Chapter 21 – Inextinguishable Fire (2)
A small explosion occurred inside the cauldron . Sungchul took in the fungal smoke then blankly read the message which appeared before him .
This was already his third attempt . His gaze naturally moved over to Bertelgia who was floating near the cauldron .
“Bertelgia . ”
“How did this happen?”
“What do you mean, ‘how did this happen’?”
She replied obtusely and opened up one of her pages before Sungchul .
“You’re failing because you didn’t read the book properly and only glanced over the ingredients before you started . ”
He didn’t have anything to say because she was speaking the truth .
“Now, slowly read the page again . Starting from how much of each ingredient to add and followed by reading the instructions . Don’t just eyeball it . ”
“I didn’t eyeball it…”
Sungchul had pride in his status as a top-class chef . He calmed his heart, then looked over the pages displayed by Bertelgia more seriously . His gaze gaining a more solemn light .
‘Now that I’ve read it again, it does read like a cookbook . ’
Other than the final product, cooking and alchemy were mostly of a similar process . Sungchul entirely focused all of his attention .
Bertelgia, seeing his changed attitude, muttered a few words .
“Well, maybe he has some talent . ”
After some time had passed a blue light softly began to gather around the cauldron, and the ingredients within turned into a single product . It had become a dark and congealed liquid .[Synthesis Complete!]
Sungchul released a breath of relief, finally rewarded after putting in so much effort .[Inextinguishable Fire]
Type: Ingredient / Consumable
Effect: Flammable Substance . Water excites the flames .
This time it had been properly created . Sungchul gathered some dry branches to try out the inextinguishable flames .
“You’re not trying to test it, are you?”
He nodded at Bertelgia’s question .
“Hmm . It won’t be easy to manage the flames . Dig a pit before setting it on fire . If you’re unlucky, you might just burn down the whole forest . ”
Despite her warning, He took one of the alchemic charcoal that was blazing underneath the cauldron with his hands, then held it towards the pile of tinder .
Fueled by the Inextinguishable Fire, the small ember burned fiercely .
‘It is a very controlled burn . I think this has some practical use . ’
The soft smoke blocking his vision gradually became thicker . There were a lot of problems still left to solve, but discovering a possible solution let Sungchul feel much better about the whole situation .
“Hey? What are you going to do with that?”
The inextinguishable fire burned fiercely . It looked as though, at the rate it was going, it would soon burn down the entire mountain .
“… . ”
Sungchul stood in front of the flickering flames and looked at it with passive eyes .
“What are you doing now?”
He suddenly punched towards the fire . An unbelievable amount of force was carried by the punch which caused the flames to flicker weakly .
Between Bertelgia’s fearful gasps, he threw out a couple more punches and uneventfully extinguished the inextinguishable fire; then after the fire went out, he grabbed Bertelgia .
“W-what are you doing?”
Bertelgia asked as she fluttered in panic .
“I’m finished, so I’m packing everything up . ”
“Finished? What do you mean finished? I still have as much knowledge as there is sand on the beach! Can’t you just leave me be? The storage is dark and humid . I don’t like it . ”
“You stand out too much . ”
“What if I just stay inconspicuous?”
“You’re too big, and you fly . ”
“How dare you talk about a woman’s size, so cruel . ”
“Well, miss . Would you mind going into the storage now?”
“I-I can become smaller! I don’t have to fly either . ”
She shined bright then became palm-sized as if to prove her words .
Her pitch grew higher relative to her reduced size .
Sungchul looked at the reduced Bertelgia for a bit before nodding .
“That size seems fine . ”
He put her inside the military jacket that he was wearing . She seemed to be a perfect fit for the pocket, as though she had adjusted herself to its size, but a bit still peeked out slightly after she had settled . She spoke out quickly after seeing Sungchul glance over at her .
“I want to see some scenery . ”
He didn’t deny her to that degree but instead fell deep into thought .
‘I made the weapon, but now I need to find a way to pour it onto the wolfmen . ’
Werewolves couldn’t use magic, but they did have a bestial instinct . It was so advanced that they could even dodge arrows coming from four different directions . They also had significantly higher dexterity than the average person, so it would be difficult to even land a drop of this liquid onto them with a half-baked plan .
“What are you thinking so deeply about?”
Bertelgia, who had been quiet in the pocket, popped out with a question .
“I’m trying to think of how to get the inextinguishable fire onto the wolfmen . ”
“Daddy often used a dragon-headed tube and sprayed it like it was breathing fire, or he tossed out some pottery with a trigger . ”
“But that’s too slow . They wouldn’t fall for something like that unless they’re stupid . ”
“It’s just a matter of making them fall for it then . ”
After listening to her thoughts, an idea flickered in Sungchul’s head . Krill’s message and Ahram’s living corpse . Both events seemed to be unrelated, but their timing was too opportune to call them a coincidence .
‘So that’s it . Dolorence Winterer is actually trying to eliminate the preselected . Among them, Ahram must be her number one target . ’
The werewolves will have to target Ahram . They would also have to tear apart the corpse completely so that it was unrecognizable . That was the only way Dolorence would escape any fault . Sungchul decided to target these facts in his plan .
“ ‘Ey, Mr . whatchurname . What do you have for me this time?’
Jungshik looked deflated from the incident with Ahram, but he was still a figure who had a large influence within the Blanche Plaza . The overflowing confidence and sharp aura, however, had withered . He moved his camp to the corner farthest away from the preselected and the number of guards also seemed to have increased .
“I have to talk to you about the next rank match . ”
Sungchul briefly summarized what was going to occur for the next rank match . It would be a death match style with human vs human combat, and the score would be based on the number of kills, etc . He omitted the part about werewolves making their appearance in the match though .
“Hoh~ News sure travels fast . How did you get this information?”
“I can’t tell you that, but if you cooperate with me, I’m more than willing to share it with you each time . ”
A mischievous smile formed on Jungshik’s lips .
“Well, let’s leave it at that then . What did you want from me?”
Sungchul requested to organize Jungshik’s forces during the rank match . He wanted Jungshik’s people to stay behind until ordered .
“Hoh~ You’re concerned about us? Or maybe you’re more concerned about how much points we would earn?”
“If you only care about the points, you’re welcome to ignore what I have to say . ”
Sungchul left Jungshik with these words . He knew it would be pointless to waste more words arguing after already having said everything that needed to be said . He was also confident that Jungshik would listen to him . Jungshik had already gained from his previous advice, and he was feeling cautious after his losses . Jungshik was also more clever than he looked . Every loss from Jungshik’s faction risked Hakchul regaining his control over the plaza .
‘I think we can prevent major losses on our side from the werewolves with this . ’
He had prepared a relatively sharp blade . All he had to do now was to prepare a shield to defend against the enemy’s blade which was several times sharper than his . Sungchul observed Ahram who was sitting outside of the training center and looking out with a blank stare .
“Uuu… . . Uuu… . !!”
The hooded Ahram clacked his teeth while swinging his body from side to side like a roly-poly* . Everyone continued to avoid him as he looked to be unwell and was continuously making unsettling noises . Sungchul made his way to the preselected faction across from Ahram and sought out Yuhoon .
“You wanted to speak with me?”
He pretended to be polite, but his face and attitude clearly displayed that he didn’t want to deal with Sungchul . He couldn’t say when it had started, but Yuhoon had gotten a bad impression of Sungchul .
Sungchul realized this after the second rank match had finished . He had gathered up the ostracized preselected and gotten high scores . Inversely, the other preselected who had Divine Elixirs had become undesirables . The leadership of the two had naturally been compared, which eventually got to Yuhoon .
“I’ll be brief because I need to start training . ”
Sungchul acted naturally as if none of these insignificant squabbles bothered him . He spoke his prepared words calmly .
“I came to share some hot information, fresh from my mage . ”
“What information is that?”
Yuhoon had been cautious around Sungchul, but hearing that it was from a mage relaxed his guard . Sungchul looked around and spoke in a hushed voice .
“It is not confirmed, but I’ve heard that in the next match there will be people who’re targeting us specifically among the opposition . ”
“It looks like they are enemies of the people taking care of us . The mage said that the people taking care of us would take a big hit if they kill us . In the end, it’s all rumors but…”
“So what do you want?”
“I want us, the preselected, to organize ourselves at the rear . ”
The enemies weren’t just the werewolves . There were as many people with the werewolves as there are people within the Blanche Plaza . It was also convenient to separate the average summoned from the werewolves to enact his plan . This was why he had approached Yuhoon to talk about how they would dispatch, but Yuhoon only looked at him coldly .
“I think that might be difficult . ”
Yuhoon was overwhelmed with negative influences from his opportunistic nature and other tedious feelings like envy that were controlling him . He stared at Sungchul unblinking and with a mocking chipper voice he said,
“I have to achieve a good score during this rank match no matter what . You might be able to take it easy after getting the top score in the last match, but my friends standing behind me and I don’t have that luxury . We have to make it up this match . My comrades and I will be standing at the front lines .
“Is that so? You might die?”
“Is that a threat?”
Yuhoon frowned and bared his teeth . It was an intimidating face without a trace of the amiability he always carried . Sungchul had assessed him accurately during their first encounter .
‘Is this Yuhoon’s true face? Truly pitiful . Staking so much pride on such a small amount of authority . ’
Sungchul decided there was no more cooperation to be gained from Yuhoon, then spoke again .
“Well… if you insist, then I won’t press you anymore . I can only ask the others directly . ”
“I wonder how many people will listen to you . ”
“At the very least, I’ll be taking Ahram with me . ”
Upon hearing his last words, Yuhoon finally let loose his guard and broke out in laughter .
“Take him . If you can, that is . ”
Sungchul smiled widely and headed over towards Ahram .
“Hey, Ahram! Let’s go!”
Ahram, who had been swinging back and forth, turned and bared his teeth at Sungchul when he approached .
Between his clothing, the grotesque arm of a werewolf began to appear . Self-preservation . It was the only thought specifically placed within the corpse of Ahram .
“Let’s go, boy! It’s time for your meds!”
Sungchul relaxedly supported Ahram and began walking forward . Strangers might have thought it was just someone supporting a sick person . Yuhoon and the other preselected whispered quietly, wondering since when have the two of them gotten so close with one another, none knew the truth .
“… . ”
A living corpse had no need for organs . Sungchul looked over at Ahram, whose empty internal cavity had been filled with Inextinguishable Fire, then wrapped Ahram’s body with a cloak and left .
“Uuuu… . ”
Ahram, finding himself alone again, once more began to swing his body from side to side .
The preparations had been completed .