Regression; to return to one’s origins. My consciousness, my true self. Me, who decided to regress in spite of being the last remaining hero out of despair…to Hansung Oh’s body.
I felt my mind jolt. After a fleeting moment lasting 0.1 seconds, or perhaps even less, I regained comfort again. Filled with the strong conviction of having returned, I opened my eyes and was greeted by a different scene and atmosphere than before.
I was in a room colored in white, laying on top of a snow-white bed. A small sun was shining beyond the white curtains of this room.
‘This must be a hospital.’
An IV drip was inserted in my forearm. My whole body was rigid as if stiff, but my eyes alone were gazing steadily exactly toward the front.
The scene wasn’t all that had changed.
[Spirit synchronization rate with ‘Uriel Diablo’ has reached 69%.]
[‘Stygian Touch(Lv1)’ skill has been created.]
[Potential has increased due to increased synchronization rate with an overwhelming being.]
[4,000 points has been obtained.]
[Points are being synchronized. Remaining points 17,470.]
Was it because the synchronization rate increased? The time I spent as Uriel Diablo felt a little more vivid than a dream. The feeling was definitely different from before.
Moreover…I obtained a skill; Stygian Touch. An atrocious magic that summoned a black space and infinite hands of death that took the lives of whatever was touched. ‘Stygian Touch’ wasn’t an Authority, unlike Mind’s Eye and Dominator. Perhaps that being the case, it was granted to me as Lv1. But even if two skills had the same level, each had their respective ‘ranks’.
I attentively stared at the message regarding the skill, and an explanation automatically popped up.
Overall S Rank. Has a mana efficiency of (Max Lv*2+Magic Power).
『Summons the souls of the damned from within the abyss. They, who exude death and hatred, suck the very life energy out of any living things with but a mere touch. These souls are rumoured to belong to those killed by Uriel Diablo.』
The mana efficiency was extremely high. To be able to use a skill with no loss in mana, and with an efficiency of skill level multiplied by 2, was literally a ‘cheat’. By nature, almost all offensive, defensive, healing and other type of skills would suffer a loss in mana during use. Moreover, The amount of magic power added to the end result would only be equivalent to the skill level at best. But Stygian Touch was nothing like that.
‘I never expected to obtain this…’
It would have been a huge cause for celebration if I had obtained ‘Black Star’, but frankly, obtaining Stygian Touch was enough to send me over the moon. The number of people who possessed S rank skills could be counted on one hand, even among humanity. There may have been a few intentionally concealing them, but that’s how it was as far as I knew.
For starters, I myself had never obtained an S rank skill before. I had countless A rank skills, but this was a characteristic of the ‘Magic Swordsman’ after all. A Magic Swordsman couldn’t learn S rank skills, no matter how hard he grovelled. In exchange, any skill below that rank could be learned regardless of element. That’s why it could cover its flaws as a class, but that’s all. I wouldn’t have been able to learn Heartless Soul Stealer Blade either if it weren’t for it being a no rating skill. And yet…
‘They say you never know what life has in store for you…’
Unlike my past self, I became able to learn S rank skills. It still belonged to Uriel Diablo, but what would have happened if I had the ‘Magic Swordsman’ class and not ‘Universal Man’?
‘I probably couldn’t have learned it.’
I was certain of it. Its rank would have been either automatically downgraded, or I may have simply been unable to learn it.
I clenched my fist tightly, the veins on it swelling, and rapidly bulging. My ears almost felt tickled by my loud heart beats
I slowly raised my hand and drew a cross mark in midair.
[Updating User Information.]
Name: Hansung Oh
Occupation: Universal Man
🌑 Gnoll Annihilator (Lv5, Con+7)
Special Note: Synchronization rate with Uriel Diablo is at 69%. Jörmungandr has awakened.
Skills: Mind’s Eye(Lv9), Dominator(Lv9), Transfer(???), Heartless Soul Stealer Blade(6th Stage), Cold Blood(Lv2), Stygian Touch(Lv1)
Equipped Gear: Jörmungandr(Lv2, Int/Mag+5)
My physical stats had significantly increased; perhaps a result of going through battle after undergoing the contract with Jörmungandr and forced awakening. But the penalty of ‘-10 potential’ I should have incurred was nowhere to be seen. It had increased, on the contrary.
‘My potential rises the more my synchronization with Uriel Diablo increases?’
It had been no more than a guess previously, but now I had experienced it twice. Thanks to that, I’ve become convinced of it to a certain extent: My potential will rise if I increase my synchronization rate with him!
I felt thrills run up and down my spine. I felt cold all over as I experienced a bout of shivers. If I were to complete the synchronization to 100%, would my potential reach 500 like his? If so, this was an extraordinary event, more so compared to obtaining an S rank skill!
Having high potential didn’t necessarily mean one could max it, of course. One would require a corresponding amount of effort and luck. That’s how it was in the case of magic power. But I had found a solution for that as well.
I had earned much through a single Transfer. An S rank skill, a higher potential than before, and even a method for body modification. And besides that, soon the white dragon Etaqua would belong to me, yours truly!
“Hmm, so you have awoken.”
A woman appeared next to me as if she popped out of thin air.
Mind-blowing beauty. Predatory eyes like a hunting snake’s.
It was Jörmungandr.
Jörmungandr was wearing a white t-shirt that slightly exposed her navel, and a top pants. Already she gave off an atmosphere of having ‘completely adapted’.
“What a indecent look you have. Is my transformation so surprising?”
“How much time has passed?”
“10 days. You have slept for exactly 10 days. During that time I have explored the world of this era. Words fail to express my surprise. I marveled at the iron carriages roving about in place of carriages pulled by horses, and never had I imagined that humans would end up creating an object that soared through the skies. It was rather amusing when I watched Icarus burning to death after challenging the sun, however…”
Jörmungandr recounted her experiences one by one. Most of what she said was similar; unceasing surprises, an age of wonders. I couldn’t help but make a serious expression, however.
“Hang on. You went out into the city? You haven’t caused any problems have you?”
“Hmph, who do you think I am. I made temporary use of your maidservant.”
Maidservant? Did she mean Syria?
I thought back. Now that I recall, I had asked for Syria’s help most recently.
“I don’t see Syria though?”
“I left her behind, so she will soon be arriving. I must say, males never change whether it be then or now.”
I tilted my head in confusion at hearing her say ‘male.
Finally, a young woman entered the room together with a ‘slam!’ sound.
“Ha, Hansung-nim. You’ve woken up. Gasp! Gasp!”
Syria was breathing raggedly. She must have rushed over by the looks of her disheveled appearance.
“Are, are you feeling well now?”
“You look worse for wear than I do.”
Syria glanced fiercely at Jörmungandr. She looked entirely different to her usual silent and mostly inexpressive self. She must have suffered greatly during these past 10 days.
“Syria. Can you fill me in on what happened during the time I was asleep?”
Was my assimilation with Uriel Diablo affecting me? I felt like my manner of speech had become slightly stiff. I shook my head right after, however. It didn’t matter in front of these two. I was also in a single-room in this hospital. There was no way Minshik had the money to reserve a hospital room, so it must have been Syria’s doing.
Syria collected her breathing as she spoke.
“After saving the three in the cave, we somehow made it to the ‘Gate’. It was thanks to Jör-nim and the gnolls helping. Thankfully, my butler got hold of a hospital immediately after that so you could receive treatment right away.”
The butler must be Royce. He was the sole person to stand by Syria’s side until the very end after all.
“What about the other three? Have they yet to wake?”
Syria shook her head at my question.
“Their treatment ended 5 days ago. They started getting busy right after waking up. Ah, don’t worry. I didn’t say a word regarding Hansung-nim.”
Syria had promised to keep my secret. The other side of myself I’d revealed was also included in that secret.
I didn’t need to worry much. She was a trustworthy person. One thing bothered me, however.
“Shouldn’t they have been suspicious?”
“They were nothing but human males in the end. Pitiful dogs that could not even utter a word in my presence.”
It was Jörmungandr. She had continued to maintain the form of a human. She was the third-party that Minshik didn’t know of. Jörmungandr must have stepped up and roughly smoothed things over.
Finally, Jörmungandr approached me and slowly stroked my chin.
“In any case, you. The aura of the other ‘power of the king’ within you has grown stronger. And also…you seem to have contracted quite the fine fellows. Huhu, I look forward to it. For your strength is as good as mine.”
Jörmungandr wasn’t aware that I had gone to the ‘abyss’ and became ‘Uriel Diablo. She merely made vague guesses that’s all. Moreover, it seemed that Igneel and Etaqual were definitely of amazing stock to be able to receive a praise from Jörmungandr calling them ‘fine’. She was a being that once enveloped the entire world after all.
I slapped aside Jörmungandr’s hand and spoke to Syria.
“I want to leave the hospital.”
“There were no problems on your examination result so you should be able to leave right away.”
Syria took out several clothes from the shopping back next to the door. It was clothing for men, and even the size matched with me.
I casually changed clothes, and went through the procedures of leaving the hospital. I couldn’t afford to continue staying at a hospital when I wasn’t even injured.
“Holy, did he save the country in his past life or what?”
I drew the attention of everyone in the lobby as I entered. On either side of me was Syria and Jörmungandr. Syria appeared pure and innocent, and Jörmungandr had an aura that overwhelmed her surroundings. Originally, a requirement of beauty definitely existed among the conditions to be titled as Saintess, while Jörmungandr wasn’t a human so I could understand people being surprised. Perhaps Jörmungandr going on and on about ‘males’ was referring to this.
‘They certainly do stand out.’
Since time immemorial, having beauties closeby would draw the ire of others. This was an unchanging truth. Especially when the world fell into anarchy, it became hell on earth. The powerless holding on to beauty was a sin in itself.
I scratched my head hard.
It was different now. The world hadn’t yet fallen into anarchy. Only, I had no choice but to deliberate over the events to come. Even I couldn’t predict where I would go from hereon. It will be a pilgrimage of tribulations.
‘Syria should go together with Minshik.’
She could be my hidden informant, and it would be safer that way compared to going with me. I had already experienced danger once, from now I would act with even more prudence.
‘Rakshasa Mountain is no walk in the palk.’
Above all, a Gate leading to Rakshasa Mountain had appeared in Daejeon. Etaqua was inside there. Rakshasa Mountain was safe up to the halfway-point, but the danger level drastically rose from that point onwards. What’s more, there not a single person to have climbed to the ‘summit’ of Rakshasa Mountain. No matter how much one climbed this mountain, the summit would never come into sight. That was Rakshasa Mountain.
‘This time…I’ll reach the summit no matter the cost.’
The place where I had obtained the Heartless Soul Stealer Blade. It was like destiny calling to me. I resolved to myself that I would climb to the summit this time for once.
My stomach released a thundering growl, putting my resolve to shame.
Shaking my head, I said,
“I should eat first.”