Chapter 322 – Closing the Gap
Shang and Lash continued down the tunnel, leaving the corpse of the mole behind. There was nothing useful to them on the mole, and Shang didn’t want to unveil that he had a Space Ring or inner world.
The mole had only functioned as training for Lash.
After walking for a couple more minutes, Shang found a Peak General Stage beast.
It was a Cobble Slug.
Shang had learned of this beast from the barbarians.
Apparently, it could create earth armor, role up into a ball, and roll over its opponents. On top of that, it had a scary ranged attack. It could condense an earthen spike and shoot it at the enemy like a cannon.
There were even some Cobble Slugs that could shoot the spike while rolling around the cave. This meant that they had high speed, high defense, and high offense.
It was definitely one of the more powerful beasts, which was also why most barbarian groups avoided them.
Who would have thought that a slug without poison could be so scary?
“Just wait here,” Shang said.
Then, Shang charged at the slug while dragging his sword behind him.
Shang’s approach definitely wasn’t silent, and the slug noticed him very quickly.
As soon as it saw Shang, it condensed a powerful spike in front of it and shot it at Shang.
Lash watched and frowned. If this were him, he would need to block the attack with his spike since he wasn’t fast enough to evade that attack.
Lash knew that he would lose against this slug, even if it were a level below him.
It simply countered him perfectly.
Even if he managed to get close, the slug would simply turn into a ball and move away with more speed than Lash.
The spike shot towards Shang.
Shang took one small step and then one large step to the side while angling his body.
The spike shot past his body, its wind making Shang’s hair blow to the side.
Lash’s eyes widened. ‘How did he move so fast to the side?!’ he thought in shock.
After stepping to the side, Shang stopped advancing, transferring all his momentum and power to his sword.
Shang’s sword cut through the air, creating a loud, howling noise.
And when Shang’s sword reached the front, it shot forward, pulling Shang with it.
This was the very move Astor had used back then, and Shang was still using it as a Peak General Stage warrior.
Shang flew with incredible speed at the Cobble Slug.
Heavy weapons made the user slower, but by using a heavy weapon like this, one could even become faster than with a light weapon.
Of course, the preparation phase of this move was quite extravagant and long-winded. During close combat, this move couldn’t be used.
The Cobble Slug noticed the rapidly approaching sword and turned into a ball.
Shang’s sword punched through the earthen armor with ease.
Shang’s huge sword skewered the entire Cobble Slug, coming out at the other side.
Sword was 250 centimeters long right now, giving it terrifying weight and reach. Additionally, it was extremely sharp.
Lastly, it was made with Early Commander Stage materials.
With so much power, sharpness, hardness, and speed, the Cobble Slug’s defense became pointless.
And Shang didn’t even need to use his ranged attack, his Affinity, or his Domain.
He had fought with a severe handicap, but he had still easily won.
The Cobble Slug tried to unfurl again, but it couldn’t due to the gigantic sword.
Shang only used Sword as a handle and slammed the Cobble Slug against the cave walls a couple of times until it died.
Lash only looked at Shang with a shocked expression.
He had no idea how Shang could have become so fast with such a heavy weapon.
One had to remember that humans learned from other humans. For example, Shang learned this move by watching Astor.
If no one had shown that move around Shang before, he might not have realized that he could use a heavy weapon like this.
In comparison to warriors, barbarians only focused on their physical power and very simple techniques.
They had a lot of untapped potential.
And, right now, Lash’s eyes were being opened to a new world.
“You can have that one,” Shang said. “Dig out its heart and wait here. I will soon return with my own.”
Lash could only nod absentmindedly as Shang went further into the cave.
Lash dug through the Cobble Slug and eventually retrieved a slimy, bloody, huge heart. It would take a while to eat it.
A couple of minutes later, Shang came back with his own beast heart, and the two of them went up the tunnel again.
When they reached a height with mostly Peak Soldier Stage beasts, they stopped and began their strengthening.
They sat down and emptied their Mana. Something like this wasn’t difficult for Shang. After all, he had incredible control over his Mana.
Then, they consumed the heart very quickly. They took huge bites and swallowed them whole.
Surprisingly, the raw heart didn’t taste as bad as Shang had anticipated. In fact, it tasted rather nice.
‘I guess that’s because of the Procedure.’
When Shang consumed the entire thing, he felt heat spread throughout his entire body.
The two of them quickly began to perform the poses to digest the heart.
Shang didn’t actually need to perform the pose since his control over Mana allowed him to simply guide the Mana into his body, but he performed them anyway.
After all, he couldn’t allow anyone to realize that he wasn’t actually a barbarian.
Shang closed his eyes and inspected his body.
‘Interesting. I can feel the Mana enter my body, but that’s not the only thing. There’s also a kind of dormant will inside the Mana. As soon as the Mana enters my body, it loses its dormant will, but the will on the heart in my stomach still remains.’
Over the next hour, Shang kept inspecting the will in his stomach.
Eventually, Shang’s body reached saturation, and he couldn’t absorb any more foreign Mana.
The dormant will in his stomach had weakened severely, but it was still there. On top of that, it began to become active.
However, it had grown so incredibly weak by now that it didn’t pose a threat.
Shang had managed to absorb around 75% of the Mana, making the will in his stomach very weak.
‘I guess that also explains why no barbarian consumes hearts from beasts of higher levels. The will itself would be more powerful, and if there were even more Mana remaining, it might actually injure my mind.’
‘The remaining Mana needs to disperse naturally, which should take a bit more than three weeks. That also explains why the Mages say that one can only strengthen oneself once every month with the technique costing 50 years.’
Shang opened his eyes and grabbed his sword.
Then, he lifted it.
Shang looked at Sword with interest as he moved it around.
‘I still can’t use it with only one hand, but it has become quite a bit lighter,’ Shang thought with pleasant surprise.
‘Only one strengthening and my physical strength has increased by about 10% to 15%!’
Before the strengthening process, Shang’s body has been as powerful as an Early Commander Stage warrior or a Late General Stage beast.
Now, his body was a bit more powerful than both.
‘I think if I get my hands on Abominations and if I can strengthen my body enough times, I could create a body with the full power of a beast on my level.’
Shang remembered King Skythunder’s words.
“The Procedure seems to fit more to barbarians than warriors.”
‘With the Procedure and the barbarian strengthening technique, I can actually create a body equal to a beast.’
‘Even without my warrior training, this would make me superior to a beast on my level. After all, as a human, I can fight in more varied and flexible ways than beasts.’
At that moment, a gleam appeared in Shang’s eye.
‘This is it!’
‘This can close the gap between warriors and Mages!’
‘The Procedure, the barbarian strengthening technique, the powerful weapon, my Domain, control over my Affinity.’
‘These can close the gap of the Mana Source, mastery of Spells, Foci, and Mana Tranquility!’
‘With all of this, I’m on an equal base level with True Mages!’