As Lumian awoke in the gray fog, his first instinct was not to check his physical condition. Instead, he sat up abruptly and looked at the table by the window.
There, bathed in the soft light that filtered through the thick fog, were the three Red Chestnut Flowers and the glass bottle of poplar leaf powder.
She really sent the supplementary ingredients in… Relief flooded Lumian. He got out of bed and stretched, delighted to discover that the pain in his neck and back had vanished, along with the general discomfort he had been feeling.
Just as I hoped, I'm fine in the dream when I'm better in reality even though the injuries on both sides aren't equal at all… He quickly walked over to the wardrobe with the full-length mirror, took off his shirt, and examined himself.
The five bloody finger marks, the bruises, and the blood clots were all gone.
This made Lumian wonder if killing the Beyonder monster had been nothing more than a dream.
Thankfully, the crimson object in the cloth bag, the slightly larger sum of money, and the shotgun next to his bed confirmed the reality of his experience.
Lumian's heart eased. With the cloth bag containing the crimson item and a large amount of money, he left the bedroom and went straight to the first floor. Grabbing a bottle of red wine and a beer mug, he headed back up with some basil.
He made sure to bring along a measuring cylinder and miniature scale that his sister Aurore had purchased for him.
Looking at the desk filled with all the necessary items, Lumian felt both excited and nervous.
With everything in place, all that remained was to concoct the potion!
Potions were not beverages. They were more dangerous than alcohol, capable of killing or transforming the drinker into a monster with the slightest mistake.
Lumian took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, his hands steady as he used the measuring cylinder to pour 80 milliliters of red wine into the beer mug.
Next, he added 10 grams of basil, 5 grams of poplar leaf powder, and a single Red Chestnut Flower.
The process proceeded without incident. The red liquid in the mug had a few more dregs and a floating flower, but otherwise looked unremarkable.
With the cloth bag of crimson substance at his side, Lumian watched intently as the object slid into the beer mug.
Without a sound, the dark-red blob seemed to dissolve rapidly, drawing in the surrounding liquid in the process.
Bubbles erupted, and the entire mug turned a deep shade of red. The Red Chestnut Flower had dissolved completely.
This is the Hunter potion? Lumian gulped and picked up his beer mug.
The supernatural power he had sought for so long was finally within his grasp.
Without hesitation, he took a deep breath and steeled himself for what was to come. Raising the mug to his lips, he drank the potion in one swift gulp.
The pungent odor of blood filled his nostrils, and he started hearing things.
As he set the mug down, a searing pain ripped through his body,
so intense that Lumian wondered if he had swallowed a ball of fire. The flames seemed to burn through his esophagus, stomach, heart, lungs, intestines, and blood vessels all at once.
At the same time, a strong scent of blood wafted up from his throat.
Lumian fought to remain conscious, remembering the lady's warning that fainting would mean defeat. He knew the stakes were high, and the outcome was obvious if he failed.
His head swam as he lowered it, gazing at the bright red veins protruding from the back of his hand.
The pain and burning came in waves, but they quickly began to recede. But just as he thought it was over, a mysterious voice echoed in his mind, as if coming from both infinitely far away and right beside him.
The sound was like steel thorns piercing his brain, stirring it forcefully.
Suddenly, the near-death experience he had faced before returned, and the pain and burning flared up once more.
Lumian gritted his teeth and clenched his fists, feeling as though something was trying to claw its way out of his flesh.
The gray fog around him seemed to thicken.
The terrifying sound that had filled his ears slowly faded away, and the writhing of his flesh and blood vanished like an illusion.
The excruciating pain, the burning sensation, and the metallic scent of blood dissipated, leaving Lumian gasping for cold air as he regained control of his body.
He bent over, hands on his knees, panting heavily as he realized the true dangers of pursuing supernatural powers, as his sister had warned him.
A mere Sequence 9 potion had nearly claimed his life!
Of course, it had first seemed manageable—dangerous, but manageable. But the mysterious voice that had been brought on by the symbol on his chest had almost caused him to collapse at the critical moment.
Each breath he took seemed to restore some of his strength, and before long, he felt fully recovered.
Bang! Lumian clenched his fist and swung it hard, striking out at the air with a force that caused a sonic boom.
He had never imagined possessing such power before, and the realization filled him with excitement. In his small bedroom, he practiced a combat technique his sister had taught him, each punch producing a crisp sound.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Despite the commotion, Lumian moved with precision and control, not touching anything as he completed the set.
To his surprise, he felt neither tired nor fatigued, but rather energetic and alive.
He assessed his condition:
On par with Aurore…
In terms of strength, speed, reaction, or body control, they've all been greatly enhanced. It's a little inhuman…
pAn,D a-n0ve1,c-o-mI possess the strength of a bear and the agility of a cat. It's slightly equivalent to the combination of the two…
Without the potion, I might never be able to reach this level of power in my life…
But before he could finish his inspection, Lumian caught the scent of blood, his heart tightening with fear. Instinctively, he sniffed the air and realized that he could determine the source of the blood—it came from his body!
Lumian looked down and saw that the back of his hand was covered in blood-red spots.
He came to the full-body mirror again and realized that his face was similarly stained.
He wiped some of the blood away, but found no sign of any wounds.
After a moment's thought, Lumian came to a realization.
Did the potion cause the capillaries Aurore talked about to burst? And then they quickly healed after I absorbed the potion?
The only explanation for his current condition was supernatural influence.
Realizing he was not injured, Lumian pushed the matter aside and focused on his sense of smell, which seemed to have undergone a significant change.
As he concentrated, the scents around him were "decomposed" and drilled into his nose in various forms.
The smell of blood, the residual smell of alcohol, the fragrance of flowers, the smell of dust… Lumian began identifying the scents around him one by one, even the slightest ones not escaping his heightened senses.
Simultaneously, he "saw" invisible footprints and the distribution of dust in the bedroom, "heard" the beating of his own heart and the breeze outside the house…
The second change is that my sensory abilities have increased exponentially, surpassing the standards of ordinary humans. No wonder the monster he had encountered was so skilled at tracking… Lumian was delighted.
More importantly, this improvement did not interfere with his daily life and only appeared when he focused. It only took the form of a weaker version.
Through experimentation and self-examination, Lumian discovered two other changes brought on by the Hunter potion.
The third change allows me to accurately locate certain points in his environment, such as weak spots in a wall, enabling me to set traps more efficiently and kill my enemies—be they humans, beasts, or monsters—more effectively.
The fourth change is that I have more knowledge about wild plants and animal organs, allowing me to survive better in the wilderness and quickly find hemostatic medicine when injured. I can even make poison to smear on weapons if needed…
As he confirmed these newfound abilities, Lumian couldn't help but feel a sense of absurdity.
I actually managed to kill that shotgun monster?
The current me is much stronger than the previous me, and it was not much weaker than the current me..
Lumian contemplated for a while and concluded two crucial points.
Ability is important, but brains are equally important!
Exploiting a good environment can effectively increase my strength!
After some thought, Lumian added inwardly, Also, I can't be careless and lose my patience at any time…
He walked to the window and gazed at the dream ruins again.
An indescribable sense of oppression, fear, and danger surged into his heart. This was something he had never felt before.
Uh, the fifth change is some kind of intuition strengthening… Lumian nodded gently.
He went to the washroom and washed his body with clean water. He changed into a fresh set of clothes and then lay back on the bed, with the money close.
He wanted to get back to reality as soon as possible, eager to know if the Hunter abilities would stay with him or if they would be weakened.
In the dead of night, Cordu was eerily silent. The clouds shrouded the crimson moon and stars, leaving the darkness to reign supreme.
Lumian surveyed the night scenery and felt an overwhelming sense of happiness.
He was now a Beyonder in the real world, and his powers hadn't weakened at all compared to the dream realm.
As an intuition struck him, Lumian unbuttoned his shirt and gazed down at his chest.
The black symbol resembling a thorn chain was slowly fading away.
It also appears in reality… Lumian muttered, feeling a twinge of unease.
He noticed that the bluish-black symbol that had loomed over the thorny chain existed only in his dreams.
Suddenly, Lumian's heart skipped a beat as he gazed up at the nearby elm tree. The legendary owl of the Warlock was perched on a branch, observing him quietly.