The Regressor Can Make Them All

Chapter 30



Chapter 30

“...”

Upon Sung-Ha’s unexpected appearance, Se-Hoon’s mouth dropped in surprise. Similarly, the other students looked shocked as well, even more than Se-Hoon.

“Uh, what?”

“Why is that sunbae here...?”

“What’s going on?”

To Se-Hoon, Sung-Ha was just a dog whose skills barely deserved some attention, but to the other students, it was a completely different story. Sung-Ha was the next successor of the Inferno Ring, an intangible cultural heritage of South Korea, and also a promising S-rank hero candidate.

Most importantly, in terms of the Hall of Martial Arts ranking, he possessed martial prowess that brought him to stand among the top ten of the academy. His strength virtually placed him in a whole different world from normal students.

“He’s been appointed as the temporary teaching assistant of this class. His name is Yeom Sung-Ha. He’s a third-year student of the Department of Spear Arts of Aqar Quf. You all should already know how famous he is, so make sure to treat him with respect.”

After Lis’s straightforward introduction, Sung-Ha simply nodded his head in greeting.

The students, who had been staring at Sung-Ha with surprise, suddenly became filled with ambition, their eyes opening wide. Sung-Ha was a rising star who had astounding skills, talents, and even an impressive background. Even if they didn’t manage to become close friends with him, simply being seen favorably by him could be a huge advantage for their futures.

While the students were all eager to make an impression on Sung-Ha, Se-Hoon just chuckled to himself.

It seems he was quite in a hurry.

He didn’t expect that Sung-Ha would show up on his own before Se-Hoon even had a chance to contact him. Initially thinking it was unexpected behavior, after some reflection, Se-Hoon realized that it wasn’t as strange as he thought.

After all, this was about his Flame Sect and its symbol, the Inferno Ring. Se-Hoon had claimed that Sung-Ha would be the one to end its legacy and then took control of the Inferno Ring right in front of his eyes.

It wouldn’t be strange if Sung-Ha came looking for him in the middle of the night with a mask on; there were too many possible consequences that the method to steal control of the technique could bring.

If he chose this method to come to see me, then maybe he’s not hostile toward me.

Se-Hoon looked down with interest, and feeling his gaze, Sung-Ha turned his head to meet Se-Hoon’s eyes.

As they stared at one another, the other students started to notice the strange tension that seemed to flow between them.

“We’re still in class, guys.”

Bang bang!

Lis banged on the desk, recapturing the attention in the room.

“If only you guys would show this much enthusiasm for your studies... tsk,” grumbled Lis, dissatisfied with the attitude of the students.

He then lowered the height of the cart before operating the panel by his side. Several characters and the general form of a mana array appeared in the air.

“That’s enough introductions; let’s start with the basics before we move to practical exercises.”

Still sitting on his cart, Lis began the lecture.

“When forging equipment, the use of residual mana can lead to two types: the independent type, which can absorb and generate mana on its own, and the rechargeable type, which requires an external supply of mana.”

The independent type specialized in sustainability, whereas the rechargeable type sacrificed sustainability for a higher output of mana.

They each had their strengths and weaknesses, but in terms of difficulty, the independent type was much harder to handle.

It’s hard to create a core that can absorb and generate mana at the same time. Plus, above all, expanding its range is extremely hard.

For example, since Se-Hoon’s Inkstone Bracelets could only absorb mana from the wearer and not from the ambient air, they could not be classified as independent types even though they still absorbed mana.

“Independent types are quite tricky to forge. The method to create the mana core completely changes depending on the materials, skills, and mana output of the blacksmith.”

Thus the method to forge them was not covered in the textbooks and could only be self-taught. It wasn’t something that could be easily forged unless one had related skills or previous knowledge of the process.

“So, you guys will start with rechargeable types first. Those who already know how to forge them should still listen to the lecture; just think of it as refining your skill. Assistant, please.”

At Lis’s call, Sung-Ha stepped forward and slowly moved his hand.

Swish-

Dark red mana appeared along the trajectory of his indifferent strokes. As if he were painting, the mana stayed fixed in the air. The students all widened their eyes in amazement.

“Fire mana is highly volatile and thus has a tendency to spread. That’s why it’s difficult to use the residual mana which needs to be fixed in place.”

Fwoosh!

While Lis explained, flames surged from the dense mana that remained in the air, gradually refining the shape. In the blink of an eye, three flame rings formed and started rotating, still fixed in their positions.

“However, if you can suppress its tendency to spread, the residual mana can show very resilient sustainability. An example is the technique the teaching assistant is currently demonstrating, the Inferno Ring.”

The flame rings continued to burn without any supply of mana whatsoever. To maintain each ring, fire mana had to be delicately controlled by a specific method to perfectly preserve the burning flames. Yet, Sung-Ha was juggling three of them at once.

“Wow...”

“I can’t believe he’s able to handle fire mana to such an extent...”

“I can barely even handle a furnace...”

If the spear technique Sung-Ha displayed at the arena brought about a sense of raw power, then the sight of him maintaining the flame rings would bring about a sense of awe to a blacksmith. Everyone present knew how whimsical and violent fire mana could be.

“Well, it might not look that impressive since the assistant made it look too easy. Let’s have another example...”

Lis scanned the students and locked eyes with Se-Hoon, who was sitting in the back.

“The honor student would be appropriate to provide an example. Do you happen to possess fire mana?”

“Yes.”

“Then, just like how the assistant did, try forming a ring of fire mana.”

Since a ring of fire mana was something that even second-year students struggled to produce, Lis intended to show that even the infamous honor student could not easily accomplish it.

“Like this, right?”

Unfortunately for Lis, Se-Hoon effortlessly formed a flame ring above his hand. Unlike Sung-Ha’s rings, which were freely fixed in the air, Se-Hoon’s was surging from his hand, seemingly connected to it. However, there was no sign of additional mana supplying the ring.

With a different method, Se-Hoon successfully created and maintained a flame ring using residual mana alone.

The sight dropped Lis’s mouth, and Sung-Ha’s eyebrows twitched. In an instant, the atmosphere of the classroom turned awkward, but Se-Hoon ignored it and just stared at the ring he had created.

Hm. I thought so. It’s still too difficult to copy it exactly with my current body.

It wasn’t difficult for him to create the flame ring thanks to what he had learned from Sung-Ha before the regression, but maintaining it was quite challenging. He barely managed to maintain it with Soul Honing and the flow-control property of Scarlet Lotus. Without them, it would have collapsed immediately after creation.

He’s not the department’s top student for nothing...

Although Lis’s attempt to show the difficulty failed, the astonished reactions of the students suggested there was no need to continue stressing the difficulty of the process.

Clearing his throat, Lis nonchalantly continued, “Well done. That will be enough.”

“Yes.”

“Ahem. Well, if I were to summarize the theme of this lesson, it would be this.” Finndd the new𝒆st 𝒏ovels on n/𝒐/velbin(.)com

After gathering the students’ attention, he manipulated the panel to display a word in the air.

[Flame Ring]

“Since we have a fine assistant here, let’s make the most of this opportunity. You guys may create anything, but try to stick to the theme of fire mana, rechargeable residual mana, and flame rings.”

Lis stood up from his cart and looked at the students with a smile.

“The deadline for submissions is next Thursday. You may submit something before then and treat the remaining time as free time. Of course, that would mean you are confident in your submission, so accordingly, I will assess your submission more critically.”

He finished with a warning that he would not let off those who hastily submit work to slack off. Although the students tensed up at his warning, their eyes sparkled with excitement.

Last week, there were many restrictions on forging methods under the pretext of assessing their basics, but it was different this week. Additionally, there was an important spectator this time—Sung-Ha.

“That’s the end of the explanation; let’s move to the forging room now. I’ll show a few template submissions, so hurry up.”

Lis exited the classroom, but Sung-Ha remained, standing silently on the podium.

The students who had gotten up to leave glanced at each other upon seeing Sung-Ha’s standing there. They wanted to approach and talk to him, but his indifferent expression and the heavy atmosphere around him made it difficult to approach.

Yet, despite all that, one student boldly stepped forward.

“It’s nice to meet you, Yeom Sung-Ha sunbae-nim.”

Hans had on a polite and gentle smile, and his attitude was so impeccably perfect that it was hard to believe he was the same person who had been pressured under Se-Hoon’s gaze.

“My name is...”

“Get lost.”

“...Okay.”

Sung-Ha’s cold response made Hans retreat dejectedly. Instantly realizing that now was not the time to try striking up a conversation, the students left the classroom one by one, not wanting to get on Sung-Ha’s bad side.

Then, when only two students were left in the classroom, Sung-Ha slowly opened his mouth.

“Lee Se-Hoon.”

Sung-Ha looked up silently from the podium, like a flame about to burst.

“What,” responded Se-Hoon, looking down at Sung-Ha from his chair.

“Who are you?”

It was a somewhat unexpected question, but it was the only one Sung-Ha was able to ask.

He had investigated Se-Hoon throughout the weekend, but all he could find out was that Se-Hoon’s family was unfortunately caught in a disaster. Se-Hoon had no particular master and he didn’t show a display of incredible talent before admission either. It was truly mysterious how he was able to control the Inferno Ring.

He’s shrouded in mist.

The information on him was too scant for even a guess. With no other option, Sung-Ha chose to ask him directly.

Straight to the point as always, thought Se-Hoon.

Rather than snooping around or observing, he always just straight-up asked the person involved. Rather than saying he was bold, he bordered on being foolish, but this was always a critical moment when dealing with Sung-Ha.

He doesn’t hesitate at all.

The moment one tried to gauge his reaction, he would judge them based on that alone and act immediately. If he perceived someone as an enemy due to unnecessary words, he would attack indiscriminately, no matter what they had to say.

Though he seems softer than during his Mad Dog days... there’s no need to complicate matters unnecessarily.

Se-Hoon already knew that Sung-Ha wasn’t interested in his life story.

“I heard that the performance of the Inferno Ring depends on how many flame rings one can maintain at once... the ones you just showed us are those flame rings, right?”

“...?”

“It seemed easy for you to maintain three. If you did it properly, you could probably maintain five—no, probably six.”

The current sect master, Lee Won-Ryong, was an A-rank hero whose skills were close to those of an S-rank. He was someone who had achieved the state of maintaining eight rings simultaneously.

And Sung-Ha, who was decades younger, was already catching up to his level.

“So what? Just answer my question.”

But this was a commonly known fact. Thus, Sung-Ha pressed for an answer without saying anything, yet Se-Hoon just continued with a smile, “You once managed to maintain up to seven rings, right? Then one day, suddenly, you weren’t able to maintain them anymore.”

“...!”

At Se-Hoon’s remark, Sung-Ha’s once stoic face flushed. How could a freshman possibly have known something he had only shared with one person and no one else, not even the Sect Master?

Caught off guard by his unexpected words, Sung-Ha’s thought process nearly ground to a stop. Se-Hoon quickly continued, sensing the opportunity, “I don’t know if noticed at the entrance ceremony, but I have some talent for handling flames. Should I describe myself as what people commonly term the phrase genius?”

It felt a bit odd to label himself a genius, but to persuade someone who resorted to fists at the slightest inconvenience, he had to be blunt.

“And watching how you wielded the flame rings in the arena, something seemed off. You had the energy, but you weren’t fully utilizing it, letting it dissipate aimlessly instead...”

Sung-Ha remained silent, unable to refute. Looking down at him, Se-Hoon spoke with conviction.

“You used to have a much better skill, but it’s deteriorated now.”

Such a claim sounded absurd, but astonishingly, everything he had said was true. After all, Se-Hoon had heard it from Sung-Ha himself before the regression.

“When my skills deteriorated, I couldn’t even properly deploy six rings. Everyone said they couldn’t notice a difference, but that made it even more terrifying. It made me wonder if it was me who had changed.”

At that time, Sung-Ha felt something was wrong, but he was the only one who did. This led him to struggle with only six rings for years alone, marking the stagnation period and the starting point of his twisted life.

It sounded like nonsense at the time, but after seeing it firsthand, I sort of understand now.

Perhaps because of his prior knowledge, Se-Hoon was also able to notice a serious distortion in Sung-Ha’s flame rings. Any further progress was impossible without recognizing and correcting this distortion.

“Do you know what’s causing it?” Sung-Ha urgently asked him.

“I can’t say for sure... but I do have a guess.”

“Can you prove it?”

“Yes, I can.”

Hearing Se-Hoon’s answer, Sung-Ha’s eyes blazed as Se-Hoon met his gaze.

“But I don’t see why I should help you,” Se-Hoon said with a smile on his face.

With the hierarchy between them established, it was now time for Se-Hoon to start negotiations. Offering Sung-Ha help without expecting anything in return would only result in ungrateful responses like, “Are you stupid?”

It was absolutely necessary to clearly define the terms.

“Say what you want.”

It seemed Se-Hoon’s offer was so compelling that Sung-Ha accepted it readily. Responding to his cooperative attitude, Se-Hoon held up two fingers.

“First, for any advice and help you receive from me, you will pay a fair price.”

He wanted to establish that this was a transaction, not mere goodwill.

“Second, if you think you’re about to overlook something, consult with me.”

With this, a safety net for events that Se-Hoon might not have considered was created.

Sung-Ha looked at Se-Hoon with a slightly strange expression.

His offer isn’t bad.

Rather than simple exploitation, Se-Hoon’s offer leaned toward a cooperative relationship. However, it was significantly in Sung-Ha’s favor, and considering his current situation, Sung-Ha felt uneasy, like a pig walking into a butcher shop.

“Are you in or not? I have to go to class, so hurry up.”

“...”

“If you don’t answer by the time I leave, I’ll take it as a no.”

Seeing Sung-Ha continue to remain silent, he got up and started walking to the door. Right before he was about to pass by Sung-Ha and exit the classroom, Sung-Ha finally managed to squeeze out his voice.

“...I’ll do it. But only if you show me the evidence,” Sung-Ha said with a look of reluctance.

At that, Se-Hoon grinned and pointed toward the door.

“I’ll show you right now.”


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