.


They had a considerable physical build that spanned two meters in diameter. The triangular headed Predatory Snakes had venom in their teeth and saliva dripping from their mouths.


<>


It had been a month and a half. Although it was hard to discern whether they had developed into adults, they would be no match for the fair number of monsters lurking around the village.


“How was the hunt today?” Su-hyeun asked the six young men who were managing the predatory snakes. They seemed to have gotten familiar with training the snakes.


“There aren’t many monsters left around the village. I think we may have to broaden the hunting ground slowly.”


“What about the food rations?” Su-hyeun asked.


“We found potatoes and some rotten wheat in a distant village. We should have no problems with food for the next three months.”


“Please search for other food that can be self-cultivated, since there will be a limited amount of food sourced from outside.”


“We got it.”


The village became livelier. Regardless of the situation outside the village, at least the village was now safe from monsters.


There were no more humans sacrificed for the predatory snakes. Before that, the villagers feared that they would be sacrificed for the snakes, rather than the monsters outside.


<>


Su-hyeun suddenly felt entirely unfamiliar with this world. Though it was similar to the destroyed world he knew, the system organized it well.


<>


In the past month and a half, Su-hyeun did not spot any other monsters that could invade the Predatory Snakes’ territory, but it was unclear as to how much longer the village would be safe.


Even if they domesticated the six Predatory Snakes, if there were a monster stronger than them, the peace would vanish in a flash.


Step, step—


Su-hyeun left the basement where they were training the Predatory Snakes and walked through the village. A lot had changed during this period.


“Ah, it’s the hero uncle!”


“Uncle, where are you heading?”


“Mr. Su-hyeun, are you heading out of the village again today?”


It was the villagers’ attention and hospitality towards Su-hyeun. Their initial impression of Su-hyeun had long been erased. Now, in their eyes, Su-hyeun was the hero who saved their village.


Su-hyeun felt burdened with those looks. It was especially true when the children called him a hero openly.


Su-hyeun spoke to Mellie’s mother. “I have to verify again if any more monsters are lurking around the village.”


“That’s hard work. Because of us, every day…”


“It’s nothing. It’s my duty.”


He had meant it. His actions now were only part of the process to pass the trial. The mission was now at its final stage.


As the Predatory Snakes were growing into adults, the trial’s accomplishment increased quickly, depending on the village’s safety. The rewards would be great as it was a trial that required an extended period of time; the lingering attachment was higher than anticipation.


<>


Would it return to its original state, as if Su-hyeun had never set foot there? Or would it maintain the status quo with the newly domesticated Predatory Snakes?


If so… would the village stay safe forever?


“Damn it.”


Su-hyeun was organizing his train of thoughts when a stream of vulgarity unknowingly came out. The frightened children backed away in the tense atmosphere. The same went for Mellie’s mother.


“Why… Did something bad happen?”


“Ah, no.”


Su-hyeun shook his head at the foul words he had just said. He looked at the children and smiled at them once again.


“Really, it’s nothing.”


Su-hyeun left the village after those words. Strangely, the weird feeling did not go away. As Su-hyeun felt that he was unnecessarily concerned, he checked the trial’s status.


[Accomplishment: 99 percent.]


Why?


There had been no change in the accomplishment level for a few days. Obviously, the village would be safe if nothing else were to happen.


<>


It was because of the remaining 1% that he was unsatisfied and did not choose to clear this trial.


The Tower of Trials’ system never lied. Failure to achieve 100% in accomplishment meant that the village was not completely safe.


Since Su-hyeun could have already cleared this trial when he had killed the village chief and the first Predatory Snake, there would not be much of a problem if the trial ended here.


But…


<>


Even if his goal was just to clear the trial with perfection, he had to do something.


<>


With the sudden strange thought creeping into his mind, Su-hyeun shook his head vigorously.


<>


Su-hyeun then left the village. No other monsters remained outside the village. They were mostly dealt with in the past month and a half.


<>


He had to find out the reason.


Su-hyeun did not return to the village, even when the sky had turned completely dark at night.


Step, step—


Su-hyeun was now quite a distance from the village. He felt the eyes of various monsters on him, but he could sense something larger amongst them.


He looked down beneath his feet. It was directly beneath him.


“…So, it was you.”


Its eyes only opened at dawn. As it was quite a distance from the village and barely active during the day, he could not have sensed it.


The Flame skill was used on Su-hyeun’s sword.


The flame’s size was a lot larger than the first time. This was thanks to the hunted monsters that increased his skill’s proficiency.


Su-hyeun used his magic to bring out the flame as much as he could, and using the sword as a counterweight, stabbed it into the ground.


Stab—!


The flames permeated into the ground. Su-hyeun consistently sent the fire into the ground. Soon, he got a reaction.


Rumble, rumble—


Crack—!


The ground beneath him shook and its surface burst open. Soon, something huge appeared above ground.


Su-hyeun avoided it by leaping into the air. He could verify the monster’s form by leaping a few times more into the air.


Kyaaaaa—!


A gigantic earthworm.


It was an earth-colored monster without any eyes, nose, or limbs. The only body part it had on its lengthy build was a hideous mouth that unleashed a loud groan.


Its form was similar to the Predatory Snake’s. But Su-hyeun knew.


<>


It was the only remaining threat to the village in this trial: the Earthworm.


Its body had even more venomous poison than the Predatory Snake. If both the Earthworm and Predatory Snake met, the Predatory Snake would be paralyzed and die from the Earthworm’s venom in an instant.


<>


The trial could be cleared without even catching the monster. In other words, one could catch it if possible; otherwise, he would have to return to the Tower.


Su-hyeun observed the Earthworm’s movement, and its related information appeared.


The Earthworm belonged to the boss level monsters. Its lifeline was lengthy and not to be taken lightly. Moreover, the most important point was its venom. Even for Su-hyeun, it was tough to be safe from the Earthworm’s poison without toxic-resistant skills.


<>


Su-hyeun set the flame ablaze once more and charged towards the earthworm.


Drip, drip—


Pant, pant—


Su-hyeun let out a heavy breath and stumbled, exhausted.


The Earthworm’s green blood flowed into the dirt. Su-hyeun’s feet seemed to burn wherever he stepped on the blood-stained ground.


Creak, creak—


The Earthworm was not dead yet. A few fragments of its body were prolonging its life.


“Let’s end this.”


Su-hyeun finally gathered the last of his magic and severed its head.


Slash—!


Kya—


[You have gained 1,000 achievement points.]


[You have attained the highest accomplishment.]


[You have passed the 10th-floor’s trial with perfection.]


[You can choose an additional reward. The additional rewards depend on your accomplishment level. The command is “Select.”]


[Your achievement will be ranked.]


[You have ranked first.]


[Your Strength has increased by 1 point.]


[Your Agility…]



[You have gained 50,000 achievement points.]


[Your magic level has increased by 1 level.]


[Your magic factor has increased by 2 points.]


[Will you ascend to the next floor?]


The allocated achievement points were not as generous as he had expected.


But the other rewards were that his magic level had increased and that he was allowed to choose his additional reward.


<>


“Haa—”


Whatever the additional reward, Su-hyeun trudged heavily and sat on a dry patch of ground where there was no Earthworm’s blood.


He could not even open the door to reality in his current state.


A considerable amount of concentration was needed to open it. Thus, it was impossible to open the door when Su-hyeun was poisoned.


Click—


Su-hyeun held the necklace that was hanging around his neck in his hand. It was the treasure that was obtained on the second floor: the Sharyes’ treasure. Though he did not have many chances to use it, it was useful every time.


<>


Although it would cost quite a considerable amount of achievement points, it was an item that valuable.


Whirl, whirl, whirl—


As Su-hyeun activated the necklace, a light came out and enveloped Su-hyeun’s body. A bright light green light fully wrapped around Su-hyeun’s body and soon dissipated.


Su-hyeun’s poisoned body felt lighter and more relaxed.


<>


It was an item that recovers the users’ health three times.


These types of items were rare. Unfortunately, as its recovery speed was slow, it was difficult to be used in combat, but it couldn’t be matched with natural recovery.


Initially, the poison would have gradually spread in the body, and overcoming it naturally would have had taken a long time.


Perhaps parts of the body that could not be recovered would be permanently paralyzed or led to an early death, but the Sharyes’ treasure was slowly neutralizing the poison.


<>


He could only use it two more times. He had expected to use up one chance when he started the fight with the Earthworm and did not regret it.


<>


The Tower of Trials’ system never lied. Su-hyeun believed so.


The lingering feeling had lessened. Thanks to that, Su-hyeun could ascend to the next floor without worries.


<>


There was the additional reward that he could choose after his accomplishment level had passed the 30 percent mark.



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