Necromancer Before Awakening Chapter 25

Chapter 25. Divide and Conquer (1)

A steep, dizzying cliff.

If a person were to climb it, it would be a life-threatening endeavor. From below the cliff, a giant hound carrying hunters leaped up.

“Woaaaah!”

“Aaaaah!”

Various screams erupted from the hunters riding the giant hound. Despite having reached the top of the cliff, the impact was so great that some soldiers continued to scream.

“Get a grip! We’re all up!”

Han Si-yeon shouted with a trembling voice. At her command, the soldier who had been screaming finally came to his senses and closed his mouth. Meanwhile, Kang Sa-hu was examining the three trolls that the giant hounds had brought up.

“Kang Sa-hu, why haven’t you killed them yet?”

Han Si-yeon asked in shock, but Kang Sa-hu replied nonchalantly.

“It’s to gather information.”

“Information?”

Confused, she repeated the word as Kang Sa-hu turned to show the state of the trolls, beginning his explanation as if to say seeing is believing.

“As you can see, these creatures can completely regenerate in less than a minute, even if you break their bones and tear their muscles.”

He demonstrated various spells on the trolls, who were held immobile by the giant hounds, reminiscent of the gruesome punishment of quartering from the Joseon Dynasty. Bones pierced through their skin, flesh burst open, and necks snapped in grotesque ways. The trolls let out agonized screams, but they soon began to heal, as if a video was being played in reverse, leaving the onlookers in shock.

“So, it seems the way to kill them is to decapitate them or destroy their hearts.”

Kang Sa-hu sent a signal, and one of the giant hounds bit into a troll’s chest. Despite its inability to move, its tough skin and muscles made the process lengthy. Eventually, the giant hound tore out the troll’s heart and swallowed it whole.

“Graaaah!”

The troll screamed and writhed before finally going limp and dying.

As Kang Sa-hu finished his explanation, the giant hounds began devouring the dead troll’s body. Looking around at the now-silent group, Kang Sa-hu continued.

“Fighting these creatures in groups is suicidal. We must spread out and defeat them individually.”

“I completely agree,” Han Si-yeon said, nodding heavily. The others, though silent, looked pale after witnessing the trolls’ regenerative abilities and strength.

“If the leader struggles this much, what about the other hunters…”

As Lee Yu-rim spoke quietly, Kang Ji-ye exclaimed in surprise.

“Right! Oppa! The other hunters!”

“Yes, it’s dangerous. We must rescue them quickly.”

The group had felt the extreme difficulty of the hunt from the start, faced with the trolls’ terrifying physical abilities immediately upon entering the gate.

“Kang Sa-hu, do you have a plan to defeat them one by one?”

“Yes, if we ride these hounds, it will be possible.”

Kang Sa-hu answered, stroking the head of a giant hound. The fierce creature closed its eyes and wagged its tail comfortably at his touch, causing Han Si-yeon to break into a cold sweat.

“Oppa! How did you turn these into Devourers? Did you make them Devourers during those three days in the F-rank gate?”

Kang Ji-ye asked, petting the giant hound’s neck despite her dislike for it. Kang Sa-hu nodded.

“Devourer…?”

Lee Yu-rim asked curiously, and Kang Ji-ye nodded.

“Yes. They’re called Devourers, the apex of summoned creatures that live by consuming the flesh, blood, and bones of other beings. Do you know ghouls?”

Recognizing the name of the famous fantasy monster, Lee Yu-rim nodded, looking a bit bewildered. Kang Ji-ye continued her explanation.

“Ghouls continue to rot no matter how much they eat. Though ghouls are among the higher ranks of Devourers, they are several tiers below Devourers. It’s very difficult to create a Devourer.”

Realizing she was essentially bragging about her brother, Kang Ji-ye finished her explanation, feeling the weight of everyone’s attention on her.

Though the information was complex and difficult to grasp all at once, the immediate priority was to rescue the hunters from the trolls. The hunters buried their questions deep in their hearts.

“So, do you have a plan in mind? If so, we will follow it.”

Knowing that any strategy would rely on Kang Sa-hu’s ability to control the giant hounds, Han Si-yeon was the first to express her willingness to follow his lead.

With everyone nodding in agreement, Kang Sa-hu explained his plan.

“I have a total of 30 giant hounds. As you saw, these hounds can climb cliffs.”

Originally, giant hounds could not climb cliffs. The current ability was acquired by turning them into Devourers during three days and nights of continuous work inside an F-rank gate. By consuming forest lizards, they gained the ability to climb cliffs.

Without delving into the detailed explanation, Kang Sa-hu continued.

“Since they can climb cliffs, this terrain gives us an advantage. We will hunt any creature that chases us or forcibly bring down one troll at a time and kill it to reduce their numbers.”

There were no objections to his plan. It was straightforward, and there were no questions or doubts about it. The listeners silently nodded their heads.

“Are there any questions or disagreements?”

Seeing no raised hands, Kang Sa-hu nodded.

“Then let’s begin the operation immediately.”

“You damn bastards! What the hell are your bodies made of?”

An elite hunter from the top guild despaired as he watched the troll he had hit with his strongest skill regenerate instantly. Despite having awakened as an A-rank hunter and acquired three powerful skills, all his efforts seemed futile against the troll’s rapid regeneration.

Even when hit, the trolls merely suffered temporarily, quickly realignig their bones and regenerating their muscles. Each attack seemed only to familiarize them with pain, soon they ceased even the brief flinch of distress, plunging the hunters into despair. “Class C, you say! Are these really Class C?! This skill even worked against an E-Class Gate Boss!” A hunter, dazed with terror, yelled in disbelief as his trump card turned futile. His question was, however, perfectly reasonable. Considering a boss from an E-Class gate ranged from E to at most C-Class, it was rational to believe that the same power would be sufficient against a C-Class troll. Indeed, his secret move initially crushed the troll’s arm and mangled its legs, seemingly enough to kill a C-Class monster. The real issue was the troll’s insane healing and adaptive abilities. Where another monster might flail in agony and slowly die with a crushed arm, its ‘healing from skin to bones’ and ‘adapting to any pain if it’s survivable’ synergized tremendously. Moreover, the trolls they were facing were actually B-Class, not C-Class. But the hunter, unaware of this, simply screamed in despair over his own helplessness. Meanwhile, the troll approached the hunter with a wicked grin, swinging its club. Bang! “Ahhh!” The hunter was sent flying like a sack of rocks, crashing against the wall so hard that it cracked, and stones cascaded down. “No! Where’s our tank?! Aren’t you defending properly?!” “How can I block this? Attack properly, we keep getting overwhelmed!” A paladin class hunter holding a shield and mace barely managed to block the troll’s strike, spitting out blood with frustration. Despite perfectly using his shield to block the incoming axe, the impact shook his internals violently. “Ku, kuhuk! Uh, ugh!” As the paladin hunter kneeled and retched, the troll quickly raised its hand for another attack. Seeing this, the word ‘death’ flashed through the hunter’s mind. “Damn it! Mom! Dad!” The hunter curled up, positioning his shield over his head in fear. Tears streamed from his eyes, not even ashamed. Bark! As he trembled anticipating his death, the sound of barking echoed. ‘Why am I hearing a dog now?’ Amid the fear, the barking grew louder soon followed by the troll’s scream. The hunter lowered his shield slightly to look ahead and was shocked. Out of nowhere, five massive dogs were biting the troll, struggling to immobilize it. While he was still stunned by the sight, Kang Jiye, riding on one of the dogs, shouted. “What are you doing! Get back!” Startled, the hunter tried to stand, but a terrible pain shot through his ankle. “Ah, my, my ankle…!” He looked down to see his ankle bone piercing through his skin. “Ah, ah! I can’t walk…!” Realizing the situation, Kang Jiye jumped down from the dog and rushed over. She took a deep breath, widened her eyes, and used mana, casting the [Healing Hand] skill. The soft glow from her hand touched his ankle, setting the bone and regenerating flesh. Soon enough, he was able to move his foot again, amazed, but Kang Jiye had already turned away. “Ho Myeong! Over there, that way!” Kang Jiye pointed, yelling as another troll approached the other hunters. Kim Ho Myeong swiftly dismounted the giant hound and took position with his shield in front of the troll. Seeing him merely hold up a shield, the troll snorted disdainfully but then spun its body, charging with one shoulder forward. The troll expected the shield to be smashed aside but was shocked to find itself blocked instead. Kim Ho Myeong used a newly acquired skill, [Impact Reflection], pushing his shield forward. Boom! “Kraagh!” The troll, hit by the full force of its own charge, was sent flying back. As the troll and two others wavered, unexpected confusion among them soared when the sky suddenly darkened with fast-moving clouds. “Trakadu? Kerta!” The sky turned pitch black, and an inexplicable terror climbed their spines. As the trolls desperately searched for the source of their fear, their eyes caught a figure sitting atop a giant dog on a cliff, glaring back at them. His left eye emitted a blue light, his right eye a green gleam—Kang Sahwu sat there, indifferently watching the trolls. “Graaaah!” The trolls thought they had screamed, but it was actually a shriek that burst from one’s mouth. Even as they watched, numbed by fear, Kang Sahwu prepared a spell. “Soul Erasure.” As the spell activated, the souls of the terrified trolls began tearing apart. Like a petulant child tearing up paper in a tantrum, their souls were ripped apart harshly and indiscriminately. The soul, connecting spirit and mind—this was irrespective of physical healing, and thus the trolls could not mend their torn souls. Thump! With their souls shredded, the trolls collapsed, brain-dead though still breathing and seeing—unable to think. Kang Sahwu’s spell had instantly killed seven of the most formidable trolls the top guilds had faced, leaving them dead while still alive.



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