Chapter 180: Chapter 179: Their Circumstances, Part I
I slowly walked down Guryong Mountain to think about what had just happened. “Okay, let’s be positive about this. The best part of today is that Mana Conversion is now level 3. It’s not like it’s easy to level skills anyway.” What’s done was done. There was no use crying about it anymore. Besides, getting a skill past its max level was better than learning a new skill any day.
“I’m more worried about that voice.” I know I heard it, and I know it said it was pissed. I even heard it after learning Listen. At first, I didn’t want to think that I was able to hear that voice because of Listen, but there was no other explanation.
“Hmm…I have the ability to Listen…that description is just way too simple.” I would have preferred if it said what I could Listen to, like animal noises or what people are really thinking or something like that. But no, I could just Listen now. I would have also tried to find its source, but I only heard it once.
“Screw it. Thinking about it isn’t going to give me an answer. Blink 1. Blink 2.” I decided that getting Mana Conversion to level 3 was a good enough payment for helping the Shire Guild. “Let’s just go home and rest.” It had already been two months since I left my new home. My mother had been beginning to nag as well, wondering when I was going to come back home.
The newly built base by the Sunbin Guild’s headquarters…
“Well, well. The young master’s come back home.” As I drew closer to the main building’s entrance, two elderly men who were playing baduk [Korean word for go] on the porch stood up to greet me. They had come along with my grandfather.
“Please, you don’t have to do that. Think of the time we’re in. You don’t need to be calling me young master every time you see me.”
“Hahaha. We call you young master, especially because of the time we’re in.”
“…” I didn’t say anything back. He was right. This was an era where only strong people could exist. This was an era of warriors, mages, and guilds and an era where the strong fed on the weak. I had completely forgotten about that.
“Hah. I suppose you’re right.”
“That’s right. That’s the reality we live in now, young master,” the elder man said, still smiling. From that I could tell that he was happy he was in a place where he could comfortably call me his young master. My mother and grandfather sometimes called me that, too.
I had been getting the royal treatment from the Sunbin, Myth, and Ravi Guilds, and the Werewolf Clan when I had helped them, and had been getting more respect these days. I was sure that this elderly man was getting some of that too, solely for the reason that he was under my influence.
I never thought I would ever have my own followers in the past, and didn’t expect it to happen when I had come back to the past.
“Go on in, young master.”
“Thanks.” I entered my home. Everyone inside bowed as I walked past, calling me young master as well, and I let them. It’s what they wanted, I guess.
“Oh! Hi, mom!”
“You don’t ever come back home when you leave! You really ought to call home more often.”
“Have you eaten yet?”
“Me? Not yet.”
“Okay. Wash up and get ready for supper.”
“I will.” I watched my mother’s small back as she went back to the kitchen. She was wearing better clothes now and had put on some weight, but I didn’t get why she seemed so small.
-Am I just bigger?-
I washed up, ate the hearty meal my mother made and went to my room to rest. Later, Song Haechang heard that I had returned and came over for a cup of tea.
He really did change a lot. It should have been awkward for him after what we’ve been through, but he didn’t avoid the issue. Rather, he laughed it off.
“Man, I really was foolish then. I should have at least dragged in the entire Sunbin Guild and kidnapped you. I don’t know why I had a bunch of alley rats do it. Geez…”
“Aha…” I wasn’t sure if he was joking or was being serious.
That night, I met with my grandfather. I took out 200,000,000 golden rings. The Shire Guild had paid it to me during the party after the Dark Caster raid, saying that I had done so much more that the Random Skill Chest just wasn’t enough. I was polite enough to turn them down a couple of times, but took it nonetheless. The Shire Guild was rich enough, anyway.
“What’s this for?”
“Just because. I’m sure it isn’t cheap looking after three hundred people.” Only a hundred of the three hundred people who followed my grandfather out of the Sojung Guild were devas. That was still a lot for a small guild like Sojung. I didn’t expect them to be elites that I could rely on. No, the most they could be were weights that would hold me down, but they were still my comrades, one way or another. Whether they were devas or mortals, if they were going to stand with me, they would have the best life here.
“I don’t need it.”
“I’m making a lot of money now.”
“Hahaha. Did you think I left the Sojung Guild empty-handed?”
“I raised Sojung for forty years, before and after Otadolon. I mean, I did spend the last few years as an old fart. Either way, it’s only right that I take everything that’s mine.”
I could see from how my grandfather was laughing that there was nothing better than the wisdom that came with age.
“So don’t worry about us and spend it however you like.”
“Jiwon. You don’t need to worry that your family has grown by three hundred. You also don’t need to worry about what you need to do for them.”
“You’re already doing enough. Everyone who has followed me, no, who is now calling you young master, is already satisfied with their life now.”
I knew what he meant. More and more of our mortals were becoming devas every day and they all got to hunt in the mid-grade dungeon in Jeju Island, thanks to the Sunbin Guild. They definitely had a better, special life than when they were with Sojung.
Were any of them embarrassed that they were living a privileged life, or pitying those that didn’t have this life? I doubt it. That was the world we lived in, after all. My grandfather was right; I didn’t have an obligation to make anything easier for them. I wasn’t a hero, nor was I planning to become one.
Three days later…
“Jiwon. Call at least once a week, okay?”
“Okay, I will.”
I had rested enough and ate well the past few days. It was time to get moving again.
“Come back soon, young master.”
“Good luck out there, young master!”
About a hundred others had come out to see me go.
“Haha. Thanks, everyone!” I left my base and headed for the nearby Sunbin Guild headquarters. I was planning on heading to Siberia next, to the high-grade dungeon the Sunbin Guild controlled.
“Welcome back.” Song Haechang greeted me outside the building. He had asked why I hadn’t gone there yet when it was the easiest dungeon to go to when he stopped by three days ago.
“Thanks.” I shook his hand.
“Let’s go.” I followed him down to the basement where Sunbin had their Teleporters. It was one of the most important rooms in the building and there were many guards guarding the path, but no one stopped us. Then again, they all probably knew Song Haechang’s face by now.
Soon, we came to the room where the Sunbin had seven Teleporters.
“This third one over here is connected to the Teleporter in Siberia.”
I got up on the Teleporter with Song Haechang.
The Sakha Republic, Siberia; also known as Yakutia…
Khandyga, three hundred kilometers away from the capital city of Yakutsk…
“It’s cold here.”
“Well, it is one of the coldest regions in Siberia.”
A biting, cold gust of wind and heavy snowfall greeted us when we got off the Teleporter. There were quite a few large buildings around us. Around those buildings was a giant ice wall forming a massive circle.
“The dungeon here is called the Iceman Dungeon. But, more than that, there are also a lot of Ice Trolls around here, so it’s a good idea to stay on guard at all times.”
“I see.” I followed Song Haechang out of the Teleporter zone.
“I know I’m an Ice Mage, now so the cold doesn’t bother me, but I noticed that you don’t seem affected by it, either.”
“Well… I’m stronger than I look.” All I had on was a light jacket. A normal person would be shivering to the bone and would barely be able to take a step forward, but with my body, my Stats was just too great to be bothered by the cold.
I followed Song Haechang to the dungeon’s entrance, where I could see a lot of Sunbin Guild members were gathered. All of them exuded confidence.
“Inside the dungeon are, well, Icemen, monsters that are made of ice in the form of humans.”
I had never heard of these types of monsters in the past before. “Wait, what?”
Song Haechang was an Ice Mage. There was no way he could hunt here.
“Hahaha. That’s right. Ice Mages can’t hunt here. We can’t inflict a single point of damage against them. We might as well be their healers, instead.” Casting Ice Magic on Ice-type monsters would only serve to make them bigger. “Trying to break ice with ice is just impossible, after all.”
“Then why did you come here with me?”
“I wanted to see the strength of the man who suggested I change my future. Oh, I’m not saying I don’t think your strength is real. I just wanted to see for myself for once,” Song Haechang said, looking straight into my eyes.
I held his gaze and replied, “I’ll make sure you see the full extent.”
I know I was being nosy back then, and I didn’t regret it, even now.
-If he wants peace of mind, I’ll make sure he has it.-
I walked alongside Song Haechang and entered the Iceman Dungeon, where I saw the blocks of pointy ice in the shape of humans.
“Obviously, they are weak to Fire Attribute. Their attacks also have the Frostbite effect, so if you’re not careful, you can become frozen. If you don’t have anyone with you who can cure you of Frostbite, you can actually die here,” Song Haechang said when he saw the Icemen.
“Mana Conversion – Fire. Warrior’s Brave Spirit. Howl of the Wolf.” I didn’t say anything back to him and got ready for battle. Showing him first hand was better than explaining, after all. I was itching to finally see what Mana Conversion level 3 could do as well.
==[Mana Converion – Fire Level 3 has been activated.
Increase ATT by 45%.
Successful attacks have a 30% chance of inflicting Burn.
Increase damage of all Fire-based attacks by 15,000-75,000.
This skill has no cooldown.]==
==[Warrior’s Brave Spirit Level 1 has been activated.]==
==[Howl of the Wolf has been activated.]==
That ended my battle preparations. I did have Spear Mastery and Increase CRIT Rate, but they were passive skills and I would experience their value in the heart of battle.
“Judge’s Gavel.” I turned to face Song Haechang. “This is my power that is responsible for your new future.” I turned away and charged in at the nearest horde of Icemen, targeting the closest one to me.
In one blow, the three meter tall Iceman broke to pieces, dying.
“Fissure!” I yelled out and slammed my spear into the ground. The ground rumbled and cracked.
[Block it. Ice Shield!]
A couple Icemen summoned shields of ice, but it was in vain, they all shattered instantly. The 100% extra damage Fissure did on top of its base damage was enough against these high-grade dungeon monsters. There were still some left standing, however. It wasn’t strong enough to take them all out at once yet, but at least it did enough damage.
I charged at the remaining Icemen and slashed at them with my spear. Each attack was met with a resounding crack, rather than the soft thud I was used to.
Despite the Icemen’s attacks, I attacked the horde relentlessly.
Three minutes later, I had cleared the area of all twenty Icemen. I did manage to take some damage. No matter how good I was, it was just impossible for me to avoid or deflect every single attack that came my way. Regardless, I had barely lost a single tick in my HP bar.
I walked over to Song Haechang who was standing off to the side in a corner.
“Hmm… I wonder if that’s enough to justify butting in to your life.”
“…It’s more than enough.” Song Haechang stayed silent for a moment before replying with a small smile. He then took out a small piece of paper. “I did want to stay a little while longer and watch some more, but watching you made me itch for some action of my own. I have a long way to go to at least get close enough, don’t I? This paper notes all of the locations of Sunbin’s FOBs in this dungeon.”
The piece of paper noted all the FOBs on each of the seven floors. The Myth Guild and the Werewolf Clan had their own high-grade dungeons, but neither of them had FOBs on each floor. This was enough to show just how much stronger the Sunbin Guild was.
Seven days had passed since I started hunting in the Iceman Dungeon. I had hunted nonstop since Song Haechang left.
“Ha…that’s enough for today. Store.” I Stored the drops from the Icemen I had just killed and headed for the FOB on the third floor. On the way there, I ran into someone. This dungeon was exclusively run by the Sunbin Guild, and only Sunbin Guild members were allowed in here. But this person was Japanese. Most Westerners couldn’t tell Oriental Asians apart, but we could, to some extent.
There were some devas of Japanese origin in the Sunbin Guild. The guild even had Americans and Europeans in their ranks. But my gut told me that this person was not a Sunbin Guild member. No Sunbin member could come to the third floor alone.
“Who are you?” I asked, bluntly.
“You’ve got good instincts. Man, it was hard getting here without getting caught by Sunbin. It took an entire week of hard work, you know. Why did you have to come all the way here and not where you always went to?”
“That wasn’t my question.”
“Give me a break, will ya? It’s been a long week for me.”
I gripped my spear. “Judge’s Gavel. Blink 1.” If he wasn’t going to tell me now, I was fine with finding out why he was here later. If he really wanted to talk, he could come back anytime.