“I welcome you all,” Thanatos said as he spread his arms.
Every soldier became hostile at the sight of Thanatos, but Ryan immediately stood on his side and calmed his soldiers. “Everyone, he is my savior. I am indebted to him. Please treat him with respect.”
Thanatos patted Ryan’s neck. “Well said, my friend. I see you have excellent soldiers among your rank.”
Ryan looked at his soldiers, and his heart raced. There were ten Ace-titled Awakened Rank monsters among them. Ram did a good job as the commander. He told them to go inside, and he asked many things to Ram. Buddy acted as a translator on his side. Thanatos laughed proudly at the story. The man could understand their language, too.
Ram had found [Shadow Rats’] nest in the Temple of the Beginning. She had deployed one squad and clones to follow to slaughter rats and turn them into undead soldiers. Ram and the rest of the soldiers had used battle formations to hunt monsters. The casualty was plenty at first, but after new undead refilled the soldiers, they had managed to survive.
Ram had focused all resources to make new Ace-titled Awakened Rank monsters. The next hunt was easier thanks to the help of ten Awakened Rank monsters.
As Ram ended the story, they piled up the resources. Ryan gulped as he saw them. After getting the currency system, his heart grew a desire to become rich. Ram came to him with a magic core in her mouth. It was the last core he needed to complete all twenty abilities, but he shook his head.
“I will get my last core from a Rex-titled monster. This is my determination. We will hunt a Rex-titled monster tomorrow!”
Ryan traveled the crater the next day. He didn’t go to the Temple of Beginning. As he planned, he would hunt a Rex-titled monster for the first time.
Ryan flew with Thanatos on his back. He spotted a plateau where he had met the Rex-titled dinosaur monster in his spirit form.
The [Dracolan Runner Rex] was in the middle, and its guards surrounded him. In Ryan’s spirit eyes, they were all emitted orange lights, even the boss monster.
Ryan changed his course to look for the path to the plateau, and he found it behind the uneven, sharp boulders. His clone led his army to the path. As they arrived at the end of the path, he landed before them, and Thanatos got off from his back.
“Listen, Ryan. No matter what happens. I won’t help you. This is your fight,” Thanatos said.
“I can’t ask for more.” Ryan faced the plateau and crowed. “Charge!”
Ryan used every buff ability in his arsenal as he stepped inside the plateau first. The boss’s guards advanced at him, but Ace-titled Awakened Rank soldiers faced them, letting him reach the boss.
The plan was simple. Every soldier dealt with the guards as Ryan faced the boss alone. Yes, alone. He wanted to prove he was as strong as Lewis in his Mortal Rank.
The boss channeled flame in its mouth, and Ryan sent him to the Spirit World with [Spirited Away]. He channeled [Destructive Beam] in his mouth and launched it when the boss arrived again.
The boss swung his tail at him. It was so fast that he failed to react. The attack crashed against the [Black Rose Barrier] and exploded. The tail threw him back, but Ryan attached [Dark Web] to the dinosaur’s body and forced himself to come back to it. Ryan shot [Barrage of Dark Feathers] and kicked the monster on the belly with [Rocket Kick].
You have dealt critical damage.
They kept exchanging blows while Ryan’s undead soldiers slaughtered the guards. Those Awakened Rank soldiers were too powerful. Kitty was the same. She defeated a guard easily with her physical prowess. Not long after, they defeated all guards. They wanted to help Ryan, but their master had warned them to stay out, so they could only watch the deathmatch from the sides.
Yin and Yang spirits passed the boss monster’s body freely, and Ryan multiplied them by two. There were two pairs of Yin and Yang spirits in the air. The fight was stable. The dinosaur dealt damages to him, and Ryan did the same thing. It changed its pattern when its [HP] reached 30%. Its hands became longer and larger. A pair of wings grew on its back. It was becoming similar to a dragon.
The monster flew to the sky and launched several flame balls at Ryan. The [Black Rose Barrier] defended one and exploded, but it was a waste of ability because no enemy was around the attack range. Another flame ball hit him, and his [HP] decreased to 20%.
Ryan crowed angrily and flew to the sky. His [HP] recovered fast thanks to the item called [Life Stone]. His speed was faster in the sky, so he evaded flame balls, but the monster changed its strategy and launched a rain of flame arrows at him.
Ryan could still evade some arrows, and [Black Rose Barrier] tanked the rest. He shot [Barrage of Dark Feathers] while channeling [Destructive Beam] in his mouth.
25%. 20%. 19%. 15%. 13%.
Ryan had channeled enough. He launched a mega-size of [Destructive Beam], but the monster wouldn’t stay still. It launched a flame beam. Those beams collided for a while before [Destructive Beam] pushed the flame beam and hit the [Dracolan Runner Rex].
The beam pushed the monster to the ground, making the ground tremble. It still had 1% of the remaining [HP]. Ryan flew higher until he couldn’t go further and plunged down.
“[Rocket Kick]!” Ryan cried as his foot pierced the boss monster’s belly and decreased its [HP] to zero. The dinosaur’s body became smog and disappeared into thin air, leaving plenty of resources on the ground.
Ryan drew a deep breath and crowed from the bottom of his lung. “I have won!”
Every soldier cheered for him in their own languages. Thanatos jumped from the plateau and made a crack on the ground as he landed. He felt nothing and immediately jumped straight at Ryan.
“You are so strong. I have to admit you are stronger than me when I was a Mortal Rank or First Step.”
“My friend is stronger than me. I will let you meet him later,” Ryan said humbly.
Ryan looked at the resources. The [Dracolan Runner Rex] wasn’t a magic type, so he didn’t see any magic core. However, he didn’t care about it. [Core Shaper: Spirit] could change the core type, too. He only had one ghost soldier, and he needed more spirits for the sacrifice.
“Old man, do me a favor. Can you blast away the corpses of dinosaurs above? I need many spirits.”
“You can count on me.” Thanatos climbed the plateau with his two feet. After a while, he jumped back to the ground carrying dinosaur corpses. He punched one and created an enormous explosion, disintegrating them. Their spirits floated in the air.
Ryan used [Luck Manipulation] and [Core Shaper: Spirit] to change the technique core he was holding with his wings. The orange core turned azure. He was successful on his first try. He used the same process to get the patron of mysterious beings. Not long after, the ability choice appeared before him.
- Wings of Destruction (Flying Dragon King)
- A magic unique to a Flying Dragon King. Flap the wings as an incantation to destroy nearby objects.
- Mana Cannon
- Channel energy into a big cannonball.
Ryan didn’t think twice about choosing the first choice, and he got a quest.
Time limit: six months
Punishment: one year of confinement in Avici Purgatory
Rewards: Knowledge of Dragons
-Dragon trait (complete)
-Reach Awakened Rank in the ultimate path (ongoing)
-Evolve into any kind of dragonkin (ongoing)
The core’s attribute is [Spirituality].
[Magic]: 5/5 Cores [Mana, Strength, Vitality, Strength, Spirituality]
[Spirituality] (4/5) Cores: Mortal 4
You have absorbed 20 cores. Do you want to evolve into the awakened rank? (y/n)
Ryan shook his head. “Of course, no.”
“What is your new ability, Ryan? Let me see!” Thanatos said.
Ryan nodded. There were many objects in the surrounding. He approached a boulder and flapped his wings. “[Wings of Destruction]!” Many lines appeared on the boulder’s surface, and it suddenly shattered into pieces. The ground ahead split apart with branching cracks, forming a mini chasm.
“This ability is stronger than I thought. It doesn’t need channeling too.”
“That’s a top-quality ability indeed for a Mortal Rank,” Thanatos commented. “If I am not wrong, you have collected 20 core abilities. I will help you find more cores to evolve in the ultimate path. I want to see how monsters evolve. This will be the first time even for me.”
“Old man, I want to consult something too. I have to evolve into a dragonkin. I am afraid if I don’t do that the system will punish me for one year confinement in the Avici Purgatory.”
“Avici Purgatory?” Thanatos’s eyes widened in surprise. “Wow, so that place is real. I, no, we were frogs in the well. I am glad I have a chance to get stronger further. I understand, Ryan. You want to increase your chance to evolve into a dragonkin, right?”
Ryan nodded. “Yes. Is there a way?”
“There are two ways. Kill a dragon and bathe in their blood. It is a pity there is no more dinosaur corpses more, but the chance is little, anyway. The second way has a higher chance. You just need a dragon trait.”
“Dragon trait? I have that.”
“Problem solved. Now, let’s go slaughter our way to your awakening. You will rank up today. I promise.”
Ryan told his army to come back to the base because Thanatos wanted to do it with just two of them. They went to the Temple of Beginning. Ryan waited at the entrance, and the old man entered alone. In just thirty minutes, he came out again carrying a sack of resources.
They got 10 cores from the hunt, and Ryan absorbed them to fill the experience of his first two abilities, [Rocket Kick] and [System Window]. He used the remaining two cores on [Spirit Eyes’] experience. After that, he absorbed several consumable resources two.
You have gained [Enhanced Strength] x2, [Enhanced Agility] x4, [Enhanced Spirituality] x5, [Enhanced Critical] x5, [Minor Luck] x3, and [Enhanced Charisma] x4.
Thirteen innate abilities to go. They explored the entire crater and killed every monster they had encountered. Eleven innate abilities to go.
Their rampage didn’t stop. They visited every place in the Beginner’s Hunter Ground. They were lucky to not meet boss monsters of the Awakened Rank, but Thanatos said he didn’t mind facing them too.
Ten innate abilities to go. Seven innate abilities to go. One innate ability to go.
Ryan absorbed the last core and put the experience into the last innate ability, [Enhanced Charisma]. After he did that, the message appeared in front of him.
Do you want to rank up to the Awakened Rank? (y/n)
“Yes,” Ryan said.
Black clouds gathered in the sky, and rumbling sound boomed every second as lightning struck the ground. Lightning gathered into one point and kept recharging until the color turned red.
Thanatos laughed madly. “This is it! When a creature threads the path of the ultimate, the celestial palace will test them with lightning tribulations. Defeat it, Ryan.”
“What? No one said a thing about this!” Ryan complained, but he still braced himself. He used every defensive ability in his arsenal. [Black Rose Barrier], [Combustion], and [Rune Magic]. He even formed layers of webs above the barrier.
“It is not enough, Ryan. You need to attack it too!” Thanatos shouted.
Ryan channeled [Destructive Beam] and flapped his wings to use [Wings of Destruction]. The clouds above scattered into pieces, but it reformed again instantly. Ryan didn’t give up and kept doing it. The red lightning struck down. He heard Thanatos’s shout to fire, so he launched the beam toward the sky. Two forces collided in the air.