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Michael ran for the door the moment that the snake woman began to get her essence reabsorbed back into the castle lord’s body. The businessman with thick rim glasses was true to his word, taking the slim opportunity when the rest of his allies were getting cut down by the castle lord to flee towards the exit door. He had warned them that he had zero desire to fight the castle lord. Warning them ahead of time instead of simply lying to their faces was already a gracious act he granted them because of their comradeship together. Back on earth, he never would have done something like that. Here, it was the least, but also the most, that he could do. Michael viewed his own survival as paramount.

Alice never chose the black door in the first place. Marcello’s demeanor and air of competence had convinced her during their time together in the tutorial shop that the black door was the correct choice, and seeing Agnis’s rampage after leveling up to level 5 only reaffirmed the importance of the black door to her. But just because she understood the reward payoff did not mean that she fully grasped how insane the risks were.

Alice learned the hard way that the moment you went through the black door, people would die or get scarred for life as if it was the most normal thing in the world. As a daughter of a well-to-do family, she lived a happy and sheltered life. She never had to prepare herself mentally for this kind of thing. She used to think that getting her hair ruined at the beach was a bad day. But now, she had seen another healer just like her have her neck eaten through by a disgusting overgrown rat, and she had to live with the guilt that it was preventable if she didn’t just drop Sarah to save herself.

She was already traumatized for life from that experience, and before she could even recover from one trauma she was now thrust into another even worse situation. Alice’s heart couldn’t take it anymore. She just wanted it all to stop. She wanted to go back to her normal life, her old life, back to college and back to her work as a pediatric nurse, where she could care for kids at her own pace. No more death. No more suffering. That’s all she wanted.

“I’m so sorry,” she said, bowing her head apologetically to Marcello and the rest of them who were currently in combat with the castle lord. “I can’t do this anymore…”

Alice followed after Michael, with her heart heavy and an all-encompassing guilt hanging down on her.

Troy was a bit more stubborn of a guy. As a member of organized crime, he had a very strong sense of family. He never left his brothers behind on earth, no matter what kind of deep shit they got themselves into. So, his first natural reaction was to stay and help out Marcello, Emma, and Jason. That is, until he saw the look on Jason’s face. Jason’s face was twisted beyond belief, his veins bulging until they were about to burst.

He looked less like a human, and more like a rabid animal. But Troy saw something beyond that. It was a look that Troy recognized, the look of an honorable man. The look of a grieving father.

A notification popped up in Troy’s vision.

Trade request offered, [family portrait].

Do you accept?

Words were not needed for Troy to understand. “Sorry, uncle,” he murmured, swinging the black door open. “Till we meet again.”

Trade offer accepted.

And thus of the party of six, only three people remained.

----------

[Scroll of Summon Ice Elemental]: Summons an elemental being of tremendous power. Lasts for a predetermined amount of time.

The item was Marcello’s final trump card, the only thing standing between him and a devastating party wipe.

The scroll burned up in his hand once he activated it, as a floating shard of ice appeared in front of him. Despite the exorbitant cost he paid for this one time use scroll, his only regret was not using it sooner.

Crack.

Pop.

Crrrrrrckkkkk.

The floating shard of ice crystallized outward, enlarging in size as polymers shot from the crystalline lattice and ice mana pulsed through each thick hexagonal offshooting crystal. A torso was formed first, and then long arms, sturdy legs, and a snowy mist-like face hovered above the body. But it was not done yet. The ice elemental grew in size by the second, growing larger until it was just as tall as the castle lord. And yet it kept growing, reaching fifteen feet tall before it finally stopped.

“Holy shit,” Marcello exclaimed in awe. He hadn’t expected it to be this damn big.

But the ice elemental wasn’t the only thing that powered up. An enraged Jason teetering on the brink of death slammed his fists against the castle lord, abandoning all use of his hammer. Every blow from his fists damaged the castle lord, bringing its health down.

Against all odds, the enraged Jason was pushing back the castle lord, not allowing him to swing his longsword easily. Jason’s performance was far beyond that of a level 8 warrior as he was buffed with inhuman strength. But each attack also produced tremendous recoil on the family man’s muscular body. White pieces of bone stuck out from his knuckles, blood running down them as they looked raw and mangled beyond repair. The skin on his forehead peeled from a headbutt, and he continued to headbutt and punch and slam the castle lord back without regard for his own body.

It was clear that by the conclusion of this fight, the man named Jason, who just wanted to see his wife and daughter one last time, would not be able to see his wishes through. He would die after this fight, the damage he had already sustained to his body irreversible. Actually, he was already half dead. The only thing keeping him standing right now was his hatred for the castle lord after seeing Sarah, who reminded him of his own daughter, who healed him when he was on the verge of death before, get killed in such a gruesome manner by the lord’s servant.

It was that anger that let Jason fully surrender himself to the unspeakable rage that Emma’s Inheritance channeled into him. Rather than resist it, he embraced it with the very last remnants of his consciousness. He knew this would be his final stand the moment that the castle lord’s longsword pierced his chest. All he wanted now was to make sure that he would bring this armored bastard down with him.

A tendril of red mana connected him to a girl standing a few yards behind him, her sleek black hair humming with power as her eyes glowed red. Of course, it was Emma. But there was something different about Emma now. Her trademark highschool outfit was gone.

She now wore an ink black robe that flowed with power, and a pointed black hat. None of that equipment existed in the tutorial store. Marcello frowned. Suddenly, her insistence on not wearing any equipment up until that point started to make a lot more sense. By the looks of it, she had been hiding a deviant class. Behind that ditzy exterior was a girl that was cold and calculating. That strange demeanor from the beginning, her appearance, every single time she flirted… in retrospect, it all fed into the illusion.

Red mana sparked from her body in a chaotic fashion, but she looked incredibly fatigued. The use of her Inheritance was taxing her body to the absolute extreme.

“Very… good!” the castle’s lord thundered, its eyes glowing an icy hot blue. “An interesting human, at last!”

Jason was still striking the castle lord’s armor, but his fists had already turned into bloody stumps and his punches grew weaker by the second. The last sign of consciousness had already faded from his eyes. He was just a puppet now, held up by red mana. But now, even that red mana receded from his body, as the lord’s longsword dug its way into his chest once again, slicing through his body.

The grizzled man fell to the ground, unrecognizably gored. Jason was dead. He would never get to see his family again.

“What will you do now, human?”

Emma did not respond to the lord’s words. Her usual cheery facade was gone, replaced by weary eyes.

“Sorry Marcy,” she said, turning to him. A sad smile lay on her face. “No hard feelings.”

A red stream of mana extended from her hand towards his body.

Marcello shuddered. That strange foreign feeling entered him again, propelling him forward with his shortsword drawn. At that moment, Emma pulled out a scroll from her inventory. [Tutorial Scroll of Blink], costing one thousand points at the tutorial shop. She blinked away, landing just a few yards away from the exit door.

As the ice elemental roared to life and Marcello’s rage-filled onslaught began, Emma opened the door to the exit and stepped out, not even glancing back to review her handiwork.

Out of the final party of three, only one more person remained.

“What a shame. The interesting human escapes, leaving the boring one behind,” thundered the castle lord. “Try to entertain me, at least for a little while.”

“Graaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!” Glowing red hot with rage, Marcello yelled as he charged forward with reckless abandon.

Your Inheritance has recognized an intruder within its domain.

White-hot pain seared through Marcello’s body as his inheritance recognized the presence of Emma’s red mana. But this time, it felt like his inheritance was not immediately hostile to it. It was allowing the red mana a slight bit of freedom to move, although it only allowed the red mana to roam within a confined space.

Your Strength has been greatly amplified.

Your Constitution has been greatly amplified.

He didn’t receive the full benefit of Emma’s inheritance because his own inheritance was keeping the red mana at bay, only letting it play within a controlled area. If the red mana got loose, his abilities would increase dramatically but he would also lose his sense of self.

Nevertheless, the buff was still quite substantial with far fewer drawbacks. Marcello matched the pace of his fifteen foot tall summoned Ice Elemental and dashed forward towards the towering knight lord, its steel sword glowing red as runes on the side of the sword's crossguard lit up.

Clunk.

A shortsword swing bounced off the knight lord’s armor, but the swing was so much stronger than Marcello was normally capable of mustering that it dealt damage, a good amount of it too.

Next came the ice elemental. Lumbering over until it was standing over the lord, the ice elemental smashed downwards with both fists clasped together, ice shards exploding outwards in crystalline form as the fists smashed into the ground. The lord sidestepped that attack, although that allowed Marcello the opportunity to get another side slash onto the knight lord’s armor.

“Your summon is strong,” thundered the castle lord. “But I can sense that it is borrowed power. And yet I feel a presence within you… no, two presences. One containing the other, shaping it, driving it... dominating it.”

He laughed, a horrendous sound that reverberated across the throne room. “I see I have been mistaken. Another human that possesses an Inheritance… how interesting.”

Marcello continued his onslaught, his body becoming a flurry of blows with his shortsword and dagger. He felt that both weapons were becoming dented out of shape, but he didn’t care. The fact that his weapons were becoming dented simply meant that he was finally applying enough power behind his blows to finally hurt the lord. The lord was already injured from Jason’s assault and the rest of the team’s projectiles, so it had not entered this one-on-one fight at full strength. The problem was that the lord could easily defeat a buffed up Marcello in a one-on-one even without being at full strength.

There was another element to the fight, though. The lumbering ice elemental stepped downwards, finally connecting with the armored lord as he was busy fighting against Marcello. A massive icy foot crunched down on the knight lord’s leg, stopping its blade moments before it sliced into Marcello’s waist. The massive ice elemental followed up with a punch to the stomach of the knight lord, sending him flying backwards with icicles growing from the impact area. The knight lord’s blue gambeson was torn, the torso armor underneath dented. For the first time since the beginning of the fight, his health dropped below one-third.

“There are so many members of your race that are so weak… pitifully weak…” the knight lord laughed while it got back up to its feet, standing proud even with a torn gambeson with ice growing around it and dented armor. “Borrowed power or not, it matters little. Finally, I have found someone strong to fight. I have not enjoyed a proper fight in a long time. Entertain me, human.”

Dark energies poured out from the castle lord’s body, causing the ice to melt away. But neither Marcello nor his summoned ice giant were going to let the bane of their existences get away with healing using its dark energies.

Both he and the ice elemental charged, the entire throne room shaking with the heavy footsteps of the elemental giant. The lord swung his longsword at Marcello, but the ice giant blocked it with his body, its own icey hip losing a large chunk to the sword.

With combined force, the nonsensically strong ice elemental and Marcello attacked the injured knight lord one after another, with Marcello taking the first swing and then the ice giant smashing down with a fist that carried its entire giant body’s torque.

The knight lord fell to the ground, its longsword clanging to the side. His armor was dented beyond belief from the ice elemental’s punch.

“Finally… a worthy opponent…” the castle’s lord spoke. “Your Inheritance is complex, neither weak nor strong... but you are strong.”

Dark energy leaked from the slit-like eyes of its helmet, but this time the energy fell to the ground like a heavy mist and began to dissipate. The castle lord was dying.

“I have one last question to ask. You had a chance to run…” the castle lord spoke. “Why did you stay?”

He was right. After the ice elemental struck the lord for the first time, there was a window where he could have made it to the exit door. But he didn’t. He chose not to.

“I stayed,” Marcello said, standing over the lord with a dented shortsword in his hand. “Because I knew I was stronger than you.”

And with that, he plunged the dented shortsword through the gap below the helmet, through the castle lord’s neck. Dark mist spilled from the castle lord’s helmet, as the dented shortsword cut through the lord, dealing an executing blow. Even in his last moments, the castle lord seemed to be laughing, satisfied with Marcello’s answer.

Marcello looked up, and his ice elemental looked as well. A slew of notifications popped up in front of him, but that wasn’t what he was looking at.

After killing the castle lord, a lustrous silver door appeared at the back wall to the right of the throne. On top of the silver door was a single word, written in all caps.

IMPOSSIBLE.

Below that was a glowing runic inscription.

Estimated survival rate, 0%.

A hidden trial door had revealed itself.

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A note from HereBeTreasure

Thank you Greenboy676! 

I think now is finally a good time to advertise a little, if you would like to read ahead and support the story, check out the patreon.

About the story, I've been releasing daily chapters for over two weeks now, which is great for hype but also very taxing. I decided about a week ago that chapter eighteen will be a good place in the story to start writing at a more manageable pace. 

Thanks for reading up to this crazy chapter, personally rereading this chapter hyped myself up too, and if you'd like more people to see the story please rate or review it! 

The release schedule from this point will probably vary based on the story's popularity.

Writing a very popular story is inherently easier because you're getting lots of positive reinforcement, high ratings, frontpage features, viral reviews, follower blowups, and financial support, while writing something not quite as popular can be tough mentally. 

The time between chapters 12-16 was particularly mentally hard because of all the bad ratings coming in despite me writing like sometimes up to 10 hours a day, and I was seriously thinking about reevaluating what I did so wrong and starting another novel at that point. Thankfully there was a big recovery when the story started heating up around ch 16. 

My goal is still a 3000 follower story with 4.5 rating, and I will still be releasing here but also evaluating what was lacking from this story to reach that popular point. I'll be reading other popular stories as well to learn more about what readers enjoy. This story was written immediately after being hyped from reading primal hunter after all. 

I will try to read defiance of the fall, mark of the fool, as well as some others. It's a bit hard for me to get into stories to be honest, but i'll be looking around for some stories to get into and really understand how to write a killer story. Seriously though, I can't get past the first page of beware of chicken even though its the highest rated story on this site. Idk why. 

 


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HereBeTreasure

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