Following that, dark rays began to wound up and split apart, repeating over and over until it formed the appearance of a woman. Purple hair, cold pupils like a snake’s, enchanting lips and a majestic figure. I definitely remember having seen this naked woman.
‘She didn’t just exist in my dreams?’
I had met her dozens of times, or if it were just counting the number of times I had intercoursed with her in my dreams, even more than that. If only that was taken into account, it may seem to be a weird object that kept lonely men company at night, but regardless I never had doubts regarding the lofty ‘Prestige’ embodied in her appearance. However, she had assimilated into reality.
Her beauty was mind-blowing. The feeling I got from seeing her in the dream and in reality was completely different, however, she had an atmosphere about her that didn’t allow easy approach. It was like a black hole that you would be forever unable to escape from if you laid a hand on it.
“I have finally become able to take form.”
Jörmungandr laughed leisurely and turned her gaze to me.
In that moment I felt my senses enhanced. I felt my blood roiling and the world heavily shaking. Was this how it felt to witness the creation of a universe? My Magic Power was amplified, going out of control, and it felt like my mind was going to tear to pieces.
“Huhu! The ‘blood’ I had injected must have begun to awaken. Endure. If you are incapable of even that, you have no right to stand before me.”
I involuntarily recalled the day when my bed was drenched with blood. I was unconscious on my way back home. Of course I didn’t know who the owner of that ‘blood’ was, however, if the blood going wild in my body right now belonged to Jörmungandr, then it meant that that blood back then must have been mine.
Jörmungandr came close and stroked my cheek.
“I usually never help anyone. But I am in a very good mood today, for I have waited eons to finally manifest!”
I grit my teeth.
I never expected Jörmungandr to appear but at least it was good news. The gnoll shaman recognized the ‘Prestige’ she held and was currently unable to make any rash movements. No, it wasn’t just the gnoll shaman. Every single creature on the scene appeared to be petrified, unable to move.
“Clearly, however, my body of now is different to that of the past. It is weak, as if it would break at a touch. As such, my help only comes with ‘equivalent exchange’.”
Even now I felt like my body was on the verge of falling apart into pieces, but I clenched my jaw and spoke.
“So…you mean to request something of me.”
If I collapsed at this point then Jörmungandr wouldn’t hesitate to show her back; I could feel it strongly. She was a snake that existed solely for her own sake, an omnipotent being that had once completely coiled itself around world. It was nonsense to even think that she would come forth on her own to help somebody. It was only because I held that small bit of ‘Prestige’ that she proffered her hand in humour, as if having come across an amusing toy.
Jörmungandr laughed. Her looks were definitely of an otherworldly beauty, but her laughter was so cold.
“Your capacity. That is what I eat and grow.”
[It is possible to borrow the power of ‘Jörmungandr’ using 10 potential.]
Potential equaled capacity…the size of my vessel, the size of which would hardly ever change unless I were to consume age-old wondrous elixirs like eating rice, and only then would it increase in small amounts. My potential was 456, however, it wasn’t normally worth exchanging any of it in the long run. But Jörmungandr was requesting for it, and If I refused her now then she would turn back into her previous form.
But I had the ultimate weapon in the form of powerful ‘information’. If I were to utilize this then it would be easy to restore the lost potential. It was to that point that I only needed to think for a moment and dozens of such methods would flit through my mind.
I nodded my head.
“Alright. Let’s trade.”
I couldn’t lose my life out of begrudging 10 potential. More than that, I needed a way to break out of this dangerous situation.
Jörmungandr laughed and forced her lips onto mine the instant I nodded my head. Her tongue extended like a snakes and stirred the inside of my mouth, feeling as if it would even reach my brain. And then…
[‘Forced Awakening’ has begun due to ‘Jörmungandr’.]
All stats become (60+6*Lv=72) upon Forced Awakening.
Stats will slowly decay during the 30 minute duration.
10 potential is permanently lost upon the end of duration, and user will enter a state of ‘Forced Sleep’.
The power of ‘Cold-blood(Lv1) has been attained due to the Authority of Universal Man.
Power began to overflow from my entire body. I felt the air around me change, and even the way I saw things had become different. I felt a vigor as if I had returned to my prime as all my stats became 72. Of course, it was far from comparable to my last moments in the past, but it was still amazing nonetheless.
Most importantly, the special function of increasing stat by level multiplied by 6 meant that if Jörmungandr’s level were to reach 10, then it would even be possible to raise every stats to 120. This was truly unbelievable, because a total stat of 600 overwhelmed even a Demon Lord! You may well be called a half-god at that level.
Jörmungandr released my lips and then spoke.
“It will be hard to adjust to the sudden gain of power. If you fail to clean up those ugly things then running would also-.”
I kicked off the ground, and rose high above before falling down into the center of the gnolls.
‘I have 30 minutes.’
I could do it. A total stat of 350 equaled the strength of a level 7. I outstripped the gnoll shaman in terms of raw numbers, but I was restricted by the 30 minute time limit, moreover, I would grow weaker the more time passed. As such, even the time to listen to Jörmungandr’s words was precious. Cold-blood(Lv1) made my mind colder than before. The Authority of Universal Man…the ability to take in, and make mine, all kinds of powers!
I chopped down on a gnoll’s head. I could even smash rock with 72 Strength; I knew this better than anyone because I had already experienced before. Contrary to Jörmungandr’s expectation, I had already finished ‘adjusting’ regardless of it being borrowed power.
The gnoll’s skull was shattered and brain matter splattered everywhere, however, the blood spilled by the gnoll instantly gathered into my hand. This was another usage of Cold-blood; it appeared that it wasn’t limited to simply enhancing the mind.
Weak resistance to mind-affecting statuses.
Able to draw blood from corpses and shape it according to the user’s will. Its duration and usable amount of blood is proportional to the skill level and user’s Intelligence, while the density and destructive power of the shaped blood is proportional to the skill level and user’s Magic Power.
Actually, this skill wasn’t just ‘not bad’, but simply amazing. It had an infinite potential on the battlefield. I could give a nod to obtaining this skill at the cost of 10 potential. This skill shined especially in times like now where I had no equipment to use.
I smashed open the heads of several more gnolls. This sensation I hadn’t felt in a long time was quite wonderful. The feeling of tearing flesh, destroying bones and innards directly ran up my fist. My body had felt so stuffy like a sponge full of water, but now I could move it as I wished. And so, the first thing I shaped with blood was a pair of gauntlets; my fists were more receptive than swords. After that I made a helmet and armor. Crimson blood rolled like mesh to cover my entire body. I literally became a man of blood(血人). Perhaps this was what it would be like to be a knight armed with blood.
The gnoll shaman waved its wand, and a magic flame gathered from all directions to rush toward me. I created a shield, and then together with a ‘Bang!’ sound the shield made of blood blocked the fireball before dissipating.
It was too far away. The gnoll shaman was under the protection of the other gnolls, numbering nearly a thousand. Going close to deliver a blow within a short period of time wasn’t feasible. I could shorten the distance with another leap, but it would be difficult to block every fireball.
And so I made a spear. A single spear for the sole purpose of piercing. After creating it, I immediately hurled it toward the gnoll shaman; it was a javelin.
But it was blocked; the gnoll chief had stood in its way.
I quietly clicked my tongue. What should have been a finishing blow was blocked so they would no doubt be prepared for it. It was hard to expect another surprise attack like this to go through.
I twisted, and twisted again, the blood of the gnolls I hunted and created a long chain. I held the chain with both hands and powerfully swept it across the ground. The smaller-sized gnolls instantly lost their balance and fell over.
Following that I lashed the ground with the chain like a whip. A large groove had appeared on the ground, and the gnolls that were previously there were now mashed beyond the point of recognition. But the chain made of blood couldn’t withstand the strength behind that strike and disappeared. It was shaped using a mere level 1 skill so its durability was a joke, however, there were plenty of gnolls nearby. Plenty of blood. During this 30 minutes, at the least, I would be able to create weapons infinitely.
The gnoll chief roared as he charged at me. It was the final defense that protected the gnoll shaman. I would be able to reach the gnoll shaman in a jiffy, as long as I could get past it.
Finally, I shaped a sword. I knew how to handle all kinds of weapons, but among them I was best at using the sword. But the reason why I hadn’t used the sword from the start was related to my ‘sword art’.
‘Heartless Soul Stealer Blade.’
A sword art created for the sole purpose of attacking. I didn’t know who its creator was; an old man, on the verge of death, who had introduced himself as ‘Rakshasa’ had left me the sword manual. But through this sword manual my skill in the sword had progressed rapidly. Furthermore, I had dozens of years of experience in this sword art, so I was capable of naturally emulating the Heartless Soul Stealer Blade Art just by holding a sword.
It was completely attack-oriented, endlessly consuming stamina to slash open a path, which was why I couldn’t wield the sword for a long period. I had madly focused on this sword art all for the sake of catching up to those genuine geniuses. I would feel awkward whenever I used the sword in any other way, as if my body and my sword weren’t my own.
This was why I didn’t easily use the sword. I only wielded the sword when I absolutely needed to win.
‘If it’s now…’
…then I may be able to properly display the capabilities of the Heartless Soul Stealer Blade, not simply emulating it.
I breathed in deeply, and took a step toward the gnoll chief. Boasting a sturdiness that matched its huge bodily frame, it didn’t seem bothered in the least even after being struck by the spear I’d tossed, however, the moment it met my eyes, it flinched.
‘I’m capable of using it up to the 6th stage.’
But even I had yet to reach the pinnacle of Heartless Soul Stealer Blade. I had only learnt up to its 9 stage out of 12 stages. Indeed, I had considered this as the limitation of a Magic Swordsman.
I should be able to display the sword art up to the 6th stage at present; that was more than enough to face off with the gnoll chief.
The very moment I began using it, my entire body blurred; I accelerated like a phantom. This sword art which was centered around speed and offense wasn’t simple. It was a true ‘Martial Art’ which contained the methods to utilizing the entirety of the body; to detect the very motions of the breath, beating of the heart, and even the small vibrations of trembling skin and bone, thereby taking control of the surrounding ‘space’.
Right at this very moment, the gnoll chief was controlled within my space. I synchronized my breathing, heart beat and the like with the gnoll chief, making it impossible for it to see through me. And at that moment, I dashed within its reach.
Blood splattered, and just like that, a head was sent flying above.
I didn’t stop there. I re-shaped the broken sword and began mercilessly slaughtering the gnolls. I controlled their life and death, as long as they were within my space.
The gnoll shaman wildly continued to throw fireballs at me, but they weren’t allowed to explode; I raised my sword and cleaved through them. The flames lost strength and dissipated when I cut the fireballs exactly into two halves, and the gnoll shaman retreated falteringly.
‘First to strike wins.’
Staying in control of every aspect of myself and my opponent was much too straining on my stamina and my mental strength. It was possible that I may even collapse before the time limit was up.
I coolly studied my surroundings before making a beeline toward the gnoll shaman. The nearby gnolls attempted to block me, but the mere likes of gnolls weren’t capable of stopping me as I was now.
<’Cold-blood’ has leveled up from 1->2.>
The duration and destructive power of shaped blood is increased by a small amount.
<’Heartless Soul Stealer Blade(6th Stage) has been added to the skill line.>
The messages that popped up didn’t even enter my eyes.
I merely slashed, slashed, and slashed again. I was in a state of trance.
I was able to lop off the gnoll shaman’s head before the time limit was up. As the gnoll shaman that controlled them disappeared, the remaining hundreds of gnolls scattered on the spot and began to flee.
[Battle has ended.]
[5,600pt has been obtained.]
[The title ‘Merciless Gnoll Slaughterer(Lv3)’ has been promoted to ‘Gnoll Annihilator(Lv5).]
Everything I had created out of blood fell apart, returning to regular blood, and pooled on the ground.
I collapsed onto both my knees, breathing raggedly.
“Hu! I am impressed. You handled the power I lent as if it were your own. I shall compliment you on that.”
Jörmungandr approached me. The way she spoke was as if complimenting me was something amazing. But assuming that she was indeed that being which had once swallowed the world, it didn’t feel bad.
Syria took up a spot next to her, and immediately began healing me. The small wounds I’d received were being healed, but nothing could be done about the stamina and mental strength I’d expended.
Syria had her mouth shut tight. She was feeling fear, because my display of strength must have resembled a demon from hell.
Jörmungandr said to Syria,
“Pitiful creature. But you are praiseworthy. It should be hard for the likes of an ordinary human to take in his power.”
I stood up with difficulty.
“There are people…captured. The gnoll shaman kept them confined. I have to go and save them.”
I managed to peek into its memory as I killed the gnoll shaman. They had Minshik and the Chinese siblings confined for the sake of a ritual of the gnolls. Fortunately they weren’t far; 5 minutes away at most. But the ritual was about to begin.
My eyes lost focus, and following that my mind began blanking out.
“I leave the rest…”
I was barely able to speak a few words as I looked toward Syria. I didn’t know about other people, but Syria could be trusted.
Syria’s urgent voice was the last thing I heard before I let go of my consciousness.
[The time limit of ‘Forced Awakening’ has come to an end.]
[Entering ‘Forced Sleep’. It will last for 240 hours.]
[‘Transfer(???)’ has been activated.]
For those who are wondering about release rate, we will try for a daily release schedule for this novel so 1chapter/day is our aim.