I Never Run Out of Mana - Chapter 101
Chapter 101 – Spring Dream 1
“Ah….. So bored…..”
“What the? What nonsense are you talking about.”
“Hyung. Are there any portals that exploded today?”
“Yeah. The frequency of the explosions are dying down, so it seems that things are going back to normal like before.”
“I’m glad but something feels off. It’s odd…..”
“I noticed you aren’t going out to hunt much now.”
“Yes….. There isn’t anyone bothering me and the only thing I thought about when I first became Awakened was to earn lots of money so that I can live in peace with my mother. But you already know, right? That I’m known as the boy who sells Awakened essences.”
As I said that, I pointed at the corner of the room.
There was enough Awakened essences to fill an entire burlap bag stacked up against the wall.
The worth of these essences couldn’t be compared to things like gold or diamond.
“To be fair, you’ve been through a lot. It’s not like anyone is giving you recognition for it either.”
“If news of me spreads, it’ll only get tiresome for me. That’s why I asked the commander to keep me a secret.”
“That’s true. Just think of it as a special vacation.”
“Wonder if I should go to school…..”
At my words, Jong Ho bit down his on his lip and spoke as if lecturing me.
I knew he was joking around, but he had a rather serious expression.
“Tsk! Why would you do something pointless like that. If you can avoid death, marriage, and school, you make sure to avoid it. And if you can’t avoid it, you delay it as long as possible.”
“Right? This isn’t the right way to go about things.”
“What about Mr. Ho Jin? How is he doing? We do talk over the phone from time to time, but it’s been quite awhile since I’ve seen him in person.”
“You know that hyung-nim got back out of retirement into the association again. You were right on the mark that the president of the association Choi Man Seo or whatever being a subordinate working for the radical faction.”
“Is that the person who caused mister to quit the association?”
“Yeah, that’s right. He straight up said that the president of the association was a dog doing the work of the association and got into a massive fight before leaving.”
“I’m glad it all worked out in the end. Hyung-nim has grown strong enough to stand amongst one of the rankers. Mr. Ho Jin is able to return back to his work, and the radical faction is no more.”
“Hey. Without Balrock’s ring, I’m still useless.”
“You can use the stats you get from the armor to make up the difference then. Ha…. Looks like it’s a happy ending for everyone.”
“It’s all thanks to you.”
“Argh! But why do I feel so bored and hollow on the inside! Huh?”
“Pfft. Hey. Just hunt like you normally do. What are you doing lounging up at home? You’re still too young for that.”
“It looks like I should be doing that.”
“You seem like someone waiting for another incident to occur. That’s bad luck.”
“Is that how it looks like?”
“Yeah. The current look you have is comparable to the level Conan or Kim Jeon-il. 2 And right now, this room! It’s completely closed off. It’s almost like the room is giving off the scent of a dead corpse. It feels like even incidents that would never happen would suddenly occur or something.”
“Pfft! Even if I don’t have the tranquilizer watch, I can knock you out if you’d like.”
“Your jokes are so intense. All right!”
Jong Ho stood up.
Recently, he seemed to be having fun while hunting, not missing a single day.
That’s to be expected, since he was growing at a rate where it was noticeable, so without a doubt he must be enjoying himself.
Taking the armor and sword he neatly set down in my room, he put it on.
It seemed as if he was going out to hunt once more.
Jong Ho spoke.
“I’ll be leaving to go hunting, young Awakened-essence-seller boy.”
“Hang out with me today.”
“When did you become so lazy?”
“Seems so. I’ve already achieved my goal and further growth is pointless.”
“Hmm…. There is one thing you could do.”
“Huh? What would that be?”
“Ah…… I’m not sure if I should be teaching you this.”
“Formless Sword Aura?”
“Oho! It’s….. a spending spree!”
“I’m telling you to go on a spending spree at least once. You’ve only earned money and fought this entire time, but have you ever used it yet?”
“Even if you sell just the Awakened essences, you’re at the level of a major corporation walking around.”
“Oh lord. Do you I have to teach you everything from start to finish? Mr. Kim Min-Cheol?”
“What kind of a spending spree?”
“You have things you’ve never done before, such as traveling and shopping with your mother. You can go out to make friends and even get a girlfriend. Hm? Should I continue?”
“No, just hurry up and go hunting. I’ll think about this spending spree you talked about.”
“All right. I’ll be going. Fighting!”
“No need to go far as to say that. Go, hyung.”
Jong Ho left the house.
A spending spree….
That would be for someone who had spent money before, not fit for a highschooler such as myself.
Other than moving out from the old house that no one would find surprising if it collapsed one day, I really hadn’t spent much.
The skill books I purchased in between could be chalked up as an investment to earn more money.
When I signed the contract for this house, I thought that we would stay here temporarily.
After all, it was when I was raking in some serious cash.
What if I spend the money to build myself a palace, just like I had planned from the start.
I went towards my mother, who was in the living room.
She had been studying Korean for awhile, and now could write and read almost perfectly.
I asked my mother.
“Mom, do you think we should move?”
“Why all of a sudden?”
“Just wanted to see how it’s like to live in a palace like estate. A maid! A butler! Even a gardener and a chauffeur!”
“You saw the burlap sack in the corner of my room, right?”
“The sack containing a bunch of pebble like things?”
“Yep. With just a fistful of that, we could probably easily build a palace like estate?”
“Oh! Is that true, son?”
“Have you ever seen me lie to you? Seems I’ve forgotten to tell you.”
“My goodness. I’m already so well off thanks to you, but now you look even more handsome.”
“You can continue to earn more, right?”
“Yep. I could as long as I want to?”
“Then could you bring roughly two fistful over here?”
“Huh? Well, okay.”
I was quite pleased.
This meant that mother finally found something she wanted to do.
However, I was confused as to what she wanted to do with such a huge sum of money.
I immediately headed to my room and brought two fistfuls and even the whole bag, just as mother had told me to.
Putting them down at the center of the living room, I asked.
“Did you have something in mind to spend this huge sum?”
“Of course! There it is. Son, do you see the news over there?”
“Didn’t they say that it’s chaos out there?”
“They do say that.”
“Then what do you think we should do?”
“Hm….. Feel bad for them?”
“With just two fistful of these, we can live without any worry for a lack of things, right?”
“Of course. Not only could we be well off, but live in luxury….. Huh? No way. Are you…. All of this… All of it?”
“Oh my. My son is so kind.”
“What! What do you mean kind! It seems like you’ve already decided?”
“As expected of my son! How happy do you think I’d be if you donated it in your name?”
Even when I attended school, I did not ever donate to the poor even once.
To be fair, I was part of the poor I’d be donating to.
Giving to others?
I did show appreciation towards a few around me who’ve helped, such as Jong Ho or Ho Jin.
But this was a pointless and awkward task for me.
Wait. I would be donating this in my name?
“Of course. But while I will donate, it’ll be done anonymously.”
“Oh my! Your heart is deep like the ocean. You’re all grown up.”
The real reason wasn’t what my mother was thinking of, but I saw no need to clarify.
I muttered to myself, almost as if whispering.
“Oh boy…. Guess I won’t be going on a spending spree. I should’ve pulled out more from the sack instead of bringing the entire sack over……”
“Nothing. For now, we’re moving to the palace first, right? My queen?”
“Pfft. Ok, I get it.”
3 months had passed.
The cold winds that blew had become a nice warm breeze of spring.
The areas that were destroyed by monsters were being quickly repaired.
For awhile, the news was going on about the mysterious nameless Awakened essence donator for awhile.
Since I had donated an insane amount of essences, it was no surprise that they would be shocked.
I asked the essences to be delivered via the commander.
With how tight lipped he was, I could trust him without a doubt.
Thankfully, South Korea had avoided being expelled from the international organization.
The rotten government and top members of the association were all brought to justice.
The nation had reported everything about the incident to the international organization without missing a single detail, and helped confirm the complete elimination of the radical faction.
With only a 3 vote difference from the voters from each nation, the attempt at expelling Korea from the international organization was halted.
If the nation was expelled, there would have been no way for the government to exchange the massive amount of essences I donated into capital.
A new market had been formed, allowing essences to be exported.
Just like that, everything was going back to normal.
The citizens found peace once more, and I was coming to terms with freedom that I’ve never had before in my life.
My mother, Jong Ho, and Ho Jin had gone on a vacation with me as promised before.
I wondered if I’ve ever had such a long peaceful break in my entire life.
Only 8 months ago, I was pretty much a slave to money, doing part time jobs whenever school break would hit.
It was peaceful enough to make me hope that every day would be like now.
However, my simple wish didn’t last long.
2017, March 3rd. Today.
An ominous event occurred around the world.
The color of the portals changed.
The only change was that the simple purple glow they had turned red.
If only it was that simple though.
Portals are discovered all around the world.
To destroy the portal and turn it into dungeons, you’d either have to kill all the monsters that pour out of the portal when it detonates or you have to go in and clear the portal.
However, portals that changed to a red glow could not be entered.
Almost as if protected by a powerful barrier, you could not enter at all.
That meant that until the portal exploded, no one do could anything about any of the portals, whether it would be a newly formed level 1 portal, or a portal that was hidden away deep in the woods or in underground caves.
It was as if ticking timebombs were spread all around.
On top of that, all the monsters would become stronger.
The exact measurements were unknown, but it was estimated that monsters after the explosion would be 1.5 times stronger.
This meant that the Awakeneds would have to attempt to clear dungeons one to two levels below what they could’ve cleared before.
On top of that, due to how the monsters had either magical or physical immunity depending on the level of the dungeon that went in an alternating pattern every couple levels, some had to hunt in dungeons four levels below what they could have cleared before.
For example, dungeons level 13 to 15 had monsters that were immune to magic attacks.
Previously, that would’ve meant that the mages would head for the level 16 dungeons.
However, if they couldn’t clear the monsters that grew 1.5 times stronger because the mages were too weak, that would mean that they would have to head for the level 12 manticore dungeon instead.
This meant that the speed of one’s growth was delayed, while the danger only increased.
No one knew what to make of these changes.
The international organization speculated that the portals were evolving, because 40 years had passed since the appearances of the monsters started.
On top of that, Korea was on the chopping block due to all the bad events that occurred there recently.
However, my guess was different.
Since I was feeling bothered, I knew something was up, and I was convinced that the theory was incorrect.
It was due to what Zekill told me.
His theory was that someone else from the demonic realm could have infiltrated Earth.
Even though I wished it wasn’t true, I couldn’t clear away my doubts.
I prayed that this sweet peace wouldn’t become just a spring dream.
“My intuition for tragedies was never wrong….. I sincerely hope I am wrong this time.”
1. Delusional hope.
2. Reference to “Case Closed” and “The Kindaichi Case Files”.