< Episode 4. The World's 1% (3) >
Meikal's mind went blank, completely forgetting the prestige of〈Twilight's Shadow〉. He didn't know what kind of joke he was playing, but the Four-Horned Gaksu's horn was broken. An object with a sky high price incomparable to most things in all of Chaos, the horn of the Four-Horned Gaksu.
What would he say to the vice head of the Limitless Sect now?
"Ah, I didn't do it on purpose, sorry."
"Sorry? Did you just say that you're sorry?”
Meikal said as his mustache trembled. The only thoughts rushing through his head were whether or not he should beat the man in front of him to death with a hammer or burn him to death in the fire.
Jae Hwan opened his mouth.
“I'll compensate you with a better horn."
“……with a better horn?”
Hearing that, the surrounding craftsmen sneered. Compensate, and a Four-Horned Gaksu at that. Did he not know what kind of monster a Four-Horned Gaksu was like? Not only were they rare beasts, but there was no guarantee that the heads or vice heads from the ten sect would even be able to successfully hunt such a monster. He was going to compensate for the horn of a monster like that?
"Rather than that, your side should keep your promise as well."
Meikal recalled what he had said a few moments ago. When he had said that anyone who could dig out a gem holder in the Four-Horned Gaksu would be the vice head of the workshop for the day. Meikal's face had a blank expression. Is that something someone would say given the current situation?
“If you can compensate for the Four-Horned Gaksu, then vice head or not, you can do whatever the hell you want for the day. But if you can't compensate for the horn, then don't think about leaving here alive.”
Jae Hwan nodded and pointed towards Neiven.
"Put it down here."
Following Jae Hwan's gesture, Neiven put down the horn he was cradling onto the floor by the furnace. It was a large, black horn that had once belonged to an unknown monster. Everyone stared at it while wondering what it was.
But then everyone simultaneously took in a deep breath and just stared. An unknown amount of time passed.
Then someone sighed and muttered something.
"Oh my God, a Garnak's horn……"
Monsters in《Chaos》possessing five or more horns were categorized into their own Phylogenetic Trees. Creatures at that level were just that powerful, and dangerous. It was a wolf-type monster that multiple heads and vice heads from Chaos' ten sects had to come forth in order to subdue.
A Five-Horned Gaksu, Garnak.
Silence filled the workshop. Meikal spoke up with a heavy voice.
"Close the door. We're not taking anymore customers for today."
The worker closest to the door hurriedly rushed to close it. Accompanying a loud, screeching noise, a large iron gate sealed the entrance. Even for Meikal, this was only the third time that he had seen the raw horn of a garnak in such pristine condition. He had seen one being worked on in a different yet famous workshop when he had first arrived at《Chaos》and had seen another one when he watched over his predecessor vice head's shoulders as he worked.
“Sure is amazing."
Whether or not it was a young garnak, the horn was smooth without any grooves. Everyone in the workshop concentrated on the horn with a glowing expression on their faces. If they could just work with such a large and beautiful material like that for just one night…….
"This should be enough for compensation, right?”
“……of course. It would compensate many times over.”
The horn from a Five-Horned Gaksu was more than ten times as valuable as that of a Four-Horned Gaksu. They didn't even need the whole horn, just cutting off a wedge would be more than enough to pay them back for the damages. But this guy was offering the whole horn! It was enough to pay for the damages and still count as a long term transaction. After thinking about it for a bit, Meikal spoke up.
“This〈Twilight's Shadow〉will be yours for the rest of today."
The surrounding began to buzz as people muttered about.
Meikal promptly silenced the surroundings.
“All of you, silence.”
The mumbling stopped. Meikal opened his mouth again.
“By the way, just where the hell did you get this horn?"
"I fought it."
He directly fought a garnak?
Then just who the hell was this man? Not willing to drag this on any longer, Jae Hwan spoke up.
“I'm going to immediately start work, so get ready.”
“By work, do you mean……?”
“I'll make it myself.”
Neiven rushed his way to Meikal and whispered something into his ear. Meikal nodded his head.
"So that's how it is. You plan to make a sheath."
“What about the material?”
Jae Hwan pulled out another horn from his dimensional bag. It's quality and condition was even better than the first one. Since it was named a Five-Horned Gaksu, then obviously it would have fiver horns. As the garnak’s killer, Jae Hwan would have five horns in his possession as well.
Of course, Meikal didn't misunderstand.
"Are you saying that you're going to make just a sheath with the horn of a garnak?"
It was the horn of a garnak, not of a Four-Horned Gaksu or a Three-Horned Gaksu, but a garnak. It was a material that would be transformed into a masterpiece even if it was treated like mud. But he was going to use a top class material like that to make a plain sheath? Meikal couldn't help but think that the young man in front of him absolutely did not know the value of a Garnak's horn.
"Can I take a look at the lucky sword that will be paired with the sheath?”
Jae Hwan handed him the sword that was hanging from his waist. Looking at the sword's information, Meikal let out a small sigh.
“Huh, Frost Dragon's Sword.”
"You already knew?”
“It's a sword made from the horn of a Frost Dragon King's horn. Well, at least that's what it says if I follow the description."
If it was the Frost Dragon King, then of the 12 zones within the《Great Lands》, it was a renowned beast that resided in the most dangerous of the 12 zones, the ‘Forgotten Zone’. A sword created from the horn of a legendary dragon. There was no way it wouldn't be a renowned sword. The unfortunate thing was that this sword was most likely a 'replica'.
Regardless, it was still a fascinating origin. Although Meikal didn't often hear about news from the《Great Lands》, something on the scale of the King Frost Dragon being hunted would quickly reach his ears, but as far as he knew, such a thing hadn't happened.
It was possible that it was a sword created by some Nightmare using the King Frost Dragon's horn as a theme. In other words, this sword was not actually created from the King Frost Dragon's horn.
“It's definitely one of the few swords made by a Nightmare, but making a sheath for it out of a garnak's horn seems like a waste. Rather, using the horn to make a new sword……"
It was then that the sword began to tremble as it cried out with a 'oong oong' sound. Taking Meikal by surprise, he accidentally let go of the sword and let it fall towards the garnak's horn. The sword began to tremble more, its blade opening up like a mouth.
The horn of the Five-Horned Gaksu began to disappear right in front of everyone's eyes. Meikal's face held the most surprised expression of all.
“No way, a Soul Weapon……"
Having consumed the horn, the Frost Dragon's Sword began to give off a bright light. It was the first time that Meikal had seen such a thing.
"It seems like today is just full of surprising sights. Your sword is evolving."
The blade grew sharper while its body grew increasingly denser and heavier. Its strength was in no way inferior to a sword made from the horn of a garnak. On another note, the black aura spilling out of the sword didn't seem like it could be concealed merely by wrapping it up in a cloth. It was certainly a sword that required a sheathe. If Jae Hwan were to walk around in public, its spirit power would attract unnecessary flies.
‘The soul of that sword is definitely top class, just……'
The sword kept crying out as it unceasingly let out its black aura. Confirming the sword's state, Meikal spoke up.
"Looks like a major evolution. It will take a bit longer, but after it completes its evolution, its name will probably change."
“When a soul weapon undergoes a major evolution, its original name disappears."
The sword that had lost its name cried out in a lonely voice. Watching the sword's figure, Meikal hesitantly expressed his thoughts.
“But the material is gone now……"
The sword had consumed the material that Jae Hwan was going to use to make his sheath. Now what was he going to use to make his sheath?
“It's alright. I have another."
It's been stated before, but the Five-Horned Gaksu has five horns.
Seeing another horn come out of Jae Hwan's dimensional bag, Meikal threw his hands into the air with a defeated look on his face.
Meikal stood in front of the garnak's horn for some time. A horn that gleamed with a black luster. It was the first time he was going to work with a garnak's horn. A long time ago, Meikal had the fortune of observing the castellan's weapon being crafted from a garnak's horn, but……
'Hoho, can I do this?’
Even though he had been appointed as vice head and had even received the title of「Apprentice」, Meikal wasn't sure if he could even work on the horn of a Four-Horned Gaksu.
‘What kind of「Apprentice」wouldn't have created their own tower by now……'
There was a huge gap even between those who carried the same title as「Apprentice」. Even if two beings held the title of apprentice, the imaginative power between humans and nightmares was vastly different. While humans were focusing on creating a sword, the nightmares were already creating a tower that could be a whole world on its own.
Meikal looked down at the garnak's horn.
It was a material that rarely made an appearance. It was something that overwhelmed people even if all they did was calmly observe.
"I'm sorry, but I don't think I'm capable of doing this……"
Jae Hwan was putting on some articles of clothing one piece at a time.
"You…… I mean, temp vice head, what are you currently doing?"
Jae Hwan had suddenly started putting on a blacksmith's garb, and as he rolled up his sleeve, he spoke.
"I don't get what you're trying to say."
Meikal made a puzzled look on his face.
"I'm making the sheath."
"You just help me from the side."
It was unexpected, but still, it was something he wanted to hear. He knew that the man in front of him named Jae Hwan possessed great strength. He didn't know what methods Jae Hwan had used, but it didn't change the fact that he had the ability to break the horn. But being able to break a horn and being able to process and craft the horn were two completely different tasks.
"Even if it's you……"
"You're right. I don't know if I could do it on my own."
Jae Hwan nodded his head. Jae Hwan possessed the destructive power to make changes to the horn, but not the skill and finesse to make the changes he wanted. Something like the garnak's horn wasn't something that could be processed by sheer force.
"That's why I need you."
Jae Hwan said while looking at the remnants of white aura on the end of Meikal's hammer that the Nightmares' skill「Process」had left behind.
Meanwhile, deep within the depths of Gorgon Castle.
A middle-aged man wearing a ceremonial uniform sat inside an inner room suddenly coughed as he sipped on a cup of tea.
"You lost him? What the hell does that mean?"
In front of the middle-aged man lay a man wearing a dark blue magician's clothing in a prostrate position with an ashamed expression on his face.
“How did you lose him?”
"That, I don't know either. By the time I was able to gather my wits…… I was just lying down on a roof."
He had failed, but he didn't know why or how.
It made no sense.
The middle-aged man asked the man garbed in blue many questions.
"You, what order adapter are you now?”
"I'm a third order adapter."
"What is the grade and level of your stealth skill.”
"Third grade, master level.”
"Then how the hell were you discovered?”
"……I- I don't know.”
"You're driving me crazy."
Even a higher order adapter would find it difficult, if not impossible, to discover a third order adapter hiding under the influence of a third grade mastered stealth skill. But despite that, not only did the other party detected his subordinate, he even sent out a formless and undetectable skill that knocked him out.
‘Carlton said he couldn't have reached the fifth order.'
But based on what had happened, it was unknown whether or not he was a fifth order adapter. Preparations were needed to be made in case the other party happened to be a higher order adapter.
"He needs to be found. Even if you have to search through every nook and cranny, you need to find him out."
Suddenly, a loud 'koong' resounded from the depths of the underground dungeon. The dungeon shook, but although it shook only slightly, it was enough for the middle-aged man who had already become a higher order adapter to feel it. He could even faintly hear the long, drawn out screams resonating from within the dungeon depths. A distant scream wracked with pain.
The middle-aged man's expression took on a tint of sadness.
"……castellan, please hold on for just a little longer.”