The Hero Returns - Chapter 379: Chapter 379
Chapter 379: Chapter 379
The effect of his provocation was quite noticeable. However, as that guy, one of the apostles, had been targeting Su-hyeun all along, he didn’t display any signs of getting angry. Rather, he seemed to welcome this development as he lightly leaped from his spot to rapidly close the distance between them.
The moment he landed, the floor felt as if it rocked ever so faintly.
One thing was for sure: he seemed pretty strong, not just from what could be sensed from his physique but from every step he took and every gesture he made that attested to that fact. His lack of hesitation in closing the distance first was also another good indicator.
Su-hyeun’s head was quickly filled up with this man’s information. Of course, the latter didn’t seem to suspect that his data was being thoroughly analyzed right now.
“So, you said I should come at you?” said the man as the corners of his lips quivered. He seemed to be rather pleased about this situation.
Su-hyeun rummaged through his pocket and pulled out five golden leaves before gripping them in his hand. A leaf already in his hand—the one he acquired just now—was added to the pile to make them six golden leaves in total. They glowed brilliantly in his hand.
Su-hyeun said, “This is what you’re aiming for, right?”
“You seemed to have gotten pretty excited after defeating some small fries, what with rushing here and there nonstop.”
“As if you haven’t taken those away from other small fries yourself,” Su-hyeun retorted while pointing at the man’s inner pocket.
Two leaves were there. Thus, this man before his eyes had already met the minimum requirement, but he was still trying to gather additional leaves.
The man laughed, “My thought process changed a bit after collecting these two leaves. All I have to do is to forcibly take the leaves away from the punks who have collected a lot as the mission draws to a close, so tell me, is there a reason for me to act so soon when it’s just annoying to do that?”
“And you’ve been waiting for the others to tire themselves out, too.”
“You aren’t as dumb as you look.”
“You, on the other hand, are quite stupid.”
Su-hyeun took a large step toward the man. “Or you’re just too brave for your own good.”
The World Tree rocked again slightly, just like what happened a couple of moments ago. The man narrowed his eyes and glared at Su-hyeun.
“This punk, is he the same type as me?” he thought.
Ariche Dugol—that was the man’s name, and right now he was analyzing Su-hyeun through the outward appearance the latter had deliberately put up.
“That’s some strength in his legs. His physical strength seems to be good. Luring him into a close-quarter battle will be easy,” he inwardly guessed.
Dugol forcibly stopped a faint smile from spreading to the rest of his face. He figured that if he got too happy here, then Su-hyeun might change his tactic to a long-distance fight, which would prove to be rather annoying to deal with.
Whatever the case might have been, he wanted to lure the other party into a close-quarter fight. His godhood could display its true worth only in such a case, after all.
Thankfully for Dugol, though, Su-hyeun was indeed slowly closing the distance one step at a time.
Dugol was inwardly elated by this and began walking toward Su-hyeun as well.
Soon enough, the distance between the two had closed up considerably.
“The reason for your defeat is…” Dugol’s eyes shot wide open just as he suddenly accelerated forward. “Your arrogance!”
Dugol’s figure exploded forward.
But at the same time, the spot Su-hyeun’s front foot stepped on suddenly caved in greatly.
That leg strength was strong enough to break through the World Tree’s surface…!
Unfortunately for Dugol, by the time he realized that fact, it was already too late.
Su-hyeun’s figure was already in front of Dugol by then, and the latter didn’t even see just when or how he even got here. Su-hyeun, on the other hand, while staying one step ahead of his opponent, slammed his fist deep into Dugol’s abdomen.
Dugol’s back snapped forward in half. The apostle’s hulking physique that was at least two heads taller than Su-hyeun got folded in half like a piece of paper.
The impact force that slammed deep into Dugol’s lungs was strong enough to disorient him completely, which made him think that his body was impaled just now. He stumbled several steps back, and the first thing he did while enduring the intense pain was to confirm the status of his abdomen.
He wanted to know if his stomach had been punctured straight through or it was still in one piece.
“What the hell…is up with this power…” he thought.
Forget about a fist, it felt like a huge sword had stabbed him just now.
Su-hyeun stared at Dugol with dismay for a little while. The latter saw that expression and belatedly realized something else: something was wrong here.
“Hey, you. Are you really an apostle?” Su-hyeun asked, sounding disappointed. He seriously thought that this situation was far below his expectation.
“You only possess the godhood of strength, and you seem to have barely crossed the threshold for it. But, then, your stamina or endurance is nothing to write home about. Even your movement is far too sluggish. Your reflex is also well below par, and by the looks of it, you don’t even have the eyesight to read my movements, either,” Su-hyeun said, which thus revealed a habit of his—analyzing.
He had been fighting against a large variety of monsters for a long while, and he’d be continuously fighting more monsters in the future, so there was a need to accurately analyze the combat capabilities of his opponents.
Perhaps that was why, as his habit dictated, Su-hyeun was systematically analyzing Dugol’s combat capability, and the end result of his analysis was that a fool like him couldn’t be an apostle at all.
“Hey, you. You’re not really an apostle, are you?” he said.
Dugol only possessed one qualification of godhood. As for the rest of his stats, they seemed to have barely crossed the 90-point mark not too long ago.
To put it simply, this man’s balance was in shambles. Even his nonsensical physical strength couldn’t exert its full power since his other stats just couldn’t back it up properly.
Most important of all, this man didn’t try to hide his advantage and exposed it far too easily. If physical strength was your main weapon, then it was the most basic of all basics to hide it and lure the other party into a close-quarter fight.
“You bastard…Are you looking down on me?”
Unfortunately, Dugol’s reply to Su-hyeun’s question perfectly met the latter’s expectation.
Then again, this wasn’t surprising. Su-hyeun was the winner here, while Dugol was clearly the defeated. That fact had become clear from this one exchange of blows.
That was why Dugol thought that Su-hyeun was making fun of him.
“What a letdown,” muttered Su-hyeun before sighing softly under his breath.
The first apostle Su-hyeun had ever met was Luslec. Maybe that was the reason why—even before Su-hyeun realized it—he had been seeing Luslec as the “standard” for what an apostle should be.
Even if Dugol wasn’t as strong as Luslec, Su-hyeun believed that he would be at least somewhere pretty close. But this…
“This guy is more like a gopher who became an apostle recently, right?” he thought.
Su-hyeun scratched his head. It seemed that making a comparison would be difficult with things like this.
“Just quietly hand over the leaves and go home. You won’t win against me, anyway,” said Su-hyeun.
“Don’t make me laugh!”
“I’m not saying this to make you laugh.”
Just as Dugol roared out loudly, Su-hyeun powerfully smacked him in the head.
Dugol’s head crashed hard into the ground below, causing the ground to rumble noisily. His ability to take hits wasn’t so great, so he naturally ended up spasming helplessly, while foams bubbled out of his slack jaw, along with his wheezing gasps.
“I was trying to wake you up, you know,” Su-hyeun tutted softly before waving his hand in front of Dugol’s face. A short while later, he sheepishly withdrew his hand. “Huh. He actually blacked out.”
Sure, he did seriously smack the other guy, but to think that someone possessing godhood would lose his consciousness from one hit…
Su-hyeun figured that this guy’s endurance had to be far weaker than he initially thought.
He stared at Dugol for a bit longer, then dug through the unconscious man’s pockets.
Two more leaves were added to his tally.
“With this, it’s now eight leaves,” Su-hyeun thought as he stuffed the golden leaves in his pocket and began moving once more.
Twenty more minutes remained until the conclusion of the mission.
After moving for 10 minutes or so, he finally reached the location where he and Luslec were supposed to meet.
Luslec was already there, waiting. Sure enough, not a single scratch was on him.
“Ah, you’ve arrived?” Luslec smiled and waved his hand in Su-hyeun’s direction.
Leisurely walking up to Luslec, Su-hyeun decided to take another close look at him. He didn’t need a long time to reach his conclusion.
“I knew it—he’s different,” he thought.
Luslec was another breed compared to the apostle he fought just now was Su-hyeun’s realization.
Whether or not it was because Su-hyeun had earned several qualifications of godhood and got familiarized with them but he could now faintly sense whether the other party possessed godhood or not. Although he couldn’t tell exactly how many qualifications the other party had or how high their statuses were, he could still more or less tell their presence now.
In Su-hyeun’s view, Luslec’s whole figure seemed to be draped in the qualifications of godhood.
At a bare minimum, Su-hyeun sensed five. At most, Luslec possessed over 10 qualifications.
“What are you staring so intently at me for?” Luslec asked in a puzzled voice when Su-hyeun openly stared at him.
The latter shook his head and replied, “Nah, it’s nothing.”
“But it doesn’t seem like nothing to me…”
“Besides all that, have you collected lots of leaves?”
“Well, I’ve collected enough. Here,” Luslec replied while handing five golden leaves over to Su-hyeun. “One will be mine. I also need to get to the next stage, you see.”
In other words, he kept one for himself while yielding the rest over to Su-hyeun.
Luslec had secured six leaves, which was the same number as Su-hyeun right up until he confiscated two more from another apostle just now.
“You don’t need to yield all of them to me,” said Su-hyeun.
“But you’re the one who needs to acquire the elixir, aren’t you? I don’t really need it, you know.”
“Yes, it’ll be nice if I can acquire it, but…”
Su-hyeun stared at Luslec who was currently waving the golden leaves in his hand as if to say, “Hurry and take them already.”
“Was it really alright to accept them?” Su-hyeun thought.
“Why are you so troubled by the prospect of getting someone’s help?”
When Luslec asked that, Su-hyeun faltered a little.
“Even though you enjoy helping others, is it that weird to receive someone else’s help in return?”
“Well, no. Rather than that, it’s more like—”
“If not, then maybe it’s suspicion?”
What Luslec said just then rendered Su-hyeun speechless because he had accurately pointed the truth out.
Su-hyeun knew that Luslec was a fan of his and that the latter was helping him out of goodwill. He certainly wasn’t dense enough to not realize whether someone was being genuinely friendly or not.
Even then, something about this felt strange and made him question whether or not it was fine to receive such one-sided help?
“Do you really need a reason?” Luslec asked after staring at Su-hyeun’s current expression. Then, while smirking deeply, he stuffed the golden leaves into the latter’s hand. “Acts of goodwill without expecting anything back, such things do happen in real life, you know.”
After hearing that, Su-hyeun looked at the five golden leaves he now had in his grip.
“Acts of goodwill without any strings attached…” he replayed in his mind.
Something about that statement felt familiar to him. He had basically been living his entire life on that mantra, after all, whether that life was the previous one or the current one.
However, he never expected to hear those words come back to him someday like this. Despite him trying to stick to that mantra, he hadn’t truly accepted it for himself, it seemed.
“That’s right. Such things do happen,” he inwardly accepted.
Su-hyeun folded the golden leaves and shoved them inside his pocket. With this, he had secured 13 leaves, which was 12 more than the minimum requirement.
Su-hyeun and Luslec chatted about this and that for the remaining duration. Even though they had been actively moving around for the past 12 hours, they didn’t feel all that tired, thanks to not getting involved in any big fights.
“You actually fought that guy? That arrogant hatchling dude?”
“Since you said that he was an apostle, I figured he’d be decently strong, but that wasn’t the case.”
“That’s obvious, you know. That idiot just barely crossed the threshold for an apostle, you see. I mean, even in your homeworld, Mister Su-hyeun, the skill levels of people who fight monsters vary like crazy, doesn’t it?”
He was indeed correct on that one.
Most normal people believed that the awakeners, regardless of who, were amazing existences, but in all honesty, plenty of them had no real substance to back them up.
As that guy happened to be an apostle, Su-hyeun expected something great from him, but the reality was starkly different. When looked at that way, it wasn’t so surprising to see Su-hyeun making a mistake about this subject matter.
“To put it in another way, it also means there’s that big of a difference, too,” he thought.
Su-hyeun revised the image of apostles he had in his mind.
Time passed by as the two of them chatted away some more.
[Remaining time: 00:00:00]
[You have passed the first mission.]
[Golden leaves in possession: 13]
[Ranking is being tallied.]
Messages floated up one after another. It seemed that the ranking was determined by the number of golden leaves one possessed.
Soon enough, the tallied ranking appeared before their eyes.
[1st place: Sun Wukong]
[2nd place: Kim Su-hyeun]
[3rd place: Grang Lou]