This chapter is brought to you by AnmesicCat, Baddiez, Hikaru, Junny, Lastear, and Lei.
“Whew, it’s a lot easier now that I’ve actually tried it.”
Hyun Woo let out a sigh of relief as he got out of the unit.
Once again, technological advances were to be admired. The scenery, the people, and monsters in the game looked very realistic. The battles were overflowing with a sense of realism.
Although he had started playing the game for the sake of the recruitment test, he thought he might get deeply immersed and beyond. However, Hyun Woo could not afford to get blindly obsessed with the game.
The game was great, but for him, it was more important to get by. He was in a different situation compared to the other applicants. It was a given he wouldn’t be able to feed himself and pay for his mother’s hospital fees if he didn’t work. He couldn’t just give up everything and enter this 1 in 200 war with his life on the line.
‘However, the game is just as important. I can’t quit work, but, I can put the private academy on hold for the moment. Then, I suppose I can play more if I sleep less.’
The clock indicated it was already 2 in the morning.
The Hyun Woo who skipped lunch in order to set up the unit, fetched himself a carton of milk and sat in front of the computer.
He had underestimated New World.
After he had actually tried the game, he realised it was quite different from any other games. As a result, he felt the need to look up more information during his spare time.
Sure enough, within a span of a month, the game was the top topic that came up and dozens of related sites had formed.
There were sites that shared information with users; while the information was insufficient, it was good to thoroughly look over them just in case.
Hyun Woo went onto the sites and looked through the information.
However, information could only be understood if one had some background knowledge. Since he didn’t know much, they were all Greek to him. At that moment, after clicking through the forums without much thought, the milk carton fell from Hyun Woo’s hand.
Hyun Woo moved his face right up to the monitor and read through the forum.
‘Whoa, n-no way… Is this for real?’
Hyun Woo forgot about his fatigue and immediately entered the unit.
* * *
Ark entered Harun together with a hazy light.
When Ark hastily looked at the opened Stat Window, all colour drained from his face.
“My god! I-I was done in!”
All the stats turned red and had dropped down to 1.
The information Ark saw online turned out to be true.
On the forum, there was a tale of a newbie user who died without knowing much. According to it, his stats was deducted by 1 each time he died. And like Ark, he didn’t check the deducted stat and leveled up; permanently losing the stats in process. The figures inside the bracket indicated the deducted stat, and if one leveled up without recovering them, those stats could never be returned.
Ark was able to understand everything that had happened until now.
‘So this was why the people around me showed extreme reactions.’
They must have thought of me as someone who had given up on the game since I kept going at it like a nutcase and everytime I died, my stats got hacked away.
Damn it, so that’s why Bulma said she was so sorry.
He felt like an erupting volcano about to explode.
Ark having experience playing many games, he knew firsthand the importance of stats.
Everytime you level up in New World you are given 10 points.
This means at level 10 you should have 100 points. However Ark had already lost 84. In other words, this means at level 10 he would essentially be lower than a level 2. This was a huge difference.
No, the bad side aside, he wouldn’t be able to do anything at this rate.
Before logging off, Ark was panting while holding a dagger, but he wasn’t tired. He had 1 strength so the dagger was heavy, and also one agility, so his movement were sluggish.
‘From the beginning that bastard Andel knew all about it. Bulma knew too. They took advantage of me in order to hunt safely. All this for a handful of crappy items.’
For 84 stat points, he got a bunch of wolf leather, meat, and a rusty sword.
Ark clenched and grinded his teeth while searching for them. However, they must’ve fled the village, or cut off all means of communication as he wasn’t able to find them anywhere. Then again, there wasn’t anything that he could do even if he caught them.
With these stats, he could not exact revenge, and they could not return his lost stats anyway. In the end, Ark sank down to the ground with a hollow expression.
Everything in front of his eyes became dark.
‘Damn it, to think that such a system would exist.’
The stat couldn’t fall below 1, so he really had a body that had nothing to lose now.
His anger subsided a little and his guilt rose. No matter how hurried he’d felt, he should have looked through the information first. Even 1 hour, no, 30 minutes of skimming through a forum would have prevented such a mistake. It was his fault for thinking that this game would be no different from other games.
Ark realized how much of a difference one small piece of information could make. No, but before that, the disappointment on himself surfaced.
‘What a stupid bastard I was! Why didn’t I notice the reason Bulma was being so kind? It may just be a game, but in the end those guys are only human. There’s no reason for them to be so nice to a useless guy like me!’
If this was reality, he definitely would never have made that mistake.
‘Andel and Bulma! You bastards picked on the wrong person. I’ll make you regret it someday!’
Life is unfair beyond imagination. Survival would be impossible if one underestimated it.
If there was one thing Ark had learned while working hard in real life, that would be it.
Sometimes, after working a part-time job for over a month, he didn’t receive his pay.
The manager had taken Ark for an easy mark because he was just a student. So Ark didn’t go to school for a week and clung to the manager until he finally got his money. He couldn’t give up because his life was on the line.
Ark had suffered similar situations for the past few years. He couldn’t fall apart here.
He had to get stronger somehow and get his revenge on those bastards! But for now there were more urgent matters.
One hour later, Ark went and found Hansen again.
“Give me a job.”
“Hmm? If it isn’t the customer who came in a while ago. Didn’t you say you were going outside to hunt?”
“I’m about to cry, okay? Don’t ask and please give me a job.”
Ark said as he let out a deep sigh.
He had spent an hour digging through the Internet after what had happened.
Perhaps because there were almost no idiots who had made the same mistake as Ark, there was barely any information. Still, Ark determinedly searched through the Internet.
He thought there might be a way to restore his stats if the system deduct stats with each death.
If it was impossible to restore the stats, then there’d be no reason to put the lost stat numbers in parentheses.
Thankfully, he’d was able to find information about that part a little while ago.
The way was rather simple. If you hunted a lot, the lost stats would be naturally restored. But there was also a problem here. If the lost stats were not completely restored and the user leveled up in that state, then those stats would be gone forever. Hence, he had to recover all of his 84 stat points before leveling up to level 2.
Mice naturally came to Ark’s mind.
Each mouse gave 1 EXP. However, leveling up by hunting mice alone would be an impossible feat. Since many mice had to be killed in order to level up, it might be possible for him to restore many stats.
‘Although I would much rather make a new character…’
In New World, only one character was allowed per account.
Sink or swim—he had to suck it up and continue playing with his current character.. Although he was already way behind the other applicants even at the start, there was no other way.
“Okay, there aren’t a lot of people who are willing to work in this village, so there’s plenty of work I can give you. Go right now to the smithy. The number of mice these days has increased there as well.”
Ark ran right to the smithy. Then, before the blacksmith could even open his mouth, he jumped into the cellar. The situation was no better than before. At least all of his stats had been at 15 before. Now they were at a measly 1. He’d be no better than a ninety year old grandpa holding a dagger. If his Health Points had been reduced too, he’d probably have gone mad.
‘It’s fine. Let’s not think about it anymore. It’s no use coming this far and regretting it. Like when I was up against wolves, the only way is to carefully take the mice on one by one…’
His attitude was different than before.
There was nowhere to run. If he couldn’t even kill a mouse, then he should give up on the game. Ark gave it everything that he had as he battled a single mouse. In other words, he had to give it his all to kill a single mouse. As a result, he had to investigate into a more efficient way to hunt.
While doing this, he realised he could perceive many points.
‘The speed and strength with which I can swing the dagger has definitely decreased. But the fighting experience I gained while hunting wild dogs and wolves is there to some degree. Even though it takes longer to hunt, it actually feels easier than before. That means…”
It meant combat wasn’t based on the attack and defense stats.
Similar to reality, by utilizing fighting experience, the situation could be changed at any time. It was difficult for a level one user to defeat a player who is level ten, but with a level 4 or 5, by following fighting experience, it was possible.
From then on, Ark observed the movements of the mice. He fought while learning how to move in each situation and when to hit the mouse to deal a little more damage. He went through similar battles such as this several times and grasp the techniques of the mice.
‘Okay, it’s not going to work if I just randomly swing the dagger. The mouse is using its head to move. So, I should learn its movements as if I’m facing a real mouse.’
Ark dealt with all of the mice in the smithy’s cellar.
Even so, there weren’t any changes to his stats yet.
“Even though I’ve killed thirty of them…. Is it truly possible to recover my lost stats like this?”
Although he had his worries, he had no other choice.
Even if he were to go outside the village, it would be difficult to deal with one rabbit. There was likely no one who would allow him to squeeze into a party.
If he wasn’t able to restore his stats with the mice, the game would end then and there.
‘I gotta believe they’ll be restored. They’ll be recovered for sure.’
Ark received his ten pieces of wheat bread from the smith and received another request. This time, it was a request about the mice in the cellar of the fancy goods shop. In an hour and a half, he was able to finish three requests.
|– Thanks to a lot of experience, the Strength and Agility that was lost to a huge blow has been found again. Strength up by 1. Agility has been restored by 1.|
The message that he longed for finally appeared. He felt happiness, but at the same time, he felt at a loss as to what he should do.
An hour and a half. He was only able to recover 2 points after an hour and a half of nonstop mice hunting. How many mice did he have to kill to recover the remaining 82 points?
‘But I’ll get them back no matter what it takes. I can’t just start like this, with these stupid penalties.’
Ark clenched his teeth.
* * *
Hyun Woo rubbed his bloodshot eyes and headed to work.
He had been able to regain only 6 points from staying up the entire night.
While he was lucky there was a way to restore his stats, thinking about the remaining 78 points he started to feel faint.
‘Should I just give up on my stats and raise my level instead?’
It would cross his mind from time to time, but Hyun Woo would immediately shake his head.
Every time you increased by one level 10 stats would be granted. That fact didn’t change whether he was a level 50 or a 100. Essentially, that meant that the value of stats rose with each level.
Leveling up from 1 to 10 to get the stats would probably be faster than hunting mice, but going from level 100 to 110 would take so much more effort than right now. When he took that point into account, he had no other choice but to go through this grueling process.
‘Yeah, killing mice is the only way to restore my stats with the minimal risk. There are other things I can learn while killing mice.’
Hyun Woo has always lived with a positive attitude.
The reason why he didn’t quit computer prep school, even though he didn’t have the money to buy a single bowl of black bean noodles (jjajangmyun), was thanks to his positive mindset. He also had a great amount of patience.
[T/N: A bowl of black bean noodles costs around 5 dollars.]
Truthfully, the harsh training in reality helped him to learn a lot.
In other games, victory was split into the attack and defense stats. There was no room for any other elements. However, in New World, a real sense of fighting and experience played a major role.
The user’s real strength and agility were not applied, but experience and reflex speed counted for a lot.
That is, if someone was attacked ten times with 10 points of agility, they could generally evade once. On the other hand, if they handled the situation with quick judgement, they’d be able to evade two or three out of ten times.
‘This is the same concept for when I’m attacking.’
By following the enemy’s movements, he maintained an advantageous distance.
It was a concept drilled into him over and over again when he learned Taekwondo a long time ago.
Of course, with an advantageous position, it was easier to avoid or counter-attack your opponent.
In New World, the rules of reality were directly applied.
It wasn’t a game where you could just recklessly strike once and get hit once.
It was a big enough benefit to know that.
Hyun Woo began to exercise in his spare time from that day on.
Exercise was the best way to hone his reflexes.
The only exercise Hyun Woo could accomplish without spending any money was the Taekwondo he learned in elementary and middle school.
When he went into high school, he stopped because of examinations, but he still had the skills of a third-dan. He didn’t remember everything he had learned, but it was still enough to work out by himself.
As he was cleaning out the mart cellar, he moved his body in the spare moments.
Afterward, he loosened his stiff body, stretched his legs, and did image training of fighting a bloody struggle with the mice. If he had a new thought, he adapted it in-game against the mice.
The days passed like this and he regained 30 stat points.
Even though he still had 50 points less than he’d had from the beginning, now he could fight the mice with his eyes closed.
There were approximately twenty to thirty mice to face with each quest he received, and now it didn’t even take him 10 minutes to clean them up. Of course, the speed at which he received the quests increased as well.
‘My thought was right after all. Ark gets stronger the more I exercise.’
Afterwards, Hyun Woo tried using his Taekwondo techniques in New World.
At first, there were a lot of awkward moments, but as he fought the mice he became more accustomed to them. And after a week, he could face two or three mice at once without the use of the dagger.
Thanks to that, he was able to save on the dagger’s repair costs.
What a truly deep and complex game!
He was in the worst situation, but Hyun Woo was getting more and more fascinated with New World.
* * *
‘Damn it, to think that I would actually die on purpose.’
Ark grumbled to himself in his faraway mind.
A swarm of mice was pounding on him like crazy.
On the tenth day after starting to hunt mice, Ark discovered yet another problem.
Mice only gave 1 EXP. However, those points accumulated and reached 99%. Had the situation been different, he would be grinning from ear to ear, but Ark’s expression was grim.
There was no way to find the stats he hadn’t regained yet if he leveled up like this.
Ark was agonized about it, but he decided to pull the trigger.
It was a way in which he would die on purpose and cut his experience. Every time he died, his experience was cut by 30% and his stats by 6 points. And by killing mice he gained 3% experience per 1 stat point. Overall, by dying once and killing mice to restore his stats, he was able to earn an extra 4 points.
‘I won’t lose out on a single point like this!’
He already invested 10 days into regaining his stats. Thus, it was ridiculous for him to start from a state of disadvantage after all that work. No, he couldn’t accept that to happen. Ark steeled his resolve and let the mice hit him to death.
Through repetitive mice hunting, he was finally able to regain 70 points in ten days.
Even so, he wasn’t even a little happy.
‘Even if I regain all of my points, I’ll just end up where I started from. Damn it, just you wait and see! I will never forgive those bastards Andel and Bulma, who are caused all this suffering!’
Ark, who was grinding his teeth, started to show a mad glint in his eyes.
Thanks to his wish for vengeance against Andel and Bulma, he was able to to stick to the arduous work of restoring his stats.
Around that time, he was able to obtain new knowledge from the game.
|You have obtained a New Skill.Combat Skill (Beginner, Passive): Art of fighting utilising your fists and feet.
Fighting without equipping a weapon will not demonstrate your strength, but your evasion and accuracy will become higher. These additional benefits can be had even when using weapons.
Bare-handed striking power increased by 10%, accuracy up 3%, evasion up 3%.
‘Just like ‘Indomitable Will’, I see that if you do one thing for long enough, the skills you need will naturally be made.’
Though they called themselves information sites, they didn’t even have simple information like this. If anything, rather than proper information, there were baseless rumors that just caused confusion among the inexperienced players. Half of it was done as a joke, and the other half was meant to protect their advantageous positions. Those rumours fanned the distrust in Ark’s human form.
‘You never know, this could be a scheme unfolded by the other applicants. Those cheap bastards, it’s no good to believe the information sites too much anyways. No, you can’t even trust the other users. You have to find and learn everything by yourself.’
After the appearance of the skill, he was able to evade the mice’s attacks more when he fought with his bare hands, and it became much more comfortable to move his body. Since he gained the bonuses even when using weapons, it was an absolutely necessary skill.
Ark was becoming a famous specialty in Harun.
It was a given that people would be interested in the Ark who started killing only mice like crazy as soon as he entered the game. Furthermore, sometimes he would even let himself die on purpose. Because there was no way they could understand his actions, people started thinking that he had gone slightly bad in the head.
They must’ve been really curious, but none of them mustered up the courage to approach Ark to ask him. They just mumbled amongst themselves.
“Just what is he trying to do by killing mice which doesn’t give much experience or money?”
“There’s no way he’s trying to level up by catching mice, right?”
“Sure enough, if he’s killed many, he should have already gone up at least 3 levels.”
“But sometimes he dies, too.”
“It’s probably that he didn’t know better in the beginning and died and is doing this to regain his stats.”
Somebody’s words caught people’s attention.
“There’s a way to restore lost stats?”
There were still more people who didn’t know than those who did.
“Yes, in the case of high levels, it takes such a long time to level up so most people regain their stats by the time they level up. But at low levels, leveling up is fast so if you hunt outside, it’s easy to pass to the next level without regaining the stats. That’s why he’s only catching mice.”
“But that person has already been catching them for more than ten days. Just how many did he lose….”
“You’re right. Usually after that much one would just give up. He’s awfully determined.”
However, their talk did not reach Ark’s ears.
There was no reason to listen to other people because he had a definite goal. And now simply clearing the mice had another meaning other than regaining stats. The fighting senses he had familiarized his body with so far was invaluable if only for the experience.
“Ah ah, how long has it been since I received such warm help, now I can die without regrets.”
“Do not say such weak things. You have to live long and healthy.”
As Ark held the grandma’s hand tightly and said that, the information window appeared.
|You have learned a new skill.Nursing (Beginner, Active): You can give patients hope by restoring their vigor and courage.
You give the patient an increase of 20% in vigor and courage by using this.
Mana use: 10
When Ark had completed the mouse-catching quest hundreds of times. Hansen sometimes gave him other quests, but they weren’t impressive enough to make his ears perk up.
“You know granny Johansson, right? That granny might die soon. They say they need to find someone to take care of her for a day. If it’s you, I can trust and leave her to you.”
“The restaurant is crowded these days, so they need some helping hand. If it’s you, then I can entrust you with the job.”
For the most part the jobs were small like this. Honestly, he wanted to pass on them, but Hansen only gave quests one at a time.
Whether he liked it or not, in order to receive the mouse catching quests, he had to complete those job quests as well. However, it was not always a bad thing.
For one, these quests had better pay. The pay was as much as one silver.
The repair cost for the rusted sword and leather clothes was 30 copper, and wheat bread cost 5 copper.
To Ark, 1 silver was not a small sum.
On top of that, he learned skills as well.
Well, they were insignificant skills he may or may not have a use for, but there was nothing wrong about expanding his skills. He was at the level where he could catch mice while taking breaks.
Thanks to the quests, his intimacy with the NPCs of Harun rose a lot.
Whenever he crossed the streets, NPCs started conversations with him, and the price of wheat bread and repair fees dropped by an enormous amount.
“S-Sorry to trouble you, but could you buy 100 pieces of wheat bread from me?”
“I am looking to repair a weapon…”
In the case of long swords, the repair cost exceeded a silver piece.
But when Ark gave them his sword, he only paid 70 copper pieces to get it repaired.
In this valley of beginners, 30 copper was a big sum. So quick, observant users did business with the merchants through Ark. Of course, Ark didn’t offer this service for free.
The price was 20% of the trade. This was Ark’s proposal.
“Instead of one silver, you know that there is a 20 copper service fee?”
“Can’t I give it to you next time? I only have 10 coppers.”
“No. Come next time.”
“You’re too much. It’s only 10 coppers.”
“If it’s stingy, then sir, raise your reputation in Harun village. If you do about one hundred mice-catching quests, then the price should go down some. Well, your level won’t rise though.”
“I’lI definitely pay you back next time.”
“I only believe in money.”
“… Here’s the money.”
At the sight of the offered 10 coppers, whose existence had been denied again and again, Ark snorted.
For the second time, he decided not to trust users.
On the day when Ark first came into New World and acted thoughtlessly, two thousand other applicants started the game at around the same time.
They were all his rivals. There was no doubt that there had been competitors in Harun.
‘There’s a chance Andel and Bulma were candidates. No, I don’t know about Bulma, but Andel definitely is one.’
Andel had gotten Ark into this mess. If Andel had figured out that Ark was an applicant, then that was the definite choice.The decisive and easiest way to stand on top of all the competition is to push off your opponents.
And most applicants probably had the same thoughts.
‘I, too, will now do the same without hesitation if given the chance.’
In the end, the game was like reality, a struggle for existence. He’d paid a price to realise his ignorance, but it was a relief that he’d come to know it sooner than later.
Because he wouldn’t make the same mistake again.
He’d rather believe the NPCs than the competing users.
There wasn’t even a need to look at the situation.
After having saved money fiercely, somewhere along the line, he had saved up a large sum of 5 gold in his bag.
There wasn’t a user who had spent half a month in the village of Harun. It was the first time a user in Harun had saved 5 gold pieces. Because he’d defeated mice with constant perseverance, he had only 1 point left to restore. The problem was that his experience was at 99%…
‘Do I have to die one more time?’
Now, dying wasn’t even a big deal.
Ark had no intention of giving up on even one point.
In order to die yet another time, he went looking for Hansen to receive a quest
“I’ve completed the previous quest you gave me. Please give me another job.”
But Hansen’s response was strange.
Hansen looked over Ark with a peculiarly warm light in in his eyes and said the following words.
“There is no longer any work to give you in this town.”
Ark was shocked.
There were no commissions? Doesn’t this mean there wasn’t a way to restore the remaining stat?
Just like in the past, he was still level 1. But because of his excessive fighting experience, he was confident he could knock out a Wild Dog.
But one death meant experience was cut by 30%. Because Wild Dogs gave a lot of experience, 30% exp would fill up before he could earn 6 points. In the end, it meant that even if he died fighting the Wild Dogs, he’d still lose out on points.
‘I never thought these quests had a limit line.’
Even if you looked in the forums, there wasn’t anything about the limit of requests in beginning villages. Although he hadn’t counted, Ark had done over three hundred quests so far. Ark had also thought there were unlimited quests. To suddenly say there were no quests…
‘Do I have to end it here and start with 1 point missing?’
It was similar to having something stick out like a sore thumb. If there were a lot of points missing, then he would simply overlook and ignore it. However, giving up with a single point missing didn’t sit right with him.
At that moment, Hansen suddenly grasped Ark’s hand and opened his mouth.
“Until now, I have seen a great amount of people in this place, but there has never been anyone who gave as much as you have for the village. I am touched.”
‘Well, that’s pretty obvious. Are you nuts? Who would repeat these types of quests over 300 times?’
Ark was enraged but put a tight clamp on his anger and awkwardly tried to laugh.
“This place is like my home. If it’s something I can do, of course I have to help out. It hurts my heart that there isn’t anything else I can help with.”
His intimacy with Hansen was already at its maximum. Though there wasn’t anything that would come of it, there was no need to cut down the intimacy he’d raised.
This was something he’d felt so far while playing New World. The NPCs talked and acted like real people. It was rumoured, each and every one of the NPCs globally could think independently like real people.
It was a given that they worked in the day and slept at night. There were even times when they caught sick and didn’t open shop.
There were cases of them interacting with users and deciding the user needed to learn to speak more politely, which caused the intimacy to drop and their prices to rise.
“Don’t you think there might be some other kind of job? I want to help so badly I’m going crazy.”
“No, this is plenty now. You didn’t look over anyone with contempt and worked without rest for this frontier village. You even went as far as to have several near-death experiences. I know it all. You are already a hero in this village. And I, with the feeling that I have nurtured you, venture to call you this. You are a Mouse Hunter!”
Suddenly, as cheerful music flowed forth, the information window appeared.
|You have received Harun Village’s Elder Hansen’s title of Mouse Hunter.You are recognized as a specialist at dealing with mice.
When facing mice your attack power increases by 30%. When facing mice the chance of critical hits rises by 20%. The chance of evading mouse attacks rises by 20%.
*The received title increases all stats by a bonus of 1.
|You have learned a new skill.Spirit of the Cat (Beginner, Active): A cat’s roar which, in the eyes of mice, will cause them to tremble in terror.
30 second paralysis. Attack and defense (Fighting Morale) decreases by 20% (Only applies to mice).
Mana consumption: 80
In a moment Ark’s downcast face immediately brightened.
The ability to deal harder blows to mice made him happy, if nothing else. The important thing was the all stats +1! He had received an unimagined bonus. At the same time, he must have received a few experience points because the accumulated 99% experience had disappeared and gained a level.
Ark hastily opened his status window and confirmed it. Every stat was fixed at 16, and only his intelligence stayed at 15. In the corner, he saw the sparkling 10 points he’d won through leveling up.
‘This kind of windfall…!’
Ark was smiling from ear to ear.
Now, Ark was no longer behind a stat point, and he was 5 points ahead of other people. This was an enormously difficult achievement.
Until now, there were almost no known ways to raise stats besides leveling up.
There were rumours which said if you did some layered quests or were bestowed with a title, stats would increase. However, there was no detailed information available, but Ark, who was still level 1 and in the beginner town, had gained a bonus of 6 points.
‘Repeating the mice hunting quests 300 times paid off!’
He felt a tingly sense of delight. At the same time his hardships immediately melted away. Ark left the information window up for the moment and wondered.
He was worried about where to distribute the newly attained stats. Because he didn’t yet know what his profession was going to be, he had to be careful with the distribution. In the end, Ark invested all the points in agility, as he’d previously planned.
Agility was, for the most part, a stat most professions needed. As it was a good thing that beginners invest all their points in agility, Ark came to a conclusion.
‘There, now I should be able to leisurely start hunting Wild Dogs.’
Ark was just about to turn his body away, while wearing a satisfied smile.
“But hey, don’t you perhaps have any thoughts of trying a new job?”
“What? Didn’t you say there wasn’t any work?”
“No, well, it’s not village work, but there’s a job that bothers me a little…”
Ark turned around with an interested expression.
Until now, he hadn’t heard about anyone receiving a quest from Hansen besides the village ones. Nonetheless, after completing over three hundred mice assassination quests, Ark had also received only village quests. However, for the first time, he had received a different commission from Hansen.
‘Is it a quest available only after you’ve received the Mouse Hunter title?’
So to speak, it was the first. It was a given he was interested. Having already received a title and bonus stats, he was so happy he could hardly contain it. Ark quickly replied to Hansen.
“If it’s Grandpa’s request, I’ll do any work no matter what it is.”
“Thank you. But to be honest, even I can’t make a judgement on what this opportunity is. I’m not sure how dangerous it will be either. This was the reason why I couldn’t bring it up until now. Anyway, if you are willing to do it, look for the bar owner, Kraydon, and ask for the details.”
|The Bar Owner Kraydon’s WorriesThe bar owner Kraydon has been agonizing over a new worry for several days.
Meet him and listen to his situation.
“I will go look for him right away.”
Ark bowed and set off for the bar.
“Oh, Ark. As expected, it’s you who came.”
Kraydon greeted him with a welcoming voice.
Ark was probably the first user he’d called by name.
“Yes. Hi, how are you? So, I heard there’s some kind of problem?”
“Indeed. No, no there isn’t. To be honest, it’s not enough to call it a problem… Over the past few days I’ve been hearing some strange talk.”
“As you know, mice have continued to appear no matter how many you’ve killed recently. You should know how much I suffered because of that, right?”
‘I’m the one who suffered. While receiving just 10 pieces of bread.’
Ark had a fit of anger, but on the surface he laughed naively and nodded his head.
“I know. But isn’t it okay these days?”
“It’s a little quieter. However, only a few days ago, I heard some strange talk from some guests. You know the Harilal mountain in this area, right? While crossing that mountain, they discovered a strange cave. Do you know what they said was inside the cave? The vile mice. They said a really unbelievable number of mice were living there.”
“Then has that swarm of mice been coming to the village from that cave?”
“There’s a high possibility that’s the case. But if tourists’ words were true, we should take action.”
Kraydon scratched his beard and gave Ark a look.
It was a look that hoped Ark would look into the details.
“Is it fine if I investigate that cave?”
“That’s right. If it’s the one who received the title of Mouse Hunter, I can entrust it to you.”
This guy can spread rumours throughout town quickly.
“Ok, I’ll take a look at once.”
Ark accepted without much thought. Then, his request window changed to ‘Unknown Cave Exploration.’ The difficulty level rose from ‘—’ to ‘G’ but he didn’t pay much attention to it. In the information he’d looked up, G difficulty quests were about the level of catching Wild Dogs.
“I’m thankful. Since I’ve found out the approximate area, I’ll mark it on your map.”
After Kraydon had finished what he was saying, the map window spread out.
The enormously large map was mostly black, and only the areas surrounding Harun were lit up. In the inner part of the Harilal mountain chain surrounding the village, there was a blinking light. As expected, it was an area that he’d never seen even once in the information sites.
So to speak, it was a hidden dungeon!
It was common knowledge that dungeons were treasure houses for items.
Although because it was a G difficulty quest in a beginning village he could not hope for an impressive item, for Ark who was equipping a rusted sword, even a single broken shield would be a big treasure.
Above all, discovering a dungeon no one else knew about held an impressive sense of achievement.
Ark then left the bar in a hurry to prepare for his journey.
‘I guess I should organize these now.’
There were a lot of odds and ends filling up his bag.
The 3 leathers and meat he’d gained while catching wolves and the 10 wheat breads he’d gained each time he completed one of three hundred mice-killing quests.
At first, he had eaten them as he’d received them, but after he started killing mice with ease the wheat breads accumulated. It was to the point that he would eat 1~2 of them when his satiety dropped all the way to the bottom.
And so after a while he had accumulated over 1000 wheat breads.
Even though they were stored by 100 pieces each, there wasn’t any room for other items.
‘I’ll leave 100 pieces securely in my bag and let’s sell the rest.’
Ark went to the General Merchandise store and sold his wheat bread. Originally the wheat bread was a product that couldn’t be sold once it was bought.
But thanks to his maximum intimacy, there was no impossibility for Ark. Each wheat bread was worth 1 copper piece.
Of course, if he’d sold them to users, he’d receive 2 copper pieces, but he couldn’t not afford to waste time for just a copper piece difference. For Ark, who only had a limited time to play the game, time was of the essence.
Selling 2000 wheat breads yielded 20 silvers.
Ark used that money to repair his equipment and left for the Harilal mountains.