◈ Episode 88. Blooming in the Swamp (5)

Since the days when Arcana was a game.

For players, spirits were a fantasy.

“No. Are spirits even real?”

“If they did, they’d be on NetTube by now.”

“What, isn’t it like a rice cake thrown away? After raising expectations by just mentioning it. A new class, Elementalist, will appear in the new update!”

I could have thought that.

Why, even the players who witnessed the spirits.

Even if no player had a class related to elementals, it was clear that they existed. The books and NPC chatter were proof.

“So, when are they going to update it?”

“There’s no mention of it this week, or ever.”

“No, wait. I haven’t changed jobs and I’ve been waiting for months.”

But they were wrong, and wrong, and wrong.

As I said, spirits exist.

They were a rare thing, witnessed by only a few.

Naturally, interest in spirits would slowly fade.

Not to mention after Arcana became a reality.

Rifts appeared, monsters roamed the realm.

Spirits we don’t even know exist?

It was all a bunch of bullshit.

“Breaking news just in. A mysterious message has emerged from the rift, and we’re going to bring it to our viewers right now!”

And so it was.

Predator swamp.

Until a message floated up to players who entered the rift.

[Someone has made a pact with the spirits].

Someone has made a pact with a spirit.

“No, I’m sure they’ve been fighting, but a contract?”

“What kind of contract is that? A contract with a spirit. A spirit that’s only ever shown up!”

“It’s hard to believe for those of us who can only watch.”

In the swamp of predators that is no different from the Coliseum.

Someone who had made a pact with the spirit?

It wasn’t too hard to predict.

There was only one person, wasn’t there?

The swamp.

A never-ending muddy battle.

And in the middle of it all, like a lotus blooming out of a swamp.

There was a player who was going it alone.

It was Lee Ho-yeol.

“See! I told you there was something!”

Who is Lee Ho-yeol?

A player who had returned from a moderate level 900-1,000 rift unscathed. It’s unlikely that he was simply seeking out predator rifts for experience like many other players.

-Actually, didn’t everyone guess when the stairs came up?

-Lol, So, everyone was very excited hahahaha.

-But this exceeded our expectations?

-I couldn’t even imagine the spirit.

It was the same chat.

It was Lee Ho-Yeol, not another player.

The anticipation was high.

And as if it was natural to expect that.

Lee Ho-yeol responded.

“You never let me down, Lee Ho-yeol!”

Predator Swamp Rift.

It was no different for the players who saw the direct message.

If anything, they were more surprised.

“You made a pact with a spirit?”

“No, seriously, what the hell, swordsmanship isn’t enough, now you’re a spirit?!”

“Stop whining. What message do you keep getting?”

One message after another.

It was because their contents were strange.

[Dryad, Elemental King of the Forest, blesses the pact].

[Blessings of the Dryad, Spirit King of the Forest, upon the Swamp of Predators].

[Increase the amount of experience gained in Predator’s Swamp by 20%].

[Increases the value of loot dropped in Predator’s Swamp by 20%].

Spirit King’s Blessing.

The effect of this blessing is to increase experience and loot drop rates.

It’s been the rarest buff since Arcana was a game, even among players who know the system as well as the highest levels.

“Wait, an experience and drop rate buff?!”

“I’ve only seen that buff once or twice.”

“It’s not a 10% buff, it’s a 20% buff……?”

“What else have you done, Lee Ho-yeol!!!”

I couldn’t help but get excited.

I had guessed it myself.

Rox spat out a laugh.

“You really surpassed my guess.”

Indeed, by the level gap.

It must be that there is a gap between himself and Lee Ho-yeol.

Of course, the picture you see was bound to be different.

“Wow. I didn’t even think of the spirit. also!!”

Nam Tae-min spat out in pure admiration.

Even though he prided himself on knowing more about Ho Yeol than the other players, it seemed that Ho Yeol’s vessel was much larger than he thought.

“……A pact with a spirit, all of a sudden?”

……It’s hard to get a cup of tea, really.

Is it because of the message or because of the madness of the berserker?

Leonie’s face was full of life.

Everyone has a different relationship with Ho Yeol.

No wonder everyone reacted differently to the message.

But one thing was clear.

Someone in the message was clearly Lee Ho-yeol.

So most of the attention was directed to the staircase that appeared out of thin air.

It was only natural that attention would be drawn to the staircase where Ho Yeol would appear.

Netizens were already getting excited.

“I’ll make sure you know what a spirit looks like!”

Who cares if we actually know what a spirit looks like?

The title of first is more important.

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

And again-


Until Ho-Yeol showed up.

* https://pindangscans,com

『Contract with the Spirit』

Even if it’s just scratching the surface, it’s the strict standard of Grandfel.

I’ve read several books on spirits.

Naturally, I also knew what a pact with a spirit meant, so I was actually relieved.

‘If you meet an intermediate level spirit.’

Information from the Arcana Continent, contracts, blah, blah, blah.

Everything must have been nothing more than a piece of cake.

It was because of the clause in the contract.

『Spirits are closely influenced by the contractor’s personality.』

Personality is the contractor’s overall character.

To put it another way, I’m a player.

By player standards.

“You mean they’re affected by my status bar.”

Feiyan Lot, Senior Mage, Elementalist.

Her contract with the spirits is the reason she’s a glutton.

-“As you can see, I don’t get good gas mileage.”

Fire Drake, High Fire Elemental.

Fire Drake seems to demand a lot from his contractor, Feiyan.

In short, she was paying her dues.

Even that had ended at the level of a meal because the relationship had been completely severed, Feiyan had said, his face puffed up like a squirrel.

-“Still, it’s better than when I was suffering from magic depletion.”

What is it like to be a senior mage in the Magic Tower?

Among other things, I’d witnessed his power in battle against Vanguard Tom.

It’s an overwhelming amount of power that I can’t even begin to imagine keeping up with.

They’re both senior mages.

Feiyan’s power shouldn’t be too far behind Vanguard’s.

Yes, a high ranking spirit.

Even Feiyan, who possesses overwhelming magical power, is an existence that makes people complain of magical exhaustion… … !

‘I have enough lower spirits.’

So it was a natural conclusion.


“In the name of the Forest Spirit King, Dryad, I swear.”

Deal done.

As soon as the Nymph finished speaking, I began to feel it.

……I could feel the magic draining out of me!

I invested all the points I had earned from leveling up into my magic. The [Sixth Sight Brooch] and the [Luxury – Duke Swallin’s Favorite] boosted my magic regeneration, so I’m glad I did. …….

Spirits aren’t called spirits for nothing, really.

Elementalism is not called the chosen discipline of mages for nothing.

But I don’t reveal my embarrassment.

I opened my mouth nonchalantly.

“You’ve changed.”

Contractor personality.

In other words, the nymph had changed under my influence.

She was still as small as a nymph.

For some reason, in that small size.

It seemed to radiate elegance unlike before.

“Is that so? It must be because of Mr. Hoyeol’s influence.”

……What’s with that tone of voice, anyway?

A formal tone that doesn’t violate the strict standards of the Grandfell.

I suddenly realized.

What he meant when he said that spirits are influenced by the contractor’s personality.

Because I was influenced by Grandfel.

The nymph’s changed demeanor also makes sense.

Wasn’t I the one who used to hear Harkon’s ‘sir’ even when I had much less than I do now? And if that wasn’t enough, the [Aesthetics] stat in the status window.

“This isn’t a lower spirit.”

It looks like some kind of Spirit Queen.

I swallowed hard as I looked at such a nymph.

This is what I call mirror therapy, a tutor.

‘Thanks to the contract with the pitiful me.’

The nymph’s façade had become more convincing.

An undesirable influence.

I feel like I’m carrying a lot of water.

I really do.

The nymph examined her transformed form with a solemn tilt of her head.

Her butterfly wings fluttered gracefully, her hair lush and long, and her attire impeccable even by Grandfell’s aesthetic standards.

Then she said to me.

“I like my transformation. What does Mr. Ho-Yeol think?”

Well, it’s good to know she likes the contractor.

I was still trying to figure out how to get rid of the overbearing phrases.

The law is the inside because the inside cannot be revealed.

“I see no point in pointing it out.”

That was the end of my conversation with the nymph.

I immediately reached for the mistletoe.

I didn’t have time to spare.

‘Even in this moment of conversation, my magic is being drained…….’

It wasn’t enough to make me panic.

But it wasn’t even enough consumption to spare.

Besides, I’d checked my messages.

A message of blessings and congratulations from the Forest Elemental King, Dryad.

‘A buff to your experience drop rate.’

The blessing had been bestowed on [Predator Swamp].

This meant that other players would enjoy the same benefits.

If you hesitate, there won’t be any monsters left.

I don’t have time to whine about my weakness.

Yes, you can level up if you’re not good enough.

If you have a level of magic that can’t be overcome by leveling up.

If it’s a level of magic that can’t be achieved by leveling up, it can be achieved by chewing and swallowing herbs.

I have the potential.

Just as I was thinking that.


The nymph flew gracefully towards the mistletoe.

“If you need this mistletoe.”


“I will give you my blessing.”

……A blessing?

What kind of word is a blessing?

My knowledge of spirits was barely scratching the surface.

But there was no need for a detailed explanation.


Just one turn.

The nymph merely stroked the mistletoe.


The mistletoe’s glow became even clearer.


The more the mistletoe grows, the darker its light becomes.

[The Pentagram of Pure Knowledge].

Knowledge of all the plants of the Arcana Continent acquired through him.

‘This, perhaps?’

And there I saw it.

“How to Cultivate Elixir Herbs.”

A study of immense potential value!

* https://ko-fi.com/pindangscans

Another voice─

The sound of shoes coming from above.

The waiting NetTubers gulped dry.

“Lee Ho-yeol. No, it looks like Ho-yeol is coming down……!”

There were also stations that broadcast the streams of such Netizens in real time.

Wasn’t it a spirit that had been treated like a fantasy?

The reality of spirits is revealed.

It seemed like an obvious topic for high ratings.

As if that wasn’t enough.

Who signed a contract with such a spirit?

It was Lee Ho-yeol.

“Live ratings exceeded 15%……!”

The anticipation was showing in the ratings.

Still, knowledge about spirits was mostly known through Arcana books and word of mouth.

Thanks to this, there were some people who saw the situation realistically.

“Regardless of their abilities, it’s said that high-level spirits don’t appear easily.”

“Even if you’re a player of Lee Ho-yeol’s rank, it’s not easy to contract with a high-ranked spirit, is it?”

“Yes, but who cares about the rank? Isn’t the fact that you’re the first player to contract a spirit important?”

Of course, that opinion.

Ho Yeol disappeared as quickly as he had appeared.

A spirit beating its wings.

Majesty flowing from every movement.

“Is that a spirit……?”

“A Angel.”

“That’s more than pretty, it’s beautiful…….”

Even in Ho Yeol’s presence, her glow did not fade.

What it meant was simple.

Someone spoke up in a huff.

“Isn’t that spirit a high ranking spirit, or even a spirit king?!”


. https://pindangscans.com


. . .

I could feel stares everywhere.

The nymph opened her mouth.

“I see, Hoyeol-nim is in a place like this.”

Then she spoke gracefully.

“As a contract spirit, I’ll get used to these stares.”

You, Grandfell, are well and truly stained.

But your words are wise.

It’s unlikely his personality will change.

Nymph, you’d better get used to it.

“Of course, the stares are none of my business.”

Like I said.

I’m a busy man.

Unlike you ranked people, my level is terrible.

Every minute of experience and every drop rate buff is a second lost.

So I didn’t hesitate.

This is the Predator Zone, a place of constant combat.

I immediately drew my sword.

[Level: 324].

I’m still hungry for experience……!