It was so stealthy that even Vulcan, who possessed heightened senses, couldn’t detect.
It was standing still like a lifeless object, perfectly blending in and becoming a part of the forest.
Its eight eyes were emotionless.
Instead of being a living existence, it was more like a machine with cameras. It certainly was a very strange existence.
Vulcan, completely unaware of this, only focused all of his attention to the Commander Tree, Big.
‘All right. I adjusted my equipment to best fit my level. Let’s start.’
Vulcan fully raised up his magic and Demi-god powers.
The two powers were surging up relentlessly.
Sensing Vulcan’s power exuding from him violently, Big, the Commander Tree that was quietly asleep, showed a response.
It was obviously exuding animosity toward Vulcan.
Before its animosity could become actions, Vulcan initiated attack first.
Vulcan used Lightning Dragon Steps to quickly approach the tree. He got as close as he could to the tree’s main body.
Its roots were size of a small hill.
Standing on top of one, Vulcan activated the Superheated Inferno and quickly escaped.
Giant tree vines struck the place that Vulcan was just standing a moment ago.
Although it was the tree’s root that Vulcan was standing, Big didn’t mind striking the place.
Vulcan cast Firefields endlessly as he avoided Big’s attacks.
Vulcan’s plan was overlapping multiple flame magic as he evade the attacks and use the explosion when the Superheated Inferno’s duration is almost up. He figured that would result in incredible damage.
However, the Commander Tree was no push over. It was unlike other trees.
Using its thick vines, it created a wall from the distance to surround Vulcan.
It was like being trapped in a room with a ceiling and having the walls from both sides closing in. It felt suffocating.
Vulcan tried to escape before being completely surrounded. However, thinner vines came out of the thick vines and hindered his movements. That made Vulcan change his mind.
Vulcan wielded the Heavenly Lightning Blade.
Endowed with the magic and Demi-god powers, the lightning blade technique grew to over 300 ft in length. The blade was swung with a fearsome intensity, chopping everything on its path in half.
It possessed an overwhelming offensive power that was never shown before.
It was thanks to the Demi-god’s power.
Having managed to get out of the danger, Vulcan raised his left hand and generated a hundred Lightning Spears.
Each of them contained Demi-god’s power.
The magic attacks were launched in incredible speed, faster than a legendary archer from the Buddhist stories. The Lightning Spears struck the Big’s body.
‘If I keep striking it with lightning magic, its movement will become unnatural. It will make evading… Uh, it’s not working.’
Vulcan strained his eyes wide open and observed Big’s body.
It seemed that its hardened exterior layer was the problem.
‘Looks like it won’t get affected by any status elements before I can break through that. It’s cutting down the damage… to about half.’
Vulcan didn’t get to take advantage of the opportunity he obtained from the Lightning Blade technique. Still, he obtained information, so it was not a waste.
He used the blade and cleared the vines coming at Vulcan. He then cast three of the Ifrit’s Fist.
After that, in order to focus the impact area, he concentrated his mind and compressed the Ifrit’s Fists.
The Ifrit’s Fists were gradually being compressed.
Initially, they were about 150 ft in diameter each. Now, they were each about the size of a Hellfire.
Unstable movements, use of the Lightning Blade technique, and now, use of excessive magic control… They were starting to take a toll on Vulcan’s brain.
Vulcan was so focused that he was not even aware that he was getting a nosebleed.
Before the Superheated Inferno ended, Vulcan swung his left hand in a powerful motion and launched the Ifrit’s Fists.
The Commander Tree also felt the danger. It raised its vines to stop the attack. However, it was not enough.
The Ifrit’s Fists broke through the vines as if they were straws. They collided with the Big’s body and exploded.
At that moment, at the right timing, Vulcan used Explosion.
There were continuous explosions above the Superheated Inferno.
Shocked, the Big’s gigantic body shook.
It was different from before when Big was protected by the layer. Sensing victory, Vulcan smiled.
‘It cracked open!’
There was a crack about 15 ft in size.
Vulcan was a little disappointed that all that firepower resulted in just cracking the shell. However, it wasn’t a big deal at this point.
Now, there was a weak point on Big that was 15 ft in size. Defeating it was going to be a piece of cake from this point.
Vulcan raised his left hand and cast magic.
Of all lightning magic, he cast the Lightning Bolt.
However, he created ten thousand of them. With so many filling the air, an overwhelming pressure, that could not be ignored, was felt.
Vulcan swung his Heavenly Lightning Blade and pointed toward the Big. The countless Lightning Bolts swarmed toward Big like hornets.
Boom, Boom Ba Boom!
Big wrapped the cracked part of its body with vines, creating a thick patch. It looked desperate. It seemed to be aware of the fact that he must not allow attacks on the cracked area.
However, Vulcan was not just going to sit and watch.
With most of the vines used for defense, that made it easier for Vulcan to get closer to Big.
In an instant, Vulcan came right in front of the vines shielding the crack.
He used the Lightning Blade technique once again.
The vines could not withstand his Lightning Blade. The crack was exposed fully again.
Through that gap, the Lightning Bolts that Vulcan cast earlier poured in.
Electricity was flowing into the tree endlessly.
Lightning Bolts, which gained the stun attribute from being mixed with the Demi-god’s power, endlessly hindered Big’s movement.
It was getting beat up without being able to fight back properly.
While watching this, Vulcan drank potions as if he was an addict.
‘I need to finish this when I have the chance!’
Vulcan walked into the crack and started to cast magic continuously.
He generated more lightning magic to keep the stun effect going. He also cast flame magic to cause continuous damage.
He poured out both kinds like a madman.
He was about to lose consciousness from overexerting himself. Thinking it was kill or be killed situation, he used all of his might to attack the inside of the Commander Tree.
‘Will it die first… or will I run out of strength first?’
Vulcan was absolutely certain of his victory.
If it was his former self, he would not have been so sure of himself.
However, the Demi-god’s power was augmenting all of his flame magic’s continuous damage.
‘Victory is mine for sure!’
And soon, his confidence in victory became the reality.
There was a notification sound that could be heard loud and clear.
[Your experience points went up.]
[You defeated a foe that was almost impossible for you to defeat!]
[You have achieved a great exploit!]
[Your exploit points went up by a huge margin.]
“… I won.”
Inside the tree, he cancelled all magic and plummeted to sit.
Vulcan was so tired that he felt like he could just lie down here forever.
However, the dead body of Big, the Commander Tree, disappeared, and that lead to Vulcan falling from mid-air. He couldn’t just lie down there anymore.
‘It’s not giving me a chance to rest.’
He summersaulted and landed gracefully on the ground. Vulcan picked up the item.
It was a legendary bow with level limit of 750.
Of all items he obtained so far, this one had the highest rank and level.
‘It’s not bad. I can’t use this weapon, but maybe I can sell it to Elcane. I wonder if he would give me a good price for it.’
Vulcan lied down on the ground again. There wasn’t any monsters around, so he felt like he could relax a little.
More than anything else, he was tired, and he was also in pain.
It was a monster with characteristics that allowed Vulcan to defeat it. However, as expected, a 750 level monster was strong.
There was no margin to spare during the battle.
The Blue Dragon’s Breath, Demi-god’s power, excessive use of potions… With all of them combined, Vulcan barely managed to kill it. He would have ignored it and left the area if it wasn’t for the exploits.
‘Anyway, I finished everything I was going to do here. I guess I’ll return to the Expo City after resting for about an hour.’
Vulcan relaxed and started to rest.
Fresh air from the surrounding trees made him feel comfortable.
Like that, he was half a sleep and enjoyed the leisurely time after a big battle.
Also, there was a monster that was charging at him, aiming for this moment when Vulcan was letting his guard down.
‘What the hell!’
Vulcan felt like his hair was all spiking up, and his heart sunk like the ground was going to collapse.
It was absolutely terrifying like being thrown in to the mouth of a giant beast.
To face that fear, Vulcan raised up his upper body and wielded the blade.
However, Vulcan knew.
His stance was unstable, and his condition was not perfect either.
Swinging a blade like this was not going to stop it.
Vulcan’s eyes filled with despair. He could see the monster’s level.
It was a decisive moment.
Chimera B-137 went past Vulcan’s blade easily with a light movement.
Its gigantic scythe like hand was swung toward Vulcan’s legs to slice them off.
Vulcan thought this was the end for him, but he realized he was still alive. He quickly got up and took a combat stance.
He couldn’t believe what just happened. Vulcan stared at B-137.
Its attack was like from the grim reaper’s scythe.
Vulcan’s legs should have been cut in half. However, Vulcan’s body was strangely fine.
It was as if nothing happened.
B-137 was also standing there vacantly as if it was confused about what just happened.
Vulcan, not letting his guard down, thought about it hard.
‘It definitely hit me.’
However, that was it.
Like how it was when Vulcan was beating on the Commander Tree’s hardened layer, B-137’s attack was bounced off powerlessly.
Vulcan scanned its level once again.
‘Not 76Lv, but 762Lv, yet its attack was bounced off? How could this be…’
Vulcan was very curious about it, but perhaps because his life was in mortal danger, he couldn’t think straight.
After thinking about it some more, Vulcan tossed the thought aside.
It was because he thought that it was not important at this time.
‘For now, I need to escape this danger, and then… Damn it. I drank too many potions. It won’t be effective right now.’
Because of the excitement, his blood was circulating rapidly. With each pulse, each and everyone of the injuries on his body were aching as if they each had a heart of their own.
His mana was almost showing the bottom. He wasn’t even sure if he could cast one Ifrit’s Fist.
Quite literally, his body was at the worst possible condition.
However, he couldn’t just back down like this.
To make sure he was not missing its movements, Vulcan strained his eyes and focused his mind.
Toward Vulcan, the chimera, which had four arms and eight eyes, charged in violently.
* * *
It was at an underground research laboratory.
There was a clean room, unlike the other room next to it which was filled with experimental subjects, chemicals and equipment. In that clean room, a bizarre-looking old man sitting was sitting there.
About a quarter of his head was replaced with a metallic plate. Where his eyes should be were filled with red lenses.
The man, using his tree branch like thin fingers, picked up a cookie and brought it toward his mouth.
Even his teeth were not normal.
They were sharper than those of normal human beings.
He looked fearsome like predator beasts or monsters. Young children would have ran away in tears if they saw his appearance.
The man was very unique looking.
In front of him, there were over a hundred square screens in arrays.
To compare it to Earth, it was like the man was observing CCTVs in a main security room.
However, the visuals were not of the insides of the building.
Some were showing flames engulfing the ground. Some had rough rocky landscapes.
There were also beach, deep forest area, underground caves, and etc…
The screens were showing all sorts of places.
In one of those screens, an unusual movement was being displayed.
“Oh, a prey fell in, it fell in!”
The old man smiled with satisfaction. He focused his mana on the screen that showed a gigantic tree.
He closed all other screens at an instant, and the screen became enlarged.
He could see a man beating the crap out of the tree using all sorts of flashy magic.
“Kukkuk. He isn’t powerful enough to overwhelm the Commander Tree… but he isn’t weak enough to lose either. He’s perfect. If I attack him when he is exhausted, I think I might be able to pick up some useful materials.”
The battle between the gigantic tree and the man was going as the old man predicted.
The man had a difficult fight, but using an intriguing magic combination, the man pierced through the Commander Tree’s defense and finished the fight. The old man smiled as he watched the man.
The Commander Tree roared in pain and withered.
After a moment, the Commander Tree’s dead body disappeared like it was never there, and there was a man landing on the ground.
‘What the? What did he do to that gigantic tree?’
It was a scene that made the old man doubt his eyes. He tilted his head side to side, but it didn’t matter.
He just had to catch him and torture him. The answers would be made known to him naturally that way.
With a shady smile, the old man ordered B-137 to attack.
Considering that the man was lying on the ground, exhausted, the old man figured B-137’s victory was for certain.
‘Instead of killing him, I think I should just cut off his legs so he can’t run.’
Having received the order, the chimera charged toward the man like an arrow.
As the old man expected, the man was mostly exhausted.
It seemed that it would be impossible for the man to fight off the chimera, which was about as strong as the Commander Tree.
The chimera avoided the powerlessly swung blade with ease. Up to the point when it swung its grim reaper like claws at the man’s leg, the old man believed that his plan was a success.
The man in the screen didn’t receive any damage.
The old man dropped the cookie he was enjoying.
A heavy silence filled the underground laboratory.