Soul Of Searing Steel Chapter 317


Chapter 317: Fear Incarnate

Charm and looks aren't actually related.

Strictly speaking, Charm isn't about a person's looks, but is linked towards their instinct and affinity to convey affection. Charming people could easily create positive feelings with other humans and tame beasts, as well as acquire assistance from strangers.

An ordinary person's Charm levels are above tenit's already outstanding to be above twenty. Exceeding fifty meant extraordinary applications and could be described as a natural skillthe level of beauties who carved their name into history. To improve upon that mere charm and beauty would not be enough That requires succubus or fairy bloodlines that contain unnatural magical elements.

As for Charm of negative values, it's not to say that those people are disgustingit's more that they have a stature that was far too dominating.

Although they'd look trustworthy, the first impression they gain would not be of worship but awe; that's precisely the difference between positive and negative values of Charm. To most, just twenty negative points would have been majesticeyes of the less brave would be stunned at the sight of those individuals. Any more it would transform into innate abilitiessuch as fear auras that lower level beings such as dread demons emanate.

Naturally, it goes without saying that horrific executioners who were history-worthy and tyrant generals who massacred cities would have negative Charm levels.

And now, the number written over Joshua's character bore would make those despots blush and admit defeat.

Negative two-hundred and nine.

That number had broken a record past the lowest limit recorded since antiquity, reaching a whole new threshold. Even someone as calm and collected as Joshua was flabbergasted at that number, completely unable to comprehend how this was possible.

However, he quickly calmed and paused for a bit. Then, focusing, he immediately searched through the menu of his character's accomplishments and special characteristics; no doubt that his adventures at Illgner had some unexpected effect on his Charm.

Things like [Slayer of Machines] [Destroyer of Puppets] [Enemy of Constructs] swept past; [Hunter of Giant Monsters] [One Strike, Hundred Kills] [Man of God Descent] has nothing do with Charm either, while things such as [Wrestler against the Tides] [World Savior] should have helped gained Charm points instead. After giving it a look-through, Joshua furrowed his browhe realized that his Charm did not decrease but was increased by fifty points thanks to the accomplishments.

So where did negative two-hundred and nine come from?!

As he kept looking, the warrior finally found two inconspicuous two special attributes that the edge of his character card.

[Natural Looks]

[Not a face that ordinary individuals possess. A divine appearance, those who possess this definitively carry divinity and godly majesty. Charisma +100]

[God's face is shrouded in light, unseen to the common folk. It's not a cover for mystery, but a form of protection.]

[Breath of Chaos]

[Perhaps you unlocked an ancient seal while adventuring or got hit by a vicious curse in battle.Now Chaos envelopes your body, causing certain unpredictable outcomes. Charm points will be counted in negative.]

[The fear and hate of others, and the eternal loneliness they bring are now bound in your bones, inescapable.]

"Phew."

Inhaling and exhaling deeply, Joshua closed his eyes and clenched his fistgreen veins floated up violently as the warrior tried his best to calm down. He finally found the reason his Charm points dropped to negative two-hundred and nine.

Each emancipating achievement had added fifty points to his Charm, while Father Nature's divine assistance had also imbued certain divinity into his bodygreatly adding to his Charm. Logically speaking it should be reaching a whole new level, albeit everything was ultimately ruined by the Breath of Chaos.

Just as Father Nature's sanctity had given him godly powers, the Evil God of Calamity's vigor also stuck to him after that last battle and reversed the effect of his blessing. During that moment, the warrior's fearsome Charm was given one almighty push and broke beneath the lower limitreaching the levels it did now.

Acquaintances would probably be fineLing and Ying, most definitely. Roland and Artanis were also strong and friendly enough to not be affected by his monumental shift in Charm.

However, if it were any stranger, Joshua was absolutely certain that they would be so petrified they would keel over. His menace alone would probably prove to be more intimidating than the Dragon Might of giant draconian species; terrifying illusions would likely befall any who sees his face but wasn't on Gold-tier or above.

"Well, no point thinking about it."

Giving up on the issue that got more annoying the more he thought about it, Joshua decided to leave the Charm issue for the time being. He shifted to focus on his right hand which seems to be gripping something.

What the hand held was some sort of authorityand a gift from Illgner's World Will. Though not sure what it actually was, Joshua's instinct was telling him that it was related to his ability to touch 03's projection.

Opening his palm, a rectangular piece of metal the color of steel-silver that gleamed like the stars materialized. It was surrounded by orbiting light-grey fluorescence resembling comet tails.

"Identify."

The warrior uttered a brief command, and a huge amount of data appeared on his screen.

[Shards of Steel Residue]

[Identifying item Origin knowledge identification failed Mystical Item knowledge identification failed Realm knowledge identification successful]

[Identification report: Shards of Steel Residue. Divine Mystical Item.]

[Origin: When the world was born, where the Divide between Life wasn't clear-cut, soul and matter were onethe Shards of Steel Residue were produced then.]

[Mystical Item: At the moment of Creation, ancient colossal beasts wandered the world. They are avatars of steel, life in the beginningtheir bodies containing the purest condensation of Life.]

[World: Legends says that every element of life are results of the Creator's experiments. These beings that are both soul and body are a proof of the fusion between fire and steel. The Shards of Steel Residue contain life force of the Beginning, and the object gives the holder a mysterious power that diminishes the border between body and soul. Users can freely touch spiritual bodies and give life to objectsat a certain pricealmost reaching the Authority of the Creator.]

[Composition: shards of steel that contains Authority. Although possessing physical structure it's a conceptual existence; none other save the wielder could see it.]

"Isn't that exactly the same as the Fragment of Searing Steel?"

Joshua frowned. He wasn't surprised by the effects of the Shards of Steel Residue; he was able to put together some facets solely from the fact that he could touch 03's projection.

What the warrior had been touching was not magical powerit was the soul of the artificial intelligence.

Since returning from Karlis he had kept the Fragments of Searing Steel within his secret storage and had never taken it out to examine it. Now Joshua planned to compare both when he had the timefor now, he did not have the strength left to analyze these playthings that holds many secrets and were infinitely mysterious.

Slipping the Shard into his pajama pocket in reflex, Joshua went back to bed and closed his eyes. Although he looked like he had sleeping soundlessly for three days to others he was actually under an illusion the entire time and never rested from the get-go.

But now in his own house in his own domain and his own bed, the warrior could finally sleep.

The next morning.

Joshua, Ling, and Ying left the residence to pay Artanis and holy knight Roland a visit.

Both of them had exhausted all efforts to awaken the warrior in his slumber. Though futile, they should still be thanked for their kindness. Furthermore, Joshua had something to ask of the old priest and the holy knightand it was a rather complicated matter that has to be mentioned face-to-face.

Mornings in spring were damp. The dimmed pyroxene lights were dewy, and the bluestone tracks the warrior led Ling and Ying through were wet. It was dawn and there were not many passersby, which was the reason the rather conspicuous trio did not attract too much attention.

Most would be preparing breakfast at home. The minority of adventurers would be sortieing and preparing to depart for the Great Ajax Mountains to hunt magical beasts or scout unknown areas. Those adventurers who bumped into Joshua's band would only glance at them roughly without really paying attention; the warrior had donned a huge side cap with a shadow that completely concealed his face. It was the reason the two-hundred and nine Charm points was not raising panic.

They soon reached the cathedral outside near the town square. There were not many people there other than a few city guards patrolling the area. They, too, merely took a peek at the three of them before turning away, though a few with better memory ascertained that it was Ling and Ying. Guessing the identity of the man who covered his face, they then seemed to gain a spring in their steps.

Not really paying attention to the guards' behavior, Joshua looked up at St. Laurent's Cathedral. He furrowed his browhe seemed to have caught of glimpse of a flash at the black circular holy symbol on top on the church. It vanished quickly, as if an illusion.

" Knock on the door."

The black-haired boy quickly walked to the church's front door.

Behind the door, holy knight Tunan heard the knocking sounds.

"Strange. Isn't it a little early for anyone to come here?"

Doubtful, he rose from the guards' room and walked towards the doors. Saint Laurent's wasn't officiating prayers or having any activities todayso why was there someone knocking on the front door? It was spring; most of their followers would be plenty busy on their own and wouldn't come to the church. Save for cases of emergency and request from the church, nobody had the time to come here.

"Coming."

However weird the situation was he still had his duty. Hurrying to the door, he opened it.

And then.

He saw fear incarnate.

The first light of dawn should be brilliant, but every ray was instantly stolen by the man in the large black coat. Tunan's vision quickly darkened, leaving only the man's silhouette as he stood in the shadows.

The silhouette seemed to be wearing a forage cap of bizarre color. It kept the man's entire face under a shade where two dots of crimson gleamed, protruding immense pressures between light and darkness.

Tunan had no strength left to react as the silhouette appeared to move; all his spirit was gripped by the other's black coat. The color appeared to be an ordinary straw-leather color, but it gradually turned bottomless as the deepest ocean as he fixed his glance upon it. The more he looked, the more chilling the darkness; he was alone, desolate in an endless void.

Tunan attempted to avert his gaze from the gloom, only to discover in despair that he could not escape from the vortex of fear. He could not help falling to his knees as his forehead became covered in cold sweat; a gigantic skeleton of some lifeform appeared to be swimming around in the shadows, humming lowly.

The darkness shook and vanishedtaking the place of that blurry silhouette. With what rationality he had left, Tunan saw that the man seemed to be extending a hand to pull him up, but the holy knight could only retreat in fear of the touch.

In his eyes, the silhouette's body seemed to be formed by remnants of blades as well as souls twisted by endless magic. Its hand was filled with thousands of corpses of monsters, their shrill cries and thick sanguinary odor promptly flooded the holy knight's sense of smell as his vision faded.

Tunan fainted in seconds.

The silhouette approached as if intending to help him up. It was useless, howeverthe holy knight was completely out, it would be like lifting dead meat.

"Even covering the face is useless, huh?"

The silhouette seemed to be shaking its head helplessly. Joshua took off the hat that hid his face and glared at the holy knight that he had completely petrified. Sighing, he shouted into the depths of the church, his thick voice echoing throughout the corridors.

"Is there anyone? Please come out."

"Somebody fainted."