Ascension Through Skills - Chapter 107
[Will you accept it?]
Taesan nodded his head. There was no reason to decline the quest.
Especially when it was a quest that no one else had received. A quest that a typical adventurer couldn’t receive implied that the reward might be very promising.
The white spirit burst out laughing.
[I'll become powerful! I will kill them and absorb them, becoming complete!]
“So, how should we proceed? Start by explaining.”
[There are many steps involved!]
The spirit said, laughing merrily.
[I am very unstable! So, first, I need to be made safe! After that, I must be made complete, and then I need to gather power!]
The spirit excitedly raised its arms.
[So, first things first, defeat the master of the 21st floor! Kill it and bring to me its core!]
The first quest was one that would naturally be completed once Taesan progressed through the labyrinth. Taesan immediately left the room. Behind him, the spirit continued to laugh maniacally.
[I will take my revenge!]
Leaving behind the voice filled with madness and hatred, Taesan stepped outside.
The ghost murmured in surprise,
[Was defeating the golem a condition for an additional quest... It was a quest that can't typically be acquired. Why did they create such a thing?]
The golem’s core belonged to the spirit; it was impenetrable. Because of its durability and speed, it was impossible to defeat without surpassing the average stats of adventurers from the 21st to the 30th floor.
For Taesan, this was an exception; objectively, it was a quest that couldn’t be accepted from the beginning.
“Perhaps they desired someone of that caliber.”
Because adventurers wished for a level like Taesan’s, it was possible that the gods had chosen this place.
At that comment, the ghost fell silent.
[That's... a terrifying thought.]
“It’s an impossibility from the start.”
The ghost, who was highly regarded within the labyrinth, couldn’t hide its admiration for Taesan. For most, to reach Taesan’s level was nearly impossible.
A spirit appeared before Taesan.
Taesan swung his sword.
With a trail of afterimages, the spirit was torn to shreds.
The reason he couldn’t defeat the spirit before wasn’t because his attacks were ineffective or his stats were insufficient. After breezing through without a moment’s hesitation, he found an empty room with nothing inside.
[You've activated Reconnaissance.]
From Taesan’s perspective, one brick seemed to stand out.
When Taesan pressed the brick, a secret room opened.
[It's truly convenient to have Reconnaissance.]
Having the ability to activate intuition made it unnecessary for him to tediously search for secret rooms. Taesan entered the secret room, disarmed the traps, and obtained his reward.
[You've obtained the Staff of Lightning.] [Staff of Lightning] [A staff used by intermediate magicians. Can use the beginner magic [Lightning Strike].]
It had been a while since he obtained a staff. However, unlike the Staff of Flames from before, this wasn’t basic magic but beginner magic.
He immediately activated magic extraction and acquired it.
[You've learned the beginner magic [Lightning Strike].] [Beginner Magic: Lightning Strike] [Mana Consumption: 6] [Proficiency: 1%] [A lightning strikes from above the target's head. This attack is unavoidable unless the target moves faster than the lightning. It inflicts greater damage on enemies without immunity. Tries to afflict the target with the status ailment [Electrocution].]
Guides of Sin. It was the magic that Josepi had used on him.
It had no effect due to the presence of attack nullification, but its instantaneous nature made it quite tricky.
Wanting to test it out, he moved to another room and cast it on a spirit.
[You have activated Lightning Strike.] [75 damage to the Intermediate Flame Spirit of the Maze.]
“The damage is a bit low.”
Being instantaneous, it indeed dealt less damage compared to Blazing Orb or Frost Arrow. However, its merit lay in being an undodgeable magic while in motion.
Taesan headed towards the boss room on the 21st floor.
[An Intermediate Flame Spirit of the Maze appeared.]
It was not a low-level, but an intermediate spirit. It was considerably larger, and the flame’s color was much richer.
The spirit scattered flickering embers towards Taesan. The embers fluttered around the room like snow.
[You have activated Frost Arrow.]
A surge of extreme cold was spread through the air. Thanks to it, the embers somewhat lost their potency. Taesan charged directly at the intermediate spirit. Embers hit his entire body, but the damage was relatively less potent due to the Frost Arrow surrounding him.
Taesan manifested his aura.
[176 damage to the Intermediate Flame Spirit of the Maze.]
The intermediate spirit resisted, creating a barrier of flame to block the attack, and tried to push Taesan away. Taesan continuously broke through its defenses, attacking the spirit, and in no time, he was able to bring it down.
[Your level has increased.] [Your Soul Ascension has been activated. Permanently increased Strength by 15, Agility by 11, Intelligence by 5, and Health by 55.] [Acquired Flame Ember.] [Acquired the Core of the Labyrinth's Intermediate Flame Spirit.]
“Is the 21st floor only this challenging?”
It was simpler than he thought.
He was already strong, and ever since he finished with Vekveta, both his aura and stats increased. It was expected, but the simplicity was still a bit disappointing.
In the end, all he could look forward to were the Trials of the Gods, Named Monsters, and the Guides of Sin.
Feeling a bit regretful, he opened his stat window.
Whenever he defeated an enemy or leveled up, his magic power increased. He was curious about how much it had grown.
[Kang Taesan] [Level: 49] [Shield: 251/251] [Health: 2850/2850] [Mana: 551/551] [Magic: 27/27] [Strength: 984] [Intelligence: 643] [Agility: 821] [Attack Power + 93] [Defense + 115] [The subject is in optimal condition.]
His magic power had increased by 10.
His level rose by 4, he cleared one room, and even defeated a golem, resulting in an increase of 10. He couldn’t discern if this was high or low.
He would know once he encountered other demon races. Taesan checked the reward for clearing the 21st floor.
[Spirit Gem] [A bead infused with the spirit's energy. It seems it would be useful if taken to the blacksmith.] [Flame Ember] [An ember of flame. If you bring it to the blacksmith and make a request, he can imbue a weapon with a fire attribute.]
Since he had met the blacksmith on a previous floor, the rewards related to forging and refining seemed to gradually appear more often.
[Core of the Labyrinth's Intermediate Flame Spirit] [A core of the spirit. It seems that if someone unstable absorbs it, they might achieve stability.]
This seemed like an item for a spirit quest. And there was still a secret reward left.
[??? was used.] [Acquired the Skill Level Increase Potion.]
It was the long-awaited Skill Level Increase Potion. A potion that increases one’s skill proficiency by 5%. Considering that Lilis said she would even cut off her finger for a mere 1 or 2% increase, this was of incredible value.
Having gathered everything, Taesan went back to the crazy spirit.
“Here you go.”
[Hehe! Good! I like you!]
The spirit burst into laughter and bit into the spirit core. A wave of power, almost like a scream, emanated from the core.
The white spirit gathered the emerging power with its laughter. When the waves subsided, a significant amount of power had built up inside the white spirit.
[The first quest of the frenzied spirit has been completed.] [Thanks! Now, the next is the 23rd floor! Go straight to the fourth spot and then turn right five times! There's a hidden room there! Defeat its master and come back!]
Having received the next quest, Taesan left the room.
Heading back up to the 20th floor, he found the blacksmith Hafran. Hafran had said he would move every 5 floors, and he had kept his word.
“Can these be refined?”
Taesan handed over the ore containing the core, the Flame Ember, and the Spirit Gem. Hafran briefly glanced at the Spirit Gem and Flame Ember.
“You brought these?”
He wasn’t particularly surprised by the Spirit Gem and Flame Ember, perhaps because they were standard clear rewards. However, upon seeing the ore containing the core, his pupils dilated.
“It’s something I obtained from a golem said to be made by the Spirit King. Can you craft it?”
“A golem… the one guarding the Green Spring? You managed to defeat it?”
Hafran was impressed as Taesan nodded.
“I can craft it. Would you like an explanation?”
“I’d appreciate that.”
“The Flame Ember, as the name implies, can grant a weapon the fire attribute. It enhances the weapon’s attack power and may cause burn effects on hits. There isn’t really a downside.”
“So it’s like an enhancement plate of the Rune of Marnius?”
“Something like that. If you use the Spirit Gem as a material for equipment crafting, it can provide resistance and benefits against specific attributes. And this…”
Hafran looked at the ore containing the core with a vague expression.
“I’m not sure about this. It feels like I’d need to craft it firsthand to know.”
“Then please craft it.”
Equipment crafting, that was what the blacksmith was for. Hafran stroked his chin.
“I should typically charge for materials, but… since this is my first time handling something like this, I’ll do it for free. Do you want me to use this too?”
“As you wish? You can use it now or later.”
The Spirit Gem. It was a valuable material, but not critically necessary. Taesan was aiming for the equipment the shop owner sold, so there was a high chance he’d discard it anyway.
“Then craft it in the form of armor. It should be an enjoyable experience.”
With a pleased expression, Hafran gathered the ore and Spirit Gem. Taesan patted Hafran’s shoulder, which was reaching for the hammer.
“Before that, deal with this first.”
“Ah, the Flame Ember? Alright. Give me your weapon. It’ll be quick.”
Taesan handed over Carvert’s Relic. True to his word, exactly ten minutes later, Hafran returned with the sword.
The ghost showed interest. A faint red aura circled the blade.
[Calvert's Relic: Sword containing the bloodline of the ancestors.] [A relic from a now-lost world. It has claimed the lives of numerous royals.] [Attack Power + 40] [+15 Attack Power against all enemies] [Infused with fire attribute.]
The attack power increased by 10 and was now infused with the fire attribute.
It was a significant increase. Taesan, who had expected a change of maybe 2 or 3 points, was surprised.
“Perhaps it was crafted that way from the beginning, but it matched the sword perfectly. It achieved the highest efficiency.”
[The swords in my world are magic swords. It was a magical blade from the start. But over the eons, the magic had faded.]
It seemed the Flame Ember had filled that void.
Gratefully, Taesan accepted the weapon.
“We help each other out. Come back later, and I’ll give you an overview after some preparation.”
Hafran picked up his hammer and headed toward the anvil.
Taesan turned away and descended back into the labyrinth. Now, he was on the 22nd floor.
[22nd-floor quest initiated.] [Defeat the boss of the 22nd floor to proceed.] [Reward: Essence of Dark Stone] [Hidden Reward: ???]
Taesan began his journey through the labyrinth.
The monsters on the 22nd floor were lesser ice spirits of the labyrinth. He didn’t quite understand the major difference between fire and ice, but they were slightly more potent.
The difference wasn’t significant, so he dispatched them with ease. The quest regarding the deranged spirit was on the 23rd floor, so the 22nd didn’t hold much interest.
About halfway through, he stumbled upon a divine altar.
[You have discovered Pavsha's Altar.]