The Hero Returns

Chapter 6



Chapter 6: Chapter 6


Shin Su-yeong woke up late from her sleep. In the wee hours of the morning, dawn had just started to break.


“When did I fall asleep?”


She rubbed her blurry eyes and looked around her.


Got to do the laundry and clean the floor…. House chores are piling up like a mountain. But —


“Oh?”


The room was clean.


The untidy pile of clothes had been neatly folded and the floor had been cleaned without a single strand of hair left behind. The piling trash can in the living room had been emptied as well.


“You’re awake?”


Shin Su-yeong turned around.


Su-hyeun was carrying a change of clothes and a bag. Shin Su-yeong, in turn, spoke to Su-hyeun while she looked inside the recently cleaned room.


“You did all this?”


“The cleaning?”


“Yeah.”


“Since you were sleeping, I didn’t want to wake you up. I didn’t know where to put the laundry, so I just left it aside. Please do it later. The toilet was dirty, so I cleaned it as well.”


Shin Su-yeong stared blankly with a loss for words. Although he did occasionally clean the floor and do simple household chores, she never thought that her son would clean up the house so neatly while she was asleep.


“There’s nothing much left for me to do.”


It seemed that she could sleep more before heading to work.


“But son, where are you heading at this hour? Do you have plans?”


“I’m heading to the library.”


“The library?”


“Yes. I might stay at my friend’s house for the night, too. My phone will be turned off, but don’t worry.”


“To study?”


“Yes. I have to attend university.”


It was a lame excuse, but there were no other excuses that he could come up with.


Su-hyeun scratched his head and turned away.


“Well, I’ll be back.” Su-hyeun put on his shoes and headed out.


Shin Su-yeong looked out into the dark, early morning sky where the sun had yet to rise and muttered.


“Oh my, what is going on?”


It might have been too much to go back to sleep immediately.


* * *


Trudge, trudge.


5AM in the morning. It was dark out on the streets. It was quiet outside except for the sounds of a few people who started work early in the morning.


“I should start studying for a bit.”


Since he used studying as an excuse, he couldn’t help but do it.


“Although I won’t need it much.”


Anyway, he did more than enough studying in his past life.


He had been admitted into a reasonably respectable university and still remembered a fair bit from those times. It had been a short-term investment while he was recovering from his fatigue.


“Before that…”


Slide—


Su-hyeun headed into a deserted alley. The narrow alley wasn’t hard to find, as this was an area where few people lived. He came up with the excuse of going to the library to explain his long absences, but actually, he had something else to do.


“Ha. What am I even doing?”


He wasn’t a criminal, but found himself pathetic to be hiding away in a place like this.


“I had to hide it immediately, so I had no choice.”


It had only been a few years since the appearance of magical awakeners and dungeons. As precious as each magical awakener was, great attention was also given to every new magical awakener.


Therefore, moving on with the Tower on Trials in the middle of the streets would only garner more attention.


“I would never be able to go back again.”


Su-hyeun reached out and shook his head clear when he thought about where he belonged in his past life.


Rip—


Su-hyeun’s grasp tore a space in the air. The entrance to the Tower of Trials appeared before him. The gigantic tower could be seen once he stepped in.


Step, step—


He had become familiar with the route towards the tower. Su-hyeun could now pass the doors without any hesitation.


The landscape turned white before him and was recolored once again, revealing a completely different scene. Regardless of how many times he had crossed the entrance to the tower, he would always find this change fascinating.


[Welcome to the Tower of Trials.]


The message appeared in his mind.


Su-hyeun stood in the middle of the vast city, where people were walking in the square around the lake.


“Tower of Trials.”


In the outside world, it was known as “The Abyss.”


Different from its dark and dreary title, this world was quite habitable. One could live considerably well without having to clear the floors of the tower.


“It’s a nice place.”


Compared to the nearly destroyed future, the world now was very much better to live in.


“Because of that day, the Day of Selection…”


Su-hyeun shook his head. It was too far into the future to think about it now. Instead, now he had to resolve issues and prepare for the Day of Selection.


Step, step—


Su-hyeun immediately headed to a large department store located outside of the square. It was composed of a dwellers who did not appear to have any items on display, but the place was clearly meant to be a store.


A voice piped up while Su-hyeun walked in. “What are you here for?”


A beautiful lady with black hair, soft skin, and a slender jawline gained Su-hyeun’s attention.


“If you’re here to buy stuff, come here. Are you looking for anything in particular?”


Su-hyeun looked at her.


What a charming lady. Su-hyeun knew just who she was.


Dark Elf Velly. One of the merchants found on the second floor of the Tower of Trials selling skill books.


Dark Elf was a nickname that was widely known amongst the magical awakeners. Although Velly was not an elf, it meant that her beauty was equivalent to one.


Su-hyeun walked towards Velly’s calling. Velly leaned her face and body up close to Su-hyeun.


“Is this your first time?”


“What about it?”


“It’s my first time seeing you, but your eyes don’t seem so. It’s as if you’ve returned to someplace familiar.”


“Don’t mind me. Just think of me as a passing customer.”


“How snippy. So, what are you looking for? I usually sell skill books. If you’re not looking for anything in particular, shall I show you the whole list?”


Su-hyeun looked at her seductive appearance from the bottom up. It wouldn’t be weird if anyone were to commit an impulse purchase to win her favor. It seems that many stupid customers would fall for this.


Those stupid customers would not live for long. Su-hyeun ignored Velly’s gaze and spoke.


“Do you sell the transfiguration skill?”


“…Sell what?”


Velly’s eyes turned small with Su-hyeun’s question. With that change in expression, Su-hyeun was able to confirm that he had found the right place.


“I don’t want to go around in circles finding it.”


Su-hyeun bent down to meet Velly’s eyes. Velly pulled back and distanced herself from him.


“How much is it? I’m looking for it.”


“I do have it… But why are you looking for it?”


“Because I need it.”


“And you can afford it? Even if it costs a whopping 1,000 points?”


1,000 points. A ridiculous amount for someone who just cleared the first floor. It was rare to gain stats or achievement points at the first level, especially since it was just a level to be cleared for formality’s sake.


“Even so, the transfiguration skill is only accessible for those with magic level 2. You’re just a newbie who recently cleared the first floor….”


“Stop your nagging and give it to me. I have the 1,000 points.”


“What?”


“Give it to me.”


Velly considered Su-hyeun’s request for a moment and slowly took out a book.


“Here it is. The transfiguration skill book.”


“Thanks.”


Su-hyeun took the book from Velly. At the same time:


[You have used 1,000 achievement points.]


The achievement points which he had accumulated were gone. Although there were still some left, most of them were used.


“What are you?”


“What?”


“Are you sure you’ve just cleared the first floor? You were looking for the transfiguration skill, and you already had that many points as well…”


“Stop being nosy. I won’t be staying here for long, either.”


“What?”


“Forget it. Give me the leap skill. It’s 150 points, right?”


“…Are you really supposed to be on the second floor?”


Velly looked suspiciously at Su-hyeun. But still took out the leap skill book and handed it to him.


Soon, her expression changed into curiosity, much like when he first met her. Su-hyeun judged that Velly must have known the value of the transfiguration skill. Indeed, she’s not a normal lady.


How did she come to live here? All dwellers here had their own unique story to tell. Velly probably had something similar.


“I’m off.”


Su-hyeun walked into another store and bought some simple equipment.


To move equipment from the Tower of Trials a separate item was needed, one different from skills. But that item was not available to purchase on the second floor, so the equipment that Su-hyeun had got to use was quite a steal.


“It’s not bad for this much.”


A total of 200 achievement points.


Add another 100 points for dry rations, bandages, medication, and more.


The remaining 700 points were used to purchase a low-grade mana catalyst.


“Appraisal.”


[Transfiguration Skill.]


-Magic level: 2


-LV: 1


-Can mimic a specific target’s physical ability. Depending on the transfiguration level, the level of imitating the opponent will increase.


[Leap.]


-Magic level: 2


-Ability: 0.


-Able to do one more leap in the air. Depending on the ability, the number of leaps and height will increase.


These were the two skills bought from Velly. They were the two most useful skills known to Su-hyeun on the second floor.


“It was an excellent choice to purchase transfiguration skill.”


A skill worth 1,000 achievement points.


In fact, it was almost impossible to obtain it. The person whom Su-hyeun knew to have gotten this skill appeared only 10 years later. That person was a magical awakener who chose the ninth level, and like Su-hyeun, had out-performed when clearing the first floor.


Although he used up 1,000 points in one go, he didn’t find it to be a waste.


“Level-dependent skill.”


Unlike the leap skill, which was determined by ability, the transfiguration skill was determined by magic level. A skill’s required magic level was the minimum needed to learn it, and at the same time, it referred to its own level as well.


Of course, it was a skill that showed excellent efficiency anytime, anywhere, regardless of the level. It was similar to the leap skill in that it could perform evasions and deceptions in various situations.


But most of the skills were not like that. Thus, this level-dependent skill was one that many magical awakeners would kill to have while they ascended the tower.


“Still, I have no use for it now.”


He was prepared to the best of his ability. Su-hyeun used 50 points to purchase a small pouch to contain his rations and some thin armor that would not hinder his movement.


He had used up all his achievement points gained from the first floor — it was all to achieve even better performance on the next floor.


“Before that, first…”


Su-hyeun went to book his accommodation. All the tower’s dwellers used achievement points as currency. The remaining small amount of achievement points were used to rent a place for himself.

COMMENT

Click—


Su-hyeun stepped in and placed the sword and spear, which were slung over his shoulder, in a corner. He then pulled out the violet-colored bottle from the small pouch hung around his waist.


[Low-grade mana catalyst.]


-Mana catalyst diluted with distilled water. Depending on the user’s level, it permanently amplifies the magic level and factor.


Such a slipshod explanation for an item that could make one waste 700 points if misused.


In fact, it was common to see many magical awakeners who wanted high magic factor to not see much effect after taking the catalyst. Because of this, the catalysts were often described as a lottery amongst magical awakeners.


“Strictly speaking, they aren’t lotteries.”


But now, Su-hyeun did not even have an item like this.


Pop—


Su-hyeun sat down and immediately opened the catalyst’s lid.



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