Chapter 26. Hidden Potential Bursting Out (3)

“A Warrior?”

Seol nodded his head at Agnes’s question. Just as he had been ordered to, he informed her of his class as soon as it was bestowed to him.

“I see.” Agnes nodded back while inwardly breathing a wistful sigh.

If one were to rate the values of different classes, then the 'Magician' class possessed an unmatched brilliance that no others could hope to match. Not only did this class boast incredible firepower, but it also came with the inherent advantage of cheat-like flexibility, allowing for the rapid adaptation to the situation at hand.

On top of that, it was a rare class too. It would be difficult to find even one out of 100 candidates. In order to become a 'Magician', one's Mana stat had to be 'Intermediate (Low)' at a bare minimum. Not to mention, one's personality trait and the talent had to be suitable as well.

In reality, the average Mana value of the survivors entering the Neutral Zone was only at 'Low (Low)'. It was only par for the course that their Mana stat would be that low since they had been living on Earth with its advanced technology.

So, it was only natural that finding a Magician among them would be difficult. And it was definitely not an exaggeration to say survivors with the Magician class would be treated as a nobility regardless of where they showed up.

It was a similar story for Priests as well. The basic requirements were for one to possess Mana stat of at least 'Low (Intermediate)' and Luck stat of 'Intermediate (Low)'.

Priests were well-recognized as an important class as they had supportive abilities such as healing, detoxification, and removal of curses. Since such abilities were in high demand, the presence of a Priest was welcomed by pretty much everyone.

'If he was at least an Archer…’

Archers also formed an important and necessary fighting force in an expedition. After all, the ability to track, scout, and sense the enemy’s movements were indispensable.

Of course, this didn't mean that 'Warriors' didn't play an important role. The issue had to do with the abundant supply – there were just too many of them. Taking one look at the class distribution among the March's Neutral Zone entrants told everything one needed to know in that regard.

86 people entered the Neutral Zone on the first day, and currently 78 still remained. Among them, there were four Priests, one Magician, and 22 Archers. The remaining 51 were Warriors.

Some even joked that all Warriors had to do was be a meat shield. This wasn’t entirely a joke as a Contracted who didn't show any redeeming qualities often ended up as a meat shield.

'Regardless, all I have to do is train him well.'

Agnes carefully fixed her expression so as to not reveal her thoughts. Then, she handed Seol a piece of paper.

“I understand. Let us begin with training your mana first.”

[Reacting to Mana (remaining number of attempts: ꝏ/ꝏ)]
Sense your Mana!

Difficulty: Basic
When successful: N/A
When unsuccessful: N/A
*Cooperation possible (up to 6 people)

The parchment contained one of the new missions that appeared on the noticeboard after the Awakening was completed. Although he took the parchment since Agnes was giving it to him, he was feeling a bit skeptical as well.

'Sense my mana, is it?'

A firm, heavy energy had taken root inside his body. This thing didn't feel alien to him anymore. Not only could he sense it very clearly, but he also thought that he'd be able to circulate this energy inside his body as long as he concentrated.

“Okay. I'm off.”

While remaining not wholly convinced, Seol ripped the parchment in half and disappeared from the spot.

Agnes looked on. The space Seol teleported to was an artificially created space where the density of mana was thicker than usual and helped one's training by stimulating the energy hidden within. Even if one was a Warrior, one would still be able to sense mana coursing through their body.

Agnes became slightly worried, wondering how should she go about guiding him after the mana training came to an end. She was about to turn around to leave, but then her movements came to an abrupt halt.

Seol had reappeared on the same spot.

“I succeeded.”

Agnes blinked several times as she stared at the relaxed youth.

“You… succeeded already?”

“Yes. It was easier than I thought. As soon as I got there, I….”

“What did you say?!”

Agnes's brows angrily shot up.

“I told you not to buy the Application method from the store, haven't I?”

Her misunderstanding made sense. Since she had an errand to run in the morning and couldn't be at the Awakening, Agnes had mistakenly thought that Seol's mana was somewhere around 'Low (Extreme)' or 'Low (Low)'.

Seol stared back at her confused before raising his own voice in denial.

“I didn't do that!”

“And what didn't you do?”

“I never went to the store.”

“I find that hard to believe. If you feel confident, can you show me your Status Window? Just show me your class-related abilities.”

“Ah, that's right, we can do that.”

Seol readily agreed and revealed the relevant portion of his Status Window. Agnes, who remained suspicious even when he strongly denied it, could only be dumbfounded after reading the information.

[4. Abilities]
2. Class-related abilities (0)

If Seol had bought 'Mana Application', then the '0' would have changed to '1'. No matter how many times she looked, it was still a resolute '0'.

“….Oh.”

“I told you, I didn't.”

Seeing her flustered and not knowing what to do, a smile of satisfaction crept on Seol's face. For the first time in a while, he got himself a good opportunity here.

“….I beg your pardon. I seem to have made a mistake.”

“No, it's fine. So, what should we do next?”

Agnes nodded her head. She was about to pull out another mission parchment before hesitating slightly.

“Can you circulate your mana?”

“You mean, right here?”

“Yes.”

She was thinking of teaching him about the fundamentals of using mana but decided to keep her mouth shut for now. Although she confirmed the truth with her own two eyes, she still couldn't bring herself to believe it. If this was happening for real, then there was something she needed to confirm first.

Seol corrected his posture and closed his eyes.

Wiggle.

The energy inside him twisted and quivered. Immediately, it began to course through his body according to his will. It circulated freely by following the unseen pathways of his body – to the tips of every finger, to the ends of every toe, all the way up to the crown of his head.

Seol enjoyed this smooth gliding sensation. He was also slightly amazed by this development. It hadn't been that long since the Awakening, yet he couldn't feel one iota of resistance. No, he only felt a sense of intimate familiarity.

It was as if this energy was a best friend he grew up with since his childhood.

Seol circulated this energy around him a few more times and opened his eyes as messages suddenly began popping up.

[The Class Ability, 'Mana Application', has been created.]

[Your Innate Ability, 'Future Vision', is responding to the creation of the new ability!]

[The Class Ability, 'Mana Application (Lowest)', has evolved to 'Mana Application (Intermediate)']

[Please confirm through your Status Window.]

“Ohh?”

Agnes was half in doubt, but as soon as she saw Seol's reaction, her suspicion was confirmed.

“Has Mana Application been created?”

“Yes.”

Agnes began massaging her temples. She hoped that this wouldn't be the case. She prayed, even. Unfortunately, there was only one reason why a situation like this could occur.

“You… refused the Magician class, didn't you?”

“Well, I didn't really refuse it, per se….”

“You didn't?”

“The gods were debating between the Warrior and the Magician classes. They voted, and the end result was 'Warrior'. Well, I did say I wanted to use a spear before that though.”

Hearing that, Agnes's expression became frozen. Seol's words had forced her to recall a certain person's face.

Sung Shihyun. Another Irregular from Area 1.

'How could they be so similar to each other?'

She didn't mean to, yet she ended up comparing the two. The road they walked on and the direction they were walking towards were just too similar.

No, there were some differences. Many knew about the famous tale of Sung Shihyun refusing to become a Magician and stubbornly choosing the life of a Warrior. However, Seol said that the gods had to take a vote to choose his class.

'…This is…. This isn't a matter I can interfere with.'

Agnes decided to give up on worrying about it. But, one thing was for sure – she'd have to change the plan she had in mind in its entirety.

She initially envisioned the mana training to last around a week, yet it was completed in less than 5 minutes.

So what was next?

“We will begin your class-related training right away.”

But, before that, she added a condition.

“You are not allowed to use your mana.”

*

[Stabbing (remaining number of attempts: ꝏ/ꝏ)]

Learn the Thrust!

Difficulty: Basic
When successful: N/A
When unsuccessful: N/A
*Cooperation possible (up to 6 people)

Seol surveyed his new surroundings. There were only two things visible on the flat plain he was standing on – a scarecrow with a target draped over it, and a spear lying next to it on the ground.

Seeing that weapon, Seol suddenly felt quite happy. He felt like he had missed it. His heart even began beating faster.

The spear was around 1.5 meters long, making it a short spear. Seol joyfully studied the weapon's sleek and smoothly flowing shaft and its pointy tip reflecting the bright sunlight in an X. He then carefully picked it up.

Every hair on his body stood up; his shoulders tightened.

'Learn to thrust, huh.'

Seol got into a suitable spot in front of the scarecrow and while standing a bit awkwardly, grasped the spear's shaft with both of his hands. Then, he thrust forward with some power.

The spear tip pierced the target and sunk in deeply.

“….”

He missed the bullseye by a little bit. Seol pulled the spear out and tilted his head this way and that, his expression showing the level of dissatisfaction he was feeling at the moment.

Next, he held the spear with only the right hand and attempted to stab the target. He tried this three times, but the results were all bad. Not only was the depth of penetration shallower than before, his aim each time was off by a lot.

'This isn't right.'

Seol desperately combed through his memories.

Normally, a person would start forgetting the dream he had as soon as one woke up. Only some parts of the dream would remain etched in memory. However, a scene so shocking or a scene that kept on repeating itself would not be forgotten and be firmly imprinted into one's brain.

More importantly, he wasn't merely a spectator watching those events happen. He had experienced it personally.

There was a reason he chose the Thrust as his first training mission – he was drawn to it.

The Seol of the dream always carried around a spear, and he utilized the Thrust the most. The number of enemies that fell from a single stab piercing into their exposed gaps was too numerous to count. So, his body should be able to remember it.

'I’m not supposed to rely only on my arm strength… I need to move my entire body.’

He changed his posture. He strengthened his right hand and grasped the lower part of the spear tighter. The spear shaft came to rest on his left palm. He grasped it without using too much strength. The spear tip seemed to waver a little. In this state, Seol took aim at the target.

'….Not yet.'

Something didn't feel right. He looked down and found his right foot slightly out in front, pointing to his flanks. He repositioned the foot by pulling it back and glared at the scarecrow.

After a moment of silence that was neither too long or too short, he kicked the ground hard.

His left foot shot out first. His right foot followed next as he stretched out his left arm. Accompanying the sensation of his right arm shoving away, Seol thrust his spear forward.

Swish!

A crisp sound cut through the air.

Just before the spear struck the target, the back of his left hand facing the ground spun halfway up and pointed towards the sky. The spear tip spun as well, and it accurately struck the middle of the target.

A satisfyingly heavy feeling was transmitted through his hands. Confirming that the spear had penetrated much deeper than before, an equally deep smile formed on Seol's face as well.

[Class Ability, 'Basic Spearmanship – Thrust [Low (Extreme)]' has been generated.]

[Your Innate Ability, 'Future Vision', is responding to the creation of the new ability!]

[Class Ability, 'Basic Spearmanship – Thrust [Low (Extreme)]', has evolved into 'Basic Spearmanship – Thrust [Intermediate (High)]'!]

[Please confirm your Status Window.]

As the message cascaded down, the surrounding scenery changed. The scarecrow disappeared, and the spear in his hands also dissipated away.

“….Huh?”

‘Damn it,’ Seol mused wistfully and took a look at the plaza of the Neutral Zone. He wanted to feel that sensation for a bit longer.

'I’ve barely done anything…'

Seol opened and clenched his fists several times, still left wanting for more before falling deeply into thought.

What if he used that thrust against the skeleton that attacked him by jumping in the air?

At that time, Seol chose to defend himself. No matter how many times he dissected his choice of action, he was far too carefree. The skeleton simply knocked Seol's steel bar away and left him defenseless.

'If I stabbed back at that time….'

Eventually, Seol shook his head. Since the monster was airborne, it wouldn't have been able to dodge the thrust, but he still had to consider the possibility that he might miss his target as well.

Also, even if he succeeded in landing a blow with the thrust, what would happen if the ax swinging down didn't sway and continued on the trajectory to split his head open?

'Relying only on a simple thrust isn't the answer.'

The basics of spearmanship were to prey on the opponent's openings. And if there were none, he would simply have to make one.

So, back in that situation against the skeleton, how should he go about creating an opening?

The answer was obvious; the monster had shown him what to do already.

'I have to do the same thing. I’ll knock his axe away first and then stab the skeleton.'

Reorganizing his thoughts as so, Seol swept his gaze across the noticeboard. His slow-moving eyes found the parchment he was looking for.

[Swatting (remaining number of attempts: ꝏ/ꝏ)]
Learn the Strike!

Difficulty: Basic
When successful: N/A
When unsuccessful: N/A
*Cooperation possible (up to 6 people)

Seol ripped that paper up right away.

*

Even though his class had been decided Seol's daily life hadn't changed. He got addicted to the joy that his new training regime brought him and concentrated on it like a madman.

Seol's morning routine looked like this:

As soon as he opened his eyes, he drank a vial of the Special Competence. After breakfast, he ran on the track as a light after-meal exercise.

Most of the time, he ran alone, but there were times when he ran together with Yi Seol-Ah.

Yi Seol-Ah couldn’t hide her shock. She was able to run past Seol like it was nothing the first time they ran together, but from some time onwards, he stopped lagging behind. And today, he even managed to overtake her.

'T, That's impossible!'

They must have run 10 laps or so already. No matter how hard she pushed, the distance between the two was widening instead of diminishing.

In the end, she reached her physical limit.

“O, Orabeo-nim!!”

Hearing her pitiful cry, Seol turned his body around to face her.

“A, aren't you tired yet?”

“Hm, don’t know. Maybe? If it's too much, why don't you rest for a bit?”

He replied to her with a nonplussed expression while lightly running on the spot. He was obviously implying he had energy left in the tank and that he’d simply been matching her pace.

Yi Seol-Ah bit her lower lips.

She managed to finish the laps but only after a considerable amount of time. She panted heavily for a while, before asking him with a disbelieving expression.

“H, how did you do it?”

“Mm?”

“It, it’s only been two months… but you're faster than me….”

“Oh, that?”


Seol told her about Competence. Since he heard that it could also be purchased from the regular store, he figured that Yi Seol-Ah should also be able to enjoy its effects. Of course, the regular one wasn’t as good as the VIP store’s.

After hearing the explanation, Yi Seol-Ah's expression was frozen in a daze. It seemed that she didn't even know of Competence's existence until now.

When he advised her to buy one even if she didn't want to spend her Survival Points, she squeezed her eyes shut. Her cheeks reddened gradually, then, out of the blue, she lifted her clenched fists up high towards the sky and shouted out.

“No doping!! Absolutely not!”

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