༺ Korin Lork(2) ༻
When I first came into this world, I was very desperate.
A body that was barely at the level of a knight and a weak mind – without any compensations, I learned how to fight in order to protect myself.
The reason I chose a spear was because it was the easiest to learn.
I had nothing to believe in except for Park Sihu, the player, and the things I knew about the future…
But when I had to confront all the monsters and geniuses of the main scenario, I was frightened.
So what if the protagonist was next to me?
So what if I knew about the future?
Those were completely meaningless. To survive through the main story where spells and swords came flying at my face at every waking moment, the things I had were nowhere near enough.
My three years were seriously one hell of a hard time.
Even though my master tried to teach me using wise words like ‘Look at the forest, and not the trees,’ but following that wasn’t easy when my life was constantly on the line.
The tricks I learned to survive became a habit, and that habit became permanent over time.
Master’s consistent philosophical advice sounded like nothing but empty words but I had a rough gist now.
『 Strength and the nature of an ability is not what we need to reach the heart of dao. Your talents are not that simple. It is greatly different and— 』
I didn’t have a strong body, nor did I have an enormous amount of mana or aura.
I had no unprecedented specialty either.
Incompetent and weak.
An ungifted man who could not seek a simple increment in power through numbers.
The spear in my two hands was warm. After being swung a few times, it was heated up from the friction and dripping beads of sweat.
I had seen countless geniuses, and was now the enemy of astounding powerhouses.
In order to overcome it without the overpowered traits of a player, the only option left was for me to become stronger as the only one who knew about the future.
The elemental body was not something I could keep up with for now. My fastest stab was slower than its movement, and therefore, what was needed was an analysis instead of my strength.
Analyze myself and analyze the enemy.
Do not overly rely on the body.
Remember the distance and calculate the trajectory.
Contemplate every method possible to make it reach the enemy.
Rather than speed, the reason why elemental bodies were difficult to hit was because of its ability to identify the vibrations in the air and its flying skills that let it avoid attacks in the best way possible.
Attack from the right and it will dodge to the left. Although it might sound obvious, an elemental body could make that happen 100% of the time and was therefore impossible to hit unless one is way faster than it.
That was why being able to destroy an elemental body meant one had the strength to overpower an elemental body. However, was that really the only method to defeat an elemental body?
A spear was a simple weapon.
Stab, swing, retaliate, spin, throw.
Trap and Stab
Those were the five basic ways of the spear. Out of the dozens of derivative attacks, I looked for the most suitable one.
One that could allow me to ignore the lack of my stats;
Secrets of Ominous Snake – Distorted March
Leaving behind the boy who stayed stubborn until the end, Marie headed to the academy cafeteria with her colleagues.
“Did you see him? The guy that was floundering his arms trying to keep up to the elemental body?”
“Ahh~. You mean the freshman, right?”
“How long did it take for you? It took less than an hour for me.”
“Me? I did it in 2 hours!”
“Bullshit. Didn’t it take more than 6 hours or something?”
The freshman at the training room was eye-catching in both good and bad ways to the seniors. He became a bad-mouthing topic for them on their way to the cafeteria.
“Pretty sure Marie did it in an instant last year, right?
“Nn? N, nn.”
“Dude, you can’t even compare that to Marie. She got hers in less than a minute.”
“I once saw Marie dropping 10 in an instant in the training room.”
“A genius is just in a whole different league, I guess.”
She was the strongest mage among the 2nd year students, and was one of the few Grade 1 students of the Academy. Her status was incomparable to that of other students.
“But that boy called Korin was trying really hard!”
Marie gave a bright smile hearing the acknowledgement of his effort from her peer. She was about to explain Korin’s incredible tenacity but…
“It’s just bravado though.”
“Yeah. He’s just trying to be cool.”
“Probably because everyone was hailing him for being a knight from his youth.”
“There is no way a Grade 5 can even hit that. He probably won’t land a hit until his graduation.”
“He’s Grade 5. At best, he would be at Grade 4 by his graduation.”
They all said the same thing, that he was just stubbornly attempting the impossible.
“But… isn’t it amazing? He might really succeed with all his hard work.”
“Marie. You’re saying that because you’re a genius. It’s normal for average people to be unable to do that. People need to know how to be modest and give up.”
“What if you break your own body by pushing yourself like that? It’s best to not even try doing the impossible.”
They sounded cold-hearted but Marie could tell where they were coming from. Unable to come up with words to refute their arguments, Marie pouted and pursed her lips.
“If he began at Grade 5, there’s pretty much zero hope for him. Instead of having false hope, he should instead look for a workplace for post-graduation.”
Was that really the case? She deeply pondered to herself while walking after her friends.
Marie was a so-called genius. Her inborn sensitivity to mana was amplified after entering Merkarva Academy – she passed a Grade Promotion Test in just one semester.
In her bright and sunny world, there had been no despair and frustration.
Hard work? The girl was already a hard worker. As a daughter of an agricultural family, and as the oldest child out of 3 sons and 4 daughters, Marie was definitely not a lazy girl.
She was gifted and also had hard work. Without being content with Grade 1, she was urged by her desire for improvement and various experiences to seek perfection.
That was why the girl, who was praised as a genius, thought to herself.
‘If I failed as much as that boy…’
Would I be able to stay diligent without falling to despair?
Even if she were to sweat like a storm and be unable to deal with a mere elemental body, would she still be able to stand back up on her shivering legs?
It was a future that was difficult to imagine for the girl who had always been distant from the word ‘desperation’.
“Good night, Marie!”
“Marie. We have an orientation tomorrow, right? See you then!”
“The lime juice you gave me last time was amazing!”
After the meal, Marie fully enjoyed the relaxed air of the start of semester and energetically waved her hands to bid farewell. She had to separate from her friends because her dormitory was in the central streets.
She was walking down the central streets which had all sorts of restaurants, stores and entertainment facilities when she suddenly thought of the training room boy.
“I wonder if he’s still doing it.”
The sky was already turning dark and it was about time for magic carriages to stop doing rounds around the city. Soon, it would be the curfew so he should have gone back already.
Marie was unconsciously under the impression that there was no way Korin would have succeeded and packed up already, because hitting an elemental body was too challenging a task for a Grade 5 freshman.
‘He didn’t look like he would give up though…’
It was on the way to the dormitory so… she decided to drop by.
“Ah, umm… I lost something.”
“Really? Lost property is over there…”
“No no no! It was in a corner so you probably didn’t see it!”
While pretending to head to the training room she used, Marie stole a glance at the room Korin was in.
The sound clearly reverberating across the corridor made Marie doubt her ears.
‘Is he still doing it?’
It had already been a few hours since she had left with her friends… How was he still doing it?
Marie walked towards his room and immediately saw the elemental body racing towards the boy.
He threw a sharp stab intending on piercing through the elemental body. Seeing how it was a lot faster than before, Marie doubted her eyes.
Defeating an elemental body was possible for most people as long as they had enough tenacity and hard work. What was necessary was a moment of concentration, and a fundamental level of analysis for the movement and speed of the elemental body.
However, that was something which was only applied to the ‘average’ people. There were actually quite a lot of people that were below average. Even some of the Grade 4s were below average let alone a Grade 5… And Korin Lork who had initially received Grade 6 was a lot below average.
The elemental body easily dodged the second stab. Even though he should be tired, Korin delivered the third stab.
Due to having no eyes, the elemental body relied on the air, vibrations and the ripples to avoid the incoming attacks with a little margin. Because of that, there was something the elemental body couldn’t tell, which Marie could.
Marie doubted her eyes. Those three stabs – because she had a dynamic vision which was even better than most knights, she noticed the intention behind them.
She realized that the three stabs at the elemental body were in fact not trying to pierce through it in the first place.
‘A prison of spears?’
The ripples formed by those three stabs which the elemental body dodged with a tiny margin became a prison that blocked the escape paths of the elemental body. The aftermath and the rippling air remained even after the retrieval of the spear and stopped the elemental body from escaping to those places.
It literally was a prison of spears.
The three stabs which looked like a miss were in fact thoroughly planned attacks that tried to push the elemental body into a corner.
A prison that the elemental body could not escape from due to being an existence that relied on the ripples of the air instead of its vision.
‘A fourth stab? No, it’s too late!’
Three stabs appeared to be his limit. He was late at withdrawing the spear, and by the time he tried to stab again, the elemental body slightly shifted itself away from the trajectory of the spear.
But this time, it wasn’t a stab. The spear curved as he swung it horizontally.
By using the rotational force of his shoulders and his waist, he accelerated the spear and added slight footwork into the mix to create an exceptionally rapid attack.
Without letting it escape, he tried to slash the wings off but…
Thanks to her superhuman sight, Marie saw the elemental body folding its wings right before coming into contact with the spearhead.
‘It folded its wings! That’s unfair!’
The spearhead slashed through the thin air as the elemental body reopened its wings, seemingly in contempt.
It appeared to be condescendingly sending him the message, ‘Good try, but not quite…’
Unlike the derisive elemental body, Marie was in awe at the improvement of her junior as she tightened her fists. She wanted to cheer for him. Her perception was that diligent people deserved joy and applause.
Like how she unknowingly cheered for the turtle in a race against a hare which she saw back when she was young… Marie cheered for Korin.
“You can do it!”
The elemental body fluttered its wings thousands of times in a split second and tried to escape, which meant it would soon be out of Korin’s range.
A sigh left her mouth. She did not see a future where he could land a hit on the elemental body after it resumed its flight.
It was too late. The spear that was swung for the umpteenth time was still too late.
Korin was evidently using everything in his arsenal. He had used every bit of power left in his body to imprison the elemental body.
He must have been confident that his horizontal swing would seal the deal. His feelings caused by that confidence backfiring on him due to a failure was not something she, as an unfailing genius, could imagine.
Was she supposed to console him? Maybe she should have brought some potatoes?
Let’s go tell him it was great; tell him he was awesome. Let’s praise him for his hard work, and encourage him that it will work out next time.
It was right when she was thinking that.
In an instant, the spear bounced up at an unbelievable speed.
The explosive jump of the spear was like a jumping grasshopper – it was a trick caused by his foot kicking on the shaft of the spear.
That traveled slightly faster than the elemental body which was just about to pick up speed.
The body was shattered as its fragments came raining down, and Marie then saw a dumbfounded wind elemental vacantly staring at its shattered body.
She was speechless and after a while, a wide smile appeared on her lips.
“That’s great. He actually did it.”
Like what she did on the day she saw the turtle beating the hare, Marie gazed at the diligent turtle with a bright smile.
One of the common senses in her mind had been cracked.
Words like strong and remarkable… were too commonplace to suit him. An honest impression that could be expressed in one word left her mouth.
The boy would not need any consolation or consideration. Without a word, Marie turned around and headed to her dormitory.
“Distorted March, Tiger’s Gust, Spinning Heaven.”
I picked up the shattered fragments of the elemental body. Following the contract, the elemental inside this egg would have already returned to the empty Spirit Realm.
‘Wasn’t expecting to pull off a skill that I couldn’t even use in the previous iteration…’
Even though it wasn’t the true Void, I caught a glimpse into the ‘Domain’.
‘Can I reach it this time? The heart of dao?’
The spearmanship granted by my master in the previous iteration – even though I wasn’t able to fully master it back then, it might be possible this time.
‘I could go immediately but… that would be too suspicious.’
In fact, the only reason I was able to meet her was because of Park Sihu’s introduction. Right now, I had nothing with me that could pull the attention of my master.
Looking back, I remembered that she used to give a fairly harsh evaluation for Park Sihu.
『That guy is no good. He has zero guts. My regret is that I was too late in taking you in.』
Her eyes for people were accurate thanks to all the years she lived but… that was something I didn’t pay attention to back then.
This must be why you should always listen to your elders.
I was heading to the front desk to return the spear, but the shaft suddenly crumbled and fell on the floor.
This damn practice spear had terrible durability. I had used just a tiny bit of aura in fear that my body wouldn’t be able to handle it and yet the spear ended up breaking.
‘I guess what I need first and foremost to fight properly is a good physique.’
There was only one thing I could rely on to increase my physical strength without relying on the elixirs of Park.
Precept. The clause that I will not disregard the misfortune of the good.
While heading to the dormitory, I gazed at the Merkarva Great Library which stayed bright through the darkness of the night.
Next morning, freshmen were actually granted free time.
The first day was designed to break the spirits of the new students and leave a strong impression of this place, whereas the second day was for students to be guided throughout the systems of the academy and the nearby facilities by the professors and senior students.
Marie was energetic today as well and welcomed the freshmen including me without showing any signs of exhaustion.
For some reason, I felt like she wasn’t here in the freshmen orientation last time, but that might be just due to my bad memories. It was already 3 years ago, and it was natural for her to have a lot of free time as a senior high-achieving student with plenty of free credits.
It wasn’t strange for one of the top high-achievers of the 2nd year students, Marie, to help out with the newcomers.
After a short orientation in the morning, the afternoon was a full-on free time. The freshmen formed groups and were given the time to get to know each other.
Some bravely looked for people to have lunch with, while some made friends from the same Grade under a sense of kinship.
Jaeger, a Grade 3 Knight, grouped up with people similar to him as expected while the Grade 5 Mage Lark… was left out as I thought.
Unable to socialize with others, he headed to the cafeteria by himself. Actually, it was the same for most of the other Grade 5 students.
Scorn and contempt for the under-achieving students who had been assigned Grade 5 in the first grading test was already prevalent across the freshmen.
“Lark… Lark Buhgman.”
I knew of his inferiority complex.
Seeing Park Sihu who started off as Grade 5 just like himself growing at an exponential speed, he had been engulfed by his inferiority complex and had even done things he shouldn’t have done.
Chasing after him, I threw my arm around his drooping shoulders.
Lark was startled by my sudden approach and rolled his eyes around.
“Do you have some time?”
“Uh? Huh? No… I’m going to the dormitory…”
“Your specialty is ‘Memorize’ right?”
He became cautious of me in a fluster. There was nothing to gain for me by instigating his wariness.
“I heard Professor Ronan talking to himself. That spell book – I heard you stored a lot of spells inside.”
I felt his vigilance drop by a little, but he soon became dejected.
‘Memorize’ was a specialty that was quite commonly seen across the Magic Department.
It was an auxiliary system that saved the diagrams of a spell to skip past the complicated procedures and allow a fast enchantment of spells. Easier put, it was a cheat sheet.
It was a specialty you could buy in the game at a Grade 3 store.
Lark had saved all sorts of spells into his spell book. That was something I knew because I saw the densely written list of spells in his spell book in Park Sihu’s trophy storehouse.
He was a hard worker – an intellectual nerd.
“Looks like you couldn’t properly use it in the grading test.”
But saving all sorts of spells and using them was a whole different issue. As a substandard mage with a low Mana Rank, it was hard to make something amazing happen no matter how proficient you were in theory.
“……What do you want?”
It looked like Lark also knew that himself, and he furiously growled in response but he was just a puppy in front of a beast.
I whispered into his ears in a soft voice so that no-one else could hear it.
“Buddy. Shall we have a meal together? And talk about a ‘Grimoire’ while we are at it.”
The word ‘Grimoire’ made him widen his eyes in shock.
‘This hyung will feed you something good. But in return…’
Please let a spirit possess you for me.
And let’s help a Unique Grade demonic spirit go to heaven while we are at it.
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