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IRNDGL - Chapter 36: Master Key

“Haa...Haa…”

Melissa gasped for breath, feeling as though she had just experienced dying.

Traces of that frightening sensation still lingered in her mind and whatever she understood before was completely revamped. Her soul felt as though it had been crushed by a violent force before being pieced together anew.

Her deepest intrinsic essence seemed as if it was forcefully dug out and rampantly trampled on before this void was crammed full with that strange and unknown emptiness. 

She felt as if she was a different self from before she had flipped open the book. Even though all of this had occurred in the same space, she felt that she was no longer the same Melissa.

Although she couldn’t really understand what was going on, Melissa vaguely knew what it was that had replaced her soul's intrinsic essence and filled her body— “The Cornerstone of Everything”.

Or perhaps… it could be described as a master key that could unlock whatever doors there were.

Just that this cornerstone within her body had restrictions and could only be used on ‘knight’ characteristics. 

But that also meant that from this point on, as long as she was willing, Melissa could immediately acquire all abilities with regards to knights and just needed training to hone them.

Figuratively speaking, “The Cornerstone of Everything” turned reality into a video game and those abilities became skill trees.

All she needed to do was tap an icon, accumulate experience and just continuously level up. 

Bottlenecks nor impediments with regards to her progress no longer existed. T-this is a great undertaking that only a god can bring about!

She finally understood the implied meaning of S...Supreme-rank.

With a pale face and sweating bucketloads, Melissa deeply regretted her impulsiveness. 

Prior to this, Melissa had never left Norzin before and had never faced off against any entity beyond Pandemonium-rank. She could still take Joseph as a reference for a Destructive-rank but she totally had no real concept of what a Supreme-rank was. 

Moreover, there were already very few written records of Supreme-ranks and the recounts of their feats that spread around were very vague. Most of it was found in theology textbooks but such stories didn’t seem especially true.

Melissa had always felt that Supreme-ranks would surely be very powerful but not to an outrageously ridiculous extent. However, facts had proven that she had been very wrong indeed! 

Lin Jie could empathize with every student’s fear of mathematics. That spine-chilling agony of going around and around in circles but never being able to solve the questions was something that could never be forgotten even when one slept.

However, the reaction of this young girl before him seemed somewhat excessive. Her body was trembling as she panted and her face had even gone pale.

Seems a rather severe case of psychological trauma. Mm… turns out her weak subject is mathematics. Lin Jie took a mental note before he asked, “Are you okay? Do you need my help to answer some questions? It looks like you can’t really understand this book very well.”

The young girl raised her head in a startled manner and stared at him in alarm. Her eyes were completely full of fear, as if she had just seen a devil.

Devil...Yes, a devil.

Replacing a person’s intrinsic essence without making a sound and causing such pain for dissociation and cognition. How can such an existence not be called a devil?

And behind him...

Melissa shivered when she thought of this place. She had to stop thinking about it or she would really go crazy if she continued to think.

But this devil had truly made her wishes come true. So much so it even exceeded her expectations and laid out a broad and open path for her.

Melissa could vaguely sense that this was a path of no return.

These books seemed like they were propagating the cause of a certain mighty entity and the bookstore owner was a guide and preacher.

However, it seemed like she had no other choice...

Lin Jie was extremely surprised by this young girl’s expression.

Why is she staring at me as though I have done something terrible? Lin Jie mused. He had merely wanted to enrich the extracurricular life of this new customer and help resolve her family conflict at the same time. 

Even though he had anticipated eye rolling upon giving this child the Five-Three, Lin Jie was genuinely trying to help.

Many people wouldn’t know the importance of learning till it was too late for regrets.

Haa, I’ve to have a good chat with Joseph regarding this child’s education problem the next time he comes around.

If Five-Threes aren’t enough, it can be made up with quantity.

After she is done and her results still aren’t good enough, she would probably require more effort so an additional set of past exam questions wouldn’t be too much!

And if her results are decent, she has to continue striving on and maintain doing questions. An additional set of past exam questions wouldn’t be considered too much as well!

In any case, I just have to continue giving her practice questions.

Lin Jie had already used exam papers to plan out this child’s future life and had even decided on her work and rest schedules.

Smiling slightly, he asked, “What’s wrong? Are you too afraid of being unable to handle them and don’t wish to have these books? I can understand if you choose to give up.

“But, I still feel that you are a very talented child deserving of a better future. As long as you work hard, you can definitely obtain this power to change everything at present, including making your father proud,” Lin Jie said with a hint of both regret and sincerity.

Brats needed praise as well. It could even be said that they longed to be praised even more so than normal kids. Moreover, from what Lin Jie had learned, it seemed like Joseph never ever praised her. Such circumstances would generally lead to a loss of self-confidence in a kid.

Melissa’s actions such as running away from home and arm wrestling could also be a way for her to seek the attention she lacked. 

Such characteristics meant that she was also very easily agitated...

Drumming up her courage, Melissa took a deep breath and squeaked, “No, I’m no coward. Thank you for your understanding and guidance. I will not let you down. I’m...I’m terribly sorry for my previous rudeness!”

She lowered her head and felt ashamed of her own ignorance and insolence.

Watching the wilted Melissa, Lin Jie felt that Five-Threes were the bane of all brats. Melissa had become an obedient and well-behaved girl even though she had been an energetic brat mere moments ago.

However, overcoming her fear of studies and choosing to face it head-on was really remarkable.

“It’s alright, this mentality isn’t bad at all. As long as you maintain your inquisitiveness and be modest, the great doors of knowledge will always remain open for you.”

Lin Jie took out a bag and fitted the books in. “Thank you for your patronage. That will be one hundred dollars.”

Melissa paid for the books in a daze and trudged out of the bookstore before she suddenly recalled something.

Haven’t I come to borrow a book? 

Why did I end up buying books instead?

——

Ji Zhixiu regained consciousness from a murky state of darkness. Opening her eyes slightly, she became aware of a light source and instinctively wanted to assume a combat stance.

However, in the next moment, she immediately sensed accurate pain throughout her entire body, causing her to groan.

Her body felt like it was falling apart and there was still a dull throbbing in her head, probably due to sordid blood within her body still exceeding the levels she could normally endure.

Her last memory had been choosing to leap once more. Following that, she lost consciousness.

“Don’t move, you are badly hurt.”

Ji Zhixiu’s vision became a little clearer and she noticed a beautiful and pale face covering her field of vision. This person had shimmering gold hair, clear jade eyes, and two long and pointed ears that caught Ji Zhixiu’s attention.

An elf?


BeetleBarker's Notes:


Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing

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Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/beetlebarker
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/beetlebarker
BeetleBarker's Discord:  https://discord.gg/bEr3QYN

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Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing
——————————————————————————————
Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/beetlebarker
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/beetlebarker
BeetleBarker's Discord:  https://discord.gg/bEr3QYN
IRNDGL Manhua translation by Zeroscans
Written by Great Calamity Of Fire (万劫火). Translated by BeetleBarker.