Soulmancer – Chapter 44: Inescapeable Past II

Thunderous lightning ripped through the ominous clouds, relentless rain soaking everything in sight. Amidst the tempest, crimson clouds clashed with sleek skyscrapers, raindrops adorning glass facades in an eerie dance. The world seemed trapped between nature’s fury and the unyielding modernity of the cityscape.

Despite the heavy rain’s pitter-patter, sounds resonated in the atmosphere, angry roars and screams echoing through the damp air.




The sharp tang of blood saturated the air, staining the ground crimson. Amidst the carnage stood a preteen blind kid, soaked to the bone, his face tilted towards the fallen bodies he’d left in his wake. Blood oozed from his hands, streaked across his face, and pooled around the shortsword clutched tightly in his grasp.

T-M-P! T-M-P!

Water-splashing footsteps pierced the silence, growing louder until they halted within range of the Blind Kid’s echolocation. Emerging from the shadows was the lifeless dealer, his hollow, smiling face twisted in disgust as he spoke accusingly, “WHY DID YOU KILL ME? WHY?!”




As the rumble of thunder and flashes of lightning filled the air, another set of footsteps approached from the left intersection between skyscrapers, growing louder with each step until they halted within range of the blind kid’s echolocation. It was none other than the lifeless Mr. Blake, his hollow, resentful face finally opening its mouth in disgust as he spoke accusingly, “WHY DIDN’T YOU SAVE ME? WHY?!”




Soon, acolytes and monsters, whom he had torn apart, emerged onto the edges of skyscrapers surrounding him. Their malicious gazes, alongside the dense and intense exclamations, filled the atmosphere and seared into his soul.




As the rain intensified, its patter against the ground grew louder, blending with the cacophony of exclamations. Suddenly, a tense silence fell, broken only by the gritting of teeth from behind. Water-splashing Footsteps halted abruptly, just beyond the reach of echolocation. It was the lifeless Acolyte squad leader, his hollow, hideous face twisted in accusation. “WHY DID YOU RAT ME OUT?” his voice pierced the air with bitterness. “WHY?!”




Amidst the malicious gazes and the cacophony of intense exclamations, the rumble of thunder crescendoed, filling the air with a palpable tension. More blood soaked the ground at the blind kid’s feet, spraying as the drops of water permeated the hideous views of the crushed bodies scattered about. Unable to see the chaotic scene but only able to hear and sense it, the blind kid’s mind wrestled with a haunting question: ‘Why?’ Tears of despair and helplessness beaded down his wet cheeks from his dull eyes.

Recalling the metallic scent of blood he had taken, the souls he had devoured, and the insatiable greed for power twisting his soul, a lingering aftertaste of emptiness voided his mind. If he could articulate those feelings, he’d describe himself as scared, cold, and confused.

How had everything spiraled out of control? Why? How? What? Where? It was shameful, but he yearned to move his feet, to escape it all… to end it. He was tired… exhausted by it all. Yet, like quicksand, he found himself immobilized… No, he couldn’t move.





As though telling him that it wasn’t the end, water-splashing footsteps amidst the downpour echoed from afar. Huh? They were familiar footsteps, ones he knew he could never forget.

T-M-P! T-M-P!

With each splash on the water-soaked ground, the figure drew nearer. But this time, something felt different. Huh? Instead of the footsteps halting within the range of his [echolocation], a skill he could only use in this [lucid world], the figure, none other than Velkist Cambomir, continued forward. What was surprising was the weapon dripping with rain in his grasp.

T-M-P! T-M-P!

As though waiting on him, the others began to move, drawing their weapons as they closed in.

‘What? What the hell?’The blind kid’s panic surged, overwhelming fear and despair gripping his heart. He sought escape from the looming confusion ahead.

Velkist’s hollow, resentful face twisted accusingly. “WHY DID YOU HUMILIATE ME? WHY?!”


The blind Kid wasn’t able to move—Please! Please fucking move! However, as his [echolocation] probed deeply underneath him, he realized it wasn’t only quicksand; rather, it was

The malicious and eerie-looking gazes of monsters and acolytes from atop skyscrapers intensified amid relentless rain, thunder, and eerie lightning. Exclamations grew denser as four individuals, each wielding a sharp sword, gradually closed in on him.










hands. Hideous-looking, dark hands of various sizes and structures—whether human or monstrous—clutched onto his feet as he struggled to escape from below, attempting to cut them away so he could escape the looming dangers.

Alas, they only grew stronger, regenerating like cutting through spiderwebs. Soon, they stretched out, grabbing him with renewed force from the dark, dense, sticky water. Despite his struggles, he found himself trapped, just as powerless as when he first entered the Lucid World. His escape attempts were futile; it seemed like an endless cycle of defeat. Yet, he refused to surrender. However, it was already too late. His mouth widened in despair as the feared foursome approached within hair breath away from him and…


[The Resentful Souls lick your Soul.]

Blood spurted from his lips as four swords from all corners pierced his heart simultaneously.










[Warming: Your mind has been corrupted.]

[Warming: Your mind has been corrupted.]

[Warming: Your mind has been corrupted.]

[Warming: Your mind has been corrupted.]

He didn’t want to give up, but this… it’s just too much. Help! Help! Damn it! He never wanted this! He never wanted to be born! Hell, he never wanted to be invited to that damned place… but he also never wanted to be helpless.


As a cool breeze swept over the relentless rain, the blind kid felt a sense of despair, believing this might be the end. Yet, someone answered his pleas once more. Amidst the exclamations and malicious gazes, he lifted his head as though time itself had stopped. Atop the lofty skyscrapers towering above, a certain someone’s lips curved downward as they clicked their tongue.


A familiar voice, one he had heard before—Jane Austen? No, it was the entity saved once in the [Lucid World], when he was under attack by resentful souls and that impostor claiming her identity. He couldn’t see her face, but her voice resonated with such power, capable of slicing off limbs like glass…



shattered them with just pure power.

— — — — —

As The tangled nightmare abruptly ceased, Izel stirred from his slumber and snapped back to reality. His breath was heavy, his heartbeat racing, hot and cold sweat pouring down. His throat was parched, his mouth dry, urging him to open his eyes. Yet, as usual, he couldn’t see a thing.

“Ha! A nightmare, huh?” Frustration quivered on his lips as he massaged his temples, sweat dripping down. Despite his strangely unwavering mental fortitude, his partially stable mind couldn’t handle all the accumulated trauma, fatigue, and stress. In truth, the room was shrouded in darkness. Even if he could see, he wouldn’t be able to see a thing. With a heavy sigh, he tapped his finger on the rug—multiple ripples low-lyingly bounced about. Realizing he must have passed out on the rug, he reluctantly raised his hand, instinctively reaching for his throbbing head.

With his sense of direction and balance on the odd side, Izel fumbled around in the darkness, searching for the wall, until he found a stand. He clapped the wall as the room opened up, revealing the modest hotel surroundings as waves and ripples bounced about. His sense of direction immediately fell upon the sink in the small kitchen, and with a sense of urgency, he rushed toward it, shakily turning on the tap and inhaling frantically.

As the cool water slaked his thirst, he took a deep breath and tried to rise, but the urge to vomit suddenly overtook him, and he doubled over the sink, moaning in agony.



He retched and dry-heaved, the only sustenance he’d had all day was a hand burger, soda, and other foods he’d just had the chance to eat since he returned from the Fortress of Dungeons. Now, bitter gastric juices writhed and churned within him. Holding onto his fragile head, Izel finally staggered over to the bed in the center of the room, collapsing in exhaustion and drained mental fortitude. He circulated his mana, which had recovered due to the [Grandmaster of Mana] he acquired from the Moderator on the Magical train, through every nook and cranny to at least minimize the mental strain and migraines. Yet, his head throbbed relentlessly, and his muscles felt as though they were being torn from their joints.

His body trembled uncontrollably, as if his very body was declining mana, causing a seizure-like reaction with his limbs splayed out in grotesque angles. It reminded him of the time he attempted to increase the proficiencies of both [Hemostasis] and [Anesthesia] before the B-rank raid, yet this experience was markedly different; it wasn’t rooted in physical pain. Mental strains and migraines continued to assail him, ravaging both his limbic system and hypothalamus, with his dopamine and serotonin levels plummeting, constricting his entire nervous system like a tangled, wet rag.

“… Is this the lingering… aftermath of enduring accumulated traumas for… so long?”

As a blind walker who struggled through seven raids in as many days, and survived, even taking the life of a Dealer with the aid of the ‘being’ in his [Lucid World] and his steadfast friends—Jenna and Daniel, who shielded him during when he had blacked out—Izel believed he understood what it was like to suffer. Yet, he never fathomed it could be this agonizing. He never thought that enduring so much in a single day with only a partially stable mind could unleash his accumulated traumas with such ferocity. But now, in the throes of it, he was certain: this was a devastating experience.

As his head spun like a tangled mess and his mind reeled, Izel realized with sickening certainty that he wouldn’t be able to skip visiting the [Entertainment section] for his therapy session anytime soon. It was the only way he could keep his ailing body functioning long enough to raid the rest of the fortress of Dungeons, albeit temporarily. When he finally yet partially regained his senses, his stomach, eerily silent until now, gnawed dangerously at him, having gone 18 hours without sustenance. Channeling his mana around his throbbing head, Izel shakily crawled over to the refrigerator in the corner of the room. Yanking it open, his trembling hands pawed at the canned food within.

With pure Strength fused with tendrils of mana, he tore off the alloy-steel lid with his bare hands and devoured the contents, the flavor resembling that of finely ground meat. Compared to the meager rations he’d managed in the Fortress of Dungeons for seven days—27 days in Eliluam time—it was a reasonable feast. Sated after three more canned foods, he collapsed back onto the bed, his eyelids growing heavy. The past few hours of the night had been an endless blur of traumas and nightmares, and the toll it had taken on him was heavily weighing on his head and nape.


The shrill ring of the hotel phone tickled his [Sound Reading], jolting him awake. Groaning, he rubbed his temples, struggling to sit up. It wasn’t until his [Sound Reading] read the phone’s unstable frequency, and adjusted it for his groggy mind to slowly decipher the automated voice on the other end than usual, that he partially came to his senses.

[There’s an hour left until the scheduled checkout time is left. Would you like to extend your reservation?]

Izel hesitated for a moment before answering, “…I do.”

[Accommodation cost ¢9,000. And ¢1,500 for cans of monsoumê flavor that were eaten a few hours ago. ‘Totally’ it’s ¢10,500. You paid ¢9,000 lupins in advance, so please pay ¢1,500 lupins at the counter today.]

A can is equivalent to 9% of the cost of a day’s lodging, so he ate three equaling 25%, so it even crosses the line of being called a rip-off.

With mana welling up around his veins and arteries, Izel struggled to let out a chuckle before tossing the phone aside. He still felt heavy after a full night’s sleep, and the chill from the air conditioning only added to his confusion. Yet, he found more relief than when he was trying to endure a mind-ticking bomb. Slowly, he forcibly pushed himself out of bed and began counting the money he had.

“¢4,000 lupins… After paying for the hotel and other expenses, only ¢1,500 lupins remain.”

It hadn’t been more than 24 hours since he learned about the monetary cost of a quick accommodation in the [Main Section], but he had a rough idea of how much debt he would be in if he stayed one more night. With just ¢1,500 lupins, he couldn’t do much.

With a sigh, Izel knew he needed to kickstart his next agenda: selling the items he’d brought from the Fortress, and quickly. He had to secure more cash before venturing to the [Entertainment section]. With that in mind, he rose from his seat, took a deep breath, and drew in tendrils of mana. Then, he took off his clothes, stepped into the shower, and turned on the sleek shower. As the water cascaded over his body, he felt the tension seep away. It dawned on him that this was only the second time he’d truly bathed since returning from the Fortress, the first being a series of baths upon his initial return.

Once he was clean and back in his outfit after inspecting whether or not an item was amiss or damaged. He felt relief knowing that nothing was amiss. ‘As expected from the long collar cardigan cloak,’ he briefly thought. Despite most of his inbuilt defenses being destroyed during the fight with the Gatekeeper, it was still a pretty handy item.

Turning his attention to his appearance, Izel realized he couldn’t see his reflection or utilize the [Mirror Sound Reflector] Method he did use when his [Sound Reading] was still dull. He flapped his chest with his hand, causing ripples to spray across his body. As he inspected himself, he noticed nothing different apart from the overgrown, unkempt bangs and ends he had failed to address previously.

With his keen nose, he detected that the overall odor of his outfit was surprisingly better than expected, despite all he had gone through to get here. He disregarded the stained patches of exploded gibbets from the acolyte squad leader on his clothes

Izel also examined his unchanging, androgynous yet mature body and let out a hollow laugh. It was pretty difficult, or perhaps impossible, to inspect his mind given his condition. He wondered what it meant to have an exterior appearance that was sleek and legit, while his interior was more like a tangled mess of junk.

Without hesitation, he reached for a razor in the nearby drawer, slicing off his unkempt bangs and any stray ends he had missed. Having completely done that and packed his hair into a ponytail, with nearly slight bangs falling onto his forehead, his impression of himself drastically from the moment he had entered the hotel. He appeared somewhat sharper, though a lingering gloom still clung to him; nevertheless, it was quite better.

Unaware of this transformation, given his inability to see, he maintained his belief that he looked cool like when he left his apartment in the [Exodus section]. Izel nodded in silent approval. At this rate, it wouldn’t be easy for anyone to recognize that Izel was currently fighting with his inner demons as always. If he was mistaken, he reasoned, he needed to tread carefully; after all, dangers lurked around every corner.

— — — —

Picking up the briefcase of his deceased traveling companion, he placed it carefully on the bed. With a lingering sense of caution, he decided to learn more about the person named Blake Griffin, just in case. Due to his [Sound Reading] which had been dulled due to his mental strain and trauma, finally yet gradually sharper, he gradually felt a resurgence of different wavelengths of frequencies and sizes of ripples permeate from outside the hotel jammed through the window seemingly from the downpour.

‘Hmm,’ he mused briefly, Considering how secret ‘The Freelancer Organization’ is, he moved decisively, drawing the curtains to block out any external prying eyes and the sound of relentless rain. With practiced efficiency, he began to meticulously inspect the room, employing a combination of clapping and [echolocation] effect his innate ability could muster and further augmented by [mana inspection], ensuring a thorough sweep for any potential surveillance.

‘Nothing out of the ordinary,’ he concluded, satisfied with his assessment as he opened the suitcase right away because he thought it was okay now.



Is it locked? Izel carefully checked the leather suitcase. Upon closer inspection, a fine ‘magic signature’, similar to a rune, was engraved on the neon electronic lock’s dim display. Unable to discern such precision in the [Cyberneuromagical briefcase lock version 3.0], but with [Mana Inspection], not sprayed out but just around the briefcase, he knew something was wrong. Yet, occasionally, if his ‘fingerprint’ grazed close to the neon lock display, Izel sensed mana circulating throughout the [briefcase lock system]. Yet, after many beeps and ticks stinging his ears and haptic feedback vibrating throughout the suitcase, it didn’t unlock. So, he was able to conclude that—

“This… it’s security magic.”

Although the scale isn’t large, it was security magic with a high level of difficulty, which requires detailed [mana management] utilized by Mage-type Hunter to be engraved in this place and a precise [neuro electronic system] of the ‘TFO’ to accurately relay which mana signature goes and doesn’t.

‘is this because he’s a new member assigned to the TFO?’

Stepping away from the suitcase, Izel pondered how to proceed. It wasn’t that he was giving up, but finding a way to open it was proving to be a challenge. Of course, it would be convenient if there were a reagent or a way to destroy the ‘lock’ alongside the ‘security magic’. After all, he was already stressed and mentally exhausted recently. He couldn’t deeply ponder about its security network system and whether or not loopholes existed to bypass… However, recalling the long-time rumors about the security measures used by mage-type Hunters, he hesitated. If there were any mishaps or attempts to tamper with the luggage, it could lead to an explosion. With a weary sigh, Izel realized he had no choice but to try a different approach rather than overtaxing his already exhausted mind.

Grabbing a towel and dampening it lightly, he set it aside. Then, after rummaging through a nearby drawer, he found a long, sturdy wire. Carefully stripping the insulation from one end, he infused it with his mana, concentrating his energy at the tip. While he wasn’t an expert in [magical electronics], As someone who perceives through wavelengths of frequencies, waves, ripples, and all kinds of sounds and responses, it’s only natural to be able to discern which output and input ports are significant when considering how hidden it was.

He channeled the dense mana from the end of the wire into the port of the suitcase’s neon lock system display, As he directed his mana into it and prevented it from escaping, the heat started to build. Since the port was made for cable, not mana, struggled to accommodate this unfamiliar energy as Izel tried to integrate his mana into its network. The scorching heat began to warp the well-polished iron blended with plastic port. After a few minutes, the red-hot metal prompted him to reach for a wet towel. As he removed the mana-coated wire, the heated metal rapidly cooled, accompanied by the sound of water evaporating.

Instantly, the port twisted and burned. Without hesitation, Izel reinserted the wire and carefully guided his mana to flow smoothly. To his surprise, as his mana seamlessly integrated into the lock network system, the ‘mana signature’ on the [neon electronic lock] also twisted. Exhaling deeply and rubbing his temples, he acknowledged that this manipulation wouldn’t erase the ‘mana signature’ or disable the security magic. As he pressed his ‘fingerprint’ onto the neon display, he felt a brief haptic feedback. Only a group of relays flapping off simultaneously tickled his [Sound Reading]. After all, magical technology wasn’t easily disabled by a novice with just magic.

‘But I can make a very momentary gap in such a strong firewall.’

Without hesitation, he unleashed his mana in all directions, piercing through the expansive security network. Despite the cacophony of unheard frequencies assaulting his ears, he pressed on toward the heart of the electronic maze of different components and complicated connections. Soon, he stumbled upon a lone neuromagical microchip—the elusive magical microcontroller embedded within the security network system.

‘This tiny thing… seems to be the boss around here!’

In other words, it was also responsible for the suitcase security system—Mana management. ‘Hmm,’ Izel mused briefly as he quickly sprayed his mana through the magical chip’s 32 pins, and—.


As dark smoke tendriled out from the damaged port, the various frequencies fell silent, leaving only the harsh ripples emanating from what appeared to be hushed-back components with minuscule legs. Yet, even those went silent soon after.

‘Done!’ He sighed.

As the magical microcontroller was destroyed, the ‘Mana signature’ effect dissipated. Placing his thumb on it, he sensed no feedback. Simultaneously, the lock clicked open.

‘Opening this was stressful, but… quite a piece of cake. Considerating how Mr. Blake isn’t a mage-type Hunter.’

It’s not uncommon for suitcases to come equipped with a security system like this. Most mage-type Hunters, being sensitive to security, typically have a solid grasp of security magic—it’s almost like basic knowledge for them. Simply put, if you can’t open it yourself, you’d either need to consult a rare “Special magical electronic acquaintance” or reach out to the “Cyber Neuromagical Security company”. They won’t touch it without the real owner’s letter of proof or death certificate. And, above all, returning it to the ‘TFO’ and facing the consequences of cyberbreaking or theft is the most straightforward option.

If someone tries to forcefully remove the security magic, triggering the discarding of both the neon security lock system and the contents within, it’s a demonstration of the extreme ideology unique to mage-type Hunters. They’d rather destroy their data than let it fall into third-party hands or become public knowledge. However, since Mr. Blake isn’t a mage-type Hunter, it’s relatively safe for a novice like him to disarm the security magic. But even if it were possible, and the blind teen still wanted to attempt it without risking an explosion in his face, he’d need to analyze the ‘security system’ and ‘inner workings’ precisely to understand how it was implemented. Naturally, this process would take a very long time, and as a stressed and mentally unstable teen, he couldn’t afford to tax his mind further. Plus, he couldn’t guarantee whether it would even be possible for him to succeed.

So this method was chosen—an approach akin to trickery that sidesteps the need for magic and electronic analysis

‘It is enough to know where the most vulnerable and most important part was and how to get through.’

Usually, the strong neutro-magic chip serves as the cornerstone for [mana management] and [magic security controllers] due to its portability, compact size, and compatibility with magic, unlike the outdated [security magic circle engraving method], which is inadequate for security magic. This also applies to items like suitcases or portable luggage. The exception is large ‘alloy-steel storage’ or ‘tanker boots’ secured using the old security method, rendering it impossible to replicate on a leather suitcase unless handled by a mage-type Hunter of at least ‘Ranker’ or ‘Ascender’ status—among the top 50 on the ‘Eliluam continental ranks’.

Moreover, the port for both output and input cables is composed of a metal with decent magic conductivity, typically iron blended with an insulator that is also non-conductive, yet susceptible to mana damage. However, if constructed with superior materials like silver, gold, or platinum, it wouldn’t be as vulnerable.

‘Of course, if Mr. Blake wanted to make it quite unreasonably difficult, he could add a few more magical chips and make it portless.’

Certainly, he believed that. However, considering the rarity of the material, he predicted the price should be expensive. Moreover, he was already a member of the ‘TFO’ and an Ex-hunter with reasonable skills, high status, and influence.

Polished iron or brass remains quite popular, and he was fully acquainted with the properties of both materials when used in conjunction with plastic to create ‘outlet’ and ‘inlet’ ports in devices. He heated and expanded the metal over the plastic, then rapidly cooled it with cold water, causing the plastic to misalign and twist during the expansion and contraction process of the metal, ultimately damaging it. Additionally, he ensured the metal cooled down sufficiently to prevent rapid heat transfer throughout the network. Only then that he proceed to locate the center unit and overload it with mana beyond its magical data threshold.

Even with such a deviation, additional neuro-magical chips, transmitters, or perhaps magical resistors could have been implemented to withstand any mana surge and automatically seamlessly restore the security system. However, that wasn’t the case, or perhaps due to the ineffectiveness of Izel’s mana input or the lack of such measures, the gap that formed proved to be incredibly fatal. In that critical moment, he directed his magical power to every pin of the chips, instantly terminating their lifespan.

‘I’m glad it went well.’

It’s a well-known trick concocted by a novice, no doubt, who just overloaded it with magic power. Most mage-type Hunters are all about history and tradition, so if any of them witnessed Izel’s method, they’d lose it on the spot. Hell, even Jenna Callen would ‘definitely’ faint or smack her head at that. Such unorthodox methods are just plain clumsy compared to their scientific, analytical approaches.

‘Tsk, as a result, there are many cases where they go crazy when they find such a method being used.’

And that’s precisely what the company had hoped for. If he were truly a real madman, he might have lugged around an iron case bristling with beeping electronics, encased in layers of complicated security enchantments and festooned with multiple magical chips. Thankfully, Mr. Blake Griffin wasn’t quite that eccentric. Izel cautiously unlatched the suitcase, peering inside to inspect its contents.

‘Hmm, this…’

There wasn’t anything in Blake Griffin’s suitcase that could cause an eye-opener—just a change of clothes, “Mana Management,” and “Mana Concealment” books. Other than that, there were a lot of paperwork and miscellaneous things.

‘I thought there would be something bigger and more secret.’

Groping his fingers over the bold italics headline texts on each textbook, magic books, and thesis together on the bed, he set them aside. He also sorted out the high-graded cloaks and put them away. Among the books were mini-popular novels, essays by famous researchers, and mage-type Hunters, in addition to theoretical books on other arts. Unable to read much of the books and other miscellaneous items that weren’t written in a blind man’s way, he couldn’t attempt to learn either [Mana Management] or [Mana Concealment]. Other than that, a few letters of identification and personal belongings were all he had. He also had tools like a ‘sword blade sharpener,’ a pocket watch, a small pipe to be used as a magic medium, and an infinite supply of cigarettes.


‘Yup, It’s Mr. Blake Griffin, alright,’ he sighed, massaging his temples and nape in a slow attempt to numb the headaches. Izel hoped he had bountiful cigarettes in ‘Eden’ as he immediately checked the ‘ID’ leather card and documents one by one. Unable to read them, he had an idea.

‘Hmm,’he mused briefly, manipulating tendrils of mana into his cloak. Soon, his Hunter’s kit floated out. After scanning the ‘ID’ leather card and documents one by one—since they were pieces, not books with staked-together pages.


As the shimmering light from the Hunter’s Kit faded, the content flashed on its screen. A feminine voice narrated the content through his partially stable mind, prompting him to groan.


[Blake Griffin is a half-descendant of the Fallen Griffin Family and the Successor of the ‘Declined Griffin Clan’ in the 20th District associated with the Zenith Faction. He became an ex-hunter for personal reasons. He has no siblings, and both of his parents are deceased…]


‘It’s not bad,’

He is a half-blood descendant of the Fallen Griffin Family in the 20th district. However, he nominally holds the last name of such influence and power from that district so that he wouldn’t be greatly disregarded wherever he goes. Since he has no family, one of the reasons he applies to be a member of ‘The Freelancer Organization’ could be to ensure his social standing. His history is incredibly splendid. He has submitted ‘twelve papers’ considering ‘labyrinths’ and their ‘niches’. He was the youngest Hunter to reach the ‘900th’ Continental rank as an unregistered Hunter. He even became a Border Hunter in the 20th District.

‘So, he was even more renowned than I thought!’

Indeed, it was no wonder he became a member of ‘TFO’ so easily and quickly compared to other participants. At such a young age, his record is already very impressive. In other words, he might still be alive somewhere if he happened to survive.

‘Does he specialize in Magical Sword Manifestation and Mana Management and Concealment?’ Izel let out a deep breath. No wonder he tried concealing and managing his mana and bloodlust. But who in the hell in the First District does that? Anyways, considering that he specializes in such a style, there is a high probability that he wouldn’t have survived. But, ‘I’ll try not to overthink it.’

Done with that, Izel opened the letters and scanned the contents onto his Hunter’s Kit. If there was a conversation he had with an acquaintance, he had to catch his small habits and learn them just in case—for the future, if this fake identity caught up to him.


As the shimmering light from Hunter’s Kit faded, the content flashed on its screen. The feminine voice narrated the content through his partially stable mind as he groaned again.

‘The content of the letter is…’ Izel sighed wearily, ‘… Irrelevant.’

The letters, presumed to have been exchanged with acquaintances, consisted of formal conversations, such as the soon-to-be missions as a member of the ‘TFO’. Incomprehensible coordinates of ‘who knows’ where it leads, what books and foods he liked, and where and what happened. Even when he was a [Border Hunter], the blind teen didn’t think he had any close friends. Given that there is very little personal content, he didn’t seem to be particularly close with the person he was writing to. Maybe the higher-ups of the ‘TFO’. Perhaps.

‘Now all that’s left it’s…’


As the shimmering light from Hunter’s Kit faded, the content flashed on its screen. The feminine voice narrated the content through his partially stable mind as he groaned again. “Damn it,” he muttered, caressing his temples as he absorbed the information.

It was about the basic content of hidden labyrinths according to the ‘TFO’ datasheets and how the ‘TFO’ was formed and operated.

With that done, he placed each back into the suitcase and closed them with a click. Lying back from his cross-legged position on the bed, Izel deepened in thought. What does one need to survive in a cruel world where one must run away from ‘that’ place and identity? It was a question he had been grappling with since he returned from the Fortress and also when he took on the fake identity of a ‘presumedly’ dead companion.

Of course, he had achieved two goals he set out to accomplish when he returned from the Fortress. So, his next agenda was clear: he needed to make money from the items he brought. With the new Hunter ID he had acquired, several issues that come with ‘selling items’ have been solved. So making money legally from the items without any problems is now possible. However, before he could do that, he still had one more issue to consider.

“Walkers from the Fortress…” Izel muttered to himself, frustration creeping into his voice. He couldn’t afford such a mishap since he needed to have enough money to feel rich even in the Fortress. After all, in a situation where food and accommodation were scarce or almost a luxury, even the cash he took from acolytes in the [First District] was now… insufficient.

Sighing, Izel’s brain steadily derived methods and presented reasonable possibilities. Of course, with how strong he was now, it wasn’t difficult to just beat criminals wandering around the [Main section] as usual, as long as his morals and conscience allowed. But with his unstable mind and accumulated traumas, it was inevitable what could happen if a mishap occurred.

“So, the best plan is to sell the items regardless of other Walkers in this situation.”

It’s hard to believe his overall cash could decrease, but it’s suitable for raising funds right away. Izel, who had made up his mind, immediately got out of bed. To catch the best and biggest fish, one should head to a place with a lot of water fast.

Izel donned his [Cloud boots], swept all the things under the bed, and left the room. He went down to the lobby with his eyes closed—after all, it was better to focus his mind on his [Sound Reading] than split his attention. So he paid for today’s debt and came out.

With the rain drizzling down and eerie lightning tearing through the gloomy clouds, Izel sighed, his mind racing with marketing strategies. Though his mind was beginning to feel dizzy and his breath short, he fought the urge to vomit. He knew that delaying any further could only worsen his already fragile mental state.

“Please hold on just a bit longer,” he reminded himself sternly. Just delaying any moment in his therapy session would only hasten the inevitable decline of his mind. If he wanted to survive in this world and return to the Fortress of Dungeons, he needed to be sober-minded, calculated, and act swiftly.


As he was about to proceed into the rain for his next agenda, he had to briefly stop at the roaring sound of his stomach. Come to think of it, he had taken canned food from the refrigerator into his cloak, and with a smile


he tore it apart and devoured it again. Having done so much work today regardless of his mental health, his stomach had the right to growl again. Patting his belly in satisfaction, his [Cloud boots] parted ways with the water-soaked road to his next destination within the [Main Section].

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