The surface of the spear seemed to turn malleable, and whenever Nudar touched it, the weapon repeatedly compressed and expanded.
The spear’s middle section had been broken long ago, but its remainder had remained sturdy without equal. Right now, this solid metal acted like soft soil. Nudar freely handled the now clay-like surface of the spear.
As time passed, the lacking appearance of the spear began to disappear.
‘That’s right. That’s right.’
Nudar continued to speak, as if exchanging conversation with the relic slowly regaining its original appearance.
Surprisingly, the spear responded to Nudar’s efforts by vibrating in place.
“What the hell…”
Seon-Hyeok thought he had seen everything this world had to offer, but even he was baffled at the sight of the small dwarf mumbling to herself while handling the lump of mushy metal.
But in contrast to the strangeness he felt, Nudar’s expression was absolutely solemn. It was as though re-working the lump in her hands was her lifelong aspiration.
How much time passed?
“There were 49 deaths and 97 wounded among the refugees. No casualties have been reported among the women and children.”
John suddenly approached and reported on their losses.
Until this point, Seon-Hyeok stared, fascinated with Nudar’s work. He suddenly felt as though he was doused with cold water.
There were fewer than 50 immediate deaths, but the wounds inflicted by the demonic horde were equally as terrible, quickly spreading through the victims’ bodies and inducing death.
It was likely at least half of the 97 wounded would not live to see another day.
Though these refugees had a history of trampling on the elderly and the weak to survive, Seon-Hyeok could not help but feel bitter at their deaths.
“The survivors are grateful to you, my Lord.”
John gave quick words of consolation before returning to the refugees.
“He may have shed tears of repentance and reflected on his actions, but a person’s nature does not change. He’s still scheming and selfish - can we really trust a person like him?”
Najima approached and spoke as Seon-Hyeok looked at the refugees.
“People don’t change easily.”
John, like the other refugees, had once been treated like livestock and exploited by the nobles.
“Then do you think the tears he shed at that time were insincere?”
“No. At the very least, his regret at the time was genuine. That said, there’s no telling whether that act of penance will influence his decision in the event that he encounters a similar situation in the future. More importantly, what about the Qeishas?”
This was not the right situation to share his concerns about the humans with the fairies. Seon-Hyeok’s expression showed deep concern as he asked about the Qeishas’ casualties.
“The younger fighters of our tribe suffered some minor injuries, but there isn’t anything to worry about. Unlike the humans, we’re protected by our Mother.”
“That’s a relief.”
Seeing him sighing in relief, Najima spoke.
“But unlike what you’re saying, you don’t look relieved at all.”
There were nearly 50 immediate deaths, and these numbers would continue to mount in the future. It would be strange if he was relieved in such a situation.
“Don’t be so down. Even when we sent the fastest of our kind, over half of them died in this land. Without you, what hope would they have for surviving this hell?”
Najima’s words were too cold to be comforting, but they were honest.
Seeing his expression remain dark, Najima changed the subject.
“I came because I felt something unusual... What a rare sight.”
Her eyes shone as she saw Nudar busy working on the broken spear.
“I’ve been told she’s an ancient spirit - a dwarf.”
“So it was true. How surprising.”
Contrary to her words, Najima did not seem at all surprised. Finding this strange, he asked her why.
“Before our Mother passed away, she said something to our kind.”
Her expression became sorrowful at the mere mention of the Mother Tree.
“She said that those who have been buried for a long time will appear once again through an opening in oblivion, and that through them, time will begin to flow backwards.”
At first, it sounded like a simple story of the forgotten ones coming back. But the more he thought about what she said, the more he felt that there was something more.
“There may be some among them who should be welcomed, but she warned us to be wary of the majority because they will not be returning with good intentions.”
Seon-Hyeok asked her for the underlying meaning behind the prophetic words of wisdom, but Najima did not dare attempt to interpret the Mother Tree’s will.
“I cannot tell for sure what our Mother was trying to say. It has always been like this - we will know what she meant in time.”
She simply held the Mother’s words deep in her heart.
“But if there’s one thing I can tell, it is that fortunately, she seems to be someone worth welcoming.” 
As soon as she finished speaking, Nudar also finished her work.
Having approached, Nudar showed him a spear taller than the dwarf herself.
‘It’s an admirable object, having waited all this time for a partner to enter battle with despite having half of its body torn apart. Your responsibility is to satisfy its grudge.’
Sensing a deep affection in Nudar’s voice, Seon-Hyeok looked at the spear.
It was significantly larger than the small spirit, but the spear was still much smaller than he hoped. Its appearance was that of a heavy lance used by the cavalry, but it was not even 2 meters in length. It did not seem to be ideal for mounted use.
‘It’s foolish to judge a dwarf’s handiwork based on outward appearances.’
Sensing his doubts, Nudar pushed him to hold the weapon.
When he received the spear, Seon-Hyeok instinctively inhaled at the sudden pain penetrating his hand. Before he could even figure out what had happened to him, a light emanated from the spear.
The light soon disappeared, and once it was gone, the spear that baffled him was no longer in sight.
“What the hell…”
The spear had not disappeared. It simply changed its appearance.
However, the change was not an increase in length or a subtle change in shape.
Shockingly, the dwarven equipment Nudar handed him abandoned its original form of a spear and had become a sturdy piece of armor.
‘It only revealed itself to you in the form of a spear so that it would attract your attention.’
“Is that even possible?”
In contrast to its dull hue, the bronze-colored armor surrounding his body felt light and wearable without any tightness. It felt more like he was wearing light clothes.
‘It would normally be impossible even if it were a creation of the ancient spirits. However, this is not merely armor, but a medium used by one such ancient spirit. That said, the spirit residing within has long ago lost its life, only leaving behind its sinister thoughts.’
Having previously learned that it was possible for an ancient spirit to change its appearance to a desired form or dwell in other objects, Seon-Hyeok was finally able to discern the story behind this strange armor.
He also realized why Nudar seemed so conflicted when he saw the spear.
‘Its name is Turkan Behter.’
As soon as she spoke, Nudar disappeared.
However, Seon-Hyeok could sense that Nudar did not truly vanish, but simply transferred her being into the armor.
‘From now on, I, Nudar, will remain in Turkan Behter and become your strength.’
It was different from the endless energy bestowed upon him from the Mother Tree’s living branch. The energy felt from Turkan Behter, now completely merged with Nudar, was like boiling lava ready to explode at a moment’s notice.
Feeling as though he could deal with any incoming demon, his eyes once again shone with vitality after becoming dulled through mental fatigue.
The opportunity to test Turkan Behter’s strength arrived much sooner than he imagined.
It was to be expected.
This was the Dark Lord’s territory, a land of unparalleled malice containing countless demonic creatures lusting after the flesh and blood of the refugees.
Seon-Hyeok was at the vanguard of the 1,000 Qeishas and the tens of thousands of refugees, and he threw himself into the waves of demonic beings.
His body slowly began to change as he lunged with his spear and swept away the enemies at the forefront. By the time dozens of foes were cast aside, pierced by his weapon, he had completely transformed into a draconian.
As he growled, fiercely lunging with his spear and trampling over the trembling beings, the ground rose up and swallowed up his enemies.
The lesser beings were quickly swept away, and six large demons took their place. Each and every one of them was a powerful creature, worthy of claiming dominion over its own territory.
Without hesitation, he rushed into the demons.
The demonic creatures howled furiously as they charged at him.
Just as he inhaled and tried to stab with his spear, the armor containing Nudar’s spirit changed once again.
The already large body of the draconian became even bulkier. It looked as though the draconian, already covered in tough scales, was wearing yet another layer of armor over it.
This enlarged body exhibited its true strength over the demonic creatures.
He attacked with his spear, and when that proved insufficient, he used his entire body. The demons screamed incessantly at the straightforward onslaught.
It was almost pitiful seeing the demonic creatures being pushed around by the much smaller draconian.
This was all thanks to the armor containing Nudar’s spirit.
Even in this violent battle capable of tearing the draconian’s scales, Turkan Behter remained intact.
It was a fascinating experience.
He did not feel threatened in the midst of the demons’ poison and fierce attacks, and he was able to concentrate solely on the offensive.
It made sense that the demonic creatures could not come to their senses.
However, this was not the extent of Turkan Behter’s strength. The powerful armor containing the true essence of an ancient spirit had an infinite number of potential uses.
Among them, the most surprising effect was felt when the demons, sensing their inferiority despite greater numbers, moved to attack him at once.
Seon-Hyeok stared at the demonic creatures surrounding him trying to evaluate which ones to eliminate first when he felt a strange sensation between his armpits and glanced down.
He saw something that should not be there.
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