Sungjin walked around the Oasis alone. The water in the oasis was dirtier than he had imagined.
In movies or cartoons, characters are usually depicted running into the water to swim or drink from it, but Sungjin felt no such inclinations.
‘Maybe if I was dying of thirst…’
Sungjin held the magic waterskin above his head upside down as he walked in circles around the Oasis. The Oasis covered a small area; It took less than 1 minute to walk the circumference of it.
He couldn’t spot anything special about it; he had been hoping for clues about the ‘hidden pieces’, but there was nothing.
‘So… what now?’
Sungjin thought to himself as he gazed into the water. And then suddenly, something sparkly caught his eyes. Sungjin stared at it.
In the center of the Oasis, there stood a large palm tree. And on top of the tree sat a grody old lamp.
Sungjin thought, and he stepped into the Oasis. However
Something popped out from within the murky waters. Sungjin jumped back in surprise. It was a crocodile. An extremely large one at that.
‘Crocodile? In the desert?’
Sungjin checked the cube. It did not say anything. It wasn’t a hidden boss.
Sungjin shifted his gaze back to the Crocodile. It was preparing to launch a follow-up attack after its failed ambush, but nothing except the hidden boss could possibly give Sungjin trouble.
“You surprised me, dumb animal!”
Nevertheless, the crocodile died with just a few slashes. Alert, in case there were more crocodiles waiting, Sungjin cautiously made his way deeper into the Oasis.
The Oasis was shallow enough to walk into it. And there didn’t appear to be any other Crocodiles. Without further trouble, Sungjin was able to reach the Palm tree growing in the center of the Oasis.
Once he was within arm’s reach of the tree, Sungjin returned the ‘Moon Specter’ back into the sheath and climbed the tree.
‘Hmm… I should try to learn some sort of flight spell.’
Being able to fly would be extremely helpful getting around, and searching for the ‘Hidden Boss’ and the ‘Hidden pieces’.
‘I’ll have to remember to look around the Black market.’
Making a mental note for himself for later, Sungjin arrived at the top of the Palm tree. There, the lamp lay gently enshrined in the center of the palm leaves.
Worn out Lamp
Rub the lamp. Effects are unknown.
A Lamp, worn out due to age and weathering.
Though, it would have been a work of art at the time of its creation.
The part about ‘Effects are unknown’ caught his attention. Sungjin placed the lamp into his pocket and slid down the Palm tree. He walked out of the oasis and inspected the item.
The lamp was caked with dirt and extremely ancient looking. But, in between the scum built up over the years, the sun’s reflection he saw from underneath the grime gave proof of its golden material.
‘I wonder what it’ll do…’
Sungjin first checked his surroundings, and then began to scrub away at the lamp. Soon, smoke emitting a dim blue light began to billow out of the lamp.
Sungjin recalled the folklore; Legend of Genie in the lamp granting wishes.
‘Wish… Hmm… What should I wish for?”
Filled with anticipation, Sungjin watched the smoke build up. But… the smoke continued to billow out for a long while.
‘Come on… Come on…’
The lamp continued to smoke for what felt like an eternity.
‘What… What’s that?’
Sungjin looked up at the sky and jumped back in surprise. High above, a large gathering of clouds formed the figure of a giant. Only his upper body was done forming, and already it was as tall as a five storey building. He was gargantuan.
Sungjin stared up at the giant.
‘Yeah… Bigger means he can grant better wishes, right?’
After killing all of his teammates, Igor called out to the Operator.
“Operator, what is my contribution now?”
[Your contribution is 26.4%]
It was as he had planned. Munir had 11.4% before he died. Igor had received exactly half of Munir’s contribution upon his death.
The other half had most likely gone to the Chinese man. Igor rubbed his sword and shield together.
And for a moment he looked up at the sky. The sun continued to cook his body.
‘I even took desert simulation training… but the reality is much worse. Wait… is this even real?’
He lay against the side of the lizard and closed his eyes. But…
‘Igor Janović! You must train harder for the sake of our Motherland!’
A voice inside his head woke him up. Looking up at the sky, he spoke to himself.
“Why does the Motherland matter in this situation? Does the Motherland even exist anymore?”
However, his superior officer was not here to listen to his complaint. He thought to himself.
‘Would he be fighting too? Somewhere in this world?’
He would have most likely survived. In the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) where Igor received his military training, every man and woman were professionally trained for survival.
And the instructor who mentored Igor was a Specialist among specialists in survival skills and tactics. Unless, of course, he was very unlucky. No, even if he were unlucky with his teammates, he would have still survived somehow.
He would have killed all his teammates, like Igor, to take all the reward for himself. Igor asked the Operator for the time.
“How much time do I have left?”
[1 hour and 5 minutes left in the raid.]
‘I hour and 5 minutes…’
With the exception of the mysterious 5% he could never locate, there was still 2.3% left in the raid completion. Igor stood up again.
Perfection, or the closest to it; his training demanded it of him. Igor moved back into the desert to fulfill his due diligence.
Occasionally Giant Lizards or Giant Scorpions came attacking Igor, but he could defeat them 1v1 without much difficulty.
Of course, he did not find it easy when two or three appeared at the same time. But, animals were still animals; these monsters were simply larger and stronger than the earthen kind. Their intelligence level was still low.
Simple tricks he learned in the Spetsnaz scattered the enemy, and he could resume to facing them one by one with brutal efficiency.
After hunting for a long while, he could not see any more enemies. All he could see intermittently were corpses lying in pieces, scattered about.
Upon close inspection, all of the corpses showed signs of cuts made by a Japanese katana. The culprit was most certainly the mysterious Chinese man.
He asked the Operator.
“Raid Completion level?”
Igor thought for a moment.
‘Again… 5% is missing.’
He did not understand why he could never fill the completion level to 100%. Even when he made sure that there was nothing left alive, there was always 5% remaining. But that did not stop Igor.
He may not understand the requirements to fill the last 5%, but he will try until the very end. That was his training and his philosophy.
After combing the desert for a good long time, finally, he found a lizard aimlessly roaming around, lost and alone. After killing the lizard,
He finally reached 95% completion. He knew there were no more monsters left to find. After several chapters, he confirmed this as the truth.
‘…Just where is the last 5%…’
And while he was pondering, somewhere in the distance,
He heard something strange. It was familiar, but something he never expected to hear in the desert.
Igor stared off into the distance. Very far away, he could see that a large cloud had formed. Under it, he could also see a spec of green.
He was planning on resting after hunting the last Lizard, but he immediately made his way towards the Oasis. He felt convinced that whatever was happening over there held answers about the mysterious 5% which had eluded him thus far.
Igor slapped his shins and spoke a single command.
The armor on his shins folded outward, clanging away until it covered his feet completely. And with enhanced speed, he ran towards the Oasis.
The Giant who emerged from the lamp looked down upon Sungjin and asked,
“Who has awoken me?”
Filled with anticipation, Sungjin answered.
“Me! I have!”
The Giant stared for a moment and began his introduction.
“I am the most powerful mage to have ever lived in Kutan, Soldamyr*.”
Sungjin nodded. He predicted the follow-up phrase.
‘Make a wish. I shall grant you anything that your heart desires.’
But he was completely wrong. What he heard was
“I shall test you to see if you have the right to become my master.”
The cube, which had stayed quiet when the Sphinx and the Crocodile appeared, suddenly let out an announcement.
[Warning! Hidden boss]
[The Great Genie ‘Soldamyr’ has appeared!]
Sungjin threw away the lamp in surprise and pulled out his sword. But the Genie ‘Soldamyr’ had already began casting his first spell.
“Murderous thunder, Jump from foe to foe!”
Bright ball of light gathered in his hands and soon poured out towards Sungjin.
Sungjin tumbled away, but the lightning landed on the Oasis, and also struck Sungjin.
Sungjin couldn’t help but cry out. Even though he dodged the main body of the spell, it was still a powerful strike.
Sungjin thought for a moment. Now that he looked at himself, he saw that he was still dripping wet.
Getting electrocuted despite dodging the spell was probably due to that. Sungjin quickly moved away from the Oasis. Soldamyr changed his spell.
“Incinerate everything in your Path! Fireball!”
The Genie’s fireball was at least twice as thick in diameter. Sungjin retreated while wrapping himself in ‘Sael’s Breath’ and shouted.
The fireball exploded and lit the surroundings on fire. It was a powerful boss. Incomparable to the bosses he had fought until now.
Sungjin quickly took out the ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ from his vest. He had been saving it all this time to try it out on the Hidden boss anyway. It was a great time to test it.
But Soldamyr continued to shout incantations.
“Lance which pierces all! Lightning Bolt!”
Sungjin quickly tumbled away and dodged the spell.
The sand where it landed was scorched black.
‘I need an opportunity to read the book…’
The only weakness with the ‘books’ was that like magic ‘casting’, it required ‘reading’ time. Sungjin thought of using Cain, but he had already summoned and unsummoned Cain.
‘What should I do…?’
Sungjin considered his options. The Crocodile corpse came into view.
Sungjin tumbled away.
He accidentally held the ‘Moon Specter’ too close to the strike zone, and his right arm went numb. Sungjin gritted his teeth against the pain, pointing towards the Crocodile with his left hand, he shouted an incantation.
“Awaken and become my slave! Rise of the Dead!”
The Crocodile came back alive and began to move. At the same time, Sungjin took out and rang ‘Manyata – Master’s bell’.*
Along with the sound, the Crocodile began to move rapidly. Sungjin’s attempt was successful. Under the effect of Manyata, the Crocodile zombie moved with incredible dexterity.
“Discard your fangs and become a tame sheep! Polymorph!”
Even though it was instantly countered before it could launch even a single attack, it gave him the time he needed. Sungjin opened the book.
The book was designed to automatically open to the most relevant page. Once the book was open, Sungjin read out loud the content of the book. Quickly, and accurately.
“Cao Cao’s great army pursued deep into the night and reached the fields of Changban. But he stared down at the army while blocking the bridge. Shaking his lance and glaring most threateningly, he shouted.”
The name Soldamyr is a parody on one of ‘Heroes of Might and Magic’ hero Solmyr, the djinn Wizard.
Master’s bell is kind of a pun. The Word for bell 종 could also mean slave/servant.
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