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"What do you think happened to the mana core?" Lydia asked out loud as they made their way to a new farming location. "Has an Elite Monster ever failed to drop a mana core?"

"No, not that I am aware of, and I have the most experience here." Trent said.

"It was most likely stolen by someone during the chaos." Khrome sighed. "What a waste of time and effort that was. If I ever catch that son of a bitch, I will freaking kill him!"

Leo swallowed nervously after hearing Khrome's terrifying words.

He then spoke, "Wh-What about Ancient Labyrinths? I heard that monsters stop dropping mana cores after they're killed too many times."

"While that is true, that doesn't apply to our current situation since we're not inside an Ancient Labyrinth, and this is an Elite Monster we're talking about." Khrome said.

"I know, but it's not impossible for a monster to not drop mana cores is what I am trying to focus on."

"I guess… But if that's the case, we're truly unlucky. I cannot even begin to imagine the odds of this happening since I've never even heard of this happening before. This might set a precedent."

News of the incident spread throughout the internet like wildfire after Luna's viewers and the other journalists broadcast the situation to the world.

[Somebody definitely stole it!]

[What an idiot. Even if he steals it, he won't be able to sell or use it for a very long time.]

[What about the black market? They will buy anything even if it's illegal.]

[There are things even the black market won't touch, especially if the item has a lot of attention towards it.]

"If the mana core was stolen, whoever stole it must be rich now. An elite mana core from an S-Rank monster… That could fetch hundreds of millions of not billions of dollars!" Lydia sighed out loud.

"No, that may not be the case." Trent said, and he continued, "Now that the Adventurers' Guild is investigating the situation, this person won't be able to sell the mana core because the moment he does is the moment he gets caught."

"They can still sell it to a black market, right? You can sell pretty much everything in the black market these days, and a mana core of this quality is very enticing."

"That might not be the case. While it's true that the black market will buy anything, they also cannot afford to offend powerful backgrounds such as the Adventurers' Guild. People in the black market will only purchase something that will profit them. The mana core won't profit them at this moment since they won't be able to resell it." Khrome said.

"Well, if they wait 10 to 20 years, perhaps they will be able to sell it."

While Khrome and the others spoke about the mana core, Leo was having his own conversation with Lilith.

"If I cannot sell the mana core for at least a decade, what can I do with it? I planned on feeding it to the Magic System at first, but it seems like a waste now, especially since I still have plenty of them." Leo asked her.

"If you cannot sell it, you can just use it as a material to craft magic artifacts." Lilith said.

"Huh? What's the difference? Since I cannot do it by myself, I still need to give it to someone else." Leo raised an eyebrow.

"Go find yourself a private blacksmith. They usually don't care where you acquired your materials from and only care about crafting the best magic artifacts. I bet many blacksmiths wouldn't hesitate to craft something using a mana core from an S-Rank elite monster for you."

"Is that so… What do you think I will be able to make from this mana core? It's so small, too."

"Don't underestimate an elite monster's mana core, Leo. Although it may seem small, the mana contained within the core is very pure and powerful. You can easily create an A-Grade magic artifact with it, perhaps even an S-Grade artifact if the blacksmith is skilled enough."

"S-Grade magic artifact?! Hell yeah! I'm definitely going to look for a blacksmith later, probably after the Labyrinth Examination." Leo gritted his hands in excitement and anticipation.

"You don't feel bad about taking the mana core all for yourself? Some people even died trying to acquire it, you know." Lilith suddenly asked him.

He shrugged and said, "Without my Death Scythe's instant kill ability, who knows how long it would've taken them to defeat it, and there would've been far more casualties too. However, I would be lying if I say that I don't feel any guilt."

Lilith smiled, "You've grown a lot compared to when you first arrived and it's only been half a year. I wonder how long it'll take before you start casting aside your humanity."

Leo looked at her with a raised eyebrow, "Don't say something that ominous. And I am not changing as a person, I am merely adapting to this world— at least that's what I believe."

Sometime later, Luna approached Leo and said, "It's such a pity that the mana core was stolen. You even worked so hard taking the Skeleton Warlord down."

"Huh? I don't think I worked that hard…"

A mysterious smile appeared on Luna's face as she spoke, "There's no need to be humble. I'm willing to bet you did the most damage to the monster. In fact, you probably accounted for over 70 percent of the total damage."

"Over 70 percent? You're over exaggerating. There were hundreds of people there. How can I, a mere individual, deal so much more damage than the others combined?"

"That's why you're so special." She chuckled.

Sometime later, when they arrived at a new location, Leo and the others continued to clear the Skeleton Graveyard.

Time passed quickly, and within the blink of an eye, five days had passed since the Skeleton Graveyard's raid began, and the raid was coming to an end.