The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

REAPER SCANS

 

The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

[Translator –  goguma]

[Proofreader – Karane]

 

Chapter 186

Zeri’s gaze remained downcast, unable to make eye contact with Karuna.

“Why are you… doing this to me… why…”

Grit…

Gyeongtaek clenched his teeth at Zeri’s brazen demeanor.

“How could you be so shameless when you hunted transferees like that?!”

"Ah... is this about the dead transferees? Your party members were among them, weren't they? They weren't particularly strong, but... I'll make it up to you! I'll compensate, okay? Then everything will be fine, right?"

“Compensate? Compensate?!” Gyeongtaek shouted.

Gyeongtaek raised his hand as if he were about to strike her, but his party members quickly grabbed his arms and prevented him.

Zeri seemed completely perplexed by his reaction, as if she couldn't comprehend why he was so upset when she was offering compensation for their losses.

Seol looked down at her.

“Lian Kuruos. Why did you turn him into a shadow?”

“Lian? Ah, that headache… is this really because of some shadow that can’t even be sold? You should have just told me! I’ll give him to you for free!”

“No, I am asking about the details. Why did you turn Lian into a shadow?”

Zeri thought quickly, searching for an answer that might spare her life.

However, the words she ultimately chose only weighed heavier on Seol's heart.

“B-Because wandering adventurers don’t go for much… and no one looks for them…”

“He had a place to return to.”

“Really? I didn’t know. That’s a shame. So, how much? Huh? I’ll compensate.”

As the Profiteer continued to offer deal after deal, Seol posed a question.

“How much do you think it will cost you?”

Sensing the danger, Zeri hesitated to respond.

However, before she could utter a word, Seol made another request.

“Tell me everything you know about the Church of Eternal Life.”

“About… the Church of Eternal Life?”

“Yeah.”

“Will you let me live if I do?”

“No,” coldly responded Seol. “I won’t.”

“......”

Her death was already inevitable.

Seol regarded her as if she were already dead, like a fly that could be swatted away with a flick of his hand.

Zeri did not want to die.

However, no method to escape this hell came to her mind.

Zeri had to buy time.

“Wh-what do you know about the Church of Eternal Life?” asked Zeri.

“A cult with their leader as the central pillar.”

“You’re not wrong, but… then I’ll explain things from the start, okay?”

Zeri thought that it was a relief.

The more she could divulge about the cult, the longer she might keep her life. This could provide for more openings and a chance for Seras to intervene on her behalf.

Though Zeri couldn’t expect much from her, currently, Seras was her only chance.

"The Church of Eternal Life originated from a demonic man later known as the Immortal. He rose to leadership and gathered many followers under his wing.”

“And?”

"Within his church were numerous uncontrollable, evil individuals, but they were all obedient to the Immortal's command. The rumors of their widespread atrocities across Pandea are largely fabricated. However, they did commit some heinous acts, albeit in secrecy…”

"Enough circling around. I want to know what happened to the Church of Eternal Life after the Immortal's departure."

"After the Immortal departed... So, the recent Church of Eternal Life. Understood. After the Immortal left to ascend to godhood, the Church of Eternal Life splintered into four factions."

“They splintered into factions?”

Originally, the Church of Eternal Life was like one large lifeform.

The power wielded by the unified sect alone was enough to instill fear merely by their name.

Zeri carefully observed Seol’s reaction.

“I-I don’t know the specifics either, but… maybe they struggled to stay united without the Immortal? The figure that bound them together was gone, after all.”

"Sure. So, which faction were you in contact with?"

"I've been trading with Bria, the leader of the Shadow Faction. I would offer her shadows, and she would pay me for them."

“Hm… Bria, huh… but… I also know that isn’t how the Church of Eternal Life does things.”

Zeri flinched before looking at the floor.

"The Church of Eternal Life has been focusing on amassing power for quite some time."

"Why?"

Zeri then looked up, meeting Seol's gaze.

“Because… revival is near.”

“...What?”

“The Immortal… urrrrrr…”

Zeri suddenly stopped speaking, drool dripping from her mouth. The veins near her eyes began to bulge and pulsate before finally...

Splatter!

Zeri’s blood and flesh showered the party before dripping down their skin.

“Kyaaaaaaaaa!”

“......”

Zeri’s head had popped like a watermelon.

 

[You have defeated Zeri, the Profiteer.]

[Zeri’s Valuables has been generated.]

[You have satisfied the Adventure Objective.]

[If the Remaining Time runs out or if you choose to take your reward, you may choose to finish your Adventure here.]

 

Ur sounded troubled.

- Is that the annoying energy I sensed earlier? The suggestion was done at quite a decent level.

‘Should I revive her?’

- Didn't you hear everything you needed to? And as I mentioned before, your Shadow Space is already at max capacity. Don't even consider a new summon for the time being.

Even Seol couldn't maintain his composure after witnessing someone's head pop like a balloon right before his eyes.

‘More importantly, revival, huh… is the Immortal coming back?’

- The Immortal? Is that someone you know?

‘It is.’

It wasn’t something that Seol could deny.

After all, the Immortal was also him.

“Regardless… For now…”

Faaade…

Suddenly, a shadow emerged from Zeri's lifeless body.

It belonged to a different woman, not Zeri.

“Who… are you? What did you do to my cute little underling?”

“...What are you?”

- Oho… So it wasn’t just some ordinary suggestion. No wonder…

The shadow scowled.

“I see… So you’re the one who killed my cat.”

“Are you Bria?”

“...I will find you and turn you into my shadow.”

Seol scoffed before grinning, his teeth flashing.

He had a tendency to become a bit unhinged whenever his pieces were involved, after all.

"I'll find you first."

“Hmph…”

Splatter!

As Seol waved his hand, Bria's shadow dissipated like a watercolor painting in the rain.

Then, he casually wiped his hands, treating their encounter as if it were no big deal.

 

[Your influence in Faction: The Church of Eternal Life increases.]

[You now have a hostile relationship with Faction: The Church of Eternal Life.]

[You are now able to fight with Faction: The Church of Eternal Life.]

[Faction: The Church of Eternal Life is deeply interested in your actions.]

 

- I get the feeling that you’ll be fighting them a lot…

Seol didn't necessarily address Ur's concern. It's just what happened, after all.

More importantly, there was still something important left.

Countless shadows had perished at Karen's hands during this battle, to the extent that the word ‘slaughter’ seemed insufficient.

But despite all that, one shadow remained.

“Uah… Arrrrrr…”

Lian's shadow, still unable to coherently utter a single word.

Seol slowly approached Lian’s cell.

The ends of Lian's body had been crushed, causing shadows to continually disperse.

Because his master, Zeri, had died, his end was hastening.

Faade…

Lian’s right foot crumbled away.

Thud…

He eventually lost his balance and fell to the ground.

- This one’s… on the verge of being broken down.

‘...Is that possible?’

- It isn't impossible if he vehemently resisted becoming a shadow when he still had a fragment of his will. The conditions for it were likely met long ago.

‘Any ways to prevent it?’

- None.

‘I see.’

Seol and Lian locked eyes.

“Urrr… Uahhhhh…”

Seol felt as if… he knew what Lian was trying to say.

“Are you saying… you want to go home?”

The tiny fragment of Lian's will within his shadow began to nod frantically, a desperate plea.

Seol bit his lips.

“Yeah,” said Seol. “Let’s go home.”

Smile…

Only then did Lian finally smile.

And then…

Faaaaaade…

The shadow scattered into the wind.

Seol reached down, attempting to grasp the empty space in which he existed before.

But there was nothing to hold onto. Only regrets and pity remained.

 

[<Lian Kuruos>’s Inheritance is starting.]

 

Lian’s memories began to pour into Seol.

 

* * *

 

These were Lian’s memories.

“Lian, why are you smiling so much?”

"Because this is my final adventure. I'm really going to quit now.”

"Even though I've never seen anyone with as much talent as you in all my career as an adventurer... all you ever talk about is wanting to quit."

“Everyone has things they’re suited to, and I’m just not fit for something like this. I don’t have the heart for it, and I’ve never once properly handled something.”

“But you’re getting better, though? Isn’t that all that matters?”

Lian smiled after hearing that.

“It also means I’m being worn down. I’m sorry, I’m really just not suited for this line of work.”

"Grgh... Well, I suppose that settles it. But now that I think about it... you've only ever talked about quitting. I don't recall you ever mentioning what you'll do once you've quit."

“Do you want to know?”

“You know I can’t say no. Tell me.”

Lian explained his plans to his party member.

"I'm going to use the money I've saved to buy a house and a piece of land next to it to start farming."

“Huh? That’s it?”

"Yeah, it's something I couldn't even imagine before I started working as an adventurer."

“Hm…”

“I was a tenant farmer, and… one day, my son came back home after fighting with the landlord’s son.”

"Oh no... What happened next?"

“I immediately scolded him... without even asking why he fought... The landlord's son had mocked my son for being the child of a poor person.”

“......”

“I couldn’t even say a word back. It was true, after all.”

Lian's eyes welled up.

“Because I really am poor.”

“Lian…”

"The thing about poverty... is that it’s scarier than any disease."

"What do you mean?"

"Because it doesn't just hurt you. It hurts everyone around you. Poverty... also spreads like an infection."

“So that’s why you became an adventurer.”

“Yeah… I made a lot of money thanks to you, hahaha!”

Lian looked off into the horizon, like he was looking back home.

"I'm going to farm. Not someone else's field, but on mine, Lian's field."

“Hahaha… how interesting.”

“Would pumpkins be good? I thought about grapes too, but…”

"Whichever crop you choose, do whatever makes you happy. But, did you know…”

“Know what?”

“Even though you always look like you’re on the verge of tears… you always smile whenever you talk about your family.”

“......”

“I think you might be happier about seeing your family than overcoming poverty.”

“You might be right.”

"Go back home. You can be a proud father now.”

After a few more conversations like that, Lian was ambushed from behind by a mysterious group. He collapsed to the ground, blood gushing from his head.

“I… have to… go back…”

His vision blurred.

And his lingering regrets…

“I… need to… go home…”

 

* * *

Reaper Scans

Translator - goguma

Proofreader - Karane

Join our Discord for updates on releases! https://dsc.gg/reapercomics

* * *

 

Seol gritted his teeth as he was finally freed from the headache with the memory ending.

Lian’s feelings continued to eat away at Seol’s heart.

“Urgh…”

He felt like vomiting.

“H-Hyung? Are you alright?”

“Haah… haah…”

Gyeongtaek’s party member, Hyomin, was shocked after seeing Seol’s face.

“He’s breaking out into cold sweats! Something’s…”

“It’s nothing… I’m fine.”

 

[You have inherited Lian Kuruos’s unfulfilled desire.] 

[A skill has been inherited from the deceased.]

[You have inherited ‘Innate Talent: Explorer’s Compass’.]

[You are able to use Explorer’s Compass on your Adventures.]

[The contents of ‘Fate: Things Which Must Be Recovered’ have changed.]

 

‘I guess… the skill returned to me in the end…”

In the end, Lian's Innate Talent found its way back to Seol.

Explorer's Compass was an incredibly valuable Innate Talent many players considered a game changer.

Its effects were simple.

It visually displayed the direction and distance to the Adventure's Objective.

And currently, the Adventure that this compass applied to was…

 

[You used Explorer’s Compass on Fate: Things Which Must Be Recovered.]

[The needle moves.]

 

Click click click click…

A massive arrow appeared in front of Seol.

‘It’s far. And it’s to the southwest? Don’t tell me…?’

As Seol constructed a mental map, a piece also came to his mind.

‘I'm not certain, but... I’ll need to investigate it.’

Now that he acquired Explorer’s Compass, Seol could locate his pieces hidden throughout Pandea much more easily.

This would likely greatly accelerate the rate of progress.

Ur, after the inheritance process, spoke to Seol.

- Oh… How intriguing… I just sensed you absorb some sort of mystical power. Is this another one of your abilities?

‘Well, I have my own circumstances, so…’

Unable to hear Seol’s internal conversation with Ur, Gyeongtaek worried about Seol.

“Hyung…? Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

“That’s good. Then we should…”

“Gyeongtaek, could you give me a bit of time?”

“Huh? O-Okay.”

“Yeah, and step away from me for a second.”

It wasn't surprising that they obediently followed Seol's commands after witnessing his strength out of awe.

Gyeongtaek's party quickly pressed themselves against the walls, while Ur spoke up, recognizing Seol's intentions.

- Kuku… I didn't expect you to acquire so much shadow essence so quickly... Fortune appears to be smiling upon you.

All that was left now was to revive Koko.

‘So, how am I supposed to wake up Koko?’

- It’s simple. You need to draw an image in your head, like when you create your crows. However, as you do, make sure to hold onto his core.

Seol pulled out Koko’s core from his inventory.

- Begin.

As Seol closed his eyes to concentrate, the black orb began to pulse.

Bathump…

Bathump…

The black haze around him, the shadow essence, started to swirl around Seol.

Swiiiiiiiirl!

“Wh-what is that?”

“What is he trying to do…?”

Craaaaackle!

Lightning crackled within the swirl of black haze, conjuring a wolf-like figure that appeared and vanished in an instant.

- It’s near! Wake him up now!

Despite the dangerous situation, Seol laughed and tightened his grip on Koko's core.

“Come here, Koko… It’s been too long since we went for a walk.”

Fwoooosh!

The shadows began to thrash even more wildly after those words.

____

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