‘The most powerful of spirits are considered to be spirits of light and darkness.’
These two types of spirits posed a greater influence on reality, as opposed to the other elemental types. The spirits of light and darkness, however, also feared me to no end and refused to approach me. But these spirits of grass were strange. In the first place, promises were of no importance to spirits. They were prone to mischief, and only communicated with those they had revealed their ‘names’ to; their contractors. But these spirits of grass upheld my trust in them, in their own way, to the end. They made a sharp contrast to common low ranked spirits.
‘Although it would be good if I could check them using Mind’s Eye…’
It couldn’t be relied on, because it wasn’t possible to confirm the name and true form of a spirit even by using ‘Mind’s Eye’. Spirits were like nature itself. It was similar to the reason why the wind and air can’t be appraised using Mind’s Eye. Of course, even if it couldn’t be called extraordinary, the power of a Spirit Caller was attractive. Owing to the spirits characteristic of lacking substance, they were excellent for the purpose of scouting, ambushing, and the like. Therefore…if I were to become capable of using spirits, there may be some hope for the showdown with the preta.
ㅡTh-, this human says he wants to contract us.
ㅡMay-, maybe he wants to eat us after all?
The three clutched onto one another, trembling. If my affinity was high then perhaps it would have been the spirits eagerly asking me for a ‘contract’, because the only method of growth for spirits was to contract with a user. I have never heard of a Spirit Caller lacking in affinity, nor of someone forcing a contract, but I was capable of ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ when I have yet to make a contract; an impossible feat regardless of how high an affinity one had, a paradox. That’s why I felt even more strongly that it was possible.
“The more you experience after contracting someone with high affinity, the faster you grow. I can see you spirits, and hear your conversations. I command a dragon and countless other things, and I can provide you such entertainment that riding verdant hill pollen will pale in comparison.”
ㅡNo-, now that I think about it, how is he able to see us?
ㅡThe-, there’s something even more fun than riding verdant hill pollen?
ㅡIt-, it’s a lie. Where could such a thing be?
They didn’t appear entirely uninterested. From an outsider’s perspective I would have appeared like a madman conversing with empty air by himself, however, I made a leisurely smile as I drew out scenes, scenes from my memories.
“You will even get to ride a gigantic windmill as high as the skies. Relaxing atop the branch of the World Tree and enjoying the gentle winds also sounds like fun. Or how about roaming the azure skies on the back of a dragon? When Etaqua grows just a little more he will become able to own the skies, faster than any dragon. Racing on the back of gnolls also sounds good. This is all possible only for myself, and the spirit that contracts with me.”
The spirits of grass had their eyes wide-open and mouths agape. I didn’t lie. I was prepared to make everything I spoke of come to fruition, although the exact time frame isn’t quite certain.
ㅡWi-, will you not eat us?
ㅡBu-, but the queen told us to take care with contracts.
ㅡS-, sounds like fun…
Their hearts were almost within my grasp, it seemed. I readied the clincher.
“Every month I will provide a ‘spirit stone’ if you make a contract now.”
A spirit stone! Stones that assisted the growth of spirits. A stone that has been exposed in to moonlight for a long period of time would undergo numerous changes before evolving into a spirit stone, but they were one of the hardest items to procure owing to their extreme scarcity. But to me, at least, that didn’t matter.
‘There were spirit stones in the Dark Store.’
Moreover, they were very cheap. The reason behind that was because spirit stones were in abundance due to the moonlight of the abyss radiating a special kind of mana. Spirit stones were a dime a dozen, so as long as I could find a sure method of transporting them, I could carry them over by the truckload.
ㅡE-, even a spirit stone…!
ㅡN-, not only fun things, you’ll give us spirit stones too?
ㅡI-, I wanna do it!
I got the vague feeling of having deceived innocent children, but I had succeeded. Besides, I could do without a catalyst required for a contract. Although I did use a lowest-grade ruby when I had Syria contract the spirits of light, but that was only so she could see the forms of the spirits and so they could communicate with each other. I was already capable of both so there was no need to use a catalyst.
“A well-thought-out choice. I am Hansung Oh.”
The names of spirits were special. It was the name itself that granted ‘existence’ to them. Without a name, spirits were the same as passing nature. Lime, Layul, Laon. A series of names starting with ‘La’, which implied that the three were born in the same place. To be exact, they had awakened to their names in a place called ‘La’. Places named with such a foreign word were uncommon, and I had never heard of it as well. Though surely they must have been born somewhere on Rakshasa Mountain…
However, I shook my head. What’s important now was that I had come to know the names of these three. We had exchanged names with one another, and were willing to make a contract. At the same time, a gentle breeze began to blow in the surroundings and began to ‘bond’ the four of us.
[Contract with mid-grade grass spirits ‘Lime’, ‘Layul’ and ‘Laon’ has been completed.]
[The name of a spirit possessed a very important meaning. It is recommended that only the contractor knows of it.]
[The skill ‘Spirit Caller(Lv4)’ has been created.]
Mid-grade! Indeed there was a reason why the grass spirits didn’t avoid me.
Spirits were also divided into ranks; lowest-rank, low-rank, mid-rank, high-rank, highest-rank. It’s said that the ratio of lowest-rank spirits that could become low-rank was 10,000:1. The same ratio applied for low-rank becoming mid-rank. Mid-rank and above spirits were rare, naturally, and the power they could exhibit was on a whole different league compared to spirits low-rank and below. A mid-rank spirit of wind could cleave 5cm thick iron. That’s why a Spirit Caller who was mid-rank and above was well regarded anywhere.
‘A whole occupation packaged into a skill…’
What surprised me even more was the ‘Spirit Caller’ skill being created. I had commonly seen Spirit Caller as occupations, but again, it was my first time seeing the name Spirit Caller as a skill. Most likely this was a result of the power which I had obtained; ‘Universal Man’. And holy mother of god. Who would have known that I — who didn’t possess a rat’s ass worth of affinity — would contract with spirits, and have them at my beck and call!
I examined the skill in more detail.
Currently contracted with grass spirits mid-rank(3).
Contract with spirits regardless of their type is possible.
Skill level will increase as the rank of the contracted spirits rises.
The contract limit with spirits increase according to skill level. (Max 5)
The manifesting duration of spirits depends on skill level, intelligence, magic power and the manifesting spirit’s rank.
It wasn’t completely without restrictions. The number of spirits that regular Spirit Callers could handle was way more numerous, but for me it was merely 5. However, being unrestricted by type was a huge advantage, because it meant that I could counter all elements! In other words, it was quality over quantity.
I laughed in satisfaction.
ㅡUhh? What the?
ㅡSo a contract was something like this!
ㅡWoah, how wonderful.
It must be their first time ever contracting, judging by their reactions, so I couldn’t help but become serious.
“By any chance, is this your first time contracting?”
ㅡThere’s nothing willing to contract with us here.
ㅡBecause the Yaksha and Rakshasa dislike spirits.
‘Smack’, I palmed my forehead. No way, they were mid-rank even when it was their first time contracting? Usually it was the norm to begin from lowest-grade and then grow through contracting. But I’ve heard before that extremely few among spirits possess an innate capacity for growth. The common saying of ‘born with a golden spoon in mouth’ also applies to spirits. So…it turns out that Lime, Layul and Laon were born with golden spoons.
‘Yaksha and Rakshasa.’
It was unexpected for their names to come from spirits. The true masters of Rakshasa Mountain were the Rakshasa. I haven’t an idea as to what Yaksha were, but I have met before an old man introducing himself as ‘Rakshasa’.
I nodded. At any rate, I was done preparing. I felt like I had gained an extra hand, having concluded the contract with the spirits. I turned to look at Etaqua.
Etaqua lead the way.
Dragons were a race with extreme pride, and Etaqua shouldn’t be any different. And now there was only one thing left to do. Blood for blood; to gruesomely tear apart that bastard! Inhaling deeply, I then spoke toward the spirits.
“Let’s go to where the preta is.
The small preta was lying down on the ground. Countless corpses of black wagons and black wagon kings were strewn about near it. A hulking frame roughly 3m large, skin that sagged like belly fat, and while it had no such thing as fur it had 66 eyes and mouths all over its body. pretas were monsters that could be considered the embodiment of ‘grotesque’ itself. A great preta was 10 times the size of that, however, against a small preta I had a chance of victory.
‘Lime, Layul, Laon.’
After having contracted with them, I could summon the spirits with but a thought. Finally, a small change came over the grass spirits.
[Grass spirits(3) has manifested. This can be maintained for a maximum of 43 minutes.]
ㅡLeave it to me.
ㅡThis much is easy.
ㅡI’ll teach the preta a good lesson.
Only by manifesting can a spirit have a greater influence on reality. Next, the three spirits approached the small preta. The small preta was oblivious to them, but when roots broke through the surface of the ground, entangling its body, it inevitably woke up.
In no time, the small preta was ensnared by the roots bursting out of the ground.
The entangling roots shook perilously as the small preta struggled, but they succeeded in binding its body. That was enough. As long as it could be restrained for a moment.
Space became dyed in darkness. Finally, countless ‘hands’ surfaced above the dark space. Hands of darkness that stole life itself! The hands of darkness began to brutally claw at the eyes covering the entirety of the small preta. About 20 of the 66 eyes were quickly tainted black and withered away.
The small preta’s struggling intensified. As the entangling roots were almost all ripped apart, the small hungry looked this way. The surprise attack was a success, but it didn’t kill it.
And then Etaqua puffed out his chest as he broke into a gallop, stomping across the ground.
“You lot aim for its eyes while Etaqua takes it on.”
The gnoll warriors had their own roles to play. Although a certain amount of damage was dealt with the surprise attack, Etaqua couldn’t face the small preta alone. But if those ‘eyes’ could be taken out, then the small preta’s omni-directional reaction can be crippled.
It was a fierce melee. Etaqua was recklessly hounding after the small preta. He rammed himself into it, and tenaciously targeted its throat. Not only that, though it was only for a moment, his wings became like steel. He used his wings as if they were hands, dicing up the preta’s flesh.
I could confidently say that I’d seen plenty of dragons before, but never before had I seen a close-combat dragon. It felt like there were many things I had newly seen and experienced today, but this scene topped it all.
Etaqua. A white dragon with low magic power, but was all set to raise his physical stats to the ultimate limits to make up for it. The way he reinforced his wings from time to time, to defend against the small preta’s attacks, was also amazingly timely. There was some awkwardness in his movements though, since he was unaccustomed to fighting. But at that level…
‘I can teach him.’
I could train him in battle sense, to be quick-witted and the like. He was certain to learn these things by himself, even without my teaching, but I was tempted by greed. Being of the ultimate dragon race with incredible physical ability, together with these two elements and the addition of technical skills, what enemy could dare stand before him? Of course, I was probably the only human to even think of teaching such things to a dragon.
The preta was screaming. In front was Etaqua, behind were the gnoll warriors, and a moment of carelessness lead to be entangled by the spirits. I mused that this was what it’s like to be powerless before numbers. But it was still lacking that final push. Casualties would be incurred if the small preta became further enraged.
I obtained blood from the surrounding corpses of the black wagons. A torrent of blood gathered within my hand, and soon created the shape of a sword.
Sword. Heartless Soul Stealer Blade.
A mouth of the small preta abruptly sprang out at me as I approached it. The mouths all over its body moved independently and threatened any living thing that came near.
I chopped, sliced, and cleaved. The movements of the small preta had already dulled by a measure. As I shred apart the oncoming mouths and the small preta’s body, its tenacious vitaly had reached its limit.
It raised an almost head numbing wail in its throes of death, and then…
The small preta collapsed at the end of a bloody fight that had lasted dozens of minutes.
[User was victorious in a battle against a powerful enemy.]
[1,350 points has been obtained.]
[Str and Con has each increased by 2.]
I mopped the sweat from my forehead together at the same time the messages popped up, signalled the end of the battle. It was certain that having spirits made battle far easier. The small preta was a Lv6 monster. I placed huge significance on the fact of having killed a monster which rivaled ogres with 30 minutes of non-stop beating.
‘It should have eaten the shadow kaim and Jewel of Space.’
There was no time to rest, however. I cut open the dead small preta’s body. Following which, when I cut out its stomach as well, I was able to find the Jewel of Space as expected. But there was nothing that which resembled the shadow kaim. Instead, something else caught my eye.
It was an object which I’ve never before seen the likes of. A rainbow colored jewel was conspicuously placed within the small preta’s stomach.