Chapter 61 – Underground Kingdom (1)
Deckard’s condition was serious . He overcame a critical point through emergency procedures performed with herbs that an elven man named Fagan had on him, but he still did not regain consciousness .
“He constantly pushed himself too far . Adequate rest is also necessary . He ran out of mana at a critical juncture again . ”
Arkaard was beside Deckard when he was injured . It had been something he would have been able to take care of easily had he been able to use Glare, but his magic failed at a critical moment, and he was pushed into a corner which allowed him to be mortally wounded .
“The problem is the poison . The imp’s weapons are coated with some dirty poison made by fermenting troll shit . We washed away all the poison, but some of it already made its way into Mr Deckard’s body and ate away his vitality . ”
Fagan, who was known to have fought the demons from a young age, accurately diagnosed Deckard’s current condition . Sungchul also agreed with his assessment .
Sungchul immediately combed the ground in search of something . He found a plant that was growing along some rocks that appeared like a colposcope and grabbed a handful . The plant was named the Solitary Plant and is sometimes seen in this area . If the plant was ground and applied to the afflicted area, the imp’s poison could be neutralised to a certain extent . It was one of many useful things he picked while living on the Demonic Battlefront . The effect was mediocre at best, but at a place like this with no doctors or priest, herbs like this were worth its weight in gold .
“You’re just going to use it like that?”
As he was preparing to pound it with a pestle, Bertelgia popped out wanting to speak . Sungchul nodded in response, and Bertelgia rebuked him .
“You’re going to reduce its efficacy like that, and you don’t even know what kind of side-effects it might have . Why not act like an alchemist and apply your skills to solve the problem?”
Bertelgia was giving such luxurious advice in such dire times when every second counted, but as he thought on her words a bit more, it did have some rationality to it . People have said, “When you’re in a rush, take a step back . ” Sungchul checked on Deckard’s condition once again . It looked like he could hold on for a moment longer .
He left the barracks again and took a whiff of the Solitary Plant . Alchemic information relating to the Solitary Plant appeared before him .
< Thousand Year Solitary Plant >
Effect: Detoxification, Damage Poison
Note: A perennial plant found on rocky mountains near the Demonic Realm . It has a neutralisation effect due to the influence from the Demonic Realm . However, it is also poisonous itself so take care during usage .
“There is also poison in the Solitary Plant . ”
Sungchul had used the Solitary Plant many times, but he wasn’t aware that the plant itself contained poison . It was because the plant was relatively rare, and its distinct smell prevented it from being used as anything else other than medicine .
“Of course . It is a plant growing off the radiating Demonic Energy from the Demonic Realm . It wouldn’t be able to survive without producing toxins to protect itself . It’s a characteristic shared by all the flora growing in this region next to the Demonic Realm . ”
This meant that there was a need to neutralise the poison . Sungchul brought out the Soul Storage and began to lay out the alchemic ingredients that had been gathered over time as he contemplated on a solution .
He was most confident with using what he had always used: Blind Man’s Grass . It felt as though the Blind Man’s Grass, with its similar wood attribute, would be most suitable when used with the Solitary Plant . However, Bertelgia landed on his hand as he reached for the Blind Man’s Grass and spun side to side .
“… what are you doing?”
“Don’t look for the easiest path; think a bit harder . ”
“Think about what?”
“Don’t just think about extracting the poison, but look at the situation in its entirety . The characteristics of the poison inside Mr Deckard for example . ”
“You mean the troll shit poison?”
“Yep . Isn’t that ultimately what you’re trying to detoxify?”
Pitchforks with troll shit smeared on them were lying all over the ground . Sungchul grabbed one and took a whiff to check . He then began heaving from the atrocious stench, but he could see the alchemic information regarding the shit poison appearing before his eyes .[Troll’s Faeces(Northern)]
Note: According to Legend, these Northern Trolls were raised like cattle by a now an extinct kingdom of an avian race . This avian race used the faeces for several different uses, but one of them was gathering it to form metal . Keep in mind that the sense of smell of this avian race was not well developed!
Reading the note, something clicked in Sungchul’s mind .
“The troll shit has traces of rusted metal . ”
Bertelgia’s body shook up and down .
“Mm-hmm . That’s exactly it!”
Solitary Plant . Blind Man’s Grass . Troll shit . He looked at these conflicting ingredients, then turned his attention to his other ingredients .
Alchemic items had a total of 5 attributes: Fire, Water, Wood, Metal, and Null . Other than the null attribute that only exists in theory, everything in alchemy existed in between these four attributes . It was a complex system where fire overpowered wood and metal, and water overpowered fire and metal . However, water was weak to wood . Even so, the system doesn’t have too strict of a rule; thus the strength of each attribute could change by its concentration .
Sungchul focused on removing the metal attribute of the troll shit . A fire attribute alchemic item that could suppress the metal attribute was needed, but to overpower the metal attribute, the fire attribute must be powerful . However, he didn’t have any fire attribute item that could easily subdue the metal attribute . The only alchemic item in his possession with enough impact to overpower the metal attribute contained wood attribute . It was the porous seeds of the Firework Tree that he used to create the Alchemic Bomb (Darkness) at Airfruit .
Sungchul let out a groan as he continued to brush the fuzzy seeds . Bertelgia who was watching him from the side thought to herself .
‘This guy… he has talent . To find the answer among all those ingredients… Is it intuition or is it luck?’
Bertelgia wanted to let him think on it a bit longer, but she also knew that there wasn’t much time . She threw out another piece of advice .
“Attributes can change for certain items if you process it . ”
“So that was the case . ”
Sungchul’s eyes lit up . It was a refreshing feeling as though a fog had lifted as soon as he heard her advice . His movements were quick, but he carefully trimmed each seed with great care and attention . That aspect was also a ‘plus’ in Bertelgia’s eyes .
‘As expected . He definitely has talent . ’
The ability to exercise this level of leisure even in the middle of a crisis was considered a part of someone’s gift in alchemy . It wasn’t just an insult to say that the lazy and half-assed could never be an alchemist . Sungchul, who was pruning each seed, began to pound the seeds with a pestle and synthesised a bright red powder from his alchemic cauldron with a couple of additional ingredients .
< Essence of Porous Seed >
Effect: Ingredient for Explosives . Handle with Care .
He succeeded in converting the wood attribute into fire attribute . Sungchul looked at the ingredients in his possession once again: Solitary Plant, Blind Man’s Grass, Essence of Porous Seed .
The recipe hadn’t been given to him, but the vague idea of how the alchemic item would form appeared in his mind . The experience he had gathered and the knowledge he accumulated were applied to his creativity, which led to a creation of his own .
He immediately began working with controlled haste . He added the concentrate he gathered from the crushed Solitude Plant to distilled water . He then boiled the mixture to evaporate the water . Finally, he filtered the mixture through a filter leaving only the concentrate on it . It wasn’t something anyone had taught him . He applied the process of synthesising wood attribute items verbatim to this item . This was meant to remove the impurities and retain only the concentrate with the desired components .
Sungchul added the Blind Man’s Grass to the cauldron and boiled it to create a separate counteragent, then added the Solitude Plant concentrate and the Essence of Porous Seed to the mixture . He hesitated regarding the amount of Porous Seed Essence to add .
“For that, it’s fine to just add a little bit . ”
Bertelgia gave her input at the critical moment, and Sungchul began to add a minute amount as though he was flavouring a dish with salt with a faint smile on his face . Finally came the synthesis . He stirred his mixture within the alchemic cauldron and obtained a result after a considerable time had passed .[Synthesis Success!]
It was a reward befitting the effort . However, there was more to his reward than he thought .[You have successfully produced an alchemic Item without anyone’s teaching through personal experience and knowledge as foundation . ] [Great Alchemists have no use for recipes . ]
Reward: +10 Magic Power , +15 Intuition
Unexpected words along with a strange light that burst forth from Bertelgia’s body was drawn to Sungchul’s body like steel to a magnet .
“Bertelgia, what is this?”
Sungchul looked directly at her as he asked his question .
“That is one of the trials of the Creationist . I did help out a bit though…”
“… . ”
It wasn’t a simple trial . Sungchul recognised that the new strength that entered his body did indeed come from Bertelgia’s body . It was similar to the instance in the basement of House of Recollections with the Baal . He felt uncomfortable about it, but there was a more important matter at hand . He checked the item produced within the cauldron .
< Antidote >
Effect: Cures poison . Specialises in poisons with the Metal attribute .
It was the appropriate item . It had even received an A grade .
“Wow! It’s even an A grade?! Even though it was the first recipe you created . ”
Bertelgia shook her body within his pocket . Sungchul immediately grabbed the antidote and entered the barracks . Aakard and Fagan were caring for Deckard inside .
“Could I have a moment?”
Sungchul excused himself and approached Deckard .
“What is that?”
Aakard saw that Sungchul held something in his hand, and asked bluntly .
“It is the medicine that will save this man . ”
Sungchul popped open the antidote and poured the antidote over the wound on Deckard’s neck . Deckard let out a loud moan in pain .
“Mmm… . ”
Arkaard’s eyes were no longer friendly, but Fagan held him back from the side . Instead, he shot out a question in a frosty tone .
“What is this made of?”
Sungchul didn’t give him a glance as he answered the question .
“1000 years Solitude Plant . ”
Fagan nodded . Arkaard also nodded but made another rebuke .
“If you use the Solitude Plant now, Deckard won’t be able to hold on for much longer . Did you know that Solitude Plant has poison?”
“This is made after removing that poison . ”
Sungchul opened Deckard’s mouth and had him drink the antidote . He spat out most of it, but a few drops had been swallowed . After a few moments, the fever finally subsided . Another critical moment had been passed safely .
The demon race goes into seclusion during the winter because demons are weak against the cold . Of course, the high ranking demons would not suffer from a slight chill but their minions were affected . The low ranking demons that would form the bulk of the demonic army could not endure the cold, and so they had to remain in their posts . A brief peace took place on the Demonic Battlefront during the long winters as the demons were not a race known for taking the initiative .
The Suicide Unit was no exception . They received no further attacks from the demons after receiving significant damage from the ambush last week . Even the patrols that made the rounds reported back that the demons had returned to their fire and ice covered homeland .
Sungchul took this peaceful moment to roam about the rocky mountains of the Demonic Battlefront on his own . He was seeking the entrance to the Underground Kingdom that was supposed to exist around these parts . Deckard, who was sent to the rear, gave him a bit of information . Deckard told him that the entrance to the Underground Kingdom existed on the rugged rocky mountains where the Realm of Demons and Humans met .
He had said that the location would reveal itself during an eclipse, but there were still two months to go until the next eclipse . Sungchul didn’t have the luxury of waiting out that long . This was the reason that he was turning the rocky mountain upside down by himself . He continued spending his days eliminating the disparate mobs of demons he met with magic as he roamed until he saw an unusual scene . A ship that navigated the skies, a single sky cruiser, leisurely travelled across the skies of the Demonic Battlefront .
‘It’s not a ship from the Human Empire . Is that flag of the Ancient Kingdom?’
The Ancient Kingdom . It was a militaristic nation steeped in rich history that was known to be the longest living human nation on the continent . They view the usage of magic as unjust, and thus strictly forbid its usage . Instead, they systematically developed people to the peak of sword mastery and used them as the main force . They were existences known as Sword Masters . These Sword Masters, all with skills on par with Aaron Genghis, was what allowed the Ancient Kingdom to retain their place as a powerful nation even in the centre of the continent . However, Sungchul knew that they secretly utilised magicians despite their outward taboo of magic .
A party of people descended from the Ancient Kingdom’s Airship . They were a small party of 13 . Sungchul noticed that half of them were magicians with a single glance .
‘What is an Ancient Kingdom Airship doing in a place like this?’
The mystery was resolved before long . A female mage in command five homunculi beneath her feet stood over a fissure in the rocks and recited a spell . The fissure opened, and a cave that opened downwards like a well revealed itself .