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 Chapter 53. Hermes (8)

[You summoned Talaria. For the next 10 minutes, you can freely fly or walk on air. If flying, you will receive an additional 100 percent increase to your movement speed. Remaining time: 09:59:99]

My boots let out a radiant white light for an instant. When it dissipated, small wings were attached to my boots. I kicked the air and shot up. From below, father's shout reached me.

"Woah, that's super cool! Give me one too!"

I ignored him and shot up further. Of course, since the Flesh Golem was only 7 meters tall, I only needed to shoot up by one more kick. My eyes were now in line with the Flesh Golem's melting head. Startled, it raised its arm, but my Heroic Strike was faster.

"DIE! Heroic Strike!"

The Black Earthen Spear left my hand and flew towards him like an arrow. Like lightning, it was radiating a brilliant light. Even if the boss monster was now a Flesh Golem, it could not dodge Heroic Strike, which even the fast ghouls could not avoid.

[GUOOOOOO!]

The moment my Black Earthen Spear penetrated the Flesh Golem's head, it exploded out, scattering its bones, flesh, and blood in all directions. I hurriedly flew up and maintained my balance. As it was my first time using Talaria, I couldn't stop myself from staggering when doing the same movements I was used to doing.

[K-Kuooooo!]

"Huu, as I thought, you won't die from just that."

How great would it have been if a single Heroic Strike was enough to kill it? Even with its exploded head, the Flesh Golem seemed perfectly fine, as it tried to capture me with its two arms. Of course, with me flying in the air, there was no chance for it to succeed.

"Father, it looks like we need to pummel him after we make him fall!"

"Yeah, I'm starting!"

After telling father my plan, I took out my Silver Spear and shot Tempest out toward its arms. Every time the small storm of mana struck, its flesh exploded out, causing it to stagger. Annoyed, it went wild trying to catch me. It even shot pieces of its body at me! I had to work diligently to dodge the flying lumps of flesh.

"Dirty! So dirty!"

[Master, calm down.]

I shouldn't have come into an Event Dungeon like this! Regretting my actions, I continued to attack. While the Flesh Golem was completely focused on me, father used his skill.

"Take this! I call it the Wave Web Shock!"

"Web?"

When I looked down, something was tying down its two thick legs. Curious, I examined what it was and realized it was silk. Silk threads to be exact. It was connected to the bracelet father had on his wrist.

"Is that...?"

[KUAAAAA!]

The moment father flexed his arm, the silk threads tied to the Flesh Golem's legs reverberated violently. The next moment, I was utterly shocked. His thick legs had been severed! I understood that father transmitted shockwaves through the silk threads, but I didn't understand why it was so strong.

The Flesh Golem was just as shocked as it let out a flustered roar and fell backwards. When its huge body hit the ground, a booming sound rang out. Watching this happen as I floated midair, I loudly shouted.

"That's a cheat, father!"

"It goes really well with my ability, doesn't it!?"

Damn, that was even more powerful than the spider webs Arachne shot out! I should've picked that! The Black Earthen Spear I loved so much suddenly felt like a mortal enemy. However, I knew my priorities. I had to take care of the Flesh Golem first. With that, I hurriedly landed and picked up the Black Earthen Spear that had fallen on the ground. Seeing Talaria, father's eyes sparkled.

"Son, do you really not have another one? The winged boots."

"How can there be another one of something so rare? What about you, father? How about gifting that accessory to your precious son?"

"I'll trade it for the winged boots."

If he wasn't my father, I would have thrown ramen in his face. How unfortunate.

"Let's just hurry and wrap this up."

"It was my dream to fly when I was young... How cheap, son."

My dream is to not be involved with you! I'd believe you more if you said your dream was to shoot down a flying pterodactyl with your spear!

[You defeated the Event Dungeon boss monster, Flesh Golem!]

[50,000 gold is distributed evenly among participants. You obtained 25,000 gold.]

After losing its legs, the Flesh Golem struggled, trying to regenerate them, but father and I didn't let that happen. In the end, it was burned, exploded, sliced, or stabbed until it was finally dead. The dungeon determined that father had the highest contribution. I suspected cutting its legs off was what did it.

This was the first time anyone had stolen the first place in contribution from me. Of course, that time when I watched over Ren soloing the Lizard Knight didn't count.

In any case, not knowing the full list of rewards didn't feel so bad. It gave a refreshing feeling of anticipation. What would come about? Since we completed a subquest, maybe a really good accessory would come out.

While I was eagerly waiting in anticipation, father spoke.

"Hm, son, between a finger and a toe, what do you want?"

"Neither! Don't tell me that's what we got!? Even though we cleared that subquest? Father, answer me!"

"Alright, I'll take the toe then."

"Father!"

[Choose your reward.]

[1. Flesh Golem's second finger.]

"Damn it!"

I was curious which toe father got, but that wasn't important right now. Still unable to believe that this was the reward, I picked the finger with an empty smile on my face.

I mean, what was the point of killing the black magicians, collecting the cursed items, and eradicating the zombies? Don't tell me we would have gotten something else if we didn't clear the subquest?

However, when the item appeared, my puffed-up cheeks simmered down. It was called finger, but it was really a black metallic ring that gave off a slightly eerie aura. Mm, my Spirit of the Collector worked! Feeling relieved, I checked the item description.

[Flesh Golem's Second Finger (Unique)

Durability - 60/60

Equipment Limit - One who defeated the Flesh Golem

Option - Strength +7, Constitution +7

Skill - Regeneration: Usable once per week. Completely regenerates all damaged areas.]

"Nice, good options."

In truth, the words 'damaged areas' were a little vague. For dungeon explorers, if they were involved in battles where their limbs were cut off, they would die. It was because no matter how much one limb was focused, it would not get severed unless the explorer's HP was extremely low. That said, it was a bit different in the outside world. It seemed the ring would be perfect for when my limbs were damaged outside the dungeon. It would become a reliable insurance of sorts.

Even without the regenerative ability, the ring was excellent. 7 strength and 7 constitution. That was almost 3 levels worth of stat bonuses! I was happy at the unexpected fortune.

"What about you, fath... Huk!"

"Like I said, it's a toe."

Father took out Flesh Golem's Gigantic Toe from his inventory and looked at me. It really was a toe!

"Apparently it's an install weapon. I can apparently install it near allies to raise their overall stats by 2 percent."

"That's a very subtle amount."

"I can also install it near enemies and make it explode. It says it does great damage."

"That's a one-time use item, then!"

If father had been the one to pick the finger, that toe would've been mine! I thanked my luck. Now that I thought about it, the Black Earthen Spear and this ring too... The items I needed seemed to be falling into my possession. Perhaps it was thanks to Skill Collector's passive skill, Spirit of the Collector.

"Son, let's switch."

"What's done is done, father."

[You cleared the Event Dungeon and gained 1 bonus stat point]

[You will now return.]

Right before we were about to start a deathmatch over our rewards, the scenery warped. We found ourselves back in the First Dungeon. A raid boss had not appeared again. I couldn't hide my disappointment, but I decided not to worry about it since I had already gotten great rewards.

"If you don't want to switch, just take it, son."

"NO! This toe is creepy as hell!"

However, father threw the toe at me, left the party, and returned to the dungeon he came from. Left alone in front of the 25th floor door, I stood blankly with the Flesh Golem's toe.

"Ah... Should I just give this to Ellos?"

It was the start of First Dungeon's version of a chain letter.

The next day was the 9th manifestation of Peruta. Deific Manifestation originally had a cooldown of one month. With a day taken away, it was now 29 days. That said, it did not mean I had to wait 29 days before I could use Deific Manifestation again. I didn't know whether it was because of some flow of mana or period of the moon, but I assumed there was something complicated involved that I didn't quite understand. In any case, if I used Deific Manifestation in a set period of time, I could use it again the next day if a new period began.

Simply put, I could 'save' Deific Manifestation in case a dangerous situation occurred, and use it on the 29th day if nothing happened.

And of course, nothing dangerous had ever happened to me. Inside the dungeon, yes, but dying in the dungeon did not hurt even a single strand of my hair. As such, I never called Peruta for situations that occurred in the dungeon. Peruta seemed to dislike it, but I didn't want to concede when it came to this. I was climbing the dungeon to increase my strength. I believed that if I relied on Peruta as an insurance, I could not really grow.

Only, there was no next time if I died on Earth. That was why I saved Deific Manifestation. No matter how much stronger I wanted to get, it would be the end if I died. So I spent 28 days doing my own thing, and always called Peruta on the 29th day.

[Have you been well?]

"Yes, Peruta. How about you?"

[It's dark where I am. I'm always silently meditating by myself.]

Because we were both talking from my mouth, anyone watching would feel weirded out. Although I had control over my body right now, I could hand it over to Peruta at any time. Now, both my mana and constitution were much higher than when we first met. I could stay in this state for up to 10 minutes.

"You see, I obtained Hermes' true name this time around."

[A god? It's a name I haven't heard of, but I can feel its holiness. So you've already obtained a god's true name. As expected of my disciple.]

"Ahaha, thank you."

[But don't be conceited just because you obtained its power. Don't forget, the foundation of your strength lies in Peruta Circuit and spearmanship. ... What's their level?]

"Peruta Circuit is level 4, high-rank Spear Technique is still level 4."

Peruta rubbed his chin. It felt a bit weird.

[As I thought, the problem is that you don't have suitable opponents. I've asked others, but it seemed most dungeon explorers started learning high-rank techniques after the 50th floor. After all, there's a limit to how high you can raise your skill alone. You could only raise yours so high because of how noble your spear technique is.]

"Yes, so take good care of me today as well."

With that I closed my eyes, giving Peruta full control of my body.

"Then, let's start. Imagine World."

Someone else listening on might think I had some 8th grade syndrome, but it was the only magic Peruta could use when he was manifested in me. Perhaps it was a skill that came with Deific Manifestation itself.

The moment Peruta said 'Imagine World', he and I were facing each other. We looked exactly alike.

"I don't have much time, so I'll hurry."

"Yes, thanks for the lesson!"

This, of course, wasn't the real me or the real Peruta. The real me was sitting cross-legged on the ground with closed eyes. I was in an illusory, dream-like world. I had heard I could enter this state freely if I reached the apex of self-introspection.

Of course, I had no idea what to do to reach this state. All I was doing now was learning a spear technique from a spearman much stronger than myself. Every time we battled, I could feel my skill proficiency shooting up. As such, I couldn't help but be engrossed in the situation.

"I'm starting then."

With a short sentence, Peruta approached me. His spear reached for my forehead as if it was moving freely. I didn't know when he had thrust, nor when it would hit me. I hurriedly brought my spear forward and focused on blocking his attack.

"Your reaction speed is faster."

"It's thanks to Hermes... Haat!"

Even as he complimented me, Peruta made his spear much faster. Shoot, Hermes applied to him as well! Because I had shown him first hand the growth of my body, he had quickly adapted.

"You won't win by avoiding alone!"

"Hap!"

His spear seemed fast, yet not fast, and strong, yet not strong. That was why it was so scary. Before I even noticed, I felt like it would take my head or heart. Not to mention, when he started using mana, each and every attack would contain an aura of Tempest. It made sense, as Peruta Circuit was a cultivation method that focused on bringing forth a strong rotational force.

What was scary was that Peruta's spear did not even shake as it carried all that energy. Since he possessed destructive power and that degree of precision, his attacks could only be strong. Against him, my spear technique only looked like a forced attempt to stab and slice.

"I'm still trying my best!"

"Good, I like that spirit!"

Peruta easily dodged the spear I sent forward with all my strength, using his spear to tap on my spear. I almost knelt from the sudden force of pressure, but I clenched my teeth and continued charging forward.

"Haaaaap!"

"You're welcome to come any time!"

Because I knew the difference in our strength, I acted as wildly as I wanted. I knew Peruta would be the only one in this world who could receive my spear without even changing his expression!

[High-rank Spear Technique became level 5! External mana will naturally flow into your attacks without use of own mana, making it stronger. You are walking towards the peak of spearmanship. More force is added to your thrusts.]

"Let's stop here."

"Huu... Okay."

The moment Peruta gave the signal, I closed my eyes and opened them again. The familiar sight of dungeon walls greeted me. However, Deific Manifestation had not ended yet. There was still a minute left.

[You became even more skilled.]

"Hearing that from Peruta doesn't really cheer me up."

Although we spent about 90 minutes in the Imagine World, only 9 minutes had passed in reality. During that time, he and I had exchanged a countless number of spears. Of course, it was my complete loss. Although we were using the same body, he was always the one who won. It showed how important the depth of a skill was.

With father and Peruta around, I couldn't stay conceited even if I wanted to.

[I'm not trying to brag, but my spear technique had once reached the peak. Being able to exchange spears with me proves your peerless talent. Keep devoting yourself to cultivating your techniques. Time will build up and become your strength.]

"Yes. ... Peruta Circuit level 7, high-rank Spear Technique master, right?"

"Huhu, keep working hard. Today was fun, too."

With that, Peruta disappeared. Left alone, I closed my eyes and remembered the 90 minutes of battle I just experienced.

"High-rank Spear Technique master... that's quite a demanding task. However."

With today's level up, there were only 5 levels to go. In just 5 levels, I could directly inherit his skills. Of course, skills became harder to level up the higher they were.

Although it seemed far away now, I would eventually reach it. I was confident. I had never stopped. I always stepped forward, staring straight onward. That much, I was sure of.

I stood up with my spear. The spear technique I saw and experienced. It was time to review it.

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