The Hero Returns - Chapter 348
Chapter 348: Chapter 348
* * *
Pure-white clouds enveloped Ellid’s falling body.
Su-hyeun had summoned the Somersault cloud to catch Ellid and then leaped up into the air to check up on the dragon.
“What was he doing after undoing his human appearance?”
Ellid was currently in the figure of the dragon emperor that Su-hyeun saw quite some time ago.
Even if Miru had learned the giantification through the Cintamani’s power, it was still a little kid compared to the size of the one referred to as the dragon emperor, Ellid.
Although he was currently wounded and unconscious, the sense of pressure Ellid gave off was still quite considerable.
“Hey, Miru, I need your help.”
Miru activated its giantification after Su-hyeun asked it.
It transformed into a giant dragon and flew above Ellid, and almost at the same time, crimson-hued magical energy enveloped the dragon emperor’s body.
The wounds on Ellid’s body began healing gradually little by little.
Now normally, it would have been the end with the healing of the wounds, but Miru was the descendant of the red dragons, and its healing magic was working a little differently this time.
Simply put, it was exhibiting the power of its bloodline.
Its magic went beyond healing wounds and even helped recover Ellid’s lost vitality. Thanks to it, Ellid didn’t need a long time to regain consciousness.
Ellid woke back up while growling softly.
His crimson eyes gleamed sharply as he opened his maw.
“That was really close, wasn’t it?”
That observation was surprisingly human-like.
Su-hyeun, waiting for Ellid to open his eyes within this grave atmosphere, asked a question while watching the dragon leisurely stand back up, “Where did you go to get beaten up so badly?”
“How can you be so sure that I got beaten up?”
“Because it doesn’t look like you went there to dish out a beating, you know.” Su-hyeun sighed in relief once Ellid regained consciousness without an issue. “Was it that bastard?”
“Well, I somehow ran into that bastard, you see. It seems that it is getting ready to move once more.”
“When you say it’s getting ready…?”
“It’s getting hungry, so it wants to devour the rest of the world.”
Su-hyeun’s expression became grave at Ellid’s reply.
The reason why he hadn’t yet made an intentional move was that the general outline of the goal of this trial wasn’t to “attack” but to “defend”—to protect the village for one month.
And to meet that goal, Su-hyeun made sure not to stray too far away from the village if he could help it. This was his reason why he didn’t seek out the predator despite knowing of its existence.
He didn’t see the need to deliberately awaken a bastard that was slumbering away with a full tummy.
But now, such a creature had begun moving again.
“How long do you think that bastard will take to get here?”
“I think its main body won’t start moving right away.”
“Its main body?” Su-hyeun made a puzzled face at Ellid’s answer.
He realized that in order to use that term, there had to be other clone-like creatures.
“You will see soon enough without me explaining it.”
Ellid managed to sit up and stared into the distant horizon. Su-hyeun also turned his head in that direction and immediately activated the Sage’s Eye.
What his vision caught just then was a horde of “something” rushing from afar like a jet-black tsunami wave.
“I barely kept my life, but it looks like I still can’t afford to take it easy just yet.”
* * *
A tall wall of ice finished materializing all around the village. It completely surrounded the village and boasted dozen-plus meters in thickness.
“This should be enough to block out what’s happening on the outside.”
While saying that, Ellid lightly dusted his hands. He looked so full of energy that it seemed like him almost dying earlier was an illusion.
He must’ve been feeling fatigued right now, but even then, he showed no signs of discomfort while casting magic of this scale.
Su-hyeun asked, “Is it alright for you not to rest?”
“It’s not a problem for me since you’ll be the one fighting in the frontline, anyway,” chuckled Ellid while placing his hands on his back.
Su-hyeun asked because he was worried about the dragon’s condition, but hearing such a thing from the proverbial horse’s mouth irritated him for some reason.
Ellid narrowed his eyes while looking at Su-hyeun who was awkwardly chuckling away.
“Once you stop those things, the bastard will show up next.” Ellid kept staring at Su-hyeun and asked, “Are you confident?”
Su-hyeun didn’t know anything about this world’s predator. He had no clue as to how many worlds that thing had devoured already or just how strong the bastard was in reality.
In that regard, that thing was not all that different from Fafnir.
“I never felt something like that before.”
For obvious reasons, Su-hyeun never really felt confident about it. More correctly, he hadn’t given the matter much thought until now.
He believed that it would be completely pointless to estimate his chances at victory.
“I don’t have anywhere to escape to, anyway,” he thought.
Su-hyeun unsheathed his sword and leaped down to the ground below.
Before long, the horde of enemies rushing in had come close enough to be seen by naked eyes.
He slowly walked over to them and scanned the faces of each enemy.
“Looks like they are similar to zombies.”
These creatures had darkened bones and skin, while Death Aura continued to leak out from their entire bodies.
From their appearances alone, they didn’t seem all that different from regular zombies, the walking dead, that Su-hyeun was already familiar with.
However, something about their atmosphere seemed different. Not only that but the level of Death Aura leaking out from them was also far more lethal than some toxins emitted by regular monsters.
“Well, in that case…”
Winds wrapped around the Palm Leaf Sword’s blade.
“Should I find out how tough they are?”
The moment Su-hyeun’s sword swung forward, a humongous wall of wind spread out in all directions.
The wind split into tens of thousands and then hundreds of thousands of strands and began tearing into the blackened zombies. Their flesh and bones were torn apart into pieces and cast up in the maelstrom, and then, piles of bones and deeply rotten bloody bits rained down to the ground.
Tumble, drip, thud—
The surviving zombies staggered back up to their feet.
Su-hyeun furrowed his brows and observed them.
About half of the zombies swept up by the Palm Leaf had been killed off. In other words, the other half had not been defeated yet.
Zombies that were strong enough not to get ripped apart even after getting sucked into the Palm Leaf’s attack?
Such a thing did not exist within Su-hyeun’s common sense.
“So, these aren’t your regular zombies, is that it?”
He had already figured that out by himself.
Su-hyeun’s eyes that were glowing with a blue hue looked far beyond the horizon. A sea of zombies, seemingly with no visible end, was gathering here from beyond the edges of his vision.
“Looks like I’ll be sweating a bit today.”
Su-hyeun gripped his sword tightly again.
It seemed that this fight would drag on for longer than he initially thought.
* * *
A gigantic flame exploded upward. The horde of zombies trying to pounce on Su-hyeun thrashed about in sheer torment before collapsing on the ground and melting away.
It wasn’t all that hard to figure out the weakness of these zombies: fire.
It happened to be a well-known weakness of the zombies already.
The heads of the zombies were cut off.
On the outside, their flesh looked rotten, and they seemed easy enough to defeat, but in reality, they were surprisingly sturdy.
Some of them even managed to withstand the Palm Leaf’s winds several times.
“If I raise the firepower, the range decreases, but if I increase the range, the firepower takes a hit. And to go for both…the magical energy consumption is too high.”
Without a doubt, the Palm Leaf was an incredible power.
The Palm Leaf could affect a far greater area out of all the skills Su-hyeun possessed—no, wait—than any other skills in existence that Su-hyeun knew of.
However, as that was the case, the Palm Leaf consumed a great deal of magical energy and his mental strength. Also, he could say that the match-up this time wasn’t all that favorable.
The Palm Leaf sliced apart the bodies of his opponents using wind, but zombies couldn’t be killed off unless you accurately cut off their heads.
Even if their limbs were severed or their lower torsos were gone, they could still move. Also, it was hard to argue that the magical energy consumed during the process of chopping them apart was an effective use of the energy in the first place.
So, the correct answer was “fire.”
“Burn them one by one and cut their heads off.”
Su-hyeun loaded his sword with the divine Flame and repeatedly cut down the zombies.
Zombies enveloped in flames couldn’t get back up nor pose any threat to Su-hyeun anymore.
Zombies were still flooding in from all sides, and some of them managed to get to the ice wall Ellid had created, trying to break it down with their bare hands.
And toward such zombies…
Huge waves of crimson flames that shot out from Ellid’s hands mercilessly crashed on them.
Thousands upon thousands of zombie corpses began piling up everywhere.
At the same time, Ellid got ready to cast his next magic. While doing that, he glanced at Su-hyeun who was currently wielding his sword in the distance.
“Doesn’t he get tired?”
It had already been a day.
No, wait—it had been a little over a day now. He couldn’t even estimate how many zombies that man had killed already.
Ellid’s job was to defend, to stop the zombies Su-hyeun had missed, and to swap his role with Su-hyeun when he got too tired and ready to collapse to continue to stop the influx of zombies.
However, Ellid was thinking that his role had been largely pointless until now.
The thing was, a portion of zombies slipping past Su-hyeun’s attack range only happened because he trusted in Ellid’s ability and let them go past him.
An eyeball as big as a person’s head floated up above Ellid.
“Now, let’s see…”
Far away. Even farther away…
Ellid closed his eyes and stared into the far-off distance beyond his normal range of vision through the power of magic. After taking a gander at a considerably far-off distance, Ellid finished confirming the situation.
“So, then, the remaining ones are about the same in number as the ones that got killed off so far.”
Su-hyeun had been enduring far longer than Ellid initially thought.
The period of one day for a dragon as mighty as Ellid would be fine, but a regular person would have lost much of their stamina after failing to get some rest. But then, Su-hyeun continued to fight for the whole day long.
In all honesty, Ellid didn’t expect such a feat from Su-hyeun despite knowing how incredible the latter was.
Also, Ellid’s body had almost fully recovered by now, so even if Su-hyeun withdrew from this moment on, the dragon would have no trouble stopping these zombies.
“What is it this time?”
Ellid narrowed his eyes into slits at the newly unfolding spectacle.
“It’s not something to be happy about, at least.”
* * *
Wriggle, wiggle, writhe—
The movements of the zombies seemed strange.
Su-hyeun stopped wielding his sword and observed for the time being. The horde of zombies rushing toward him had stopped and begun bunching up into one.
“What the…? Are they trying to combine into one?”
He muttered to no one in particular, wondering what these things were up to now, but that turned out to be a problem, it seemed.
Soon afterward, Su-hyeun groaned out in dismay.
“…Well, maybe I shouldn’t have said anything.”
Flesh and bones had meshed into one; zombies rolled into several huge black masses.
Su-hyeun was about to make a move to stop them from combining but abruptly stopped himself. He pondered for a little while before standing still and waiting.
When he stood around doing nothing like that, the inside of his head reverberated, and a voice entered his mind.
“Why are you standing still and doing nothing?”
The voice belonged to Ellid.
Su-hyeun turned his head and stared at Ellid at a fair distance away. Unlike the dragon, though, he opened his mouth to audibly answer. “I don’t see a reason to stop it, actually.”
“You don’t see a reason? But when they finish combining, I think it’s going to be a lot more troublesome.”
“Does it look that way to you?” Su-hyeun asked back and turned his head toward the huge black masses still being created. “But to me, they look far easier to chop down?”
“Looks like it’s about to finish combining.”
A faint little smile was etched on Su-hyeun’s lips.
What appeared before him was many silhouettes of black giants at least several dozen meters tall.
The creatures enveloped in Death Aura turned their heads and stared at Su-hyeun with their empty eye sockets.
And right at that moment…
“See? I told you.”
Su-hyeun’s blade chopped a giant’s body in half as he dashed forward.
“It’s so much easier to slice them apart now.”