Soulmancer – Chapter 18: Teamwork II

[Basic Swordsmanship has been activated.]

With the [Basic Swordsmanship] skill activated, mana coating his feet, and the Aurora shortsword in his right hand, Izel’s movements became more fluid and sharper. It was as though he could sense the various sword paths, with every frame of each basic sword movement directed to his brain in real time. This alone heightened his serotonin levels and revved up his limbic system.


The Titan Orcs made a valiant attempt to resist, raising their immense arm guards in defense. Their strategy appeared to involve warding off the blind man’s attacks while seizing the opportunity to counterstrike. These graded iron guards were formidable enough to halt any weapon. Alas, the effort proved insufficient. The guards recoiled with each attack from the blind man’s mana-coated ranked item. Yet, fueled by Izel’s rigorous training, he unleashed enough force to not only shatter the weapon but also hinder the flesh of the monstrous adversaries. Each sword effortlessly sliced through their muscular arms, akin to a knife through butter. With precision, he thrust his aurora shortsword into the armless Titan Orcs’ neck, then weaved in a zigzag pattern through the trees toward the next wave.


Heads flew, blood staining nearby trees’ trunks gruesomely.



The blood splashing didn’t cease; it resembled a ghastly carnage. More heads flew in all directions with each swing of his sword—some hanging onto tree branches, others rolling on the forest’s uneven ground. It seemed the monsters required decent equipment to contend with this blind man’s onslaught. Unfortunately, it was too late, as a swift and precise chained attack, assisted by Jenna, claimed ten more titan Orcs.

[You have slain more than thirty Titan Orcs.]

[Pre-existing achievement has been changed.]

[The Title ‘The Buchter of Desert-Worms’ had been changed to ‘Titan Orc Slayer’.]

[Your ‘Body Constitution’ and proficiency in utilizing and controlling mana had increased by three-fold.]

After the familiar yet unexpected notification pinged in his mind, a sense of lightness washed over him, and his traumatized mind found solace. His veins and arteries felt sturdier, having expanded. Similar to the previous occurrence but more pronounced, his body underwent a revitalization, and his breathing steadied. Mana coursed seamlessly from his core to every corner. Not only had his proficiency with mana improved, but his constitution had also undergone a positive transformation. ‘Pretty dope,’ Izel briefly mused as he moved.

As the lingering sensation dissipated, he noticed a heightened sharpness in all five senses, as mana flowed through his optic nerves, taste buds, olfactory system, and cochlea. Not only that, but sound waves and frequencies became more discernible through his [Sound Reading], presence was sensed via [Flawlation], the scent of repulsive blood, and even the air touching his skin felt different. ‘Even my accumulated fatigue had reset.’ His expression radiated energy. This unexpected but highly beneficial achievement was a welcome surprise.

He signaled the mage to cease her assistance, saying aloud, “Captain, take a break.” A grateful smile graced his lips before he tensed his calves with mana, swiftly maneuvering over and under impending weapons toward the monsters. The surreal speed caused shockwaves, and blood splashing as sword movements were unleashed.


Jenna gasped for air, cold sweat beading down her face and delicate neck. Her panting, unlike before, was now much worse, a result of casting numerous spells. Even if they were all low-rank with no advanced chants, her body had reached its limit. Yet, she continued to assist Izel in his carnage. ‘Damnit, this is a bad time for my mana to be at rock bottom; I can’t even get my ‘Staff’ back down,’ she gritted her teeth, forcibly lowering her staff. Her body felt stiffer than an iron bar.

With non-existent strength, Jenna fell onto her knees, overwhelming exhaustion taking over. Her once potent mana was now smaller than a speck of dust. Despite this, she managed not to fall unconscious, showcasing her skill. However, she didn’t agree with such trivial worth. ‘What the heck is wrong with me? I’m too weak to be controlled by demerit.’ Regrets and confusion shook her mind as multiple demerits activated. But she mustn’t give up. Trembling fingers clutched the ground; she must be stronger…


The young demon, noticing the fallen mage, lost concentration, causing his unwavering legs to quiver as he forced his shield to block a Titan Orc’s attack aimed at the mage.



Blood spurted from his mouth due to an unexpected, potent attack from the latter. Despite his unbalanced legs, he managed to block the strike, tearing flesh around his wrists and calves in the process. Being a demon born from an ‘Ascender,’ his determination soared. Gnashing his teeth, he mustered immense strength, wielded the Greatsword with a single step, and slashed the Titan Orc’s limb. He didn’t stop there; strongly tensing his calves with [Demonic Power], he parted with the ground at an angle, dodging a hefty punch from the monster.

“How dare you cowardly aim for my fallen comrade? Such impudence,” he declared, his eyes brimming with demonic savagery. His large sword carved out the monster’s head, and blood splashed. Leaping back down from a tree, Daniel felt the beautiful mage struggling; however, as a hero, he decided to protect her until she recovered her mana.


Amid the relentless downpour of blood, the young demon’s dependability surged, shrouding his body in heightened murderous intent. “Come at me, you miscreants! I’ll carve out each of your heads and present them to the young demons.”


With swift precision, Daniel cleanly severed the hefty legs of each Titan Orc. Their torsos thudded to the ground, shaking the landscape, and without hesitation, he impaled their foreheads. However, this proved insufficient for a young demon spawned from the Ancient Demon’s Lord of War and Battle.

“Aaaaah!” Daniel’s shout echoed with fighting spirit as he spat at the head of another fallen foe using his enormous shield. The severed head rolled with wide, uncomprehending eyes, blood staining the edge of the shield. Despite the brutal encounter, he staggered, feeling an unexpected heaviness in his legs. “Haaaah!” He exhaled sharply. Even a courageous hero exhausts his immense stamina.

The air resonated with the sounds of swift movements—.



Continuing his carnage, Izel skillfully evaded an axe swing from his blind spot, a luxury the Titan Orc did not possess. Seizing the opportunity, he spun, generating momentum at the sword’s end. His blade whirled like a Beyblade, leaving the Titan Orcs unable to match his formidable fighting style.




In the blink of an eye, he dispatched all the monsters with a series of precisely chained attacks executed in a single fluid motion. Blood cascaded down, staining both his cloak and the leaves scattered around. After the demise of the six Titan Orcs, the onslaught ceased.

The first wave of the battle had concluded.

* * *

‘The end of the wave.’ Izel, lying flat on the ruined unpaved road, finally caught his breath and slowly got up. His head throbbed as he observed his surroundings through [Flawlation]. The outlined unpaved road was adorned with blood and outlined decapitated heads, while the black outline of trees was littered with gore and hung with immense dead Titan orcs. Leaves dripped with the same gunky substance. It was in such a total mess that Izel simply clicked his tongue in disgust.

He contemplated retracing his steps to rejoin his party. Yet, unexpectedly, the lifeless bodies emitted an eerie dark glow, their black contours discernible to him. It seemed their significance was inferior to the Avalanche, perhaps indicating they were mere lackeys. Izel wasn’t entirely certain. Nevertheless, this presented an opportunity to enhance his stats.

[Special conditions have been met. Activating ‘Soul Assimilation (E)’]

[Effect(1) Transduction has been activated.]

Simultaneously, transmuted souls, black and hazy, flowed from each hefty decaying body and merged into him.

[You have devoured the Essence of (C+) ranked ‘Titan Orcs’]

[You have devoured the Essence of (C+) ranked ‘Titan Orcs’]

[You have devoured the Essence of (C+) ranked ‘Titan Orcs’]

[You have devoured…]

[You have…]


[Capacitance: 11/10.]

Almost immediately, after the stream of messages, a simple but concise yet familiar message tickled his mind.

[Bonus Effect (2): Augmentation has been activated.]

[Augmentation has been acknowledged. Permanently augmenting stats using the essence reserves…]

[Strength has been augmented by 4.]

[Constitution has been augmented by 4.]

[Agility has been augmented by 2.]

[Inferno has been augmented by 4.]

Izel’s dull eyes widened at the newfound increase in [Inferno] stat, marking the first increase since he acquired them. A surge of adrenaline coursed through his body as various other stats also saw improvement. Determination fueled him – this wasn’t over. Having slain over fifty Titan Orcs, Izel, hindered by stunted growth, yearned to absorb every available essence.

Without hesitation, more notifications echoed as he leaped toward every fallen corpse.

[Effect(1): Transduction has been activated.]

[You have devoured the Essence of (C+) ranked ‘Titan Orcs’]

[You have devoured the Essence of (C+) ranked ‘Titan Orcs’]

[You have devoured the Essence of (C+) ranked ‘Titan Orcs’]

[You have devoured…]

[You have…]


[Capacitance: 11/10.]

Though he couldn’t store more than eleven or twelve, the blind Walker persisted, augmenting his stats.

[Bonus Effect (2): Augmentation has been activated.]

[Augmentation has been acknowledged.] Permanently augmenting stats using the essence reserves…]

His mental essence storage contracted as transmuted souls vanished one by one.

[Strength has been augmented by 3.]

[Constitution has been augmented by 2.]

[Agility has been augmented by 1.]

[Inferno has been augmented by 1.]

As a flurry of endorphin-rushing notifications enveloped him, an abnormal sense of enhancement overwhelmed him.

“This feels great,” he chuckled, driven to devour more corpses.

[Capacitance: 6/10.]

After a prolonged yet not lengthy endeavor, he devoured numerous Titan Orc essences, augmenting his stats countless times. However, he noticed something—the random points from transmuted souls had weakened. His once-satisfying expression now bore a slight frown, acknowledging the limits of his greed.


He sighed, straightened his back, and began to walk back. “I never thought I went so deep into the woods,” he absentmindedly mused as he strode.

* * *

“Ugh!” Daniel, having regained some stamina, groaned as he gathered a pile of yellow corpses. “Damn fuckers, so heavy,” he muttered, despite some of their heads being decapitated, they remained disgustingly weighty. Swiftly yet loudly grunting, he moved more corpses, with scattered limbs and arms, to a single point, counting, “6, 7, 8, 9…”

After some time, Izel finally arrived at the party location, baffled at the gruesome sight of bloody carcasses stacked on top of each other. He realized that Daniel Lan Northwestern had effectively protected the exhausted mage. In that moment, Daniel had proven his ability to handle dire situations while safeguarding something precious.



However, both of the other Walkers, noticing Izel approaching, had awkward expressions. The young demon’s face was frozen solid, and the female mage, still catching her breath in a lotus form under a tree canopy, stared with wide eyes. Blood dripped from the impending Walker’s shortsword, and patches of both flesh and gore adorned his cloak, reflecting his fluid movement and quick decision-making.

His initial words, akin to orders, still resonated vividly in their minds. The chill breeze fluttered about as they stood speechless. Eventually, snapping back to reality, Daniel spoke first. “Big brother, I never expected you to be not only strong but also decisive. You must be a hidden hunter; you should have revealed it earlier so you could have taken the lead,” he said, giggling cutely.

It was as though the image of an ex-porter shattered in the young demon’s mind, now replaced by something else.


Izel hadn’t anticipated that his actions would resonate so deeply, leading others to mistakenly label him a psychopath. ‘Ah, it appears I’ve made a rather unfortunate impression,’ he sighed. As for hidden hunters, they are individuals concealing their prowess in plain sight, delving into subterranean labyrinths while assuming the guise of porters to perpetrate deadly crimes solely for the thrill and excitement.

Concurrently, Jenna, finally catching her breath and recovering some mana, akin to a small flame burning steadily, opened her mouth. “That doesn’t seem right. He was the one who protected us.”

Despite the mage’s words, the seeming tanker didn’t back down. “Originally, I never expected we would be up against C-rank monsters like Titan Orcs right from the entrance,” he sighed, “It was quite bothersome.”

“You have a point. I never expected him to do this much; I was also irrational for underestimating him because he was blind,” Jenna dishearteningly sighed, shocked at her own pride.

Daniel brightly smiled at Izel from the side at the mage’s indirect apology before opening his mouth playfully. “A human killed multiple Titan Orcs without breaking a sweat. That’s sincerely an overkill.” Getting closer to Izel, he asked cheerfully, “…hidden Hunter, can I get an autograph?”

“I’m not a hidden Hunter.”

“What? I can’t hear you. Give me your autograph already.” As if tensing, he plucked both his ears.

Izel’s face reddened for the first time in a long while. “I’m not a hidden Hunter,” he clarified.

With such a misunderstanding, the blind man found himself trapped.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Daniel scoffed, casually blowing away the dirt from his pinky finger.

Izel pouted. Jenna had a faint smile on her face, filled with admiration. Even the young demon felt something different for the first time, though humans, and he was quite grateful to be paired with them as party mates.

* * *

To Daniel Lan. Northwestern, the Fortress of Dungeons, meant an opportunity for a fresh start away from his prestigious Northwestern family and the demon district, where too many eyes closely monitored his every move. Once the promising first son of one of the Ancient Demon Lords, he now resembled a free-flying bird dethroned from the lane of comfort.

Yet, many questions hung in the air wherever he went—.

“Why is, the first son of Ascender Gabrilius Northwestern, the King of all demons, hesitant?”

“Wasn’t he destined for greatness, born with the power to dominate all demons?”

“Could it be fear of fulfilling his duty as a royal demon?”

“Or did he simply not desire that life?”

Or perhaps the weight of expectations and the intimidating gazes that surrounded him as a royal demon caused him to neglect his true purpose.

However, Daniel disregarded the murmurs and what had been predetermined for him, yearning for something beyond the desires of others. As a ‘gentle bird’ avoiding disturbances and not troubling others, he believed that with his rare innate [demonic power], along with inherent strength and stamina, achieving Ascender status within the top ten of the ‘Eliluam Continental ranks’ wasn’t a mere pipe dream. To be precise, maintaining his current pace would eventually propel him beyond his father, the Hero, during the war [Armaedggeon] among angels, demons, and humans.

Such was Daniel Lan—his life, goals, and ambitions in the Northwestern region. However, that narrative was from a few months ago; his rapid growth abruptly halted upon reaching D-rank and securing the 2,768th spot on the [Eliluam Continental rank].

The young demon succumbed to despair as he relinquished the perks that came with his coveted royal status. Fortunately, a D-rank Demon Hunter earns significantly more than the average E-rank, notwithstanding the bothersome ‘transporter fees’ and additional taxes. Despite retaining a trace of fame within the Continental rank, navigating life without relying solely on his family’s wealth and authority wouldn’t be a walk in the park. Thus, he made the move to the First District.

Standing at a robust 185 cm and weighing 82 kg, his formidable physique and rare demonic power, which seamlessly complemented close combat, allowed him to persist in raiding labyrinths one rank higher than his own. However, the lack of progression inevitably caught up with him over time.

On a melancholic, rain-soaked day in the First District of Exodus City, the Entertainment section witnessed the spectacle of a gloaming sky, ablaze with purple lightning bolts. The flickering wet neon signpost in a dark back alley served as an unintended canvas for the intermittent flashes. Thunderous roars, unleashed by the fearsome lightning, were drowned out by the forceful exit of the double doors of a nearby bar, spilling off a cacophony of laughter, curses, and the occasional scuffle.

Drenched in booze and an acrid scent, the young demon wore a flustered expression, seeking solace from the near-death experience in a B-rank labyrinth earlier that day. He staggered out under the heavy downpour, navigating the rain-soaked streets alone. His thoughts drifted to the hypothetical nagging words his mother might have uttered, but she was conspicuously absent, never returning from the aftermath of the Great War.

His cobalt-hued eyes, dilated with the effects of alcohol, observed the rain morphing into countless needles, puncturing the earth, drumming against his armor, and saturating his hair like a soaked rat. In this moment, he grappled with feelings of insignificance, loneliness, and inadequacy, both as a demon and a Hunter.

The downpour, a relentless companion, painted a poignant backdrop for his intoxicated musings, intertwining the threads of his past and present in the city’s unforgiving embrace.

“At this rate, taking the test to awaken my demon job-related trait seems impossible,” Daniel muttered soberly. His words were blurred as he floundered among broken wooden boxes filled with grimy, gooey trash. Lost in a rainy storm, he resembled a tiny, solitary chick, barely registering his surroundings.

‘Will Mother be proud of me?’ His eyes grew blurry from both ecstasy and dripping water drops over his eyelids as he stumbled through filth and pus from a trash heap. Despite being a demon, he clung to the notion of still being a royal demon, though he considered himself worthless.

Coated in filth and leaning against a wall layered with never-ending pipes, metal-barricaded windows, and doors, he pondered, ‘Why did it all go wrong?’ The question lingered without an answer. His so-called father was so ashamed that he refused to meet with his son. Lips trembling, teeth gnashing, confusion overtook his mind under the weight of pressure, regret, gaze, and expectation. Biting his lips until they bled, his clenched fist ungripped. He wanted to give up, tired of his life, yearning to quit it all.

“I guess my life was truly noble and enchanting with roses.” Indeed, as a free bird, it was, but with his growth stunted, he knew he would never surpass his father. Daniel suddenly laughed bitterly, shaking his head to comfort himself. ‘I will…’ His thought trailed off, and his desire became the tangled trails of wire.

Amid a torrential downpour, an enveloping haze reduced visibility on the tiled path, rendering everything imaginary and gray. The rain’s deafening sound was abruptly silenced, leaving only the echo of confusion.


“What the heck?” His voice, like the pouring rain, seemed to vanish. It was as if an unseen force had frozen time, erasing every molecular detail from existence. Amidst this surreal moment, a floating lavender hologram materialized, inviting him to the Fortress of Dungeons.

Fortress of Dungeons’ has selected all suitable Walkers from Eliluam.

Please select your difficulty.

Easy, Medium, Hard, and Extreme

Hard had been selected.

The hunter’s profession had been detected.

Hunter→ Walker’s profession had been deployed.

Current skills and stats have been reset.

Suddenly, he vanished, leaving no trace of his existence, as the halted reality continued. Daniel Lan, a Northwestern, found himself bestowed with a new life, successfully navigating through dungeon raids despite his stats and skills resetting. Unfazed, he embraced speedrunning, relishing the high gains while despising the dreaded ‘Demerits.’

Though the [Hard] Difficulty posed a challenge, his determination to survive, even at the risk of his life, paid off. Against all odds, he acquired the unimaginable skill: “Demonic Anti-magic,” a one-in-a-million skill that demons rarely achieved. Despite the weighty demerit it carried, Daniel leveraged this newfound ability along with ultimate healing resources and training in a waiting room to surpass his Eliluam strength.

Contemplating his future, he envisioned surpassing A+, No, SS+ Dungeon raids, returning to the outside world with enhanced talent. He toyed with the idea of reclaiming his Hunter rank, challenging and defeating High-Hunters to ascend the Continental board, all while moving at his own pace like a gentle bird.

A few hours earlier, reading in the forum about the B-rank Dungeon raid’s objective, ‘Battlefield Survival,’ Daniel finally grasped the essence of this test—a survival challenge among snakes, lizards, eagles, and crocodile-like hunters, a first-time experience in his life.

In a world seemingly at peace since the era of [Armaedggeon], Daniel found no inclination to take a life for his survival. The absence of this urge didn’t trouble him until he encountered a blind young human whose sheer strength and quick decision-making shook the heart of the demon. This unfamiliar display of cool-headedness and dependability in dire situations left Daniel questioning the human’s past experiences, evident in the loneliness and ambition etched on the young man’s face.


‘What’s happening to my heart?’ Daniel shook his head in denial. ‘I’m a demon, goddamnit, a badass demon.’ His grey face faintly reddened as his demonic blood stirred, his sharp ears twitching in response to his conflicting thoughts. His gaze fixated on the blind man below him, who was busy wiping blood off his shortsword.

Admiration, warmth, envy, and curiosity swirled within him. Glancing briefly at the mage in a lotus position under a nearby branch, Daniel acknowledged their exceptional prowess against the Titan Orcs.

‘Both of them deal with the Titan Orcs splendidly,’ he thought, feeling a surreal sensation. Unlike him…

Even during the brief break given to the party, Daniel’s mind remained in turmoil. He desired improvement and strength, wanting to outshine the blind man and the mage in facing Titan Orcs. Memories of each Walker effortlessly dealing with these formidable foes flashed through his mind.

‘… Each of the Orcs was dealt with pure superiority.’

Though he wished to progress at his own pace, Daniel realized that continuing with the same behavior wouldn’t allow him to catch up with the two exceptional Walkers. Intentional action, spurred by the blind Walker and the mage, impacted his slow-paced life. Aware that change was necessary, Daniel saw the seamless gate in the distance as the potential catalyst.

He clenched his fist, leaping down from the tree with his demonic blood pumping. A big grin on his face, as he smashed his fists.


“Hopefully, we can grow together for the rest of the raid,” he remarked.

As the wind blew, it reminded him that from a young age, he understood he wasn’t the sharpest demon in the shed, but certainly not an idiot either.

Jenna and Izel exchanged satisfied smiles as if they all shared and agreed to the same thoughts.

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