Soulmancer – Chapter 17: Teamwork

‘A hero, huh?’ Izel shook his head, reluctant to respond to the perplexing notion of a hero in a fortress where survival skills held greater significance than anything else. The enigmatic yet strangely familiar words seemed out of place. How could heroism thrive amidst a relentless focus on strength and survival? Yet, an uncanny sense of heroism emanated from the demon before him—a dark silhouette that hinted at something beyond the ordinary.

Izel observed the black outline exuding confidence and bravery—positive traits unique among demons. He concluded that if, following the events of the raid, this demon maintained his positivity and other qualities, he could be a true hero and a potential friend. Until then, Izel decided to play along. However, if he couldn’t, there was no reason to be friends with such a demon, right?

‘I would find out soon enough,’ he briefly pondered.

The Nanzahemir gate will open in 2 minutes.

The raid will officially start soon.

Izel questioned, “Let’s hear the information you found out using your overwhelming query points.”

Taking a deep breath, Jenna responded, “Allow me to outline what will occur after that gate opens.”

Frankly, the challenges faced by the Walkers weren’t entirely new. Certainly, every party would battle monsters as usual. However, this time, each group must swiftly navigate the horde and defeat the Titan Orc Lord.

Jenna elaborated, “This raid unfolds across numerous ‘realities,’ each containing randomly shuffled and grouped Walkers. Every reality hosts seven boss monsters, with a total of 42 Walkers. In our scenario, though segregated into seven unconnected regions, each with seven bosses, only 21 Walkers can successfully navigate this raid in our reality, with the belief that only half will survive. At each Nanzahemir gate, six parties target each boss, presenting a formidable opposition against us.”

“That’s not bad; there were only three Walkers against us,” Daniel said as he considered the six walkers converging on the same objective. The situation seemed designed to be cruel. ‘We will practically be murdering our opponents,’ he briefly thought. Indirectly ordering them to take out the other party for easy survival against the boss monster, which wasn’t necessarily true, left Daniel somewhat conflicted. “I guess we had no choice but to defeat the boss monster before the other party did.”

Jenna responded, “And to do that, we’ll have to map out the area first.”

“But who would help us to do that?” Daniel, deep in thought, seemed unable to figure out how to proceed as the leader, no matter how deeply he pondered. Seeking help, he turned to Jenna, as if he had been too carefree and unintentionally forgotten her expertise. He scratched the back of his head with a smile. “Captain, do you by any chance have a mana-tracking type skill?”

Jenna questioned, “Did you forget I’m a mage or something…?”

Silence fell, and only the gentle wind whooshing through leaves could be heard.


Shyly, he tilted his head, embarrassment evident in his murmur, “Aye.”


Too carefree, in mere minutes, he had forgotten that only a mage possessed such a skill. While a normal hunter, high-rank hunter, or Walker could have similar abilities like ‘Thousand-mile-eyes’ or ‘Falcon eyes’, and ‘Detection’ skills, they couldn’t match the [mana-tracking] skill, requiring a large mana pool, high concentration, and precise mana control.

“Just take a look at the one who wants to take the lead?” Jenna teased, on the verge of laughter at his forgetfulness. Regaining her indifferent composure, she took the initiative: “Yep, I’ll lead the way, so the two of you can just protect me.”

The mage agreed that it would be better that way, as the blind man had suggested earlier. Despite the demon’s disappointment, Izel and the mage both wore unfamiliar yet friendly, faint smiles. His gloomy expression brightened, and he seemed okay with the decision. He turned to Izel, offering reassurance with a bright expression once again.

“Did you hear that, big brother? Just stand at the back of me.”

The blind man simply nodded his head. His silence bothered the latter; however, he chose not to mention it. Instead, he didn’t have the chance.

Time up.

The Nanzahemir gate is about to open up. Be prepared.

A resounding creak echoed in the distance, accompanied by the overpowering rush of wind that poured out.

“Ready, guys?” Jenna initiated the conversation, swallowing dry spit, and preparing for battle. Daniel Lan, Northwestern, grasped his Greatsword and positioned his great shield with a stern face that seemed out of place. “Big bro, stay behind me.”

Izel nodded, standing at Daniel’s back. “Please, just tell me where to go. I’ll be in your care.”

Following Jenna, who took the lead, Daniel closely guarded the entire party. Jenna erected a filmy yet robust, colorful, translucent barrier, shielding them from the gust of wind that forcefully fluttered everything in its path. Despite Izel’s initial skepticism about their formation, formed during his first chat with the party in over a week, the good chemistry became apparent as Jenna took swift action against the tempest-like wind.

The monsters are pouring in. Find the target as soon as possible and slay it.

As the wind subsided and the barrier fell, cries echoed out as a massive figure, shrouded in a purple mana hue, loomed over the landscape, revealed from Izel’s [Flawlation].


The ear-deafening shiek prompted Izel to quickly shut off his [Sound Reading] to prevent being torn apart. Simultaneously, a black outline of hefty feet strode out.

The ground rumbled and shook with each step out of the gate. Startled, three of the Walkers widened their eyes at the imposing black shadows cast over them. Their feet trembled, not from the uncontrollable rumble, but from the unexpected entities before them. Despair, terror, and confusion suddenly overwhelmed them.

‘This raid just started, and this has already happened?’ Izel nervously thought.

‘Are these the Titan Orcs guarding the Titan Orc Lord? Are we supposed to defeat this?’ Jenna calmly pondered as chilly sweat beaded down her cheek.

‘So massive, slightly taller than most trees here. Dammit,’ Daniel cursed, strangely admiring the monster’s height.

Undoubtedly, numerous titan-like monsters made their way through the rugged forest, leaving abysmal footprints on the unpaved road. Witnessing an army of fully armed Titan Orcs, their necks tensed. Each of them knew that the Fortress of Dungeons would by no means make this raid easy. However, as confusion raced through their minds, the captain mustered courage, remaining as calm as possible as she spoke up, “…I can lead the way later. Let’s get ready to fight.”

Izel recalled how he had initially resisted accepting the invitation to the Fortress of Dungeons. Yet, as he reflected on it, the decision appeared to be one of the most awkward choices he had ever made.

* * *

The brutal battle started following the captain’s announcement. A horde of roughly twenty-four colossal Titan Orcs surged in all directions, obliterating anything in their path.


A towering orc, standing at about six to seven feet with fierce crimson eyes and a formidable physique, catapulted towards the mage. His muscular form was adorned with gruesome trophies, resembling a seasoned warrior. Armed with a purple poison-dripping axe, iron armor, arm guard, and a backup greatsword, the orc exhibited a level of menace that belied the typical orc in a warzone.

As the massive poisoned axe descended in a crescent arc towards the captain’s head, showcasing a refined axe-manship surpassing even the Goblin Lord’s, the ex-C-rank mage remained unfazed. With a staff raised, a translucent orb at its tip gathered mana, emitting a dazzling emerald ray of light, as an indescribable chant flowed from her lips.


The Titan Orc’s body erupted like a nuclear bomb, showering the area in blood. With whispered chants, the mage’s staff slammed into the ground, conjuring a massive boulder that struck down an approaching Titan Orc. The creature’s arms were instantly crushed as it was propelled several meters, colliding with another Titan Orc. Helpless on the ground, the mage’s staff struck again, summoning ice icicles that pierced through both bodies, creating a gruesome scene of splattered blood.


Meanwhile, amidst the ongoing battle, a four-foot-tall Titan Orc stealthily maneuvered through the tall trees, targeting Izel’s blind spot. Its Iron Greatsword swung in a horizontal curve, aiming to cleave the blind man’s torso in two.


Unknown to the Titan Orc, Izel had no blind spot. He effortlessly unsheathed his shortsword, anticipating the impending attack. His sword glowed faintly with bluish-green mana as he deftly blocked the horizontal swing. Leaping into the air, he dodged another swing from the Titan Orc, countering with precise movements.

However, even that proved insufficient; the Titan Orc, shocked by the blind walker’s demeanor, attempted to defend itself, thinking its life would end if exposed to that attack. Instead, both of its hefty arms were mercilessly slashed off, gunky blood splattering.


Unbalanced and baffled, Izel’s aurora shortsword pierced its heart without giving it time to comprehend its impending demise. Blood splashed as its colossal body fell, buried among the giant trees. The intensity of the encounter shook the forest, causing leaves to cascade around.

‘Why was he attacked even though he was far back?’ Daniel Lan. Northwestern pondered that something was strangely amiss. It seemed as if his strength had been acknowledged, prompting the attack. However, he dismissed it as a coincidence; he wouldn’t want a disgusting monster acknowledging him with its blade.

Nevertheless, that wasn’t the case; the young demon’s hoarded equipment was outrageously expensive, making it hard to believe he was only C-rank at best. The Titan Orc appeared to target the toughest foes first, but being from a superior race, he should be capable of handling all Titan Orcs, right?

A few meters away from Izel, Daniel Lan. Northwestern didn’t seem to agree.

“What kind of giants move like this systematically?” The young demon yelled, barely blocking the heavy attacks of multiple Titan Orcs with his hefty shield, despite the absence of magic. His arms trembled, teeth gnashing tightly, yet he held onto his shield with all his might, absorbing the brunt of many weapons.

“Ah!” Daniel’s feet pressed against the ground as he roared with fighting spirit, floundering and pushing a few Titans away, sending them crashing into countless trees.

Cold sweat rolled down his cheek as he swung his Greatsword, carving out a few legs, blood splashing in the chaotic dance of battle. The onslaught continued as more Titan Orcs swarmed towards him like relentless flies. He couldn’t catch a damn break.

“Dammit!” he loudly cursed.


Izel, observing through his [Flawlation], sighed. “Is he the one who bravely wanted to protect me?” His face maintained a faint smile, admiring the distant yet cute scene of the awkward demon Walker. The blind man understood the young demon’s struggle, facing giant Orcs of at least C-rank. It was a brave act, even without awakening his demon job-related trait. Yet, being from one of the superior races had its perks.


Indeed, even without the awakening of his job-related traits like Jenna, the young demon possesses inherited strength, [Demonic energy], innate battle instinct as the first son of an ancient demon lord, experience, stats, survival instinct, and skills acquired from raiding the Fortress’ dungeons.


With each resounding cry of his chaotic fighting spirit, Daniel executed a sharp crescent swing that severed both legs of a Titan Orc. In a swift motion, he leaped to its chest and thrust his Greatsword into the monster’s heart, causing blood to rain down. Upon landing, tension surged through his spine.

A poison axe, capable of splitting giant trees and melting them to pieces, swung dangerously close to Daniel’s neck. Frustration boiled over as he yelled, “Damn it, why are these creatures still coming? Urgh!” Despite deeming the attacks bothersome, he skillfully fended off the assailant.

Even after dispatching a considerable number of Titan Orcs, more continued to assail him, causing Daniel’s breathing to grow rough. He pressed on, grunting, “Ugh!”

Struggling against the overwhelming numbers, Daniel showcased proficiency in handling a few of them, validating Izel’s theory. ‘It seems Daniel didn’t go through the same difficulty as Jenna and me,’ the blind man pondered. Initially a guess, it became evident through careful observation of Daniel’s fighting style. Although unable to discern the specific difficulty level, the blind man ruled out both [Easy] and [Medium] based on Daniel’s confidence and experience against formidable opponents.

Unable to compare him to Walkers from other difficulties, it remained a gut feeling. In short, Daniel’s experience dealing with multiple strong presences and enduring unwavering attacks surpassed expectations. Even when overwhelmed by their grand populace, his mental fortitude remains unshaken.

Though the young demon’s abilities didn’t quite match those of Izel and Jenna on the [Extreme] difficulty level, they were certainly noticeable, fitting the [Hard] difficulty. Despite facing fully armed and gigantic enemies, he confronted them with remarkable prowess and confidence.

Izel pondered if this was the key to his survival since the tutorial, albeit a bit noisy.

“Die! You fucking fatass!”


“I’m the great son of a great demon! Die!”


Countless loud explosions echoed through the landscape, shaking the forest and causing numerous trees to fall. The chaotic, uneven road and countless trees were now covered and dripping with the monster’s blood.


At this moment, the green-haired mage acted and let out a strained squeak as her magic squeezed a certain Titan Orc, on the verge of thrusting the young demon from his blind spot into a singular spaghetti. Before her shout filled the air, she commanded, “Daniel, fall back to Izel and act as his support. Your stamina is low, and you should take a rest to continue fighting.”

After giving the order, her heightened senses, imbued by mana, went haywire. Goosebumps formed as she sensed a new enemy from deep underground attempting something unexpected to crush her.

“BIND,” she chanted as faint magic circles overlapped and expanded from her feet over a 12-meter radius.



Both Izel and Daniel were amazed as the ground shook and whittled into two regions. From the newly formed crater, a chain-restricted Titan Orc, only 5 feet tall, loomed out.

“What the hell? From underground!” Izel couldn’t believe it. Despite sensing waves and frequencies jamming his [Sound reading], he paid no attention, attributing it to vibrations from magical impacts. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

Daniel, who had split apart the head of a Titan Orc, sensed a familiar, overwhelming bloodlust from Jenna.

“This…?” His eyes shot open as a certain recollection stung his mind: “Such murder intent, just like mother.”

Before both Walkers could understand why Jenna became so intense, another murmur escaped her lips.


The once-expanded and overlapped magic circles shrank back to her feet. Simultaneously, the chain-restricted Titan Orc began to freeze instantly, shattering to pieces.

Jenna soon calmed down with a rough breath. Simultaneous heavy spells always took a toll on her. ‘Damn, father, I’m still too weak.’ She bitterly thought, clenching her fist and panting heavily, ‘I’ll get stronger and find you, father.’ Her eyes darted to a shadow that flickered past her.


“Die!!!!! You fucker!!” He yelled. “Shit, we are you guys. Keep coming after me.” Daniel, once among them, was no more. In truth, he had walked a bit forward, guarding multiple attacks with his shield, killing more Titan Orcs with one heck of a slash with his Greatsword. Blood splatter.

With a back that seemed somewhat humongous, the young demon shot a glance at the panting mage. As confidently as ever, he spoke, “Captain, don’t worry, I can handle this; just offer a buff or something!” His grin exuded reliability, though embarrassment lingered as his stamina dipped low. He shamefully sought help, hiding behind his shield, fending off the Titan Orc attack and striking when the opportunity arose.

However, Izel appeared to disagree. He reasoned that, buff or not, the young demon and the mage were running low on either mana or stamina and more Titan Orcs kept emerging. ‘If this keeps up, we’ll all get surrounded,’ he thought, foreseeing the inevitable outcome. He considered assessing his party mates’ skills against his own, and the result surprised him: ‘They’re all dependable.’ His decision was firm: ‘I like them.’ The strategy of guarding from the rear, with the mage leading and the young demon on the side, worked effectively. It was enough to handle the Titan Orcs until they ceased, but unfortunately, the raid had a time limit.

Both of them were nearing their limits, and an intense battle between Walkers loomed. ‘They would end up dying of exhaustion,’ Izel pondered, realizing it was time for him to take the lead so they could rest. However, a petty problem nagged at him; could he handle them all on his own? After brief consideration, he arrived at a swift conclusion.

He approached Jenna, unsheathing his shortsword. Despite the Titan Orcs being barely stronger than Avalanche, he felt confident, having grown stronger since then.

“Huh? What are you…?” Jenna, the female mage, looked confused as the blind man walked past her.

“Like I said before, you’re very strong,” he told her dismissively, ignoring her completely as he advanced toward Daniel. There was no intention to explain himself to her. “Gather your mana; you will be assisting me.” The mage had been leading admirably, but

“Big brother…? Please protect…” The young demon, noticing Izel’s approach, nervously spoke. However, Izel interrupted him: “Return to your initial position and protect Jenna, as your life depends on it.”

Daniel stared blankly at the man, eventually grasping the blind man’s meaning as his eyes glimpsed the peculiar aura enveloping his shortsword. He nodded and withdrew.

It was now Izel’s turn to shine. With a sneer, he taunted, “Come at me, Titans,” his feet pushed off the ground as he hurled himself toward the Titan Orcs. “No, I’ll come to you instead.”

The distance between him and the monsters quickly narrowed. Evading a wide swing with a hair’s breadth, the frontmost attacker’s head flew into the air. Blood sprayed on tree leaves and trunks.

With lopsided stats, his [agility] surged ahead, the result of dedicated training. Approaching at breakneck speed, the Titan Orcs in terror and rage hurled poison axes towards him.



Noticing his breakneck approach, the Titan Orcs threw their poison axes in a futile attempt. As Izel sped forward, each looming attack was halted mid-air with low-level chants, as per Izel’s request.

Simultaneously, the mage, her staff outstretched, urged, “Keep going; don’t stop!” Her sharp eyes filled with determination. In response, Izel, hearing her command, accelerated, infusing mana into his feet.


Observing this, Jenna, with a hint of shock, wondered, ‘Just how is he so fast despite being blind?’ Though Izel had previously explained using ‘Detection’ skills for navigation, Jenna couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more to the story.


As poison axes and swords whizzed through the air towards Izel from all directions, he skillfully evaded some while others succumbed to Jenna’s lingering magic. Despite the bothersome onslaught, the blind Walker pressed on with confidence.

Although Izel could detect the trajectories of their attacks using both [Sound Reading] and [Flawlation], the irritated air frictions from some weapons made his ears bleed. Jenna’s magic, however, dealt with unexpected decoys, unpredictable punches, inconsistent swings, thrown daggers, and various tricks. Working together against hordes of Titan Orcs in the surrounding forest, the two Walkers surprisingly found it stress-free.

Blood splattered as Izel’s shortsword beheaded each monster with smooth, precise slashes.

Soon enough, a chant rang out…


Another collection of impending poison axes and daggers was sealed by faint, translucent cube boxes. Some were bound by chains and exploded into bits. Daniel observed with wide-open amazement; he couldn’t believe it but mustn’t let his guard down.

His demon’s senses caught traces of a sneaked Titan Orc aiming for Jenna. The young demon’s bravery soared, “No, you don’t.”


The sound of iron against steel resonated as his shield collided with the attacks. His feet were carved into the ground, arms firmly clenched around his Greatsword hilt, and its blade made multiple overlapping slashes. Blood rained down.

His reliability allowed the female mage to concentrate more on assisting Izel. With a faint smile, many low-level chants left her lips; sweat rolled down her cheek, gliding over her delicate neck as light gleamed from her staff.


Blood continued to splash like a fountain.

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