Episode 86

The Origin (5)
3 weeks ago
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Immediately after the quest alarm window appeared.

Kwaaaang!

A massive shockwave spread, shaking the surroundings.

“……!”

In the center, a massive flow began to condense. Just looking at it felt murky, dark, and full of corrupt magical power.

Saaaaaa.

Soon, it took the form of a gigantic tree.

A black tree, distinctly visible even in the dense swamp forest to the naked eye.

Demon Realm Tree (魔界樹).

“Crazy! It’s magical energy!”

“Why here? Isn’t this just a swamp frequented by hunters?”

The hunters were thrown into a panic.

“Wait, isn’t that the Demon Realm Tree?”

“Everyone, gather up! Drop any corpses you have and just come together!”

Realizing the situation, the hunters gathered as many people as they could.

The Demon Realm Tree itself was not strong. If it were of that size, a moderately strong Hero could handle it alone.

But that’s not why the hunters were in such a panic. The trouble with the Demon Realm Tree was that it created a kind of ‘domain’ around itself.

Saaaaaa-.

The magical energy concentrated. The skin of lizardmen nearby started turning black. The sinister energy began to infuse the trees around.

“This is……”

“It’s the power of the Demon Realm Tree. It creates a domain around itself, corrupting the land.”

“…A domain? That’s something only high-ranking beings should have, right?”

Kim Ara was shocked.

“It’s okay, it’s not that severe.”

“Really?”

“It’s a kind of monster in the form of a tree, focused on its domain. Its main body isn’t that strong. The problem is the monsters within the domain.”

“Kieeeeeek!”

A lizardman with black scales let out a shriek, targeting a nearby hunter.

“Aaagh! Get away!”

Bang Bang Bang!

Gunshots rang out, sparks flying off the lizardman’s skin.

But not a scratch appeared on the lizardman’s scales.

“Good Lord, are they immune to bullets?!”

“All gunmen, fall back to the rear! Warriors, hold the front!”

Upon hearing someone’s shout, the hunters began to move.

However, these hunters, incapable of even challenging a low-grade monster, were primarily magical gunmen (魔銃士).

There were a few warriors among them, but most lacked the firepower necessary to kill a lizardman.

“Let’s go, Ara.”

“Okay.”

I took the lead with Kim Ara beside me. If we didn’t take action now, the consequences for these people would be dire.

“Are you warriors? You look like students; fall back.”

As we approached the front, a man with a shield the size of an adult’s torso addressed us.

“It’s okay. We’re students at the Korea Hero School.”

“Is that so! Then, please, we need your help.”

Our display of the Korea Hero School student IDs seemed to brighten his face, and he stepped aside to let us through. The Korea Hero School was renowned as a hub for geniuses and prodigies from around the globe.

Some even referred to it as the school of stars, given the variety of talent it attracted.

Understandably, any student from the Korea Hero School would be considered far superior to the hunters currently assembled here.

“I’ll provide support. Ara, you take the front.”

“Are you going to show off your real skills after such a long time?”

Kim Ara asked, her expression tinged with a hint of excitement.

My true abilities were no different from what I demonstrated at school, although some students suspected that I was concealing my true potential and honing my close combat skills.

‘I do concede that my initial impression might have been somewhat underwhelming.’

I nodded nonchalantly and took a step back, gripping the Black Heaven.

What I was preparing to use was a spell. Black Heaven served as both a sword and a conduit for the Energy of Defying Heaven─ a medium through which I could channel effects akin to those produced by the magical books and staffs of magicians.

I had to conserve my strength, as I was uncertain what else might emerge.

‘Eternal Heaven.’

-Yes, Seo-ha!

Eternal Heaven materialized before me.

Luminous talismans enveloped me, and Eternal Heaven commenced casting a spell. My role was straightforward: to direct the Energy of Defying Heaven into the spell.

Paaat!

The spell took shape, and one of the talismans streamed towards Kim Ara.

“This is……”

“A spell to increase speed and senses, since Ara doesn’t need a strength boost anyway.”

“……”

Was that a slightly reproachful look, or was it my imagination?

- It seems a bit harsh to suggest that a woman is too strong.

‘…….’

Kim Ara wielded the Giant’s Sword.

The sword, brutish in form and originally two meters long, began to grow as it absorbed Kim Ara’s origin power.

“Huff.”

She stepped forward powerfully, her aura changing as if splitting a mountain, in an overwhelming manner.

Power that Uproots Mountains and Overwhelms the World.

“Kiek?”

“Kieeeeeek!”

The lizardmen were thrown into disarray. Kim Ara, unfazed, swung her now 15-meter-long greatsword.

Kwaaaaang!

The lizardmen, who had withstood bullets, couldn’t withstand the Giant’s Sword. Their bodies shattered into pieces, scattering in all directions.

“Who, who is that? How can someone wield a 10-meter sword so easily?”

“What does that matter? She must be a new hero! The important thing is, she’s the only one we can trust here!”

Hunters from all around began to gather near her.

“Kuoooooo!”

A roar, filled with intense magical power, filled the area.

Looking over, there stood a giant lizardman about three meters tall, armed with a sword and shield.

“Lizardman Warrior Leader!”

“That’s a high-ranking being among the middle class…”

The hunters lost their fighting spirit.

Or they looked at Kim Ara with hope.

‘Shall we go then?’

I quietly prepared an attack spell.

- Attack spells aren’t really a good choice for Seo-ha. The control over the Energy of Defying Heaven you possess is equivalent to, or even surpasses, that of the previous Heavenly Demon.

Ziiing.

The channeled Energy of Defying Heaven began to diminish. When it turned into a sphere the size of a fingernail, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my head and was startled.

Handling the energy of Defying Heaven with control that rivaled the previous Heavenly Demon’s, and yet struggling with a spell to the point of a headache, was significant.

-That’s why I created a new spell.

‘What is this?’

-It’s a form of Energy of Defying Heaven, compressed repeatedly. To be honest, calling it a spell might be a stretch. It’s akin to simply grilling good meat in culinary terms.

-Thanks to your incredible control over the Energy of Defying Heaven, we can create this spell. Compression usually increases power proportionally… but most magicians and spellcasters don’t realize that, so they don’t compress. At most, they compress two or three times. But with your control, we’ve compressed it over ten times.

-In fact, with such control, there are other methods of attack, but since Seo-ha-nim is still mid-tier, this method transforms into a spell with tremendous attack power. It’s a method only possible because it’s Seo-ha.

‘I see.’

I threw it at the Lizardman Warrior Leader.

“Krheh.”

The Lizardman Warrior Leader sneered and easily swatted it away with his shield.

Woo-woo-woo-woo!

The sphere emitted intense vibrations, and a shockwave burst forth.

Kwaaaang!

The range of the shockwave was narrow, focused solely on the Warrior Leader.

However, the power was far from simple. The shockwave devoured even the fragments of the Warrior Leader’s body, leaving nothing behind.

“……Oh.”

I quietly marveled at the unexpectedly profound power.

“You, you! You’re an incredible magician!”

A nearby hunter exclaimed and approached me.

“We might not know much about other things, but we’re good at defense. Can we protect you from now on?”

“Yes, please do.”

In reality, it was more efficient for me to move around than to be protected by them. But the difficulty level was akin to hell, so anything could happen.

Woo-woong!

Once again, a large ripple spread from the Demon Realm Tree.

“Ah, what?!”

“Everyone, get away from the tree!”

The hunters shouted in panic.

The dark tree swelled up significantly and eventually began to move, using its roots like legs.

“It’s a man-eating tree. This is a bit troublesome.”

Man-eating trees wouldn’t die easily unless their core was destroyed. They were like the zombies of the plant world.

‘Eternal Heaven.’

-Yep!

Eternal Heaven raised a spell. My job was simple: to infuse the Energy of Defying Heaven into Eternal Heaven.

Dozens of black arrowheads were created.

Click.

A sound, like something turning on, resonated in my mind, and the world began to shift. Using Divine Sight, I observed the tree’s core.

‘…What’s this?’

When I activated Divine Sight, I saw something else—a barrier-like thing near the Demon Realm Tree.

I intensified the Energy of Defying Heaven in my eyes, and then I could see more clearly.

People in black cloaks and masks appeared.

‘…Why are they here?’

They were the Wings of Dark Flame, a villainous group that had once been an information organization but was severely weakened after being defeated by heroes. They would be a challenging opponent for me now. Originally, it should have been the ‘Ancient Divine Beings,’ but it seems to have changed due to the difficulty level.

‘This is bad.’

I recalled the Electronic Witch’s words:

The Seven Evils had raised my bounty, so others were targeting me.

First, I shot the arrowheads, piercing them all into the core of the tree.

“I’ve marked it with a spell, so everyone, focus on the marked areas!”

After saying that, I dashed forward.

“I can take care of myself, so everyone, just survive on your own.”

I spoke to the hunters and then approached Kim Ara.

“Ara, let’s finish this quickly.”

“Got it.”

Kim Ara didn’t bother asking why. She silently grasped her sword again.

“Ignore the marks. They’re just for the hunters anyway.”

“Understood.”

“The plan is simple. We’ll rush towards the Demon Realm Tree, and I’ll cover any minor threats along the way.”

I activated my newly acquired talent, Spirit Shield. A translucent barrier materialized in front of Kim Ara.

“Just focus ahead, Ara. I’ll take care of your protection.”

“…….”

For some reason that she couldn’t identify, Kim Ara felt a surge of elation and advanced.

Kreek.

The trees emitted strange sounds as they obstructed our path.

Crack!

Kim Ara demolished them with her 10-meter giant sword. Yet, several purple spheres targeted her.

Curse.

Tree-shaped monsters wield curses to varying degrees. Those imbued with darkness are particularly formidable.

“Disregard the curses!”

Scratch.

With Nyeom, I swung Black Heaven, cleaving through the curses.

Kim Ara shot me a look of mild astonishment, then resumed her run.

Crack. Crack. Crack.

We barreled through the obstacles like a bulldozer, charging in a straight line. I took care of the incoming curses, while Kim Ara powered through with her brute force approach.

Still, when something can’t be halted, there’s no tactic more effective than this.

“I’ve been thinking this since our last encounter, but don’t you agree we work well together?”

“…….”

Kim Ara acknowledged with a silent nod, her cheeks tinged with a blush.

I repelled an approaching curse and bellowed.

“Let’s go again!”

“Okay.”

With a wide swing of her giant sword, Kim Ara sent trees splintering into fragments. As I watched the destruction, I gazed ahead. The Demon Realm Tree radiated an ominous energy.

It was undeniably more potent than before.

The Wings of Dark Flame must have interfered.

Suddenly, the Demon Realm Tree began to erect a barrier, summoning all the carnivorous trees in the vicinity to fortify itself. The barrier’s thickness had already exceeded 30 meters.

“Good.”

“Huh?”

“It’s more convenient to obliterate them all at once if they cluster together like this.”

I turned to Kim Ara.

“Think you can handle it?”

Kim Ara assessed the Demon Realm Tree.

“You mean for me to slice through it?”

“Yes.”

The barrier was quite thick. Probably even the spell I had used earlier would need to be fired once to break through it.

‘“That’s not efficient.’

Because the mental strain was greater than expected.

I looked at Kim Ara. She seemed doubtful about cutting down the tree.

She still didn’t fully understand her Power of Origin.

“I can do it. If I use Pacheon…”

“Don’t use Pacheon. It’s possible even with just origin power. About 30 meters in length for the greatsword should be enough.”

“…Is that possible?”

“If it’s you.”

Even the Overlord, at this point, would have found it impossible.

However, Kim Ara’s inherent bloodline was extraordinary. She was the daughter of the Overlord, yet her bloodline was more closely tied to her ancestors than to the Overlord’s.

Even the Overlord himself couldn’t fully harness origin power.

He hadn’t awakened the giant’s bloodline or possessed the special stat of origin power.

The power of starlight relied on imagination.

And the origin power she possessed relied on belief.

Kim Ara quietly closed her eyes and looked at me.

“There are too many enemies right now. So we need to conserve as much strength as possible.”

And Pacheon would be a move to throw the enemies off guard.

“It might be hard to believe, but Ara, you’re much more than you think…”

Truthfully, I didn’t believe she could do it in one try. Origin power is based on self-belief, and in other words, it’s difficult to unleash its full strength without belief.

I didn’t think she would succeed in one go. But it would give Kim Ara the motivation to grow in the future.

So I planned to support her from the rear with Black Heaven…

“I trust you.”

Kim Ara said that and gripped her sword tightly.

“Seo-ha, you…”

Kim Ara started to say something but then shook her head.

“The you that I like, you believe in me.”

“……What?”

Kim Ara took a deep breath.

“I’ll be back in a moment.”


Leap.

Kwaaang!!

The ground shattered as she leapt out. Then she stomped on the tree below with all her strength.

Bang!!!

She leaped once more, this time tilting her giant sword.

Woong!

The Giant’s Sword began to swell. The blade, barely one meter in length, absorbed Kim Ara’s origin power and soon morphed into a thirty-meter colossus.

Startled by its might, mages within the barrier quickly conjured a protective shield around the Demon Realm Tree.

Kim Ara.

Was unconcerned,

Simply aimed to slice through. Lee Seo-ha had put his faith in her. Strangely, she found that to be sufficient.

Pure belief.

Her origin power surged in response to her conviction.

Pacheon Shingong (破天神功).

Pacheon Ilgeukcham (破天一極斬).

Scratch-.

Accompanied by the sound of something tearing, her giant sword strike manifested.

It cleaved through everything within a fifty-meter radius.

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