Chapter 222. The Spear and the Treasure Chest (2)

Seol Jihu felt Maria shaking in his embrace. Chohong promptly kicked her butt.

“Oi, what are you gonna do? Hurry up and decide.”

“You gotta agree if you have a conscience~”

Hugo rubbed it in, knowing how Maria must be feeling.

“Ob…”

“Ob?”

“Obbiwusly… I agwee…”

Because she was speaking through her clenched teeth, the group needed some time before they could understand what she said.

Just like that, Flone came to receive a share of the loot. Since she was fully justified, this was a clean method that drowned out any controversy.

Seol Jihu chuckled, not knowing his share of the loot would increase this way.

Teresa winked at him secretly, while Maria cried. She must have been more than a little upset as she was bawling her eyes out.

Seol Jihu burst into laughter as he patted the wailing Maria.

“Things ended up turning out this way… but I never thought you would be the one to bring it up first, Mister Kazuki.”

“Well… I tried to do my best, but this was the first time I felt sorry about taking my share of the loot in an expedition.”

Kazuki replied flatly, then glanced at Seol Jihu.

“Now that you’ve secured the funding, will you be moving to Eva right away?”

“Yes.”

“And you’ll make an organization in Eva.”

“Probably.”

“Will you have affiliate teams once your organization develops?”

“Huh…? Affiliate teams?”

Seol Jihu raised a question while replying nonchalantly. He didn’t get why Kazuki was suddenly asking him all these riddling questions.

“Why do you ask?”

Kazuki chortled.

“No reason.”

“?”

“It’s just that, from the perspective of a team, I figured it wouldn’t be bad to work under a leader who’s fair in settling personal affairs.”

He then turned around and began to bag the loot that was out. At that moment, the teary-voiced Maria asked.

“Oh yeah, Oppa, what are you going to do with the treasure chest?”

“Treasure chest?”

“Un, un. The spear is yours, but you haven’t opened the treasure chest yet.”

Seol Jihu went ‘Ah!’. He was so focused on settling accounts that he had forgotten about the spear and the treasure chest.

“No one opened the treasure chest yet?”

“It won’t open.”

Marcel Ghionea cut in.

“We can’t see any keyhole. It won’t budge even if we try to open it forcefully. It looks like it’s made to be shock-absorbing.”

[Hmph, of course.]

Flone must have been listening in as her voice rang out in Seol Jihu’s head.

[The family’s secret techniques are in there. How could it open so easily?]

Flone seemed to know how to open it, so Seol Jihu decided to take a look at the spear and the chest.

Seol Jihu’s announcement must have touched Chohong and Hugo as they presented the items respectfully. The first thing that caught his attention was obviously the long, cloth-wrapped item.

“Take the cloth off and have a look. I’m not an expert at discerning the value of weapons, but it looked extremely precious even at a glance. You can tell just by how it looks.”

Marcel Ghionea’s words raised Seol Jihu’s expectations by a notch.

‘Spear, spear…’

As this spear was one of his main goals for this expedition, he couldn’t help but be curious about it.

Ba-thump! Ba-thump! His heart pounded.

Seol Jihu did his best to soothe the beating that shook all his organs and carefully grabbed onto the cloth.

He took a deep breath. Then, as soon as he unwrapped the cloth, the spear finally revealed itself.

And Seol Jihu…

“….”

…looked down at the spear unknowingly.

“…Ah!!”

An exclamation of awe burst out a beat later.

‘Pretty….’

His first impression of the ‘Spear of Purity’, which he finally got to see, was that it was ‘pretty’. He knew that it wasn’t an appropriate descriptor for a weapon, but the spear’s outer appearance truly boasted a captivating beauty. It was so much so that he mistook it for a figure of an alluring woman.

After gulping out loud, Seol Jihu carefully observed the spear.

First, the spear was extremely long. From the spear blade reflecting the moonlight and emitting a bewitching light, the long, willow branch-like spear shaft well surpassed 2 meters and 40 centimeters.

It was a whole lot taller than Seol Jihu.

The spear carried a transparent-white tone. Really, without a single bit of exaggeration, its clarity made it completely transparent. It really looked as if it was created by carving out ice.

Other than that, there were two elements that caught his attention.

The first was that the spear blade itself was 50 centimeters long. The lower part of the frame forming the blade started out thick and got increasingly sharper, and two crescent-shaped blades were attached to the side of the blade. No matter how he looked at it, it resembled the twin crescent-bladed halberd used by the Three Kingdoms’ Warlord Lü Bu.

The second was that seven circular grooves were dug out on the upper part of the spear shaft. Insetting the jewels he put away in his bag would undoubtedly make it look even better.

‘So this is that spear…’

The Spear of Purity, which the Goddess of Chastity— Castitas— is said to have bestowed to the Rothschear House.

It completely caught Seol Jihu’s fancy.

He drew a huge gulp and examined the spear.

“Why don’t you give it a swing?”

Marcel Ghionea suggested in a timely manner, and Seol Jihu promptly grabbed the spear with an entranced expression.

“!”

Seol Jihu flinched. The moment he grabbed the spear, cold energy invaded his body and stung his bones.

Although the coldness disappeared in an instant, it was enough to jolt his consciousness wide-awake.

Soon, he grabbed ahold of his mind and raised the spear, but he was surprised yet again.

‘I-It’s heavy?’

A heaviness that surpassed his wildest imaginations could be felt from his hands. No—

‘It’s not that it’s heavy.’

Whoosh, whoosh! He became certain once he roused his mana and forcefully gave it a couple of swings.

Rather than heaviness, it was more correct to call it resistance. Right, the Spear of Purity was resisting him.

Whether he stabbed or sliced, the spear blade strayed from his intended mark. As it was now, it couldn’t be called a proper weapon.

Aside from its beauty, it didn’t look like it had a special power either.

He activated his Nine Eyes just to be sure, but even the ‘General Observation’ couldn’t view its information.

Seol Jihu’s eyes narrowed.

The Star of Lust, Seo Yuhui.
And the Star of Sloth, Taciana Cinzia.

This was only the third time that he couldn’t view the status window with the green color.

He had a guess. These three all shared one common point — that they received a god’s power.

With this, Seol Jihu was convinced that this spear carried divine power. But he was also certain that the spear was useless as it was now.

‘Is there a ceremony I need to do to be recognized as its owner…?’

What should he do to drag out the spear’s original strength?

Seol Jihu’s eyes instinctively turned to the sealed treasure chest. For some reason, he felt like the solution to his problem would be in it.

However, it was just like what Marcel Ghionea said.

“Keuk!”

The chest refused to open, no matter how hard he tried to pull it open. By the time he had half-given up from exhaustion, Seol Jihu heard a sudden giggle.

When he looked down at his pendant, the giggle immediately stopped.

[You see the insignia in the middle, right? Try putting your pendant next to it.]

“…You could have told me earlier.”

[Sorry, sorry, it was just too funny seeing you struggle to open it….]

Seol Jihu smacked his lips before getting on his knees and putting the pendant next to the Rothschear House’s insignia.

Next, a mysterious light suddenly flickered from the insignia—

Clunk!

And the chest opened, just like that.

“Oh! It opened!”

“What? What, what?”

The expedition team huddled together and peeked into the chest.

Soon…

“Eh? What the heck…?”

Maria trailed off with a greatly disappointed look. But perhaps she was justified as the contents of the chest were far smaller compared to its size.

Inside were two battered books and a small wooden box.

Characters they had never seen before were written on the faded books, but the Synchronization must have taken effect as they soon wiggled and changed into Earth’s language.

Phi Sora furrowed her brows.

“Righteous Heart? Crescent Blade Spear Technique? What’s up with these middle school syndrome names?”

[What did you say?]

Flone got angry.

Seol Jihu took his eyes off the book and picked up the wooden box.

Click.

Once opened, a red light gently leaked out of the gap. What appeared underneath was something completely unexpected.

Hugo let out an empty chuckle.

“…The heck is that? An egg?”

Just like he said, an oval egg was placed in the wooden box. To be more precise, the smooth surface of the small egg, which looked just like a red jade, gave off a delicate scarlet light.

‘Jeez.’

Setting the two books aside, Seol Jihu could only sigh as he had no clue how the egg and the Spear of Purity were related.

[Castitas, the Goddess of Chastity, bestowed the family with the sacred artifact, the Spear of Purity, which housed the Elemental Spirit, Arcus. The family thus came to be called the Spear of the Empire…]

[They are said to be protected by a mythical guardian Phoenix that symbolizes joy.]

That was what was written in the historical records.

“Spear of the Empire… Do I have to awaken the Arcus Spirit and be acknowledged?”

Just as he lamented over his current situation…

[Eh? You knew?]

Flone’s voice rang out.

“What do you mean, I knew?”

[You said it just now. That you have to get the Phoenix’s acknowledgment.]

“Huh…? Didn’t I say Arcus Spirit?”

[Hm? What do you mean? Arcus Spirit is a Phoenix.]

‘What?’

Seol Jihu had to reorganize his thoughts due to Flone’s confused rebuttal.

‘That means… the two are one and the same?’

More questions flooded into his brain, but he decided to ask the more urgent question first.

“Flone, do you know how to awaken this Phoenix Arcus Spirit?”

[You have to hatch it.]

Seol Jihu became dazed. This had been a series of shocking realizations. A Spirit wasn’t a bird, so how was he supposed to hatch it?

[Use that.]

The pendant rattled, pointing to the red egg.

Seol Jihu blinked.

*

Along with settling accounts, the distribution of goods ended. Seol Jihu split the loot based on the rule he’d set out before the expedition, with him getting an additional portion for Flone.

He took home four gold bars, 178 gold eggs, 267 chunks of silver, 12,444 silver coins, 1,200 gems, and 20 offerings. The Spear of Purity and the contents of the treasure chest were also his property.

Although his comrades only received half of what he did, that didn’t change the fact that it was an incredible amount.

Once the difficult settlement ended, a belated dinner and a small festival broke out. The expedition team ate and drank to their hearts’ content and chattered excitedly.

“Equipment for sure!”

Hugo spoke with a stern, serious face.

“I’m going to bounce to Scherezade the moment I return to Haramark. I’ll go to the auction house and plaster myself in equipment befitting a High Ranker. With top-grade items and nothing less.”

“Ha!”

Chohong sneered.

“Top-grade Level 5 items? Hilarious.”

“What’s so funny about that!?”

“First off, you don’t even know if there will be any for sale, and fine, let’s say there is. You’re going to spend all the money you made? Why don’t you try to save up at least a little bit?”

“Why are you bitching about me spending my own money?”

“Well, you’re right.”

Chohong readily agreed, then smirked.

“But, as a High Ranker, it’s a bit unsightly seeing a Level 4 blabber on about High Ranker items.”

“Say what!?”

Hugo glared at her furiously. However, he quickly grinned and turned to the side. As soon as he saw Seol Jihu sitting on the other side, warming himself up next to the campfire, he pounced on him.

“Seooooool!”

“!?”

Suddenly being bear-hugged by a large figure, Seol Jihu jumped in fright.

“W-What?”

“Seol! Seooooool!”

Hugo was determined.

“I’m sorry~ Don’t throw me away~ Huaaang~”

He clung to Seol Jihu’s waist and pretended to weep.

“I’ll always listen to you from now~ Don’t throw me away~ Huaaaang~”

Then, he abruptly stopped talking and turned back.

Teresa covered her mouth and burst into laughter.

Chohong had her mouth shut, glaring at Hugo as if to kill him. Her cheeks flushed red as she began to tremble.

Hugo grinned.

“I didn’t say this was anyone’s dream!”

“You son of a bitch—”

“Huh? What was that? Talk more? You want me to go into more detail?”

“Keuk!”

Chohong grit her teeth. Hugo put on airs and let go of Seol Jihu.

“Don’t get cheeky now. If you do, boom! I’ll just—! You know?”

Surprisingly, Chohong fell silent even though her face was contorting in fury.

Seol Jihu giggled, watching the scene unfold. On the other hand, he felt a strange sense of déjà vu. He felt like he had experienced a similar situation.

‘In my dream.’

Seol Jihu stared at Maria, who was busy flicking the beads on her abacus.

That night, the expedition team partied until they fell asleep.

After confirming that Maria had fallen asleep, he told the two night watches to keep a close eye before using the bags containing the inheritance as a bed.

The next morning, he almost screamed the moment he woke up.

The bags were fine.

But Maria must have woken up before him, as she was squatting nearby, keeping a close eye out on the bags.

With bloodshot eyes.

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