༺ Finishing Touch (3) ༻
The mastermind behind the 2nd Arc, Fermack Daman, who had been living as a professor for 10 years while deceiving the Merkarva Academy.
If I remember correctly, the users used to call Fermack the Traitor as one of the Elite Four.
[H, help me!]
[I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die!]
[Korin…! Help me!]
Closing my eyes, I could still hear the screams and cries of that time. When we met Fermack Daman again, whom we couldn’t catch at the end of the 2nd Arc, we were imprisoned in a world of nightmares.
A hell called Paradise that was inhabited by beasts of the shadow.
We lost a lot of my teammates.
A lot of innocent people had been killed.
Fermack Daman. One of the four executives of the Evil King – the Strongest Rune Mage, Tates Valtazar – who tries to bring Paradise to this world.
Killing him early was incredibly meaningful, because with the support of the Precept and the Shadow Paradise, his power could even reach the level of a Unique Grade. And…
“I knew it… He doesn’t have it yet, huh.”
I rummaged through the body of the heartless Fermack but couldn’t find what I wanted. It was to be expected though, because he would have used it already if he had it.
One of the 4 great treasures protected by the druids, the Destiny Stone of Falias, Lia Fail. If he was in possession of that item, which he would have later received as a prize for retrieving the Primal Rune, my chance of victory would have fallen below 40%.
But nonetheless, I managed to retrieve the Primal Rune that he stole so that was still okay.
『Primal Rune – ó』
This stone with the rune was one of the eight Primal Runes that could lead one to the Paradise of Erin.
The Advent of Paradise was the goal of the final boss of ❰Heroic Legends of Arhan❱, Tates Valtazar, and he needed to have all the 8 pieces of the Prime for it.
“Just for something like this…”
Just for something like this, they had massacred countless people. Well, I could understand their hatred and anger at the world… but their method was terribly wrong.
I threw my body over the parched land.
Fighting while taking in all the damage of the Golden Mandrake’s scream and the solar runes with my bare body was quite a crazy thing to do for sure.
The Mandrake, the runes and the Shura-mode were all great ways to ruin your body. Honestly, I was only doing it because I had my regeneration ability and I would have long died without it.
But it was thanks to that that I was able to come out on top. Fermack Daman had to be in a rush the whole fight after being pulled into my tricks.
My eyes were very heavy.
My entire upper body was scorched by the runes of the sun and my left eardrum was also ruptured because of the Golden Mandrake. Plus, my right one wasn’t normal either.
What was worse than these injuries, which I could just disregard, were the wounds I gained during the fight against Fermack.
There was a piercing pain in my liver and my right shoulder bones were also crushed. The strike to my chest crushed my sternum and shook my organs.
The only things I could barely move were my left arm and my two legs… and even those were hard to move because of the backlash of Shura.
‘I thought I was used to pain but…’
Despite everything, it was still hard to withstand the pain of having twisted organs.
Huu… Huup… Huu…
While straightening my mind and my breath that could fade away at any given moment, I took a hold of my consciousness. If I lost my consciousness here, the rune stone and my goldie would be…
A faint message appeared in front of my dim vision.
No, that’s not the important thing here…
My vision turned dark.
My eyes slowly closed by themselves. It didn’t take long for my consciousness to escape from my grip.
By the time Korin woke up, he found himself going down a familiar path.
Of course, he wasn’t the one voluntarily moving his body – his body was still in a mess and was bleeding down the track.
“Is this Alicia…?”
Korin vacantly perceived the identity of the girl carrying him by seeing her hair.
“You woke up…”
Alicia was walking down a pathway with Korin behind her back. She was probably heading to the infirmary.
Her martial uniform, which conservative adults would consider as having too much exposure, was revealing her skin that was covered in blood. Even though it should be very uncomfortable for her, Alicia was still walking forward while carrying Korin on her back.
“Working hard aren’t you…”
“Not as much… as you, Mr. Korin.”
His body was still very numb. Since she was a knight, Alicia should be fine carrying a male adult on her back, but Korin was feeling a mental burden from the fact that he was being carried by a girl.
“How did everything go?”
However, it’s not like he could turn her offer down so he gratefully accepted her help.
“Professor Deina has started cleaning everything up. She did seem very sad though. Mr. Dorron went back while everyone else, like Ms. Yuel, were looking for you.”
“Dorron that freaking… unloyal friend…”
“He said don’t expect anything more than that from a business relationship. Also, he said you need to pay him the remaining payment for this incident by next week.”
Korin gave an empty smile while thinking about how that was exactly what he would expect Dorron to say. However, he didn’t hate it – being honest about one’s greed was an adorable thing in comparison to everything he had seen.
“Alicia… Did you…”
“Do you mean the Rune Stone and the Golden Mandrake? I took both of them.”
“…You’re surprisingly quite sharp today aren’t you?”
“Eeeek…! You know you’re on my back right, Mr. Korin? Do you want me to shake you!?”
“Wait wait. Don’t… My organs are going to shake as well…”
Realizing once again that Alicia was such a nice girl who wouldn’t even talk about throwing him away even in the heat of the moment, Korin gave a grin.
“I’m alive… thanks to you.”
“It’s nothing much.”
Alicia smiled widely as she continued walking down the road. Riding on her back, Korin forced open his eyes that were still threatening to close and tried his best to keep himself conscious.
“Say something. I might fall asleep again.”
“…You can just take a nap and rest. It won’t take long.”
“No. If I sleep… my regeneration speed will also slow down.”
His regeneration was based on the ‘tenacious spirit’. In other words, it was better for him to tenaciously stay conscious for a better regeneration.
“Okay. Then… Why did you fight by yourself?”
Her voice was a lot lower than usual, as if she was trying to rebuke him.
“Because it was necessary.”
Hearing his ambiguous response, Alicia slowed down her steps. Because of that sudden reduction in speed, her fluttering strands of hair tickled his cheeks.
“Honestly, I have no idea how much you know and what you are trying to accomplish, Mr. Korin.”
She started off with the question that had constantly been on her mind, but Alicia wasn’t going to delve deeper into that now.
“Isn’t it alright… to fight together until the end?”
Korin looked back on the past with a bitter smile on his face as he reminisced in the memories of the last iteration.
People with a good personality that risked themselves for the right things – the so-called heroes always looked like they were in a precarious spot for the ones watching them from the side.
Korin’s old friends used to ask something similar in the past.
Even when he gladly offered his neck to the girl that just awakened as a vampire, and even when challenging the great evil of the world that he would stand no chance against without the support of his Precepts…
He simply did not look after his body, and that was very evident for everyone watching him from the side.
“I am aware of it myself. I will ask for help next time.”
“Of course you should. Because we are… umm…, ehem…!”
While Alicia was hesitantly thinking about her next words, Korin regained a bit of strength so he lowered his legs back on the ground.
“That’s enough. Let’s… take a rest at that bench over there.”
“Shouldn’t we go to the infirmary for a…”
“Resting at a bench is more than enough.”
His voice was still energyless but Alicia noticed the firm resolve in his tone, so she headed to the nearby bench and laid him on top. Seeing him lying down on the bench, Alicia was fidgeting her hands when Korin opened his mouth.
“My head hurts…”
She quickly lifted his head and sat on the bench where his head used to be. Only after resting his head on her soft thigh did Korin heave a small sigh of comfort.
He slowly reopened his mouth.
“If you weren’t there… we wouldn’t have been able to kill the King of Iron Mountain.”
“All I did was swing my sword once.”
“The action itself is important, but what you achieved with that action is just as important.”
“…You’ve been preparing for this fight, right? Mr. Korin?”
Alicia had felt her breath coming to a stop after seeing the aftermath of the fight at the empty plot of land. Back when they borrowed the land to boil Mandrake into a stew as well as when they were practicing spearmanship for the group assignment… Alicia could still remember him carving runes across the land whenever he had time.
Hundreds of rune letters on the ground… and the pebbles of rune that he gave to Marie – it was extremely evident that he had been arranging a lot of things for the fight for a very long time.
“Yes. I did prepare for it.”
She didn’t ask him how he knew about this beforehand. Instead, Alicia quietly gazed at Korin resting beneath her chest before carefully raising a question.
Plenty of time had already gone by. There was a scorching red sunset on the horizon and the light from the setting sun was shining brightly on Korin’s figure on this inhabited bench. Revealed by that spotlight were traces of burns all over his body – despite his seared skin, his eyes were still burning as brightly and clearly as the sunset.
‘This person’s eyes are always clear,’ thought Alicia. They were endlessly clean and tough. Even though he was stepping on a puddle of his own blood, his eyes were chasing after something remarkably beautiful.
She wondered where his strength was coming from. Were adults all like this?
“Ah. L, let me cover your eyes!”
“It’s fine… Let’s just, stay like this for a while.”
As if he sensed her silent gaze resting on him, Korin mischievously opened his mouth.
“Geez… How blessed of a mom am I to have a daughter like Alicia?”
“…You’re treating me like a kid again.”
“Didn’t you say I was like a mother?”
“It was just a figure of speech.”
The silly smile on his face and his heartwarming gaze that were looking at her like an adorable baby were a sign that he was considering her as a young child.
Pinch! She gently pinched on the nose of the annoying boy.
“Aiya… my bad, my bad. Ahh, I’m starving.”
The boy easily glossed over her response and changed the topic.
Due to losing a lot of blood, his mind was going back and forth. His next remark that reached Alicia’s ears was probably an unconscious one.
“It’s better… for less people to die.”
“That was very sudden.”
“Why is everyone so… insensitive…?”
Was he talking about the mastermind of this incident? Or was it someone else that Alicia wasn’t aware of?
In any case, Alicia soothed his mind.
“You have done more than enough.”
“Yeah… This… should be good enough. Yeah…”
Fatigued, Korin completely relaxed his body with his eyes closed. He and Alicia stayed at the bench for quite a while.
※ Difficulty: A
※ Reward: Even distribution of 60 points
Inside the single room of the infirmary, I checked the reward I received for this incident.
It was a bit… less than I thought.
Until now, the rewards I had received from the Precept were all from dealing with specific targets. In the case of Marie and Alicia, I had even gotten a specialty along with the stat points.
But as for Fermack, it wasn’t as if it was decided that he would be killing a specific good-natured person, so that was probably why it said [Many Unspecified] as the name of the reward.
It’s not like I couldn’t understand what was going on, but wasn’t this still a bit too small considering I killed one of the executives…?
“…What the heck?”
Why is this coming out here?
Findias. That was the name of the mysterious land that contained Claiomh Solais, which was another one of the 4 great treasures just like Lia Fail.
The top epic-graded items, the 4 treasures. From what I knew, they were all supposed to be in the hands of Tates Valtazar.
In fact, Claoimh Solais was the solar sword of one of the Elite Fours, the King of Beauty, Ohad. What I received just then as a reward was the ‘map’ of the place where that sword was buried. They just drove the location into my mind.
‘Seriously. That stupid Mr. Park received stuff like this as an item in his inventory and here I am, having these driven into my head.’
Isn’t this player discrimination?
Anyway… it seemed that those ruins would open up during the solar eclipse. I will have to look into that later…
“Korin! I cut all the apples. Here!”
A bright voice woke me up from my rumination. Marie, who was here for a visit, handed me a piece of apple on a fork with a bright smile on her face.
Just like what one would expect from her personality, she had sliced them into bunny shapes. Unfortunately, I had to wear casts because of the broken bones in my arms and I thus couldn’t move them. The bones were already fine again, and yet for some reason, it seemed that I still needed to refrain from using them.
“Open your mouth. Say ‘Ahh~’”
“Ehew, good boy~”
Marie patted my head after I bit on the apple in her hands.
Mhmm… this isn’t too bad. Ah, by that, I mean the apple of course.
Jaeger and Lark, who had similarly come over for a visit with packets of snacks in their hands, had unfriendly gazes in their eyes.
“What? What’s wrong, huh?”
“…You freaking bastard.”
“You don’t deserve to be worried.”
Are you jealous? Huh? You jelly? Why don’t you have all your bones fractured like me then, huh!
“Korin! Would you like some peaches as well? I can slice them up for you!”
“Of course~. Anything will be delicious.”
It has been 3 days since the King of Iron Mountain incident. Marie was staying in the infirmary looking after me without even returning to her dormitory.
“Mr. Korin~! I’m here!”
Alicia pushed the door open with a slam. In her hands was a dessert set which high school girls would love to eat.
“Hey. Be careful with the door. You might break it.”
“Haht! I’ll be careful.”
“But seriously~. Single rooms are great, aren’t they~.”
This room was big enough to hold a lot of visitors, which was definitely a plus. Alicia was opening the box of desserts that she brought when someone started knocking on the window.
– Knock knock.
Looking outside, I saw Hua Ran in her nun clothes knocking on the glass. This was the 13th floor though…
“…Please open it for her.”
Alicia immediately went to the window and opened it as Hua Ran nonchalantly walked into the room.
“That’s not the entrance. We have a functioning door so why do you keep coming in from the window?”
While disregarding my words of disapproval, Hua Ran placed a flat fish on top of the table.
“…Is this a gift for me?”
“Please cut it.”
You want me to cut an 8-inch giant flathead? Where the hell did you even get this from?
“I’ll do it later.”
“And you can have the rest.”
Let’s think of this as something positive. She must be trying to show her goodwill on her part… right?
Since we were all together in one place, we spent time chatting and playing some simple games. There was a bizarre combination of food – a flathead, a cake and fruits but… well, kids their age should be able to digest steel so it should be fine.
– Knock knock!
Thinking that we had more visitors, Jaeger walked up to the door and opened it as people I had been waiting for finally showed themselves.
“Korin Lork. How is your body?”
Coming in from the door were Senior Professor Josephine Clara of the Academy, and a man with an appearance that seemed a bit… too young to be the Chairman of the Academy.
Chairman Eriu Casarr. It was him.
“It seems that a lot of things have happened during my absence. My heart skipped a beat when I heard what happened from Professor Clara.”
As if. That’s not even your real body.
“Hello, Mr. Chairman.”
Despite what I was thinking on the inside, I welcomed ‘her’, who was officially the Chairman of Merkarva Academy.
I think it’s about time for us to reveal our hands, Master.
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