A VIP as Soon as You Log In - Chapter 18: The Exposed Awl - 4
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The axe had been crafted in a spacious workshop containing an ever burning brazier infused with a small amount of magical power, a worn anvil, and a blunt hammer. And the workshop was occupied by an old blacksmith.
‘This one’s a failure.’
The blacksmith thought while looking at the completed axe. He had been too distracted while making the weapon.
The blacksmith always tried to commit to his work with an empty mind, but it was sometimes inevitable to be distracted by random unnecessary thoughts. Most of them were quite unpleasant. They included the memories of the end of the world, the sorrow of losing his family, and the rage against the interdimensional invaders that caused all those tragedies.
Sometimes those dark emotions would stir inside him uncontrollably, causing him to make a defective weapon. Although the purpose of a weapon was to harm another living being, a weapon crafted in such a somber state of mind possessed an excessively violent aura.
‘Not that I can kill my own child that had just sprung out into this world.’
The blacksmith registered the weapon in the trade board of Hero Universe while clicking his tongue in dissatisfaction. He hoped the weapon would meet the right owner who’d correct the axe’s unstable aura to its rightful balance.
[Anonymous has purchased your item. You’ve received a total of 176,500HP!]
The axe was sold in no time. It was a common occurrence. The blacksmith had judged the axe to be a failure a moment ago, but his friends of the Hero Universe community always regarded his weapons as top-quality. But.
‘Another anonymous user. They all seem to be the same person, though.’
A user with a hidden identity, who always appeared out of nowhere like a ghost, to buy his products that emitted especially violent auras.
It was a well-known fact that trading anonymously was only possible with a high membership tier for a special type of product, and the blacksmith wasn’t quite happy speculating about the kind of people interested in these products.
‘I should probably not sell these kinds of weapons. . . . . .’
The blacksmith thought about it, but didn’t think for long.
Even a weapon possessing an excessive violent aura could transform into a different weapon when wielded by the right owner. The blacksmith was merely the crafter of the weapon; he was not someone responsible for the weapon’s fate.
“I don’t know who you are. . . . . . but please take good care of it.”
The blacksmith muttered to himself and closed his eyes to shake off his remaining uneasiness.
As he did, his consciousness began to fade into the void. When he came to his senses, he was standing idly in the middle of the training room.
[Your synchronization rate is increasing. Assimilation rate is now at 1.7% . . . . . . 1.8%.]
Kang Shin-hyuk fully came to his senses at the message of his synchronization rate increasing.
He was struck by a mixture of emptiness, rage, doubt, desperation, resignation, vengeance, and countless other feelings, but they all soon evaporated. He had never felt that way before while his synchronization rate was increasing.
Kang Shin-hyuk could sympathize with some of his feelings, but he had no time to waste by clinging onto them. He forcefully shook his head trying to shake off the memories of the blacksmith that was taking over his mind.
‘The Administrator was right–this weapon was crafted by me before the reincarnation.’
Kang Shin-hyuk momentarily felt regretful that he could not directly benefit from having the axe for himself as it was now totally absorbed by the Godslayer sword, but that was an unnecessary feeling. The Godslayer sword had devoured the weapon down to its roots, to its origin.
What that entailed was that the Godslayer sword could be enhanced at a faster rate by possessing the origins of several weapons inside itself. Of course, only the origins of powerful weapons could produce any notable effects.
Kang Shin-hyuk had realized one more thing.
‘The Troll’s manic pursuit of spirit power could have been due to the negative aura residing in the axe. . . . . . If that was the case, who bought the weapon, and how did it end up in the Troll’s hand?”
Perhaps because Kang Shin-hyuk was Anvil himself, he could obtain the memories of when the weapon was crafted, but the rest were still kept in the dark. He could do no better than surmise that it had something to do with Hero Universe.
After all, the Administrator said that Hero Universe was the gathering point of heroes, not the gathering point of good people.
‘If I get attacked like that again. . . . . . No–it would be meaningless to worry about it for now.’
Suppose that a new enemy finds him with another of Anvil’s weapons in its hand. How would he predict its occurrence, and in what ways could he prepare for it?
But for Kang Shin-hyuk, the best he could do was to focus on the present, doing his absolute best for each moment. Just like he was training at this moment, putting all his might into the task and nothing else.
But as Kang Shin-hyuk infused his spirit power into the Godslayer sword while having such thoughts, his heart suddenly began to pound rapidly and his entire body’s blood began to boil.
[The origin of the axe residing in the Godslayer sword and the energy within your blood have integrated. With the help of your spirit power and trait, you have awakened a new special ability, ‘Recovery’!]
“Wh-what. . . . . .?”
His body was hot as if a dormant organ whose existence he didn’t know about, had just started functioning.
Kang Shin-hyuk tried to understand the change in his body by carefully reading the message in front of him with the feeling that his mind was being lifted, as if he was drunk.
‘The axe’s origin and the energy within my blood have integrated?’ Kang Shin-hyuk immediately knew what that meant–the “Increased Blood Flow” buff! The “energy” within his blood could only come from that buff!
The “Increased Blood Flow” buff was activated by consuming the War Troll’s heart, and the axe that the Godslayer sword absorbed belonged to the same monster.
As the two integrated through his spirit power, the temporary buff of “Increased Blood Flow” had become a permanent special ability.
Kang Shin-hyuk had understood the outcome, but he still had difficulty understanding the process.
‘A “special ability,” rather than a “skill”. . . . . .’
He had only known magical power as a special ability before he awakened spirit power by logging into Hero Universe. Superhuman training academies usually didn’t lecture about the topic of “special abilities” either, and there was virtually no external research on “special abilities” other than magical power.
Despite that, Kang Shin-hyuk had just awokenakened his second “special ability,” something other than magical power.
‘This probably isn’t normal.’
He didn’t think it was likely that he was the only person possessing such an ability, but he wasn’t about to spread the word to the world about his new ability to find his fellow comrades.
‘Anyway, it’s called “Recovery,”. . . . . . Is it similar to a Troll’s regeneration ability? Though if it is, my regeneration would be nothing compared to that.’
As a matter of fact, Kang Shin-hyuk felt that his body was more energized than before. Perhaps because the new ability was awakened by his spirit power, Kang Shin-hyuk could instinctively understand its power.
It felt like the pinnacle of all living things’ natural healing abilities. Even though both are special abilities, “Recovery” was an absurdly simple power compared to spirit power, which could be applied in many different ways. Still, “simple” was good enough for him.
[Kang Shin-hyuk: C- Rank]
Spirit Power – D
Recovery – F
As expected, a new column had appeared in his special abilities window.
Because his new ability was at the starting point of F Rank, the most he could expect it to do was to restore his body’s condition at a faster rate, but that was still a blessing for a close-range type superhuman who was always physically active, in practice or in active combat.
. . . . . .Though he still had no idea how to effectively train this ability!
“All these gains from one glass of Troll Heart cocktail. How do I express my thanks to Claire. . . . . .? No–let’s think about that later.”
While it was true that Claire’s more-than-perfect cocktail contributed to his second awakening, his ability to extract the origins of objects played a much greater role.
Moreover, he thought, Claire probably isn’t more knowledgeable about regeneration abilities any more than himself. So, Kang Shin-hyuk decided to delay revealing his new ability to her until their friendship became close enough to talk about his abilities in detail.
‘Hm, I hope we become that close.’
Just as Kang Shin-hyuk let out a faint smile while thinking back to his memory of Claire shaking her shaker with a serious look on her face, he came to his senses and slapped his own cheek.
This isn’t the time to indulge in stupid daydreams, he thought. He had sworn to himself to grow as much as possible while the “Increased Blood Flow” buff was in effect!
‘I can probably push myself harder with my body being able to recover faster. All right, let’s continue training!’
From that point on, Kang Shin-hyuk trained with unprecedented passion. With the regenerative power added to the buff, his movements were like those of a machine, showing no signs of slowing down except during breaks to eat something.
It was not a performance one could pull off with high physical stats alone. Without the support of his strong mind and will, Kang Shin-hyuk wouldn’t have been able to engage in such strenuous training.
But those two things were the only notable qualities he had for a long time. So strong, in fact, that he felt even Anvil, who had forged for decades, couldn’t surpass the strength of his mind and will.
If that wasn’t the case, he couldn’t have enrolled into the world’s best superhuman training academy as a nobody who had no talent whatsoever in using mana.
[Eunah: Grandpa. . . . . .Eunah wants to rest but there’s work to doo. :(]
[Janus: Hey geezer, is the new Godslayer sword done yet?]
[Bartender noona: Hey Shin-hyuk, did you know that Eunah’s coming at your sports day!?]
[Baek In-ha: IIII hateee training. IIIII hateeee training.]
[You’ve received a login bonus of 500HP!]
Kang Shin-hyuk kept diligently training even after the sunrise. While feeling sorry, he decided to ignore the messages that were coming to his Hero Universe account and to his personal stick.
He kept switching from one weapon to the next to perfect his sword dance techniques while exercising his physical body to death. The field rations piled up on one side of the training room and the Eiren Jellies in his Hero Universe shop inventory quickly diminished in number.
[Your buff “Increased Blood Flow” has expired.]
[Your body has acclimated to high-speed blood flow and ‘Recovery’ has been upgraded to (F+) Rank.]
The deadline came to greet him even though his Strength level had remained unchanging. Having reached Sunday night, the “Increased Blood Flow” buff, which caused his rapid growth, had ended.
But still, Kang Shin-hyuk didn’t stop. Even though “Increased Blood Flow” had expired, “Recovery”–which had now been upgraded to (F+) Rank–was still in effect. He wasn’t confident whether he’d have enough strength to stand by morning, but Kang Shin-hyuk decided to not worry about his condition for now.
‘I think it’ll upgrade if I push just a little more.’
Normally Kang Shin-hyuk didn’t place much faith in his own intuition, but now that he was observing his body with the aid of spirit power, he could feel even the slightest of changes in each part of his body with great vividness.
There was a clear sign of growth. Not only for strength, but also for agility.
On top of that, he could feel the blood circulation relieving himself of fatigue and delivering a sense of fresh energy. Spirit power training was a more definite solution to understanding himself than a status window, he thought.
‘A little more.’
Kang Shin-hyuk clenched his teeth as he inserted two additional 50kg plates onto the barbell. Although it was a little too much, he decided to bet on his new ability, “Recovery.” An acute pain rushed in, but Kang Shin-hyuk still lifted.
‘Just a little more.’
After he found his limit, he tempered himself by increasing the weight several times. He felt like passing out, but human beings were the kind of creatures that could surpass its limits with sheer determination.
“Keeeunng. . . . . .!”
Kang Shin-hyuk lifted the barbell with a shriek that he wouldn’t want others to hear. The concept of “limit” was already erased in his head. All that was left in him was a simple desire to move forward.
With his teeth clenched, he lifted the damn metal bar on top of him.
How long had it been? He couldn’t count how many times he had lifted the barbell and had already gone beyond and above the limits of his recovery rate. Not being able to lift nor let go of the barbell, he felt like his arms would be detached by loosening his hand’s strengths by the tiniest amount. Just when his mind went completely white.
‘I’m moving forward.’
As soon as he instinctively moved his arms to the voice coming from an unknown direction, he miraculously lifted the barbell as if it was a piece of paper. In a moment that felt as long as an eternity, every cell of his body was dramatically enhanced.
He felt his whole body palpitate as if it had become a heart. He then realized that the voice he heard earlier came from none other than himself.
[Your Strength has been upgraded to (C-) Rank.]
[Your Agility has been upgraded to (C+) Rank.]
[You have surpassed your own limit. Your spirit power has been upgraded to (D+) Rank.]
A stream of notifications proving his growth appeared before Kang Shin-hyuk. His strength, agility and spirit power had been upgraded all at once! He felt the upgrades when he lifted the barbell, but he was moved even more by seeing the evidence with his own eyes.
His strong will played a large role, but if he wasn’t supported by his spirit power in that last moment, the upgrades would have been impossible.
Through this experience, he had learned more deeply about how to communicate with and strengthen himself, becoming able to use his abilities more efficiently. Now, he thought, he wouldn’t get exhausted from a single strike like he did during his fight against Do woojin.
“Ha. . . . . .”
It was finally over.
Kang Shin-hyuk first calmly put down the barbell. A glimpse of the still dark night sky could be seen out the window. The time on his stick read 4 a.m.
‘Then, it should be fine. Well, probably.’
With a faint smile, Kang Shin-hyuk didn’t get up from his spot. Three hours later, if it weren’t for Baek In-ha who came to the training room out of concern for his friend, he would’ve been late to school.
Translator and Editor Notes:
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