Soulmancer – Chapter 12: Don’t underestimate a Blind man…

[Groot’s Vest Effect 2 has been activated.]

[Root-like tentacles’ attack power had increased by 10% against the impending enemy.]

As the messages lanced Izel’s mind, a flame of determination and resolve to survive erupted within his heart. ‘No, I mustn’t let myself be defeated,’ he thought. He bit his tongue, instantly jolting his drifting mind awake. ‘… after I’ve come this far,’ he muttered. Blood spurted from his mouth, welling down his neck.

[All ‘Black Cardigan Cloak’ flexible polyethylene fiber layers had been shattered by the accumulation of mysterious, overwhelming impacts.]


The ruptures and disintegration of the Cloak layers placed additional burdens on Groot’s vest. His mana-coated root tentacles worked tirelessly to shield the blind man, deflect attacks, dash, and assail the foe with a furious octopus-like fervor.

[Demerit 2 has been activated.]

[The high mana-consumption rate had increased fivefold, directly proportional to five-root tentacles.]

With a preoccupied mind, Izel sensed the rapid drain on his mana core and the recoil from each withered root tentacle colliding with the gatekeeper’s greatsword. As extensions of his limbs, the chaotic aftermath sent shivers down his stiffened spine.

As swords and root tentacles clashed, slashing through the air, countless abysmal marks imprinted on the chilly, rigid ground. The two traded dozens of blows, and after a while, a specific condition of Groot’s vest was met.

[A certain threshold of accumulated impact had been met.]

[Effect 3 has been activated.]

[The Strength of the vest had increased by two-fold.]

The Gatekeeper’s Greatsword moved smoothly, tracing sharp arcs, and then…


…Magical attacks erupted from each side, their fury and fierceness resonating. The heavy greatsword wielded a chained, sharp air pressure, prompting Izel to tightly grip his Aurora shortsword.

“Hmph!” The blind man released a deep breath, repeatedly swinging his shortsword vertically and horizontally. A mana-shrouded heavy sword needn’t be slow; instead, it quickened, moving with precision and mountain-like power, severing every looming magical root tentacle.



Izel’s sword was eventually deflected, swinging upward. He almost lost his grip, and an ominous sword thrust advanced. “What is this force?” he wondered, feeling death approach. However, his [Cloud Boots] faintly shimmered, lifting him from the ground to evade the attack. Twisting in mid-air, he created momentum at the end of his shortsword, swinging it like a Beyblade.


Izel unleashed five sharp root tentacles along mana-coated slashes toward the humanoid in mid-air. Clashes filled the air, kicking up dust and dirt. Emerging from the haze, the monster zoomed out with a wide slash. Deflecting the heavy attack with two mana-coated tentacles, Izel landed on the ground. His body went numb, pain coursing through him as if it would break him.

In the grip of agony, he grimaced, grateful for the protection afforded by Groot’s vines shielding his skin. The pain snaked through his body, and he spat out clotted blood, contemplating the dire outcome if those protective tendrils hadn’t shielded his organs.

[Activation time left 00:00: 30.]

With only thirty seconds remaining, the intense struggle against the Overpowered Gatekeeper had not yet reached its conclusion, despite the latter’s heightened senses. The battle hung in the balance, poised on the precipice of either side’s demise.

Amid the relentless onslaught, each of them adapted, intensifying more strain on Izel’s traumatized mind. His visuals blurred as a mental overload engulfed him, turning [Sound Reading] into a disorienting symphony of tinnitus, making echolocating the monster’s position an excruciating task.

Undeterred, the blind man contemplated the advisability of keeping Groot’s tentacles on standby. His double-digit mana stat hinted at a mere two minutes of endurance, perilously close to leaving him drained. If depletion occurred before he could conquer the looming monstrosity, it would undoubtedly seal his demise.

Amidst the turmoil, both somehow collided in an impactful finishing blow, casting distinct mana shrouds throughout the area.



Was it desperation or simply a display of overwhelming strength?


The Gatekeeper’s body ignited, rapidly combusting into a raging bluish-dark flame—a peculiar fire encircling its weapon with


A terrifying yet familiar sensation tensed Izel’s neck, an extreme sense of danger that triggered memories of being burned alive by searing flames in the past.

‘I need to retract…’ He trailed off, realizing his mana was insufficient to sustain his [Cloud Boots] for swift evasion. As he forcefully pulled back, the strange flame followed his movement.

‘This is dangerously bad.’ He shockingly acknowledged this as the flame relentlessly sprayed towards him, spreading like wildfire.


An extremely fast area-of-effect flame-combustion skill quickly caught up to the blind man. He hastily created a thin-reinforced mana shield with an outer layer of five coupled tentacles—a significant improvement from the flimsy shield he used against Avalanche.


The sizzling flame collided with the somewhat sturdy shield, cindering the coupled tentacles and diminishing the firepower. It then dashed past the shield, rupturing it into pieces, with remnants of the Gatekeeper’s AOE flame attack lingering in the surrounding area.

Despite the immediate numbing, shuddering arms, and excruciating pain more intense than the [Snake Lord’s fireball], “Ugh!” Izel grunted.


Almost immediately, he slightly ducked as a flame-encased horizontal slash from the rear aimed for his neck. Thanks to his 360-degree [Flawlation] effect, he managed a delicate hair-breadth evasion. Izel then executed a roundhouse, mana-imbued kick at the Gatekeeper. However, the kick hit nothing but dead air—an instantaneous movement of the monster, vanishing without a single sound wave.

Izel felt his mind going numb. Wobbling from the earlier ‘AOE’ attack, he was partially conscious and frustrated, almost consumed by flame-attack skills again. ‘Why always flame-type skills?’ he cried inwardly.


“WHY… ARE… YOU FLAILING? WAL… KER!” jeered the Gatekeeper, the words tickling Izel’s heightened sound reading. The distance between them closed instantly as Izel drew swift swings.

“HAHAHA! YOU HAVE GOT…TEN WEAKER!” mocked the Gatekeeper, words yapping underneath its eerie grin. It swiftly dodged Izel’s seemingly strong heterochromatic magical slashes, moving left and right. The Gatekeeper then crouched its helmet-like head, evading a heavy thrust.

At that moment…

[00:00 left]

[All Heightened Senses had reciprocated back to normal.]

“Shit!” Izel clicked his tongue, his luck taking an unexpected nosedive. The blind man caught off guard, felt a sudden emptiness as if all his heightened senses had deflated. Hormones and invigorating enhancements, everything that once strengthened him, vanished, leaving only a blank void.

Before he could make sense of his empty mind…


Dazed, the blind man was assaulted by a flame-coated uppercut, followed by a punch to his blood-drenched gut from grotesque, shady hands. The snap of jaw muscles and the crunching of bones sent Izel flying through the air.

[Health falls below 10%.]

[All critical damage had been taken from flame onslaughts.]

[Hell Flame has been identified and added to the database.]

[Health falls below 3%]

[The host is currently at a critical Health drop of 3%.]

“Urghhhh!” Excruciating pain surged from his jaw to his entire body. His dilated eyes, hidden beneath a blindfold, quivered involuntarily. The double-fast jaw attack rendered him instantly passive, incapable of bracing his internals against the relentless onslaught.

As he tried to collect his drifting mind mid-air, his 360-degree vision revealed impending, unavoidable thrusts. ‘Damn it, my mind and body aren’t responding; I need to activate [hemostasis],’ Izel sadly acknowledged. He never anticipated being utterly helpless, despite rigorous training, preparation, and the assortment of items at his disposal.


The Gatekeeper’s loud shout was drowned out as blood splattered, decorating the air in crimson. His body was impaled by thrusts, shattering all mana defenses unconsciously deployed. His expression turned worse and gloomy, unable to comprehend his fate. The monster, quite amazed, knocked the fallen blind man to the ground.


Craters appeared on the chilling soil, and dust arose. Reflecting on the deadly actions until now, the monster landed strongly on the Walker with a searing-flame-like impact.


The rupture on the ground expanded with an even louder explosion. Not even a groan leaked out from the latter; no blood spouted. Only the sound of whacked bones and snapped muscles pervaded the air. A pool of blood soaked the ground.
Izel was squashed under the foot of the Gatekeeper; the ground underneath buckled, unable to handle the weight. His heartbeat and all body functions dimmed.

* * *

The Gatekeeper finally found satisfaction, detecting neither mana nor body responses from the adversary buried beneath it. It shook off the blood from its massive sword.

“DAMN… WALKER. SO PERSISTENT. BUT…” The Monster uttered bitterly, reflecting on the fight from the beginning to this very point. Its grin vanished, and its featureless face returned. Clenching its fist tightly, it left the crater and began to stroll. “I NEVER EXPECTED THAT BRAT TO LAST THIS LONG!”

Deep down, the Gatekeeper was aware that it had let emotions get the better of it, unnecessarily prolonging the battle just to savor the taste of combat it hadn’t experienced since encountering a few ‘skilled walkers’ years ago.

With its strengthened body returning to normal and its great sword dissipating into nothingness, the Gatekeeper mused, ‘I guess this blind walker wasn’t that great….’ It suddenly trailed off.

[Critical point detected.]

[Reaction speed: +6%.]


A chilling sensation pierced through its back and chest as the Gatekeeper spouted black, muddy blood from its newly formed lips. Looking down, it saw a black shortsword shrouded in a familiar aurora-like, heterochromatic aura, drenched in its blood.

[A clean thrust had been initiated.]


“You should never let… your guard down… in a fight against a blind man,” Izel said shakily, blood dripping from his lips as he pushed up on his shortsword.

The Gatekeeper grabbed the blade with its melting, shady hand, using sheer force to barely prevent his body from being cut in half.

However, it could do nothing about its hands getting torn apart by the sinister aura.


The Gatekeeper was shocked…

[The Host’s critical health of 1% rapidly increased to 15%]

… No, it was overly bewildered by this unpredictable action.

“H…OW! H…OW?!” exclaimed the Gatekeeper. An unexpected phenomenon unfolded, unprecedented among the walkers it had fought and defeated. The blind Walker endured a relentless assault, a [million crickets] greatsword and flame-smash attack penetrating vital points and organs consecutively – a combination of cheat-like skills capable of shattering any prompt defenses and turning the insides of a Walker into a gory mess.

“IS IT BEC…AUSE OF THAT SKILL?” inquired the Gatekeeper, genuinely curious about the blind Walker’s inexplicable survival.

[The Skill: Hemostasis is on Standby.]

Izel’s body stitched his deadly external injuries and fatal wounds using blood cells and sizzling heat, welling up and strewn about, healing all internally damaged organs. He let out a slight groan. The monster sensed a peculiar flow of mana within him. Initially, it didn’t matter, given there were Walkers before him with many recovery-related skills, but it appeared this was no ordinary skill.

“It’s a pretty good skill,” Izel admitted. At the last minute, before his HP dropped to 0%, fortunately, his skill [hemostasis] answered his call and activated. Since then, he focused the little mana he could muster to accelerate the effect of the skill more than anything, silently bidding for the appropriate time to strike the monster.

‘There’s nothing better than this skill for that.’ The blind man pondered to himself, contorting the Aurora shortsword as the ominous heterochromatic mana resonated with increasing intensity. Despite his minimal proficiency in (Hemostasis), its current impact, coupled with the draining of blood essence, raised concerns. Given his significant blood loss, Izel wisely opted to activate it at the last possible moment, seeking an advantage against the formidable monster.

As viscous fluid dripped from the creature’s form, the Gatekeeper declared, “IT’S NOT OVER YET!” The cobalt-like mana surged, merging with the bluish-dark flame in a furious display. “IF ‘SMASHING’ WON’T KILL YOU, I WILL B…URN YOU TO CINDE…

“No!” Izel abruptly interrupted, donning a reverently eerie smile. Every muscle in his body stiffened, amplifying with boosted [Strength] and [Constitution] stats, morphing into something more formidable. “It’s over!”

“WHAT…?” The Gatekeeper’s confusion was evident. It knew it was in a dire state, the worst possible actually, but Izel lowering his guard so suddenly was unexpected. The blind Walker began to calm both his fighting spirit and mana and before the Gatekeeper could grasp its intentions—.


The humanoid’s head spun as a sinister heterochromatic aura erupted. Cold sweat gathered on its shady forehead. The ecliptic sky and the sizzling, chilling surroundings blended – the last things it saw before unconsciously knocking the blind Walker away and crashing down on his shady ass with a great thud, creating an overwhelming crater with extended ruptures. Both attacks were swift and heavy, catching each other by surprise.


A permafrost sensation spiked through a vital hole in its chest. Muddy substances splattered as disconnected regions formed on its body from the heavy impact and sinister aura. An intense convulsion overcame the Gatekeeper, its shady mind unable to comprehend its second demise



Blood spurted from Izel’s lips as he was unexpectedly kicked by the Gatekeeper at the last second. ‘Even on the brink of death, that monstrosity still retaliated strongly.’ Izel, flung away through the air, reflected on both attacks a second earlier.

[The active effect is presently undergoing a 24-hour cooldown.]

[All effects had been disabled, and the Groot’s vest had crumbled away.]

Mid-air, a concise message about his 18 Verdes Groot’s vest meeting its unfortunate demise tickled his hazy mind. ‘Well, it did its best,’ he thought happily. In other words, the Groot’s vest served its purpose, protecting its holder until the end, making the pricey tag worth it. A cold yet hot blast erupted as he landed somewhere with a huge slam.

Until its shaky life evaporated from its ragged, shady shell into nothingness.

Brotnos, the Gatekeeper, had been slain.

Congratulations! You have raided the C-rank dungeon.

As the completion messages tingled in his mind, a sigh of relief escaped him. Soon, overwhelming physical and mental exhaustion, muscle agony, and hypovolemic shock dulled by his fighting spirit engulfed his frail body. Grunting in tiredness and distress, extreme dehydration took hold.

He hastily grabbed waterskins from a pocket-sized bag, gulping two or three at once. His dry-heaved throat burned, matching the sensation in his chest. It was chaotic. Gritting his teeth, he endured the boiling sensation, his entire body beading with sweat as if suffering from hyperhidrosis.

All of this was the downside of excessive use of [Hemostasis]. Amidst agonizing distress and terror, confusion began to cloud his fragile mind.

[The Skill ‘Anesthesia (D)’ has been activated.]

[All physical pain has been reduced by 20%]

That’s not all.

[Hemostasis Proficiency has increased by 5%.]

[The Skill: Hemostasis had been forcibly deactivated.]

The skill couldn’t be maintained due to insufficient blood, instantly deactivating. However, a message echoed in Izel’s mind before its deactivation.

‘Its proficiency increased!’ He spat clotted blood from his throat, donning a faint smile. “I guess that was unexpected but profitable.” He sighed in relief, clearing his blood-itching throat and enduring the lessened distress. Normally, he shouldn’t endure such amassed exhaustion and hypovolemic shock, but with [Anesthesia], it became bearable to some extent.

The Dungeon Raid Reward has been deemed disproportional due to the spiked difficulty.

An unexpected phenomenon unfolded.
Auto-Requesting a meeting with the Administrator for an ethical reward.
Izel’s stressed mind fluttered in confusion. His [Flawlation] stared blankly into desolate space as he wondered, ‘Auto-requested a meeting with the administrator? When?’ Still lying where he landed, his heart raced, and his breathing became shallow just from hearing that grandiose name. The presence was so powerful it felt like his body was being pressed down.

However, something differed from what he had reflected.

The Administrator disapproved of your auto-request.

The formidable presence dissipated, yet the space quivered violently as if the entire world teetered on the brink of collapse. ‘No way…!!!’ He trembled while pushing himself upright from the scorching gate. Undoubtedly, he had collided with the colossal gate when the abomination struck him. Izel’s eyes widened beneath his blindfold, doubting the sensation despite the initial notification suggesting otherwise.

The unsettling spatial disruption mirrored what Izel had felt when the ‘Administrator’ entered the forum, but it differed from his expectations. Amidst the colossal rumble, the next notification jolted his weary mind as he grunted, “Kugh!”

The dungeon raid’s reward had been changed to be directly proportional to the spiked raid difficulty.

As the new reward, you have received the ‘Blood of the Gatekeeper.’

As a reward, you have received ‘150 Verdes.’

As the new bonus rewards, you have received the skills ‘Basic swordsmanship (E) and Hell-Flame (?)’

Rewards have been placed in your locked inventory.

Please move to the waiting room.

As the messages flooded his mind, Izel breathed in solace. His gloomy expression and somewhat bluish complexion unexpectedly brightened. He hadn’t anticipated a change in the initial reward, and the newly bestowed one added an unexpected twist.

‘Blood of the Gatekeeper?’ he wondered to himself. This monstrosity surpassed any agile movement, physical strength, intelligence, instinct, and mana compared to creatures like Avalanche. It resembled a calamity, possessing balanced stats that defied the laws of strategy and proper planning—a truly splendid monster, superior even to magical beasts.

Izel pondered the Gatekeeper’s blood, its splendor seemingly warranted by the unbalanced difficulty. Despite the odds, he defeated it. Yet, items like the [Blood of the Gatekeeper] and [Hell-flame] eluded his ex-hunter memories.

‘An item and flame skill I’ve never encountered,’ he mused. Rare high-ranked items like ‘Colossal Fire’ or ‘Angel or Demon Blood’ were familiar, but this was unfamiliar.

‘Well, I guess it doesn’t matter,’ he concluded. The Fortress never betrayed effort, altering rewards to match the difficulty of a perfect raid. That fundamental truth echoed in the blind man’s mind, a result of his training and ability to adapt in dire situations.

‘No, that was the fundamental truth of this world,’ he deduced, hoping it held true in the future. Recalling the surprising [Basic swordsmanship] bonus, he thought, ‘I bet it’s something pretty.’ His smile broadened as he moved deeper toward the Monster. With his blood essence currently at 2500 ml, hunger intensified.

As Izel’s physically and mentally drained body traversed the pitch-hazy darkness, he initially reflected on the slight improvement in his strength, allowing him to fend off monsters with only a few injuries. Shockingly, the situation had reversed; without his last trick and [Hemostasis], he would have been the lifeless one.

‘Fortunately, that didn’t happen.’ The blind man released a deep breath, calming his mind. Time seemed to crawl with each hobbling step he took toward its location.


Three meters away, nestled within a monstrous, unsightly crater riddled with cracks was…

“Damn, you look more horrible than when you’re alive,” Izel couldn’t help but comment as his [Flawlation] revealed the gatekeeper’s disintegrating silhouette.

… the once-spectacular, shadowy humanoid had transformed into a disjointed, tattered mess, a fading shell with formless legs and arms. Despite the slow dissipation, it still retained a shadowy appearance.

‘But it doesn’t matter, right?’ The blind man smiled as he flicked away the muddy substance from his Aurora shortsword before sheathing it into its scabbard. He believed that, as long as its soul remained intact, he could devour it. With those thoughts in mind, he strolled toward the nightmare-fading carcass, ready to consume the body.

But something felt quite strange: the abomination’s shady corpse—.

‘It isn’t gleaming in the dark ambiance!’ he realized; instead, it was only steaming away.

Rather than feeling disheartened by the unprofitable fight or bamboozled, he took a deep breath. He decided to figure out the true reason, whether the fortress’s demeanor was the cause of the changed reward.

[‘Soul Assimilation (E)’ has been activated]

[Transduction Demerit has been activated.]

[The Gatekeeper had an overwhelming presence when alive and a weighty soul when dead. Transduction of this particular transmuted soul had been disallowed.]

[Transduction has been deactivated.]

[‘Soul Assimilation (E)’ has been deactivated]

As these messages ran through his mind, Izel clicked his tongue. “So, that was it, huh?” he remarked. Of course, he had anticipated this reaction from the start. After all, Izel knew that the Gatekeeper’s intelligence, awareness, and overwhelming stats weren’t like any other; its existence was much more hefty.

Otherwise, the blind man would have gnashed his teeth with bitterness for not being rewarded for his struggles and hardships.

“But I shouldn’t be too greedy,” he sighed, acknowledging the demerit he knew he’d face from the start. “Plus, I gain 100 Verdes.” He shrugged, shivering in the chilling surroundings. As his lips escaped frost, he turned towards the flat, oval, crimson portal. “Let’s get cleaned and healed up. Ha… Ha… ha!” A parched laugh escaped his lips as he entered the portal, which revved back to nothingness.

You have entered the B-rank waiting room.

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