The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

REAPER SCANS

 

The 31st Piece Turns the Tables

[Translator –  goguma]

[Proofreader – Karane]

 

Chapter 136

Seol realized that while the community function at the Adventurer Association had its benefits, it wasn’t flawless.

While sending and receiving information in similar locations was straightforward, it became much more challenging when there was a distance between them, necessitating additional steps.

Like how couriers and messengers existed in the past on Earth, there were also people in Pandea who delivered information from one location to another.

These adventurers, who had already planned to relocate, received a small fee to deliver information along the way. Some adventurers even chose to solely repeat information-delivery Adventures, avoiding dangerous Adventures altogether.

Other ways for the Adventurer Association to deliver information existed as well.

They contemplated using a mana stone-based information delivery method to overcome the current system’s inefficiencies. Over time, this mana stone information network gradually expanded.

The network had been partially established in the more advanced districts, yet regrettably, Nevenia was far from attaining such progress.

This also resulted in the delayed delivery of information about Nobira in Audenin.

However, it wasn’t as if there weren’t other alternatives.

The most important methods were the ability to send direct messages between friends and the option to pay extra to make important information from any Adventure Association in Nevenia readable.

Therefore… This meant that those in Nevenia all had some way of figuring out what happened in the Labyrinth of Penance.

Instead of reading through the older letters, Seol began by reading Somi’s most recent letter.

 

✉️[Friend <CollegeStudentsMustDie>’s Letter]

[Send Date: 10 days ago]

[Title: Seol oppa, are you the one who cleared the Labyrinth of Penance?]

[You didn’t block me, right? I didn’t expect a lot of messages back, but I did expect at least some… Are you in Audenin right now? There seems to be a lot going on in Audenin, and this ‘Private’ that keeps getting mentioned seems really like you, so…

That’s you, right, oppa? LOL

I knew that would be the case. There’s no way you’d ignore messages from your sister of all people~

Regardless, that’s incredible! Even people here are talking about the labyrinth being cleared. If I were any less tight-lipped, I might have spilled the beans about us knowing each other, haha. That would be taking it too far, though, right?]

 

‘Sister?’

Seol didn’t remember making a relationship like that.

 

- When did they get that close?

- I don’t remember it at all…

- They were just normal friends.

 

Seol couldn’t help but laugh at Somi’s boldness. He then continued reading the rest of the message.

 

[I’m doing well in Kongory right now. Did you know that Kongory and Nobira have a really close relationship now? I think the guild alliance in Kongry is expanding its influence in Nobira too. Well, that’s not my problem, though. Oh, and the quality of the Adventures in Nobira rose as well!

By the way, what was her name again… Ah, Yu Mira! Apparently, her ruins hunter party grew pretty big. I’m getting offers to join, but I’m still thinking about it. By the way, did you know they built a new auction house? They’re trying to make it even bigger than the last one!]

 

‘Hm…’

As expected from the talkative girl, she gave Seol a lot of information.

‘It’s also much more useful than I thought it would be…’

By ‘it’, Seol referred to the community functions, not Somi.

Seol understood the situation by having an acquaintance in the area to provide him with information, even if he wasn’t there himself.

 

[Munho ahjussi left somewhere far. He messages me from time to time, but they’re all about how he’s still looking for his daughter.

To be honest… Nope! Happy thoughts, happy thoughts!

Oh, and that fucker Gyeongtaek only replies with one letter after I send him two. Don’t you think his attitude is a mess? Could you say something to him for me, oppa? I’m sure he’ll beg on his knees if it’s you, haha!]

 

Seol couldn’t help but laugh again. It was like watching two immature toddlers fight.

It had been a while since Seol experienced such a lighthearted moment.

Seol would look after the younger children in the orphanage like this too. Recalling old memories like this brought peace to his heart.

‘Maybe I…’

Seol realized that he had been on edge after returning from the labyrinth.

He consistently felt exhausted and always remained vigilant of his surroundings.

Through spending time with Toki, Seol realized that he had neglected to pay attention to or assign any meaning to anything beyond Ascension.

While that intensity contributed significantly to Seol's rapid growth, it also wore down on his mind. In fact, his heart might have been thirstier now than his body had been in the desert.

But through reading Somi’s letter… he couldn’t help but laugh innocently.

No matter how much you train your body, it’s impossible to be tougher than steel. Cuts and bruises are inevitable.

The same holds true for the mind. Just because you've resolved yourself doesn't mean you won't wear down or be hurt.

Seol needed to rest.

‘...I should message them often.’

The peace that this relationship provided helped alleviate the burden on Seol's heart.

Ascension was a long and arduous path.

This was a moment to ease his grip on the reins, not break down.

 

[Ah, Gyeongtaek also said he wanted to ask you about something… Was going to Illia in your plans?

Gyeongtaek said that he moved his location to Illia so it might be a good idea to go see him if you’re in the area. Either that or at least send him a message. He’s also waiting for a response from you, oppa.

Regardless, I was glad to hear that you returned safely. Make sure to take care of yourself while you go on your Adventures! Ah, and please respond this time, okay? Promise me~]

 

‘...Gyeongtaek has been waiting for a response from me?’

Seol, after sending Somi a short response, looked for Gyeongtaek’s message.

 

✉️[Friend <OnlyIAmCatless>’s Letter]

[Send Date: 10 days ago]

[Title: Hyung, you’re back, right?]

 

“Hm…”

Gyeongtaek’s message wasn’t particularly special.

Essentially, he informed Seol that he was aware of Seol entering the labyrinth and successfully making it out. Moreover, he expressed a desire to meet Seol if he intended to go to Illia.

‘That’s interesting…’

In fact, Seol had already planned on heading to Illia, just as they had expected.

According to Chameli, the Black Knight's last known whereabouts were near Illia, and they planned to begin their search there.

‘I should go see him if I get the chance then.’

Seol had spent the last four months away from the world, and he missed people.

After sending Gyeongtaek a response as well, he left the Association.

 

* * *

Reaper Scans

Translator - goguma

Proofreader - Karane

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

* * *

 

People moved in perfect unison, like soldiers marching in an army.

These people, who all wore similar uniforms, were cleaning the area near Seol’s accommodation.

“Who mowed the lawn like this? It should be uniform, no patches!”

“Unni, even this is…”

“And did you replace the sheets? What about the curtains?”

“Yeah, I replaced them all.”

The woman was like a control tower. She moved quickly, managing everyone around her.

“Has he eaten yet?”

“He said he usually skips breakfast, so…”

“And you let him just skip it? Have you not seen how thin his wrists were? I bet he’s starving!”

“Th-then should we prepare brunch for him? He normally makes it himself, though… he even shares it with us from time to time.”

“And you just let him cook for himself? Do whatever it—”

“It did taste much better when he made it, though… Honestly, I’d cook myself if I was as good at cooking as he was.”

“...He’s that good? I wonder if he has professional experience.”

The person leading the others was none other than Juyeon. She had gone on an Adventure for five days a couple of weeks ago and had returned.

“Regardless, everyone has become way too lax while I was gone… Do none of you realize how important this moment is?”

“Juyeon, he isn’t the kind of person who’d like this. Rather, he might be annoyed by it.”

“Who’s talking back to me right now—Huh? Changsik?”

Changsik laughed, seeing Juyeon make a fuss.

He seemed to have recovered quite a bit. The color had returned to his face.

Juyeon might have choked Changsik when he had originally returned in her drunken stupor, but now she was carefully observing his reactions, as if the actions from before belonged to someone else entirely.

"Everyone should get some rest. Make sure to eat lunch, and go for a walk if you want to."

“Ahem…”

As Changsik poured cold water on the situation, the guild members dispersed.

“Don’t you think you’re being a bit too harsh?”

“What else can we do though? This is our only chance.”

“Do you really think Snowman would stay here?”

“Honestly?”

“Yeah, honestly.”

“No.”

“Then why are you working so hard?”

"It's just... even if he leaves, it would still be best if we maintained our friendly relationship, right? You told me you could only survive the Labyrinth of Penance because of him.”

Changsik had a faint smile on his face.

“Is it personal greed, or is it gratitude?”

“Both.”

“You can only choose one.”

“Haah… I’ll choose gratitude then. I won’t ask for more, alright?”

“Good.”

“Still, we need to have a way to be in contact with him at least..."

“We’ve added each other as friends.”

“Really? You didn’t force it on him, right?”

“...Yep.”

“Good. Then we’ll at least be able to message each other.”

Audenin's guild alliance ceased internal conflicts after Changsik returned from the labyrinth. In fact, their relationship was much better than before. Following the deaths of some key members in the labyrinth, they were able to realize what was truly important for them to maintain the alliance.

As Juyeon and Changsik spoke to one another, another alliance member approached them.

“Uh… Private is asking for where Audenin’s Class Training Center is…”

Juyeon turned to them immediately and began shouting.

“Follow him! Make sure to guide him all the way to the Class Training Center!”

 

* * *

 

“Over here, sir.”

“Ah, thank you.”

 

- Is he a celebrity or something? LMFAO

- Is this really something to be escorted for?

- He’s even stronger than his bodyguard LMFAO

- Judging by how Juyeon’s acting like this, she must li-li-li…

- like controlling people! She’s trying to control Snowman!

- That’s what I was going to say!

 

Audenin's Class Training Center was the biggest and most open facility Seol had visited thus far.

Seol approached the robed man.

“So, during moments like those, you should… Oh? Ah, do you need something?”

The man was teaching a child who appeared to be around middle school age.

 

[[Black Magic is researched here. The person who seems to be in charge of this facility has asked you why you’re here. How do you respond?]

1. [Required: Skill Points] I wish to learn a new skill.

2. [Required: Skill Points] I wish to enhance a skill.

3. What are you teaching right now?

4: [Required: Awakened] I wish to work as an instructor here.

5. [Required: Awakened] Would you like to test each other's skills?

……]

 

“I came here to enhance my skills and learn new skills.”

“I see. Just so you are aware, the skill room here is a bit open…”

“Open…? What do you mean?”

Usually, the training center had the skill tree in a dark, secluded room.

The ‘skill room’ the man was speaking about here was referring to this room.

So, what did he mean by open?

“Why don’t you… look over there?”

Seol turned around and saw a large area reminiscent of a cathedral.

There was a low platform, and a single large wall on top of it against one side.

“Don’t tell me that’s the…?”

“Yes, that is where the trainees’ skill trees take form.”

“But…”

"The founder of this facility believed that those who wield dark powers should be all the more upright, so..."

“Would people be able to see my skills then?”

“That isn’t necessarily the case. I'm unsure if you are aware, but just like how every individual has different fingerprints, smell, blood, and frame, skill trees are also unique. We instructors might be able to tell when it's a sapling, but judging by your energy, even we won't be able to discern your skills. However, your skill tree’s shape, color, and liveliness might be revealed.”

“Hm…”

“If you’re reluctant to, you could always use a facility in another city…”

Seol pondered while rubbing his chin.

‘I gathered way too many skill points, though. It’s probably best to just use them here.’

Seol finally responded while nodding to himself.

“It’s fine, I’ll use this facility.”

“Okay, then, please come this way. Trainees, you can rest for now.”

Over a hundred people were at the premises. Not only was there the guild member who took Seol to the Class Training Center, but other black magicians were also there to simply use the facility.

Despite that, there was only one skill room here. Well, 'room' might have been the wrong word, considering the space was open, after all.

“Well then, I shall take my leave. If there is anything that you need, please call for an instructor.”

“Okay.”

Seol, after seeing the instructor leave, sat down near the wall.

Hum…

The skill tree was beginning to take form.

“It looks like someone’s using the skill tree… huh?”

“Doesn’t that look a bit…”

Seol’s sapling began growing exuberantly.

Wriiithe…

“How is it so big?”

“More importantly, look there! That red thing! What is that?!”

In an instant, the hundreds of people all focused on Seol’s skill tree.

The first thing that caught their eye was its size. The second was the red hue spreading, almost as if it were infecting it.

Kieeeek…

A red snake infected a few branches entirely, turning them completely bright red.

The Class Training Center was utterly silent.

The only sound that could be heard was the gentle rhythm of breathing.

‘It looks almost exactly like Finn’s tree.’

The Blood of Origin permeated the skill tree.

‘But except for a select few… most of them were completely new skills.’

It seemed like the skills Seol received were different from Finn’s skills as they had different classes.

The first thing Seol did was pick out his most important skills.

The black branches began to deepen in color.

 

[You enhance Shadow Summon.]

[Vanguard’s Bonus Effect activates.]

[You use 7 skill points.]

[Upon a successful Shadow Summon, the summon will now pass on skills more smoothly than before.]

[You are now able to summon four Shadow Summons at the same time. However, there are circumstances where you will be unable to summon multiple at the same time.]

[Shadow Summon has reached a certain level. All summons will have 10% of their original stats additionally passed on.]

 

‘I have room for the next summon too now and… hm?’

Seol smiled after seeing one of his new potential skills.

His fingers instinctively reached for it, pausing at the red branch.

Drip…

With an ominous sound, a new skill revealed itself.

 

[Sly Blood-Hue Snake]

- Gain additional skill points for your Adventure rewards.

 

The panel was dyed in a bloody hue.

‘Isn’t this… the same effect as Affluent?’

Since Affluent had already proven to Seol that it was an excellent title, he did not have to think about this for long.

 

[Sly Blood-Hue Snake is awakened.]

[You use 2 skill points.]

[Gain additional skill points for your Adventure rewards.]

 

Seol took his time going over all the new skills he could learn. After a bit, he decided on his next skill.

As expected, it was a skill from one of the bloody branches.

 

[Passive: Flesh and Blood is awakened.]

[You use 2 skill points.]

[Summons tied by Lineage can no longer be prevented from being summoned.]

 

This meant that Seol was now immune to the summoner's weak point – skills that prevent summoning entirely.

‘Blood of Origin really is incredible.’

This was the core reason why Finn became so strong so quickly.

The skills that appeared from the skill tree infused with the Blood of Origin had incredible effects for their low skill point cost.

‘I have five skill points left now. I don’t need to use them all now, but if there’s a good skill…’

Seol paused.

‘...What?’

The red branches and the black branches—there was a spot on the tree where the colors intertwined, not belonging to either one.

____

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