It was a harsh wilderness; the other side of the ‘gate’ was a terribly barren land.
I stepped into the wilderness and took a look around my surroundings. But whichever way I looked, nothing but the occasional rock came into view.
‘If I remember correctly, the altar is to the west.’
I had never been here before. All I knew of this place was either from documented information, or rumours and the like; because my original beginning had been at Mt Halla, not Mt Bukhan. But right now, Minshik was at Mt Halla instead of me.
For now, there was nothing but to hope for the best and try walking westwards.
‘At any rate, a pioneer huh.’
It had been so long since I’ve seen such messages like the one from before entering here; I was almost glad to see it. Now that I think about it, there were various benefits to being the pioneer. Points were one of them, and occasionally you could receive blessings that raised stats or half-completed maps.
But at the same time, the pioneer’s reward was a poison to humanity.
‘Because of those who concealed everything in order to monopolize the rewards.’
It was the biggest reason why the existence of ‘gates’ came to be known much later!
The superhumans quickly convened and intentionally kept information to themselves, finding ‘gates’ and monopolizing the pioneer’s reward. This happened throughout the entire world. It was to the point that there was even an official paper that pointed out how humanity’s advance towards the superhuman era was delayed by a year because of this.
If they had lessened their greed, it was possible that hundreds of powerful heroes may have come into being. Many more could have come across opportunities, sharing information with one another and growing stronger together.
‘Minshik. Which path will you walk?’
I mused to myself, looking in the direction of Mt Halla where Minshik should be training the basics of a magic swordsman. He had said that he wanted to become a hero. A hero that would outshine me and save the world.
A forked road lay before him.
To publicise information, or to monopolize it!
But someone who could be swayed by desire, unable to part with worldly gains, could not become a hero. The title of hero, belonged to one who could be humble, who could let everything go, giving it all away.
‘That’s why I hate being a hero.’
Once was enough. In this lifetime, I was going to indulge in a life of staying in the shade. I was going to choose the path of solitary peace, not burdening myself with the expectation of others.
But that did not mean I was going to ruin myself.
The ‘conscience’ I had from the time when I was a hero still remained. It could be called dignity, even. If even that small line did not exist, how would I differ from an uncivilized gangster?
Putting away my thoughts, I turned my gaze once again.
‘Let’s go towards the west.’
Lightly clicking my tongue, I began to move.
Monsters would become more active when night falls. Before that, I had to move as far as I could and secure a safe place.
The iron marble shot through the air, lodging itself in the head of a gnoll.
A gnoll was a small monster with the appearance of a dog that walked on its two feet. At best, it was a lowest-grade Lv1 monster, but they often moved around in packs.
‘So there was a den of gnolls nearby.’
I took off my clothes; gnolls had a good sense of smell. With a den of them nearby, simply wearing clothes with the scent of humans could incur danger.
Approaching the instantly killed gnoll’s corpse, I carefully collected its blood and then smeared it all over my nude body. It would at least reduce the frequency of sudden gnoll attacks.
I only took along the rucksack as I began to move again. I had spent around 3 hours like that, moving west, when I came across strange gigantic flowers.
‘Since there are giant man-eating flowers here, the surrounding area should be safe.’
The identity of these giant flowers were monsters determined to be at Lv4. Normally, it would only gobble up anything that passed by its side. But when it sensed noise, it would stretch out its tentacles to snatch up prey up to 30m away.
As long as it wasn’t provoked, however, it happened to provide you with a surprisingly safe shelter; it wasn’t often that other monsters would reside near giant man-eating flowers.
I took out the small shovel in my rucksack to dig a hole in the ground, then laid down inside of it.
Nights in the wilderness were bitterly cold. There was no other way to maintain body temperatures but to rely on the earth for insulation, because starting a fire could attract a bunch of nocturnal monsters.
‘I should try using the Dominator skill tomorrow.’
I decided to take it easy. Searching for the altar would take at least several days anyway. So I made up my mind to spare no time but to fully use it to grow stronger.
As I closed my eyes, drowsiness immediately overtook me.
There was no end to the territory of the gnolls.
There were hordes of gnolls, warring among themselves in the distance. It appeared that even gnolls fought over territory.
[‘Dominator(Lv9)’ skill has been activated.]
[Domination complete. 50pt consumed.]
[‘Gnoll 5’ has joined the group.]
[You may now exercise the authority of a master. You may issue commands that will be obeyed within the limits of the dominated target’s intelligence.]
The instant the Dominator skill was activated, a change came over the gnoll that had discovered me and was about to attack; it was now like an innocent lamb. It stayed confused over the sudden change for a long while, then right after that it ended up following me.
This was an extraordinary matter. How unexpected that its hostility would be instantly removed, instead compelling it to follow me.
It wasn’t a coincidence. This was already the fifth gnoll.
‘It shares similarities with the Taming skill.’
At the end of five experiments, I had grasped a certain amount of understanding regarding the ‘Dominator’ skill.
First of all, the Dominator skill exhibited compulsion. I surmised that it even influenced the mind to an extent. But the extent of that influence differed by the individual. There was one that followed commands, but wasn’t proactive about it, while another was confused and tried running away.
And then there was one with a friendly attitude, treating me like a parent. After taking everything into consideration, it may be that there was some other standard dictating the degree of control. But they all shared a common point in that they would, at the least, carry out my ‘command’.
Like this for instance,
“Kill that gnoll.”
I commanded my gnolls to kill the stray gnoll that I had lured out. That gnoll had shared the same territory as the five gnolls under my lead. I was curious as to whether even this sort of command would be followed..
The result was surprising.
[‘Gnoll Group’ has successfully ended their hunt.]
[The points obtained by ‘Gnoll Group’ is bound to their master.]
[5pt has been obtained.]
Moreover, the points they earned from killing the gnoll entered my pockets; this feature of transferring points was similar to Summoners or Tamers.
I stilled, rubbing my chin.
‘I might even be able to create an army of monsters if I use this well.’
Just like Mind’s Eye, Dominator was indeed an unbelievable skill. Actually, it was better than what Summoners or Tamers could do. Dominator boasted an instantaneous effect upon activation, while on the other hand, summons or beasts required time to be tamed.
Taming a summon usually took an average of three months. It took dozens of days even for a genius Summoner with god-given talents. That much time was needed to bind a summon, bringing it under control, after which the Summoner would use his skills to form a master and servant contract, and then imprint rules upon it.
‘It’s possible to use Dominator in a strategical way. If only I could figure out how value is determined.’
I required much more specimens. Even the amount of points that went into dominating gnolls weren’t the same. Was it simply the difference in stats? Or were skills and potential counted as well? If that wasn’t it either, was it some other element at work?
In any case, I would be able to control the President, or even a world-renowned expert, as long as I put my mind to it. And not just that, I would be able to make even a unique monster like ‘Andanius’, the sky-sized snake that killed me, into doing my bidding. I probably had to be filthy rich with points though, of course.
‘I remember that Laila Diablo needed 300,000 points.’
I had a long way to go naturally. The total amount of points I had earned between the time I had first awakened up to the point where I became the last hero was around 500,000. Furthermore, the Laila Diablo at present wasn’t at a state of complete development. She was much stronger at the time she invaded Earth in the past. If I used the past as the basis then much less 300,000, even 500,000 would most likely be insufficient.
‘To think a mere skill could make up for an entire class.’
No matter how I thought of it, the potential worth of this skill was amazing.
I couldn’t help chuckling.
The synchronization with Uriel Diablo was a blessing for me. The skills ‘Mind’s Eye’ and ‘Dominator’ he gifted me were the perfect of combinations. It would become a weapon stronger than anything depending on its usage.
‘I can gather a maximum of 130 gnolls with the amount of points I have right now.’
Dominator. A power that could create an army if you wanted to.
Points had to be used with caution, but it was a matter of testing a Lv9 skill after all. It was worth investing this much.
I briefly considered it, and then made the decision…to give it a go.