Chapter 30. The Djinn and Gari Mountain (3)


Ginseng served many purposes.
Consuming it would increase one’s stats, and grinding it down and using it as a medicinal ingredient would produce about ten high rank potions. One could even use it for a process called enchantment. In this process, the magic power contained within the ginseng was added to an item, giving it a special effect.

But I didn’t have the necessary equipment to make potions nor a connection with a magician to help with enchantment. As such, I could only eat it or sell it.

“Eating it is a bit…”

This ginseng should go for 700 million won. Since I could use Violet Banquet to sell it, I didn’t have to worry about being scammed even if I had to pay more in fees. If I sold it now, I could invest the money in stocks and easily get a return of 4~5 billion won. That was enough to buy 7 of the same ginseng.

“…Argh, this is hard.”

The unexpected fortune only increased my worry.
For now, I put the ginseng away in my bag.
I could think about this first-world problem after I found the Gari Mountain Dungeon.

**


Standing in front of a cave, I dusted my hands. Dirt rained down on the ground.

“So this is why it hasn’t been discovered until now.”

Huu. After taking a deep breath, I glanced behind me. An inch away from my feet was a razor-sharp cliff.
The Gari Mountain Dungeon was located in the middle of a cliff, buried in moss and vines.
I could feel my heart thumping. Even with Parkour, the journey had been too difficult. Without Stigma’s magic power as insurance, I would have been too scared of falling to try.

“Hmm.”

I looked into the dark cave without going in. My Thousand-Mile Eyes repelled the darkness and widened my vision. Not long afterward, I discovered the switch monster. It was a ghost.

Just like in the original story, the Gari Mountain Dungeon was an undead dungeon.
Monsters in this dungeon included dullahans, banshees, and other undead monsters which ranged from grade 9 to grade 3 of low-intermediate rank. The boss should be a death knight, so it was impossible for my current self to clear the Dungeon.
In the first place, not even Tomer had fully cleared this Dungeon. A death knight was a high-intermediate rank grade 1 monster. Defeating it was impossible without a high-rank Hero.

It seemed I would have to be content with just knowing where the Dungeon was. With my current strength, just beating the ‘hidden stage’ would be impossi…

“No.”

I looked into my bag. The ginseng I just picked up was strutting its glorious and tantalizing appearance.

“…”

A hidden stage was a completely isolated space from the standard Dungeon, making it significantly easier to clear. In addition, this hidden stage’s reward was better the quicker one took it. Above all, I didn’t want to constantly worry about Tomer coming here quicker than in the original story.
Like I said before, the hidden stage’s reward was a formless weapon called Aether. Because of its lack of a clear form, it was easy to misunderstand it as a lump of magic power, but the reason Aether was called a weapon was because of this property. Because it had no form, it could change its form to whatever its user wanted. Furthermore, Aether was an evolving weapon.

It was worth taking it early, even if I had to sacrifice the ginseng.
Of course, I didn’t mean I would use the entire ginseng.
I took off three of the seven roots it had.

===
[7-year-old Ginseng Root]
—The root of a 7-year-old ginseng. Contains condensed magic power.
===

First, I tried changing the root’s setting.

—For one hour, increases all variable stats by 4 points.

Since I was editing the effect it already had, I thought it wouldn’t cost too much SP.

[You do not have enough SP.]

But I was wrong. It seemed raising stats required more restrictions than I thought.
Without any other choice, I modified the setting.

—For 30 minutes, increases all variable stats by 2 points.

[5 SP will be used. Would you like to save?]

This much was satisfactory.
I modified two ginseng roots with the above setting. By eating them both, my stats would increase by 4 points for 30 minutes. My variable stats, other than magic power, would then be on par with Yoo Yeonha’s.

However, I gave the last ginseng root a different setting.

—Soaks into magic power and strengthens its power.

[5 SP will be used. Would you like to save?]

I hit [save].
With this, I should be able to clear the hidden stage.

I entered the cave with confidence. As soon as I stepped in, an extreme chill penetrated my body.

“Ugh.”

I moved my legs forward as I watched my own breath.

Ssssss.

Hearing a strange sound, I hid behind the cave’s wall. Within a distance I could see without using Thousand-Mile Eyes, a hologram-like ghost was wavering in the air.
That was the switch monster.
I could kill a monster of the level even without using a ginseng.

I took out my Desert Eagle. My Gift, Master Sharpshooter, had already reached grade 8. Piercing the vital point of such a slow monster was easier than doing push-ups.

I pulled the trigger.

The bullet cut through the air and struck the ghost. The bullet phased through the ghost without doing any damage, but the magic power contained inside the bullet didn’t. The magic power had hit the middle of its eyes perfectly.
Shortly, the ghost exploded into light without a sound.

At that moment, a strange wind blew from a direction, sucking in the ghost’s light.

That was where I had to go. The light led to the location of the hidden stage. There, an inferior version of a witch would be waiting for me.
My eyes didn’t miss the incredibly faint stream of light. I started following it.

After about 10 minutes of walking, I finally arrived at a place that was isolated from the Dungeon.

In the middle was a witch carrying Aether.
I took out my laptop from my bag.

Whiiiish.

===
[Witch]
—Evandel the Witch. Possesses a spirit body and produces low rank ghosts.
===

Witch.
Countless number of monsters and devils appeared after Outcall, but the existences known as witches were rare. It was because it was difficult for a monster to be classified as a witch.

First, a witch had to have the ability to produce ghosts. Because of the high number of undead monsters a witch produced, a witch’s home was called a ‘stronghold’.
Second, a witch needed to have a human body. Without a human body, a witch couldn’t use her magic power properly.
Finally, a witch needed to possess intelligence on par with humans, because a witch without intelligence couldn’t distribute her ghosts efficiently.

The reason the witch in front of me was an inferior version was because she didn’t fully meet the second and third requirements.

However, Evandel would one day become infamous.

Adult witches were difficult to deal with, so the most efficient way of subjugating one was to kill it when it was young, when its intelligence and body weren't fully developed.
But in the original story, Evandel was raised by Djinns, protected from stress and danger. After reaching adulthood and becoming independent, she established her stronghold in an abandoned school in Suwon.
This stronghold, which came to be known as Evandel’s Castle, became the most fearsome stronghold in history.
The Hero Association famouly said that it was "no different than a Tower."

By killing this inferior version of Evandel, I would obtain two things. One was Aether, and the other was Evandel’s Seed. In the original story, Tomer only took Aether, giving Evandel’s Seed to the followers of Isabel.
Since I planned on taking both, I needed to kill Evandel. There was only one problem…

“…She’s a child.”

Her appearance made me hesitate. She had a tiny face and was only 140 cm tall. With soft hands, she was squishing the soul of the ghost I just killed.
Tomer had killed that child, and I had to do the same in a single attack.

“Huu.”

But it had to be done. I was the one who created her anyways.
After resolving myself, I released Stigma’s magic power. A bullet would never be able to kill a witch in a spirit body. This was a matter of fact that wouldn’t change no matter how much SP I invested. Attempting to do so would only be a waste of SP.

‘Light attribute, spear.’

I breathed my will into Stigma’s magic power. The attribute I wanted was light, and the form I wanted was a spear.
The weapon I wanted was created using all of Stigma’s magic power, but its size and sharpness were horrible. In the first place, the amount of magic power in Stigma wasn’t enough to form even a single arrow properly. So, forming a perfect spear was being too greedy.

But I had a method of sharpening this spear. I placed a ginseng root on the spear. The spear devoured the ginseng, increasing its size and luster.

Next, I swallowed the two ginseng roots I modified before.
Immediately, I could feel my body surging with vitality.

4 points… no, it was probably less since I took one on top of the other. Still, my body felt completely different than before. My muscles were brimming with strength, as though they were ready to explode at any moment. I felt hot, yet light, like I was no longer human, but rather a radioactive monster of some sort.
Breathing roughly, I looked down at my body. My body was bulked up and my five senses had become extremely sensitive.
As I thought, the spear was the best choice for displaying the most destructive power with amplified stats.

“…Huup!”

I hurled the spear with all my strength. The magic spear shot through the air like a flash of lightning without deviating from its intended path. The moment I let go, the spear had already pierced through Evandel’s head.

—…?

But Evandel survived. With the spear stuck in her head, Evandel turned towards me. I felt an unprecedented terror at the gory scene. A muddy stream coalesced on her hands. A vengeful spirit was taking shape.

“Um, wait, can we just talk this out?”

—Uuaaang…

However, in the next moment, Evandel collapsed with a strange cry. Life energy disappeared from her body, and a seed fell down to the ground.

“…Was it an instinctive reaction before death?”

After calming my beating heart, I walked up and picked up the seed.
Then, I walked forward into the darkness. A slime-like weapon with a blue glow, this was the weapon that made Tomer into one of the executives of Wicked.
Before I reached forward, I checked its description with my laptop.

===
[Aether]
[Mystic – Formless] [Evolving]
A corporeal but formless weapon. Adheres to its master or his weapon, reinforcing their strength.

—Master selection
*Will not adhere to another being once a master is chosen.
—Physical body reinforcement
*Increases the variable stats of its owner by 0.6 points.
—Weapon reinforcement
*Adheres to its master’s weapon and strengthens the weapon’s attack power. Aether itself can also form a weapon. (Current weapon-form Aether rank – ‘high rank’)
—Evolving weapon
All of the above functions evolves with its owner. Depending on the state of Aether’s awakening, other functions can develop.
===

I had obtained my weapon.
But I didn't expect things to end so easily.

Clack clack clack—

A series of striking sound rang out from all directions. Bones joining together formed the shape of a man, and I soon found myself surrounded by white-boned soldiers - skeletons. 

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