Chapter 40. Akasha’s Snake (8)
The boy was sitting cross-legged lost in meditation. He gave off a cute impression befitting of a fairy tale.
One could wonder why he was in a cave like this.
But the reason why Yeon-woo was surprised was quite different.
‘Isn’t that a Snow Ginseng?'
In fact, what looked like a boy was not a real person. It was an elixir that took the shape of a human being.
[Humanoid Snow Ginseng]
Classification: Elixir or Mystical Creature
Description: A ginseng that only grows on icy plains while being exposed to the energy of the moon for hundreds of years. Because of its child-like shape, many people mistake it for a human.
It will increase mana upon consumption. However, the increased amount depends on the ability of the consumer. Its ingestion method is also very tricky.
A ginseng that looks like a human child and that only grows in snowy environments. Only a handful of such rare elixir exists in The Tower.
‘I've only heard about it being one of the five best elixirs. I didn’t expect this coming.’
Yeon-woo's eyes sank deeply.
‘Now I see why Akasha's Snake settled down here.'
Akasha's Snake was probably growing the Snow Ginseng. Judging by its size, it looked like it was about 300 years old.
According to his knowledge, its effects would reach their peak at around 500 years of age. He presumed Akasha's Snake was also waiting until then.
‘Too bad, it’s going to my stomach now.’
Yeon-woo slowly pulled out three daggers from his waist.
Added to the rarity of the Snow Ginseng was, catching it was also a very difficult task. The moment Yeon-woo started approaching it, it opened its eyes.
Yeon-woo immediately threw the daggers he had in his hand.
The snow ginseng let out an eerie shriek as it jumped in the air and reached the ceiling.
His brother once got a hold of an elixir similar to the Snow Ginseng. However, little did he know that it could move on its own, and by the time he caught it, it had already lost some of its energy.
But thanks to the diary, Yeon-woo was well aware of that fact.
His strengthened senses quickly located the Snow Ginseng despite its nimble movements.
‘Run all you like, you’re still trapped in this cave.’
Yeon-woo drew another three daggers and threw them to his right.
But the ginseng dodged the daggers as if it was just too easy.
Then, the three thrown daggers struck the ceiling.
The icicles hanging on the ceiling shook slightly.
The snow ginseng landed on the ground and gave a horrible shriek. A behavior unbecoming of its cute face.
"But I eat monsters like you for breakfast."
The ginseng tilted its head as it couldn’t understand what Yeon-woo was saying but,
With the sound of ice breaking, the ceiling suddenly collapsed. Pieces of ice poured onto the Snow Ginseng.
Startled by the sudden collapse, the ginseng jumped away from the spot in an effort to escape through the collapsing ceiling. However, the moment it broke through the ice pieces,
"I got you."
Yeon-woo stood right in front of it. With a cold smile, he reached out and grabbed onto the neck of the Snow Ginseng.
The ginseng squirmed in his grab. Cold aura emanated from it, freezing Yeon-woo's hand. But Yeon-woo didn't let go of it.
Yeon-woo soon brought his mouth over to its head and took a big bite out of it.
The ginseng looked horrifying with its head and eye ripped off, but Yeon-woo kept on eating without a sound.
His head was aching as if he had chewed on hard ice. His teeth were freezing. He already had frostbite on his hands. His muscles were swelling, and bones were ringing.
The moment he finished eating and licked his own fingers.
He felt something exploding in his lower abdomen. It was a feeling akin to the one he felt when he first activated the pocket watch. A feeling of mana taking place in his body, or that of Reinforced Physique settling down. But the amount of mana he felt this time was incomparably larger than those previous ones.
[You have obtained the hidden piece ‘Humanoid Snow Ginseng’..]
[The spirit energy is exploding in your body. It will be converted into Magic Power.]
The mana floating in the air or the spirit energy stored inside mystical creatures did not suddenly become one’s own when ingested. It had to be absorbed, processed and settled. And only then could it be transformed into Magic Power.
Of course, a considerable amount of mana would be lost while processing the Snow Ginseng’s spiritual energy.
‘But I can't lose that either.’
Yeon-woo withdrew the senses he had expanded towards the outside and concentrated them inside his body.
Mana was circulating at high speeds.
[Your status ‘Immature Dragon Body’ is influencing the absorption process.]
[92% of the spirit energy held in the Humanoid Snow Ginseng has been converted to Magic Power. Your body will begin to absorb the Magic Power.]
[Your Magic Power has increased by 5 points.]
[Your Magic Power has increased by 7 points.]
[Body improvement has been confirmed. The vessel is strong enough. The halted succession process will resume. 22%... 24%... 27%....]
[Current progress: 42.9%]
[Your current status will be changed from ‘Immature Dragon Body' to ‘Half Dragon Body']
The attribute point Yeon-woo lacked the most was now increasing, and the succession process was now halfway through completion. And as a result,
[You have achieved the half point of the succession process. You have gained an ability to control mana.]
[Mana has begun to circulate in your body.]
[You can now cast magical skills while consuming less mana.]
[The skill ‘Magic Circuit' has been created.]
Yeon-woo felt mana ‘wandering around his body’.
He had yet to control it at his will. Still, controlling mana used to be as hard as moving a fingernail or toenail for him, but now it felt much easier, like moving a finger or a toe.
In addition, unlike the time when mana disappeared right after it finished its job, it was now continuously flowing through his body like blood.
Description: Dragons are known as a race blessed by mMana since time immemorial. And those who are blessed by such dragons are given the ability to control mana.
The control range and the amount of controllable mana increases with proficiency. Sometimes, it is possible to handle Mana Streams.
Yeon-woo was elated after reading the description of Mana Circuit.
Mana was the power he had been longing to control since the beginning of the tutorial. He even tried studying the basics of mana, but his effort was of little avail.
But at last, he was starting to have to see some results.
‘The secret was to build up Magic Power and speed up the succession process.’
Yeon-woo’s eyes glinted at the thought of finally being able to use mana.
His usage of mana was currently limited to the casting of skills, but many more things would be possible in the future. He could infuse mana into a weapon for increased attack power, or wind mana around his feet to gain speed. He thought of all sorts of uses it could have, but they weren’t available with his current level of proficiency. However, Yeon-woo thought he would be able to raise the proficiency with the help of his Sense Strengthening skill.
‘Controlling mana, it’s still within the boundary of ‘sense’.’
Yeon-woo gave his inner body a quick scan before opening his eyes.
A radiant glow flashed in Yeon-woo's eyes, just like when the Snow Ginseng had first opened its eyes.
There was a big smile on Yeon-woo’s face. His vessel was finally being filled and he was quite content with the result.
‘But it's still not enough.’
However, because of this experience, Yeon-woo was now certain of a fact. A fact that his vessel was yet far from full.
The vessel he had was big enough to hold much more than it what it was holding now.
Yeon-woo licked his lips in anticipation.
He felt a strong desire welling up in his heart. A desire to take the essence of Akasha’s Snake.
* * *
Right before leaving the snake tunnel, Yeon-woo looked around, checking if he missed anything. Then, he found something on the spot where the ginseng was sitting.
‘What is this?’
It was a small pendant. A rusty, badly thumbed pendant.
It was not classified as an artifact.
[A necklace full of memories]
Description: A necklace full of someone's precious memories. It would be nice to return it to the owner.
Yeon-woo was thunderstruck at the description of the pendant.
He examined the pendant meticulously. There was a seam on the side hidden under the rust.
Yeon-woo wiped off the rust and opened it. Inside, he found a picture of parents and their daughter with happy smiles on their faces. The face of the father was especially familiar. It was Galliard.
"This is what he has been looking for."
Yeon-woo let out a small groan.
No one could understand why Galliard always chased after Akasha's Snake. He never hunted it down for himself, he only gave out trials to test players wanting to hunt the snake, and passed down one of his skills as a reward.
But if it was all to find his belonging which contained his cherished memories, it all made sense now.
‘That wasn’t… in the diary either.’
Yeon-woo rolled up the pendant and put it in his pocket. He was going to give it back to Gillard as he was on his way anyway.
Then, he turned towards the exit of the snake's den.
Mana was briskly traveling along his Mana Circuit, and his body was brimming with vitality.
He was feeling better than ever.
"Now, shall we go hunting?"
Yeon-woo fixed his white mask and,
He flung himself towards the exit.