The Hero Returns

Chapter 8



Chapter 8: Chapter 8


The night grew deeper in the forest.


Shuffle, shuffle—


The forest shook in an uproar. Countless shadows were in pursuit of one human.


Creak, creak—!


Squeal—!


The Shayres pulled their bows with a lunatic cry. And at that moment:


Snap, snap—


Su-hyeun lightly stepped on a few branches. He was waiting for that moment.


Swoosh—!


The arrows flew in Su-hyeun’s direction, but they couldn’t hit him. As the thin branches snapped, Su-hyeun’s body bounced upwards.


Plat—


He had used the Leap skill. The unexpected movement got the flustered Shayre to take off.


Slash—!


[You have gained 20 achievement points.]


The Shayre’s throat was slashed and bright red blood came gushing out like a fountain.


Wooong—


Plat, plat—


Su-hyeun moved fast. He focused the magic on his legs and was able to move around in the forest’s complicated terrain freely. Even the Shayres, who dominated the forest, were unable to catch up to him.


Caw, caw—!


The Shayres panicked as half of their tribe was lost. They had to run. They were not the hunters. At this moment, the hunter was Su-hyeun. But…


Jingle—


“Going to run?” Su-hyeun said as he showed them the necklace on his neck. The Shayres turned furious upon seeing the necklace, though they did not understand his words. The remaining Shayres headed towards Su-hyeun in unison. They probably realized that bows would not work on Su-hyeun, who could leap into the air. “Of course. That’s right.”


Pssh—


Plop—!


The spear in Su-hyeun’s hand pierced through the forthcoming Shayre’s head. “There’s no need to drag it on any further….”


Pick, pick—


Tung—


Su-hyeun slashed the two Shayres near him and leaped to get to the Shayres that were in the distance.


“Let’s finish up quickly.”


Slash—!


He slashed the last Shayre.


[You have gained 20 achievement points.]


[Your strength has increased by 1 point.]


Drip, drip—


His blood dripped on the floor and covered his body. The tension in Su-hyeun eased and fatigue came over him. “Huuu—”


He lost count of how many tribes there were. The numbers were increasing. There’s no end to them.


Although it was a level 10 trial, not all the rewards were equivalent to the effort put in the trials. Su-hyeun had the first-hand experience of clearing the level with better than expected performance, where the reward was even more bountiful than usual.


Su-hyeun had thought about it when he started the second floor’s trial here. If the purpose was to run away from the Shayres and survive without losing the treasure…


It would end if the Shayres were wiped out, regardless of how long it took. It was best to get the highest reward possible if he were to continue challenging the level 10 trials for each floor. To do that, Su-hyeun did not run from the Shayres, but chose to face them head-on instead.


The numbers are slowly increasing. No, it wasn’t just the numbers. Even amongst the Shayres, there were the strong and the weak. Not only were their numbers increasing, but their level was also getting higher as well.


I’ll stop here for today. His fatigue level was increasing. Not only had his stamina reached its limits, but the magic that he had been cherishing was also nearly used up.


It wasn’t a trial that could be cleared in a day or two. One also needed to know when to stop and take a rest to complete this long-running marathon.


Su-hyeun went into a nearby cave that he found. He could see light coming through the ceiling as he entered the deep cave.


[You have entered a safe zone.]


[You are safe from attackers here.]


He had found a safe zone, also known as a neutral zone. It was first place Su-hyeun entered after his fight with the Shayres. There were several other safe zones in different types of trials. Although there were some trials where safe zones did not exist, they were uncommon. Additionally, the safe zones were treated as separate spaces, disconnected from the trial.


“Status.”


[Name: Kim Su-hyeun]


[Magic Factor: 16] [Magic level: 3]


[Strength: 32] [Agility: 31]


[Health: 30] [Reflex: 35]


[Fatigue: 79]


The increase in the stats range was quite slow compared to the first floor, but Su-hyeun thought that it was fast enough. As each stat increased, a vast difference could be seen, and it also got harder to increase.


It was not advisable to become too ambitious. Although things seemed slow on the second floor, it was imperative to increase his stats and magic factor steadily.


Fatigue has piled up, as expected…. He needed to rest right now. Thankfully, it was a trial without any time limit. Su-hyeun just couldn’t focus on clearing the floors now.


“It’s better to head back.” There was no reason for him not to take a rest here. Su-hyeun reached his hand out.


Rip—!


Once again, Su-hyeun opened the door back to reality.


* * *


It was late at night in reality. Su-hyeun hurried down the mountain and headed home. Although he was exhausted from fighting all day, he had no intention of worrying Shin Su-yeong.


11PM. It was nearly time for the library to close. As Su-hyeun turned on his mobile phone, a few missed calls from Shin Su-yeong popped up.


She must have been quite worried. He did tell her that he might stay out for the night just in case, but of course, such words would not make her worry less.


Click—


Su-hyeun unlocked the door as he arrived home. The light in the living room was turned on, but it was dead quiet.


“I’m home.” Su-hyeun stood stiff at the entrance as he spoke in a small voice. Food was laid on the dining table, and Shin Su-yeong was there asleep. How long did she wait? Su-hyeun went to shake Shin Su-yeong’s shoulder.


“…Mom. Sleep in your room.”


“Mm… Umm… Son… You’re back?” Shin Su-yeong asked as she rubbed her eyes and stretched her back.


“Yes. Did you not eat?”


“I ate first since I was hungry. You’d better eat, too.”


“Okay. Go to bed first.”


“No. I’ll have to do the dishes and the floor…”


“I’ll do it. Hurry.” Su-hyeun adamantly pushed Shin Su-yeong into her room. Although Su-hyeun had been taking mixed grains and dry food to keep himself satisfied, he could not turn away from Shin Su-yeong’s food.


He finished his meal and did the dishes. He even cleaned the floor thoroughly, took a shower, and returned to his room.


Whirl—


The old computer turned on with a loud whirl. It took quite a while to boot up.


Click—


Su-hyeun opened the Internet browser and searched “Abyss Online.” It was a representative site for magical awakeners that had over a million members. Of course, most of them were ordinary people. In fact, the site was for the public to be updated about news related to magical awakeners and not meant solely for the magical awakeners themselves. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is here.


Su-hyeun grinned after checking out some of the articles on the main page. He knew even just by reading the headlines whether the author was a real magical awakener or he was just trying to show off.


2018 October. Su-hyeun took out a notebook that was stuck in the corner of his desk. He took a pen and recorded today’s date.


What I have to change. What I must not change. What I must achieve.


Complicated thoughts filled his mind. In the past month, he did not waste his time while he was hospitalized. He was organizing his future plans in his mind during that time. He worked hard to not forget the future events. The final goal was Fafnir.


Firstly, the fourth floor is my target. In 2018, around this time, the appearances of magical awakeners were not a public issue. The dungeons appeared and were swiftly dealt with by the awakeners, and the resources collected were treated as new energy and raw materials for social development.


But as time passed, the monsters in the dungeons became more robust for the awakeners to deal with alone.


“Thankfully… it’s still manageable now.” The atmosphere on the Abyss Online was lively. There were many humor-related posts, and some were related to ranked awakeners. There was even an article about a celebrity’s awakening on the bulletin board.


It’s almost like entertainment.


Up until now, the appearance of dungeons and awakeners was nothing but the start of a new topic in society.


A dungeon attack led by top-notch awakeners was filmed on-air and boasted a dramatic amount of viewership — its popularity did not lose out to any celebrities or politicians. Abyss Online became a platform for people to communicate with their favorite awakener, much like a fan cafe.


It was clear that the dungeons had yet to become a huge social issue. Until now, that is.


One of the reasons why Su-hyeun wanted to check out the posts on Abyss Online was to gather information on the current events between the dungeons and awakeners around the world.


Even at this period, Su-hyeun was not an awakener. Naturally, he wasn’t aware of the happenings in this period; if he did, it was vague.


“There are no visible problems right now….” Su-hyeun sent a couple of links to his email. “But there were still some catches.”


Although there’s no way to verify them now, there were signs that something was about to happen. As he read some tabloids and posts, he began to recall some memories from before. Amongst them was some information that he wasn’t aware of. Meanwhile…


[A divinity appeared on the second floor of the Tower of Trials.]


Shivers went down his spine. A new post appeared. Su-hyeun clicked on it with doubts in his mind.


Title: A Divinity Appeared on the Second Floor


Content: 2,230 points lolololololol is this possible? What did he do to get that record on the second floor?


—no no how did he get 2,230 points on the second floor lolololololol


—how many points can you get from the first floor?


└ probably 940 points?


—no. you can check the rank in the northern square. A rookie named kim su-hyeun was ranked first.


An exploding reaction.


One could even get his face on the main page if the reaction was this huge. The click count was already in the ten thousands. And one of the comments under that post…


—I’m Kim Min-soo, an awakener from the Blue Dragon Guild. Kim Su-hyeun, if you are reading this, please contact me here. We at Blue Dragon…


—I’m Yoo Jung-gyu, an awakener from the Ares Guild. If you’re reading this post…


There was a message left for him. Groups that were centered on the awakeners were interested in “Kim Su-hyeun,” who appeared on the second floor.



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