Chapter 26 - A Bad Cold
A single day…
Far too little time to prepare!
“Buying armor and weapons. Buying for less than 1 gold coin.”
“Looking to buy an unlimited amount of herbs and food materials. Please sell them cheap.”
Weed bought these items in great numbers.
Mapan had left his party and Weed could understand the reason why.
“I’m going to have to teleport through a gate because I have to go hunt in a faraway place for the quest.”
“Congratulations, by the way, am I able to come as well?”
“Well, I have to go alone…”
“That’s too bad. I wanted to go along with you…”
“It’s Difficulty Rank is B…”
“…Good luck and goodbye.”
Mapan specialized in trading skills.
Weed did not have the required skill to be a merchant.
However, bringing Mapan along would have been a bad choice.
He was too weak to keep up with him, so Weed headed to the Church of Freya for the rest of the day.
Inside the church were the High Priest and the group of Paladins.
“Hello. It is good that you have come.”
Weed trembled when the High Priest finished his sentence.
What were the odds alone? I thought an Ossan High Priest was supposed to be a benevolent person.
(P/R: ‘Ossan’ is Japanese for middle aged man usually 40+)
It was a terrifying and desperate situation, without the slightest opportunity to escape from.
However, Weed wasn’t going to give up the quest unless it was the worst case possibility with no return profit.
However, the day before, the high priest had said, “This is a very important quest. I cannot predict the future of humanity. However, I do know that this matter is urgent. This could change for the worse in a matter of days.”
Weed wanted to nod.
This couldn’t be any worse!
Depending on the circumstances that arise, he could very well never be allowed to come back to the church.
However, the High Priest placed him in an even worse situation.
“I founded this Church of Freya in this town. I trust that you are the Hero of the legends and that you will find the relic as quickly as possible.”
“What do you mean?”
“This time tomorrow, when you arrive, a priest of this church will be at your command. If you return with him safely then you will be rewarded based on how much stronger he has become. Do not be anxious about tomorrow and we will see you soon.”
Everything was set up so that he could not escape.
The Free City of Somren, with the freedom lost! It was now like a prison without bars.
The Crown of Fargo had been stolen from the Church of Freya and Weed was not allowed to get help from other players. Weed was only allowed to use the people that the High Priest had provided.
“I will now introduce you to the person that will help you rescue the Paladins if any can be saved...”
The High Priest opened a door with a small key. Inside was a small boy that was wearing a white hat and white priest robes.
“This is our church’s candidate for the next Pope, Alveron. Thank you for your help.”
“It’s a pleasure, Weed.” said Alveron formally.
Alveron wasn’t a user, but an NPC.
Weed and Alveron headed deep into the church. In the center of the capital of the Kingdom, there existed a complex rune that had been engraved into the ground and served as a teleport-gate.
*Gulp* Weed swallowed hard.
Using the teleport gate would instantly send him to Morata. But he had not forgotten that the province of Morata was inhabited by the infamous True Blood Vampire Clan that were frighteningly powerful.
Not the entire Versailles continent was full of users. Adventurers had discovered the Northern Continent but people did not approach it because the monsters were too strong in that part of the world.
He stood there and they began the preparations to start the teleportation.
“We absolutely must rescue our paladins brothers!”
The High Priest and the priests had gathered large amounts of mana to operate the teleport gate.
Light came out of the gate, surrounding Alveron and Weed, and soon both of them disappeared from the Church of Freya.
150 years ago the Niflheim Empire, which is located in the northern continent, was destroyed by monsters. While the nobles were busy fleeing, the Templar army that was stationed there was wiped out. Afterwards the Niflheim Empire became territory infested by monsters.
Now a single law governed here.
The survival of the fittest, and the strong takes all.
“So this is Morata...”
Weed and Alveron had appeared at the entrance of a cave.
The Church of Freya’s teleport gate and the cave were connected.
“Ohh, its cold!” As soon as Weed arrived and went out of the cave, he felt a severe chill.
The terrain and climate on the Versailles Continent differed enormously depending on the location.
Unfortunately, Morata is located in the far northern continent, which belonged to the cold regions.
In this zone, all seasons long, it was an perpetual ice zone.
“Never thought it would be so cold…!!”
Weed’s body began to shiver more and more from the cold.
His body began to shrink back from the random wind that was blowing into his collar.
Warning: You have caught a cold!
In order to overcome the cold, it is recommended to wear thick clothing or start sitting near a fire.
If the severe cold were to continue for a long period of time, then it may worsen your condition.
The body has become more rigid and the physical ability has reduced by 5%.
The speed at which satiety is reduced has increased by 25%.
The message had said that the cold could get worse.
But he could not stay around in the cave, as he had to look around and scout the area.
He looked around the snow-capped ridges.
Past the devastated city. The deserted, lost city.
Across the center of the second of third rows of houses was the mansion of the nobility.
Over the rooftops with snow heavily piled on top, the collapsed ceiling of the buildings could be seen.
Though the interior was seemingly empty, there was random furniture inside. It seemed that the houses had been uninhabited for a long period of time without anyone to maintain the buildings.
“So this must be village of Morata...”
Weed gazed across the town towards the gigantic black structure.
It had a large fence and didn’t have any lights on; the windows were also closed and crows flew over the roof.
The castle of Morata.
The black brick castle was covered in white snow. A strange combination that sparked a slight bit of inspiration inside of Weed. Jet black crows were circling around the top of the castle.
Usually, birds would easily freeze and die, but these crows were a tougher breed of bird. As these crows had been turned into vampires, and because the crows had been turned into vampires, they could not die and were still able to move their limbs.
“It seems that this is where the True Blood Vampires are. This really won’t be easy.”
Weed finished scouting and returned to the cave.
Temperature has risen slightly
The cave with the teleport gate was a little bit warmer. It was fortunate that the cold winds did not blow into the cave.
“So this is the Province of Morata.”
At an earlier time, the Uncle of Queen Natalya, Archduke Morata had ruled the province.
It had once been known for the outstanding quality of its leather and cloth and was quite prosperous, but now it had succumbed into a desolated village.
Humans were nowhere in sight, it was a ghost town!
In the capital city of the Niflheim Empire, Mordred, all the inhabitants had been killed.
Weed mentally tallied up his quest objectives
'First, rescue the paladins. Second, get rid of the True Blood Vampire Clan from the city, and thirdly, find the Crown of Fargo’.
That was all he had to do. It was a simple, easy plan.
But Weed was frustrated at the reality of it. He was the Legendary Moonlight Sculptor.
To expected to do such a high level quest, he would need to have an amazing class to make up for the 68 levels he was short. He regretted that he had not gained more experience before returning to the ground from the flying city of Lavias.
“Now what am I going to do?”
Weed went back into the cave to ask Alveron some questions. Fortunately, the NPC Alveron had absolute trust in Weed and listened to him.
“So, before I start, I want you relax and sit down. I don’t believe that I have properly introduced myself. My name is Weed. I am older than you so address me respectfully. Okay?”
Weed spoke a little bit more politely as he asked carefully.
Alveron looked like a very young and fairy-like boy, so he didn’t want it to get awkward if he was overly polite.
Weed wanted to ease the difficulty of hunting the monsters.
“This is very difficult, so I will need to know what level you are…”
The candidate for the next Pope was at an enormous level. Weed hadn’t known that an NPC level could be so high. Even so, priests did not have much combat ability, an area in which he excelled in.
The question this time was not about levels but about fame. From completing the quest, Weed’s fame had risen to over two thousand.
“Your level is fairly high. But I want to know how truly you have lived your life. How high is your fame?”
“Let’s see, it’s about 150,002...”
Weed tried not to sound condescending when he spoke to NPCs.
However, because Alveron looked like a little boy, he had forgotten that he was a master level candidate for the position of next high priest.
“What’s the matter?”
“Nothing, rest for now.”
Like a good child, Alveron went and sat in the corner. Sitting in his white robe, his posture seemed to indicate that he was engrossed in a pious prayer.
“Now that the small tasks have been taken care of, it’s time to start.”
Weed laid a blanket on the floor.
Blankets were, in fact, essential items for travelling because they could prevent the chilling effects.
‘I did not realize that I needed to prepare clothes...’ He thought between shivering.
Rosenheim Kingdom and the Free City of Somren all belonged to the warmer provinces so there had been no need to carry any additional clothing. He had never thought that such a difficult problem would arise from not carrying around basic travel clothing.
Weed’s body trembled as he flipped open his backpack and called out commands to retrieve items from his inventory.
He retrieved the weapons and armors worth 1 gold he had stocked up on in Liberty City.
Weed struck the breastplate with his fist firmly. He struck it several times here and there until it broke in several places. The items were cheap, with weak armor and durability, so it broke quickly.
“Now I do this...” he mumbled to himself.
Weed pulled out a hammer he had bought from the blacksmith shop to repair the breastplates durability. With it, the power of blacksmithing and related skills was increased by 10%!
He had purchased it in the Free City of Somren.
“Repair.” He said as he hit on the breastplate with the hammer
Fixing a breastplates durability was hard. He hammered the steel plate a few times until the damaged area was fixed.
Weed then continued to break and repair the armor.
After about 10 minutes, a message window popped up.
Repair skill proficiency has increased.
However, due to the repetitive damage to the armor, the durability of the breastplate continued to drop permanently until...
Warning: Item loss!
An item has been lost due to frequent destruction.
The breastplate that Weed was holding in his hands had been destroyed and had finally been torn to shreds.
Repairing broken equipment could contribute to skill in some cases, but if it was frequently broken artificially, then you would have no use for a breastplate made of inferior steel.
Weed continued to break all the breastplates he had brought, then moved onto the shin guards and once those were broken, he took out the helmets.
8 hours later!
Weed was able to earn 10% repair skill proficiency.
At the cost of 100 gold, the items of broken debris were piled up to the ceiling.
“Skill Check: Repair”
Repair (Beginner Lv: 9 | 89%):
Only 11% more until the repair skill reached the intermediate level. Then the durability of equipment could be repaired to maximum.
He had been repairing items without taking a break. Weed sneezed. He had a runny nose and soon thereafter he also had a sore throat.
Warning: Your Cold has worsened!
In order to overcome the cold, it is recommended to wear thick clothing or start sitting near a fire.
If the severe cold were to continue for a long period of time, then it may worsen your condition.
The cold can lead to other complications!
-20% reduction of the body’s abilities.
-30% reduction of skill effects.
Reduced maximum health and mana.
“…” Weed was at a loss for words.
He had only had a little cold but now it had gotten worse. This was probably because he had been sitting in one place for far too long without moving.
There were three tragic things to look out for when one was alone.
Hunger, the cold and sickness!
Struggling with hunger was harder in cold climates since barley bread was no warm food.
The cold had affected his skills since it made his body more frigid. Weed was depressed that he had caught the cold.
‘It’s unbelievable...’ Weed sighed.
Life had been so difficult ever since he started this game. He had gotten a class that he hadn’t wanted; he had also gotten into all sorts of trouble like the present cold.
Weed took comfort in the fact he wasn’t alone though.
‘Alveron’s probably the same.’
Alveron was sitting over in the corner of the cave, dressed in his white robe.
‘He’s probably feeling colder than I am because he’s only wearing his robe...’
Weed felt a little bit of satisfaction, being better off than someone else put him in a good mood.
It was probably best that he didn’t know that Alveron’s robe had a special option spelled into it, preventing the cold to penetrate.
Lee Hyun exited his capsule so he could start cleaning the house.
He swept the corners, wiped the window, scrubbed the bathroom sink and changed the lights. As today was cleanup day.
“Got to make sure that grandma’s house isn’t too messy.”
Lee Hyun mumbled as he continued to mop the floor.
His grandmother had told him while she was still in the hospital that It looked like she had a disease.
Working too much when young could put a lot of strain on the joints. The hospital’s doctors told her not to worry.
”Modern medicine can fix this degree of joint damage without any trouble. Don’t worry about it.
Lee Hyun was willing to pay for the medical bills. Expensive drugs were required for joint regeneration.”
Grandmother’s illness, however, was beyond what was diagnosed. Because she had not received regular health checkups, another disease in her body had grown significantly. The test result stated that cancer cells had spread throughout her body.
In modern times, there were no longer anyone dying from cancer. It does, however, require surgery and several months of hospitalization.
‘I need to keep saving up money; I can’t stop earning...’
Aside from the money from the high school festival, Royal Road brought in a considerable amount of many.
The entire process was faster than originally planned.
Thanks to hunting in Lavias and the Royal Road item trading site.
When Lee Hyun finished cleaning the house, his sister came home from school.
“The house is so clean today. Were you cleaning?”
“Come on, let’s not waste time. Grandma is waiting for us to visit.”
Lee Hyun took his sister to the hospital to see their grandmother.
“Grandma, were you lonely?”
Lee Hyun spent most of his time in the game capsule and his sister was at school most of the week. It was difficult to hire a caretaker for his grandmother since he didn’t have that kind of money.
He cleaned up the room and threw away the trash. After he finished, he sat next to the hospital bed and took his grandmother’s hand.
“I’m sorry, dear. You’re always coming to see me.”
“I hope it’s not too much, but can I ask you a favor, dear?”
“Yes, go ahead and ask anything.”
“They say it’s never too late to learn. I would have loved it if you had been able to finish high school normally…will you get your GED?”
He could understand what she meant.
When Lee Hyun quit high school, his sister had cried. When he had insisted that he needed to drop out of school she hadn’t said anything else.
Being harassed and humiliated by loan sharks at school, such an education was far from normal.
It was a disappointment that he had failed to get his education.
Lee Hyun replied. “Yes Grandma, I will get my GED.”
Lee Hyun headed home alone while his sister stayed behind at the hospital. The next day was a holiday so she could stay longer.
Lee Hyun would have preferred to stay and enjoy the moment. But he had work to do.
‘GED…what do I need to study?’
When he had gone to school, his grades had not been that bad.
‘Reference books and textbooks from the bookstore…no, it’s better to buy them used from the bookstore.’
He went to the used bookstore that he remembered in the city. It was right next to the swordsmanship dojang he had attended in the past.
The swordsmanship dojang was still there.
Excited shouts could be heard.
Lee Hyun was intrigued and headed to the dojang.
“There doesn’t seem to be that much talent.”
Ahn Hyundo complained about the performance of his students.
“Even since I put down my sword and started teaching…”
Ahn Hyundo had locked his heart in depression. No matter what he did, they did not understand the way of the sword.
‘The sword… The sword will soon disappear and there will be no one for me to talk swords with.’
Ahn Hyundo’s heart ached as he looked over to the swords on the wall, when he had opened the dojang with a passion. It had been 10 years since he had started the dojang where he only taught adults instead of children.
“What is it? What’s so important that you’re making so much noise about?”
“Is it those guys…?”
Because everyone was talking at once, he was unable to understand anything since it was incomprehensible.
Then, at that moment, Ahn Hyundo thought about a familiar face.
‘That young man, Lee Hyun! The one I was going to make my successor!’
Lee Hyun would have been chosen.
He had never disappointed him since the moment he showed up at the dojang.
Ahn Hyundo stood by as he listened to what was happening.
“So he’s here at the dojang?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Come on, let’s go.”
Ahn Hyundo had wanted to see him again. He wanted to see what the person he chose as his successor was capable of!
“But, there is a problem.”
“What is it?”
“He is asking to spar with people.”
“So what’s the problem if he wants to spar? I don’t know what could be the problem since they should be strong enough.”
“Yes, I judged it the same way, so I had Dog Sun spar with him but it was a one-sided victory by Lee Hyun.”
The practitioners at the dojang all have been coming for more than three years. Even in such a limited amount of time they had achieved some grade of proficiency.
So the students were tough opponents.
In sparring, beginners tried to avoid major injuries, but experts controlled the flow of the fight.
“I cannot believe that Dog Sun was defeated…”
“Yes, it took less than 2 minutes.”
“I’m sorry for Dog Sun but, for something as little as this, what does it matter?”
Ahn Hyundo asked Chung Il Hoon about what was wrong.
“Well after Dog Sun was defeated, Lee Hyun asked the others to spar as well.”
“Those guys have been learning the sword much longer than Dog Sun right? So who did he fight with next…?”
“He’s been learning the sword for over six years now. He was careless to fight after he was tired from fighting Dog Sun.”
“I tried to get him to reconsider but…”
“So he’s badly hurt?”
“No. This time too he won.”
Ahn Hyundo had not been wrong when he had seen him.
‘He can’t hide his fighting spirit. His will to become stronger…the desire for strength!’
That quality let him win the fight against Chang Guk.
“But the real problem is that Chang Guk was just one of those that he sparred with.”
“Yes, well, six practitioners.”
“You mean he continuously fought six men?”
“They were all unable to do anything to him.”
“Come on, let’s go take a look.”
The dojang instructors and practitioners gathered to watch the sparring.
“Such incredible stamina…!”
“That’s the ninth one that has lost!”
“He’s using the right amount of force…no matter how much stamina one possesses, it’s not easy to fight nine people consecutively.”
“Never mind fighting one after another. Just fighting against another practitioner is difficult enough.”
“But how can he win like that?”
“Strength and technique, it seems that he has found a compromise in the between the two of them. He reduces the amount of unnecessary movements of his lower body. Even so, he would have to train his lower body for a long time to achieve such skill.”
“But how he is able to fight like that?”
The practitioners had overseen Lee Hyun’s training when he attended the dojang as Chung Il Hoon and Ahn Hyundo had. Ahn Hyundo took a look and nodded.
“I know why he seems to be fighting.”
“Why is that Master?”
“When you’re bored, you want to fight whoever you can.”
The practitioners looked over at Ahn Hyundo.
“Then it’s just to relieve stress, Master?”
“When you’re up against opponents, it feels good to hold and swing the sword, doesn’t it?”
“Well, I guess…”
“Sometimes I would want to let loose and fight without reason. But we do not want to know these strong primal instincts. Nowadays, swords hang on walls and because of that, the view about yourself changes inevitably. Now few have the instincts of a hunter, the fighting spirit of a wild beast.”
Another practitioner was forced to kneel down in front of Lee Hyun. As Lee Hyun slowly walked towards him with his wooden sword the other practitioner yielded.
“Stop, stop! I lose.”
Lee Hyun stopped the sword in front of the trainee’s forehead.
Lee Hyun’s potential was astounding. His uniform was soaking wet with his sweat, showing off his powerful chest.
A drop of sweat flowed down the wooden sword and fell onto the floor.
But he did not seem tired. In his eyes, his fighting spirit seemed to be burning.
Those were eyes intent on the hunt!
Just a lone wolf’s silent roar threatened the position of the others.
More than 100 of the practitioners in the dojang were feeling the intimidation.
“Let me move away.”
“Call out the masters!”
The trainees could not take the heated challenge and Chung Il Hoon just shook his head.
“Seriously you guys…”
“If the rumor spreads that 10 people lost, then the dojang’s honor will decrease. I will fight him.”
Chung Il Hoon was going to fight directly. He won silver medals at the Worldwide Swords Fighting Tournament twice, he was considered an expert.
Practitioners had never seen him fight seriously and only seen him teach others how to fight.
‘The masters are going to fight’
‘Are they really going to fight?’
The practitioners looked at Lee Hyun anxiously. He should give up because there was no guessing what would happen to him if he decided to fight.
They were speechless.
Lee Hyun held the end of his sword towards Chung Il Hoon. Chung Il Hoon was also ready to fight.
After the two of them picked up their swords, Ahn Hyundo yelled.
“But master, if this guy leaves, then the pride of the dojang will…”
“I know that he beat 9 or more guys, but he is from our dojang so it will not damage the pride of our swordsmanship.”
“In fact, to fight a weary opponent would be a disgrace to us instead.”
Ahn Hyundo tried to preserve the peace in the dojang. Fighting a student and fighting an instructor were two entirely different things. Chung Il Hoon decided to stand back and talk. But Ahn Hyundo smiled as he said.
“Don’t you think that it would be fairer if an old man like me fights a tired opponent?”
The entire dojang was brimming with excitement.
Even though Ahn Hyundo was old, no one thought he was weak.
Ahn Hyundo was the World Swords Fighting Champion for four consecutive years.
He was not someone anyone in the country could beat even if he only had a stick.
The entire dojang was quiet as Ahn Hyundo walked to the center of the dojang.
“We’re going to see the Master’s swordsmanship…”
‘Such a small opportunity comes around once in a lifetime?’
The practitioners in the dojang held their breaths for the confrontation between the two fighters. If Ahn Hyundo’s swordsmanship were to be seen it should be in a more glorious manner. However, each of the instructors was perplexed by his actions.
‘Even if Master was interested in the kid, to think that he would personally take a look at the matter himself?’
‘If this keeps up, then everyone will want to challenge him…’
The Master was the pride of the Republic of Korea when it came to swordsmanship but he did not speak his mind much.
Lee Hyun had defeated nine people, even though they were practitioners. There had been a big gap between the practitioners and the challenger. But the difference was huge between the practitioners and the disciples directly taught by Ahn Hyundo.
No matter how many practitioners Lee Hyun defeated, the instructors were not agitated in the least. They admired his swordsmanship, his amazing stamina, and his fighting spirit.
‘But there is another problem.’ Chung Il Hoon thought.
Ahn Hyundo was fighting.
This was unusual.
‘Perhaps he won’t get serious?’
Chung Il Hoon shook his head back and forth. Ahn Hyundo came by at least once a week to compete with him in the way of the sword.
Ahn Hyundo had reached the pinnacle. Only those below him could see that. Chung Il Hoon could not even dream of even reaching the level where he could touch his collar. There was no way Ahn Hyundo could lose.
‘There is no way that I can do anything. He will fight his favorite disciple moderately. Good luck, Lee Hyun.’
Chung Il Hoon’s eyes were cold as ice as he exhaled.
Lee Hyun’s stamina had already reached its limit. His willpower had lasted this long, but soon it would be shattered.
Chung Il Hoon saw that as the problem.
With his stamina gone as the practitioners had fought him wholeheartedly, no matter which practitioners he had fought, Lee Hyun’s body had reached an extreme state because of fighting 9 men.
Chung Il Hoon thought that his overwhelming skills had come to an end.
‘Master doesn’t have to do much to subdue a guy that’s already done for.’
However, Chung Il Hoon was completely mistaken.
It was a heartwarming scene as their eyes met as Ahn Hyundo said to Lee Hyun.
“Do you like using a wooden sword? I have a wooden sword in my hands as well, but wouldn’t you want to fight with real swords?”