Episode 152

Outside, Battlefield Of The Gods (8)
5 months ago
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Looking at the system window that appeared one after the other, Taesan said,

“What is this?”

[Why are there so many?]

The ghost muttered doubtfully. Taesan felt the same way.

He knew the reward wouldn’t be just one thing.

It was a conflict between the Labyrinth and the outside world.

Given its large scale, he anticipated various rewards.

But this was too much, even considering that.

[Several gods respect the opinion of a few gods.]

“Several gods?”

[...Ah.]

The ghost seemed to have an inkling, speaking in a tone that hinted at realization.

[Is that the concept? Interesting. I've heard stories, but it's my first time seeing it in action.]

“If you know, explain. What’s going on?”

[It's not that complicated. You saw that the interference area of the gods has reduced, right? You know when that happens.]

“When gods reduce their area of influence to perform some action.”

Taesan had received rewards for clearing enhanced trials, and such a phrase had always appeared.

[The gods whose interference areas have reduced were all those who had given you direct trials. They decided to reward you, and other gods found it puzzling. But they respected the decision.]

“So that’s the concept.”

It wasn’t a difficult story, as the ghost said, but there was one thing bothering him.

“Then what exactly did they give?”

[...Right.]

A reward that even the gods found puzzling.

[It's good but... a bit scary.]

Taesan checked the system window one by one.

“How many lines are there?”

Dozens of lines of text filled his vision.

“Let’s clear it first.”

With so many, he became calmer. He could check them one by one. But first, he planned to open what he had obtained.

[Special Activation Skill: Apostle Slayer]
[Proficiency: 1%]
[The one who has slain an apostle of a god. It forces the apostle into a decline during battle.]

A decline in status. From Taesan’s experience, it had one meaning.

“Does it mean I can deal proper damage?”

The power of apostles significantly reduced the damage they received from those without it.

This skill seemed to mitigate the issue of attacks not being effective due to the difference in status.

“That’s good.”

He had Apostle Transformation, but it only lasted 10 minutes. Having narrowly won this time, such a skill would allow him to hope for a longer battle.

“What am I supposed to do with this?”

[Divine Power]
[Proficiency: 6%]
[The power of a god. It's the grace given when someone believes and follows. As of now, it seems to have no meaning.]

After defeating Cain, his proficiency in Divine Power also increased through Soul Ascension.

It was still a skill whose purpose was unknown.

[Concept Skill: ???]
[Proficiency: 24%]
[The power of will summons ???. Harmony with ???. Obtained ???]

The phrase ‘harmony’ was added to the concept skill.

It was still hard to find a proper way to use it.

It seemed necessary to increase proficiency.

“Then let’s check what I got one by one.”

First, the God of Choice.

The God of Choice. Maria. The first god to have appeared to him directly.

Her reward was the special activation skill ‘Freedom of Choice,’ which allowed the exchange of designated stats.

“Thinking about it, I didn’t really use it much.”

At best, it was used to avoid a cliff while running in Hafran’s destroyed world. If the proficiency increased and the ratio went up, it might be useful, but for now, it was so insignificant that it hardly drew attention.

Maria must have thought the same, as her reward was a change to ‘Freedom of Choice.’

[The special activation skill 'Freedom of Choice' has evolved into the special continuous activation skill 'Selfish Choice.']

The evolution from an activation skill to a continuous activation skill. It was a very rare occurrence. Taesan opened his skill window.

[Special Continuous Activation Skill: Selfish Choice]
[Designate one stat to increase.]

A very simple description. There was no need to ponder about the effect. Since he acquired the skill, he just had to use it directly.

Taesan designated attack power and checked his stats.

[Attack Power + 361]

His original attack power was 328. An additional 33 was added.

That meant a 10% increase. Surprise appeared on Taesan’s face.

“This is useful.”

If, as Taesan expected, it wasn’t a fixed value but a percentage increase skill, it would be valuable even beyond the deep layers.

And the fact that it was a continuous activation skill was the most important. Once designated, unless the skill disappeared, it would automatically apply without needing attention, an unconditional advantage.

[This is really... unbelievable.]

The ghost was at a loss for words, too. Even in the deep layers, he had rarely seen a percent increase skill, except maybe in equipment.

“It lives up to its name.”

Selfish Choice. A skill true to its name. Taesan smiled and moved on to the next skill.

The God of Proof. Pavsha. Like the God of Choice, he, too, had evolved a skill.

[The special continuous activation skill 'Self-Proof' has evolved into the special continuous activation skill 'Three Proofs.']
[Special Continuous Activation Skill: Three Proofs]
[You have proved yourself to yourself, to the gods, and to the world. What you have built becomes a phenomenon, staying around you and exerting a material influence.]

Although the description changed a lot, the core was one. Material influence.

Taesan immediately tried using it.

[You have activated the Three Proofs.]

Power circled around Taesan.

Its effect was clearly different from before. It wasn’t visible to the eye, but a physical pressure was subtly spreading out.

It was powerful enough to crush and kill someone weak just by being near.

Taesan deactivated the skill.

“This isn’t that great by itself.”

Even if it was a physical influence, it was insignificant against an enemy capable of facing Taesan. It was disappointing for a gift from the God of Proof.

[...Really?]

However, the ghost thought differently.

Just by revealing itself, it had not only a mental but also a physical impact.

The meaning behind it was significant. Taesan almost died just from the Spirit King’s anger, but that was because her emotions resonated and caused flames to erupt.

As of now, it might not seem significant.

But if Taesan became stronger and reached the top echelon…

This skill could become a disaster.

Like Selfish Choice, to the ghost, this wasn’t a skill one would normally receive here.

But Taesan, unaware of the ghost’s thoughts, continued to check his rewards.

This time, it was the God of Victory.

The God of Victory’s previous reward was ‘Victory’s Proof,’ a skill that increased designated stats. It was a useful skill he had been using.

Contrary to initial expectations, killing a single monster did not increase his stats by 1. As his mana increased, the increase became progressively slower.

Still, thanks to that, his mana nearly reached a thousand.

Originally, the rate of mana increase was painfully slow.

He had no choice but to obtain additional skills or items or use mana-increasing potions sold in shops.

Because of their exorbitant prices, Taesan couldn’t use them much. That’s why he always suffered from mana shortage in his past life.

But this time, he had never once suffered from a lack of mana.

It was as good as proven.

[Title: Authority of Victory]
[Never defeated.]
[Strength + 200]
[Agility + 200]
[Intelligence + 200]
[Attack Power + 50]
[Defense Power + 50]

“Oh…”

[Ah....]

Taesan muttered blandly.

“It’s easy to understand.”

The God of Victory, Balthasar’s reward, was very straightforward.

But the numbers were incredibly high. The ghost chuckled.

[200... Unbelievable. Really.]

Additionally, attack power and defense power increased by 50. Just by the numbers, he was over 10% stronger.

[Still, since it's a fixed value, I can understand this. That's good.]

Of course, 200 was not a small number, even in the deep layers, but the ghost deliberately ignored this fact.

The next reward he checked was from the God of Swords, Ehili.

[You have obtained the sword of one who is now gone.]
[The Sword of the Gone]
[Attack Power + 70]
[A noble snow mountain. The sword was used by its master. It lay alone in a land without an owner.]
[A weapon used over a long period acquires a weak self-awareness and harmonizes with its owner.]

Taesan held the sword, and a strange sensation was felt.

He could sense the sword’s trajectory, flow, balance - everything.

“This is… quite good.”

Each sword had a different balance and weight, so it usually took time to adapt when holding one for the first time.

But Taesan could perfectly handle this sword from the first time he held it.

Since Taesan used dual swords, he decided to wield it together with the sword from Carvert.

[This is dangerous. I hope my sword doesn't get abandoned.]

The ghost groaned.

Carvert’s relic was a good weapon, but its performance was inherently limited since it was obtained on the 10th floor.

He had been managing with various enhancements, but its standing was becoming precarious.

[I need to get my old swords back quickly.]

The ghost muttered, starting to plan.

While he was thinking, Taesan checked the gift from the Demon God.

[Magic permanently increased by 100.]
[Proficiency in Dark Magic increased by 10%.]

“Simple.”

Simple, but a definite increase.

Magic, perceptibly, increased less than mana. Even with a special skill from the Demon God to increase Magic, it was still only in the 70s.

But now it has increased by 100.

Moreover, Dark Magic was a skill that became more powerful the more Magi it consumed.

It made a difference not only in convenience but also in power.

The increase in proficiency in Dark Magic was also valuable, as it didn’t rise easily.

The Demon God’s system window had an additional line, unlike that of other gods.

[The Demon God expresses dissatisfaction with the choices of other gods.]

“Dissatisfaction?”

It was a difficult-to-understand system window.

He passed it over as it wasn’t crucial and checked the rewards from other gods.

[Special Continuous Activation Skill: Frenzy of Struggle]
[Proficiency: 1%]
[The longer you continue to fight, the faster your movements and the stronger your power becomes. The effects disappear when the fight ends.]

The reward from the God of Struggle and Death, Lakiratas. It was a battle continuation bonus fitting his domain. It would be a useful skill as he would continue to face strong opponents.

And the reward from the God of Magic.

[Title: Qualification of Magic]
[You have earned the right to learn deeper secrets.]
[Mana + 50]

The title seemed to explain the qualification for intermediate magic. He also acquired a beginner spell.

[Beginner Magic: Realm of Regeneration]
[Mana Consumption: 50]
[Proficiency: 1%]
[Regenerates health and mana of all beings chosen by the user within a certain range.]

“A recovery spell?”

Taesan was intrigued.

Another means to recover health and mana even outside was now available.

The parts about ‘within a certain range’ and ‘all beings’ caught his eye.

When returning to Earth, mana and health shortage were the biggest issues.

Being able to regenerate not just for himself but for others, too, made it a skill of immeasurable value for him.

“Ha.”

Taesan chuckled.

Thus, Taesan spent tens of minutes checking his rewards.

It was the first time it took this long to check rewards.

“Beyond imagination.”

He had believed he would receive substantial rewards.

But he hadn’t anticipated receiving this much.

[That's why the other gods were questioning.]

The achievement was great but not enough to warrant such huge rewards. That must have been the other gods’ judgment.

[But the gods who met you personally didn't think so.]

Adequate but not excessive rewards. That was the judgment of the gods who had met Taesan.

[And well, the rewards aren't entirely incomprehensible. Although imperfect, you did kill an apostle after all.]

Apostles, being positions appointed directly by gods, require considerable power from the gods themselves. The apostles were almost representatives of the gods.

Taesan had killed such an apostle.

Considering the significance, the rewards were indeed deserved.

“It’s still not over.”

The rewards from the gods were individual as they reduced their areas of interference.

There was still the special quest completion reward left.

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