Player with Maxed-out Talent chapter 51

# Player with Maxed-Out Talent Episode 51

26. Shin Yeon-seo’s Awakening

As the orc archer draws its bow, timing is crucial. It’s a fleeting moment, akin to finding an opening for a dribble breakthrough in soccer.

“I’m going.”

Kim Hyuk-jin swiftly moved his body, unlike Lee Hyeon-hwan who attempted to close in with one rapid approach.

Whoosh!

He sensed an orc’s iron club swinging through the air. It didn’t hit him; it was swung where Kim Hyuk-jin had just been.

“To the left here.”

Currently, Kim Hyuk-jin didn’t have techniques like ‘Lightness Skill’ or ‘Stepping Technique’. His movement relied purely on physical ability and reflexes.

He slightly bent at the waist.

Whoosh!

Another iron club sliced through the air.

The orcs weren’t just standing idly by.

“Squeek! Squeeeek!”

Occasionally, the more intelligent ones even used human language.

“Squeek! Eat! Eat… Er! Squeeeek!”

The extent of language these orcs could use were primitive words like ‘eat’, ‘smash’, or ‘kill’, but they could somewhat communicate.

“Squeeeek! Eat!”

One shouted, and the orcs’ gazes followed Kim Hyuk-jin. While there was no proper ‘commander’, they were undeniably better off hunting together than acting individually.

Shin Yeon-seo, chasing behind Kim Hyuk-jin, felt like she was on the verge of death.

‘Wh-What is this?!’

There was no time to scream. She hastily twisted her waist. Bending comically backwards, she propelled forward.

Whoosh!

A spiked iron club slashed through the air.

‘If that hit me… I would’ve died.’

At best, she would’ve been gravely injured. To incur an injury amidst these orcs was certain death.

“Damn it!”

From Shin Yeon-seo’s perspective, Kim Hyuk-jin dodged skillfully, finding gaps between the orcs like a ghost.

‘The orcs’ reactions are… half a beat too slow!’

Whether the orcs were slow or Kim Hyuk-jin was fast was unclear, but the result was the same: The orcs’ responses were delayed, allowing attacks to reach Shin Yeon-seo following him.

[Lightness Technique. You activate ‘Heavenly Demon Step’.]

Her current mastery of ‘Heavenly Demon Step’ was 1-star, merely at a toddling phase, but ‘Heavenly Demon Step’ was a skill bestowed by the master of Mount Cheonma himself.

‘He goes left there.’

So then I must,

‘Take the escape route to the right.’

This allowed for seamless movement. Paths unseen before ‘Heavenly Demon Step’ began revealing themselves.

Kim Hyuk-jin caught Shin Yeon-seo’s movements in his senses.

‘She’s finally starting to move properly.’

Orcs weren’t known for their speed. He had predicted that if he infiltrated their ranks, they would attack half a beat too slow. And with Shin Yeon-seo successfully dodging the belated attacks, she entangled their paths.

‘If it’s Shin Yeon-seo… she can disrupt the orcs.’

Meanwhile, an orc archer readied its bow. Kim Hyuk-jin could read where the arrow was aimed.

‘It’s not at me.’

Nor was it at Shin Yeon-seo, hustling amidst the orc horde.

‘Seon-hwa. Keep it up.’

He was sure Seon-hwa had a hard time, consecutively fending off two orc archers. Her arm might break, but that was okay. Better a broken arm than death. When Kim Hyuk-jin plunged into the fray, he too was prepared for broken bones.

‘Easier than expected.’

The path was clearer than he had anticipated, thanks to his sense or perhaps instinct. He didn’t need to calculate how the orcs would move, attack, or close their encirclement. It was all vivid in his mind.

“That’s it.”

He approached the orc archer, whose defense was significantly lower compared to regular orcs. An unprotected archer was just prey waiting to be hunted.

“I got you.”

[Special Skill. Using ‘Exceptional Strike’.]

He plunged his sword into the orc’s abdomen.

Kweeeek!

A ghastly scream erupted. The orc archer, in severe pain, dropped its bow and doubled over.

“Back of the head! Stab it!”

Kim Hyuk-jin hadn’t killed it with one strike, which was okay. To his right, Shin Yeon-seo had quickly moved into another opening.

Shin Yeon-seo leaped lightly.

“Haaaah!”

From above, down below, she drove her sword.

Phwook!

The sharp tip pierced through the orc archer’s helmet.

Thud!

The orc archer’s body fell, with Shin Yeon-seo’s sword stuck through its skull and into the ground.

“Okay! Got it!”

Notifications came to Shin Yeon-seo.

[You have hunted an orc archer.]

[Experience gained.]

[+31 COIN]

Simultaneously, Kim Hyuk-jin kicked Shin Yeon-seo. More of a push than a kick, she rolled on the ground several times.

“Get a grip! You want to die after just one kill?”

Right where Shin Yeon-seo had been standing, an orc swung its club. If Kim Hyuk-jin hadn’t kicked her away, her head would have been crushed.

“Just one more hit.”

Seon-hwa could only withstand one more attack from the orc archer.

‘While Seon-hwa is pulling its aggro, I’ll take it down.’

Kim Hyuk-jin and Shin Yeon-seo were able to navigate through the orc horde because the orc archer was solely targeting Kim Seon-hwa. Kim Hyuk-jin was well aware of this.

‘I can do this.’

The orcs were slower than expected, and Shin Yeon-seo faster. Even with the unexpected assist of her left arm, which he had been prepared to sacrifice, it seemed unnecessary.

‘Let’s move…!’

Taking heavy breaths, Kim Hyuk-jin dashed towards another orc archer.

* * *

Kim Hyuk-jin and Shin Yeon-seo hunted down the last orc archer.

[You have hunted an orc archer.]

[Experience gained.]

[+31 COIN]

Along with this notification came a new one.

[The first quest clear conditions have been met.]

[The way to the next gateway is now open.]

[Please destroy the Clear Crystal of the first gateway.]

Rumble!

One side of the wall crumbled, revealing a cave. Within it, the Clear Crystal surely awaited.

Ma Sang-hyun intuitively knew it was his turn.

‘I just need to avoid critical hits.’

The current aggro was being drawn by Kim Seon-hwa, and also Kim Hyuk-jin and Shin Yeon-seo.

‘Slowly. No need to rush.’

If he moved too quickly, the aggro would switch to him.

‘A few orcs are fine.’

He wouldn’t actually fight them; engaging would just attract others.

“Squeek!”

He felt an orc approaching him.

‘Soon. It’ll swing its club.’

This club, he’d decided to take the hit. Where would hurt the least? The thought was to save the right arm, just in case.

‘I’ll use my left arm.’

He gritted his teeth, taking the hit with his left shoulder.

‘Gah!’

An immense pain surged, like his shoulder had shattered, but he kept moving forward.

“Done.”

After attacking, an orc would stand idle for a brief moment. With one hit endured, a few more steps would get him into the cave.

[You have reached the ‘Crystal Zone’ of the first gateway.]

No more orcs pursued. His judgment and luck had been good. He saw the purple crystal glowing inside.

‘My right arm is fine!’

He thrust his right fist towards the crystal. After repeatedly hitting it, cracks started to appear.

Thud! Thud! Thud!

Fist and crystal collided.

[The Clear Crystal of the first gateway has been smashed.]

Kim Hyuk-jin heard the notification too. Without being told, Ma Sang-hyun accomplished his task.

‘He seemed likely to do well, even without instruction.’

Kim Hyuk-jin had deliberately refrained from providing detailed explanations since there was no need to reveal his familiarity with this place. Ma Sang-hyun’s actions were within Kim Hyuk-jin’s calculations.

‘A broken shoulder can be quickly healed with a potion.’

It’ll be fine.

“Squeek! Squeeeek-!”

The panting orcs froze in place.

Crack-crack-crack!

They began to turn to stone. From their feet upward, all were petrified.

──────────

Petrified Orc -LV 27

──────────

Shin Yeon-seo let out a relieved sigh.

“Phew. A moment later and I would have taken a hit.”

Shin Yeon-seo bent slightly to slide through the now stone clubs. As soon she was out, she apologized to Kim Hyuk-jin.

“Sorry. I got carried away earlier.”

“……”

Kim Hyuk-jin stayed silent. Even a novice like Kim Hyeon-woo made such mistakes in the beginning; this brought a sense of novelty to him. The thought of Kim Hyeon-woo getting hit by an orc’s club due to a momentary lapse after killing an orc.

“If you had been hit there, I would have been in danger too. Get it?”

Without Shin Yeon-seo’s support, sifting through the orc horde and eliminating additional orc archers would have been daunting, if not virtually impossible.

‘No. But could it really have been impossible?’

Entering, he had thought it impossible. Yet once he plunged into the orc mob,

‘It might have been possible.’

The orcs were slower than anticipated. Although their attacks were threatening, if not hit, that was that.

Still, he sternly reprimanded her. Playing wasn’t some childish game, it was a perilously life-threatening act.

“If you’re going to be like that, quit now.”

“……”

Shin Yeon-seo offered no rebuttal, drooping her shoulders in acknowledgment.

“Understood. Sorry. I’ll be careful.”

As they spoke, Ma Sang-hyun approached, smashing the petrified orcs. Blunt or fist attacks were effective against petrified monsters. Ma Sang-hyun performed his role effectively. Watching him, Shin Yeon-seo clenched her fists.

‘I can’t be the only liability here.’

Young Seon-hwa had played her part well, and even the sizable Ma Sang-hyun had fulfilled his role. Kim Hyuk-jin was, of course, without question.

‘I can’t go on like this.’

She didn’t have a clear goal per se; it was more about the weight of knowing her single mistake could have killed everyone there. It was a dizzying burden.

‘Pull yourself together, Yeon-seo.’

When monsters emerged and the world changed, Shin Yeon-seo had promised herself. To protect her family and friends. To ensure her loved ones would never fall into danger. That was her vow.

‘I will do better.’

As if a tiny droplet had caused a massive ripple in her mind, waves of resolve spread across the surface of her metaphorical lake.

‘I must become stronger.’

She had to become drastically stronger. She couldn’t be a burden. Especially not in that mistaken moment. Within her, a fierce desire to ‘become stronger’ took root, flaring up like a brilliant flame. She compared herself to Kim Hyuk-jin.

‘At least, as much as Hyuk-jin.’

To not be a burden. To repay the kindness that saved her mother. At least to that extent.

‘I want to be stronger.’

At that moment, a notification arrived.

[The ‘Jewel of Mount Cheonma’ reads your fervent desire.]

[The ‘Jewel of Mount Cheonma’ responds to your passion.]

[The ‘Jewel of Mount Cheonma’ extends its hand to you.]

The notification wasn’t exclusive to Shin Yeon-seo.

“……”

Kim Hyuk-jin, who had been chastising Shin Yeon-seo, suddenly fell silent. Seoul Station Dungeon, second underground floor. A new notification came to him, one that had not existed in the past strategies.

‘Was this… possible?’



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