Solo Max Level Newbie Chapter 149

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Solo Max-Level Newbie

Chapter 149: A Brief Pause (2)

[Powet’s Necklace]

Obtain Difficulty: Over Rank

Description: A necklace completed with the help of the gods by Powet, the High Priest. Specialized in ‘sealing’, it is particularly effective against beings of the dark attribute. (Note: This item can seal only one target.)

A special item capable of sealing.

‘Was it brought here to seal Elis again?’

He was momentarily taken aback by the astonishing twist.

Considering all the actions and words thus far, he naturally thought they aimed to kill Elis, but it never occurred to him that re-sealing was also a consideration.

‘Is there a reason not to kill her? They must have realized the risk of her escaping?’

Jinhyuk’s gaze narrowed.

There seemed to be more hidden intentions than met the eye.

The reason they had decided not to kill Elis and keep her alive.

‘I’ll definitely need to take good care of this one.’

If it’s an item capable of sealing a high-ranking vampire, it could prove very useful in a variety of ways.

Jinhyuk stored Powet’s Necklace in his subspace inventory.

At that moment.

Kukukuku!

The gates of the Blood Weypoint began to collapse.

Karacal and his Frost Blade Tribe had succeeded in dealing with the Golems and destroying the Maseongseok, which served as the core of the gate.

‘Impressive, as expected.’

Jinhyuk watched the debris of the disintegrating gate with a complex look on his face.

He felt that today’s events would change many things, but that was a worry for later.

Yes.

It was not today.

***

‘Now I just need to get the Phoenix Feather and get out of here.’

The major tasks at hand had been wrapped up.

Jinhyuk turned and began walking towards the center of the island.

The sound of snow quietly falling mixed with the sound of it being stepped upon, creating a rather poetic atmosphere.

How long had he walked?

A densely grown area with frozen white trees appeared.

This place was significantly colder than anywhere else, living up to being the coldest place among the seventh stratum.

Even the techniques learned from Yu Cheonyeong were barely keeping the shivers at bay.

“It’s a veritable freezer over here.”

It was so cold he yearned for a hot bowl of ramen topped with thick slices of ham.

If only he had some fresh kimchi and cold rice too… it would be sheer bliss.

It was during these frivolous thoughts.

Whooosh!

A fierce blizzard swept past.

[The temperature has dropped below -65 degrees Celsius!]

[Due to the cold, stamina will start depleting rapidly!]

[There is a risk of severe frostbite!]

A series of alert statuses appeared one after another.

At the same time, something tinged with red light began to be visible at the center of the forest.

‘Finally, it’s appearing.’

It was the ‘Phoenix Feather’ he had been seeking.

A regular player would have been petrified by the bone-chilling cold and fled on instinct.

Who would bother about a Phoenix Feather when it looked like they’d freeze to death right there and then?

But that was precisely the defense mechanism the Phoenix Feather used to protect itself.

‘If you turn back, the temperature drops even further.’

This meant the feather wasn’t for the cowardly or the foolishly brave who would pay the price for their recklessness.

On the contrary, if one braved the cold and pressed on, that path would become a way forward.

‘It sounds simple, but I died to the cold several times before I figured this out.’

Back then, he had paid a hefty tuition in the form of experience points.

Thanks to that, he was now in a position to reap rewards several times over what he had paid.

Jinhyuk proceeded with large strides.

[The temperature has risen to -55 degrees Celsius.]

[The speed at which stamina decreases due to the cold has significantly reduced.]

[Frostbite symptoms are alleviated.]

The status windows changed rapidly, but Jinhyuk continued on with a nonchalant expression, urging his steps forward.

And finally.

He reached the red feather at the center.

[Phoenix Feather]

Obtain Difficulty: AA (Material Item)

Description: One of the feathers left behind by the mystical beast ‘Phoenix.’ Simply possessing it alone increases resistance to cold by 500%, and when combined with compatible materials, it can be used to craft items with very special abilities.

He had gained a lot in this place.

He had leveled up thirteen times, gathered new items and skills, and even added various items to his collection.

‘With the acquisition of Karacal and the Frost Blade Tribe, and the ability to utilize Ophelia as a pawn, this side is quite lucrative too.’

There was nothing to complain about, a perfect outcome.

With that, Jinhyuk was certain.

Among all beings within the tower, none was sipping the sweet nectar of success as richly as he was.

***

39th Floor of the Tower of Trials.

In the ancient castle bathed in the cool moonlight, multiple men and women were gathered.

They were beings with snow-white hair and eyes swirling with red—vampires, nobles of the night.

And among them, those present here were the heads of the six great vampire houses.

Spread across the large table illuminated by the soft candlelight were various delicacies only seen within the Tower of Trials.

The cups made of crystal were filled with a somewhat sticky, crimson liquid.

However.

Despite the plethora of luxuries, the faces of those seated around the table did not appear joyful.

They had no choice but to look somber.

For they were all gathered here not for the simple pleasure of a dinner but…

“Things have become troublesome. Who would have thought, Mikhail would fail…”

A middle-aged man with an impressively styled beard spoke up.

The rest of the household heads added their two cents as if on cue.

“I was surprised too. It’s unnerving that one of the honored guards with a title would lose to a mere human…”

“He was strong, alright. His skills, especially his senses, seemed almost insane. The timing at which he used his skills felt frankly superior to mine. If his magic power wasn’t so low, he’d become quite the headache later on.”

The short-haired woman and another with long hair reaching her waist shared their impressions.

Just then.

“Looks like you’ve all lost your eyesight. Didn’t I say this time and again? It wasn’t that the fellow was extraordinary, but that entrusting the Dacascus family’s fools was the mistake. If my house had stepped up, we would’ve not only sealed that arrogant Elis, but also kept the Blood Weypoint running smoothly.”

A man with sharp features sneered.

And then.

“How dare you insult the Dacascus family!”

A furious outburst followed immediately.

Kukukuku!

The table began to vibrate violently.

Crash!

Objects fell and shattered on the floor.

The castle was filled with a suffocating murderous intent.

“Hmm, forgotten by memory due to old age perhaps? Do you really think you could beat me? The toothless tiger of the Dacascus family?”

“You seem to have forgotten, too, who contributed the most to our dominance over this layer.”

Kwakwakwakwa!

Their auras became increasingly dangerous.

Their tangible magic power was now large enough to grind each other’s skin.

The patriarchs, who represent the pinnacle of their kin, looked ready to battle.

The entire castle could have vanished in an instant.

Eventually.

“Fight if you must, it’s your freedom, but remember, you’ll also have to bear the consequences.”

The middle-aged man who first spoke interrupted.

Startled.

The two heads ceased their actions.

The six house heads, though ostensibly equal in rank, had one exception.

This man alone.

Ascension of Ataraxia.

The individual who succeeded Elis as the head of the Ataraxia house.

The moniker ‘The strongest existing Jinjo’ was not for naught.

“Moreover, what truly matters now is discussing future matters, not flexing our strength against each other, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Well, that’s true. I was just a little vexed by how the situation tangled up, so stop speaking so somberly.”

“……Agreed. I too shall exercise restraint.”

The two heads conceded, though not overtly.

With the situation diffused, Ascension sipped blood from his crystal goblet—the only cup left unshattered on the table.

“Everyone knows the resources mobilized for this affair were considerable. It wasn’t originally our place as high-dwellers to interfere with the lower floors of the tower.”

Normally, high-dwellers shouldn’t meddle with lower layers, but an exception required a fitting price.

Massive amounts of coins or Maseongseok, or perhaps artifacts of equal value, were necessary.

The six houses had poured an unfathomable amount of resources into this venture.

All for one reason.

To grow their power and ascend to higher floors.

And.

To challenge the tower’s final floor once more…

“However, this endeavor has failed. With the Blood Weypoint collapsed, gathering forces sufficient to strike the empire is impossible.”

“That’s likely. So, are you suggesting we abandon the plan entirely?”

The short-haired woman asked.

“No,”

Ascension’s lips twisted slightly.

“We’ll use a different method.”

They may not be able to take overt actions like now, but there are always loopholes and detours to take.

***

After a fierce battle, a time of rest had come.

Everyone who had successfully fulfilled their roles gathered around the freshwater lake to toast.

Cheon Yuseong, Theresa, Yu Yeonhwa, and Lee Taemin also shook off the aftereffects of the intense struggle.

The Ice Trolls of the Frost Blade Tribe finally freely indulged in their regained liberty.

And Jinhyuk.

To fully unleash the happiness of the moment, he decided to demonstrate his well-honed culinary skills.

[You have used the ‘Interworld Restaurant’ skill at Lv3.]

A skill capable of satisfying the palates of various races, its effect already proven even among the usually discerning Elves.

Though he couldn’t prepare much due to the harsh environment, Jinhyuk utilized fish from the freshwater lake and edible plants to assemble reasonably decent dishes.

Pairing these with alcohol from the Frost Blade Tribe resulted in an excellent meal.

“To the great chieftain Karacal, cheers!”

“To the human who gifted us freedom, cheers!”

“Ooooh!”

Boisterous cheers erupted from every direction.

Most were praises for Jinhyuk and Karacal.

“Thank you… human.”

Karacal expressed gratitude with sincerity.

His eyes trembled ever so slightly even as he spoke.

After many years.

How could he not feel gratitude to the one who freed them from a life of slavery?

Yet.

‘Hmm…’

He felt a bit sorry to broach such a topic during these times but had no choice.

“No need for thanks.”

Jinhyuk smiled breezily as he handed over a piece of paper.

“What is this?”

“What do you mean?”

It was a bill.

For the fish painstakingly caught from the lake and various ingredients gathered from here and there. Plus, labor costs involved in cooking couldn’t be ignored.

Oh, of course.

The charge for freeing them was priceless and couldn’t be measured in coin.

“This, this outrageous demand… 20… 20 thousand Maseongseok? And if you can’t pay, it increases by 2,000 each month. But this, it’s practically slavery again!”

“Well, slavery is a bit harsh.”

The Ministry of Employment and Labor would be troubled by such talk.

This was a fair compensation for legitimate labor.

“Ordinarily, I should have taken 50,000, but you know, I gave a generous discount for our acquaintance. Cut so much that there’s hardly any profit left, like doing business by digging soil, phew.”

Jinhyuk exhaled quietly.

Seriously though.

He sometimes pondered if his largesse was excessive.

‘If everyone in the world were like me, there’d be no need for laws or police. Yep, certainly.’

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