Chapter 176. The Second Coming (3)

[Your Status Window]

[3. Physical Level]
Strength: Intermediate (Intermediate)
Endurance: Intermediate (Low)
Agility: Intermediate (Intermediate)
Stamina: Intermediate (Intermediate)
Mana: High (High)
Luck: Intermediate (Intermediate)

Remaining Ability Points: 1

[4. Abilities]

1. Innate Abilities (2)
—Future Vision (Grade Unknown)
—Nine Eyes (Grade Unknown)

Future Vision. An upgradeable ability that manifests the realm Seol Jihu had reached in the future— or more precisely, in the world of his dreams.

No, rather than ‘manifesting’, it was more correct to say ‘borrowing’.

With Future Vision activated, his past experiences and techniques would get engraved in his mind. However, they would disappear the moment the skill ended.

Since the skill did not raise his physical stats directly, the range of manifestation was strictly based on Seol Jihu’s ‘current’ self.

Naturally, the range of power he had manifested now was far greater than that in the past. There was no need to even mention the Tutorial, and when Future Vision activated during the Ramman Village mission, he had only been a Level 2.

But the current Seol Jihu was different.

Ever since he entered Paradise, with the exception of times when he had no choice, he never once skipped training.

In the Neutral Zone, he fully utilized the increased effects of training. At the Huge Stone Rocky Mountain, he surpassed his limit through arduous training and perseverance.

And with Seo Yuhui feeding him all sorts of precious medicine and him using his Ability Points to raise his Mana stat to ‘High (High)’…

The current Seol Jihu’s physical stats surpassed that of a Level 5 High Ranker and were now on par with most Level 6s.

Moreover, when Future Vision activated against the mid-ranked Nest, Seol Jihu revealed martial prowess that was at least that of a level 7.

But similar to how High Rankers were separated into True and False High Rankers, not all Unique Rankers were the same.

There were those who climbed up a comparatively easy path paved by their organization’s full support of experience points and contribution points. However, there were also those who crawled up from the bottom through nothing but effort and hard work.

As the ‘dream’ Seol Jihu had entered Paradise as a Red Mark, he was a Unique Ranker who belonged in the latter category.

And so, no one knew the level of martial prowess the current Seol Jihu could unleash.

The first ones who detected this change were those around Seol Jihu. Although they were on the verge of losing consciousness from the heavy injuries they sustained, they could feel the powerful energy even in their half-unconscious state.

Like river water bursting through the dam and flooding over, a truly terrifying amount of energy surged out.

The fortress wall rumbled as though hit by an earthquake, and pieces of broken rocks vibrated while slowly rising into the air.

This strange scene appeared as if gravity had reversed.

As these series of changes were unfolding, Seol Jihu’s body repeatedly went back and forth between gold and red. From his skin, hot vapor rose up like an overheated steam engine.

Suddenly, the vibrations stopped.

The pieces of rocks that were flying up all fell to the ground.

Silence and stillness abruptly descended, like a period of rest between the foreshock and the mainshock.

Chohong shuddered, feeling an indescribable pressure of something huge surging up from the ground.

Although she had lost consciousness, she opened her eyes from the powerful sensation stimulating her body and immediately made a confused face.

With great difficulty, she stared at the youth who was standing at the center of this phenomenon.

“Sssp….”

Taking in a deep breath, Seol Jihu slowly tilted his head. Caught up in his own energy, his hair stood up and fluttered in the wind. Finally, as if he could no longer restrain the power seething inside him, he clenched his fists and raised them into the air.

Seol Jihu. He was a man who was not chosen by the Seven Gods.

Seol Jihu. He was a man who participated in battles against the Seven Armies nine times, and survived nine times.

Seol Jihu. He was the only Earthling who, in collaboration with the Federation, exterminated Abhorrent Charity (Caritas).

There were more than a few titles decorating him. However, the Federation, humankind, and Parasites all recognized him under one name.

Golden light blended together with blood-red light and erupted out of the eyes glaring at the sky. At the same time, his clenched teeth spread open.

Level 7 Highlander, Awakening Skill — Berserk.

HUAAAAAAA!

Like the roar of an injured beast, a chilling howl resounded throughout the battlefield.

The Demon of the Battlefield, who once rampaged through all battlefields without discrimination, made his second coming at Arden Valley.

**

The war ended as humanity’s defeat.

Mary Rhine, who laid collapsed on the ground after having her ankles crushed, could only think this to be the case.

Never mind anyone in a battle; she couldn’t spot even a single sign of resistance inside the fortress.

The Nosferatus were stirring up dust as if the fortress was their home, and the army of corpses had climbed up their mothers’ bodies and was wandering around the area.

Murder and human-consumption were all that remained.

And so, Mary Rhine cried.

Because that was the only thing she could do.

The group of Nosferatus surrounding her snickered as they listened to her wails.

It was then. A flash of light brushed past Mary Rhine’s tear-stained sight.

When the light intensified in an instant and radiated a blinding golden light, her eyes widened and headed up.

Almost simultaneously, dozens of sharp slashes, leaving behind trails of golden light, tore through the air at high-speed.

The Level 7 Highlander, Secret Art — Sword Qi Wave.

Like a torrential rain, blades of sword qi swept through the group.

The startled Nosferatus did their best to protect their bodies from the sudden ambush, but the sword blades tore their arms apart and cleaved their bodies.

Soon, when their wounded area began to burn black, two of them instantly turned to ash and fell to the ground.

The ones with better intuition had escaped the range of the attack as soon as their defense gave in, but even they were heavily injured.

It was then that they were able to spot the enemy descending on the fortress wall.

Boom!

As soon as he landed, a crater formed on the ground.

“Kiaaaaa!”

The Nosferatu standing at the front bared its fangs and rushed forward.

Seol Jihu slightly tilted his torso forward and charged in without reserve.

Thwack!

The flying Nosferatu flinched. The enemy had rushed up to its face before it noticed.

Setting aside the fact that it could not capture the enemy’s instantaneous movement, a splitting pain was flooding into its head. Right, the spear-wielding youth had just headbutted it. As if to prove this, a stream of blood trickled down both of their foreheads.

From its blurry vision, the blinking Nosferatu saw a crimson-eyed warrior smiling eerily. And what it saw next was a hand soaring up from the bottom like a hook.

Fingers slathered in mana penetrated its solar plexus and dug inside it deeply.

When the Nosferatu took a sharp breath and opened its mouth, Seol Jihu used more strength and clenched his hand.

Crack! Crack!

When the sound of something being pulled and torn apart eerily rang out, a scream hanging onto the throat of the Nosferatu turned into croaks.

“Kik… kik….”

The Nosferatu’s expression distorted and its body swayed. Soon, when Seol Jihu pulled out his hand, a lump of flesh came out with it.

Seol Jihu beheaded the monster, whose eyes had rolled backward, before kicking its stomach hard.

The Nosferatu’s body detached from its head while drawing a parabola in the air. After bouncing and rolling on the ground a couple of times, it stopped in front of another member of its kind with a splash.

The gazes of the nearby Nosferatus all moved toward the body bleeding out and gushing out its internal organs.

When they raised their heads, Seol Jihu, who received over a dozen gazes, shrugged his shoulders and beckoned with his finger. It was almost as if he was asking, ‘Why aren’t you coming?’

The eyebrows of the spectating Nosferatus perked up. They exchanged glances before walking forward.

Seol Jihu dropped the lump of flesh in his hand.

In the next moment, half of the Nosferatus leaped into the air, and the remaining half charged forward. Seol Jihu spun his spear once before lowering his center of gravity and darting forward in a sliding motion.

Having closed the distance with a single leap, one of the airborne Nosferatus slashed its claw down at Seol Jihu.

Dodging the attack by slightly tilting his head to the side, Seol Jihu stabbed his spear at one of the Nosferatus when a claw suddenly popped out from the side.

Kyagagak!

Sparks flared up from the point of contact between the spear blade and claw. The Nosferatu that saved its comrade saw its claw combust instantly and pulled its hand in shock. The opening created as a result was quickly filled by the follow-up attacks of the other Nosferatus.

Backing off while parrying and dodging the flurry of claws, Seol Jihu escaped with a backward roll.

Of course, the Nosferatus wouldn’t let him escape so easily. They chased after him with faces that seemingly lost interest. Just as they were about to stomp down, Seol Jihu instantly snapped up and shot forward like a bolt of lightning.

Stab.

When his sharp sword qi was used with Flash Step, his speartip stabbed the enemy’s solar plexus all too easily.

No— never mind just penetrating the monster, the spear pierced through the Nosferatu’s back. With its spine snapped in half, the Nosferatu shot up into the air while still attached to the spear.

Flying up like a swallow, Seol Jihu’s eyes caught sight of another Nosferatu beyond the skewered Nosferatu.

Seol Jihu held his spear steady and aimed it at the new enemy. Before the Nosferatu could react, his spear blade sliced through the air.

As he landed, his enemy was vertically cut in two.

Having turned the tide of battle in an instant, Seol Jihu’s spear flashed nonstop. A Nosferatu charging forward with a stolen shield quickly raised its arm and blocked its chest, but Seol Jihu’s spear easily penetrated the shield and even blew up the vampire’s arm.

Pak!

Having been hit by a force similar to several consecutive strikes from a Mjolnir, the Nosferatu’s chest sunk in and the monster flew backward.

As the Nosferatus began to fall one by one, Seol Jihu was given more leeway to move, making the battle that much easier.

It wasn’t as if the Nosferatus didn’t know this. But everyone attacking together ended up in a failure, and they had no choice but to back off in terror.

It was a rare sight to see an attack capable of killing its kind in one strike, and the youth’s attack surpassed them in speed. As much as they hated to admit, they simply didn’t see a chance of winning in a direct fight.

The remaining Nosferatus quickly came to a decision. Keeping a set distance from the youth, they began to spin fast enough to leave behind afterimages.

Seol Jihu snorted and lowered his posture again. Then, when he shot his eyes open, the golden sword qi that was endlessly surging around him throughout the whole battle crackled and formed long aura-blades.

One, two, three, four… the number continued to increase. Then, before the Nosferatus could react, Seol Jihu spun like a whirlpool. His anti-evil energy drew a blinding golden circle.

Riiiip!

An electrifying sensation surged through him.

Next, the chests of the four Nosferatus surrounding Seol Jihu were cut into two simultaneously.

Although their lower halves were still standing on the ground, their severed cross-sections were quickly burning. And when the freezing effect of Seol Jihu’s Ice Spear activated, the cross-sections melted down while giving off white steam.

When the Nosferatus catching Seol Jihu’s attention perished, two other Nosferatus that were secretly approaching him in their mist form flinched.

But that only lasted a moment.

“Kiak! Kiaaaak!”

One materialized from a close distance and clung onto Seol Jihu’s neck, and the other one simultaneously materialized from the air and risked its life to pounce on his spear.

Seeing this, Seol Jihu let go his spear without a moment of hesitation. Then, he turned his arm behind his shoulder before forcefully grabbing the head of the Nosferatu baring its teeth and slamming it down at the speed of lightning.

Along with the Nosferatu’s painful shriek, the Ice Spear bounced up from the force of the impact. The spinning spear was quickly snatched up before flashing out. In the blink of an eye, two Nosferatus coughed out blood and fell backwards.

Mary Rhine, who was dazedly watching the battle unfold from start to finish, suddenly widened her eyes.

“Behind—!”

However, seeing Seol Jihu hastily aim his spear back, she stopped before finishing her speech.

Still facing the same direction, Seol Jihu lightly rolled his feet on the ground. Just like before, dozens of sword qi blades formed around his spear and shot out. Three or four Nosferatus stealthily approaching the youth in their mist forms were swept away by the wave of blades.

There was still one Nosferatu remaining. It was the one sent flying while charging forward with a stolen shield.

Seol Jihu walked with long strides. The final Nosferatu had its hand on its chest, digging its fangs into the fainted Erica Lawrence’s neck and mindlessly sucking in the blood.

When Seol Jihu saw the numerous fang marks on her body, his eyes narrowed.

He kicked the bloodsucking vampire’s stomach, and the Nosferatu promptly tumbled back while coughing out the blood it was drinking. Just as it was about to growl angrily, it saw its comrades scattered around the ground and shut its mouth.

How could this have happened in such a short amount of time?

In utter disbelief, it moved its gaze back to the enemy. That was when Seol Jihu’s foot struck its stomach once again. Lowering its gaze slightly, the Nosferatu pushed itself off of the ground with its hands, slowly dragging its feet back.

Seol Jihu grabbed the throat of the groaning enemy. When a hot stench of blood flowed out, the Nosferatu opened its mouth reflexively. Immediately, Seol Jihu’s fists shattered all of its fangs.

Seol Jihu pulled the struggling monster closer and finally spoke.

“Scream.”

A single word escaped his mouth. Hearing the cold, emotionless voice that did not match the fierce glint in his eyes, the Nosferatu shuddered.

“I said, scream. Can’t you see?”

Seol Jihu tilted the vampire’s head and forced it to look around the battlefield. He was telling it to call the remaining ones since he couldn’t be bothered to chase them down.

“If you call every single one of them over, I’ll let you go peacefully.”

The Nosferatu became speechless. But when Seol Jihu crushed its eyes with an annoyed look, it immediately screamed out.

“Kyak!”

Chak! Seol Jihu slapped the screaming vampire.

“Louder.”

“Ki, kieeeeee!”

Chak! Seol Jihu slapped its face again. Looking down with a frightening glare, he spoke again.

“This is your last chance. Louder.”

The Nosferatu hunched its shoulders and shuddered.

“Kya…. KYAAAAAAH!”

Finally, a high-frequency scream resounded inside the fortress. Then, the corpses flying and wandering around the fortress wall all turned.

Not a single Nosferatu was in their midst. As a Nosferatu, it was incapable of commanding other Nosferatus. However, it should still be able to ask its comrades for help.

Seol Jihu sneered.

“Camaraderie, is it?”

He dropped the Nosferatu’s head while simultaneously piercing it with his spear and stomping on it. After confirming that its head had burst open, Seol Jihu smiled as he watched the incoming monsters.

“Mere corpses—”

Seol Jihu’s spear drew an X-shape at the still faraway enemies. He moved his arm ceaselessly until he started to brandish his arm at a speed invisible to the naked eyes.

Swish!

Sharp sounds of wind brushed past Mary Rhine, causing her to shrink reflexively. Her shocked eyes trembled.

Seol Jihu’s terrifying movement had formed dozens of blades that shot forward with a raging storm.

Level 7 Highlander’s Secret Art — Mutilation.

A fierce blade-filled gale swept through the sky and ground.

A second later, streaks of golden light appeared on the approaching corpse monsters before they crumbled down like chopped meat.

Seeing Seol Jihu get drenched in the pouring bodily fluids, Mary Rhine’s eyes watered up. She had finally realized that the light she saw before wasn’t a hallucination.

This was the very reason the Army Commanders had complained not so long ago. The number of Unique Rankers was still in the single digit. Naturally, they were treated as strategic weapons that could turn the tide of war.

Furthermore, Executors were beings who surpassed the limits of humanity by receiving a piece of divinity. Since fighting divine power with divine power was the only way to minimize losses, the Army Commanders had joined the fight in full force.

But just now, a human possessing might on par with Executors had suddenly appeared. Mary Rhine didn’t know exactly what happened, but that was what it looked like to her.

Next, when Seol Jihu dragged the fainted Erica Lawrence over, Mary Rhine looked up with an expression of awe and fear. When the man bent down and quietly whispered into her ear, Mary Rhine nodded her head crazily.

“Yes, yes, I will. But—”

Seol Jihu tucked her under his armpit without hearing her out. Putting more strength into his legs, he leaped into the sky and gently landed on the fortress wall.

When Seol Jihu put her down, the pain she had forgotten about flooded in with full force and caused a groan to slip out of her mouth.

“W-Wait. Erica Unni and my ankles—”

However, Seol Jihu wasn’t listening. His beast-like eyes were busy scouring every corner of the battlefield.

Seol Jihu became incredibly calm whenever Future Vision activated. It was because the countless life-or-death experiences he had plowed through materialized with the techniques.

If Seol Jihu was the only one currently fighting this war, he would not have hesitated to retrieve the comrades he could save and retreat. If he had more time, he might have even aimed to withdraw so as to save as many people as possible.

But when Seol Jihu’s wandering gaze suddenly stopped, a fire began to burn inside them.

“I was wondering where all the Nosferatus went….”

The plan Seol Jihu had thought of completely disappeared from his mind. Then, a new plan was immediately established.

There was a small chance.

A small chance to even the tilted scale.

If this first and final plan succeeded, it might even let them overturn the current situation.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

FudgeNouget's Thoughts

Tomorrow is 15th. Rest day!