“You. Come help me.”
Krill hadn’t imagined that the embers* would fly over towards him. The sole fact that they had graduated from the same Magic Academy drew Dolorence to approach him. He had welcomed it at first, but she completely ignored his requests for help while still blatantly asking him for favors as fellow alumni.
He had no choice in the matter until she was discredited due to her failure. His only escape was if he reported Ahram’s death to Sanggil; but, to ensure her safety, Dolorence had dispatched several magicians in the area between the Observation Tower and where Sanggil resided. Acting too conspicuous 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 he would have to obey Dolorence for that time.
“You’ll come to the Azure Plaza with me.”
He really had no choice. No one wanted to find out what would happen if she was refused or ever driven into a corner. Krill followed her through the Slave Hunter-only passage to the Azure Plaza. Dolorence put on a hood and shoved a deeply 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 activated Lycan blood of course. It only 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, so you need to remember it. I’ll teach you the method to activate Lycan blood later when I have time.”
Was this for her or him? The previously cold and distant Dolorence was now acting quite friendly. 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 magicians possessed drove the desire in him to want and 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 responsibility by causing an artificial ‘Act of God’ like in the Tam Tam match**, by killing all of the preselected. The responsibility would then naturally fall onto Sanggil or someone of a higher rank, and it would only keep tumbling down until being categorized as failure to coordinate with 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 shadowed her.
Krill met a familiar face upon returning to the Observation Tower. It was the Slave Hunter with his missing arm. The Slave Hunter noticed Dolorence standing in front of 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 6 Werewolves in group D of Azure Plaza. Werewolves are expected to target preselected.]
The information brought by the Sky Squirrel caused an upset in Sungchul’s head. 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 more time, but with only 4 days to prepare, it would be impossible to strengthen the summoned in time.
It was possible to ‘coincidentally’ 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 several memories of the alchemist Eckheart were recorded memories 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 he didn’t say anything about that and made his request with a solemn voice.
“The next rank match turns out to have 6 werewolves. I need alchemic aid for dealing with the werewolves with my current forces.”
“Werewolves? Someone that can take care of daddy’s golems is calling me for 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 it. Best of all, there are plenty of ingredients that can be found around this area and are 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 3 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 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. Sungchul grabbed her from behind and closed her.
“Hey, what are you doing? I was going to finally enjoy some scenery!”
As Bertelgia struggled with all her might, he started to move. He moved at such an unimaginable speed that even Bertelgia, who had been shouting, lost her words in her shock.
“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.”
“Ok! 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 Observing it.”
Sungchul leaped up to the cliff and grabbed the gold ore.
‘Mm. This is not a rock.’
Rather than a rock, it was much closer to a moss or a mushroom. Besides the rock-like exterior, there were several golden spores and powder within. 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. They crawled out like hyenas once they smelled blood inside their caves.
“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 then gathered 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 empathy.
“Ok! 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 cauldron from his soul storage.
“Now, everything is ready. All we have to do now is to create it.”
Sungchul nodded, then stood in front of the cauldron. The fire, fueled by the alchemic charcoal and Golden Toadstool was burning into quite the blaze.
Notes: *Korean idiom – It means that the embers of a smoldering flame flicked over towards him, potentially causing another disaster.
** Korean word for upperclassmen/Senpai
*** Referring to the unique situation caused by Sungchul during the Tam Tam match where they actually killed it instead of dying.