Necromancer Before Awakening Chapter 14

Episode 14. Time to Prepare (1)

National Intelligence Service.

Commonly shortened to NIS, it is the top national intelligence agency of South Korea.

It handles information and security related to the nation’s safety, as well as criminal investigations, and the necessary aspects of the organization are established by law due to their importance.

Bae Deok-ho, who had been hunting in an F-grade gate with Gang Sah-hu just a few hours ago, was walking inside this secretive building.

Upon arriving at his destination, he checked his black suit, which he had changed into right after coming out of the gate, and then knocked on the door with his fist.

“It’s Bae Deok-ho.”

“Come in.”

The response came immediately from inside the room.

As he opened the door and entered, Lee Jae-man, the director waiting for him, put down the documents he was reading and looked at him.

“So, Team Leader Bae Deok-ho. How was the hunt?”

“Yes, it concluded without any special problems.”

The director, Lee Jae-man, nodded at his concise answer.

“There should be no issues. Especially for you.”

As Lee Jae-man looked at him with trusting eyes, Bae Deok-ho slightly bowed his head.

“Thank you.”

“That’s something I should be saying. Who would have thought we’d have an S-grade hunter in our country.”

“I am already 41 years old, so I am worried I might not meet your expectations.”

“41 is still full of vigor. Don’t talk like that.”

After a brief, lighter exchange, Director Lee Jae-man looked at him seriously all of a sudden.

“But, what about the others who joined the hunt?”

The composition of the team that participated in the F-grade gate hunt along with Bae Deok-ho was no coincidence.

All those who participated were being closely monitored by the NIS as potential threats and important talents to the nation, made to appear as if the team was formed by chance.

There was an unavoidable inclusion of a younger sibling, but it was within an acceptable range.

Knowing all this, and having participated in the gate hunt as part of a strategy, Bae Deok-ho quickly began his report.

“First about the EX-grade young man… Indeed, he lived up to his reputation. He had tremendous abilities.”

“Hmm.”

The phrase “tremendous abilities” sparked a look of anticipation in Lee Jae-man’s eyes.

And that look gleamed even brighter when he heard that the young man could revive dead monsters and wield magic.

“……”

Seeing his greedy gaze, Bae Deok-ho momentarily paused, then resumed his report.

“Indeed, his abilities seemed exceptional. However, since the number of monsters he can control still has a clear limit, it would be better not to have too high expectations.”

Noticing his sticky interest, Bae Deok-hu did not mention any other necromancer magic that Gang Sah-hu had demonstrated, and reported that the maximum number of monsters that could be controlled was only five.

Director Lee Jae-man’s sparkling eyes slightly dimmed at that.

“Still, the ability itself is interesting. If stable supplies of strong monster corpses can be secured, he might be nearing S-grade. But the easily rotting corpses, and the fact he can only control up to five… Clearly, there are limitations.”

Director Lee Jae-man’s assessment left Bae Deok-ho inwardly relieved that his interest had not deepened, though he did not show it.

“Next, I closely observed Lee Yu-rim’s behavior, but there was no unusual activity.”

“You should always keep an eye on her, nonetheless. You know her father is a high-ranking noble from Russia, ranked third in their hierarchy? We must be prepared for any possibility. That’s what we do.”

“Of course.”

Having briefly ended the talk about Lee Yu-rim, Director Lee Jae-man looked at the final item on his list.

“It seems the remaining one is the young master of Kim Ho Group.”

“Yes, no special movements have been detected from Kim Ho-myung. It was also his first gate hunt, and since we don’t know what might happen in the future, I will keep a close watch.”

“Good, you’ve worked hard.”

Director Lee Jae-man picked up a remote and turned on the television beside him.

The television displayed various top-secret materials and videos accessible only to the director of the NIS, packed densely in file format.

“As you can see, the world is currently facing a great turmoil. It’s not just about life or death anymore, the tides of national influence on the world are changing.”

Bae Deok-ho briefly glanced at the television then turned his head towards Lee Jae-man.

“In the future, the keys to national power and wealth will not be held by nuclear warheads or corporate number-crunchers but by hunters. Hunter

“Come on, no matter how much you’ve awakened and can use magic, be careful when using high-level magic! How could you use such magic with mana alone without using spirits? What if you get hurt?”

Kang Ji-ye knew well from her study of necromancer magic that the true power of necromancer magic comes from spirits.

Moreover, it was possible to substitute mana for spirits, but the power would be reduced and the efficiency extremely lowered.

Thus, Kang Ji-ye realized how remarkable it was for Kang Sa-hu to have killed a large, hard-boned boss monster in one go using only mana.

But as Kang Sa-hu continued to look at her with half-closed eyes without saying a word, Kang Ji-ye quickly excused herself to take a wash and left his room.

After Kang Ji-ye left the room, Kang Sa-hu sighed deeply and pulled out the soul essence of the Forest Lizard that he had kept in his pocket.

Looking at the soul essences the size of airsoft pellets, he clenched them tightly.

Feeling the soul essences of the Forest Lizards in his fist, he used another ability of the soul essence he knew only from information.

The existing Forest Lizard within the soul essence is converted into mana.

The amount converted into mana will be adjusted according to its potential.

The durability of the soul essence decreases.

Knowing this in his mind, Kang Sa-hu closed his eyes and focused on the mana flowing from the soul essence into his hand.

As he felt the soul essence growing hot, mana began flowing into his body.

The trapped Forest Lizards within the soul essence howled.

It was a scream that only those who can sense and manipulate souls could hear, not ordinary people.

As the soul essence melted and turned into mana, it seeped into his hand.

A moment later.

Noticing an increase in the total amount of energy he could contain, Kang Sa-hu unfolded his fist and looked at the remaining soul essences.

Just by scanning them, the amount of soul essences that was originally 99 had nearly halved.

“What monstrous growth.”

The ability to recover mana using soul essence.

And the effect of a slight increase in the total amount of mana one could contain when absorbing more mana than the limit.

These were abilities Kang Sa-hu knew only in theory, without having used them directly, and he felt satisfied as he put the remaining soul essences back into his pouch.

Watching the soul essences the size of airsoft pellets fall into the pouch, Kang Sa-hu noticed a particularly large soul essence that caught his eye.

This soul essence was extracted from the boss of this gate hunt.

Indeed, being a boss, the soul essence was the size of a quail egg, emanating its presence.

Looking at the numerous giant hounds and Forest Lizard soul essences, Kang Sa-hu let out a soft sigh.

“They are too weak.”

On this first gate hunting trip, he had used five giant hound soul essences.

Despite the harsh environment, the giant hounds had fought surprisingly well.

However, if they got so damaged even in an F-grade gate, he had to be prepared for their durability to fall and be destroyed later.

Since they were not yet properly adjusted for combat and were simply in a zombie-like state, Kang Sa-hu thought of ways to enhance the giant hounds to improve their survival rate.

Most necromancers would have looked dumbfounded at his dilemma.

After all, to them, spirits are merely energy and offerings for using and manifesting magic.

But Kang Sa-hu, called the strongest necromancer, couldn’t do that.

“I really don’t like to see my followers die off…”

Unlike the Forest Lizards, which had refused to become soul essences, the giant hounds had willingly obeyed him and turned into soul essences.

As such, they followed orders well and did not hesitate to enter eternal rest if it was for the purpose of following commands.

It was akin to living beings rushing into death.

Kang Sa-hu did not want to use those following him as expendable tools.

“I need to make them stronger. And since they’ve started to decay, it’s time for some chemical treatment.”

There was still mana left in the corpses, with flesh, muscle, fat, and blood, so it wasn’t a major concern yet.

However, there was a clear limit.

Eventually, as summoning and combat repeated, the corpses would rot, leaving only bones.

When only skeletons remained, every action from summoning to movement would require his mana.

Of course, that was a worst-case scenario, and he had both ample ability to execute solutions.

He also had plans on how to make them stronger.

Kang Sa-hu took out the boss monster’s soul essence from his pouch.

The soul essence of the King Forest Lizard rejects your touch.

As he held the soul essence of the boss monster, the King Forest Lizard, it sent static shocks through Kang Sa-hu’s hand.

However, having dealt with rebellious spirits since he was young, he simply stared at the soul essence in his hand unfazed.

[King Forest Lizard Soul Essence]

– Description: Soul essence of the King Forest Lizard in [Corpse] state.

– Durability: 100/100

– Potential Utilization: 100%

– Rank: D-grade

– State: Contains the physical body in [Corpse] state. Summoning will also summon the body of the King Forest Lizard.

It harbors strong resentment and fear towards its owner.

“Boss monsters can forcefully be turned into soul essences with both durability and potential at top condition, whether they want it or not.”

Although he had not had the soul essence production skill for long, information seemed naturally implanted in his mind, and Kang Sa-hu understood his abilities.

Just like when absorbing mana from a soul essence, his ability moved from knowledge to certainty in practice.

And this ability suited him well as the strongest necromancer and was immensely exploitable.

“Should I start with commanding spirits then?”

Kang Sa-hu flowed mana into the soul essence he was holding.

As if threatening a fearful opponent, the soul essence vibrated slightly and started to convulse in rebellion.



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