t.

     Although I had received only one S-class skill, the other additional skills appeared to be useful as well.
Though, to be sure, I’d have to run some experiments.

     ‘I should check my quest rewards as well.’

     The best item would probably have been claimed by Cha Taeyang, the top contributor in this quest, but… I still would have received a main quest reward.
My expectations remained high.

 

[C-rank mana stones x 7]
[Umanta Flower Petal]
[Disposable Maze]
[Fainting Potion x2]
[Chimera egg] 4 

 

     ‘What the… The rewards are more ordinary than I thought they would be.’

     It was nice to receive the Umanta petals which could be sold for a high price, but this haul still fell short of my expectations.
That was when an unfamiliar item, the ‘Chimera Egg,’ caught my eye.

    ”Charity,’ the guild that targeted the 19th floor, never said anything about receiving an egg…’


    At that moment, I bit my lips; an uneasy feeling passed through me.
‘It’s not going to hatch, right?’

     “Oi, is something the matter?”

     “Ah-it’s nothing.” I replied.

     What ghost-like senses. 5 Even though he was driving and his gaze was focused forward, Gyun Ji-woon must have sensed something strange from me.

     ‘Let’s calm down, Yoon Gaho.’ This item might not be what I think it is.
I could afford to worry after I checked its item description.

 

[Chimera Egg (B)

   : Something created by the Black Wizard in his old age–his life’s greatest masterpiece.
It feeds on mana to grow.
(Incubation Rate: 0.1%)

 ※ Non-tradeable item]

 

     Aargh! As expected, this thing hatches! It can’t even be traded to someone else.

     ‘Honest, Mr.
World’s Towers.
Won’t you take into consideration my situation?’

     When I imagined a chimera, I could only think of the ragged lifeforms seen in anime or cartoons.
Furthermore, weren’t the undead used as ingredients to make this egg? I’d like to refuse this reward.

     It’s also B-rank.
Even as an egg, this thing is stronger than me.

     ‘If it hatches when I’m alone…’

     I didn’t even want to imagine that situation.

    This was an undeserved reward for a fragile C-class Hunter.

     “What should I do?”

     Was there any Hunter around that was proficient in black magic? When I rifled through the connections I had in my mind, I met Gyun Ji-woon’s eyes through the rearview mirror.

     ‘There he is: the black magic expert.’

     Furthermore, he was one of the world’s best dark wizards.
When would I have another chance to meet him? Cautiously, I pushed my luck, “Excuse me, Guildmaster Gyun Ji-woon.
May I ask you something?”

     “Ask away, ask away.
Good timing–I just happened to be bored.”

     “Could you make something like a chimera with black magic?”

     Ji-woon fell momentarily silent.

     He wasn’t the type to be quiet.
I hurriedly continued, worried that I had asked something off, “It’s just on my mind.
Most of the monsters on the 19th floor were like animals, but they were a little strange.
It looked as if someone had mixed animals from various different environments and locales.
Like they were artificially created.”

     “How fun.
Tell me more.”

     “There were traps installed on the third floor; thinking back on it, that’s quite suspicious.
If someone wanted to prevent intruders, the traps should be on the first floor and not the third.”


     “Hmmm, is that so?” As he spoke, his voice grew louder.
Perhaps he was persuaded by my logic.

     “The appearances of the undead were also quite unusual.
Many of the corpses were bandaged, and a few had their limbs cut off.
They weren’t normal.”

     “So?”

     “Perhaps the dark wizard was conducting experiments in secret?”

     Seo Young-woon, sitting nearby, also nodded as if my words made sense.
Gyun Ji-woon’s eyes, reflected in the rearview mirror, sparkled with interest.
“So, you’re saying the monsters were being used in an experiment to make a chimera?”

     “I’m saying it’s a possibility.” My argument was made hastily, but the logic somewhat fit.

     Wasn’t that really the case? Furthermore, the chimera egg that dropped as a reward from this floor further solidified my conclusion.

     But, why? For now, at least, I felt as if the chimera egg’s existence shouldn’t be revealed.
A Hunter’s hunch should not be ignored.

     I had purposefully not mentioned the chimera egg, but Gyun Ji-woon seemed to be convinced.
After brooding a little, fiddling at the steering wheel with his index finger, he opened his mouth, “It’s not impossible.”

     “Then…”

     “However, manufacturing a chimera is still quite difficult.
The wizard’s chances of success would have been slim.”

     Gyun Ji-woon hummed as if he debated telling me more.
When I looked at him with a blunt, deadpan expression, he giggled, “Ahh, I’ll become shy if you look at me with such a burning gaze.
I thought you were a cold-blooded person.”

     “Guildmaster Gyun!”

     “To stitch together monsters, one would need a highly sophisticated magical diagram.
As to what that is… Hmm, think of it like a disposable mana circuit.
And, even if he succeeded, the result would quickly be ruined from all the parts that were forcibly attached together.
It’s close to impossible to create a working chimera.”

     Gyun Ji-woon added lightly, “Ah, of course, I’ve never tried.”

     What a totally unbelievable thing to say–I’ll bet my wrist that he’s tried to make one.

     Afterwards, I asked a few more questions, but Gyun Ji-woon slyly avoided answering.
That was expected–if stories of him trying to create a chimeric monster spread, he’ll be severely criticized.

     ‘He’s answered more than enough.’

     Still, it was a relief to hear that the chimera would break down quickly.
If the hatched chimera were to attack me, I had the ability to avoid and dodge the baby’s attacks momentarily.

     ‘I should take a closer look when I return home.’

     Using my newly acquired skills, I might learn more about the item.

     While I was lost in thought, the van had arrived near our guild.
Perhaps Cha Taeyang felt stuffy; as soon as the vehicle stopped, Cha Taeyang leaped out of her seat.

Rring–

      Someone snatched the dokkaebi that had almost fallen off Cha Taeyang’s shoulders in the young woman’s frenzy to leave the car.

     “Taeyang-ah, you should be careful.”

Footnotes

까탈 is a more harsh way to say 가탈 which means fussy.  Magical engineering skills. Essentially, this Mana Root Path is a predetermined network of mana that is inlaid within a person’s biological body.
It governs how mana circulates around your body, the attribute of your magic…and often how proficient with magic you’ll be.
It’s a common trope for Korean Fantasy novels.
Think of it as the role of meridians in circulating spiritual qi throughout the body-root equivalent in Xianxia novels.  ‘Chimera’ is a term from Greek mythology that has come to mean any monsters or mythological creatures whose bodies are made up of parts from several different kinds of animals.  As fantastical beings, they can be depicted as being powerful in a neutral sense or as embodying deception, hypocrisy or evil.  So, really, who knows what is in that egg? – Ewstegasaurus PR  Koreans use the idiomatic phrase ‘ghost-like’ to describe something supernaturally good (or uncanny). 

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