Necromancer Before Awakening Chapter 29

Episode 29: King of Trolls, Katak (1)

Since the hunters had entered the gate for hunting, although initially scattered by a surprise attack and overwhelmingly crushed due to the extraordinary strength of the trolls, they steadily reduced the number of trolls after setting up a temporary fortress. Despite the limitations of their attack strategy, which prevented them from reducing the trolls’ numbers significantly at once, their gradual and relentless hunting had given them hope that victory was within reach.

Now, as he observed the trolls advancing towards the fortress, Baedeokho painfully realized how foolish and hopeful his thoughts had been.

“Damn it.”

He muttered curses with an expressionless face, erasing his usually light-hearted demeanor.

Upon scanning with his third skill, [Foresight Vision], he found that the number of trolls approaching was precisely fifty.

However, not all fifty were the same type of trolls. Forty-five resembled the type they first encountered upon entering the gate. Four more appeared larger with unusual tattoos covering their bodies. And the last one, the largest and seemingly most dangerous, was undoubtedly the gate’s boss.

“This shouldn’t be happening. Can we stop them?” Even the weakest appearing trolls among them were strong enough to effortlessly take on five hunters alone.

Moreover, only 68 hunters remained in the fortress, excluding the 17 confirmed dead by their leader, with an estimated additional 15 presumed dead.

As Baedeokho clenched his teeth, pondering the situation, he muttered to himself uncertainly.

Even as he spoke, a giant hound leaped up behind him. Baedeokho smiled wearily as the figure turned to face him.

“Captain.”

“Mr. Baedeokho.”

After exchanging brief greetings, they both lost their words upon seeing the advancing troll army.

“It’s going to be tough, right?” The situation seemed hopeless from any angle, though unspoken, the difference in strength was clear.

However, the response Baedeokho received was unexpectedly different.

“Not yet known.”

“What?” Baedeokho startled as he turned toward Gangsahu, thinking he was watching the approaching trolls. Instead, Gangsahu was staring back at him with eyes glowing blue and green, their gaze piercing as if to draw out his soul, strong and unwavering.

“Mr. Baedeokho, I intend to use all my strength this time.”

“Like always?”

Baedeokho chuckled, but Gangsahu shook his head, his expression unchanged.

“No. I mean full strength this time. If not now, there will never be another chance to exert full power.”

“That means you too, Mr. Baedeokho, need to use all your strength.”

“What are you talking about? You know I always give my all.”

“No.”

Another denial.

Baedeokho’s eyes wavered.

“Use your full strength.”

Baedeokho’s expression hardened back to its previous unexpressive state.

“Did you know?”

“A bit. At first, I thought there must be a reason, and I tried to respect your privacy. But now, I can’t.”

Baedeokho laughed, relieved as if shedding a burdensome straitjacket.

“Understood, Captain!”

Acknowledging his answer, Gangsahu nodded with a slight smile, then grabbed a soul-filled handkerchief from a pouch and threw it, summoning all his controlled creatures.

Thirty giant hounds. One King Forest Lizard. One vampire ape and seventy corpse-eating apes appeared, all looking ferocious but without the decayed or twisted bodies typical of zombies or ghouls.

“These summoned creatures, now transformed into devourers, top their kind and are incomparably stronger than they were in life. More importantly, as they continue to consume the flesh, blood, and bones of other beings, they have the potential to become even stronger.”

Baedeokho swallowed hard at the sight.

“So this is the Captain’s full strength.”

“No.”

This denial from Gangsahu was not the first, but it seemed final.

“My full strength is still being prepared at the fortress.”

* * *

“Uhuh…”

“Hey, brother! Are you fitting it properly? It’s loose there!”

“Ah, got it.”

Homyeong Kim, usually calm, gritted his teeth and adjusted the bone as instructed by Jiye Kang. Though made entirely of bone, the throne for the king was only just beginning to take shape.

Jiye Kang looked at Homing Kim with a frustrated expression as he felt repulsed and struggled.

“No, there’s no muscle or blood attached, and it doesn’t smell rotten. Why are you having such a hard time when the work environment is so pleasant!”

Blushing at Jiye Kang’s reproach, Homing Kim reflected that now was not the time to nitpick over the fact that they were handling bones, which inexplicably filled him with vague terror, hindering his work.

Feeling embarrassed about himself, he looked anew at Yurim Lee, who was silently fitting the bones together to construct a bone throne.

He sought courage to proceed with his work quietly and calmly, just like her.

Silently observing Yurim Lee, who was halfway in shock and turned ghostly pale while fitting the bones, Homing Kim felt a different kind of shame.

‘Stop whining! Yurim Lee is pushing herself to the limit even at the cost of giving up on herself!’

Seeing Yurim, who seemed half-dead with her task, Homing Kim quietly let go of his own will to match her dedication.

His face paling with effort, Jiye Kang refocused on her work as she saw him diligently positioning the bones.

‘There’s too little time.’

While Homing Kim and Yurim Lee worked on constructing the bone alignment, Jiye Kang, biting her lower lip, drew a complex magical circle around it.

The work that would typically take three necromancers an entire night seemed painfully slow with the inexperienced duo of Homing Kim and Yurim Lee.

Anticipating such conditions, Instructor Kang Sahoo had pragmatically lowered the requirements he demanded.

‘It doesn’t need to be perfect. If time is short, proceed with the simplified version, but it must be completed.’

“Jeez, even if it’s supposed to be simplified, this is too much.”

Jiye grumbled not at Instructor Kang Sahoo but lamented the current situation that prevented her from conducting a formal procedure.

“If we go on like this, we won’t even be able to utilize a fifth of his original power.”

Realizing the urgency, Jiye Kang opted for an even lower grade of simplified magical circle.

The bare minimum preparations required to wield the power of a necromancer.

However, to say it was minimal was an understatement—it was akin to offering plain rice and a plastic spoon on a ceremonial table, utterly insignificant and pitiful.

‘Sorry, brother…’

Jiye Kang felt a pang of involuntary tears for only being able to prepare such an inadequate magical circle in her desperate attempt to save everyone.

Sniffling and wiping her tears, Jiye Kang grasped a stone to continue etching the magical circle on the ground.

From a distance, a loud explosion that seemed to flip the heavens and the earth erupted.

* * *

Boom-bang!

“Grunt.”

Kataku, slightly startled, looked at the rubble that blocked their path on the cliff.

The trolls, unable to dodge, were buried under the debris but resiliently crawled out, soon healing their battered bodies.

[Impressive.]

Accustomed to hunters fleeing, the trolls were stunned by the unexpected assault.

The cliffs that towered high enough to obscure the sky had crumbled, blocking the advancing trolls’ path.

Looking up, Kataku met the eyes of Baedeok Ho peering down from above.

[This will be fun.]

As Kataku smirked, preparing to move,

A troll at his side stepped forward.

[My king, they are not worth your effort. Let us handle this.]

This troll spoke more refined language compared to others who knew no such manners.

These were elite trolls, both intellectually and in terms of strength, guided by Kataku.

Bigger than the ones trailing behind and marked with shamanic tattoos for physical enhancement, the elite trolls spoke up, prompting Kataku to shake his head.

[The vanguard alone is that strong. It’s unnecessary for you to risk harming yourselves.]

At Kataku’s words, the elite troll bowed its head.

Kataku then commanded the other trolls behind him.

[You all deal with that one.]

Pointing vaguely, he selected ten trolls for the task, who then roared, proud to be chosen by their king.

“Kuwaaaaaaaa-!”

“Khyyooa-!”

Feeling proud for being selected by their king, Kataku, the ten trolls wriggled their muscles as they ascended the cliff.

Though steep and high, the dry climate made it not too difficult to climb.

Despite their size, their strength in crushing rocks made it a quick climb.

“Kuhak!”

The first troll to reach the top of the cliff roared excitedly, thinking it would tear Baedeok Ho to pieces.

However, it was confused for a moment when it saw not the human it was supposed to attack but a King Forest Lizard rolling its eyes playfully.

With a quick flick of its tongue, like shooting an arrow, the King Forest Lizard swallowed the troll.

“……!”

The consumed troll could not even scream before passing into the stomach of the King Forest Lizard.

Furious inside the stomach, the troll thought,

[I’ll tear it apart-!]

Aiming to rip through the innards and escape, the troll reached out, but its hands were already dissolved.

[Grrr…!]

One characteristic of a Devourer,

To consume more enemies, they possessed digestive juices hundreds of times stronger than hydrochloric acid.

As soon as the digestive juices were secreted, the troll dissolved instantaneously.

Kuee-eh

Finished with its prey, the King Forest Lizard lifted its head and roared.



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