The Hero Returns

Heuk Ahin

Chapter 514

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Chapter 514: Chapter 514

Hak-joon’s condition wasn’t so good at the moment.

He just finished his fight against Sun Wukong about one hour ago. He wasn’t heavily injured or anything like that, but the fight exhausted all of his stamina and magical energy reserve. He still hadn’t recovered in full, as a matter of fact.

“About half of my normal state, I guess?”

Still, resting for one hour helped recover his physical condition, and he could more or less fight to some degree.

He didn’t feel rueful, however; even if he was in his peak condition, he still wasn’t sure if his powers were good enough to scratch Su-hyeun.

“No, wait. I’m sure it’s still impossible.”

Unlike the other spectators here, Hak-joon had figured out the ident.i.ty of the “only opponent” Su-hyeun was talking about, and it wasn’t Gordon Rohan.

It was Sun Wukong.

“That guy is still checking things out, huh?”

The only contestant who hadn’t joined up with everyone was Sun Wukong.

He had been watching all the fights with great interest until now. The story remained the same even as hundreds of contestants got ready to step up.

He probably wanted to have a proper one-on-one fight with Su-hyeun.

“In any case, I won’t be fighting alone.”

When would he get another chance to fight like this?

Hak-joon was under no delusion that he could do something to Su-hyeun during a one-on-one bout. However, if it was during a hundreds-on-one battle, in such an environment, he might get the opportunity to meet the condition set out by Su-hyeun.

And this was the kind of chance with Su-hyeun that Hak-joon had been thinking all this time.

“Fuuu...”

He took a deep, deep breath, then...

Buzz—

He injected magical energy into the blade and slowly rouse its hidden strength.

Hak-joon’s senses remained sharp since the fight against Sun Wukong. His physical body might not have recovered completely and was still fatigued, but his burning spirit and senses were several times sharper than his usual self.

Once he was finished with sharpening his senses...

“Let’s go.”

Hak-joon got ready to move.

But then...

Step—

Su-hyeun made a move before everyone else did.

Crunch—!

And then, there came the sound of a heavy punch.

Ruuuumble—

At the same time, hot flames spread all around the arena.

* * *

Ka-boom—!

Su-hyeun’s fist slammed into the abdomen of the nearest contestant.

The noise was as loud as an explosion. Some licks of hot flames erupted from his fist as well.

“Ku-huk!”

An awakener with a face Su-hyeun didn’t recognize and whose name he didn’t know flew up high in the air. Judging from this result, it seemed that this individual became an S-Rank only recently.

“That’s disappointing.”

He adjusted his strength appropriately, but to think that this person couldn’t even dodge or withstand the attack.

“Tsk,” Su-hyeun quietly tutted.

He then dug into the ranks of the contestants and began wielding his sword.

Smack, smack—!

Bang—!

His sword didn’t cut or chop anyone apart. It simply smacked and beat on the limbs, backs, and abdomen of his targets.

Magical energy didn’t only have the function of boosting the sword’s cutting power. It could also wrap around the blade in any shape the wielder wanted—and in this case, in the form of a blunt weapon by dulling the blade’s edges.

Since Su-hyeun couldn’t kill anyone today, doing this was an absolute necessity.

Bang—!

Kugh...

Ji-jijijijik—!

It was right at that moment someone capable of defending against Su-hyeun’s sword attack finally appeared.

Although he swung his weapon around lightly and lowered the cutting power by a considerable margin, this awakener managed to stop his attack nevertheless.

Su-hyeun’s eyes gleamed a little as he took a look at this awakener.

“Jenner Duvernay. She’s a French awakener, wasn’t she?”

He recalled her name, as well as her face.

France was widely acknowledged around the world as an awakener powerhouse nation like the U.S. and South Korea. She was a fighter specialized in hand-to-hand combat.

“Should we check out how long she can hold on, then?”

Since he was swinging around his sword to see if anyone could block it, Su-hyeun didn’t find her successfully defending against the attack weird at all.

Actually, he was even thinking that failing to stop an attack of this caliber was not a good thing.

Swish—

Su-hyeun’s figure dashed toward Duvernay.

She kept her glare firmly locked on Su-hyeun as he arrived before her in the blink of an eye. She then quickly unleashed a powerful punch.

[Crimson Wind Fist – Bloodthirster]

KA-BOOOOOM—!

Splash, riiiiip—

Along with the fist winds, crimson currents rapidly pounced on Su-hyeun. These currents not only exerted a great deal of wind pressure, but they also felt like deadly blades.

Having landed an attack rather unexpectedly, Jenner Duvernay muttered, surprised, “I got him...?!”

There definitely was feedback on her fist, but even then...

“Mm. That was stronger than I thought.”

Fwhoosh—

Smack—!

“What?”

The dull-edged sword slammed straight into Duvernay’s midriff. She urgently bent her torso forward greatly and flung herself back to mitigate the impact force by as much as half.

Her reaction time was pretty good.

“And her toughness is pretty good, too.”

Swhooooooosh—

Pow, popopopopow—!

Countless arrows flew in from the air above before rapidly stabbing into the arena’s floor. By then, Su-hyeun had already found an unaffected area among the raining arrows and evacuated there, his torso slightly tilting to dodge the rest.

[Trap of Heaven and Earth]

[Crimson Crossbow – Shower of Bolts]

Chwa-jajajajajak—!

A “net” suddenly restricted Su-hyeun while a deluge of arrows rained down from above once more.

How should he dodge this? It was not that difficult, actually.

Slice—!

Su-hyeun ripped the net apart in one sword swing. The trap was made out of an unknown material and magical energy, but unlike its reputation, it got torn into bits without much difficulty.

“Pretty good coordination, and it’s tougher than I thought.”

Although he did tear the net pretty easily, he still sensed its toughness through the sword swing.

Most average-level S-Rank awakeners wouldn’t have been able to tear through the net. It wasn’t designed to be ripped apart in the first place, after all.

And then, there was the deluge of arrows pouring in at the perfect time, too.

These two awakeners were working rather well together.

Even so...

“That’s not going to be enough.”

And “not enough” by a long shot, too.

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Ruuumble—

Hak-joon’s arms were shaking around precariously.

The descending sword was currently stopped in front of his nose. He somehow managed to defend against Su-hyeun’s attack, in other words.

“Well, that gets a pa.s.sing grade.”

“What... do you mean... by pa.s.sing grade?”

Hak-joon gritted his teeth while trying hard to keep his arms up when he slowly spat out that question.

He was clearly out of his depth at the moment, yet he didn’t stop at blocking Su-hyeun’s sword and even managed to shove it back upward.

But right at that moment, Su-hyeun’s sword vanished.

Swish—

Clang, claaaang—!

From above, below, left, and right!

The sword slashes flew in from all sides, and Hak-joon reacted accordingly. His defense right now was focused on speed, not power.

[Magic Energy Sword – Qilin]

Kyaaah—!

An illusory image of a monster boasting gorgeous five-colored fur suddenly materialized and swallowed up Su-hyeun’s figure. However, the moment he witnessed this creature, Su-hyeun’s eyes gleamed sharply as his sword sliced through the air.

[Palm Leaf – Basic Slash]

Fwhooooosh—!

Riiip, riiiiiip—!

The monster image that shot out of Hak-joon’s sword was ripped apart into pieces by the winds that burst out of the Palm Leaf Sword.

Hak-joon was stunned by how easily his most trusted skill was broken through. On the other hand, Su-hyeun was also making a similar face.

Su-hyeun even muttered, “That kinda surprised me.”

He even reflexively called for Palm Leaf’s power. He instantly realized his slip-up and went, “d.a.m.n it!”

He didn’t rein in the Palm Leaf’s wind output properly, which could have easily resulted in Hak-joon getting swept up in the storm.

But then, the Palm Leaf’s winds collided against Hak-joon’s skill, and both of them canceled each other out. Now that deserved a grade far better than simply a pa.s.sing one.

“Just what is with this pa.s.sing grade, and what are you surprised about?” Hak-joon asked with some difficulty. His complexion was sickly pale after using a powerful skill when he didn’t have enough stamina or magical energy left. “Never mind this event, it feels like you could have ended everything right away, but for some reason, you’re dragging things out. Just what do you want from us?”

“What I want, you ask?” Su-hyeun looked around at Hak-joon’s question.

Plenty of contestants still remained standing in the vicinity.

They were standing in a daze as if the exchange between Su-hyeun and Hak-joon had mesmerized them briefly.

The thing was, Su-hyeun didn’t attend this tournament to have a leisurely chat or anything like that. However, with things like this, he felt the need to say something regardless.

“First of all, to test you,” Su-hyeun spoke up so that everyone could hear him.

“Test me?”

“Yes. Not just you, but all the S-Ranks. I wanted to figure out how strong the contestants of the Ranking Wars are since you’re all rated as the best in the world.”

Su-hyeun’s reply caused Hak-joon’s voice to become slightly tense, “Okay. So what do you think?”

“You definitely get a pa.s.sing grade. And I did notice a few other pretty good ones among you, but the rest...” The next part of his evaluation came with a long groan. “Not only ‘poor,’ it’s verging on utterly pathetic.”

“What—?”

“How can he even say that?”

A few awakeners seemed to have gotten riled up by Su-hyeun’s evaluation and said something, but none of them dared to openly argue back.

That was because it was none other than Su-hyeun who said those things. They just couldn’t work up enough courage to step forward and demand an apology.

The thing was, though, Su-hyeun could clearly see and feel “this” from their disgruntled mutterings and expressions.

That was why he felt he had to ask them, “All of you, do you think our world is in peace right now?”

Peace?

It hadn’t been that long since the awakeners began thinking about that word.

The dungeon generation rate suddenly started declining, and the awakeners found it harder to make a living.

The threat posed by the dungeons was as good as non-existent now, which meant that the work of the awakeners had morphed into something like celebrities putting on mere TV shows.

“All of you, wake the h.e.l.l up!”

And this was what made Su-hyeun angry.

“The war isn’t over yet.”

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