Soulmancer – Chapter 24: Despair


As they clashed strongly, Randell wondered if his opponent had discerned his ability, noticing a peculiar hesitation in his last stroke. ‘That’s impossible,’ he thought, despite the uncertainty and guilt thrust upon him by the Fortress and his party to partake in this seemingly futile match. Nevertheless, this dealer appeared genuinely intrigued by what this blind Walker could achieve—a rarity on Eliluam or within the Fortress.

‘Is he truly blind?’ The dealer questioned his own thoughts, perplexed by Walker’s remarkably clean and swift maneuvers, defying expectations for someone without sight.


Slightly more than thirty minutes had passed since the battle erupted on all fronts, and a little over fifteen minutes since the blind Walker’s movement speed escalated. Amid the chaos, Kinsey’s once-fluid and sharp basic swordsmanship abruptly turned harsh, as though observing his novice self in combat. Stress engulfed his arm as he deftly parried two rough swings, his face showing a hint of annoyance. ‘This… is really bothersome,’ he mused. Despite the increased difficulty in dodging, parrying with his Gear skill wasn’t overly challenging.

[Gear skill ‘Foresense’(D) is on standby.]

A specialized gear skill harmonizes with a unique ‘Airpod,’ enabling the user to manifest the effects of frame prediction for any conduct their opponent performs. This information is directed by sound, making it an impressive ability. However, its demerits are too bothersome to elaborate on.

[‘Foresense (D)’ analyzes the target.]

[‘Foresense(D)’ reads the paths.]

[‘Foresense(D)’ initiates frames.]

As another harsh sword cleaved through the air toward him, the Airpod vibrated, injecting multiple frames into his mind: move, dodge, block, parry, and leap to counterattack.


Yet, the relentless sword attacks exhibited a strange fluidity, as if the blind Walker found loopholes in his ability. When the dealer moved left to dodge a wide arc, the latter’s sword shifted mid-air to a vertical wide arc sideways. As Kinsey retreated to his initial position, the adversary executed dual horizontal slashes, aiming for his neck. Despite the challenge, the [Foresense] gear skill provided split-second predictions of the changes.

However, a throbbing uncertainty lingered in the dealer’s shaken mind: ‘Could this be bait?’ Baiting, a tactic used by both Hunters and Walkers, involved purposely performing initial attacks and interchanging them at the last minute to exploit weaknesses. Randell Kinsey shook off the thought, fending off the interchanged horizontal magical slashes.

His lips twisted at the power behind the attacks—a force capable of ending him. Yet, the desire to survive this raid and lead his unfortunate party to the bitter end brimmed brightly in his heart.

Randell Kinsey grappled with a desire that clashed with the weariness, trembling, and bruises consuming his body. The [Foresense] second effect, enhancing his reaction speed and flexibility, had carried him through the raid, drawing on four years of monster-hunting experience on Eliluam. Yet, as his vision blurred and he floundered, he sensed an undeniable demerit.

His chest throbbed with the fear of death, urging him to consider an alternative to the fight. Should he attempt to convey with the blind Walker? But Randell swiftly dismissed the notion. The Fortress dictated the only path to survival: kill or be killed. Speaking to the enemy seemed inconceivable when the objective was clear – eliminate the threat.

A moment of self-doubt gripped Randell, but he shook it off. The objective, Survival of the Fittest, aligned with the original goal. It was a task meant to be accomplished with one party standing victorious, leaving no room for alternatives.

[‘Foresense (D)’ analyzes the target.]

As Kinsey concluded his thought, he executed a counter-attack—a potent vertical arc aimed at exploiting Blind Walker’s seeming tunnel vision. It served as a decoy, followed by a swift thrust of his longsword towards the latter’s chest.


Despite Walker’s appearance of tunnel vision, he agilely dodged the attack while effectively blocking the magical thrust. The conduct was sharp and fast, leaving the dealer momentarily stunned amidst the shrapnels and dust.

In the blink of an eye, Blind Walker jumped clear, causing his sword to crash into the ground. Confusion swept across the dealer’s face. ‘Where did he go? Did he disappear?’ For a split second, Walker’s black cloak shimmered, and he seemingly vanished.

But, the dealer corrected his thoughts. The blind Walker hadn’t disappeared; he was moving faster than ever as if granted a temporary agility buff. And

[‘Foresense(D)’ reads the paths.]

[‘Foresense(D)’ initiates frames.]

from the faint frames relayed by [Forsense], all of his stats suddenly received a boost of at least 10 units. Could it be the mage secretly and temporarily augmenting his stats? His left eye subtly darted towards the mage, engaged in an increasingly intense battle.




It wasn’t her; he shook his head definitively. Nor was it the demon. How did his stats experience this sudden surge? Before he could complete his thought, the latter’s sluggish sword movements veered toward him. The Dealer longsword glowed white, infused with mana, desperately parrying the unpredictably erratic sword paths like a frisbee. It then swiftly darted toward one of the potential frames [Forsense] relayed.

Though risky to approach such an uncertain shadow, this might be the only way to halt the blind Walker in his tracks. The intention was clear: attempt to sever him from head to torso.


[‘Foresense(D)’ reads the paths.]

In a flash, the blind Walker, agile as an eel, skillfully evaded the wide swing of his Dealer. He extended and tensed his left calf, slyly balling his upper body mid-air to redirect the horizontal swing towards his jaw, crushing the soil with a powerful impact. Despite the lengthy explanation, this intricate exchange unfolded in an instant. Flustered by the blind Walker’s exceptional elasticity and seemingly trained reflexes, the dealer desperately flailed to strike him. However, the blind Walker’s reaction speed had surged to twice its initial rate, and the dealer struggled to land a significant blow.




As each of them drew more arcs, attempting to catch each other off-guard, the dealer’s efforts were in vain; he still couldn’t land a sufficient attack on the Blind Walker, who moved like a slippery eel. Randall Kinsey’s shaken mind descended into chaos, making it challenging to counterattack. All he could do was struggle to dodge at a hair’s breadth.

‘…This was actually a bait,’ he briefly pondered, reflecting on the change in the latter’s fighting style. He found it hard to believe such changes; there was absolutely no way he could actually see. Could he be feigning blindness? The thought crossed his mind that perhaps he utilized a gear skill to perceive and pinpoint loopholes in his ability. Moreover, he seemed to from the [Extreme] difficulty. Right. There was no way his fighting was straightforward; it was both clean and fast, too good to be true if he wasn’t.

Kinsey gritted his teeth, battling the throbbing pain in his arms and the mounting exhaustion, steadily losing both mana and stamina in the ongoing fight. In this dire situation, a momentary lapse in his guard could result in the enemy’s sword piercing his neck at any second.

[‘Foresense(D)’ reads the paths.]

[‘Foresense(D)’ initiates frames.]


As they collided, two distinct hues of mana intertwined and dissipated into the air. The Blind Walker gasped for breath, revealing signs of exhaustion. Could the source of his stat buff be draining more mana than he can endure? As an experienced veteran, it doesn’t take much to discern the situation. His lips tremble, forming a sneer. In this critical moment, seizing the opportunity to wear him down and ultimately end his bleak life becomes imperative.

Unaware of it, that’s exactly what the latter aimed for – to highlight his flaws, subtly lowering his guard. In reality, the blind Walker grew weary, a fact he intentionally revealed, but gradually, allowing the dealer to catch on. Almost instantly, his [Cloud Boots] emitted a whitish-blue shimmer as mana surged through them. His speed momentarily surpassed his usual control.

[‘Foresense(D)’ initiates frames.]

He vanished once more—a swift, fleeting movement that prompted the dealer to shift his gaze. Though subtle, [Foresense] transmitted glimpses of numerous future frames behaving oddly in his direction. ‘I must catch him redhanded,’ Kinsey resolved, determined to flip the situation entirely. Concentrating more profoundly than ever, he felt the skill range and prediction speed sharpen rapidly.

[‘Foresense (D)’ analyzes the target.]

[‘Foresense(D) reads the paths.]

The airpod vibrated faintly.

[Mental fortitude is too low.]

[Warming: Reduce your concentration!]

As multiple predictions flooded his hippocampus simultaneously with quick, robust information, overwhelming the capacity of that brain region, he sensed a faint entity approaching. Before he could brace for its thrust

[‘Foresense (D)’ analyzes the target.]


[Warning: Mental Fortitude is too low!]

his head shook, a phantom loophole conjured by his inability to contain such information. Tension coursed through him, yet he gritted his teeth against the onslaught of pain and distress as new bruises and wounds adorned his body. Struggling, he dodged each strike with precision, every frame etching itself in his mind. Blood splattered, the rough attacks becoming insurmountable. His eyes darted, desperately seeking accuracy amidst the different frames…

[Warning: Mental Fortitude is too low!]

The airpod vibrated vigorously.

[Warming: Reduce your concentration!]

A thrust, a swing—horizontal or vertical—or an intersecting arc curve, even a cross-thrust, and a regular swing with a slash. Which one was real? Should he fend, leap, parry, or redirect? How could he evade them all and counterattack? As his mind juggled these thoughts, stress etched lines across his forehead, and veins throbbed. Blood seeped down his face, obscuring his vision in crimson. Unable to see, Kinsey stumbled backward as a hazy figure closed in, sword swiping toward him. “U-Uh…!” he stammered as the realization struck him, ‘He wasn’t trying to bait me.’

Instead, he sought to adapt, pressuring his opponent to counterattack, while exploiting the flaws he displayed. A skilled Walker who had discovered the loophole earlier, he now realized his misconception. This adversary wasn’t one he could defeat outright; he was a ‘sword’ honed with each clash, a relentless force. Could he be an experienced veteran like himself? No, his swordsmanship was too basic on Eliluam, yet strangely flawless, as if trained in it a thousand times. “Why do I have to face such [Extreme] difficulty, Walker?” He murmured to himself.

His face wrinkled in confusion, bitterness, and regret. He couldn’t fathom why.

[‘Foresense (D)’ analyzes the target.]

[‘Foresense(D)’ reads the paths.]

[Warning: Mental Fortitude is too low!]

Despite his blurry crimson vision and pounding head, he stood firm, attempting to block the thrust. Unfazed, he swung his longsword, only to find that his opponent had deftly altered both the attack and its trajectory, redirecting the collision.

[‘Foresense(D)’ initiates frames.]

As a warm sensation enveloped his chest, his heartbeat raced rapidly, as if it might burst through. Another prediction from his [Foresense] intensified the throbbing in his head. “Ugh!” he groaned, following the frame to parry the next attack. The latter speed briefly surged, and…



the strike transformed into a potent thrust, as if certain this was the end. In reality, the dealer was at his limit; he could hardly see, with both his ear and head bleeding. His trembling arm had become as stiff as a boulder.

[Warning: Mental Fortitude is too low!]

[Warning: Mental Fortitude is too low!]

[Warning: Mental Fortitude is too low!]

[Error! Your mind had been overloaded!]

[‘Foresense(D)’ had been forcibly deactivated.]


The Blind Walker’s shortsword drilled the latter’s heart, while, surprisingly, the dealer’s longsword hovered menacingly at the blind man’s neck. With a slight effort, it could sever his neck, leaving a thin red line in its wake.

The boiling red airpod crumbled away, taking its wearer’s soul with it.

In an instant, the entire hall froze. Blood oozed from Kinsey’s wide smile as he finally comprehended where it all went wrong. His regret was choosing the wrong difficulty, he fell onto his face. Lifeless.


Fights paused as everyone was shocked.

* * *

The mage and assassin’s expressions froze for a moment, their gazes darting between the blind Walker, sword dripping with blood, and the fallen dealer. It was all too real, disbelief etched across their faces.

“W-wha… this damn brat…” Killy Donahue’s disappointment was reflected in her eyes, lips curling in frustration.

“Wait, that bastard couldn’t even defeat a simple blind Walker?” Tessa Kendall gnashed her teeth, fury wrinkling her forehead. It was an unexpected outcome, tears of frustration rolling down her cheek.

Both briefly pondered how the blind Walker had slain an experienced hunter so swiftly. The dealer may have been an ex-D-rank Hunter, but he usually posed a challenge for many Walkers—unless his opponent was a [Hard] or [Extreme] difficulty Walker. If either was true, it wouldn’t be surprising for the Blind Walker to freakishly defeat a [Medium] difficulty Walker. With this realization, Killy and Tessa took deep breaths, aiming to strike the motionless Walker.



Noticing this, Daniel and Jenna, preemptively blocked any counterattacks amid the distraction, ensuring the motionless Walker went unharmed.

Izel’s allies, shocked, briefly glanced at him before continuing with their fights. Yet, Jenna, for some reason, sensed something amiss with the blind man. Recalling their recent conversation—.

“Are you afraid?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied.

“You don’t know?”

“I guess I will have to find out.”

His last response carried a hint of sadness, guilt, and hesitation to take a human life. Yet, it seemed he had somehow resolved himself, driven by ambition and a greater goal than mere survival. The mage gave a concise and uncertain reply.

“I hope so.”

Contrary to his thoughts, reality proved to be a relentless force. Jenna understood the profound impact such feelings could have on an innocent soul, much like what had once, happened to her.

“Khahahahaha….” In the heart of it all, a chilling laughter echoed a sinister blend of amusement and anguish emanating from the motionless Walker. Horrified, his heart flashed the black outline of the dealer’s bloody smile. Izel, psychologically shaken, struggled to comprehend the gravity of his actions. He couldn’t fathom why the dealer would smile in the face of his impending demise. Through his [flawlation], his hands were stained crimson for the first time. This blood, unlike that of the monster, felt vivid and undeniably real.

[Your ‘Mind Barrier’ is trembling. Calm your mind to regain yourself.]

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

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

[Your mental health is shaken.]

[The stored essence is rampaging and seeking revenge.]

As the merciless words echoed in his trembling mind, the unsettling discomfort of being engulfed by the souls of Titan Orcs began to seep into his consciousness. The haunting replay of taking down the hazy dealer played on a loop, relentlessly circling in his thoughts. Amidst the turmoil of shock, agony, and despair, he clutched his head in distress, struggling to escape the overwhelming onslaught.

[Your mind has been inflicted by shock.]

[Your mind has been inflicted by confusion.]

As fear and confusion grip his mind, he starts to sink into a darkness even deeper than the abyss he once knew. Suddenly, a brilliant light cuts through the pitch-black void.

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

[Your mind has been inflicted by grudges.]

[All physical pain has been reduced by 20%]

That’s not all.

[Activating Skill: ‘Hemostasis’.]

The feeble light struggled to pierce the profound darkness as the apparently lifeless dealer’s hollow, smiling face spoke accusingly, “WHY DID YOU KILL ME? WHY?!”

The resentful voice resonated in his mind.

[Your ‘Mind barrier’ has been broken.]

[The Skill: Hemostasis had been forcibly deactivated.]

[The skill ‘Anesthesia (D)’ had been forcibly deactivated.]


Izel trembled intensely; his two skills failed to keep him cognizant. Overwhelming fear and guilt for the murder overshadowed his consciousness.

[Your mind has been inflicted with fear.]

[The host’s mental health has been corrupted.]

[The transmuted souls have rapidly swarmed into the host’s mind.]

[Your mind has been inflicted with panic.]

As the colossal storm raged on, the blind man found his mind suddenly engulfed in a sea of indefiniteness. The drowned-out sound of the ground rumbling echoed around him. Izel could sense voices in his mind—a thousand, no, ten thousand eyes and teeth tensing his neck. He clenched his teeth, took a deep breath, and attempted to endure and persevere against this abnormality, but to no avail.

[The transmuted souls stared at your soul.]

The eerie rage of ten thousand eyes and teeth wasn’t visible to others, only to him. Malicious gazes zoomed deeply into his soul, as if questioning—-.




Amid a dense and intense exclamation, a force that could drive a soul insane, they relentlessly probed his mind, seeking answers. Tears trickled down from beneath his blindfold. He recognized them and understood that these eerie gazes and fangs were mere illusory manifestations of the Titan Orcs’ deep-seated resentment and grudge. Throughout, he keenly sensed the emotions embedded in their terrifying conduct.

[Warming: Your mind is in a severe state of shock, panic, despair, and distress! There is a chance that your mental state might be damaged beyond repair.]

[The Resentful souls bared their fangs.]

The warning was drowned out as their mouths slowly opened. With a strangely strong yet trembling mental fortitude, Izel’s quivering mouth finally uttered, “I-I’m sorry!”


“Y-yes, it wasn’t my fault. I-I just have to do it to survive.”


“Yes,” the blind man replied shiveringly; his nose was dribbling, and his hunched shoulders betrayed a lack of confidence that had once defined him.


It was then, that Izel’s torment intensified as he began sweating buckets, feeling overwhelming tension in his heart. While familiar with bloodlust and distress, this experience was different—a drowning sensation in a bottomless pit of death. The bloodlust stirred inner traumas, unlocking terrified memories that overloaded his mind. Flashbacks of his past experiences rapidly played out, weakening his legs until they gave way, causing him to plunge to the ground. In the midst of this, the tenth-thousandth mouth fully opened, revealing its venomous fangs and teeth.

[The Resentful Souls lick your Soul.]


A sinister sound echoed, sending shivers down his spine. An unsettling sensation, as if unseen entities were probing his mind with elongated tongues, coursed through him. This dreaded day had been foreseen ever since he acquired the [Capacitance] demerit. However, the realization dawned too soon. Overlooking the critical mistake of not being able to enhance his stats with stored essences, he now deeply regretted his oversight.

[Warming: Your mind has been corrupted.]

[Warming: Your mind has been corrupted.]

[Warming: Your mind has been corrupted.]

[Warming: Your mind has been corrupted.]

The hand wielding his shortsword quivered ever so slightly, and his weapons fell. He couldn’t breathe, and


then the tenth-thousand mouth closed. A sharp impact was felt at the back of his head. He briefly recalled what Jenna had asked him at the beginning of this battle.

“Are you afraid?”

The blind man finally understood what it meant. ‘Yes, I’m scared… I’m really…’ His consciousness collapsed.

— — — —

Izel fell to the ground near the fallen dealer.



Daniel and Jenna were visibly shaken, their widened eyes reflecting disbelief.

“Big… Bro… Izel.” The young demon’s confusion echoed.

“Izel…!” Jenna’s yell conveyed her fear; this was exactly what she dreaded. The outcome was unfavorable. ‘Damnit!’

Time remaining: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Only forty minutes had elapsed, yet a complex event had unfolded, leaving an air of uncertainty.

<< Previous Chapter | Index | Next Chapter >>

Leave a Reply

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