“Now, this is the place. Keep your promise.”
All things considered, Sunghae was very quick to act. Within an hour since they had spoken she had already come up with something new to offer to trade and reattempted the negotiation. And what she offered was what Sungchul sought; a Hidden Quest. But once he learned more about it, he found it not all that attractive. Sunghae had brought a Class Change Quest, but the problem was that the class itself was not all that great. No, in fact it was considered the worst class.
The Alchemist Class.
A class that was universally looked down upon.
There was a good reason why the Alchemist class was avoided like the plague. Mages only needed to raise their stats high enough to meet the prerequisite to learn ‘Fireball’ from the ‘Pyromancy’ School of Magic, then spend some of their Mana to cast it. Alchemists also had access to something similar to ‘Fireball’ called ‘Magic Grenade’ from the Alchemy School of Magic.
Like the Mages, an Alchemist had to raise their stats to meet the prerequisites and learn the skill for crafting the item. But it didn’t end there. They then had to spend time gathering materials, prepare ingredients with specialized tools, and then mix the components to synthesize the item, and even then there was a chance to failure. Most people preferred the simpler power-to-investment ratio of Mage Classes and simply ignored the Alchemist Class. People even mocked Alchemists as masochists.
“By following deep into this dried-out well, I was told that you could get the ‘Hidden Class’: Alchemist.”
She emphasized the word ‘Hidden Class’, but Sungchul knew better. As someone that had been through hell and back, he knew that Alchemist was a trash class.
“I refuse your offer.”
Sungchul didn’t speak to Sunghae, but rather to the Mage backing her.
“For what reason?”
Sunghae asked impatiently.
“I don’t like it. Something like Alchemy…I’m confident in my ability to break things, but I hate putting things together. Bring me some other Hidden Quest, especially something that raises Intuition, or I won’t hand over the staff.”
“…Wait. Just wait a bit.”
Sunghae took a step back and turned around. She didn’t speak for a while, so she must have been exchanging a blood curling conversation with the Mage in the Observation Tower. After a long while, Sunghae finally turned around, an awkward smile forming on her lips.
“You said you wanted a Quest that raises Intuition, right?”
Sungchul nodded in response.
“That’s great, then. The Hidden Quest that I proposed could raise your Intuition by 15 when completed.”
It was an outrageous amount. The average stat gained from Hidden Quests, even from an Objective, was below 10. This wasn’t even an Objective, and yet it raised a stat by 15? It was far outside of his expectations.
“That is hard to believe.”
“It’s the truth! Well…it is only when all the requirements are completely met, but…”
“Yes. My Guide says it normally grants only around 3~4, or 5 in rare cases. But if you fulfill all conditions and trials, it is possible to get up to 15.”
“Is that true?”
Sungchul’s eyes lit up brightly. Sunghae’s eyes trembled in response, though it didn’t seem like it was from the fear of getting caught, but rather from fear of him.
“Yes, you can trust me.”
She bit her lips while nodding.
Sungchul handed her the Magic staff, Moonlight.
“If you’re lying, there will be consequences.”
“D-do whatever you want!”
Sunghae’s voice shook as she escaped from the scene as quickly as she could.
Now, left on his own, Sungchul expressionlessly stared at the bottom of the dry well.
There was a ladder leading to the floor of the well, but Sungchul ignored it and simply leaped in. All the dust gathered on the floor made it difficult to see, but he was more interested in observing the faint Magical energy that was surrounding the area.
[Wonder of the Generation. Memorial of the Eighth Hero, Eckheart]
‘Eighth Hero…? Eckheart?’
One of Sungchul’s brows shot up. He had heard of the Seven Heroes, but this was his first time hearing of an eighth one. He had never heard of the name Eckheart.
[You have observed the Wonder of the Generation.]
[The Amazing Test of the True Hero, Eckheart.]
Sungchul rarely expressed his emotions; however, the series of messages mentioning this person left him baffled.
“…Who are you?”
Suddenly, the entire well shook slightly. It felt like someone was striking a distant wall. The well’s wall opened after a while. This hadn’t been done by Magic, but rather by some primitive device. To make matters worse, the door struggled to open, as though the machinery had rusted.
Looking at this scene, Sungchul couldn’t help but feel regret. This felt extremely cheap compared to Vestiare’s Dream.
‘It might be better not to go through with this.’
The Alchemist class was a problem in of itself. He couldn’t waste a precious subclass slot on a trash class which would only hamper his future growth. He could erase a useless class later on at the Temple of Knowledge, but it was still a troublesome thing to have to do.
Sungchul sighed in regret and turned around. However, a sudden message stopped him in his tracks.
[Would you pass by the Wonder of a Lifetime like this?]
Sungchul didn’t miss a beat as he continued to walk out, after which another message appeared before him.
An amazing test of the Eighth Hero (Seven Heroes is incorrect), Eckheart, the Wonder of the Generation
* 1 Free Intuition JUST BY TRYING (15 Max!!!)
* Investigate Ancient Artifacts
* Obtain A Familiar after fulfilling special conditions
* Opportunity to fulfill an Objective
/// Try it now, all of this is FREE!
He had completed several thousand Quests and Objectives, but this was the first test of its kind. He could feel the Quest maker’s desperation. How few challengers must there have been for it to have reached this point?
‘Did they refer to this message when they told me about the 15 Intuition?’
The Mage guiding Sunghae seemed to have arrived here at this point. There was no way to tell whether that person chose to become an Alchemist or not.
This was quite troubling. Sungchul was extremely weak to exaggerated advertisements. Not that he fell for its seduction, but he allowed himself to be tricked on purpose. It couldn’t be helped if it turned to out to be a bust, but there was still a great deal of satisfaction to be had when it turned out that the advertisement was telling the truth and gave great rewards. For someone like Sungchul who led a very difficult life, it was one of the few hobbies he had.
Sungchul tightened his grip and turned around once more. Rather than the 1 free Intuition per attempt, the familiar and the opportunity to fulfill an Objective tugged at his heartstrings. Whether this Hidden Quest contained an Objective or was filled with ordinary common Quests depended completely on the grade of the Quest-Host, who had created this Hidden Quest.
Sungchul used both of his hands to grab the wall that was stuck part way open and tore it apart. A series of candles lit themselves as he walked deeper into the well. He walked for about a minute until he reached a dead end with a block protruding from the wall.
There were two glass bottles upon an altar made of a pile of rocks: one was a red vial and the other a blue vial.
[First test of the Eighth Hero, Eckheart.]
[Grab the vials]
He followed the instructions. The blue vial was labeled Elixir of Frost, and the red vial was named Elixir of Fire. Once he had grabbed both of the vials in his hand, a completion message appeared.
[You have grasped the Wonder of the Generation, Eckheart’s inheritance.]
[You have experienced the oppressive knowledge within Eckheart’s inheritance]
Reward: Intuition +1
‘I haven’t felt anything like that.’
It was an annoyingly talkative Quest, but at least it hadn’t been lying about the rewards. Sungchul quickly confirmed the Intuition had changed from 1 to 2 with his stat window. Another door suddenly shook awake, but as if there was a problem with its mechanism, it struggled to open once again. Sungchul forced his way through once more.
Beyond the door was a spherical area with a human-sized stone doll in the center. It appeared to be a golem. Sungchul couldn’t help but doubt himself. He had never seen a stone golem so small. Golems were typically large; miniaturization of the internal components was difficult. Although their combat capabilities would be lacking, wooden marionettes were better suited for this size than stone golems.
‘Is that an actual golem?’
He had only entered this dungeon half-heartedly, but he now felt a bit more excited. A series of messages popped up once more.
[The Magic Golem created using the Eighth Hero’s superior technology will be difficult for your current self to deal with.]
[However, it is the duty of Alchemists to make the impossible a reality!]
[Use the two colored vials to block the Magic Golem’s attack! This is the Eighth Hero, the Wonder of the Generation, Eckheart’s End of the Tutorial Test!]
The Magic Golem’s eyes flashed as it began to move. Its movements were slow and exaggerated, but it was definitely a golem.
The Magic Golem turned itself in Sungchul’s direction, but then stopped. Sungchul waited to see what it was doing when it started glowing bright red, heating up to an incredible temperature.
Sungchul grabbed one of the two bottles which read: Elixir of Frost.
‘I guess he wants me to use this one.’
A chill, cold enough to freeze the air, poured out as he opened the bottle. Sungchul lobbed the Elixir of Frost at the Magic Golem.
The overwhelming cold of the Elixir created white steam over the overheating golem. The steam flooded out, covering the room before slowly subsiding. The Magic Golem reverted to its original color. It then began to change once more.
This time, it began to emit a chilly blue aura. Sungchul tossed the final Elixir in the same way, thereby neutralizing the chill. An overwhelming amount of steam flooded the room then dissipated.
The Magic Golem stopped its operation, and its eyes lost their luster. A message appeared in the silence.
[You have perfectly neutralized the Magic Golem!]
[You have felt the Alchemist’s Potential awaken deep inside of you!]
Tome of the Alchemist
Easy. It was laughably easy. Even a dolphin or a chimpanzee might have been able to complete this Quest with ease. It was almost as if they were giving away the Alchemist Class for free.
‘I always wondered why some people chose Alchemist as their main class, but I guess this is the answer.’
Ultimately, they were being scammed. They must have thought a ‘Hidden Class’ would separate them from everyone else and so they must have used their main class slot on it.
‘What an interesting fellow.’
Sungchul continued past the door that was behind the Magic Golem while having these thoughts. It led down a tunnel which was illuminated by an eerie red light and had bone-chilling ambient noises.
[The true test starts from this point onwards.]
[For those that wish to know the true path, continue forth with resolution.]
Sungchul broke into a faint smile. He stored the Tome of the Alchemist in his soul storage and pulled out Fal Garaz.
Fal Garaz’s impact shattered the Magic Golem, and he then picked up one of the Golem’s pieces. Curiosity sparked inside Sungchul; the heart-shaped mechanism in his grip contained countless gears click-clacking together as they emitted some form of pure light.
‘As to be expected, this isn’t some low-grade creation like a marionette. This is a perfect internal mechanism from a golem. Peculiar to a degree I have never seen before.’
He dropped the mechanism and stood up.
Self-proclaimed Eighth Hero, Eckheart. Sungchul couldn’t guess who this guy was, but if Eckheart was capable of making a golem of this level? It had been a long time since he’d last smelled the rich scent of a jackpot. Like a thirsty man drawn to water, he headed down the corridor.
Note: Happy new year dear readers 🙂