Monday, 11 July 2011

LMS: Volume 11






Chapter 1 : The Land of the Vampires



Weed, while riding on the back of a vampire bat on its way toward the Kingdom of Vampires Todeum, had great expectations.

"This place Todeum must be overflowing with money and treasures. The mindset of nobilities........am I going to get a reward in exchange for time I've spent bringing up Tori?"

Bloated optimism.

After reaching the city of heaven, Levis, Weed took care of the Death Knight and reclaimed the lost cup of Freya, Herrara Cup. But instead of getting a reward, he instead received another quest from the Church of Freya!

The quest was to defeat a clan consists of vampires in the name of Freya; and retrieves the lost relic of the Church of Freya, the Fargo Crown. With that said, Tori was the head of that vampire clan, a Boss type monster of level 400; and an underling of Lord of the Undead, Barr Khan.

Weed, on the other hand, was not even at level 200 back then. Along with just Ron Alves, he had to free all of priests and paladins whom were under the petrified curse. Thanks to their valiant effort, Tori and his clan were defeated; but that, by no means, was not the end.

Near the beginning of the battle against the Legion of Immortality, Weed went through many adventures in order to grow stronger; strong enough to summoned and fought against Tori to earn his title as Tori's master. Now, as if to truly recognize Weeds as his master, Tori invited Weed into the Kingdom of Vampires.

The reward will be as sweet as honey!

Vampires love luxurious things: treasures, beautiful works of art, magnificent castles and the likes; so Todeum will be filled with such sights. For them to be invited to such a place, they must have been in Tori's good grace.

While harboring these beautiful fantasies, Weed and his party were taken by surprise as the vampire bats they rode dove into the ground. Entering a hole below earth, they were dropped into the contaminated river and went with the flow.

"Ewpupuu!"

They swam upward from the depth, gasping for air, and made their way toward the shore. With the help of the Geomchi's group, Mapan's wagon full of provisions departed from the river unharmed.

Maylon asked.

"Where are we, anyway?"
"Well, we came here by means of bats,"

Pale shook his head while answering, though he wasn't sure since no one had ever stepped into this region before.

Similarly, Weed came up with nothing.
'Surely we should be in Toteum.'

Tori promised. For sure the invitation was to the Kingdom of Vampires Toteum! The nobles of the night who lived in the Kingdom of Vampires! Possessors of piled high mountains of ancient arts and jewelry; along with beautiful women that's hard to find on earth.

This Promise Land was only accessible once every 3 months; and housed hundreds of millions of bats and rodents with its rulers, the vampires, while surrounded in eternal darkness.

Damn hell.

After the abrupt end with the vampire bats, the party walked along the shore of the disgusting river, going with the flow of the murky water underneath the earth.

Pale, walking forefront as the scout of the party, asked.

"Will we be able to trace our path back to Morata by going upstream?"
"Can't go back to Morata via that way," Weed answered after he thought it over, "it isn't even near the vicinity of this land."

The river of this land was so polluted; the nearby shores along it were contaminated beyond recognition. Instead of the lush green they usually sees, withered plants and grey sands were all they could see. The decayed reeds swayed back and forth as the wind brushed the leaves, an ominous chill seemingly sent by the murky Todeum's sky. This scenery was nothing comparing to Morata.

"That means we arrived to the Kingdom of Vampires, correct?" Pale asked.
"Well...let's check to be sure. Summon vampire Tori!"

Weed tried to summon Tori for more information, but no response from Tori.

Hwiyiing!!

The wind grew stronger.

Nobody understood the current situation, as to why Tori couldn't be summoned. Hesitantly, Pale said.

"Weed-nim, were we played for fools?"
"There's no way."

Weed wanted to believe in Tori. The feeling would have been like a shot in the back of the head, though everyone had a similar notion.

"But Weed-nim, this sight is different from what we thought it'd be. Todeum must be a nice place; it wouldn't be near a contaminated river such as this."
"......"

Pale pointed out.

The Todeum they fantasized about. This reality was the complete opposite of the Kingdom of Vampires that was supposed to be filled with elegance and grace, piled high in gold; this was nothing more than a desolate land filled with nothing but a polluted river and a murky sky.

"No way, this was not what he meant!"
Weed still in denial, retorted.

Remembering what Tori said, it suggested that it was some sort of reward; but this can hardly be called a gift. Neither sun nor stars; the passing wind that have the stench of rusted pipes; the Kingdom of Vampires was completely different than what they imagined. Zephyr finally made a remark.

"Another damned character."
"......"
"Getting abused every time, this must be payback."
"......"

Romuna words punctured Weed's chest like a canine's bite; though the most damaging blow came from Surka's innocent words.

"Although we made it here, nothing exciting is going to happen?"

In exchange for bringing up Tori, he figured it'd be a pleasant trip; but he hadn't considered the risks, and came without a guide. Weed tried to rally his spirit that had plummeted to the ground.

'What about my kingdom of gold.'

So far, he hasn't been lucky enough to relax, not even once. He had to overcome plenty of sufferings throughout his journey!

Though looking at the situation calmly, the pleasant trip to Todeum may not be as it seems. Considering Tori's level, along with the time he have been serving directly under Balkan; building a 'good' relationship with a level 400 boss type monster under the duration of a year seems unlikely.

'Seems like it isn't as I thought. This place is extremely dangerous, and we're definitely not ready.'

If the monsters' here were nearing Tori's level, this would not be like any adventures before. The thought broke Weed's expectations and fantasies; from this point on, survivability is the highest priority.

The law of Toteum, the Kingdom of Vampires, is that even if you died just once, you'll be toss back into the world above.

This is considered as a heinous penalty, even prohibited on the Versailles continent. On the continent, you can die many times with no care about the banning; but here in the Kingdom of vampires, you only have once chance.

Due to the fact that your stature isn't like a vampire, a death in Toteum means an immediate spawn outside of the kingdom, total deportation. A difficult to obtain opportunity like this should not be wasted, since you don't know the proper quest line you're supposed to follow on Versailles continent.

Weed's eyes then became cool.

'Whether it's Toteum or anywhere else, I will not back down. MONEY! Gunna get me buncha money!'

Consider a big pot in a casino, a piled high shrine that reminds humans of their deepest desire, obsession for money; like a moth going toward a flame at the risk of survival, aiming for it is like foods for desires.

'This is too much of risk if mobs were to come, a crisis will occur if this happens.'

Bubbling hopes.

However, these hopes will pop if Weed's fear comes to pass. In Toteum, this crisis maybe averted if he was alone, but now he have a huge number of colleagues with him.

"Where are we and where to?"
"What about our way back?"

Geomchi475 and Geomchi503 manly voices seemingly shuddered.

Taken to a place in hopes to witness vampires, but arrived at some random place in which they were unfamiliar with. At this point in time, if they had seen a monster, they'd be too intimidated to fight. With an unknown quest or adventure while situated in an unfamiliar location, the feeling was like being a blind man being pushed into a river!

Not only the fear, but the confusion came along with it was a major crisis.

Though Weed had a simple solution to the problem.

"Lets eat!"
"Wooohohoh!"

Hunger for a meal!
All craving for kimchi.

"Give me something delicious!"
"Love some sweets, like chocolate."
"Whipcreams on them doesn't hurt."
"Who here don't want some meat as well, hm?"
"A drink here don't sound too bad......."

Immediately the nervousness that once filled this party faded away; with happy expressions on their faces, they mimic plump-faced pigs, each and every one of them. And as pigs, food was now the main topic. Though the teachers themselves didn't express their desires, their opinions didn't seem to differ. Geomchi3, Geomchi4, Geomchi5 seems pleased.

"What kind of food you're going to make?"
"The wait will be boring, but...gotta have patience for delicious foods."
"Foods Drinks!"
"Wooo!!!"

Seechwi gave out a groan.

"Oh my God, if everyone were like these people, I'd be out of a job."

All of her theses about psycho-analysis regarding the complexity of the human minds would be abandoned if all humans were as simple as the ones before her!

Falling into the depths of hell just to eat pork was not the way of human natures either!

But there were hopes amongst these hopeless-es that kept Seechwi from going insane. Pale, Zephyr, and Maylon were of the general population, and were troubled by the situation.

Pale asked Zephyr in a serious demeanor.

"What are today's meals?"
"Can the items we get in Todeum be use as ingredients?"
"Of course. Possibly."

Hwaryeong clapped with absolute delight.

"Weed-nim is so good at cooking; we don't have to worry about a thing."
"......"

Again, Seechwi was troubled.

'They're also not normal.'

As written on the POD before one enters the game. To go down in history as one of the heroes that bears the danger of exploring unknown territories, high Leadership is required:

Not giving in at the face of any crisis shows the will of the mind.

Unrivaled spirit.

Unsurpassed comradeships.

Having quick wits and being decisive.

It was even more essential to explore the Kingdom of Vampires. However, the conclusion drawn after watching Weed during the time was that it was difficult to match him to a heroic stature. Seechwi basically gave up and said.

"He's leader probably because of the levels; but those Geomchis and I can probably match his levels!"

Seechwi, after all, was just another human.

After some time had elapsed, Weed brought out the dishes.

Zara Soup! (Turtle Soup)

They had brought enough ingredients before leaving Morata, just needed to cook them.

"The ingredients in this were Zaras, and this very dish represents growth. You know how you're on all fours at night begging for it to 'revive' like a turtle, but when you look down and it was still shriveled like a turtle? This will completely revive the 'VIGOR' of a man...keuheuheu!"

Weed began to sugarcoat the dishes before him. At the end of the appealing demonstration, a boisterous laugh!

Having been through a year as his class being a sculptor, he learned how to hype things up and a show of confidence was a must.

'Being a cook is the same. The LAW - delicious food will become more delicious if you give them a taste beforehand.'

A vote of confidence from the chef was a must to heighten the experience.

"OHOHH yeah!"

All of the Geomchis rushed to get their Zara soup servings. While they should have kept in mind of the possibility of lacking ingredients for the future, they didn't leave a single drop of soup leftover.

"Kkeoeok!"
"Awesome!"

They thoroughly enjoyed the soup. They each chow down 3 servings per person; even in a place such as the scary Kingdom of Vampires did nothing to dampen their appetite. Especially when the words 'reviving vigor' were mentioned! Even though Pale and Zephyr didn't discuss about it, they consumed the turtle soup diligently.

"Bon appetite...will not leave a single drop."

Maylon was the next to be encouraged; thinking about women's side, Weeds words were different.

"Similar to the turtle's longevity, Zara Soup will stop the aging process of skin for 20 days......"
"Please give me! Do it fast!"
"Plenty of it please, Weed-nim!"

Irene and Romuna interjected. Surka on the other hand was still too young to be bothered with skin care. Of course, no one knew whether the aging process would halt for 20 days if consumed, since it was pretty much impossible to tell otherwise. But taking care of oneself on any day of the year will be rewarded!

Even if you felt like you were duped, no point being unhappy over the situation. Since the girls spent so much time in Royal Road, using skin care products became a second priority; though the girls hesitated.

As if he saw through their doubts, Weed gave his words a final nudge.

"Eat right after serve. It's a must! Only then it'll be effective..."

With that said, the girls devoured the foods greedily.

However, Mapan knew of a terrible fact behind this feast.

During the time shopping for food.

Although it was up to Mapan, as he was of the merchant class, to procure foods and handle the loads of shipments during the trip; it was up to Weed to decide on the ingredients since he was the cook most of the time and knew what to choose to obtain everyone's shares.

"Are 17 Zaras good enough?"

Weed nodded deeply.

"Yes. Being advanced cooking materials, each one of them costs 3G(G=gold), so we don't have the luxury of eating them as much as we want."
"But considering the group we're going with, are they enough for 500 plus people?"
"Possibly."
"Even with Weed-nim's cooking ability, I doubt serving 17 Zaras to this group along with Geomchi's will be difficult."

Making Zara Soup was not only difficult, acquiring enough to not leave anybody out was even more difficult.

Weed gave a weak laugh.

"Storing live Zaras will also be tough, maybe this amount is fine."
"Yeah, will it be alright?"
"We will probably be ok on the first day in the Kingdom of Vampires, and eat them on the second. Depending whether we'll face any danger along the way, but saving them for too long means the effectiveness of the Zaras will decrease."
"So it's best to buy a lot of Zaras......."
"No."
"Huh?"
"If we do that, what will we do with the extras we won't eat?"
"......"

Weed began preaching as if he were a professional chef.

"The profit margin of high class cuisine is excruciating! Making more than enough is not optimal, and investing too much in ingredients is not recommended. But which is worse, letting the Masters suffer the death penalty without the foods or making them pay 5G per meal?"
"No sir, those choices are too tough."

The Geomchis group generally was very poor, due to the fact the money they've gathered were used to change weapons or was invested in gears. And rather than hunting mobs for items, they killed one and went onto the next immediately to become stronger without a care for drops. The thrill was in the hunt; the tougher the challenge, the more they enjoyed the game.

So for them to have enough to pay for foods was an ordeal in itself.

"Between death penalty and the Masters, best to have them eat; therefore, we should get an abundance of inexpensive ingredients that we can."
"But we only have 17 Saras, meaning we're leaving a lot of people out to dry."
"There maybe a way. Have the Pollock prices been dropping?"
"Hm? Their prices have dropped drastically from the original."
"Get 2000(amount) worth. I'll make Zara Soup with the Pollocks."
"Wouldn't their tastes be different?"
"Get as much spices, flavoring, and food coloring you can afford."

Pretentious Zara Soup!

And its main ingredient was Pollack. Mapan's eyes spun greatly, as his conscience suffered a damaging blow.

"I thought I'm not buying?" (spec *im not involve in this*)

Weed replied to dispel Mapan's concern.

"There's no such thing as an unfill part in a taiyaki." (spec *the moment we started talking about this, we were in cahoots.*)
"......"

* * *


The feast was finished, and the energy level of the party grew, primary due to the increased strength and vitality of Weed's cuisine; and the effects were heightened thanks to his advance stages in Dexterity. One can cook the foods from the recipes earned, but there wouldn't be a homemade feel to them. Crafting foods with any kind of tools wouldn't be a match to the base of every tool, the hands. Weeds made every part of the feast with his hands, down to the ingredients; and it was completely worth it from his party's perspective.

Irene came.

"I enjoyed Weed-nim's foods. But to make everything with your bare hands, is it a bother?"
"Doing so will make it more delicious."

Irene agreed. Weed even mixed the seasoning by hands. And it seems by doing so, the effects were even more spectacular.

Irene sheepishly said.

"But when was the last time you've washed your hands?"

Of course, the question was a joke, but Weed offered a serious answer.

"A month ago; or it could have been two. Well, I don't really recall...."
"......"

Irene, speechless, began shedding tears.

"Kkeoeoeok!"
"Zara Soup was delicious. Just as I had it before."
"I want to eat this again some other time."
"Now for the adventure."

The innocent Geomchi rejoiced, while Mapan and Irene had a quiet conversation on the side.

"Mapan-nim, what other ingredients were made with the Zaras?"
"Well...actually, I traded in a lot of stuff we've collected and was still short."
"We did give you our money."

Pale interjected. He, along with Irene and Surka, handed Mapan their collected golds.

"In Weed-nim's opinion regarding the products, he said to buy lots and turn them later for profits."
"So you mean all of the money was used to get the ingredients? That's too much for ingredients."
"Yeah, they were cheap, but..."
"Where'd you get them?"
"In an alley."
"An alley?"

Mapan paused for a moment, coming out of his hesitation, he said.

"It's easier to believe they came from China..."
"Ahheuk!"

Irene flooded with tears.

Though the appearance of the dish seems appetizing, but knowing the actual ingredients may put you off the foods for good. The materials they've obtained were nearing their expiration date! They basically got anything of grade 3 or grade 4 qualities at an extremely cheap price and threw them onto the wagon.

Nevertheless, the Saras amongst all other craps mixed in the dish left a desirable aftertaste, as if to wash the junks away.

"Finally after the meal, the adventure begins."

Weed got everybody to gather in one place.

Seureureung.

Sounded as Geomchi409 drew his sword.
"Keuheuheu! Finally its time."

Geomchi15 gave a boisterous laugh.
"Dirty vamps, ima cut you up."

Geomchis eyes all changed. Wielded their blades nonchalantly, with absolutely no sign of jitters; their mindset have been switched on to respond to any situations.
High Fighting spirits!

No longer were they scared of stronger enemies. If one had come, they'd be honor to rush into the battle head on; such were they ways sword wielding Geomchis.

Zephyr silently nodded.

'Weed did well putting his faith in these people.'

It was extremely dangerous in the Kingdom of Vampires; since this was a first for anybody, anything could happen will happen.

One major obstacle in this land!

They did not have prior information regarding this land; hence they'll have to solve everything without a helping hand. Forced to walk through this on their own, and there was no other choice; though they've been through this before in the Versailles Continent, where they had to adapt through trials and errors in order to grow. But a death in the Kingdom of Vampires meant an expulsion from this place. Commit no mistake, be highly alert, face all the risks, and need to cope in adversities.

Such were the policies the Geomchi lived by; they've been through many hardships and had hands-on experiences regarding situations like these. Rushes-in-head-first experts.

As if they've sensed the risks, the mood suddenly changed. From one member to the next, their aura amplified one another.

Land of the unknown.

Geomchis showed absolutely no fear!

Pale smiled.

"I'm also ready!"

Surka, too, clenched her fists.

"Lets get to it? I'm ready!"

Definitely a dangerous place; but having comrades to face the risks with will give one the confidence to get through! Similar to the adventure in Levias, they had absolute faith in each other.

Weed came toward Geomchi and said.

"We are probably in the land of vampires; since I do not know of what will happen, I hope master will take the reign and lead the group."

Geomchi gently shook his head.

"I don't know much about this place, so I will not understand the mobs' characteristics. So I believe it's best for you to lead. You have various production skills that are absolutely necessary, so you stay back and conduct our movements."

"But I don't want to risk you all to suffer the death pentalty..."

"No, it's not for you to take the blame. It's best to put those who knows even a little more than others to keep the most of us alive."
Geomchi2 also lent a hand.

"It's best if you take the command. Better you than any of us."

Weed's eyes went toward Geomchi3, Geomchi4, and Geomchi5.

"Are you guys willing as the Master, teachers?"
"Am."
"Up to you."

Geomchi5 gave a pat on Weed's shoulder along with words of encouragement.

"We're only here because we were invited by you. Don't be drag down by the heavy burden on your own, ease your mind, child."

Sincere encouragement in the face of the death penalty.

Weed examined Geomchi6 to Geomchi505 faces. All of the apprentices' stern faces gave a slight smile and nodded. Rather than greed for power, they devoted absolute loyalty toward the masters.

In Surka, Irene, and Romuna's viewpoint, this was a great scene showing the passion of men's heart.

"So cool."
"I've grown fonder with them."
"Having Geomchis-nim with us is really nice company."

Though Seechwi viewed them from a different perspective.

'Well, to get the five teachers to agree in exchange of delicious foods, then knowing the practitioners will follow the masters; not everyone is as creative as Weed.'

The other Geomchis had something quite different. Weed is one thing, but they were completely fearful of the teachers. During training they were forced to push past the human limitations every time, always near the brink of death everyday. If they had said anything, they feared they might suffer a quick and sudden death.

'In the past after Geomchi3's death, we were forced to do morning training everyday for three days straight; I hardly got a wink of sleep in...'

'When Geomchi5 was killed by some worm, he came back and punch the crap out of it until you couldn't tell who's blood soaked his fists...and he went around dragging it's carcass...'

'Master Geomchi!! Ever since you've joined Royal Road, your moods have been getting better......'

The other Geomchis regarded Weed leading the party was fortunate.

Weed turned to Pale.
"Pale-nim."
"Yes."
"Please go with Maylon-nim toward that hill to scout the surroundings. If you happen to encounter any mobs, do not engage and rush back to us."
"Scanning only? Sure, will go now."

Pale and Maylon headed toward the hill together. With the archer's peripheral visions being higher than anyone, they can scan a wide range of space in a short amount of time. Pale and Maylon returned.

"There are no monsters in this area, though the problem is that they maybe hiding from our sights..."
"What about the terrains?"
"The surrounding areas near the river are blocked by cliffs; so we can only go in one direction. There seems to be a small bridleway that-a-way."
"Then let's get on it."

After Weed's decision, the party moved along the road anxiously. After passing the woods, Geomchi turned toward Weed and asked.

"Weed, you've dealt with a lot of vampires before?"
"Yes, master."
"What happens if you were bitten?"

"The vampires here aren't similar to what we've heard. Mainly they drain your vitality and mana to replenish theirs, so we should exercise cautions."

"Do they have any weakness?"

"They have high vitality and stamina, and their magic attacks are very strong. They don't use weapons and agile like rats and insects; and they can also go on the offensive as bats."

"That's quite annoying."

"Their defenses are also high, and the higher level vampires can use curse magic or stronger types of sorceries; it'd be big trouble if we encounter one and aren't ready."

"What are their other characteristics?"
"Unlike simple mobs such as beasts, trolls, and ogres, vampires have way higher intelligence; they can manage well enough and band together to form clans."

"Keuheum! They can do that? I guess it's best to keep our distance."
"Yes."

They walked for another 10 minutes or so. Then the red sky above them was masked by an innumerable amount of bats.

"Sign of vampires! As a reminder to not relax, vampires can change their forms to bats."

Weed's words added extra tensions, he gripped his sword even tighter. They rode many vampire bats to make their ways toward Todeum, but the sight before them was way too much.

However, the bats did not attack.
Weed took some time to come up with a decision.

"Before we continue: if you see the bats, do not be the first to engage. Keep your arms up and to see whether or not they'll approach."

The sky above them changed as the bats continued their ways onward, and scatted.

"Heuheuhew."

Mapan let out a petite laugh. Though with that smile, sweats were running down his spine. He imagined what would have happened if the bats were to attacked; the sensation of them coming closer and closer, and drained the life out of you. Such vivid imagination!

'A taste of the adventure, too.'

No one knew what will happen. Each step they took takes them closer and closer to a direct confrontation. He was so excited from the excitement of the adventure; as he was the first of the merchant class to leave the continent and facing the unknown land!

Merchants, too, do enjoy the game.

"Keuheuheuheu."
Geomchi9's muscles tensed up. He was the biggest amongst all others in terms of size. After the intensive training he went through, the fats in his body turned into well-toned muscles. And he was itching for a fight; he hoped to bats to come close so he can test himself.

"Come on!"

Hand clenching his sword, he was ready for the moment! If the situation had changed, he would be ready to dance amongst the bats with his sword. And perhaps the other Geomchis had similar idea; but the bats did not come.

Though it would have been Romuna to be the first attack, as she was ready to cast her spells to attack them if the bats came into range; but they flew away.

Weed's party continued as they were, passed the mountain ridges, and came before a sizable town. It consisted of hundred of luxurious residences, with large gardens and some with their own water fountains; the houses were more like villas than anything else. The roads were paved neatly and kept cleanly, while surrounding the town was a seemingly impenetrable wall.

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Chapter 2 : Seirun



Weed and his party cautiously continued forward, until the wall's gates were in sight. Next to the gate were men in white gloves that looked like guards.

Sharp teeth!
Paled face!
Draping black cape and so forth.

"The guards are vampires."
Weed stopped at a distance.

"Shouldn't we attack?" Mapan asked a question that no one could answer.

Highly intelligent monsters that don't attack were very rare; the mobs that may not attack were herbivores, or those that lived in tree or such doesn't hold aggression as much; unless they were protecting their youngs!

But vampires were subtly different; maybe in some ways, they have emotions such as human beings. Weed took a step forward.

"Maybe I'll get a dialogue with them. Let me have a word."
"That could be dangerous...be careful, Weed-nim."

Irene words were full of concerns. As soon as Weed finished, the always sunny Yurin also felt uneasy. But Weed, as it was his position, took the lead and embarked.

"Don't worry. I'll somehow avoid and make it back here alive."

Faith and will power!

Though having his profession as a sculptor, his defenses were quite lacking; while the extent of the Kingdom of Vampires, Todeum, vampire guards were still unknown. But still, Weed fought against a clan of vampires before, and had to deal with Tori a bunch of times before; so much that he understood their laws and habits that he could use these to his advantage.

Geomchi5 approached from the side.

"I'll go with. Cant let you brave the danger alone."
"Yes, sahyeong(elder brother)."

Weed and Geomchi5 walked carefully step by step toward the vampire guards. Geomchi5 was completely trustworthy. Regardless of the differences in levels, he did not show fear to monsters he have encountered. In this dead of night, they advanced forward, fully prepared; Geomchi5 suddenly asked.

"But Weed, why don't we fight them? Whether its vampire bats or a village full of vampires, shouldn't we just attack and destroy them?"

On Versailles continent, territories belonging to a race of monster were popular hunting grounds. An example would the Goblins, the one with the Broadest Distribution, where many of them came together to built forts using the materials and land around them, namely woods. Goblin town or Goblin forts!

With that said, because of them, the nearby kingdoms productivity will be decreased. Usually then, the lords of those kingdoms would commission people to hunt down and destroy them. These opportunities not only will increase their reputations, but they get to keep all of the loots. But Weed had a different opinion.

"Maybe, but it's too early to make a decision."
"Too early?"
"Yes. We're not even sure if we've arrived to the Kingdom of Vampires, right? However, starting a war with the vampires will do more harm than good."
"I see. An unexpected brawl is something we don't want after coming this far."
"War is the last option after everything else."
"Yes, understood."

Weed and Geomchi5 came up to the vampire guards.
"Halt!"

The vampire guards snarled while revealing their blade like fangs.

"The stench of unfamiliar bloods. Are you humans?"
"Yes."

Weed said in a humble tone.

"What are humans doing on our land? This is where you can not enter. Return to whence you came from!"
"Leave now and I spare your blood."

Though they didn't openly acted out their aggression, the vampire guards were still very hostile. At this point, adventurers would usually back away or choose to fight against the guards. The typical cases, though Weed was different.

"The weather here is a good one! The bats can fly high in the sky freely, hunting down the crawling vermin on the ground."
"I understand what you're talking about, human."
"I agreed."

The guard showed a slight reaction.

"And truly to your names as the lords of the night, the clothing you wear is really luxurious; full of elegance and cordial. Donning a white shirt, setting contrast to the black pants and the cape. Ah! Is that the Cloak of Darkness?! I'm honored to see such an exquisite item."

Weed fussed over their outfits.

Seems like the vampire was a race of clothes lovers, whom had shown lots of considerations toward their outer appearance; the vampire guard on the left voice seemed to soften after hearing the compliments.

"Take a photo, it'll last longer."

Though the right guard still had his Battle Stance up and seemingly will rush in at any moment. Weed could show the same amount of interest in the other guard, but they might notice the lies if he had switch from one to another. Seeing how the Intimacy level only rose slightly, there was still a huge risk of them becoming aggressive. Weed then pulled out a carving knife.

The right guard asked.

"What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to give you two gifts."
"Gifts?"
"Yes, I'm going to craft something, I'd be delighted if you accept."

Weed then pulled out a piece of Nabemok (some sort of crafting material?)

There were a variety of ways to increase intimacy. Having a silver-tongue to hoist someone's ego was the simplest way, but it's effective immediately and works only for a while, and will stop working after a certain point.

However, in order to raise familiarity to a higher point and maintain it, one had to act appropriately according to the person-your-sucking-up-to's personalities; furthermore, doing quests with that person or saw through some sort of trial with each other increases trust, hence forth higher status of intimacy.

But there was a simpler way.

'Give them gifts!'

Weed continued trimming down the Nabemok.

'Vampires like pretty girls.'

He could sculpt Seoyoon. Seemingly in her early 20s, her skin matched those at the age of 10 in terms of smoothness and tenderness, a beauty that defied the laws of aging. However, to sculpt Seoyoon was immensely difficult; to achieve the same level of beauty meant to not make a single mistake while crafting.

If the Heavens were to grant a human with something on the line of absolute beauty, it was not an exaggeration to say Seoyoon was the recipient of that reward; so to truly mimic that level of beauty was not possible. What more, to willingly passing that finished product to vampires was too hard to bear.

'Though...it was confirmed that vampires prefer little girls.'

Weed recalled the time he freed the town Morata. Something that quenched the blood-thirsty vampire, Tori, for a whole decade was a statue of an unfortunate girl!

The flower-garden-loving innocent type of girls, one that flounder about on the bed of grass. Weed made his decision and began to sculpt. He moved his hand expertly with the carving knife as he was with his mastery of the sword, and he finished the sculpture in a flash.

"This is a gift."
"A Lovely gift......! We're whom who appreciates fine arts; and this girl here is truly to our liking."

The guards were thrilled. Loving girls is a main characteristic of vampires! (*for any guy really -.-*)
"Are you of the sculptor class?"
"Yes."
"We nobles of the night never had the chance to mingle with an engraver before, so you may come in. Many of us would love the opportunity to enjoy your works."

Ttiring!



Access of vampire village Seirun have been granted



Weed returned and told his colleagues that flattery and gifts will get the vampire guards to grant permission to enter.

"Soo handsome."
"Valiant."
"Truly the lords of the night!"

Pale, Zephyr, and Mapan obsequiously used painted words to impress. Then, came the gifts.

"This here is a tail obtained from a water buffalo."
"This ring is a loot I got from hunting."
"Jewelry. Hehe."

They pretty much bribed and suck up to the guards until they got permission to enter.

"You guys are alright. OK, go! Though do not raise any trouble, else we'll kick you out."

As for Maylon, Romuna, Surka, and Yurin, they were allowed to pass without getting screened at all.

"The more pretty girls, the better..PASS!"

Their faces hardened a little bit when it came to Irene.

"I feel unpleasant. Do you believe in God? Well, no matter. We were not condemned. Rather than the boisterous lives of the day, we enjoy the serenity of the night, like it is the source of life. But girl, watch yourself when you're in the village. Do not use your Holy power, else we will not be held accountable for what happens to you and your friends."

Though the bore their fangs at her, she was still allowed to pass with a warning.

"You cannot come in!"

However, they firmly opposed Seechwi. Orcs are inferior creatures! Seeing how they viewed themselves as nobles, the vampires wouldn't allow something that doesn't match their standards to roam their streets.

"Chwiik chwwik! Come on."

The eyes of the guards remained indifferent toward Seechwi's begging.

"Our village is not a place where you Orcs can set foot in!"

Now. Geomchis' turns.

"Well, it's simple. Do what we saw, make a few gestures here and there."
"Yeah, well, yes, but......"
"Wait and pay attention. You guys, I'll start first."

Geomchi5 decided to be the first to advance toward the guards.

"Hi guys, you don't need to stand here!"
"Huh, what? What did you say?"

The guards forehead furrowed.

"With faces like yours, you'll keep everyone away for miles..."
"Shits are spewing out of this dirty human's mouth!"
"WHA? You undead bastards!"

Geomchi5 was a moment away from going to war with the guards.

"Don't do it!"
"Please no."

It took Weed and Zephyr a while to settle the situation. Then it was Geomchi3's turn.

"Take notice on what I do."


Weed was overcome with anxiety, but figured what the heck. Since Geomchi5 method failed, he figured Geomchi3 might have learned something, hence him proceeding forward.

"Human, do not enter."

The guards blocked him.

"Mhmm, keep up the excellent work."

Geomchi3 patted the guard's shoulder as he tries to pass.

"Human. You are not allowed to come in."
"Uh-huh, whatever."
"A lowly human like you fools do not have the permission to enter. Turn around, unless you want to die!"
"What? Die......"

The guards gotten more aggressive than before, Weed and Zephyr stepped in again to calm them down. Quietly watching the situation, Mapan said in a serious demeanor.

"I don't think they can go into town, what can we do?"

Not a single Geomchis was allowed to pass was a major crisis.

"Sahyeongs! Isn't it better to show them a little bit of flattery to be allowed into the village?"

Weeds words of persuasion did not work. Even the cool-minded Geomchi2 sneered at the thought of sucking up to a bunch of vampires."

"I have a man's pride! I'm not gunna bow to down to a monster like that or any kind of them."

Geomchi2 coolly declared. Geomchi3 and Geomchi5 had the same opinion; and all of the practitioners regarded the vampires with the same mindset.

"This is so troublesome...," Weed hesitantly spoke, "what about learning how to carve from me?"

Weed's carving skills had advanced to such a level that he could teach others now to sculpt. Seeing how vampires love arts, if Geomchis offered the sculptures similar to their statures as human beings, they might be allowed to enter the village.

"Carving? Do we really have to?"
Geomchi2 replied in an annoyed tone.

"Yes. Beautiful sculptures are good to get girls, and it can be just a side hobby."
"Really? Only need to know just a bit to attract girls as well as getting in? Might as well?"

Horrid reason for Geomchi2 to began learning, though he was good to go. Weed pulled out a carving knife and commenced trimming a nearby bush in pretense of a lesson.

"There you go. As soon as you finish carving this 'sculpture,' I'll be able to pass you."

Geomchi2 and the instructors, along with all the practitioners of the school were talented with the swords. While also similarly adequate with smaller weapons, they finished carving the simple "sculpture."

Ttiring!



Wisdom is too low, cannot learn sculpting



Weed was stupefied. How low can their Wisdom be to make them unable to learn the skill?

"Sahyeong, mind telling me how much Wisdom you have?"

"Well, let's see... It's 8."
"......"

Geomchi3 shined...even worse.
"I'm at 6?"

Geomchi4 too, was formidable...
"I'm 5."

Some other practitioners were severely low.

"I must be as impressive as the teachers. I'm at 3."

As low as 3! Weed couldn't believe the situation.

"Didn't you begin with 10 Wisdom when you start out?"

Sculpting didn't require high stats on Wisdom similarly to something like magic, one only need to be at the basic level in order to acquire it; but the Geomchis didn't even meet the basic requirement on the stat. Geomchi3 mouth opened as if he realized something.

"Oh, I may know why. Our intelligence got reduced."
"......"

"No, Weed, that's not what I meant... Initially, we started out at 10; and the former job before martial artists, we reached as much as 60."

Weed nodded his head. Stats rising in the earlier days were a common phenomenon. If they had fought and beat the Basic Training Center, they can choose to get the specialized job as Martial Artists, which also meant some level of Wisdom was required to change jobs.

"And why do you think wisdom got decreased?"

"I think it was due to the fact we repeatedly hunted and grinded while using the same skill; we spammed it for a few days and our Wisdom got progressively smaller. Though during hunting, on the other hand, it's not like reduced Wisdom can do anything against monsters."

"I see."

Simplistic repetition and Wisdom got decreased. Weed too, was just like them; but he learned various skills here and there. Having sculpting as base, there was fishing, cooking, repairing, blacksmithing, sewing, and collecting and taking advantages of herbs.

Geomchis, however, limited themselves only with skills that can be utilized in battles; they gradually fought and honed their skills, while completely neglected the decreasing Wisdom along the way.

Simple ignorance!

This situation was not only the revelation of their stats, but also their characteristics as well. Weed carefully advised them.

"If your Wisdom is too low, you won't be able to learn new skills when a situation arises that requires you to do so. So you better increase your Wisdom before entering the town."

"Yes, it seems we better do that."

Anyhow, since they can't learn sculpture, their chances of entering the town were pretty much spoiled.

"Hunt the nearby surrounding area until you level, and invest all the stat points earned into Wisdom, then you'll be able to learn the skill."

Weed had no faith in this plan even though he came up with it. The Geomchis were an arrogant and prideful bunch...whom all shot up to a stand still all at once.

Through the opened village gates, the streetlights inside were lightening up. As the night descended deeper and deeper into the darkness, the once empty streets of the town became animated as every doors flung open and vampires emerge. It seems as if vampires became active at night. Female voices rung from the market streets.

"Buy an apple!"
"Selling apples as sweet as honey here."

Female vampires were selling apples on the market square. Immaculately white skin and straight nose, they had a slender build. However, this was something that cannot be viewed in normal senses. Slim waistline along with a sizzling bodies of the vampires was unlike the pure and innocent girls!

"Koeheok!"
"Th...the land of dreams, man......"

Geomchi3 and Geomchi4 body shuddered. From Geomchi5 to Geomchi505 swiftly rushed toward the light, with Geomchi leading the herd.

"Brother guards!"
"......"
"We're willing to serve, what would you like? Maybe something like a back massage?"
"You can even take our barley breads that we use sparingly......"

Back to top


Chapter 3 : Quest



Though the Geomchis had absolutely no ability to flatter, the vampires were heart-struck by their desperations. The guards gave them a simple quest.

"A bunch of healthy humans; it would have been better if they were females, but this is a huge source of fresh blood. We're tired vampires have exhausted our lifeblood."

Ttiring!




Quench the Vampires' thirst.

The guards' livers have been grumbling since they've been working hard protecting the town, and have accumulated a huge amount of fatigue. The rumbling meant needs for extra blood. Fresh, healthy human blood.

Difficulty: E
Quest limit: Only available until the Vampires' vitality been refilled.



Needless to say, they all accepted without a single rejection. The guards plunged their fangs into Geomchis' nape of the neck.
Juuuuuuk!




Bitten by a Vampire.
Power was reduced.
Vitality continues to declines.



Burning at the nape!

Geomchis lined up systematically to give blood in order to get into town, and none bore any grudge toward the vampires.

"Iyahh, its only blood..."
"I'd do it a hundred times over for the ladies without an ounce of regret."

Pale and Zephyr were enlightened.

'I will be better toward Maylon.'
'I don't want to be like that at all; men being so transparently needy of women.'

The extreme playboy Zephyr had a major epiphany. For he who was able to get girls as easily as he was with fishing, he realized that the road he was on would eventually leads to futility.

'And I travel with some pretty nice girls.'

Zephyr glimpsed around at his party members. Irene was simply kind by nature, she never as so much as used curse words toward anyone. Though occasionally quite feisty, the easygoing Romyuna knew how to have fun.

The young and childlike Surka was cute, while the alluring Hwaryeong was the complete opposite. Her dances were the first instances of her charms; then sometimes when she was in the mood, she'd sit on a rock and starts to sing, one of the crucial factors that made the adventures more enjoyable.

She was amazingly well-rounded! But Zephyr digressed, since Hwaryeong eyes no other but Weed.

'But he doesn't even realize it.'

Though Hwaryeong did not openly express it, anyone else could have easily guessed. Anything Weed cooked was simply delicious to her. Even if he had served something as simple as a bowl of soup along with a piece of bread, she wouldn't voice a complaint.

Each and every time, she'd never miss a chance to say thank you nor leave her meal unfinished. Even now she'd actively stealing glances from his side; this act was downright without a doubt from a woman in love!

Though Weed's mind was mainly preoccupied by money and his worrisome face reflected that fact, the atmosphere set by the two could catch the attention of any onlookers.

Maylon was Pale's girlfriend, and Yurin was Weed's younger sister. Yurin was very appealing. Zephyr sneaked a peak at her trying to catch her smiling; but he shook his head.

'No no. Absolutely not her!'

Never try to get close to her unless you wanted to drastically decrease your likelihood of living!

'The antagonistic families of Romeo and Juliet weren't so bad.'

Perhaps even the Geomchis feared the trouble they'll face for liking her.

In the meantime, the Geomchis "donations" to the vampires were almost over, as there was a huge number of stumbling Geomchis. As their vitality and power were being exhausted, the guards were overflowing with vigor. Even their naturally pale faces blushed, and their canines were lined with crimsons.

To their nature, the vampires became more robust after they drank blood; still, the guards were less than enthusiastic when the Orc Seechwi stepped up.

"Do not want to taste orc's blood."
"......"
"You're not coming into town."

Those words wounded Seechwi's feelings. Then Geomchi2 stepped in.

"May I offer my blood on behalf of Seechwi?"

The guard perched with interest.

"More human blood? Good, I'll take my fill."

Second time Geomchi2 offered his blood to the vampires. Seechwi voiced.

"Chwiik! Geomchi2 nim."

Seechwi's eyes were lined with tears. After Geomchi2 finished, Seechwi became his pillar of support since he was completely overwhelmed with fatigue. An obese Orc assisting a sturdy human!

After that, every party members gained permission to enter Seirun.




The first to discover Seirun village.

Rewards:
+180 Reputation

For discovering a village in an unexplored region, the quest rewards from this village will be 2x for a week.



The benefits of being the first discoverers!

Weed's face was widened with a satisfied smile.

"2x......"

Doubled the rewards from questing. Furthermore, there were substantially more benefits undisclosed. Besides being the first discoverers here, they were bound to be the first discoverers in the Kingdom of Vampires, Toteum; that meant the loots and EXP from hunting there will also yield 2x. Pale and Irene, too, were delighted.

"Gained reputation."
"It's a good thing."

Weed quickened his steps entering the village.

"Let's go."

But everybody else was hesitant; after all, they're the first to enter a village full of vampires! This was a completely new land, not of the Versailles continent. They were impressed and excited into frozen stiffs at the entrance of the village. Especially Maylon, from the second she settled her sights toward the vampire village. Beautifully built homes in the forms of villas, and cape wearing vampires roaming the streets were intoxicating.

'Well, exotics are parts of the adventures too.'

She did not know where to begin. Then Mapan bellowed.

"Yeah. C'mon!"

Yurin too, considered this was a great prospect. Painters such as herself traveled in order to visit cities and view landscapes with the intention to paints to increase their skill's mastery. Therefore, the newly discovered Seirun village provided her an opportunity to paint dozens of pictures.

Weed and Mapan entered the town together and made their way toward the stores. They needed to dispose of some of the imported goods they bought from Morata, not to mention checking on new equipments and obtaining maps of the town. Mapan got the pricings from various owners regarding loots and let out a scream of joy.

"They're selling rubies and sapphires and jewelries at very expensive prices. Furs and rugs too!"
"YES!"

Weed was more delighted than usual. (*evil hint*)

"You're so lucky, Mapan-nim."
"Hope you reap a huge profit as well."

Pale and Surka handed out the congratulations. Though he hadn't done anything yet, Mapan felt as if he'll reap a huge return; yet he viewed Weed in suspense.

'It's all thanks to Weed-nim that brought me here.'

Back on the continent, Mapan did well selling stuff also, but he did not have a large profit margin nor were his items guaranteed to sell. But here, an unexplored region along with a town full of vampires!

Being the first to sell goods in this village meant he'd be able to receive the special treatment of reaping an extra 20-30 percent in addition to the selling price. Not many merchant can have a chance like that. But Weed's face showed no hint of envy at all as he handed Mapan the opportunity; in fact, the smile he built simply mimic that of a baby who was in bliss.

Pale nodded his head.
'I knew it! Weed-nim is a good man.'

The shameful Surka wanted to go somewhere to hide.

"I guess I misunderstood Weed-nim. I should broaden my interpretation wider like the seas that embraces everything, rather than judging something over just one instant."

So Weed was still smiling and glowing without creasing a single wrinkle, told Mapan.

"Mapan-nim, please let's go sell your stuff."
"You think so?"
"Yes. You should grab hold of this opportunity as the values here are more than the original."

Mapan came up to a trading post and began to negotiate. The owner of it was of course a vampire.

"I brought some pretty jewelry here with me; ohh Mr. merchant, and I just want to sell them," Mapan pulled out ten rolls of furs, five stacks of rugs, along with three gems, "what are your offers?"

"250,000G. Nah, no. Stuff like these goes for 270,000G."
"Ahh I'm sorry. That price is lower than expected."
"Damn! Don't go! On second thought, I'm able to pay as much as 303,000G for them."




1st stage bargaining succeeded.
If you decide to sell goods, all merchant skills will rise with +2.3% each.



Mapan swallowed his saliva. The costs of purchasing these goods totaled only to 110,000G! The offer he just got was nothing more than a jackpot, made more than twice the gold he paid for. But Mapan greed decided for him.

"Though that may sound like a decent price; but to me, I prefer to go elsewhere......"

The vampire built a long face. Mapan, who was also in the trade of deceiving, hinted a leaving gesture. The conflicted vampire suggested.

"This is a gesture out of the kindness of my heart. 368,000G. I'm sure you'd show the same kind of gestures when you're out to purchase goods. I do not care for how much you purchased them for where you were, but I can not go any higher."




2nd stage bargaining succeeded.
If you decide to sell goods, all merchant skills will rise with +6.2% each.



Mapan mouth widened and remained open for a while, he himself couldn't believe the jackpot he just hit.

"You don't want to sell at this price?"
"Ohh, sorry. I'll sell."

Mapan handed over the goods he brought.

Ttiring!




Obtained massive profits via trading, +630 Reputation.






Accounting skill have risen to Intermediate - lvl. 6.
Chances increases when negotiating on prices to tip to your favors. Will be able to take advantage of 7 gullible players.



A moment where a merchant triumphs!

70% of his goods remained after the sale; for Mapan feared the prices might drop if he had sold them in bulk. Therefore, he planned to sell a few more things, and save the rest to be disposed of at the Kingdom of Vampire Toteum. Some vampires chattered from a distance.

"That human Mapan just earned a great fortune; it's a topic amongst those humans."

"Which one is this Mapan? I hope he'll pass by right in from of me. What I'll do if he did? I'd just drag him to some alley and sink my teeth into his nape..."

Jackpot in trading!

Mapan accumulated a huge amount of profits, and Weed handed out his congratulations.

"Very nice."
"It's all thanks to Weed-nim."
"Nah. I'm pleased to see you do well."

Weed was very happy; the joy came from his position as the Lord of Morata. Not too long ago Mapan registered himself as a resident of Morata, and facilitated his trading practices in the North as a citizen of Morata. As a result, he was subjected to Morata's tax rate, something that's even more fearsome than a bloodcurdling dragon! (*Weed's way of thinking -.-*) Merchants had to pay 3% of their revenue by means of taxation; and as Mapan reaped roughly 360,000G, he'd had to pay Morata more than 10,000G via tax.

Main reason for taxes!

'Taxes can also be good for something after all.'

The reason why Weed was more pleased than usual.

They made their way toward the weapon shop afterward, of course, they also planned to sink their snake-like fangs at the weapon shop too! They boldly declared their intentions in the face of the thick-fanged male vampire owner.

"Hey buddy. Can we see your weapon inventory? Unfortunate, we can't use true vampire's weapons; so can we see a few we can use? Things like elegant equipments: rings and such, or precious armors we'd love to see."

The vampires did not use weapons such as swords etc., so there were little of those metallic gears. But there were gloves that absorb bloods, belts that summons dark beings, and capes that induces delirium and forced apparitions(see ghosts); these weapons were truly to the nature of vampires. Among these Hwaryeong found a dress.

"Wait. Take a look at that dress."

Golden flows on a crimson dress, an eye catcher. A view from the side, one could tell from the abdomen area up to the chests, there was little to none. A difficult dress to get into if one weren't in shape. However, Hwaryeong experienced harsher dresses while she was doing concerts.

"What do you think about it?"

She asked Weed for feedbacks. Seeing how he had achieved the intermediate stages on sewing, she wanted a second opinion. But of course, that's not the main reason why.

"It's amazing."
"Also pretty?"

"Yes. The fabrics used to make the dress weren't used sparingly. From the materials, he could have made two dresses; I would have done so to make more money! Too bad I haven't leveled to a stage to handle those kinds of materials yet."

Weed was in deep thoughts staring at the dress, why don't people use their minds when it comes to these things! Usually regarding these clothes, they'd be hard to sell. The more revealing the clothes the more lackluster it is when it comes to defense; but he couldn't have fathomed the dancer's needs for appearance and charms.

"Would that dress go well with me?"
"Well...the price is also important."
"Would I be prettier wearing it?"

Weed thought for a while then nodded.

"I think you'll be beautiful."
"Thank you. Hey Mapan-nim, please buy that dress in my stead."

The merchant Mapan used his skills to bargain for a price on the dress, still it came out to be at 148,000G; but Hwaryeong didn't considered it as expensive.

"Cheap."

At this point, one would considered this was a slip of the tongue; but it wasn't so to her.

The expensive dress itself wasn't the problem; in fact, for her levels and her profession as a dancer, there was a major factor she knowingly overlooked when she paid 140,000G for the dress.

'Weed didn't even address nor did he check the stats on the dress and I snatched it only because he said I'd be beautiful in it.'

It wasn't logical, decided to pay for the dress before asking about it!

Fortunately, the crimson dress enhanced her dancer skills by giving her a boost in agility and grace. Hwaryeong, in the dress, was able to show off more of her charms; the coverage was lower than before, but she in no means looked vulgar in it. Her exposed well-toned exercised figure did not take away any of her cultured charms. Comparing to the colorful dress, Hwaryeong was lovelier; the face full of confidence and the eyes full of magnetism would catch anyone's sight; truly a Fairy of the Stage. (*what her fans calls her?*)

"Beautiful, eonni(elder sister, term of endearment toward one of not blood relations)!

Surka commented first. For her age, she looks up to beautiful women. The commotion went on for awhile, and they all left after they finished checking out the weapons.

Next, they visited general stores that sell basic necessities for journeys, though the ones they saw were seemingly useless. Weed had no intention to buy anything however; as the lord of Morata, he invested all of his money into its development for further exploitation.

'Use money to make even more money.'

Weed was far from mindlessly spending his money on impulse; nonetheless he was here in search for something. While in thought, the approaching vampiric owner revealed his fangs, and Weed immediately spun around!

"Kueaaa!"

The owner had his mouth opened as he loomed toward Weed, who's reaction was as fast as the wind and turned around, forcing the vampire to close his mouth. The owner was smacking his lips as if he wanted something enticing.

"Humhum, it's a shame that you noticed, been a while since I've tasted human blood. So what is it that you want?"

As the reason why he visited the shop when he wanted to buy nothing, Weed entered to obtain information.

"I'm a sculptor that's looking for something to inscribe."
"Sculptor? Have you tried Todeum yet? This is just a small village in comparison. There was a rumor that Toduem had something that can be viewed as inspirational to sculptors, though it wasn't confirmed."

"What is the relationship between this town and Totuem?"

"Here's just a small town, a serene place where vampires escaped the hustle and bustle of a city. Toduem is a few days due east if you wanted to go, though I do not recommend it; there are more rumors about it becoming more dangerous."

According to the vampire owner, Seirun was kind of a town where beginners began.

'I don't think Toduem is a good place for the weak.'

After that, they started to collect and authenticate the information acquired from vampires.

"Seirun? You're asking where the town got its name? It's the name of one of our three moons: Pallun, Gorun, and Seirun. The vampire queen of the nobles of the night belonging to Todeum also carried the same name. She's also very beautiful; if she asked, I would gladly pull and dedicate my human heart if I was one."

"A tip to you human tourists, avoid the alley at night. It's a place where many humans were drained of their bloods, so never accept their advances."

"You really want to know about Todeum? It was originally where the dead were put to rest, a cemetery if you will. But for some reason, they rose from their slumber and began to seek out blood. And now, it has become a city for nobilities of the night. Join with the living beings? Why would the Nobles do something that relinquishes their prominence!?"

"The land of vampires is different from human's. The dead are sent above to the ground for one. What about their belongings? We vampires just put it with them as we have no need for human's belongings. Though, antiques and jewelries occasionally could occasionally be 'misplaced.'"

"Tsk! Damn younglings vampires these days. I had them agreed not to search of the golden vampire bat......"

"I didn't do that when I was a kid. Sometimes they don't even make it back by the break of dawn the next day; I hope nothing had happened to them."

"The pride of our town? We have a lot of pretty sexy vampire gir...keuheum! Go somewhere else and leave me be."

The adult vampires on the street!

There was a huge difference in the generation gap, the younglings were literally garbage. Weed saw and talked to a few of them.

"You're human? Do you want to ride something that makes your blood pumps? Ok, that's great! Have you seen the scenery from the alleyway? That's where everything seems the most majestic. If you want to go, I can guide you there and......"

"Female vampires, they talk so much it's incredible. The Jakkuman clan seems to have disappeared, whether it's true or not doesn't really matter to me though."
"The rumor in Seirun is that the vampire queen of the same name is the most beautiful, but I haven't seen her. Wonder where she is."

The Geomchis have long separated from the group as the only they occupied their mind were the female vampires selling apples, now eating apples they purchased. Occasionally, they'd throw their fists in the air or pointed thumbs out while screaming loudly.

"Vampire Kingdom Hurrah!!"
"Long live all the vampires!"
"Keuheuk! Good thing we came here. Thanks. Weed."

Geomchis were making a scene!

Geomchi2, Geomchi3, Geomchi4 were truly enjoying themselves, while Geomchi and Geomchi5 were stuffing themselves with apples. Seirun was considered as a haven to these old bachelors. They would flex their muscles or smile whenever they were dealing with the female vampires.

"Bon appetite. Thankyou for your patronage."
"Not a problem. Do you have more like these......"
"Thank you."

The female vampires hung on both of his arms as a reward.
"Euheoheoheoheo."

Like a male student getting touched!
"Worth every penny!"

Geomchi3 notice his master.

"Master! Use the money we saved up!"
"Roger, disciple! Keep up eating! Buy some more!"

Geomchi's money drastically reduced; knowing that all were going toward the local beauties, he still didn't mind. He could hunt again to raise more money, there was no hesitation because living an impoverished lifestyle for a day or two didn't really matter to him.

And for some reason, their behaviors elevated the female vampires liking towards them, as one of them tugged on Geomchi3's arm.

"Please help us."
"Yes? What can I do for you......would you like me to buy more apples?"
"There were those who were trying to capture then kill us, please slay them."

The worrisome words from the tearful female vampires; the sight burned its place in Geomchi3's heart.

"No, those lousy fools! Where the hell are they? Take me to them punks immediately......"
"We'll guide you. Come with us."

While Weed and his party were gathering information and find out which quests were good to obtain, Geomchi3 rushed in hastily.

"Weed!"
"Yes?"
"I think we found a quest."
"Tell me when and how?"
"We were buying apples from girls and they told me."
They were vampires!

Though classified more so as monsters than humans; in Geomchis' eyes, they were simply women.

"What about the compensations and difficulty level?"
"I don't know. It's something regarding the Jakkuman somewhere, I thought you might have an idea."
"Take me there."

Weed, along with his party, rushed toward the female vampires, and caught sight of the Geomchis surrounding them.

"Weed hurry. This lady said she'd guide us; we're to rescue her friend as soon as possible."

Geomchi2 said with urgency, and poised ready to do. However, Weed was sharp, he turned to that female vampire.

"Tell us where you want us to follow?"
"I'll show you directly."

The vampire shot a reply bluntly. Weed did not believe her or the vampire race, figured they've used this lie plenty! Full of greed and envy, the jealousy filled vampires loved to produce crisis based on their lies; the most incredible creature on land were the vampires. Weed stated.

"If it's true that your friend's in danger, would you swear to the Blood Oath to authenticate?"
Blood Oath.

The blood being the source of the vampire's life, and they could not lie once they swore to it. Weed found out about this fact when he dealt with the vampire clan Jinhyeol.

'If she's lying, she'll ignore and pretend not to know of it.'

Contrary to what he expected, the female vampire nodded.

"Yes! I, the vampire Minorue, under my sacred blood, I swear I am not luring the humans to a trap."
"Let's go."

Weed and his party followed the vampire Minorue as she led them toward the plain behind the village. Navigating through the plain they encountered a spacious field with many divided paths; then after passing the vast grassland, a village came into view.

Surprisingly, the village was inhabited by human beings!

Fences rose surrounding the village acted as a barrier, while knights and priests remained on the lookout.

Minorue sorrowfully said.

"This gathering of human fanatics has been plaguing us."
"And they have something to do with Roselin's disappearances?"
"Yes. They foolishly believed in their god. They continued to kidnap young members of our clan every night and burn them at the stake. Take a closer look over there."

Minorue pointed her finger toward a place near the main entrance of the village where pillars of stakes were erected. The vampires were suspended by ropes tied to a cross; while beneath them, woods, oils, and such materials were accumulated.

"My friend Roselin is supposed to be burn tonight, please expel all of the fanatics gathered there and save my friend."

Ttiring!




Vampire rescue.

The threats from a religious cult, priests and paladins are amongst them! We could not drink their blood because they were armed with pious; they blessed their lands so that we could not approach them.

We were playing when they attacked us, and claimed it was in the name of justice and duty when they captured Roselin. However, they're going to pay dearly for going after our queen.

Difficulty: B
Rewards:
Potions of vampires.
Roselin cursed doll.

Quest limit:
3 months between the date Roselin was captured till the date she'd burned at the stake, quest will fail at the moment of her death.



A very unusual quest!

A quest commissioned by a vampire. Weed was relatively hesitant at the thought of fighting against humans, but the Geomchis had already decided.

"There's a woman named Roselin tied up?!"
"Ima help a babe like that!"
"Sure. No other choice for us men!"
"Don't worry, we'll help."

A sight at Roselin's face, the vampire queen, Geomchis helplessly accepted the quest; while Weed also reluctantly accepts.

"Roselin will be rescued."




-You have accepted the quest.
-15 Faith.
-200 Reputation.
-3 Luck.
+15 Attractiveness.

Tendencies slightly lean toward wickedness.



Back to top


Chapter 4 : Roselyn Rescue Mission



Accepting the commissioned quest was simple enough, regardless of the multiple stats change; not surprising considering the request came from a vampire.

"Wah! Reputation dropped."

After Weed had accepted the quest, Surka bellowed; while the remaining other people shown vexed expressions. Gaining fame was a tough road; one could be grinding mobs or repeating the same quests for weeks or so to raise 200 Reputations.

There were also the declines of Faith and Luck, but the amounts were laughable comparing to Reputation. And since the Reputation had a direct correlation to the quests one may takes, while acquiring 2nd job, and 3rd job also required a certain amount of rep, the loss was quite huge.

Geomchi seriously inquired.

"Weed."
"Yes?"
"If this continues to be the case, what would happen if our REP hits zero?"

Though Geomchis' reputations were not terribly high, the resulted loss still wasn't that big of a problem. In fact, Weed concluded that there would be some kind of penalty when accepting the quest.

'A level B quest offered without doing familiarity works such as quests beforehand, so the loss in fame in the land of vampires isn't a significant problem.'

Originally Weed was going to tell them the damages were not a big deal, but he decided to say something casually to prevent them from accepting fraudulent offers.

"Well, Weapon shops aren't going to sell us good weapons."
"Why?"
"They'll say the no-REP and anonymous doesn't deserve good weapons."
"......"

Geomchi's greed for good weapons would not lose to anyone; so in actuality, the fact that he might not be able to purchase good weapons to further his arsenal caused him considerable sadness. Geomchi3 then asked.

"But that doesn't mean our only option was to buy them from weapon shops. Can't we just order blacksmiths to make them directly?"

"Problem is blacksmiths will be even more difficult since they got more pride; since they make their weapons on their own, they want to put them in the hands of celebrities. And if our fame falls while those prices rise, it'll be even harder."

Geomchi3 forced a smile.
"We'll probably be able to endure it."

They can still buy weapons through Weed or Mapan.

To have blacksmiths to create custom-made weapons uniquely matches their personal preferences would be great, but not a primary concern. Also, blacksmiths can be bought at a premium price if they had truly desire to create their personal gears.

Weed, again, tried to make it a big deal.

"Will also be tricky if you want to enter a restaurant."
"Wh...why's that?"
"A reputable restaurant isn't going to let just anyone in."
"Euheuheuk."

Geomchi3 agonized over it.

The need to suppress his appetite was a long and insufferably painful road. In fact, the foods in Royal Road were something to alleviate the throbbing called forth by his strict diet.

"Com'on, fame was that important?"
"Noone said it'd bring this kind of trouble?"

The others practitioners also churned.
Their spirits, broken!
Weed then turned to his simplest method.

"Hyungs!"
"......?"
"Battle! It's time to rescue the vampire beauties. And then...in consolidation..."
"In consolidation..."

Kkolkaa!

All of them essentially drooled. Throughout faces of the practitioners, all of which formed an easy to read poker face.

'This is not the time to care about something like that!'
'I will be the first man to get......'
'Gotta hurry! Damsel in distress!'

Weed did not continue. Just a hint here and there will get results!

"Whoaaaa!!!"

The students bellowed as they charged across the field toward the village, followed by the teachers. As to not be outdone, the teachers also vented their voices.

"MOVE! I will get Roselyn!"
"Your rank's below me! Follow and pay attention!"
"Brother, why would ranking authority matters here!? There's a woman in trouble!!"

Both teacher and student practitioners rallied while rushing!

"Get out my way! IT'S SUPER URGENT!"
Geomchi too, ran like the wind.

Female vampires were monsters that closely resembled humankind, and tend to quite pretty.

Unlike the High Elves and Wood Elves whom were innocently charming, the female vampires had the enticing and sensual body figures.

The captured Vampire Queen Roselynn that was awaiting rescue had the figure that could not lose.

Surka sighed deeply.
"They're hopeless."

Romuna too, furrowed her brows.

"Men are all the same."

Still, the macho and tough looking Geomchis jumped at the chance to rescue the vampire queen was a disappointing sight beyond belief.

Meanwhile, the strides of Geomchi2 and Geomchi16 remain unchanged.
Maylon was quite curious as to why.

"Geomchi16-nim, why aren't you going with them to the rescue?"

Her impression of Geomchi16 within the Geomchi's group was similar to the ridges in one's hand, just one line of many. The ridges in the hand that belonged to one of the nephew weeping loudly, while he amongst many others holding out that hand on the first day of the New Year.

Geomchi16 replied with a bright smile.

"I'm sending whispers with my girlfriend."
"Girlfriend?"

Everyone's eyes were widening in amazement.
Geomchi16 has a girlfriend!
The possibility was too hard to believe.

This was the first time amongst the Geomchi group that there was the mention of a girlfriend, so it sounded unbelievable.

"I cant believe what he's saying."
"Could he have some sort of dementia?"
"To be talking to an imaginary person, could he have been..."
"Don't talk like I was abducted!"

A bunch of speculations came about, and as Maylon worded her own theory, his outburst caused her to choke on her words. She then painfully asked.

"Can you tell me what happened when you met her?"
"I knew her since the battle with the dragon. Her name is Libian. Isn't it a beautiful name? HAHAHAA!!"

A good event happened to Geomchi16 that noone else knew.

He devoted the last bar of his life fighting to add a friend. A dream then was made into reality by her. She sent him a whisper after they parted. He was quite clumsy, but Libian was comforted to find Geomchi6 to be honest and trustworthy, and extremely entertaining.

He was then looked up by the Geomchis, the act was something worth imitating!
Hence, they all rushed forward like crazy to save the female vampire.
Maylon eyes blinked with admiration.

"Of course I understand! The trait of being dependable, of course this will make you popular. Oh, and by the way, Geomchi2 nim, why aren't you rushing in to battle?"
"I'm here to keep her accompanied."

Geomchi2 drew his sword and stood beside Seechwi to keep watch.

Tall fat female Orc and human!

Geomchi2 muscular body and at a stuttering two meters tall, was still slightly smaller in comparison to Seechwi. So to say he was going to watch over her may sounded a bit unusual, but he still remained static to take care of Seechwi.

"Geomchi2 nim! Chwiik, chwiyiit!"

Seechwii didn't know what kindness meant while in this second body.
The parties she was in before were filled with bitterness!

Having good people didn't mean the status quo were evenly distributed; in fact, the loot and experienced she acquired were at the size of a bedbug comparing to the bed itself. Unable to be let in battles, she was only allowed the job of a porter, carrying luggage around.

She felt a sense of loneliness and desolation, and even shame.
However, such a person is presented before her.

'This is not the first time a guy said such a thing to me, but...'

In reality, the beautiful psychiatrist had been out on blind dates and such, while many well-dressed men lined up before her.

Even though going against what the male preferences were in Royal Road by choosing a job as an ugly Orc, she didn't have to worry about her outer appearances nor worried about men pretending to be interested without their own agenda.

Geomchi2 was the older brother amongst the teachers so he was naturally sensitive to the people around him.

Weed stepped up.

"Then, we'll also go into battle."
"Weed nim, I'll cast a blessing. Please let the divine power fill thy body to protect it from harm. Origin of Eternity!"

The prayer can from Irene.

As she chants her prayer, the area was filled with white light.

Irene acquired a new blessing skill!

It temporarily increases magic and physical defense, also improves the body ability to heal.

"Please let his power peak against all forms of wickedness. Bless!"

She continued with the blessings on Weed, and then turned to bless the rest of the party. Even though the best of her current ability can't match that of the Pope candidate Ron Alves, Irene divine powers were still quite effective.

Now they were primed for battle.
Weed then turned to Yurin.

"Sis."
"Huh?"
"Stay here and be well hidden. Mapan nim will be here with you."
"Ok."
"If monsters come then let Hyungs take care of it; if not, run."
"Don't worry, I'll run fast."
"When you get hungry, eat the beef jerky inside the wagon."
"Eat till I'm full."
"But if I don't come back..."
"I'll offer the best rice for the afterlife."
"Man..."
"Just kidding. Didn't have to believe it."

Weed then, continued on for a while.

From things such as it's usually female vampires that are seductress, but if a male vampires sent you a pass, don't go for it; to when you're tired, take a rest. Having low stamina mean you'll be exhausted quickly. So don't overdo things, to avoid chronic fatigue and a cold, it'll take...

Mapan's face was stricken.
"Weed-nim's sensibility is going downhill with each spoken word."

Pale too, agreed.
"To be quietly listening to this, Yurin-nim is amazing."

Zephyr seemed to identify the reason as to why.

"I can relate to the relationship between a younger sister and the older brother. When she goes out wearing a mini skirt, as a brother I can't seem to word out the problem at hand."

After that duration of nagging, Weed turned his sights toward the battlefield.

"The situation there is more urgent so lets be brief."
"Yes, brother."
"Plenty of time later."
"Tell me more later since there are a lot of unfinished subjects."
"Of course!"

The people around them were horrified.


Weed moved toward the widely flung gates of the fanatics' village.

"The vampires misled you fools."
"Repent. Repent!"
"Here is where we sent them to hell to repent for their sins! And we were given the task by God!"
"First squad, Paladins, GO!"

The fanatics.
The Shadow Paladins and Shadow Priests were poised to attack.
The expectation of a boring siege as the village lying in wait to be attacked was off by a mile, as these human NPCs were rather aggressive.

"The path you tread is not abiding to the will of God!"

The rumbling speed of the Geomchis lowered significantly. Their heavy footsteps were constantly being constraint as they headed toward the headwind blowing against them.
The Shadow Priests continued casting their magic.

"You whom were deluded by evil, you reprobate beings! The stench emitting from you now will make you sick!"

Geomchis bodies began to turn green. An unpleasant smell entered their nostrils as they breathe in the plague.

Usually this would have been a troubling development! Most would have lost the will to fight, holding their breath and run away at the opportunity.

But an unfortunate blessing, the Geomchis aren't normal humans.

Geomchi3 grinned.
"Just this much!? This is barely comparable to not having my feet wash for 10 days!"

Geomchi4 too, flashed a sinister smile as he recall one moment of his past.

"I was on an excursion in the rainforest for 2 years, and then returned to Korea. Everybody ran away from the bathroom when I started using it. Hehe!"

"There's never a stench that can raise a hair on my skin!"

He went on a hellish training to discipline himself against any sort of odor.

Geomchi aimlessly let out a chuckle.

It was a lifetime ago. In his childhood, at the time when he was learning the arts of the sword; his house was poor, and there was nothing to eat. Sometimes in the middle of his training, he'd find food and eat at the bathroom on his way back.

This was one of his comfort zone!

At the time, it was called a dwitgan (a hole in the ground where u sits to poop. Google.) The 'facility' didn't have water. It was an old and outdated hut, where you'd have to scoop out the wastes, unlike modern conventional toilet!

The foods in the dwitgan were delicious.

"Squatting there eating instant noodles was the best."

Each and every one Geomchis' past was so tragic!

Though their bodies were riddled with the plague that was weakening their joints, they continued to advance.

"Warrior's Assault!"
"Endless Sword!"

Geomchis' bodies glowed with a faint light.
Their running speed and attacking speed increased.

Warrior's Assault.
A buff that increases the recipient's running speed by a whooping 25%!
The powerful rushing attack was extremely effective against the knights.

Even thought it consumes a considerable amount of stamina, the trade off was worth it.
As the buff was continuous, anything that was in the way did not stand a chance.

Cutting, stabbing, and hitting anything!

The swords were forced to flow constantly as a stream of water.
The buff is inefficient to those that aren't familiar with the way of the swords. If one disrupts their flow at the sight of monsters, potentially the sword can go out of control.

One must be three or four steps ahead of the monsters and change their attacking patterns accordingly.

And raising the skill's proficiency can be done through efforts, but to truly utilize the ability to its full potential depends on the individual's fighting ability.

"Screw them!"
"There's nothing that can stop us!"

The Geomchis brandished their swords and advanced like madmen.
Swords were slicing the wind!
They charged toward the priests that conjured the headwinds.
And more paladins got in between.

"Strike!"
"Feel God's wrath, unbelievers!"

The fanatics and Geomchis clashed.

"Hammer of God!"
"Ground Reversal!"

Magically enhanced shields and swords collided.

"Haters. Hate the will of God!"

That was not a skill, just two herds smack talking.

"Oh power of the Holy Spirit, please give me power to relieve the suffering. Therapeutics Touch!"

The Paladins kept receiving the Priests' blessing every time their health points drops.

Priests, clergy and the likes didn't have very strong magic attacks, but their protective blessings and heals were unmatched.

Geomchis continued their vehement attacks, but the HPs they caused on the Paladins were immediately replenished. Not only that, the expensive armors the Paladins were wearing boosted their defenses unimaginably.

Then the Priests in the background continued to buff the Paladins attacking powers.

Furthermore, the Paladins were wearing great armors!

Weed eyes pried them at his location.

"Armor set! Paladin's even!"

Paladin is one of the most popular professions.
They can wield a variety of weapons such as swords and maces. They can also use magic, and have a high defense for survival, so it's love by many.

"If it's the Paladin armor set, I can sell for a helluva high price."

Most people don't like checking auctions to get a part at a time. Most would just go for the full set even if it's more expensive.

"This is awesome to come to the Land of Vampires."

Then against, they must win the battle.

The priests in the rear were making it tough with their constant buffs and heal.

"Why don't these fools die!"
"Priests are healing them."
"Cowards..."

Geomchis clamored.

Though not having the high vitality the Geomchis has, the knights were constant getting heals from the priests till prim and proper shape. Even the ones that seemingly almost ready to collapsed, the priests took care of them till they've made a full recovery.

The Paladins continued the fierce fight, forming an impenetrable wall.

They firmly stood their ground in the midst of the battle, while defending with their shields, and slowly pushed Geomchis back.

"Magic Arrow!"
"Ice Bolt!"

At the same time as their defensive lines up, the priests also used some tough attacking spells.

As the damages they were continuously receiving, the accumulation was becoming more and more significant.

Geomchis were too far ahead for him to intervene, but Pale was getting more and more restless.

"If things are continue to go the way they are, are we're going to fail the quest?"

Weed shook his head.

"We good."

The quest was acquired from the village of vampires!

Similar to the quest he received a while back fighting against Tori's clan, also a rank B quest.

In order to complete the request at the time, he was struggling to increase and utilize all of his skills while under the assistance of Ron Alves.

However, the situation has changed. The Geomchis are higher levels comparing to Weed at that time, and masters in their arts.
Nevertheless, Weed's optimism still looked a bit wry.

"Quest is successful, but there'll be sacrifices."
"Yeh?"
"We're done if we died just once in this place."
"Ah, that's a hell of a restriction!"

Pale and Zephyr's were startled.
If you fail a quest, or die, you're forever banished from the world of vampires.
In case of the death, revival is not an option.

Having high ATK is an outstanding feature of Geomchis. But that also means their defenses aren't prominent enough so they're quite vulnerable. In addition, they can't even use simple self healing spells like the Paladins.

As things going the way they are, the cumulative damages will naturally results in deaths, and the amount is relevant to the total of their strength.

Pale realized.
"We're screwed if this continues!"

Irene lacked the power to cycle her heals to a large group of people; therefore, the fact they were facing was that anyone maybe expendable. In particular, the DEF-lacking Geomchis had the highest possibility of dying at any moment.

Frankly speaking, if the battle continues to go down the current path, the number of their allies will be greatly reduced.

Weed's ways of doing things are meticulously going through preparations.

Cultivating his allies, test the strength of his enemies, while making the most of his environment.

But now was not the case.

They were allowed to be in this land for the total of only three months.

Current situation: Vampire witch trial.

There wasn't much time left to rescue Roselyn from the burning stake. While the Paladins and Priests continued to defend with their impenetrable barrier.

'Have to bet everything on this one.'
Weed's heart was about to break from the slowing growing pain.

'Paladin armor set. Have to give up holding back the damages now.'

Organization within a natural clash can minimize casualties. While commanding over hundreds of officers is a tremendous task; at the same while, organized battles can mean abandoning the victory, and the loss is even more damaging.

In this messy melee skirmish 'formation,' controlling the fight isn't that complex. In addition, the intention of the Geomchis who are in no mood to listen to anyone is well known.

Weed yelled.
"Roselyn, hang in there for a bit! Zephyr nim is coming to save you!"

Kureureureung!

Terrible roars roamed from the battlefield.

Weed's Lion Roar stirred an enormous ripple effect.

Up until now, the uncooperative individuals of Geomchis continued to move forward for Roselyn's, exhausted their rage.

"What? That fish soup of a playboy's gunna save our Roselyn?"
"Hellsnoo! Not happening!"
"I'd rather let our Hyongs get her."
"All the handsome guys can go lie in a ditch!"

The movements of Geomchis changed.

Rather than single mindedly forcing their ways to Roselyn, they pushed toward the Paladins and earnestly fought in close quarters.

"Rotating Lunge!"
"Crisscross Cut!"
"Seven Strokes!"

Geomchis took advantageous of their skills and attacked aggressively.

Dealing direct blows with their swords.

They were using long ranged attacks with their swords, while dealing little damage at the cost of lots of mana. Now they were utilizing their direct melee attacks.

Straightforward and more effective skills.

Some rolled their body on the ground to avoid incoming magic arrows, and then leapt into the air immediately afterward.

Swung their blades at enemies whilst rotating in midair.

Results from agility, quickness, judgment, and experiences!

The scene here was unconceivable by any movies.

From running, ducking, even throwing their swords for a hit......attacking with no distractive thoughts such as flashy moves and defending.

The paladins frantically avoided Geomchis' desperation whist casting their spells.

"I absolutely won't allow him to pass!"
"I don't care how unfair the world is to me, just not for the sake of Zephyr!"

An honorable one on one fight during a confrontation.
In a war, to hell with that!

Geomchis repeated the same tactic of attacking then recedes while ganging up 3-4 people to one paladin.

They continued to do so as they isolated some paladins, and hunted them down. The priests persistently casted heals and plagues, but Geomchis were able to pushed the paladins to their breaking point.

Geomchis had plenty of experiences attacking large group of enemies, so the priests weren't given any break as they tried to intervene.

On the Paladins' side, they weren't given a second of a breather as they faced the onslaught of the raging-wild-boars that were the Geomchis.

In the battle, just a miniscule of a second of the moment!
For one caged Paladin who let up just for a bit, he was struck five, six times in that bit.

Weed's entertained tears faded as he approached the priests at a different route from a far distance. He intended to attack the Judges and Priests that were located behind the units of Paladins.

Dadadadadadak!

From the middle of nowhere, footsteps approached him for no reason.

Therefore, Weed, without a care, sped up on the plain. But then, Zephyr also did the same in a flurry.

Initially, the intention was pure. Weed only sped up to get the similar rate of speed to that of the dash. Then suddenly, the two continued increasing their speed as if it was a competition.

Men's Pride.

For such a trivial reason, even if their stamina's depletes, they absolutely refuse to be lag behind.

If they were at the same condition, Weed was a bit faster. But at the moment, he was wearing a heavy armor. So Zephyr was able to match his speed with Weed's.

Weed was the first to open his mouth. Even though he was short of breath, he let his word flown out calmly.

"The plain's pretty."
"Not a big deal."

Zephyr too, maintained a healthy like glow.

"How you gonna slow down? It'll be a bit hard for ya..."
"Is hyong nim saying it's tough for little old me? I have a very light body."
"Hu hu, the wind's quite calming. So far, I've only used 1% of my strength."
"Only 0.2% of my real strength's used at the moment."

The childish competitive mindset of men weren't going to end.

Weed lifted his hands.

There was still a considerable amount of distance until the priests. However, he had a secret weapon hidden away.

High Elf Yeurika's Bow.

The dream of all archers.

Weed loaded an arrow on the bow. Then shot it toward the priest.

Syusyuk!

The bow was imbedded with powers of the water spirit. The arrow zoomed past as it left behind a stream of droplets in it trajectory.

Soon the arrow reached its intended target.

Puwawak!

It swept up the priests like a wave.

A luxurious bow that can use the power of water spirits!

Weed's archery was not very outstanding. Most of his battles he relied on his sword. The arrows he shot before simply drifted toward monsters from a distance. Also, since the skill wasn't in set with his mastery, it had very little power as it was reduced.

But the Yeurika's Bow reached the priests at a surprising distance and dealt the standard damages.

'This bow's pretty good.'

Weed continued to fire arrows using Yeurika's Bow toward the priests. His mana was rapidly depleting, but he didn't care.

"Cowardly bastards!"
"We are the devotee of God."
"You shall receive the wrath of God!"

Cries of fanatics!
Weed and Zephyr were in close proximity to priests with their sprints.
Weed's gaze became stone cold.

'Ima win this battle and bring the armor sets back.'

Many people also took on the roles priests. Unfortunately, the prices for robe sets were much lower in comparison.

Because they usually weren't situated at the forefront of the battle, their sets didn't require much defense.

'Armor sets!' (yep...that'd be my warcry too, Weed.)

Desperation for items!

"Moonlight Sculptor Blade!"

Aimed at the Priests!

Weed forced his way amongst the priests as he brandished his sword.

Due to the fact that his level was considerably higher than the current quest, the priests lost their lives within two or three strikes.

'Bracelets, rings, earrings, magic staves! MINE!'

Weed looted the priests as he swept through them.

Zephyr too, attacked with a wide radius as he swung his fishing pole, while Surka flaunted her fists in close proximity. At the same time, Maylon and Pale situated themselves atop a hill.

"Triple Shot!"
"Fatal Blow!"

And to support the two as they fired their arrows, Romuna called forth her memorized spell.

"Fire Tornado!"

A huge whirlwind of fire took place.
More so than attacking directly, the spell had vast range and struck many enemies; essentially, disabled the priests from conjurations.

Hwareureureu!

"Kkueahahak!"

The Priests screamed.

Irregardless of the flames around him, Weed continued to target the priests.
Without the past protections and heals from the priests, the paladins dropped quickly one by one.
Geomchi2 and Geomchi3 joined Weed amidst the flames.

"I'll help."
"We gotta divide up their troops."

As they read the flow of battles, the Paladins united into one thick assembly.
While seemingly past their limits, they were not broken.




To our faith, we're to offer our suffering.
May God bend it against the unbelievers in folds.



The Paladins.
Organized themselves and offered their prayers. And contrary to their characteristics, they even tossed their shields aside.




We will forever remain faithful, even to follow the in death.
To God, we give our lives.



As they continued to hymn, the Paladins fiercely swung their swords. While ignoring defense, they fought to annihilate.
The Geomchis retaliated for their dear lives.

"Damn!"
"Where are they getting the strength..."

The Paladins will to live were twice that of the Geomchis.

Geomchis were surrounded by the paladins to a point where there was little space between each Geomchis. Then the paladins let on an unrelenting onslaught as they neglected their defense; but as the damages they dealt were comparatively little, each fell one after another.


The fierce battle raged on for more than 40 minutes!

As the Shadow Priest were taken care of before them; the Shadow Paladins too, lost their lives.
The Geomchis slumped as they sat.

"Coughkeok"
"I was hella nervous for a long time."

Their stamina was exhausted after the long battle.
Even if they were against tough mobs, they can easily take a break in between battles. But this war against the paladins was a necessity for the quest's sake, and called for no pause as they had to win the battle.
Geomchi13 grinned.

"Thank God. The kids didn't get hurt."

Geomchi19 too agreed.

"Aint we dignified? It'd suck if we couldn't protect them."

They withstood the attacks from the Shadow priests and paladins to ensure Seechwi and Yurin's safety in the back.
Men's Pride.

Even they they're seemingly near death; they're willing to fight at close range to ensure the safety of the women in the rear.

A close examination after the victorious battle, the number of practitioners declined by 34. They've lost their lives during the ferocious battle. Primarily the lesser experienced who were killed during the confusion of battle.

"Keoheoheom!"

Geomchi coughed uncomfortably. In addition, Geomchi2 and Geomchi3 didn't lift their heads, similarly with the other instructors.

"How are we going to instruct those kids......such a big disappointment."
"......"
"Tonight, make them do every set."
"Yes."
"Write the name of the deceased separately."
"Sir!"

The penalty for losing their lives in game were experiences lost and a day of was a tiny punishment.
Hell Training!

They will be subjected to at least a month in front of hell's gates.

"WOW."
"Heoeoeo, better not relax too much to avoid death."
"In the future, the instructors also have a responsibility to their practitioners."

The instructors' shoulders dropped.

But this was another sort of training posed on them.

Instead of teaching the selection they had to practitioners; comparatively, Royal Road offered an unlimited ways to learn an art.

Royal Road was more superior in terms of training the five senses and one can truly take advantages of the swords.

Without even the need of using skills, no one who truly uses the sword was harmless if they had anticipated the behavior of the monsters.

Nevertheless, the practitioners face a higher risk, so it was better for the instructors to monitor their group of disciples.

After that, Geomchis, the instructors, and every other practitioner approached Roselyn who was still on the cross.

Kkulkkeog!

Geomchi swallowed his saliva.

The hanged being on the cross had an amazingly alluring appearance.

"Le, let me get you down."
"Thank you."

Geomchi untied the ropes on Roselyn. She held on to him afterward to show thanks.

"I was able to released thanks to Yongsa-nim" (brave warrior + nim)
"Keoheok!"

Ttiring!




Vampire Rescue Complete

Roselyn was rescued from the clutches Taron's Cult unharmed.

She was born destined to be a great queen. Appropriately to the amount of blood she drinks, she'll become more beautiful.

Quest reward: Inquire Minorca.



As Roselyn gives thanks to everyone, she held them close and bowed to kiss their hand.

"Oh great human hero, I humbly gives you my sincere thanks for saving me."

Geomchis were flattered.

"OHH!"
"Great!"
"Nice work coming to the Land of Vampires!"

After completing the quest, the sense of achievement filled the air!
From the teacher down to the practitioners, Roselyn gave thanks by means of a hug in sequential order.
The quest's finished, Pale subtly checked the notice for quest completion.

"Maylon nim, if it's not too much to ask, what we received for completing this quest..."
"Alayot!"

From Minorca, each was to receive 10 cursed dolls as a reward.
Items such as these can be offered to the Temple for a great boost in reputation.
They also received a considerable amount of experiences, the lower level Geomchis were able to gained 2~3 levels.

"The compensation wasn't bad at all."

Weed was satisfied.
After receiving the thank you from the beautiful vampire, Geomchis were more than happy.

"I wish this quest can be repeated......"
"Saving her was a righteous thing to do; this was just one sample of chivalry."

From then on they started accepting Vampire quests!

Quests ranged from grade B and C, and got as much as four at once.

Although they received a considerable damage from the first battle; through Weed's conducting, the damages now reduced dramatically.

Beyond the red wall of the town, where the wild yaks roamed, were their favorite preys.

And the reason was that they can eat yak's meat after the siege!
19 Geomchis were killed. (ROFL)

They became more cautious when hunting Beasts of Chaos. Since the beasts were able to use dark arts and their physical were topnotch. Therefore, a frontal assault seemed to do more harm than good.

Weed and the top 100 practitioners decided to head into battle.

"How we gunna fight? Do we go all out on those guys? I think if we do that, we can take out about half of their HP."

Said Geomchi12 while clenching his fists.
In comparison, it was apparent that the beasts were far stronger than them; but in any case, he didn't want to allow himself to show any sign of weakness.

"Please stand your ground as long as you could when fighting against them."
"Aren't we fighting to win?"
"Of course! They'll be attacking us with all their might so it's good to show that you're able to defy them. It'll be pretty difficult. Don't fight them to the death, escape them to survive."
"Oh? Sounds interesting. Lets do that then."

Weed along with the top-tier Geomchis went on the assault against the beasts. And they were heartily beaten with all sort of magic and physical attacks.
And before their lives were at stake, they fled like the wind.

"Bandage!"

He used the bandage skill on them for a long time.
Weed brought along plenty of first aid materials on the wagon for situations such as this.
In the meantime, the second wave led by Geomchi2 of 100 men went on the assault.

"Yo evil beasts!"
"Come and get it!"

They were struck by curses from the dark arts and sustained physical strikes, calling forth for retreat.

Like a bunch of tanks!
Resilient and slowly worked their way toward victory!

Over time, the Beasts of Chaos power and HP continued to dwindle. And since their INT were low, these monsters began to go out of control.

Rush, rush!
Without a single break, the fight escalated and caused for more retreats.
This was the method of fighting Weed thought up while fighting along side the Pope candidate, Ron Alves, many times before.
100 people during each assault alternately winding down the beasts power; and when they were completely burnt, it spelt their deaths.
As a result, only 13 Goemchis died for the win!

They couldn't escape the strikes from the beasts fast enough.

Pale muttered.
"This quest's also tough."

Zephyr too, agreed.
"Hella tired to celebrate the victory."

Some quests through hard work rewarded new talents.

Those that claimed hard labor won't result to anything suddenly realized Weed's conviction.

Thanks to that, Pale and Irene were able to obtain some new skills; though the skills requirements were so random that they let out shrieks of terror.

"I have to shoot once for every 1000 steps; if I can't, I won' be allowed to shoot for 10000 steps."
"It's this hard to raise the expertise on Sacred Blessing? I have to train it everyday for 10 hours each time......"

The number of deaths gradually decreased as they took on the quests, but they spent much more time than before. Nevertheless, nobody complained.

Soon after they entered the land of the vampires, Pale's party realized that they weren't prepared for such a task, now primarily focused on safety.

From the practitioners' perspective, if they were to die, the gate of hell would swing open for them.

The instructors, who assumed the responsibilities as well as the penalty for his disciples, worried for their safety also. Even if the progress of the quest came to a crawling speed, they'd still prioritized safety above all else!

Geomchi at this time was distracted by delicious foods and Hwaryeong.

Weed was the only one by himself.

He wanted to make use of the 2x EXP period given.

He would try to get commissioned quests battling other monsters so that it wouldn't interfere with his colleagues' current quests.

'We already have 66 deaths. The number will increase without a doubt, and even more so as they get higher difficulty quests. It's best to survive as long as possible. There are still things to do after we finished here.'

The feeling of complete isolation seeped through in this land of vampires; while it'll continue to increase corresponding to the number of people dying.

Weed's way to ensure the number didn't drastically increase was to remove a bunch of stronger monsters while he hunted.

So in some hunt, he swept more than the requested number; such as defeating the wizards and clerics of the Killer Blade Army in addition to the request.

In this way, Weed was busier than the bunch.

Since the quests were preceded with caution, they cut the time for lunch breaks as short as possible. While Weed and Mapan were going through the supplies for food preparation, the rest assumed other duties.

Geomchis were used to making their own foods; while Yurin and Irene as well as other girls tried to be helpful; from washing rice to doing the dishes or setting up the fire.

Weed's tasks decreased to simply picking out ingredients and seasoning the foods as the girls' jobs increased.

When Weed cooked by himself for the group, it could take up to as much as five hours each time. And thanks to this, his Cooking skill increased tremendously.

Hwaryeong after she tastedsoaked kimchi said with a smile.

"Kimchi's so very delicious."

Irene then murmured sadly.

"It's still came from China."
"......?"

She still could not shake off that past the expiration-date-material feeling.

Nevertheless, Hwaryeong and the rest enjoyed it. The feeling of sitting on the ground eating freshly made food enthralled her. Yurin and Surka who were at the same age too, wanted to cook the food.

Of course the manly Zephyr and Pale didn't want to just idle. They got the necessary firewood and also prepared the materials.

Even to such extent as removing the poisonous part of monsters they've hunted: Pale with his bow arrows obtained birds, while Zephyr went down the river to fish.
They supplemented the food ingredients diligently.


"Hurry! We need fish here."
"Yea yea, in just a bit."

Zephyr never once rushed while fishing. With the lure in the river, he would simple watch the flow of the river with a peace of mind.

But ever since he joined up with Weed, he was expected to procure foods. He was now fishing with as much as 10 fishing rods at once, so there was no time for him to slip into his idle mode.

The strange thing with the pressure was that even though the fishes he caught weren't rare, the expertise rating on his skill rose rapidly.

'Maybe the reason my Advanced expertise rating stalled was because I've been too lax.'

He was sure that fishing skill rose by means of catching rare fishes.

There was even a record of the fishes one has caught. But now, simply by catching a lot of fishes, his expertise proficiency rose noticeably.

'Maybe the profession weren't for the sake of a relaxing hobby. This is a fight for continued existence, could it be fishing was a mean to survive? It makes sense......'

Zephyr moved quickly and deliberately as he tried to increase his proficiency by means of fishing. As a Fisherman, his attacking power was a little higher than the norms, and his health point was on the high side; so the possibility of his survivability is very high.

No matter how things were, even when he was near collapsing, he'd refuse to be toppled.

Persistency was the Fisherman's greatest advantage!

Squishy like a zombie, but still survived.

Though, since he was obsessed about his outer appearance, he wouldn't allow himself to be in their position.

So from day to day it was a series of struggles.

From questing then to procuring food he had finally found out how difficult it was.

He remembered the time when he hunted in Basra Dungeon with no rest and thought that it would be his last. But now, on these lines, he was severely mistaken.

By participating in obtaining ingredients, his workload further increased. As if he was maturing step by step, his workload increased as he grew.

Like a suffering horse leaving his barn for the pleasure of an adventure only to find out his suffering hadn't change.

As if he deliberately brought the pain onto himself.
While eating, Zephyr muttered something strange.

"But this is the first time I'm deserving of the food."

Mapan raised his head from the food.

"Hmm?"
"For some reason I'm feeling like the meal's decreasing in term of quality."
"......"

They were now eating poultry, noodles, meat, and whatever else mixed in the midst of it without spices.

Earlier on, the foods were covered with fruit scented seasonings. But now, the food they were eating unadulterated by the plentiful of spices; and the flavor of the day before lingered.

The body gotten used to the slight change of flavoring!

Nevertheless, the food expenses remained the same.

Mapan called for Weed urgently.

"You there, Weed nim!"

But Weed suddenly got up and hurriedly left.

"I just remember I gotta do something, I'm out!"
"......"

Everywhere in the world, there's corruption, even in cuisine!

Meals in the early days of a restaurant tend to be on the good side. But slowly, the qualities of the foods drop to slightly average or go completely unbearable.

The similar process was aimed at Weed's foods and the complaints accumulated to too much, he made the appropriate gesture.

Rather than cooking the foods he normally made while receiving praises, the meals now weren't as delicious.

And now everyone caught wind of the deal!
Weed spoke without an ounce of alarm.

"Then don't eat when you're hungry!"

He threw a threat at them!
And sounds of discontentment traveled the group.

In the meantime, the party continued.

Day by day, experience and skill proficiency increased terrifyingly. Those who were below lvl 100 gained levels tremendously. Of course they were the Geomchis, thanks to the 2x experience boost for the initial weeks.

But still, their achievements couldn't match to that of Weed's.

He was able to locate enemy's position, in an efficient manner, and dominated them in battles.

He underwent tremendous pressure and challenges, so he had little time to himself.

Weed's rate on the hunt increased substantially as he learned of their patterns; he'd then informed the other parties regarding the matter.

Another reason why he didn't join other parties such as Fail's and the others was due to the fact that he was too strong.

If Weed was to lead any party, it'd be a boring hunt.

Still, even the lower levels practitioners were gaining experience dizzyingly fast via his information.

Every time they'd succeeded the quests, they changed their evaluation of him.

"It was set up the way he said."
"He's not a completely evil being."
"My head's......"

Weed was recognized as a force to reckon with.

Around a week had passed, and roughly all the quests in Seirun village were completed.

They've obtained Olderin Boots that gives +45 Agility, and the Circlet of Blaine increases maximum MP as well as mana recovery.

Though the greatest gain came from the Beasts of Chaos' quest, where they received a number of refinement stones for weapons and armors upon completion.

And while Weed gained two levels from it, the others ranged from 5-10 levels increased.
Now the 2x period from quests ended.

The total of Geomchis dropped by 92. Romuna and Surka, whom nearly died twice, managed to survive.

By now, they've acquired a more coherent information regarding Todeum.

"Ordinarily, no one should go near Todeum. The vampires who went there never came back. Why? We do not know. If there is one, then......"
"You're going to Todeum to find out why? This maybe the penalty we're facing for the sins we've committed."
"Maybe you humans could save the aristocrats. Why be in league with you humans? It's something we don't even dream to care for."

Back to top


Chapter 5 : Lee Hyun's First Class



Lee Hyun got onto the bus.
'Whew, it's finally day to go to college, huh.'

For other people, their chests might be bursting with glee when they go to a university. The college life is one fill with a variety of good times: extracurricular activities, MT (membership training), and being part of the clubs. It's also a collection of various knowledge and education, a great place to gain experiences.

However, in Lee Hyun's view, it was crap.

Endlessness. Darkness. Despair!

He should have been fully devoted to Royal Road in order to make money instead of going to school.

As the sighing Lee Hyun continued, a conversation the female college students drifted into his ears.

"What courses are you attending for your major on Monday?"
"I enrolled in advance process of Regenerative Medicine, since I wanted to learn more about joint treatments."
"Really? That's great. I'm also going to it. Words going around that Professor Hanh Minsoo are really good at teaching it. What about you, Soyun."
"Major's Molecular Biology."
"Whew! That's tough. Bet the tests' are killers."

Three female college students are having a lively conversation.
There were many female college students coming to the University via buses so it wasn't a strange thing.

'They're prolly medical students.'
'Pretty cute girls...'
'Good at studying also.'

Some passengers on the bus eyed the female college students with envy.
However, Lee Hyun thought the opposite.

'I pity them.'

That's six years of college!

The Medical field tuition is significantly more expensive than that of other majors. Even if one came from a decent household.

But in most cases, the Ministry of Education and the bank joined hands and prepare a system.

Student loans.

To receive student loans for nearly six years for the University; once you get out, it'd be debt piled on debts!

'Tsk.'

Unknowingly, Lee Hyun's tongue got cold.

Though unlike what really was happening, the female college student took it another way when she saw it.

"Ah Soyun, there's a man over there looking at you drooling!"
"He seems to be the best looking guy on the bus."
"Go and say something."

The two girls forcibly urged the girl named Soyun on.
Soyun then came over to Lee Hyun as she was told.

"Sorry. I don't plan to have a boyfriend since I want to focus on my studies."

She said carefully and soothingly, as to try not to offend him.

Lee Hyun sighed deeply and replied instead of a simple bow of the head.

"I apologize that my behavior was misleading. So here's my two cents on girls. You female college students drink coffee which is extremely expensive rather than just simply......"

Deed rooted prejudice against woman!
He deliberately and annoyingly explained just that bit and then slumped his head.

Sleeping on the bus helps plenty when you lack sleep while recovering your vitality! (as in quit drinking coffee and sleep more.)

Soyun watched the scene and didn't know what to do.

'She alright? Was it too shocking?'

Until they've arrived at the Korea University, Lee Hyun kept his head stationary like that.

"Deureureong, kuwuool." (snoring)

The girls' bitterness grew as he pretended to sleep.

'This makes it look as if we're the bad people.'
'Still, he was too severe to Soyun.'
'I want to ask for his contact info...'

The misunderstand increased when Lee Hyun arrived at the school and at his classroom.

The university's lecture hall was large and magnificent, and was stocked with various state-of-the-art equipments.

Lee Hyun victimized himself.

'This is where my tuition goes?!!'

Since the tuition money was already officially paid to the university, the cut was even deeper!

Since the money was gone, the resentment filled up quickly resolved.

'Hye Yeon also, is taking classes.'

Lee Hye Yeon has a different major, so she didn't have class on Monday. The only time where they were in the class was Liberal Arts on Friday.

'Anyway, let's enter the classroom.'

He did not know anybody in the class.

The senior student threw several welcoming parties and had invited him several times. The motive was that to have the students get acquainted with one another, form friendships from the curriculums, but Lee Hyun didn't go.

The fee was 20000 Won. (20bucks)

Nothing in this world exists for free.

He even skipped the Admission Ceremony a week before. Usually, for most, at the beginning of the new semester shouldn't be a time for them to be late.
In other word, the moment he first stepped into the class was his first time ever.

"Who is he? Don't seem to recognize him."
"Is he a returning senior?"
"I think he's on the waiting list. What his student ID?"

The students who were taking the class noticed him and whispered amongst themselves.

Lee Hyun steadfastly ignored them and took a seat, and then opened up his laptop.

An old, outdated laptop.

It was a relatively inexpensive item from the marketplace on the internet. It was heavy and crude, but the performance wasn't that far behind others.

However, Lee Hyun's face lit up with embarrassment.

'I don't have any books.'

The lecture was on the Existence of Virtual Reality.

He didn't know what kind of textbook to get so it had completely slipped his mind.

Lee Hyun was sitting there in embarrassment when a book slipped in the middle from the girl sitting beside him.

"You can share with me."
"Thank you."
"No problem. likewise to Seonbae-nim too." (Senior classmen.)
"......"

Lee Hyun took a bit to explain.
"So you can be at ease. Im not a Seonbae."
The girl then, persisted.

"Seonbae-nim, please do not joke like that."

Freshman girls seemed to treat many males like poison, at the same while only be interested in their Seonbae. So she took what he said as a joke.

"I really am not a Seonbae......"

Suddenly the misunderstand became unpleasant.

Since he didn't show up at the Admission Ceremony, he didn't make acquaintances with anybody; and surely, the people in this class wouldn't want to hear this conversation.

'I have no choice.'

Lee Hyun gave up on it.

Letting the misunderstanding fizzle out on its own was the best method.

Shortly afterward, he dove into the lecture the professor was teaching. Since the subject the teacher was teaching caught Lee Hyun's interests.

"Many organizations, one in particular is the military, began research into the numerous advantages virtual reality poses. On their part, if they were to deploy a team of Special Forces on a dangerous mission, the survival rate wouldn't be very high; so to have them train on the same terrain in a virtual reality will increase their experiences. This will maximize their survivability, and......however, this notion then wasn't fully completed."

Lee Hyun more or less nodded in agreement.

'It was lacking in many ways. The earlier development placed emphasis on education and training. But to truly place a real being into another reality, it took a long time.'

The Professor spoke.

"Initially, the development of virtual reality then was insufficient; however, there were many feedbacks on the subject regarding the looming possibility of increasing people' happiness via this method. Ultimately, many companies dove into researching virtual reality. Their goal was a simple one."

'Obviously it's the money.'

Lee Hyun's pet theory (simple logic) did not change.

Money is the thing that can make one either cry or laugh!

"Companies essentially gave birth of new societies within virtual reality and sold it to the consumers as a mean of reinvigoration. As technology develops, the field became more competitive. And from this, Unicorn surfaced from the ground to what it is today with its greatest game, Royal Road; which, in my opinion, is the most beloved by humanity."

The professor then went on to lecture about the history of VR, in which he simplified.

Lee Hyun then felt a surge of boredom. Ever since he decided to play Royal Road, he researched countless of articles before even actually playing the game. Thus, he already knew the basic contents of the professor's lecture.

"Euhaam!"

Lee Hyun unknowingly let out a big yawn as he ninja-stretched. He was already tired when he rode the bus, but now sitting in chair listening to the lecture, the waves of sleepiness splashed over him.

And he was reprimanded with eyes from every direction pouring in.

'Until now, he barely came to class on time......and now he doesn't look like he's in the mood to study.'
'Is he a student, or was he fired? Oh, then how was he able to come to our department?'
'Looks like he's a returnee......that must mean he got an F to be retaking this class. I don't want to be like him, gotta work hard and learn. Jjeutjjeutjjeut!' (pencil hitting paper)

Most of the students who are attending this class are freshmen, whom if not openly criticizing him, made unpleasant faces.

Lee Hyun regained his posture and pretended to be studying hard. But the book placed in between the two earlier by the girl who was next him, seemed a bit further away from him.

It was a subtle three centimeters from the previous spot!

Most likely, she too, reviled him.

The professor laughed.

"There are many other times to talk about VR's origin and development in the future to ensue dullness. So should we talk about what your favorite things are regarding Royal Road?"

"Yes!"
"Professor, please do that."

Royal Road's popularity among the students was high. There are only a few of people in the VR Department that doesn't play the game.

"VR is fun, while it can also be use as a tool to study. So then, what is your action against someone who uses skills and of the art classes?"

The professor asked a rather random question. However, some astute students realized his hidden agenda.

The artistic classes in Royal Road are currently under reevaluation.

The troubadour, which is the Bard class, songs convey romance and adventuring together. Even when you did the same quest that many had done; when you have a bard participated during the event singing songs of praises, the rumor of your achievements will get spread farther, and you'll obtain more fame in the process.

If you participate in the Bards' special quest of creating songs, you'll receive an extra bonus in reputation.

Due to these reasons, the Bards were accepted into many parties as people continued to do more difficult quests.

The highly skilled Painter.

Beraneo's 'Paintings of the Continent' were sought for desperately by many nobles.

When nobles have had it with an adventurer choice of action, they console with the painter's network. At that point, that adventurer's face will be plastered in every city; when that happens, that person usually won't be able to receive any special requests.

Only in some cases, where one's intimacy with the commissioner is extremely high, that the quest could be given. Or when one's current level's acceptable or not, it's up to the client.

The painters have a saying whether you can get quests or not, hence their values were reassessed.

Essentially, the picture determines whether you're an adventurer or not.

"Art in a nutshell, was like having an Orc readily waiting in the front yard wanting to pounce you because of your uselessness. But now the Artist classes in Royal Road are being re-evaluated. Although this is a very tough path, walking down this road to become a true artisan is very much respected."

The students were convinced after the professor's proclamation.

"To be an artist who travels the Versailles continent, such a wonderful thing."
"Becoming the great soul that spreads art to an unknown land filled with chaos sounds awesome!"

Some students seemed to be dwelling in their fantasies.

Frankly speaking, even if they didn't choose classes such as Warriors or Paladins, there was no guarantee they'll be safe from monsters. Not only the Artists' attacking power was weak, the risk of traveling Versailles Continent was like that of a flame on a match, easily snuffed out.

So the occupation wasn't as impressive as he let on.

"Recently, I too had been thinking of choosing Artist as an occupation."
"Spreading art to people while earning their respect sounds incredibly attractive."

The students were murmuring.
Lee Hyun wanted to curse.

"You guys are living in an illusion."

If they go to the art city Rodium, they'll be made painfully aware of the harsh reality!

The people who resides there and painstakingly work on their arts; so they when do not receive good reviews, they suffers from aches and pain, and hunger!

Lee Hyun too, also experienced it when the statues he worked on didn't sell well and had to lower the price to a couple of Coppers. And when his statues were regarded as useless ornaments, he held himself back as much as possible to not pick a fight with them.

Having been through such trials he could not argue on behalf of it.

Of course in Lee Hyun's case, he got through to a couple of people by means of flattering; essentially suckered many people to buy his sculptures even if it was just a penny gained.

The vicious sculptor's going as far as getting every change from your pocket!

A while after the students' buzzing did the professor's words continued.

"The Artists struggle to create works; through the works' Artistic Values that their reputation rises, as well as the rise in skill proficiency. Masterpiece, Classic, and Magnum are rankings upon successful completion of the art; so can anybody tell me what are the basis for establishing the Artistic Values and the ranking of the art?"

A student raised his hand.

"I'm Kim Hyun-jun, Gyosu-nim(Professor-nim. Isn't it directly related to the skill's level and proficiency?"

It was an obvious answer using one's common sense.

I.e. for fencing and archery, the damage output of any attacking techniques depended on the skill's level.

Lee Hyun shook his head.

'It's not fully based on skill level.'

Even when he was at the beginner level of sculpture, he sculpted a Masterpiece. And even though later on he reached the intermediate level, the other sculptures he sculpted had lower Artistic Value in comparison.

To say that skill level plays the direct role of determining the art, then when your skills are so far ahead beyond that to make Magnum pieces, the art will no longer be called an art. It could be from skill levels, use of the tools, or the amount of work put into the material; but to say it's absolutely depended on skill levels was wrong.

"No. If there any other students that would like to make an input please do so."
"I'm Park Sumin. Would the value change according how detailed the work was?"

This was it was a girl in sharp glasses who replied.

She was two seats away in Lee Hyun's row.

'That's not even an answer.'

If what she said was the case, then Bingryong could never be a Classic piece.

Fine details.

It's beneficial, but clearly has limitations.

Art can never be based around the technical aspect. Even with just a small portion, when tried to precisely imitate something as it is, it'll never be called a work of art.

Lee Hyun knows that the Royal road system was crappy.

'I can't stop them from randomly making wild assumptions. And since the ball will keep rolling and it's useless for me to stop it, might as well not give a crap.'

Many students answered the question, but the professors buried all their opinion.

Finally, after the professor realized there was no one else to comment on the matter, he spoke.

"So let's change the question. Leave Royal Road and its special circumstances behind; in reality, how do you assess a piece of art?"

Even before the students could come up with an answer, the professor continued.

"In reality, many people dream of stardom. But amongst the many, only a few can truly rises and live well through art. But even they don't understand the meaning of art."
Many dreamed of making a life through art. But unfortunately, without popular consensus from the public, not many people can achieve their goal.

"World-class artisans and their works are reputable, that meant many people know their names, and received lots of praises. They created works of art that are often overpriced. But a look at their works, even experts in the field sometimes said they don't feel an ounce of inspiration. But for many who really truly love art can no long walk those roads due to personal reasons or placed their family before themselves."

"....."

"To make a piece of art isn't difficult. A child first painting of his mother is art; or even paintings on a wall during prehistoric time, as a well wish from the hunter's family to return home safely, is consider as one. The art's value is only in the mind of the beholder. What art is, in addition to the beauty it depicts, are what people's heart postulates what the drawing or the statue represents; and there are boundless of possibilities."

The students quietly listened to the professor's rant. They were in the middle of discussing the Royal Road's system; and now random stories were flowing out that they could not keep up.

"Now lets go back to talk about Royal Road? Artists create their works and are subjected to the evaluation of Masterpiece, Classic, or Magnum with its own Artistic Value. But by this method that it poses a very difficult question regarding the piece upon its completion. In this example, the question is the mistake you made along the way when creating the piece. Or that is to say, you did not make a single mistake when working on the piece, and have made an identical representation; the system will still devalue the art."

Lee Hyun nodded his head.

He sculpted numerous of statues in Royal Road; even when he hadn't made a single mistake on a piece, that work still did not come out to be a Masterpiece. While some relatively well made pieces received more Artistic Value than the former, or some didn't receive any at all.

"In our world, from ancient times, there were many virtuosos. So imagine being evaluated based on their standards? So by which means does the Royal Road system assess your skills by taking in the inputs of our eras past artists, is there a specific method or notation, or something else?"

The students regarded the matter in an unbiased manner. Taking in all the expressions from all the works existed and set it on a standard. However, the professor denied their assumption.

"If you are not to create anything new but constantly acknowledging and compared to the past's expressions, essentially you're standing still. Similarly, others are forced to do the same and cannot overcome it. To be able to witness and create works comparable to past virtuosos, but cannot overcome them to achieve true greatness; is frustrating."

Silent swept the students.

Listening to the professor, it was too complicated.

Artists' works should be evaluated in a fair manner. The fact is the problem is difficult to resolve.

"Many experts praised works? The works will be judged subjectively, depending on the differences between the masses or within a niche of people. Many works of art faces rejection due to the point of view from the mainstream."

"......"

"Though, to speak of, the Royal Road system is under complete security. To evaluate a piece of art, it's classified information."
"Don't you know, professor?"

In respond to the student's question, the professor showed a slightly embarrassed smile.

"In fact, I do not know how the system process and give Artistic Values. Maybe in a percentage, the level of the skills effect the value, but perhaps there are more than hundreds of variables to calculate the score. Or possibly, thousands?"

"If it's that many...it'll be difficult to obtain a good score."

Shortly afterward, the many students who secretly fantasized about becoming an artist gloomed. If there was clear information regarding the criteria of how the value was given, it'd be easier to get a good score; but an unknown criterion with hundreds of variables would be difficult to solve.

The professor shook his head.

"I told you before, art isn't difficult. A look, a feel, and if you can enjoy it, that's enough. Rather than matching the hundreds of criterions, just go with what you think is better and create; because Royal Road is just a space in virtual reality."

"......"

"Royal isn't a simple game. Would it be that great if the skills were only at that level? Royal Road here is another world with a complete history from the beginning of its inception. In real life, is it possible to transform what you value in your mind to reality? Virtual reality realistically depicts reality, and it means something more. Not only can you, in essence, achieve your dream, but you can also enjoy it as the space hands out challenges to be flatten."

The professor had a job in Royal Road.
His class was Landscaper.
His job was to maintain and cultivate beautiful flowers and trees.
The reason behind this particular class was when he obtained a quest at the beginning.

It was thank to a child sitting while watching a flower withering. Then the professor offered the child with a piece of advice on how to bring up the flower.

Then a quest occurred!

The professor gave the flower fertilizers and watered it as it revived. He took it as a sign to be a Landscaper, to cultivate flowers and trees and make them thrive.

Sometimes he got jobs to look after extravagant gardens, but sadly, there weren't many of those. Of course, he was poorer than others, and he was proud but it wasn't anything to boast about.

However, one time, the flowers attracted butterflies with its aroma under a starlit night.

It was a beautiful sight as the flowers bloomed.

It bloomed and faded away; in just one moment, it gave a great impression.

Royal Road was filled with exotic sights, that was its purpose.

The professor said forcibly.

"A space where people can achieve their dreams. Future lessons will be on real life and virtual reality in combination."

After the lecture, the students left the classroom one after another.

"Oh I'm hungry."
"Lets go quickly to get food. I don't wanna be late and wait in line. What'll you do afterward?"
"The library?"
"I have club activities."

Other students were coming into class as it changes course. Lee Hyun then know it was the right time to leave.

Even though they were in the same department, nobody talked to Lee Hyun. He was essentially labeled as a returnee. In clothes that way past its prime, while bearing a face they didn't recognize, he was easily ignored.

'I got to eat lunch.'

Lee Hyun slowly moved alone.
Carrying his homemade lunch to the campus lawn!
Instead of being like the other who came and went to the cafeteria to get their lunch.
A picnic like relaxing tone. Some were eating in a relaxed mood, while others lying on the lawn to sleep.
College student romantic and atmosphere situation!

Many smiles on the faces of the students who were in the shades.
Lee Hyun, too, took out a lunch box to eat.

Ugokugok. (eating)

Radish kimchi and white rice!
A simple but tasty meal.

'The kimchi hadn't been soaked well.'

Nowadays, eating kimchi sold by the market was popular.

'But at least the ingredients genuine.'

Lee Hyun was ok with the price because it'd be much more expensive if he was to soak the kimchi by himself.

Meanwhile, a brisk wind blew.

The students chatter and laughter from all around. Spring is coming.

'Sleepy.'

After the meal, he let out a stretch and yawns followed.

Two hours till next lecture!

He could go to the library but there was no particular book he needed.

'There's no internet at times like these.'

He's now on an adventure in the vampire's kingdom, so sooner or later he'll have to check on the prices of the items.

'Maybe it's telling me to take a nap?'

Lying on the grass as Lee Hyun closed his eyes.

Though the wind was a bit chilly, it was a beautiful sunny day and the weather was great for a nap.

He closed his eyes, and in a short while, he drifted off.

Then, after finishing off their meals in the cafeteria, the students from the Virtual Reality department came out and passed by him.

"Hey, is that not the Seonbae?"
"Yea, looks like him. Seems like he ate here."
"That must be right. But look at that."
"Eating and sleeping......"
"Ugh, so embarrassing!"

The students increased their paces to pass Lee Hyun quickly.
He was a sample of laziness and idleness.
Lee Hyun, more than before, was shunned by the students.
His afternoon course was about the Technological aspect of Virtual Reality. And he saw some familiar faces.
Choi Sang-Jun, Min Sura, and Lee Yu-Chong who were taking similar classes.

"Hey."

When Lee Hyun approached them, their faces stricken.

"Ah, Hello!"
"......"
"Did you want to sit here?"
"Is it alright?"
"We'll go to the back seat."
"You don't have to. I'll go back there."
"No no. We'll do it."

They deliberately rose from the front seat and moved to the back.

Similar with the two that showed up afterward. They were students of the martial art department, so it was even more shocking. At first, they spoke in low form(less honorific) until he looked up; then it became unbearable for them too look at him straight in the eyes.

There were many, but Lee Hyun sat alone.

Lecture time was approaching and students continued to pour in, but no one sat next to Lee Hyun. Most of the reason why was due to the two he faced earlier, everyone else simply avoided him in fear of the unknown.

Ddiriririri.

Four minutes until the lecture officially began, Lee Hyun heard the phone rang.
He purchased an old and used phone to keep in touch with his sister while in college.

The three dimensional images that was so common when one calls did not show up, nor was this able to get online due to it being a discontinued antique phone.

Through the phone, a cheerful voice of Shin Hye-Min came over.




- Hello, Lee Hyun nim.



* * *


During the KMC media Planning Committee.

Everyone who was involved in broadcasting Royal Road was to find new item. Trends were quickly becoming out-of-fashion; no matter how fresh the material was, after a week or so, the committee would discard said material.

"How is it going with the other day's precipitated proboscidean analysis?"
"Will be done before noon tomorrow."
"Too late! You're working on that overtime and get it finish before today end at all costs. Don't even think about leaving your office until it's done!"
"Keoheok!"

Director Kang Han-Seop was pushing the employees.
Broadcasting was the only thing, but it was busy every day.

KMC was growing as a media broadcaster, so one pretty much was expected to be working all day without sleep.

"Nowadays, there is an increase of beginners playing, so what do you think about programs directed at them?"
"That's not bad. Is the age group high?"
"Yes. The majority of them are seniors."

"Then the broadcasting contents are easily resolved. I think it'll be fine to place emphasis on the path of the adventure. Broadcasting time...lets make it at 10 in the evening."

"Overlap it with the Terrestrial Drama."
"To make it comfortable for the family to gather in order to watch."

The number of elders playing Royal Road was moderate, but shouldn't be overlooked; since the number increases proportionally as each month passed. They were beings slow to adapting to new changes, but the generation has the purchasing power that was very formidable if they ever get involved.

"We got to seize them from the beginning. If our broadcast captures their attention during their novice time, this generation of gamers will become loyal followers."
"Yes!"
"Attach in advertisements you investigated that are enticing to the seniors."
"If you want the viewership and have the committee coming up with advertisements, then I don't think that's a good idea at all."

The rapidly growing KMC Media.

Due to and the increasing of the popularity of Royal Road, the advertising fee that gets attach to the program is also on the rise.

But due to the increasing birthrate of new channels broadcasting games, the competition was fierce. Even the channels which only specialize in Royal Road were scared of the increasing trend.

"But Director-nim, what would entail in this month's special program?"

One member asked silently.

He really didn't want to say have a rerun, but there was only a few days left until the date.

Unlike regular broadcasts, the special program ran once per month and featured a special story on the Versailles continent. The date, which loomed about in five days.

"How is the relationship between the two warring guilds, Legend of the Hammer Guild and the Silver Wings?"
"We already did two takes on them."
"What about the adventurer who traveled north?"
"It was late last month, I don't think he succeeded."
"Well, is there anything fresh?"

Director Kang and other members stricken.

Fresh events in Royal Road were dwindling, while KMC Media steadily continued its timely and accurate reports.

Newly discovered locations.
Quests.
Warring forces!

They were deep events of storytelling that builds the Versailles continent's history.
Nevertheless, the special programs did quite well for the station.

Director Kang and the others bound their heads in their hands and groaned, until a new suggestion entered the conversation.

"How about we intersect it with some of our broadcasts?"
"After all, would it be better to broadcast the people flocking to the north?"
"Ok, the north. It's still going through consecutive broadcasts, but there's probably something there the regular program didn't retell."
"That's true."

That suggestion was easily accepted, and time drifted on hopelessly. But suddenly, Director Khang's eyes followed the stream to an empty seat.

"Why is it I don't see Sin Hye-Min ssi?"
"Didn't you know? She's on an adventure in Royal Road, so she couldn't make it to this meeting."
"Is that so?"
"She's lucky."

Director Kang and the other members weren't really concern about Sin Hye-Min situation as they were so busy with the matters at hand.

However, Sin Hye-Min showed up at long last.
"Hello."

She arrived two hours before the actual broadcast, hence she would attend the meeting.

Director Kang inquired.

"Sin Hye-Min ssi, what are you so busy with?"

"I'm sorry. I don't have much time because of the quest. I just want to check up on you since I have a bit of time."

"What is the quest?"

Director Kang didn't expect much from the answer that followed after he asked.

"I'm on a quest together with Weed nim."
"Weed? Is that right. Which Weed?"
"You know which."
"How can you be sure who I know?"
"You can't not know. How can you not know Weed nim?"

"I only know of two that goes by that name. Are you talking about the Jeonshin Weed?" (it had many meaning, but the one that's resemble this story means: predecessor, antecedent, ancestor, original. Basically this prefix was for the 'Weed' of the previous game, which he sold the acc for 3 mill. I rather like the word antecedent.)

"Yes."
Director Kang jumped out of his seat.

"You're on a quest with that Weed?"

Weed.
A common name for a very common grass.
Many users in Royal Road know of that name.
And as a broadcaster, he was the benefactee of such a handle.

The brutal Orc Karichwi.
The battle against the Immortal Legion received a sensational audience.

There was a sense of urgency when he led the Dark Elves and Orcs to fight against Rich Shire!

To Kang, stereotypical siege was just a struggle, while he was on the edge of his seat during this event.

Since then, his name broadened as a broadcaster, and finally had dinner with a peace of mind on such matters.

Then from out of nowhere.

During the Northern Expedition battle against the dragon, he suddenly showed up and fought fantastically.

With a method nobody thought of.
Clearly proven he was the Jeonshin Weed.

"So you're on this quest with Weed..."
"To be precise, we haven't gotten there. But we've been through many adventures along the way."
"What is the quest?"
"It's to reach the Vampire Kingdom, Todeum."

Director Kang and the other eyes filled with suspicion.

"Where is the Vampire Kingdom? Has it always been on the Versailles continent? Is it a newly discovered location in the north?"
"No. Actually, it's the place where a vampire named Tori grew..."

The director and others listened as Sin Hye-Min's retold the story.

The gates of the Vampire Kingdom only open once. If you die, everything ends.

The expedition left for the unknown world.

Their adventure!

As if he seemed to hear the number of audiences climbing.

Director Kang shouted.

"This is the special program. No, cancel that! On the other hand, they still have a month left. What if we schedule this as a regular program? Call him! Call Weed and persuade him to broadcast this!"

* * *


Lee Hyun was sitting in the classroom while on the phone cautiously.

"What you call me about?"
- Yes, actually, I want to talk to you regarding a broadcast.

"A show? What's this about? Are you saying KMC Media wants to broadcast my adventure as a program?"

As soon as the sentence left his mouth, the still growing crowd in the lecture hall became still momentarily.

"......"

The students stopped what they were doing and paid close attention to Lee Hyun.

The students of the department of Virtual Reality.

After graduation will be doing various jobs depending on their fields.

Even for those who current doesn't have Royal Road.

They want to learn about VR because they were motivated by Royal Road.

And the one place where the majority of them obtain news regarding Royal Road was KMC Media!

'What we did was not good, huh?'
'No way, couldn't be.'

They were dubious, but still listened to Lee Hyun's call.

- Yea, that's correct. I want to broadcast our adventure in the Vampire Kingdom, Todeum. But I need permission to do so.
"Hye-Min ssi need my permission?"

- Yes, because you're the one that leads the party as Weed nim. I saved the videos of everybody on the adventure, but it'd be morally wrong if I was to broadcast the clips without your permission. If you get the ok from the others, each can get a salary, and you'll also get the consultation fee.

The students were in frenzies.

'Hye-Min ssi? Couldn't be Sin Hye-Min?'
'Why would that returnee receive a call from Shin Hye-Min?'
'With that famous host?'

These people knew all too well about the name that came from Lee Hyun's mouth; the famous commentator of the Versailles continent, Shin Hye-Min.

The surprise filled students became unspeakable.

"Well, I get the jist of it. Fill me in more in the future."
- Yes. I hope to have an answer as soon as possible, since the station's members are in an uproar. Ah, actually, I forgot since they went so crazy about Weed nim's adventure in the Vampire Kingdom Todeum, but there a catch regarding the broadcasting schedule. They wanted to make an episode once every two days regarding this adventure. Take your time and we'll talk later with more details.

"Definitely."
Lee Hyun hung up the phone.

Then came a flood of students who pretended to be close.
There was a competition to see who could get the two empty seats beside Lee Hyun!

*Triririri.*

Lee Hyun phone rang again.
The student' body stiffened.

'Is Shin Hye-Min calling again.'
'No way...'
'I want just a chance...'

They were quietly waiting with frustration.
But they still kept their mouth closed.

Lee Hyun lifted the phone to answer, but it was another voice that came out.

- Bored so I phoned you. What are you doing now?

Like a crystal clear voice tuned to musical instruments.
It was Jeong Hyo Lynn.

"Ah, Jeong Hyo Lynn ssi. I'm waiting for the lecture to begin."
- Please excuse me, did I interrupt?

"Nah, don't worry, the professor hadn't come yet."
- So you have a few minutes to talk.

"Well, yea. Oh, I heard you have a new song out?"
- How'd you know?

"It was an article on the internet. Something about Jeong Hyo Lynn's imminent release of the song."
- Yes, it's just a single.

The students ridiculed.

They were suspicious of the first call, but to get this second call from Jeong Hyo Lynn, who was a singer.

'I knew something was up.'
'Damn prank.'
'Psh, what do you do to receive a call from Lynn?'
'I saw through your bluff.'

The students continued to deride him. As implied, from that point onward, Lee Hyun's present was thoroughly ignored.

Back to top


Chapter 6 : The Law of Local Procurement



People were coming to Morata day by day. Visitors flocked to the north because of the scent of adventure and new quests.

"Wizard, level 310. Skill set atmospheric magic, looking for a party."
"Come this way, Wizard nim"
"I'm here!"
"Identifier, level 296. I focus on traps but can also identify things for you."
"Identifier nim, I'll let you take care of the items. Join our party!"
"Since we got the offensive lacking Identifier nim, what quest do you want to get?"

The town square was abuzz with people looking for parties.
In every part of the north, new quests and stories were being born.

So every Adventurer wanted to make the best of it!

When they hunted monsters in some dungeon, the chance of them acquiring good items was rare. But here, some given quests can lead them to be the first discoverers of some unknown dungeon, where they will get double experience and the good items drop rate will also increase.

Many of the adventurers gathered in Morata to find faithful compatriots to face the risks. And because of this, Morata became the most prosperous town.

"Polearm! Nothing is more comparable than polearm in combat. A weapon that excels in attack and defense, this might be the last chance for you. Check its stats!"
"Kadallina Dagger. The only weapon in his name. You can find out its value before purchasing......"

Players were squatting in the town's square as they waited for potential prospects to sell their stuff obtained through hunting. Precious items were sold to the players directly as they can get a better value than that from in-game shops.

"Black Iron! Selling items made specifically through Black Irons. These were created by the Blacksmith Geam. These were made at the Intermediate levels and will blow anyone away. However, items are non-refundable after purchase! No guarantee future repairs for dents and damages."

"Masterwork Shield production. Align yourself with a custom made shield from Paberu, whom recognized as a master craftsman upon reaching Intermediate level in Blacksmith."
"Items that provides magic. I have from one day, three days, and a full week."

From Blacksmiths to Seamstresses, Enchanters and Tamers gathered. The north was filled with erratic swarms of monsters and traps. Life crisis happened at every turn here, so naturally called for a great deal of demands on specialized equipments. The market for equipments and commerce developed rapidly, which called for various blue-collar jobs. Now, Morata's name was widespread amongst users as a place to obtain and exchange things, and the adventurers have been endless.

"The land's fertile and wide. Now we just need wheat seeds."
"There must be somewhere in the mine."

The farmers, miners, and grazers also came to Morata for the opportunity. The vacant land was cleared; and from the clearings, mines were founded. For those who found them, they only have to pay an estimated tax to own the land; so miners came and searched the land as adventurers in order to strike rich quick with a gold mine.

Morata was the north's central city!

To be honest, it was flattering to call it that. The number of people deviate from the standard value for a population because it was low, it was also lacking in buildings. Nevertheless, the village was growing everyday as more and more people came to pass. Another part of Morata that was busy besides the adventurous warriors leaving were the producers; which were always can be seen working on something.

And the night life after the sun went down!

The once busy streets in broad daylight were completely abandoned. The main reason was because people were crowding at the Light Tower near the rocky mountain area.

"How on earth can this wonderful sculpture captures the human's sensitivity so subtly?"
"It makes me want to get to know the Engraver more."

On the other hand, for the warriors and mages, they hurried to the battle zone as soon as they saw the light.

"Let's go!"
"To the hunt."

They wanted to make use of the duration of the buffs from the sculpture as much as possible to hunt monsters.

Similar to the Eiffel Tower in France or the Statue of Liberty in New York, each symbolizes individually great city; Morata became famous and flourished through the Light Tower. The information was widespread regarding the subject; now many towns and cities knew of the Light Tower of Morata. Through its workforce, committed care for health, the city's name further widespread. Many of the northern cities know of Morata's achievements, but its Light Tower made it worthy of its recognition. That is the thing people recalls once they had a reminiscent regarding the north.

Another reason why the number of tourists never seemed to dwindle was that of its citywide development, thus the role of the Light Tower was even greater as the city's landmark.

For those who traveled to Morata from Roseheim Kingdom, these were the words they exhale in exhaustion!

"Is this Morata?"
"The Sculptor Weed nim is the prince of this city?"
"I heard they give you porridge when you come!"

The village Elder ruled over Morata province in place of Weed's.

"I want the town's residents no longer have to go hungry."

So he had the city go through a large scale development. The city cultivated the land with crops to relieve the food shortages. Since plants grew so well in the north, the once starving resident thrived and its population increased.

The investments to obliterate the vicious cycle!




Morata have clear another space of wilderness. Reclaimed land can be planted with wheat, vegetables, and plants. First harvest will be four months after which.

Clearing Area: 140,000 Py (1 Py = 3.3058 m2, so about 370 soccer fields)

Economic Growth: 7

Tax Revenue: 800 Gold per month
Grain Yield: 830% increase



In terms of investment, the income yield was inefficient. However, since Morata's population was increasing, this sort of investment was well required. For the clearing of the fields, the village elder spent as much as 30,000 Gold in this project.

"The town's buildings are too underdeveloped. Have to the increase the pride of the village residents by cleaning up."

2000 Gold were given for street cleaning, and 260,000 Gold were invested to housing and commercial constructions. Numerous maintenances, and even a marble gate was built at the entrance of the village. For the pride of the people!




Morale of Morata's residents is 89.
Sanitation and Health Status modified to Very Good.



Whenever adventurers visited the village elder's home; in this case, Bantem, Kunta and Horeugan brought back things from monsters such as the horde of Barbarians they've hunted in Yodeum's Evil Lair. In other cities, these materials could get them up to 200 Gold and around 30 Reputation points when handling them over. But in the Elder's case, this too was also unusual.

"Oh, you did a great job. We, the people of Morata, will never forget your help."

As the village Elder fussed over something seemingly was not big a deal, Bantem replied bluntly.

"As warriors, we're simply doing as dictated."
"No, no. You've helped relieve fear for us from these monsters of our troubled past."

For Morata's village Elder, as well as all its inhabitants, their fear regarding monsters was a bit unusual, as it was due to the fact they were harassed by a vampire clan in the past. That was why the elder was very fond of the warriors.

"You guys were given the task of taking care of things for our cherished and beloved residents, and I would like the exercise the power on behalf of our Lord. Although this may seem insufficient, I hope to take care of your expenses."

Ttiring!




Reward for commissioned is 360 Gold.
Reputation increase by 46.



"So much money..."
"Please come back with more monsters. We'll pay more."

The village elder paid heartily!

In the Lord's stead, he gave a lot. The 130,000 Gold Weed left behind dissipated quickly; so from then on, they heavily relied on the income tax as the revenue source.

The people of Morata revered the warriors that took care of the monsters, and the warriors, in turn, were rewarded with a large amount of fame. Thus, the village elder had to spend a lot of money, this caused the income tax to rise.

Then, on the part of the adventurers; while questing, they had to fork out their money to take care of their equipments, as well as money for food, and even paying for a room at the hostels.

As for the monsters' byproducts and whatever else, they can be processed and remade into leather as well as other products; which caused the prices for the items to increase dizzyingly.

On the other hand, technology, agricultural, and industrial side of Morata were underdeveloped, everything except for the textile industry!

They grew and went on to creating excellent leathers and cloths, which merchants and adventurers bought readily even at expensive prices. This was the main revenue source for Morata.

Still, the village elder did not forgive the increase in tax.

"As thanks for being under the constant observance of goddess Freya, I'd like to make this donation to our brethren."
"Ooohh, may blessing come unto thee."

A significant amount of 5000 Gold was offered.

In addition, other cultural projects went underway. Even though guilds related to combat weren't established, the artist guilds spared no effort to start up. Conferences, art shows, etc., money flowed through these like water. Day by day throughout Morata, variety of window displays, sculptures, and paintings grew into the thousands.


"Keukeukeukeu." (laughter)
"The owner left."
"Let's fly. We are now free."

Wa-1-yi, Wa-2-yi, Wa-3-yi, Wa-5-yi, Wa-6-yi, Wa-7-yi!

They were happy. Their exploiting and oppressing owner was in the world of vampires; although temporary, it was freedom. It wasn't a paradise.

Cheoeok! (a choke.)

The first to spoke through the sound of the wings was Wa-1-yi.

"We have to indulge, but how!"
"Yeah."
"I'm distressed."

The wyverns enthusiastically replied.

"Golgol. It was insufferable because I got the wrong owner. Look at what happened to my golden shell. Golgol!"

Geuminyi knocked on his head.

"Cold and hungry...now, sweet freedom after the suffering. We have the right to enjoy this freedom. Cause here and now, NO OWNER!"

He was elated, as for the simple reason that weed had left. But nevertheless, he was still under Weed's command. Before leaving for the world of vampires, Weed called for the Wyverns and Geumniyi and preached eloquently.

"Looking down from this vast sky, checking on walking monsters. Wa-3-yi!"
"Speak, Master!"
"To you, what does Wyvern means?"
"The lord of the sky, the strong and fast Wyvern, is this right?"
"That's right."

At this time, Wa-3-yi was stuffing himself with chicken wings vigorously. Of course, the rare praise from Weed also made him feel good. But the praises and encouragements also had another meaning.

"So why on earth are my Wyverns weaker than those weak monsters walking on the ground!? So the Wyverns, lords of the sky, flinched against them and spread your wings. The wings are just convenience excuse so you can avoid those inferior walking monsters!!"

Weed fiercely criticized the Wyverns for their weakness.

"Sorry, master."

The Wyverns were ashamed and didn't know what to do. But in actuality, they were weak because of Weed's lacking in proficiency when created them; but they, all the same, were convinced because of their low in intelligence.

"Be strong! The Kingdom will no longer exist if you continue to let others forfeit their lives to those weak monsters. As true lords of the sky, you guys will not lose any of your colleagues at all costs!"

"Kuoooooo!"
"You were concerned about us regarding this."

Their beaks(snout?) trembled with emotions. Weed at the time of his departures, left a goal for these Wyverns to accomplish with his speech.

"Gotta get stronger."

They moved around freely on the hunting ground while growing stronger. Even though their owner wasn't there, they still followed his guidelines. And for a while now, they knew why they were adhering to Weed's commands faithfully.

Leadership and Charisma!

The stats affinities were higher than most toward the Wyverns as they were directly created by Weed. Everybody was growing slowly while following Weed's commands.

"I'd like to get some fresh air today."

But Wa-1-yi chill time went beyond of that his hunting time. He stood on a high cliff with his wings folded, feeling strong, while uselessly stood in his place with a rabbit prey in hand. The other Wyverns behind him were also just as bad.

"Keukeukeu." (laugher)
"This thing is good."
"Eat more, c'mon and eat more!"

Their hunting time was increasingly shorter. The Wyverns were indulging themselves; passing their peaceful days outside in the meadow sleeping and loafing about!

"We came and pretty much did everything."
"Gotta have a break."
"When the owner's not here we gotta rest. Certainly when he comes back, we'll be in a world of hurt then."
"Come and play."

They still hunted sometimes, but it became very little. No matter how high the Leadership and Charisma stats were, if one were absent, it'd become less influencing. And this was one of the results from Weed reduce in control.

"Keukeukeu."
"Happiness. Such a cozy feeling to have."

The Wyverns were indulging themselves on the ground. While being lazy, they were stuffing themselves with delicious things. As a result, they were rapidly fattening. Number of necks grew(weird...but I guessing the fat in the neck came in layers), while their abdomens were no longer able to flexed out, and remained convex. As for other parts, such as their wings, they were severely impaired. Although not a big deal, as they were originally crafted slender, the growing stoutness significantly reduced their flying speed.

Maybe a little more of this recurring actions they'll no longer be able to fly!

"The ground is also good."
"Yea. We had to flap hard just to stay floating in the sky."

The Wyverns banded together on land.

Feet's turn!

Now, sometimes, when hunting, they had to resort to running on the ground.

Step by step!

* * *


When Weed connected, Maylon was already telling the party regarding the broadcast.

"KMC Media is insanely interested in our adventure."

Pale was quite surprised. He had a lot of interest regarding broadcasted materials, but he had never imagined one of their adventures would go on air.

Maylon said with a smile.

"We are pretty much the only people ever to have an adventure in the land of Vampires. So, is it alright if we can air this?"

Since Hwaryeong saw no reason as to why not, she nodded willingly.

"I vote for."

Pale was a bit reluctant, but seeing this as something to promote Maylon's work, he too joined in.

"I too vote yes."

Romuna, Irene, and Sureaka too, calmly withheld their excitement.

"I'm not saying no. An adventure in the world of Vampire isn't something to hide."
"Though it's kind of embarrassing to be in a broadcast...it is ok, you know?"
"We're gunna be aired, yeah!"

There was no need to ask the Geomchis.
As soon as the word broadcasting came out, their attitude since changed.
Those who were sitting idly on the ground shot up and faced the wind, then remain in said position.
Having one's hear swept by the wind is a wondrous sight!
However, since their hair was either crew cut or shaven, the hair remained motionless.
All the instructors called together a meeting.

"Did y'all saw Weed's last video?"
"Yes, Geomchi2 sa-hyeong."
"I hate to say this, but it was cool, huh?"
"The rating was very high."
"We cannot lose."
"Definitely. The heroes of this broadcast are us."

Geomchi3 then said confidently.

"Sa-hyeongs, will you carry out my plan?"
"Can we trust in this?"
"Definitely, we need to make our own song"
"Song?"
"Didn't you see Weed singing his song?"

Orc Karichwi singing was the worst!
Nevertheless, the song accompanied by the exciting event that it became popular.

"But on our part, we'll give them a better song."
"Pretty good idea. I think we'll be alright if we sing the chorus together. But who's gunna compose it?"
"We can leave it to Weed to do it. He is experienced in it, and good at it."
"Leaving it up to Weed seems right."

The instructors were considering everybody's inputs.
The practitioners also came up with few ideas.

"It'll have to show man's spirit."
"It has to be loud to seemingly overwhelm enemies."
"Oh. Gotta show our nice bodies too..then..."
"Yeah! Shirts will be off."

The general population. The norms that enjoy playing Royal Road could never come up with such idiosyncratic idea.

Taking one's top off and to fight against monsters? It's like asking for an immediate death or show that you're crazy.

No matter how little one's clothing is, it's still significant since it is the main source of defense.

Even if it's just a piece among thousands, when wearing the right armor at the right level, the damage sustained can decrease by half.

Though the only time that the idea is right is when one can tell the damage will be huge, or a desperate need to save the armor from breaking, then it could be considered as a good idea to take it off.

But the absurd opinion from Geomchi38 was aggressively taken to mind by Geomchi3.

"Good idea, Geomchi38."
"Thanks for minding my idea, Geomchi3 sa-hyeong."
"But! Ain't it riskier by taking it off?"
"Mhm! I also though about that. So when we meet a really strong dude, we'll slip away. But for normal mobs, we'll just overwhelm them with our stamina!"
"Sounds cool, solid plan."
"Geomchi38, I didn't know you were so smart."
"I don't wanna boost, but when I was a child, my teacher had praised me."

Geomchi38 recalled his past with a satisfied look.
Geomchi3 seemingly enviable, asked.

"What were you told?"
"She said 'I have a good head but hate studying.'"
"Oh, such a good compliment."

School teachers often lie!
They said that every time there was a parent-teacher conference.
Doing so then kids could be sent to school, and paid the tuition.

"I usually procrastinate till the last minute or so, then I start using my head."
"I see. So attempting things nearing due time is good for you."
"My retention capacity's only a 30 minutes worth when it comes to studying."
"But really now. You guys have something special going on here."

The usually non-talkative Geomchi intervened.

"Keuheum." (Ehem)
"Instructors, you guys have something to fill me in on?"

Geomchi2 and the other instructors, as well as the practitioners, made haste to comply to their Master's inquiry.
A moment after their tale was finished, Geomchi words seemingly burdened.

"I think, we need something that symbolizes our teachings."
"MHM! Though we have a lot of styles, so one line may not encompass for all of us. Could you come up with something, Master?"
"If that's so. Then to keep it in mind......"

Geomchi thought to himself for a moment, then boast with a smile.

"Our sword is invicible."
"......"

The message was very simple and clear!
But it spoke to many of the Geomchis.
The willingness to face any enemy.

For the sword, even if it's nearing its brink of fracture, it should never break. When a sword under duress, it's because its owner couldn't properly taken care of it.

They have learned swordsmanship for seemingly a lifetime.

And they trusted in it.

For Geomchi, he learned the value of life through it.

For the others, though they were only under his tutelage for just the swordsmanship, they still learned the world through his sword.

They faced the turbulence weather undeterred with their swords.

While continued to sharpen their swords and hone their skills as they move forward, it signified their bold aspiration and commitment!

Geomchi2 repeated those words.

"Our sword is invicible!"
"Our sword is invicible!"
"Our sword is invicible!"

Geomchis shouted their aspiration.

Weed's party, a bit further away, also gathered to stage a conference.
Pale's brows furrowed a difficult expression.

"That plan has indignation written all over it."

Hwaryeong and Zephyr agreed with criticism.

"I think that's a horrible plan."
"Can you imagine the Geomchis taking their tops off while shouting 'our sword is invincible' at the top of their lungs?"

Suffice to say, the imagined sight was terrible.
And the embarrassment follow was even worse!

At this moment, they were scared of the Geomchis action more than those of the mobs.

The embarrassment at this level would always retain at the back of their mind.

Irene pleaded expressively.

"Weed nim. Can you please do something about this?"

Weed shook his head.

"How can I tell my Sa-hyeongs to dial it down? That's like subjecting them to an even larger indignation and killing the momentum."
"Hyuu!"

Everyone groaned, fully knowing they couldn't do anything have the Geomchis tone things down.
Seechwi at this time finally gave in.

'I don't think I'll ever understand them no matter how many psychiatric evaluation they're subjected to.'

Until now she had been observing the Geomchis' mindset, but it was considerably difficult. She struggled on this far more so than that of her doctoral dissertation.

They're exciting like true men, and then somehow sometimes turned into childish clowns.

It was as if the only thing they knew of were swords and battles, while clueless on how to appeal themselves to the opposite sex.

Their hidden complexity was a current that was impossible to determine its flow.

Nonetheless, one thing was for sure, anyone that could understand the Geomchis bizarre nature was just as twisted as they are.

Weed said.

"But this hype is a necessity."

Surka lamented.

"But do we really need this..."

Romuna replied shortly.

"Somehow this hype seems to be so troublesome."

Mapan intervened.

"I think...the best way to decrease this embarrassment is to get the maximum distance from the Geomchis as possible."

Weed agreed with his opinion after a moment of thought.

"I'm in favor, what about you guys?"

Maylon, Irene, Pale, and Seechwi answered simultaneously almost immediately.

"As far away as possible!"
"Don't even turn your heads, just pretend you didn't know!"
"We can reach the top of a hill then speed up when coming down the slope."
"Chwiik. We got to go."

Their instantaneous agreement showed how desperate they were.
Coming together!

There were a lot of embarrassing moments in everybody's lives. But when a situation such as hanging out with the Geomchis came forth, it was best to turn tail and run rather than playing along.

And so, a secret countermeasure was put in place.
Seukseuk.(brushing)

Yurin was still sitting on the ground painting in her sketchbook.

She had been drawing without taking a single break to increase her skill proficiency.

Zephyr had slipped away from his colleagues meeting regarding the Geomchis and pondered at the sight before him.

'I wonder how she lived to trust her brother so much.'

A little while back, Weed's words to Yurin were kept to a minimal, yet somehow, the message from one to another was well understood.

Her parents died when she was young, so it was tough having a steady home.

'I don't how anyone lived without money. Even the dolls I had were foreign made.'

Zephyr had never first hand experienced any kind of poverty.

When he was a kid, instead of toys to play with, he was handed jewelry and many things that shouldn't be given to a kid.

Only times where he'd went without money was when he didn't receive his allowance for not cleaning his room, or had his platinum credit card taken away for a slip in his grades.

His one crushing trauma was when he didn't have the money to go to night clubs with his friends the week after.

'She is such a nice and pretty girl to live such a heart wrenching life.'

Zephyr couldn't endure watching from the side.

He didn't know anything regarding Yurin and was not appropriate to console her.

He though she should at the very least smile a lot more while enjoying Royal Road, but now only to encounter an embarrassing moment brought on by the Geomchis.

Zephyr said to her kindly.

"It's alright. It'll be fine."
"Hm?"

Yurin seemingly confused, as she didn't understand what she was told.

She was enjoying painting. Envisioned what color goes where to produce a beautiful painting.

She was happy when finished her drawing!

This was a good thing, so she brooded over what she was told from next to her.

Due to the unusual reaction, Zephyr said cautiously.

"Umm, have you not heard? Due to the Geomchis embarrassing actions, we called together a meeting to plan what we should do."

Yurin's eyes twinkled.

"Why? Aren't they cool?"
"......"

Zephyr jaw dropped.

"I drew a picture of it to keep for a long time. On another note, I can sell this to girls for money. Hehehe."
"......"

Zephyr felt a cold sweat running down his spine.
He was momentarily captured by Yurin's cuteness.

But she was still Weed's younger sister. This was absolutely not something that could be easily overlooked.

* * *


Weed and the party continued to move eastward toward Todeum.
According to the information gather from Seirun, the trip could take as much as ten days!

"Really tough."

Zephyr heaved a heavy sigh.

Under normal conditions, there would be some sort of transportation via horses or carriages for such a journey. But here and now, it was the world of vampires.

There was no such convenience.

Although there was Mapan's wagon, but it could only seat a limited amount of people; only Irene, Hwaryeong, Romuna, and Yurin were those that rode it as they had low stamina.

"Heokheok." (wheezing)
"Damn, really."

They were slowly traversing the road; and whenever anyone felt out of stamina, Irene would cast magic spells that restores physical properties.

After a full day of walking until the evening, the party would rest to eat. Of course, the foods were made by Weed.

"I'll make food that'll increase stamina and decrease fatigue for ten days or so."

Weed put herbs into the chicken.

Well stuffed chicken!

Of course, the mix of herbs contained very little ginseng or dry bellflower, as to not let their scent ruined the chicken flavor.

"It's only still broiling and I'm already hooked."

Everyone traveled the same span of time and distance. All were physically tired, the toll on their mind called for a rest as well. Nevertheless, Weed still had to prepare the large quantity of food.

As a matter of fact, Hwaryeong and Yurin tugged on Weed's sleeves to offer their assistance, only to be declined by him.

"Usually I don't mind, but this time the food needs to be much better than other times, so it's better if I do make it myself."

When people with low cooking skill cooks, they tends to be very wasteful of the cooking materials.

"Ok, but if it gets too tough, call me."
"Brother, I can lend you a hand anytime."

Hwaryeong and Yurin were forced to retreat.

After eating a hearty meal of herbal chicken stew, Weed resumed to his usual actions at night.

Sagaksagak. (carving sound)

Weed was carving a sculpture while walking. Using the plain method of actually carving rather than relying on his actual skills to sculpt the wood.

"Every little thing when comes together will always bear fruit to something greater."

When he created a Magnum piece, his skill proficiency rose considerably. But until now, despite having carved maybe a dozen pieces per day, many of which were Classic rather than Magnum pieces.

When relaxing after a battle, if he wasn't carving, he would sow or did smithing. Or fishes while he sculpted

Comparing to the long cooking hours and preparations, carving was as simple as pulling a piece of wood out and begin.

As his goal was far away, he knew it would take a long while before achieving it.

And he tirelessly devoted to travel that long path knowing that it was the fastest way to make his dream comes true.

Attaining his dream through sculptures, as well as other acquired production skills; they were his driving force.

An endless road of physical labor.

More than the being strong or the aptitude to learn, was the will of complete devotion.

Though relying on just that is simply exasperating.

So there is another reason for one wanting to become stronger.

On Versailles continent, there were numerous dungeons and hunting grounds, as well as a wide variety of quests. To face and fight stronger monsters and overcoming the risks was the main reason for him to get stronger.

So purposefully continuing, the constant work was not at all tedious.

They have traveled for three days.

From onto the wagon, Hwaryeong asked apologetically.

"Weed nim. Isn't walking getting harder?"
"No. I'm just worry over the broadcasting material!"
"......"

Weed had a suddenly realization about the broadcasting thing.

The eating and the blindly walking constantly should not be the only materials being broadcast.

If things continued the way they are, it'll turn away many viewers.

With the thought of the money obtain corresponding to the broadcasting materials in mind; he sped up his speed toward Todeum to a much quicker pace.

Hwaryeong this time around, questioned Geomchi9.

"Is it bad?"
"No."

Geomchi9 replied valiantly!

"If it's too tough you can take my place."
"I'm only using a fraction of my power."
"......"

Seeing as Weed and all the Geomchis were used to the hard work and physical training, she didn't give it a second thought.

In Zephyr, Maylon, Pale, and Sureuka's cases, they took turn to rest on the wagon.

Of course Mapan, the merchant, remained on the ride continuously.

Lunch time that day!

The traveling group and the wagon finally crossed the mountain.

The wildflowers and the blooming trees engulfed every degree of their sights.

Whenever a breeze blown past, the flowers all danced to its sweep. The temporary sight of the tens of thousands of petals flying in the wind was spectacular.

"Wooow!"

A once in a lifetime sight.

Numerous petals dancing in the sky to the will of the wind, as well as the fragrant that came and went left the party wanting.

In the northern part of the continent, it was a struggle everyday against the harsh nature for everyone; but the sight bore before them in the land of Vampires was breathtaking.

A beautiful scenery out of this world!

Yurin asked.

"Brother, can we rest here a little?"

Irene and Romnyuna couldn't help but agreed to it.

"Yes Weed nim! Let's take a break here. It's not good to let this opportunity pass."
"Just an hour here. It's been too tiring."

They did not voice themselves, but Hwaryeong, Maylon, and Surka also thought the place was good. Such a beautiful place to kick back and relax to wash away all the fatigue accumulated.

In fact, the physical fatigue can somewhat be controlled via the use of magic and foods, but not the mental fatigue amassed.

The constant movement, while tedious, was a pain. In this natural flowerbed stretched before them, they all wanted to relax.

But some did not get their hopes up.

'There's no way Weed nim will stay at this place for such a meaningless reason.'
'Just give up and go.'

Susceptible to his ways!
In normal cases, Relaxing was not Weed's way of doing things.
But for some reason, Weed readily agreed.

"Yep, this place is good, but I think one hour is too short. Let's stay here for seven hours or so."
"Kyaa, really?"

Surka cheered. The other girls were also happy.
The unbelievable scenery of blossoming flowers within the mountain created a good atmosphere.
However, Mapan and Zephyr eyes were filled with suspicion.

'It's not normal for Weed nim to do this.'
'No way, could it be there are monsters in the area?'

They scanned the flower garden.

A scene hard to find elsewhere on heaven and earth alike; filled with blossoming flower and blooming plants, while the dragonflies and butterflies lazily flutter, a magnificent picture filled with serenity.

There was no dungeon, nor were there any monsters that could be spotted.

In the case of monsters, archers would have sighted them outright with their buffed up visions.

'Then what is the reason.'

Mapan and Zephyr were locked in agony rather than relaxing.
Hwaryeong, Irene, and Romuna thought to themselves.

'Weed nim must have also wanted to rest while viewing the beautiful flowers and trees. Perhaps he might also want to take a stroll with me...'
'Seems like Weed nim is still a brother who can't refuse his dear sister's request. Aside from his usual actions, he's secretly a real family man with sensitivity.'

'Such a really beautiful place. Of course, an artist of his caliber could not pass up a place like this. Is Weed min trying to conjure up his inspiration in this place? He's going to sculpt a great statue!'

Romyuna's opinion was fairly straightforward and plausible, so she told the whole party of it.
Naturally, the reaction was explosive.

"Wut, really?"
"He's going to sculpts? Then we get to watch the work from beginning to end?"

Hwaryeong eyes sparkled.
Maylon did not hide her expectation.

"Yes! Or else he wouldn't have bother calling for a seven hours break."
"Wah, I get what you're saying. That's definitely it!"

Weed, on a daily basis, created a lot of sculptures.
Delicate and calming representation of objects.
The road to increase skill proficiency was paved with labor.
Nevertheless, many things happened to increase his desire.

However, Weed's aim and the created works differed in terms of purpose. Few known of the fact, but nonetheless, his reputation spread on the Versailles continent as the transgressor of great sculptures!

Sculptures like the Light Tower and Bingryong that rose to the ranks of Classic or Magnum were few examples of his visions.

Even the calm Pale fluttered with anticipations.

Geomchi too, looked forward to it.

'Creating works through carving. In this way, can I read how polished his heart is through the work's textures?'

Everybody was watching Weed's movements.

None carelessly opened their mouth, nor approached Weed. They tried to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Before their eyes, he was gone.
Weed was presently moving.

As expected by Romuna, he drew out Zahab's carving knife.
Through the same means as always.

He infused his life and soul into Zahab's carving knife just like the numerous times he sculpted.

"Moonlight......"

Weed shouted at the tree before him.

"...Sculpting Blade!"

Rather than moonlight sculpting, he used Moonlight Sculpting Blade!
Weed's carving knife surged the plant with a whoosh whenever he strikes.
Irien's small mouth stretched wide.

"Haahh?"

Zephyr also shook his head.

"The hell?"

At the first glance, it was as if Weed was working from bottom upward, but the branches and the tree was cleanly severed off.
Hwaryeong muttered in a quiet voice.

"I need to watch longer. Since there are various ways to sculpting, I'm sure this is just one of the methods."

There was even a method to sculpt light.
So they figured there was some sort of way where Weed needed that tree in a different manner.
They patiently waited with expectation.

"Wheww."

Weed then went on to collecting the pieces.
Formed a collection of branches!

"I wonder how much money this is going to save me!"

Weed was very happy.
To increase his sculpting he needed good materials.
Excellent materials such as the Wood Elves' lumber were sold at expensive prices.
Strict procurement laws!

In Weed's case, he couldn't help but to buy the materials, but the prices his sculptures sold at brought him to a loss.
The speed of his skill-rise decreased; and as he grows, the future mats will be even more expensive.
But then, they had accidentally discovered this lively flowering bed with growing trees.
The outer surface of the wood was good, while the leaves were lustrous.
Strong life force and vibrant trees!

Thus the true purpose of the rest: a chance to save a few pennies by cutting down the trees.

"So great, this should earn me a bit!"

After having collected the branches, Weed went on to working on the trunk.
Mapan rushed over.

"Weed nim, I'll be happy to help you!"

Mapan swept up the twigs to place them onto the wagon.
The difficulty when he was a beginner taught him how to gain and spend money!
He had to survive on collecting firewood from the mountain ranges.
Mapan was now collecting timbers with the intention to sell them.
The atrocities the committed!
Cutting down the myriads of trees, the party realized the circumstances of his actions.

"It was for money after all."
"Somehow, Weed nim's action would always result to this......"

They once again faced an overwhelming disappointment.
However, one did not lose hope.
Zephyr said to himself.

"Weed's younger sister must love flowers."

Pale also nodded his head.

"The need for money can't be genetic."

The youthful Yurin should be somewhere adorning herself with flowers in this plain.
As expected of a girl.
When they sought out Yurin.
The scene unfolded before them was shocking.

It was correct that Yurin was sitting in the field of flowers. The problem was she was squatting on the ground digging into the flowers reaching for the petals, yanking them out and placing them into her basket-shape formed hand.

"The, why......"

Questioned by Zephyr who approached her, Yurin replied concisely.

"It's natural dye."
"Dye?"
"Gathering the petals together can make dyes. And to use them to paint a picture, cost nothing."
"......"

Same mentality!
Yurin was no different from Weed.

"Please help me."

Zephyr could not refuse Yurin's request, squatted down, and then started collecting the petals diligently.

"You have to divide them by colors."
"Yeh..."

Then he went on to struck a tree, and colleted the dropped petals.
The practitioners, at this very moment, were getting bored of flower watching scene.

"This carefree idling around is a bit tiresome."
"There's nothing to do here besides this."

Weed just couldn't bear with their wry comments any longer!
He sent a message to quell their complaints.

"If you help me collecting these woods, then I'll treat you all with a round of meat."
"Meat!"

The practitioners rushed in a flurry brandishing their swords toward the trees. Followed by their swinging, all that left were wreckages and stumps of what used to be vibrant trees.

Even when the durability of their swords dropped tremendously due to the demand, they continued their devastating prayer!

"Sword or meat, MEAT!"
"COME TO ME GRILLED MEAT!"

Mapan obtained the wood in exchange for the meat rations.
Pale was devastated.

"I can't believe this!"

The sight was beyond shocking.
Everywhere Weed and the practitioners step foot on, the trees appeared to be just a stump moments later.
The instructors and Gemchi weren't just idling around.

"There are a lot of trees this way."
"The pieces aren't thick enough for carving!"

Shouted them as they led the practitioners collecting wood; using this voice deliberately, they cried out for Weed to hear. In the practitioners' cases, they weren't press by concisely cutting the wood; rather, meat was their ultimatum.

And in comparison, the hypocritical instructors' wreckage was worse!
Then, Hwaryeong's face stricken as she walked toward Weed.

'Guess it's too much for Hwaryeong nim to take.'
'Seems like she's going to give him what for.'

The party hoped.

The people that can seemingly restrain Weed were Geomchi and Hwaryeong.

For Geomchi was his master in the ways of the sword, while Hwaryeong hardened look and strong presence can essentially dampen the atmosphere.

If she was like this, Weed would change his attitude.
However, Hwaryeong did not stop Weed.

As he went on cutting the tree in front of him, she danced silently behind him.
The speech the dance spoke was quite straightforward.

She was doing it in order to lessen Weed's fatigue, at the same while she had on a provocative gown to confess her heart to catch his attention; like a butterfly sappunsappun(fluttering about) to draw in her mate.

Her heels trampled the flowers with every dance steps she made.
Complete destruction of nature.
The place they stayed at slowly turning into ruins.

* * *


Director Kang and the planning committee hearts were thrilled.

'I can see what the Jeonshin Weed is like.'
'It was very good for the station that we got this.'

Simply having Weed's name, it was a guarantee that the viewership wouldn't be low.
Domestically, as well as on the international level, he was known as the God of War!

Cryptic Invader.
Hunter without a shadow.
The Dark Knight.

Weed earned a variety of nicknames, but the one that stuck without being either excessive or long, was the 'God of War.'

An individual that exists to fight against every monster, and comes out the victorious singular.

A legend born from the Magic of the Continent.

From just buying his account, CTS Media essential obtained a strong following that came with Weed's reputation.

"I hope it just as sensational as the Legion of Immortals quest."

Director Kang was filled with a swirl of positive anticipation.

"No drinking yo. They're away in the Kingdom of Vampires. Above all, Weed is leading the expedition. This is going to be more work than the Legions of Immortal."
"Gotta stay up, right?"
"Yes!"

The station officials were convinced.
This adventure was the jackpot of a broadcast to draw in more audiences!
What they need now, was the work to put behind it.

"Sound team, special effect team! Starting today, you're on a 24 hours standby. You're gunna edit things as they're shown the screen."
"Yes. Everyone is waiting."
"The writers have to make the caption oomph with the descriptions."
"I don't think there's such need. If you copy paste anything to Weed's adventure it'd still be just as intense."
"True that. But it's an order from the commissioner. We've had this experience before, got to proceed with the editing as quickly as possible. Our first priority is to begin the broadcast as soon as possible."

Only veteran broadcasters were gathered for this urgent task.
Usually the special program features prestigious guilds expeditions or large scale boss monster hunts; though now, Weed was the only person that they're preparing the program for.
The faith they had in Weed was proven long before.
The Planning Division unexpectedly exclaimed, due the fact that the adventure they were about to work on popped up on the screen.

"Boss! Videos are coming in."
"Who got it? Put it on the main screen."
"Yes. Doing it now."

The station turned their gaze onto the main screen.
According to the talk earlier, they should have been proceeding with editing.
But curiosities regarding Weed's adventure far outweigh the work.
Weed and the party stepped onto the steep mountain.
Far above the cliffs, clouds drifted by.

They cleared it, and traveled along the flowing creek, and reached a place filled with trees and flowers.

Kkulkkeog. (Gulp.)

Director Kang swallowed his saliva.

On the main screen, the unexpected sight before them was simply breathtaking!

Weed and his party stopped in their tracks when entered the plain of flowers. And after a few verbal exchanges, they scattered in groups.

"That must mean they want to take a break."
"Yea, I think so."

But they began to harvest petals and timbers.

As the hundreds of people moved forward with their harvest, they ground became bare wherever they tread.

From one area to another, each was becoming a thorough mess. Everywhere they trampled, it was as if the once sweet fragrant from the flowers got drown out.

Havoc!
Devastation!
It became unbearable.

"......"

Director Kang, as well as everybody else, became speechless.

Instead of appreciating the beautiful place they've encountered accidentally, Weed and co. left nothing standing.

In what seemingly as 2 seconds, every form of flowering plants disappeared.

In that location, they calmly had their meals with meat as if nothing happened.

"Do we export this to broadcast?"
"There's no way we can do that, sir."
"Then, today must be just messing around; the real adventure will probably start tomorrow."
"Sure. It is Weed."

Director Kang still did not lose hope.

Jeonshin Weed.

It was an honor to watch all of his struggles.

In Magic of the Continent, he was the sole existence that can drop any challengers to their knees, and forces every enemy to abandon hope. It was great to form an exclusive contract with Weed and to broadcast this adventure.

In fact, the entire broadcasting station had already cleaned up the internal issue regarding the special program because the expectation on this was very high.

However, Weed and his party have been traveling for about nine days, and everywhere they went, atrocities were committed.

Each and every time, Director Khang's innards were slowly burnt to black.

Back to top


Chapter 7 : Letter of a Vampire



Vampire Kingdom Todeum.
Weed and his party arrived to their destination.
The first glimpse was the projecting spires shooting toward the sky; of which belonging to dozen of old rustic castles surrounded by mountains.
Broken gravestones and burial mounds.
Essential indicated a cemetery within the mountain ranges.

"Ahh, this is Todeum."
"So many castles."
"Lots of graves."

The energy flown out from Toteum was eerie.
There was the cold, but from some unknown place, the chills were creeping in!
Due to the thick fog that encompassed the area, the far away horizon could not be seen.




Became the first to discover Vampire Kingdom Todeum.

Rewards:
+820 Reputation.

If reported to an aristocratic member or to a royal family of Versailles continent, additional compensation will be rewarded.
For discovering a kingdom in an unexplored region, the quest rewards from this region will be 2x for a week.



Todeum!
Tori's promised location.
Weed slowly stepped forward. He pretended to be undaunted, but still could not settle down.

'I cannot relax. If I do, my devastatingly huge misfortune will consume me.'

Arrival at the kingdom should have been comforting; but, if anything, it has brought in more vigilance.

'It's always the calm before the storm. Have to be on alert for any requests before accepting them.'

He was thinking about the compensation to the difficulty ratio of quests prior to spending energy after reception. When everything was checked out accordingly, then expectations can be high.

He didn't want quests that were similar to having a watermelon flung at you from behind that came out of nowhere!

Then, it couldn't be avoided.

And the run is over.

Those quests are just the temptation at first sight and leads to nothing else but death.

They first quest they accepted in Seirun was already a rank B quest, from what seemingly a town for starters; so it was understandable to speculate that the Vampire Kingdom Todeum quests would be much more difficult in comparison.

'There are indications of quests. But nothing alarming.'

Each elegant and classically built castle was connected to each other, forming a huge citadel. But the feeling weren't the least human.

There were no traces of living beings or to a smaller extent, bats, observed within this giant fortress.

The colossal Todeum appeared menacing.

Near the gate, Weed discovered fragmented pieces of wood written in cursive by someone.



« To keep...our nice blood. »



"......"

Weed thought it was absurd, but he continued reading.



« Drink blood three times a day. Regular Vampires must never skip sleeping in the morning.

To us, Todeum was a comfortable home.

As a hobby, late at night, I wake up and start with a little stretching, then turn into a bat and fly around Todeum.
The banquet room in Blood Palace is a good example of our luxurious vampire race.

The humans that lived around us have already been condemned to slavery.
The humans worked for us such as cattle, and had sacrificed their blood to us.

Isn't it wonderful? Thanks to the sacrificial of humans, we were kept away from death.

As Todeum increasingly became gloomier by the day, so did the Power of Darkness, which added to our strength.
But with the increase of the mighty Power of Darkness, our enemies too, rose from their slumber.

The Pegasus that flies in the sky.
The Innocent loving Unicorn.
They simultaneously attacked our darling Todeum.

They weren't affected by our legendary Power of Darkness at all.
As we were peace loving, and though we were scared, we had to fight.

Oh, as to why Vampires hate Unicorns? There is a deep historical reason. »



At that, Weed took a quick glance at the wooden boards below.

The long narration as to why the Vampires and Unicorns had deep hatred for one another spanned over a total of seven pieces (of wood.) It was something trivial such as the Unicorns snatched away virgin Vampire maidens, or stole jewelry or gold, etc.




« Anyway, it was difficult for us Vampires to fend off the Pegasus and Unicorns' attack. Unlike the humans, we did not have the number to do so. Thus, Todeum's day and night were occupied and the citadel fell.

But this event wasn't all the misery that fell upon our Bloody family.

With the strength of the Power of Darkness too was on the decline, the humans who have lived here in ancient time would return.

For that specific reason, they had a tower built within the citadel of Todeum.

Hero's Tower.

We want You to destroy that place and to reclaim the pride of Vampires.

If this is not possible, then at very least suppress the Unicorns and Pegasus to the bare minimum.

Note: Our Vampire families doesn't have any foreign currency, but if You succeed the request, we'll allow you to enter our treasury. »



Ttiring!




The request from an unknown Vampire.

Todeum's only remnant is a vampire's record.

Under the annoyance of the Pegasus and Unicorns, the Vampires had hidden themselves and would not come out. The virtue of the Vampires is still a mystery, but it seems alright to comply with their request. Within the Vampire clan's treasury, the soul of Koldeurim was trapped in a bead; and at the moment of the bead's destruction, his soul will be liberated. If You want to see the true nature of the Vampire Kingdom Todeum, then engrave your name onto the board.

Difficulty: A

Rewards:
Can obtain a level 400 or more Unique grade weapon.
The weapon can be directly selected from the weapon's warehouse.
Koldeurim's Liberation.

Quest limit: Death will result in immediate transportation to the Versailles continent. Quest will fail.



Grade A difficulty quest finally revealed itself!




Additional Information: Koldeurim's Liberation.

Koldeurim, a Knight of the Kallamore Kingdom 30 years ago.

The hero that was the salvation of the Kingdom, who have led and won countless victories against the Kingdom of Haven. One day, a loyal soldier discovered his body while getting drinks for his horse. Through a plot devised by the Kingdom of Haven, he was presumed dead on 2013.

But in reality.

The Kingdom of Haven instigated his kidnapping with the help with the Vampires, but it was unsuccessful. So then, the Vampire counsel decided to lay a honey trap. They use the beauty of the Vampire Queen and seduced him to lower his guard.

Alone, Koldeurim soul was lost and sealed in a bead.

If Koldeurim soul is liberated, he will be revived on the Versailles continent; and the unfinished war between the Kingdom of Haven and Kallamore Kingdom will resume.

If Koldeurim's soul is liberated, You will receive 23, 000 points in Public Relation with the Kallamore Kingdom.
A full-scale war between the Kallamore Kingdom and the Kingdom of Haven will occur.



"Ueaaaaaaahhhhh."
"I can't believe this! Such a difficult commission."
"Pegasus! Levels around 420. And the Unicorns are a bit higher."
"Plus, they can take to the sky. We can't accept this request."

This was the first time the members of the party encountered an A difficulty quest, and all were in panic mode.
However, Geomchi and the instructors had a different mindset.

"Geomchi2."
"Yes, Master."
"What are these Pegasus and Unicorn bastards?"
"Their powers are legendary."
"Stronger than me?"
"Is that even possible? Master is invincible."

Flattery was the best way to handle this.
Especially when the risk of getting a hole blown into his body was located next to him.
Geomchi3 quickly shouted.

"Even infants know that Master is a Celestrial Being!"

In normal cases, Geomchi and the instructors' willingness to fight might seem a bit creepy.

But they had been relaxing while viewing the scenery for more than ten days already, so everybody was itching for a battle.
The practitioners were also in favor of the request.

"Why's the pending, isn't it good to kill strong guys?"
"That's right! This is a chance to see the Pegasus to their deaths, isn't it so rare?"
"I think we should check up on the Royal Road's board, to check how we'll fare against them."
"Well, Weed will think of something!"

They had no countermeasure.
They figured the situation will somehow take care of itself, so they weren't at the bit least worried.

'That's right. Weed showed this side before.'
'If it's Weed nim, we can trust his judgment.'

The party turned their attention to Weed. Until now, they have put their faith onto Weed to make the best decision.

In fact, the request didn't make sense in the first place.

The Pegasus and Unicorns can use magic affiliated with nature, while they move fast and could also take to the sky.

Therefore, aside from their levels, it was already hard enough to have such monsters as the opponents.

'Forget about it.'
'It'd be easier to commit suicide.'

Fighting back against the desperate pleading eyes of his party members, Weed placed his gaze on the rewards.

"The Vampire's treasury and Koldeurim's Liberation."

The treasury must contain some unknown item, as a grade A quest's compensation shouldn't be this simple. Yeurika's Bow, Baharan's Bracelet, becoming the Earl of Morata was such quests' rewards.

Koldeurim's Liberation reward stated was huge.

"23, 000 points of Public Relation is tremendous."

The points can be exchange for items, and can even be use to borrow soldiers. And can even be helpful when buying goods; in Weed's case, although not necessary, it can even be use to increase Reputation or even obtain a title.

"A jackpot to encounter this grade A quest with such good rewards."

Facing this terrific compensation, his usual mindset was lost.
Weed said at once.

"Ima accept this quest."

Then he took out his carving knife and engraved his name onto the board.



You have accepted the quest.



"Eos." (ack!)
"Weed nim!"

Everyone gasped in surprise. No matter how unreasonable the quest was, Weed readily accepted it.
Weed didn't hesitate once bit and continued to engrave the other's names onto the board.
Pale, Maylon, Surka, Irene, Romuna ...



Pale have accepted the quest.




Maylon have accepted the quest.



Each time Weed engraved a name onto the board, a new window message followed. As the leader of the party, each time he wrote a name on the board, the written person will automatically accept the quest.

"Keuheuheuheu."
"It's a fight."

The still without-a-countermeasure Geomchis were joyous.
Pale couldn't help but ask.

"Weed nim. You must have some sort of plan to deal with these Pegasus and Unicorns, right?"
"Nope. I'll gradually think of one..."
"Then shouldn't we wait before accepting?"
"We've come this far, why not see how you fare against Todeum's caliber?"

If they didn't accept this quest, they would have to retrace their steps back to Seirun.

From there to here and back takes at least 20 days!

As the monthly fee for Royal Road was expensive, this was something Weed could not afford.

"We will respect Weed nim's judgment. But why did you write our names on there?"
"I didn't want to die alone......."
"......"

Weed calculated in his head.

'Pegasus and Unicorns' leather. Superbly fine tailoring item. If I sew using these items, the skill proficiency will rise dramatically, and I'm sure I can sell the produce at a high price.'

Leather wasn't the end of it.

The Unicorn's horn magical property can be use as the main ingredient to create excellent grade staves.
The magic staves are one of the most expensive weapons!

Not only blacksmithing and sewing skill would improve, the fabricated products were excellent sellers, an opportunity no one should ever miss.

Koldeurim's Liberation and the Vampire's treasure were important, but to compare which was easier to bring back between the gifts and monsters' mats, monsters' mats win out easily.

Then, another message window popped up.

Ttiring!




Built by ancient people, the Hero's Tower.

Following the war, the tribes of Heraim built Hero's Towers after they were scattered throughout the Versailles continent.

Located on the frontiers or remote regions, 12 towers were made.
Why the people of Heraim did such a thing was unknown.

The Hero's Tower consisted of five floors.
Another name for this is the Immediate Training Center.

Upon reaching the third floor and more, one will be able to obtain Heraim's power or skill.

Difficulty: Unknown

Rewards:
At each stage, the people of Heraim have prepared special rewards.

Quest limit:
Had to accept given quests by Todeum's vampires beforehand.

Those that can climb the Hero's Tower are limited to those that passed the Basic Training Center and Beginner Training Center.



For Weed, another reason why he must unconditionally complete the current given quest appeared.
A second quest.

Many have desperate sought out the Intermediate Training Center, only to discover that it was in fact the Hero's Tower in the Versailles continent.
The Intermediate Training Center presented in the form of a quest.

'At the very least, I need to reach the third floor.'

Unknown difficulty!

The Basic Training Center and the Beginner Training Center was considerably difficult. For the BaTC, it required a tremendous amount of patience; whereas the BeTC forces one to face an oncoming group without a single rest while going through a dark passage.

For the ones that have no combat sense, they would never be able to break through the passage.

Weed had passed the Beginner Training Center back in the day; at the time, only 400 contestants passed the challenge in Versailles continent.

'That number prolly increased a lot more now.'

The Geomchis also passed the BeTC through the use of martial arts.
Now, the locations of the BeTC were no longer a secret.

So those that have passed the BaTC will most likely try and challenge the BeTC. There were those who've encountered failure; but through efforts, most succeeded.

At this point, there were about 3,000 people who have passed the BeTC.
But for those who have passed the Intermediate Training Center, the number did not exceed 150.
By passing each of the two training centers, one can obtain stronger skills or new abilities.
Weed made up his mind.

"Ima sneak into Todeum. I'll map out the Unicorns and Pegasus' locations and their number, I'll also look for their weakness."
"No no no!"
"That's suicide!"

The party was trying to discourage everyone. But Weed was stubborn.

"We need information if we are to enter Todeum. In any case, we're gunna have to launch an attack anyway."
"If that's why, I'll go with you."
"Hyeong nim, I'll regret it if I let you do this alone."

Pale and Zephyr tried to offer their assistance for the infiltration.
Weed shook his head.

"Your power is important that Pale nim remains to watch out for our members."
"Hm?"
"The Archer's skills are essential to detect any Unicorn and Pegasus roaming around."

Pale could not deny it.

It was the characteristic of the Archers. The party's safely rely heavily on their power.

Though with weak defense, low vitality to take on opponents attack, and can be charmed; but in this case with flying monsters, the Archer was the most essential.
Hwaryeong smiled slightly.

"Then I'll go with you too."
"Hwaryeong nim can't go either. It'd be dangerous at any moment and I won't be able to accommodate you all the while."
"If Weed and I are together, we can work around the fact that a singular are more susceptible to a surprise attack, don't you want that?"
"If more people are coming, there'll be a higher probability for us to be founded out. So I'm gonna do this alone."
"Will you be alright?"
"This isn't the first time I've gone on a reconnaissance on a horde of monsters."

Hwaryeong did not hide her deep affection or discomfort.

"How long until you come back?"
"If it's a short while, maybe a day, longest will take a couple of days."
"Hm? Why is it that long?"
"Because Todeum is a large castle. To check up on everything, I need that much time."
"Wouldn't it be fine if we look on from just the entrance?"
"I'd start with that anyway. In additional to identify the location of the monsters, we need to have a deeper look into Todeum."

Weed's aim was a thorough inspection.

It was a must to identify Todeum's geography, to the location and the number of the enemies. In addition, he must find the most secure path to the Unicorn and Pegasus at each location.

If they didn't accept the quest, it didn't matter. But since the quest was accepted, they must succeed for the compensation rather than going in blindly.
Yurin readily held out her sketchbook.

"Brother, do you want to use my sketchbook?"
"Huh?"
"Whether the positions of monsters or locations of traps, it'd be easier for you to draw them out."
"Ah!"

The words made sense!

Adventurers and artists alike, they all had the skill to create maps by default. Adventurers could make map by pinning down the exact coordinates of monsters and traps or list information regarding dungeons, but it all pale in comparison to the Painter's accurate illustrations.

"I didn't learn how to draw."
"I'll bestow it. You'll learn it fast."

Weed took a bit of time to learn how to draw from Yurin.

The skill acquisition process was just to simply draw an apple. Since Weed's Wisdom and Dexterity was unusually high, he could learn it easily and drop it later.

Meanwhile, Hwaryeong and Irene did not hide their expectation.

"Since he could sculpts so excellently, he'll learn how to draw in minutes."
"He could really do all sort of works(art), huh?"

Contrary to their speculations, Weed's illustration was hard to look at.
The apple looked like a rat had munched on it!
Rather than a round apple, it looked like an elongated melon!
He redrew the simple apple several times because he kept committing mistakes.
Because art requires time.

In order to draw a picture, the minimum requirement was a sketchbook and a pencil. In addition, crayons or paint or such were necessities to paint the picture.

So for Weed, the lack of such said materials meant he never drew once before. Therefore, to say he had no sense on how to paint was not an exaggeration.

From his beginning, the 'talent' to sculpt was built through vigilance endeavor rather than talent itself.
He continued to sculpt to increase the skill's proficiency.

And through every piece his work became better and better and his selling price increase!

Without a single loss in concentration, he continued to work on the picture and became susceptible to the defects and modified them.

Then it became easier for Weed to draw a fitting picture, but there was a big mistake.
He still did not learn how to paint nor did he want to, and there was a reason why.

Ttiring!




The completed picture is an abomination. However, thanks to the excellent Dexterity and Artist Value, the conditions for skill acquisition was met.



 




Illustration skill have been acquired.



 




Painting skill have been acquired.



Two kinds of essential skills of the Painter were transferred.

In fact, as a sculptor, Painting could be a quite handy skill. Beside being able to create colors from materials obtained, the completed sculpture could be coated with layers of paint from the then attained paint colors.

Weed also knew that he could get these skills from a Sculptor Guild, but he didn't want to get them until now.
The reason was simple.

'There's no way I can buy the materials!'

The spirit of the skinflint that won't even pay for the skill.

Though speaking frankly, whether painting was good or not was hard to say; on one hand, it may increase the Artistic Value of the finished sculpture, and conversely, it could decline.

Reasons being the fabrication materials or the coloring was mismatched, or the painting skill was too low in terms of the level.
Therefore, it was best to not touch the sculpture after its completion.
Weed said after returning the sketchbook and pencil into Yurin's arms.

"By any chance that I'll die, I'll tell you guys how far I got and how many there were through Yurin. If our levels aren't adequate enough, you'll have to grind here. Then, I'm off."

Weed stood tall and looked onward, then entered through Todeum's gate.
With the final footstep disappearing from sight, it wasn't the only thing that was heavy or lonely. Hwaryeong sighed.

"Whew! I hope he's successful."

Her heart was filled with anxieties and insecurities.
It was perilous to venture alone to scout out the Unicorns and Pegasus.
However, this dangerous task was taken up by him because he deemed it necessary.

"This disciple was brought up well."

Geomchi laughed proudly.
Geomchi2 hurriedly pulled out his blade.

Weed's aim was a thorough reconnaissance, so no one knew how long it'll take. Rather than idling in his absence, Geomchi2 practiced to improve his skills in the meantime.

Zephyr held out his fishing rod in the nearby river, while Pale and Maylon left to catch for rabbits and birds.
Incase they'll be going for Todeum, food was a necessity.


Heading toward Todeum, Weed fearlessly walked at a quick pace; the moment he stepped past the gate, his attitude made an 180o turn.

Salgeumsalgeum! (sneakysneaky!)

Every footstep he took, he tried not to leave any prints.
It was the best choice seeing as his fellow companion was already out of sight.

'I don't wanna get caught.'

If he saw lone Pegasus or Unicorn, he would fight. But it'd be a different matter if the enemies appeared together.
Weed placed his hands and legs against the wall and pushed his body toward it.
He didn't care how lame he looked.

"Survival comes first. Confucius said for three people, the others (2) are teachers in disguise for the third (paraphrasing). There's a reason why rats and cockroach are good at not dying." (the full Confucius saying is "If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself."

So instead of applying this quote to imitate human beings, Weed decided to learn from rats and cockroaches.
It's better than reflecting and regretting when you died!

Ttiring!




The skill Four-legged Traveling is available in your current position.
Would you like to use the skill?



He then dropped to the ground to get into the best position that he could to start using the skill.

"I'll use it." (remember how he had to imitate animals, and Hwaryeong and Mapan saw him acting like an animal they were like 'we don't know that person.')

Weed activated the skill quietly.
At that moment!

Weed's moving speed was very fast.
Syasyasyasyasyak! (him moving.)

Like a cockroach crawling, he swiftly roamed around the ground.

Weed felt the excitement.
This elevating pleasure.
There was no one who could match Weed's crawling speed!

'This is the best.'

Though trivial, he felt proud.

Todeum was a very large citadel. It was basically dozens of Rojaim Kingdom's Saraborg castle conjoined together.

Basic reconnaissance completed!

Weed with his body lie close to the ground while concealed in water, found his targets.
Located near the tallest spire, the silver Unicorns and red Pegasus were in flight.

The situation was similar to the Jinhyeol(Tori's) vampire clan infiltrated and encamped Morata village, but the differences started from there.

The vampires were walking slowly on the ground. Most of whom were in their human forms, to easily avoid the attention of the scouts. Though it seems with just one drop of blood, the vampires will swarm to the area.

However, the silver Unicorns and the red Pegasus' speed were far superior.

Their tails and manes waved as they raced around Todeum.

And occasionally, some spread their wings while on the ground and began to soar in the sky.

Weed hid as much as possible using the alleys.

Close to where he hid his body, more than ten Pegasus dashed by in a flurry.

Dudududu!(galloping)
Weed's body shook.

The body of the Pegasus was nearly three meters long, and as large as a troll.

'It's tough. It's really not an easy quest.'

Though it was suspected of a grade A difficulty quest.

Not only were the Pegasus and Unicorns divinities, they also possessed the quality of aerial animals. While mainly active in groups along with their quick speed, they've proven to be difficult.

Even with the currently used skill, he wouldn't be able to escape them if they were to give chase.

Sometimes, while Weed was hidden in the alleyway, the Unicorns and Pegasus snuffed into his direction not allowing him a single breather.

'First, I'll need to find more about Todeum, and the scale of these bastards.'

Weed snuck into Todeum's smallest white castle undetected.

The ornate palace was decorated with numerous works from the vampires. Candlesticks made with silver, armor embedded with gold, wall paintings and sculptures were also presented.




Have witness the work of the Maestro Elware "Nestled Lion."

Art stat have increase by 1.
Have appreciated excellent works through Your eyes, the Illustration skill increase by 28%.



With just viewing an excellent illustration through his eyes, the skill proficiency increased. It was the same case as the sculptures; but in the case of appreciating works of art, the skill proficiency leapt through sight was a huge help.
Since his Illustration skill was at beginner level 1, the increase was a lot; nearly 1 or 2 percent increment each time!
It was a rare sight to see arts that were beyond those of the masters. For Weed, he gained as much as 650 Art points and his skill proficiency gained even more.
Weed simply walked around the castle viewing all the works.
Though the level of the sculptures were low and weren't as helpful, his beginner level Illustration skill gained aplenty.




Beginner Illustration reached level 2. Able to use charcoals and other tools to draw the illustrations.





Beginner Illustration reached level 2. Art can be express in more details.



His drawing skill rapidly increased.
However, Weed had no desire or satisfaction from the growths, since he knew too well the limitation of these.

"In elementary school and even middle school, no matter how hard I try my drawings never got any better!"

In his childhood, he once dreamt of becoming a mangaka. (yes, that's right, I used it. Cartoonist is the term)

He tried to doodle and paint as best as he could, only resulted to nothing but crap.

To express the object via drawing was very difficult to him.

There were too many differences between that and creating sculptures via feeling and carving.

That was the case for Weed.
Such as many Maestros of history.

Genius sculptors also need the foundation in other areas as well.

Math, physics, human anatomy, architecture, and invention were the foundation for such geniuses!
Whether it was sculpting or painting, these required activities in many other fields.
Whether it was the painters or sculptors, the difference between them was not large.

The reason was simple.
Aptitude!
Weed since then decided to abandon drawing.

In the beginning, the skill level can grow quickly. With his high Art and Dexterity stats, these advantages can help him to create drawings. And at most, he could reach level 6, 7 of beginner level illustration.

But, there was no way he could get past that.

With his inherent horrid hand writing, the fact that he'd have to start at the novice level of drawing was hard to overlook. Sure the skill could help to some extent, but from there he'd have to create something on his own!

He saw that it was better to invest his time in other areas rather than drawing.

After completed his tour of the castle appreciating the arts.
He was still wandering around the hall slowly to avoid the Pegasus and Unicorns!
And in the midst of the lobby, there seemed to be a red casket.

"A vampire's coffin?"

Ttogttog! (knock on wood.)
Weed knocked on the coffin.

"Is anybody in there?"
"......"

There was no returned reply.
Weed shook the casket from side to side.

"It's empty?"

Then from within the casket, a roar.

"Keuahahang!"

A vampire screamed wildly. But the lid remains unopened.
That sounded very uncomfortable as well!
People who are asleep does not like being woken up.

Weed left the casket alone and went to check on the rest of the castle. As a result, within the castle, there were approximately 30 Unicorns presented.

'30 of them will be pretty hard. No, realistically, it's nearly impossible.'

Weed shook his head.

Even with the Geomchis, it still wasn't enough to fight level 400+ monsters.

Their damage output weren't bad, but the continuous damage that will be inflicted was the major problem.

The problem was that they don't wear armor!

If they were impaled by the Unicorn's horn, it would spell a sure death.

Weed through the use of Piece Destruction could hold has much as two of them, but as for the rest, he wouldn't be able to.

Thereby, they were overwhelmed by the damage output comparatively.

'So far, 92 people have been killed, making this difficult situation even more so.'

Weed ate the bread he prepared in advance as he remained in the castle for the whole day, to avoid being impaled to death in the midst of Unicorns outside.

"With Todeum's under these circumstances, we can't fight them effectively. We'll have to catch the Unicorn or Pegasus outside."

Weed left the castle and returned to the street once again.
Before him were the Vampire residents and the Pegasus and Unicorns flying above.
At first glance there were more than several hundreds of groups!

Including those on the ground in Todeum and all the other places, the number seemed to be over 2000.

In the smallest castle, he had seen at least 30 Unicorns presented, the cumulative number could result to something tremendous. That said, there were at least 40 castles in Todeum.

"I rather go catch a dragon."

Finally, Weed began to whine.
Until then, he remained quite quiet.

Whether it was completing quests or raising his sculptures, listening to people narrating stories, Weed tried to remain as humble as possible.

But, he could not see an escape route now.

Even with Weed, Geomchis, and his other companions, there was no way to resolve the quest.

With the dragon, it would probably be similarly difficult, but there is a slim hope. Whether it is death or for the win, there's only one to fight!

Although its breath may be terrifying; with the use of the single point attack, and possibly a significant amount of sacrifices, they could come out with a win.

But in the case of the Unicorns and Pegasus, they were presented in flocks.
No matter how good the items they were using, it'd come to naught. They were heavily outnumbered.

"I could give life to sculpture. This could even the odds."

However, Weed until now had no desire to do so.

Every time he grants life to the sculpture, it costs him 2 level and 10 Art stats will decline. He calculated that it'd take him at least 50 sculptures be granted life to create an even fight; and the loss would be too enormous.

"They'll have to be Classic or Magnum pieces to be on par with the Unicorns. Plus, I don't think I can make them in this short while, along with the fact that they'll only be disposable here."

This is the world of Vampires.

Even if the sculptures are to survive the battle, they can't be transport back to the Versailles continent.

"Fucking quest!"

Weed broke out in rage.

A grade A difficulty quest, no matter how hard, shouldn't have been this tough.

Even for Oberon who led the Northern Expedition; for them, half a day in Todeum would face a complete and utter slaughter.
The rewards weren't even sufficient.

This quest should have been labeled as the premium of A-grade difficulty!

Although not reaching the level of S-grade difficulty quests where it can change the balance of the continent, this was still on par in terms of difficulty.

An ordinary person might have just give into the frustration and git-up-n-leave.

But Weed was different.

"I've gotta somehow break even. There's gotta be a path to do so."

Weed continued to search through out Tudeum.

A day went by, then another, he did not give up the search. For the slightest hope, he searched high and low and even areas no one would bother.

And finally, he discovered a place.

In the middle of the city there was a creek flowing, a place where the monsters in Todeum huddled together for a drink of water. Usually 10 or 12 monsters each time, the numbers were smaller than the rest. (comparing to the 30+ for each castles, and 2000 for the central.)

However, they didn't come on a timely basis, while at times there were hundreds of groups waiting to use the creek.

"Here is still impossible!"

Weed with his growing frustrations!

But seeing how Todeum was an aggregation of many castles, he did not give up on the expectation of finding a suitable location for the fight.

Afterward, he discovered a dark castle before him.
This was the sole black castle amongst the abundant beautiful red, yellow, and even green castles!
Now, after going through several castles, he piled up on knowledge.
Usually near the main entrance of the castle, there's a plaque present.
Count Christopher's Castle.
Viscount Burachya's Castle.

In this way, others could see who the owner of the castle was; but this black castle had no such thing.

Weed carefully infiltrated the black castle.

He found a path to the basement, traveling down the passageway and found himself a warehouse filled with coffins.

'I don't feel any presence here.'

Weed left and went for higher grounds in the castle.
The largest room in the castle where the owner stayed!
Even here, there were Unicorns and Pegasus moving around in the corridors.
Patience and wait!

Every time each one of them coming down the corridor, he could hear their loud footsteps rang.

Weed waited for a long time for their passing to get his way into the lord's room.
In the center of the spacious room there was a large black casket.

'Must be the master of the castle.'

Weed didn't expect much when he came toward and touched the casket. Then from within, he heard a raspy voice.

"I love pretty and cute girls. If you are not a girl, GTFO of here."

The gloomy voice spoke severely with girls as the subject.

Even though hearing the vampire's voice shouting loudly was unexpected, Weed somehow felt as if he had encountered this voice before.

Weed asked.
"Who are you?"

"Me? You asked the young and beautiful me a very pointless question. But since I've just lain to rest I've been too unsatisfied, so I'll specifically tell you. I'm the new Count of Todeum, and also lord of a mighty clan."

No matter how it sounded, he seemed to recall a similar voice.
Weed said with a lump in his throat to the coffin.

"I'm Weed."
"......"
"Who are you?"

After a long pause, the vampire from the coffin said.

"I absolutely am not Tori."

Back to top


Chapter 8 : The Slightest Hope



Weed questioned once again.

"Aren't you Tori? Earlier you did say you like girls?"

The vampire from the coffin was desperately trying to convince Weed otherwise.

"All vampires like girls, that's the stereotype of my country, hmph! You also have no evidence that I'm Tori." (vampire usofunny, digging ur own grave.)
"But I do think that you're Tori. I'm Weed. Don't you know me?"
"I don't. Really."

Weed knew that vampires often lie, so he didn't believe these words one bit. He'd rather believe in the words of the merchant trying to 1up him rather than them(vampires.)

"But I'm sure this voice belongs to Tori. So you've been asleep in Todeum since you came here?"
"......"

Weed senses surpassed those of the diviners.
But from the casket, no further answers escaped. He simply remained silence, not bothering with a reply.
Weed said insinuatingly.

"Humm. And here Prina wanted to see you."
"Really? Prina with the body that I missed?"
"Yep! She wanted to give you flowers she brought up. Something like red roses."
"Keuheuheu. I knew you were really in love with me, Prina. Not a single girl can reject this handsome body of mine."

Weed asked.

"Then, it's really Tori who's in there, huh?"
"Hut!"
"You decide: get beaten when you come out, further beaten when you come out, even more so beaten when you come out, or I'll beat you until you come out, or I'll let you come out. You know I'm an engraver, right? If you come late, I'll engrave the casket 'Tori the Fool'."

The pride of the prideful vampire has been stripped through intimidation!
Weed used his profession as a Sculptor to intimidate without hesitation.

At first glance, the Sculptor class was one where one can barely live on and had to fight to survive on a daily basis, but the upside was that he could dabble into many areas.

In fact, this helped in the inseparable relationship between Weed and Tori.
Whenever he beats Tori, Familiarity dropped.
If so, then the normal case was that Tori would never follow Weed.

However, after having severely beaten, the taming process would automatically begin. Domesticated animal like horses, or such monsters with slightly higher intelligence could be tame.

Complete surrender to the owner, faithfully following any commands given.
Of course there are conditions. Charisma and Leadership needs to be high, and having a class such as the Tamer will be helpful.

In Weed's case, the profession was hardly suitable, but his Leadership and Charisma was on the very high side. But to be at the tolerable level of a guild master, Weed's Leadership and Charisma weren't enough.

On top of those, while Weed hunted, part of his hunting EXP also went into Tori's growth.
In other words, Weed's contribution to Tori was very high, which forced him to comply.
Although the master and pet relationship was over, Weed and Tori was still inseparable.

"Kkeueung!"(squeak sound)

The lid of the coffin gently opened. And the vampire in it was making a sickly sound.
The change in lighting showed the pale appearance of Tori.

* * *


Weed took Tori and returned to where the party was staying.
The party, in the meantime, had unearthed a few good hunting grounds in the surrounding areas.

Swamp in the east filled with Crocodiles!
Scorpions in the sands located southeast!
In the Northwest plains had Barbarian tribes!
Although there were a lot of other hunting grounds, the levels of those exceeded 300, so it was too early for the party to hunt there.

"Weed nim, please make crocodile leather bags."
"I want to eat seasoned and grilled scorpions, can you do it?"

Hwaryeong and Surka begged as if they were baby birds awaiting the mother's return.

Zephyr too didn't play around. He had loads of fishes stacked in wait.

Of course, even without Weed around, they all still wanted to eat. But because everybody cooking skills were too low, nobody wanted to cook and take the blame for everyone's intestinal problems.

Zephyr, as a Fisherman, could cook the fishes by default; but he had never cooked before.
Because of this, Weed began boiling to make hot chowder.

"Along the river, there are many hunting grounds. Calling it the monster's paradise is not an exaggeration."

There were also plenty of monsters in Todeum.
There wasn't any place that doesn't have monsters!
Weed had been under duress of the Unicorns and Pegasus when he was running away.
But Weed's eyes lit up like those of the monsters.

"Can we win the fight at our levels?"
"I can't tell yet. I found an intermediate hunting ground filled with Water Elementals."

The hunting ground he spoke of was filled with level 320!

While being hopeful that the quantity of mobs there were sufficient, with the party superior damage output along with teamwork, that hunting ground seemed like a blessing.

Weed's level was at 339 as well, so the experience points he could obtain weren't bad.

"But isn't this that vampire Tori?"

The eyes of the party left Weed and went toward Tori.

"Yes. By chance, we meet again."
"......"

The glances from the party changed into that of pity.

In every case and form, Tori looked as if he had been socked in both eyes. That sight and the drastic screams of the moment resonated vividly in everyone's ears.

He had suffered so much. All he wanted was liberation...

And here of all places, to have meet Weed once again, the door of suffering swung wide open.

'We are also tired like you. You'll get use to it.'
'Poor guy.'
'He must rather die.'
'You're also attracted to misfortune.'

They sympathized with the mighty lord of a vampire clan.
Weed now, having escaped the Unicorn and Pegasus, lowered his guard.

"Tori, tell me. What happened to Todeum."
"That..."

Tori let out all he knew about the situation.

The Vampires were in a state of mass hysteria under the invasion of the Unicorn and Pegasus. However, some reorganized and organized a counterattack. A brave lord and his familiars fought against the invaders; in one or two bouts, the clan turned into ashes.

Because of the nature of the prideful and independent Vampires, no one lineage wanted to cooperate with another.

Most of the time they would never comply to the will of another race!

And since they didn't want to risk the sacrifice, they'd rather went into their coffins to hide. They planned to sleep for several hundreds of years until their invaders disappear entirely.
Weed asked.

"That's the plan?"
"Yes, is that not a plan? Simple non-violence and patience tactic..."
"......"

Tori's plan was also to sleep. Having just arrived into Todeum, he had not drifted into his slumber. And just as he was about to, Weed found him.

"But we Vampires did not give up fighting. If you are here, we can fight together."
"How can we do that?"
"Wake up the sleeping Vampires! If you kill the enemies in each castle, then the Vampires would voluntarily leave their coffins on their own."

Ttiring!




Obtain more concrete information on the quest.

Cooperation with the Todeum's Vampires.

Save the Vampires and join forces to prepare for a counterattack against the Unicorn and Pegasus.

Until Todeum's night and day returns, on the full moon of every month, the bats will lend You assistance with their wings to give You flight.

A major battle will be known when the drums are sounded.



The request of an unknown vampire.

To be victorious in a frontal assault against the Unicorns and Pegasus, under normal circumstances, was something that could not be done.

However, thanks to the relentless investigation into Todeum without giving up, he has obtained a second piece of information on how to deal against the Unicorn and Pegasus.

It was still far from certain victory, but it had shed some light of hope in the current situation.
Weed began to conduct the battle plan.

"First, Master and every Sahyeongs have to go grind to raise your levels, the duration is 10 days in reality."

At the end of Weed's sentence, Geomchi willingly agreed.

"Got it."
"Tori will be very helpful if you take him along with you. Irene nim too."
"Me?"
"If Irene nim goes too, then Master and Sahyeongs could utilize the hunting ground more."

Irene nodded her head.

"I see. I'll take care of all the treatments. I will make sure no one will die. But Weed nim's not coming too?"
"I have things to prepare for the battle ahead. Oh, Master, what is your level?"
"236."
"What about Sahyeongs?"
"229. 227. 224. Geomchi5 is a bit higher at 235."

Weed also had all the other practitioners reported their levels.

Among the practitioners, there were those that practiced their skills during the travel on the valleys and mountains, and those who enjoyed fighting against monsters and doing quests. While the minimum was approximately 230 and the maximum at 290; the level differences was too significant.

"For the people with low levels, you'll need to hit at least level 270. And to those who have more, rather than raising your level, it's best to raise your skill proficiency, please. This hunt itself is against really high level enemies; but for those with low skills proficiency, it'll be tougher later on to raise them."

In the case of Geomchi and the instructors, their attacking related skills were very high. Until recently, they've overly invested in Strength and Agility that they didn't care about defense.

The damage output for them could be on par with those in the 300s, or even higher.

Having weak defense can seem like having a disadvantage; but looking objectively, it's not an exaggeration to say they have the highest efficiency when it comes to hunting, if they don't die.

"Alright."
"No problem."

Geomchi and the instructors said without a question while grinning.

If you compare swinging the sword alone, this was heaven. It was more interesting to fight against monsters in comparison.

But why would anyone risk the likelihood of death in a fight against monsters of similar level? Mobs in those hunting grounds could potentially deal powerful attacks, anybody would find that unwelcoming.

At the same while, the uneasiness due to the lack of defense was something that could not be easily overlooked.

But for those who enjoy hardships, these details weren't at all alarming.
Everything weren't for some simple level or wish for the end; it was to prepare for the quest!

"Two weeks to hit 270."

It was Pale and Zephyr who offered their condolences to the other party.

Usually, it was unlikely for humans; to having to raise their levels at that rate was something to snort at.

They didn't have complete faith in this at all. In the first place, this plan was beyond unreasonable!
But...they were Weed and the Geomchis.

"They can do it."
"I think they can, those muscle heads."

They watched with a bit of envy and jealousy in their eyes.

For the Geomchis, the preposterous plan might be a successful one; because for them, all they know was fighting.

It was something that the party could depend on nobody else but them.

Normally, the plan was still a bit excessive even for the Geomchis; but throughout Todeum, they would be the first to discover the new dungeons. With the 2x given, it was something doable.

Weed now face his party.

"Pale nim and the rest, please go and collect dozens of food ingredients."
"'Yes!"

Pale replied without a problem.

This bit right here was also true. Since the Geomchis had to grind, they'd have to collect food for everybody.

It was something that could not be helped. During their time in the world of Vampires, all that was left of the wagon of foods was just the wagon itself; so in order to keep living, they have been collecting food.

"This maybe troublesome, but please collect food ingredients that are at least Intermediate grade. If possible, Advanced grade materials might be better."
"Collect Intermediate or Advanced materials?"

Pale questioned.

It was because until now, Weed didn't care for the level of the ingredients.

If one was to hunt 10 deer and noted down the ingredients, there'll be several different grades. And collecting Advanced grade food materials was something easier said than done.

"I want to utilize my cooking skills to maximize the effectiveness of high quality foods. Since this could potentially elevate our lack of power just a bit more, this is a very important mission."

Weed's words were pretty clear.

To have found Tori was a glitter of hope, but he was still worried.

"We know the number of Vampires we can rescue is limited, plus comparatively to the Unicorns and Pegasus, our power is much weaker."

Surka asked innocently.

"So what can we do?"

Weed replied with a clear cut answer.

"For us being here, most definitely, the more we fight, the more people we will lose."

As the battle continues, the number of colleagues will be reduced.

To them, whether it's the Unicorns or the Pegasus, the differences in level and size isn't something they can handle. For all the Geomchis, Romuna or Irene, if they are attacked, then the possibility of them dying isn't that far off.

Losing their focus even for a split second and are attacked a second time, it would be an instant death!

The Unicorns and Pegasus are very strong.
The sorts Pale and the party have never hunted before.
Weed added a slight tension with his last few words.

"There'll be many deaths. Even if we ended up lucky and the quest is successful, the majority of us here will die. I want to ensure, even if it's a slight number, that more people will survive throughout the quest by means of preparations."

"......"

The words didn't bring up their determination in the least. Even if party somehow succeeds, knowing that they could potentially die anytime only left the lingering feeling of despair in the depths.

"So every one of you need to take responsibility and cook your own meal, today's meal is..."

Weed paused slightly.

It's always best to draw it out rather than spoon fed them.

Excitement and anticipation!

Gauging their hunger appropriately was the main ingredient to bring out the foods' taste.

"Flower Bibimbap!"
"Woooeahh!"

Weed began to cook.

Making an edible meal from flower petals and mushrooms and herbs mixed together with rice. Finally, mixing in honey and red pepper paste to create a gourmet among delicacies!

There weren't that many different dishes prepared, nevertheless, he made enough dishes to have an adequate sangdari. (it's kinda like everybody's individual salad. A sangdari is the many separate dishes prepared individually, while the bibambap is a mixing by oneself from all these dishes. Not 100% sure. An educated guess.)




Have created Flower Bibimbap.

Simple made cooking.
Have minor effects, but a bowl does not dissipate hunger.



With every bowl, Weed also decorated the meal using the flower petals.
From one to another, each had its own custom design, such as a sword or a shield.
Through this means, it further increases the value of food skills!
The aesthetic image of the food was just as important as the taste.
Weed had fully comprehended how to maximize cheap cuisine.
Of course, there was a story behind the Flower Bibimbap.

A while back, he didn't even have money for bread. Whatever edible things he procured around him had turned into food. And then, he went as far as mixing flower petals into the rice to make a meal. And through experimentations using his imagination, this dish was born.

And now, with the sea of petals in the area, he could bring this dish to the light in several folds.

"Kkeoeok!"
"Delicious."

Geomchi and the instructors, as well as all the practitioners downed seven bowls each before going on the grind.
Pale and the party also left to complete their assignment. Weed too, had his own preparation to do.

* * *


KMC Media planning committee.

Director Kang and the production staffs were watching the video received.
It was through Shin Hye-Min's character, Maylon, point of view.

"This is Todeum. They've finally arrived."

Director Kang scored a proud laugh.
Throughout the course of the party's journey and witness their brutality, he felt sick to his stomach.
By all appearances, they weren't suitable contents to be broadcasted!
The director murmured a prayer.

"From now on, they better receive a good quest."
"Definitely, boss!"

The station was too, a company.
So his workers were quick to flatter the boss through any means.
On the screen, a grade A difficulty quest popped up at the entrance of Todeum.

"Ah!"
"So difficult!"

From here to there, groaning came about!

"But this is Jeonshin Weed."
"He defeated the Legion of Immortality, so he could do this too."

Director Kang eyes were fixed onto the screen, but he was filled with anxiety.
Then, it seemed as if Weed was going to infiltrate Todeum alone.
The director jumped.

"Switch to Weed's POV!"
"Yes sir! Doing it right now."

The technical staffs immediately changed the screen to Weed's point of view.
Beforehand, Maylon went through all the necessary arrangements to have her and Weed's capsules to relay videos in real time.

"Is that is?"
"Yes, it is. It's Weed."
"Amm! I think Weed will be fine infiltrating Todeum."

If Weed was to die, the disappointment would be huge.

Director Kang and his staffs went silent and watched the screen. The sense silence now was like that of the serenity after death.

At different points in time, the door would move without a sound. One by one, people came and look for seat vacancies. When all seats were taken: some stood leaning on the wall, others shared seats, and some squatted on the floor.

People flocked when they heard talks of Weed doing another unknown quest. All of them became hardcore fans after they've seen the war waged against the Legion of Immortality.

Whether it was the receptionists, the facilitators, artists, or even security personnel; all abandoned their work and snuck in.
They whispered in low voices.

"I heard they finally arrived to Todeum?"
"Weed's going into Todeum alone!"

The excitement and thrill!
All of them were assimilated by Weed.
The created city of Vampires consisted of castles.
He was to stealthily spy on the monsters that seized the city alone.
And after that!
Weed was crawling like a cockroach.

"What the?"
"I think he was to scout...but..."
"I think he want to scout by crawling."
"......"

Speechless!

All their mouths were opened, but they could not able to force any word out in this situation.

Nevertheless, there were those that did not abandon hope.

'It's not like a cool hero will explicitly appear whenever you asks for one. The heroes achieved miraculous results because they went through such tedious work as this.'

'It's like the swan standing elegantly in the lake. It only appears so on the surface, but their feet must constantly work in order to remain still. Weed nim is probably like that.'

They looked at it positively. The expectation they placed on Weed did not go away.

Weed entered each and every castle in Todeum and persistently looked for clues. There were more than plenty of times where he encountered the Unicorns and Pegasus, where he had to hid or crawled away to escape the scene.

But as time passed, one day, two days, and more, he repeated this same process.

Since Royal Road and reality had a time difference, they would have never see the ending of this if they didn't fast forward four times as fast.

And now, all were in despair.
Defeat was the only option seeing how the Unicorns and Pegasus dominated Todeum!
Director Kang and his staffs were forced to stay up the whole night.

"Director, what about a rerun?"

A member spoke up and forced the director to ponder about the proposal seriously.

"Really? How can I do that when we haven't land any advertisement yet?"

To cancel said feature program, then have a rerun wasn't an uncommon thing. But doing so would have a great repercussion on the director in charge.

"You know, sir, actually..."
"Hm?"
"What if we give them an exclusive sight of the world of Vampires, and say that there was a mistake regarding the aforementioned news?"
"......"

The circumstance was beyond redeemable!

"No. I will never do that!"

Director Kang was facing an unexpected suffering. But that was just it.

"The director's words were that no matter what, Weed's the top priority when it comes to broadcasting! It's pretty clear that the last thing we will do is going against his words. So does anyone know what to do since we're not canceling?"

Director Kang also recalled the words he said.

"Kkeueung! Then was there an alternative program?"
"No sir."
"Really? Why is that we don't have another program planned? Isn't B team or C team supposed to do so in these situations?"

"Because of this program, they didn't convene it. The sound teams, video teams, and the writers all focused on this. This adventure called for everybody to make this the best ever."

"Then there is no alternative?"
"What if we do reruns sir?"

If they did that, KMC Media viewership would drop dramatically. This was simply not an option.

"If I do that, the embarrassment we'll face will be too much. What should I do."

Time kept moving.
Director Kang suddenly turned his attention to the screen.

'Why's he swaying like that...'

Weed retuned to his colleagues and began making preparation for the quest.

"Huh? He didn't give up?"
"I know right. I would give up."
"Wait a minute. There's also the vampire lord Tori who joined up."
"What?"

The station's officials became busy once again.
Director Kang also found a lingering hope among the darkness.

"What are the odds now?"
"Still very slim!"
"What about those muscular colleagues with them?"

"Their levels are too low, so I doubt the can do much. And also, there are too many monsters. The quest itself was already difficult, piled on the level differences made this unimaginably complicated."

"Keuheum!"

Director Khang's forehead lay flat as if he was defeated.
Now it was the time to somehow come up with a decision. Whether it was to cancel and fold their hands, or continued with the risk was the decision to make.

"Weed did not give up so we shouldn't either. Ima risk it and continue broadcasting."

Director Kang and the staffs were in haste.
They bet on the possibility and resumed their work.

* * *


Weed had embarked on preparation alone.
Juseomjuseom. (sound of placing stuff)
Backpack filled with various materials.
Weed pulled out all the mats and set them down.

Items of various occupations, and piled together depending on the type of goods. Fangs of wolves, or bone fragments, or virtually useless loots were the majority.

However, Weed wasn't the type to pass on these loots.

"Lets recheck to see if these are useful now."

If someone picks up threads and a needle, then they'll use them to sew.

If he obtained a torn shirt or a piece of leather, then after the meticulous repair made, he'll sell them. Sell them at a higher price than when he obtained them.

That's what he does regarding Charcoal!

Usually, he makes Charcoals to sell them. And use them on a torch in the dark or use them to seal Light Magic. So there was no reason why anyone would write off Charcoal. And as for the chef, this was also an important tool.

"Charcoal-grilled meat is delicious beyond comparison."

It was a handy tool to save for cooking. If it was sold to the store, the price was a copper a piece, while things like bone fragments didn't even come with price. But if you mix the bones into soup and cook using the Charcoals, it'd be beneficial to your health.

Weed was rummaging through his backpack and through his loots to find the items.
He was looking for the tree trunks and monster's tendons.

"I hid the items deep inside the backpack a little too wel...got it."




Elastic Strong Tree Trunk:
Durability 39/40.
Attack 3~7.

Part of a rubber tree.
Lightweight and excellent elasticity.

Is not suitable to use as a writing stick but can be use as a whip to some degree.

Not only can this be sold to stores for a price as firewood, this can materialize into other purposes for those with the skills to do so.

Material: Rank 4.
Option: -30 Faith, when use as a weapon.


Damage wasn't on par with beginner weapons!
It wasn't useful as a weapon, so it was classified as a type of loot.




Cattle's Tendon:
Durability 50/50.

Docile cattle's tendon.
Tough and elastic, suitable for making bows.

Material: Rank 3.



Weed, through fundamental knowledge, tried to create a bow.

Ttiring!




Creation of Beginner's Bow logged.



 




Blacksmith skill proficiency have increased slightly.




"Identify!"



Beginner's Bow: Durability 70/70.
Damage 9~13.
Range 4.

Bow made from basic ingredients.
Short and tight, can be use throughout many hunts.

Comparing the level to the materials, this was made with great flexibility so the chance of it breaking is low.

Restriction:

  • Level 3.

  • Available for all professions.



  • Option:

  • Upgrade impossible.





  • Normally, bows would be graded as specialized weapons in blacksmithing. It required advanced Dexterity and Intermediate level Blacksmith to begin making them; while also, there were no instructions that can be view on how to create them.
    With all of Weed's wastage materials, he could create more than 100 bows.



    Rotten Wood Bow have been made.




    Unknown Used Bow have been made.




    Poor Goblin's Bow have been made.




    The levels of the finished bows were slowly improving. Reason being he was gaining experiences with each finished product. Though, it was still far from satisfactory.
    Weed simply continued making bows while filling his stomach with bread.



    Hunting Bow have been made.




    Specialized Deer Hunting Bow have been made.




    Tree Shortbow have been made.




    Beginner Archer's Bow have been made.




    At this point, the bow's level has improved. If he could somehow manage to bring them to a store, he could sell them for fairly low prices!
    The quality of materials was decreasing, but good products were still coming out.

    "From now on, it's the real thing."

    Up until now, Weed has not a single ounce of regret when he was making the bows.
    The bows production was at a very high speed. But from then on, he was going to create them with more devotion.
    So, he made another 200 bows.



    Beautiful Wooden Bow have been made.




    Hawk Hunter's Bow have been made.




    Penetrating Bow have been made.




     



    You have gained a level.



    Ttiring!




    Able to use animal's bones or horns to craft Khakgung(horn bows). Varied in size: accuracy, shooting speed, and damage can improve.



    Through making a large quantity of bows, he obtained a new stage of bow making.
    Generally, wooden bows were widely used throughout the beginner stage. But with the superior tension of animal bones and horns, these had a clear advantage.

    "I could make bows out of animal's bones?"

    For most, having suffered through making several bows only to discover there was a better grade of bow out there, their relative willpower would drop.
    But Weed was different.

    "Let's start over now!"

    Repeated labor!

    Working with tree trunks was abandoned. Since the transition was easy because he had collected many bones.

    Through the materials collected from hunting monsters, and through cooking where he had to separate the meat from the bones. However, it was dependant on the mastery of the skill; whether the amount was large or not, based on this.

    In Weed's case, with his Intermediate cooking skill, the bones collected after separating from the meat was huge!

    "Bones! I don't think normal bones would do tho."

    Depending on the size of the bone, the size of the bow could be large, and with the given bone's resiliency, it was to excel. Although better ones were made from monsters or animals' horns; but since they were classified as medicinal item, the prices rocketed in stores.

    Because of that, every horns he had he sold to the stores without reserve.

    "Instead of those, I'll use ogre sized monster's bones to make them."

    Weed fished out large bones and began making bows.
    Handling large monster's bones required tremendous force.
    Struggled against materials!

    "The mobility of short bows isn't that great. While it does have fairly fast reloads, the power of it is weak."

    He trimmed the unforgiving large monster's bone to create the limb(don't know the terminology, so I yeah.) Any vulnerable part on the limb, he reinforced it with iron; then he carefully fastened the bowstring.

    With that, the bow was finished to some extent; he then meticulously adjusted the balance of the bow. And through engraving, he carved a wind sylph onto the limb.

    It was indeed the best that he could do.

    Ttiring!



    Creation of The Chasing Wind Bow logged.




    Blacksmith skill proficiency rose by 0.2%.



    "Identify!"




    The Chasing Wind Bow:
    Durability 85/85.
    Damage 49~62.
    Range 7.

    Bow was created using the thigh bone of an ogre.
    The bow has an unimaginable strength.

    But because this was crafted from strong materials, not a lot of people can handle this.
    Accuracy drops sharply.

    Restriction:
  • Level 200.

  • Strength 530.

  • Archer only.


  • Option:

  • Minus 35% chance of hitting.

  • Minus 80 Agility.

  • Plus 45% chance of penetrating target.



  • Can destroy light armors or shields.
    With Power exceeding 700, arrows can fly 3 times as fast.
    Arrows can ride the wind and fly a bit further.?


    The damage output wasn't all based on the processing!
    This was not comparable to Weed's High Elf Yeurika's Bow; but considering that it was made from common materials, its was amazing.
    However, Accuracy and Agility had been sacrificed.
    Compare to moderate armors, this was much heavier; the large bow was born.

    "Good. We need to bows with powers to this extent!"

    Weed was felt a surge of prideful feelings, and he embarked on the production of another bow.
    He continued through the same process trying to make similar bows.
    The goal was 413 bows.
    One for each of the still living Geomchis.

    "I don't have much time, hafta hurry."

    Earlier he was making bows through trial and error, but now he moved more diligently.
    He made about 17 bows, when Pale and the party returned. They were standing with bunch of ingredients.

    "Weed nim, we got plenty of meat and fruits this time around."
    "Thanks for the hard work."

    Seechwi and Zephyr were in charge of the wagon of food materials.
    At this time, Maylon came to Weed to see what he was doing.

    "What are you making? Siege weapons?"

    She asked as she watches Weed refining the large monster bone.

    "Nope. I'm making a line of bows for Master and the Sahyeongs."
    "Bows? At this size?"

    Maylon face shown she was shocked.
    It was something hard to believe. The bows Weed created were around the staggering 140 centimeters in height.

    "Yeah. Pretty awesome, huh?"
    "Yeah but, it'd be substantially difficult to handle with such large bows. Do you mind if I check one?"
    "Sure. By any chance you encounter something worth noting to create them, please tell me."
    "Yes, I will do that. Let me see."

    Maylon was very surprised when she checked on it. Its weight was very heavy. It was heavier than the armor she was wearing, which seems to counterintuitive.
    Leaving the burden of the wagon, Pale, Seechwi, and Zephyr walked up.

    "What are you doing?"
    "Ah Pale nim. I'm looking up on the bows Weed nim made."
    "Oh my...bows, huh?"

    Awe filled Pale's eyes.
    He saw there was only a 30 centimeters difference between Maylon and the object she was holding, that he didn't even notice the moaning and groaning she was making with the bow in her hands.

    "The hell with these weapons...isn't it heavy?"
    "It is. A lot."

    Weed was like a craftsman, silently listening to the criticism, while dutifully continued making bows form the monster's bones. Around him were the various bows he created, piled up like mountains. When the bones ran out, he returned to making wooden bows, sizable ones.

    'To have made this many in this duration...'
    'Making bows for several days without a single break.'

    Pale and Maylon didn't know what to say, because they could not afford to use such bows.
    It required such overwhelmingly Strength, and its weight heavily restricted movements.

    "Uhh..."

    Pale was about to point out the problems he saw with the bows.
    Then from far away, Geomchi5 and 10 practitioners appeared.

    "Weed, we return for food. We also gained some minerals and leathers from the hunt. Master wanted to give these to you."
    "Yes."

    Weed gave them the bread he baked in advance in bulk. But instead of returning immediately after receiving them, Geomchi5 snooped around.
    Pale and Zephyr seeing so and nodded their heads.

    'I see.'
    'So it was too tough even for you.'

    To hit level 270 like Weed said was something beyond difficult. And because Geomchi5 had high self-esteem, he didn't want to confess he couldn't do it and decided to loiter about; or so they thought.

    'That's no good. I have to help him out a bit.'

    Zephyr saw an opportunity and walked over.

    "Geomchi5 hyeong nim."
    "Hm?"
    "Isn't hunting tough? I know raising levels never get any easier. When I was like you, it was realllllyyy hard."

    Geomchi5 yawned and replied.

    "There are a lot of strong monsters. So far, there were cases of monsters appearing that I couldn't handle. They came out when we were picking up loots from other monsters, I also hear those issuing commands."

    According to Zephyr's past experiences, those would be a Boss monster or Named monsters; that meant the area they were grinding in was a very dangerous hunting ground.

    "That's very risky."
    "Hm? Nah. Everybody kicked their asses."
    "Eh?"

    "Don't the unique ones give more experience points? They dropped a lot of items; so whenever they appear, we come together and beat them where they stand. It's a pleasure to see all 10 guys haven't died yet."

    "Shh, it wasn't easy, I presume?"
    "Even if I don't use weapons, they still die all the same."
    "......"

    "The knives rarely taste the thrill of combat. If some accident occurs then I'd have to repair them; so most of the time I'd just grab some random thing and kill the monsters."

    If a Boss monster came along, they would drop the things on hand and rushed toward it. They didn't need the overly complex skills since brandishing their swords was like anyone else using their pen to write.

    "Oh Weed, I forgot to ask this. My level is nearing 270, but a few of us are beyond that level. Is it alright?"
    "Yes, Saheyong."
    "Oh thank God."

    And Geomchi5 was watching Weed making bows.

    "Weed, what is this?"
    "They're bows. I was going to give them to Sahyeongs."

    The Geomchis picked the Martial Arts profession, so they could buy and use arms of other professions without restriction.

    "Really? Can I try some?"

    Geomchi5 quietly picked up a bow.
    The bow Maylon barely manage to hold was casually picked up!

    "No way!"
    "How high is your Strength..."

    Maylon was an Archer through and through, so she did not raise the Strength stats over the requirement. Nevertheless, there was no way to make sense of Geomchi5's incredible Strength.

    "Strength? It's a little more than 1000."

    Maylon wore an amazed face.

    "How on earth can your Strength be at 1000?"

    Even with the given stats back in BaTC obtained, having more than 1000 points in Strength stat was a preposterous thing.
    Geomchi5 answered as if it was simple.

    "Whenever my level rises, I put my stats into Strength. If you're a man then strength is the way to go! Oh, and I put a little into Agility. If the Agility is low, then I can't strive to hit monsters properly without receiving reciprocated damages; and that would increase the chance of me receiving a critical blow."

    It was something out of Maylon's prediction.

    "So you're saying until now most the stats were put into Strength?"
    "Yes. Where else am I gonna put them?"
    "......"

    Whether it was ignorance or courageous, the Geomchis growth revolved around Strength; aside from the little points put into Agility.

    The side effect of this is always the lack of mana that spells the inability to use skills, and with the low defense means a single attack from the monsters can increase the chance of death!

    Death meant the loss of a level and drop in various skills' proficiency, so would the stats placed in Strength.

    "Geomchi9's stronger than me by 2 stats!"

    No one knew when it turned into a competition!
    But it became a contest to see who can get the higher Strength stats amongst themselves.

    With encountering monsters, they increased Agility accordingly to give them a lee way to dodge. Attack and defense were coordinated according to their will.
    Even with the lack of dexterity, they moved precisely without much worry; so it was a battle revolving the increment of Strength!

    Battle of masters!
    This was a method that anyone who knew better would never attempt.

    'Monsters!'
    'The laborious monster and actual monsters.'

    The persistency of Weed was something they couldn't dare to venture.

    The Geomchis were similar in their eyes. Their strong desire to be strong and their struggles to do so forced everyone to admire them.

    Maylon and Pale's eyes met.

    "Maybe..."
    "Could we actually be able to resolve this quest?"

    Weed had come up with a plan, but everybody was dubious. They swallowed in their doubts and participated, knowing it was unlikely to succeed.

    Since it couldn't be helped that it'd be a let down after working their ways to Todeum, so they followed the plan without a complaint.

    And now, a little hope was seen.

    It was hard for Zephyr to endure the curiosity: how on earth were they able to level up so quickly.
    Zephyr sent a whisper to Irene.

    -Irene nim. I want to be informed of something. In what ways are the Geomchi nims hunting and where?

    A moment in time passed before Irene replied.

    -Now, we are hunting on the plains.
    -Are there a lot of monsters there?
    -Monsters? At first when we arrived, it was a paradise of monsters. There were many villages, many buildings, and many wandering monsters.

    Irene was a quiet character. So now she seemed to be embarrassed with each accumulated word, but she still had more to say.

    -Near the beginning when we arrived at the plains, there were thousands of various monsters! So I thought we should give up and return to hunt the Crocodiles. But before I said anything, Geomchi3 recklessly rushed toward the monsters in the plain and struck them.

    -So you're still on the plain you told me about a while ago?
    -Yes. Instead of withdrawing Geomchi3 nim proposed a mission.
    -What kind of mission?
    -He's out to lure monsters. He was to go to where monsters are and kite them back here. And then...
    -Gulp! And after that?

    Zephyr couldn't see and only imagined the situation.
    To openly provoke the monsters in his eyes was not a smart behavior.

    -There were hundreds of monsters chasing him!
    -Ugh! Why so many?

    -But I really admire the Geomchi nims. We managed to come out victorious, barely. And then from there, we kept moving toward the populated plains, fighting. Also, yesterday we found a monster's lair and like a punitive force, we...

    Irene complaints continued indefinitely.

    "Yatz! Yatz!"
    "These guys are mine."
    "Here we go! Here we go! Slaughter them all!"

    Shouts traveled on the rampant battlefield.

    Irene at this moment was treating the injured Geomchis who were waiting in line, the number of patients was nearing 35 people.
    They were in need of Irine's divine magic without letting her take a break.

    "By the power of the Spirit, please relieve this one from suffering, Hand of Treatment! Geomchi395 nim, please be careful."
    "Yep, thank you."
    "I'm Geomchi44."
    "Gyaa!"

    Irene involuntarily screamed.
    Geomchi44 whole body was bleeding.
    He was almost at death's door!
    It was surprising that he didn't drop dead right about now.
    Even more so that he let out a laugh.

    "Why so shy. I thought that if we were hurt we're supposed to come here for treatment, right...well, if you're busy, I'll come again."
    "This is not the time to be saying that! Come quickly so I can help you."
    "Something like this isn't much. I still have 200HP remaining. It's not a problem, you know."

    Whenever and wherever, the weak side of a man can never be shown.
    Even before death, Geomchi44 maintained his image.

    "Increase stamina of this worn body. Recovery! By the power of the Spirit, please relieve this one from suffering, Hand of Treatment!"

    Irene casted urgently.

    First, it was to increase stamina, then onto recovering vitality. This was the way to effectively maximize the output of divine magic.
    But before she could fully treat him, her mana was depleted.

    "Please wait. I'll continue healing after my mana's replenished."
    "No need, just lightly wrap this because it seems like they're fighting again."
    "Excuse me?"
    "This last bit of healing, you can wrap me up with bandages and I'll be good."
    "......"

    Geomchi44's body was still bleeding when he returned to the battlefield.
    Even after that, there was still a line of the wounded!
    And in the same way, some of them who weren't in critical condition got wrapped up while those who were got healed.

    Back to top


    Chapter 9 : Program Weed



    The promised 10 days had passed, and all the Geomchis' level exceeded that of 270. They didn't acquire any skill, as the main focus of the grind was through quests, and the lowest level the group achieved was 274.

    The average level was around 279, in which Geomchi and Geomchi2 were at.
    Their strength was too weak in comparison to the Unicorns and Pegasus!

    This was the goal they had in mind, due to all the work they've put into hunting without a single moment of rest, it seemed to pay off. But in the process, the number of Geomchis declined by 60.

    At moments in time, one or two died in the midst of battle until only 353 remained.
    Geomchis faces were filled with shame.

    "Sorry. Because of us, we may have doomed the quest."

    Geomchi2, like a man, cleanly apologized.

    "It's fine. Will it be fine, Weed nim?"
    "It'll be ok."

    Irene quickly went over to Hwaryeong. She took her place, and one could see from her drooping shoulders, that she was grieving. It's not a lie to say between her and Geomchis' self-esteem, she'd win out!

    Nevertheless, with this drop of number from the get go, the fear of not being able to succeed the quest took a big toll on all.

    "Sahyeong."
    "Yeah, Weed. I'll accept whatever admonishment brought out."
    "No. That's too much trouble. It was something really difficult and you've done the best you could."
    "Frankly, this is too damaging. Will this really be a dire consequence?"
    "You don't have to worry about the quest."
    "Is it really alright?"
    "It's been determined that our power was weaker since the beginning. But we'll have the opportunity to join forces. "
    "Thanks for easing our minds. In this quest, if there's anything you ask, I'll oblige."

    Geomchi2 made a firm promise.
    If it'd within his power, if he said he could, then he definitely would.
    Weed thought.

    'I guess for the time being, they'll need to eat heartily.'

    Geomchis are experts in battle. If there was a way to have leverage over them, it would provide a great advantage.

    Even with others, if they have seen the monsters for a while, they would gain enough confidence and courage as time passed; and this time they would follow Weed's command. After having battle this long of a while, one will always show their true color; but this was a positive one.

    'Rather, having just 60 deaths is excellent in itself.'

    Weed had predicted the result to some extent. Since they were forced to undergo such a hunt while having just Irene as the sole Priest, it was a longshot.

    'Thank God we still have a lot.'

    He had considered that from 100 to 170 people might die from that. If it was above the maximum number, then the severity of this, even with the newly gained levels, will definitely hinder the goal.

    Without a single piece of information, to tour the unknown hunting grounds and raise their levels to that extent was a very difficult thing to do. But the toll of just 60 people to complete the given objective was an amazing thing to achieve.

    -Yo. How do you assess your sahyeongs' work?

    Geomchi had learned how to skillfully use the chat whispers.

    If by any chance a girlfriend who sent him a message, it'd be terrible when he doesn't know how to reply.

    Though, the only use he had through mean of sending whispers was solely to whisper Weed for food.

    -Really admirable. I knew they could do it, but didn't know it'd be this well.
    -Ahem. It also exceeded my expectations.

    Geomchi was pleased and did not hide it.

    The instructors were roaming the battlefield leading the practitioners. The purpose of it being the quest at hand, but the loyalty between of the brotherhood strengthened as time passed.

    'Geomchi2 is the type that cares for the well-being of his boys. A deep and caring brother who knows how to treat his bros. Geomchi3's a bit further away. He knows how to fight and can read the flow of the battle and make good judgments.'

    Geomchi imminently evaluated the instructors and practitioners.

    'Geomchi4 has a strong competitive spirit; he's fast and tough to catch. Even though it is a good thing, this could turn into impatience and spoil things.

    Geomchi5's swordsmanship relied on his Strength, so he lacks the roundedness of a player. Geomchi18? This practitioner is a surprise, he has the ability unlike other kids. He spent 17 years in the drilling halls. Even if his fencing skill's a bit lacking, you can trust him to do some good work.'

    In Royal Road, Geomchi led a crowd of hundreds into battles; whenever and wherever they explore, he tended to watch over the students to gauge their caliber and personality.

    The only person who had not been fully comprehended by Geomchi was Weed.

    'Even if it's fame through luck, maintaining it is still difficult.'

    Geomchi was also informed of Weed's past and his reputation.

    Even in Continent of Magic, Weed entered difficult dungeons that nobody dared to venture, alone no less, and defeated them. He didn't care about the attention of others as he thoroughly and silently hunted dungeons and doing quests.

    At that time, his charisma was at its absolute!
    Impregnable castles, penetrated.
    Strength demonstrated by guilds, didn't even came close to make him bat an eyelid.
    Weed, solitarily, grew stronger constantly.

    He broke through impossible and highly praised dungeons, cleaned them up as he finishes his quest; obtaining items no one had ever seen.
    All previous records were revised.
    There was no dungeon that could prevent Weed.

    For anyone else, as if they deliberately wanted to die, they'll charge in recklessly to fight. But for them, with each growth, the fear of death and loss of reputation increases; providing a constant challenge.

    In Continent of Magic, his Reputation was also absolute.
    All of the people then who knew of Weed said one thing in unison.

    "Continent of Magic, the peerless Jeonshin Weed!"

    One instant of this was when Weed was riding a horse through the plains. There was a crowd of thousands of people there, as the united guilds were going to war trying to dominate a kingdom; but with emergence of Weed riding his mount through them, all resigned to themselves.

    As they were trying not to be obtrusive in Weed's eyes, they became submissive in order to not obstruct him on his way.
    These types of event were only one of the many anecdotes manifested.
    The lone Jeonshin Weed.
    He shook the heart of everyone as their fighting spirits plummeted.
    But, it wasn't in just CoM that he quickly grew stronger; Royal Road too.

    'The art of the sword. He thoroughly learned the basics of the art in just one year in the Dojang. So in Royal Road, he could reasonably harness it within here. Since in here, there are skills and stats so that anyone could utilize their body without the ultimate understanding of the art. Proactive and adaptability, he quickly identify the weakness of the opponent and uses it to decrease the difficulty of combat. With what I saw in the Dojang, it does not surprise me that he gotten strong so quickly with such fangs. Nowadays, you cannot find that kind of strength easily; the will to survive anywhere, not just the will to be strong.'

    If Geomchi had fully utilized his power in Royal Road's battle, it'd be too easy; so he didn't necessarily did that.
    He just stood nose to nose with the monsters and taking them down!
    Where one could only see its tail, the sword itself was imperceptible by the human's eyes.

    There are also murderously strong monsters that wield heavy weapons.
    In order to hunt these monsters, one would need considerable experiences and ability. Something that Weed had perfectly adapted to since the beginning.

    The predispositions that outsiders could not see were the fighting spirit and the competitive nature.
    He had no fear with monsters. The roundabout way he saw them was that they were consisted of experience points and items.

    Weed, like the real weeds, grew stronger as a mean to survive in any situation.
    He was already considered as a celebrity, as his broadcasts drew the crowd in frenzy.
    Usually, through the conventional broadcasts, they doesn't fervent people's chest to any degree.

    Hope, courage, struggles, and tenacity.
    People were excited by Weed's every move.
    Geomchi really wanted to see Weed's true nature.

    * * *


    In KMC Media, there were three broadcasting teams on hold.

    "The acoustic calibration?"
    "Nearly finished!"
    "Make the accompanied music personify to the personality of each cast. Who is the MC host?"
    "Shouldn't it be Shin Hye-min?"
    "Don't even dream of it! She is one of the main adventurers on this."
    "Bae Seon-hui's schedule is empty."
    "Then arrange it!"

    The broadcasting team undergone urgent preparations accordingly.

    They laid the groundwork with complete preparation; their aim was to create a film with its own story that surpasses that of a simple video.
    The epic story of a whopping six hours!

    They cut as much as possible to reduce the videos to that of six hours for the broadcast.
    But this was only from the currently received footages; with the continuing quest in progress, it will become much longer.
    The officials showed their dissatisfaction.

    "We cannot cut anymore."

    It was to inform the audience the basic information regarding Todeum.
    View of the landscapes, some of the quests obtained at the beginning that weren't deemed essential to the audience were cut.
    Director Kang decided.

    "If this is we can do, I'll try to negotiate with the manager of operations."

    He went up to the manager of operations.
    Having been enlightened of the situation thus far, the manager proposed a simple solution.

    "Since it is so much, we can just organize it as a regular program. You can broadcast the content once per week on Saturday."
    "Is that really alright?"
    "We can make transition of the existing footages of Weed's adventure into a regularly scheduled program, doesn't that sound good?"
    "Your words sound fitting, but..."

    Todeum's traveling and the amount of quests were too much to imagine and difficult to fit into the special program. So he did actually gave serious thoughts regarding making it into a regular program; but because the level of the quest was too high and its result was still pending.

    The manager said.
    "Director Khang, have you determined the quest's achievability?"
    "Hm?"

    "An adventure that you don't know which way it'll flow will be more interesting. It leaves you with excitement and tension. In Royal Road's hunting and exploration, doesn't it always leave you with the feeling of wanting more?"

    Director Kang nodded.
    Forming party with strangers to hunt and explore always leave you with that feeling!
    That kind of feeling escalates with each and every party member obtained on the hunting grounds.

    Through the demonstration of power and ability, while sometimes offering a helping hand to those weaker than them, the bond formed becomes that of friendship.

    "It is an adventure. But since we've already formatted the adventure to that of a film, to change it is something we should not do."

    It was not like they can't broadcast recent events. But to turn the already finished film script to that of an adventure program did not make sense.

    Whether the quest was a successful one or that of a failure, the fact that it was a great challenge to overcome was a great pleasure to see.
    Director Kang reflected.

    'Because of what happened to the Crimson Wing Guild that I've became so timid.'

    Due to the Scorpion King's curse that many have suffered.

    As a result, the guild was disbanded and the concerned parties suffered a downfall.

    Taken examples from that huge failure, he became worrisome and didn't dare to be brave.

    'Leaving the adventure in its simplicity is worth it. If our goal is to make the adventure more pleasing, then our station should leave the adventure to take its course.'

    He was to follow the manager's words.
    In which he thought the words didn't even bother to have a sense of encouragement within them.
    Director Kang ordered the staff.

    "Broadcasting team! Dispose whatever scenarios we've created so far! And also, please contact Mr. Bae Seon-hui!"
    "Yes, understood. What should I say?"
    "Tell him we do not need a host."
    "Yes?"
    "We've decided to turn this into an adventure program that shows periodically."

    Scrapped the created story, and shown the adventure as is. Without showing so much as any prior information, simply expose the viewers to the video was the chosen decision.

    "Everything is private! Everything we see and hear will be shown to the audience and let them come to a decision! The footages and sound needs to be at the highest level, and do not disclose any of the contents regarding the adventure!"

    The prepared broadcasting program was to hide everything, even the fact that it was Weed's adventure was masked.

    "By the way, what is the name of the program?"
    "Huh?"
    "Since this is a newly organized program, we should determine a new name for it."
    "Well. How about 'An Adventure in Todeum'?"
    "I think that's a bit too descriptive."
    "Well then, 'Bloody Adventure.'"

    "That makes sense since the blood can symbolizes the vampires, but it seemed a bit too cruel... and since this is Weed's adventure, it seems to leave him out on the sideline."

    "Ah, also that point, huh?"

    It was not an exaggeration to say that the title can dictate the ups and downs of the program.
    Director Kang and his subordinates debated on the several hundreds of titles suggested.
    After careful consideration, Director Khang's mind flashed.

    "Weed."
    "Hm?"
    "Lets go with the title 'Weed.' Even if we call it Weed, most people will simply ponder at the title and just guess, so it's ok."
    "Then isn't that sorta like exposing the fact that it's Jeonshin Weed?"
    "Ah, that's the jackpot."
    "We're simply suggesting it rather than naturally showing it in the broadcasting contents."

    Director Kang and the committee members exchanged insidious smiles.
    The new periodic program title of KMC Media that suggests the main protagonist was Jeonshin Weed!

    It was needless to say the shock would be overwhelming if it was true.
    Thus, the program 'Weed' was first broadcast on a Saturday.

    It started from the moment they were dumped on the Land of Vampires till the scene of the Vampire queen's rescue.
    The average rating of first episode was 0.6%.
    In comparison to the average 12.8% of other game broadcasting companies, it was far too low at the start of the broadcast.

    Back to top


    Chapter 10 : First M.T (Membership Training)



    The psychiatrist, Dr. Cha Eunhee, was consulting her patients.

    "Doctor, I don't know if I want to get married. My boyfriend is all good but he's too poor."
    "He doesn't work?"
    "He's an office worker. But because there is a mortgage on the house that there's no money left over. And in fact...not long ago I met a man on a blind date, he's much older and I don't like him much, but he is a professional. This seem swell to me."

    At this moment, she was having a session with a woman at a marriageable age.

    "So you broke up with your boyfriend, and chose the professional?"
    "I don't know. I can't really decide. This makes me hateful of how much of a vulgar person I am. Because of this, I can't sleep well at night, and it even gives me headaches."

    The common symptom of depression.
    Cha Eunhee did not blame the woman.

    'In reality, that will eventually hit home to everyone.'

    Cha Eunhee was a doctor who treats disease of the mind, to ease the suffering.
    And she was determined to help.

    "Miss."
    "Yes?"

    Cha Eunhee glanced at the charts.

    "You're 30 years old now."
    "Yes."
    "The average lifespan of a person can hit up to 90 years old, which means a third of your life have passed."
    "So I've used that much..."
    "Wouldn't you hit 40 in 10 years? And 50 in 20 years..."
    "......"

    "Life is like a crab, it scurries along, and when you take a second glimpse, you'll realize it had long moved. You'll only get one chance to choose a man to love you during your lifetime, or you could get the house and a nice car that you wanted; it all depends on what you will ultimately decide to ease your mind."

    Cha Eunhee spoke softly as she finishes with the session with the patient.

    In the case of mild depression, she just needed to have conversations several times and the symptoms will be relieved within a few days.

    "Whew, with this, did it roughly finish with the morning appointments?"

    The nurses from the side who were listening in were very impressed.

    "Amazing, Doctor!"

    It is easy to talk about life. However, it is difficult to change the psychological state of the patients with just a few ordinary words.
    Cha Eunhee pouted her mouth.

    "It's not something to be admired. Actually prior to this, I had a talk with a patient about the same subject."
    "What about that patient?"
    "A novelist."
    "Yes? They have troubles?"

    "Of course, the writer is also a human. He was an old bachelor and anguished over it when he almost got killed, but if you're going to eat ramen at home then at least peel off the utensil's coating instead of choking on it and writhing on the floor!"

    "......"

    She'd know, since her equipments were hard to get and she was incompatible with the human sets of armors and equipments. Since Orcs wouldn't be able to produce good products as a Blacksmiths due to their low Dexterity, so there weren't that many out there. But since the Orc's population was growing at a terrifying rate, overtime, the problem could be solved.

    'I ought to connect to Royal Road at lunch.'

    Lately, Cha Eunhee has been fidgeting every time she thought about Royal Road.
    Healthy and dependable guy. Geomchi2!

    Through her appearance as the Orc Seechwi, he was the most familiar person that stayed by her.

    They didn't have many conversations as of yet, but from his cautious words and attitude, she could feel the care and attention. Occasionally, his embarrassing actions also attracted her.

    At times, to her, his sincere efforts to protect her impressed her.

    "Huum."

    A soft smile rose from Cha Eunhee's lips.

    Often times when she chat with Geomchi2, through the low proficiency cooking skill, the burnt fish tasted good when it shouldn't.

    Still, Cha Eunhee was cautious as she could not accept to be happy alone.

    "Seoyoon needs to speak again soon."

    Progresses have been made with Seoyoon's treatment.
    She has been in Royal Road to be detached from reality to break the ice!
    She did not talk for long and pretty soon returned to being speechless.

    "It's fine. She may have long forgotten how to speak but it'll return like before."

    There was no need to specifically rush things by force.
    Cha Eunhee didn't urge Seoyoon to talk.

    If they try to draw her out through coercion, she would most likely hide herself even further. For more than a decade they've patiently waited for her to naturally feel like herself. Cha Eunhee witnessed it when Seoyoon took the opportunity to do so.

    "By the way, are her lessons going well?"

    Cha Eunhee was a little worried.
    Seoyoon was also attending school.

    If you only let them live in the hospital ever since they're young, then they'll fail to fit into society when they leave in the future. So she had a tutor throughout middle school, and attended a formal high school from there.

    Of course it was a place mainly dedicated to educate special children.
    And last year, she was admitted into the University.

    Circumstances didn't allow her to go every day, and sometimes she just wanders around the school. This was the first time she went to class this year.

    "I hope she's ok. I don't want her to be caught in an accident. And since I don't know what will be going on at the school, how will she know what they're talking about?"

    Cha Eunhee was thinking of plenty of false scenarios. Most of which were highly unlikely.

    * * *


    Lee Hyun had already paid the expensive tuition, so he did not want to miss attending the classes.
    But only a few know of this.

    While others had extracurricular activities, social activities, school wide broadcast activities, he only showed up for the classes.

    "The average needs to be a C. So I don't have to retake the class."

    If the academic grades you receive have a warning or a failure as an undergrad, then that will restrict you from graduating. And because of so, since he didn't want to repay the expensive tuition to re-attend, he was somehow faithful to going to school.

    Fortunately, it was a promising fact that the steady attendance can guarantee a C grade most of the time in college.

    Lee Hyun usually sat in the front and steadily took notes of the professor's lectures.

    "Have you heard the words going around about Professor Jeong Dongmin?"
    "Yeah, he does a really good job with his lectures."
    "You should add him next semester."

    The students' conversations during the break were basically knocking on his ear.

    Half of the students were incline to talk about the class, while the other half broke up into groups and chatted about Royal Road.

    "So let's go hunting at Medium today?"
    "I have to fix my equipments."
    "...defensive against Lighting property Sebon set."
    "How'd cha got money for it?"
    "Been saving since a month back. Today ima try to buy the full Sebon set. I'm so excited."
    "Whew. When can I wear the set...I'm really jealous."

    Lee Hyun's mouth permeated into a creepy smile.

    'These group of students as well.'

    The price to purchase the Sebon set was 420,000 Won cash.
    It was a flawless set for those at mid-range lvl200.

    'Now that I think about it, they've just gotten out of high school so a large amount of them are still at the lower levels.'

    Comparing to a dark gamer like himself, these students seemed as if they were truly innocent.
    Lee Hyun smiled gratifyingly.
    But then he heard the low whispers of the students.

    "That returning Oppa is laughing at us again!"
    "That's a really sinister smile."
    "He's full of it."

    Lee Hyun's reputation within the department was already set in stone.

    At the end of the class he would clear up and head off home. He didn't participate in the department activities, nor did he get along with anybody; thus they labeled him as a charlatan.

    'What choice can I have.'

    During break, Lee Hyun also engrossed himself in the textbooks. But the reactions from those around him were far different than imagined.

    "Look at him pretending to study..."
    "If he was truly studious them he wouldn't have yawned during class nor slept during break."

    Lee Hyun figured he shouldn't rebuke the accusations. Since they have already set a prejudice against him, it was to do more harm than good.

    And though, some of their misconceptions were a bit appropriate.
    Lee Hyun's target was just a 2.0!

    'Don't want a warning as an undergrad. Nor any F is tolerable.'

    The extent of his studies was only to avoid expulsion or failing.
    Even with the perfect attendance record, he did not want a bad evaluation from the professor on his weekly reports.

    'My days are always like this.'

    Lee Hyun resigned as he continued going to school. He had already given up making friends.
    But today was a bit special. The students were excited about something.

    "Where is it going to be this year?"
    "I don't know. It never said."
    "Last year we had a really good time!"

    Lee Hyun could not understand their conversations.

    'Are you planning a weekend trip?'

    But Lee Hyun thought it was unrelated to him, he didn't give it a second thought.
    At the end of lecture on that day, the professor suddenly said.

    "Lecture is over, but we got a little time. Shall we talk about MT just a bit?"

    The University initial MT!
    For many, they've heard it from friends or their superiors, and only Lee Hyun was completely unaware.

    'This is completely irrelevant to me!'

    Of course Lee Hyun wasn't going to go. If you have time to do that, then you should take the time to beat up monsters and make more sculptures!
    But it seemed as if the professor had read Lee Hyun's mind and continued on with his story with such additions.

    "Don't you think that having a real life adventure is important to get a better understanding of Virtual Reality? You have to fully commit to the MT and do not play hooky to eat. You will be evaluated by your peers along with the teacher that will have a major effect on your grades. Of course for the students that will be absent, I will not give you your academic credits."

    The students cheered.
    MT will have a major effect on the grade!
    For Lee Hyun also, the atmosphere spelt that it was unavoidable to not attend.

    "Professor, what is the goal of this trip?"
    "Is there some concept about the MT we should know about?"

    The MT events of the VR department were quite unique. It wasn't the drink or the culture sharing, it was truly a novel experience.
    Each MT event had its own particular concept, and it changes every year.
    Of course, the professor never said anything regarding it.

    "It'll be known once you form your groups. So you'll meet in the afternoon in the auditorium. Oh, the person you all know very well, Seoyoon, have also come to school. Although unlikely, she might be attending the MT. But you shouldn't raise your expectations, okay, guys?"

    At that moment, the boys' eyes changed.

    After having finishes his other classes, Lee Hyun slowly turned to the auditorium.

    'This is really weird.'

    The library did not have a single person. Normally, the students were idling on the lawn or stayed at the language lab. It was also hard to find people at school cafeteria or the food kiosks.

    'I guess they must have finishes with their lessons early.'

    Lee Hyun moved leisurely.
    He was basically ordered to attend the MT, so he was going through the motions since he didn't have the heart to go.

    'My credits will be screwed if I don't participate.'

    Lee Hyun finally arrived at the auditorium in his slow pace.
    He was a bit late. But there was already a sea of men clamoring about.

    "Don't push!"
    "Where, where is she?"
    "Beyond them!"

    Many people were eager to see something.

    "I came from the Engineering department. We're miserable. Please just let us have a look."
    "Please refrain the Engineering department students!"
    "Yes. If I see her then my will to live definitely increase, y'know."
    "Keuheuk! This is by all means wrongful since we have girlfriends...but still..."

    All the guys located in the back voices echoed with sincerity.
    Lee Hyun barely got to the entrance of the hall by swimming through that sea of people. At the door, there were the VR department seniors who stayed guard and identify the people they were letting in.

    "I'm sorry, but students of other departments are not allowed to enter."

    These seniors also restrained Lee Hyun.

    "I'm also a VR department student."
    "Huh?"
    "Freshman."

    Lee Hyun replied coolly. The two guarding seniors looked at each other and smirked.

    "Who is the freshman?"
    "Who knows?"

    They figured Lee Hyun was also a senior student.
    It happened very often in the school.
    It was the perplexing power of that female seonbae that led to these things.

    "Excuse me, but do you think you can show your student ID card?"
    "Sure, here you go."

    Lee Hyun took out the ID card.

    "This is right. Then you can go."
    "Okay."

    After having shown his ID card, Lee Hyun safely made it past and entered the auditorium.
    There were plenty of VR department freshmen already presented.
    Most of the guys and girls' eyes were particularly leading toward one side.

    "Really pretty."
    "She's a goddess. Goddess."
    "What could be more beautiful than her?"
    "If I could hear her voice, and even if she'd call my name just once, it'd be heavenly."
    "I'd enlist for the army twice for that."

    Like the men who were stunned and resulted to muttering, the women were also the same.

    There were those who likes pretty woman too. But there were many of those who eyed with envy, knowing that they will eternally doomed themselves to jealousy when the opponent transcended to that level.

    Lee Hyun also directed his gaze to match theirs.

    'What the hell are they looking at?'

    And then Lee Hyun quickly discovered the reason.
    Seoyoon!

    Her skin was sooth and clear like that of a child, and her eyes were fine like those of a deer. The human eyes could not be that pretty.
    Her well groomed eyebrows harmonized with her forehead. Her nose was also wonderful.

    If one was to stare at her face for just a while, they wouldn't be escape from the gripping radiance.
    Even her hands, feet, and body exuded beauty.

    The clothes she was wearing were also exquisite, as if they were born for her sake's.
    Her whole body was covered with brilliance.
    Lee Hyun was badly surprised.

    "Keoheok!"

    That Seoyoon really do exist in the real world!

    'I assumed she maxed out the appeal settings ingame.'

    Compared to the real world, her beauty in Royal Road was rather lacking.

    'Come to think of it, she usually has on those clunky armors in Royal Road.'

    Lee Hyun silently looked at Seoyoon.
    But as if she felt his attention, she suddenly fluffed to the side and looked back at Lee Hyun.

    "Ugh!"

    Lee Hyun quickly averted eye contact by hiding behind a girl.
    Virtually instinctive reaction for survival!
    In Royal Road, he sinned a lot toward Seoyoon.
    He secretly made several sculptures of her!

    And because of the time he took to avoid her in game, it had become so habitual that he even did so in real life.

    Seoyoon also looked briefly where Lee Hyun hid himself before resuming her earlier line of sight.

    Lee Hyun mixed himself amongst the girls, and slowly turned his direction away from Seoyoon.

    The girls whispered behind him.

    "Did you see that? He's avoiding eye contacts."
    "Wow, so creepy!"
    "So stupid."

    He was again, misunderstood.
    The deeply seeded misunderstood distrust took roots and budded.
    There was no way to undo this.


    The MT was led by faculties and senior members.

    "This year, the MT event will take place on an island. We're going to stay near the shoreline and mimic the Neolithic Age..."

    The seniors were describing the purpose of the trip, but the freshmen's only interest was aimed at Seoyoon. They watched her clear eyes and waited on her lips to move for the description.

    Of course, there were those at Seoyoon's vicinity.
    Yet among the freshmen, chatters about her were carefully spoken.

    "That Seoyoon seonbae. I thought the rumors were exaggerated since there's no way a beauty like that is possible."
    "I think she's more beautiful than celebrities."
    "But why doesn't she have any friend?"

    "Didn't you know? Seoyoon seonbaenim was mentally shocked when she was a child, and she lost her words." (seonbae's senior, seonbaenim's more honorific, ill use senior from now on.)

    "Really? No wonder she seemed so expressionless."
    "She also doesn't come to school often, this is like the first time she came this year."
    "She's really a noble and a pure person."

    Lee Hyun wanted to scream.

    'You all been lied to!'

    How can Seoyoon be ladylike and a pure person!
    Lee Hyun knew more about Seoyoon's nature than anybody else.

    IF you had seen the slaughtering of monsters that Lee Hyun watched for 4 days and 3 nights, you would not be able deem her ladylike.

    She did not care for the users' level and cut them down like flies, such the way of the Berserker! (misunderstanding since volume 1, where she had the murderous ign.)

    When she wields her blade, even Lee Hyun was terrified.

    'Such a strong woman in such a small frame.'

    Plus, there was another deception people were led to believe.
    She could speak.

    Lee Hyun also knew a second reason why he thought they were duped.
    Right before she was slain by the dragon, she clearly spoke the word, friend.

    'She feared for the loss of her items and registered me on her friend's list with that word.'

    That was not the end of her devious way.
    Lee Hyun immediately tried to return her items when she reconnected. But there was no response.

    'Pork, leather, and clothes. She ignored me because she had no need for them. She must have obtained a good quest or busy hunting that she saw no need to reply or come back.'

    Seoyoon's cruel nature!
    Lee Hyun pitied those who were deluded by her.
    The senior continued talking.

    "Therefore, today's top priority is the formation of groups. Note that this is very different from the usual MT. This year concept is the wild."
    "The wild?"

    Some of the freshman asked.
    Because they didn't know what that singular word truly means.

    "Yep. It literally is the wild. No fixed accommodations, nothing outside of the prepared things are allowed."
    "So what are the necessities?"
    "You will decide that on your own."
    "Hm?"

    "Each group will prepare your own necessities. However, the budget limit is 50,000 Won per person! The goods and tools need to be bought according to the budget in order for you to participate in the MT."

    The freshmen wre appalled after the senior finished.

    "OMG! Only 50,000 Won!"
    "What can I do with 50,000 won?"

    Not caring for the freshmen's dismay, the senior spoke.

    "Of course, I do think the 50,000 Won budget limit is a bit lacking considering you are to spend 3 days and 2 nights there. However, if you plan well among your group members and form a tighter bond through the ordeal, don't you think that'll good? Also, the professor will be grading you based on how well you adapt to the wild; so please work hard everybody."

    A good meal at a decent restaurant was around 10,000 Won. So the restricted budget of 50,000 Won per person was quite tight.
    Lee Hyun thought differently.

    'The MT trip is pretty luxurious. What kind of wilderness trip that allows 50,000 Won to sleep for two days?'

    It seemed to him that the given expenses can cover for an entire week.

    Even with the cold weather nowadays at night, if one could get their hands on plenty of newspapers then that'd be able to cover for the night portion.

    The most Lee Hyun need was about 5~6 sheets of newspaper! He wouldn't even mind going without them if he had to.

    If he had to, he could even use a rock to dig the earth for a place to sleep, yank up the trees to eat the roots; because it's survival for two days!

    "Each group has to have 8 people. In this MT, the senior does not need to be in a separate group. Please get together to determine your group correctly. But in any case, the group needs to include at least 3 males and females respectively. Please specify the groups now."

    The freshmen were buzzing trying to find their friends.

    "Seona, come this way."
    "Jaejina, come here!"

    Each person looked for the senior whom they were familiar with to get together!
    Since they needed to be a close knitted group through the trials, they've searched for those whom they've already made contacts with.
    Lee Hyun was just standing around.

    'I don't know anybody anyway, so I'll just wait until they're finish and join a group with vacancies.'

    Since the only thing he wanted was the credits, it didn't matter which group he'd join.

    "Donghyeon, this way!"
    "Senior Sangho, come join us."

    Lee Hyun thought to himself as people were forming groups.
    More and more singular people were reduced until there was only a third left.

    Among them were three acquaintances Park Sunjo, Lee Yuu-Chong, and Min Sura who remained undecided. The freshmen uptakes on their senior were too fast and made it far difficult for them to form a group.

    There were only 20 people remaining.
    Park Sunjo saw Lee Hyun.

    "Lee Hyun Hyeongnim, come this way! There are two spots open here!"

    In this situation, Lee Hyun figured it'd be better for them to assumed(he was a senior) otherwise.
    Lee Hyun scratched his head in embarrassment.

    "You don't need to bother. I don't think I could attend the MT."
    "Come on! Let's go together Hyeongnim!"
    "I see. Well, if you want."

    Lee Hyun replied with a bit of courtesy and joined Bak Sunjo's group.
    He had already met these guys in a brief instant so it was best for him to join them. Not long after, the group increased with the addition of two girls.

    "Hello. I'm Hong Seonye."
    "I've heard so much about you (just a greeting). I'm Ju Eunhee."
    "Lee Hyun. Pleased to meet you."

    The two women were a bit reluctant toward Lee Hyun, due to the horrid reputation he had within the Department.
    Even so, they did not plainly hate him.

    'Anyway, at least in this way I can go to the MT.'

    Lee Hyun felt at ease.
    The fact was that he had a little expectation with his first ever college MT!
    Then, someone came and stood behind Lee Hyun.
    The attention of the auditorium turned to her. It was Seoyoon who approached Lee Hyun.

    * * *


    The Seoyoon who have never participated in an MT.

    'Everybody else will not like me.'

    She was afraid of meeting people. She was afraid of getting hurt so she bounded herself in a frozen state.
    Then, she found Lee Hyun.

    'It's him.'

    If it weren't for the fact that he looked exactly like how he did in Royal Road, then she would never be able to recognize him.

    While she had the chance to meet him and accompanied him, he cooked and created a sculpture.

    'The heartwarming sculpture of a pair of lovers, that man.'

    Seoyoon unwittingly reached her hand toward Lee Hyun.
    Lee Hyun reacted and turned around, only to find Seoyoon.
    His eyes dilated; the instinctive attribute when one perceives a crisis.

    "No way...MT..you want to come with...?"

    Seoyoon's head nodded in silence.

    She thought it'd be fine if she could tag along with Lee Hyun on the MT trip. Surely in his case, he would not abandon her, because they were friends.

    To Seoyoon, the moment they registered themselves as friends, she had already regarded Lee Hyun as a real friend.

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