Chapter 293. Eun Yuri (4)

Seol Jihu glared at the enemy while drawing a heavy breath.

‘How long has it been since the fight began? Ten hours?’

Seol Jihu spat out a cough and scrunched his brows. The dried-up blood around his mouth, his limp left arm, and several other marks of a fierce battle showed his horrible state.

The tracksuit Kim Hannah bought for him had long since turned to rags, and pale blue bruises were visible all over his ribcage. He seemed to be bleeding as well as there was a red stain on his side.

Despite his sorry state, he wasn’t just taking a beating.

Three times. That was the number of fatal blows he’d dealt the rampaging Homunculus. Meaning, he would be able to eliminate the rampaging Homunculus with two more fatal blows.

However, Seol Jihu felt farther and farther away from the death of his enemy as the number of times the enemy could recover from mortal wounds decreased. This was because the Homunculus grew stronger with each revival.

After surviving a fatal blow, the Homunculus would power up significantly. It would develop new abilities like being able to extend its arms and legs, or its movements would grow sharper.

This wasn’t just Seol Jihu imagining things. A little while ago, he shot out multiple Mana Spears in a fit of anger, one of which luckily hit the Homunculus’s vital spot and killed it. After it revived, it refused to let him attack the same area again.

…Right, the rampaging Homunculus was evolving through the fight.

From a clueless child to a seasoned warrior.

‘Damned monster.’

Seol Jihu cursed under his breath, coming to terms with the word ‘impossible’ the more he fought.

‘If only I had the Spear of Purity….’

Never mind the divine spear, he would be in a much better situation if he just had the Festina Earring or the Blessing of the Circum.

But knowing this was a useless thought, Seol Jihu shook off his regret.

‘I guess there’s no choice.’

In the end, he changed his mind to use another paper talisman. It was regrettable, but he did not have any other choice.

He wanted to kill the Homunculus with his own hands, but he wasn’t confident in killing it five times.

‘Let me kill it just one more time.’

He already had a plan. He originally planned to use the talisman to take the monster’s fifth and final life, but using it now seemed okay too since he made up his mind.

After wrapping up his thoughts, Seol Jihu abruptly turned around. When he showed his defenseless back, just as he expected…

“KIIIIIII!”

The Homunculus let out a shrill cry. It must have thought Seol Jihu was trying to escape. At the same time, a fierce gust of wind swept toward Seol Jihu.

‘It’s probably chasing after me with that bullet-like speed,’ Seol Jihu muttered inwardly before rousing his mana and activating Flash Thunder.

Perhaps because he was running at full speed, he quickly reached a location he had eyed during the battle, a steep vertical cliff formed from red sedimentary rocks.

As soon as the place entered his vision, Seol Jihu slowed down little by little to allow the rampaging Homunculus to shorten the distance while not getting caught by it. And thus, the distance between Seol Jihu and the cliff and the distance between Seol Jihu and the Homunculus both quickly shortened.

By the time the cliff was right in front of his eyes, he felt something sharp on the cusp of piercing his neck. Strength entered Seol Jihu’s eyes. In the next moment, before he made contact with the sharp thing, he twisted his body as much as possible and kicked off the ground in full force.

Tzzzt! Along with a clap of thunder, the beam of light that was going straight abruptly turned to the left. As a result, the hook that was on the verge of snatching his neck lost its target and smashed into the cliff.

Kwang! As a terrifying explosion struck his ears, Seol Jihu knew he succeeded. Enduring the pain from twisting his body, he turned around. Just as he expected, the Homunculus had slammed into the cliff, buried shoulder-deep.

He shivered when he imagined what would happen if the Homunculus hit him instead, but he didn’t dwell on it for too long. This was a rare opportunity that he had not come by in a while.

Seol Jihu quickly fixed his posture and created a Mana Spear. He planned to attack the Homunculus’s vital spot while it was stuck and unable to defend.

At least, that was the plan—

‘Hmm?’

Seol Jihu halted just as he was getting ready to rush in.

The Homunculus suddenly turned toward Seol Jihu, its jaw dropping, before— Chwaaaa! A black beam of energy shot out.

Seol Jihu widened his eyes at the attack that resembled a dragon’s breath. This was the first time he had seen such an attack. The Homunculus had been hiding a trump card just like Seol Jihu!

‘Shit!’

Startled, Seol Jihu roused his anti-evil energy in a hurry. At the same time that a golden light flared up around his body, the black energy engulfed Seol Jihu like a tidal wave.

“Keeeeu!”

He lost his sight. He couldn’t see anything as if he had been swallowed by pitch-black darkness.

Although the evil-incinerating Essence of Soma devoured the darkness, the evil energy flooded in beyond the anti-evil energy’s ability to fight back. His current situation was like attempting to fight an army of ten-thousand cavalry troops with a single machine gun.

‘I can’t… anymore…!’

Feeling his mana plummet, Seol Jihu gave up on attacking and escaped the black energy. His vision returned once he barely managed to leave the breath’s attack range. However—

“!”

What was waiting for Seol Jihu when he jumped out to the side was a hook descending from the sky as if to shatter the earth. The Homunculus had predicted Seol Jihu giving up and swung its arm down.

Without taking a single breath, Seol Jihu followed his instincts and rolled on the ground.

Chwak! An explosive sound burst out as a scorching sensation swept through his back. Seol Jihu, fortunately, dodged the attack, but he continued to roll without stopping. From left to right, from right to left.

Why? Kwang! Kwang! Kwang! Kwang! Because the Homunculus continued to strike down with its hook-shaped hand without stopping.

Seol Jihu rolled until he began to grow dizzy. He did not know where he was heading until his body abruptly stopped. He had reached the cliff. Looking up in a daze, he saw the Homunculus raising its long arm with a grin. Seol Jihu’s pupils trembled.

This was when Eun Yuri returned with two others. Having left the group of survivors as soon as she joined up with Park Woori and Yoo Yeolmu, she had raced to where the loud crashing sounds were coming from. And once they arrived, they were struck speechless.

The severed bridge and the numerous craters on the ground were the least of the mess. Countless huge trees were strewn across the forest ground, pulled out by the root, and pieces of rocks were scattered everywhere. It didn’t look like the scene of a one on one battle, but a medium-scale war that fully incorporated explosives.

“Ah, over there!”

At that moment, Park Woori shouted while pointing in a certain direction. Not far away, they could see the person they were so desperately searching for, and also the Homunculus raising its arm sky-high above this person.

“I-It looks like he’s in danger….”

Park Woori stuttered seeing this scene that went beyond his expectations. There was nothing more to see.

“Throw it!!”

Eun Yuri shouted at the top of her lungs and threw the spell ball she had in her hand. Due to the Homunculus’s size, it wasn’t difficult to hit it.

The moment the spell ball touched the monster, it radiated a bright light and shot out beams of light. Park Woori and Yoo Yeolmu came to their senses in the next moment and began to throw their spell balls as well.

“Krrrk?”

The Homunculus was just about to finish off Seol Jihu but flinched when the suddenly generated light coiled around it like a spiderweb, immobilizing its victim. Glancing back, it saw more spell balls flying in and roared furiously.

“GUAAAAA!”

With a single shake, the spiderweb was helplessly loosened. Although the spell balls that flew in caused electricity to crackle, the Homunculus only flinched for a moment and did not seem damaged. In fact, it didn’t even look like the electricity tickled it!

The Homunculus glared at the trio for a brief moment before turning back to Seol Jihu. This was as if it was saying, ‘I’ll take care of this bastard first before killing the rest of you.’

At that moment, Park Woori’s eyes lit up.

“Right!”

He suddenly checked his phone, shouted ‘Eureka’, and ran down with his leather bag.

“W-Where are you going!?”

The horrified Yoo Yeolmu shouted in shock, but Park Woori raced forward while shouting, “Cover me! Cover me!” He was running toward Seol Jihu.

Eun Yuri held the spell balls in her hands tight. Judging by how he brought his leather bag along, he must be planning to hand over the item directly. While grateful, Eun Yuri did not think he would reach Seol Jihu in time.

She had to buy time so that Park Woori could heal Seol Jihu and deliver the item.

“Huup—”

After taking a deep breath, Eun Yuri gently bit her lower lip. She put her arms forward, then shot her eyes open. Clenching her teeth hard, she squeezed out every ounce of her energy.

“Uuuuuuung—”

Tiny beads of sweat formed on her forehead as she focused intensely. Soon, rather than throwing the spell ball, Eun Yuri let go of it as if to push it away.

Meanwhile…

“Hyung-nim! Hyung-nim!”

Park Woori was calling Seol Jihu’s name yearningly. He didn’t even spare a glance toward the Homunculus, only looking at Seol Jihu as he ran.

“Your brother, Forward Park, is here!!”

Park Woori shouted after managing to reach Seol Jihu successfully. However, Seol Jihu didn’t understand a word he said. Although he could see fine, he had a severe case of tinnitus in his ears. The only thing he could hear was faint sounds of explosions.

That said, he still understood why Park Woori came because his hands were moving just as fast as his mouth.

“Didn’t I tell you I would pay you back for your kindness!? This is the kind of man I am!”

He held his leather bag upside down, rattled everything out, then plugged a bottle into Seol Jihu’s mouth. Seol Jihu’s eyes widened as some kind of liquid began to flow down his throat.

‘It’s a healing potion.’

He wanted to tell Park Woori to splash the bottle on his wounds as well, but realized there was no need as Park Woori grabbed all the bottles he could and began to splash it over his body or chug it down his throat.

The effect was immediate. The swelling on his left arm subsided, the tingling pain on his side vanished, and the tinnitus symptoms disappeared as well. The body, which was crying out in agony, began to fill up with vigor. It seemed there was a vitality potion among the bottles.

Seol Jihu’s mind became wide-awake. His dimmed eyes recovered their light as he shot up from the ground.

“Hyung-nim!”

He finally heard Park Woori’s voice. Looking down at him in a daze, Seol Jihu blinked rapidly.

‘What?’

Why didn’t the Homunculus do anything? It just didn’t make sense.

‘How?’

Seol Jihu looked up and instantly doubted his eyes. The Homunculus was still staring at him with its right arm still stuck inside the cliff. It wasn’t moving at all. No—

“Guoooooo—”

It eked out a raspy cry and swayed. Then, it leaned against the cliff with a thud.

‘What….’

Witnessing this unexpected sight, Seol Jihu couldn’t help but be flustered. There was only one reason the Homunculus would show such a reaction — when it received a fatal injury.

“Hyung-nim! Here it is!”

At that moment, Park Woori pushed something toward him. It was a long stick with a button on top.

[One-time Weapon Summon — Replica]
Press the button to summon a weapon of your imagination. This weapon can only be used within the Tutorial and has only 70 percent of the real weapon’s power.
When used, it disappears automatically after ten minutes.

Seol Jihu’s eyes lit up once he finished reading the item description.

“Thank you!”

He quickly snapped the weapon out of Park Woori’s hands and pressed the button. Then, the stick let out a bright glow before transforming into the shape of a spear.

Though it was only a replica, it was the Spear of Purity he had been wanting so desperately.

‘Perfect.’

Just by grabbing the spear shaft, a sense of satisfaction spread from his hand.

Now that he had a weapon and his body recovered…

“You son of a bitch…”

Seol Jihu gritted his teeth and glared at the Homunculus with pent-up rage. The Homunculus must have regenerated in the meanwhile as it was getting out of the cliff while glaring back at Seol Jihu.

“KIIIIIII!”

It swung its hooked claw again, but Seol Jihu changed his posture first.

‘Cut.’

Seol Jihu swung the spear down following the direction of the hook’s descent, and the Homunculus’s wrist was cut off like butter. Although the area regenerated quickly, the Homunculus flinched. It instinctively realized that something was different than before. It swung its arm again with an unknown fear.

‘Strike.’

But when Seol Jihu struck with the spear in full force, its wrist blew up. A replica of a divine spear was just as terrifying as the original as it displayed supreme resistance to evil.

Seol Jihu smiled joyfully.

This was it. This was the feeling.
This was the taste he wanted.

When he was using the machete, he felt like he was wearing clothes that didn’t fit him. Now that he had his main weapon, everything seemed to be working properly.

Only now did the Homunculus begin to seriously pull its arm out of the cliff.

Seol Jihu did not know how the Homunculus lost its life just now, but he decided to think about it later. Letting the monster free its arm would only make things more tiring for him. Seol Jihu wasn’t someone who would let go of trapped prey.

“Say—"

Pzzzt! Brilliant sparks flared up from Seol Jihu’s body as sword qi shot out of his spear blade.

“Your last words.”

As he fully roused his High (High) mana, a golden current broke through his skin and undulated around him. Jirayu Matthew, who was killed by Seol Jihu, mistook him for a Level 6 when he saw him in this state.

Shortly afterward, a golden flash rushed toward the entrapped Homunculus.

*


Same time.

“What happened?”

Oh Rahee frowned while watching the screen.

“Why did it sway back then? Did anyone see?”

“It was struck by spell balls.”

Kazuki was the one who answered. Oh Rahee’s eyebrows went up.

“Spell balls? You think that makes sense?”

“The attack mixed the poisonous fog spell and the ignite spell. It’s the strongest combination of spells available from the spell balls.”

“But still… I don’t think that monster would be done in by mere spell balls.”

“That would be the case normally.”

Kazuki nodded his head in agreement.

“But it’s not like the Homunculus is without weak points.”

“Weak points?”

“Its vital spots, I mean.”

“Are you kidding me? What vital spot does it have other than its head and core?”

Oh Rahee rebutted with a confused look. It would be a different story if these vital spots were focused by sword qi or Mana Spears which had high default output.

“You’re saying the two spell balls with the weakest penetrative power dug through its outer skin and attacked its vital spot?”

Kazuki took his eyes off the screen. Turning to Oh Rahee slowly, he raised his hand. He then raised his index finger and pointed at his head.

“Here.”

To be more precise, he was pointing at his ear.

“The attack went through here.”

“…What?”

“The spell balls were put inside the Homunculus’s ears, then detonated.”

Hearing this, Oh Rahee’s expression froze for a moment.

“Hah!”

In the next moment, she snorted like she just heard a ridiculous tale.

“Interesting. Is one of them a professional baseball player or something?”

Sure, the Homunculus wasn’t moving, but throwing spell balls from that distance and making it go into its ears perfectly?

Oh Rahee could say with confidence that that was bullshit.

“She’s not a baseball player.”

Kazuki continued calmly.

“But I think she used mana.”

“?”

“She didn’t throw the spell balls either. She let go of them lightly, and they went into the Homunculus’s ears on their own.”

Oh Rahee, who was maintaining a straight face until now broke down.

“Though they were a little shaky, I clearly saw them turn in midair. Something like that is near impossible without the use of mana.”

“…So you’re saying…”

Oh Rahee spoke dumbfoundedly as if she heard a new type of bullshit.

“That someone who hasn’t gone through the Neutral Zone’s Awakening Chamber used mana.”

“….”

“And not only did she use mana, but she also controlled it?”

Kazuki closed his mouth. Although he was the one who said it, he knew it was completely absurd.

Oh Rahee tilted her chin up and looked up at the ceiling.

“Ayase Kazuki.”

She spoke with a sigh.

“I’m disappointed. I didn’t think you were a man who enjoyed such lame jokes.”

“I only said what I saw.”

Kazuki shrugged.

“I’m also dying to know just who this woman is.”

On the other hand, Kim Hannah, who was listening in on their conversation, fixed her gaze at the screen once again.

Although the Tutorial was coming to an end, her mind was in disarray. From a common-sense standpoint, Oh Rahee’s doubt was fully justified. But Kazuki didn’t look like the type to lie either.

‘Just what happened?’

Kim Hannah stared at Eun Yuri fixedly. Was she influenced by the awakening she went through before? Or…

‘Wait.’

A thought crossed her mind once she contemplated deeply.

Wasn’t there something Eun Yuri obtained from the Necessary Boxes other than the three paper talismans?

‘The first thing she obtained was…’

It was then. Just as she was about to remember, Kim Hannah felt her neck being pulled down.

Glancing down, she saw Seol Jihu’s pendant shaking left and right in a fuss, moving toward the screen.

“…Flone? What’s…”

Kim Hannah shut her mouth before finishing her sentence. It was because she remembered how Flone was going “MUEEEE” and crying just a moment ago.

[That’s it!]

Right, Flone had already left the pendant.

[Kill it! That’s right! Squash it flat!!]

Seeing Seol Jihu flickering here and there on the screen, Flone was flailing her arms and cheering him on.

Kim Hannah looked down at the pendant again. When she lowered her upper body slightly, the pendant approached a screen that was different than the one showing Seol Jihu.

Not only was it sticking close to it, but it was looking like it would pierce right through it.

It almost seemed like the pendant was intently observing Eun Yuri, who was heavily panting on the ground.

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