“You. Come help me.”
Krill hadn’t imagined that the embers would reach him*. The fact that both of them had graduated from the same Magic Academy and committed the same crime drew Dolorence to approach him. He had welcomed it at first, but she had completely ignored his requests for help while still blatantly asking him for favors when she was in a difficult situation herself.
However, until she made a mistake and failed, Krill had no other choice. His only escape was if he reported Ahram’s death to Sanggil. But Dolorence had dispatched several Mages in the area between the Observation Tower and where Sanggil resided to ensure her safety; acting too conspicuously would only result in his death. But…it wasn’t like there were no other ways at all.
Once a week, Sanggil liked to check in on the Observation Tower to receive his report before each Rank Match. He then often ’requested’ bribes from Krill as he received his report, but this now proved to be the best opportunity for Krill. The only problem was that the next Rank Match was in four days. And until then, he could not disobey Dolorence.
“You’ll come to the Azure Plaza with me.”
He really had no choice. No one knew what would happen if you annoyed her while she was cornered. Krill followed her through the Slave Hunter-only passage to the Azure Plaza. Dolorence put on a hood and shoved a dark crimson blood vial into his hand.
“Keep this. It’s precious so you shouldn’t spill any of it.”
“W-what is this? Sunbae.”
“What do you think it is? It’s awakened Lycan blood of course. It contains the ability to change an average person into a Werewolf when it’s activated.”
“Is that so…?”
“They don’t teach you this stuff at school. Remember it well. I’ll teach you the method to extract Lycan blood later when I have time.”
Was this because she needed him? The previously cold and distant Dolorence felt like a completely different person as she replied happily. Krill felt nauseous enough to vomit on sight, but another thought also came to his mind as well. The thirst for knowledge, which was something that all Mages possessed, drove the desire in him to obtain the information possessed by a mid-rank Mage. But then he recalled all the grievances buried in his heart and managed to calm himself.
Dolorence discreetly approached a nameless Summoned within the Azure Plaza. She passed on the blood vial then put him under hypnosis.
“On the day of the Rank Match, you and your friends will kill everyone in Blanche Plaza. I’ll show you the people you have to target first.”
Krill caught on to her scheme while peeking at her from the side.
‘She wants to avoid personal responsibility by causing an artificial ’Act of God’, a situation where all the Preselected were wiped out. The responsibility would then naturally fall onto Sanggil or someone of a higher rank, and it would be considered a failure to coordinate within the Summoning Palace.’
He had to admit; she was very brazen in her actions and abilities. He began to think that there might be much to learn from this woman if he were to shadow her.
Krill met a familiar face upon returning to the Observation Tower. It was the Slave Hunter with a missing arm. The Slave Hunter had seen Dolorence with Krill and walked up to him.
“Are you with that woman?”
Krill wanted to ignore him, but it was difficult as he had helped him in a time of need.
“It seems that way.”
“There’s nothin’ more dangerous than a woman who puts average folks like us through ordeals.”
He let out a lonely laugh as he disappeared into the darkness. And Krill’s mood plummeted even further.
[Creation of six Werewolves in group D of Azure Plaza. Werewolves are expected to target the Preselected.]
The information brought by the Sky Squirrel threw Sungchul’s thoughts into chaos. A single Werewolf had stirred up the Blanche Plaza so much that it was obvious what would happen if there were six of them. It would be a one-sided slaughter.
He had fought in countless battles, but he didn’t have any clever plans for solving this situation. It would have been different if he had a month, but with only four days to prepare, it would be impossible to strengthen the Summoned in time.
It was possible to ’incidentally’ kill one Werewolf, but all his efforts would be wasted if he had to kill all six. He needed a conclusive solution to this problem. Thinking on this, his mind squeezed out a single person.
‘There was that.’
Sungchul brought out a large book that had been shut away in his Soul Storage. It was the talking book, Bertelgia. She wasn’t very reliable, but countless inspirations of the Alchemist Eckheart were recorded within her. There might be something inside of her that would be able to get him out of this situation.
“Why did you call me?”
She spoke with a yawn. It bothered him that a book would even bother yawning, but Sungchul didn’t voice out his thoughts and made his request with a solemn voice instead.
“The next Rank Match turns out to have six Werewolves. I need Alchemic aid for dealing with the Werewolves with my current forces.”
“Werewolves? Someone that can beat daddy’s golems is asking me for help with something weak like Werewolves?”
Bertelgia acted indignantly and closed herself before falling to the floor.
“For the sake of a greater objective, I have to hide my strength. I need something that an average Summoned can use to kill the Werewolves.”
“Mmm. So, you had circumstances like that, did you?”
“Can you do it?”
“Of course. I’m Bertelgia. I am the culmination of Alchemy. It might not be bad to show off a bit of my ability given this opportunity.”
Bertelgia, with her pages fluttering, flew up into the air then circled around Sungchul. She let out a soft shout before revealing one of her pages to him.
“What is this?”
“As the name says, it’s an inextinguishable fire. It’ll only grow stronger with water, and it’ll be effective against Werewolves who are weak against fire. Best of all, there are plenty of ingredients that can be found around this area, and it’s also easy to make.
Even though he thought the book talked a bit too much, she had still very efficiently taken care of his requests.
He scanned at the listed ingredients for Inextinguishable Fire: Golden Toadstool, Alchemic Charcoal, and three large Blood Pudding oozes. Other than the Alchemic Charcoal which had to be synthesized, the other ingredients could all be acquired through foraging or hunting. It also required an oven, and a mortar and pestle, but that wasn’t an issue.
“You still have daddy’s Portable Alchemic Cauldron, right? You didn’t throw it away, right?”
“I didn’t toss it.”
“Good. Let’s look for Golden Toadstools first. You can find them near the cliff edge.”
Bertelgia fluttered excitedly as she flew ahead, but Sungchul grabbed her from behind and closed her.
“Hey, what are you doing? I was finally going to enjoy some scenery!”
As Bertelgia struggled with all her might, he began to run. He moved at such an unimaginable speed that even Bertelgia, who had been shouting, became speechless.
“W-who are you, really? What did you eat to get so fast?”
While she watched dumbstruck, he had already arrived at the bottom of a cliff.
“Where is the Golden Toadstool?”
“Mm…such a strange person. I got stuck with a really weird person. What am I supposed to…”
“I asked where the Golden Toadstool was.”
“Such a boring and rude person. I really don’t have any luck at all.”
“Okay! I’ll find it for you! It’s over here.”
Bertelgia flew up to the edge and hovered over a small cluster of rocks sticking out from the cliff.
“This. This is a Golden Toadstool.”
“Mmm? That is a Golden Toadstool? It looks like a bunch of stones to me.”
“Try harvesting it.”
Sungchul leaped up to the cliff and grabbed the Golden Toadstool.
‘Mm. This is not a rock.’
Rather than a rock, it was much closer to a moss or a mushroom. Beneath the rock-like exterior, there were lots of golden spores and powder. It would be easy to mistake this for actual gold at first glance. He felt amazed as he put his nose close to smell it. An information window then appeared in front of Sungchul.
Note: It is named as an ore, but in reality, it is a mushroom. It catches fire easily and creates a strong blaze, so it is often used by dwarves as fuel. It forms a fungal colony, and its quality grows based on the size of the colony.
Amazement appeared in Sungchul’s eyes. It was fascinating. How long had it been since he felt the joy of learning something new?
“Next is Blood Pudding. Their ooze doesn’t light on fire easily, but once it does, it won’t extinguish easily either! This is the alpha and omega of the inextinguishable flame!”
Bertelgia hurried him to the next step. He put away the Golden Toadstool into his pocket and carried her to the next location. It wasn’t difficult to find Blood Puddings. Once blood was let out from an animal’s corpse in an abandoned cave, they came like hyenas.
“Be careful. Blood Puddings are slime-type creatures, so they are highly resistant to physical damage. You might be strong, but it’ll get dangerous if they surround…”
She couldn’t quite finish her sentence because a Blood Pudding popped and splattered everywhere.
“W-what…you…who are you!”
Bertelgia froze in mid-air. Sungchul ignored her and pulled out a sack, gathering the Blood Pudding ooze inside.
“How do I make Alchemic Charcoal?”
“W-who are you…really…”
She must have been really shaken this time, and her shock wasn’t so surprising either. It was known to be physically impossible to kill a slime-type creature with just a fist.
‘What kind of person is this? What is his identity?!’
She finally realized that her master was truly not a normal person, and also without any form of patience.
“Okay! I’ll tell you!”
The ingredients were easily found in the area. All it took was a mixture of leaves and timber that could be synthesized into Alchemic Charcoal. It took quite some time, but when the Alchemic Charcoal was completed, he pulled out Eckheart’s Portable Alchemic Cauldron from his Soul Storage.
The cauldron was small enough to fit in the palm of his hands, but when the seal was released, with a majestic bronze flash, a decent looking Alchemic cauldron appeared.
“Now, everything is ready. All we have to do now is to create it.”
Sungchul nodded, and then stood in front of the cauldron. The fire, fueled by the Alchemic Charcoal and Golden Toadstool, was burning into quite a blaze.
Notes: *Korean idiom – It means that the embers of a smoldering flame flicked over towards him, potentially causing another disaster.