Episode 161. An Uninvited Guest (1)

“Knock! Knock! Knock!”

Min-Young repeatedly activated her skill, and each time, the shimmering air expanded.

“Hup.”

Once this disturbance grew beyond a certain point, Pan stopped watching and brought the flute to his mouth.

His performance was soundless. Seon-Hyeok could only assume that Pan was busy at work because of the faun’s puffed-up cheeks and busily moving fingers.

“Knock!”

She forcefully called out her ability. It carried a different weight from her earlier casts, and the wildly shimmering air froze.

Rip.

The hardened air slowly tilted before crashing onto the ground. In its place was a purple light.

“Focus.”

Pan momentarily took his mouth off of the flute to issue a warning before continuing on. The flippant attitude he showed up to this point was nowhere to be seen.

Pan sweat profusely as he continuously played the flute, and Min-Young nervously peered into the gateway as she waited for the illusory beast to appear.

“Ah…”

Seon-Hyeok’s attention was suddenly drawn away from the summoning ritual when he heard a sigh. He was shocked to see Gibson looking into the air with unfocused eyes.

As if in a trance, Gibson attempted to walk towards the gateway to the illusion world. Panicking, Seon-Hyeok grabbed at the staggering Gibson’s shoulder.

“Get a hold of yourself!”

Gibson stared blankly when he heard Seon-Hyeok’s forceful voice.

“Ah, why was I…”

Despite coming to his senses, the instructor did not seem to be in a normal state as he kept staring at the gateway.

“Ugh. It seems that the door has the power to lure in people. If possible, don’t look in that direction.”

For Seon-Hyeok, the door was simply a curiosity. He belatedly realized that it had a profound and unknown influence on others and stepped in front of Gibson.

“Yes, I understand.”

Feeling something was strange, Gibson calmly hid behind the foreigner and watched the situation unfold.

Seon-Hyeok ground his teeth in anger as he stared at the faun hopping up and down while playing his flute.

That damned Pan. For all his talking, he didn’t even mention this could happen.

The only source of relief was that the main figure in the ritual, Choi Min-Young, did not seem affected.

Moooooo!

On the other hand, the sheep and cows tied together as sacrifices were swept away by the gate’s influence.

Baa! Baa!

A few of the offerings crying out unpleasantly broke free of their bindings and rushed towards the gateway.

“They were loosely tied on purpose!”

Seon-Hyeok was about to intervene, but he backed off at Min-Young’s explanation.

Baa.

A sheep’s cry was heard from beyond the gateway.

How much time had passed?

“It’s here!”

Pan shouted as he removed the flute from his mouth.

Baa!

The screams of the now disappeared sheep could be heard. A terrible grumbling and chewing noise followed the sad screams.

Munch. Munch.

Seon-Hyeok found himself raising his lance when he heard this uncomfortable noise.

Whoosh.

Something flew out of the illusion gate.

“Oh no…”

It was the leg of a half-eaten sheep. Seon-Hyeok looked at the teeth marks with his discerning eyes and tried to estimate the size of the creature responsible.

However, it did not prove easy given the sorry state of the remains.

“There’s nothing to be nervous about. It’s nothing amazing.”

As soon as Pan finished speaking, grayish blobs emerged through the gateway.

“Jellyfish?”

The translucent bodies and flowing tentacles were clearly those of a jellyfish. The only differences between these creatures and the jellyfish he knew of were that these illusory beasts floated in the air and must have been several meters long.

“They’re Gigantia, the scavengers of the illusion world. They’re not that threatening despite their large size.”

Hearing Pan’s words, Seon-Hyeok found himself looking at the leg of the sheep chewed up by the gigantia. It was clear the faun’s definition of danger was far off from his own.

The dense, sharp teeth visible on the inside of the transparent bodies were those of a terrifying beast.

“So is that the illusory beast that responded to the summons?”

When Seon-Hyeok shook his head and asked, Pan answered in the negative.

“Do you think we went through all that trouble just to call on that thing?”

Pan’s inability to explain anything up front got on his nerves. When Seon-Hyeok frowned and asked again, Pan finally answered.

“Gigantia are large. It also means that there’s a lot available to eat.”

Only then did Seon-Hyeok realize what the faun intended.

“And among the illusory beasts, there are those that go crazy over the gigantia’s mushy meat… oh! What timing!”

As soon as Pan finished speaking, a huge object with a blunt nose popped through the gateway.

Chomp.

As soon as it appeared, the huge monster swallowed the gigantia in a single bite. This new creature, with its black body and flat snout, also had a familiar shape.

“It’s known as a mountain whale.”

The new monster was literally a whale living in the mountains.

Aroooooo.

The mountain whale’s happy cry after gulping down the massive gigantia rang out like a foghorn.

“Would you say that’s dangerous?”

Seon-Hyeok wondered how this giant beast fit through the small gateway. The mountain whale was larger than Goldrake, and almost the size of Redvern when it fully spread out its wings.

“You have to be careful when it’s hungry, but mountain whales are pretty docile when satiated.”

When Pan stepped forward and flung a cow into the air, the giant illusory beast swallowed it in an instant. It almost looked like a dolphin eating fish from its trainer’s bucket.

What a mess. Both the illusion world, and these illusory beasts.

Seon-Hyeok found himself turning away at the sight. He worried his sense of reality would be shaken if he continued to watch.

“How is it? Do you feel anything?”

Min-Young shook her head at Pan’s question.

“Really? That’s unfortunate, but in that case, you can go back now.”

Pan threw another cow through the gateway as he spoke. The mountain whale unhesitatingly followed the sacrifice through the door, and Pan ordered the summoner to close the gate once again.

“Let’s try again.”

“Wait.”

Seon-Hyeok restrained the faun and looked towards Gibson.

“Is this enough now?”

Gibson had been staring blankly into the air previously occupied by the gateway, but he came to his senses at Seon-Hyeok’s words.

“T, the summoner is high-tier!”

“Illusion Beast Tamer. She reached her 2nd class advancement.”

“Illusion beast tamer, summoner, whatever she may be, she’s high-tier!”

“That’s a relief. I was worried she’d have to give a full display of her strength.”

Of course, it would have been Min-Young giving the demonstration, but the instructor’s decision meant one less potential headache.

“Then you should head back. It doesn’t seem like it’s safe for you to be near the gateway to the illusion world.”

Gibson showed some disappointment, but recognizing the trance-like state he had been in moments earlier, he quickly agreed and departed.

“Congratulations on being re-evaluated as high-tier.”

“T, thank you. It’s all thanks to you, and I will never forget this.”

Min-Young smiled brightly as she shed tears of joy.

“What’s so important about that? I don’t understand.”

Pan grumbled before pulling out his flute once again.

“Then let’s start again. There’s still a long way to go.”

Pan looked determined to get Min-Young an illusory beast of her own following her 2nd class advancement.

“No, that won’t do.”

“This one has a dirty temper.”

“This one’s too soft. It’d be useless.”

“Go back. Why are these creatures I didn’t summon even appearing?”

They attempted the summoning several times, and by this point, Seon-Hyeok could not recall how many creatures appeared through the gates.

Pan sent back every last one of these illusory beasts.

“Ah, maybe it’s because your sentience stat is still too low? There hasn’t been a single useful creature aside from that mountain whale.”

Pan grumbled, but Seon-Hyeok found this attitude strange.

From what he could tell, every single one of the summoned creatures had looked impressive.

The black whale roaming the skies, the three-tailed stingray, fish with porcupine-like spines. The only question Seon-Hyeok had was whether this illusion world was connected to the sea in some way.

“There aren’t too many offerings left. Let’s give it two more tries, and if there isn’t anything useful, we’ll have to be satisfied with getting practice opening the gateway to the illusion world.”

Come to think of it, the summonings initially took countless tries to successfully cast, but now, it only took one or two attempts. At the very least, they had gained something from this experience.

“But still…”

Min-Young’s eyes still shone with determination. She was intent on getting an illusory beast of her own in order to help Seon-Hyeok.

But the greater the expectations, the greater the disappointment. The greedier someone was, the more they would suffer.

“There’s no rush.”

Seon-Hyeok tried to curb her enthusiasm.

“Well, this…”

This time, a pufferfish-like creature popped out, gulped down a sheep, and fled before it could be chased away.

“Ugh. Another failure.”

Seon-Hyeok could not help but think that summoning was like opening loot boxes. After all, they were offering sacrifices to get random monsters from the other world.

Even the pitiful rate of getting anything good resembled the reality of loot boxes.

“All that’s left is one cow and two sheep. This really is our last chance.”

Hearing Pan’s words, Min-Young clenched her fists.

“Knock.”

The air once again distorted as her clear voice rang out. It sounded several times more desperate than her previous casts.

“There’s nothing this time.”

No matter how long they waited, there was no change to the gateway. Pan took the flute off of his mouth with a grim expression.

“Let’s just close the gate and wrap this up.”

“Just a little longer…”

Min-Young did not let go of hope until the end. However, a creature did not appear despite waiting, and she was eventually forced to give up.

“Bonding.”

She cast the spell required to close the gate.

“Hm?”

But something was strange. Despite her attempts, the gateway to the illusion world refused to disappear.

“Bonding.”

Min-Young cast the ability in a more forceful voice. Even so, the gate remained unchanging.

“Huh?”

Frustrated, she repeatedly tried to activate her ability.

“W, what?!”

It was at this point that the normally easy-going Pan blanched and stepped forward. With a strength unexpected from a creature of his size, the faun threw the remaining offerings through the door.

“Shut it! Quickly!”

“Bonding! Bonding! Bonding! Ah, it’s not closing!”

Min-Young repeatedly used her bonding ability when she heard the faun’s urgent shout, but it was of no use. The opening in the air did not close.

“N, no!”

The moment Pan screamed, the mournful cries of the cow and sheep stopped from beyond the gateway.

The silence did not last.

Moooo!

They once again heard the screams of the livestock, followed by a terrible ripping noise and the sound of bones being crushed.

“You have to close it! That thing can’t be allowed through the gate!”

Pan screamed and urged Min-Young on, but given her repeated failures up to this point, nothing was bound to change.

“Situation!”

Immediately realizing that something was amiss, Seon-Hyeok lowered his visor.

“I, I told you, right? There aren’t any illusory beasts crazy enough to antagonize a dragon’s companion. In other words, anything that does is either so stupid that it can’t process the situation, or unafraid of the dragon.”

Pan’s face was white as he pointed towards the gate.

“What is it this time?”

Seon-Hyeok calmly asked.

“It’s the former.”

“That’s a relief.”

He could not even imagine how strong a creature would be if it was unafraid of a dragon. As such, he was rather relieved the creature was dim-witted.

As it turned out, Seon-Hyeok was mistaken.

“No, it isn’t. The latter would’ve been better…”

Before the faun could even finish his sentence, something grabbed the gateway and began to appear.

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