Of course, it was not like an organization called Bae Su Jin, which was quite a large organization, could not handle Vulcan, who was alone.
With five of them presently there at the Lava Field, it was going to be possible to capture Vulcan alive without suffering too much damage.
However, there was no guarantee that the Bae Su Jin group was the only one targeting Vulcan.
There was a possibility that something unexpected could happen while they were trying to capture Vulcan.
‘Most would just give up because they would not want to get tangled up with us. However… We can’t say with certainty that there aren’t any other dumbasses out there that are aiming for the narrow chance.’
Some people were frustrated and exhausted after several hundred years of stagnant growth. There were runts like that who were willing to risk their lives to find a break through.
If the information about Vulcan had spread to such runts as well, the situation could be beyond just being annoying. It could get serious.
Also, the factor that made the overall variability in risk bigger was Vulcan’s strength.
If Vulcan caused a commotion by exuding incredible power while the members of Bae Su Jin fought off the runts trying to butt in to capturing Vulcan, the chance of failure could increase.
‘We cannot let that happen. Vulcan is more special than Demi-gods, and he is the only research material. We cannot lose him.’
The horse-faced man was one of the people who had high hopes for this research.
He imagined researching Vulcan while putting heads together with his fellow Bae Su Jin mages.
He thought about the research miraculously completing successfully and how he would be after achieving the breakthrough using the research result. He was so excited from just thinking about it that he could not stand still.
‘Phew… For now, I should stay calm.’
The horse-faced man took a deep breath and calmed himself. He then waited for Vulcan while fighting a suitable monster that he could handle.
There was still a bit of time left before Vulcan’s protective blessing expired.
Now was not the time for them to step in out of impatience.
* * *
In hiding, there was a Chimera observing the people at the Lava Field.
The old man had been looking around the area using the view that the Chimera was providing him. The old man completely crumpled his face.
“What the? Why are those runts all glaring only at Vulcan?”
There were two men who kept on glancing at Vulcan, the prey that the old man was targeting.
They were slaying monsters once in a while as if they were not very interested in Vulcan. However, having observed their behavior for a long time through the screen, the old man could tell that their behavior was definitely awkward.
It felt like they were watching Vulcan just like how the Chimera maker was.
The old man started to worry about one thing and then crumpled his face even more.
‘By any chance… Are those fuckers also trying to get that runt?’
There was no other way to explain their behavior.
Of course, it was rare to see a newbie slicing and dicing Hell Flame Lizards at the Lava Field, so people could be interested in watching Vulcan.
However, they were watching him just how like the Chimera maker was. They were also trying to keep track of where Vulcan was. This could only mean that they had an ulterior motive.
The old man held his forehead with an exaggerated motion and complained out loud,
“Ugh. Shit. How come anything I do always don’t go smoothly? Uuuuuuaaaaa!”
The old men felt that information must have leaked from somewhere.
He rolled around the laboratory’s floor and screamed in beastly roar.
Watching the Chimera maker acting that way, a maid Chimera did not know what to do.
To console its owner, the made Chimera approached him slowly.
However, the old man had a bad temper. Its head flew off by the fist that the old man swung, and meat scraps got splashed all over the area.
The old man stood up while wearing the aftermath of a fountain of blood.
The old man calmed his harsh breathing and fixed his violent face back to normal. The old man said,
“Um… Seeing blood makes me calm down a little. Good. Haha.”
Using his long tongue, he lightly licked the blood on his face. He then focused on the screen again.
Vulcan was gone for a moment, and now he was back. He was chopping down monsters.
The old man’s inside felt frustrating again.
‘Kuuuuk… He is getting stronger too fast, a lot faster than I thought. This is the first time for me to feel like the ten year protective blessing period is so long. If it was 20 years… I don’t even want to think about it. Uu.’
When Chimera maker first saw Vulcan, Vulcan was the runt who had a tough time fighting even the Commander Tree.
However, now, Vulcan was fighting against the Fire Lizard of Fallen Hell comfortably when this monster was around the same level as the Commander Tree.
Vulcan’s movements were significantly faster than before. His body was tougher, and his mana capacity was definitely larger.
Thinking about the difficulty in capturing Vulcan alive made the Chimera maker sigh. However, when he thought about the fact that the prey that he had his eyes on was far more interesting than he initially believed, that was making him feel great.
‘I gotta catch him… Those other runts… I don’t know what they had been doing or where there came from, but they are pretty powerful. I think I’ll need to put in reinforcements.’
Currently, the Chimera maker sent five Chimeras to capture Vulcan alive.
It was a number that he decided based on Vulcan’s strength. Back then, he assessed that Vulcan’s strength was similar to the Commander Tree.
However, Vulcan had become significantly more powerful. Also, considering that there were other runts that seemed like they were after Vulcan, it felt like five Chimeras were not going to be enough.
‘I think I’ll have to send ten more Chimeras… Kuk… I think that’s overexerting a little, but…’
Still, it could not be helped.
When it came to all other kinds of beings, Chimera maker already had studied them all at least once. In this situation, he could not allow losing the Player that appeared for the first time in Act 2.
‘I wish the time passed faster.’
The old man chewed on the cookies while making loud chewing sounds. While chewing on the cookies like that, he waited for the day to come.
* * *
The time passed and passed some more. Before long, almost six months had gone by.
The protective blessing on Vulcan was on its way to expiring.
If it was Vulcan from before, he would have realized the dire situation and made iron-clad preparations against all dangers and threats to come. However, he was different now.
With greater intensity and urgency, he was slaughtering Hell Fire Lizards.
He was swinging sword while letting about half of his mind go berserk. However, his body became used to the movements. Demonstrating natural movements, Vulcan was carrying out the battle without making any mistakes.
It had been seven and a half years since Vulcan started hunting at the Lava Field. In that duration, he slaughtered countless number of Hell Fire Lizards.
It meant that Vulcan had reached a height where he simply could not make a mistake even if he wanted.
Another lizard disappeared after becoming Vulcan’s experience points.
Vulcan instinctively picked up the item. Without rest, he charged toward another prey, and then his battle continued, after another, and after another.
The horse-faced man was watching Vulcan from the far. As if he could not understand Vulcan, he mumbled,
“That runt, why is he acting like that all of sudden?”
“I am not sure. Should I go ask him?”
“Shut up. You are no fun.”
“Yes, but I really don’t know why he is acting like that.”
“I’m the retard for trying to have a conversation with you.”
The horse-faced man shook his head left and right.
He kept silent for a moment, and then he tossed a question at the one eyed man.
“When is the main force going to arrive?”
“In about… two hours… We still have another two to three days before Vulcan’s protective blessing expires, so there is no worry about being late.”
“I see. All right.”
The horse-faced man quietly mumbled as he watched Vulcan running amok like a madman.
“It will be good for us if he exhausts himself like that whole day. Exhaust yourself some more.”
* * *
As if Vulcan heard what the horse-faced man said, Vulcan hunted monsters without taking any break.
Wrapping himself in flame magic, he just toughed out the usual flame attacks with his body, and then he used the Thunder God Blade to carry out a more actively offensive combat.
Instead of thinking that he was a mage swordsman, some people may have thought that he was a berserker instead. Vulcan’s current combat tactic was that violent and powerful.
There was one reason why this became possible.
His fire mastery had progressed further.
His fire magic was blocked for a long time at the end of the S rank.
Vulcan was not just knocking on its wall now. He was at the brink of destroying that wall.
A Hell Fire Lizard repeatedly shot lava lumps at Vulcan as if it was spitting out phlegm.
However, Vulcan’s response to it was very simple.
It was as if he was swapping flies. Vulcan swung his palm, which was coated with Ifrit’s Fist, and swapped away the lava lumps.
The lumps that were bounced away by his palm flew off in several directions and destroyed the surroundings.
The lava lumps were definitely not weak attacks. However, the fact was that Vulcan was now able to defend against them with more ease than before.
It was an example that showed Vulcan’s fire magic had reached a greater height.
Vulcan was able to even fight two Hell Fire Lizards at once.
One continuously shot lava lumps at him, and the other one shot fire breath to pressure Vulcan.
It seemed this was not easy for Vulcan to handle. He used lightning dragon step, but he was gradually getting cornered.
‘All right. It is finally over!’
The cooling time for the Super Heated Inferno, which he used two hours ago, was finally over. Now, the table was turned.
The flames of Hell poured out below Vulcan’s feet.
The Hell Fire Lizards were highly resistant to fire magic. However, even these lizards were feeling sharp pain from the heat rising from the ground.
Of course, it was not enough to deal serious damage to the lizards because their resistance to fire was at the peak levels.
However, the Super Heated Inferno’s best features were not limited to just being able to deal damage over time.
Vulcan transformed to the fire spirit and instantaneously moved to the Hell Fire Dragon’s neck.
After that, he disengaged the spirit form.
Carrying concentrated power of Vulcan’s magic and Demi-god’s power, the Thunder God Blade was swung toward the back of its neck.
Its neck was cut clean. It was clean enough to make individual blood veins to be visible on the cut surface.
Around the time the lizard’s head collided with the ground and made a destructive noise, Vulcan already had transformed himself to a spirit to take the remaining lizard’s life.
Vulcan suddenly disappeared. The Hell Fire Lizard looked around the area to locate Vulcan.
However, the lizard did not get to find Vulcan.
Between its four legs, starting from its stomach, the Thunder God Blade pierced the lizard, and the blade grew its size.
After that, it cut through the lizard from the stomach to the head.
Before the lizard’s gigantic body could crush himself, Vulcan used the lightning dragon step and quickly got out of the way.
The Hell Fire Lizard collapsed to the floor. Its corpse looked grotesque.
The corpse slowly faded, and a notification sound could be heard through Vulcan’s SYSTEM.
[Your experience points went up.]
[You defeated two opponents at once that are stronger than you!]
[You achieved an exploit.]
[Your exploit rank went up.]
[740Lv (+ 30)]
Vulcan was now at level 740.
If it was like before, Vulcan would have gone to a safer place and started to examine his internals. However, Vulcan did not do that this time.
Little by little, his fire magic was developing.
At the moment, to achieve new height, he just needed a little bit more growth.
Also, his stats were increased on top of that from the level up.
The situation was like pouring one more bucket of water on a dam that was already withstanding incredible amount of water. However, the result exceeded Vulcan’s expectations.
The dam slowly started to develop cracks. It started to develop holes here and there. The water pouring out through the holes created even bigger cracks.
Eventually, the huge dam was finally destroyed completely.
[Your fire mastery rank was increased from S to SS.]
‘I finally achieved SS rank on fire mastery!’
Vulcan experienced the moment of intense joy. He broke in to laughter in a loud voice.
It was an exhilarating, refreshing laughter.
Few people around the area who were training turned their heads and looked at Vulcan. They were shocked.
His entire body was engulfed in flame.
He looked like the god of flame. In his forehead, there was the mark of the protective blessing exuding brilliant light.
Sul Young-hoo, a man who had been focusing only on swordsmanship for the past 1500 years, said with defeated look on his face.
“Sooonaba beeech. Looking at a raw talent like that seriously spoiled my mood. Kaaaak. Tuuut.”
He spat once and swung the sword as if he was letting his anger out. He then left the Lava Field.
Others followed suit.
They suddenly witnessed superior talent, and that made them feel defeated.
They could not focus on training anymore.
They each destroyed surroundings at will, cursed at the situation, and left the area.
Like that, people in the Lava Field left one after the other. Meanwhile, Vulcan slowly calmed the power of flame.
Still in the state of excitement, Vulcan tilted up the tip of his mouth.
‘I am so glad. I was worried what I would do if I don’t get to SS rank before the protective blessing ended. It was close, but I made it.’
Vulcan closely examined his new height.
Judging from human standard, he was certain that he was at low 800 level.
‘I have the boost from the Blue Dragon’s Breath, so I guess I can consider myself as the early to mid 800 level. Well, although the Blue Dragon’s Breath feels more like a spec popcorn than increasing the height.’
Overjoyed, Vulcan nodded and looked around.
About six people left the area, and the two men who could be seen in this area often since six month ago were still here. They were fighting monsters.
‘Hm… I thought the rest would also continue to train for a long time. Well, this is better for me.’
Vulcan took a mana potion and waited for the cooling time for the Super Heated Inferno to pass.
It was because he absolutely needed the Super Heated Inferno to go to the hidden quest area.
Vulcan found a suitable place and examined his internals. When he realized the time was up, he got right up from where he was sitting.
‘The largest crater in the Lava Field… That’s the place.’
Vulcan was at his tip top condition. He leisurely walked to the front of the crater.
He looked around the crater. Instead of water, the crater was filled with incredible flame and lava.
Size wise, it was not a crater. It could be called a small lake.
Vulcan was not sure what was molten here. However, it was exuding heat that was significantly hotter than the lava that he saw in lower dimensions.
‘Against heat like this, it would have been obviously impossible with S rank fire mastery.’
Vulcan took a deep breath and exhaled. He then cast magic that increased flame resistance to his entire body.
He left just enough mana to cast the Super Heated Inferno, and then he drank another bottle of potion.
Without hesitation, Vulcan dove into the crater.
Lava splashed up high and burned the field around it.
The horse-faced man had been watching it live all this time. Dumbfounded, he mumbled,
“… W… What the? That runt?”
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