Necromancer Before Awakening Chapter 11

Episode 11. The First Gate Hunting (1)

After the briefing ended, 15 minutes later, the gate hunting officially began. Based on the characteristics of their classes, they formed a formation led by the knight class with high defense, Kim Ho-myung, and entered the gate in succession.

Woong-

As they passed through the gate that floated in the air like a water mirror, a humid and steamy tropical jungle appeared. Having been briefed beforehand and dressed in long sleeves and pants to avoid bug bites, their clothes quickly became soaked with sweat.

“Phew- now it really begins.” Bae Deok-ho muttered as he fluttered his clothes.

Just as Kang Ji-ye entered the gate, the floating gate disappeared as if it had been waiting for her arrival.

At that moment, Kim Ho-myung, who was at the forefront and responsible for the vanguard, suddenly blocked the front with his shield.

Boom-!

“What, what?! Already?”

“Be careful. It seems we’ve been spotted.”

When Kang Sa-hu spoke quietly, Bae Deok-ho shut his mouth.

‘Has the attack started already?’ Bae Deok-ho was surprised, and Kang Sa-hu glanced at him but soon averted his gaze.

During this time, Lee Yu-rim had already drawn her dagger and attacked a forest lizard that had been knocked away by Kim Ho-myung’s shield.

Keh-eek.

The lizard’s neck was severed in one stroke, and the decapitated lizard thrashed its legs before ultimately collapsing.

However, this signaled the beginning, as fully-grown lizards, as big as Jindo dogs, began appearing, climbing up the trees.

“Damn it. We’re surrounded.”

“Everyone, be careful!”

Kim Ho-myung and Lee Yu-rim shouted in succession, and at their voices, the lizards just stared with their mouths agape.

Chaak!

“Yikes! What is that!”

“Serious.”

“Ah, really!”

Kang Ji-ye, intending to glare at Kang Sa-hu, who spitefully spoke when no answer was needed, had to duck quickly as tongues poured out from everywhere.

However, Kang Sa-hu remained unaffected by the onslaught of tongues, standing still.

“Brother, what are you doing?!”

When Kang Ji-ye shouted in surprise, suddenly, five zombie-like giant hounds appeared around Kang Sa-hu.

Tagagagak! Ke-eek!

Before they could even be startled by the sudden appearance of the giant hounds, a Forest Lizard bitten by the tongue screamed.

The lizards that were attached to the trees were pulled down by the tongue to the ground.

Chyahak!

Before the lizards on the ground could even get up, Lee Yu-rim swiftly moved like wind and sliced their necks.

Meanwhile, an arrow shot by Bae Deok-ho accurately pierced the foreheads of the lizards.

“F-grade gate is just like this….”

Lee Yu-rim calmly assessed the monsters’ strength as she easily severed another lizard’s neck.

Although startled at first, it wasn’t hard to cut through their necks.

Kang Sa-hu stared at the messages that appeared before his eyes. The high humidity and temperature accelerated the decay of the zombie-state giant hounds. The Forest Lizard resists entering into the ‘Soul Energy’ state. You can forcefully use the ‘Soul Energy,’ but it will affect its potential and durability.

As Kang Sa-hu looked at the dead Forest Lizard’s corpse, he saw a faint blue energy swirling about. As he thought about using the Soul Energy skill, the energy formed into a bead and moved into Kang Sa-hu’s hand.

If the giant hound’s Soul Energy was the size commonly used for marble games, the Forest Lizard’s Soul Energy was significantly smaller, about the size of a BB pellet.

As Kang Sa-hu focused on the Soul Energy, information similar to that of the giant hound’s Soul Energy came to mind.

[Forest Lizard’s Soul Energy]

– Description: Soul Energy of a Forest Lizard in a [corpse] state.

– Durability: 23/100

– Potential Utilization: 15%

– Grade: F

– Status: Contains the body of the [corpse state]. When summoned, the corpse will appear as well.

The performance of the Forest Lizard’s Soul Energy was significantly less impressive than that of the giant hounds, causing Kang Sa-hu to have a subtle expression.

“Brother! There comes more!”

As he was deep in thought, the urgent voice of Kang Ji-ye reached his ears. Just as she said, more Forest Lizards were seen crawling between the densely packed trees.

“Come on, come on. Let’s keep fighting.”

“Even if it seems easy, don’t let your guard down!”

Encouraged by Bae Deok-ho’s light cheer, Kim Ho-myung answered sharply, setting his shield straight to block the Forest Lizards’ attacks.

Tatatatang!

The shield made a sound like rain falling on a tin roof as it blocked numerous attacks.

However, the attacks didn’t seem very strong, and Kim Ho-myung kept his defensive stance holding the shield with ease.

Kang Sa-hu looked around at each member of the party. Everyone had exceptional abilities, and the monsters were weak opponents. However, since this was their first time operating together, the feeling of everyone acting separately was inevitable.

More than anything, he was concerned about Bae Deok-ho, who seemed to be hiding something as he attacked without using Ki or Mana, which hunters typically use.

Thinking it better not to be concerned about trivial or personal secrets, he let it pass.

“If it’s okay, may I take the lead?”

As Kang Sa-hu spoke, everyone’s attention focused on him. Although they didn’t show it, having seen him summon the giant hounds, they were all hoping Kang Sa-hu would use his powers.

Of course, as a family member and someone who knew about Necromancers, Kang Ji-ye wasn’t thrilled about it.

“Brother, are you going to use magic? You need a soul for that.”

Kang Ji-ye asked in a low voice so others couldn’t hear, but Kang Sa-hu shook his head.

“No, I can also use it with Mana, and there are things I want to test this time.”

Comforted by his calm and composed answer, Kang Ji-ye looked at him in surprise.

Thinking about it, Kang Sa-hu had neither been startled nor confused even when facing these monstrous creatures for the first time since entering the gate. Rather, he even had the leisure to jokingly tease her in the midst of fear.

“…Well. I know your nickname in the necromancer society quite well. Maybe I was worrying too much.”

Kang Ji-ye chuckled as she mentioned his nickname from the Necromancer Society, and Kang Sa-hu gave a small laugh.

“These guys don’t seem stronger than those dogs. I understand their ranks are one step higher.”

“If we use them, it seems we could easily take the upper hand. But,” Euirim said, guarding against the approaching Forest Lizards.

Homyoung Kim and Deokho Bae were also waiting for Sangsa Hu’s action with expectant looks.

“Did Hunter Sangsa Hu just volunteer to step forward? Does that mean he’ll take the lead in forming positions and giving orders?” Homyoung Kim asked.

Sangsa Hu nodded in response.

“Yes, that’s correct.”

Homyoung Kim twitched his eyebrows at the clear answer but didn’t continue and gripped his shield tightly instead.

“Alright, let’s proceed that way. So, what should we do now?”

Deokho Bae spoke as if urging Sangsa Hu to give a command, and Hu smoothly directed everyone.

“Since I’ve already prepared almost perfect positions beforehand, it won’t be much different from before. However, for me to use my abilities comfortably, it would be best for everyone to move towards that tree.”

Sangsa Hu pointed to a large tree with tangled roots that seemed to form a cave.

“If Deokho Bae, Euirim Lee, and Jiye move into the rooted area, then Homyoung Kim should be able to protect us more easily.”

“Hold on. I’ll fight too.”

Euirim, feeling as if she was left out of the combat troop, spoke up with irritation.

“That’s obvious, isn’t it?” Sangsa Hu looked at her, puzzled.

“…Ah, no. You said to hide inside the tree roots earlier…”

As Euirim stammered, confused by her own words, Sangsa Hu explained,

“These creatures climb and move through trees, remember? Just because we’re inside doesn’t mean we can let our guard down.”

“Ah, I see!”

Deokho Bae slapped his palm in realization.

“Coming out from the tree roots, Jiye and I will safely provide long-range attacks and healing support, while Euirim will handle any approaching enemies from around us?”

“Exactly.”

“…I think it’s not bad.”

Homyoung Kim, quietly listening to the plan, agreed, and the others nodded their heads.

“But it seems like it will take a long time to clear the way there.”

Homyoung Kim was remembering the numerous Forest Lizards clinging to the tree like ticks.

Before them, the ground was littered with many Forest Lizards, being devoured by giant hounds.

“…”

“Indeed. They’re F-grade lizards against E-grade creatures, they stand no chance.”

“The outcome shouldn’t always be taken for granted. Considering the climate and geographical conditions, it’s actually disadvantageous for us now.”

Observing the giant hounds slowly, Deokho Bae followed Sangsa Hu’s gaze.

Indeed, as Hu said, the giant hounds were at a disadvantage as they couldn’t climb trees.

However, they were overcoming this limitation by catching the lizards by the tongue as they attacked, pulling them down to hunt.

Nonetheless, as Hu said, these creatures were already battle-wounded, showing exposed muscles where the skin was ripped, and increasingly decomposing bodies started to show bones under the humid and hot climate.

“Those dogs, aren’t they going to die soon?”

Homyoung Kim, panic-stricken, asked to which Sangsa Hu shook his head.

“They’re already dead creatures. What we’re seeing is merely a delay of their time to rest.”

“What are you saying… No, never mind. After all, the skills we’ve acquired are supernatural, beyond ordinary comprehension.”

Homyoung Kim waved off further explanation, effectively ending the conversation.

“Then, shall we get moving?”

At Sangsa Hu’s word, everyone lined up and commenced their walk.

* * *

As they moved to the location with the tree roots, they found hunting at the gate now much more comfortable.

Or rather, even more than comfortable.

Fsshh!

With a grim expression, Deokho Bae instantly killed an approaching Forest Lizard with an arrow between its eyes.

“…Am I doing my part?”

“Doesn’t seem like it.”

Homyoung Kim responded, laying his shield comfortably beside him.

The two men quietly observed Sangsa Hu, who stood solidly rooted like a tree outside the root cave.

“Truly an incredible ability. A Necromancer…”

Following his instructions for a safe zone, the others found themselves with nothing much to do.

They merely listened to the sporadic screams of Forest Lizards in the distance, occasionally dealing with the ones that made it past the giant hounds to approach the roots.

“The number of summoned creatures seems limited… But really, if he gets proper summons, being called a one-man army wouldn’t be far-fetched.”

Currently, Hu was fighting with just five decaying giant hounds resembling huge wolves, yet they could feel Sangsa Hu’s tremendous potential.

If he were to summon proper humanoid summons, equipping them with weapons and armor?

That could literally be a force comparable to an army.

“Wow, a one-man army.”

Deokho Bae recalled Kim’s words, shuddering dramatically.

But although exaggerated, the fear was real.

“Why would such a person receive just a temporary rating? Considering the potential of his abilities, he might be stronger than the S-grade awakened ones from overseas I’ve seen on NewTube.”

Muttering to himself, Deokho Bae received a quiet snort from Homyoung Kim.

‘He’s misunderstanding the meaning of Ex.’

While studying at school, Homyoung Kim had memorized numerous English words and their abbreviations, including the many uses of Ex.

Among these, Deokho was referring to Extra—additional, like a bit player.

That was the meaning of Ex he was mentioning.

However, Kim knew another abbreviation of Ex, which had a completely different meaning.

‘Extraordinary…’

Bizarre, amazing, rare, exceptional, remarkable.

Thinking of a completely different meaning of the abbreviation, Kim observed Sangsa Hu, standing strong like a tree, with a complicated gaze.



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