Leveling with the Gods - Chapter 88
The winner of the Grand Martial Arts Tournament had been decided.
The room was so silent, it was suffocating. Everyone was busy gauging Cheon MuJin’s mood.
Zhuge Jing was racking his head harder than everyone else present.
‘Why did Hargaan do that?’ Jing wondered.
Hargaan was most definitely a member of Olympus. As Zeus’s son, there was no clearer indication of his affiliation and status.
And YuWon was labeled internally by Olympus as an enemy.
The only crossing point they should have had was that they were part of the same round of the Tutorial, but that wasn’t enough to explain the relationship between the two.
“And with that, that’s one big task finished,” JinWoon’s voice cut through the thick air.
Everyone’s eyes turned towards him, and few people let out an awkward laughter.
“Ha… Haha… Y-You’re right.”
“This tournament was also very successful.”
“It was a feast for the eyes.”
“What great prosperity for the Martial Guild. Hahaha!”
It was a much more exaggerated reaction than usual.
The people who were worried about the Vice-Lord of the Heavenly Demonic Cult just moments ago were now saying that YuWon’s victory was good for the Martial Realm.
It was such blatant hypocrisy, it was funny.
MuJin was expressionless as he watched this unfold.
“Now, that leaves the next big task…” JinWoon said while shifting his gaze towards Jing and SoBaek.
SoBaek averted his eyes, while Jing stood even more upright.
“What do you intend to do by roping in the Evil Cult?” Jing asked.
The atmosphere in the room that was starting to relax a bit tensed back up.
Jing and JinWoon stared each other down.
The Rankers around them became uneasy. They knew the two didn’t get along, but never had they had a direct confrontation like this.
“‘Roping in the Evil Cult’… That’s not a very nice way to put it, General.” JinWoon berated Jing.
“Am I wrong?” Jing retorted.
JinWoon responded, “They’re not the ‘Evil Cult’ but the ‘Heavenly Demonic Cult.’ And I’m not roping them in. I requested an alliance with them.”
“Do you mean to say—” Jing tried to speak.
But JinWoon cut him off, “It’s better than roping in Olympus, isn’t it?”
JinWoon’s accusation made the people in the room clamor.
The air in the room had turned heavy and cold, and the room was now filled with mana exerted by JinWoon.
“Matters of the Martial Realm should be resolved by us, the people of the Martial Realm. Or do you intend to hand this world over to Olympus?” JinWoon said in a sharp tone.
His respectful mannerisms had all but disappeared, and he was now being verbally aggressive.
JinWoon shouted, “You should be ashamed, Zhuge Jing!”
JinWoon’s energy filled up the entire room.
The lion that was pretending to be docile since becoming the head of the Martial Artists’ Alliance had reawoken and was now roaring.
Jing was one of the top five most skilled people in the Martial Guild. So he wasn’t someone that could be intimidated just by pressure exuded by another.
What Jing was truly afraid of right now wasn’t JinWoon.
‘He’s been a bystander all this time. So for him to make a move now…’ Jing thought.
JinWoon’s behavior changed with the arrival of the Heavenly Demonic Cult.
‘Does that mean he knew all along?’ Jing speculated.
Jing thought it might have been possible that JinWoon might not only have known how he and Olympus were connected, but JinWoon might even have evidence to back it all up.
There was only one reason why JinWoon had been biding his time, and that was because over half of the Martial Guild had been siding with Jing, so he wasn’t confident that he could win a full-on frontal confrontation. But now…
‘With the Heavenly Demonic Cult and the Heavenly Demon on his side, the power dynamic has crumbled,’ Jing thought.
Not to mention, JinWoon held the moral high ground.
Jing’s shoulders slumped. ‘It’s over,’ he thought.
Seeing Jing not put up a fight, the Rankers that came with him also lowered their heads. They instinctively felt that now that the NamGung Clan and Demonic Cult were cooperating with each other, the Zhuge Clan no longer had a place to stand.
It was now the age of the NamGung Noble Clan and the Heavenly Demonic Cult.
“Sorry to butt in while you’re cleaning house, but I need to ask a question,” MuJin said after looking around the room full of Rankers. “Who is Moon SoBaek?”
* * *
With Hoon’s help, YuWon rented the NamGung Clan’s training chamber.
Just like the training chamber at Mt. Heaven, this was a facility that couldn’t be opened from the outside.
YuWon rented this place for ten days.
This training chamber required a large amount of money to rent for even one day, but YuWon didn’t have to pay any points.
Hoon told YuWon, “Don’t look down on the NamGung Clan. Such a benefit should obviously be provided to the winner of the Grand Martial Arts Tournament.” Great pride for his clan could be heard in his voice.
Returning to the large manor of the NamGung Clan, YuWon had a flashback of his old memories.
‘It looked so big back then,’ YuWon thought.
It was the first place he had seen that looked like a palace after he entered the Tower. Back then, YuWon’s dream was even to become a Ranker of the NamGung Clan.
‘But now… it looks so small.’
In the enormous Tower, there were many castles far greater than the manor of the NamGung Clan. Olympus, Asgard, and the Heavenly Realm each had a palace that was the size of a small nation.
YuWon entered the training chamber and closed the steel door that was about 50cm thick.
YuWons footsteps echoed inside the chamber.
All sounds were cut off from the outside thanks to the training chamber having been created with a mix of onyx steel.
YuWon opened the wooden box right away, and a bitter scent hit his nose right away.
It was the scent of the 「Great Scarlet Medicine Ball.」
[Great Scarlet Medicine Ball]
ᗌ An elixir that is created once every three years at the Shaolin Temple. It is created using hundreds of ingredients and a special recipe known only to the Shaolin Temple.
ᗌ When consumed, the user will gain a large amount of Arcane Power.
The description wasn’t all that special. In fact it was similar to most elixirs.
The important detail was that it was made with ‘hundreds of ingredients.’
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‘As time goes on, the production method improves, and the value of the Great Scarlet Medicine Ball increases.’
Only one was made every three years, but this wasn’t a tactic to artificially increase the value of the medicine ball. It was because the entirety of the Martial Guild and the Shaolin Temple had to work together just to barely create one.
In fact, sometimes they were unable to procure the necessary ingredients, so the prize of the Grand Martial Arts Tournament would be substituted for something else.
YuWon picked up the medicine ball with no hesitation.
‘It’s a 50/50 chance.’
His Arcane Power was almost at 100, so it was unsure if even the 「Great Scarlet Medicine Ball」 could raise his stat at this point.
It might only have been 1 point, but going from 99 to 100 was no easy task.
“Well, I have nothing to lose.”
He wasn’t too attached to it since it wasn’t difficult for him to get this item.
YuWon put the medicine ball inside his mouth.
The 「Great Scarlet Medicine Ball」 had a strange feel to it. Even though it was hard like a rock, as soon as it entered his mouth, it melted like a soft jelly. And after fully melting into a liquid, the medicine ball had a refreshing coolness to it as it went down his throat.
A highly dense, clear mana started to enter YuWon’s body.
This was the first time YuWon was able to get the 「Great Scarlet Medicine Ball」 because in his previous life, he had only managed to get second place in the tournament.
“The Great Scarlet Medicine Ball has a completely different effect depending on who consumes it.”
“The people of the Martial Realm say that how you control ki and your breathing and cultivation technique are important, but what really matters is your focus.”
“Like how you can contain more mana?”
YuWon recollected what his friends who had taken the 「Great Scarlet Medicine Ball」 told him.
The core part of their message was the same—to ‘contain’ it.
YuWon sat down on the floor in a comfortable position, and he started to contain the energy of the 「Great Scarlet Medicine Ball」 that had entered his body.
But as soon as he did that, the energy of the medicine ball started to revolt inside his body.
* * *
Sweat glistened on YuWon’s forehead, and his blood felt like it was reversing in flow like turbulent waves.
It felt like the energy would immediately leave his body if he lost focus for even a second.
‘Calm down,’ he told himself.
The more will YuWon exerted, the more the energy fought back.
At first, he struggled to manage it. With each little bit of energy he felt leaking from his body, he almost wanted to cry from how wasteful he thought it was. But as time passed, YuWon began to get a handle on containing the energy.
The waves that were rampaging inside his body started to die down a little.
The medicine ball turned into Arcane Power and flowed through his body, but despite it becoming calmer, YuWon could not say the power was his yet.
‘The first step is finished.’
The first challenge was to endure the power of the melting medicine ball and make sure as little of it leaked out as possible.
The second challenge was to make the contained mana into your own.
‘It’ll take a while…’ YuWon thought while his brows furrowed, ‘for me to absorb all of this.’
That was when…
… The medicine ball started to change within his body. The now liquid medicine ball unleashed pure mana at a rapid rate, and the mana flowed slowly like water and was absorbed into YuWon’s body.
It was the start of the second step.
YuWon’s body started to quickly absorb the energy of the medicine ball.
‘What’s going on?’
Until just a moment ago, he was having trouble and barely containing the energy of the medicine ball so it wouldn’t escape. But now that the medicine ball had fully melted into mana, he didn’t need to exert any more force.
It was as if the mana was obeying YuWon and becoming his of its own volition.
It was something he felt everytime he consumed an elixir, but the [Master of Mana] skill had the ability to increase the effect of an elixir to the max. Thanks to that, it accelerated the process which would normally have taken much longer.
‘If that’s the case…’
YuWon braced himself as he pushed mana through his blood vessels.
‘I have no reason to do this slowly.’
The mana was waiting for him to make it his, and YuWon wanted exactly that. Not a single drop of mana was wasted anymore.
YuWon sat still and enjoyed the pure, high-density mana filling up his body.
Around the time the majority of the mana had been absorbed, YuWon thought, ‘So was it just not possible?’
He had obtained a larger amount of mana through the 「Great Scarlet Medicine Ball」 than he expected, but there was still no notification of his stat increasing.
‘Did I fall short?’
While having only 99 Arcane Power, he now had more mana, but this meant that he ultimately failed to reach 100 Arcane Power.
‘If even the Great Scarlet Medicine Ball can’t do it, then next…’
As YuWon planned his next course of action…
[Your Arcane Power increased by 1.]
[Your Arcane Power reached 100.]
[An innate skill has been awakened through this achievement.]
A new level of senses opened up for YuWon’s body.
His eyes flashed and his senses expanded.
‘I did it.’
There was no guarantee that two players would obtain the same power even if they reached the same level of stats. But the awakening of an ability through stats was a player’s innate skill.
Even if power was lost by returning to the past, the power didn’t disappear completely. And the innate skill that YuWon had before returning to the past was a skill that was compared to OhGong’s [Golden Cinder Eyes.]
[You obtained Sensory Field.]
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YuWon’s eyes opened.
His eyes had turned red. It was the [Cinder Eyes.]
And along with it, an ultimate sensory skill that represented YuWon, [Sensory Field,] had been activated.
With that, YuWon’s broken wings had mended and began to grow again.