The Hero Returns

Chapter 309



Chapter 309: Chapter 309

The qualification to become a god…

The administrator’s statement was similar to the system message. It seemed that he knew what kind of powers Su-hyeun had acquired.

Su-hyeun went on, “Can you tell me what exactly this qualification is?”

“It is as it says,” the administrator answered matter-of-factly. “It pertains to the qualification of godhood and the authority accompanying that. It’s an ability that gods possess.” The administrator was looking at Su-hyeun’s sword as he spoke. “The power contained in that sword has a similar story. What you have gained is the qualification of ‘strength’ out of several qualifications that the godly beings possess.”

“The qualification of strength?”

“Simply put, your physical strength has exceeded that of a human.”

“Does that mean the three-digit mark is the boundary?” Su-hyeun clarified.

“More or less. But that shouldn’t be the end, though. Various qualifications for godhood exist out there, and even if it’s the same type of qualification, there’s also the difference in class to consider.”

The three digits in a stat denoted the boundary between a man and a divine being.

According to the administrator, 100 points was not the maximum limit attainable for a stat. Since the ‘class’ and the gap in strength also existed within the scope of godhood, any value higher than 100 must exist as well.

“Although a bit of a shortcut has been taken here, with this, you have now acquired three types of qualifications for godhood.” The administrator narrowed his eyes and gestured as he spoke, “The clouds, the wind, and now, strength.”

The ‘clouds’ and the ‘wind’ indicated the Somersault cloud and the Palm Leaf.

“The first two might be nothing more than half-realized powers. But still, depending on how you utilize them, they can become full-fledged ones,” the administrator explained.

“Just how many qualifications for godhood are there?”

“Honestly, I have no idea.”

“You don’t have to be specific,” Su-hyeun pressed on. “Even a vague explanation will do.”

“There are way too many of them to count.” The administrator shook his head. “In general, acquiring just one qualification is enough for you to be referred to as a quasi-god. However, I really don’t know what the requirements are to become a ‘full’ god. But I can assure you that I have never seen or heard of a god that possessed countless qualifications.”

The administrator scratched his head the moment he finished. He felt he had said too much, including unnecessary information.

“Argh! Whatever. Okay. So you’re here to take up the next challenge, right?”

“Yes, I am. But when I got here the first time, that plaza didn’t exist.”

“No plaza exists in this place,” the administrator remarked, shaking his head, as if Su-hyeun had said something outrageous. “I’ll be directly sending you to the next floor.”

“In that case, what about the hints for the floor…”

“No hints from now on.”

Shuwuk, shuk—

The administrator crouched on the ground and began drawing a circle with his finger. “Even we don’t know anything, you see.”

“Excuse me?”

“I said, I don’t have any hint to give you. Okay? All done.” The administrator finished drawing a circle and some lines that resembled a star on the ground, then dusted his hand in satisfaction. “Get inside.”

“…”

Su-hyeun stepped into the circle. He didn’t say a word, but he was in doubt. He couldn’t help but wonder what kind of magic circle this was. Once inside, he began to sense a unique power emanating from it.

This simple magic circle turned out to be a door to a different dimension.

“You’ll see for yourself when you get there. Alright, now then…”

Snap!

Ging!

When the administrator snapped his fingers, the magic circle began emitting bright light.

“We believe in you.”

Along with those words, the view before Su-hyeun’s very eyes transformed.

***

Caw! Caw!

BOOM!

The cawing of a huge crow and a loud footstep intertwined with the sound of wind rustling past the tall grass.

The new scenery was a forest. However, it was far too different from a typical one.

‘Trees here are absolutely tall.’

Su-hyeun couldn’t recognize what these trees were. The whole forest seemed to be made solely out of these huge, thick trees, at least 100 meters tall.

He quietly roamed around the forest. He found a stump and decided to take a rest. Then a message popped up.

[Prevent the birth of the next predator.]

“…?”

That message was somewhat familiar. He was told of it before.

It was almost akin to the message from the trial back on the 100th floor: to prevent the birth of Fafnir.

If the 100th floor’s trial was a type of test the administrators had prepared, then this would be the beginning of the ‘real’ thing.

‘Preventing the birth of a predator means…’

BOOM!

Su-hyeun turned his head to where the sound came from. He saw a huge monster that resembled a dinosaur in the midst of trees.

‘Could it be that creature?’

Krr!

Green spittle drooled out from the maw of this dinosaur-like monster with yellow eyes. Its size was almost as big as a small apartment block.

Drip. Dribble.

The thick drool landed on the ground. The grass melted as if the spit was contagious. If the spit was that bad already, then its blood could be deadly.

‘Is it a venomous monster? It looks like a physical…’

Whoosh!

Crack! Crunch!

Slam!

The dinosaur-like monster swung its front limb. Su-hyeun moved quickly and leapt up. The trees swayed and then fell to the ground.

BANG!

“Well, I guess it fights with its body.”

Tak.

Su-hyeun landed on a thick branch above and looked down on the creature. Its huge head turned to Su-hyeun’s direction. Su-hyeun noticed that the monster could actually see him from afar. Even its movement was agile as well.

‘With this kind of skill, this thing must be stronger than a senior monster of an average-strength blue dungeon.’

However, such a thing wouldn’t be enough.

‘This monster isn’t going to be a predator.’

It certainly was strong, but it was not exactly overwhelming. Compared to the black dragon Su-hyeun encountered, the one that Bradley ended up devouring, this monster was lacking in many aspects.

“Still, this guy wouldn’t be so bad as a new summo—”

Crack! Crunch!

Su-hyeun quickly turned his head to a different direction. He sensed that someone—or something—was coming, and it was moving fast.

Swoosh!

Whoosh!

A wild beast sprang out from the trees. It leapt towards the enormous monster’s head. It attacked the creature with its claws, scratching its head.

Rip!

Ki-aah!

The monster howled.

The beast ripped its face. It continued to howl in pain, flailing its limbs. Its eyes were badly injured that it couldn’t see anymore. It hit a number of trees as it moved aimlessly.

The wild beast then moved closer to the monster. It stood at its rear.

Pow!

Crunch!

The beast slammed the monster’s neck with its fist. Its thick hide was ripped apart and the bones were crushed. The dinosaur fell to the ground, dead.

BOOM!

The ground shook because of its massive weight.

Su-hyeun didn’t move as he watched the wild beast. It was a bipedal wolf covered in white fur. It stood on its hind legs like a human being and was at least three meters tall.

‘This guy is also not a predator.’

Su-hyeun couldn’t sense any magical energy from this wild beast.

It wasn’t as if this creature had been concealing its magical powers. No. That energy source simply didn’t exist in it.

‘Wait. So, that wild beast hunted that monster down using only its physical strength?’

Honestly, that came a complete surprise.

Although the wild beast was bigger than an average bull, its broad shoulders certainly looked threatening. However, it was still smaller and more worn out compared to the now dead monster.

Despite that, it managed to easily kill a bigger and considerably stronger opponent.

Aside from the physical strength and speed, its battle instinct was also top-notch. The vibe Su-hyeun got was that this creature was a highly trained warrior.

In other words, a formidable opponent had shown up.

Krr—

The wild beast suddenly bared its fangs. It had noticed Su-hyeun standing on the side.

Its wolf-like face turned to confront Su-hyeun. It glared at him and howled. Su-hyeun didn’t move or make a sound. Then the beast spoke, “Looks like you don’t have enough meat on your bones.”

“…?”

“Go away. You don’t even look

delectable for an appetizer. But we’ll see once you grow much bigger later.”

The wild beast grabbed the dead monster’s large thigh as it spoke.

Drag. Drag.

And then, it began to drag the huge corpse away.

Drag.

This amazed and puzzled Su-hyeun at the same time. Just how did the wild beast did that? Where did its strength came from? That monster must have weighed a hundred tons! It was heavier now that its dead.

The wild beast had a well-toned body that enabled it to drag a bigger and heavier creature. It also had intellect, which enabled it to talk to Su-hyeun.

Su-hyeun stared at the back of the wild beast as it walk away.

“Did it actually consider me as its prey?” Su-hyeun muttered.

It felt like he somehow got dissed. He ended up scratching his head.

He still had no idea where this was or what kind of world it was. Even so, he began to walk after the wild beast.

***

Drag. Drag.

Su-hyeun continued tailing the wild beast.

The white-furred beast didn’t seem burdened by the weight of the dead monster as it effortlessly dragged its corpse.

‘This animal’s strength is pretty exceptional,’ Su-hyeun thought.

The beast glanced at Su-hyeun. He was 10 steps behind it.

“Stop following me. Or else, I will hunt you,” it threatened Su-hyeun.

The beast growled. It bared its fangs to scare Su-hyeun away.

Su-hyeun meekly smiled at the beast. He didn’t want to provoke it. “I didn’t mean to follow you. It’s just that I’m lost, you see.”

The beast flinched when Su-hyeun spoke. It was surprised that he could actually talk.

“Can you show me the way to the nearest village, if there’s any?”

“But how… How can a monster talk?” the beast commented.

“Actually, I’m not—” Su-hyeun attempted to explain but the beast cut him off.

“I was talking to myself,” the beast clarified.

A monster? Who was it referring to? Su-hyeun looked around, then shook his head.

‘If this world is made up of therianthropes, then yes, I’ll definitely be seen as a monster.’

Not just a monster, but a small and weak-looking monster at that.

‘Maybe he sees me as someone on a goblin’s level?’

A goblin was a dwarf-like monster that ranged from 50 centimeters to one meter in height. Moreover, it was the lowest and the weakest monster commonly appearing in red dungeons.

The difference in size between Su-hyeun and this wolf therianthrope was around the same as a human to a goblin.

“What an interesting creature you are.”

The wolf therianthrope’s lips curled as it studied Su-hyeun. It was actually smiling. It must have found something really amusing.

“Looks like you are not some mindless little monster… Could it be that you’re some kind of an intelligent subspecies? Never heard of a species like you before, however.”

“Is that so? Well, now you have.”

“What an insolent little monster you are, too. Mind your manners, or I might just bite you to death.”

Krr!

The therianthrope bared its fangs once more to warn Su-hyeun.

Its demeanor had changed. A few minutes ago, it was threatening Su-hyeun with its sharp canines. Now, it seemed friendly.

Of course, he might really try to rip Su-hyeun apart with his fangs.

‘Can’t be too careful,’ Su-hyeun reminded himself.

But from what Su-hyeun could tell, this therianthrope wouldn’t try to harm him.

He asked, “Is the village far from here?”

“I never said I’ll show you the way. Besides, you are going to cause a big commotion if you go there. I’m sure you will. To our kind, someone as weak as you is nothing more than an easy prey.”

“I guess I’ll have to be careful in order to not be someone else’s snack then. I’ll take it to heart.”

The therianthrope stared at Su-hyeun. It wasn’t expecting that kind of reply from him. One could easily tell that it was utterly astonished.

The therianthrope cackled and replied, “Do what you want.”

Whatever the case might be, the wolf therianthrope wasn’t wary of Su-hyeun. He must have thought that the little monster wasn’t much of a threat at all.

On top of that, the therianthrope was also thinking that it didn’t really matter if Su-hyeun got attacked by its kin.

‘Not much of a snack. I doubt he’s tasty,’ the therianthrope thought.

Drag. Drag.

Su-hyeun and the therianthrope walked for a while.

“You know, we’re moving slowly. Don’t you think so?” Su-hyeun spoke. He was bored and was trying to engage the therianthrope in a small talk.

The latter replied while dragging the huge monster with one hand. “This thing is heavier than you think. You can help me carry it, you know.”

The therianthrope shot Su-hyeun with a look that implied, ‘If you’re not going to help, then just shut up and follow me.’

But then…

“Why don’t I do that?”

Su-hyeun strode forward and grabbed the dead monster’s hide.

Then…

Drag!

Then, he effortlessly walked forward with the corpse in tow—at a faster speed than the therianthrope, too.

“What are you doing?” Su-hyeun turned around and asked the therianthrope. It looked at Su-hyeun in disbelief. “Why aren’t you coming along?”

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