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I stretched my left arm towards the monster, with its disgusting teeth bared towards me. On my crossbow, I can shoot 3 bolts consecutively and with the bolts sharpened with mana, it had the power to pierce through iron.
Ping! Ping! Ping!
The bolts cut through the air with a loud shriek. In a little while, it homed in and pierced the monster on its head. But…
Tung! Tung! Tung!
The bolts I fired clanged futilely against the monster, it could not penetrate the Boss monster’s skin. But that did not mean it did no damage. The Boss monster flinched as the magic reverberated internally throughout its body.
Though the bolt held a sliver of magic, it was several times stronger than normal. Yet the effect on the Boss monster was minimal. I began to seriously contemplate what the Angel was thinking putting such a thing in the Rite of Passage. But with the bolts, I fulfilled my purpose. The Boss monster had stalled.
The Boss monster reeled in the aftershock and it curled on itself further. Deciding to ask Seraph about the overpowered Boss later, I turned and ran after my party. They were still running as hard as they could. There were only a 100 meters left between the party and the Warp Gate. While I wasn’t certain about my chances, the party was safe now.
Starting my run, I felt as if something was wrong. I hadn’t inflicted much of a wound and the monster should have recovered already. But I couldn’t hear the monster stomping after us. I suddenly recalled the Mankey from the battle yesterday. The Boss monster had curled up in a similar fashion. I heard the wind being buffeted behind me as I began to suspect what it was preparing to do.
My suspicion became a reality. The Boss monster was quite shrewd and cautious, already having come to the realisation that at this rate it wouldn’t manage to capture one of us. When the monster curled up, it wasn’t due to the shock but rather it was preparing to jump.
A large shadow covered the whole area. The Boss monster was now ahead of me, leering at the still running party. An-hyun was at the forefront, while Han-byeol and Yu-jung were right behind him. An-sol was several steps behind, lacking the stamina to catch up. The three in the front might be fine but An-sol was within a dangerous distance from the Boss monster.
I didn’t even have a chance to shout out a warning. The Boss monster arced and landed just behind An-hyun and the party. The ground shook and loud cracking peal rang out, creating a strong tremor that staggered An-hyun. A white static noise filled my head as I observed this scene.
And at that moment, a message appeared in front of my eyes.
Latent Ability Mind’s Eye (Rank: A Plus) was invoked.
Seeing beyond the outward appearance, a mind’s eye to see the target’s inner being. Self-contemplation, the observation of all creation, the ability to detect or call forth similar phenomenon. With the heart governed by an iron fist, the principal can keep calm under the influence of mental pollution magic below S Rank.
The burning sensation in my head quickly cooled in an instant. That white, blanked mind was starting to spin with cold rational reason. My previously narrow view began to expand and I saw things that I couldn’t have seen before.
And then, I laughed. I laughed out loud.
What was it that I was worrying about till now? This was insignificant to I, who had face greater hardship and pain. I had no fear, pushing myself to the utmost limit. I tried my best within the boundaries of possibility. This was my creed I lived by the first time I played Hall Plain.
There was no time for weakness in Hall Plain. People had perished before they could bloom because they showed off their strength and abilities. I vowed to never expose myself like these people. I lived in complete obscurity, where no one knew I was a Sword Master with nothing more than 48 Magic points. Having operated with such compulsive concept for ten years in Hall Plain, it had become a habit.
If obscurity was still required, I would follow through with it. But then, nothing would be different. Using the same method would beget the same result.
I couldn’t protect my hyung and the Clan Lord I believed in, the one that I followed and loved, died right in front of me. My regret was palpable. I didn’t want to follow the same road twice. I had returned to the past to change the outcome. I wanted to change.
Analysing the battle, I calculated for the most optimum action. Estimating the exact amount of mana required and formulating an efficient plan. No longer did I plan to hide myself. If necessary, I acted. Could be troubling if I was discovered but the solution was simple. Don’t get caught. I was confident with my skills to get away with it.
Not even a second later I finished my analysis, establishing An-sol’s status and location. My very first task was to aggro the Boss monster. The monster’s bulk hid me from the prying eyes of my party. I raised my mana and prepared a magic bolt that could pierce the monster’s skin. No longer needing to pretend my aiming, I fired off the bolt immediately.
Ping! Ping! Ping!
Feeling my killing intent, the monster startled and turned its head to look back. However, the bolts flew off with a speed that was on a whole different level and pierced the Boss monster’s chest. But there was still one more thing.
Pung! Pung! Pung!
The bolts swirling with mana destroyed its skin and bit into its flesh with an explosive sound. The effect was immediate.
Is it painful? It should be. I ran swiftly as the Boss monster began to shriek in pain. Utilising my Third Eye, I saw the party except for An-sol running and stumbling along. They hadn’t realised yet that An-sol had lagged behind. Still within expectation, rather this was better for me...
Wait. An-hyun just stopped.
“Sol! Sol! Answer me!”
An-hyun had just noticed An-sol wasn’t with them and was calling for her anxiously. That dumb idiot. I increased my speed and the distance between the monster and I decreased in a flash. Having seen my running toward it, the Boss monster raised its large hand sky high, its entire being trembling in rage.
I had reduced the intensity of the attack to keep it alive and that damn ingrate doesn’t know the mercy I bestowed as the monster slammed its hand toward me. The hand came at me sharply and quickly. Anyone who was watching would be quaking in their boots but to me, it was moving at a painfully slow pace.
Keeping my fast pace, I kicked the ground for an extra push. I bent my knees and tried to keep my upper body parallel to the ground. Immediately large fingers brushed past my face but only a few strands of my hair flew by. I had completely avoided the Boss monster’s attack and managed to get within. A perfectly clean slide. I soon saw An-sol clutching the ground with both her hand as she coughed loudly.
This dense cloud of dust must have lifted when the Boss monster landed from its jump. I would have usually moved into comfort and reassure An-sol but this wasn’t the time or the place. Moving next to her quickly, I picked her up in a princess carry. She was startled by my presence and asked shakily.
“Su… Su-hyun Oppa…?”
“Shush. Let’s get away from this bastard first.”
Firing off the bolts I had loaded while running, I didn’t wait to see the results as I jumped head first into the dust cloud. Hearing the Boss monster giving out another painful shriek, I must have hit the mark.
An-sol expression was something to see. Her eyes were filled with tears as she stared at me like I was her Messiah. Looking ahead, I saw Yu-jung and Han-byeol were trying their best to dissuade An-hyun from turning back around. But when An-hyun saw me coming out of the dust cloud, his jaws fell wide open in disbelief.
To see An-hyun’s expression change in such myriad of emotion was a funny thing to watch. First, that look of stupefaction, then relief which soon turned to one that was on the verge of tears. Any rate now the siblings could start a crying party. I kept on running, cursing the sheer stupidity of it all.
At that moment, I saw Han-byeol shouting desperately and I felt something cold brush my back. That bastard had no plans to send us off easy, as it was using its tail as a whip to catch my back. I could survive getting hit by that writhing tail but An-sol won’t be able to handle it.
I was filled with the desire to kill this thing as no one in Hall Plain had done it yet. Killing the Boss monster would be quite an achievement and there might be some kind of reward for defeating it. Another reason was the desire to Solo a Boss monster. For such an outcome I needed to separate myself with the party and so I decided to take the hit from the monster.
My back was soon smashed by the monster’s tail. With a thud, the force pushed through my back. While it wasn’t painful I felt like I was going to be catapulted off the ground due to the force. ‘Felt like it’ because the force wasn’t going anywhere.
Rousing my mana, I counteracted and fought against force within my body. The basic principle was using a small amount of force to control a greater power. Through this principle, I could control or divide the force exerting on my body. This technique was mostly used to diminish the force I couldn’t control by spreading it out throughout my body but in other times I had used it like I did now.
Controlling the force within a tolerable level that An-sol could withstand, I let the residual force lift us off the ground. I shifted the residual force to my left and before we separated I whispered into An-sol’s ear.
“Get up as fast as you can and head straight for the Warp Gate.”
Our bodies were violently thrown apart. I was thrown to the left while An-sol flew in the direction of the party. I am not sure if it was An-sol’s Luck points acting up again but she landed straight into An-hyun’s embrace.
I scrambled to get up as soon as I landed. There was something fundamentally different about the Boss and the monsters that appeared in the Rite of Passage. The Boss monster had recognised the danger I was and leapt for me without dropping its guard. The Boss monster’s whole body exuded killing intent. I seemed to have successfully aggroed it.
With the explosive sound, the earth shook heavily. My body shook violently but I had avoided its attack. That made the monster angrier as it began trying to squash me with its feet.
THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!
WWHHHHAAAAT! Well, that was how I wanted to respond but I wanted to keep the image of that cool and silent Oppa so I kept my mouth shut. I would have usually waved my hand and said I was okay but this wasn’t the time. I signalled them to keep running but the party wouldn’t budge. I shouted at the top of my voice.
“Fly, you fools! Run to the Warp Gaaatttteee!”
There was some commotion as I saw An-hyun running while forcefully dragging along a defiant Han-byeol. Man, that guy. He ran back for An-sol without hesitation and now he's running for the Warp Gate without hesitation. When I was about to click my tongue in disapproval, I had to quickly jump to the left. This bastard was still at it with its feet.
My temper was rising as I dodged attacks from this worthless piece of shit. But I kept my cool because once the kids were gone, this thing was going to experience a serious beat down. With the constant thumping of the monster’s foot, dust covered the whole area.
Wanting a clear view clouded by the dust, I used my mana to erased traces of myself and slipped behind the monster. I disappeared from the Boss monster’s senses. Having no eyes, the monster became frantic as it searched for me. I stared impassively for a moment before I turned my head towards the party.
Fortunately enough, An-hyun seems to have succeeded dragging Han-byeol along as all four of them had reached the Warp Gate. An-hyun’s hair was dishevelled, probably Han-byeol’s doing. To be honest, it was rather hilarious.
The Warp Gate came alive, with blue mana tremoring as a translucent barrier surrounded them. Their transfer to the Summon Room was starting. I breathed a sigh of relief as faint blue light gently surrounded them. One major part was finished.
The only thing left...
I quickly threw myself on the ground as I saw the dust cloud had clear slightly. I wanted to avoid any argument of why I hadn’t run for the Warp Gate. With Han-byeol’s cold deduction I wanted to use the Boss monster’s tail as an excuse.
The dust cloud had completely settled. The intensity of the blue light surrounding the party had increased. Starting from their feet, they were slowly being erased. Still flat on the ground, I raised my hand toward them. There wasn’t any meaning behind it other than signalling them I would see them later.
But… An-hyun wiped his eyes with his hands. Yu-jung had flopped to the ground (it was amazing to see someone sitting down without their feets) crying. Han-byeol had covered her face with her hands, her shoulds shaking while An-sol was waving her hand, shedding tears in my direction.
Wh, What? I never meant to make them cry…
33 is done but still fixing up the chapter so it should be out in couple of hours.