‘Frozen Heart’ tapped on his axe as he asked
“So, the place where the blizzard is the strongest is where the Boss is at?”
He narrowed his eyes as he continued to ask
“Where… did you get this information?”
Franz paused for a moment.
‘Go to where the blizzard is the most intense. The Ice Witch’s Frozen Palace is there.’
He had found out through Master Hunter K. But Franz couldn’t just tell him straight out because Kei also said earlier this morning –
‘For now… let’s hide the fact that the Chosen Ones and I can meet like this. Once you find out about the Chosen One title and its bonuses, you’ll naturally come to want the title as well. But I don’t wish to grant the title to anybody except those I really trust.’
In other words, he had to keep the morning meeting a secret.
“… There is a title. I don’t have it equipped right now, but it gives hints about where the boss is.”
“Really? Like Guide or whatever?”
“Ah… yes like that.”
He narrowed his eyes even further and asked
“Hmm ok. Then what does the Chosen One title do?”
A question too close to the target.
“Well… it raises stats by…about 10%.”
Franz lied. For some reason, it wasn’t easy lying to him.
“Oh, really? All stat points?”
“Uh… yes, all.”
Thankfully, Illich’s curiosity stopped there.
“Really now? What an excellent title. I would love to have it myself. A great title to have as active… and 5% even when unequipped. An exceptionally fine title.”
Franz kept his mouth shut. The ‘Chosen One’ title did not grant bonus stats equal to 10% of the owner’s stats, but 20% of the much higher Master Hunter Kei’s stats. Unless he asked the Operator –
‘Operator show me my stats’
– there was no way for Illich to check Franz’s stats for himself.
“Then let’s get going. The direction where the blizzard grows thicker is… that way.”
Illich pointed towards a direction. To Franz’s eye, he could not discern a difference from one direction to the next, but being Russian must have given Illich a keen awareness of the severity of the storm. Franz looked upon the man’s silhouette from behind.
‘This man… I don’t know about being a good human being or whatnot… but in terms of skill… he definitely deserves becoming a Chosen One.’
His combat prowess was one thing, but his level-headed judgement, his quick thinking, his ability to lead, he was superb in all ways.
‘When we finish… I should inform Mr Kei.’
Franz thought as he made his way through the snow of the Frostplains.
Sungjin held Shadowrun’s reins.
The horse stopped on the spot. Shadowrun’s two glowing eyes were seen in a reflection from ahead; they had arrived in front of the Ice Palace.
The Frozen Palace was made of transparent ice, and so the image of Shadowrun and Sungjin on top were reflected back at them.
“Operator, elapsed time?”
[3 minutes 42 seconds.]
“Oh really? We got here pretty quick then.”
Sungjin looked behind him and said
“Thanks for your hard work. Go rest Shadowrun.”
He returned Shadowrun into the medallion and placed him back into the cube. Sungjin who was now alone then walked up to the palace. In the time before his regression, he and his party had wandered about aimlessly for a long time before they stumbled upon the palace.
It was because the area was covered in darkness, and the only thing that reflected in the light were the eyes of the monsters.
‘How were we supposed to know that the boss lay waiting where the winds were the strongest?’
Yes, the road to the Ice Palace was the blizzard itself; one had to walk towards the blizzard which first appeared to be nothing more than an obstacle.
Strangely, the blizzard subsided upon arriving at the Palace. It was as still as the eye of the storm. He had shared this information with the ‘Chosen Ones’: Serin, Nada, and Franz.
Just knowing this bit of information would greatly decrease their chance of death to almost zero.
‘It looks fascinating even now…’
Sungjin was touching the walls of the palace when a pair of eyes appeared behind him. The creature must have thought that it had caught Sungjin unaware.
‘Well, I don’t think I’d lose even if it had ambushed me from behind.’
The Yeti came charging towards Sungjin. Sungjin hopped to the side and swung Moon Specter. Two of Yeti’s fingers were sliced off upon contact. The enraged Yeti screamed –
– and came charging towards Sungjin even faster, but it was bisected by the follow-up strike of the Blood Vengeance, and it fell where it stood.
Sungjin swung his sword to remove the blood from his blades before he headed into the Frozen Palace. Once inside, he saw two large columns.
One of the strange pillars was round, and the other was edged. But the pillars began to transform until it assumed the form of a giant. Sungjin thought to himself
‘Oh yeah… this thing.’
The moving columns were none other than Ice Golems. The Ice Golems looked greatly deformed.
One sported proportionally tiny legs, but one of its arms was far too long, whereas the other had an unbelievably long head.
However their physical appearances were, they came attacking Sungjin with the longest limbs of their bodies. But they didn’t particularly pose any danger.
Just by holding his swords out in defense, whenever the swords made contact with the body of the Ice Golems –
– The parts that touched his swords fell off and became icy rubble. After blocking each of their attacks five or six times, the golems fell over on their own and stopped moving. Once the golems fell, a piercing laughter reverberated through the palace.
“Oh ho ho ho ho!”
The woman who was slowly walking down the stairs was the boss of this map, Ice Witch O’Elliah.
“You must not value your life, choosing to come here.”
She then continued to say some more useless words to Sungjin, but he didn’t pay any attention to her. He was trying to resolve a dilemma in his mind.
‘Hmm… now let’s see… where would be the most appropriate place to test the Ring of the Great Sage?’
He could only use the Ring of the Great Sage once a day. While he was thinking about it –
[Warning! Boss Monster ‘Ice Witch’ O’Elliah has appeared!]
“Then become part of my collection!”
– the boss fight had begun. Sungjin put away Moon Specter for now and took out Artemio. She immediately cast a spell.
Sungjin lifted up Artemio and shouted
Artemio began to emit a deeper and brighter purple than ever before.
“Orb of Ice”
The orb she had created then soon burst, filling the room with innumerable ice shrapnel. Sungjin waited for a suitable timing to strike one of the shrapnel with Artemio.
Then suddenly, the shrapnel which was spreading throughout the room came rushing back into a single spot and became absorbed into Artemio.
‘Hmm… so this is how it works.’
Once Sungjin had checked the newly upgraded Artemio’s effects, he charged towards O’Elliah. Seeing her spell disappear without an effect, she waved her left hand while being unsettled. Then suddenly a tall wall of ice formed between Sungjin and her.
‘What is this?’
Sungjin cut down the wall with a single stroke of his Blood Vengeance and resumed the pursuit of the witch. Then he saw a white gaseous cloud fly towards him.
Sungjin’s eyes opened wide on seeing the incoming strike, and he tumbled backwards out of the way. The cloud was none other than subzero liquid, a magical material that freezes anything upon contact. O’Elliah expelled the white fog as she slowly approached Sungjin.
‘This one is trouble…’
The material she was unleashing was dangerous. From the first moment of contact, it slowed the movement until after three or four seconds when it could transform anything it touches into an ice sculpture.*
Then she would use the sharp end of her staff which was in the form of an icicle to stab the helpless sculpture in the neck. It was a peerlessly despicable method of fighting.
Thankfully the effective range of the fog was not all that far, so Sungjin retreated a suitable distance away and then –
– fired his Blood Vengeance towards her. The Witch raised another wall of ice to block the sword. The Blood Vengeance became stuck in the ice and –
– it could not be recovered by the item effect.
‘Ugh… how annoying…’
After being blocked twice, Sungjin decided to just use the Ring of the Great Sage. He first pulled out the new sword Ariane. This sword was necessary to use the Ring. And then he said,
Sungjin’s Ring of the Great Sage began to glow. The Witch continued to approach him. Sungjin walked backwards as he recited an incantation.
“Incinerate everything in your path”
The illumination of the ring grew intense as if the ring was about to explode. And Ariane which Sungjin held began to give off a strange sound.
Soon, Sungjin finished the incantation.
Once the incantation was complete light filled Sungjin’s vision, blinding him as if he had turned on the light after spending a long time in the darkness.
‘What is this?’
Sungjin asked himself. A fireball of an unbelievable size spilled forth from him. He was too close and could only perceive it as light.
The fireball flew straight towards the Ice Witch. The Witch erected another Ice Wall out of surprise and
The fireball exploded with a deafening roar as it made contact with the wall, but the resulting firestorm was similar in scale to his fireball from before.
Sungjin was pushed back from the spell he himself used. Soon, the Operator gave an announcement
[Boss Monster Ice Witch O’Elliah Cleared.]
At the same time
A drop of water fell upon the base of Sungjin’s neck.
Sungjin looked up. And when he did
‘Drip drip drip’
Several more drops fell on his face. The Fireball from just now had spread all the way to the ceiling and burnt a hole through it. Sungjin looked around.
‘It couldn’t… be collapsing, right?’
But shortly after
The entire palace began to fall apart. Sungjin checked his surroundings. His Blood Vengeance that was stuck on the Ice Wall had fallen to the floor and lay in a puddle. Sungjin put away Ariane which had done its duty.
And retrieved his Blood Vengeance before getting out of the palace.
Once it began to collapse in earnest, it did not take long for the entire palace to break apart. Sungjin watched from a distance away.
He looked up and saw that the blizzard had dissipated completely. Once the Ice Witch is slain, the snow stops.
Sungjin let out a sigh of relief and moved on to the next item on his agenda; Search for a hidden piece. He knew where the Hidden boss of this map was located.
But the one whose location he wanted to ask about was that of that of the hidden piece. Sungjin was about to call upon the Operator to use the ‘Treasure Hunter’ active.
But he noticed something shining from within the rubble of the Ice Palace. It was the six-pointed star which had been hanging from the top of the Palace ceiling.
The interesting thing about this star was none other than the fact that while the rest of the palace had melted away and collapsed due to the intense heat, the star alone remained intact and unaffected, giving off a light.
Sungjin approached the thing. He stood upon a fallen pillar as he picked up the star.
It was unbearably cold. But the Operator soon said
[Congratulations. You have obtained the Hidden Piece, Star of Winter.]
*She is basically a mixture of Elsa from Disney’s Frozen and Mei from Overwatch
Note: we tested using dashes (-) to mark where sentences are broken up midway for SFX or dialogue interruptions at the suggestion of a reader. Please let us know if you prefer having this or not in the comments.