– Level: 20
– Class: Magician
– Title: 5
– Stats: Strength (116) / Stamina (28) / Intelligence (70) / Magic Power (71)
With the death of the Mud Troll, Hyrkan leveled up. After turning off the camera feature, he immediately checked his stats using his watch. Although he should have felt happy watching the numbers richer than before, his face didn’t say so.
Hyrkan didn’t stare at his stats for too long. He turned it off soon after and turned to the Skeleton Warriors that had just finished battling. The Skeleton Warriors were walking around, picking up pieces of their body that had fallen on the ground during a fight, and fitting them inside their bodies. Hyrkan gestured his finger toward himself, the ‘COME HERE!’ type of gesture.
However, the Skeleton Warriors did not react to this gesture. Hyrkan gestured again, this time pointing to the ground near his feet. The Skeleton Warriors stared at Hyrkan.
In the end, Hyrkan raised his voice.
“COME HERE! AROUND ME, NOW!”
Only then did the Skeleton Warriors quickly go near Hyrkan. As soon as they gathered, Hyrkan squatted down and drew five dots on the dirt.
“This is the Mud Troll we just killed. That’s you, that’s you, that’s you, and that’s me.”
Then, Hyrkan began to draw a line using the dots as a reference.
“Look here. If you approach the enemy from the back like this, obviously he’s going to react and turn around. Then what should the left and right flanks do? Hm? If the enemy turns to the right, the one on the left can attack; if the enemy turns to the left, the one on the right can attack. Move with that in mind!”
Hyrkan explained incessantly like a commander briefing the soldiers on his strategy.
The explanation didn’t end there. Hyrkan jumped up from the ground, then stretched his hands out towards one skeleton’s head.
The Skeleton Warrior quickly dodged the attack. Because of Hyrkan’s training, they were always prepared to dodge attacks of all kinds.
Of course, now wasn’t one of those training.
“Oh, you dodged? Fine, that’s good. But why did you jump to dodge before? Do you have wings? Can you turn mid-air? You can’t, so why jump? Are you a frog?”
At Hyrkan’s words, the Skeleton Warriors still stared blankly at Hyrkan.
In truth, what Hyrkan was doing now was a waste of time. The Skeleton Warriors couldn’t understand strategies like this. Their Combat AI allowed them to gain experience only through battles, not through speech. Hyrkan knew this as well.
The reason he was doing so knowing this was as a form of self-reflection. He was explaining to himself. What went wrong and what needed work. Such self-reflections of his were rather long. Rambling on about this and that, Hyrkan graded his battle.
‘There’s just so much to fix. I wouldn’t even give it a 60 out of a 100.’
60 out of 100.
That was all Hyrkan could give to the battle just now.
Of course, Hyrkan wasn’t discouraged from this. He left his self-reflections as self-reflections and moved on.
‘At least, I can praise myself for hitting level 20 12 hours earlier than I thought.’
He had reached level 20, his top priority goal. Plus, he finished sooner than he expected!
He had created the result.
‘With this, the advertisement’s taken care of.’
No one would doubt someone who gave results.
At the very least, people would still be judging Hyrkan’s skill. During this pending status time, Hyrkan planned to control his pace.
Although it was important to focus on leveling up, there were many more harvests to be had in Warlord.
‘Alright, let’s head to Bangtz Castle.’
Now was the time to harvest them.
When the high walls of Bangtz Castle entered his vision…
Hyrkan changed his items.
His ugly leather clothes and unfashionable magician’s hat turned to the typical fashion of the Subjugation Association’s default clothing.
‘The shit I do because of this…’
In truth, people rarely changed their item slots just for the sake of fashion. The only exception were guild uniforms. In the first place, Slot Change had a cooldown time, and players were limited to just 3. As such, it was exceedingly inefficient to fill up one slot just for fashion.
Besides, Hyrkan was someone who had little to do with fashion. He would easily believe the word started with P.
However, not even Hyrkan would dare to wear such leather fashion in a place full of people. He may have held it in if it was just the leather pants, but he couldn’t possibly do so with both his leather top and magician’s hat. Even Hyrkan found himself disgusting.
‘Thank god I have a hahoe mask covering my face. Otherwise… uhew.’
In reality, his fashion helped his views and comments grow. Although most comments made fun of his ridiculous outfit, any comment was a positive sign for him.
After switching his clothes, Hyrkan walked past Bangtz Castle’s wide, open gate.
Immediately after he stepped past the castle gate, a crowd of guild recruiters surrounded Hyrkan.
“Hey, why not join our guild instead of being alone? We provide you with items and hunting support.”
“I’m surprised you made it this far in that. You won’t be so lucky next time, so why not join our guild? You’re going to die if you walk around alone.”
“You have to pay to get into our guild, but it’s well worth with the items we’ll provide you with. Come to our guild!”
“No, come to mine!”
It was incredibly annoying. Once Hyrkan snapped his hand out of one, another grabbed his wrist and asked him to join his guild.
Although most players received similar treatment, it was much more intense for Hyrkan.
‘What, do I have ‘pushover’ written on my face? Why does this always happen to me?’
Hyrkan was used to such treatment, but it always left him with an unpleasant feeling.
In VR games, looks and physique were unimportant. Being treated so poorly with that being the case… in a way, it was truly a talent.
In any case, by the time Hyrkan arrived at the Magician Class Tower, his once happy expression had turned sour.
‘If only it were the old me… they would all be in the grave by now.’
Like chewing gum, Hyrkan kept complaining to himself. The reason he came to the Class Tower was evident.
In Warlord, players received a free Normal-rank skill every 10 levels. In Hyrkan’s case, he received the Skeleton Fragment at level 1 and Demon Curse at level 10. It was the standard necromancer skill tree. Of course, the skill he needed to get at level 20 was decided as well.
It was a level 20 skill that required the Skeleton Fragment skill of at least E rank to learn. It was an all-purpose skill that could be used on both himself and his Skeleton Warriors.
Most importantly, it was a necessary skill to learn for his future. Skeleton Fragment at level 1, Bone Armor at level 20, and Skeleton Magician at level 30. Only after those skills became a certain rank could Golem Summoning be learned at level 40.
‘I’ll have to buy curse magic through skill books…’
As such, Hyrkan could only obtain curse magic trough skill books.
However, curse magic was widespread to the point a separate class of curse magicians existed. As such, skill books were immensely costly.
‘Tsk. Money is the best alright.’
Thanks to his recent investments, Hyrkan had to count his food cost in 100 won units. Buying skill books were simply impossible for Hyrkan.
Hyrkan shook his head.
[You obtained the Bone Armor skill.]
After getting Bone Armor, Hyrkan immediately headed to Bangtz Castle’s Subjugation Association Branch.
When he arrived, guild recruiters began to irritate Hyrkan as if it was the most natural thing to do.
This time, however, Hyrkan’s face remained unchanged. He maintained his serious expression until he stepped inside the Subjugation Association Branch.
‘The once in a lifetime opportunity is here.’
This matter was much more important than the free skill.
‘I have to form a relationship with Ahimbree.’
It was important to obtain a skill book from Ahimbree, but Hyrkan didn’t want to end their relationship there. He wanted to receive further quests from Ahimbree.
Warlord’s NPCs were passive. Before players asked them directly, NPCs would rarely seek out players for help. If Hyrkan wanted something from Ahimbree, he had to understand what Ahimbree wanted and dig into it. He had to understand the meaning of each and every word he spoke.
It was something Hyrkan wasn’t confident about. Although Hyrkan was one hell of a fighter, he was less than average in the art of conversation. If Warlord were a game like reality and NPCs were shrewd like humans, Hyrkan would have a huge problem on his hands.
After resolving himself, Hyrkan waited for his turn at the Subjugation Association’s counter.
“Would anyone like to join a level 25 Rare quest?”
“We’re looking for a magician to quest with!”
As always, the Subjugation Association had a market-like atmosphere. When his turn came in this disorderly place, Hyrkan spoke to the NPC at the counter.
“I came here on Sir Botan’s recommendation. He told me to show you this letter.”
The NPC smiled in response.
“Please go up to the 7th floor.”
The situation progressed in a breeze. As soon as Hyrkan was told to do so, he headed to the staircase to head to the 7th floor. In front of the staircase leading up were NPCs standing guard. Hyrkan showed them Hotan’s recommendation letter, and they immediately made way.
Then, when Hyrkan was about to head up.
“Huh? Why are you blocking me?”
“We need an authentication.”
“Authentication? Didn’t he just pass by? What authentication?”
“That man is my friend. We’re together.”
It became loud where Hyrkan passed by. The few players that were tailing Hyrkan were stopped by the NPCs.
As soon as Hyrkan heard their voices, he knit his brows.
‘There are hyenas no matter where you go.’
It wasn’t a particularly nice sound. If other players seemed to be doing something special, these hyena-like players tailed them and tried to steal it from them. It went without saying that their sound wasn’t pleasant to anyone.
When their plans went awry, these people didn’t hesitate to PK. They were sensitive to the smell of profit, and they didn’t hesitate to turn to violence and ill-mannered play to get their ways.
‘Guys like those are the most dangerous.’
Leaving behind the Hyenas’ cries, Hyrkan headed up to the 7th floor. A hallway, filled with several doors, appeared in front of him. As he passed by each door, Hyrkan read the words written on the door.
Once he found the word he was looking for, he stopped and knocked on the door.
Knock, knock, screech!
As soon as Hyrkan knocked, the door opened, and a 360 square feet office met his gaze.
‘What a mess.’
In what couldn’t be called a large office, numerous books and documents were littered around the floor. Like Hyrkan described, the room was a total mess, going past the point of just being cramped.
To exaggerate a little, there was only enough space for a single person to pass through, and at the end of that space was a desk and a bearded man seemingly in his mid-40s. The man was staring at Hyrkan, looking past the glasses sitting on the bridge of his nose.
Hyrkan immediately bent down on his waist and introduced himself.
“My name is Hyrkan.”
‘I can’t believe I’m meeting THE Ahimbree.’
He was someone Hyrkan had only seen in videos. That was how hard it was to see him.
It wasn’t possible to film NPCs in private spaces like the room Hyrkan was currently in. As such, only when Ahimbree made a public appearance could players have the chance to see his face. However, he was an incredible expert incomparable to ordinary players. He rarely came out to the public. Simply put, if he ever came out, he would solve whatever problem he needed to by himself. There was nothing for players to do.
“I heard you’re here on Hotan’s recommendation.”
When Hyrkan finished his greeting and stood back up, the conversation began.
Hyrkan walked up to him and handed him the recommendation letter. After reading the letter, Ahimbree stored it in his desk drawer.
“Looks like you’re quite skilled. I know Hotan’s standards are rather high.”
“He only favored me a little.”
“Just because Hotan favored you, there’s no reason for me to do the same, don’t you agree?”
As soon as Ahimbree asked,
Hyrkan nodded his head and smoothly continued the conversation.
“If you just give me a chance, I will prove to you my skill and potential.”
Hyrkan spoke very straightforwardly. If he acted this way in the real world, he would receive suspicious glares first and foremost.
However, to Warlord’s NPCs, such to-the-point straightforwardness worked. Otherwise, one’s data would remain in the NPC’s database for a few hours, then get erased. That’s how difficult it was to establish a relationship with NPCs. Having played Warlord for so long, Hyrkan knew this better than anybody else.
Of course, Hyrkan’s actions worked.
As he stared at Hyrkan, Ahimbree made a devilish smile, one clear enough to be seen through his shaggy beard.
“My standards are incomparably higher compared to Hotan’s.”
“If I cannot meet your expectations, I can only blame myself.”
“The smell of a black magician is heavy on you.”
With that, Ahimbree knocked on his desk two times. Then, a book rose up from the pile of books and flew towards Hyrkan like a butterfly. Hyrkan grabbed the book and examined its cover.
Hyrkan tilted his head.
He had never heard of the name before. It wasn’t anywhere in the list of skills provided by Helgen.
However, Hyrkan didn’t have too much time to ponder.
“That is a present from Hotan. That will be the end of that.”
[The quest, ‘Ahimbree’s Teachings’, has been completed.]
“Now begins my talk. I am only looking for one type of people right now, and that is someone to fight against the Power of Corruption.”
[The quest, ‘Nested Egg’, begins.]
The successive sound of alerts caused Hyrkan to clench his fist inside his mind.
‘This is what I love about Warlord. It doesn’t throw any underhanded tricks at you.”
However, Hyrkan’s happiness did not last long.
“You only have one chance. If you can’t pass this test, it will be difficult for you to ever meet me again. By the way, of the ones who have come to see me on Hotan’s recommendations, only 19 have passed my test.”
Ahimbree’s statement meant 19 others had passed the test ahead of him. Also, although 19 had passed his test, at least twice that number should have tried for the test.
There was no way Hyrkan wouldn’t know what this meant.
‘Looks like I’ll be stepping on a tail.’