“Now, this is the place. Keep your promise.”
Putting everything aside, Haesung acted quickly. She brought her ‘bargaining chip’ within an hour since they had spoken, but that ‘chip’ wasn’t really what Sungchul had wanted. It was a hidden quest, but he felt disappointed as he unwrapped his ‘present’. Sunghae had brought a class change quest, but that wasn’t very outstanding. It was the Alchemist class.
There was a reason the Alchemist class was avoided like the plague. Magicians only needed to learn ‘fireball’ from the ‘Pyrokinetics’ branch of Magic School, then spend some of their mana to cast it. Alchemists also learned a similar ‘Magic Grenade’ from the Alchemic branch of Magic School, but it didn’t end there. They then had to spend time and effort to synthesize the potion, and even that had a chance of failure. Most people preferred the simpler power-to-investment ratio of other mage classes, while simply ignoring 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 went through hell and back, he knew that Alchemist was a trash class.
“I would like to refuse your offer.”
Sungchul didn’t speak to Sunghae, but rather to the magician backing her.
“For what reason?”
Sunghae asked impatiently.
“I don’t like it. Something like Alchemy… I’m confident in my ability to break stuff, 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 busy bleeding the magician dry. 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 upper limit for stat gain from hidden quests, even missions, was below 10. This wasn’t even a mission, and it raised a stat by 15? It was far outside of his expectation.
“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’s normally 3~4 per objective with up to 5 for some. When you’re completed with all the trials, it is possible to get up to 15.
“Can I believe that?”
Sungchul’s eyes lit up brightly. Sunghae’s eyes trembled in response, but it didn’t seem 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 impassively stared into the well at the dry floor on the bottom.
There was a ladder leading to the floor of the well, but Sungchul ignored it and simply leapt in. All the dust gathered on the floor made it difficult to see, but Sungchul 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 brow rose. 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 wasn’t done by magic, but rather by some primitive device. 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 an error by 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 with Knowledge Reset, 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, Eckheart, the Wonder of the Generation
* 1 Free Intuition JUST BY TRYING (15 Max!!!)
* Ancient Artifacts to be discovered
* A Familiar Reward with special objectives
* Opportunity for a mission
/// Try it now, all of this is FREE!]
“… what… is this?”
He had completed several thousands of quests and missions, 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 see this message when they told me about the 15 intuition?’
The magician guiding Sunghae seemed to have arrived at this point. There was no way to say whether that person was an alchemist or not.
This was quite troubling. Sungchul was extremely weak against advertisements. Not that he fell for its seduction, but he rather enjoyed challenging the idea that it was automatically a lie. It couldn’t be helped if it turned to out to be a bust, but there was still a great deal of satisfaction whenever he won. It was one of the few joys he had in his life.
Sungchul tightened his grip and turned around once more. Rather than the 1 free intuition upon challenge, the familiar and mission opportunity tugged at his heartstrings. Whether this hidden quest continued into a mission depended completely on the grade of the quest-host, who had created this hidden quest, however…
Sungchul grabbed the door that had given up part way and tore it open. A series of candles lit themselves as he walked deeper into the well. He now found himself in a completely different area than before.
There were two bottles upon 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 positioned himself per the instructions. The blue vial was labeled Elixir of Frost, and the red vial was named Elixir of Fire. Once he 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 wasn’t lying about the rewards. Sungchul quickly confirmed the intuition he’d gained 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 doll in the center. It appeared it be a golem. Sungchul couldn’t help but doubt himself. He had never seen a golem so small. Golems were typically large; miniaturization of the internal components were difficult. Although their combat capabilities would be lacking, wooden marionettes were better suited to be of 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 first 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.
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 Mana Golem.
The overwhelming cold of the elixir created white steam over the molten golem. The steam flooded out, covering the room before slowly beginning to subside. The Magic Golem again started to move.
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 once more and subsided once again.
The Magic Golem stopped its operation, and its eyes lost its 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!]
Reward: +1 Intuition
Easy. It was laughably easy. Even if it wasn’t a human, a dolphin or a chimpanzee might have been able to complete this quest as well. 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 then spent their main class slot on it.
‘What an interesting fellow.’
Sungchul continued past the door that was behind the Mana 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 Alchemist’s tome in his soul storage and pulled out Fal Garaz.
Fal Garaz’s impact shattered the Magic Golem, 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 🙂