Sunday, 9 February 2014

Ark: Volume 2 Chapter 5


This chapter was brought to you by AnmesicCat, BlankBlank, Charles, Lei, Masadeer, and OpenBookWorm.



The White Whale’s Labyrinth


Outside Harun Village was a hunting ground where beginner players spent the night locked in desperate struggles with wolves.

It was here where a new player appeared.

A robust 40-year old man with a scraggly beard, his character name was JusticeMan. The player's real name was Gwon Hwarang, a man who had formerly held the extremely rare profession of a hot-blooded detective.

The first reaction JusticeMan showed was no different from anyone else’s. He was surprised by the surrounding landscape looking so much like reality, and astounded by his body moving so naturally.

As the beginner appeared, Hansen, who’d been strolling around with nothing to do, quickly started a conversation. Then, when he suggested the mouse hunting quest, JusticeMan scratched his beard as he asked, “But is it a really difficult task?”

“No, don’t worry. It’s something anyone can do. I’m trying to introduce suitable tasks to strangers like you who are here for the first time and haven’t adapted yet.”

“If that’s so, then it’s okay. When a truly pressing matter arises, please call me then.”

JusticeMan nodded a goodbye and exited the village. As always, he was limping on one leg.

As a game that moves the character by scanning the brain, in New World there were no problems with physical disabilities. For someone who couldn’t move their legs at all and even the blind, could walk and see like normal inside the game. Because of this, even in hospitals, virtual reality games were prescribed as one of the therapies to treat a disabled person’s depression.

However, there were many cases where a person’s physical disability had hardened into a habit. This was also the case for JusticeMan. If anything, 2 years of limping on one leg had caused him to forget the sensation of walking normally. Nevertheless, his limping leg was not a big obstacle when it came to playing the game.

JusticeMan left the village, his eyes widened in surprise. Across the wide plain, players were locked in desperate struggles with wolves. Also, they were fighting with swords and clubs, not guns.

It was a scene unimaginable in real life.

Then, he heard a woman’s scream to the side.

“Kyaa, he-help me!”

As he turned his head the sight of a female player being viciously attacked by a Wild Dog came to his view.

“Halt!”

While taking his coat off and throwing it aside, JusticeMan blocked the Wild Dog’s path.

As a new enemy appeared, the Wild Dog assessed him with a wary eye. But it noticed it was a beginner user who wasn’t wielding any weapons; the Wild Dog let out a mocking laugh. A murderous look lit up in its eyes and a threatening growl came out from its fang-filled mouth.

Those who were new to virtual reality gaming should have been frightened. However, instead of being afraid, a refreshing smile actually spread on JusticeMan’s lips.

‘A sensation like this, it’s been a while. It reminds me of the time I went on a tour out of duty in South America.’

Bark! Bark! Bark!

The Wild Dog suddenly charged. JusticeMan’s pupils moved quickly as he read the Wild Dog’s movements.

‘An opening!’

JusticeMan’s body moved.

With movements like flowing water, neither could be called fast nor slow, he seized the Wild Dog by its scruff. Then while rotating his body he tossed the Wild Dog over his head.

With incomprehensible strength, the Wild Dog flew several meters before it was driven into the ground, and lost a fourth of its health.

It was a shoulder throw similar to a picture in a judo textbook!

That’s right, before he retired, JusticeMan had been a legendary high-ranking judo wrestler even in the police department.

In the National Police Judo Tournament, he had won several times and was a skillful man who had always contended for the first and second places in the worldwide tournament as well. But where his ability truly shined was not in a tournament.

He had work experience in special police force taking down organized crime, a counterterrorism task force, and had even been deployed to South America as a police department instructor representing South Korea in an international treaty. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say JusticeMan was a legendary person on the battlefield.

Wielding only a short police baton, he swept away the criminal gangs armed with knives and shotguns, and once he had single-handedly driven away a pack of wild dogs that had raided a village in South America. It was to the point where the South American policemen had called that JusticeMan the Monster of the East.

In others’ eyes it might seem like perilous work, but JusticeMan felt he had the right aptitude for this line of work.

His irrepressible sense of justice and his raging vigor couldn’t possibly be satisfied by an ordinary life. Although he was living in a modern society, he held the spirit of a medieval knight who revered martial arts and justice more than anything else.

‘I haven’t even been able to properly train in a while, but it seems the feeling hasn’t died yet.’

The spirit that had been broken by the aftermath of his injury was revived.

For him, the likes of a Wild Dog was no different from a puppy.

The Wild Dog sprang up quickly and swung its front paw. As a thick, bloody line was drawn across his abdomen, JusticeMan lost half of his health. Since a level 1 player was struck by a level 4 Wild Dog, this was a natural result. But rather than fear, what JusticeMan felt was excitement.

“That’s good. It wouldn’t be fun if you went down with just that.”

JusticeMan’s heavy body went low to the ground like a swallow as he approached. He took hold of the Wild Dog before it could even react and twisted its forelegs.

One of his strong points was his cross arm break!

The Wild Dog’s forelegs gave a popping sound and were dislocated. However the Wild Dog didn’t even have time to scream. JusticeMan twisted around in a flash and switched to a choke hold. Its health fell steadily as if it was being sucked away by a straw.

After the Wild Dog was taken care of, the girl approached hesitatingly.

“Th-Thank you.”

JusticeMan’s eyes trembled.

He had helped and received thanks.

It was a feeling he had long forgotten for such a long time!

While employed as a detective, he had caught countless criminals. That was definitely justice. But cases where he received thanks after an incident was solved were rare. Since he was a detective, catching criminals was a granted.

It was the truth. JusticeMan truly didn’t catch criminals to receive thanks. But those who made this goal difficult were not the criminals.

When a criminal was caught, he had to hear the resentful curses of their family. Also if even the slightest wound was inflicted, it would rouse human rights groups and the media who would call it excessive retribution. Even as he was lying in hospital after injuring his leg, outside the voices blamed him nonstop. A news reporter even used a ladder truck to plaster himself to the window and take pictures.

His superiors placed all responsibility onto him.

For the first time, JusticeMan felt doubt about his profession.

He had only wanted to fulfill the justice taught to him in police academy. The bad needed to receive punishment and the weak needed to be helped. That’s what he had learned and wanted to live by.

But reality wasn’t as simple. He felt like he had become a useless dropout that was thrown away.

‘But it’s different here!’

He would be thanked if he helped out. There was no one to accuse him of using excessive force. He was able to unleash to his heart’s content the passion of a martial artist that he had abandoned after becoming disabled.

‘It’s here. This is the place I was looking for!’

Motivation overflowed.

From then on, JusticeMan began defeating the Wild Dogs while roaming the plains. Whenever someone looked as if they were going to be struck down by the Wild Dogs, he would always intervene and help out. The Wild Dogs were fine, but there were times when he died trying to help a player being attacked by several Wolves. But JusticeMan didn’t not say a single word in complaint. Instead he gave a hearty laugh as if he had done what he naturally had to do.

There were even some players who were impressed and tried to reward him.

“JusticeMan-nim, this is just cheap wheat bread but please have it.”

“Your coat is worn out? If you’re okay with only 2 defense...”

JusticeMan firmly shook his head.

“Receiving compensation conflicts with my principles... No, justice needs no reward.”

Then, he would run off like a gust of wind to find another person calling for help.

While going about and defeating Wild Dogs and Wolves at level 1, his level rose quickly. Without looking through the stat window that popped up before JusticeMan’s eyes, he invested everything into Strength and Stamina.

“For men it has to be Strength and Stamina!”

As he repeatedly fought in highly difficult battles, a new skill and a new stat was formed.



You have learned a new skill.

Jujitsu (Beginner, Passive): You have learned Jujitsu, which is based on a foundation of excellent physical ability and reflexes.



Jujitsu is a skill which uses the opponent’s strength against them to inflict damage. It is a complex grappling technique completely assimilating the oriental ideology of yin-yang.

Joint-locks used on human movements can have the additional effect of greatly reducing the enemy’s ability to move. The damage inflicted on an enemy increases as the proficiency rises when throws, chokeholds, and joint-locks are used.


 



A new stat has been generated.

Justice (+5) : Justice is a special stat only available to those with a flaming sense of justice to help others.



When a player with the Justice stat joins a battle in order to give aid, all stats will increase by the number of Justice points. Resistance to Fear, Confusion, and Bewitchment is also created in accordance to the the number of justice points.

Everyone in New World has positive attitude towards anyone with Justice. Many people who recognize your talent will request help from you, and if you help them, you can earn higher Intimacy. While stat distribution is impossible, it will increase slightly whenever you help others.


‘Is the Jujitsu talking about judo? And I can think of the Justice stat as a work evaluation.’

The Jujitsu was fine, but he took quite a liking to the stat called Justice. In the real word, even if you help others all you feel is self-satisfaction. Even if your teammates complimented you, they quickly forgot with the passing of time. But here, realizing justice manifested in a numerical value. He would immediately receive an amount that matched his efforts. The Justice stat fuelled JusticeMan’s burning passion.

The opinions of the players about JusticeMan’s actions were divided.

“There’s no way he’s a player. He doesn’t have a single dagger equipped and there’s no reason for him to go around without any armor.”

“What kind of player in the world would go as far as to die for someone else?”

“No player would use a name as awful as JusticeMan, either.”

“I’m sure he is a beginner friendly event NPC.”

“But he has asked about levels and stats sometimes? An NPC doesn’t do that.”

JusticeMan became a mystery of Harun village. And from some point onward, he was more often called Machoman instead of JusticeMan.

JusticeMan was more popular among players than NPCs.

“Hey, Machoman is surrounded by Wolves.”

“Let's go, we need to save Machoman!”

“But we don’t have much Health right now either...”

“But we still have to help. We already received so much help from him, so we can’t ignore him.”

“You’re right, let’s help Machoman!”

The Wolves who were attacking JusticeMan were dumbfounded.

Just 3~4 wolves were swarmed by 30 players. Among them, Roco, who’d been struggling in Harun Village all along, was also squeezed in.

* * *


“This is?”

When he was swallowed by Gallic he thought it was the end of everything. But Ark was still perfectly alive. While wondering how it happened, an information window suddenly popped up.



White Whale’s Labyrinth

You have entered the stomach of the Great White Whale Gallic, who is called the guardian deity of the Merpeople. Within a body that transcends the imagination, Gallic’s stomach is also as complicated as a labyrinth.

As the guardian deity of the Merpeople, Gallic was an existence that loved peace, but with the ancient former Mermaid Queen’s disappearance, he became violent and is now preying on sea life at random.

Gallic’s change is likely linked with the dark energy enveloping his stomach.


 



- You have found an undiscovered dungeon.



As the new discoverer, you will earn an additional 1,200 experience and 100 Fame if you register it to the Hall of Fame. Will you register?


“Refuse registration.”

Ark answered as if it was obvious and stood up.

So far the only person who knew about the underwater city was Ark. There was no need to share valuable information.

‘So this is the inside of a whale stomach?’

The place Ark was standing on was a space full of rough bumps. It was slow, but the wall occasionally twitched as if there was a pulse.

He was amazed, but it seemed he had really entered Gallic’s stomach.

In any case, it meant he had grasped a clue on the quest completion.

‘I’ll have to go in for now, huh?’

To think that he had to walk into the whale’s stomach on his own feet, it was a strange feeling. But before that, there was something he had to do first.

“Units, line up and count.”

“One.”

*Clack clack*

*Hiss hiss*

Bat, Skull and Snake answered in turn.

“Master, can’t we stop doing this? It’s embarrassing whenever we do this.”

“Be quiet, everything has a deep meaning. Skull and Snake seem to enjoy it, so why are you the only one complaining?”

“Tsk, it’s because these guys just don’t think.”

Ark dismissed Bat’s complaint and slowly advanced.

‘If this is a dungeon then there’ll definitely be enemies.’

As he entered while following the walls that squirmed like a wave, three Crabs soon appeared in front of him. However, they weren’t the normal Crabs he’d seen outside.

After being eaten and killed by the whale, they were Undead Crabs that had been revived by the dark energy. The Crabs, which were melting here and there and had cracked shells, discovered prey and approached as they snapped their claws.

“Eyes of the Cat!”

As he activated the skill, Ark’s pupils emitted a golden glow.

Level 65! The difference in level between them and the Crabs outside was a whopping 30. Ark’s current level was 52, it was the same as when he reached Nodelesse.

It was the result of neglecting combat to focus on business.

Since it was a dungeon, even with the darkness bonus he was still around 60; there was still close to a 5 level difference. He felt taut tension.

‘Even the level 40 Crabs weren’t easy opponents either...’

Underwater monsters were trickier than land monsters. Crabs had strong defence, and the bubbles they spewed whenever they reached critical condition had a Slow hex.

When Ark fought it for the first time, he was more than 10 levels higher, but it still wasn’t easy. Though he’d become used to it, it was certain that they would still be tough opponents. Moreover, at level 65, he couldn’t guarantee victory.

Ark tightened his grip on his sword’s handle.

‘This is the whale’s stomach, there’s no place to run.’

“Bat, Skull! Plan B!”

At his command, Bat and Skull quickly ran out and lured a Crab. Ark ran towards the remaining two Crabs and bombarded the red points with his sword.

*Pow pow pow poww!*

Ark’s sword moved like a beam of light, and flashes of light burst from four weak points in one strike.

The Crab lost 30% of its health instantly and staggered.

The one who was surprised was not the Crab but Ark.

‘Wh-what is this? This sensation?’

He didn’t know until earlier, but when when the battle started he felt an unbelievable sensation in various places of his body. His body was as light as a feather, and he felt like the sword he was holding was twirling peculiarly in his hand.

If he put his mind to it, he felt like he could attack 4, 5 or even 6 times. He was confident he could display a reaction or speed that was unimaginable in the past. Ark wondered if he had received a different stat bonus, but there was no such message.

‘Then maybe?’

Ark suddenly realized something; as he looked around, and knew the reason why he had changed.

‘I see, this is not underwater!’

Ark had spent more than half a month underwater. He battled with the Sharkman’s Shackles and accepted the water penalty like it was natural. Even in reality, he had raised his stamina while doing special training in the pool. But there were no changes that Ark could actually feel. It was only to the point that he could perform as well underwater as he could on land.

However Gallic’s stomach was not underwater, so here there was no water penalty for wearing the Sharkman’s Shackles.

The huge water penalty had disappeared in an instant. Strength, Agility, and reflexes felt like they had improved hundred times. No, it had been improved.

In the end, as Ark had expected, this life underwater had given him a chance to grow.

The difference in the sensation was shocking.

The Crab’s movements felt clear. When Ark lost the field of vision thanks to the Devil Fish’s ink, he dodged as many as 8 feet just by feeling the water current. He still had the same sensation.

When a Crab’s feet cut through the wind, Ark was able to sense it. The 4 legs flew at him with complexity but Ark was able to dodge just by moving his upper body.

Crabs can only be attacked at their joints.

Although they were undead Crabs, their weak point were still the same. Against someone who broke through tens of Jellyfish tentacles, to hit the sole weak point on its center was nothing.

When comparing Crabs to Jellyfish, Crabs had weak points everywhere.

And since the water penalty disappeared...



- You have dealt a Critical Hit!


Ark’s attack was in perfect timing and place.

When accurately attacking the right spot with the right strength, critical strikes occur. The increased precision from training underwater was a godsend. In addition, Lancel’s sword was twice as strong as his old one.

Taking care of the 2 level 65 Crabs didn’t even lower his health by 30%.

‘To think it felt this different!’

Feeling such a great change in an instant, Ark suffered from confusion.
Ark was not the only one who had grown.

After Ark checked the Crab’s level he calculated that Bat and Skull wouldn’t last very long against it. 1 minute, If all goes well. Given the situation, he would have to recall one summon. However Bat and Skull overturned his predictions.

The one who benefitted the most from the lack of water penalty was Bat.

In Nodelesse, it had been sparring with Ark and eating food constantly. Bat’s evasion and attack had greatly improved. Additionally the disappearance of the water penalty was a stroke of good fortune.

He avoided the Crabs’ attacks like an underwater swallow and only when an opening appeared did he fly with a full-body charge. The damage from a single shot was at a trifling level, but as his attack rate was so fast, the damage was not negligible. It wasn’t as much as Bat’s, but Skull also showed an alarming growth. As if Skull was trying to get revenge on them for a tragedy, he would roll around the Crabs’ feet and tear at them with his teeth.

The 2 summons who were around a mere level 15, lured a level 65 Crab and in just a few minutes the Crab lost 40% of its health. When Ark joined in, the Crab didn’t even had chance to spray bubbles.

“Ohhh, strangely I am overflowing with strenght!”

*Clack Clack!*

“Master, a fight! Lets fight!”

Bat and Skull felt their growth and couldn’t hold their excitement.

“Good, I was worried at first, but with this it won’t be hard to solve the quest.”

Ark started to conquer the dungeon.

From the twitching black walls, Crabs, Devil Fishes, and Sharkmen turned undead started to swarm them.

Even when they were undead, they were no different from the ones outside in the ocean. He already knew what kind of attacks they would do, and the weak points they had.

Also, his condition was so good, he felt as if he was flying.

“Bat, Skull! Plan A!”

There was no reason to bother luring with Skull and Bat.

Joining his familiars, Ark charged head on and chain of critical hits exploded.
The co-op bonus with his Familiar’s attacks!
Monsters’ health fell steadilyl.

This time, Ark noticed why the fight was easier. It was not because Ark became stronger, but because the monsters inside the whale were originally marine life. Similar to how Ark got the water penalty, they received the penalty of not being in water.

Which means Ark’s ability had increased whereas the enemies’ abilities had decreased!

‘Time to gain some EXP. This is good.’

Although they were considerably easy to defeat, they were still level 65. Because they were at least 5 levels higher than Ark, they gave a lot of experience. Every time he hunted a group of them his experience rose enough to be visible. The items they dropped were considerably better than what level 40 monsters dropped.

It was as if his body was flying, experience rose, and items were obtained!

They tried to enjoy the combat till they were sick of it.

Ark and his pets swept through the dungeon into no man’s land. While beating up 4 Sharkmen suddenly a roaring sound came from behind.

*Rooooar, Booom!*

Sharkmen flinched and then hastily ran away.

‘Sharkmen are running away? Just what is going on?’

He didn’t have to wonder for long. After a deafening roar, the walls on each side started to leak water. A great deal of water came through and swallowed Ark and the Sharkmen.

It wasn’t a question of whether to resist.

With only the spare time to say the word ‘Ah’, they were swept away by the torrent and they quickly passed by walls for some time.

When the water current seems to be weakening, the ground trembled.

Quickly raising his head Ark saw something amazing. He saw monsters and trash were being swept by the water current, just like himself.

‘Where is this? Ugh!”



- You took acid damage. Damage 50.


There wasn’t a monster, but he took damage.

It was not just once. Before the message disappeared he received damage again. At his feet, a white steam came out. It was not only for Ark. Steam also came out of the stumbling monsters. There were monsters already in critical condition.

‘My gosh, this is... the stomach!’

Ark was startled and took a look around.

Thankfully the exit was just few meters away. The closing exit was wiggling, the sphincter of the stomach started to close since food just entered.

‘If we fail to escape, then we will be digested!’

“No, I don’t want to become whale poop!”

Bat held his head and screamed. Ark agreed.

To only become whale poop after working so hard to get here?

Ark headed towards the twitching and closing exit.

Bat went out first, then Ark threw Skull and himself. Ark was able to barely squeeze through, narrowly escaping the sphincter. Looking at the closed sphincter cold sweat appeared.

In just a few seconds, he had lost 350 Health.

‘What the hell, what kind of stupid dungeon is this…?’

At that moment a great sound came behind Ark’s back.

*Slither!*

*Snap Snap Snap!*

Ark turned his head to look, and his expression hardened.

Behind him, he saw that Crabs were also swept from the stomach. However the problem wasn’t with the Crabs. It was the big gray worm like monster that swallowed the Crabs. Crabs tried to attack with its pincers, but the worm didn’t even budge and ate them one by one.

“Wha-what is it this time? Cat’s Eyes!”

Using the skill, the worm’s information appeared.

Its name was Great Worm, a level 80 monster.

“Great Worm? So it is basically a large worm?”

To think he would have to fight not only revived food, but also worms...

As if responding to Ark’s voice, the worm turned its head. Opening its drooling mouth wide, it attacked. Ark spun his body and swung his sword. A dull sound rang out, but the worm didn’t even flinch and swung its tail.

“Ugh!”

With a single attack, his health went down by 200.

‘Dammit, I can’t win in my current condition!’

Even with darkness bonus, the monster was 15 levels higher. In addition, Ark already took damage from the stomach acid, and the circumstance didn’t allow him to flee.

Behind Ark, the sphincter blocked the way.

‘Dammit, I barely escaped from the stomach, so I can’t become a worm’s meal!’ Ark tightened his grip on the sword.

It was a desperate situation, but not completely hopeless.

The worm had lost 30% of its health while fighting Crabs.

“Lets go, Plan C. Bat, go distract it!”
“Understood!”

Bat flew fast to get the worm’s attention. At the same time, Ark swung his sword on the red mark on worm’s body.

*Slash, slash, slash!*

The worm shook greatly after being attacked with a chain of critical hits.

The worm had slow movement but it was unbelievably fast when attacking. The worm’s sharp teeth grazed his side as it passed. Ark abandoned the idea of completely dodging worm’s attacks.

As long as he concentrated on his body to conserve his health, his attacks would became weaker. The chance of scoring a critical hit would also decrease dramatically. It was better to be prepared for damage and concentrate on counterattacking.

The Worm didn’t even budge at his sword attacks.

It was the special effect granted to big monsters with slow movement. But when it is kicked, it staggered a slightly. When the kick is successful, the monster affected by the stun or shove effect shows visual results.

‘I can use this by following its attack pattern.’

Ark took a step and spun around the worm’s girth.

After for the chance when the worm was in position to attack, he then sent a flying kick.

Taekwondo’s kicks are reputed to the fastest among the martial arts. Even in these, the flying kick’s speed is outstanding!

Taking the flying kick, the worm flinched and stiffened. Ark used this chance to swing his sword land a critical hit.

After fighting the same way for at least 3 minutes, the worm dealt large damage.



- The familiar Nameless Skull has returned to the netherworld. You received 50% of the familiar’s health as damage.


Although the familiars got stronger, it was a bit too much against the worm. The worm crushed the obstructive Skull by pressing down with its body.

Soon after, Bat was covered by the saliva spraying from the worm’s mouth and was crushed when it fell to the floor. Because Ark was too busy concentrating on attacking he didn’t have time to check on the familiars.

‘Familiars can be resummoned after 24 hours. However if I die, it will be the end. I don’t want to respawn in Nodeless and get swallowed up again by Gallic!’

Ark ground his teeth.

Even so his health that was already in the danger zone, fell to critical levels as he received the damage from his summons’ deaths. But in this crisis there was a chance. He activated Undying Will and Indomitable Body.

“Now, Dark Blade!”

*Slash!*

Since familiars had disappeared, there was no reason to worry about his mana.

Ark immediately let fly 2 more Dark Blades.

However, the worms movements couldn’t be hindered by sword attacks.

The same moment Dark Blade landed a hit, the worm’s lashing tail hit his waist. With a dull impact, Ark was sent back flying.

Thanks to the effects of Undying and Indomitable a critical hit was avoided, but his health went down to 50. Without wasting a moment, worm went for a body slam.

‘He’s also nearly dead thanks to dark blade! I have 104 mana left. I can still use Dark Blade one more time. This will be decided in a single blow!’

“Snake, potion!”

The Snake wrapped around his waist spat out a potion.

It was one of Snake’s advantages. In a normal fight, one needs to open the bag and take out a potion to drink it. Even a skilled player would take 3~4 minutes. They also needed to keep their bag organized. But thanks to Snake, it didn’t take Ark even 1 second.

Taking a low level potion, he recovered 100 health.

Ark’s eyes flashed. “I’ll be damned if this doesn’t kill it! Dark Blade!”

When Ark and the worm crossed each other, a deafening roar occurred.

Ark flew couple of meters and hit the wall.

He quickly checked his health and notice he only had 7 Health left. Worm, who got hit by multiple critical hits emitted a glow and melted away.

It was Ark’s victory. The moment worm was defeated and his level rose and he a new skill was created.



You have learned a new skill.

Counter Attack (Beginner, Passive): It can only be learned by someone who is brave and can respond to an enemy’s attack in a split second. But the most important thing is the courage to not fear the enemy. One who doesn’t have an indomitable mind and body and can’t overcome fear, cannot learn this skill.

When counter attack is successful, attack is increased by 50%. The 5% stun effect chance doesn’t stack with other active attack skill.


Thanks to counterattacks memorized by his body after fighting underwater monsters, he received another useful special skill.

When the worm disappeared a grey skin was dropped.



Great Worm Skin (Ingredient)



The skin of the Great Worm, only available in special environment. Not only is it hard to encounter a Great Worm, but it is also extremely rare to find a skin of good quality.

If a great craftsman were to tan this skin, it can become a great leather.


He couldn’t tell if it was a good or bad item from the description.

“Whew survived some how.”

For now he survived.

But the price of survival was big.

His two familiars were resummoned back to the Netherworld, durability of his armor fell to critical state, and the shoes he wore instead of Sharkman’s shackles were destroyed.

Although he can say he won, half of it was luck. He didn’t think he could win if he fought it again at his current level.

“For now it would be good to avoid the worms.”

Ark took out his tool box.

* * *


After tasting bitterness Ark became more cautious.

Unlike first time, he didn’t dare sweep the dungeon blindly.

He explored cautiously one step at a time. Because Bat is gone, he couldn’t scout. So he had no choice but to be careful.

Also whenever he hears something he felt suspicious he quickly used ‘Stealth’ to hide. Since other worm monsters didn’t spawn, the hunting went on without much difficulty. If there weren’t any worms, this place would have been ideal hunting ground because of the high experience. Ark who have explored dungeon realized several things.

In the dungeon, violent torrent occurs only once every 2 hours.

Ark calculated the time, and when it was time for the violent torrent, he wore Sharkman’s Shackles. By wearing the Sharkman’s shackles, it prevented him from being swept away even in a storm. Ark wasn’t swept away by the torrent, but the penalties weren’t a joke. So when the torrent passed he took it off.

It was really annoying, but the torrent wasn’t all bad. When the torrent passed through there were trash everywhere. Once in a while, he would find a useful item among the trash. In many ways, it was a pretty good dungeon.

Ark got so obsessed in exploring the dungeon that he forgot to sleep. He passed 24 hours in this way.

“You’ve all worked hard. For now eat this.” Ark made food to congratulate Bat and Skull’s hard work.

When the health of the familiars was restored he said to Bat. “Bat, do you want to go against Dunphil again?”

“What? Really?” Bat asked in excitement.

Bat haven’t had a rematch after the two consecutive loses. Although they were busy with the quest, the real reason was that Ark believed Bat’s skill was still lacking. The only one who suffers if Bat gets sent back is Ark.

But this thinking had changed when he was alone for a moment.

Without the water penalty Bat became stronger. With Bat’s current condition, there was a good chance of winning. No, Bat currently had high morale because of the sudden increase of strength. Therefore this was the most optimal chance.

‘If by chance Bat losses, as long as I avoid Great Worms, Skull and myself is enough.’

“Just don’t forget all the training we’ve done. Be cool headed and composed. Pay attention when I say something. You can’t do anything about losing because you’re lacking skills, but if you don’t fight to the best of your abilities, then I won’t give you anymore chances.”

“I understand master. I will do my best.”

Ark received the promise and summoned Dunphil.

Dunphil, as always, talked in an annoyingly arrogant tone.

“What is it now? Did you not give up?”
“It will be different this time.”

“Hmph, even so Bat is still just a bat. In addition he is a Bat not of the Vampire lineage, so he can’t beat me who is a noble of the Netherworld.”

Bat didn’t rush in even when Dunphil provoked him. Bat simple looked sharply at him.

Ark nodded in satisfaction and said.

“Okay, Bat. Go ahead.”
“Prepare yourself!” Bat gave a battle cry and flew.

Dunphil swung his fingernail as if ridiculing Bat. The situation was different from their past battles. Bat circled around Dunphil’s arm like a snake climbing a tree and struck a blow to the neck.

“Ack! How-how can this be!” Sound of confusion came out of his mouth.

Because Dunphil saw Bat being slow underwater, he was stupefied when Bat became hundreds of times faster.

Seeing the enemy’s confused appearance, Bat’s fighting spirit greatly increased. While swooping down from above and rising up from below, he hammered Dunphil’s chin.

The chain of attacks technique he had learned from Ark!

This time, Bat showed a completely different appearance. It was enough to not prompt for Ark’s coaching.

When the attacks connected, Dunphil’s body stumbled.

“You bastard! Even after all that harassment!”
“Thi-this bastard….!”

When his health fell to about 40% Dunphil’s body was surrounded by smoke. A big bat came out of the dissipating smoke and struck Bat.

‘Transform!’
Dunphil judged it will be hard to keep up with Bat in terms of speed and so he transformed himself into a bat.

When Dunphil transformed, it became a dog fight.

As the two bats got complexly tangled, they fought intensely. Being attacked and taking hits, the battle was so fast, Ark couldn’t tell who is who without Cat’s Eyes.

As the fight continued, it seemed like Bat is being pushed back. They had similar abilities but Dunphil’s transformation seems to have bewildered Bat. In addition, Bat didn’t have much experience fighting airborne monsters.

“Bat there is no need to be confused. Think of underwater combat. If you can dodge Jellyfish’s tentacles, why wouldn’t you be able to dodge Dunphil’s attacks.”

Ark’s advice had an effect.

Bat hadn’t fought with airborne monsters before. But marine monsters were able to move around naturally in water. In other words, they were no different from airborne monsters. In addition, while fighting marine monsters, there was a water penalty in effect.

No matter how strong Dunphil is, it was no more difficult than fighting marine monsters with the water penalty applied.

Bat’s attack pattern changed.

Just like when he was swimming underwater, he spread his wing wide and waited until he spotted an opening, then he would swoop down like a hawk. Control of attack speed. This was the fruit of Ark’s beating.

“Cheater, to interfere in another’s fight!”

“Hmph, you said it won’t be a challenge no matter what. Did you change your mind?”

Bat shouted back and the fight went back to its original situation.

Dunphil’s and Bat’s health constantly remained the same. But since Dunphil had significantly more health, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say Bat is overwhelming in terms of skill.

Continuing on for 5 more minutes, there was a slight difference. Dunphil fell to critical and his body was dyed in red.

Suddenly Dunphil let out a scream and pulled himself back. Dunphil let out a black air current, stealing Bat’s field of vision and charged. He was trying to put up a last stand.

Ark’s eyes flashed.

“Bat. Don’t dodge, this is the zero situation!”
“Uohhh, die! You impudent bastard!”

Dunphil charged forward as if he’d been shot from a bow.

If it could be called a charge, Bat also exhaustly approached.

“This will decide it!”

Bat ground his teeth and charged. When the two bats seemed like they were going to crash, Bat suddenly did a sharp curve. Dunphil who have charged at full strength had his eyes in full circle.

“Wha-what...?”

*Bang!*

Dunphil crashed into the wall. In addition, Bat spun around and hit Dunphil on back of his head.

Finally, Dunphil, who had his health depleted, fell to the ground fluttering like paper.

“Good for you, Bat!”

Ark sported a satisfied smile. This was Ark’s final arranged match. Zero situation; this was Ark’s code, to move the opposite direction.

“Ugh, to think I really lost….”

Dunphil crawled on the ground and let out a moan. Then smiled to the approaching bat.

“Huhu, you became stronger. Actually, I remembered you from the beginning. But I wanted for you to be stronger, so I was deliberately cold...”

*Bam, bam, bam!*

It seemed like Dunphil had been waiting for this one scene from a youth drama.


But Bat didn’t carry the slightest sense of this sentiment. Bat, who had approached with long strides, abruptly stomped on Dunphil’s snout.

In the end, Dunphil couldn’t say anything else and disappeared.

At that moment a message window popped up.



Player’s familiar Hatred-bearing Bat has defeated Dunphil.

You can now fuse the summon to evolve it. Please choose one familiar to be the main.

The familiar created by the fusion evolution will have the main summon’s stats with the auxiliary familiar’s stats after consideration.


Even if Bat won, Dunphil was at a higher level and had higher stats than Bat. But Ark didn’t hesitate to choose Bat. Stats aren’t everything. Although it was not indicated with a number, the experience gained with Ark through practice and battle was worth more than ability.

Also he didn’t want to give up Hatred-bearing Bat and hang around with someone like Dunphil.

“Main, Hatred-Bearing Bat. Auxiliary Dunphil.”

As soon as Ark’s decision was made Bat’s body was enveloped by light. His body also slowly changed into a human silhouette.

With a black mantle and slicked back hair was a 10 year old boy.

It was similar to boy going to a halloween party dressed as Dracula.

All in all, one got the sense of cuteness however the sharply raised eyebrows made his expression fierce.



The familiar’s fusion evolution has ended.



After fusing with Dunphil, Bat has become a low-ranking Vampire noble. For being in control during great troubles he has gained the name Dedric. This is how Dedric obtained his noble status.

Lancel’s sword is now Dedric’s artifact.

By using Lancel’s sword, a 10% collaboration attack bonus will be added. By owning the artifact an additional skill was created.


 


Dedric


    A Vampire with a lighting fast ascension to a Low-rank Vampire; resident of Youge. Has lots of pride for his success and hates the indignity of being recalled. An effect of turning into a Vampire, if it is not in a dungeon he cannot turn into a vampire during the daylight. His bat form receives 30% reduction in stats when out in the sun.

Race


Vampire


Alignment


Dark


Ranking


Lower Class Noble


Health


250 (+200)


Loyalty


43 (-25)


Strength


25 (+15)


Agility


40 (+15)


Stamina


35 (+15)


Wisdom


15 (+15)


Intelligence


55 (+15)


Luck


15 (+15)


    * Can turn into Human or Bat naturally. * Dark Dash can be used. Lets out darkness, temporarily turning enemies into dark status, then uses low-class charges to inflict damage. Mana cost: 30

‘Oh, isn’t this pretty useful?’

Every stat had dramatically risen.

General stats can be calculated to be around level 27. At Nodelesse after it had been stuffed with food, his stats had been around level 18, but in an instant the level had risen by about 9 levels. And he had also learned a new skill. It seemed to be the ultimate skill Dunphil had used.

Because the Vampire affinity appeared there was a penalty, but overall it was satisfactory. But there was one thing that was on his mind.

All stats had risen, but for some reason loyalty had a -25 penalty. That effect was quickly seen.

“Bat, good job.”
“Bat? Who is that?”
“What?”

“Huu, listen well. I am no longer the Bat you know. I am the noble of the Netherworld, Dedric. So far I have been hit and tortured with food, but I will no longer bear with it.

Ark’s expression turned outrageously twisted.

Listening to him, it didn’t seem as if he had forgotten about the time he was Bat. In other words, just because he became a bit stronger, he was defying his master.

Ark was furious. He worked hard to feed his familiars and even trained them. Is that all? He had chosen Bat instead of Dunphil who had better abilities. But the first thing he did was mutiny.

Ark’s voice became cold. “So?”

“Of course I am not defying everything. Whether my position went up or not, you are still my master and it doesn’t change. But I will deny being a food test subject. Of course I want to grow, so I will eat, but I will chose to do so after seeing the effect. This is my obvious right.”

“Right?” Ark brightly smiled.

It seems he is able to use difficult words because he has increased intelligence. What should he do. It was very regrettable.

Why couldn’t this guy understand what kind of person his owner is, after he became smarter than when he was a Bat? In other words, Ark was someone who doesn’t go easy once they’ve wronged him.

‘It seems there is a need to show to now show this pet its subservient position.’

Ark stood up and walked to Dedric. Without any warning, Ark started to kick Dedric.

Even if he did evolve, he was only about level 27. Taking Ark’s kicks, his health dropped steadily.

Dedric who rolled on the floor screamed in fright.

“Lets-lets talk! This is violence!”
“Didn’t you know? I like violence.”
“I-I’m a child! This is child abuse!”

“But when doing something that deserves a beating, you get hit. Its said that kids without a conscience are a problem of society.”

Ark kept stepping on him, and eventually Dedric’s health hit rock bottom and was sent back.

Skull’s and Snake’s eyes became full circles by Ark’s sudden change in appearance.

Ark spoke while having soft smile.

“Don’t worry, you haven’t done anything wrong. But ones who defy me just because they grew slightly will be beaten. Of course you guys are kind, this will never happen with you guys, right?”

Although he talked with smile, there was a cold atmosphere.

Skull and Snake immediately nodded.

Ark immersed himself with hunting with skull like nothing happened. For witnessing Dedric’s misery, Skull worked even harder in fights.

If it felt Ark was in danger, he didn’t hesitate to become Ark’s shield.

He wanted to show Ark he was different from Dedric.

Seeing this, Ark gave Skull delicious food and was affectionate. But it was different for Dedric. Ark stepped on Dedric without saying anything after 24 hours have passed.

“Hiik, st-stop, I was wrong, I won’t do it again!”
“Once a traitor, always a traitor.”

After repeating this 3~4 times, Dedric got on to its hands and knees immediately to beg after being summoned.

“Hiik, ma-master, I’m sorry! I was a bit crazy and I just joked a bit!”

But Ark didn’t even pretend to listen and stepped on him without mercy.

If you cut some slack to ones who’ve overstepped their bounds, they will always try to surpass you. Kids without manners these days, are mostly due to their parents being indecisive.

Just as pets might try to bite their master if not trained at an early age, when teaching manners you must make sure the seeds are sown deeply.

Ark was planning on stepping on him, until they got out of the dungeon at the very least.
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