It was an orc with dense muscles and a height close to two meters. The orc originally had a necklace, the Symbol of the Meadow. It was the orc that had given Hyeonu his only defeat since starting Arena. The master of all these titles—it was Meadow Fighter, Dakan.
‘Of course, it isn’t actually him.’
Hyeonu speculated that this test only implemented the data of Dakan and that it wasn’t actually Dakan. Dakan of the Black Forest couldn’t actually appear here. At this moment, there was a voice that turned Hyeonu’s speculation into reality.
-The summoned race is a chimera created using the memories of the students who came to Laek as its base. It might be weaker or stronger than the original race.
‘There is some good news in the misfortune.’
It was unfortunate that it was Dakan that appeared from among the orcs, dark elves, dwarves, and lycanthropes, but it was fortunate that this Dakan could be weaker.
‘What if he is stronger?’
Then it would be the worst. Originally, Dakan was a strong opponent for the current Hyeonu. It was ridiculous if he became stronger.
-Shout ‘start’ to begin the Stage 8 test, and the duel with the other race will begin.
Hyeonu realized that he had to do his best. It was time to bring out his own secret weapon. “Come out, Tang-E.”
Tang-E, Hyeonu’s secret weapon, appeared. Appearing with a colorful magic circle, Tang-E glanced around him before racing to Hyeonu. “Master dude, did you finally stop hunting? You did, right?”
Tang-E was relieved when he saw the landscape had changed. ‘I don’t have to hunt anymore.’
“By the way, where is this place? I don’t think it is the Black Forest, so why is this uncle here? Are you fighting with Uncle again?” Tang-E continued to wonder.
Hyeonu quickly answered the key point in Tang-E’s words, “This isn’t Dakan. It is a copy, a type of dummy made for the test.”
Tang-E nodded like he understood Hyeonu’s words. “Then Master dude should go ahead and defeat that copy. I’ve had a hard time and will take a break.’
Tang-E sat down the moment he finished talking. Then he waved his paws at Hyeonu.
‘I have to put up with it. I...’
“I’m not telling you to fight. Just buff me.”
Hyeonu thought it was good that he was wearing a mask. Otherwise, Tang-E would’ve seen his face and known he was lying again. However, due to the mask, Tang-E didn’t see Hyeonu’s expression and buffed him.
[You have received Bear’s Momentum.]
[Physique has increased.]
[Strength has increased.]
[You have received the Forest’s Blessing.]
[Defense has increased.]
[Health will continue to recover.]
Once Hyeonu saw he had received the buffs, he swung his fists at Tang-E’s head.
“Ouch. It hurts.”
“Next time you should go out first. The pet shouldn’t stay back while the master is hunting.”
“Damn Master dude, you’re dirty. That’s why you don’t have a woman. Damn Master.”
Tang-E remained strong in the face of Hyeonu. He leaned against one side of the wall and patted his stomach. His posture was as comfortable as lying on a riverbank.
‘Sigh, that damn pet.’ Hyeonu sighed as he walked toward the fake that had the appearance of Dakan. Once he was five meters away from the orc, Hyeonu’s mouth opened, “Start.”
Starting with Hyeonu’s words, the orc started to move. “Chwik!”
This was the real beginning of Stage 8.
[Master of Combat is activated.]
[Your stats have increased.]
[The stat ‘fighting energy’ has caused your stats to rise.]
[The other party is stronger than you.]
[Your stats have increased.]
[Mindset of a Murderer has activated.]
[All stats have increased by 15%.]
Once Hyeonu pulled out the half-sword, the system recognized he was in a combat situation and the skills were activated.
‘Let’s take a look first.’
Hyeonu gently swung the sword like it was a whip. Then a dark sword energy was fired from Hyeonu’s single-edged sword. The orc, that was based on Dakan, quickly swung his weapon at Hyeonu’s sword energy. Surprisingly, the orc neutralized Hyeonu’s sword energy without any impact.
‘He seems to be at least level 180. He can also manifest sword energy since I don’t see the effect of repulsion.’
Hyeonu started to evaluate the orc with this one move. The more the attacks and defenses continued, the more detailed the evaluation became. The moment the evaluation became perfect was the moment when the orc collapsed.
‘This is a great opportunity. How long has it been since I fought a humanoid monster?’
Hyeonu couldn’t remember the last time he fought a humanoid monster, especially in close combat. Perhaps the last time was when he fought against Lebron. He fought a lot of rankers in Masked Fighting King, but that was it. There was no tension or feeling of joy. They didn’t have the skills to make him reveal himself. However, it seemed possible with this orc.
Hyeonu’s sword energy and the orc’s broadsword collided. It sounded like a bomb had detonated. In the confrontation between the two, it was Hyeonu who was pushed back.
‘He is ignorant and strong.’
Hyeonu’s attack power was no different from all the warrior classes in Arena. Due to the defense penetration option, Hyeonu was better than everyone else in terms of output. That was only when the attack was successful. If he were fighting a humanoid monster like this, he wouldn’t be able to take full advantage of his attack power unless the opponent was a fool and took the offense head on.
‘However, what if things change?’
[Giant’s Power has been used.]
[Your strength stat has increased.]
[Giant's Nature has been used.]
[Your strength stat has increased.]
Hyeonu was unable to overcome the shock and flew away. Then he used his giant skills. His strength stat rose in an instant. Hyeonu’s body was full of pleasant energy.
“Haap!” Hyeonu once again swung the half-sword toward the orc. This was an action with the same trajectory as before, but the results were different. It was an overwhelming victory. The orc’s body was thrown back extremely hard. However, the impact didn’t seem to be too great, and the orc quickly rushed back toward Hyeonu.
The orc fought hard, but Hyeonu wasn’t a fool. There was no reason to counter such attacks. Hyeonu stepped back and dodged the orc’s attacks. The orc’s strike only hit the innocent ground.
At the next moment, Hyeonu kicked off from the ground. It was really exquisite timing. The orc was forced to allow Hyeonu’s attack. A solid line was drawn over the orc’s shoulders, and blood burst from the gap like a fountain.
[The illusion monster has received the abnormal condition ‘bleeding’.]
Crasul’s Curse kept the blood flowing from the orc’s wounds, and it started to flow with a stronger force. Yet the orc just kept swinging his broadsword at Hyeonu, seeming like he did not care about his wounds.
‘I think he is faster than before?’ It wasn’t Hyeonu’s imagination. The orc was indeed different from before. He was growing faster and stronger over time.
‘What are the characteristics? The lower his health, the higher his stats?’ Hyeonu calmly grasped the state of the orcs. ‘Still, I’m not being pushed. I should end this quickly.’
The remaining time for the giant skills was two minutes. If he didn’t finish it in two minutes, then he might not be able to withstand the orc’s attack power once the giant skills disappeared.
‘It can’t be helped.’
Hyeonu realized it was time to use Cursed Spear, which he had been saving for the remaining two stages. At this moment, Hyeonu disappeared. It was the Mysterious Sky Steps from the Mysterious Sky Demonic Art. The location Hyeonu reappeared in was behind the orc. Hyeonu held a large spear in his hand, and he stabbed it into the orc’s back without hesitation.
[The illusion monster has received the abnormal condition ‘bleeding.’]
Crasul’s Curse was cast once again. This time, bleeding was applied. In addition to the original wound on the shoulder, blood now flowed from the opponent’s abdomen.
“Kuaack!” The first scream emerged from the orc’s mouth. The orc was full of anger as he swung his sword.
‘It is just a doll compared to the level.’
Hyeonu prepared for the final blow against the orc. He was nervous for a moment before he thought the doll was Dakan. Then this made him laugh. The black crescent sword energy cut through the orc’s body. The duel with the Stage 8 monster was over.
-You have passed the given test perfectly. Compensation will be paid before moving on to Stage 9.
[Experience has been acquired.]
[The ‘fighting energy’ state has been acquired.]
[You already have the ‘fighting energy’ stat.]
[Your fighting energy stat has risen by 100.]
[Your strength stat has increased by 10.]
[Your agility stat has increased by 10.]
[Your physique stat has increased by 10.]
[Your magic power stat has increased by 10.]
The rewards were enormous. Fighting energy was at 197, and it rose to 297. The fighting energy stat, which only rose by one or two after countless hunting, increased by 100 points in a flash. It was something that only occasionally rose when he leveled up or defeated boss monsters. Additionally, all other stats gained 10 points.
“The rewards are really generous. I wish I could break two or three more dungeons like this...”
He was just regretful he didn’t get any skills or items. Hyeonu seemed to be sitting on intangible rewards and felt a bit disappointed.
“There are still two stages left. I might get something there.”
Hyeonu now entered the gate in a familiar manner. There were only two stages remaining.
Stage 9 was no different from Stage 8. It was a blocked arena area just like when he first entered the dungeon.
“What will come out this time? Tang-E, do you know?”
“It should be similar to when you fought Uncle, so won’t it be another fight? Master dude, think about it. This is why I hear that Master dude is stupid.”
Hyeonu grabbed his head that was getting dizzy from Tang-E’s bombardment of facts and asked, “Who said I was stupid?”
“It’s me. Stupid Master dude.”
Hyeonu eventually couldn’t bear it and swung his fists.
During the time when Hyeonu and Tang-E were arguing, a polite voice rang through the space, -Welcome to Stage 9. Stage 9 is the gateway to the heart of iron and blood. There has always been the betrayal of a loved one throughout history. Gain a heart of iron and blood through a battle with a precious person.
“Precious person? Who will appear?”
Numerous names popped into Hyeonu’s head. A fallen father and a mother who cared for such a father...Yeongchan, Yeongjun, Yuri...There were also people he made a connection with in Arena.
Soon, a human form started to take shape. Based on the outline, they were quite tall. They seemed to be at least 180 centimeters tall.
‘It isn’t my mother or father because they aren’t this tall.’
Hyeonu was relieved. It was impossible for him to fight against his mother or father. Finally, the full picture of the person was revealed. After seeing it, Hyeonu’s spirit flew up like Archimedes who had discovered the principle of gravity.
“A huge profit!”