The Armoured Tree’s ‘roots’ zealously shook around as it approached Jin-Woo. He watched the monster as he reverse-gripped the pair of ‘Kamish’s Wraths’.
‘For the time being, just a light little nudge.’
The shortsword in his right hand drew a diagonal line upwards.
Along with a sharp air-splitting noise, something fell to the ground with a thud.
The Armoured Tree looked down. One of the thick branches it used as its arm had been severed cleanly and was rolling around on the floor.
Then, the monster discovered the cut wounds with tree sap oozing out like blood next. Its ‘facial expression’ became tearful and it shrieked out a screech that kind of sounded like a scream.
The thing was, though, someone’s pain could also be someone else’s enjoyment, too. After slicing off the concrete pillar-like branch/arm of the Armoured Tree in one hit, Jin-Woo’s surprised eyes were now locked onto his shortsword.
He only swung it lightly once, yet the end result was already this amazing. No matter how many times he stabbed with the Demon King’s Shortsword, he couldn’t properly damage the Armoured Trees. But now, he sliced off the ‘arm’ of the boss Armoured Tree as if it was made out of tofu?
Should he say it felt terrific in his hand just now?
His heart began racing again after sensing the vibration of the ultra-sharp blades, something he hadn’t felt for a long time.
[Oh, my king!]
Beru, standing and watching quietly from the far back, urgently called out.
‘Don’t worry, I know.’
Jin-Woo relaxedly answered before his head shot up.
The Armoured Tree’s expression had changed from tearful to hatred in the meantime, its eyes wide open and glaring as it raised its left arm, no, its left branch up high.
It was as if the monster wanted to slam down as hard as it could and squash him to death, but unfortunately, its opponent today was a really bad match-up.
Jin-Woo quickly swung the ‘Kamish’s Wrath’ one more time before the branch moved.
Suddenly losing both of its arms, the Armoured Tree looked up into the sky and screeched out.
Jin-Woo lightly nodded his head.
He was now done with confirming the destructive power of the two shortswords when swung lightly. And now, time to confirm what would happen when they were swung with all his power.
‘These things supposedly have excellent compatibility to magical energy because they are made out of a Dragon’s bone, right?’
Jin-Woo’s right hand began gripping the hilt of the shortsword even harder.
Just a little bit more.
A bit more, a bit harder.
Jin-Woo’s eyes narrowed down to a slit. When he focused the magical energy in his entire body to his right hand, the blackish aura subtly billowing around the blade became even more violent until it began to almost go out of control.
To Beru’s eyes, it looked as if the aura was utterly distorting the surrounding space.
‘How could this be!’
The former ant king unconsciously took a step back before catching himself doing that. Even though he knew that the intent to battle wasn’t directed at him, this magical energy was so chill-inducing that it forced him into a retreat.
Beru looked down at both of his trembling hands.
‘Oh, my liege….’
Beru had never felt any other emotion beside absolute loyalty for his Sovereign until now, but for the first time ever, he felt sorry for the tree-shaped monster.
Meanwhile, the Armoured Tree had no idea what was in store for itself and simply screeched out in pure rage.
The bloodshot eyes of the tree monster were, of course, locked in the direction of Jin-Woo’s face. The Armoured Tree’s maw suddenly widened like an entrance to a building.
Just as the b*stard tottered unsteadily and leapt towards Jin-Woo’s location in order to swallow him up, he released his magical energy gathered at the tip of the shortsword held in his right hand.
Just like his command given to Beru, with everything it had!
From the tip of his toes, his legs, his waist, his shoulder, and even his wrist – his entire body was used to slash out with all his might.
And the end result was….
The man who swung the shortsword himself realised that something had gone very wrong just then.
The black aura shooting out from the tip of the blade split into several thick strands, and as if a gigantic, terrifying beast took a swipe with its claws, everything in front of him was swept away in one go.
Jin-Woo’s dynamic vision that could split a second into dozens, hundreds of smaller units and detect the change within, clearly caught the moments of the aura utterly ripping the Armoured Tree to shreds.
‘Oh, my god!’
The destructive power didn’t stop there and continued on forward to leave behind horrifying scars on the wall and the floor of the gymnasium.
Jin-Woo was rendered completely speechless.
Bits and pieces of rubble began falling from the gymnasium’s wall, now scarred by what looked like claw marks, and eventually, it couldn’t endure the weight and began crumbling at the same time.
The gymnasium’s wall, reinforced with magic energy in order to facilitate unhindered activities of Hunters, couldn’t endure against one single attack and ended up crumbling apart.
Jin-Woo looked at the piled-up debris of the wall as sheer astonishment filled his heart.
“It’s supposed to get stronger depending on the wielder, so this is what it can do?!”
The weapon to wield magical energy, crafted from the Dragon’s remains. This claim was for real.
“Oh, my king!!”
Beru was so moved by the display of his king’s power that he urgently dashed out to kneel in front of Jin-Woo.
“This humble and weak servant can’t hide his deep, heartfelt emotions from his liege’s bottomless, limitless power!”
It seemed that Jin-Woo really needed to block the historical drama channel on TV for the time being. It’d be sad news for his mother, who enjoyed watching those dramas, but still.
Of course, it wasn’t as if he couldn’t understand the reason for Beru’s overexcitement. Jin-Woo’s own heart was pounding away from this power that exceeded his wildest imagination, after all.
The scale of destruction the ‘Kamish’s Wrath’ left behind – would a Dragon large enough to cover the sky attacking at full power cause such annihilation?
Jin-Woo clicked his tongue while studying the ripped-to-shreds remains of the Armoured Tree, the ghastly pile of debris that was once a wall, as well as the floor with deep gouges in it.
‘Do I need to change the name of the shortswords from Kamish’s Wrath to Dragon’s Claws or something?’
Of course, this level of destruction was only possible because it was him wielding the weapon, but still.
It was then. Along with the rather pleasant mechanical beep of ‘Tti-ring!’ a new System message suddenly popped up.
[Will you change the name of ‘Item: Kamish’s Wrath’ to ‘Item: Dragon’s Claws’?]
Jin-Woo was taken greatly by surprise by this unexpected response from the System.
‘I can also change the name?’
He hurriedly retracted his command, and only got to breathe a sigh of relief after confirming that the name of the shortswords wasn’t changed.
That might have been a big problem!
If the original crafter learned that his artefact’s name was swapped from ‘Kamish’s Wrath’ to ‘Dragon’s Claws’, he’d be spinning his grave non-stop.
Just from hearing it, both his hands and feet were curling up from all that cringeyness.
Jin-Woo couldn’t help but chuckle at the ever-unchanging unfriendliness of the System.
In any case, he was satisfied by the power of the new weapon. Both in terms of sharpness or destructiveness, these shortswords easily exceeded his previous weapons by a great deal.
A pleased smile formed on his lips as he alternated his gaze between the two ‘Kamish’s Wrath’ shortswords before storing them in his Inventory.
‘Well, now that the testing is over….’
….It was time to take care of the aftermaths.
Jin-Woo had been drunk on the power of his new weapons, but he eventually came back down to earth. And after he saw the crumbled wall of the gymnasium, he felt his own heart crumble to pieces as well.
He borrowed this place for a little while, yet he messed it up to such a degree.
….What was he supposed to do now?
Jin-Woo deeply deliberated on his options before contacting the Association President Woo Jin-Cheol on the phone.
“Uhm, Association President? Please, I want you to stay calm and listen to what I have to say. You see, I have around three hundred ants that do really fantastic work, and…..”
Three days since the Gates had disappeared.
Jin-Woo, who used to allocate a lot of his time to raiding dungeons, was spending his recent days at home with nothing much to do.
While he lay on top of his bed, he continued to spin around ‘Kamish’s Wrath’ just above him.
Exactly like how a fidgety student would spin around a pen, Jin-Woo had been using ‘Ruler’s Authority’ to deal with his boredom.
Of course, there would always be a disruptor to any given situation. His little sister was heading to the bathroom, but then, she suddenly swerved in her direction and yanked open the door to his room. Jin-Woo instantly stored his shortsword in the Inventory and pretended that nothing was amiss.
“Oppa, you were playing with your knife again, weren’t you?”
Technically speaking, he was refining his control over the skill, ‘Ruler’s Authority’, but well….
But, to the worried eyes of his sister, it looked like nothing more than a dangerous fooling around of a bored guy.
Jin-Woo denied everything as he had already hidden all the evidence away. Jin-Ah’s eyes narrowed down to a slit. She was unconvinced, but there was nothing she could do.
If her oppa, the best rank S Hunter there was, decided to really, really hide the evidence, how could she, a powerless regular person, ever find out the truth?
She glared at Jin-Woo with suspicious eyes for a very long time, before letting a groan escape from her mouth.
“If you’re that bored, how about going out for a while? I mean, it’s been such a long time since you’ve been resting at home like this, right?”
His little sister suddenly began saying stuff that their mother should be saying, instead. Jin-Woo smirked and closed his eyes as if he wanted to go to sleep.
“I don’t have anywhere to go, you know.”
“Don’t you have someone to meet? Like, your friends?”
Friends, she said. His eyes opened again after hearing those words that vaguely resonated with him. Many faces fleeted in and out of his mind, but only one remained particularly vivid among them.
Since all Hunters were forced to take a break, for the time being, her situation wouldn’t be so different from his own, right about now.
Besides, didn’t he tell himself to treat her to a hearty meal to atone for his sin? That thing, when he inadvertently took a peek at her naked form after unwisely using ‘Sensory Sharing’ through the Shadow Soldier inserted into her shadow?
In normal times, not only him, but even she too would’ve been far too busy to meet up, but the story was different now. She might even be twirling around a sword or something out of this sheer boredom seemingly no one could overcome, just like how it was like for him.
This would be a good opportunity to get rid of that debt in his mind.
“Good thinking, sis.”
Jin-Woo suddenly leapt up from the bed and stood before her, prompting Jin-Ah to flinch and take a hasty step back.
“W-what the heck?”
Jin-Woo expertly slid past her and headed straight into the bathroom.
Jin-Ah quickly detected that her oppa’s expression was now rather suspicious and quickly asked him as he was about to enter the bathroom to wash himself.
“What now? Where are you planning to go?”
He grinned brightly and replied back to her.
“On a date.”
“That’s enough for today.”
Cha Hae-In’s hands stopped swinging the wooden sword.
She had been training so hard that her white ‘dobok’ had been soaked through with her sweat and clung onto her figure. She turned around to face her instructor.
He was an elderly man wearing an aged dobok. This man, who was missing an arm, gestured to her that she should take a seat.
Cha Hae-In wordlessly nodded before politely kneeling down on both knees and placed the wooden sword beside her.
This old man was her teacher.
As she was a rank S Hunter, there were very few people who could catch up to her physical abilities, but she still needed corresponding techniques that could maximise her physical status.
That’s why she chose this out-of-the-way kendo dojo, and whenever she found herself with some free time, she came here to polish her ways with the sword.
Her teacher, Song Chi-Yeol, found her drive to never waste a single day quite praiseworthy. He settled down in front of her and spoke.
“I can’t help but sense that, lately, Lady Hae-In’s blade contains a trace of hesitation.”
Cha Hae-In heard her teacher’s voice and raised her head. Her expression was stiff. As their gazes remain locked in this position, Song Chi-Yeol quietly carried on.
“I’m worried that, by chance, you have developed a sense of fear in your heart.”
Cha Hae-In couldn’t answer.
Song Chi-Yeol was a Hunter like her and, even though he operated a dojo, he still went out to hunt down monsters whenever the Association requested his participation. And so, he could very well understand where her fear was coming from.
The Gate that none had seen before. And no one also could tell just what kind of unimaginably terrifying monstrosities would emerge from there.
Just because one was strong, that didn’t mean they couldn’t get scared.
No, on the contrary. They felt to their bones the kind of fear that normal, powerless people couldn’t feel precisely because they were strong.
Song Chi-Yeol closed his eyes as if he was reflecting back on his past and slowly nodded his head.
“I’m sure you’re scared. Indeed, why shouldn’t you be? I also felt the same way. Of course, the monsters that I fought can’t be compared to those you have fought, but when I lost my arm…..”
It was then.
Cha Hae-In’s Hunter-issue smartphone, the one tucked away in the corner of the dojo so it wouldn’t get in the way, began ringing loudly.
“A Hunter should answer her phone, yes?”
“Forgive me, instructor.”
Cha Hae-In briefly bowed her head before running over there to pick up the phone. And then….
Song Chi-Yeol had been waiting for her to end the call so he could continue on with his story, only to see that Cha Hae-In’s expression was getting brighter and brighter with every passing second.
She was definitely trying to hide it, but since she was usually so expressionless in her everyday life, even Song Chi-Yeol could easily spot the changes in her expression.
She ended the call and cautiously walked over to his location.
“Uhm, instructor-nim, I…. There’s an appointment I need to get to, so I should go.”
Her cheeks were flushed warm. Seeing her eyes now filled with vitality, Song Chi-Yeol realised that his thoughts were off the mark. The hesitation evident in her sword wasn’t born from fear.
“Indeed, you should. Of course, you need to.”
Song Chi-Yeol dazedly nodded his head and gave her his permission.
Cha Hae-In’s goodbye was kept brief and she left the dojo in light, cheery steps. He stared at her departing back and belatedly, a gentle smile floated up on his lips.
“Ah, so that’s what it was…. Indeed, that was the reason.”
While wondering who the lucky fella receiving the love of such a wonderful and fine young woman could be, an expression of contentment floated up on Song Chi-Yeol’s face, one that was just as happy as his valued disciple had shown.
< Chapter 211 > Fin.