Monday, 11 July 2011

LMS: Volume 12






Chapter 1 : The Day of the Showdown



Finally, it was the day to conquer Todeum.
Mapan was anxiously waiting for the timing.

"No matter what, the quest needs to be successful."

Since the Merchant would not participate in combat, he was very desperate.
He brought a wagon full of goods from Versailles continent on this quest!
If they fail to conquer Todeum, then the investment would come to naught.
Until now, while hunting, he bought loots to refill his pocket, but that was pale in comparison to the good he traded and planned to sell.

"I can't believe that last town didn't take tax."

On Versailles continent, at every town, he had to pay a toll and taxes on the trades.
Even at Morata, he had to pay income tax and various taxes placed with each of his earning.
Furthermore, larger metropolitan area had addition taxes.
Among them was the village of the Orcs, where the growth of the society was based around taxes.
But the Vampire was a race exempt from taxation.
Mapan trembled with excitement.

"No matter how much of a profit I'll make, there's no tax on them."

Even in Economic class, the most interesting subject to him was the laws of taxation.
For instance, here's an interview for a company based around knowledge.
Nowadays, many people have several skills.

"A Master in English."

It is rare to find people without 1~2 foreign languages.

"An excellent computer literate."

Knowledge in computers at the modest should be around those of a middle schooler.
Have to have corporate internship, volunteering activities, winning awards in competitions, or strength are crucial for the interviewee.

"What do you think is the most crucial?"

When asked by the interviewer on what is the most crucial aspect of an employee that stands above all of this!

"Tax evasion. Need to be an expert on tax evasion!"
"HA?!"
"Up until now, I've successfully never having to pay my tax once."

This was indeed the best talent for any company!

* * *


Hwaryeong pulled out the red dress to wear.
Along with the exposure of her body, there were luxurious jewels dangling from the gown.
She turned about with her body and nodded.

"With this, it's not bad."

Saying 'it's not bad' wasn't enough. It was a powerful magic to seduce men!
No men could have enough will power to pry their eyes from that.

"Laa. Lalalaa."

Hwaryeong hummed and danced along to her own tunes.
She was dancing her seductive dance under the moonlight.
The mysterious and alluring spectacle of expressing herself was a good view to behold, for there was a simple reason behind her dancing.

"I've enjoyed being with Weed nim in a large-scale battle before. This time as well!"

It was for Weed that she danced in the moonlight.
A slight habit of hers before any large battle.
It was something that can easily wipe out the bad atmosphere.

* * *


In the middle of the night, the three moons rose over Todeum, Weed went on one of the small hills.

"Finally, it's time for the showdown."

He had on the light absorbing Talroke's black armor, the Noble Grace black helmet, Vampire's cape and black boots.

Dark Knight.

The complete knight outfit.

Weed raised one of his legs and placed it on a rock, gripped his fist as he set his elbow on his thigh, and gazed down the hill.

Overlooking the Kingdom of Vampires, Todeum.
The appearance of dozens of old castles connected to one another was a very quaint spectacle.

As dawn approaches, the three moons: Pallun, Gorun, and Seirun were descending below the horizon.
In fact, since the sun did not appear, Todeum's night and day had no distinction from one another.
At certain times where the three moons reached their peaks, it then plainly resembled that of day.

Since then, the morning began.

The light of Seirun shone on the hill Weed placed himself.

Hwiyiing!

And the wind blew exquisitely.
This was the moment Weed waited for!
In this great scene with such fine atmosphere, while the wind softly flow its path.

'I gotta quickly take advantage of this moment.'

Weed, in his most elegant way, splendidly took off his helmet.

"Huu."

Weed formed a light smile.
His hair caressed by the wind, while the cape flapped to its will.
With the guaranteed of a tough battle ahead; he mimicked the elegance of a champion: alone in solitude, and enjoyment!

'Gotta relish this!'

He held this form for a long time while still gazing down the hill. Then suddenly, he drew his sword with his right hand.

The Cold Lott Sword.
Within it contained the spirit of ice, a sword of ice.
With this in hand, his damage output could be very high incorporated along with Weed's level; the blade shone sharply from the daily grind.

'This isn't all.'

On Weed's left hand was the Ancient Shield.
A shield forged by the best blacksmiths of the Dwarves.
A shield made from mithril and bones of unknown monsters.

The original beautiful patterns carved were unrecognizable due to the effect of time.
The lackluster shield was impossible to repair.
Nevertheless, it was a high class Unique item.

In order to fully utilize the shield, he needed to increase his stats and level to take advantage of it; but thanks to his Intermediate Blacksmith skill that he was able to use it.

Also, he also had on one the treasure of Nippleheim Empire, Baharan's Bracelet. (when I sounded this out, it sounded like Val Hallen, the Viking God of Rock in Dexter's laboratory. But keeping baharan for consistency for my fail last vol.)

But because it was a valuable item and he wanted to pamper it, along with the fact that his arm gotten cold, he removed it.

The added glamour of the finely crafted jewels on the bracelet didn't fit his overall image.

"This is for the best."

Weed with one sword in a hand while a shield in the other, stood as the wind reintroduced itself to him.

He deliberately didn't wear the white gloves because it didn't match this particular image.

He wanted to keep up the charismatic image and went barehanded!

Weed opened his mouth.

The created armor
The timeless armor
In the sun and the moon
Through the wind and the rain
Let's make an imperishable armor

Through the beatings
Rumbling bang bang bang
Appearing for just a moment
Only to be sold expensively

Up to where can this go?
Three gold?
No, no, no...
Now much will it cost...
Must be at least seven gold
In this trade, it only comes to a deficit of I go along with the first customer


He slipped away from the three moons as morning emerges.
Weed descended from the hill to where his party members gathered.

Their eyes were bloodshot red; it seemed as if they lack the necessary amount of rest.
Weed asked curiously.

"Did something happen?"
"N...no. It's not a big deal."

Hwaryeong shook her head, but she really did have a nightmare at dawn.
Pale, Maylon, and Irene all connected earlier than the promised time due to the building tension.

Since before dawn, some gathered their thoughts, while the others were warming up to get into forms.
Then in the midst of their growing optimism, Weed sang!

'Worse tone deaf ever!'
'What kind of lyrics are those?'

Weed's singing was like a splinter stabbing at their minds.
But that wasn't even the end of it.
He sang four songs in total!
They vaguely remembered the lyrics of the first two.
Shortly after that, they were in stupor, and could not recall anything afterward.


I'm going to make the cape in the wind
Flapping like a flag flapping
I can sleep at night with this covering me
Should never wash it after usage
Because when you try to use to avoid enemies
Sniff sniff
They will smell
The strange odor of the cape


"But...that really did happen to me."
"......"

At the end of that, the party firmly kept their mouth shut.
Since, it was almost time to barge into Todeum, they didn't see the point of increase the already existing pressure with such triviality.

Then the Geomchis connected one after another.
Most of them connected simultaneously because it was reaching the appointed time.

"You've come, Master, Sahyeongs."
"Yes."

Geomchi took a relaxed stroll and greeted the members.
Pale and Mapan eyes widened.

'It's just Geomchi nim, the others will be filled with tension.'
'Maybe he's a little uncommon, but the others will beg to differ just a bit.'

As usual, Geomchi2 retained his trustworthy countenance; Geomchi3 and Geomchi4 were seemed somewhat excited.

"This will be on TV?"
"That'll make it a bit harder to fight."
"We'll just show them our usual things."
"Also, find good angles too."

The broadcast of 'Weed'!
The show's ratings started low, but having it as a regular program on KMC Media was a very encouraging fact.
The Geomchis were enjoying the situation.
However, Zephyr looked around Weed with a relatively flustered face.

"By the way, Weed nim, I don't see Yurin nim."

Everybody else came, only Yurin was the sole absentee. So the question was thrown.
Weed knowingly nodded unconcern.

"Yurin won't come."
"Hm?"
"She's spending a nice time at home today."
"......"

The party's anxiety jumped.

'So you hid your sister from this!'
'If it's the usual Weed nim then he wouldn't have done this.'

In fact, their thoughts weren't misunderstandings.
Weed expected that this battle will actually be very hard.

'Assembled here are those why survived.'

Weed thought.

When they first arrived to the Land of the Vampires, the Geomchis alone was at 505 people.
Together with their companions such as Weed and Pale, totaled to 516 personnel.

But throughout each of the numerous battles, their group declined by almost a third.
The Geomchis without considering their companions, dropped to 353.

And the other colleague's safety could not be guaranteed.
Since Seechwi and Mapan lacked the attacking power in the first place, they would face all kinds of risks.
With the imminent battle in mind, the silence crept on since nobody was talking.

"Please trust me. I'll see to it many of us will come out alive."

Facing Weed's grim determination, Maylon and Seechwi hearts trembled a little.

'It's happening.'
'Finally I can see the God of War true aspect.'

On Continent of Magic, every quests and dungeons fell to the legendary Weed!
Now, Weed was to defeat the Todeum before him.

* * *


Weed made an unusually hearty breakfast.

"I will eat well." (it's a common saying.)
"Yes. Enjoy your food. This maybe our last meal in this place."
"......"

Until now, he had been making considerably tasty food with low grade materials; but this meal was made from Advanced materials that took many difficulties to obtained.
Intermediate level 6 cooking skill!

In this Land of Vampires, having to take care of the Geomchis, the bustling of cooking finally gave him Intermediate level 6.
The secret of having higher skill level was simply work on it like doing chores.

While traversing the road, he looked for herbs amongst the wild grass.
As he kept on doing that, his Herbal skill also suddenly climb its way to Intermediate level 9.

With having the skill at this level, he could even find and unearthed sweet potatoes hidden deep with the crust.
And also, his Handicraft skill reached Advanced level 4 in this place.

Weed poured all of this into his cooking!
With the combinations of various Advanced materials collected, nothing made could be better than that of porridge.




Body have eaten very good food.


  • Stamina increases by 40%.

  • HP increases by 25%.

  • Mana increases by 13%.

  • Strength rises by 36 points.

  • Agility rises by 22 points.

  • Poison resistance increases by 36%.

  • Stamina will not decline.





  • The materials contained in each bowl were at whopping 53 Gold!
    Needless to say, this was the most expensive food Weed had ever cooked.

    In the cities, the collective ingredients would cost around 200 Gold to start making the meal.
    But here, the materials were collected through hunting.

    The effects given were a clear indicator of the precious resources that went into the food.
    The aromatic meal melted as it entered one's mouth and spread its taste thoroughly.
    At this point Weed took out a bottle.

    "Here's a bottle to drink."

    A drink made from mountain fruits and herbs!
    Although it had not been a while for it to be fermented well since it was made here in Todeum.
    Nevertheless, the Geomchis each took a shot.

    Pale, Zephyr and other party members did not drink since they were filled with tension.
    This was the first time they've encountered a grade A difficulty quest.

    Whether it was the Pegasus or the Unicorn, individually they were still too powerful of a monster.
    They were imagining themselves going head to head against such monsters.

    But they didn't realize that the added tension along with these thoughts would stiffen them further mid battle.
    They could not drink the drink, because they were already tension filled.

    In combat, just as stats and skills, having morale was just as important.
    With so many people gathered together to fight, they could not ignore the psychological factors of the group.

    'Everybody seems to be nervous.'

    Maylon shot a question towards Weed to try to boost their morale.

    "Weed nim, I've been curious about something. Do you mind if I ask?"
    "No."
    "It's about back then in CoM, the Ibanpolten Island's labyrinth."

    Weed somewhat vaguely remembered.

    'It was the sealing place of an Archdemon.'

    It was a very famous place in Continent of Magic.
    It was the nastiest of labyrinths that remained undefeated until Weed!
    It was an incomprehensible maze that wouldn't allow Weed another attempt at it after he had finished exploring it.

    "So, how did you break into it?"

    Maylon was expecting a great answer.
    She figured if they listened to Weed's adventure for a bit, it'd calm the mood of the party.
    Weed had a simple answer.

    "Did you know that that labyrinth had many sewer rats in the basement?"
    "Yes. It was infested with large ra...no way?"
    "I entered it through those sewers."
    "......"

    The answer was too simple!
    That was too much of a simple solution to come to.
    Maylon had to throw in another question.

    "Do you remember the Inferno Skeleton King?"

    Skeleton King!
    A monster with a body of bones and smoldering flames encompassed him.

    "That was another monster that Weed nim killed. Great physical attacks, as well as magic defense so great that it was expected to be at the level of dragons, it was considered as the worse of monsters; how would you handle him?"
    "I would immerse him in water to kill him."
    "............"

    Maylon drooped tremendously after her useless attempts.
    However, if she had known of the situations behind them, she wouldn't think it could be so negligible.

    He had to make detailed mapping of everywhere, all to predict where the Archdemon was sealed.
    Just to locate the nearest entrance to that location, and it was a sewer entrance no less!
    The Skeleton King too, after a dozen deaths or so to figured out his weakness, and was finally able to drag him to the lake.

    The reasons for Weed's successes were through thorough investigation and preparation.
    Although it was easy to give an immediate answer while leaving out plenty of the intermediate steps; in actuality, he suffered a lot throughout the process.

    'Regardless, it was much easier than trying to earn a living in real life.'

    To Weed, any quests given weren't that hard.
    They were much easier comparing to him being a high school dropout trying to take care of his sickly grandmother and younger sister.

    With no education degree, his payroll wasn't much.
    The workload, the risks, and being dirty; his pay would get cut immediately from any one of these simple reasons!
    He even had to compete with foreign workers.

    Quests are just simple comparing to that of the job market!
    Maybe if it was a grade Special S difficulty quest! (dunno if SS is a real grade or not in this game, no1 achieved it yet.)

    Comparing to real life, doing quests was a relatively simple shift.
    Breakfast was over.
    Weed stood up from his spot.

    "Are you all ready?"
    "Yeah."

    The party nodded slowly. Regardless of their confidence level, they cannot not go.

    "Now let's move. Everyone are to take care of yourselves."

    At last, Weed led the tension filled party through the gates.
    Within the expanses of the collective castles in Todeum, the Unicorns and Pegasus were in flight.
    They would romp from roof to roof, and sometimes they would whiz by on the plaza.

    "I'm prepared for this."

    Geomchi2 solidly said.
    He saw the abundance of monsters, but his aim was to pounce them all anyway.
    This was the reason why the party, more than before, culminated themselves to the utmost.
    To go against what could be called the ultimate power.
    Having just seeing what he visualized as objects of terror before him; at last, it was the moment to fight.
    But Weed shook his head.

    "This isn't it. There's a better hunting ground."
    "Where at?"
    "You'll know when we get there."

    Weed crouched closely to the earth, and crept on all fours.
    Therefore, his party did the same thing. More than 300 people, moving in unison, crawled on the ground.
    Ppalppalppalppal!
    All were crawling at formidable speed.
    It used twice the amount of Stamina comparing to running, but everyone tried their best to keep up.

    "Heokheok! Well Weed nim."

    Mapan was struggling onward, because he was the Merchant, really weak when it comes to combat abilities.
    It was a steep price to pay for his high amount of Wisdom.
    In the first place, other than Knowledge, Wisdom, and Charisma, most of his stats were waived.
    But since he gained a bit of Stamina from the meal, he was barely able to keep up zigzagging around.
    Mapan asked while relaxed.

    "I don't know why we have to zigzag from alley to alley."

    Weed absolutely did not take the main street.
    As soon as they past the gate, he passed through an alleyway where there were plenty of empty boxes stacked on one another.
    He only used the extremely narrow alleyways among those were there.
    Weed spoke in a low voice.

    "If you look carefully at the behavior of animals, there are a lot to learn."
    "Huh?"
    "They know many laws of survival to live a long life, so they have a lot more advantages over you."
    "So now, what kind of animal are we going to copy for survival?"
    "Cockroach."
    "......"

    Not a lion or a tiger, Weed was going to learn from a cockroach!
    Thus they were moving like the insect with the highest rate of survivability.
    Syaysyasyaysyasyak.
    The two arms and legs moved very quickly.
    His head moved violently from side to side, as if it was a moving antenna.
    His rolling eyes moved constantly to determine of there was an oncoming monster.

    Fortunately, thanks to effort put into this, they did not encounter any monster and were able to arrive to their destination.
    The first destination was the vampire Tori's black castle!
    The party entered the castle and made it safely to the basement.
    With the tension dwindled down a bit, Pale asked as he took a relaxed breath.

    "Whew, what is this castle?"

    Weed replied simply.

    "This is where I found Tori, and this is also his home. Our first battle is here. Sahyeongs, please take out your bows."

    Geomchi, the instructors, and all the practitioners took out the overly large bows they received from Weed.

    "You're talking about this?"

    Geomchi had the biggest bow.
    Then from Geomchi2, Geomchi3, the size, in increments, got smaller and smaller.
    Even the bows had rankings!
    Only after then that Pale and Maylon understood why.
    The bows seemed to be too big and sluggish, making them difficult to use; but that would not matter since they were going to fight within a castle.
    It'd be an inconvenience to use during combat, but along with a shield, they will be able to survive.
    Weed looked at his dirt covered body, then removed his Talroke's Armor, Lott Sword, Ancient Shield and cleaned them at lightning speed.

    "Ah so. Please take out your shields."

    The Geomchis each removed the shields that could cover their entire body that they have equipped.
    It was hard to say whether the shields' form and usage were good or not.
    It can deflect oncoming arrows from their enemies when equipped, also increased their defense by at least 50%.
    Problem was they were two-handed weapons; along with the inability to equip swords, their Agility reduced dramatically.

    "Sword go, shine armor, shine shield!"

    Exercised the Blacksmith skill!
    Geomchis and other colleagues' weapons were grinded and armors wiped; albeit temporarily, stats increased through these means.

    "It's over. Then Irene nim, please bless the group."
    "Yes. To fight against the wicked and evil, please let his strength reach its peak, Bless!"

    Weed and the Geomchis' bodies were covered in slight divine radiance.
    The Unicorns and Pegasus broke their ways into the cellar through the door.
    Due to the fact they were creatures made from divine magic, they could sense whenever divine magic was used within a certain range.

    Back to top


    Chapter 2 : Todeum Expedition



    10 Unicorns and 12 Pegasus broke through the door and intruded.

    "Hihihing!"
    "PeureungPeureung!"

    Before long, with voltage like speed, they dashed.
    Dadak dadak ddadadadadak!

    Within one or two steps, they gained tremendous acceleration with each tread one after another.
    These horse-like monsters can be regarded as long-term sprinters!

    In comparison to the size of the common horse, these divine creatures were nearly twice as big; with steams coming out of their snouts, they angrily rushed toward the group.

    It was not an exaggeration to say that the castle's basement was about as large as decent plaza, with empty boxes and pillars posed as obstacles; however, they were smashed to bits before the terrifying assault.

    Kuruereung kwashang!
    Kwareureureung!

    The whole castle shook from trembling of the ground.

    Weed had already anticipated the Unicorns and Pegasus to come due to their acute sense to divine magic, but he didn't expect a rush of this caliber.

    Nevertheless, he immediately responded.

    "Sahyeongs are to divide into 5 units: 1st unit in order of names up to Geomchi100, 2nd unit up to Geomchi200, 3rd unit Geomchi300, so on so forth. Master and the four instructors are to command each unit. One of the 5 units please at once, go and block the enemies' rush!"

    Weed's words echoed terribly; with 70 of the current group's members under Geomchi5's command, they went on the assault with their shields.

    "Let us move to fight!"

    The Unicorns and Pegasus at a terrifying speed, shortened the distance in an instant.
    Through the means of shields, Geomchis tried to stonewall their assaults.
    These divine creatures were much more daunting and larger than the usual horses!

    They broke through the barrier and were still rushing in at an alarming rate, but more jumped in in order to prevent them.
    Whether they were brave or just simpletons, time and time again, the Geomchis took place for preventive measures.
    Even if they could not stop the sprint and suffered a great deal of damage in return, there was no hesitation coming from any of them.

    Weed too, ran out with his Ancient Shield in hand.
    Although he could have waited safely in the rear, he wanted to check the damage output of these creatures directly.

    With his Defense and Endurance, Weed was the best to take a hit and if he couldn't stop them, nobody else could.
    Weed ran in and issued a second order.

    "Romyuna nim, use spell! I don't need any strong magic, please just make the ground muddy."
    "Understood."

    Romyuna's specialty was offensive Fire magic. But she acquired a secondary skill set with her few extra points.
    The set was completed with the addition of a pretty much useless skill called Water Clay.

    "Water, moisten the earth wet and drag the on the enemy's feet. Water Clay!"

    Romuna casted her magic and the ground changed into that of a moist swamp.

    These divine creatures' magic defenses were enormous.
    Even if they were attacked, they were impervious to it.

    But this was not a direct attack on them; this cast was to influence the environment around them.

    Peureureung!
    Peuhing!

    The Pegasus and Unicorns were digging their hooves into the earth.
    And because of that, it had slowed them down quite a bit.

    If they had been weaker monsters, they would be stumbling around and falling onto themselves; but this only made them madder.

    Pretty soon again, they tried to achieve their earlier speed.
    The Pegasus sought to spread their wings.

    The Unicorn and Pegasus planned to get airborne deliberately to escape having to set their hooves into the ground.
    Their bodies became twice, three times as large with the huge white wings!

    Pureukpureuk!

    Their aim was Weed and Geomchi's unit.
    Weed on the verge of being rammed, closed his eyes.




    You have used Cold Eyes.

    You can see nothing, but suffering and pain disappears.



    Kwakwakwang!
    The roaring sound of collisions!
    The strong impact spread throughout Weed body as his HP dropped by half.



    Have suffered a highly lethal assault.



    Due to the nature of the Sculptor, his HP wasn't great; so even if he had high defense, the toll taken on him was expensive.
    In this case, half of his life force had been reduced.

    Comparing to the damage taken by Weed, the practitioners didn't fare any better.
    As many as 12 practitioners, after having crashed into, turned to gray and disappeared.
    They cannot underestimate the Unicorns and Pegasus' charge!

    Of the 12, during the clash of the moment with their shields in front of them, some practitioners were slammed and lost their lives.

    Others survived for a brief moment, before once again being hit by something as the monsters turned around to deal another strike.

    Beside the 12, thanked to the fact that they weren't directly hit by the Unicorns and Pegasus' rush, they were able to be alive.

    The attack was as disastrous as being hit by a car.
    For the practitioners who stonewalled, all their shields were damaged without exception.

    The steel shields made by Weed at Intermediate level 3 Blacksmith exceeded their limits and broke from direct impact.
    It didn't end there for Weed with the decreased vitality after having received the strike.




    The large impact have put You under Confusion.


  • For 8 seconds, movements are impossible.

  • 36% decrease in Attacking Power, 23% decrease in Defense.

  • Cannot use any skill.





  • He was confused.
    For Weed, throughout his history in battles, that rarely happened.
    He went in to deliberately take a hit.
    The ones that he saw didn't expose their vitals nor allowed any attacks to come behind them.
    Then the thrust came from the Unicorn, contained a great deal of force, stopped him and put him in disarray.
    It put him under a very dangerous situation, but the Unicorns and Pegasus weren't exempted from the clash.
    The reciprocation of the impacts in the conflict also blew these creatures away from the location of the crash.
    Even with their force being much stronger than expected, Weed grew more vigilant as he watched them.
    Jjijijik.
    A fine crack spread on the Ancient Shield.



    The Ancient Shield Durability have declined by 1.



    An impossible to repair Unique item!
    The Ancient Shield was expected to fetch at the very least 1,000,000 Won!
    He wanted to pamper himself with the debut of the treasured shield.
    Now the Durability of the Ancient Shield had dropped by 1.

    "You dare...my money..."

    Weed's fighting spirit raged.

    "Ready to fire arrows!"

    Cheochoechoek!

    The Geomchis and Pale, along with Maylon drew the bowstrings as hard as they could at beckon.
    Needless to say, their targets were the Unicorns and Pegasus!

    Thanks to the selflessness of the 5th unit, the monsters were standing in place, stopped moving.
    The remaining distance between them was 20 meters.
    They were close enough to be a breath away.

    "Fire!"

    The fired arrows flew straight toward their targets.

    Due to the abnormal size of the bow, the large arrows shot by the Geomchis gave off vapors as they flew.

    These arrows that could be even be mistaken as something shot off of a siege weapon; struck the body of the Unicorns and Pegasus.

    "Puheeeheng!"

    These divine creatures screamed and staggered as they suffered the blows.
    The Geomchis took the Martial Artists profession.
    With any weapons, they follow the same skill proficiency.

    Now they were dealing damages with their bows, which was equally as strong as their sword.

    These creatures' levels were explicitly more than 400; while close to more than 280 Geomchis were attacking with arrows; it can't be said that it wasn't damaging.

    However, not a single monster had been slain yet.

    The Pegasus who seemed to suffer the greatest, were still in decent shape with ¾ of their health remaining.
    After series of strikes, Weed exclaimed.

    "All get swords. We're attacking!"

    The Geomchis all abandoned their bows and rushed these Divinities with their swords armed.

    "DIEEE!"
    "I'll avenge you brothers!"

    They brandished their swords and fought close range.
    The greatest weakness of the Unicorns and Pegasus!

    Along with their tremendous size and high affinity to elemental magic, they could also fly.
    Although unmatched; with the ground hindering them, at this distance, they had far less combat capability.

    "Do not allow them space!"
    "Block them. Keep the being close!"

    The Unicorns were going wild and on a rampage.
    They kicked with their fore and hind limbs, chewed with their mouth, even thrust with their foreheads.

    The Geomchis were rolling on the ground to avoid the attacks, turning side to side and moving round and round.
    Figuring that frontal assaults were meaningless, they refocused themselves to attack the thighs and buttocks from the sides.

    "Keoeoeok!"
    "Really strong. These guys!"

    Screams erupted here and there.
    None of these divine creatures had lost their life.

    No matter how much they dealt, the creature was too strong even with a group of Geomchis attacking; and there were more of them.

    With 22 of these more than level 400 divine creatures, they could not afford to go all on one.
    Then, Hwaryeong stepped up.

    "Enchanting Dance!"

    Her specialty Bubibubi dance!
    The rampaging Unicorns started dancing to and fro among her.
    The sight was dangerous from another person's perspective, but surprisingly, she was safe.

    "Pretty woman. Kihihing!"

    Around her, the once unruly Unicorns became as docile as lambs.
    Women are toxic to Unicorn!
    Caught up in Hwaryeong's formidable charm, they quietly closed their eyes.

    "Happy. Kihihihihihing!"

    She was able to quiescence the enemies' ability with her fascinating dance.
    They smiled delightfully, and stood still.
    Having settling the three Unicorns asleep, she headed toward the nearby Pegasus.

    'Maybe this wont work on Pegasus.'

    Perhaps she'd be kicked once and killed instantly.
    Being a dancer with her weak defense, dancing among monsters was an amazing risk.
    But it was the same for Pegasus.

    "Kiheheheng!"

    A very satisfying smile rose and even their butts swung to and fro!
    Whether it's men, wolves, or horses, all males have the same tendencies.
    After having set two more Pegasus asleep, she ran out of Stamina and sat in place.

    Afterward, the battle didn't get any easier.
    With the declined in number of active creatures, it came in handy because the groups were able to get thickened for the assault.

    "Cut his legs! Do not let him move!"

    Geomchi3 screamed.
    Although dozens of attacks landed on the body, the results were inconclusive because of the thick leather like armor.
    But each time they attacked the ankles and thighs, the Unicorns and Pegasus were writhing with pain.

    "Here's the weakness!"
    "Concentrate on the legs!"

    Geomchis were fighting well, but this tactic place them in vulnerable situations: such as being unable to avoid the kicks and were hit to the point where they were near death.

    So whenever that happened, Irene took the risk and approached to give help to those in need of treatments.
    Meanwhile, Weed withdrew and assessed the situation.

    'The odds.'

    With the significant damages earlier on, he saw they might not be able to win.
    If it had not been good at all, he would call an order to immediately escape.

    However, with that singular drop of the Ancient Shield Durability, he wanted to grab the bastard who did it!
    Still, he couldn't tell if the hunt could be successful or not, but the creatures were getting pretty damaged.

    It was thanks to the fact that the Geomchis were clinging onto them like leeches that their vitality and stamina were incrementally weakened bit by bit.

    'Can win.'

    Weed was confident.

    "Don't let up on the assault. Don't let them cast magic or call on the elements! We can win if we stop them from doing so!"

    Weed's cries stopped everything and gave Geomchis hope.

    "I knew it!"
    "Keuheuheuheu."
    "Looks like these bastards are our meals."

    Geomchis did not doubt Weed's words.
    They experienced it throughout many adventures, and they were ready to place his insistence before their own judgment.
    Though they thoroughly trust Weed's words, they still believed.

    'Weed's reliable at everything except money transactions!'

    Complete trust!
    Furthermore, Geomchis felt something as they continued the battle.

    'Their movements are increasingly sluggish.'
    'We can do this.'

    Geomchis, without a single thought misplaced, heavily focused on the monster they were responsible for.
    Only in this situation where they were fully preoccupied in battle that their talents shine.
    Herein, it was more difficult for Weed. It was a full-pledge battle that needed all sorts of power.

    "Tori! Death Knight Van Hawk!"
    "Present."

    The Vampire Lord Tori mantle waved as he approached from the rear.
    Although they have already liquidated their relationship, they entered a temporary truce until Todeum return to normal.

    Death Knight Can Hawk also appeared in his armor in a puff of smoke.
    With Weed in the helmet taken from him, a bunch of mixed feelings stirred up.

    "First get the guy on the right."
    "Got it."

    The Death Knight and Tori answered briefly and moved toward the enemy.

    "The guy at the right. Hold the rightmost guy."
    "Aye."
    "Okay."

    Pale and Maylon answered lightly one after another and focus their shots at the Unicorn on the right. Weed also used his Yeurika's Bow and focus on the target.

    They shot arrows consistently as they ate away at the Unicorn's HP constantly.
    With the help of Tori and Van Hawk, the first of the Unicorns fell.

    "Hihing!"

    The bovine-like body of the Unicorn slumped to the ground with a loud sound. In its place: horn, leathers, jewelries, and knee protector dropped.
    Weed's eyes scanned like a wildfire.

    'Celtic Protector, 220 Gold; Jewels, averaging with 103% to sell would be 400 Gold; 7 pieces of leathers, 325 Gold; horn! 8 of these with 2000 Gold in others mats and I can make Unicorn horn bow. The minimum price to sell it could be 5000 Gold, and if it ends up being a Unique item, it's 78,000 Gold. The horn stands alone at 945 Gold!'

    Weed's eyes were consumed by greed.
    The Unicorn's levels were too high; but generally, they weren't monsters static in dungeons.
    No one had ever hunted these divine creatures in Todeum before!

    Their drop rate was still fresh.
    In this case, he was able to obtain more items.

    Furthermore, it had long been acknowledged that Unicorns often dropped good and many items.
    With such conditions, it was highly probable for them to expect more.

    "If we hunt the Unicorns, each one can buy us 3,118,500 barley bread!"

    Only when it was about money calculation that his mind work so fast!

    "Heoeok, so much barley bread."
    "Let's get them all!"
    "Woooooooo!"
    "From now on, we can say goodbye to hunger!"

    The Geomchis' motivation burned.
    Weed too, unequipped his bow and rushed onto the battlefield with his sword.
    With just that, it was sufficient enough as a command.
    To the Geomchis, the importance of the first hunt is incomparable!

    Because from thereon, as battle experts, within that clash was how they learn how to deal with the monster afterwards.
    In the first place, they allowed Weed to decide whether they should continue the hunt or abandon it to escape.

    'Let's hunt till death.'

    Weed made the decision and jumped toward the divine beast without hesitation.

    "Moonlight Sculpture Blade!"

    This was done onto a Pegasus.
    The Pegasus vitality and stamina had already been significantly reduced due to the fight against the Geomchis!
    Together with the Geomchis, they became an encircling task force.
    Weed moved dazzlingly.

    "Single point attack!"

    He focused only on the rampageous Pegasus' leg.
    Every strikes were focused on a single point was the best still to use!
    Due to the struggling of the Pegasus, sometimes Weed's attacks missed.

    But with all the Geomchis presented attacking on all limbs, the damage taken by the Pegasus grew increasingly.

    Whenever his legs became exposed with his wild movements, the punishment was immediately dealt by the Geomchis.

    So the divine creature was forced to rely on his great defense as his hidden legs remain covered.

    But his blood dripped onto the floor constantly as he took the hits, dwindled his more and more of his vitality.
    Weed, Tori, and Van Hawk designated themselves a different target to fight.

    "Pale nim! Maylon nim! Concentrate on only one!"

    They had a slight overall advantage in this war-like situation, so it was best to concentrate on one and kill it as soon as possible.
    Unless some unforeseen event happened, this way was the certain path to their victory.

    Kuwooung!
    Kwaang!

    Here and there, the divine beasts collapsed.
    With Tori, Van Hawk, Zephyr and the party concentrated on attacking, this creature also fell; and the number increased as they fell to the hands of the Geomchis.

    "Iyat. We did it!"
    "Master, we got him!"

    The monster that Geomchi's group was dealing with also died.
    Under Weed's intensity, another Pegasus fell pretty soon; afterward, these divine creatures clung to each other.
    With Geomchi2 and Geomchi3's hunting competition, more and more creatures collapsed.

    "Puhihing!"

    The monsters that were put to sleep by Hwaryeong woken up only to realize they were getting pummeled!
    Later, nine additional Unicorns busted through.

    Although their intrusion was a momentary crisis, Weed and the Geomchis have thoroughly refined themselves during the struggles of the earlier battle, hunted these down.

    After which, it looked as if they have hunted all the monsters.

    Ttiring!




    Fought against the Shinsu in the 1st castle of Todeum.

    Remaining castles: 46.
    Reputation rise by 30.
    Receives an additional 60% combat experiences.



    They obtained additional compensation in correlation to the hunt.
    Presently, Weed and his party, along with the Geomchis, their Reputations had been dragged through the mud.

    - Mean and Petty Archer – Pale.
    - The Vile Merchant Who Can Eat Children For Money – Mapan.
    - Fists are Louder than Words – Sureuka.
    During the course of doing all the Vampire quests, they were given bad titles and also the declination of their Reputation.
    However, by winning battles, they could make up their Reputation little by little.
    The achievements through the battles could be great.
    Through physically beating all these divine creatures, not only vast quantities of items were acquired; but also, the Vampires who were asleep in Tori's castle arisen.

    "Greeting my Lord."

    The Vampire Queen and the followers joined!
    A troop of 100 Vampires obtained.

    These guys' levels were around the mid late 200s, but nonetheless, more power was added.
    The practitioners, however, faced a loss of 28 deaths.

    The largest amount of 12 deaths was during the initial clash.
    Mid of the battle, some were killed in combat; the second intrusion of the Unicorns took out seven more.

    "We got this vampire castle."

    Those who were still alive toured the castle's halls.
    The place was decorated with old arts and crafts!

    It was filled with many precious treasures such as gold or silver candlestick holders, and swords embedded with sapphires or opals.

    Weed and Mapan seemed to have made a secret oath with a quick eye contact, and went separate ways.
    And as they moved forward, each and every time the valuables they passed disappeared moments later!

    Swiishh!
    For a simple reason to earn additional income, they left nothing remained.
    Even with the items where they couldn't see the monetary values using 'Feeling.'

    Due to their Rarity, Artistic Value, Historical Value, their prices varied.

    Although the armors and the swords had practical uses; but in actual practice, their values dropped in accordance to their low Durability.
    Weed addressing these points and asked.

    "What do you think the price for all these is?"

    Mapan agonized and replied at the end.

    "Most of these artworks are Common. Altogether, the maximum we can get for these are 12,000 Gold."

    Weed nodded.
    The suggested price was somewhere around what he initially figured.
    Since these artworks weren't the really good items, it was difficult to sell a huge sum of them.

    "I'll try to sell all of these. After which, we'll evenly split the profit."
    "Yes!"

    In the case of valuable works of art, they were valued as collectibles; but to these guys, that meant little in comparison to the monetary gain.

    And then, they stumbled onto a picture they had never seen before in the middle of their 'hunt.'
    From the picture on the wall, a strange energy wafted out within it.
    A pale vampire was staring at the nape of a girl longingly could be seen.




    You have witnessed 'The Longing Face Masterpiece.'

    Perhaps the painter was intimidated by a vampire to paint such a picture.
    This was not an amazing work by such an exceptional painter.

    In addition, few mistakes were committed from fear in parts of the work that declined its overall rating.


  • Fighting Spirit will increase by 10%.

  • In the dark, stats will rise by 7.

  • In the dark, Recovery Rate will increase by 15%.





  • By looking at the picture, some abilities could be increased.

    "Well then, let's go to the next castle."

    Weed visited another castle.
    This castle seemed to be slightly larger than that of Tori's!
    In this castle, there were 32 more.
    Again, Weed with the Geomchis stood at the forefront as the vanguards.
    The newly acquired Vampire forces will have their chance not much later to enter the battle.
    Reason being that they were too weak and could be easily dealt by these divine creatures.
    Growth of the Vampires!
    The group was being thoughtful: to keep the Vampires from death and have them grow stronger.
    The experiences the Vampires acquired from these divinities were enormous.
    Through just one single battle, Weed also gained more than 20%; while the Geomchis nearly obtain another level as the battle finished.
    After which, the number of liberated Vampires in this castle was 110.
    Thanks to the experiences accumulated from the first battle, only 16 of the Geomchis lost their lives.
    At this point, Weed said.

    "We still have too many people dying during the battle. If we keep this going with an upward of 10 people die at every battle, then before long, all of us are gonna get wiped out by these creatures way before we can liberate Todeum. From now on, we're gonna keep the damage taken to a minimum."

    They have already learned how to deal with the Unicorn and Pegasus.
    Weed, to over the shortcomings of the group, pulled out the materials he had been saving.
    The Rotting Dragon.
    The materials were obtained from the dragon hunt.
    From which Weed made weapons and armors out of them.




    Bone Sword:
    Durability 130/130.
    Damage 64~79.

    Sword made of from bones of a dragon!

    To use such corrosive material into the blade is not a good idea.
    Though, it's sufficient enough to function as a sword.
    To repair this item requires a highly skilled blacksmith.

    Restriction:

    Cannot be used by Paladins.
    Level 300.
    Agility 520.


    Option:
    This was created with extreme delicacy, so it's easier to use.
    Requirement reduced by 20%.
    +200 Reputation.
    +30 Agility.
    Poison damage will inflict an additional 60 HP points per second.
    From fear and metastasis, atrophy with monsters rises.
    Foul odor.




     




    Bone Chest Armor:
    Durability 130/130.
    Defense 85.

    The armor has a fatal flaw!

    Since the armor is made out of old bones, if it was to receive a singular large enough impact, it will break.

    Restriction:

    Cannot be used by Paladins.
    Level 320.
    Strength 650.


    Option:

    This was created with extreme delicacy, so it's easier to use.
    Requirement reduced by 20%.
    Reduce physical damage.
    +35% Magic Defense.
    Immune to all Confusion magic.
    Foul odor.




     




    Blacksmith skill proficiency increased by 2.3%.




    Blacksmith skill proficiency increased by 3.1%.



    The rotting bones of the dragon gave an unbelievable amount of proficiency.
    The completed sword and armor weren't at the highest levels, but they were more brilliant than expected.

    "While there aren't that many effects given, but I think each should be able to fetch at least 20,000 Gold."

    If he had better blacksmithing techniques, he would have been able to reach the extreme capabilities the materials could give out.
    However, these were the maximum output for them since Weed was rather lacking in blacksmithing techniques.

    To make a sword required at least 3 kilograms of the dragon's bones!
    To make either shield or armor required as much as 5~15Kg of the bones.

    He obtained a total of 230Kg of dragon bones from the hunt!
    He made a total of 10 swords, and the rest went into shields and armors.
    Each person a bone armor set!

    Ttiring!




    Have obtained Blacksmith Intermediate level 4.

    Created items' Attack and Defense increase by a certain value.
    Improve ability to handle weapons and may inflict additional damages.
    Have acquired the title 'Blacksmith with Extensive Experiences.'
    +350 Reputation.



    Weed's skill level had risen by one.
    Furthermore, the Intermediate level 5 wasn't that much further away.
    Weed's made weapons and armors were offered to Geomchi and the instructors.

    "Master, please take."
    "Is it really?"
    "Yes. I was saving these materials but it made me just as happy to make these weapons for Master."
    "Weed."

    Short word and grim demeanor!
    To interject in this requires delicate timing.
    The hesitant feeling will decrease as the effect if the gifts slowly loosen their grips.
    Weed did not miss the moment.

    "In this stead, if you don't mind, can some of the smithing and sewing materials you get from the Unicorns and Pegasus go to me..."
    "No problem. Take all you'll need from us."

    Geomchi and the instructors value little regarding the materials.
    So after little deliberation, Weed was able to take them.

    Some of the practitioners also divided up the weapons and armors; instead in an immediate trade, they offered their promises instead.

    From then on, the battles against the creatures were much easier.
    The swords, shields, and armors played a major role in this.

    Thanks to the help of the given defenses, the number of deaths greatly reduced; as the battles raged on, only about 5~6 people died in each.

    They were still going after the smaller castles; and among them, the number of tag-along Vampires increased significantly.

    Back to top


    Chapter 3 : Silmido of Hell



    Lee Hyun had done nothing in preparation for the MT.

    'I don't want to do anything that'll be deemed unnecessary.'

    The samurai's doctrine of complacency was the best course of action and the easiest.
    However, the group got together to discuss and prepare.
    The progression of the meeting was in charge by Park Sunjo. Seoyoon too, specifically came to school to attend the preparation meeting.

    "Well then, everybody share the things that you can do. Is there anybody who knows how to cook?"
    "......"

    At the end of Park Sunjo's question, all were silent.

    "...well, if it is food, we can roughly get around to it. Then next, does anybody know how to put up a tent?"
    "......"
    "Is there anyone who likes the outdoor more than staying inside the house? It'd be really good if you have mountainous experiences."
    "......"

    Seoyoon was already silent to begin with, but everybody else had their head bowed and was quiet.
    Other than studying at school, the all had no other experiences.

    It seemed that in the frequent trips they took, they did not bother for any of these things.
    Lee Hyun's eyes plunged into the darkness.

    'You incompetent fools!'

    Park Sunjo's forehead was shining from the sweats formed.
    For all of them, this was the first time they've done anything like this, and thus, didn't know what to do.
    10 minutes passed, and then onto 20, the meeting was going nowhere fast.
    Inevitably, Lee Hyun was forced to comment.

    "What do you say we start arranging with the necessary supplies first, due to the fact we have a limited budget. Since we don't have much time left, just suggesting things and we all deem whether it's really essential or not."
    "That's right. Let's start with things we see fit."

    Having Min Sura favoring the idea, each began inputting what they thought was necessary afterward.

    "Tent!"
    "If we're going to cook food to eat, then we need cookware and burner."
    "We need meat and water...we really can't go without water."
    "Since we need to sleep at night, we need a set of blankets."
    "Wash towels are also essential."
    "Cell phone charger."
    "Cosmetics too...and bowls, cups, spoons, chopsticks."
    "I almost forgot! The pinnacle of all travels is photos. I'll bring a camera."

    It seemed throwing in ideas rekindled their livelihood. And then, Choi Sang-jung face frowned.

    "But these stuffs, we need to prepare them within the 50,000 Won per person limit...and also, we're all going have to carry them. How the hell are we going to carry them all?"

    Once again, the planning seemed to hit a wall.

    "The money is a problem."
    "To be limited to 50,000 Won per person is really like having nothing at all."
    "How do other groups prepare with this?"
    "I figured we should just buy a box of ramen and eat them everyday."

    Credits were associated with the MT!
    All were well aware that this was a viable and important option, for the general trend of most groups was to buy ramen to eat.

    Every meal consists of only ramen!
    Lee Yuu-Chong forehead wrinkled as he spoke as if it couldn't be helped.

    "Anyway, I think ramen is a good option. Including Sulanju and rice, I think that good enough."

    Then Park Sunjo also gave his consent.

    "So is ramen ok?"

    3 days and 2 nights!
    That meant having 6 or more meals consisted of only ramen!

    Although the activities that they have to do during the MT hadn't came out yet, they all generally expected that it wasn't going to be easy.
    Still, having to force down and endure meals of only ramen was the decision to uphold.

    "What other alternative do we have..."
    "You sure it should be ramen?"

    Choi Sang-jung and Min Sura moments later also confirmed.
    Lee Hyun eventually decided to come forward. People then entrusted him to be the person-in-charge because it was far more convenience for them.


    Friday morning.
    Since they were in the vicinity of the marketplace, Lee Yuu-Chong, Park Sunjo, and Choi Sang-jung gathered.

    Because of Lee Hyun.
    He strongly opposed to ramen.

    "Even for me, I cannot handle having ramen at every meal."

    Ramen as food wasn't bad.
    Rather, to Lee Hyun, it was the most valuable food.
    Back in his old life of economic hardship, where he was burdened with the inability to buy rice and had to buy the inexpensive ramen.

    It was the biggest help that filled his enduring hunger when in dire needs.
    Even now, sometimes along with his grandma and younger sister, they would boil the ramen and eat it with kimchi in reminiscence.

    'But I cannot eat six straight meals of just ramen.'

    He had eaten way too much ramen in his childhood that he learned all the secrets within all of them. So now, he just want to eat ramen as a sometimes food.
    Also, six meals of ramen meant that they won't have a balanced nutrition.

    "Rather, whether it's eating or sleeping, let me prepare the necessary tools to live."

    He had told them he would take care of the essentials in accordance to the given budget, but they remained dubious and came to clarify.
    Lee Hyun came exactly on time; he looked to his colleagues and nodded.

    "You're all here."
    "Yep."
    "Then let's go."

    Lee Hyun then took them into the agricultural wholesales market.
    Only having just entered the market, even the seemingly intelligent Lee Yuu-Chong didn't know.

    "The supermarket's much more comfortable. So why are we here?"

    He privately murmured insinuatingly. It was not long after the appearance of the supermarkets that the era of the marketplaces was fading.
    Lee Hyun didn't want to explain the complexity. He had to buy a lot of stuff here so he didn't want to be relaxed.

    "You'll know when you see it. And this place isn't like the usual marketplace."

    From the entrance to the wholesale market, there were different types of butcher shops, rice stores, grocers, bowl stores. There were all kinds of stores.
    The moment he saw the pricing list, Lee Yuu-Chong mouth did not close.

    "No way! 100 grams of pork is 1,400 Won!"

    In the supermarket it's usually 2,200 Won for that much, so nearly half of that value! Rice, vegetables, or fruit prices were also unparalleled.

    "Are all these stuff imported?"

    When Lee Yuu-Chong asked, Lee Hyun shook his head.

    "There's not much to profit off of pork to do it. Fish is imported though, it's like that anywhere."
    "Why so cheap!"
    "They're just small shops. These outdoor shops aren't big, and also have been doing for more than 10 years and brought them here directly from their fields."

    Lee Yuu-Chong called his mother and had her checked at a few sections only to find out how severe the price differences could be.
    The shop owners saw Lee Hyun and began to horselaugh.

    "Young man, you're coming twice today?"

    His sister already came at dawn due to their periodic changes to get the items to prepare the meals, so they thought he had come back once again for the same purpose.

    "Yes, hello. I'm going with these guys on an MT trip so I need several different items."
    "Well, come one then. I'll sell them cheap, of course. So are they also bachelor college students?"
    "......"

    Lee Hyun was selecting the meat from then on.

    'Since were on a budget, I'll start with the most expensive.'

    He chose 2 kilograms of each of the pork belly, neck, and ribs.
    The meat bought in corresponding to the 8 people eating for three days and two nights, so it seemed right. Since he didn't know whether it was lacking or not, so he got pork chops just in case.

    "It's not much but here are some ham hocks on the house."
    "Thank you."

    The next place Lee Hyun went to was the grocer!
    By the way, when cooking, if you don't have fresh vegetables to accompany the meat, you won't be able to wake up your taste buds.

    At this place here, Choi Sang-jung and Park Sunjo were disheveled.
    Poram Vegetable 21.
    Dapeojwo Vegetable 19.

    From there, the grocers' name didn't change their pattern.
    There was almost no vegetable on display; while the ones that were, were still inside the box with the box top cut off, boxes stacked on each other.

    Lee Hyun picked the lettuce, onion, and cabbage boxes.

    "How much are they?"
    "3,000 Won for a box of lettuce, onion 3,000 Won, cabbage is 5,000 Won."
    "Please give me parsleys, leeks, garlic, peppers, and potatoes too."
    "How much do you need?"
    "A lot. Enough for 8 people for 3 days and 2 nights worth."
    "For you students 90,000. I'll give you a lot!"

    The grocers pulled out boxes one after another to give him. There were eight extra sweet potatoes lying on top of them.

    "These are only 7,000 Won for all."

    Lee Hyun hesitated for a moment before receiving.

    "If you sell it at that, doesn't it mean it'll go south pretty soon..."
    "It's because nowadays we've got too much sweet potatoes so they're cheap. Just take them."

    Once all the boxes were placed, Lee Hyun turned and asked.

    "Do you also want to eat fruits?"
    "Huh? Yes. I can eat then if we have them to eat."

    Lee Yuu-Chong in embarrassment replied with a slur.

    In the tight budget of 50,000 Won per person; even when they had came up with a guideline, they never expected to be able to buy everything they could.

    Of course, they never planned to have fruits. But as it happened, they went along with Lee Hyun to the store.

    "Auntie."
    "You're back, bachelor."
    "Yes. How much for the strawberries?"
    "2 boxes for 4,000 Won. I'll round the items in the front to 3,000."
    "Please give me two of the good ones. Cheap please."
    "Cha! Here's just for healthy guys like you. Just 3,000 Won."

    Choi Sang-jung and Park Sunjo loudly exclaimed.

    "Keek!"
    "What kind of prices is this low?"

    It seemed as if they came to a strange country. While they were pushing carts in the market to purchase items, they had no clue about the existence of this place.
    Anyway, to the disarray of the other party members, with everything up to the strawberries, they were far from reaching the budget limit.
    Lee Yuu-Chong asked excitedly.

    "Aren't just the tent, cookwares, and oven left and we're going to make it!"

    Lee Hyun shook his head just once.

    "The MT preparation was to be entrusted to me. So I will take care of getting ready."
    "We're ordered to not borrow any tools."
    "I'll take care of everything. On a side note, who here can't eat pork chops so I'll buy some other food?"
    "If that's all we have then it's fine, but..."

    Lee Hyun took them on a trip around the marketplace, and bought a bit of shrimps, tofu, and shell fish.
    Also, he did not forget to buy red pepper, bean paste, salt, and seasonings.

    "You eat chicken, right?"

    When Lee Hyun asked, the now tired Lee Yuu-Chong simply nodded. Park Sunjo and Choi Sang-jung had long since turned into quiet porters.

    "I'll bring a chicken from home and treat it as a wholesale price."
    "From home?"
    "Because we raise them in the yard."
    "Ah. You're raising them as pets."
    "Nah. As for human consumption."
    "......"
    "I raised them since they were chicks and when they bear eggs I raised those too."
    "But it must have been hard to raise the chickens so we can't just eat them."
    "It's ok, we have 7 chickens at home. First is Boiled Egg. Second is Sunny Side Up."
    "No way, those are their names?"

    "Correct. The third one is called Mother Hen. Because she raises the chicks. Or I should call her the Protagonist since she's also one that bears new arrivals. From the forth one upward are classified as food. Soup, Fried, and Sauce. The seventh one is the youngest, Half Sauce Half Fried. The naming process is altered by family branches, but the full name doesn't get pass on from generation to generation." (that is, 2nd gen - 'half fried', 3rd gen - 'fourth fried,' never just fried.)

    "......"

    Do not expect warmth from Lee Hyun. Even chickens he raised are just food!

    * * *


    Port of Incheon waterfront terminal.
    Students were chatting away about the upcoming 'pleasant' MT.

    "Uwhew, it's finally today."
    "I only wish today had not come."
    "How much are we're gunna suffer."

    The sophomores and the more seniority students were already in haggard appearances.
    The generations who had already done an MT weren't at all relief.
    They weren't so confident about the special concept of the MT trip.

    "But it's the coast this time around. It's on a small and pretty island too, so it's better off."
    "Come to think of it, the last time it was hard because we had to climb a lot of mountains. This time, that's not going to happen."
    "Oh btw, what kind of food did your group prepared?"
    "Instant ramen. We also have around 1 kilo of pork to eat."
    "Sounds a lot like us."
    "With a budget this low, I bet all the other groups are like this also."

    The new students were carefully taking to the seniors in order to enjoy their time.
    The purpose of the MT trip was to build up motivation and it was an opportunity to make a good relationship with the seniors!

    Lee Hyun and his group members also huddled up.

    "What the hell is that?"

    His group members had no intention to show the materials and tools Lee Hyun had prepared.
    Contained in the black vinyl bags consisted of unknown things!
    It didn't feel like the normal tools such as tent, oven, or cookware.

    There was even one with holes perforated into it, while the sounds of struggled flapping and knocking came from within.

    Kkokkodek! (cockadoo)

    "Shup it!"

    After Lee Hyun's piercing shout, the sound from out of nowhere stopped.

    "......"
    "No way..."

    To the group member's surprise, the cold eyes of Lee Hyun let off slightly.

    "There's less taste from frozen meat."

    Lee Hyun did not bring an ice box.
    It was heavy and expensive to use only just once so he didn't see the point.
    Instead, the frozen pork was thrown into a Styrofoam box.

    He then threw in a few extra ice bags, and completely sealed it with wrapping tapes.
    With that, it should be able to retain that degree for about 23 days.

    However, there was no point to do it to the chicken.
    Between raw and frozen meat, there was a subtle difference in taste.
    Because of that, the selling prices were different.

    So, Lee Hyun chose to bring the youngest Half Sauce Half Fried raw rather than having him frozen.
    If you are not Lee Hyun then don't even think about it!
    After a bit more time had passed, it was the right time to get on the ferry.

    "Well then, let's get on the boat. We're departing."

    With the professors leading, the students followed and boarded the ship.
    The students had no intention to watch the sea from the deck.

    The waves calmly rolled and the seagulls lazily glided above.
    For the students who are first timer on a boat, this was a very strange experience for them.

    "The boat's rocking."
    "This is a volleyball."

    Conversations broke out with the boys trying to cozy up with the girl they like as they straddled next to the girls.

    A moment in time to enjoy the peaceful happiness.
    Also, at Lee Hyun's side was Seoyoon.
    Ever since Incheon, she stayed at Lee Hyun's side.
    He was her only trusted friend, so she did not want to leave his side.

    'You're planning to preoccupy me up till Incheon as well."

    While Lee Hyun was trembling in fear, he did not want to miss the opportunity of seeing Seoyoon's face so close to him.

    'Ima watch you in detail to make the best sculpture.'

    Standing next to her, at this distance, he was close enough that it was possible for him to see any facial fuzz.
    In the wind, her ebony hair dispersed gently as it passed.

    In Baran village, and in the north, every time there was a need, he would sculpt Seoyoon from what he felt.
    He wanted to express bits and bits more of her beauty when creating sculptures.

    In this moment, he wanted to imprint a picture permanently onto something instead of his mind.
    For Lee Hyun, this was the first time he ever felt that.

    'Need to have a picture, there's no point in having it in my memory and can't recall it when I need to...'

    He felt as if the whole ocean was drowning in her ambiance.
    Seoyoon's beauty was to that extent.
    Additionally, the corners or her lip slightly elevated!
    If he didn't see it that close then he would have never saw the change in expression.

    'That's nice to have.'

    Lee Hyun had observed Seoyoon's expression very closely, but he did not know what she was feeling.
    Seoyoon was happy, though she did not show a wider smile.
    With the boat having been at sea for a long time, she was getting comfier with time.

    The professors came out onto the deck and took off their coats.
    They appeared to be Marine uniforms!

    "This is the perfect time to tell you about this MT trip."

    The remark was made by Professor Ju Jonghun.
    The students gathered together on the deck and wait for him to talk in silence.

    "As you may have known, the original location of this MT was at Seung Bong Do. It is an extremely beautiful island. But it became clear that for this trip, for the purpose of having a wildlife experience, it was not fitting; so we cancelled. It'll be better for you to visit Seung Bong Do at a later date."

    Ju Jonghun said this while expanding his smile.

    "It'd be good to know in advance that it isn't Seung Bong Do."
    "Then, where are we going for this MT, professor?"

    Asked the senior students, be Ju Jonghun did not leak anything.

    "You'll find that out eventually. In the mean tine, you don't need to worry too much about it. It's Sil...nah, though this island makes sense for this trip. It's truly the wilderness and has the spirit of selflessness; it's the best location to take advantage of the opportunity to nurture the blazing hot camaraderie!"

    Due to the professor's remark, the students were buzzing busily making guesses.

    "Hmm where at. Certainly make sense if it's one of the islands in the Yellow Sea."
    "Nope, not there."

    There are numerous of beautiful islands belonging Republic of Korea in the Yellow Sea.
    The fishermen would board their ship and go fishing, while the rest of their families are to remain working on the fields in wait.

    The students were still pondering about the island and had no intention of letting up guessing its name.
    But many of the senior students had already given into the immense sense of disappointment and began gazing toward the abandoned Incheon ports.

    "I should have never come on this MT."
    "With the new and returning students, I figured this is a great opportunity to mingle with girls."

    Lee Hyun too, wanted to clear the many misconceptions the students thought about him being a returnee.
    He wanted to get along with the freshmen and reiterate that he was also a freshman.

    Or else, all that was left about spending time at school was the depression of singularity.
    With this ambition in mind, he was willing to carry this out during this trap of an MT.

    "Why'd he say that place."
    "Huwew, please don't remind me..."
    "Give me a life vest so I can swim away from here."

    The returning students have already guessed the location.
    The professor's slip of the tongue of the first syllable pretty much gave them the island.

    'Sil' was that character.

    The island was the tile of a film with a base audience at the box office of a whopping 10 million viewers and made the island famous.

    Nowadays, not many people knew of the island itself; in the usually cases, even the returning seniors, most made the connection to the film in its stead.

    "Silmido."
    "Keoheuk!"
    "Why that place..."

    * * *


    For the seniors, it was exactly like they predicted.
    Southwest of the Ports of Incheon, the ship arrived at Silmido!
    What welcomed them were the sandy beach and the foreshore.
    Their hardship was just beginning.

    "Here is the MT timetable. Please keep an eye out for this; hopefully we can smoothly match the times set for the MT."




    [Your day by day is tabulated here.]






    Day 1 – Arrival at 1100.

    -1200 Group meal:

    Cannot use matches or lighters.
    Live as those in the wilderness, make your own fire.
    Once fire's done, you can start with the meal preparation.

    -1400 Training course of hell #1:

    Run one lap around the island on the shore; race to be the first 30 people.
    Whoever arrives afterward must run another lap.
    However, if you can't do it and give in, one of your members can take on the duty in your stead.
    The group will do so until it is dinner hours; if not finished by then, having dinner is prohibited.

    -1700 Group dinner and rest.
    -2000 Courage test:

    Each group will be given a specific target to be reclaimed in the mountain.
    The group that obtains many targets will be presented with an exception.

    -2300 Bed time.





    Day 2 – Wake at 0600, toiletries.

    -0700 Group meal.
    -0800 Training course of hell #2:

    Lunges 300 meters, then get on wooden canoes and row 1 trip around the island.

    -1200 Group meal.
    -1300 Sport competitions.

    Events: Football(soccer), wrestling, log (bridge) boxing, lug of war, no exceptions. Unconditional participation.
    Souvenirs to groups according to performance.

    -1700 Break.
    Sincere information exchanges between the grades as you share drinks. Talent show.

    -2200 Free time from here.

    If you want, you can sleep as long as possible.





    Day 3 – wake at 0800, toiletries.

    -0900 Meal:

    Each group can make you own food and share with the entire lot.

    -1000 Clean up.
    -1100 Free to tour Silmido.
    -1300 Returning.

    [Writing this is an enormous pain...huek...]



    The so-called timetable of hell!
    If it was the usual MT, they'd be busy playing and eating.
    But as the professors who planned this MT, they firmly swore.

    "Unconditional wilderness! And hell's training!"

    The groups were made to take care of the preparations themselves, and now the intensity of the training was raising the works to a higher height.
    After putting together the timetable, the professors were very pleased.

    "We've completed this good timetable and are now heading back."
    "It's necessary to adhere to this guideline."
    "This is a bit generous already so don't ask for more. We won't do it."
    "Never!"

    The professors recalled last year's Teacher's Day.
    It was a sad day since they did not receive a single flower or gift from the students!
    But this was not done through vengeance due to that.
    It most definitely was not.

    * * *



    The timetable was accepted with some concerns.

    "Do you think they'll really commit to this ridiculous thing?"
    "It has to be a joke."

    The symptoms of escaping reality!
    While still dubious, each set their baggage on the open and spacious sand.

    "Well then, let's set up our place."

    They did not care for breakfast and got started working on their settlement.
    Each wanted to start early before night falls so they pulled out the equipments to set up the tents.

    Most groups had essentially got a tent that could accommodate eight people to sleep in.
    The tent, within the given allotted budget, spent most of it.
    As for Lee Hyun, it was a different story.

    "Our group will also set up an accommodation."

    Yet, the stuffs he removed from the compressed baggage were Styrofoam, aluminum rods, and building insulators that were used on construction sites.

    "That's the tent?"

    The group members were dazzled in confusion.

    Lee Hyun was carrying most of the stuff so they didn't know most of the things acquired.

    "We're not going to make a tent. We're going to create a temporary place to live."
    "......"

    Park Sunjo asked cautiously.

    "But we're lacking a lot of materials to build something like that."

    Lee Hyun only removed a total of eight rods.
    The insulators and the Styrofoam were barely able to fill one backpack.

    "I know. Without the rest of the materials, these wont be enough."
    "Then how..."
    "Local sourcing! I'm gonna go get things to make pillars and roof so you guys wait here."

    Lee Hyun pulled a saw from the tool box. Then he went into the woods nearby.
    The group members then, were truly speechless.

    Although the mountain was not very big and the woods weren't completely dense or hazardous, his unexpected behavior caused them to be in the state of static panic.

    Surprisingly, Lee Hyun returned pretty soon.

    Along with the saw he brought, there was an additional tree he cut.

    The dead and fallen tree branches were intertwined with other branches and kept close to the trunk.
    He returned with the tree on his back, dragging it by the trunk.

    Lee Hyun's shoulders and arm muscles tighten as he kept the tension onto the material.
    After his tendons thickened, he was overflowing with physical attractiveness.

    It was not an exaggeration to call him a wreck once before, but thanked to the workouts in the Dojang, he built a strong body.

    'Look at those chest and forearm.'
    'His abdomen looks rock hard.'

    Most of the girl's eyes sparkled.
    The members of the other groups privately talked about Lee Hyun.
    Since then, the teachers also looked toward him with interests.

    "Materials are all prepare, so I'll build a house."

    Lee Hyun nailed the aluminum rods deep into the ground.
    And on the ceiling, he has established a solid roof using the braches.
    Choi Sang-jung didn't like the roof very much.

    "When it rains, it'll leak through and put out the fire."

    The cut off branches were woven together and looked quite sturdy.
    But if there were too many small openings, it would be too vulnerable against the rain drops regardless of its constitution.

    Likewise, rain couldn't possibly come.
    As for Choi Sang-jung, since he hadn't lifted a single finger, he wanted to be somewhat useful by pointing out and highlighting anything.

    In fact, the other group members were also worrying over that point.
    If they encounter a shower in the middle of their sleep, it can be a big problem.

    "I'm not finished yet."

    Lee Hyun relieved all the concerns of the group members.
    The roof was covered with the throwaway transparent plastic.

    Three or so layers of the see-through vinyl covering and secured with a line to complete the perfect roof.

    The walls were formed by the transparent vinyl around the aluminum rods with silicon sealant briskly applied; the roof and the walls could handle a big storm quite a bit.

    In comparison to the others' tents, their temporary residence was twice as spacious.

    "Do you think making the entrance at the wall facing the sea is good?"

    Lee Hyun asked for his group's opinions, but everyone simply nodded their heads, stunned.
    Lee Hyun moved stompstompstomp on the material.(will mention below)

    With each sound, the residence was getting closer and closer to completion.
    Without a hint of hesitation, along with the proficiency in crafting, the pace was terrifyingly fast.
    Lee Hyun pierced an entrance facing toward the sea.

    After cutting the multiple overlapping layers of plastic, with the easy installation of a zipper, it was complete.

    Lying in a tent, there was no view of the ocean.
    With theirs, whether it was the wall, roof, or entrance, they were made of with transparent vinyl; so even when night comes, they can see the stars of the heaven.

    The moonlit vinyl beach house!
    Listening to the sound of the waves, the atmosphere will halt anyone and put them to sleep.

    'Making a house is insignificant; it is way easier than creating sculptures.'

    To create the myriad of sculptures that he did required a significant imagination.
    The basic of the sculptures was to harmonize with the surrounding environment.
    To Lee Hyun, creating a house best suited for the beach was not a big deal.
    He also strengthened the constitution of the ground below.

    It took no time to do so, and then he lined it with Styrofoam with the building insulator to top it off.

    These days, there was no problem to use these adequate building materials to make something of this level and have it last a couple of days.

    Though, it could be a comfortable home for a month or so without the group.

    It required a more robust built for it to last a storm if it was to hit; but it wasn't the season for such weather, so their concerns were alleviated.

    "It's done. Let's move our luggage inside."

    Lee Hyun led them all inside; once in, the group members looked around.
    It was pleasant and wide, while the floor was relatively cushioned.

    "This is great."
    "Really comfortable. More so than tent for sure."

    Hong Seonye and Jung Eunhee were comfortable and didn't hold back their words.

    The other groups were still busy setting up the tents and struggling with it; while they were the only group that had a comfortable house that finished in a flash.

    Until now, Hong Seonye, the once with no interest and negligent to Lee Hyun, came up to him.

    "It seems you have an interest in interior design or architecture and such. I think a man with such a hobby is really ideal."

    It was evident that her awareness of Lee Hyun had positively improved.
    Lee Hyun replied honestly.

    "If they work 3 months as a manual laborers, anybody can do this."
    "You also have an excellent sense of humor."

    Hong Seonye took what he said as a joke and laughed it off.
    Seoyoon also looked around the temporary residence and her face showed she was comforted.

    She wasn't someone who can simply mingle with others. At night, it also wasn't easy for her to fall asleep.

    Throughout the duration of the MT trip, she was concerned over this point; but was relieved due to the comfortable and spacious house.

    As such, it took Lee Hyun's group half the time of the other groups pitching their tents to complete their temporary residence.

    Although it wasn't specifically anything awkward, Lee Hyun was fidgeting around because he had finished too fast in comparison to the other groups.

    "Chaa, Let's eat."

    Lee Hyun grabbed hold of the materials to cook the meal himself.
    As usual, there was no other reason than that it was difficult for the rest.
    He washed the rice in the pot, and set it on a crevice of rocks.
    Then a bit after, he picked up the pot and set it below the trees.

    "By the way, about the fire."

    Lee Yuu-Chong and Min Sura as well as the girls came over with curious gaze.
    There was no doubt Lee Hyun's actions further proved that he was a returnee in their eyes.
    The reason for their hearts lightening up was mainly because he easily set up the house.

    "Ima make it of course."
    "How?"
    "I wonder if I have some tool to make it easier..."

    Lee Hyun wondered for a moment.

    If he had a magnifying glass, then it was possible with the use of the sun's rays and have it directed it a paper to make fire.

    It was easily the easiest and most comfortable method.

    'Don't have a magnifying glass, but there is a roundabout way to do it.'

    He brought the clear vinyl to take advantage of them and create a habitat.
    He could also use it to fill it with water to collect the rays.
    But it'd be a bit tricky, since he'll have to tear off some of the vinyl he used earlier.

    "Then we'll just use wood to start a fire."

    Lee Hyun looked for a suitable tree.

    On a piece of dry wood, he put a bit of some dry grass, then used a dry branch and rubbed it back and forth.
    He did not forget to blow on it to refresh the oxygen in the bundle.

    Chiiiiiiii.

    Pretty soon after, a thick bluish smoke preceded the coming fire.
    Although it seemed like an easy thing to do; if one lacked the experience, it was absolutely not an easy task.

    'Done it plenty in Royal Road is all.'

    When he was at the novice level, he didn't have the money to get flint. Thus, he spent time rubbing branches to make fire.
    Complete devotion to spare a penny!

    Later in reality, he tried to do the same thing as his memories entailed.
    He was a Sculptor in Royal Road.

    In real life also, sometimes, he would suddenly get the urges to make a fire out of wood as practice while he was shearing trees.

    The first few times he failed plenty in succession, at the end of a four hours long endeavor that he could finally produce fire.

    The Sculptor class brought him another advantage!
    He used those experiences to kindle this fire.

    "Wah!"

    The group members were amazed while watching the flame.

    In the usual case, one can use a readily available lighter to make a fire; but in this case, the speculation of creating a fire outdoor gave a different atmosphere.

    Lee Hyun used that fire to cook the meal.
    The given meal time was two hours due to condition set forth to make and keep the fire lit.
    With the generous amount of time given, he leisurely took his time to boil the pork.
    They could also boil the ham hocks to eat too.

    "Ah, I'm hungry."
    "C'mon and boil!"

    The other groups hurriedly took out their burners and cookware to boil water.
    However, there was one thing they needed to first.
    They were busy clamoring about with painful blisters forming while rubbing the wood.

    "Can't do it, it's tough..."
    "Copy that group over there."

    At the end of the groups' suffering, using camera lens and such tools, they made a meal of ramen with their kindled fire.
    Nevertheless, there were many groups that could not eat.
    Because from then on, it was time for the training course of hell.

    Back to top


    Chapter 4 : Wild and Hell training



    Many students were hungry as they gathered on the sand when time called for it. The professors came first and waited for everyone to come.

    "One lap around the beach and that'll end today's hell training."

    The students felt at ease.

    'We have until 5 to leisurely make it back.'
    'It'd be like a tour around Silmido in this case.'

    During this, the freshman Kim Hyeonjun hand went up.

    "Professor, I have a question. Our group did not eat. If we still have time after then lap around the island, can we eat then?"

    The professor readily agreed.

    "Sure. If you have time at the end of hell's training, then it's free time until the next item on the schedule. So, everybody ready?"
    "Yes!"

    The students wore comfortable running shoes; they did so in preparation for the running on the beach.

    "Then, you run. GO!"

    At the drop of the professor's command, more than 100 students rumbled forward.

    "With the sea breeze being fine like this, it's good enough with a jog."
    "For your health, I think it's good that we came to the MT. right, senior?"
    "Yea, I'm thinking that as well."

    The student ran as if it was a leisure walk or stroll.
    Even with the scorching sand below their feet, it wasn't a hard terrain.
    The fined grains of sands meshed as they trampled on.
    But, some of the students led by their returning seniors were running with conviction.

    "Heokheok!"
    "Faster, faster, let's go!"

    The majority of the students did not understand their seniors' reasoning.

    "Run a bit slower, please."
    "Following that pace is too hard."

    Minor complaints erupted.
    But, the seniors looked back while smiling brightly.

    "Oh, then you can go slowly."
    "We won't wait and are going ahead."

    The students eased off and asked.

    "Is there some sort of reason?"

    Then these returning students strongly shook their heads.

    "It's nothing. I just want to run, yeah."
    "Don't you think it's good to run in such a rare event to have such a nice sea breeze blowing into the island?"
    "That's right, we just want to run."

    With that, the seniors ran like fleeing arrows.
    Lee Hyun too, didn't care too much about having to run.
    He was thinking that it was just one comfortable lap around the island.
    However, he was watching the odd behavior of the returnees and became suspicious.

    'There's something.'

    Lee Hyun did not believe in anybody.
    Everything was for the sake of his family's well being!
    He had long abandon trust in humanity and sympathetic compassion.
    Once he learned of the harsh reality, he no longer had naivety.

    He acted hard on himself as he lived while reciting 'money money money' in abundance.
    But as if the world was truly trying to drag him to the bottom, his harsh life wasn't just that.

    It gave him experienced a temporary feel of 30 billion Won in his grasp, only just to take it away moments later.

    Reality hits!
    Having truly fallen once into the pits, he will not easily put absolute faith in others.

    'Be careful as to not get hit in the back of the head. There's no way I'll easily believe these guys.'

    While Lee Hyun kept close eyes on these seniors, he raised his running speed.

    This physical attribute didn't come from his time in the Dojang; it was already instilled in him by default before then, as he never once threw money to ride the bus for the good amount of distance.

    With time to cherished, he raised his physical ability up a notch to turn walking into a running pace in this place.

    Dadadadadadak!

    His speed rose far beyond those of the students!
    Pretty soon after, he caught up with the returning seniors.

    However, he didn't care for the lead role while remained in their vicinity to find out the reason why.
    He quickly found out the reason for the seniors course of actions.
    No matter how much they ran, they couldn't see the end of Silmido's beach.

    "Heokheok! I'm sure at this point we must have screwed up the direction somehow? Why are we going straight and seems to be going nowhere."
    "I think it's already been way over 15 minutes."
    "I'm hungry."
    "Shit I'm hella hungry."

    Several of the seniors knew.

    With just a quick glance, most people are often not mistaken to think that the islands in Yellow Sea as small.

    But, having to run from one end to another is not an easy task.
    The circumference of Silmido's beach is more than six kilometers!
    After having to run just one lap, you'll never want to do it again.

    'I'm sorry. You young'uns'

    For these knowing seniors, it was the first come first serve basis.
    The effect took its toll as the other students also increased their running speed.
    Their mind became impatient as they tread on continuously on the endless beach.
    Physical limitations of hunger!

    There were several students who were trying to catch up, but a while after, their overall speed quickly fell with shortness of breath.

    For the students that neglected exercise, there was no other way to call the event but hellish.
    From the once running speed they had, eventually they all came to a walking halt later.
    As for Lee Hyun, the one lap was easily accomplished within the first set of 30 people.

    Among this first come first server basis group, there were good amounts of returning students, seniors, and even freshmen still seemingly fresh.

    Seoyoon was among them. This was easier comparing to the usual morning jog with Cha Eunhee that became a habit.

    For those that didn't make it within this group, they had to do another lap around Silmido.
    From the exhaustion to the hunger, it was a proliferation of endlessness!

    "Man, shit."
    "Somebody please help me, anybody."

    The students sought a helping hand from within their group, but nobody tried to lend one out.
    The distance of six kilometers!
    Although it seemed to be short at first sight, it was a very long distance.

    It goes without saying for those that had to do it twice.
    Now they finally understood why the given time was three hours.

    If you cannot run, then you'd be better walk profusely to finish!
    But during this second bit, they had little power to even walk, and were on the verge of collapsing.

    "I...please help me. I'm really sorry but please, can you take my place."

    Hong Seonye was having a hard time and asked Lee Hyun.
    She was at her physical limit and waned to rely on Lee Hyun as he seemed to be still fine.
    Lee Hyun, of course, said.

    "Well...I don..."

    He was trying to find the right moment to reject!

    "Sure."

    Lee Hyun changed his mind and ran.
    It was due to the fact he had finished the lap quickly and had no particular work to do.

    He figured it was better off to do a bit more physical training.
    For those who had to do the second wheel, almost all of the students walked.

    To be forced to do 12 kilometers was very difficult for those that didn't exercise normally.
    The only people who were running were those who returned from the service where they were forced to do so.

    "Keoheuheuk."
    "Yaheuheung."

    Among the students who were still running, strange moans and groans came about here and there.
    Each was forcing their heavy footsteps as the tread.

    They wanted to give up. But for the sake of their group members, they could not do so at all costs.
    They had not have lunch, and they could very well forgo dinner for their entire group.

    'This is why it's called training of hell.'
    'Very fittingly put on the timetable.'

    While contemplating again and again, they were forcing themselves to keep moving.
    At this time, Min Sura sank to the floor in exhaustion. He sat there for a long time while panting.

    "No, no more...I can't do it anymore."

    At the sight of this, Lee Hyun who was far in front, came back.

    "Piggyback."
    "Huh?"
    "Piggyback. It didn't mention anything about this on the board so I think it's ok."
    "Yes, but...I'm heavy."
    "Don't worry, you're prolly not as much as before since you've spent a lot already."

    Lee Hyun had experience in rice delivery.
    Giving a person a piggyback ride was much easier than carry a bag of rice!

    'In comparison to bringing up loads of brick up the stairs, this is much easier.'

    Min Sura, with conflicted emotions, leaned on Lee Hyun's back carefully.

    "If it gets heavy...please let me off."
    "Okay."

    It wasn't hard for Lee Hyun to carry.

    He rested both hands on his thighs to push himself up and was moving slowly at first. This attracted the eyes of the students around them.
    Some envied, some praised!

    It was already a tough thing to carry a girl when one was already physically spent!
    But what they saw after was the real surprise.

    Dadadadadak.

    Lee Hyun was holding onto Min Sura as he ran.

    "Huh?"
    "What th..."

    They were already having a hard time walking!
    If they had known Lee Hyun had to adjust his speed in consideration, they'd be in for a real surprise.

    'If I try to get back as soon as possible, I'll have nothing to do but act appropriately with those people. I'll just roughly match the leading ones and that'll do.'


    Lee Hyun ran within the leading group of the second lap.

    "Aaa, so hard."
    "I'm dying, dying. If it have ice cream to eat right now would be wonderful."
    "Even if it's just some cold water..."

    As soon as the other students arrived, they dropped to the ground and sounded sickly.
    Min Sura's face also strained.

    'He really gave me a piggyback and ran.'

    He was filled with anxiety when he thought if he had gotten heavy again he'd be put down.
    But they really arrived running steadfastly.

    He knew he had lots of male friends, but he just realized that the sheet anchor he thought he had wasn't there.
    That projected onto Lee Hyun; and Lee Hyun appeared much more favorable in his eyes.

    Having returned after two laps around the island, before long it was already time for dinner.
    Lee Hyun immediately started preparing food.

    The foods he was making this time were grilled chops covered in rosemary sauce and Mediterranean shellfish soup.

    Although he could have just made the grilled pork to eat, he but specifically opted out for the more labor intensive dishes because he thought about the amount of work their jaws would be doing otherwise.

    "Hyeong, let me help you."

    Park Sunjo came over with his hands ready.

    The other group members, unless they weren't presented at the moment, were lying on the ground gasping for air intensively to be able to do anything else.

    Fortunately for Park Sunjo as he made into the first group during the first lap at the 29th place.
    Lee Hyun asked while trimming the ribs.

    "Have you done or watched a lot of cooking at home?"
    "No. I don't watch it. I don't go into the kitchen so I almost never see it."
    "But there must be a dish you can do."
    "Yes, I can make a bowl of ramen well."
    "...Do you know how to peel fruits?"
    "Peeling? I've never seen it done before. If you leave it to me then I'll try."
    "Wash the dishes."

    Lee Hyun rather chose to suffer alone.

    In Royal Road, he can receive help from his party members as they have a basis for cooking to trim the materials and such.

    But now in the real world, since there was no such thing as Cooking skill to keep things tolerable, he decided to directly work on them all.

    But Seoyoon was exempt from cooking even with the skill.
    The worse food!

    Even comparing to fighting off a fever from the cold, a human with highest spirit would die if they were forced to eat something so tough.

    If Seoyoon was somewhere within the vicinity of the dish, it would dried up somehow.

    'Welp yeah. Anywhere in this world, there are people who are incompatible with this sort of stuff because they're not fated to suffer.'

    The smoke billow from the fire was huge as Lee Hyun grilled the ribs.

    "You need?"

    Hong Seonye offered him a towel.
    She came and brought him a clean towel.
    Her hair and face were wet as if she had just gone to wash her face with water.

    "Because of me that you had to do two laps when you're not supposed to. I'm so sorry. It must have been tough."

    This time also, Lee Hyun answered candidly.

    "It was not a big deal."
    "The professors are really too much, If we come here for an MT then why the hell are we training!"

    When women strongly criticize something, the point they're making usually lies contrary to what they're saying.

    Essential, the right thing to do in this situation that could blossom into that of friendship is to agree and pass judgment on the said subject.

    Rather than using one's logic or offer a solution, just use a few simple easy to understand words accordingly to increase points.

    On the other hand, Lee Hyun took a good look at Hong Seonye like he had never done so before and roughly replied.

    "The implied hell's training is too easy."
    "It's easy?"
    "It doesn't need to be called 'training of hell.'"

    Generally, if something is named that, then it shouldn't be so easy.

    If it was laid out like Lee Hyun's plan, then it wouldn't be so effortlessly doable. Upon arriving to the island, they would march orderly into the mountain for 20 kilometers.

    At the end of the march, they would exercise for about three hours through the mean of having battles. After that, a meal that takes about five minutes to finish then onto the next course.

    In which they throws themselves into the sea; with sea water fill about half of their body, and they would run in that state while carrying logs!

    It's also good to drag a log through the mudflats. One can get a really good workout with heavy logs.
    After which, they can get about two hours of sleep at night.
    At this point it can't be called basic training!

    He had learned this from watching the instructors from the Dojang.
    This was not the breaking point of humans!
    If it's something you crave then you can do it.

    Even if you can't make it.
    To reach the pinnacle of strength, this is nothing at all.
    After seeing them, Lee Hyun suddenly matched his workout to align himself to their standards.

    "Uh huh."

    Hong Seonye had a totally different interpretation.
    Although he showed he had a lot of strength running the lap for her, what she want in a man is the looks to show him off, and would not care for otherwise.

    'Does he like me?'

    She had no other option but to be mistaken.
    They finished their meal.

    They had a sumptuous dinner while the other groups could do nothing except eyed them with envy.

    The other groups' food was simple: kimchi ramen, beef ramen, Neoguri Deung ramen, or some other types of food they couldn't recollect.

    Some also had cold noodles with spices, but that level of food could not compare in term of quality to Lee Hyun's group.

    Kkokkodaeg! (cockoldoo again)

    It seemed as if every time the youngest of the chicken Half Sauce Half Fried cackled, the sounds of beating crackling flame torches and saliva swallowing could be heard.

    "Did you hear? Over there have a chicken for food..."
    "So jealous. That sounds really good."

    The desperation level in the wilderness was way different.

    Perhaps, at this time, when asked what one would bring with him the three things they deemed essential; most of whom will answer as such.

    Lee Hyun.
    A lighter.
    Half Sauce Half Fried.
    The meal time ended with the constant envious eyes, now it was time for the courage test.

    "Hidden within that mountain over there are slips of paper for you to find. The group with the most will receive a special award of having their liquor paid for."

    A courage test within the dark mountain!
    Realistically, snakes or other animals had concealed themselves and attacked people.
    This time too, Lee Hyun's group inadvertently ranked first.

    "My legs are sore."
    "Ahh, I'm sleepy. Hungry. Mommy."

    Most were too tired to hike so there was no other group to join in.
    Only Lee Hyun, Seoyoon, and Park Sunjo diligently walked around and were able to find as much as 10 sheets of paper.

    Just as the night hits 11 o'clock, all easily fell asleep.
    They rode the ship to come, set up their tents, made their food, and ran; because all of whom did things they normally never did before so they easily got tired.

    From within the tents and from the temporary cursed beach, there were only the sounds of the wave and the sound of the snoring alternated between the two.

    Slam!(wave)
    Deureureung.(snore)
    Slam!(wave)

    Kuuuuuul!(also snore...not sure...sounds like crying...)

    * * *


    Lee Hyun woke up in the morning as he usually does.

    'I wonder of Hyeyeon is eating her meals properly. She should be bringing side dishes to grandma in the hospital too.'

    There as nothing he could do on this island.
    It was not possible to go to the homepage of the Dark Gamer website for information, nor could be go to an auction site to check up prices of items.
    The only thing to do was to relax comfortably.

    'Rarely have this kind of rest before.'

    Feeling comfortable for the first time in a few years, Lee Hyun quietly slipped out of the temporary residence.
    He could hear the exchanges between the sounds of the students from the tent and those of the waves.
    It was so dark that he could barely tell the oncoming dawn by the moon and stars.

    "Nice."

    Lee Hyun walked on the white sand.
    Like others, he too wanted to get to know them and hang out. But it was not possible.

    'I can't stand out like the rest of them. I have to be concealed in the shadows, in order to earn money and make living easier.'

    He had s strange relationship with the friends and seniors he knew.
    The people he befriended back in primary school all believed he moved away.
    Their parents had said so to Lee Hyun.

    "Don't play with our children."

    Since he was at a young age, Lee Hyun bluntly asked why; since he couldn't possibly have known.

    "Your parents have both passed. And I heard you live in a very poor house. So do not come close to our kids anymore."

    On the grounds that he didn't have parents and his living environment was difficult that he was unable to make friends.

    Whenever stuff goes missing and money was gone, even the teachers prosecute Lee Hyun.
    Due to these experiences that forced Lee Hyun down the path of a moneygrubber.
    But he really could understand the mindset of those parents.

    'My children are more important than others, huh. To interfere whenever they can to root out what they think are the bad influences.'

    Lee Hyun no longer tried to recall the past.

    He wanted to take time to rest comfortably here. Only here at the MT where he can do so, once he gets home he'd have to work hard again.

    Lee Hyun took the 'to be enjoy' stroll in the morning.
    But in the distant on a rock, someone had did so first and sat on it.
    It was Seoyoon.

    She was able to sleep a little at Lee Hyun's side, but it then somehow got uncomfortable and she quickly up and left.

    "......"

    Seoyoon also noticed Lee Hyun but she did not say anything. She simply glanced at the side next to her.

    Lee Hyun took a seat beside her. Of course, he didn't forget to check again and again to verify that it was an ok thing to do.

    'Sit down you mean? Can I sit down? Don't get angry when I sit. Maybe she'll take revenge on me in the future if I do...'

    It was still dark.
    Lee Hyun and Seoyoon were sitting on the rock watching the sea.
    Under a myriad of stars under the sky, and the vast ocean stretched before them.
    The little frustration melted away as they sat to relax.

    "......"

    Seoyoon didn't fully open her mouth but she wanted to say something.
    It was due to the tension that she could not say anything.
    In fact, so much so that she specifically did not know how to put anything into words.
    To her, being friends was factual. So, she wanted to have a nice chat but she did not know how to clear the tension she felt in the air.

    'I don't know what to say. So how does someone transmit their sincerity from just words?'

    Seoyoon sometimes took deep looks into Lee Hyun's eyes for a long time.
    In which, to Lee Hyun, the deep looks evoked his thoughts to go wild.

    'You know I created the statues or what? I knew that sculpture of Morata's beauty would give me away sooner or later. No, on the plain of despairs you watched me make the statues, did you figure out since then? I don't know if you knew the Freya statue in Baran was based on you. Aah, these eyes are like those when I had that severe cold and you forced that poisonous food down my throat; they're the same exact eyes!'

    Illusion and distrust, fear was budding along with the coming dawn.

    * * *


    The entrance to Morata.

    "Hehe, thank you very much."
    "We've been a lot of trouble to Da'in nim."
    "Thanks to you that we were able to break this quest."

    Before the gate, there was a party disbanding.
    The place they explored at was the Spring of Oblivion within the Twilight Ruins!

    "It's unbelievable. To think we could subjugate the Twilight Ruins like this."
    "We got so many items, it was an interesting experience. It is all due to Da'in nim."
    "Heh, don't mention it."

    Among the party members, one amazing Shaman who was very memorable.
    Shamans were usually deemed as the jack of all trade.

    Ranging from treatment and magical spells, buffs, and curses, it was a struggle of a class to have.
    There was no upside to be seen as is.

    So when ones form parties, they usually do not designate a spot for Shamans to join.

    They lacked the ability to deal treatments to the level of the Clerics, or were they specifically able to work at any certain area; so in most cases, whenever Shamans were invited, they usually only played a supporting role.

    But the Shaman Da'in was in a different dimension in comparison to the others.

    Her treatment magic exceeded the tolerable of a Cleric, and her damage output was near those of the Wizards in term of magic attacks.

    Blind.
    Blockade magic.
    Using vines of trees to bind and stop enemies' movements.
    Invisible arrows.
    Familiar summons.

    While her variety of skills were correctly set to obtain the most advantage, her mastery of the skills were also very high.
    No wonder the party members were smothered by Da'in.

    "Hehehe, then do you all want to register as friends?"

    At Dain's suggestion, the party welcomed it readily.

    "Sure."
    "Then we'll do more some other times!"

    So Da'in bid a final farewell to the party; after which, she roamed Morata wanting a tour.
    Entering the town, she saw many shops were still in construction that she had never seen before.

    "Need people to go hunting in the hills in the south. Preferably Wizard."
    "Need those beyond the level of 300. Need warriors that can take hits of those level 400 or more."
    "Want Wizards. Necromancers and Summoners welcome. To do quest."

    There were many people who were trying to recruit members to hunt or do quests.
    While many blue collar workers in their rightful place began creating items, the other vendors set up their shops.

    Tailors, faith, trading post opened!
    From these small textile vendors, leather and cloths were woven.

    Rather than going to other cities to buy the expensive leather, adventurers here paid money to have their customized equipments produced in exchange.

    Since Morata was the leading in textile technology, pretty good items were produced from the given materials.

    The faith vendors relieved curses and gave blessings, while they also played a role in training Paladins and Clerics.

    The trading post was a popular place that was always crowded with Merchants.

    At Morata, with the rise in traffic of people, the need for luxurious goods, food, weapons and armors were also on the rise.

    While some others obtained goods sold in Morata, and earned profits by selling the materials at other regions.

    The Mercenary Guild was finally completed.
    Members of the Red Shield mercenary gathered after their tough lives of mercenaries.

    After one having exchange drinks with the mercenaries, they share a conversation regarding the employment of these hired guns.
    In some cases, someone who doesn't want to for a party for a quest chooses to hire mercenaries.

    The dialogue between them is to figure out whether the soon to be hire merc has the basic qualification to be do the job.

    After considering the reputation, level, and occupation, the chance of the employment corresponds to the level of familiarity.

    Although their services were expensive and on a daily allowance, endless amount of people had been looking for mercenaries because their costs spoke for their effectiveness.

    While Da'in took a lap around the town to purchase the necessary goods, she walked to a party seeking a Wizard.

    "Class Shaman. If you don't mind it, my level is 227."
    "It's a bit low, so...let me try to talk to the party members and I'll be happy to reply."
    The leader was Paikeumaen(Pike-Man), with a pike polearm as a main weapon.
    After having chatted with his party members via whispers, he nodded.

    "It seemed you're quite famous and well known. Da'in nim is very welcome. Our commissioned quest is to punish the servitors of the Skull before the coming sunset. Would you like to join?"

    "Yes!"

    Da'in joined the party even if it was just a simple quest.
    The location for their quest was at the Green Lake near the town of Morata.
    Da'in with her new party moved toward their destination.

    Back to top


    Chapter 5 : Lee Hyun's Identity Uncovered



    The second day of MT.
    Morning came; along with a bunch of bizarre sounds came from the tents.

    "Kkeueung, kkeung."
    "Heuheoheoheoheok!"
    "Ma...my thigh."

    Pain resulted from the aftermath of yesterday's running.
    Even with the pain occurring during the event, it was nothing comparable to the muscle ache of the following day!

    "All rise. It's morning!"

    The professors each went around the tents to wake everyone up.
    With eyes so narrowed due to the sleepiness, they moved to wash their faces and hurried to prepare breakfast.

    Each group nodded their heads grandly at their meals.
    Due to the troubles of yesterday, they simply had ramen because they didn't have the will to cook the materials otherwise; today, there was a wide range of food.

    Chigeulchigeul. (sizzles)
    Grilling pork, and also opened a bottle of cider.

    "Can I drink the Soju?"

    Some students asked the professors with hoarse breath.
    Drinking in the morning is not condoned during an MT!
    The professors delightfully allowed.

    "Go ahead! Drink and see if you can withstand today's training of hell!"

    They withered and returned the Soju back to the box once again.

    In Lee Hyun's group, he used the leftover materials to boil stew; along with a side dish of seasoned premature leaf mustard kimchi.

    He steamed the rice in a sotdanji until thick smoke evaporated, till the rice seemingly burnt, then they were allowed to eat. (???it's like a flat kettle of a pan.)

    "Hyeong, this food is really is the best!"

    Choi Sang-jung gave it two thumbs up.
    Min Sura also slurped down the meal and asked.

    "Where did you learn to cook like this?"

    It has long been settled that the ideal men are those that can make appealing dishes.
    If you can cook day by day particularly for a woman, she can't be helped but fall in love with you.
    So from that standpoint, learning how to cook is a virtue of a man!

    "My cooking skill rises over the years at home. It has been more than a decade already."
    "So you cooked since childhood? And the qualities are so high."
    "There are circumstances. And I learned more specific dishes in Royal Road."

    In Royal Road, there was a separate cooking skill. But simply relying on that could not lead to a finished dish from beginning to end.

    In reality, even with just the improper adjustment of water in the rice cooker, the damage is enormous. At that point it's either to turn into porridge or throw it away completely.

    Practicing in Royal Road helped reduce these mistakes and even acted as flavor analysis.
    Thus, in order copy the taste properly, it required accurately finding the increments in the recipe exactly.

    Lee Hyun studied such recipes for days.

    Given that the various parts in the recipe in virtual reality did not transliterate precisely out in the real world.
    After having finished breakfast, the hell's training started again!

    "Group lunges. Just 300 meters worth."
    "Uoooooooooooooo."

    After the professor's words, the students' grievances were enormous.
    With cramps in their legs at one point or another, they forcibly lunged for 300 meters.
    In fact, the length of it wasn't that long so it ended quickly.

    "Today wasn't bad. Didn't even take more than 20 mins."
    "The professors also have consciences, huh."
    "I want to go back to sleeping more soundly."

    The students' conversations were a bit relaxed.
    Then as if to instilled more resentment, a professor spoke.

    "Is the warm up exercise done?"

    Since they overly abused their muscles during yesterday's run, this warm up was to release the pent up tension in their muscles!
    The real hell on this training schedule was the coming boat ride.
    Eight people riding at once on the wooden boat.

    "The rule is simple. One lap around the island paddling your boat."

    Since the professors won't be able to keep an eye on everyone, they all were enclosed in life vests.
    They also rented fishing boats to hover around, to watch out for any accidents that could occur.
    Lee Hyun examined the detail of the boat.

    'The boat's pretty old. Think it's about 10 years old or so. I don't have any experience on boats, let's give it a try.'

    Lee Hyun tried to reach for the oars and Choi Sang-jung grabbed hold of them first.

    "Hyeong, let me do this."
    "Are you sure?"
    "Yea, you get some rest. You can take over once I'm weary."

    Choi Sang-jung was feeling sorry about having left Lee Hyun to endure alone until now.
    While the other groups suffered, it was all thanks to Lee Hyun that their current lifestyle was comfortable.

    "Kkeungcha!" (exerting force)

    Choi Sang-jung rowed.
    Kkulreong.

    "Huh?"

    Kkulreongkkulreong.
    With each row, the boat staggered aimlessly. Fortunately, the boat was surprisingly sturdier than it looked.

    "Left, go left!"
    "Ah! The waves are coming this way!"

    The waves were pushing against them at the opposite flow instead of their intended one lap around the island.
    Every time the waves came, it rocked the boat back and forth and slowing their speed to a crawl.

    Choi Sang-jung and Park Sunjo alternately rowed the boat for more than 40 minutes.
    Suddenly, their backs were drenched in sweats.

    "Wanna switch to me?"
    "Yes, hyeong."

    Park Sunjo got up from the seat and switched to Lee Hyun.
    Lee Hyun gripped the oar in both hands tightly. And stirred.

    Kkulreong!

    The distortion between the forces he exerted and that of Choi Sang-jung was too much!
    The boat skewed for a bit before realigned itself.
    It was difficult due to the fact one had to take into account of the incoming waves as they row.

    'Not easy.'

    Lee Hyun relaxed himself.

    He figured it'd cost more power if he had try to force against the flow. He adjusted his strength accordingly so he wouldn't get tired quickly.

    After all, the paddle was simply an extension of the arms.

    'It's like brandishing the sword to a flow. No point to go against that.'

    Lee Hyun rowed the oar as he felt the pushing force against the water.
    He accepted the oncoming waves fully and allowed it to slip by.
    After which he once again puts reasonable force into each paddle.

    Seureureureureureong.

    While not a too overwhelming row, the ship moved forward with ease.
    Without distorting the boat, it wasn't being pushed back.

    It was nothing comparable to the experienced fishermen, but the boat's advancement was in a different dimension comparing to when Choi Sang-jung and Park Sunjo did it.
    Choi Sang-Jung curiously asked.

    "Hyeong, have you done sailing before?"

    Of course, Lee Hyun had never been on another boat before. They were something beyond his reach.
    Though there is a possibility if it was a shrimping boat. Though it's kind of like the worse case scenario of a job.

    "I have the feel of the paddle."
    "Huh?"

    To Lee Hyun it was an easy answer; but since that philosophical sentence was built off of his numerous experiences as he suffered, it wasn't for others.

    If you don't endure physical labor then you'll suffer when experiencing it.

    Such as working hard shoveling. After a period of tremendous effort, it becomes easier as one get well accustom to it.

    The boat moved along soothingly whenever Lee Hyun paddled.
    This island of unspoiled nature and wide blue sea!
    While doing the lap, they were able to take in the scenery Silmido had to offer.
    Afterward, it was lunch. Then followed by the sport competition.
    The students were still tired and exhausted, but the heat from the sun remained strong.

    Due to the view of the sea and the taste of fresh air, unexpected vitality arose from within all the students.

    A gift from nature.
    Lee Hyun too, played without regret.
    Football(soccer), wrestling, and log boxing.

    Even at the moderate level with the subtracted power, the totaled score represented his overwhelming vitality.

    Thanks to his performance, it naturally attracted the attention of others.
    A female student, Park Sumin, seemed to have realized something and clapped.

    "That's right! I'm sure I've seen him somewhere."

    Lee Hyun heard from corner of his ear ad his heart thumped.

    'Is it the fact that I'm Weed?'

    Until now it was unlikely that they could recognize him.

    His face wasn't exposed from Continent of Magic back in the day, and the time he was Karichwi the Orc was when he was an Orc.

    No matter how good or keen eyes anyone had, there was no way for any of them to call Lee Hyun out from the Orc.

    Then the dragon hunt was also not possible.

    In this case he was a skeleton. Only showed a skeleton body and a face without flesh.

    The truth was never publicized.

    Recently KMC Media started a program named 'Weed.'
    But it was never disclosed whether it was Jeonshin Weed of CoM or not.
    It was due to the judgment of the broadcasters to deliberately conceal his identity.

    The content of the Kingdom of Vampires Todeum was a major broadcast.
    An emerging hero of Versailles continent, Weed, to challenge the incomprehensible.

    To intentionally keeping the mystery of Weed, they edited parts of him out or excluded him as a whole.

    And Weed the Sculptor did not have that extent of popularity!
    While it had only been two weeks since it started.

    Being at the bottom ratings, there was a positive spin that the mysteriousness was kept.
    Because Weed the Sculptor wasn't a completely unknown being.

    The Lord of Morata, the Earl of Morata!
    Scouts from guilds had constantly made offers to the one known as the best Sculptor of the Versailles continent.

    Lee Hyun knew he once again became famous through his sculptures.
    But while the Sculptor's popularity was nowhere near that of the Jeonshin Weed, only few knew that the two were one and the same in Royal Road.

    All in all, in reality, there were very few people that can make the correlation between Lee Hyun and them.
    Park Sumin pointed her finger toward Lee Hyun.

    "I've seen him before! Once 2 years ago!"

    All the faculty members presented and the students all focused their gaze at no one else but him!
    Lee Hyun face contorted.

    "2 years ago?"

    He rocked his head to one side but nothing came to mind.

    "What, where did you see me?"
    "Don't you remember the event long ago?"

    Everyone pondered in search for the reason why Park Sumin spoke with such confident tone.

    "Princess Knight, right?"

    Princess Knight.
    He visited his sister and attended three events at the school.
    Among them was one event called the 'Princess Set.'

    Then, Park Sumin tried to recollect the video she came across on the internet and recited it to see who else also remembered.
    During that time, Lee Hyun's movements were very incredible.

    He dashed across the obstacles in a flurry, and defeated the water balloons using his fists and legs. Then used a leap and jumped past the wall.

    Due to the fact that the event attracted a lot of participants because of the prize money, the video widespread further on the internet as there were a lot of viewers.

    "Pr..Princess Knight?"
    "Ah, then you're that person from the festival."

    From Park Sumin recollection of the story, people began to recall such event.
    Lee Hyun face frowned. To him, having a nickname as the 'Princess Knight' was nothing flattering at all.

    "You have the wrong guy. I'm not that person at all."

    A lie!
    But Park Sumin nodded her head.

    "Of course you're the Princess Knight. Although the video was just a clip, you still have the same face, now and then."
    "Well, don't be too sure."
    "The countenance you used to deny that wasn't trustworthy at all."
    "......"

    At this point, Lee Hyun was dubbed as the Princess Knight and engraved in steel.

    "Come, take a drink. Princess Knight!"
    "Yes, Senior."

    At the end of the athletic event resulted to a drink party.
    This could be considered as pretty much the last event of the MT.

    Lee Hyun' popularity essentially skyrocketed as a resulted from that. Along with the professors called him to come around, many students also visited him several times.

    "So you're Lee Hyun huh. You have been very unexpected at every tasks......anyway, you did a good job in the MT. Now, take this drink here."
    "Yes, professor."

    Lee Hyun went around the professors and drank the offered alcohol without leaving a single drop.
    Doing so to earn the credits from the professors to be able to make his college life more favorable.

    Flattery through drinking spirit!

    To the strong the weak, and to the weak be strong! (I think it means...the weak sucks up to the strong, while the strong takes care of the weak.)

    There was something wrong with this old saying.
    But it's a reasonable law for people to live by.

    "Lee Hyun Oppa. Please help me here."
    "What is it."
    "Please light this fire here."

    There was a motive behind them to substantially changed the way the addressed him. Most of them, including the returning students, cautiously changed the way they addressed him to Oppa.

    But with Lee Hyun lack of sensibility, he did not budge. He spat his words out as dry as the desert.

    "Use a lighter."

    Lee Hyun built a cheeky facial expression. Nevertheless, the students did not give up.

    "I want to see you make the fire using woods."

    Those who acted cold toward him before also showed their interest.

    "Come here."
    "We owe you a drink."

    With motives of getting along with the Lee Hyun, the seniors called him over for a few words.
    Especially with the female seniors, as he felt their intensity in their stares.

    The focused eyes of strong stallions!

    With their forcefulness and sizable groups, he had no choice but to quietly go to where the voices beckoned.

    "The seniority isn't that important, ok?"
    "Look at those leg muscles. So solid. Hohoho."

    Lee Hyun had not grown accustomed to this.
    From here and there, other freshmen and seniors chatted up amid laughter along with drinks in hands.

    "Whew. No kidding. Rowing the boat was really hard, y'kno."
    "But thanks to senior that we finished the MT well."

    More familiarity!

    Though they've reached the extreme of their fatigue; by overcoming such hardship and adversity, the freshman and the seniors formed a mutual respect for each other.

    Whether it's the talent show or the training of hell, in several hours or so, they would all leave those behind and nothing will remain except for their happy memories.

    So they all shared drinks as the night draped over.
    At 11 PM, one by one, they all fell to sleep in exhaustion.

    * * *


    "Huaa."

    Lee Hyun woke up and soaked in the fresh air.
    Although last night he seemed to have drunk too much till having a hangover, there was no change in his morning schedule.

    'And now, we're going to return.'

    He was a little disappointed, but it seemed he accomplished the motives he came with.
    The fact was as soon as he returned home; he'd reconnect to Royal Road.

    During the three days and two nights of absent, he was certain that things had developed somehow.

    He'll once again slipped into the shadows in the subversive activities of a dark gamer by making money through quests and items with his ambitious colleagues; and this will become nothing more than just a dream.

    It was a fierce battleground rather than just a game!
    Lee Hyun needed to return to that world.

    'Today, I may have a bit of time to go to the Dojang. Need to do a bit of morning exercise.'

    Lee Hyun removed himself out of the temporary residence.
    He loosened his rigid muscles by moving around and had intended to run.
    But just as yesterday, he spotted Seoyoon sitting on the rock.

    'When did that happen?'

    Lee Hyun approached her and spoke.

    "Hi."
    "......"
    "Why are you up early?"
    "......"

    Still no reply. Lee Hyun quietly took a seat beside her, and that was all as he remains seated.
    Once Lee Hyun sat down on the rock.

    His mind was still troubled as he thought about being unable to exercise, so he didn't want to just silently sitting there.

    Lee Hyun no longer spoke, while Seoyoon was still hesitantly trying to find what to say.

    Even though she really wanted to share a lot, she did not know where to start or how long the wait in between each reply should be.

    30 minutes in silence.

    Cheosseokcheosseok!

    The sound of the waves in their current vicinity could be heard, along with the cries of the seagulls.
    The rise in Lee Hyun's anxiety was directly proportional to the rise in Seoyoon's feeling of comfort.
    As the greeting breeze blew, the day was becoming brighter.
    They watched the sun rising over at the faraway horizon!

    Suddenly, there was a gentle touch on Lee Hyun's shoulder. It was the unable to win against the drowsiness Seoyoon's head leaning on it.

    It was due to being the second day already that she could not sleep well, along with the fact that she was tired from the out of the norm alcoholic drinks.

    And here it was, her trusted friend Lee Hyun, presented comfort from the built up tension and knocked her to sleep spontaneously.

    Segeunsegeun.

    Seoyoon's breathing rhythm sounded in Lee Hyun's ear.

    With each exhale, Lee Hyun could feel his own heart reacted to it as the beats increased in strain.
    In this place, it was just Lee Hyun and Seoyoon.
    Although the students were still sleeping on the sandy beach, they were at a distance away.

    Moreover, Seoyoon had already drifted to dreamland in a seemingly drunken slumber due to the hearty drinks from the previous day.
    In other words, it was an opportunity given by the heavens!

    There was no other way but to say Seoyoon was defenseless in this state before Lee Hyun.
    Lee Hyun's eyes filled with murderous intentions.

    'You treat me like fodder, huh. And during my cold you jammed that food-to-kill porridge down my throat!'

    It was a golden opportunity to take revenge.
    As it seemed she was deeply in her doze, he could have picked her up and tossed her into the sea.
    Holding grudges infinitely!

    However, Lee Hyun's mind soon wandered off from the thought. Though vengeance would be thrilling, he was afraid of the troubles to come in the future.

    'I don't know how she will manage after I throw her into the sea!'

    Still, in his internal rampage he paid careful attention to not wake up Seoyoon. Then a thought hit.

    'Let me adjust a bit to have you sleep more comfortably.'

    Lee Hyun gently lifted up Seoyoon's head and placed it on his lap. After which, he observed Seoyoon's face in detail.

    'There's gotta be an ugly corner somewhere.'

    He still had not given up on his childish revenge.
    The first time Lee Hyun saw Seoyoon's face was in the instructor's cabin.

    But because he noticed the 'murderer' mark during that event that he did not examined her beauty in more detail.

    Nevertheless, a fragment of Seoyoon's face remained in his mind that he went to sculpt the Statue of Freya.

    The image he had at that time was indeed beautiful.

    But he did not know that the beauty exceeded what he had imagined.

    The second meeting where he saw her was on the Plains of Despair, where her loveliness shone even more.

    Then, during the times they risked their lives in the northern parts, he took peeks at her in his spare time.

    But with each and every time he saw her, she continuously exuded attractiveness.
    It wasn't because Seoyoon was increasingly becoming more and more beautiful.

    She was already beautiful from the beginning. It was because the more closely he got to look at her face, the more beauty he saw in her.

    Eyes, nose, eyebrows, forehead, chin and lips.
    There was no way to totaled up her features.

    While wondering how dreadfully beautiful something was, a new attraction came into play whenever he took a look.

    No matter how long he stared at her face, he could not get tired from the sight. With each and every sight to admire, he had no choice but to look!

    Lee Hyun wanted to find flaws in Seoyoon's face.
    He leaned in so close that he can feel each of her breath, a rare chance to do so since she was still sleeping.

    'Skin. Well, it's perfect. Not one crease and I can't even see a single pore. How can human skin have such milk like quality? Facial feature. Great. It's the perfect golden ratio of placements if I was sculpturing. Long eyebrows...how does her hair even have such orderly placements?'

    Trying to find any facial flaw in her, even if it was just a tiny ugly part in her, did not work out.

    'Fine, I admit the face is too good. What about other places...'

    Lee Hyun's eyes ran downward. He could roughly make out the figure through the dress. And here still, he could not find a fault.

    Tall and slender, her body was also good.
    The calves, thighs, and even the waist line were smooth.
    Even the freaking toes exposed from the sandals were also beautiful!
    Lee Hyun did not hate women.

    He simply wanted to avoid having a relationship with one because there will be money to spend. But this idea has changed quite a bit after watching Seoyoon.

    'If it's her then it's prolly ok to treat her to a Kimbap shop. No wait. If I do that then it'll go bad if she develops a habit of wanting to go there. Oh yea, I suppose I could treat her at an udon stall or sumthin!' (??? sushi shop or something, google image sushi, but not sure what else it also encompasses.)

    This was a somewhat of a significant change in him.
    Lee Hyun was still giving Seoyoon a lap pillow even as the sun fully emerges.
    The sunrise from the sea was a spectacular sight to behold.

    Due to the fact that yesterday morning was filled with fog that he could not able to see such sunrise; but today, not a single cloud in the sky could be seen in this sunny weather.

    From where the sky and the ocean attempting to touch one another, the sun seemingly burned them both as it rose.

    "Ahh!"

    Lee Hyun's morale also rose.
    Anyone looking at such beautiful sunrise can feel their commitment on the rise; Lee Hyun was not an exception.

    'This year I have to earn a lot more money!'

    The sun had risen completely so there was no way to differentiate anymore.
    Lee Hyun returned his gaze onto him lap and focused on the Seoyoon on it.

    She somehow became prettier in the given sunlight. Due to the alcoholic facet, the view became slightly enhanced.
    At this close distance, she looked as if she was a sleeping baby.

    Lee Hyun bent down and picked up a nearby piece of wood. And his arm pulled out a small knife.

    Sagaksagak.

    He was trying to carve the soundly sleeping Seoyoon.
    The handy skill he learned in Royal Road made it easier for him to sculpt.

    Making Masterpiece, Classic, or Magnum was not possible, but regardless of the Artistic Values, he could still sculpt as long as he had the cardiovascular control and will.

    Though still, in reality, he still didn't have the Zahab carving knife.

    Even if he gave it his best shot, in no way can he create exceptional works.

    However, due to the innumerable experiences and commitment, the piece was becoming similar to what he wanted to make.

    Lee Hyun was carefully carving the sleeping Seoyoon.

    Back to top


    Chapter 6 : The Loots' Shadow



    Weed finished the MT and re-entered Royal Road.
    But he didn't feel very good. It was entirely due to Seoyoon.

    'I was too careless.'

    Weed had face several people.
    The malicious humans.

    At the core, all humans are parasites leeching off on others.

    The weak align themselves with the strong, while being subservient to those who are stronger than them.

    Those who fail to be careful and aren't hesitant to hold back their trust are only susceptible to being exploited in the world.

    The usual seeds of discord are sown once the family members can not receive much from the given salary.

    The first salary he was going to receive for working was 600,000 Won; of course, that doesn't even come close to the minimum cost of living.

    But at that time, he greatly thrilled.
    It was the first time he could be paid in full for cost of labor.

    And with the money, he planned on going on a shopping spree to buy his sister and grandmother clothing.

    He was purely delighted.

    But even at that low wage, the president did not give the full amount to him.
    Using the terms of condition, the 'unemployment insurance' or whatever, to take from him.

    Saying 'few fellow colleagues left the factory last month so being their unemployed self, each will reap 30,000 Won from you.'
    At the end of all the 'difficult calculations' in order to pull few a few bucks back into the factory, he received a total of 450,000 Won.

    They removed a whopping 150,000 Won.
    The month after, the same thing happened.

    By claiming it was for the ridiculous 'the employment insurance of employing illegal minors;' of course he did not know, so all that was left was to believe.

    Only to find out later through other colleagues that he shivered from the feeling of betrayal!
    The anger wasn't just placed on the president.

    It was also toward his fellow colleagues, whom kept on spitting speeches about him being the youngest and through cumbersome and hard work that he could make something of himself.

    Knowing he had suffered the injustice from the president was one thing, but finding out that the people he worked with used these spiel to tease him was another thing entirely.

    Weed well knew he was at the bottom.
    Just like those gamblers, drunkards, and debtors, not a single hope to living life!
    Then having fallen down the pit a second time, it was difficult having to climb up once again.

    So he did not believe in anyone easily.

    Lee Hyun was confident that through his own suffering, he had already seen the many sides of people. But contrastively, Seoyoon was the first being unique from those he saw.

    The completed sculpture was in fact, not pretty.

    Its level could be counted as a souvenir; although there was a bit of resemblance, it was difficult to capture the feel of Seoyoon in the real.

    The lack of time, tools, materials, and the many thing weighted in his mind weren't at all encouraging.

    Filled with his sincerest intention, he placed it secretly in her pocket.

    'I'm repaying some of the debt I owe to you.'

    As in the many sculptures he made of her candidly.

    No secret could be kept forever; this was simply a gesture of concession on his part to show he conceded first if it someday will be discovered.

    He wanted to make sure that at least in real life he wasn't going to get beaten to death!

    For dark gamers, a death within Royal Road directly correlated to the financial loss; but comparatively, it was comforting to the mind if it was just simply that out in the real world too.

    By the way, the awoken Seoyoon wasn't angry.

    She remained silent just like from the events to the meals preparations. Sometimes while watching Lee Hyun her face blushed as well!

    'She's still drunk huh? Nah, those look as if she's angry.'

    Lee Hyun was making speculation, but the reason was actually a simple one as for the why of Seoyoon's face.

    'I let him see me sleeping.'

    Seoyoon was just a girl.

    She was embarrassed to let him see her sleeping face. And the coloring of his knee meant that she had done that for quite a long time too.

    'Was my head heavy?'


    She had all sorts of imagination running. Even her nose corrugated from the concerns.
    So every time she turned to see Lee Hyun's face, it lit up a pinkish dye of embarrassment.
    But an incident occurred when they returned to the MT group.
    The chicken Lee Hyun brought. Half Sauce Half Fried.

    They still had a lot of foods left over before returning safely to the mainland. It seemed as if they didn't eat as much during the MT as he thought they would.

    Lee Hyun often made food for the Dojang practitioners whenever they went on training, so he bought the ingredients this time based loosely on their input.

    However, the usual students' appetite weren't like them, plus this second day was just a lap around the island via boats, so the hunger built up wasn't as much as before.

    So, there was a considerable amount of food ingredients still remained.

    It happened during the distribution of leftover food ingredients, when Min Sura suddenly asked.


    "What are we going to do about the chicken?"
    "I brought him from home to eat. You want to take him?"

    Lee Hyun calmly replied. It was too much of an obvious question.

    If Min Sura was to get Half Sauce Half Fried, it would be more beneficial than dividing for him portions of different meat or other food ingredients.

    But, the fact was that Min Sura would have difficulties carrying Half Sauce Half Fried home.

    Lee Hyun added a side note.

    "If you want, I can twist the neck now to make it..."

    He was offering a favor.
    But suddenly, Seoyoon revealed a shocked expression.

    With face seemingly about to tear up, she grabbed hold of Half Sauce Half Fried with no intention of letting go.

    Lee Hyun, at this impass, did not know the seriousness of the situation.

    "Give me that."
    "......"
    "Don't mess around when it comes to food."
    "......"

    Yet she was still stubbornly holding onto Half Sauce Half Fried.

    Lee Hyun thought perhaps Seoyoon wanted Half Sauce Half Fried to eat.


    "If you insist on it, then take it. So instead, you won't get the other food materials, okay? Then please give it to me for a minute. I'll just quickly twist its neck."

    Lee Hyun thoughtlessly stretched his hand out. But suddenly, tears flowed from Seoyoon's eyes.

    "......"


    In matter of seconds, criticism and looks of resentment gravitated toward Lee Hyun!
    The Seoyoon with Half Sauce Half Fried was too cute.

    No one could imagine how many hours she put into feeding grains of rice to it during the MT, and thus she developed feelings of affection towards it. She caught him with the intention to protect.

    "What's going on?"
    "Why's she crying?"
    "Who was it!"
    "Look like it was because of that chicken..."
    "Seems like he forcefully tried to take the chicken and made senior Seoyoon cried?"
    "How could he do something like that..."

    The demonstrative power of a beauty's tears was unspeakably powerful.
    The image he built during that MT trip collapsed all at once.
    It was as if he was driven to an execution without a single reason given.

    'Damnit!'

    Lee Hyun wanted to punch himself.
    Why was it he didn't have his defenses up against Seoyoon at this point.

    He had anticipated her hiding her evilness all this while, and it was reprimended for lowering his guard.
    This was due to him obtaining finer details about Seoyoon.

    She had the presence and can imprint in people's mind of a good woman who loves life.
    On the other hand, Lee Hyun received glares as if he was a savage and cruel being.
    Lee Hyun was naturally victimized.

    'I was diligently diving up the meat here and all of the sudden the subject switched to animal protection.'

    At this point, Lee Hyun sharply observed Seoyoon.
    She was weeping without a sound while gazing at Half Sauce Half Fried affectionately.

    'You want to eat him as well.'

    Lee Hyun was offering his service of wringing its neck, but to him it didn't seem like that was something required in her case.

    'So you want to feel it while using your hands, aint it. I bet as soon as you come home you'll twist his neck on your own.'

    It was hazardous for him to continue down this way, so he took a step back.
    He wanted to win against the Seoyoon at least once.

    "Wait of a minute. There seems to be some kind of misunderstanding, it was just a little joke...you thought I actually wanted to eat that chicken?"

    Firstly, Lee Hyun decided to take an ethical attitude. Its purpose was to deceive the public.

    "Please return Half Sauce Half Fried to me. I brought him up from when he was just a chick. And in fact, his entire family is living at home. So if he does not come back, Mother Hen will be very sad."

    Justification and legitimacy!

    It was just a short while, but Seoyoon could not rebuke against that logic.
    Even if Seoyoon could open her mouth to express her intentions, she could not win against Lee Hyun in this situation.


    "Give me him."

    Lee Hyun confidently reached his hand toward Half Sauce Half Fried again.
    It was then.

    Kkokkodek!

    The Half Sauce Half Fried who was on standby pecked at him!
    The chicken once belongs to Lee Hyun refused to go back to him.

    * * *


    Weed along with the Geomchis and together with other colleagues were retargeting the Todeum castles.
    32 castles remaining!

    "From now on, we'll be targeting castles with maybe 40 Unicorns and Pegasus minimum, so don't be too lax."

    At the moment, they were already too used to battle within the Todeum castles, that Weed didn't want to lose too much tension.
    But the resulting effect was very little.

    "Encircle him!"
    "Get him!"

    Since the beginning, the Geomchis were already used to risking their lives fighting while wounded.
    Despite not having experiences, weapon, and armor necessary to go forward, they already surrounded many enemies and were busy attacking their limbs.

    As for Weed, as the battle raged on, did not keep an eye out for them.

    "Pale nim, Maylon nim! The Pegasus is attempting to use magic! Romuna nim, try to intercept the Unicorns' elemental summonings!"
    "Yes!"

    Whenever they start using magic, the level of difficulty increases tremendously. Therefore, the party had to use whatever they could in order to halt the Unicorns and Pegasus from doing so.

    In the first place, if there was a distance between the two forces, the fight would turn into defeat in an instant for Weed's.

    If all 40 or so of these divine creatures were to use elemental summoning and magic, it was bound to have catastrophic consequences on the opposing force.

    However, fortunately, they typically like to charge in head first at the beginning.

    "No way buddy!"

    Geomchi felt an interest for the first time after a long while.
    Nothing in Royal Road could fill him with enough tension to run a sweat down his spine.

    In the real world, he had encounter several hundreds of battles, each and every time he walked away with his life.
    To overcome the worries of life and death was his way of getting stronger.

    Though there had been those whom were hopelessly aggressive against him, his position as the strongest was never really challenged.

    Though he had been reprimanded numerous of times due to fighting; for some reason, fighting was his reason to be excited about being alive.

    In the midst of the fierce battle, Geomchi briefly looked around.

    The Unicorns and Pegasus were rampaging about, while the practitioners struggled in order to stop them.
    Their battle buddies as well as colleagues also brandished their weapons in order to win.

    Each and every one of them struggled on desperately as they fought.
    It felt as if this was the real urgency of a war.

    The encirclement tactic, while seeming dangerous, pretty much held up against the unruly movement of the creatures.

    "Let me have a go!"
    "Unicorn meat tonight!"

    The units under Geomchi2 and Geomchi3 shouted.
    Geomchi and the instructors were pleased while fighting, which also lit the fighting spirit of the practitioners.
    They continued deploying this fighting method while not backing down in the slightest.

    "Our sword is invincible!"
    "Our sword is invincible!"

    The Geomchis shouted their slogan in unison. Even during this seeming war situation, they did not care a single bit.
    Hwaryeong had put seven creatures to sleep.

    Even with that, there were still 34 of the beasts left, and the circumstance was overwhelming.

    While holding back just two of these divine creatures, five of the Geomchis had already lost their lives.

    While the rotten armors made from the dragon's bone they wore increased their primary defenses; but if they were struck with an excruciatingly damaging piercing blow, the damage would directly result onto their bodies.

    The reason why many were able to barely hang on was because of the organization of the encirclement tactic they practiced.

    As the situation grew increasingly precarious due to the accumulated damages dealt by the Unicorns and Pegasus, Weed scored a yell.

    "Tori!"

    Tori in his black cape while majestically played around with the Pegasus, replied.

    "Why you call?"

    "We have to change tactics now. You do not focus on just one single beast, agro as many of their attention as possible and kite them."

    In short, put up with being pummeled!
    Weed also gave the similar order to the Death Knight.

    "Van Hawk! Focus on defense rather than attack."
    "As the owner's command."


    The Death Knight showed his loyalty.
    But Tori did not cooperate.
    If he was able to kill one his own, his growth would be substantial.
    But he did not want to bear all of their oncoming attacks alone.

    "I'm sorry but I will not do as you asked."

    Tori simply refused.

    The subordinate relationship he had with Weed had ended. So there was no reason to comply to Weed request this time around.

    Furthermore, he was now engaged in an all-out battle to do anything else!

    Weed cried out.

    "I will give Mapan nim!"

    Tori could not understand what was said and blinked his eyes.

    "Why?"
    "So you can drink heartily!"
    "If under that condition then OK!"

    Got a deal!

    Weed had sold Mapan willingly for the deal.

    "Weed nim."

    Mapan built a frown, but Weed remained cool.

    "This is your battle to obtain more loot."
    "LOOT! Gulp!"

    Mapan swallowed his built up saliva.
    Not all the loot obtained at the same.

    Let propose that the most expensive parts from wolves or foxes are the claws and fangs if they're obtainable.

    But any drops from the Unicorns and Pegasus would be on a different dimension altogether from those.

    For any piece of loot, one can receive more than 10 Gold per!
    Mapan shouted.

    "Please leave it to me!"

    * * *


    Bread, cake, beverages.

    Movie tickets, concert tickets, figures, games, CD, etc... whenever he wanted any of these, he'd go and sell his blood.

    So given since childhood, he had been funding himself through selling his blood; doing so now wouldn't have been a big deal.

    Tori with Mapan at his side were fending off attacks from Unicorns and Pegasus left and right.

    Whenever his health declines, he would plug his fangs into Mapan's nape and take how blood supplements!

    "Tornado Blade!"


    Tori used his skill without a hint of hesitation.
    From then on, the watching from side line Mapan that wasn't suited for fighting also had several tense moments.
    Thanks to Tori's guerilla assault of hit and kite, the practitioners could take turn for a breather.
    Since then, Weed began focusing on one at a time and knocking them down.
    Due to not being able to focus the intensity of the attacks, the battle dragged on nearly twice as long as before, and was victorious afterward.




    Fought against the Shinsu in the 16th castle of Todeum.

    Remaining castles: 31.
    Reputation rise by 60.
    Receives an additional 60% combat experiences.



    A time for a bit of rest and relaxation!
    They had come out victorious after a lot of difficult battles, but there are still more than 30 castles remained.

    "Something like this is an A grade difficulty quest, eh."
    Geomchi2 let out a prideful smile.

    "It's interesting as well. It really sends shivers down my spine!"
    Geomchi was already getting prepared to putting an end to resting and go back to fighting.

    "C'mon, let's go. It's unfortunate that we only have 30 more of these interesting battles."


    For those that enjoy battle, it was something not to get excited about.
    Pale and the party mustered up some energy.

    The battles were hard but even more rewarding. The focus during the fight was just the battle at hand without a single pause.

    The divine beasts they had to battle at this point always numbered above 60. Each and every battle, everybody fulfilled their role without a single one slacking off.

    During the battle in the 19th castle against these beasts, Geomchi, the instructors, and all the practitioners crossed the threshold of 293.

    The growth rate was incredible.
    Aside from receiving the basic experience points from the Unicorns and Pegasus, the additional combat experience was the greatest gain.

    After having looked at his level, Geomchi9 said.


    "Leveling is easy."


    Geomchi11 agrees.


    "I know huh. When we hunted on our own here and there, it was really slow in comparison to how easy it is to level when we hunt with Weed."


    As soon as he heard, Pale's head began to spin.
    Usually when people hear these words, they would jump up to yell.


    "Leveling this way is by no mean easier!"


    Leveling beyond level 200 was something similar to having stuck in traffic.

    As the required experience point to reach the next level increases exponentially, even killing similarly level monsters give little to nothing EXP.

    However, the Geomchis do not know the meaning of mental fatigue along with the excessive movements of the body.
    18 hours of hunting a day and even more so when having the pleasure of hunting in groups.

    Here, Weed is unusually fast.
    By simply belong to the party he leads, they are forced to be immerse in the battle he makes.

    Ridiculous hunting speed!
    Eating and hunting, he pushes them to their limits.
    Weed's level was at 347 at a sudden speed.
    But that was just the level not mentioning his other growth.

    Fencing, Archery, Magic, and other kinds of combat skills! Attacking skills' development also had their growth.

    To get beyond the Intermediate levels and reaching the Advanced levels of skills, through conventional means was difficult due to having numerous skills; however, it was easier here thanks to the strength of the monsters he battled against.

    Precision attacks to increase hit rates against the monsters that are higher level than you are, you can obtain a healthier amount than the usual.
    Through this method, the proficiency of his skills, too, rose significantly.
    Then, Maylon asked as if it suddenly struck her.


    "Oh, Weed nim."
    "Yes?"
    "Why haven't you sculpt a sculpture by now?"


    Sewing, Blacksmithing, Bandage, Herbs, Cooking, and combat skills!
    Weed had raise the proficiency of all other skill but not sculpting. She was quite curious about the reason why.

    To Weed, there were circumstances.
    Until now he had been shearing wood to making wooden sculptures in his spare time whenever possible.
    But he did not try to create something in the earnest.

    'A large sculpture. There's no space to make such a thing.'


    To create one of ten meters or more meant having to stick close to the sculpture and working on it for weeks.
    Procuring the material was also a problem.

    So besides having to create a huge sculpture, he would need to find something fitting the size along with the difficulty of it being a worthy material.

    Then again, Todeum was a place filled many perfected compositions and a considerable number of sculptures.

    They have not discovered Classic or Magnum pieces as of yet, but there are decent sculptures and pictures to gain proficiency through viewing so he did not feel the need to make a piece.

    Weed explained it simply.


    "The inspiration to create a piece has not hit me as of yet. And in Todeum vampires' castles, there are a lot of paintings and sculptures yet to be discover."
    "Ah, so that's it."


    Quickly convinced, Maylon pulled away from going deeper. Hwaryeong seemingly brooded over something, asked.


    "Does it need to be some specific tree or stone for you to sculpt something?"
    "Huh?"
    "That is, I figured if it's something you'd want to express, such things wouldn't matter much anyway."


    In the vampire's castles, the majority of the sculptures founded were carved into the walls or ceilings.
    Though some are simply too plain and nothing like the grandly crafted statues to attract much attention.
    Hwaryeong wondered.


    "Why does it need to be something physical to make the statues?"


    Weed recalled the light tower he made in Morata.

    Rather than the beauty of the Light Tower itself, the harmony of lights refracted shown an even greater beauty.

    He even obtained 'The sculptor that governs light' as a nickname!
    Due to it being so amazingly creative and expressive!
    For a Sculptor, there's no better praise than that.
    In reality, Weed was unaware he was dubbed as such since it surfaced from the forums.

    If it was something outside money unlike something as the fox he sculpted and sold for 3 Silvers; rumors and such things was nothing for him to be concerned about.

    Hwaryeong was overestimating Weed.
    The Light Tower was not something he was susceptible to create at any point in time.

    "You made the Light Tower from light, why not do the same with a statue?"

    Weed considered seriously.

    'It's true that I've been neglecting sculpture.'


    Todeum itself was a very good hunting ground. Because of so, he excessively obsessed with hunting and sculpting remained on the sideline forgotten.


    'Light based sculpture.'


    There was some sort of potential seen in sculpting the moonlight. Although it was a bit awkward for him to find his footing, the Moonlight Sculptor has yet to disappoint.

    Weed pondered about what to create because he still did not have an idea after all had said.

    "Hmmmm."
    "What kind of sculpture will be good?"
    "What was made and still have words going around?"
    "It has to fit into the limited ability of light being able to take shape."


    Everybody pondered.
    Having fought in the castles, they would ponder over this in the middle of break time and still had trouble coming up with something.


    'So this is the pain of creativity.'
    'Art takes more time anguishing over what to make than actually making it huh.'


    Even a vague concept as to how to create the sculpture had not been suggested.
    After all the contemplations, Sureuka spoke.


    "Well, how about this? Conversely of light, how about demonstrating the shadow's?"


    Showing an expression of not being able to get what Sureuka was talking about, Romuna looked at her.


    "Shadow what?"
    "The shadows of things. Using the shadow as a piece of created artwork."
    "What do you mean by making an artwork through shadows?"
    "If there an object, then there's a shadow. We can create some form by means of shadows like shadow puppeteer, y'know."
    "I think that's not a bad idea, but is it feasible to create something through shadows and is it worth doing so?"


    Romuna was dubious. To use an object and expresses it through its shadow didn't appear to be tasteful.

    But Weed regarded as a very good idea.
    The usual Sculptor with common sense wouldn't have easily attempted this idea, but he saw the advantage that could be found from this.


    'Instead of light, express it with shadows huh. Though this mean, I can make it as big as I can try.'


    Composition!
    Weed's desired formation!
    There was no need to get the materials also.
    There are tons of materials that create shadows!
    Weed made the decision in matter of seconds.


    "The loot. Ima use the loots to create the sculpture."


    This expensive piece's materials will come from the items obtained through the hunt so this was an ambitious plan of creating a sculpture!

    "Good."
    "Wherever you see."


    Believed in Weed's ability, Geomchi and the instructors readily pulled out their mats.
    Everybody's loots gathered in one place.

    The gathered mats obtained from the land of vampires were a tremendous amount settled all in one place!

    Given the fact that the loots were simple ingredient materials, the price of all these gathered here could amount to hundreds of thousands of Gold.

    "I think this amount should be sufficient."


    Weed went to a hill located near Todeum to create a tower of loot that was about five meters high.

    Ttiring!




    The Tower of Miscellaneous Items was completed.

    Its status does not live up what was attempted and the piece will remain unknown.

    Although built with great dexterity, nobody will be able to consider and will have the difficulty understanding the eccentricity of the Sculptor's intention.

    Artistic Value: 15.
    The 'Excellent Sculptor' Weed's work.

    Special Option(s):
    Those that seen The Tower of Miscellaneous Items will have their Luck increase by 20 throughout the day.




    It didn't even match normal works.
    With the current Weed's carving skills, his smaller animal sculptures also have Artistic Values.
    But compare to those completed pieces.


    "It's still not done yet."


    Weed did not stop there.
    The amount used was not even 1/10th of the amount gathered.

    "It's a start."


    Weed continued stacking the loots as its size and height unrelentingly grew.

    Ttiring!




    A Masterpiece! The Remarkable Items Tower was completed.

    Its status does not live up what was attempted and the piece will remain unknown.

    With great craftsmanship, the tower height reached an excess of 20 meters.

    The concept of creating something through the accumulation of goods is a fresh idea but Artistic Value is hard to obtain.

    Artistic Value: 360.
    The 'Excellent Sculptor' Weed's work.

    Special Option(s):
    Those that seen The Remarkable Items Tower will have their Luck increase by 20 throughout the day.

    The number of Masterpiece pieces completed until now: 25.



     



    Sculpting skill has been improved.




    Fame increases by 3.



    Weed did not stop building the tower there. It was still smaller than he had originally envisioned it to be.

    'Gotta lay the basic foundation or else it'll fall in the future.'


    He continued to strengthen its foundation as the tower constantly rises.
    Carefully lain where the mats would be placed.
    Including empty space intentionally left bare was also considered.

    'Three moons. The brightest light should be... I should take into the changes and the path of each moon.'


    Though seemingly easy to start; at this point, it was never easy.
    Two days spent building the tower.
    The loot's tower size was overwhelming.
    The topmost of the thing was at a staggering 50 meters!
    He completely used up all the materials gathered.


    "We need more mats. Let's hunt again."


    He began hunting Unicorns and Pegasus in Todeum's castles once again.
    Every time they did so, the loots obtained made the tower to continually grow bigger and bigger.

    Feathers, pieces of broken glass, metal fragments, arrowhead and roots; along with other forms of ingredient materials, the tower was in a state of beauty that was difficult to comprehend.

    It was then, the tower exceeded 55 meters.

    Ttiring!




    A Classic! The Mysterious Tower of Items was completed!

    The tower was stacked with at least 300 kinds of goods or more!

    The meaning is not known, however, this odd tower does not exist anywhere on the Versailles continent.
    It's hard to deem the massive work with any artistry, but this could be a unique monument.
    Even children and mercenaries can't not hear of Weed's sculpture.

    Artistic Value: 490.

    The 'Excellent Sculptor' Weed's work.


    Special Option(s):

    Those that seen The Mysterious Tower of Items will have their HP and MP regeneration increase by 10% throughout the day.
    Those that seen The Mysterious Tower of Items will have an increase in drop rate by 15% throughout the day.
    Luck increases by 150.
    Stamina increases by 60.


    The number of Classic pieces completed until now: 10.



     



    Sculpting skill has been improved.




    Sculpting skill has been improved.




    Fame increases by 106.




    Stamina increases by 1.




    Charisma increases by 2.




    The Mysterious Tower of Items have been included in the Wonders of Todeum.




    Ownership of The Mysterious Tower of Items belongs to Weed.




    If dismantling the great tower of goods for monetary gain, the acquired Fame will be reduced.




    Also, for the residents of Todeum who are art lovers, the backlash from doing so could result in the decrease of Familiarity.




    In exchange for creating a Classic sculpture, the previous stat will increase by 1.



    Finally a Classic!

    Even if it was just a few percentage increase in the drop rate of an item, that in itself was a great effect.
    At this point of the hunt, the tower was a desperate necessity.

    Weed continues to put in the effort by piling up the loot whenever he could.
    With the consistent endeavor in doing so, the tower reached the height of 60 meters. And with that, the purpose of the tower was achieved.

    "Fufufu."

    Weed sat on top of the result and smiled.
    Today was the last.


    'The trouble was rewarding.'

    Building the loot's tower was rather easier than sculpting a piece.
    With just one wrong move while carving, an irreversible scar will remain on the piece for all time.
    Still, the tower had to be completed within the certain time so he had to work on it on an hourly basis.

    "But still, it's safely completed."


    Weed just sat and waited for the time which watching the finished product.

    Balun, Gorun, and Seyirun.
    The three moons peaked through the fog and were approaching the center of the sky.

    The moons shine brightly.
    Todeum's unusually bright moonlights shone and everything seems as if it was out in daytime.

    The tower bathes in the moonlights' glow.
    Gold and silver, jewels and swords, along with armors were glistening in the moonlights.

    Having swept all of Todeum's artwork and viewing them, the completed loot's tower was many more times beautiful in the moonlights.
    Weed's breathing became a slight pant.


    "Heoeok. So beautiful!"


    He was more ecstatic about this piece more so than any thus far.
    Who you think he is! This was a towering pile of cash of loots that he could sit on.

    A dark gamer's dream!
    Weed was thrilled.


    'All this money. I'm sitting on money.'


    The accumulated sea of loot he could swim in, the mountain of loot he could sit on, and even able to take a nap on; Weed happiness was peaked such as the sunrise at the highest point in the sky.

    'Have the relish the money made from this as well.'


    Still continuing, the shadow of the tower loomed toward Todeum.
    The tower's changing shadow.
    He depended on the positions of the three moons for the transformation of the shadow.
    The tower shadow's shape was becoming more and more evidently specific.

    Ttiring!




    A Magnum! The first attempted work of glory! The Mysterious Shadow Tower was completed!

    The mysterious tower was stacked with at least 300 kinds of goods or more!

    At other times, the meaning of the tower cannot be understood; but at a certain time, the expression becomes evident in the shadow.

    An unusual attempt by a renown Sculptor!

    Nothing beside the dexterity was applied.
    Nevertheless, the Sculptor's name will be heralded throughout the continent.

    Artistic Value: 3640.

    The 'Excellent Sculptor' Weed's work.


    Special Option(s):

    Those that seen The Mysterious Shadow Tower will have their HP and MP regeneration increase by 25% throughout the day.
    Those that seen The Mysterious Shadow Tower will have an increase in drop rate by 19% throughout the day.
    Luck increases by 180.
    Stamina increases by 60.
    Critical attacks have 30% chance of success.
    The person who completed this sculpture will be granted a title.
    Not to be combined with other sculptures.


    The number of Magnum pieces completed until now: 5.?



     




    Advanced Sculpturing skill have risen to 4.

    Sculpture will be phenomenally more detailed. Finer craftsmanship in jewelry will have outstanding results.





    Handicraft skill proficiency have increased.





    Understanding of Sculptures skill reached Intermediate level.

    The effect of carving skills will increase by 20%.
    Can turn into flying creatures.

    When use Shapeshifting Piece, one kind of property will be granted.




     



    Fame increased by 1265.




    Art stat increased by 19.




    Stamina increased by 3.




    Patience increased by 9.




    Charisma increased by 5.




    Has earned the title 'The Artisan of Excellent Works.'




    Can erect and Engraver Guild, and can exert influences in culture and art.




    Attractiveness increased by 100.





    Restriction: Advanced Sculpting level 3 or higher.
    Sculptures that can obtain great reputation at completion.



    Non-physical sculpture through shadow!
    The compensation for the completion of the first ever attempt was tremendous.

    "A piece with no regret. A well done work!"


    Weed also felt very relieved.
    His work still seemed to be deemed within the law of sensibility of the artists!

    If he did not mention the meaning of the piece, then the degree of understanding and fulfillment was hard to feel.
    But anyone can easily recognize the implication of the piece through the shadow of the tower.

    The shadow of the tower shows just one figure.
    A man.

    Twisting the neck of a chicken.
    He still did not let go of the grudge!

    The sadness of not being able to eat Half Sauce Half Fried was evident through the shadow of the tower.

    Back to top


    Chapter 7 : The Victories in Heaven and Earth



    Due to the effects from the manifested shadow of the loot's tower, the battle was bit more stimulating.
    However, due to the resistance of the Unicorns and Pegasus, the practitioners were still dying 2-3 during each battle.

    Even though with better armors, and also the growth of the levels, the battle were still against numerous enemies.
    They were on their 33rd battle of suppressing the castles.
    Sureuka took a kick from a Unicorn and fell dead.

    After the battle, the situation was, beside the party members, the number of practitioners remain was just 212 people.
    Geomchi spat at himself.



    "I couldn't be there when the fragile girl died."

    Weed soon lowered his head.

    "No. It was my responsibility. I wasn't aware and should have taken better care of my party member."
    "No. I could not provide a good example."
    "Rather Master, I think we should not be allowed to eat unless no one dies."
    "You think so?"
    "Yes. It's ok to not care about the speed of doing things."

    Geomchi carefully thought about the suggestion for a while.

    "Ok then. If it's punishment at this level then in my opinion should be sufficient. It's true that we've been too fed up with the constantly similar battles in Todeum, so from now on, let's go with what you said."

    For the instructors and the practitioners, the battlefield in Todeum provided a great training course.
    It encourages camaraderie, builds backbone, and sends electrifying sensation to enjoy the game.

    Therefore, it was a great place to gain power by fighting against the powerful.
    Swordsmanship was not a true necessity; a steady mind was a better weapon.

    Even with the death of several practitioners, it was still entertaining to fight.
    But Sureuka was a simple girl; and with her death, the fights were no longer enjoyable.

    Weed declared.

    "No more death or no more food!"

    With the suppression of Todeum's castles, the liberated vampires also joined in the battle!

    It was a time for Weed Charisma and Leadership stats to shine.
    Not only the Geomchis and colleagues fought, they intended to overwhelm the Unicorns and Pegasus through numbers.

    The number of released vampires thus far was 4600.
    Many of the weak and common Vampire Familiars entered the fray here and there whenever the Shinsui became weary.

    Now was the time for them to begin fighting in the earnest.

    "Fight. Your. Enemies. To. Reclaim. Your. Lost. Dignity. And. Pride!"




    You have used the skill Yell.

    All allies within the proximity of Yell will have a 200% increase in morale.
    All the disarray will be diminished.

    Leadership will increase by 200% for 5 minutes.



    "We vampires do not follow the commands of others, but Weed has proven he is a rational man."
    "His words have not been damaging."
    "The Unicorns and Pegasus are enemies we eventually will have to defeat anyway."

    The male Vampires left streaks of capes sailed by as they assaulted the Pegasus.

    "Ohohohohoho! Please look at me. Allow me just a drop of your blood."
    "Kak kak kak. Charging into this world without a sense of decency, we'll show you fools who your real enemies are."
    "They're coming. Let's see who the real rulers of the land are."

    The Vampire Queens' dresses were very flashy. Wrapped tightly in full leather, and carried whips to boot.
    The Queens chanted their wail of psyche curses in unison.
    In the past, many of the Freya's Knights fell victim to these deceptive techniques.

    "Euhuhyuhyuhyung!"
    "Yihihing!"

    The Unicorn's horns lit up with purple light.
    This was a mechanism for the mind and magic to resist and won't be easily deceived. They were immune to black magic.

    However, the Queens constantly sending those curses in and summoned insects to bother the divine creatures.
    The weakly Vampire Familiars transformed into bats and flippantly clung onto the beasts.

    The Shinsui's resisted vigorously, but the bats clung on and sucked their blood until death.

    Chyureureup!

    The bats weren't able to avoid the damages; but through the blood consumption, they were able to recover and reclaimed the losses.
    These were awfully tough opponents.

    The Vampire Queens with their constant curses while summons of numerous insects and sent their enemies through many agonies.
    Though, whenever there was a battle, the loss was as many as 200 Vampires.

    Severe times where the losses were more than 300.
    But through such battles, the surviving Vampires were much stronger.
    Through the characteristics of the Vampires.

    The Vampire's traits!
    Very powerful weapons.

    Whenever Vampires hunt, the experience gained was dramatic and also contributed to the development of their adaptability.

    With the blood consumed from the Unicorns and Pegasus, the Vampires can lessen the damage of the beasts' magic attacks.

    And with a certain amount consumed where the blood was completely digested, their power would temporarily increase.

    These vampires provided Weed and the Geomchis considerable reinforcements.
    Where the Vampires would die in a large amount in battle, the Geomchis hadn't lost a single person.

    Even though it was a bit risky buffing the legion; but right now, it was a powerful army of Vampires!
    Weed completely controlled the legion of Vampires.

    Thanks to a series of victorious battles, the Vampires moved ad if they were an extension of his limbs.

    Ttiring!




    Legions of Vampires completely under controlled.
    The Vampires acknowledged you as an avid leader of the darkness.
    Their dedicated loyalties will contribute to your notoriety.

    Familiarity with the Vampires is at the best state.
    They would even gives You the most delicious nape of women to drink out of respect.


    Infamy increased by 350.
    Leadership increased by 2.
    Charisma increased by 5.




    They weren't all good news.
    Infamy sometimes helps with quests that required them, but the consequence was too great.

    Villagers take one look at those with infamy points and would run away, or even chase them out!
    In any case, the Infamy he has thus far was not something high enough to be concern about.

    'If it's Infamy, it'll go away if I donate to the church or finish some quests.'

    Of course, for him to make donation to the temple was something highly unlikely; but if it's a true necessity, it was the quickest way to rid of it.
    The problem lies elsewhere.

    Ttiring!




    Have joined up with the despicable Vampires to hunt the innocent Shinsui.

    In exchange for all the vicious acts You committed, your actions will be reflected.



    Weed's forehead was inscribed in red.
    The mark of a murderer!
    Anyone could understand the mark shone in crimson.

    "Why this happens to me..."

    Weed said in distress.
    If the mark was received by the others, it wouldn't be so unfair.

    But even while hunted in groups, he alone obtained the mark of a murderer.
    There are tremendous penalties being the recipient of the mark.

    While being vulnerable to the attacks of other users, the drop rate for items would be higher than most at death.
    Obtaining quests are more difficult, making it harder to be release from the mark.

    "Why did this only happens to me?"

    Even someone like Weed wanted to complain.
    Pale took some time and answered with the most likely reason.

    "Could it be because you killed a lot of Unicorn and Pegasus?"

    Weed was the highest level and the best in damage output, hence being the one that killed the most.
    Romuna stealthily noted.

    "The person who proposed to come to Todeum was Weed nim."

    Irene, while blinking her eyes innocently, said.

    "Being the mastermind behind all the bad things."
    "......"

    As she knew of all the reasons, Weed could not rebuke.
    The Geomchis looked rather envious.

    "That look wicked."
    "Manly."
    "They say you're famous when you are a murderer..."

    The mark was well received from the Vampires.

    "From the beginning he wasn't a good man."
    "We were right, placing our expectations."
    "Here, while it's a bit vulgar, you can plug your teeth into the colleague's nape."

    While being hailed by the Vampires, they continued attacking Todeum's castles.
    Weed efficiently manages the power of the Vampires.
    Irien's holy power could only heal the people. They did not work on the Vampires.

    'Holy powers are rather poisonous to Vamps, huh.'

    The thing Vampires want is blood!
    While near the brink of death, with a generous 'donation' of blood, the dying Vampires can be reinvigorated.

    An increasing number of Unicorns and Pegasus fell victim to the life stealing Vampires.
    The Vampires' level continues to climb.

    On the other hand, the members of Weed's party obtained less and less experience and loot, but it was something inevitable.

    Even with the reduction of Vampires, their number still increases.
    Through the battles, a huge number of them died, but with the awakening of more, the number was made up and then some.

    The Vampires led by Tori, his family Jinhyeo, was also upgraded.
    Different vampire Lords also woke up one after another.
    They lead a huge variety of Vampires.

    Dream Vampires.
    Non physical beings, uses illusions to cause confusion and paralysis.
    Shadow Vampires.

    Those that hide in the darkness in wait to attack their enemies.
    Only reveal their canines at propitious times of attack, something hard to react to.

    Assassin Vampires.
    An unknown type of vampires.

    Other elegant and art loving aristocrats of that aspect, though similar, was difficult to be placed in the same class.

    Power! Prowess!

    On chest and arms and such, hair was all over the place like bizarre beasts with formidable strength.
    Natural fighters with no use of magic.

    The only ways to separate them from the normal beast were their fangs and their capes.

    All in all, with more than 5000 Vampires under his control, they far exceed the capacity of Weed's Leadership no matter how meticulous his management was.

    In fact, more than 100 of them were out of his control.

    He had seen this before back when he conducted the Orcs and Dark Elves; if the number exceeds the capacity of his Leadership ability, then the crowd would play around or resists the order if he was just a bit distracted.

    Weed was reaching his limits to conduct with the lack of Leadership, the Charisma to Yell, and Familiarity.

    Weed entrusted the excess Vampires to the Orc Seechwi.

    * * *


    Orc Seechwi. She took a breath toward the sky and sigh.

    "Chwiik, with the Orc's body, I, I can't make the posture freely, chwichwit!"

    If she tries to bend forward, a bunch of fat flaps would prevent her from doing so.
    The fats on each side would rock whenever she moves.

    Ffs!

    And the face when she seriously tried and ends in failure were also something beyond belief.
    At each time, she pants like no tomorrow.

    "With all due respect, Orc is a joke! Chwichwhik!"

    Seechwi was wonderfully and graciously enjoying the solitude.
    During the battle thus far, she really didn't have anything else to do.

    Simply taking care of herself!
    She was assigned some errands as she was fitting for them.
    But it has change henceforth.



    Group Conducting Skill has been created.



     




    Group Conducting Skill 1 (0%):

    Depending on the skill level, the Orc is able to configure up to 35 members (Orcs) in the unit.

    Of different species, the Orc can configure 20 members.
    Depending on the skill level, the influence of Leadership increases by 3%.
    All party members and the unit can have an increase in Stats.
    An increase in Strength, Agility, Stamina, and Physical Resistance.
    Experience received will increase by 2% for all party members and the troop. (16% increase at skill mastery.)
    All party members and the unit have an increase resistance to Confusion and Fear.



    Rises in Leadership will have extra effects on the skill!
    In the case of human, though slightly different depending on the occupation, usually can form a party up to five members.
    Then, with each additional 50 points in Leadership, the party can increase by one member.

    Orcs are exempt from this.

    From the beginning, they can form parties consist of 10, 20 members to hunt.

    In Seechwi's case, due to her obtaining the Group Conducting skill, the size of the party was much larger under her command.

    From the skill to her Leadership, a substantial number of 50 members can be grouped into the party.

    In addition to being able to strengthen her party members, even able to conduct monsters was a big help.

    "Wi, with this, I'm also a force, chwiik! Not imposing as an Orc but as a commander. Chwichwichiik."

    Seechwi wiped away her tears of sorrow, and moved around showing off freely.
    While the protruding belly extends to the utmost, and even loud nasal nose!

    "Chwichwichwit. If you listen closely to what I say, I will feed you with lots of delicious food!"

    Seechwi shouted her commands at the controlled Vampire Familiars.
    She had doubts in the ability of Weed's conducting when she watched from afar. But now the idea has changed.

    'Those wild Geomchis. If it's someone else then they won't be able to command them.'

    Her first impression of the Geomchis was that they were tougher.
    Nearly the size of the Orcs with close-cropped hair, and body of twitching muscles.

    And murderous gaze to boot. An accidental eye contact would spell constant apologies from the other party!
    The intimidation level was something not typical.

    So much so that when ordinary people came near them, those people would naturally shrink and got out of the way.

    And then, with the intensity of 500 worth of them together, who would have the galls to issue them an order. (I wanted to say balls, a letter apart.)

    Constantly going to fight, along with the stubbornness and pride to boot.
    Wherever they'd go, there was no other way but to cause trouble.
    But in front of Weed, they were just naïve pigs.

    'If they get food then they're good. Then rushes to fight to rid of everything that pent up.'

    The food Weed made were satisfying scrumptious, aromatic, and even prospective to they eyes.
    Pudding that melts or tasteful shark's fins in their mouth!

    Seechwi also, couldn't sum up how many times her fingers reached for the entrée.
    Nevertheless, if it seemed like how simple humans the Geomchis were at first sight, then one would definitely by puzzled at how they acts.

    But, those that came to know them, their problem was understandable.
    For the Geomchis, the shortest time being 10 years, while the more severe were more than 30 years, lived with strict regimen.

    Their foods too, simply consisted of cooked chicken breasts or egg whites only, were something tiresome.
    For them, their diet in the Dojang was simple.

    300 grams of boiled chicken breasts without any sauce at every meal.
    The egg whites too, 10 to 20 worth of them without a speckle of salt.

    If you lived such a life for 10 years or so, then you would even be ecstatic with just the taste of a chewing gum.

    With just the fish and boneless chicken breasts lain out on the grill and the pork ribs getting bake, their hearts thump thump in anticipation.

    Just by watching the sizzling sound of the ripening meat as its juices flown out, their mouth would essentially do the same with drools.

    Having this second life in Royal Road, being able to indulge in this world without having any repercussion on their bodies in real life; the Geomchis lost themselves in their gluttony.

    And whenever they encounter strong opponents, they can expend all their energy to fight.

    The only fear they have was hunger!
    Laughter and heartbreak over food, simple and fierce men.
    Holding all their rights was Weed.

    'Domesticated them with food. He have been cleverly give them tastier and tastier food...he won't come out with a full entrée else they'll be fully indulged and he loses them.'

    Weed far exceeded the skillfulness of being the leader of the party or that of an expedition.
    The recognizable talent of an exceptional being whom able to leads an underdeveloped third world country with dictatorship.

    Skillful politician, the instigator, the vicious defamer! The perfect representation of a dictator!
    It could be said because of Weed, the Geomchis and regular users like Pale should be well received everywhere.

    'He might as well have put the highest additive drug in the food! Charisma and Leadership should only be able do so much. You fit the definition of unrefined and jerk to a T."

    Seechwi too, from that moment, was probably being drugged by Weed with the drink in hand.

    * * *


    The Vampire army commanded by Weed was more sustainable as the battles continued.
    The size was larger, and they were getting stronger.
    So of course, the experience and the acquisition of items greatly reduced.
    As the EXP dispersed among the Vampires, full experience could no longer be obtained.

    "Let's go to the next castle."

    Weed said with a harsh impression.
    Having won all the battles thus far, he had yet shone a single delighted expression.

    This was not always the right course of action befitting that of a great leader in the face of a crisis.
    The reason behind this was because he couldn't get anything.
    Appalling to the core!

    'All the loots after death are going to the Vampires!'

    Anyway, with the progression of the quest, it was to be expected since the force was needed in the first place.

    In fact, their earning summed up weren't much to speak of. This was due to the fact that the Death Knight Van Hawk was participating in all of their battles with stronger brutality each time.

    The knight of the darkness Death Knight!
    Van Hawk was a powerful DPS that inflicted a great deal of damage to the Unicorns and Pegasus.
    Naturally, lots of the drops went to him when dead.

    A quick check of his level, suddenly he exceeded 368.
    He was proportional to the general Death Knights at around level 200.
    But now, the growth beseeched him to that of the higher grade monster.

    "Death Knight information window!"



    Name


    Van Hawk


    Alignment


    Darkness


    Race


    Undead


    Level


    368


    Class


    The Evoker of Despair Death Knight


    Title


    The Dark Hand of Army Commander


    Reputation


    7904



    Health


    126930


    Mana


    23850


    Strength


    964


    Agilitiy


    675


    Stamina


    650


    Wisdom


    220


    Intellect


    220


    Fighting Spirit


    594


    Endurance


    455


    Fortitude


    315


    Physical Resistance


    268


    Charisma


    242


    Leadership


    502


    Luck


    -200


    Faith


    -200




    Loyal Knight of the Kallamore Kingdom.

    Stained with the forces of darkness and was reborn a Death Knight.

    Had a part in commanding the Legions of Immortality under
    Barkhan; but in the recent years had deviated from his control.
    Death Knight with terrible damage and has the ability to command.


    Death Knight is head of the unit.
    Vulnerable to Holy magic.
    Can control Undead, Monster corps.
    Less than 4 Black magic circles available.
    Fully grasped the art of Kallamore Kingdom's swordsmanship.





    Originally a Darkness army commander, the Death Knight!
    Able to be at the center and called on the members of darkness, he could call them to war.

    Even though the damages taken by the unit Weed entrusted in him were higher due to the characteristic of the Death Knight, but they were able to attack as much as they could so there was no complaint.

    Van Hawk forces his way toward the boss level mobs as a Death Knight without fear.
    Weed recalled the past.

    'Ever since I met him at the City of Heaven Lavias, we've been to so many places.'

    He prevailed through several hunting grounds with Death Knight Van Hawk at his side.
    Thanks to having him watching the rear, Weed could fight on heartily.

    Although recently he have been hunting with his colleagues and the Sahyeongs, but there were many times where Weed hunted alone.

    Even during the time where he was together with Seoyoon in the north, when she wasn't around Van Hawk would enter the scene.
    Weed gazed at Van Hawk nostalgically.

    "This damned fellow."
    "......"
    "Don't take a breather and fight diligently."

    The feeling disappeared and Weed spat out the cold words.

    So they continuously drove from one castle to the next for conquest.

    In fear of the vampiric effect disappearance and having their adaptive and attacking powers plummets, they fought with minimal amount of rest.
    The Vampires' complaints were ceaseless.

    "I only want to fight just once a night."
    "Give us a break."

    In order to avoid them getting tired, Weed pushed his forearm forward to sooth the Vampires and fill them.

    "Drink."

    He provided them with fresh blood to satiate their fountain like Stamina.
    Weed went first, then the weak willed Pale, Irene, and others also joined in.
    Now only four remaining castles!

    "Huhihihihing!"

    There were golden horn Royal Unicorns, flowing argent mane on Silver Pegasus.
    At the sight of their skin, Zephyr gulp with a little nervousness.

    "Gulp! They're monsters that have never been disclosed, Hyeongnim."
    "But they're not huge in numbers. If we push from the sides, we got it."

    Weed replied with clarity and with his right hand.
    A drop of it to signal the push of thousands of Vampires!

    The Royal Unicorns and Silver Pegasus lasted in matters of minutes before kneeling and disappearing from sight.

    That was how all the last remaining castles subjugation essentially went.
    Hwaryeong, with admiration, said.

    "I think Weed nim's was born with excellent memory."
    "Hm?"
    "You've remember Todeum's geography exactly. Even the order of up to 47 castles."

    The party too was amazed with the information.
    Of course it wasn't all in Weed's memory.

    "It's 'cause there's a map."
    "A map?"
    "I learned how to draw from Yurin so I made one myself."

    Hwaryeong eyes lit up. She was very curious at Weed's painting.

    "Could I see the map?"
    "I don't think it's a problem."

    From Weed's chest, a straightened out crumbled sheet of paper was shown.
    An outline of Todeum's entrance was drawn, and then castles were drawn a bit small up to the fifth castle.

    After that, due to the size of the paper, castles were increasingly getting smaller.
    Although from the entrance to the few castles were drawn, the rest including the roads were a mess.
    Instead, they were replaced with explanations.




    Long rise from entrance on the right of the heroes' tower a beautifully large castle
    Lots of apple trees castle.
    Across the bridge north, a blossoming yellow flower castle.
    10mins walk into the alley, gate to the blue castle.



    The only person who can tell head from tail of this map was probably just Weed.
    Hwaryeong trembled.

    'I can't believe we followed this map to hunt.'

    Anyway, the conquest of the last castle ended safely.
    All the Vampires of Todeum has been liberated.
    Since then, Weed, the Geomchis, and the party began setting their sights toward Todeum for the unfolding event of their service.


    Todeum!
    The kingdom of legend where Vampire lives!
    Three glowing moons.

    Weed's made loot's tower at a distance, old fashioned castles, and an unknown Heroes' Tower.
    Above all those, the Unicorns and Pegasus took flight throughout Todeum.
    Also on the ground were those drinking and leisurely grazing about.

    But then, from far away, dark clouds rapidly descended.
    The dark clouds pretty soon enveloped Todeum from all over.
    Fierce wind blew, heavy rain poured.

    Kureureureureung. (wind)
    Kwagwagwang! (bullet rain)

    Every time thunder and lightning struck, only flashes of light were seen.

    The bodies of the Unicorns and Pegasus who drank and grazed on the ground soon were covered with huge swarms of bats that clung on.

    The Vampires also broke out of the castle through the windows in unison.
    For vampires, the darkness had no effect in their vision.

    They surrounded the herd of Unicorns and Pegasus that were covered with bats, and with soulless stares, aimed straight at the necks.

    Kwaak!

    Vampires were weaker than the Shinsuis, but a multitude of vampire fangs entered their necks.
    Sneakily within the disruptive bats, the divine creatures' health and stamina were rapidly absorbed.

    "Euhihihihing!"

    The Unicorn cries.
    The Royal Unicorn spoke.

    "As members of the virtuous forest clan, we cannot be force back by those of the night clans. Burn everything. Summon Kasya."

    Fire spirits were summoned.
    The swarm of bats that covered the common Unicorns also protected the sneaky Vampires from the effect of the spirits.

    "Summon Undine!"

    Turned the rain water into spears and flew around fighting the swarm of bats.
    Silver Pegasus used their magic.

    "Dancing Light."
    "Fire Arrow!"

    In the darkness, light in flight and fire arrows made of magic penetrates the bats and Vampires.
    The battle between the Vampire and the Shinsui raged throughout Todeum.

    Within the raining of cats and dogs, magic spells and summoned spirits, along with bats, all were clustered.
    The Vampires that rushed in early on and had a definite clutch.

    "The blood of Unicorn is really sweet."

    The vampire Queen giggled flirtingly.
    Some seemed to pay heed and chuckled at every sluggish movement the Unicorns made.

    The Queens were women.
    The Unicorns like things that are beautiful, and falling asleep on the lap of virgins would be the ideal happiness for them.

    'Beautiful.'
    'It's too fishy if I go over to them. Yihing!'

    They stood firm and weren't tempted, but their summoned spirits were hesitant and did not attack.
    The situation in the sky for the valiant Pegasus cutting through the sky also wasn't good.

    Steeds of the sky!

    Largely filled with muscles, neurotic and couldn't have been more violent.
    In addition, their rushing speed was something hard to follow.
    Because of that, the Pegasus shouldn't have been allowed to soar the sky.
    Though now, their body swiveled due to the bats clinging on like leeches.

    "Woheheheng!"

    The Pegasus landed and with their limbs, crazily stomped the ground.
    Nape, sides, hip, forelimbs, the bats covered all with their teeth inserted.

    With sharp pain, the paralysis had taken place.
    Then the Vampires drove in to ensure the kill.

    The Unicorns and Pegasus fell to the ground in rhythm with the beating of the thunder and lightning.
    Their screams of death were buried within the pounding of the heavy rain.

    But further away, in the higher place, the watching divine beasts flew in to see the crisis of their brethren.

    "You still have not gone away, you of the night clan still have not gone to your slumber. I shall send you to an eternal rest."

    The Unicorns, while in the air, cast their magic.

    Regardless of their own kind, they brandished their magic toward all the bats and the Vampires.

    The Pegasus were scary sprinters.
    During the Todeum castle hunts, the thing that victimized the practitioners the most was their full speed charge!

    Several dozens Pegasus rushed through the sky while hitting the swarm of bats and Vampires.

    In the areas swept through by the dashing Pegasus, a few surviving Vampires staggered with injuries.

    "Whew, barely survive. Blood, I need blood."
    "Shall we turn into bats and give chase?"
    "Even with our top speed we can't match up to them."

    A glance of the Vampires and they saw the beasts were more than 300 meters away in the distance.
    In the brief moment of a single breath, the herd of Pegasus was already circling the sky.

    Their gestures in the sky, when switching from one direction to the next, differed from that of a flock of birds.

    The Pegasus spun in an orbit similar to that of a wheel in the sky above.
    Along with a straighten head squared off, their feet once again accelerated terribly in midair.

    Dudududududududududu!

    The Vampires who turned into bats, with the thought of being a safe distance far away, but in a moment, they were nose to nose due to the beasts lightning like dash!

    The area where the Pegasus had swept by once again, the Vampire bats disappeared without even trace of their cloak remained.

    "Wohihihing!"

    The movements the Pegasus shown during the battle against the practitioners seemed to be something like child's play; the piercing speed they demonstrate in this battle field was tremendous.

    At those times, it was due to the marrow space that they couldn't fully utilize their speed.
    Their summons and magic were also essential blocked and forced into close combat.

    The Unicorns and Pegasus' attacking powers were pretty much sealed.
    However, in the vast open space, they swept through the Vampires using charge as if they were nothing.

    "No vampire could take this!"
    "Should we just be sacrificial and hung onto their nape with our fangs?"

    Clamoring of the Vampires who were struck.
    They could not come up with an adequate solution to deal with the divine beasts.

    Their movements were too fast; a turn of one's head was enough for them to be breathing down his neck.

    Along with the use of spirit summons and magic, the once shrouded darkness the Vampires was given was no longer explicitly important during the fight.

    Whether it was Weed, the practitioners, or the party, no remorse were given from these high level Shinsuis.

    Though the Vampires did deal hazardous amount of damage, it was nothing comparable to their intensity.
    The Vampires that took a big hit to their health and mana, plummets to the ground.

    Some wounded lay motionless, while others reached for close by Shinsuis that were molested by swarms of bats.
    The Vampires slammed their fangs into the beasts and drank their blood.

    "Kyaah."
    "This vitality filled hot blood."

    The degrading staggering Vampires obtained more vigor.
    From the eyes that were losing focus to their arms, vitality, stamina, and mana too, all recovered.

    Even at their deathbed, the Vampires were still not done.
    Using this life stealing technique, they can regain their original power with a sip of fresh blood!

    The Vampires would once again battle after having regained their vitality.
    Also, not one of the Vampire Lords died.

    They were far superior than other Vampires; and if the Unicorns and Pegasus weren't cooperating with one another, then the Lords were stronger than them too.
    Such were the Vampire Lords!

    The vampire clan Jinhyeo that was led by Tori.
    Even though his Intelligence wasn't high in the first place, a lot of battle experience and skill proficiency built up when he battled with Weed.

    Tori knew by watching Weed how to control the unruly Pegasus.
    Tori used magic.

    "Summon Spider!"

    Huge spider webs were generated in the sky.
    Sticky webs that connected every castles!

    Obviously since the sky had no support, they couldn't act as fixed location for the web.
    Nevertheless, large networks were formed by the interweaving spider webs, and caught swarms of bats flying about.
    Seeing these bats stuck on the webs, the Unicorns and Pegasus rushed at them with terrific speed.

    The webs were pierced through and went limp.

    But every time they pass though the webs, the beasts' speed were increasing getting slower.
    From the head to their limbs, the Shinsuis were tangled in the sticky webs and their movements were slowing down.

    "Summon Spider!"
    "Summon Spider!"

    Seeing how the Jinhyeo clan effectively acted, other Vampires also simultaneously cast the skill.
    Todeum's castles, streets, and the sky above were struck with countless of intertwining spider webs.

    Having pierced through many webs, the Pegasus had significantly dropped their speed, and many flocks of bats came like ominous clouds and drank their blood.

    * * *


    Weed, Geomchis, and the party were equipped and ready to embark.
    As soon as the last battle in the castle ended, they all sank in exhaustion.
    Without a pause to be happy about the accomplishment or a blissful rest, the war broke out between the Vampires and Shinsuis.
    So for them, the recovery of health, stamina, and mana were all delayed.

    "Let's go. The final hunt!"
    "It's time we go out."

    The rumbling made Weed and the Geomchis jumped. And that still could not represent the massive situation going on about.
    The entire castle felt the progression of the war.

    With magic and summoned spirits rampant, the castle walls were in rumbles.
    The Vampires, Unicorns, and Pegasus were in the middle of a fierce battle in mid air.
    It was not an exaggeration to say that was where the main battlefield was.

    Geomchi2 muttered in vanity.

    "But how the heck are we going to fight in the sky?"

    The activation of some skills had prerequisites. However, they were still severely depleted of mana.
    Since they overly invested in Strength and some in Agility, the Geomchis were fundamentally fast and strong, and can use various weapons in all range.
    Geomchi showed that he was the one with the most experience.

    "We're not limited to one weapon. If we can't use sword, then we got our bow."
    "We have that as well!"

    Therefore, following Geomchi's actions, the instructors and practitioners all drew their bow in unison.

    "All ready! Fire!"

    The arrows that were seemingly to be coming off of siege weapons shot into the sky.
    Many flew into the cobwebs but not only did they strike the Unicorns and Pegasus, the swarms of bats and Vampires were also hit.

    "Keuaaang!"
    "The humans are attacking us."

    The Vampires complained.

    While only a few of the divine beasts were hit, the Vampires suffered heavy damage from those.

    The reason being Weed created those bows for their strength and not accuracy; so instead of the targeted Shinsuis, they hit the pursuing Vampire flock instead.

    "Hit it!"
    "Continue shooting!"

    Completely oblivious to this matter, the Geomchi group continues shooting toward the sky.
    After having repeatedly attacked by the arrows, the Vampires were fiercely angry.
    Even at this time, the unaware Geomchis kept doing it while not knowing this method was wrong.
    Geomchi roamed around.

    "Weed!"

    He was to be called whenever things did not work out!
    For some situation, it was up to Weed to find an appropriate solution and they waited on his commands.
    However, Weed was nowhere near Geomchi's vicinity.

    "Geomchi2."
    "Yes, master!"
    "Where's Weed?"
    "Uhh. He was here a while ago..."
    "Look for him."
    "Yes."

    Geomchi2 and all the practitioners looked for Weed.
    Moments later, they found him at a distance.
    He was in a place where many Unicorns and Pegasus had fallen during combat.

    Due to their high level, the fallen had remarkably survived.
    They continued a strenuous effort to get airborne by flapping away, but to no avail.

    Along with the Vampires and bats that fell and were subjected to their life stealing technique, the Shinsuis were paralyzed.

    Resistance owes more misery!
    Weed quietly grabbed the horn on one of the Unicorns.

    "You won't feel the horn."
    "Kkwaeaeaek!"

    This time, he pulled out Zahab's carving knife.

    "The smoothness of this shiny polished leather."
    "Kkeueoeoeok!"

    The strength of these muscles. I think its well taken care of."

    "Peuheheheheng!"

    The horn taken, leather skin skinned, and even up the muscles, he took them all.
    Even after death, horns or leathers could be obtained.

    But the odds of selling them at a premium price were higher if they were obtained when the beasts were alive.
    In several cases, the Shinsuis bellowed just once more, and then died.

    Since the beasts were already almost near death in this state, the EXP attained weren't much when killed, but generous amount of items could be acquired through this method.

    Each one dropped several loots such as Gold or Silvers, mats, and even armors and weapons!
    Such luck won't return a second time.
    It was like a dream for Weed.

    'The loot's tower also came out good. The Japtem(Loot) God is so gracious to me.'

    On the Versailles continent, this was not a recognized religion. Its existence was solely through rumors and words of mouth.

    Nevertheless, the Japtem God was just as great as any other!

    In the past, someone obtained five Unique Grade equipments in just 2 hours of grinding on the Honose plains!
    In the mountains around Fort Ohdein, someone found a cart of Dwarfen made gloves just by walking around!

    And someone claimed to have found 70000 Gold worth of loots from a treasure chest in a cave nobody lives in; myths like these of the Japtem God has been endless.

    Weed has been a devoted follower of the loots and items' faith.
    Of course of course, he absolutely won't ever make a donation.
    One being there was no formal temple.

    Also, the Japtem God was generous. Simple prayer in one's room was enough to beget His grace.

    A single doctrine.



    'Do not throw japtem away in vain. In this world, no japtem was useless.'



    Among the Dark Gamers, the sensation of this japtem doctrine reverberated considerably and its ideal was widely valued.

    'At last, I have received the Japtem God's blessing I've heard so much about.'

    Whenever he seized one, he could earn at least 900 Gold.

    If they couldn't recover their wounds and take to the sky, those that could barely function pretty much considered themselves dead.

    This too, was a battle against the Unicorns and Pegasus who were on the ground, so Weed had no reason to hesitate.

    And then, noticing Weed's behaviors, Pale, Maylon, Zephyr, Hwaryeong, and Romuna too, diligently attacked the Shinsuis.

    If you can believe it, Mapan also went out.

    As a Merchant, he was weaker than most; and even though his main objective was to stay alive in most battles, he now held a huge ax up and singled out a dropped Unicorn to hit.

    Geomchis also realized.

    "We're going to catch those that are down on land. Get them all!"
    "Yeah!"

    The Geomchi troop changed their targets and aimed at the fallen beasts.
    The Shinsuis' nature was that of horses, and did little to resist after having fallen.
    Unless you're paralyzed, standing around on your feet giving up is pathetic!
    Even a dismay bear that had given in could easily be caught.

    The hardest thing in the spacious Todeum was the sneaking around approaching the fallen Unicorns and Pegasus.

    While the battle still raged on in the air, magic spells and summoned spirits occasionally made their way down to the ground.

    So they had to mindful of the battle above to avoid the incomings while paying attention to how they spread themselves.

    But even so, for the Geomchi, the instructors, and practitioners, it wasn't an easy thing to do!

    Geomchi took off his armor and moved around exposed.

    "Our sword is invincible!"

    The instructors' interest was aroused. They followed Geomshi's footstep and took off their tops.
    Twitching muscles on their study physique!

    "Our sword is invincible!"

    The practitioners also fought undressed. The perilous path!

    To take your armor off means a dramatic decrease of your defense. If in this state you are attacked, the received damage can amount to five times the damage you would get with your armor on.

    That means just a twitch of the Unicorn's hind limb was equivalence to death!
    Along with that, their lives were also at the risk of getting hit by stray magic or summoned spirits.
    But because Geomchi and his students enjoy the tension, it was their decision to do so.
    Moreover, the only person who could seemingly restrained them, Weed, was hunting blindly.
    Weed had long since noticed the abnormal behavior of Geomchi and the students.

    "Hm. Why not run fast like that?"

    Because the armor he worn wasn't a heavy armor that his speed was great. The defense given was little, but it had maximized his Agility.

    "This...!"

    Weed too, quickly took off his armor.
    Even though it was risky, and if something does happen, then nothing can be done.

    While carrying his full baggage, only at this moment when the Japtem God sent his rare blessing, that there was no reason to hesitate.

    "JAPTEM!"

    Weed's eyes were bloodshot and he ran circles around the Unicorns and Pegasus.
    Along with him, more than 200 others did the same!

    "Our sword is invincible!"

    On the ground, along with the resounding shouts, the number of Shinsui plummeted.


    Fear, fear, fear.
    From the dark sky.

    Thunder, lightning, and heavy rain pounded down.
    Vampires and flock of bats attacks continued on soundlessly having been drowned in these.

    Many of the horses' falling brethren cry!
    Now the few remaining Shinsui began their escape.

    But were relentlessly pursued to their ends by the Vampires.

    Not even able to reach beyond the boundaries of Todeum, all the divine creatures were wiped out.

    All the surviving Vampires landed on castles and the tower wearily.
    The rain stopped, and the clouds were disappearing.
    Todeum's castles were filled with Vampires.

    Their bodies wrapped in black cloaks as they stood gracefully. At last, the long battle had ended.
    An aged Vampire came toward Weed.

    "Thank you, human. You saved us."

    While looking at the Vampire's aged face, Weed asked.

    "Were you the Vampire that left the message?"
    "That's correct."
    "But unlike a lot of other Vampires, your face looked rather old."
    "Well, that's because I drank past the upper limit of blood before going to sleep."
    "......"

    "If I drink a bit of fresh blood from a virgin, I will heal. Now that they no longer exist, nothing in Todeum can oppose us. We can regain the luxurious and enjoyable life again. Thanks to all you humans."

    From Weed, Geomchis, and up to the party members, message windows popped up.

    Ttiring!




    The request from an unknown Vampire.

    Todeum's past was as old as their night as long.
    Human loving Vampire.
    Solitude liking Vampire.
    If watching flowers, the shy Vampire.
    The jewelry collecting Vampire.
    Enjoying painting and sculpting Vampire.
    With stones, castle building Vampire.
    Nature caring Vampire.
    The Vampires that had been deserted by Gods.

    Parasitic to humans, they were beings that lived by hiding in the darkness, and were determined to establish their own kingdom.

    The continent wandering Vampires found a place to rest and made it their home.
    Peace has once again arrived to Todeum, and now, the Vampire civilization will shine even more brilliant.



    You had become the Vampire Kingdom Todeum's savior.
    Fame increased by 4420.
    Charisma increased by 25.
    Hostility with clans of the forest increased by 100.
    Having experienced in an extraordinary battle, all combat related Stats will increase by 3.



    Level has increased.
    Level has increased.
    Level has increased.
    Level has increased.
    Level has increased.




    With the successful quest, Weed had gained six levels.
    The others ranged between 9-12 levels.

    The one that had gained the most levels was Seechwi, having attained as much as 17 levels in compensation.
    Since the beginning, this was one of the characteristic of the fast growing Orc.

    In this moment, all the accumulated tension the Geomchis and the party members felt was all released.

    "Ahh."
    "We did it."
    "Success."

    All the party members simultaneously in glee and their faces filled with happiness.
    An improbably A Grade difficult quest was successful. And the level up was something from a dream!

    Their chests were filled with achievements and delights.
    The Geomchis however, grunts in dissatisfaction

    "Weed levels were raised too, my chase continues."
    "Ah, this, didn't expect levels to rise so easily."
    "......"

    The Geomchis continued with their complaints, and Weed again stood in front of the Vampire.
    The compensation for the quest hasn't ended yet. The Vampires' treasure still remains.

    "For God's and our faith, we have done our best for you. Now please bestow on us what has promised."

    The Vampire nodded.

    "Adventurers, while there had been many wandered freely about, none had accepted the responsibility like you have. The Vampire race does not ever forget a promise made. We may commit fraud or lies, but never will we forget a promise."

    There was something disturbing in that remark.
    The Vampire pulled out a rusty key.

    "In Todeum's treasury, there are many rare treasures. As promised, here is the key to the warehouse. For us nobles of the night, we have many of the heavy things so if it's something you want, take it."

    "What about the location of the treasury?"
    "That, you'll need to look for yourself. But be careful and heed my words. That old key can no be replaced."

    The Vampire let out an insidious laughter.
    Weed received the key.

    Ttiring!



    You have acquired the key to the Vampire's treasury. Be careful, the durability of it is very low.



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    Chapter 8 : Prisoner of War



    Kingdom of Haven.
    The central powerhouse of the continent, wide and fertile territories, along with mineral rich mountains.
    For these reasons, many users chose this kingdom when they first started out playing Royal Road.

    "A lot of mountains, meaning a lot of dungeons, lairs, and dangerous hunting grounds exist here."

    Here, it's primarily filled with adventurous classes or Bard.

    "The trading posts here are great too. It has convenient access to all other kingdoms, and...with the amount of adventurer types, there's no end to the spoils."

    Merchants also chose the Kingdom of Haven.
    Warriors, Priests, and even those that wanted to hunt, also decided on the kingdom.
    Thanks to this, the kingdom flourished commercially along with explosive military might.

    A person unrelated to the kingdom will probably see this as a crowed town.
    Whether it was Illuin, Khiden, or Balkiseu castles, even as soon as dawn the streets were bustling with crowds.
    But the too many people, Mulline, has endless amount of disputes.
    Whether they were at dungeon, lair, mountain, or in the plains, endless amount of battles took place among guilds.

    "The first to strike will not be eaten."
    "War! We should get together for war!"

    It was filled with counsel and tactical meetings.
    Guild alliances and unions often met with repeated disbandment and betrayal.
    In the Kingdom of Haven, there exists several thousands of guilds ready to go to war.

    Along with mercenaries obtained from other countries, increasingly larger wars were fought.
    The powerhouse Bar-Ray leads the Hermes Guild to occupied the Noreunjawi castles led by Bar Ray with the intention to reign over the entire kingdom.
    Blood Knights, lone Mercenaries, red Mages units set their flag where the oppositions of Hermes had fallen.

    * * *


    Kallamore Kingdom.

    Once, the kingdom had a vast territory.

    But in the royal palace's weakened state due to the members of the imperial court scrambling up the nation's power; in its opening, the capital got burned down as they suffered a downfall from the aggression of the neighboring countries.

    Nevertheless, they tried to resurrect the empire by once again lifting their flag.

    They deployed the strongest knight of the royal family, one that was venerated and revered by other countries as the strongest traditional military power of the central continent.

    And since it was exclusive to the nobles and its inhabitants, as travelers deemed it an inconvenience; not many users chose to start from Kallamore Kingdom.

    Similar to other countries, they have a huge population with developed mining, technology, and commerce; but unlike the others, guild wars did not occur frequently.

    This was due to the fact that they were surrounded by the Senbain mountains; so every week, a huge wave of monsters poured down and spread throughout the kingdom.

    Looting and destruction.

    If the frontline fell, the village and its inhabitants were fated for complete disappearance.

    Because of this, the user base rather dislikes the Kallamore Kingdom.

    -It's too hard, and you can lose everything in an instant in the kingdom.
    -I don't recommend it. Unless you're the type that wants to die.
    -Don't go, the protection at Sebain is no good.

    Travelers turned their sight away from getting anywhere closer within the range of Kallamore Kingdom due to the outbreak of monsters.

    In the kingdom, though reluctantly, thanks to the subjugations of the monsters, its military steadily grew; it was a gritty place for adventurers.

    However, there are a variety of people in the world.

    Some accepted the commissioned quest of their Knights from Senbain to find the reason for source of the monster infestation in Kallamore Kingdom.

    Those that were insane enough and wanted a new experience without fearing of losing their lives did so for the enjoyment.

    And so together with the kingdom's troops, they fought against the downpour of monsters from the mountain.

    And gained fame!




    As Senbain's defender, You have earned 3 Honor points.



    The Honor points that were exclusive to Knights could be obtained.

    If you have enough Honor points, your subordinates will always be loyal, and everywhere you go, you will always be regarded as nobles to some extent.

    Sometimes, gifts can be received from nobles or those of the imperial courts, and popularity with the ladies will increase.

    Honor points were essential for those that wanted to join the order of the Knights or to become higher ranked officers.

    Those that performed this quest spread the news of this fact widely.

    Frankly, there were desires to hold this info to themselves.
    But in fear of the danger fighting in Senbain, they needed more.

    "We can get the valuable Honor points?"
    "The hard to obtain Honor points that could only gained through dueling victories or special achievements..."


    The combatants rushed to Senbain. And all fought there.

    Many died intercepting the hordes of monsters, but the pleasure of successfully blocking them was something beyond belief.

    Volunteers were also dispatched around the Senbain castles.
    With the rise in Fame and Honor, some could be assigned to lead troops of the new volunteers.

    While extra contribution to the kingdom will rise, it was possible to obtain more combat experience every time.

    The requests were awfully dangerous and although there were a lot of failures, everybody found themselves immersed in defending.

    Infantries, Warriors, Archers, Knights, and so on so forth. The tens of thousands became members of the kingdom's troop and gathered to fight fierce battles against the monsters.

    All for the thrilling joy of being within the Kallamore Kingdom's war.


    "War? So what about the guilds, how do they fight for territories?"
    "Just go up the Senbain mountains, you can find a wealth of monster's villages to occupy..."


    Even so, when the hunting started here and there, the fixed number of the downpour of the hordes of monsters didn't decrease.
    Dungeons and lairs weren't around, but across the vast mountainous range, monsters continued to descend.

    Even in exhaustion, there was no other choice but to fight until death.
    It was the highest honor in Kallamore Kingdom to defend Senbain!

    Having played their roles in preserving peace of a kingdom and actively gaining prizes, many guilds' influence was wide spread; but conversely, in Senbain mountains, numerous guilds united under one flag.

    Rather than warmongers, they were disciplined soldiers.

    Particularly in Kallamore Kingdom, Knights were engaged in remarkable activities.

    They worshipped the traditional belief held by the original knighthood, and as the nation's Knights, they've given their generous support.
    In the vicinities of Senbain, there were a variety of terrains.

    The valley in between the mountains was a huge plain. This plain acted a substantial final line of defense.
    Here, monsters have to be stopped or else the granary zone and the villages will have to pay the price.

    Horseback riding Knights fearlessly charges in!

    All having blessed by the Clerics, they were an armor wearing monsters slaughtering wave.

    The assault of more than 3000 Knights of the country!

    Through the thick fog, the knights sped toward the hungry swarm of monsters on their steed.
    For the people participating, there was no other time more exhilarating than this.

    "I can't describe it. It's just awesome. The feel of breaking through the line of monsters on horseback, it's really, really thrilling."
    "I have no fear. But my hands are shaking."
    "As a knight, if you've never fought till death against these waves of monsters, then it's just too sad."


    The Kallamore Kingdom's pubs were always crowded with Knights.

    It was a place to boast about having fought with no regret and to unfold their tensions, or where they could get a drink before going off to the next defending battle.
    The pubs had become the most attended spots for those that defended Senbain to release their experiences.

    On the other hand, those of the other kingdoms could not understand those from the Kallamore Kingdom.
    Travelers asked.


    "But still, aren't you scared of getting killed?"
    "If I die, the penalty's pretty hefty aint it. The knight armors and weapons are so pricy...and I might even lose my horse too."
    "Your level and skill proficiency will drop too."
    "You're right. But Honor is more important. If I can get more, I can get a better mount, and even troops will be assigned to me."


    In front of the combatants, they could only see death and rains of blood.
    The hooves beating on land, the thickening fog, the scattering blood.

    Along with the breakthrough, blockage, and up to collapsing on horsebacks, everything came along with the excitement of piercing through the monsters corp.
    The combatants of the Kallamore Kingdom traveled about while carrying their growth.

    And surely, the time will come where they will show the skill they've obtained during their time in Senbain.

    The chivalry of those that survives in the Kallamore Kingdom!

    * * *


    Kallamore Kingdom's royal court.
    Before the king and the imperial court official, the Knight Koldeurim appeared after 30 long years of absence.


    "You, how..."


    Choking on his own words, the King's eyes moistened.


    From the Kallamore, Haven, Toreupan, Masen, Thor, Aidel, the scene unfolded for all the users to see.

    In the middle of all their activities, their sights were suddenly filled with the scenes unfolding at Kallamore's royal court.


    "What?"
    "What's going on?"
    "What kind of Event is this?"


    The users from all over the place wondered about the event that was taking place in Kallamore's royal court.


    "I'm truly sorry, my King. I have returned."
    "What happened? How have you come back 30 years later?"

    "I fell into the deceitful hands of the Kingdom of Haven...if it hadn't been for some great adventurers, I would have never been able to return to fight for my King and my Country."

    "So the fault lies in the Kingdom of Haven as well. Is this the day I've been waiting for? Come back as my officer again. With us, the Kallamore Kingdom will once again be able to spread its wings."


    Vincent Kallamore III.

    The current king, as soon as he rose to his throne, along with Koldeurim, they were truly fierce together.

    Together they led the Kallamore Kingdom against their nemesis, the Kingdom of Haven, and were on a winning streak!

    Expanded their borders, and became dignitaries throughout the continent.

    As the nation's heroes and its salvation from chaos; at the time, they were favorites to be able to obtain the whole continent within their grasps.

    The best Knight has returned and lifted the kingdom's spirits once more!

    But reasons unbeknownst to him, after his disappearance, due to the strong resistance of the Kingdom of Haven, the war was finished.

    Kallamore III proclaimed.

    "The war I've started in my younger days, and still, I have not seen its end yet. Now that you've returned, the kingdom will be at its peak; and though we have no castle to speak of, the pride of our soldiers can never halt, Koldeurim."

    "Yes, your Majesty!"
    "I shall leave you our troops, make our enemies of the Kingdom of Haven realize the greatness we all shared."
    "We will march on with our trumpets nonstop and will destroy all until none are left of the cowards."


    Ttiring!




    With this act, the Kallamore Kingdom is on an outbreak of war.

    The Minister of War Koldeurim leads 90000 men of Kallamore Kingdom's army!

    8500 Knights.
    60000 Infantries.
    16000 Archers.
    3500 Clerics.
    2000 Monks.


    Not only the troops of Kallamore Kingdom are very powerful, they are also ruthless and non-forgiving groups.
    Even though they have not gone to war in the past 30 years; they've reached the peak of their fighting power due extensive combat experience against monsters.
    In addition, if the Kallamore Kingdom allows it, all sorts of mercenaries can participate in the war on their side.
    The goal is the occupation of the Kingdom of Haven.



     




    As of this moment, all achievements, weapons, armors, and the prices of all basic necessities, will be frozen at the current place/price in all towns belonging to the Kallamore Kingdom and the Kingdom of Haven.

    User who participates in the war will acquire an increase of 20% of the Experience points.



    The users were astonished.


    "Welp, it's war."
    "Finally the war broke out."


    They've known from earlier on that the Kallamore Kingdom and the Kingdom of Haven hated one another.
    But still, a full scale war between the two was something they couldn't fathom.

    * * *


    Weed also saw the flash screen of the events unfolding at the Kallamore Kingdom royal court. The party too, was able to participate in the quest.
    Weed, in a very short time, thought about the aftermath of the war in approximately 0.01 second.

    "Well, no skin off my back. It's not my job."


    This cool attitude!
    Geomchi treated it as natural and nodded.


    "If we join up in this battle then the balance will be tipped. Dead or alive, I don't need to worry about such details for them."


    Geomchi3 inputted.


    "Against those kids, give me three days and it'll be enough to beat them all."

    Geomchi4 also recalled his past.


    "I spent my days hitting a lot, but strangely I still sleep well."


    Whether it was those of the Kallamore Kingdom or the Kingdom of Haven, they had very little interest in whether the users would die or not.

    Pale on the other, slightly felt a bit of remorse.
    His forehead furrowed deep and hadn't straightened out.


    "The war..."


    Irene was also very anxious.


    "You think the users of the two kingdoms will be ok?"


    Pale could not answer for a while.
    The war was an opportunity.

    It was a golden moment to for the two forces between the kingdoms to try and tips the scale of dominance!

    There were those with nothing to do while waiting for this day, and others that will inevitably be harmed as casualties of war.

    The Kallamore Kingdom and the Kingdom of Haven.

    If either side loses their territory or it facing its destruction, to the users, it would be an incredible loss as it was their base.

    Also, the efforts they've put the raising Familiarity with the nobles or knights in those area would essentially be moot when those character dies.

    In the worst case scenario, they would be exiled.

    For users like Pale or Irene that were based in Rosenheim, to attend the war would mean having to travel a long distance and didn't need to do so; but for the lot of other users, they couldn't just abandon their country.

    Because the places were their homeland where they started out.

    They got along with the inhabitants of the town, and knew information about the surrounding vicinities.

    Having watched it grow to its current state, the pile of contribution to gain Familiarity, most users would be reluctant to go anywhere else than staying put.

    Even users whose levels were beyond 300, having received quests from nobles to go off on an expedition, could not simply leave their country as if it was nothing.

    Nevertheless, Pale did not know whether to choose to be in the Kallamore Kingdom or that of the Kingdom of Haven, due to not knowing the entire truth of the complex web the countries spun.

    Pale came out with the most comfortable and reasonable answer.


    "As long as we don't get caught, then all is well."
    "A really good comment."


    Zephyr displayed his agreement.

    "If they don't find out then it's good."
    "Yes, let's say it's none of our business."


    Pale's opinion was welcomed by all.
    Toward the whole lot, Weed's wickedness was slowly affecting them.
    Maylon too, in order to prevent having founded out.


    "I'll edit this part out."


    If they could keep the fact that they released Koldeurim out of his confinement, then there was nothing to worry about.

    If she deletes this section out before handling the videos over to the broadcasters, then none of them will be the wiser.

    Turning their attention away from the full scale war between the two kingdoms that will most definitely be acts of brutality, the interest of the party once again returned to the Vampire's treasure.

    Having successfully completed the quest, Weed obtained a rusty key close to losing its durability, but it was not something that could prevent Weed.





    Key to the Treasury.
    Durability 2/20.

    After using it several times and of the rust, the Key is nearing its obsolete.
    With severe corrosion, its most likely will be able be used three times.



    'Che, only one or two uses after the quest. Well whatever, a piece of cake.'


    The location of the treasure was a necessity.
    The vampire did not give out the location of the treasury so they will have to explore with the rusty key.
    However, Weed had already survey all of Todeum and had confirmed the location of the said treasury.

    "It's in the spire above, located directly below the moon in the center of Todeum."

    For Weed, every time he wanted to give up on the quest, he would look toward at the spire and would break out in drools.
    Even through the lighting, thunder, and the cataclysm of the day before, he would do the same.
    All he could see were the garishly appeal of gold within the interior of that spire.
    Maylon expresses her doubts.

    "But that spire doesn't have any ascending path with a closed door leading to it?"
    "The window is the answer to that."
    "Huh?"

    "It's a characteristic of Vampires. All they really need is a window. Once they get in through the window, then they can activate the stairs to go up on the other side within it. Its location will be revealed exactly where the moon will hit it."

    The whole party watched Weed.

    Weed, without any difficulty, went through the window of the Vampire's treasury.
    And then, along with him came a Vampire that confirmed that this was indeed the location of the treasury.
    The unnamed Vampire spoke.


    "One person can only take one object, one weapon, or one piece of armor. Any more than that, will incur the wrath of us Vampires."





    Only one item is allowed.

    Since the Vampires does not allow any more beyond that, they will be pressed to attack.
    When the Vampires lose their lives, the items in the treasury will be deprived of.



    In the treasury, they could see items of those that have their spirits extricated such as Koldeurim.
    Even with Koldeurim's body liberated, without his soul, he remained incomplete.
    There were dozens of beads on display, Koldeurim's soul was depicted in one of the transparent bead.

    -Ooo, finally signs of humans...


    The ghostly voice of Koldeurim.
    Though it was a ghostly cry, it was filled with emotions such as joy and ecstasy.


    -Human, get me out. I'm Koldeurim of the Kallamore Kingdom; finally, I will be able to devote my allegiance to the king again.


    But alas, this was a treasury of the Vampires, they were not obligated to do anything for a human.

    Beside money, Weed doesn't know of anything; the party too, seemingly resembles him, while the Geomchis do not care about anybody but themselves!

    Weed said annoyingly.


    "Who are you?"
    -You do not know about me? I'm the Knight of Kallamore Kingdom, Koldeurim.

    "Is that so? You got trapped."
    -......

    Koldeurim spoke much more carefully now.

    -If I can break free from the bind of this bead, then my soul will be set free. Due to the Vampire's trickery my soul was captured; even now, my body is somewhere waiting for the day that my soul can return.

    "How do you know it's not rotting away right now?"
    -......

    Weed's sentence was a few words away from making Koldeurim burst in frustration!
    The hope he felt that came along with the humans explicitly plummeted down all the way to hell.
    Within the bead the filled with Koldeurim's soul, the glint was getting dimmer and dimmer.

    The wounded soul of a Knight!
    Maylon gently whispered into Weed's ear.

    "Weed nim, in this case, his resurrection would be just fine since it was already been determined."
    "How so?"

    "With people of the past, there were some prerequisites for resurrection, such as occupying a new body...well, virtually all of them searches for a Warlock's body. Or if there's a body existed in the temple, that could be used too. If the soul of the missing and the body haven't disappeared, the body can be preserve through magic or placed in a dungeon accordingly to repel any intruders, so it's possible for the body to survive."

    "So, you're saying that he could really be resurrected on the continent."
    "It's fully possible."

    But even with that, Weed wouldn't release Koldeurim just like that.


    "But Koldeurim will never know how hard we've fought just to get our ways up to here. To save you, we have to give into the demands of the Vampires. It's like throwing mud all over our bodies after we came all the way here...If we just release you all willy nilly, then you'll just forget the favor you receive."


    -A Knight would never forget the grace of others.


    "Koldeurim, if you practice chivalry just as you do against monsters, I hope you do not forget to stand straight with conviction. That's all I really wanted you to do."

    Golden-hearted mode!

    Without having to break the bead that contains the soul, Weed was operating to increase Familiarity with the being inside it.

    For the upright Knights, his intention was to imitate having integrity and innocence.
    However, Koldeurim wasn't a great knight for nothing as he wasn't easily swayed.


    -That's strange. A second ago you said you don't care to relea.....


    "That's the conviction I want to see in you...in fact, in order to save you, we've lost a lot of our colleagues...keuheuk!"


    Weed even tried to squeeze out a few tears!
    He flashed a smile with a thought of the dead practitioners.

    'I suppose they have earned their keep.'


    Nevertheless, seeing an adventurer who prioritized camaraderie like that, Koldeurim's voice softened.


    -I..in order to save just me...in the future when I may return to Kallamore Kingdom, I will never forget you. I'm sorry. I do not possess anything at the moment to present to you; but in the future, I promise I will not forget to do so.


    If one befriended a king or nobles, then the chance of receiving quests is higher while the gain is greater.

    But with just a slight Familiarity made here, then they could set up the framework to have an easier access to Kallamore Kingdom to come and go as they pleased.

    As a dark gamer, he needed to work on having Familiarity with several kingdoms, no matter now risky that may be.
    Weed was already satisfied with this, but a sudden idea popped up.


    "Call Death Knight Van Hawk!"
    "I answer your call, Master!"

    Death Knight.
    The reason he was summoned was because he used to a Knight of Kallamore.

    "Were you also a Knight of Kallamore Kingdom?"
    "A day to day life. Now as a Death Knight, I'm faithfully dedicated to the owner."
    "Even so, you can have a little chat between the two of since you both are Kallamore natives."
    "Understood."

    The Death Knight eyed Kodeurim who was trapped in the bead.

    "You're a Kallamore native?"
    -Yes. But I cannot reveal my name to a Death Night.

    Koldeurim was trying to deny the idea of being in the same prestigious knighthood with a Death Knight.
    The Death Knight patiently asked.

    "From which platoon?"
    -What?

    "I asked which platoon you were assigned to from the knight academy."
    -The 694th.

    Having heard that, the Death Knight sneered.

    "It has already gotten that far huh? I was in the 164th."
    -Seonbae nim!

    Once a Knight, always a Knight!

    Van Hawk was a seonbae to Koldeurim for a lifetime due to having served for Kallamore empire.

    It was not a matter of Familiarity.
    It's the Rank!

    Death Knight Van Hawk and Koldeurim's ranking hierarchy was formed.

    In a sense, it was the same as those with higher rank in the military to not even lift a finger.
    The Death Knight has lived for a long period of time.

    "When I was in Kallamore, we had the entire continent shaking fear. Since when did Kallamore seem so dead?"
    -I'm sorry Seonbae. Our national power has been weakened a lot by the neighboring countries that we're not even on the map anymore.

    "That's just wonderful."
    -It was entirely our fault for being insufficient. If I had not been capture by the Vampires then...ah! Seonbae nim please save me.

    "As a former Knight of Kallamore, that's my course of action."
    -Thank you, Seonbae nim.

    "What the hell man! I can't believe you got held captive by those of the Vampire kind."
    -......

    The high self-esteemed spirit Koldeurim shrunk before Weed and the Death Knight.

    Back to top


    Chapter 9 : Elemental Sculpturing Skill



    So then, a serious incident occurred after releasing Koldeurim.
    But before their sight was the treasures, so the war of Kallamore Kingdom and Kingdom of Haven was soon forgotten.

    "How much are all of these."
    "Ima pick up a weapon, if there's none then I'll take gloves with boosted Strength."
    "There are Cleric's gowns here too."
    "Even Wizard's robes too!"

    There were a lot of goods so that made it hard for them to decide.
    If they decided on one, another would pop up at some obscure angle of their line of sight and essentially turned it into a conflicted debate.

    In addition, the Unique grade items in the vampire storage were at level 400 or more!
    There were more than 450 items.

    Although they were superior in performance, there were a number of them that wasn't available for immediate usage.
    Hwaryeong found a fan.

    "Weed nim, please check it."

    Since she did not have the necessary skill, every time she found something, she would hand it to Weed to check on its information.

    "Identify!"




    Celine's Fan:
    Durability 55/55.
    Damage 12~21.

    Eastern styles folding fan.
    Fan carved out of bamboo with 12 kinds of colorful silk attached.
    It can be spread out with just a flick due to it silky attachments.

    Small grains of gems are embedded within this, so its beauty can still be seen even within the dark.
    Dancers often use Celine's Fan.
    Reason being the alluring seduction.

    Restriction:

    Bard, Dancer only.
    Level 400.
    Attractiveness more than 620.


    Option(s):

    If the Dancer is famous or have more than 700 Attractiveness, then the Restriction will decrease by 25%.
    +60 Attractiveness.
    +60 Charisma.
    +30 Stamina.
    +20 Agility.
    All Bard skills +20% effectiveness.
    All Dancer skills +40% effectiveness.
    Dance skill has to be in Advanced to use the following skill.


    *The Fan Dance:

    Advanced dance skill.
    A very elegant Easter style dance.
    Make monsters with Intelligence fall in shame and suffer damages.
    While lifting moral of colleagues and recover from status, enhance their combat capacity by 15%.
    In times of peace, if danced before the royal family or nobles, will gain the residences' favor.
    The effect of Attractiveness and Charisma increases by 80%.




    As expected of a Unique item, there were many effects given as well as a new skill.
    In fact, for a level 400 weapon, it was not an outstanding item.
    Though there was the option of reducing the usage restriction, so Hwaryeong could use it as is.
    Weed returned the fan back to Hwaryeong who was jumping in delight.

    "Ohh thank god. I can use it right away. This fan is really perfect."
    "Though the performance is a bit..."
    "But it's beautiful so that's fine."

    Weed nodded.

    'It's a good choice.'

    It was a wise decision to select one and use it right now than having to wait until reaching level 400.
    As of now, the number of those over 400 was very low!

    With the option to decrease the restriction, the fan would always get a high price when selling.
    Weed's point of view was rather practical, but Hwaryeong's view was rather simple.

    'If it's pretty then it's fine.'

    As long as it could grab the attention of others, then the possibility of selling a rubber band for 1000 Won would increase.

    Seeing how Hwaryeong chose her good, the others opted out and picked up items with level reduction option also.
    Only the Geomchis didn't care about the restriction and freely went about picking their favorite sword.

    "The sword fits in my hand."
    "I want a practical sword rather than an ornate one."

    They picked up excellent swords but due to the level restriction, they couldn't use it.
    Pale once again thought about the Geomchis naivety and though they were causing trouble for themselves again.

    "Geomchi2 Hyeongnim."
    "Hm?"

    "Shouldn't it be better to choose a sword you can use immediately? And then later on you can get better swords, faster and stronger ones."

    Pale inquired seriously and Geomchi2 replied back dully.

    "That's not all when wielding swords."
    "Huh?"

    "What makes a good sword? As long as you mind the sword with sharpening and cleaning; until you are able to use that sword, you'll be forcing yourself to get stronger and preparing for the day you can use it."

    The Geomchis picked up the level 400 weapons.
    If they want to use those level 400 weapons, then they would have to get stronger faster.

    The feeling of holding the swords in their hands was bound to be different from those bamboo blades they've held for years.

    Having acquired those wonderful Unique grade weapons, their goals changed to one day being able to swing them.
    Weed wandered around the treasury looking for a worthy weapon.

    'Level 400 weapon...'

    Since having the Blacksmithing skill, he didn't have to care about those with the level restriction reduction options.
    What was important was the strong attack.

    'And then in the future, I can clean it up and sell it for a good price.'

    He carefully searches for weapons, though most of the being the already discarded by the Geomchis as they deemed them as modest swords.

    However, Weed was still rummaging through the remaining swords as he could never absolutely deem them moot.
    The use, price, preference, appearance, and usefulness in battle, he weighed all of them carefully.

    'The 200 Won more expensive salt I bought at the market. I will not allow such a thing to happen again.'

    Endless regret about buying that on impulse!
    Without forgetting the incident, he thoroughly analyzed all the weapons.

    "What is this? Identify!"




    Paskran's Lance:
    Durability 60/60.
    Damage 79~97.

    The lance used by the Knight Paskran during the Reign of Chaos.
    There is no way to check for more detail at this time.

    Restriction:

    Knight, Spearman, Paladin only.


    Option(s):

    Damages will increase 3x when attack on horseback.
    Penetrate through enemy's shield and armor with an increase of 65% to inflict critical damage.




    Paskran's Lance!

    'Where have I heard this name before?'

    The item used by Paskran, one of a kind Unique item in the world.
    Weed's head flashed a moment in the past.

    'That's right. I've seen a post about this on the Dark Gamer Union board.'

    The purchaser being a diamond rated buyer was looking for this stuff.

    'The average price he usually pays was 2000000 Won.'

    Though filled with regrets, he refused to choose or think about choosing Paskran's Lance.

    Weed couldn't use it since he did not learn anything outside of swordsmanship. (gained archery when started out, staff is just a stick to cast spells and smacking)

    Although he was able to use the lance due to the Blacksmith's characteristic, he could not utilize the addition effect given.

    'Better pick a different weapon. I want something I can use while can still get a decently high price for it.'

    As a dark gamer, obtaining items to sell was important, but one's growth still takes precedent.
    Aside from the Paskran's Lance, Weed found an old sword among the abundance of swords he looked into.

    "Should a sword no good as this be in the treasury? Identify!"




    Koldeurim's Old Sword:
    Durability 12/27.
    Damage 16~37.

    The sword of a famous knight from the Kallamore Kingdom.

    The best blacksmiths of the kingdom commissioned by the king toiled for three months, pouring their heart and soul into creating this weapon.

    More graceful elegance and splendidly ornate than any of their previous work that they filled with dignity.
    Having gone through countless battles, the blade became rugged and the decorations all fell off.
    The final damage to the blade came from the battle against the Vampires.

    In the middle of Koldeurim's knightly duty, the sword retained a little of a lesser demon Ice Daemon power.

    Restrictions:

    Knight only.
    Level 440.


    Option(s):

    Demon cutting sword.
    Strength +2.
    +3 Dexterity.
    +25 Fame.




    The sword used by the Knight Koldeurim!
    Severely worn, had holes in it for a long time, the durability was no good too.

    'Since the maximum durability fell, there's no way to tell if this was the true damage.'

    If he went by the damage output itself, then the level requirement of the weapon would probably be around 50 or so to properly use the sword.

    It couldn't possibly be graded as a Unique grade item!

    Looking at the level restriction was something ridiculous, Weed felt that the potential of this sword couldn't just amount to this.

    "Just like how a pearl is buried under all the mud. If I could get it back to the original damage then it is fine."

    It was not an easy choice deciding on something unknown.
    Repair to try to get it back to the original state!
    Even though it was a shame to use the Mithril, it was worth a try.

    "This valuable opportunity is a gamble I can not blow. With something like this, I'm going to start right away."

    Weed immediately started a fire in the furnace.
    The Blacksmith's fire!

    Two hours went by as he hammered away at Koldeurim's Old Sword.

    But beside from just knocking off the rusty parts, the lumpy golden part in between the sword didn't give a response.

    "Indeed...a Unique item."

    Seven more hours passed.

    All the others were tired of waiting, so they left the treasury.

    Only the Vampire guards remained watches while yawning away.

    The fire's smokes that expelled from the hearth were limited by its boundary, so those outside the repair weren't affected at all.

    Weed raised the output of the hearth's flame.



    Satiation level have dropped below 20%.



    Weed held a sweet potato toward the furnace to bake.

    By the time the day had passed, the color of the flame had changed to blue. Though still, there was no reaction from the old sword.

    "Keuheuheuheuheu."

    Weed's obsession did not waver.
    He had strengthened its center, but he did not recheck the sword.
    His pride couldn't let him do that with just that amount of hard work!
    That was Weed's source of endless strength.

    "It's a start. If I can go out to briefly rest my eyes for 20 minutes then I'm good. With that, I can hold out for at least a month."

    Sitting in front of this poison waiting was nothing to him.
    So while focusing on the frame before him, time continued to pass.

    When the flame burned a complete white color, he put the old sword back into the hearth.

    Jjijijik.

    This time, there was a reaction.
    With this, the blade was tolerable to the grinding.

    With greater force than before, he consistently hammered the blade.

    But because of the badly eroded shape it was in, he had to re-smelt the worn out sword again.

    Working on a Unique grade level 440 was no easy task!

    Ttangttangttang!

    While continuously refining the sword, Weed kept hammering away.

    And with its cooling, Weed added in the Mithril he obtained when he hunted.

    As a result, after an additional of more than six hours of repairing, he was able to recover the sword.

    "Identify!"




    Koldeurim Daemon Sword:
    Durability 160/160.
    Damage 103~121.

    Sword of a famous knight from the Kallamore Kingdom.

    The best blacksmiths of the kingdom commissioned by the king toiled for three months pouring their heart and soul into creating this weapon.

    More graceful elegance and splendidly ornate than any of their previous work that they filled with dignity.

    Had recently undergone through a major repair.
    Does not expect to fully recover to its former state due to having gone through the hands of less talented than the blacksmiths.

    Couldn't not be completely repaired, the Durability and Damage will be less than its initial completed state.
    In the middle of Koldeurim's knightly duty, the sword retained a little of a lesser demon Ice Daemon power.

    Restrictions:

    Knight only.
    Level 440.
    Strength, Agility, Charisma, Leadership, Fighting Spirit, Faith all have to be more than 500.
    Fame more than 12000.


    Option(s):

    Demon cutting sword.
    Whenever the Daemon Sword cuts, it can inflict up to 7 different types of curses.
    Monsters that are weaker than the sword owner will severely wither.
    +20 Strength.
    +35 Agility.
    + 150% Leadership stat on Human soldiers.
    +3% Attack Speed.
    +46% Magic Resistance.
    +2500 Fame.





    Brilliant options and attack!
    The sword once owned by Koldeurim showed amazing stats.

    "Jackpot."

    Weed packed the Demon Sword.
    A Grade A difficulty quest with reward of great weapon and may have even obtained contribution points to the Kallamore Kingdom; with these, his heart was lighter.

    'Later ima go to Kallamore Kingdom and have him give me treasures or some supplies.'

    It feels like a loan shark leaving somebody's house in the morning after having clearing them out!
    Weed cheerfully left the treasury.


    After Weed and his companion left the Vampire treasury, the place found its peace once again.
    Dozens of scattered bags that used to contain weapons dizzily rolled about.
    The remaining weapons were poor; so of course, nobody wanted to take the terrible lot.
    At the end of the disturbance, only clouds of dust float about.

    -Heumm, this guy wasn't it as well, is there nobody eligible to wield me?

    Surprisingly, the sword was thinking.
    Self awareness Ego Sword!

    Usually those with more than one kind of special property are known as magical items.
    Rarer grade of those are things that have been granted special magic or properties.

    On the continent, the rarity doesn't exceed that of the highest degree Unique grade weapons or armors.
    However, the disparity between those within the Unique grade is huge.

    Such as the cane held by the Goblin Chief and the staff of the Archmage, the differences between them was as enormous as the distance between heaven and earth.

    Among them, the Ego Sword is classified as a premium grade weapon.
    The sword itself remembers the experiences of combat.

    Therefore, the next time it reencounters the same monster type again, it would speak of the mob's weakness; and at the sword's discretion, it may use skills or magic accordingly.

    The level requirement was 520!

    While people still can't use the sword as of yet, the Ego Sword chooses a qualified master on its own.

    Since it deemed Weed as one who was not eligible, it masked itself as nothing more than an ordinary sword.

    In the Vampire's treasury, within all the remaining swords laid the finest sword that chose to be left behind in the obscure darkness.

    * * *


    KMC Media had prepared an ambitious TV program called "Weed."

    Started from the quest accepted in Seirun town on the Land of the Vampires to stimulate the viewer's interests.

    Viewers gathered because this was an adventure they could not perform on the Versailles continent. But later on.

    -It's irrelevant to us.
    -Only show us this, we can't get there.

    However the show of the northern part of the continent was still tremendously growing in popularity.

    Because the users were still in the dark, all kinds of events took place.

    If it was a newly coming up town, then there would be cases where it called for the annihilation of the crowds of monsters attacking.

    While solving quests, new heroic sagas were created every single day.
    The newscast that specializes in just the north has rating of 16%!

    In contrast, the program "Weed" at it beginning was poor, having only accounted for 2~4% of the viewers.
    It was easy to see the falling interests in the show as they were not part of the party in the Vampire Kingdom.

    -Those idiots!
    -Dumbasses. Pigs.
    -Look at how over the top they are. Haha!
    -One eats over 10 whole servings.

    The program 'Weed' bulletin board was filled with just cynicism.
    As shown before then, the mere actions of the Geomchis made it a fun sitcom.

    It was somewhat enjoyable to the audience to see the loads of ingredients going into preparing the food only to disappear a moment later.

    Masking the food to feed the group was funny too, but that was it.
    So with that, the viewership remained at a standstill after three episodes.
    KMC Media was at the bottom of the audience's favorites.
    The production and the planning departments that were related to 'Weed' were subjected to a written affidavit.




    Dear Esteemed Director,
    We did not consider the users' interests...
    But we've attempted a combination of ideas, but ultimately, we're asking for the station to give us a bit more...



    This was the affidavit most directors would write.
    Director Khang's written statement was different.




    Dear manager of operations,
    Not long ago, I sent your wife roses and she was very pleased.
    Hope you can find some time of peace...and let's go play golf again sometime.



    The level of intimacy was shown in the statement.
    Director Khang maintained his withering integrity, but also, the manager of operations was a fan of Weed so he did not mind the ratings.

    "Even monkeys can fall from trees. Failures too, have it good points."

    The broadcasting station had expected the show to somewhat fold.
    However, but the time the quests in Seirun ended, the viewership rose to 5.5%.

    With the Geomchi troops combat skills, and the highlights of Weed's seriousness with Cooking, Sewing, and Blacksmithing skills to help out his party members, the audience increased.

    And it was worth the wait having released their anticipation to finally see the genuine Vampire Kingdom Todeum.

    Those with the broadcasting station saw with Weed's leadership, the quests to Todeum also seen its end.

    The planning committee, the production team, and all the others, witnessed the sensation of a Grade A difficulty quest.

    Incredibly, the once rabble-looking group showed their years of training and indomitable fighting spirits for the quest's triumphant.

    In the station's open dinner.

    "Hurrah!"
    "With this, I suppose my mind is comforted for a while."
    "The quest still's progressing in real-time so I still gots butterflies."

    The production staffs seemed to have lost weight and their face shown a pale-ish hue.
    Now it was truly at the bottom of the ratings.
    Because if that, they did not sell any advertising space.

    Each episode was organized to run for two hours; now, they were given just one hour every week to run the episodes.

    But the next broadcast would be the adventure in Todeum, and while the broadcasters also deemed it an impossibility to solve the quest; they expected the ratings to rise with the scenes set to air.

    * * *


    The Vampire's Kingdom Todeum.
    Unlike the soothing quietness liking Vampires of Seirun, this was a colorful and bustling place.

    Black magic school, underground relic dealers, a place to drink fresh blood at any time on everyday, etc.
    There were lots of shops that fit the characteristic of Vampires.

    "We sells broken wings of Unicorns."
    "Pegasus' horn for sale."(I feel so trippy here, like it's switched around. But that's how it is on the raw.)
    "Freshly received blood here, for the youngling."

    Vampire merchants went around in their black capes.
    Their arrogant deals made it thrilling for the spectators within Todeum.
    Mapan checked the prices and his eyes lit up.

    "Most component items and loots' prices are all lower than normal."

    It was the time not long after the combat with the Unicorns and Pegasus.

    These guys were selling miscellaneous goods at low prices, while art, handicrafts, and jewels were sold at high prices.

    Mapan pulled out all of the carpets, furs, and jewels he had in stock.

    "With so much jewelries how many am I going to sell? I wonder if I have enough to fulfill all the Vampires' desires. In comparison to here, the humans don't pay nearly as much."

    Mapan began to bargain and all of his quantities were sold off.

    It was a huge victory of an investment; then on the empty carriage, he filled it with miscellaneous goods.
    For Merchants, this moment was such a win.

    "Euhahahaha!"

    Within Mapan's poignant laughter, Weed also hid a smile during the conversation.
    Later Mapan will have to pay tax in Morata!

    'Probably more Merchants and adventurers will have to stop by to pay taxes in Morata.'

    Weed had this secret expectation when he returns to Morata.

    With the lot of Vampires, the quests they could receive from the easy Grade F or even to Grade B were available.

    Since there was nobody else beside them, this was the golden land of quests.

    "You humans who we fought with. These days, there were issues that popped up in the east. We were asleep so we don't know what had happened. I'd like you to investigate."

    With just those few words, quests of Grade C or B were released!
    There was no way other people could come to Todeum, so it was a complete monopolization of quests!

    "We will try to find out what's wrong."

    Geomchis and the party members had accepted the quest. Weed also tried to perform the quest.

    "We'll investigate things in the east and will come back."

    But the Vampire shook his head.

    "You cannot."



    Has been denied to perform the Quest.



    "What?"

    Weed hesitated for a moment in this embarrassing situation.
    Most of the time when one's unable to receive a quest, it is due to the lack of Reputation or level.
    But Pale, Zephyr, or even the Geomchis could accept the quest without having being rejected.

    "You have a special job to do."

    At the end of the sentence, Weed's eyes sparkled.

    "Is it important work?"
    "Yes. It is very important work."

    Other colleagues weren't in the Vampire's selection. Only just Weed was chosen.
    So the quest lying in wait must be something special!
    At this moment, the party looked very enviable.

    "This time as well, it's Weed nim."
    "Perhaps...the Vamp is implying it's something we don't have..."

    Weed shown the party an apologetic façade. However, it was a rotten face to cover up the intense joy he was feeling!
    Weed carefully asked the Vampire.

    "What's this adventure that I have to do? Just leave it to me and I will faithfully commit to it, even if it's hard or even lonesome."
    "It's not an adventure so to speak. That's not it. As you know, from our earlier battles, the city we live in has been severely damaged. Statues on the streets, and sculptures in castles too, has been significantly destroyed."
    "......"

    With the sudden talk of sculptures, Weed had an ominous feeling surfacing. Unfortunately, it wasn't a mistake.

    "My 'Child Holding an Apple Figure' was also damaged. I woke up at night and the first Sculptor I remember is you... so as an exceptional human Sculptor, I have you repair the sculpture for me. Is it possible?"

    Ttiring!




    The broken 'Child Holding an Apple Figure.'

    The sculpture the Vampire Metson purchased 36 years ago for 120 Gold!

    The treasured sculpture is severely damage due to this battle.
    To repair the sculpture, you need an exceptional Sculptor with keen eyes.

    Difficulty: F
    Compensation: 3 Unicorn's feathers.

    Quest Limitation:
    Specifically Sculptor.
    To deny the quest, Metson's trust will fall.



    "......"

    Weed was speechless.
    An absolutely unwanted quest by profession!
    The Vampire seriously asked.

    "I realized that besides having attained an exceptional state in sculpturing to explore the land as a human, to sculpt would be impossible if you don't have affection toward the work. So you won't refuse my request, would you?"

    Weed, of course, wanted to refuse.

    "I'm sorry. What art is are passion and creativity. I cannot accept this because I am busy dedicating my time to create new things."

    If there were no other quests around the maybe he would; but he did not want to begin repairing sculptures with the plentiful amount commissioned quests with large rewards lying around.

    Of course he'd take if it the compensation was a lot of money; but regrettably, the reward was just three Unicorn's feathers.
    The Vampire was considerably disappointed.

    "Oh, I guess I got the wrong human."




    Quest refused.
    Received Vampire Metson's distrust.



    Weed noticed and spoke gently.

    "So instead of repairing, I want to help you out by investigating the east."

    The Vampire shook his head again.

    "You can not."



    Has been denied to perform the Quest.




    All other colleagues were able to accept while just Weed was denied.

    "I would never entrust that to a human who won't even repair a sculpture."
    "......"

    The situation had completely put him on the spot!
    Along with Weed's face faltering, the party members held their stomachs.

    "Kikkikkik."
    "Haha, so funny."
    "Really interesting. I thought with everything Weed nim does, he was great; but he's like this too."

    Zephyr, Mapan, Irene, Maylon, Hwaryeong, and Seechwi were laughing.

    Weed kept all their names in his memory so he could later in the future take his vengeance.
    But now, the quest took priority.

    "Actually, come to think of it, I'd like to repair the sculpture."

    The Vampire bluntly refused.

    "Didn't you already refuse my request to repair a few minutes ago?

    "If someone like Metson nim with such keen eyes to deem a sculpture is good, shouldn't it be worth it for me to try and put it back together? New creation is important, but I want to see what kind of sculpture it is that retained Metson nim's interests."

    The Vampire cleared his throat.

    "Hum! But human, it's just something trivial to the eyes of the one was deemed as an exceptional sculptor."
    "Artworks, sculptures, how can anyone tell whether it is good or bad? All I see in the sculptures are beauty and its noble values, not whether it could fetch a price or not."
    "Yes, I truly feel what you do. Then, can I count on you to repair my sculpture?"
    "I really want to work on it."



    You have accepted the quest.



    The party and Geomchis left to do the quest.
    Weed also intended to work on the lowly compensated quest he received.

    'I'll roughly work on this and then follow up with the commissioned quest.'

    The sculpture the Vampire brought out was badly damaged.

    The boy's neck had broken off, ant it seemed as if something had tried to eat the apple as there were plenty of holes dug into it.

    The torso and legs had minor incontinences, and broken off in many places due to having been hit by debris.

    "I don't know if I can attach the boy's neck since the damage was too great. I need to take some additional steps in order to support the weight of it. It's better to just replace the apple. If you give me three hours then I'll finish the job."

    His estimation was correct.
    Weed, at the beginning of the process, created the dough-like hardening agent.

    Component things, such as stones bonding agents use for constructions, are sold in the item shops or sculpture shops.
    Even Todeum's shops sold the item, and could even get them in their natural states.

    Weed doesn't make mistakes when he creates or fixes sculptures.
    The reason why he didn't buy them was because each barrel costs up to 2 Silvers!

    The substance was limited to how much weight it could afford to support.
    If he was to repair a large-scale sculpture, then he wouldn't have used the thing at all; but for this purpose, he had an idea of what to do.

    "First I need to help his head straight."

    Weed nailed where the neck was broken off.

    Ttangttangttang!

    At first glance, the cruelty of this is unmatched!
    But it was essential to the repair, regardless of what it represents.

    In fact, while carving Seoyoon, he had unearthly guilt spreading throughout his body as he sculpts her body.

    At the sculpture's completion, you would view it as beautiful; but the fact is that its creator would obsessively focuses on specific areas and tries to make it as good as possible.

    In order to express the delicate body that is being sculpted, strenuous observation have to be made along with experiencing the delicate body parts.

    That said, touching the breasts and buttocks are musts.

    Sculptors, or any other type of artists, in their lonesome freed environment, they would listen to their perversion in most cases.
    Frankly speaking, for Weed also, in this portion, was not honorable.
    When he sculpts Seoyoon's face, her toxic lips would draw him closer.

    And when he sculpts her breasts or posterior, his face would blush for no apparent reason.
    Another enjoyable moment when sculpturing!
    Weed too, was a dark man.

    "There we go."

    Weed then applied the bonding agent and placed the head where he nailed.
    Then he nailed the head to attach, to ensure that it wouldn't be able to fall off.

    "Next part, the hand."

    He carved another apple similarly to the one the boy was holding.

    Due to the hardening agent's quickness, the roundness of the apple wasn't attractively well represented.

    Minor damages on the torso and the legs were quickly covered up smoothly; the substance he made lasted till the end.

    He had only intended to roughly repair the sculpture; but due to Weed's nature, the moment he touches on something he has to complete it fully without a single loose end.

    The Vampire was overjoyed since the repair was made excellently.

    "Human! You human have potential of which we Vampires do not."

    And Weed receives the quest reward of 3 Unicorn feathers.



    You have completed the repair of the sculpture and has been subjected to Vampire Metson's trust.



    Now he gains the condition to take up the quest again!
    Weed receives the commissioned quest and tries to leave.
    But the Vampire that waited for him to finish wasn't just one.
    Suddenly, there were hundreds of Vampires had gathered around.

    "At our home, we also have a sculpture that is in need of repair, human. The Compensation being 15 Gold."
    "Could you restore my broken statue? It'll be difficult but I wish it to be restored..."
    "The engraved sculpture on my wall was crushed. Quickly come and fix it!"

    The Vampires stampeded in and commissioned quests left and right.
    Weed's face wrinkled with extreme prejudice.
    The Vampires had no desire to give any combat quests.
    And probably similar to what Metson did, they would deny him of all beside these.

    "You have shown my people great power in our times of need. And has good tastes in sculpture. Then to you, I will get Todeum's sculpture to regain its splendid past by just me."

    The circumstance has already forced him to repair the sculptures and was unalterable.
    The numbers of Vampire referrals had exceeded hundreds.

    'If I finished all the repairs then the taste of compensation shouldn't be so bad.'

    With that, Weed launched a physically laborious campaign.


    The first day.
    Eight sculptures were repaired.
    Exterior corners were trimmed carefully, and the overall proportions matched.

    The damages were many but since they were jus F quests, their degrees weren't so hard.
    The second day rose in difficulty.

    In most cases, one Vampire would have several commissions, so various materials were needed.
    Particularly, severe damages on wooden sculptures were hard for Weed to recover.
    Grade E quest.

    "I'd rather create new ones instead."

    Weed assembled the remains of the sculptures, and similarly, recreated some parts.
    Although having Sculpting and Handicraft were useful, having keen eyes were even more so.

    While scouting and fighting the battles in Todeum, he had seen almost all of the decent looking sculptures at least once.
    If it were Warriors then they would just regard sculptures as ordinary ornaments, just one glance and it was over with.

    But Weed, as a professional Sculptor, meticulously looked at them to remember the details.

    'Should always memorize so in a later time it could be used.'

    Memorization for imitation!

    The memory served as a great strength when it can to restore the sculptures.
    With the third day's passing, he had finished 29 grade E quests.
    The levels of fame and reward were still poor.

    "But still, there are even more sculptures that have yet to be repaired."

    Weed's sunken eyes filled with motivation.
    In Todeum, there was an enormous amount of broken sculptures.
    The works on the street were just stepping stones.

    The quests to raise his levels and to gain items still weren't available to him, but he still has sculpturing quests.

    Experiences given from recovering the sculptures were little, but Fame and skill level improved as well.

    With positive thoughts in mind, this was an unreal opportunity for a Sculptor.




    Repair is finished.

    Sculpturing Skill proficiency has been improved.
    Fame increased by 2.
    Art stat has increased by 1.
    Understanding of Sculptures has leveled up.




    Weed spent a month or so repairing sculptures in Todeum.

    A plentiful of sculptor quests!
    For the usual Sculptors, this would have been enough and needed to play around; but this was not Weed.

    'Hurry or it might end. Must go get battle quests.'

    The sculpturing quests rewards weren't too bad because it simply relied on hard work.
    So, even on the smallest sculpture, he meticulously repaired it until not a single scratch remained.

    He applied new paint at spots where paint chipped off, and newly created duplicate for those with damages too severe and impossible to fix.

    The sculptured pieces!
    All are based loosely on the Sculptor's personality or sensitivity.

    In addition, the works of art had historical values so the chance to work on them wouldn't happen again.
    Although only modestly challenging and weren't at all complex, they were something rather handy to Weed.

    "I've gotten so many different experiences."

    If it was an evil looking monster, then it would be represented by a monster model.
    The mentor-less Weed's instilled his own interpretation as it evolved.

    Uses of Handicraft to raise the maximum precision of the fundamental likeness of objects!
    By crafting duplicate of a work by another Sculptor, the gain was great.

    "In this way, I can make sculptures like this too..."

    Weed did not understand some of the sculptures as to what they depicted.
    Women that resembled the land, sky, and sun were carved.

    If the women were the expression of attractiveness, then the other object accentuates the meaning of it.
    Exquisite harmonizing beauty!

    Whenever he restores these types of sculpture, the Handicraft proficiency rises.

    "When I create Classic or Magnum pieces, the increase in proficiency is unparalleled; but this is fairly good."

    Weed's Sculpturing and Handicraft skills were in Advanced level 4!
    The two skills were at 54% and 42%, respectively.

    At the beginning when his started learning how to sculpts, the Handicraft skill improved very rapidly; but having attained the Advanced stage, it hadn't increase at all.

    "For even more advanced sculptures, it alone was not even enough for Handicraft?"

    Weed could only guess.
    With only just Sculpturing, Handicraft skill is very difficult to master.

    Nobody has ventured to achieve Handicraft Mastery yet!
    Even when creating sculptures, or to take advantage of other production skills, and even in battle; the impact of Handicraft is enormous.

    "To master Handicraft for just combat classes is highly unlikely."

    One would rather to go through the process of upgrading the class to gain much stronger attacks.
    After having completed 2nd job advancement, the Knights or Warriors statistically would have an increase in stamina and higher damage output.

    Despite the Geomchis low levels, their attacks are very excellent.
    Weed too, although not on the weak side, but the speed of his growth through battles isn't something comparable to theirs.

    His Handicraft and Sculpturing stats could be obtained through creating sculptures.

    With these given points, his combat effectiveness wasn't pale comparing to the Geomchis.

    Aside from the Stamina, Physical Resistance, and Strength, the will to fight without a single break was just as high.

    "Give Life to Sculpture, Sculpture Blade, Sculpture Destruction Skill, Shape-shifting Sculpture. Even with all these my melee isn't comparable to the Sahyeongs..."

    In essence, all of Weed's combat capabilities were Sculpture based.
    The ability to understand one's character is important to one's growth.

    Weed's growth was optimized according to his characteristics comparing to everybody else.
    So it was hard to find an opponent who was akin to him at the same level.

    And even the learned life-skill Fishing skill boosted his health and vitality to an extraordinary level for his profession.
    He also has manufacturing skills such as Sword Grind, Armor Shine, Ironing; the likes the normal Sculptors would ever see.

    "I gotta gain more experiences. The experiences accumulated in the various fields can affect the Handicraft Mastery."

    In addition, the Understanding of Sculptures skill rose very rapidly.
    Having repaired more than 300 sculptures, the skill suddenly reached Intermediate level 7.

    At the rate that it was going, just a bit more and it may reach Advanced level.
    If that was possible then he could morph into the fairytale like monster.

    "Giant Weed. Not bad!"

    Weed with a satisfied smile moved his hands busily repairing the sculptures.
    And if the Shape-shifting Sculpture growth was also just as fast, then it could compensate for the lowly stat Sculptor class.

    "Puchihihihihihit!"

    Weed broke down in a vulgar laugh. One that was similar to days when he was the Orc Karichwi.
    While the Vampires who were carefully watching the scene.

    "Crazy."
    "He's not normal."
    "I should keep in mind to never drink that human's blood."

    * * *


    The time on Versailles continent has reached two and a half months.
    Geomchis and the party were surprised whenever they returned to Todeum.

    Sculptures that were destroyed changed into those in perfect form.
    When viewing Weed's efforts, there was no way to describe their admiration.
    Even the pious minded Pale said.

    "He's not human. How can you honestly work like that? I thought it was impossible to finish repairing that many sculptures..."

    Hwaryeong eyes twinkled.

    "I think a man who doesn't give up and devoted is so great."

    Weed's endless source of willpower was already formed even since he was 10.
    At the valuable critical period of one's lifetime!
    He learned life from suffering under the hands of the loan sharks.

    Money!
    Miasma! (A noxious atmosphere or influence)
    Persistence!

    To describe Weed without mentioning these three things would make him obsolete.
    So nearing the end of two and a half months, all the sculptures in Todeum that required repairs were finished.

    The achievement was incredible.
    The hard repair sculpture quest of Grade B!

    As of now, the level of his Sculpturing skill was in the late Advanced level 4, and his Handicraft was the same.

    Understanding of Sculptures hit the Intermediate level 9, and readily able to reach the Advanced stage any moment now.

    Since crossing the mid threshold of Advanced level 4 of his Sculpturing Skill, he heard mysterious sounds coming into his ears.

    -Please sculpt me.
    -I want to see the world.
    -If it's you then you should be able.
    -Be strong, c'mon!

    Whenever he repairs the sculptures, he would hear these voices.
    Not just one of them, he heard several mysterious voices.

    "Is this the Vampire's joke?"

    Whenever the voices appeared, Weed would jump upright and turn around, but there was no one.

    The Vampire's Stealth skill, the ability for them to conceal and roam around, especially at night, was incredible.

    Weed did not throw that suspicion out even if the visibility of the plaza was as clear as day.

    -Me...please sculpt me.

    The mysterious voices seemed to be coming from his immediate vicinity.

    -Please, do me. Please carve my appearance.

    He kept his eyes open and looked around, but there was no visible Vampire.

    They have a general tendency to sleep during the day, so there was no reason for any of them to be around.

    The vivid whispers seemed to be coming from right beside him.
    Occasionally, the voices also sounded ominous.

    -C'mon, sculpt me! I'll kill you. I'll kill you all!
    -Do you want to have power? If so then carve me. Keukeukeukeuk. As a piece, I'll bring hell to the world.
    -You're angry. Be angry. I'll do everything to take revenge on those that harassed you.

    The dried and wretched men's voice could be heard.

    Having heard dozens of voices in his ears, Weed was annoyed.

    "You want me to sculpt what?"

    He did not know the identities of the voices to his ear.

    They on their own went on and on without a single story asking to be carved just like a herd of children.

    As if Weed knew what to sculpt to satisfy their wishes.

    "I really don't know."

    While not having a single clue of what to do, Weed sculpted.
    He carved out human beings, men and women.

    Having repaired a lot of sculptures, he could produce Masterpieces from his keen perspectives.
    However, the unidentified voices revealed their disappointments.

    -That's not it.
    -These aspects are not me.
    -I thought you were a competent Sculptor.

    For a while, there was no sound to his ears again.
    Then, midst of repairing the sculptures, they came and whispers.
    They want to be carved!

    While being afflicted with these, Weed finished repairing all the sculptures.
    As reward for the quests, he gathered from swords for Knights, gloves, armors, and a huge amount of loot.

    Where one would drop them and nod off, he survives by adapting!
    So then, Pale party and the Geomchis were standing before all the works by just one Sculptor.
    They were completely overwhelmed.

    'The Emperor of physical labor.'
    'The fallen God of hard work.'

    As if she understood something, Maylon nodded.

    "The Weed of CoM. No reason why this shouldn't be the case."

    If the goal is too much; instead of giving up, move your body and solve a bit at a time.
    Such continual effort will build up and eventually, the quest will be squared away.
    Weed told the party.

    "Done. Now I can go along to do them."

    The Geomchis looked away and tried to whistle.
    Pale and the party members looked sideways at each other.

    'Pale nim, go ahead.'
    'I'd rather Hwaryeong nim do it.'
    'I don't want to say that to Weed nim and be hated.'
    'But still, we need to give him an explanation...'

    Finally, Pale went.

    "Will you go hunting?"

    "Yes. I finished preparing. I obtained many ingredients while doing the sculpture repair quests in Todeum. I'm ready to cook. I gained a lot of grinding wheels too. We'll be ready anywhere."

    While staying in Todeum, Weed had firmly prepared to go to battle.
    But Pale broke his expectation and confessed as there was no round-about way to do it.

    "Sorry, Weed nim. Actually, we broke all the decent quests."
    "......"

    Weed's face contorted.
    The face was the worst Pale had ever seen!
    Nevertheless, he couldn't help but to explain.

    "We did all the Grade C and D. The follow up hunting quests were easily achieved."
    "What about Grade B quest?"
    "We were quite successful with them too..."
    "......"
    "Though actually, there were a few that we couldn't do."
    "Is that so?"

    Weed's face dramatically lit up. But again, Fail's voice resonated with depression.

    "We were blocked from accepting them. They didn't become quests because it was essentially from the other side. And several others, the risks were too high. We have had too many of Geomchi nims died, so we gave up cause we couldn't move any further."

    During the time when Weed wasn't around, they were hooked on quests.

    In exchange for accepting the worrisome Vampires' commissions, the paid reward and high level quests made them gleeful.

    So instead of raising their levels solely through battles, they tend to do quests together as they were twice as efficient.

    While receiving quest experiences, Fame, and compensations, their activities were wide spread among the Todeum's Vampires, and the range of their activities increased.

    The quests set the foundation for them with the Vampires! Then there were quests to negotiate with small ethnic groups also!

    In between the Vampires' slumber to awaken period, they had to find new grounds for the groups while avoiding the Vampires to escape their oppression.

    Find a safe area for them.

    Mapan's quest was to procure supplies for these ethnic groups.
    So within two months, they established a new order at Todeum.

    Within the Vampire dominated land!

    These minorities cultivate their lives in peace dwelling in caves or forests.
    Quests to hunt dangerous monsters, necessities, or lost children were given.

    Having already almost exhausted all the quests in Todeum.
    And as the situation continually changes, new original quests were given.

    The best advantage of Royal Road.

    Even now, when there was no quest readily available; until the new order needed to be fully established, no big event will happen right away.

    Grade F or E, or quests that were for beginners, they didn't accept them if they were outside the requirement of their commissions.

    The Vampire Kingdom Todeum was as vast as the Versailles continent, and the number of quests they could accept was limited, so they had to cut some out.
    Weed said quietly.

    "I only got quests to fix while you guys got good commission quests."
    "Yea, well...I guess. But Weed nim also got a lot of quests."

    Weed also acquired a lot of Fame; he regained about 2/3 of the Fame lost while hunting the Unicorns and Pegasus, and also got to develop his Sculpturing Skill further.

    Advanced level's proficiency was indeed hard to increase. And the requirement to do so wasn't just a few.
    Still, Weed's stomach aches.

    "How come ever since I came to Todeum, I've not received a single good commission..."

    With the remark of regret made, Pale couldn't come up with an excuse and was speechless.
    In good conscience, it was Weed that attracted them to go come to Todeum or else they wouldn't have.

    In the middle of all sorts of jobs; from castle to castle, he still fought and with him, the Grade A difficulty quest was a success.
    Weed's impact during the ordeal was absolute!

    Although he was disappointed that the party went and abandoned him for two and a half months, it was unavoidable.

    Keeping that in mind, Pale felt it the most since he obtained the most points during the course of the quests.

    But if they didn't do the quests, they along with the Geomchis wouldn't have had anything to do.

    Not knowing when the repairs might be finished, they couldn't just idle around indefinitely waiting on him to finish.

    So they rushed through the quests without minding him at all.
    Weed started looking around toward the Geomchis and asked.

    "But Sahyeongs."
    "Hmm?"
    "The number of Sahyeongs seems to have reduced a lot."
    "Well, some died midst of the fighting yo."

    After having finished fighting the Unicorns and Pegasus, the number of Geomchis remained was 174!

    During the course of doing the quests, the number steadily declined and now, there were only 102 people remaining.
    Along with these Geomchis, they could do something together.

    While their level was also highest amongst themselves, Geomchi2 and the other teachers also survived.
    Weed decided.

    'With this now, we can't afford to take on anymore quests.'

    The Todeum that was dominated by the Vampires, was a modest Kingdom.
    Nevertheless, more quests still remained.

    With Weed's Fame and his ability to raise Familiarity, with just a twist of the dried-up quest towel, he could wring out a few acceptable quests.
    Grade B still remained, and even A could also be hiding somewhere.

    However, too much of the Geomchis died.
    With no Bandages left, even with Sword Grind and Armor Shine, it was impossible.
    He could not see the benefit of Cooking either, even if the remaining people had the best development.
    This was a terrible sacrifice.

    'We have to stop here. If anymore of the Sahyeongs died, then we'll be too weak. And we won't able to climb the most important place.'

    With that decision, Weed looked up to the highest tower in Todeum he had to repair.

    "There is one final thing we can do."

    The ancient building, the Tower of Heroes!
    As the unnamed Vampire has said, the Intermediate Training Tower was located somewhere.
    Weed's body burned.

    In the City of Heaven Lavias after having separated from Dain, he went through the Beginner Training Center.
    Where he learned how to Yell and increased his strength by 50 or so.

    'About 3800 people passed the Basic Training Center. And 400 among them passed the Beginner Training Center. And after that, I bet many more went through the training centers.'

    Even the large number of Geomchis made it past the Beginner Training Center, and they accepted the Martial Artist profession.
    On the Versailles continent, information among users isn't something secretive.

    Because of them, Lavias have already been open to the public so quite a few numbers should have passed the Beginner Training Center.

    'I'm not interested in how many people have passed the BeTC. The Intermediate Training Center is important. I can catch up to those who are ahead of me with this.'

    The condition poses by Todeum made the Intermediate Training Center here very difficult.
    Whatever test is waiting in there, a death spells expulsion from here. Meaning only one opportunity to pass through the test!

    In Continent of Magic, Weed was the God of War. Every battle he led he won, he became the absolute existence.
    That Weed's blood boiled as if it had resurfaced.
    Weed spoke.

    "Before climbing the Tower of Heroes, there is work needed to be done."

    His voice was filled with strong conviction of resolution.

    "First, I have to dismantle the loot's tower."
    "......"

    The piled high mountain of spoils that created a large sculpture!
    Even if the japtem was only worth just 1 Copper, Weed would not ever let it go.

    Back to top


    Chapter 10 : Tower of Heroes



    The Weed leading the Geomchis with ambitions to climb the Tower of Heroes.

    "As humans, humm. How dare you tread here without permission."

    The Heraim people who were barely covered by the primitive leather clothing spat coldly.

    "Humans, this is not a place for those who have not learned the ancient martial art. If you turn back now, then you can preserve the life that you have."


    The Heraims resembled beast type humans.
    While their whole body filled with coarse hair and porous; their hands, feet, and head were large.
    Their muscular bodies were on the verge of exploding; seemed as though the race had been optimized for battle.
    Weed hurriedly stepped forward before the Geomchis starting some sort of incident.

    "The reason we came here is to put ourselves to the test."

    They immediately reacted.

    "What is the test called?"
    "It's a topic among the weak human; is it possible for to go through if we passed the Beginner Training Center?"

    The presented Heraims on the first floor murmured.
    Weed said quickly.

    "So yeah. By passing the Beginner Training Center, we came to the Tower of Heroes. In order for us to test our strength."

    And then, an older Heraim approached.

    "Outside have a lot of bats of darkness; didn't expect you to defeat them to make it here."
    "......"

    Weed did not speak of the fact they conspired with the Vampire by doing commissions and gaining money in return.
    In a brief moment, he had already identified the characteristics of the Heraims.

    'So that's how it is with all the training center instructors huh. Venerate strength and likes to sweat.'

    Fortunately, the older Heraim did not ask about the Vampires.

    "I understand the willingness of you humans. The weak human could not have possibly passed through the Beginner Training Center. But this is different. If you want to test it then be ready with your life."

    "We understand that that is the price to pay in order to attain strength. We are prepared in order to save the persecuted human beings, and in order to build a just world by our definition."

    The illustrious Weed filled with chivalry of the knights kicked it.
    The aged Heraim nodded.

    "If your determination is at that level then it's adequate enough. On the first floor, you will need to learn how to be patient. On the second floor, if you do not walk the road you must tread, then you will not survive in the third. If you can reach the third floor, you will succeed in challenging of the Tower of Heroes."

    Weed was not satisfied with just that. If he survives till the third floor, there wouldn't be any desire to go back down.

    "What about the fourth floor also?"

    "On the fourth floor you will need to overcome your limitation. On the fifth, you will be able to see a legend. We'll see how far you can climb against vicious hordes of Monsters."

    Weed no longer cared for the Heraims.
    The behavior was just to gain enough information and that was that.

    * * *


    Pale, Hwaryeong, Zephyr, etc, were not qualified to climb the Tower of Heroes.

    But the tower was something they've only heard, so they did not want to miss the opportunity to watch the climb.

    Thus, they decided to assemble at KMC Media broadcasting station.
    In the station, they could watch the live feed via Weed.
    Shin Hyemin picked them up and explained as she led them to the cinema room.

    "The Tower of Heroes. 12 were built on the Versailles continent by the Heraims. But only available to those that passed the earlier ones."

    Kim In Young, who uses the nickname Irene, eyes were filled with curiousity.

    "How do you know?"
    "Actually, the Tower of Heroes was just a secret rumor."

    The information regarding the Tower of Heroes belongs in the top class of info.
    Even if the person knows the location of it, he would keep it to himself rather than tell others.

    Monopoly of information!
    The station was also barely able to pick up this data.

    "The story spreading regarding it is that there's some kind of tower that if you pass, you'd be considered as a true warrior. I too, until I heard the name Tower of Heroes, was also convinced that it was such."

    Without knowing, they arrived to the cinema room.
    In there, the events happening in the Tower of Heroes was already underway in full swing.

    * * *


    Dark dungeon.

    Weed and the Geomchis were fighting against an enormous amount of Stone Golems in the passageway.
    Bearing their swords, sparks were flying off but there were no cut.
    Also, they couldn't go back.
    The entrance happened to be blocked.

    "So this is the endurance stage huh."

    Weed was clearly worn out.
    They had to get through the Golems and search throughout the complex maze.
    More heavily weighted Golems were also dropping from the ceiling.

    Hidden pitfalls and hidden arrows were also presented.
    Weed and the Geomchis moved forward slowly while defeating numerous Golems.
    The Golems did not give them time to rest.

    As if to replace the fallen, from all directions in the passageways, a lot more were attracted.
    The battle in the labyrinth went on for seven hours!
    The weariness in the body increased, so did the fun.

    'EXP is rising, and the item from the golems looks good.'

    No matter how dangerous. If it's the chance to make money, he'll get stronger.

    That was Weed's soul.

    "Ajajajajajaja!"

    Bursting shout of joy!

    "Let's go!"
    "Let's kill them all!"

    The Geomchis too, desperation filled and fought.

    They did not fear death. However, a death here meant an embarrassing failure. So they tried their best not do die.

    Pushing through the enemies while taking care of each other, they found the staircase to the second floor.

    The fight with the Golem was 14 hours since its conception.

    * * *


    The cinema room.

    Rumor spread of Weed challenging the Tower of Heroes, and suddenly the station employees gathered.

    The program 'Weed' rating was significantly low.

    They were trying to give the audience an accurate depiction of Seirun so it was inevitable.

    Earlier on, the Weed's presence wasn't great.

    From food, sword grinding, ironing, and up to bandaging, he was the person who did all sorts of chores.

    Even when they did not edit the battles, all could really be seen from him was the ability to conduct the attack and sweep of surrounding areas.

    Although that alone was awesome, each time they saw the Jeonshin Weed and built up on the traumatic experiences, and his charismatic self falls short each time.

    Not only that, the Geomchis were somewhat of insectivores.

    'But it may be different if we watch it this time.'

    The staffs hyped themselves.

    They also came to the cinema room and watched for about an hour or so, and were bored.

    'Just fighting golems.'
    'Tired, tired.'

    Even after three hours they were still fighting while searching.
    The Royal Road footage was played at the rate of 4x the norm.
    Endless fighting, monsters wearing away.

    From the viewers' perspective, everything they saw up to the strike of the swords, there was no hint of giving up.
    At the end of the bloody battle, the staircase to the second floor was found.

    Then, they felt a lump in their chest.
    If it's time for dungeon quests, then most will take the more rational approach.

    First, they will gather up each type of the needed occupation, and readied the equipments.
    After entering the dungeon, reconnaissance and dismantle traps.

    Wizards attacks and archers suppresses!
    Also conversely, traps are installed to fight effectively.

    There are still a lot of risks; even with the Clerics' heals.
    But this was the most commonly used method most large guilds practiced.

    'It has been a long time since I've seen bodies collided like that to solve a quest.'
    'A lack of the combination of cooperation and faith means no way to persevere through this...'
    'Seeing this these days is rare.'

    * * *


    Weed and the Geomchis arrived at the second floor and a parchment could be seen.

    Gold skill book!
    The Tower of Heroes had prepared the compensation.
    Weed read the skill book.




    Stone Skin: makes skin hard as rock.

    The User can protect himself from Fire and Ice, even sharp weapons.
    The Defense increase is based on Perseverance, Physical Resistance, and skill level.


    100 Mana consume to activate the skill.
    15 Mana per second consume to maintain the skill.
    Due to the heavy weight gain, Agility will decrease by 25%, Damage will increase by 15%.

    Limitation:

    Contestant of Basic Training Center.
    Available to all.
    Must have Mana to use.




    A skill to directly protect the body.
    In the case of Warriors, they can increase Defense by temporarily increases Morale. This was a bit different.

    It is at a disadvantage since it consumes more Mana. And in place of outstanding increase in Damage, Agility declines.
    Weed found how he could take advantage of this skill.

    'If I'm surrounded by enemies and cuts come in from all directions, this would useful.'

    The other skill is only for the Warriors, those that don't meet the condition demanded can't use it.
    Then it's the same as Eyes Tightly Shut!

    Stone Skin may seem a bit weak against air-based attacks or charging attacks, but the great gain in defensive capability is useful.
    Defensive skills against aggressive attacks weren't so rare though.

    "Skill Acquisition!"





    Have learned Stone Skin.






    By means of acquiring new Ancient Skill, Intelligence increased by 7.







    Wisdom increased by 6.





    Having learned the skill, they moved slowly forward to the next challenge.
    As oppose to the first floor, it wasn't dark at all.
    It was too bright to the eyes.
    On the ground the glowing fire burned, and the flames covered up any sight of the staircase.
    Even with the Wizards ability to fly, due the low ceiling above, there was no way to avoid the flames.

    "So this is what he meant by walking the path you must tread, huh. Stone Skin!"

    Weed activated the skill he just learned, and walked into the fire.
    This was the quickest way and there was no going back.
    If the quest required this method, rather than coming up with tips and tricks, he took a chance and made a bet by stepping in.




    Under special circumstances.

    The rate of acquiring Stone Skin's proficiency will increase 20% of the norm.




    Each step he took, the proficiency increased by 1%.
    Even though the level was still at Beginner, the speed was great. However, the pain had not subsided.

    The hardest thing imagined.
    The whole entire body was covered in flames. Hands and feet seemed to have dried up as bone as they evaporated.
    Before his harassed by flames sight lies the gateway of the second floor.

    "Let's go. The third floor will be waiting with something more interesting."

    A rather confident Weed walked excitedly.
    The Geomchis also followed.
    The pain in their body transcended.
    Something for the likes of the sick minded.

    "33 year old bachelor."
    "If I think about girlfriends then my limbs shrivel like this."
    "Can't be weakened just because of some stupid stage."

    Their pace had fallen along with their speed and vitality, while fatigue jumped with every step they took.
    But thanks to Stone Skin, they were able to withstand it of that level.




    Stone Skin skill level increased by 1.

    Due to the rock-like hardened skin, a chance of bouncing off enemies' weapons improves.
    Base armor increases by 1%.




    Stone Skin skill level increased by 1.
    Due to the rock-like hardened skin, a chance of bouncing off enemies' weapons improves.
    Base armor increases by 2%.



    The growth the Stone Skin was a pleasurable feeling.

    "Keuheuheuheuheu."

    Weed enjoyed the bodily aches.
    Even if it was physical hardship, the growth of a skill was the best of feelings.

    For others, they may not want to walk the length because of the pain; but for the sake of the skill, there is no reason to not persist.
    Then they discovered the stairs to the third floor.

    Weed and the Geomchis sufficiently rested before climbing up the stairs.
    Again, they were filled with Health and Mana. And again, they returned to the flames.

    "Grow skill, grow!"

    With the Stone Skin mastery in mind, the jumped into the flames!
    Only Weed would ever come up with that logic.




    Stone Skin have reached the Intermediate level.

    Increases base Defense by 4%.
    Magic Resistance increases by 7%, the Mana to maintain the skill reduces by half.




    At this point, they could say the inferno was a bit generous.
    Along with the Mana cost depletion, the tension left somewhere as well.
    Geomchi's forehead sweated like during a workout.

    "Oh cool."

    Geomchi3 body also felt refreshed.

    "Master, isn't it a pleasure to feel the sweat falling?"

    The Geomchis sat and relaxed as if this was a sauna!
    They stayed on the second floor for a day or so.
    Enjoying the pain of the flames, all for the mastery of the skill!
    After the means, they mastered the skill and climbed toward the third floor.

    * * *


    In the cinema room, the station's staffs couldn't close their mouth while watching the sight.

    "Are these people humans?"
    "Maybe it's not that hot?"

    They simply had to be dubious.
    However, the inferno there was no illusion.
    Whether it was Weed or the Geomchis, all had to shed the clothes they were wearing!

    They suffered an unexplainably high fever that was impossible to explain.
    Weed had to continually repair the broken armors, and later was forced to enjoy the blazing inferno with just pants on.
    The swimming in the fire Geomchi10.

    The baking potatoes in both hands while eating another Geomchi17.
    The roasted juipo eating Geomchi38. (dried fish jerky.)
    Even Oh Dongman who was familiar to Weed and the Geomchis placed his hand on his heart.

    'I'm human. I appreciate the fact that I'm just a normal human!'

    Now was a time where he could not be proud of the fact he knew Weed and the Geomchis.
    Those eternally absurd human beings once again amaze.
    Park Heeyeon was also frustrated.

    "I'm seriously going down the path of a professional Flame Magician, but I can never be a carefree as that in that situation..."

    She attended the conference on the Flame Magic series.
    The pain of the magical flame is something substantial.
    Although it burns like the real, of course, it is not.

    But in order to counteract the burning one will feel, the parts need to be covered in very hot spring water or something comparable, which were fiercely expensive.
    But here, Weed and the Geomchis seemed a bit too impervious.
    They stay in the flames for long and still seems like the flames were softening.

    With the lowering resistance, the pain will get even more severe.
    Perhaps, the pain they are feeling at the moment may have been close to the maximum.
    Nevertheless, they still enjoyed it.

    "Perverts, those Ahjussi!"


    When they reached the floor, they obtained more stats.

    Ttiring!




    Passing the Intermediate Training Center has been logged.




    Physical Resistance increases by 60.




    Perseverance increases by 60.




    Endurance increases by 60.



    Physical Resistance, Perseverance, and Endurance all increased by 60!
    With the Stone Skin mastered, Defense had almost doubled.

    At their current self, it was as if they've acquired the effect of a high end defensive item.
    Other Tower of Heroes would have also provided users with the Stone Skin skill.

    But no one would ever reach the height of the skill of which Weed and the Geomchis achieved.
    It was an exceptional opportunity for the weaker than most defensive-wise Geomchis!

    However, the degree of difficulty on the third floor was much greater.
    Thieves and Assassins made traps while waiting for a more opportune time to attack.
    Poisoned daggers and crossbow arrows flew.

    "Thunderous Lightning!"
    "Fire Blast!"
    "Aqua Arrow!"

    They were subjected to a widespread of magical attacks.
    The third stage was the stage of survival!

    The Assassins and Thieves made their way in between the Geomchis, with magic attacks followed.

    If they were distracted by the Assassins or the Thieves, then they would have received a direct hit from the magic attack.
    And if they had tried to avoid magical attacks by dodging, their body would suffer thrusting blows from the hidden Assassins.

    "Keeuu."
    "Oh shit. This sucks..."

    Geomchi54 and Geomchi77 died.
    They will not be able to exceed the third floor of the Intermediate Training Center.

    Now, they will re-spawn back on the Versailles continent at their saved location.
    Weed used Yell

    "Do. Not. Divide!"

    The yell overwhelmed all disturbances.
    Geomchi2 asked urgently.

    "Weed, is there a way?"

    Geomchis and the other instructors were safe.
    They were those who can take care of themselves even in the midst of chaos.
    But due to the sudden change in circumstances, they have not figured out a solution.

    "I also have no way."
    "That so?"

    "The Wizards should attack the center of where we gathered because it'll be a concentrated zone. But for some reason, they want us to disperse; which means their line based attacks are more damaging. We gotta fight united."

    "Wouldn't they do what you said though, attack the center?"
    "Still, we have stick together. Even if we scatter, it has to be in groups of 3."

    Weed instinctively found a respond.
    Geomchi2 relied on his judgment.
    Any lack of rational conviction, and they'll suffer from the thrusts of the enemies.

    Geomchi2 had always been the best disciple at the Dojang, and decisions were often forced on him.
    He had always been watching over the other instructors and practitioners as they gain experiences.
    However, at this time, there was no need for Geomchi2 to make a decision.

    'For me I have a trustworthy apprentice. If it's his judgment, then I'll follow it.'

    The Geomchis gathered.
    Magic attacks concentrated before them, and the dagger wielding Assassins and Thieves rushed forward.
    Weed exclaimed.

    "Stone Skin!"

    He utilized the skill he had just learned.

    "Stone Skin!"
    "Stone Skin!"

    The Geomchis hurriedly used the skill.
    Their skins were as hard as rocks. Magic enveloped above them.

    Kwaahahahang!

    Dozen of colorful magic attacks exploded above Weed and the Geomchis.
    Thanks to the power of Stone Skin, the loss of life was not large.
    Most likely due to the benefits of attaining mastery of the skill.

    'It's holding up against the power of magic.'

    The Geomchis were vaguely afraid of magic attacks.
    They were not accustomed to magic as they did not use it.

    If they saw an oncoming flying spell, they would avoid it.
    But not just the Geomchis, anybody else will choose the same course of action.

    The destructivity of magic doesn't just stop at the initial hit.
    Some fire or ice skills, they have two three phases in one attack.

    Completely damages all except for the caster himself; while many other magical attacks covers a large area of complex damages.
    That's why magicians are widely recognized as best offensive class!

    While also difficult to completely avoid, the huge area affected means far less work for them.
    However, due to the effect of Stone Skin, they were at least able to survive through the non-direct magic attacks.

    The earth-based magical attacks with two, three phases were deflected by the stone skins.
    The Geomchis overcame the magical storm as rooted trees.

    "Survived."
    "I'm not dead!"

    Meanwhile, the Assassins and Thieves were in shock.
    Having received the damage, but the Geomchis' situation wasn't chaotic.

    Chaaeng!

    Geomchis skillfully brandished their blades that their respective Assassins and Thieves.

    Deadly attacks!
    The Assassins and Thieves had not prepared their guard in the first place, so they were taking a beating.

    "Strike!"
    "Killing away!"

    Even before, they weren't afraid of the Assassins and Thieves who overwhelmed them by the numbers.
    Holding their swords rushing their enemies, the Geomchis solidified their footings while keeping their opponent at bay.

    Magic attacks occasionally made their ways in, and some Assassins and Thieves relied on suicidal rushes.
    On the third floor, it was literally a fight for survival.

    Just a single moment of loss of concentration spelt a wider gap of vulnerability.
    The Assassins' stealth skill was very impressive; they were only able to be seen within a few meters.

    But still, they were just like moths to a flame, deathly counterattacks soon followed.
    While holding their positions, Weed and the Geomchis took care of all the Assassins and Thieves.

    Then to each their own, they took on the remaining cast of Wizards.
    Along with their deathly attacks, only 37 Geomchis were left after the damage of their magical attacks.

    Weed and the Geomchis headed toward the fourth floor.




    Have learned Heraim Sword Skill.





    By means of acquiring new Ancient Sword Skill, Strength increased by 15.






    Agility increased by 20.





    Heraim Sword Skill:
    The developed sword skill of the Combat Race Heraim.

    A very difficult skill to operate; evidently resulted in its extinction.
    While moving forward without stopping, can deliver five consecutive strikes.

    Depending on the skill level, the maximum possible of consecutive attacks and effect will increase.
    Whenever success at continuous attacks, Strength and Agility will temporarily increase.

    If the sword stopped moving, or is blocked, the skill will cease automatically.

    200 Mana will be consumed when using the skill.

    Restriction:

    For those that learned swordsmanship.
    Available to all.
    Must have Mana to use.





    The compensation for having made it to the forth floor was an ancient sword skill.
    Whether it was limited sword skill, unique sword skill, or the extent of its power, all were unknown.
    As soon as they learned the skill, the enemies flocked.
    The feeling of hopelessness came from some unknown place seeped into Weed to a decent extent.

    "The humans who woke us up."
    "The living humans...kill."
    "So I can...rest."

    The cursed Ghost Knights.
    The knights were equipped with old swords and armors.

    For having betrayed their commitment and having fallen into corruption during their lifetime, they had to pay by constantly living in suffering.

    The number of knights and soldiers' ghosts had gathered beyond the hundreds.
    Even now, more and more of them were spawning from the ground.
    Weed drew his sword.

    "Let's break through them."

    He intended to rush in the second he saw the dozens of the awakening ghosts of knights and soldiers!
    Weed and the Geomchis all headed toward the same direction.

    "Skill cast. Heraim Sword Skill!"

    Above head, and toward the stomach, the hits landed.
    When the continuous attacks were successful, the sword flew much faster.




    First order of continuous attacks was successful.
    Agility increases by 20%.





    Second order of continuous attacks was successful.
    Strength increases by 40%.





    Third order of continuous attacks was successful.
    Agility increases by an additional 40%.





    Fourth order of continuous attacks was successful.
    Strength increases by an additional 40%.





    Fifth order of continuous attacks was successful.
    Sent the enemy into Confusion.
    Degrade the enemy's Fighting Spirit.



    The initial combo gave the second faster sword speed.
    By the time of the third, the Ghost Knight dropped to his knees because of its awesome power!

    The sword did not stop.

    It returned in a smooth circle and connected at the exact point where Ghost Knight's armor was most vulnerable.
    And the transverse swung of the buffed up fifth blew away all the attacks of the enemy.
    The Ghost Knight lays, crushed.



    Heraim Sword Skill proficiency increased by 0.2%.



    For the series of attacks to be successful up to the fifth order: sense of balance, visual acuity of the body, and proficiency in swordsmanship were all needed.
    While not stopping the movement of the blade, one must respond immediately to the actions of the enemy.

    Weed and the Geomchis having already mastered swordsmanship, thus quickly picked up the Heraim Sword Skill.
    Fighting against the oncoming enemies, the Heraim Sword Skill demonstrated its ability by blowing them all away.
    But rather, having already suppressed at least 80 of them, the number of enemies increased by twice of that.

    "Damn."
    "This will not be easy."

    From Geomchi up till the instructors, their faces seemed solemn.
    Even if you're gifted in the art of the sword, it is limited within Royal Road.
    With more and more enemies to fight, Health, Stamina, and Mana all decreases with each one.
    Overtime, the end of their time was drawing near.

    "Break them!"
    "C'mon!"

    Only the sound of Weed and the Geomchis reverberated.

    "Heraim Sword Skill!"




    First order of continuous attacks was successful.
    Agility increases by 20%.





    Second order of continuous attacks was successful.
    Strength increases by 40%.





    Third order of continuous attacks was successful.
    Agility increases by an additional 40%.





    Fourth order of continuous attacks was successful.
    Strength increases by an additional 40%.





    Fifth order of continuous attacks was successful.
    The enemy has Fainted.
    Has lost the ability to attack.




    Whenever they used the skill, the Ghost Knights and Ghost Soldiers were crushed.
    Their surrounding was unbearable; even with just moving a step, they were confronted by the lapping waves of enemies.
    The Geomchis' eyes turned cold.



    Received a fatal blow!



    The successive attacks were only able to be so when targeting the sensitive areas.
    The Geomchis earnestly battled.

    But with just that, it wasn't going to turn the favor back to them in this war like situation.
    For the first time, they could only advance toward one direction.

    While more enemies spawned, they were forced to be wary of their rear.
    Eventually, they were encircled, which further delayed their progress even more.
    More than a third of those that arrived on the fourth floor died.

    "Keook!"
    "To die here...is really...inconvenient."

    They fought without regret.
    Not a mistake on their part, the fault was on the lack of Stamina and Strength.

    Some Geomchis died, fallen and turned into nothingness.
    All those fought at one point or another almost collapsed from exhaustion.

    All the Geomchis were killed.
    In minutes, it was just Weed by himself.

    "Sculpturing Blade!"

    His most basic of sword skill.
    A sword skill that while uses less Mana, able to fight off multiple opponents.

    While wounded, he ferociously fought against the lance and sword wielding Ghost Knights and Solders.
    Attack, attack, attack!

    The ghost knights lost their lives, the soldiers fallen.
    But Weed, by himself, could no longer move forward.
    With each and every of the enemies' attacks, his wounds deepened.

    'Damn.'

    If he had not surpassed the Warrior's Perseverance and Physical Resistance, he would have died in this situation already.
    He could not use the Eyes Tightly Shut skill either.

    While have already been surrounded by enemies, he also could not fully control his body as of now.
    Weed alone, bravely fought against the horde of enemies for more than 10 minutes.

    Less than 5% Stamina, Mana already depleted, and HP dipped below 23%; it was a situation where he could not win.
    With the diminishing Strength, his arm felt heavy with the sword in his hand.
    His body no longer moves fluid-like as before.

    "I'll take one more fool!"

    He abandoned blocking the hits of his enemies.
    Each and every attack using sword required a certain amount if Strength and Stamina.

    He chose to decrease the distance between him and an enemy.
    Weed having completely abandoned defending himself, the number of wounds rapidly shot up.
    And in return, he was able to thrust his sword through the helmet of one of the knights.

    "Up to here?"

    Weed then gave up preventing their attacks landing.
    However, he did not give up on picking up the items.

    Having battled in one spot for a long time, it was a plate like area filled with items and loots!
    There were so many items dropped by the Ghost Knight that were just scraps.

    But if they were to go through the smelting process, all were able to be recycled.
    In some cases, he obtained jewelries and fallen Gold.
    If he left the Ghost Knights and the Ghost Soldiers alone, he could pick them up.

    Hwiriririk!

    Weed rolled on the ground.
    Focusing everything into his hands, he quickly reached for the surrounding items.
    Aimed for the more expensive items first, then onto the lowly japtems.
    Then by the sword of a Ghost Knight, he died.



    You have died.



    The Weed who died fighting till the end.
    The ghosts, once again, returned to their original position.

    "Kkirikkkirik. All challengers have died."
    "Too bad they could not remove our curse."
    "Now I will return to my slumber once more."

    They burst into laughter and ridiculed their human challengers.
    They believed everything has already been terminated!
    At the spot where Weed died, the body had been replaced by a set of bones.
    An unsightly sword wielding white skeleton!
    A power received from the Necromancer; due to the power to deny death, a Skeleton Knight will be resurrected.

    * * *


    The Manager of Operation was brought in.
    Because of the known fact that Weed and the Geomchis were challenging the Tower of Heroes.
    Director Khang and the entire production staff were watching the attempt together.

    "Such splendid and precise movements."
    "Have anyone ever seen such accurate movements like that from a user?"
    "Whew, receiving hits from the Assassins and Thieves and still not even panicking."
    "How many people can fight covering for each other like that?"

    The fight was full of admiration.

    In order to master the Stone Skin Skill, they also had to bathe in flames.
    But that as well could not drown their fighting spirit.

    Watching Weed and the Geomchis' fight scene, it was as if their souls were drawn into the screen. Nothing short of admiration.

    "And what floor is this now?"
    "The 4th."

    Within the station, from one acquaintance to the next, the news of being able to watch the first ever seen attempt of the Tower of Heroes spread among them.

    The first or second floor wasn't anything comparing to the excitement of the fourth floor.
    Weed and the Geomchis arrived to the fourth floor and still showed tremendous fighting spirits.
    The thrill was something difficult for any other movie to match to as they lead into the battles.
    It was as if their roles were natural born warriors fending off enemies.

    Too exhilarating.

    Their hands shook unknowingly as if they wanted to enter the scene.
    It was something simply breathtaking and exciting.

    A perfect stage to fight until the end where each and absolutely all enemies must be eliminated without retreating.
    The Geomchis were wiped out.

    Even though Weed had put up an excellent resistance, he also lost his life.

    "Ah!"

    The group sighed.

    Oh Dongman, Shin Hyemin, Kim In Young, as well as all those who knew Weed and the Geomchis, and of course the station's staffs, all lamented.

    It was the emphatically feeling of wanting Weed and the group to pass the Tower of Heroes.

    "That was it, just like that?"
    "It was just a hunch from the beginning anyway. But what they did was great. If it were us, we wouldn't even dare to do it."

    They then collapsed from exhaustion.
    It felt as if they've stayed up for two, three nights; all were not able to do anything.

    And then, the transmission transferred to the screen stunned them all as they watched.
    From where Weed died, a skeleton rose in his place.
    For some reason, the skeleton felt familiar.

    The skeleton that appeared at the right moment during the Fellowship led by the Cold Rose Guild to fight the dragon Kurenberg!
    Using magic of the Necromancer, he produced thousands of Undead.

    Amazing close range dogfight against the dragon while mounted on a wyvern.
    Even yelled and called forth the ice dragon.
    The impact achieved at that time was something unrivalled.

    Though it looked a different from the first skeleton, the skeleton had appeared once again.
    The station employees cried in excitement.

    "He came!"
    "The Jeonshin Weed!"

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