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    Chapter 22: Your Name

    HuffHuff…”

    Do-joon had been holding his breath until he arrived home using the return skill.

    It was to be expected. Facing a boss monster with a compatibility rate over 70% and being unscathed would have been the real anomaly.

    As the familiar sights of his store came into view, Do-joon let out a deep breath.

    Once he had calmed down a bit, the image of the boss room he had glimpsed flashed through his mind.

    “It looked somewhat like a chapel.”

    That was the fleeting impression he had. It was only for a moment, so he couldn’t see the details.

    And as usual, the boss seemed to resemble a ghoul in appearance, as far as he could remember.

    He thought he might have seen something else flit by, but nothing else came to mind.

    He had been so hurried in his retreat after seeing the figure 71% that his mind was a blur.

    “Ha… 70% would be at least A-grade.”

    A far cry from his current level.

    No, what’s A-grade? If it had a tricky nature or special abilities, it could well qualify as S-grade.

    Frowning deeply, Do-joon reached for his phone and made a call.

    Ring… Ring…

    Click.

    -Hello?

    “Hi Ms. Ji-ah, it’s Do-joon.”

    -What’s going on? You haven’t been in touch for days. Need me to match you for a dungeon?

    “No, I’m good on that front for now. Actually…”

    Do-joon requested access to the monster database the association was keeping, focusing particularly on undead monsters of A-grade and above.

    -Why’s that? You’re still F-rank, Mr. Do-joon. You can’t enter A-grade dungeons…

    “I need to look into something. Will it take long?”

    -No, I’ll send it right over.

    After hanging up and waiting a bit, an email arrived.

    Information on monsters that had been discovered and subdued, with detailed accounts of undead monsters of A-grade and above.

    The Death Knights of Deocon, the Doom Worms of Evilheim, the Necropolis which was a dungeon that was a monster in itself, and the Bone Dragon that was once called a calamity.

     

    The entities listed towards the end were classified as S-grade, but regardless, Do-joon read through all the high-tier undead entries.

    He went over them again and again, twice, thrice, just in case he missed something.

    And his conclusion was:

    ‘There’s not a single monster that resembles that guy.’

    There was absolutely no useful information.

    The only consistent detail was that undead monsters are weak to holy attributes. When struck with holy attributes, the flames of purification would flare up, causing them extreme agony.

    Even elementary school students would know this.

    Do-joon gritted his teeth in frustration.

    ‘What do I do? Do I have to wait outside until my compatibility rate reaches 70%?’

    That would be the textbook answer, but it didn’t seem like a very good idea.

    The compatibility rate was similar to a level in a video game. So it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before he reached 70% by just hunting monsters continuously. But that wasn’t the case.

    Once you passed 60%, it became difficult to catch monsters with simple hunting.

    That’s why most ordinary hunters retired at B-rank without even reaching 60%. Only those with talent or overwhelming skill performance could overcome that wall and reach A-rank. S-rank was even more of a monster.

    ‘I can definitely break through A-rank with my copying ability. But…….’

    How long would it take?

    Do-joon had only been able to achieve a compatibility rate of 35% in less than half a year, and that was all thanks to the unique hunting ground called the Dungeon.

    Without the Dungeon, it would take years to reach 70% through dungeons alone.

    ‘It could take 10 years.’

    But he didn’t have the luxury of investing 10 years in this.

    Even though A-rank hunters were socially considered celebrities, they were still far from being able to reach for a mythical item like the Golden Elixir.

    He couldn’t invest all 10 years, which could be a time limit, and only end up as an A-rank.

    ‘……I have to find a way.’

    He had to find a way to defeat the boss, no matter what. That was the only way to clear the Dungeon and get the key to the next tier Dungeon.

    ‘But how?’

    In the end, the problem came back to the beginning.

    How to deal with a boss that was equivalent to A-grade, or maybe even S-grade.

    Do-joon searched his room for a week,

    But he wasn’t able to come up with any concrete plans before the cooldown time of his Return skill was up.

    ***

    [You have entered the Collapsed Temple.]

    The temple that Do-joon re-entered was still desolate.

    It was quite different from the first time he entered, when hundreds of ghouls were crawling around like insects in the yard.

    Now, it was just a collapsed ruin, and with no one else but himself, it felt even more eerie.

    But then.

    [A hidden quest has been generated.]

    A familiar message appeared.

    ‘Hidden quest?’

    The word “hidden quest” reminded him of something.

    The 1st tier dungeon Catacomb, where he first acquired the copying ability.

    Didn’t something like a hidden quest pop up as soon as he entered that place?

    That quest where he received ‘Insight’ as an additional reward.

    Do-joon’s heart skipped a beat.

    Insight was a great skill that he had been using frequently.

    So the thought of getting a reward equivalent to that quest… no, rather.

    ‘Wouldn’t there be some kind of hint?’

    He was more expecting a clue to clear the dungeon.

    He began to read the quest details with a serious expression.

    [Quest]

    • Collect the forgotten names.
    • A name is the basis of existence for something to be distinguished from all the nameless things in this world. A soul whose name is forgotten will eventually be forgotten and simply disappear.
    • If you find the name, the soul will once again leave its mark on the memory of the stars.

    “What is this?”

    Do-joon tilted his head.

    Unlike the Catacombs, where he was simply told to break through the dungeon, the quest details were rather vague.

    Whose name should he find? And where? Is there a diary or something lying around somewhere in the temple?

    ‘Is they asking me to find the name of the boss monster?’

    The compatibility rate was so shocking that he even remembered the name that went with it.

    [???]

    It was definitely written that way.

    Is it asking me to find out that guy’s name? How the hell am I supposed to do that?

    ‘……Let’s just go.’

    Either way, I’m not going to get anywhere just sitting here.

    Do-joon nervously stepped down into the basement of the building. He was ready to use the Return skill at any moment.

    He stopped when he reached the door. Then he took out a long stick from his inventory and slowly pushed the door open.

    It was a cowardly move, but he couldn’t help it.

    After all, it was reckless enough to come back here knowing that the guy was here.

    And beyond the open door.

    “……!”

    He met eyes with a creature.

    Do-joon immediately tried to use the Return skill. He would have used it if it hadn’t been for the creature’s next action.

    The creature, who had met Do-joon’s eyes once.

    It turned his head away as if he wasn’t interested.

    ‘……W-What?’

    Monsters usually emanate hostility when they recognize a human. As if they can’t even acknowledge their existence.

    But this creature was different. Even though it clearly saw Do-joon, it didn’t show any hostility or even curiosity.

    He was just nonchalantly finishing what he was doing.

    ‘Is it carving stones?’

    At first glance, it looked like the creature was rubbing a rock against the ground and polishing it.

    The figure looked clumsy, but it was surprisingly strong. The sturdy stone wall was split into square pieces.

    He didn’t know what he was doing, but he could tell that he had no intention of attacking.

    Creak.

    Do-joon carefully moved his feet and entered the room. Just in case, he left the door open.

    The inside was the same as the chapel I had seen before.

    There was an altar in front of the creature, and a large space supported by huge pillars.

    The floor was strewn with worn and tattered scraps of fabric that were too faded and torn to discern their original form. Based on the remaining fragments, it seemed likely that they were once cushions.

    Despite his entrance, the creature did not turn its head. Do-joon was treated as if he were completely invisible.

    ‘…’

    Do-joon gritted his teeth and kept the boss monster in his field of vision. He maintained a state of high tension, ready to retreat at a moment’s notice.

    Clack, clack, clack.

    Square by square.

    The creature carved the stone with deliberate, methodical movements that were strangely familiar.

    It carved not only stone, but also pieces of wood and bone that it seemed to have gathered from somewhere.

    At times, its actions seemed to be purposeful, as if it were crafting something, while at other times, they appeared to be nothing more than mindless repetition.

    ‘The latter is also a distinct possibility.’

    After all, the creature was a ghoul. It was an undead monster known for its low intelligence.

    No one would find it strange if it simply rubbed a stone against the ground for no apparent reason.

    About an hour passed in this way.

    The creature ceased its activities and rose slowly from its seat.

    Do-joon’s tension increased as the boss monster began to move. However, to his relief, it did not approach him.

    The creature ambled off and rummaged around before picking up something. Squinting, Do-joon realized that it was some kind of grass.

    What was it doing with grass? Do-joon furrowed his brows at this perplexing question. Soon, he witnessed the creature placing the grass in its mouth and chewing it noisily.

    “….”

    Do-joon was rendered speechless.

    He had encountered countless undead creatures that preyed on humans and devoured the remains of their fallen brethren, but this was the first time he had ever seen a ghoul consuming grass. Was it some sort of herbivore…?

    Do-joon observed the creature’s peculiar meal for a while.

    ‘It’s a ridiculous notion, but….’

    With that thought, he retrieved something from his inventory. It was a can of vegetables that he had purchased from a supermarket.

    ‘Perhaps this could be a clue.’

    A vegetarian undead. There did seem to be some kind of mystery surrounding it.

    It could very well be nothing.

    Nevertheless, Do-joon was a man of action.

    ‘If I succeed, I might even be able to poison it.’

    Perhaps this could even be the key to defeating the creature.

    Do-joon was uncertain of what would be poisonous to an undead entity, but he believed that finding any sort of clue was of utmost importance.

    Thus, he rolled the can directly onto the floor.

    The can rolled and came to a stop in close proximity to the creature.

    “Kurreuk?”

    Only then did the creature vocalize for the first time, expressing interest. Not in Do-joon, of course, but in the can that had rolled over.

    With its mangled and putrid hands, the creature grasped the can.

    Then, with a countenance that seemed to question the object’s identity, it tapped the can twice before forcefully twisting the lid open. Inserting its fingers, it stirred the vegetables inside and then picked one up, placing it in its mouth.

    “….”

    Do-joon swallowed his saliva as he observed. Why was he watching this with such bated breath…?

    For a fleeting moment, he was overcome with a wave of self-loathing, but he quickly dismissed it, reminding himself that this was a necessary action.

    ‘Will it find it palatable? No, does it even possess the capacity to taste?’

    He did not know. The creature’s expression remained largely unchanged. To be more precise, there was so little facial muscle tissue remaining that it was impossible to discern any change with the naked eye.

    Nevertheless, the creature continued to consume the canned food. Perhaps it was wishful thinking, but it seemed to be relishing it.

    Before long, the creature had emptied the can and licked its lips. It then turned its gaze towards Do-joon.

    And then the creature’s next action…

    “Huh.”

    This was beyond Do-joon’s wildest expectations.

    Rattle, rattle…

    Mimicking Do-joon’s actions, the creature rolled the can back towards him. Inside was the unidentified grass that it had been consuming earlier.

    The creature had returned its own food, as if in a gesture of gratitude.

    [Leigium]

    Grade

    • High

    Category

    • Material

    Effect

    • A grass said to grow only in sacred and tranquil locales. When its extract is applied to a weapon, it can inflict holy damage upon undead entities once.

    ‘Isn’t that an ingredient for a holy potion?’

    Do-joon instantly recognized the grass.

    As the information window indicated, it was an ingredient for the holy potion, which imbued a weapon with holy properties for a single use.

    ‘But why is an undead creature ingesting this?’

    Admittedly, the effect would be weak in its raw, unprocessed state. However, shouldn’t holy power be inherently painful for undead creatures regardless?

    Granted, the creature was an A-rank boss mob at minimum, and this was merely a ‘material’, not a finished product, so the effect might be negligible. Nevertheless, it was undeniably peculiar.

    Could it be experiencing a similar sensation to a dolphin intoxicated by pufferfish venom?

    Regardless, the holy potion crafted from Leigium is indeed a disposable consumable item, as indicated in the information window. Consequently, its price tag wasn’t exorbitant, but it still commanded a value easily exceeding 1 million won per bottle.

    There exists a moderate demand for it as well. While high-ranking hunters don’t necessarily seek out holy weapons, they often carry such potions as a contingency measure.

    ‘A 30,000 won can of food transformed into a million won profit?’

    A windfall so extraordinary that it would elicit tears even from a miser.

    With virtually no upfront investment, no arduous labor required, and a profit margin exceeding 30 times the initial outlay, faced with this incredible business opportunity.

    ‘Could this be the clue to uncovering its name?’

    Do-joon’s cognitive processes were now exclusively focused on the objective of clearing the dungeon.

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