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Chapter 214. The Third Taming (5)
Even as I s.h.i.+vered with uneasiness, I reached out to pick the reward which was just too good to pa.s.s up. Immediately, the back of my right hand heated up. I had somewhat expected it. After my legs, arms, and the back of my left hand, it was only proper that the next tattoo took the back of the right hand. It couldn't have been my eyes or lips. I wasn't worried at all!
Feeling relieved that it wasn't a place that was hard to cover, I took off my gauntlet and checked my right hand. There, I saw a pair of spread bat wings entangled by two chains. While it was giving off a pink glow and a feeling of elegance, I was relieved that it was a much more wholesome symbol than I thought.
However, I soon came to regret feeling so quickly relieved.
[You obtained the Succubus Queen's Tattoo. Your charm and magic increases by 50. Against members of the opposite s.e.x, the effect doubles. Once per day, you can double your mana.]
As someone who was experiencing the effect of the charm stat every day, the Succubus Queen's Tattoo was a great boon. Increasing both magic and charm by 50! Not to mention, the effect of charm doubled against members of the opposite s.e.x. It was truly a monstrous effect.
However, doubling my mana once per day… it was an amazing effect, but it was almost as if… No, it must be my imagination.1
"Let's head out then."
After putting my gauntlet back up, I left the Floor Master room. Loretta, who was sitting by the Floor Shop with her chin on her hand, expression changed when she saw me leaving the room.
"What? Is something wrong?"
Was there a tattoo on my body that I didn't notice? When I became fl.u.s.tered and asked, Loretta took out her double-edged axe and spoke with a flushed face.
"How did you suddenly become so much more charming!? What happened to you, s.h.i.+n-nim!? If you tell me honestly, nothing bad will happen! I-I-It can't b-be, w-with that d.a.m.ned succubus, you…!"
The axe in her hand was bending with a creaking noise. T-That thing, I held it once and it was really heavy… Loretta could bend it with just her hands!? As I was scared for my life, I decided to explain everything thoroughly.
"Oh, I see. It was the tattoo's power."
Looking relieved, Loretta chucked the axe behind her. The dungeon floor caved in. Scary…
"I thought s.h.i.+n-nim again… Huu, nevermind. That's good."
"It looks like I'm still lacking in practice. I thought I was controlling the charming aura I was emitting pretty well. Huu, it's going to take ages again."
"s.h.i.+n-nim's current charm stat entered a dangerous level. It should be fine for members of the same s.e.x, but for the opposite s.e.x, it will be a disaster. Just imagine every woman that meets s.h.i.+n-nim's eyes falling in love with s.h.i.+n-nim. Once it happens, that's it. There's no way to escape it. It's not a status effect, just that s.h.i.+n-nim's charm had conquered their heart."
What I had to deal with now was tiring enough!
"s.h.i.+n-nim's charm can even shake my heart now. You have to control it carefully."
d.a.m.n, so having higher stats wasn't always good! Of course, as magic had increased by 50 points in addition to charm, I needed time to train and digest the increase. I sighed. I then plopped down on the ground and began to circulate Peruta Circuit. Loretta placed her elbow back on the Floor Shop counter and watched me with a warm smile.
"At least for this time, I get to have s.h.i.+n-nim for myself, huhuhu."
"Don't say something so corny. I can't focus."
Afterwards, for 10 hours every day, I sat in front of the Floor Shop and trained in controlling my charm. Of course, I didn't forget to grind the Succubus Queen 10 times a day for the magic and charm increasing invigoration elixir it dropped. Although it may seem like a vain effort, I couldn't sit idly either.
As I had to avoid seeing those of the opposite s.e.x as much as possible, the only person I saw from Revival daily was Ren, who I had to meet anyways for the thras.h.i.+ng phase.
"I'm sure Crown Prince hates me!"
"I don't hate you at all. There, you're open!"
"Is there even a single moment in Crown Prince's eyes where I don't have an opening!?"
"Of course not."
"I knew it, you hate me!"
"Ren is just too weak!"
Because of the charm discharge problem I was having, the underground training room became a prohibited area for the time being. Although Ye-Eun and Sophie who used the room often seemed to be displeased, when I explained the circ.u.mstance, they reluctantly accepted it.
As a result, Ren and I got to occupy the training room for ourselves, while Father and Walker sometimes dropped by to watch Ren getting beat up. I was thankful that Michel and Leon were devoting all their time to climbing the dungeon. If there were new spectators, Ren would undoubtedly cry.
"Oh, my son is truly talented in beating people up!"
"I know that first hand. Kang s.h.i.+n's beaten me up before."
"Please leave! Are you happy watching me getting beaten up?"
I was relieving the stress of being unable to see Ina and Yua by beating up Ren… Kuhum. Feeling glad that I was helping Ren with his growth, I spent honest days in the dungeon.
Ever since Ren began to stay on Earth, it seemed he had a change of heart as his quick temperament and habit of losing his sanity in battles was being mended smoothly. Although now might be too early, when I would be grinding the 70th Floor Master, if I held Ren for 10 days, his habit of going berserk might be completely fixed.
"Crown Prince, do you believe you can protect Earth?"
On the 10th day since my 65th Floor Master grinding began, when neither Father nor Walker was in the training room, Ren asked. It seemed he hadn't been just getting beaten up, as he was dodging my attacks skillfully. As I was about to call it a day so I could go grind the Floor Master, I took my spear back and retorted.
"Of course I do. Does Ren think I'll fail?"
"Haha, don't kid. If there's anyone in this guild with an absolute trust in Crown Prince, it would be me."
Ren retorted with a bitter smile as he leaned against his claymore. As he had used up most of his stamina and mana, he was moving quite slowly.
He slowly swept his hair up. As he dripped with sweat, his lion's mane-like hair became entangled.
"I can't believe in myself."
Oh right, Ren had become Panan continent's Hero. I was the one who made him one.
Remembering that crucial fact, I replied with a shrug.
"You're lacking in training."
"Right, I am. That's what I thought Crown Prince would say… But I'm really shaking. The kids that are looking only at me… Ah, of course, Elfa is also looking at Crown Prince, but the point is, both Lebuik and the kids trust me wholeheartedly. They trust that I'll chase the El Patiz out and reclaim the Panan continent. I… I find that extremely pressuring."
"Don't worry about it so much. There are still 2 years at least."
I replied as if it was something trivial and returned my spear to its choker form. Ren looked at me and asked.
"If you die, Earth will lose its future. Have you not thought about that?"
"If you die, billions of people will lose their future. Even if they don't fall into the monsters' hands, they will slowly wither away. Have you never despaired thinking about that?"
"When you die, those left on Earth will resent you and curse you with all their heart. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night when they appear in your dreams?"
After replying that far, I glared at Ren.
"Are you stupid? I'm busily swinging my spear, climbing the dungeon, and gathering more members of Revival. I already had my mind full of all these, so how would I have the time to think about something that hasn't even happened and despair? Rather than worrying about all that, just swing your sword one more time."
"How can you do that? What I'm saying is, how can you shake away all this pressure?"
It seemed an unforeseen side effect came over Ren's thras.h.i.+ng phase. He was feeling pressure as a Hero and he had come to doubt his abilities. For someone who looked so reliable, he couldn't be more delicate. Simply put, it was annoying.
"Ren, how many beastmen are alive in Panan continent?"
"I'm not sure, but it can't be many. There's the possibility that there are none left."
"What would happen if Ren suddenly dies and loses the Hero's power?"
"Humans and beastmen wouldn't be able to proliferate on Panan continent ever again… Though Lebuik and the kids will be fine."
"Then even if Ren dies, it's not like a lot of people will lose their future, right?"
"That's true, but then the Panan continent will…!"
I gathered mana at my fingertips and flicked it at him. It hit Ren's forehead and pushed him backward.
"You don't even know how many people will die, so how can you be so scared? There's probably nothing more pathetic than that. Plus, it's not like you'll be going back to Panan continent alone. I and other members of Revival will also go."
"Ren, you said you trusted me. Then there's nothing to worry about. I'll go back to Panan continent with Ren, and if Ren's strength isn't enough, I'll offer my power. So rather than worrying about the consequences of Ren dying, just focus on your training."
I then dealt the heavy blow.
"Let's double the thras.h.i.+ng phase's intensity. I was happy thinking that Ren was getting better, but it turns out Ren was just out of steam. I'll make sure Ren gets Ren's lost spirit back. Aren't you happy?"
"I'm not happy at all! Double!? Did you just say double!?"
Ren's ears perked up and shook. However, I had no intention of taking back my words.
However, as I had understood how he was feeling, I decided to be a bit more honest.
"I'm also human, Ren. Of course, I thought about such things and got a bit depressed. But Ren, if I die, will Ren blame me?"
"Of course not! You're doing everything you can!"
"Would Yua, Hwaya, or Ina blame me?"
"Rather than Earth facing an end, I think they'd be sadder that Crown Prince died."
"Right. So there's nothing I need to fear. I'm already doing all that I can."
I put my hands on his shoulders.
"Ren, you do everything you can too. Then, you won't have anything to fear. Plus, I'm the one that made Ren a Hero. I think of Ren as my disciple, so I'll help Ren too."
"Is that why you're doubling the thras.h.i.+ng phase…"
Seeing Ren's sullen face, a sinister thought crossed my mind.
"Oh, by the way, Ren, if it gets too hard, ask Lebuik to sleep together with you."
"H-H-H-H-How can I do that! To Lebuik!?"
"Didn't you say Lebuik was like a mother? When things get hard, falling asleep in mother's embrace is the best."
"But this and that are totally different things!"
"Just believe me. Go to Lebuik's room at night and ask, 'Can I rely on you a bit?' Lebuik treasures Ren too. She'll surely let you in."
"Lebuik will never do that!"
"Ren, do as I say. Lebuik won't refuse, I promise."
"Really. You can kick me otherwise."
"Mmm… Alright, if Crown Prince is willing to go that far, I'll give it a try… I didn't know Lebuik thought of me as a son…"
'Well, something like that. I'm sure she thinks of making a son with you.' I replied to his murmuring in my heart and began to think about how Lebuik would repay this favor. Right, banquet noodles would be best.2A Korean reader asked the author what this meant. The Author replied, "Try subst.i.tuting mana with some other unit…" ↩ Traditionally Korean noodles served at weddings. ↩