The Hero Returns - Chapter 349
Chapter 349: 349
* * *
The intimidatingly huge bodies of the giants that were approaching Su-hyeun while radiating Death Aura were enveloped in the purple-hued flames.
Soon afterward, their heads were severed, and their torsos were sliced in half before collapsing to the ground.
In Ellid’s eyes watching on from the distance, Su-hyeun’s figure remained “invisible,” and the only thing he could see was the giants falling like puppets with their strings cut.
“It’s far easier to cut them down?”
Initially, he had to wonder why Su-hyeun wasn’t doing anything and instead let those creatures combine into something much bigger.
Even without doing that, these zombies were already hard to kill with regular types of magic, and they even possessed tenacious endurance. Sure, they were comparatively weaker against fire, but that’s still “comparatively” speaking.
Not only did these creatures boast excellent magic resistance and endurance but the Death Aura that stuck like clumps of dirt all over their bodies also worked as powerful toxins.
Therefore, it would be hard to guess just how much worse their endurance and magic resistance might get after they combined into a bigger individual.
That was why Ellid was concerned, but this…
“There was no need to be worried, after all.”
There was a crucial difference between Su-hyeun and Ellid—while the latter was a magician, the former was a swordsman.
Not just any swordsman either but one capable of wielding fire, too.
Zombies were weak against fire and lacked a strong physical defense, so for them, no other opponent would prove to be as bad of a match-up as Su-hyeun out there.
Whether they combined into one or not, it didn’t really matter.
It wasn’t as if their lacking physical defense would suddenly become sturdier anyway, and even their regenerative powers were being hampered by the flames. From Su-hyeun’s perspective, this event was basically the same as the number of enemies he needed to behead decreasing significantly instead.
As a result, Su-hyeun only needed about three more hours to kill off all the remaining giants.
Su-hyeun shook off the chunks of flesh and the dried blood of the giants stuck to his blade to the ground.
Ellid landed back on the ground below the ice wall and approached Su-hyeun. “Well, it has turned into a pigsty.”
“It can’t be helped. I was fighting against these dirty creatures, after all.”
Corpses of zombies and the giants were littered everywhere.
Even if these things were burned and purified by the flames, the Death Aura leaking out from their bodies was more than enough to contaminate the ground below.
Ellid spoke again, “In that case, I’ll have to ask you again.”
“I was planning to without being asked, though.”
The Death Aura spread to the surroundings began getting sucked into Su-hyeun’s body. Although the concentration wasn’t all that high, once the Death Aura did enter him, it rapidly became his own energy source.
However, the stat didn’t change.
He hadn’t absorbed Death Aura from a massive area, after all. And as it was mentioned already, the concentration of the aura itself was lower than what he had absorbed earlier.
Thinking that it was finally finished, Su-hyeun exhaled deeply.
Ellid studied Su-hyeun’s face and asked, “Aren’t you feeling tired?”
“This much is alright.”
He wasn’t bluffing.
Even when taking a closer look at Su-hyeun’s face, Ellid could not find a single drop of sweat on Su-hyeun’s forehead.
He seemed a little out of breath just now, but that was due to the process of absorbing the Death Aura, which had added to his fatigue from the battle.
He certainly didn’t look like someone who fought nonstop for well over a day without taking a single break.
“Well, your stamina is truly amazing. Also, I don’t think your magical energy reserve is infinite, now is it?”
“It’s more than doable as long as I manage it properly.”
“Yes, both the stamina and the magical energy. If I allocate the correct amount, then I can fight for quite a long time. You’ll end up exhausting yourself when consuming a lot of magical energy or using a powerful attack, you see. And it’ll be harder to recover your spent energy the lower your magical energy and stamina reserve become.”
“I also know that, at least theoretically.”
“Since you know, it shouldn’t be all that hard to pull off. After that, just make only the necessary movements and continue fighting. As long as the rate of recovery is faster than the rate of magical energy consumption, and by operating under the premise of not using more than a set amount of magical energy at once, you should be able to utilize an unending stream of magical energy.”
When Su-hyeun explained himself, Ellid couldn’t help but make a disbelieving expression.
When looking at the theory alone, what he said was not wrong.
Assuming that one’s lung capacity was unlimited, while the muscles in arms and legs could withstand the fatigue, plus if the magical energy consumption and the rate of recovery more or less maintained an equilibrium, then well, what Su-hyeun said could be put to practice without a problem.
However, such a thing was only a theory and nothing more.
“Even a dragon would find it impossible to pull off,” Ellid inwardly mused.
Not to forget, the zombies Su-hyeun had been fighting possessed a rather excellent endurance. Without exhausting quite a lot of strength and magical energy, it would be hard to kill even one of them.
“In order to make that a reality, the level of stamina allowing you to fight the whole day without a rest is a must, and you’d need to fight while having quite a lot remaining in your reserve, too…”
Ellid could proudly boast that he was a genius and that he practically knew everything under the sun, but at least this time, he felt quite puzzled.
“I can’t figure it out.”
Should he take what Su-hyeun said at face value or not?
Su-hyeun stared at Ellid who was busy making a puzzled face. When the latter didn’t say anything for a while, he decided to break the silence first. “By the way, just what happened to you earlier?”
* * *
A pretty good-looking soup was currently being boiled inside a pot.
Ellid scooped some of this soup on a bowl and handed it over to Su-hyeun. It contained meat of an unknown creature, various vegetables, and spices and proved to be surprisingly edible.
“This is actually delicious.”
Su-hyeun was taken aback greatly.
He wasn’t simply being polite here. The soup was really delicious. When Ellid said he would personally cook something, Su-hyeun even tried to dissuade him initially, but now, he was beginning to regret saying anything.
While scooping some soup into his own bowl, Ellid replied, “Us dragons can live our whole lives drinking only water, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a need to satisfy our taste buds, even more so for a dragon like me.”
“You were an epicurean?”
“That’s right. Alright, let’s enjoy our meal first, shall we? I’m sure you’re famished by now.”
For a while, the only sound that could be heard was their utensils hitting their bowls.
All conversation came to a stop, but even while busy moving his spoon, Su-hyeun was inwardly organizing what Ellid had told him before the meal began.
Not long afterward, the meal came to an end, and after confirming that Ellid’s bowl was empty, Su-hyeun opened his mouth to speak once more, “Okay, so…it’s like ‘fission,’ isn’t it?”
“That’s right. I guess you’ve got it now.” Ellid wiped the edges of his lips with a handkerchief he took out of nowhere. He then organized his answer. “I’ve said this to you already, but well, that bastard is an extremely lazy creature. However, that’s obvious, considering that it’s as big as a small country. Making such a huge body move would require an enormous amount of energy, after all.”
As big as a small country.
Even after listening to the explanation, Su-hyeun just couldn’t quite picture it. The biggest monster he had ever come across was the black dragon he saw back during the 100th floor’s trial.
But even that black dragon would be hopelessly tiny compared to a small country.
He began pondering just how he should go about fighting off a monster like that and eventually ended up furrowing his brows.
He asked, “Did you end up fighting that thing?”
“That wasn’t my intention, but that’s what happened. That bastard was seriously starving, you see.”
“Okay, but you still haven’t told me why you went there, you know?”
“Wow, so you finally decided to ask me that now. Anyway, here.”
Ellid’s hand disappeared into the empty air before pulling out a small bottle, which he tossed to Su-hyeun.
The latter caught it and looked at it. The bottle was about as big as one’s middle finger, and it contained liquid as black as ink.
“Ask me after opening it first.”
Ellid made a strangely triumphant face, and Su-hyeun, now feeling even more puzzled, cautiously pulled open the cork lid.
And when a certain aura leaked out from the bottle, he flinched in surprise and hurriedly closed the lid.
Ellid chortled and asked, “So? What do you think?”
“Just what did you do?”
“What do you mean, what? It’s the same thing as what you did. Except that my medium was different from yours, that’s all.”
Su-hyeun could only chuckle hollowly at Ellid’s reply.
“A potion made of condensed Death Aura, is it?” he thought.
The moment he popped open the bottle’s cork, the black liquid inside began oozing out Death Aura. In a way, this potion was quite similar to the “highest-grade magical energy catalyst” that Su-hyeun was already familiar with.
The highest-grade magical energy catalyst was a potion designed to forcibly enhance the quality and reserve of one’s magical energy by inserting a dose of extremely condensed magical energy into one’s body.
As an added bonus, the catalyst’s effect that reached every corner of one’s body increased one’s sensitivity toward magical energy, and it awakened one even further as well.
Although the type of energy was different, it would not be a tall order to call the potion Ellid had managed to create the “highest-grade Death Aura catalyst.” Rather, judging from the concentration of the energy contained within the bottle, this potion was much better than the highest-grade magical energy catalyst.
“You managed to create something like this in less than a day?”
“If only that bastard didn’t interfere in the middle, I could’ve made more than 10 bottles. Here.”
While saying that, Ellid tossed three more bottles. Including the bottle in Su-hyeun’s hand, there were now four of them.
Su-hyeun couldn’t help but quip, “You sure have created a lot.”
“It’s not like I was lacking in stamina or anything, so it wasn’t a problem. But all because of you, I finally found a way to take care of this disgusting aura, so I should really be thanking you.”
“You only saw me absorb it once, yet you thought up such a way?”
“I observed the process of that aura called Death Aura gathering up and getting absorbed into you. Since it was a different type of energy compared to magical energy, I didn’t know where to even start my research, but thanks to you, I got plenty of hints.”
Just like how Ellid was surprised while observing Su-hyeun’s fight, Su-hyeun too felt surprised by Ellid’s answer, even if the two occasions weren’t exactly the same.
There were many geniuses to be found under the heavens. However, it was still rare for those geniuses to exceed the limitations of their species.
The dragon race, referred to as the pinnacle of magic users, and Ellid, called the dragon emperor and undoubtedly the greatest dragon among his kind, for instance…
“As far as magic is concerned, common sense doesn’t apply to him,” Su-hyeun thought.
Whatever the case might have been, it was a good thing from Su-hyeun’s perspective.
He was able to learn magic from Ellid, after all. Also, consuming the potion concocted by the dragon would allow Su-hyeun to absorb more of Death Aura far quicker in turn.
Of course, just like how it was with the magical energy, he shouldn’t be able to increase his Death Aura reserve past a certain level with potions alone.
The truth was, the numerical value appearing in the stat system didn’t only denote the total amount of the energy in question but also the quality of its concentration.
Even if one increased the amount of energy, as long as one didn’t improve its “quality,” the stat value would not increase past a certain level.
But it also meant that…
“I can increase the stat quickly up to a certain level.”
Su-hyeun popped the lid open and, without hesitation, emptied the bottle in his mouth.
Unsurprisingly, the taste was as bitter and disgusting as the highest-grade magical energy catalyst.
[Death Aura has risen by 1.]
[Death Aura has risen by 1.]
And when he focused his mind for a little while, his stat improved by two points.
This growth seemed a bit lacking compared to the past. Su-hyeun wiped the trickling sweat off his forehead and sighed ruefully.
“I knew it. It’s unrealistic to expect the stat to rise up at the same rate as the past.”
Assuming that he only needed one unit of Death Aura to increase the stat back in the beginning, then he needed tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands, of units now that his stat was past 80 points.
And even in the future, the amount of Death Aura required to increase the stat value would only grow larger.
The stat rose up by two points with a single bottle of this potion, so he figured that even if he did drink the three remaining bottles, it would be unrealistic to expect the stat to improve by more than four points.
“Still, it’s better than nothing, so I—”
But then, a thought abruptly popped up in Su-hyeun’s head, and he shot up from his spot.
“…Huh?” Ellid watched his reaction and asked, confused, “What’s wrong?”
“There’s something I’d like to experiment on.”
While replying like that, Su-hyeun extended his hand forward.
[The trait “Necromancer” has been activated.]
The black-colored Death Aura whipped up, and Gluttony’s large physique was summoned to this world. Meanwhile, Prince Nezha appeared kneeling toward Su-hyeun next to Gluttony.
“Hey, you two.”
Su-hyeun handed out two bottles of the potion to Gluttony and the last bottle to Prince Nezha.
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