༺ Play Ball (4) ༻
A massive spear.
Siwoo managed to compress and accelerate the mana flow to its limit, creating a sublime line that shone brilliantly.
The light was so bright that it could blind the sight of anyone who looked at it as it cut through the air.
Everything happened quickly.
The homunculus stupidly extended both its arms and shadow.
It didn’t seem to be taking any defensive measures.
Like a cat chasing lasers out of curiosity. Its arms that it extended, disintegrated into powerful torrent of mana-like dust
By its nature, mana didn’t have any attacking capabilities. But when one condensed such a high concentration of mana up to this level, it became comparable to a huge weapon.
The monster’s fingers disintegrated from their tips, deteriorating at a rapid pace.
Like dawn breaking through the darkness of the night, the beam of light chased away the shadows.
The mana torrent enveloped the three curious red eyes.
Then, it reached the shadow, the body of the monster down to its end, turning everything into ashes.
Meanwhile, Siwoo watched the Homunculus as it was swallowed by the soundless explosion of light and evaporated without leaving any traces.
He fell on his knees into the grass like someone who had just finished a marathon.
As soon as the tension that barely maintained his physical and emotional stability was cut off, Siwoo immediately experienced a resurgence of nausea and regurgitation.
Although he had done many crazy things today, his plan on defeating the Homunculus was by far the craziest of them all.
Not only did he absorb a high amount of high concentration mana, he also provided a clear ‘path’ for the mana to flow in his body.
If he made even the slightest miscalculation, his body would explode from a mana overload, leaving him to be a cripple for life.
Even though his plan mostly succeeded, he still felt like this was merely the beginning of his uphill struggle.
“I’m going to die.”
Siwoo turned over and lay down to prevent himself from vomiting.
He felt his entire blood vessels swelling and contracting alongside his heartbeat.
This was a result of several factors; excessive usage of explosive mana, intense consumption of mushroom doping leading to a strained brain and the overwhelming amount of mana stored in his body that caused it to strain and creak.
Despite all that, Siwoo felt like he had gone back to become a middle schooler after a long time and let out a hearty laugh.
How could he not feel that way?
He had been researching magic diligently on his own for a while now, but there was no way to prove his ability until now.
Beating the Homunculus could be seen as a notable achievement for him.
Throughout his life, he had been doubting his skills as a player as he felt like he had only been playing against bots. After triumphantly carrying this game, he was filled with a sense of victory.
He managed to defeat a Homunculus, a being that was deemed to be too dangerous to hunt unless one was a rank 15 witch with an autonomous defense.
It was a terrifying monster that even the twins could barely hold back.
The voices of the twins grew closer from a distance.
“Mr Assistant! Mr Assistant! Mr Assistant!”
After he struggled to sit up, Siwoo caught sight of the twins running up towards him.
Almost sliding to a stop, Odile rushed over and embraced Siwoo.
While she caressed his cheek with her palm, she asked him in a panic,
“Are you okay? Do you feel anything strange?”
“Mr. Assistant, are you alright? Tell me, how many fingers do you see?”
Using one arm to support her body, Odette shook three fingers in front of Siwoo’s face.
He responded with a wry smile before assuring them that he was okay.
As they let out a sigh in relief, the twins began to jump up and down with joy.
They seemed to be even more thrilled than Siwoo himself as they blushed in excitement.
“When I first heard the plan, I thought you’re crazy, turns out you’re just as impressive as you’re crazy!”
“You beat it, Mr. Assistant! You beat that Homunculus!”
Odette was so excited that she kept stomping on the ground beneath her, while Odile was patting Siwoo’s head.
“Good job, Mr. Assistant, good job.”
“I knew I could count on you!”
Thanks to the twins’ enthusiasm, Siwoo, who was brimming with pride at his achievement, managed to calm down a little.
It was because the twins had already celebrated it on his behalf.
After the celebration continued for a while, Siwoo stood up after receiving support from both of them.
“I thought we were done for! Thanks to Mr. Assistant, we were saved!”
“If it weren’t for Mr. Assistant, we’d be in big trouble!”
“I only managed to do it because Ms. Odile and Ms. Odette drew its attention.”
“We might’ve become the bait, but you were still impressive!”
Siwoo tried to be humble to avoid looking conceited, but he couldn’t help but to curl his lips upwards into a smile.
The three of them walked towards the spot where the Homunculus disintegrated while celebrating. It didn’t seem that their celebration would end soon.
Like it was being hit by a cannonball, the ground was caved in. That was how intense the force of the mana blast was.
Of course the reason why they came back here was to check the item the beast dropped.
Siwoo had put in a lot of effort in the raid battle, he deserved to be rewarded.
The three of them jumped into the pit.
Inside, they found a single egg glowing with a faint black light.
Its size was around the size of a chicken egg.
Well, the size and shape was similar to an egg, but it looked more like a cat’s eye.
Shifting black shadows could be seen through the egg’s shell, which was as translucent and thin as glass.
“Is this the inheritance of the Witch of Creation?”
“Yes, the ‘Egg of Gnosis.’”
The three of them sat closely together around the egg, fascinated by the mysterious appearance of the dropped item for a long time.
“There are numerous types of inheritances that can be obtained by hunting Homunculi. They can be artifacts like my music box, potions with magical properties like Ms. Amelia’s perfume or even scraps of paper with magical circles scrawled on them.”
“What about the Egg of Gnosis?”
“It’s a kind of memory storage device, similar to the Branding System.”
“I heard it’s a mean to directly transfer knowledge and enlightenment about a new magic.”
Only then did Siwoo understand why some witches became obsessed with hunting the Homunculi, even if that meant putting their lives in danger.
Based on their explanation, didn’t it mean that this small egg was some kind of skill book?
Odile reached out her arm and lifted the egg.
The twins made eye contact with each other before nodding their heads.
“Here, it’s yours, Mr. Assistant.”
“Are you sure?”
Siwoo didn’t have any expectations of receiving any rewards at all. He assumed that even if he received some, they wouldn’t be worth much.
As apprentice witches, the egg would be more beneficial for them since they were more inclined towards exploring new forms of magic.
Moreover, even though it was Siwoo who devised and carried out the plan, it was the twins who risked their lives to attract the Homunculus’ attention.
He didn’t expect them to hand the egg over so willingly like this.
“I feel tempted to keep it for myself, but I think you deserve this, Mr. Assistant.”
“I think the same way. If it weren’t for Mr. Assistant, I would still be trembling in fear.”
“Thank you very much.”
“Why are you thanking us? It is us who should be thanking you.”
“That’s right! You were so cool, Mr. Assistant!”
With an affectionate look in her eyes Odette flicked her thumb and handed the Egg of Gnosis over to Siwoo’s arm.
The egg almost felt weightless as it rolled in his arm. Like a galaxy in the universe, the shadow that filled the egg whirled around calmly.
“How can I use this?”
“They said that you just need a strong desire to accept the ‘Gnosis’ to activate it.”
A scholar’s inherent desire was to seek out new knowledge.
Siwoo had given up on becoming a mathematician because he was abducted midway through his journey. Nonetheless, he still had his passion and he put it into this new field, magic.
He felt regret over the fact that he wouldn’t be able to learn higher-level magic once he escaped from Gehenna.
That was why this was an opportunity for him.
He gulped as he tightly clenched the egg.
At the same time, it felt as if his body was being swallowed into the darkness.
He closed his eyes tightly, feeling as though his consciousness was being sucked into a space where even the ground didn’t exist.
When he opened his eyes again, there was an endless black and empty space in front of him.
His body was floating in the middle of that space.
Startled by the loud noise coming from behind, Siwoo turned his body and looked towards the source of the noise.
He thought that he couldn’t do anything but float, but when he thought about moving his body, it immediately made a turn and moved in a certain direction.
What existed there was the golden light of wisdom that dispelled the darkness of ignorance.
The identity of the structure that stood tall as it revealed its presence in a space where people’s perspective became drastically thin was…
A magical circle composed of all kinds of runic characters, straight lines, curved lines, dots and shapes.
Each component of the intricately interlocked magic circles rotated slowly while emitting a loud noise like a complex mechanical device.
Even though it was a sight he had never seen before, Siwoo felt a strong sense of déjà vu.
He immediately recognized the large structure, despite its size robbing him of his sense of distance.
It was the large-scale magic circle that Siwoo had been researching and building for the last three years.
This space was the manifestation of the accumulated magical knowledge and wisdom that Siwoo had been studying and exploring.
Perhaps, because he had not yet completed it, the magic circle wasn’t in its complete form.
The ends of the circle that reached out to the darkness were blurry and there were gears that weren’t spinning and didn’t seem to be working properly.
He was excited.
Siwoo never imagined that the magic he was researching could evoke such a sense of reverence.
He felt enlightened.
It felt like he was flying up in the sky white seeing the landscape from a higher perspective, as what he previously did was like being trapped in the forest while he could only look at the trees. It gave him the inspiration that he needed.
Now, he could identify what he lacked and which part of the magic circle was wrong.
He became more assured that he could advance to a higher level.
But it didn’t end there.
Suddenly, a large egg, about a quarter of the size of his magic circle, appeared out of nowhere.
Though its size was different, its shape and appearance were identical to the Egg of Gnosis.
The faint shadow that had been swirling inside it had become distinctly visible even in the darkness as it started to rise beyond the glass-like membrane.
It was strange.
He felt like he rediscovered something he had forgotten about for a long time.
New knowledge began to pour into his head without any kind of resistance.
As the undulating shadows in the void built a new structure.
Siwoo felt his mental capacity grew.
His thoughts deepened.
He gained a new perspective toward the world, the knowledge that might have taken him years to comprehend on his own.
The truth pierced through the depth of his mind.
He was looking at a world that could only be perceived through a witch’s eyes.
As the Egg of Gnosis passed on its knowledge to Siwoo, he was invited into a world that he couldn’t step into without a brand.
Suddenly, the shadow that had been building another structure in Siwoo’s world dissolved into the darkness, as if it had fulfilled its duty.
How did the shadow that the Homunculus wield managed to nullify spells?
What was the method of maintaining such numerous magic circles individually without much mana?
What rule allowed those small magic circles to flow like water without interfering with each other’s composition?
He understood everything.
Before the shadow’s structure could take on its perfect form.
Siwoo felt his consciousness being sucked out again.
Not much time passed after he entered that space.
A blink of an eye, that was all it took.
His consciousness returned to reality.
He felt resistance from gravity compared to the freedom he previously felt when he was floating in that space. His thoughts that were endlessly expanding, opened up and accepted the impurities from his surroundings.
The twins, who had been staring at him with sparkling eyes, appeared before him.
‘A new power emerged.’
‘New knowledge appeared.’
Siwoo looked at his hand and thought to himself.
“Pretty, isn’t it? The place that Mr. Assistant saw is called ‘Ain (אין),’ part of the Three Realms that is couldn’t be seen nor judged by ordinary human’s perspective. The realm of ‘zero.’”
The twin seemed so ecstatic over the fact that they shared the same world as Siwoo.
They had the same expression as they had back when they were guiding him through the Latifundium.
“You can’t perceive it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Ain lies dormant in the consciousness of everyone who practises magic.
“It’s such a waste that you were born a man, Mr. Assistant. If you were born as a witch’s descendant and inherited her brand, you could have made quite a name for yourself.”
Only then did Siwoo understand why the twins had passed up this golden opportunity.
They wanted to show him another world that he had never known.
“We didn’t pass the opportunity to you, but anyway, welcome to the real world of magic.”
The twins grinned widely, expressing their sincere congratulations without any traces of envy.
You can rate this series here.