Chapter 39 - Weed's Hunt
Dungeon of Basra!
A place filled by numerous monsters, was located close to the kingdom's capital.
"A free spot in a party. Anyone willing to join? We have 30 people and promise a fast hunt."
"Looking for a skilled warrior."
"Selling healing herbs. Cheaper than in stores! Batch purchases are welcome!"
Weed, who just approached the cave of Basra, was watching players form parties. Some were joining the already existing parties, some were creating new ones. And all of them were hanging around the dungeon entrance.
In cave of Basra, monsters not only granted plentiful experience but dropped decent loot. Therefore its entrance was always crowded with players. Though no one dared to enter it alone which was way too dangerous.
"Do you want to join a party?"
Quietly standing Weed was approached by a few people accompanying a warrior with white plumage on his hat, who was the one to ask the question. Not waiting for an answer he continued:
"Excuse me, what are your level and profession? I see you have a sword so you must be some kind of fighter and one of our spots just got free, maybe you would join us?"
Weed slowly examined the man with the plumage. Not so much his looks as his equipment.
"Duke's helmet, weapons and armor of The British Confederation, items for level 180 and above. Costs 800 gold."
"Our group has 15 people. Everyone is of level 170 or higher. My name is Vintich, we are from Mavros Guild. So how about it, want to hunt together?"
Just the fact of them being from Mavros Guild would mean a positive response from any other player. Weed though slowly shook his head.'
"Sorry, but I'm not looking for group."
"I'll manage myself."
Followed by confused stares, Weed headed into the cave.
In the cave of Basra players were hunting from level 120 and up to 300. The dungeon had four floors, every next one having stronger monsters than the previous.
But it was not monster's strength that was driving off lone players, but their extremely annoying ability to steal items. In short, if you die - they rob you. Sometimes they would even go so far as to take your equipped armor.
As a result, after dying, player would not only lose experience but 3-4 times more items than usual. Therefore it took a certain amount of resolve to hunt in this dungeon. However, thieves of Basra were dropping good items, so it was never empty.
"He said it's on the 3rd floor."
Weed carefully slipped through 1st and 2nd floors, trying not to interfere with hunting parties too much.
"Gotta be careful if I don't want to become a pincushion after appearing too suddenly."
Once Weed decided to hunt, first thing he did was contacting Mapan. But he had to refuse due to being too busy. As far as Weed knew, after selling items in the auction the merchant raised his level quite a bit and earned a lot of money, which he used to purchase a title and form a trading group under his name.
Instead, Mapan told where he could find Hwaryeong. It was then that Weed decided to come to caves of Basra to visit his friend.
Weed easily found Hwaryeong on the 3rd floor of the dungeon. She was hunting with a large party in the very centre of the dungeon. Gracefully dancing and striking monsters down, that girl was hard to miss.
Weed waited for the fight to finish and approached her.
"Hey, Hwaryeong, long time no see."
"Oh! Weed? Why are you here?"
"I decided to hunt and so I stopped by."
Hwaryeong warmly welcomed Weed as she was just starting to get bored. But then a player in a blue robe approached them from the depth of the cave.
"So, who's this man? - Asked Sollon after inspecting Weed from head to toe."
The way he said it, all the petty little soul of the mage was clearly visible on his face.
Barely holding her anger, Hwaryeong replied:
"This is my friend. His name is Weed. He's a sculptor."
"Oh! That's how it is!"
Not quite satisfied with that explanation, Sollon continued throwing suspicious glances:
"So you're friends? Or lovers even? And how long have you been hunting together?"
"We were introduced by a common friend. And we haven't hunted together yet. You got a problem?"
Hwaryeong's reply somewhat calmed Sollon.
"I see! Then there's no problem!"
And as if showing his good will he continued:
"Weed, maybe you will join our party? I don't have anything against your profession, but it must be hard to hunt alone with it."
"Yeah, Weed. Join us! - Hwaryeong exclaimed excitedly."
Actually, Weed wasn't going to join any parties. He just came to say hello and invite Hwaryeong to go hunting with him. However he could not just leave after seeing the eager expression on her face.
After joining the party and finishing one battle, he realized that he just had nothing to do. Knowing that Weed was a sculptor, Sollon wasn't giving him a chance to join the fight.
Instead Weed got plenty of time to talk to Hwaryeong on various topics. Certainly under constant supervision of lingering nearby Sollon.
Having grasped the situation, Weed openly stated:
"You are quite popular, Hwaryeong."
"That's not it, - said Hwaryeong with a smile, pretending that nothing's happening."
"My profession is dancer. Therefore I have high Charisma attribute. And also there's an 'Appearance' attribute."
"Charisma and Appearance?"
"Yeah, with an increase in charisma beauty increases. It can be said that some kind of 'Glamour' appears. Brighter eyes, shiny skin."
"And then that 'Appearance' attribute is..."
"Well, that's what comes to mind first. Improved stature, cuter face, more elegant curves. But that only applies to dancers."
Weed recalled that he as well increased his Charisma attribute using belt of Deykram.
'I see, so that’s what it does...'
This proved that the profession dancer isn't as simple as he used to think. Besides basic attributes, one has to improve something new.
Now it was clear why Sollon fell for Hwaryeong so hard.
"And as I'm a dancer, most of my efforts are spent on increasing Charisma and Appearance attributes."
"Exactly. My real face is somewhat plainer... Not like I have to tell you that, but I still did, just in case."
It was natural that initial in-game appearance was gradually changing. Usually it took a keen eye to see the difference. However because of her profession, in Hwaryeong's case changes were much more significant.
If you were to pay more attention to the woman, claiming that her looks do not depend on lighting, you'll notice that it's not true. Even most beautiful women who prefer not to use makeup will try to take the most advantageous position according to lighting.
Men are week for beautiful women.
That is a rule!
But every rule has exceptions. And Weed was one!
'Woman equals money. Relationship with any woman revolves around money. If you spend it - you get love in return. I don't want a relationship like that...'
Weed had some twisted view on the matter. In his mind he compared beautiful girls to hippos feeding on money.
After 12 hours of hunting Sollon said:
"Ugh! Today was a really hard day. Well, let's meet again tomorrow. Thanks for the hard work."
Party members started to log out one by one.
Weed tightened his grip on the sword in anxiety. Finally! He was waiting for this moment.
'Well, so it's time to start?'
To begin with he took out a whetstone and sharpened his sword.
You have sharpened the sword!
Attack power increased by 14%.
His sword sharpening skill was at intermediate 4th level. He wasn't able to use it as often as, say, repair skill. Besides, if it was raining or he wasn't hunting sharpening effect would vanishing quickly. Therefore, the only times he got to use it was immediately before battles, when sharpening weapons for himself and his party mates.
Weed pulled out a soft cloth and thoroughly polished his armor, until it started to shine.
You polished armor!
Defence increased by 16%.
Chance to dodge increased by 2%.
Armor polishing was very similar to polishing. There weren't many opportunities to use it for prolonged periods, but its effect was good.
These two skills, greatly benefiting party's strength, usually were used by blacksmiths after being accepted into a party. If you were a blacksmith, but didn't raise these skills for some reason, you wouldn't be accepted in a party in most cases.
Weed opted for a dish made of shrimps, with a romantic name 'Sea flowers'. Usually seafood in the game was quite expensive, but much to his surprise in Odein stronghold he managed to buy it cheaper than in Rosenheim Kingdom. And not just because of absence of taxes, but because of it being conveniently located right on one of the major trade routes.
Nothing beats seafood when it comes to increasing Vitality and Life. And shrimps proved to be best among seafood!
To enhance dish's effect even further Weed prepared sweet maple syrup sauce and a salad out of potato, lettuce and béchamel.
Weed opened his mouth wide in anticipation.
He slowly peeled the shell off; after cooking, it acquired a golden tint and was easy to remove. There was only soft white shrimp meat left on the stick and it was all ready to be swallowed by Weed.
His will struggled with his urges.
His mouth wanted to take a bite, but hands didn't want to let go. Especially because it wasn't just a simple shrimp. Weed applied his sculpturing mastery to emphasize its beauty.
After slowly dipping shrimp in syrup sauce, under the influence of its aroma, Weed saw the glow of divine wings around the shrimp.
He even gave the dish a name: 'Angel-shrimp from heaven'!
He couldn't think of a more fitting name. The aroma was driving him crazy. Strong and delicious. No one would be able to endure its call.
In anticipation, Weed slowly stuck his tongue out and slowly mowed the shrimp towards his mouth...
When all the party members started logging out Hwaryeong immediately followed them. But that was just to get rid of Sollon. After waiting enough time for mage to leave, she logged back in.
As for Zephyr - once he recognized Weed, he didn't logged out at all. He just stepped aside and watched his former fishing rival.
Hwaryeong and Zephyr were closely watching as Weed was about to eat the lone shrimp.
'There's only one so there's no way I can ask him to share...'
However Hwaryeong didn't have the strength to hold back, so she loudly swallowed.
Deafening gulp broke Weed's concentration at the crucial point.
"Eh. I thought you logged out, Hwaryoung?"
"Ye-eah, - slowly replied the girl, staring intently at the shrimp."
And let out another gulp.
Hwaryeong wasn't asking to share. But here wide open eyes were staring at shrimp with such fascination that there was no need for words. She looked like it was the first time she saw food in many days.
Burning desire! Hunger! Craving!
'I don't want to get beat up over food!'
With a quiet sigh Weed handed over the shrimp. He didn't have a choice.
"If you want, then... this... for one gold..."
"I'll gladly accept!"
Hwaryeong bit the shrimp without the second thought. She didn't even get upset over last words of Weed, trying to minimize the loss in any possible way.
Shrimp immediately disappeared in her mouth.
Actually, Hwaryeong wasn't so obsessed with food. Even in real life she was watching her waist and often was on a diet.
But the shrimp's aroma drove away her voice of reason. She had a feeling that if she won't eat it right now, she'll regret it for the rest of her life.
It could be said she was behaving like an addict at that time. All thanks to the ever increasing cooking skill of Weed.
After gleefully finishing the shrimp, Hwaryeong finally settled down. She wasn't regretting it one bit. Every piece of the shrimp was giving her heavenly pleasure.
'Now that I think about it, Mapan mentioned that if you stick to Weed, good things will be happening to you all the time! I got to taste such a delicacy! Yummy!'
Finally, she threw a regretful glance at the remaining head and tail of the shrimp that usually no one would eat. But if not for standing nearby Weed and Zephyr, she'd eat those with delight.
Weed with regret took out another shrimp and started cooking it from the start. Shrimps were expensive so they couldn't be eaten as snacks.
For Weed they were representing investments.
Investments in fighting ability! Because effects of food were giving maximum possible boost to Mana, Life and some other attributes.
That's why he didn't regret spending money to buy 500 shrimps.
You are well-fed.
Don't trust those who say hunger inspires artists.
Only artist with a full stomach can concentrate on his art instead of his hunger. Actually, food's effects varied depending on player's profession. Were Weed to be a cook, there'd be increase in vitality and cooking, or better taste.
Weed started to gather his belongings. And of course he didn't forget to take his 1 gold from Hwaryeong.
"I'm going to continue the hunt, you with me, Hwaryeong?"
To be honest, Weed never considered any other answer.
Her abilities as a dancer would come in handy as a trump card. Even though damage from her attacks wasn't that high, her movements were swift and monsters couldn't even scratch her. Besides, if you were in one party with Hwaryeong, your attributes would get a certain boost, contrary to monsters'.
You have created a party
Weed brought up the control menu and invited Hwaryeong.
"Thanks! - exclaimed Hwaryeong in excitement and accepted the invitation."
Then she waved to Zephyr.
"Will you join?"
Fishermen nodded happily.
"I'm in if you're ok with me!"
Weed just nodded and sent an invitation to Zephyr. He didn't have anything in particular against it, there were plenty of monsters and therefore, experience, and some extra help would come in handy. Though he didn't quite understand why Zephyr didn't logout as everyone else.
"Then wait a bit, Hwaryeong. I'll make another dish for Zephyr and polish and sharpen your equipment. And repair too if there's a need."
It was a great opportunity to improve, though by a small margin, his blacksmithing, cooking and tailoring skills.
"The defense increased, and fishing rod's attack too..."
Hwaryeong and Zephyr gave Weed a surprised look. They didn't expect a single man to be a master of so many trades. And it was just a small step that separated an unskilled egghead from an omnipotent player.
"Thanks Weed! Now let's go find a party. We have 3 people and many parties will gladly accept us, or so I think, - joyfully said Hwaryeong, but in return Weed just slowly shook his head."
"There will be barely enough monsters for us three."
"Do you honestly believe we can hunt in dungeon of Basra with just the three of us? - asked dumbfounded Zephyr. Unaware of it himself, he guessed right."
"Three of us will do fine. Though, I'm wrong. We have four. Come forth, Death Knight!"
Smoke started pouring from necklace on Weed's neck, and a moment later the death knight Van Hawk emerged from it.
It had been a while since he was summoned last time, so he was excited.
"You called me, master?"
Just one glance on his minion filled Weed with grief. Death knight was leeching off 20% of his experience. A lot of time had passed since Weed defeated and subjugated Van Hawk.
They fought through numerous battles and Van Hawk managed to greatly raise his level. Especially in the province of Morata, where Weed decided that the more vampires die - the better it is for the party, so he wasn't holding the monster back.
And Van Hawk used it to the fullest; at that time he was getting not just 20% of Weed's experience but all 100% for those he killed by himself. Because of that he managed to greatly surpass Weed and reach a level of 290.
"Damn monster! It's time you pay off for everything... - Weed immediately started grumbling."
But death knight had things to say too. After all he was getting experience not for sunbathing. He had to kill a lot of monsters, suffer through mockery of paladins and beatings of his master.
He had things to say, but he decided to remain silent for now.
History of dungeon of Basra wasn't a common knowledge for players. In the past a family of nobles used to live in the lands of Basra. It was strongly objecting to integration into British Confederacy, so they made a deal with the thieves guild and started to prepare an uprising. And the headquarter of that uprising was located here, in the dungeon of Basra.
After sending death knight to the front, Weed and his party descended to fourth level.
"There's no one at all here..." - said Zephyr in a barely audible voice.
And he wasn't wrong; as dungeon of Basra was highly popular among players, it was rare for them to hunt on 4th level. Monsters inhabiting it were too strong, with levels from 240 and higher.
Trembling in fear and barely moving his feet Zephyr didn't have a choice but to slowly follow Weed in hope that things will somehow work out.
'Amen! Why did I even come back! I could be relaxing at home right now...' - thought Hwaryeong.
'If we die here, we'll lose all the items... We're crazy to come here without a priest or paladins...'
Hwaryeong and Zephyr could barely hold back their fear and anger. Weed's behavior was confusing them. Even when 3rd floor hunting was hard enough, he dragged them to the 4th!
Therefore they followed behind the confidently pacing Weed and dark knight.
"Let's check his bag!"
"And turn out his pockets!"
"And raise a level! We need more power for new revolt!"
A group of thief-monsters jumped out from behind the corner. They were equipped in iron armor and were carrying swords. Not sparing any more words thieves of Basra started their attack.
"Power of Darkness!" - yelled Van Hawk and rushed into the fight.
Death Knights were quite adept with dark magic. The spell he just used significantly increased weapon damage and defense of armor.
Van Hawk accumulated dark energy in his blade and directed it towards the oncoming thieves. His weapon greatly darkened and a few moments later it let out thousands of finest threads, which struck attacking enemies in the chest.
Thieves collapsed to the floor.
Zephyr and Hwaryeong were astounded.
'That's what level 290 monsters look like? How does Weed even control such a beast?'
At that moment they realized that Weed wasn’t just another ordinary player, and that it is really possible to hunt in dungeon of Basra with just 4 people. Weed's words weren't just feeling bragging any more.
Meanwhile Weed himself was surprised not less than his friends.
'Wow, when did he become so powerful?'
Weed could only remember him beating the knight and improving his own skills. And he was extremely surprised to see his minion in a different light. Death knight managed to beat four enemies with a single strike. Even though it was partially due to his dark nature, which increased damage to non-undead enemies.
'Crimson amulet of life... the item in which the death knight Van Hawk was eternally trapped. Furthermore, he had another black amulet with Lord Tori in it inside his backpack... Was that really a reward? Or just some cunning way for NPC to increase its level before breaking out of...'
Suddenly Weed forgot about everything, jumped forward and dropped the hilt of his sword on the head of Van Hawk, who lifted his sword to finish defeated enemies.
"I command! Do not to kill them. Just disable, we'll finish them ourselves."
"Understood Master. - Abruptly roared Van Hawk in Weed's face."
Because of significant increase in level death knight could feel his growing power and wasn't so content with receiving orders from 'lowbie' Weed.
'That jerk is talking back to me. I haven't taught him enough...'
Weed noted to self to teach a lesson to Van Hawk later, but for now he headed into battle:
He couldn't imagine himself without that technique! With his blade shining blue Weed was rushing among enemies dealing multiple blows.
"Money! Give me your money!"
His opponents' swords were passing dangerously close to Weed. Because of dodging and parrying he managed not to get any wounds. Though from aside, he looked like he has given up on his life.
'Here... this is more fun...'
The thrill of being completely surrounded by enemies. Your heartbeat quickens, you start to perceive you opponents' breath and movements. Intoxicating sensation of your own might fills you with overflowing happiness and you feel like you can conquer the world. A game like this will never become boring!
Weed thought about Swords.
In the school, Hyun only was taught basic skills, so he had to learn the art of the sword by himself in the game. However lately he's been coming to the dojo to learn from the master of the sword himself. An Hyon-Do wasn't an ordinary man, so his lessons weren't ordinary as well.
"This is a Sword."
In the hands of his teacher the sword was drawing graceful and smooth curves. It was hard to believe that someone could handle a sword like that. This was an art of a real master, who was creating another masterpiece.
'This really is a Sword.' - thought Hyun, watching in fascination.
However, as if reacting to his thoughts, the pattern started to change. Now it was a prowling predator, or an eagle, falling from the sky, or... Then, in front of the predator the Fort Odein appeared.
'No, not Odein, but something solid, significant...'
Something thicker and taller than Fort's walls blocked predator's path. The obstacle was in his way, and without a second thought the beast lunged forward and tore it apart and rushed ahead.
"Sword... It is harder to master than a gun, but by doing it you become stronger. Death, decease and other hardships no longer bother you. I became free after I mastered the sword."
Lee Hyun learned a lot from An Hyon-Do. He entirely changed his attitude towards sword, learned to properly breath, move and take care of his weapon. He became stronger.
Even though, his life wasn't easy before he started going to the dojo. Absence of parents, debts and constant fights with bullies. Hyun could violently assault anyone in attempts to defend every precious memory of his parents. And that strengthened his spirit; he would never back out of a fight. However watching the skill of his teacher, Hyun started to realize that only god knew if there's a limit to mastery of a sword.
Every thief-monster was a lot stronger than death knights of Lavias. In the fight with the knights he only had to watch the front, but now he didn't have the right to miss anything happening at his sides or his back.
'Woah, fights grow more and more entertaining...'
Weed avoided a long stab from the side and lunged forward.
His hands were flying around him, parrying and striking at the same time.
You have dealt a critical strike.
You deal consecutive critical strikes.
Your continuous attack succeeded. Do you want to save the series of strikes?
Skillfully moving from enemy to enemy, Weed was dealing series of critical strikes. If you were to deal an exceptionally successful series of strikes in the game, you would be able to save it, to later use it at will as an individual technique. However Weed just dismissed the message and rushed back into battle.
For Weed fight was something living, unpredictable and extraordinary. Sometimes you have to act as your instinct tells you, and by using fixed techniques you just restrain yourself.
After killing three monsters he dove right in the middle of enemy group. With a trust in his skill and polished armor he was eagerly spilling enemies' blood.
Though a bit later, but Hwaryeong and Zephyr also joined the battle.
Enemies who watched erotic and tempting moves of the girl, froze in confusion and embarrassment. Their cheeks reddened and eyes filled with desire.
"Such a beautiful girl."
"Oooo! Why did I go from knight to thief, if only I still were..."
"She melted my heart of stone!"
Having captured the enemies’ attention she exclaimed:
"No introductions! I have no interest in you!"
Her words left enemies stunned, and she proceeded to dance with another group. Not forgetting to cooperate with partners of course.
"These ones won't be attacking us."
"For how long?" - Immediately asked Zephyr. Their lives depended on that information.
"About two minutes. Their level is too high; you must deal with the rest by that time."
Zephyr swung his fishing rod and joined the fight. Every time he extended his rod a few enemies were knocked down.
Weed and Van were holding back main forces of enemy. Hwaryeong tamed enemies to the right and Zephyr was fighting the ones on the left! Compared to previous fights, their situation was complicated, so they had to give their all to stay alive.
Hwaryeong incapacitated 12 more opponents and fell on the floor exhausted.
"I'm done... can't continue..."
She spent all of her mana, and was sitting on the floor completely drained. Up to this time Hwaryeong always tried to pick the weaker monsters while not exerting too much in a fight. But this time she had to give it her all and she realized, that her dance techniques and attributes weren't developed enough. She wasn't strong enough.
'That's hard... I probably should have fought stronger opponents before?' - Slowly thought Hwaryng, expecting some monster to end her life at any moment.
But then there appeared Zephyr, who came to cover her from advancing enemies. Thanks to fishing, his attributes, especially fortitude and stamina, were highly developed, so he handled this fight better.
Zephyr was fighting the surrounding monsters at his limit. He wasn't hitting opponents one by one, but all of them at the same time! Fisherman's skills allowed him to damage whole bunch of enemies at the same time.
When their health was dropping to about a third they were dying, as they were immediately finished by a series of critical strikes from suddenly appearing Weed. It seemed like the situation was straightening out, when enemies, incapacitated earlier by Hwaryeong started to come to their senses.
The intense battle continued without a single moment of rest.
Weed was trying to move as fast as possible, but still the moment he was finishing one opponent another was already attacking him. He had to hurry: if he were to stop even for a moment monsters would come closer and completely surround him, which would be a sure death.
Hwaryeong regained some strength and hurried to back up Zephyr. She was dancing like a butterfly, stabbing exposed sides of enemies with her daggers. It seemed that the battle will never end. However a few moments later deeply surprised Hwaryeong realized that there was no one else to fight.
She didn't remember how she was fighting and who dealt the last blow. In her chaotic memories fight looked like a fragment of hell. It was hard, long and extremely dangerous... She couldn't believe they won!
'Phew... That was hard, but... fun...' - she wiped sweat off her forehead and smiled.
That was the only fight on her memory where she had to exert herself by 110%. Her mood was great.
Well, if not for death knight's help, they'd all be finished by now. But that didn't upset her at all, their victory was well-deserved.
"Weed, do you always fight like this?" - asked Hwaryeong the question that had been growing inside her since the beginning of the fight.
"Yes," - calmly answered Weed. He already started to repair damaged armor.
If armor or weapons were losing even a bit of durability, first thing after a fight Weed was repairing them.
"But that is so dangerous! And hard! Are you not afraid at all to fight monsters, whose level is a lot higher than yours?"
Hwaryeong got a little frightened. She couldn't imagine how one could be able to fight alone with only enemies all around. Even though they were playing a virtual reality game the fear was real.
In tight situations the stench of blood and the feeling of opponent's strength were often stunning players by fear. After that they were easily killed.
"You know Hwaryeong, in Lavias I had to climb very high, and from up there all the monsters looked so small. It seemed like I can squish them with a finger. That's when I realized that they're just food. Food that makes me stronger."
Hwaryeong let out another of her dazzling smiles.
"Seriously, with you Weed, there's no time to be bored."
However not everyone was celebrating the end of the fight. Zephyr was watching death knight with fear.
"Hwa... Hwa... Hwaryeong." - Worry made him stutter.
"Look at the death knight..."
"Huh? Death Knight?"
She looked at Van and noticed that he's preparing another of his techniques. Hwaryeong was oblivious to what was going on so she became curious.
She was unaware of what Zephyr realized long ago. He got to fish with Weed for quite a long time, so he had an idea on what was about to happen. Did you think after fishing Weed was sitting in a shade to relax? Not at all!
Having finished fixing armor, Weed applied a number of bandages and got up on his feet.
"Hmmm... - He said, - now it'll get a bit dangerous. Don't worry too much, but I think we might have a couple close calls this time."
"You know, I'm not in my best shape. I haven't been fighting for a long time. To be honest, I don't even remember the last time my health dropped below 15%. Even in Odein I was fighting mostly weak opponents."
"Let's see. After this battle only my Endurance slightly raised. That's because I made a miscalculation and the battle wasn't as hard as I expected. Next time I should aim to drop my health to 3%. I'll tell you a secret: when your health gets very low, your Endurance attribute increases greatly. So in following battles you should try to lose as much health as you can. Trust me, that'll pay off handsomely. For example, at the moment enemies' hits feel like tickling for me."
Zephyr and Hwaryeong were speechless from surprise.
'That's something! So the blows of thieves of Basra are 'ticklish' for him?'
'How? Even though he has an intermediate blacksmith skill, he can't be...'
'My armor isn't any worse, but every hit of a monster hurts like hell!'
But his next words shook them even more.
"Well, now that the scouting and warm-up is over, it is time we fight for real."
Scouting? For Zephyr and Hwaryeong previous fight was living hell!
Having seen their twisted in horror faces, he asked in doubt:
"So... Do you accept me as a party leader? If so, then the hunt goes on."
They hurriedly nodded. Having accepted Weed's invitation, they automatically assigned him as a party leader. And also he was the strongest of the three.
Even though Zephyr's fishing and Hwaryeong's dances allowed them to raise their attributes quite a lot, they still were as far from Weed as from the moon.
'He has 5 crafting skills at intermediate level...'
'He's a beast. A machine... To do all those things...'
He was odd, of that Hwaryeong and Zephyr could agree.
Let alone his crafting profession having battle techniques, his attributes were ridiculously high as well! Looking at Weed they could feel their inferiority, even though compared to other players they were pretty normal.
'So there exist people like Weed...'
'We aren't that useless!' - they thought.
Usually the party leader's position was taken by a warrior or a knight, due to them having high Charisma and Leadership attributes. Because if leader had high level of those two attributes, party members were less likely to be affected by panic and were getting increased experience. And monsters confronting such players were not able to use their skills to the fullest.
"Deadly dance! Charming dance!"
"Fishing rod feint!"
"Come on! Hit me! Raise my endurance!"
The hunt has started.
Endless fight to the death against thieves of Basra. As soon as one group of monsters got finished, they were switching to the next. They only had time for quick repairs and light healing.
In the past Zephyr wouldn't believe if someone was to tell him he won't be looting defeated enemies. But it was happening now, because of the constantly attacking waves of enemies they just didn't have time for that.
They were fighting in such manner for almost 16 hours, when finally Zephyr got wounded. A thief has stabbed him in the stomach with a sword. A deadly injury.
Hwaryeong threw a hateful glance at Weed.
"You overdid it! We are humans, and when we get tired we need rest!"
Then Hwaryeong looked at Zephyr with a bit of envy.
'He's dying... At least he'll get some rest... I wonder when I will get free from that devil?!'
That was the first time she was envious of a dying player.
With a relieved smile Zephyr said:
"I'm fine, Hwaryeong, Weed, don't worry about me. Hahahahaha!"
He laughed to tears from joy. However Weed's expression didn't falter one bit.
'What if?.. No, can't be. He's not a priest and won't be able to save me...' - Zephyr got frightened for a moment, happily watching blood pouring out of his stomach.
His health was quickly dropping and already reached 23%. Situation wasn't critical, but without immediate priest's help an injury like this would end killing him.
But then Weed rummaged through his bag and started taking out bandages one by one.
"I'll fix you right away."
"Ahahah! With bandages? Don't joke like that..."
"Apply bandage! - Was shouting Weed again and again, rapidly applying multiple bandages."
Bleeding has stopped
Wound has closed
Life increased to 26%
Life increased to 29%
"Wow! - Zephyr's eyes were round from astonishment."
He gave Weed a frightened look.
"Ermm... Weed, what's your level of First Aid?"
"Intermediate 9th level."
Just a little bit away from the high level!
During his long hunt in the province of Morata, Weed had to apply loads of bandages and so his skill level got surprisingly high. Usually parties had at least one priest, so players weren't using First Aid skill at all, so most of them had a skill level of beginner even on high levels.
"Intermediate 9th level of First Aid..."
Zephyr was hitting his fist on the ground in sorrow. Damn Weed, a real sadist and devil! Now he'll have to hunt monsters forever!
The battle continued...
Weed was slaying one monster after another and was thinking that it wasn't actually that hard. Compared to what he experienced in the province of Morata, dungeon of Basra looked like kindergarten. Even in Lavias death knights were a lot more dangerous for him!
At least they were using long swords and dark magic. Thieves of Basra on the contrary used short swords, and though they attacked in great numbers they were a lot less dangerous opponents.
This time he didn't have Alveron with his healing magic, but since then his health has raised a lot because of improved attributes and fishing. To almost twice the amount, 1400.
Also, thanks to his blacksmith skill, Weed was able to sharpen and polish equipment, increasing his survivability even further.
The profession of Legendary Moonlight Sculptor!
Only because of it Weed was forced to significantly improve his handicraft skill, which allowed him to raise many other skills to intermediate level during last few months. And those made him even stronger than if he was still hunting up to now and achieved a level of 280.
To become stronger and fight harder battles. Weed enjoyed fighting strong opponents; that's why he went to the 4th floor of dungeon of Basra. And even before, he was fighting death knights while only having level 110. That sure was hard, and he died a lot, but having gained some power and experience, he was winning battle after another and that was making him happy.
Having defeated another group of monsters, Weed suddenly realized that his bag was full.
Hwaryeong and Zephyr weren't sad at all!
"Can't help it..." - dragged Weed.
Hwaryeong and Zephyr started to nod excitedly.
'Time to end it. It was a hard hunt.'
'Damn, that was terrifying.'
They were sure, that thieves of Basra will be coming to them in nightmares for the rest of their lives.
But then Weed's words shocked them yet again.
"Can't help it, we'll have to make a quick trip to the village to sell the stuff, and then we'll come back again. Thieves of Basra wait for us. Let's do it quickly."