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Momentary Separation. (1/3)
I leaned onto the tree after I destroyed the head of the very last Deadman. Deadmen, whose heads had been obliterated, now filled the area.
I tried my best to prolong the fight as much as possible, but it had ended way too quickly. It was just a one-sided massacre, and I wasn’t satisfied. Rather than relieving my tension, it just left an ugly taste in my mouth.
I spat at the wreck in front of me. I didn’t know if my nature was being mutinous at having forcefully suppressed my desire for wanton slaughter, as it seemed to have reared its ugly head. I felt increasingly frustrated in my heart. I took a deep breath to calm myself, but it felt like I was just fanning it bigger. I suddenly realized that I might have never wanted to block these feelings in the first place.
“Filth. What a joke, this just ruins my appetite. ”
Smacking my lips for a while, I couldn’t beat down the rising bloodlust within and smashed the tree next to me.
Without using any magic power, but just with pure muscle strength, the tree collapsed with a heavy sound. This relieved some tension, but the bloodlust within me didn’t wash away completely.
The party must have escaped by now. I really wanted to burn down this whole forest right now, but I forcefully calmed myself down. You never knew if there were other monsters over the stone wall. I couldn’t afford to waste time if I wanted to collect the arrows and worry about the guys.
Well, there was no one looking anyway. I gathered the magic I had left alone till now and moved my feet.
Trees, forests and the scenery quickly grazed past me. Putting the time I spent coming here to shame, I returned back to the pile of rock I was at before.
While I was picking out the arrows stuck to Deadmen’ foreheads, I didn’t see any hints of my party. As planned, they seemed to have left immediately after I entered the forest.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight…. This much should be plenty.”
Even though I wanted to put the arrows straight into my pouch, I quickly shook off the foreign substance from the arrows, as An-sol might throw a fit if she saw them like that.
‘Time to head out.’
I didn’t know if An-Hyun and the party were still outside, so I walked slowly. Before I jumped over the wall, I turned back and looked at the silent forest for one last time.
The forest was still the same. Before and now, the trees still looked no different. I had no such thoughts when I was escaping the forest in the past. I just kept on running in the past, and it had felt like I had left the forest in a blink of an eye.
However, I was now different from back then. I absentmindedly watched the forest for a while. I began to feel lighter as if a huge burden was lifted from me.
After I enjoyed a short sentimental break, I jumped over the wall. I wanted this deep unsatisfying feeling to disappear. I had other important things to worry about.
After I nimbly jumped over the stone wall, the scene I saw was beyond, way beyond my expectation. The road I was on right now was bumpy, but there was evidence of that it was made by the hands of people. At first glance, it wasn’t easy to see it, but there were shapes on the rough sides of the road.
A vast horizon of an endless plain awaited at the start of the road. The surroundings were dull. Every now and then, a soft wind would blow to bring some life into the scene.
Even when I rubbed my eyes, I didn’t see any monsters. Unfortunately, I didn’t see my party either. No matter where I looked, even when I used my magic, I didn’t find a single hint of their whereabouts. I suddenly thought that they might have just abandoned me.
It wasn’t possible to simply judge on their propensity, though.
When there were 3 or more tall, linear shapes in the surrounding, the greater the chance of being ambushed. However, I couldn’t just base that on just a simple predisposition.
If I put the worry that they had abandoned me away, then it was most likely that they were waiting for me until something happened to them. During the Rites of Passage, there were many other types of monsters besides the Deadmen. No matter what happened, I decided to find where they went and looked for traces of the party.
Just a clue, trying to find a footprint wasn’t that difficult. As I patiently followed the stone wall, I found sunken footprints left behind by sports shoes. It looked like they had jumped the wall here.
As I kept walking in the direction where the soil was swept away, I found a clue that the party had gathered here as I had expected. After I confirmed that there was nothing around, it seemed that they were waiting for me here. After I confirmed the truth, the tinge of betrayal, that had stealthily took a corner of my heart, disappeared like melting snow.
I crouched down in the area where the party was, I slowly searched around and found one footprint after the other. If I had skills of a Ranger or a Trapper, they could have deduced how and why the situation occurred, as well as when, where and how many people were involved. Of course, that level of deduction was impossible for me. All I was able to do at the moment, was use my sharp eyesight with my Abilities.
Augmented by my perception, I compared the footprints one by one. I committed the prints created by the sports shoe into memory and began to look for other footprints. It seemed like the party had performed a shuffle dance since the footprints were all over the place. This made it difficult to distinguish one from the other and felt like it would take some time. Suddenly, an uneasy thought passed through my mind, but I told myself that it was way too early to come to a conclusion, and continued my search.
After I spent enough time to drink a cup of tea, I finished my analysis. I stretched my legs and stood up. Excluding the footprints of the party, I found no other strange footprints. If I was nit-picking, I did find one deep imprint. However, due to another sneaker’s print on top of it, it was difficult to judge if it was from the party or not.
It certainly wasn’t Deadman’s, as there was no trail of dragging on the soil. The fact that it might have been a boss monster came to my mind, but I immediately shook the thought out of my head. It had only been half a day since we started, and there were specific conditions for boss monsters to appear.
I put the thought of the boss monster to the corner on my head. A revelation never came. There was only one solution left. Even though I knew that it wouldn’t work, I started to awaken my magic circuits.
In a single moment, I pulled out an explosive amount of magic power and activated the Third Eye. What I was about to do was different than just simply checking the other party’s user information.
I could never have imagined that this kind of situation would arise, where I had to activate my magic. It was a race against time and I couldn’t think of any other solution. They could all be killed while I wasted time uselessly, trying to conserve magic power.
Currently, I was going to use my Third Eye to not examine the present, but the ‘past.’ This was an exceptionally Unique Ability, through which I could even observe a higher dimension if specific conditions were met. That was why looking at the present, past and the future was possible with this Ability.
Just when I was about to start worrying, a scene seemingly penetrated my sight and I naturally focused on it.
It was only for single a second, but the image flashed on my retina, which twisted up, and then a huge trauma hit my eye. The heated pupils felt like they were being burnt on a blazing fire. As I rubbed both of my eyes reflexively, I let out a bitter laughter.
Just one second. For one second I saw an image from the past, but The Third Eye got cancelled automatically. After a little, the pain in the eyes subsided, and I mumbled with a lethargic voice.
“Ha…. Haa. 96 magic points and yet my limit is only one second…. This is driving me nuts.”
Maybe, just maybe… but in the end, my Magic Attribute couldn’t handle the Unique Ability Overdrive. This had just reaffirmed how high rank the Third Eye was, and I was filled with regret.
Looking at the past was equivalent to seeing into the future. It was different than simply predicting the future, it was an issue of different dimensions. I thought it might be a possible, as The Third Eye was S rank magic, but due to forced manifestation, the rank was reduced by two. Although a rank was recovered through Hwajung, It was only possible for the current me to review the present phenomena. Handling the past and the future was quite premature.
The pain was slowly subsiding, but right now, my vision was blurry. I think it was an aftereffect of the rebound from getting the magic cancelled. Fortunately, as time passed, my sight began to sharpen. The loss of sight seemed to be only temporarily.
I had unintentionally used a dangerous method, but fortunately, there was one thing I managed to fish out.
It was only for a one second, but I had seen the ‘past.’ I sighed loudly, as I remembered the scene that ignited my retinas. I did my best to separate the gems from ordinary stones and had barely managed to get them out of the forest. However, it seemed that more troublesome things awaited me.
I could understand if I was lacking the power, but the reality, of having the power and still having to be careful about its use, made me depressed. If nothing else, I could make a ruckus in the Rite of Passage, but that was the very last resort.
It was like climbing mountains after mountains.
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