The trio went from place to place around the foot of the mountain, removing all the traps they’d laid. Afterwards, they went down to the entrance of Mt Bukhan where they stood with flushed faces, staring at the yellow note.
“Well now, I don’t think it was a dream but…was he really a mountain god?”
“Even if he isn’t a mountain god, he must be an expert shaman. Didn’t you see it too?”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned out to be a high schooler from his appearance though.”
Their suspicions were reasonable. That mountain god was, in fact, wearing ordinary clothes. But the eldest hyung believed in him, even if the younger ones didn’t.
“He’s a rare personage. A nobleman I say. It was by heaven’s will that we met with him, so stop with the pointless doubts. There are things in this world that are beyond our comprehension, outside of common sense.”
“Again, again with that nonsense. Hyung-nim certainly has changed after meeting that child. At this rate, it wouldn’t be strange if you suddenly joined a religion.”
“It’s only natural to change after meeting an angel. You guys don’t know, that child’s parents don’t know, but I saw.”
“Are you talking about that one wing?”
The younger men picked at their ears, as if they’d already heard this on multiple occasions before.
Where on earth would you find someone with one wing?
They thought it was just a figment of his imagination, but the eldest appeared steadfast in his belief.
“The nobleman will cure that child. This is all fate and karma. The reason I met those two was precisely for this. It was all heaven’s guidance.”
“Aigo, the Buddha himself has descended among us.”
Knowing that the younger ones wouldn’t listen any further, he closed his mouth, but his expression was obviously full of life as he looked at the yellow note. He had the face of a man who had witnessed a miracle; except this was already his second time.
He respectfully held on to that note as he kowtowed once more in the direction of Mt Bukhan.
Sparks flew before my eyes, caused by the golden red squirrel’s sharp claws scratching past right beneath my nose.
“This damn bastard!”
Cursing with no semblance of nobility at all, I pulled the rubber band of my slingshot.
It was a hit. The iron marble pierced the red squirrel’s head, however, it didn’t die. It continued to run amok despite the many shots it took, as if immortal.
‘So you won’t go down quietly huh?’
Determining the golden red squirrel’s location and finding it had been easy, but I encountered a setback during my ambush. I didn’t consider that it might not die instantly from an iron marble shot directly to its head.
‘Its movements have slowed quite a bit though.’
Compared to the start of the fight, the difference was clear, so it wasn’t as if there was no effect at all.
Breathing in deeply, I pushed my movements to the extreme limit.
This was the first time I had worked my body this hard since my return to the past, making my movements feel awkward.
‘Hu! I feel like a sponge full of water.’
In my prime, before my return to the past, I was a superhuman who could fly in the skies and run 100m in a second, but my current body was the definition of average itself. The discrepancy between my old body and the current one made moving feel like a chore.
I had been too full of myself. I thought it would be easy since it was just finding a gate.
‘I knew my day was going too well.’
Nonetheless, humans were adapting animals.
My ability to adjust was especially out of the ordinary.
The golden red squirrel’s attacks were akin to frantic struggles, evidence that it also wasn’t having an easy time.
However, it was definitely gold colored. It had appeared as black before my spirit transferred to Uriel Diablo, but it was now returned to its original color.
My breathing was irregular; I couldn’t afford the time for proper deep breaths. My heart inched towards its limit along with the increased number of clawed wounds I received.
At the same time I was angry at myself for struggling with a mere beast.
‘A skill. I’ll have to use one.’
I did have a plan: the skills I had earned through synchronizing with Uriel Diablo.
I hadn’t used them, saving them for last measures. They were Lv9 skills after all. My body could explode from being unable to withstand the recoil of using them. Of course, Mind’s Eye was a probing skill so the possibility of that happening was extremely low, but it didn’t hurt to be careful.
But at this rate neither myself nor the beast would get out of this in one piece.
I sank into brief consideration, before nodding to myself.
It was at that moment.
My sight brightened, my concentration sharpened, and simultaneously a message rose before my eyes.
[‘Mind’s Eye(Lv9)’ has been activated.]
Name: Golden Red Squirrel(value-???)
Strength 17 Agility 25 Constitution 13
Intelligence 10 Magic Power 15
Special note: Its value cannot be appraised due to its possession of the ‘gate’. It is capable of shifting the organs inside its body at will. Its heart and brain currently resides in its right arm and left leg respectively.
So it wasn’t possible to use Dominator due to being unable to calculate its value.
But I gained information more important than that.
First of all, there was no recoil from using the skill. If Mind’s Eye was so, Dominator would be the same. And although it wasn’t detailed, it showed me exactly what I wanted to see.
‘To think it could shift its organs at will.’
What a preposterous ability1.
How could it even move its brain, this wasn’t some manga!
I continued to activate Mind’s Eye as I took out three iron marbles from the piece of cloth wrapped around my waist, one of which I quickly loaded onto the slingshot.
The iron marble pierced its heart.
The red squirrel let out a strange scream, but it didn’t fall down.
I continued to shoot iron marbles while it faltered.
I shot its throat, then aimed for its leg.
Having its heart and brain shot through and its spine broken, the beast collapsed.
It had taken over ten iron marbles embedded in its body to kill it.
I mopped the cold sweat from my face.
If it wasn’t for my previous life experience, I wouldn’t have been able to beat it. Not to mention its superior stats, the fact that I didn´t run away after being bewildered by it surviving the piercing shot in the head was already a good thing.
[The battle against the ‘golden red squirrel’ has ended.]
[100pt has been obtained.]
[Strength and Constitution has each risen by ‘1’.]
[‘Lowest-grade ruby’ has been obtained.]
My stats rose, and the point gain was pretty good too.
Stats could only be raised in this manner after awakening, by hunting monsters or going through special experiences. There was a definite, low limit to raising stats through pure bodily strength, and more than anything, it was slow. It was a hundred-times better to hunt instead.
“A lowest-grade ruby?”
My mind snapped to attention when I read the last message.
A lowest-grade ruby!
The thumb-sized crimson ruby that floated up from the red squirrels corpse was slowly flying towards me. I snatched it out of the air and smiled.
To think I’d gain a jewel here of all places!
As I held it in my hand and concentrated, its related explanation came into view.
Name: Lowest-grade ruby
Ability: +1 strength if embedded in equipment with sockets
Explanation: A jewel created from the magic power inside a monster’s body.
‘Ha. It’s a good start.’
I exaled without realizing it.
Gems had an atrocious chance of appearing when hunting monsters.
Ruby, topaz, emerald, sapphire, diamond!
These jewels respectively raised strength, agility, constitution, intelligence, and magic power. Regardless of type or grade, these five kinds of jewels absolutely had to be gathered if possible because using them together with equipment that can be socketed maximizes their effect.
By gathering 5 of the same grade jewels and either handing them to someone with a craftsman class, or placing them into a ‘Mixer’ which can be acquired later, a higher grade jewel can be obtained.
But even I had never possessed anything higher than a high-grade jewel. That’s just how terrible the chances of coming across jewels were.
‘Jewels are goods that are traded at astronomical prices. A bit of a pity that it’s not a diamond, but still, it’s not bad.’
Although this would only happen in the future, their value was to the point that a single lowest-grade ruby would be enough to buy a pretty good building in the city. Of course, it couldn’t be compared to diamonds. The very name of this jewel that raises magic power screams of worth.
Even so, it wasn’t a bad reward for defeating a beginner type of monster.
I put away the ruby and once again turned to look at the red squirrel’s corpse, waiting for the ‘phenomenon’ that would soon occur.
Finally, the golden red squirrels corpse began to shake uncontrollably. The golden light of its fur seemed to evaporate, rising into the air like smoke, gathering together to form a shape.
It was a round, golden space. A roughly 3 diameter space had appeared in midair, shining a brilliant, pure gold color.
That was a gate, and a golden gate was one of the most special among them.
I walked towards the ‘gate’ that had abruptly materialized.
The moment I put my hand on the gate,
I was engulfed by the golden light, like it was eating away at me.
[The gate leading to the ‘Ancient Altar(Lv1~Lv5)’ has been discovered.]
[Only those with stats lower than a total of 150 can enter.]
[You are the pioneer; first to discover this place. 1,000 points have been obtained.]
1: this sentence was originally a pun on the word 장기 which can both mean internal organs or strength/advantage/specialty.