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    This series’ updates on random days.

    “You’re back.”

    As always, Sivellin greeted him when he returned to the store.

    After Do-joon greeted her that he was back, he sat down in a suitable spot.

    Then Sivellin came and sat next to him and asked,

    “How was it?”

    “How was what?”

    “That Stem thing. Didn’t you go to see that?”

    “Well, there was nothing special.”

    He had wondered if he might see something. After all, he had the Insight skill that others didn’t have.

    But as expected, there was nothing to be seen. Just the shape of a black pillar that seemed to pierce the sky. That was it.

    “When I watched on TV, the event looked really flashy.”

    “You mean the hunters going in?”

    Sivellin nodded. Since the departure ceremony was being broadcast live, she could also watch it at the store.

    The black pillar rising high and the hunters from the guild alliance confidently entering that pillar.

    ‘They didn’t particularly look anxious.’

    That’s how it seemed to Do-joon. Although it was an alliance hastily formed for this expedition, there didn’t seem to be any visible issues on the surface.

    The relationship between the two most important leaders, Shin Yoo-sung and Oh Tae-jin, also didn’t seem bad.

    As his thoughts reached Oh Tae-jin, Do-joon recalled what happened earlier. When he briefly faced Oh Tae-jin.

    “I’m Oh Tae-jin from Karma. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

    “I’m Kim Do-joon.”

    Oh Tae-jin, who had approached first to ask for a handshake. Do-joon looked at that hand for a moment before clasping it.

    He had wondered if Oh Tae-jin would pull any tricks while shaking hands, but he didn’t. Well, if he had, it would have given off too much of a third-rate thug impression.

    ‘That was it.’

    That was all there was to their meeting.

    A brief handshake, eyes meeting once. And then they parted like that.

    However, Do-joon did stop him once as he was leaving. There was something he was curious about.

    “Mr. Oh Tae-jin.”


    Oh Tae-jin turned back at Do-joon’s call. Do-joon asked him,

    “I heard you recommended me for this expedition team, why did you do that?”

    “There’s no big reason. As I mentioned in the meeting, I thought you having experience killing an elf would be helpful for this job, so I brought it up. That’s all.”

    He added after that,

    “I want to successfully complete this expedition no matter what. So I was a bit disappointed to hear you refused.”

    It matched what he had heard from the association president.

    Oh Tae-jin might be promoted to S-rank through this expedition. That’s why he was staking his life on this job.

    ‘At least that part must be sincere.’

    His words about wanting to make the expedition a success and being disappointed that Do-joon wasn’t participating were probably true.

    Of course, just because that was sincere didn’t guarantee there wasn’t ‘another sincerity’.

    “Ah, right. A bunch of packages came.”

    At Sivellin’s words, Do-joon stopped reminiscing and came to his senses.

    As she pointed, he looked behind the counter and saw several boxes stacked up.

    “They came at the perfect time.”

    “What did you buy? The usual stuff?”


    Even with just that, Sivellin understood well. The things Do-joon frequently purchased.

    They were copy items purchased from the market.

    “Then I’ll go in first. This labyrinth might take a while.”

    “Leave the house and Soeun to me!”

    “I’m counting on you.”

    Do-joon smiled sheepishly as if grateful.

    Sivellin was really doing a lot for him. Thanks to her, he could enter the labyrinth with peace of mind.

    He paid her salary and took care of this and that, but he was so grateful that it felt lacking.

    “I like doing it too. When I see Soeun, she reminds me of Laila.”


    Do-joon briefly searched his memory.

    Sivellin’s memories he had seen long ago. Laila was definitely…

    “You mean the child who gave you the flower necklace.”

    “Oh? You saw that too?”

    Sivellin replied with a slightly red face. She seemed embarrassed that Do-joon had seen part of her memories.

    Well, it was understandable.

    “Ah, sorry.”

    “No. It was unavoidable… Anyway, Laila was such a cute child. Seeing Soeun reminds me of her and makes me happy, but sometimes it also makes me a bit gloomy…”

    Sivellin smiled bitterly. Among the graves she made was the grave of that young child.


    Do-joon couldn’t say anything. Carelessly offering words of condolence wouldn’t be any comfort to her.

    All he could do was just be by her side.

    Sivellin, who had made graves for the temple people alone. Do-joon was the only one who shared at least a part of those memories and emotions with her.

    A brief silence followed. It wasn’t awkward, but it wasn’t a pleasant silence either.

    It was broken by her suddenly jumping up.

    “What’s wrong, all of a sudden?”

    “It’s time for the live broadcast of <I Loved You>!”

    “<I Loved You>?”

    “It’s a drama I’ve been following these days!”

    Do-joon chuckled as he watched her making a fuss while looking for the remote control.

    Sivellin pressing the buttons firmly and changing channels.

    After glancing at her, Do-joon headed to the basement. With several boxes in his hands.

    The underground workshop.

    After arriving there, Do-joon took out Kalish and opened all the boxes.

    What appeared from the boxes were a total of 7 various items.

    “What are all those?”

    “I ordered them from the market. They are items with options that are essential for this labyrinth.”

    Do-joon began carefully gathering the options of the items in one place.

    The 7 items quickly reduced to just one. It was a staff that looked like a tree branch.

    “What options?”

    Eventually, the branch also turned into light and disappeared. It didn’t just disappear. It disappeared after properly adding options to Do-joon.

    Do-joon closed his eyes. A change he couldn’t properly feel in the past was now distinctly felt.

    Energy running through his body, through his entire being.

    The value wasn’t large, so there was no overwhelming change. It was an inherently expensive option too, and he didn’t have much spare funds after spending a lot on moving.

    Still, that small change felt immensely significant. Because now he could handle ‘it’ much more delicately compared to his past self.

    ‘It’ was…


    Mana stat.

    In this labyrinth where stamina seemed important, it was the option he chose, the one he would need the most.


    [You have entered ‘Sky Road’.]

    The first thing he saw upon entering were the two stone statues from before.

    The stone statues silently standing on both sides of the ascending stairs. If not for Insight, and if it was his very first time seeing them, he would have been completely fooled into thinking they were real statues.

    Whether they didn’t know that he already knew, or they had goldfish-level memory and forgot everything, the guys were standing still with a straight face.

    “Those are cute fellas.”

    “Cute, you say?”

    “Don’t they seem like cats pretending not to hear on purpose?”

    Do-joon shook his head at Kalish’s chuckling words.

    Calling those guys with such huge builds and grotesque weapons cats. Other than pretending not to notice, there was nothing in common at all, was there?

    ‘With that appearance, we can launch the first strike this time.’

    How should he take down those huge guys? Do-joon began assessing the timing while examining the surroundings.

    Just then, Kalish asked,

    “How is it? Is the mana you prepared earlier having any effect?”

    The mana stat he had copied right before entering. He bought 7 pieces of equipment with 1 mana each and copied them. So his mana level had increased by 7.

    Originally, the mana stat wasn’t that noticeable even if it increased. But Do-joon was different. Because the way he handled mana itself after learning from Kalish was very different from other hunters.

    “The amount of mana has increased a bit, and it seems cleaner.”

    Both the quantity and quality had increased slightly, but if he had to choose between the two, the qualitative increase felt more significant.

    The mana circulating in his body felt a bit more refined?

    “Wow, that’s a great ability. Isn’t it like eating equipment as an elixir?”

    “It’s too trivial to call it an elixir.”

    Originally, what was called an elixir was much more amazing.

    After the World Tree appeared, there were a couple instances of items called elixirs appearing in the past few decades, but they all caused a huge stir.

    Stories like a lowly E-rank hunter picking up an elixir by chance and rising all the way to S-rank, or a regular person drinking it and having all their illnesses completely cured and living healthily until 120 years old.

    Stories that seemed made up because they were too unrealistic.

    However, since they were recorded, they couldn’t be entirely dismissed as false either.

    ‘If I keep increasing the mana stat, will the effect eventually reach the level of an elixir?’

    It seemed possible, but he couldn’t say for sure. Because so far, there was no one who had been able to do such a thing.

    Do-joon was the first and only test subject, so to speak.

    He began surrounding himself with mana. Mana rising from the core in his heart split like threads and began permeating various parts of his body.

    Perhaps sensing an ominous feeling?


    The statues began moving first. The two guys approached with thudding steps and swung their crescent moon blades down on Do-joon.


    A crater formed on the ground and dirt flew up.

    However, Do-joon in the middle of it was unscathed.

    Adamantine body, defense options exceeding 200, and mana strengthening the bones and muscles throughout his body in twenty strands.

    He kicked off the ground and leaped. His target was the statue on the right.


    Do-joon immediately landed on its shoulder. Then its hands began attacking. As if trying to brush off a bug.


    From their perspective, he probably looked like a slightly large bug.

    Do-joon chuckled and leaped again.


    The sound of air exploding between his foot and the guy’s shoulder was heard as his body shot up into the sky.

    “You’re still far off, kid.”

    If there was a sound, it meant the technique wasn’t refined yet. Kalish clicked his tongue.

    Do-joon smiled wryly and took out a long chain weight from his inventory.


    The chain swirled and caught around the guy’s neck.

    Do-joon landed on the ground like that. He tried pulling the chained chain, but…


    The guy’s body only flinched and that was it.

    ‘In that case…’

    Dodging the attack from the other guy swinging down from the side, Do-joon grabbed Kalish.

    In this situation, he had already expected it from the guy’s 61% compatibility rating anyway.

    Do-joon quickly gathered mana in his arms while holding the spear.


    There was no need to put in as much effort as when killing Eldora. Now was the time to gather quickly and shoot quickly regardless!

    In the blink of an eye, a cold vortex formed along the spear. He shot it towards the guy’s leg.


    One of the guy’s legs was cut off and it lost balance and fell.

    Once it fell, the timing was completely on this side now. But if there was a problematic point…

    ‘Where do I have to break for it to die?’

    The fact that it was difficult to know the weakness because the guy wasn’t a living being.

    “Tsk, can’t be helped.”

    The guy was struggling and trying to get up.

    The deliberation was short. Do-joon clicked his tongue and first tried stabbing the guy’s head with his spear.

    The spear wrapped in mana spun and pierced through the guy’s hard head like tofu.

    But the statue was still moving.

    And even the second statue was still swinging its crescent moon blade towards Do-joon.

    ‘The attack pattern is simple.’

    Fortunately, it seemed there were no movements or special abilities befitting its high compatibility. Thanks to that, figuring out a strategy wasn’t difficult.

    Of course, all of this was thanks to the spear techniques he learned from Kalish. If Do-joon was an ordinary hunter without that, he would have had a hard time just sticking his weapon into the guy’s body in the first place.

    ‘If it’s a regular mob, it’s not a problem even if the compatibility is over 60%.’

    It was growth that couldn’t even be compared to that time before he gained his abilities last year, when he fell off a cliff because he couldn’t handle a single jackal monster.

    Feeling a sense of accomplishment, Do-joon stabbed the first statue’s abdominal area.


    With the sound of something breaking, the light disappeared from the guy’s eyes.

    ‘Did we get rid of it?’

    When he removed the spear, something could be seen inside the guy’s body.

    It was the information window of an item.

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