Soulmancer – Chapter 23: Special objective

Thirty minutes earlier, Izel’s group, fatigued and burdened with demerits, opted for a nap, sufficiently rejuvenating themselves for the impending battle. Although far from fully recharged, it proved a worthwhile rest.

Izel extinguished the bonfire with a casual sweep of his feet, punctuating the moment with a light yawn before declaring, “Alright then. Let’s resume the holy crusade.”

Both nodded in agreement, their teamwork improving amid the lengthy raid. As Daniel stretched his stiff back, they maintained their formation, navigating the topsy-turvy road towards the Titan Orc Lord, presumed to be behind the far-end gate. No doubt about it.

Three of them maintained tight guards as they strode forward. However, an uneasy feeling lingered.




Though moving swiftly, not a single Titan Orc had attacked them. Surprisingly, the second waves of Titan Orcs continued to emerge, growing more formidable with each batch. Yet, an eerie silence enveloped them, as if the Titan Orcs never existed.

“It seems the monsters must have attacked the other party,” the mage speculated.

“That’s crazy.” Daniel glanced around in disbelief. “No way, they got here faster than us.”

On the devastated road, a strangely intertwined intersection emerged, unnoticed by all. It marked a convergence of an alternate reality overlapping with theirs. Something otherworldly seized their attention—a spectacle beyond the ordinary.

“Huh, what the heck—?”

“What a mess.”

The others’ eyes widened as Izel witnessed the onslaught of lifeless black outlines, swallowing dry spit at the sight. The panorama of devastation unfolded before him, a convergence of his [Flawlation].

“This is devastating!”

Before them lay a mountain of Titan Orc corpses, heavily armed and sprawled among the rubble and collapsed clock towers. Blood oozed from their lifeless bodies, staining the surroundings. Amidst the flickering remnants of clock mechanisms, a nauseating scent of blood tainted the cold atmosphere, prompting them to cover their nostrils. In simple terms, it was a scene of unparalleled chaos and disorder.

“But it doesn’t seem like they’ve been dead for too long,” Izel observed, crouching down to touch a few of the corpses.

It wasn’t difficult to figure out. Though only black outlines are visible to the blind man, there are still some faint heat ripples emitting from these corpses. So, he touched them to accurately gauge the amount of heat and to avoid any suspicion. In short, they just missed them.

“They’re probably just about to enter the Orc Lord’s Hall,” Jenna added.

Almost immediately, cruel messages that proved their initial thoughts soon arrived.

Intruders have infiltrated the Nanzahemir main hall. All the Titan Orcs had been defeated.

Three of them gauged the opposing party’s strength from the bloodstained evidence, and that trio had just entered the main hall.

“But we mustn’t waste any more time,” Izel added.

The outcome hinged on whether the group could defeat the Titan Orcs. Jenna and Daniel could only speculate about their strength and abilities. Could it be akin to the Titan Orcs’ ‘Adaptability,’ or perhaps something even more sophisticated? Before the blind man could alert his party mates, the mage, sensing the same urgency, spoke.

“Prepare for battle.”

With a determined nod, the only fitting response was, “Yes. Let’s go in.”

Determination and power emanated from their eyes as they clenched their fists. Izel pulled open the large gate


the all-encompassing crown-adorned metallic gate squeaked open, signaling the time to confront the other Walkers.

* * *

Time left: 2 hours. 10 minutes.

The special objective ‘Survival of the Fittest’ is starting.

The concise message echoed in Izel’s mind and appeared before others’ retinas.

‘Special objective?’ Izel inwardly repeated. While not surprised by the presence of fellow Walkers, the existence of an objective indicated something inherent to the Fortress of Dungeons.

‘Hmm.’ Izel deepened his thoughts. He hadn’t considered the possibility of a new objective when the initial one went unfinished. However, after a deep breath, he concluded, ‘The Fortress is never straightforward.’

No, it’s more like playing dirty—blocking off all other options with barriers on all sides. This, though unexpected, still fell within the scope of the Fortress.

‘Well, let’s not dwell on it.’ Through his [Flawlation], Izel focused on the task at hand. Three enemy silhouettes with different hues of mana emerged. A preadult, stunning blue-haired woman adorned an Airy robe, holding a staff embedded with a grey cube. Simply put, she was a mage. The blind man trusted his observation and moved on to the next…

Having completed her inspection of the group, Jenna exclaimed, “The fact that they had a backline just like me is nerve-wracking.”

Daniel, unconvinced, responded, “Well, I don’t think so, but I suppose these humans might share some experiences with us.” He then pulled out his axe, indicating he didn’t want to underestimate their opponents; their vigor felt surprisingly competent.

The assassin, wielding two eerily identical daggers, emitted an ominous vibe, causing sweat to form on the blind man’s forehead. Meanwhile, the teenage dealer, slightly trembling with a longsword, displayed an odd temperament even a Demon Tanker like Daniel didn’t possess. Above all, the party seemed oddly balanced in an awkward way.

“Jenna, the mage appears to be the center of their party,” Izel murmured to Jenna.

“Yeah, I can see that, with the assassin covering both flanks,” Jenna replied.

“Wow, you picked up on that quickly,” Daniel said, surprised by the assessment. He knew Jenna was intelligent, but her ability to analyze the situation astounded him.

“Isn’t it obvious? The central position typically involves buffing, protecting, or launching long-range attacks as needed. It’s that simple,” Jenna stated, proud yet indifferent.

In other words, the mage in the center exuded a more refined aura, seemingly the leader of the party.

“And it appears none of them are daunted by the current situation,” Izel added.

“Are you afraid?” the mage asked out of nowhere. It was a peculiar question, but considering the blind man’s past as an ex-porter…

“I don’t know,” Izel responded vaguely.

“You don’t know?” Jenna felt a strange concern.

“I guess I have to figure that out.”

Hearing Izel’s authoritative answer and seeing his right hand on his hilt, Daniel slammed his fists together with a big grin. “That’s the spirit, human.”

However, a hint of concern lingered in the mage’s eyes towards the blind man before she let out a deep breath. “I hope so.”

The assassin recalled the ‘tweaking’ the mage talked about

“Honestly, the tweaking is simple; three of us will attack, but one at a time.”

“One at a time?”

“Yes, the dealer would take out the odd one; you’ll take the strange demon, and I’ll handle the mage.”

“Are you sure it will work?” Randell briefly asked.

That question sparked annoyance in the assassin’s face. However, the mage formed a dubious smile, attempting to hide her emotions, particularly not showcasing their little weakness.

“Of course, to the latter, they’ll have thought I’m the center.”

“Are you not?” Killy asked.

“Of course I am, but that’s what the little tweaking is all about in our usual plan,” Tessa reassured, presenting the new plan.

finally, she opened her eyes; her gaze glared, describing what seemed to be a snake ready to take on prey.

“Hey, boy, you know the drill. Fight like your life’s on the line, and don’t underestimate him,” the assassin’s gruff voice echoed, distant and ominous.

[Activating the Gear skill ‘Foresense’(D).]

[‘Foresense’ (D) synchronized with the Special item ‘Airpod’.]

Randell Kinsey, his longsword stained with blood, barely had a moment to react as she vanished, melding with the wind and disappearing into the shadows.




The eyes of Izel’s group snapped open. Instantly, Daniel’s demonic energy and Jenna’s mana intertwined, forming an intricate dance around their bodies, attempting to pinpoint the exact location of the assassin. Their efforts, however, proved futile.

“Is her stealth proficiency that great?” Jenna clicked her tongue in frustration. “Tch!” She couldn’t fathom it. Speaking more broadly, she warned, “I can’t locate her; be prepared. She could emerge at any moment.”

Izel’s throat went dry as the sound of [Sound Reading] echoed lowly, resembling a drop of water falling into a stagnant pool.

“Is this stealth really is?” Daniel exclaimed, visibly startled and amazed. He retracted his energy, creating a faint aura around Izel. It seemed this was Daniel’s first encounter with a Walker, a rare being.

From the invisible plane, the assassin slowly materialized, like tiny puzzles fitting together…


Izel felt confusion as his [Flawlation], capable of spotting anything with no blind spots, couldn’t sense the invisible assassin. True, when invisible, she lacked the usual outlines, ripples, and mana. However, Izel had an epiphany, deepening his concentration to activate [Sound Reading], where all ripples and frequencies emerged. This, however, was a distinct focal point, deviating from the usual encounters.

Faintly, a somewhat familiar tendril fluttered across the white vastness of space. It jammed his [Sound Reading], different from usual.

“Daniel, behind you!” Izel shouted.

At the rear of the young demon, just as the blind man announced, the assassin materialized. She swiftly pulled out mana-coated daggers in reverse, slashing toward the demon’s throat.

The daggers cut through the air at breakneck speed, causing air frictions only the blind man detected. He groaned at the high pitch, jamming his [Sound Reading].


Jenna sensed the intrusion of an unfamiliar ‘mana’ in her [Mana Inspection] zone, and she sidely gazed at the young demon with a wicked grin. Even in the face of impending danger, his expression exuded malice, and his poisoned axe swung menacingly towards the oncoming daggers.


Silent, Izel’s focus suddenly shifted forward. The dealer closed in on him in an instant, directing a swift mana-infused swing towards him.



The blind man anticipated the swing’s trajectory, tilting his shortsword coated in faint mana to block the attack. A rush of wind and a clash of mana enveloped him.

Terrified yet intense gazes from onlookers repudiated any notion of engaging in battle with the blind man. Pity or guilt lingered, but it didn’t deter the relentless assault. Teeth gnashing, mana screamed around the attacker’s sword as he swung wildly and strangely in Izel’s tunnel vision.


Izel, however, lacked tunnel vision; being blind, he didn’t rely on sight. This time, he didn’t block with his aurora but skillfully deflected the attack. The blind man surmised that the previous strike served as a decoy to close in and lower his guard. By not falling for the ploy, Izel neutralized the plan.

But that wasn’t the end; leveraging the recoil from the deflection, the opponent’s blade smoothly flowed backward, preventing a repeat. Metal-to-metal cries echoed through the air, accompanied by shockwaves.

Contrary to his bloodshot eyes and trembling hands, seemingly strained from muscle stress and cuts, his longsword from the F-rank dungeon traced a sharp, clean arc. It hinted at considerable experience in the art of fighting monsters.

Izel clicked his tongue, struggling to believe he was facing someone who might be an ex-hunter.

Subconsciously, Jenna sensed danger from below, a familiar feeling from the first wave of the Titan Orc.


Her premonition proved true as the ground suddenly caved in


Unbalanced, the mage coated her feet in mana and leaped away.

“What?” The attacker, seemingly the enemy’s mage, exclaimed in a stupor. How could a mage move like a knight-type hunter with such a demeanor?

“It doesn’t matter,” Tessa’s lips twisted.

And from within the fissure, wooden tentacles shot out, dashing toward Jenna in all directions like logs with springs at their ends.


As Jenna landed elegantly, her staff shimmered, and a series of fireballs morphed into existence, launching toward each tentacle, and causing multiple explosions.


‘Oh, this mage is good,’ Tessa thought briefly, a smile playing on her lips. Although they hadn’t exchanged many attacks, the prospect had already crossed her mind. The cube on Tessa’s staff glowed faintly, and ice missiles materialized, launching a swift counterattack.


A barrage of ice missiles streaked through the air toward Jenna, who conjured a series of pinkish magic blasts in response. It became a dazzling exchange of colorful explosions, with mana swirling in every direction.


Jolted by Izel’s previous shout, Daniel grinned as he sensed the faint approach of daggers towards his throat. At the last moment, he deftly deflected the attack with demonic anti-magic dancing around his poisoned axe, repelling the mana surrounding the daggers.


The clash of three deadly weapons produced a clean sound. ‘Strong…!’ Daniel inwardly commented, his feet firmly against the ground to endure the force behind those female arms. Despite his disdain for admiration, he couldn’t deny the assassin’s formidable fighting spirit. Soon, she vanished like a wafting wind.

“Tch!” Daniel clicked his tongue in disgust. Assassins, he thought, were nothing more than annoying and cowardly bugs with an oddly assassination-focused fighting style, avoiding confrontational attacks.

Without much time for contemplation, the young demon, not particularly known for his strategic thinking, faced a looming threat. A dagger emerged from the invisible plane, targeting his blind spot.


Time seemed to freeze as Daniel’s senses, sharpened by defeating Titan Orcs and heightened by the faint demonic energy around him, honed in on the impending dagger. Although slower than the assassin’s initial attempt, he urged himself to block the attack in real time.

Despite its reduced speed, the dagger possessed enough force to propel him three meters back, resulting in a crack in his axe’s blades.

‘What?’ Quite baffled, Daniel’s eyes widened surprisingly as he noticed the new crack on the axe. Despite utilizing his [Strength] and [Constitution] to grip the axe securely, it appeared that the latter’s [Strength] and [Constitution] surpassed his own.

“Are you from [Extreme] difficulty?” the young demon curiously inquired, seeking an explanation for the evident difference in power?


However, there was no response; it was as though he spoke to empty air. Irritated by this perceived rudeness, he let out a deep breath. “I’ll take that as a yes!”

Reminding himself of his superiority, he dismissed any frustration towards the seemingly introverted humans.

With a carefree nod, he adeptly blocked counterattacks from his blind spot. Rapid, invisible chain attacks followed, lacking speed but gaining power with each strike.


The opponent, startled at the demon’s ability to withstand attacks despite having higher [Strength], [Constitution], and [Agility], pondered how he could achieve such feats. She knew the Fortress should have reset his stats, skills, and title. But how?

“It doesn’t matter…”

“Huh! You finally talk?” Daniel expressed astonishment at the assassin’s murmured words, though he couldn’t decipher their meaning.

“… if you happen to block my attacks by chance,” her voice echoed as she disappeared once again.

Silence lingered.

“What? How could you even think that?” Daniel’s irritation was palpable, his sharp ears twitching with pent-up anger. “What nonsense!”

* * *

Jenna and Izel experienced a wave of relief as Daniel skillfully fended off the seemingly invisible assassin attacks, a challenge even for a mage with [Mana Inspection] and a blind man utilizing [Flawlation] and [Sound Reading] in combination.

Amid the intense battles, Izel felt his arms morphing into a stronger form, thanks to his [Strength]. The increased [Constitution] stat further facilitated his movements.

His muscles instantly gained strength, and his feet forcefully slammed into the ground, benefiting from the heightened force provided by his [Strength]. Oddly enough, his [Strength] stat had increased after devouring Titan Orcs, although it still lagged behind [Constitution], creating an ironic sense of omnipotence.

Paying no heed to the evaluations and ripples of others, Izel’s focus remained sharp on the dealer as he swung his shortsword at him with full force.

[Basic Swordsmanship has been activated.]

With that initiated, Mana coated his Aurora shortsword in his right hand. With serotonin surging and his lumic system operating at full speed, Izel’s movements became more fluid and sharper.

Each sword path and fundamental movement directed toward the opponent overwhelmed the dealer. It wasn’t just the strangely fluid swordplay; it was the uncharacteristically increased force behind every strike. Randell gritted his teeth while parrying with his longsword, unable to contend with such relentless power. Izel smoothly carved sharp arcs, and


the magical swings clashed with furious intensity. Randell’s longsword emanated a sharp air pressure, forcing Izel to tighten his grip on the aurora shortsword.

“Hmph!” The blind man exhaled deeply, executing vertical and horizontal swings repeatedly. The opponent, however, skillfully blocked each powerful attack, seemingly mocking the blind man’s strength. Randell took a few cautious steps back before lunging forward, his trembling body reflecting a struggle against impending defeat. Nonetheless, he didn’t waver and thrust his sword.


Despite unsteady hands, the thrust possessed unexpected potency. Sensing this, the blind man deftly tilted his shortsword, redirecting the attack. Simultaneously, he infused mana into his [Cloud Boots]

[Cloud Boots had been detected.]

[A Special Condition had been met.]

[Agility had solely been added to Movement Speed.]


he vanished. Brief confusion enveloped the dealer.

[Movement speed has increased by 50%.]

“Again?!” Izel, disappointed, murmured behind the dealer as he attempted to end his life stealthily. It had happened before, but now it made it twice.


Feeling the strength difference, Randell thwarted the latter attack and swiftly leaped out of the way. It was a fast maneuver; Izel hadn’t seen it coming.

The blind man was now certain. At first, he thought Randell might be hiding his skill, but he realized that wasn’t the case.

Could it be an item or a Gear skill? Izel couldn’t be certain. No matter how hastily he racked his brain, it was something his mind couldn’t figure out right now. Yet he filtered the thought—maybe it could be an innate ability like his—but soon wavered back to such thoughts. In the end, he sighed, ‘Whatever the case, I shouldn’t underestimate him.’

Above all, whatever strange skill Randell possessed could change the tide of this battle if Izel let down his guard. Since figuring out what Randell could be utilizing was a no-brainer, he withdrew his sword and took a step back.


On the other hand, the battlefield had turned into an absolute mess, with shrapnel and dirt permeating the air from multiple attacks from all sides. Pinkish and purplish mana danced about, while dark energy throbbed, repelling magical thrown attacks from the assassin, seemingly as a decoy. Though Daniel seemed somewhat mad, he didn’t let it get the better of him.

Of course, he hadn’t used his greatsword and shield yet, but he was doing better without them, particularly because of the title

[ᗌ Title: Royal demon.]

and since the assassin’s intent was apparent from the start, focused on defeating the weakest link in the party, exploiting Daniel’s loss of stats, skills, and title upon entering the Fortress. With a tumultuous history between demons and humans, it was a strategic move by both Tessa and Killy at the last minute. However, their schemes proved off-track, a glaring misjudgment.

Despite this, the assassin displayed her experience as an ex-hunter, launching attacks with explosive speed and power, and moving stealthily with high proficiency.


Daniel’s [Demonic anti-magic]-imbued axe blocked the attacks, nullifying the mana-coating. He found himself on somewhat equal footing with the assassin, moving swiftly, coating [Demonic energy] around his feet, countering dual daggers with axe swings. The dealer’s movements slowed, indicating her realization of the misjudgment. She couldn’t press forward as strongly as before.



As the whole battlefield shook at the fight of the mages, Izel concentrated on the dealer before him. Truthfully, there were a lot of elements in the Fortress of Dungeons that could change the tide of a battle. Even the roles of Walkers in one’s party could also prove effective in a battle such as this. Thankfully, it seems the fragile Dealer was from the [Medium] difficulty, due to the absence of more skills, which the blind man could tell from the exchange of blows.

And lastly, a mage, potentially aiding in secret, appeared preoccupied with Jenna.



The atmosphere grew eerily cold as [Mana Missiles] and pinkish [Mana Blasts] exploded, scattering shrapnel. Intense magic chants filled the air, a strategic dance to lower each other’s guard before facing the looming threat of the Titan Orc Lord. Amidst the chaos, Izel pondered whether the dealer was a decoy, a link to some hidden plan. Despite the uncertainty, he shook off the distraction, gripping his shortsword tightly. ‘I need to finish this, regardless of any skills or items the guy is using.’

Taking a deep breath, he leaped towards the dealer, who responded in kind. The collision echoed with the thunder of metal meeting metal.


Dodging the latter’s horizontal slash, Izel countered with a barrage of arcs. However, with each arc redirected and evaded, he sensed the Dealer’s struggle, as if reaching his limit. Unyielding, the blind man pressed on.

[Cloud Boots is on standby.]

[Basic Swordsmanship is on standby.]

His shortsword glowed, and the unpredictable movements of his shimmered [Cloud Boots] created a chaotic dance, reminiscent of a rookie hunter’s rough attacks.


“Hmm!” Something unpredictable and strange occurred. Through [Flawlation], four framed outlines appeared, and [Sound Reading] revealed each outline’s bodily responses with different reactions to the blind man’s wild sword paths. Essentially, his body moved before his sword, which danced wildly.

‘So it was a kind of prediction skill!’ Izel murmured to himself, acknowledging the troublesome nature of the skill. He persisted in his actions.

<< Previous Chapter | Index | Next Chapter >>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *