The Hero Returns

Chapter 5



Chapter 5: Chapter 5


Su-hyeun’s past life, Sung-in, excelled in every way.


Not only were his overall stats remarkable thanks to his regular exercises since his youth, but due to his mother’s influence, he knew the signs of his awakening and thus had received various training.


1


He understood the characteristics of the monsters, clearly knew their weaknesses, and came up with strategies to handle them.


Injuring the Mad Wolf and making use of the Vampire Wolves’ instinct to engage them in a fight was thanks to that.


Ugh, ugggh—


Even though blood was gushing out and life was slowly draining, Mad Wolf was still drooling and swallowing its saliva.


Its instinct for food was more of an obsession. It didn’t think of running away even though it was close to dying.


“But that was better for me.”


It wouldn’t be as knotty if it used its quick movement to escape and fought back.


Thankfully, it was an insane monster that lived up to its name. Its intelligence wasn’t that high.


Stab—


Su-hyeun’s sword penetrated deep into the Mad Wolf’s head through the eye on its forehead.


At that moment, the Mad Wolf, which was barely alive, died.


[You have gained 50 achievement points.]


[You have passed the first floor’s trial.]


[You have gained 300 achievement points.]


[All stats have been increased by 5 points.]


It was the end of the first floor.


Su-hyeun was wide-eyed.


“What a reward…”


300 achievement points.


All stats increased by five.


The reward exceeded his expectations.


Besides the achievement points, the reward was hard to accept as it was rare to be awarded an increase for all stats.


Plus, it was increased by 5 points for all.


No matter if this was a level 10 trial, the reward was beyond imagination.


“I knew the rewards would depend on the course of the trial and the performance, but…”


It did not occur to him that the difference would be this great.


Perhaps being rewarded with a stat increase for the first Vampire Wolf kill could be due to the time taken to finish it off.


Whatever the reason, it was satisfying for Su-hyeun.


If he were to be continuously rewarded in this way, he would be able to earn much more than he did in his previous life.


[You may use the first floor’s store.]


[Do you wish to advance to the next level?]


Another message appeared later on.


It was the message that Su-hyeun was waiting for.


At the store, one could use their achievement points to purchase various weapons, shields, armor, and other equipment.


Currently, Su-hyeun had a total of 380 achievement points.


It was quite a substantial amount of achievement points earned from the first floor. It was thanks to the fact that Su-hyeun managed to swiftly pass the trial that got him a higher amount of points.


“Store.”


Su-hyeun opened the store immediately.


Various categories appeared before him, such as equipment, consumer goods, medication, food, etc. As long as one had achievement points, he could do anything in this world.


Amongst them, there was only one that Su-hyeun was thinking of.


“Here it is.”


[Lowest grade mana catalyst: 300p]


The item that came into Su-hyeun’s view was a small bottle located in the consumer goods section.


The small bottle containing a violet-colored potion was the first item that Su-hyeun had wanted to purchase long ago.


“I thought it would only be available for purchase at the second level….”


It was thanks to the high achievement points he was rewarded that his plans were hastened.


“Purchase.”


[You have purchased the lowest grade mana catalyst.]


[You have used 300 achievement points.]


As soon as the purchase had been confirmed, the violet-colored potion appeared in Su-hyeun’s hand.


Su-hyeun opened the thumb-sized bottle cap and gulped the potion down.


Gulp—


The catalyst had no taste to it.


But a bitter aftertaste came later.


It was inevitable since the catalyst had been diluted in water.


“Pant—”


Su-hyeun threw the now empty bottle on the floor.


He flopped down to take a seat.


“Pant—”


Su-hyeun exhaled long and deep, focusing on the catalyst that was spreading throughout his body.


The magic factor also referred to the maximum amount of mana in his body.


If the magic level measures the power level, the magic factor would determine how much magic power could be released.


The awakener could never ignore neither the magic factor nor the magic level.


If the level was low, the overall power that could be released would be weak no matter how high the factor is; and if the factor was low, no matter how high the magic level is, only a small amount of magic power could be used.


“Firstly, mana’s maximum limit.”


Currently, his body wasn’t carrying any magic powers.


The mana catalyst acts as a stimulant that forces the awakener to have magic power.


Of course, if an average person were to drink a small amount like this, it wouldn’t make much of a difference….


Wiggle—


Since Su-hyeun had been dealing with magic for a long time, he reacted to the catalyst’s effect of magic awakening quite sensitively.


“It’s done.”


[Responding to magic power.]


[Your magic factor has been increased by 1 point.]


[Responding to magic power.]


[Your magic level has advanced by 1 level.]


***


One point.


It was slightly humiliating.


However, not many would be able to respond to magic power from the first floor. If it weren’t for this particular case, one would only encounter this on the third floor.


Initially, the first floor’s level 10 was only a trial testing on one’s physical abilities, and not related in any way to the magic power.


Whirl, whirl, whirl, whirl—


Su-hyeun sent magic power into the sword in his hands.


He felt the sword feeling better in his hands. But it was hard to have the magic power wrap around the sword itself.


“I can’t hold this out for too long….”


It might have been better to get items like a sword or armor than to raise his magic level and factor.


But Su-hyeun was considering the long run.


“I should get stronger on this floor while I can.”


The items couldn’t be taken out of the Tower of Trials anyway.


The only thing he could take out would be the body that he built.


“For the sake of the future….”


As the sword’s magic power ran out, Su-hyeun lowered it.


“As expected, magic power is most important.”


[Will you advance to the next floor?]


As if knowing that Su-hyeun has finished using the store, the system asked if he would like to advance to the next floor.


Would he?


Or would he stop here, and pause the trials temporarily?


Or…


“No.”


Su-hyeun expressed his refusal when the system asked if he would like to advance to the next floor.


Grrr—


Kyaaa—!


Su-hyeun heard the monsters growling in the Colosseum and said, “Call the next one out.”


No pain, no gain.


You must suffer the equivalent hardship before gaining something.


It was the principle that Su-hyeun had from his past life, and it was also the truth in this life.


Even if he couldn’t endure it, it was still a go.


There was no stopping.


“Before we advance, we should see it until the end, shouldn’t we?”


Act 3


In the Tower of Trials, there were some rules to adhere to get stronger.


—Choose the higher levels.


—Clear the higher floors.


—Give a better performance.


Although there were several other expedients like the catalyst that Su-hyeun used, they were just additives.


The crucial point was how high the level, the floor, and how to get a better performance to clear the trials.


And depending on the circumstances, it was better to find a way to get a better performance at certain levels instead of the predetermined.


[Will you advance to the next floor?]


There were two choices to this question.


Yes and No.


Most would choose “Yes,” as they would have decided to start the next floor of trials by quickly heading to the next floor.


But occasionally, there was another type of trial that is similar to the one Su-hyeun was at now.


A bonus mission that could be taken up after the trial ended.


“Where’s the end of this Colosseum?”


A fight that only had three battles.


Su-hyeun thought it was boring.


All his stats had increased, and now that he had his magic awakened, fighting would be a lot easier.


It was a pity to stop here. Also, it was apparent that the trial’s achievement level would get higher after clearing and getting more bonus missions.


No words were needed for the rewards. Plus, Su-hyeun was taking on level 10 of the trial at the moment.


Su-hyeun took on the Colosseum’s next challenge.


And the one after.


And….


[You have cleared stage 10 of the first floor.]


[There is nothing else after this.]


[You have flawlessly cleared the first trial.]


[You will be ranked according to your achievement.]


[You are ranked first.]


[You have gained 1000 achievement points.]


[All stats have been increased by 1 point.]


[Your magic factor has been increased by 2 points.]


[Your magic level has increased by 1 level.]


“Pant, pant—”


Su-hyeun looked at the great wolf that was the size of a bull lying on the floor.


This wolf, whose whole body had been raked, was called the “Raked Wolf.” It was a monster that had relatively keen senses.


It was hard for even a skilled magic awakener to deal with this beast, and it appeared on the first floor of the trials.


“I wondered what happened.”


He did expect that it wouldn’t be easy when he decided to clear all the 10 stages on the first floor.


But never did he expect to meet the Raked Wolf on the first floor.


“But still…”


As tough as it was, the reward was bountiful.


It was a given to be ranked first in the trials’ ranking. Su-hyeun was also ranked first in most of the records in his past life.


But he never expected to be able to gain a magic level of 2 on just the first floor.


“Status.”


[Name: Kim Su-hyeun]


[Magic Factor: 8] [Magic Level: 2]


[Strength: 28] [Agility: 29]


[Health: 28] [Reflex: 34]


[Fatigue: 55]


His overall stats had increased tremendously.


One would not have thought that he had just cleared the first floor of the trials.


This situation surpassed his expectations much more than he had imagined.


“Should I continue on to the second floor now?”


Su-hyeun shook his head at the sudden thought which surfaced in his mind.


“No. Let’s stop here for today.”


He could not ignore his level of fatigue now.


He needed enough rest, had used his achievement points, and was required to maintain himself. Furthermore, he could not ignore the reality.


“I’m returning.”


[Your qualifications are distinct.]


[You have cleared the first floor.]


[You will now exit the Tower of Trials.]


The world before Su-hyeun’s eyes changed once again.


* * *


Cut, cut, cut, cut.


Boiling, boiling.


As Su-hyeun stepped into the now-familiar room, he heard sounds coming from the living room — the sounds of soup boiling and some excellent cutting skills.


Su-hyeun opened his room door and went out to the living room.


“Oh, son, you were home?”


Shin Su-yeong, who was preparing dinner, turned around.


Su-hyeun nodded his head slightly and looked at the food set on the dining table. He was at a loss for words.


“Pork rib stew, stir-fried mix vegetable noodles, and bean paste soup… Why did you prepare so much?”


Although the house was small, the dining table had a sumptuous feast that would make many feel envious. Just by looking at it, one could tell it was a feast that needed a lot of preparations.


“My son just got discharged, so of course I have to prepare this much.”


“Didn’t you just come back from work?”


“That’s right. The soup is almost ready, so take a seat. I’ll get you a bowl of rice.”


“It’s alright. I’ll get it myself.”


Su-hyeun checked small the wall clock hung on one side of the living room. It had been well after 10PM.


Shin Su-yeong arrived back home after work at around 9PM.


If it were other families, their son would be eating alone at this time. Nevertheless, it seemed that Shin Su-yeong had been preparing dinner that late into the night every day after work.


As soon as the soup was done, Su-hyeun got his bowl of rice and sat down at the dining table. They turned on the television and started their meal.


—Recently, there has been an increase in the number of dungeons. When comparing the first-time dungeons that appeared back in 2013, in 2018, it was discovered that the number has multiplied by threefold.


As expected, the issues raised in the news recently were about dungeons and magical awakeners. As it was something Su-hyeun was used to, he did not show much interest in it.


“Aren’t you fascinated at it?”


“What about?”


Su-hyeun focused on his meal and replied to Shin Su-yeong’s question in a mundane manner.


If she asked about fascination, his answer was predetermined. To him, it was his daily life and lifestyle.


“Suddenly monsters and people with weird supernatural powers are appearing. These only came out in the comics and stuff that you liked when you were young.”


“Well, it has now come to reality.”


That’s right. It had become a reality.


—Meanwhile, the prices of energy sources and ether stones found in the dungeons continue to skyrocket due to its wide variety of uses. Though some people mentioned the dangers of the phenomenal dungeon outbreak, it still has had a positive impact on our society…


Of course, the reality wasn’t as hopeful as what was reported on the television.


“It wasn’t hope, but more of desperation.”


This happiness would not go on for long.


The dungeons that came to the world with a hopeful image would soon change into a huge disaster.


Knowing this fact, Su-hyeun could not accept the news that this was being reported as a trivial story.


They ended their meal, and Su-hyeun pushed Shin Su-yeong into her room, saying that he would do the dishes.


Su-hyuen went back into his room after he finished doing the dishes.


Creak—


“Mom, I’ve finished doing the.”


Su-hyeun’s voice turned softer.


During that short time, Shin Su-yeong fell asleep while lying against the wardrobe.


It seemed that she was quite exhausted, seeing that she might not have known how she fell asleep.


Su-hyeun looked quietly at the sleeping Shin Su-yeong before spotting a folded blanket on the side and covering her with it.


“Mother.”


Looking at her face, his insides turned.


He still felt awkward at that term. Even though he had decided to live as Su-hyeun, he nevertheless felt some awkwardness.


But…


Of course, it would be hard for anyone to understand why her devotion to Su-hyeun was so great.


“Just wait a while more.”


He wanted to repay as much as he had received.


Even though it was a devotion that wasn’t directed entirely at him….


The end of this devotion must not lead to the end of this world.


“Even though I can’t become your real son…” he thought while he closed his eyes and held her hands.


“I’ll definitely make you happy.”


Certainly.


He would not have anyone die under his watch.



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