Chapter 74 – Explosive Growth (Part 1)
The 42nd day.
-Reflex (synthesis skill): develop the ability to move your body more efficiently.
*Entry level 5
As two taggers cornered me in battle hunting style, I superbly escaped.
As I did so, the children exploded in a cacophony.
“What, that human hyung is too good!”
“Hmph, I can’t catch him at all!”
“Don’t be cheap and play with us kids, go play up there!”
“Such foul play, to be playing with the kids!”
It wasn’t long ago when they provoked my slow reflexes, you bastards!
Having become a cheap shot adult who took advantage of winning over children, I had no choice but to move on up where the monsters swarmed.
“Huh? What’s going on, Kim?”
Jake showed interest. We had became close enough that I had moved from being called ‘human’ to ‘Kim.’
The upper parts of the Tree of Life.
If one were to fall from this height, I don’t think the bones could be reset!
Here is the adult elves’ game of tag training grounds.
The game of tag which popularized as a game, the elf men sublimated it, and perhaps that looked like good fun because the women elves participated now too.
“The kids told me to come play up here. Hmph, they used to stick to me and beg to hang out before.”
“You had some difficulty with your balance in the beginning but since then, you seem to have become familiar with it. Considering you’re a human, you’re quite good.”
“Our domain has been invaded by humans several times but I have never seen a human with a sense of balance as great as yours.”
“That’s a joyous compliment. Thanks.”
“Even though in the end you’re still just a human.”
“There is nothing one can do about the limits one is born with so do not despair too much.”
“I haven’t despaired yet. I haven’t even started!”
“Try to develop it then. If your opponent were to be a woman, then it might be feasible.”
As soon as the words left his mouth, a male elf ran towards us. He must be it.
Jake flung his body away and avoided the tagger.
The male elf paused momentarily and then set his gaze upon me.
His gaze was asking if I was playing with them too.
I nodded my head.
The elf man smiled, when…
He closed the distance in an instant. Just the starting point of the adults was far different from the children.
Playing with grown up elves, this really isn’t a game but just pure training.
I had to be the tagger for the mostly the entirety of the game.
But suffering that way, my physical strength buff skill jumped to intermediate level 2. Using all my might to try and catch up to the elves, even without catching up, my skills that passed human levels, rose even more.
It was a fruitful time.
Four months since starting the exam, the Tree of Life now showed a definite recovery.
Even to my own eyes, the Tree of Life showed more vitality.
The ever few sparse and dry leaves were no longer seen but now they were all fresh and green.
“At this rate, within 2 months, the Tree of Life might make a complete recovery.”
At what the eldest mother said, I could not feel any discord.
During the past four months, I had achieved an incredible amount of growth.
-Spirit summons (main skill): summon a spirit and enlist the aid of nature
*Possible summon spirits: Sylph, Kasa
*Entry level 4: summon time 2 hours 45 minutes
-Reflex (synthesis skill): develop the ability to move your body more efficiently.
*entry level 5
-Physical Strength Buff (assist skill): strengthens the body
*Intermediate level 2: gain the physicality of an adult woman elf
Look. This great growth.
Of course, it was the result of working hard for 4 months, but without using karma this amount of skill growth was a great benefit.
‘Just a while longer.’
I wanted to clear the mission quickly and go home. I missed my family and I missed Min-jeong too.
Lately at night, I got these thoughts and I overcame them with exercise!
But I couldn’t lose an opportunity like this.
Without the danger of losing my life, growing my abilities, this good of an opportunity, how can I just let it pass me by?
After some pondering, I shared my thoughts with the mothers.
“How about this?”
“As you all well know, I can make two flames of life every day. Now, the Tree of Life has recovered substantially, so I will give it one flame a day, and we can use the other flame for other things.”
“Perhaps another tree, you mean another tree that has the potential to become a Tree of Life.”
“Indeed. In this situation where this Tree of Life survives and another Tree of Life were to be born, would it not be of great help to the elves?”
“That is true indeed!”
“If the brown mountain has two Trees of Life, then the prosperity of our elf clan will begin.”
“Suffering elves from other areas will come.”
“The brown mountain will become the elves’ oasis!”
“We shall do this!”
“We will have two Trees of Life!”
“If that happens, we won’t have to worry about anything.”
The mothers’ reactions were explosive.
“Is it really that big of a profit to have two Trees of Life?”
“It is. The Tree of Life is our elves’ foundation of power or so you could say. The energy of mother nature the more it emanates, the stronger we become.”
“Then in that case, how about we do what I proposed?”
“If you would, we would be beyond grateful.”
Thus, it was decided that a flame of life would be used towards growing a different tree.
“Are you Kim?”
A middle-elf couple approached me.
With a few wrinkles, the middle-aged elf man had stately looking face. If he was on earth, it would be more than just a few girls who would go crazy over him.
“I am Derrick.”
The middle-aged elf Derrick is actually the oldest elves in this elf village.
“Hoho, Kim, is this the first time you’ve seen my husband?”
He was the eldest mother’s husband.
It would be easy to see how he would be the top dog amongst the male elves.
“I apologize for not showing my face sooner. Facing a human was uncomfortable so it is true that I have avoided you thus far.”
“You must have a bad memory with humans?”
“We can call it a large-scale invasion. We did fight and win but it was an injurious victory. Well, it was 240 years ago.”
“Now now, I said to forget that now.”
The eldest mother’s voice became surprisingly soft.
Indeed, when dealing with her own husband, instead of charisma, she showed aegyo.
Seeing the awesomely aged couples’ affection, I was full of jealousy. I wanted to be like that with too with Min-jeong…
Derrick put out his hand.
“You are our savior and family so I shall forget that uncomfortableness.”
I shook hands with Derrick. His hand was full of calloused skin. It was a warrior’s hand. He was a man with a great charisma.
‘I want to be like him.’
I felt a bromance for this handsome middle aged charismatic elf, Derrick.
“Going forward, I will come every morning to get the flame of life. With that, I will go to the brown mountain, southwest to the pine tree to promote its growth myself.”
“It is a distance about 5 km from here.”
I was completely surprised, 5 km. In this harsh terrain, 5 km is a considerable distance. He was going to go and return that every day?
“Is that how you’ve done it straight thus far?”
“Because it is a precious tree that could be our future.”
“Thanks to your sacrifice, we are strong.”
The eldest mother showed aegyo next to her husband. Derrick stroked her hair.
Kuk, he’s so cool.
He is a man among men.
I have fallen head over heels for Derrick’s charisma.
“Excuse me, but would it be possible to go with you every morning?”
“It should be quite a long distance for a human?”
“I don’t really have anything else to do in the mornings. It’ll be exercise too.”
“Doesn’t matter. You’ll have to try hard and keep up.”
Derrick pat me on the shoulder and went on his way.
‘Kuk, he is so cool!’
The eldest mother, who saw off Derrick, returned to me proudly.
“Isn’t he wonderful?”
“Yes, I think I might fall for him.”
Perhaps she misunderstood me but the eldest mother started looking at me with wary eyes.
In the morning, a 5-km run with Derrick to the tree, there and back.
In the afternoon, tag training with the young elves.
My schedule sorted itself out that way.
Said Derrick from on up ahead.
I gritted my teeth and increased my speed. I barely kept pace and when we arrived, I was out of breath.
“It’s this rascal.”
Derrick looked with attentive eyes towards a pine tree in front of him.
I was told it was still a young Tree of Life so I had imagined a small sapling.
But in reality, actually seeing it…
‘If this was my world this would definitely be considered a sacred tree.’
Its length was a full 30 m and still growing.
If the Tree of Life were a great tower, this one is a great column.
“This is the third most precious thing we must protect.”
“What are the first and second things?”
“The second is our own Tree of Life. The first is our village children.”
I think I’m falling for him!
I stared off at Derricks dignified face. If the eldest mother saw me doing this she would have been much warier of me.
“Hurry and do your business and leave. This place is dangerous.”
“Lots of monsters come this way often.”
“Humans from the north and lycanthropes from the east, they have been making a ruckus lately but there, there are plenty of young folk. The real dangerous place is here.”
“What kind of monsters are there?”
“Dead things that have been forced alive but are neither alive nor dead. Those kinds of monsters.”
“Uhh there are things like that?”
“You’re a human and you don’t know? That’s very interesting.”
Derrick looked at me baffled and continued to speak.
“Those that do that kind of thing are humans that practice black magic. The attack 240 years ago was like that too, so there is no way that I can like humans you see.”
“Of course, you’re the exception.”
Derrick patted me on the shoulder and I felt moved. I’m definitely falling for him!
No matter, zombie movie I had seen, those kinds of monsters, I had no idea they would really exist.
“So then even if you kill the undead, they don’t die?”
“You can go after the black majeong.”
Now that I think of it, they said in this place, in Arena, monsters and humans, concentrated mana in the form of majeong, resides in the bodies.
It seems the black majeong from the undead serves a similar role to that majeong.
“With black magic, making artificial majeong to revive a dead corpse and making it move. You just have to break that. It is usually in the head.”
Derrick hit me on the back.
“Go now. The bastards do not choose night or day and attack at any time.”
“I want to fight too.”
Derrick quickly cut me off and spoke.
“You are a precious one to us. Leave the dangerous things up to the rest of us.”
“I won’t act recklessly. I wish to check how much stronger I have become.”
“This is no place for checking.”
The skill level I’ve raised while spending my time atop the Tree of Life and playing tag.
And the two guns I received from the gun maker Neilson Aslan.
I want to see and compare through battle how much stronger I had become since the last exam.
“Would you throw a rock for me?”
I picked up a rock and handed it to Derrick.
As I said it, I summoned one Neilson H2 and gripped it in my right hand.
Derrick stared at my gun suspiciously then threw the rock to the front.
The moment it was thrown, I shot the gun.
Before the rock made it past my head, it shattered into pieces.
The shooting skill that has 100% accuracy within 10 m, this was the perfect time to test it out.
Derrick’s two eyes were wide open.