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Chapter 310: Chapter 310
Su-hyeun dragged the monster’s body on his own.
Without them actually noticing it, Su-hyeun and the wolf therianthrope had traded places. Su-hyeun was now leading and the therianthrope following.
The therianthrope couldn’t keep its eyes off Su-hyeun. It couldn’t believe what it had seen.
It stared at Su-hyeun’s body, observing how each part moved. Then it commented, “Well, he did have a bit of muscle on him, but…”
It groaned and then tilted its head.
“Okay. You got me curious,” it began to speak. “Just where exactly is your strength coming from? I don’t think you’re one of us. I mean, you’re not one of my kind.”
“Are all of your kind as strong as you?”
“My kind? That’s obvious.” The therianthrope raised its arm to flex and show off its well-toned muscles. “We rely on our bodies. We are born physically perfect and with great intellect. Our bodies are incomparable, whereas our battle, and even hunting, instincts are sharp. My kind founded a powerful tribe, and it flourished,” the therianthrope explained.
It spoke full of pride about its kind. It was proud to be part of the tribe.
“However, I am now starting to think that we are not the only strong species—strongest, if you may,” it remarked. It looked dejected. “It never occurred to me that a more powerful and intelligent species than our kind existed. I thought we are one of a kind…”
A creature so strong that it could take down an opponent twice its size feeling down?
Su-hyeun tried to keep a straight face. This wolf therianthrope must have thought that all humans were as strong as Su-hyeun.
“The species I belong to is called ‘human.'”
“Yes. We are small beings and weak as well,” Su-hyeun described, gesturing. He was trying to cheer the therianthrope up, but it was skeptical.
“Are you making fun of me? You’re incredibly strong. What are you talking about?”
“Yes, I’m strong, but that doesn’t mean all humans are strong. Humans are actually weak species that would be too easy to hunt.”
“Are you telling the truth?”
“Yes, it’s true. That’s why”—Su-hyeun went on as he dragged the corpse with one hand—”you don’t have to be depressed. Besides, I also think that your tribe is one of a kind.”
“Hmm…” The wolf therianthrope rubbed its chin while looking at the ma.s.sive creature being dragged away by Su-hyeun. “You know, I don’t find your words convincing at all, especially when I can see you effortlessly dragging this monster with one hand.”
“Is that so?”
“In any case, I’ve learned one thing about you.”
“About me? What is it?”
“You’re a nice guy. I don’t know. You look nice.”
“Not sure whether that’s a compliment or—”
“It’s an insult,” the therianthrope cut him off. “A nice guy like you won’t survive in this place for long.”
“Is that so?” Su-hyeun smiled meekly and nodded. “Well, that might be true.”
Su-hyeun glanced back at the monster he was dragging by its hide.
Although he discovered several monsters on his way here, none of those creatures were as large as this one. They had probably seen Su-hyeun and the therianthrope dragging a humongous monster, and the sight intimidated them that they didn’t bother to approach them.
Without a doubt, he would have to work extra hard to drag something this big in the past.
He might even have to rely on magical energy too.
But it was a different story now.
‘Why do I feel like I’ve become some creature with incredibly high physical strength and nothing else?’
Su-hyeun smirked at that thought.
The wolf therianthrope mistook him as a monster just now, but even to his mind, he had exceeded the limits of an ordinary person a long time ago.
In the next few hours, Su-hyeun, along with the therianthrope, kept dragging the carca.s.s as he headed to the village.
While chatting every now and then, Su-hyeun and the therianthrope became more acquainted with each other.
The therianthrope commented that Su-hyeun’s name was weird before introducing its name.
Its name was Raboonta. It was a warrior too.
“There are a lot more of my kind stronger than me back in the village. I’m still too young to be officially recognized as a warrior, you see.”
“You’re actually…young?” Su-hyeun asked cautiously.
“That I am.”
“How old are you, then?”
“I’ve turned 80 this year. One has to be at least a hundred years old before it can become a warrior. Only 20 more years to go for me.”
By human standards, 80 was considered old. Yet he encountered a creature who said otherwise. He was surprised but didn’t find it strange.
‘Then again, dragons live for thousands—no, tens of thousands of years, so…’
Su-hyeun wasn’t really concerned with the life span of therianthropes. Something else was of interest to him.
‘He’s still not a warrior yet, which means…’
Therianthropes stronger than Raboonta existed.
‘Just how much stronger are actual warriors, then?’
Raboonta was undoubtedly an excellent warrior already. It was so capable that it could hunt monsters twice its size in a forest like this one.
The fact that it was aiming to become a warrior was proof of its physical and mental strength. However, Su-hyeun still couldn’t help but wonder if Raboonta was a special case that simply happened to be stronger than average.
“By the way, if you’re considered young by your kind’s standards, then why are you hunting by yourself? Shouldn’t you be accompanied by an ‘adult’?”
“It’s to find something to eat.”
“No. I mean, why are you doing it alone?”
“All because of that b.a.s.t.a.r.d.”
Raboonta bared its fangs and growled. “The monster that ruined our world.”
Its reactions seemed “suspicious,” to say the least.
But before Su-hyeun could ask more questions, Raboonta spoke, “We have arrived.”
Su-hyeun already knew that there was a village in the vicinity. Even from afar, he could sense the presence of other beings.
He didn’t bother to continue with his probing. The distant view of the village captured his attention. From a distance, he could see houses made of lumber.
Judging from all the presence he sensed, the number of therianthropes living on the outskirts of the village alone could easily be around several hundred.
A dozen of therianthropes lined up to welcome Raboonta back.
As expected, they all boasted generally muscular physiques. Most of them stood on their hind legs and were three meters in height, which was about the same as Raboonta.
However, all these therianthropes were astonished to witness Su-hyeun dragging an enormous carca.s.s. As he pa.s.sed by them, they bared their fangs to intimidate him.
Raboonta swiftly stood before them. “All of you, wait. This guy over here, he’s with me. He’s a good guy.”
The therianthropes calmed down when Raboonta spoke. However, they were still suspicious of Su-hyeun and refused to back off.
“You know that no warriors are present in the village right now, don’t you? We can’t let a monster inside,” a therianthrope reminded Raboonta.
“I know. However, this guy isn’t a monster.”
“Not a monster? What do you mean?”
A half-smile formed on Su-hyeun’s lips.
‘This is awkward.’
Su-hyeun was uneasy when the therianthropes called him a monster and remained wary of his presence.
He certainly never expected to be treated like a monster when visiting a foreign land. Then again, even humans would treat another race that looked different than themselves as monsters, so there was that.
But if there was one saving grace…
“Nice to meet you, everyone.”
It would be that Su-hyeun could at least hold a conversation with these creatures. Thanks to the tower’s system.
“My name is Kim Su-hyeun. Unfortunately, I’m lost. I was wondering if I can bother you for the next few days.”
“A monster could speak?”
“Wait. Maybe it’s not really a monster after all.”
The therianthropes present were all confused.
They seemed to contemplate something and then called Raboonta. They got together in a huddle and discussed among themselves.
Most of the questions had something to do with Su-hyeun. They were curious if he was food, prey, or monster. Raboonta did its best to answer each query and put Su-hyeun in a good light.
What he said next prompted a noticeable change in the therianthropes’ demeanor.
“He’s definitely an outstanding warrior.”
“Warrior”… That word was enough to arouse the interest of the therianthropes toward Su-hyeun. They sized him up, staring at him from head to foot.
It seemed that they held warriors in high esteem.
They soon approached Su-hyeun, and one of them extended its hand, which was larger than its head.
“Welcome to our village. We were informed that you’re an outstanding warrior.”
It was the biggest therianthrope among the group. Su-hyeun took its hand and shook it. He felt a tight grip on his hand.
This huge therianthrope wasn’t trying to pick a fight. To the therianthropes living in this place, this was how they welcomed visitors.
“Raboonta informed us of your deed. You helped him bring home our food.”
Raboonta did hunt this monster for its people. The monster’s size was enough to feed the entire village, though Raboonta was not the only one hunting for the tribe.
“Actually, Raboonta was the one who successfully hunted the creature down,” Su-hyeun emphasized.
“Hunting one isn’t difficult, but transporting it is. Even without trying to carry it, I can tell that its heavy weight is a burden to anyone who was tasked to take it home.”
The therianthrope acknowledged that it was indeed a burden. It was an impossible task to accomplish alone. From the therianthrope’s statement, Su-hyeun supposed that these creatures had the same level of strength as Raboonta.
“Well, then. Come on in. And since you ended up breaking a sweat instead of that kid, allow us to treat you to a meal at least.”
“In that case, please excuse me.”
Su-hyeun began walking through the village accompanied by Raboonta and the other therianthropes.
Tall and thick trees populated the village. They were majestic to look at. Su-hyeun was in awe as he walked through their midst.
‘This place is more of a city than a village.’
Its size was big enough for thousands to live. Even after taking into consideration the physical size of the wolf therianthropes, at the very least, ten thousand creatures should be able to live in this place.
Su-hyeun was met with curious glances from the rest of the therianthropes. He could sense pa.s.siveness from them. They seemed withdrawn compared to those who welcomed him and Raboonta.
‘Are they afraid of something?’
Su-hyeun noticed some of them cowering. However, he was sure that he didn’t cause whatever fear they might be feeling at the moment.
‘But what are they afraid of?’
Su-hyeun s.h.i.+fted his gaze toward Raboonta as well as the other therianthropes with him. They didn’t look afraid—not one bit. In fact, they looked sharp.
“Did something happen to the village?” Su-hyeun asked.
The therianthropes’ demeanor noticeably changed.
One of them turned its head and asked Su-hyeun, “Are you asking us because you really don’t know?”
“Is it because of that monster?”
Su-hyeun actually didn’t know what that monster was, but he still asked out of curiosity.
The therianthrope nodded. It was likely that the unknown creature all these therianthropes were afraid of was somehow related to the “predator” Su-hyeun was searching for.
“That b.a.s.t.a.r.d is currently headed toward this village. The forest and this village are our last strongholds, you see.”
“Does that mean other places are already…”
“All destroyed,” the therianthrope finished Su-hyeun’s sentence. Then it continued, “Not even a blade of gra.s.s survives wherever that monstrous b.a.s.t.a.r.d goes. That thing is a monster that devours any and all living things.”
That sounded oddly similar to the characteristics of a “predator” or at least a monster about to become one.
A predator was a monster that preyed on a world and grew stronger by devouring the energy existing within it.
And this unknown monster was trying to devour everything in this world.
“However, things will be different this time,” the oldest-looking therianthrope among the group chimed in while stroking its lengthy beard with its claws. “Our king has taken it upon himself to hunt that b.a.s.t.a.r.d down.”
‘The therianthropes had a king?’ As Su-hyeun paid attention to the information being revealed to him, his mind was also at work, absorbing every detail.
That therianthrope must have been the strongest one among them, considering the importance they put on one’s strength and ability.
“If it’s your people’s king…”
“Ah, right. You may not know who he is. Well, you’re not from our race, after all.”
“Is he really that amazing?”
“He’s the heir of a n.o.ble bloodline. He decided to move along with hundreds of our remaining warriors. Surely, nothing would be impossible for them. Wouldn’t you say so?”
In the old therianthrope’s manner of speaking, one could see its trust and reverence toward its king.
For a moment there, fear and worry clouded the faces of other therianthropes. However, as soon as their king was brought up, hope and relief filled their hearts.
Only then did Su-hyeun understand something important. The reason why they were anxious in the first place was not because of some monster that would soon be a “predator.” It was because their king was not with them at the moment.
The therianthropes’ expression of relief confused Su-hyeun.
One hundred therianthrope warriors possessing abilities that exceed Raboonta and their king, who was supposedly stronger than them… A combat force of this scale would more or less be able to defeat the black dragon that showed up on the hundredth floor.
‘But if the king of therianthropes can really hunt that monster down…,’ Su-hyeun contemplated.
‘Then the administrator would not have sent me here in the first place.’