Chapter 204 – This is my path

◈ Episode 204. This is my path


I thought the lava frozen in absolute zero was too colorful.

It’s hard to describe it in words.

The red lava that rippled like the sea retained its color.

It’s a frozen landscape.

Or to put it in Grandfell terms…….

It was like a sea of rubies.

I didn’t even have to open the status window to see it.


It’s like walking on ice.

With the sound of shoes even more clear.

I crossed the frozen lava.

You’ve got a pretty big liver, by the way, Grandfell.

‘Scary, isn’t it?’

I know better than anyone that absolute zero is a anomaly.

I know it will never melt.

Walking on it is another matter.

It’s a different kind of terror than the stairs of a magic tower.

‘First I have to walk until I see something.’

To manifest a teleportation, a portal, you need the coordinates of your destination.

But the sea of lava was endless.

That meant I couldn’t create a portal right now.

I keep looking down, which makes it even scarier.

First, I need to look up.

A message popped into my head at just the right time.

[aesthetic: high].

I open the status window and check it out.

Sure enough, the aesthetic is up.

I’m wearing an unusually named Dawn set.

Jackets, at least one of which was not worn.

There won’t be much trouble in increasing aesthetics.

[The effect of aesthetics that have reached high is triggered].

However, I didn’t realize that hitting high would have any additional effect.

First of all, I didn’t trigger the aesthetic.

The effect triggered on its own.

‘No way, did it add a passive effect?’

And what is that effect?

Forgetting my fear of lava, I turned on the light and looked it up……. Why is it that nothing seems to have changed except that it’s beautiful?

The effect of aesthetics, once again.

When it comes to magic, aesthetics is like the art of copying and pasting.

A complex interference process that consumed a great deal of magic.

It could be replaced with a tiny amount of magic.

“Which is why it’s been used so infrequently lately.’

I’m not the same person I used to be when I was struggling for magic.

If you just look at the stats, of course, it’s still Marcelo.

I’d still be behind most senior mages in terms of magic.

‘I ran out of herbs, so I anointed myself with elixirs.’


I have a massive buff called [Blessing of the First World Tree] that is always active.

That’s how I was able to reach the Circle, cast high-level magic, and not be drained of magic.

‘I didn’t even have to activate Aesthetics.’

I’m past the point where I’m overwhelmed by magic.

So I was a little excited about the opening of additional effects.


I can’t figure it out.

Luckily, my doubts didn’t last long.

Even if my eyes missed it.

Because there were strong alter egos on both shoulders to replace the eyes.

“Lord, I see the path.”

……You see the path?

The path of pride.

If you say things like this, I will cancel your summons, Diend. you.

I swallowed hard and shifted my gaze.

And sure enough, there it was.

In a form that surprised me.

“To conjure such a noble path in such a short amount of time. Compared to you, my lord, I, Hiel, am still far from refined.”

What, that gorgeous boulevard?!

It’s like a sculpture in the form of gushing lava.

If I were to compare it, would it be like the Arc de Triomphe?

Yes, a complex manifestation of magic like a statue.

That was part of the aesthetic.

But the problem is its scale.


It’s also ridiculously grand.

Even taking into account the outstanding magic efficiency of [Aesthetic] in [Blessing of the First World Tree].

I wonder if it’s draining.

I doubt it.


‘……No additional mana cost?’

That was it.

Bizarrely, no additional magic was consumed besides the magic consumed when manifesting Absolute Zero, so contrary to what Diend’s boisterous words said.

“This is the path the Lord has opened for me……!!!”

This is not the path I manifested by my own will.

Then there’s only one possibility.

To open a ‘path’ to somewhere.

Isn’t that the effect of an aesthetic that has reached high?


Kingdom of Yusra.

Explorers’ Federation Headquarters.

Explorers Federation were in the midst of final preparations.

“Looks like the competition is about to begin, Aaron.”

“I’m competing with you? Know your subject, Lombus.”

“Well, my subject is nobler than yours.”

Veteran explorers Aaron and Lombus, of course.

And Fabian, the Federation leader, who has returned to active exploration.

There was no distinction between player and Arcanians.

Everyone was grooming themselves under pressure.

That included Park Hwigang.

“The time has finally come for us explorers to earn our keep!”

One hundred thousand caves in the Zero Mountains.

The perfect place for explorers to show their pride.

Fabian felt a little warmed up by the energetic atmosphere.

“Technically, this isn’t my first trip back.”

The Teffern Labyrinth Rift.

Thinking back to that time, Fabian felt embarrassed for Hoyeol.

He was overconfident, thinking it was just a labyrinth.

If it weren’t for him, he wouldn’t have gotten out of it.

He wouldn’t have gotten out of the maze.

“That’s why it feels like the first step.”

But in the Zero Mountains, it must be different.

The hundred thousand caves of the Zero Mountains were not an uncharted forbidden territory like the Teffern Labyrinth. Fabian, how many caves have you explored?

Fabian shrugged.

“They’re probably all underwater by now.”

Even for a legendary explorer, Fabian had never set foot in the middle of the Zero Mountains. But he had explored the caves of the mountain’s lower reaches, and he knew them well.

Fabian stood in front of the explorers.

“I have a message for you before you set out for the Zero Mountains.”

The explorers’ gazes focused on his voice.

“As you know, each of the hundred thousand caves has its own rules. In the language of the adventurers, there are different field types. Am I right?”

Fabian asked, and Park Hwigang nodded.

“Yes, you are correct!”

Fabian nodded in agreement.

“Dungeons, labyrinths, and battlefields……. We can’t know what rules exist in any given cave without entering it, and while the anticipation is part of the thrill of exploration, we explorers can no longer explore for the thrill alone.”

Everyone nodded.

The grimness on their faces was a bonus.

Reality and the Arcana Continent.

When they realized their worlds were in danger of extinction, they joined the Holy War.

But as a non-combatant class, it’s nearly impossible for explorers to play an active role in an all-out war.

‘It’s not like the unfamiliar Rift.’

‘Dungeons are my specialty.’

‘I’m the one who attracted 200,000 subscribers with my labyrinth strategy content.’

The chance to quench his thirst.

Fabian felt the same way as everyone else.

A chuckle escaped his lips.

“As an explorer, this is the moment when you have to punch prejudice in the face, so for the first time in my life, I’ve decided to do something that’s not like me. So let’s all take my words to heart from now on.”

Look no further than Aaron and Lombus.

The explorers were rivals.

The continent of Arcana may be vast.

There are only so many places to explore.

That’s why they didn’t share their exploration tips with other explorers.

Even in the Federation, which was founded for the coexistence of explorers, such talk was unspoken.

A taboo of sorts.

“First, there are unknown paths in the field.”

But Fabian, as president of the Federation, broke the taboo.


To the horror of the explorers.

Fabian began to recount his experience as a legendary explorer, a concept so new that even Aaron and Lombus, who had been listening, were stunned.

“What do you mean, unknown paths……?”

“There are many paths in a dungeon or labyrinth, but……. After all, isn’t it common knowledge in exploration that there is only one path to the end?”

“That’s right. Common sense says so.”

An unknown path.

It’s natural to be embarrassed.

Even you, who have explored countless fields.

He had only seen an unknown path once before.

Park cautiously asked.

“……, so maybe that place was special?”



What an emphatic answer.

An exclamation came out of Park Hwigang’s mouth.

“Why did I only witness it once? I can only say that it was due to my lack of ability. But the reward is certain, for at the end of the road, I took home the most valuable loot of all.”

……The spoils of war?

“The truth.”

Even after all that, the explorers don’t get it.

Fabian was relieved again.

Good thing I’m back on active duty.

I can’t leave everything to these sunshine babies.

Then he asked generously.

“Have you all thought about it?”

“What do you mean, Mr. Fabian?”

“Aaron, Lombus, have you not thought about it, too?”


“A being from the Teffern Labyrinth that must not be awakened.”

Aaron and Lombus exchanged glances.

How could they forget?

Those huge pupils.

But the next words left the two explorers stunned.

“Why it was buried in the rock walls of the Labyrinth.”


The truth of Fabian’s words was immediately apparent.

Monsters exist in dungeons, labyrinths, and every field.

Fabian had felt a sense of discomfort during his many encounters.

Why are there always monsters at the center of it all?

‘It’s a game, of course…….’


The players were stunned.

No, Arcana was no longer a game.

Park Hwigang swallowed hard.

“So you’re saying this is all happening for a reason, Federation Leader?”

The Teffern Labyrinth.

Park Hwigang had been there.

He had witnessed it all.

[Teffern Black Contractor].

What kind of behavior did they show?

A being that should not be awakened with them.

And I had a feeling you’d have a story about Teffern, too…….

“Exactly, adventurer. I have traversed countless dungeons, labyrinths, and fields of all kinds, but there was only one expedition that could answer that question.”

“……What do you mean, that one expedition?”

“You’re right. There was truth in the unknown path.”


What had Fabian witnessed?

In a flood of snow.

Fabian’s eyes shone.

“You have reached the true path.”



Since when.

The mermaid’s worn memories always pointed toward the blue sea.

The sea she had never seen.

How ridiculous, isn’t it?


I stare at the red lava from the top of a soaring rock wall.

In a memory that shouldn’t exist.

Siren remembered the sea.

The sea was never this hot.

It wasn’t this hot.

In a real sea, not a lava sea.

There were other creatures swimming in it besides herself.

Time had long since ceased to exist in a space where she could see nothing but lava. The only good thing was that imagining the sea calmed her mind.


But often the calm would be broken.

To be precise.

The moment someone stepped into the sea of lava.


The sirens would grow fierce without realizing it.


Why did I.

Why am I so desperate to protect this hot space?

It was like a curse.

Siren wished with all her heart.

She wanted anyone.

She wanted someone to cut off her lifeblood so she could die.

Suddenly, in her ears, she heard a sound.


The sound of someone taking a determined step.


In a sea I’ve never been to.

Even in the lava, it was a strange sound.

There was nowhere to go, whether it was the sea or the lava.

Strange indeed.

A figure approached from a distance.

They were definitely walking on lava.

A puddle.

Regardless of her intentions, Siren threw herself from the rock wall into the lava.

There was only one mission imprinted in her mind.

She must protect the lava sea.

To rampage even more ferociously.

Only then would someone be able to free themselves from the curse.

That was it.

Now, that’s really weird, isn’t it?


So much so that the skin and scales burn off.

The lava that was supposed to be hot wasn’t hot.

No, it wasn’t hot, it was cold.


As if in a fantasy.

Like I was swimming in the sea.

To the point where you might be mistaken.




Aesthetic (審美).

To look at.

A beautiful thing.

To find beauty by looking for it.

It doesn’t matter if the path to beauty is colorful, rugged, or complicated.

If it’s Grandfell, you’ll get there somehow.

Like now.

[Quest: Lava’s Siren].

Of a thousand paths.

Only you have seen the one true path.

Only you can save her.

Meet with the Lava Siren. (Success)

Defeat the Lava Siren. (Fail)

Fulfill the Lava Siren’s wish. (Ongoing)

Sure, it’s annoying to have to deal with that stubbornness.

Still, I have no choice but to proceed.

I must force the lava to cool like seawater.

Fulfill the lava siren’s wish. (Success)

[You have fulfilled the condition].

[The reward is given].




Dragon’s Nest, the highest point of the Zero Mountains.


The old dragon slowly lifted its eyelids.

A beautiful song from the heart of the mountain range.

A siren.


The old dragon pondered.

Indeed, my mother.

World Tree, your choice is not wrong.

Then, raising its massive body, it spoke.

“Awake from your eternal sleep, my friends.”

The time has finally come.

“Dawn has arrived.”