༺ Mission Board (2) ༻
There were the so-called demi-humans in this world.
The ones affected by the molecules of demons were referred to as demonic beasts, demonic spirits and demi-humans depending on who they originally were.
An example was the demonic spirit, Sebancia Duke.
He was someone who awakened as a ‘demi-human’ after becoming a vampire. After that, he lost his physical body, then sealed himself and became a demonic spirit.
Did that mean he was an enemy of humanity? Was he a vengeful spirit that endlessly scattered killing intent?
That was the same for demi-humans. Although people might awaken as demi-humans, some still maintained their nature as a human while some lost their rationality.
And the Heavenly Yaksha, Hua Ran… was a time bomb that could go either way.
Her cynical expression and gaze appeared brutal with not a hint of tenderness. The inside of her hair had turned crimson red like the symbolic color of demons, and the nun clothes covering her body were more like restraints than religious clothing.
“Hi I’m Korin Lork. We saw each other during the entrance ceremony, didn’t we?”
She didn’t say anything in response and instead silently gazed at me with the eyes of a beast.
In fact, her showing some type of reaction was a positive sign, because that meant the ‘seal’ was still working properly.
“You merged into one.”
Did she see through me?
A living corpse with two souls: the soul of a human and the soul of a demon. That paradoxical existence was what Hua Ran was as a living Jiangshi.
Those in the perilous middle grounds of the boundaries of life and death had the power to see the color of souls. It wasn’t strange for her to perceive the abnormality of ‘Korin Lork’ and the combination of my two souls.
“How does it feel to crush and swallow the original soul?”
Well, I wasn’t expecting to get condemned like this but to be fair, this was something only Hua Ran would ask.
“You probably know better than I do, but this is not something we can solve with ease. It just naturally happens over time.”
“What can we even do? We just have to focus on the present.”
I used to contemplate this topic quite a lot in the previous iteration.
Were ‘Korin Lork’ and ‘I’ different people?
What if the memories of Korin Lork were my actual memories? But if so, then who was the person that went through a Boys Middle School, a Boys High School, a Physical Education College and the Military on Earth?
But in the end, it was all meaningless.
The previous souls of both myself and Park Sihu did not appear till the very end, even until my death.
However, it was a different issue for Hua Ran, because the ‘true original soul’ was actually still inside her body.
She opened her mouth with a scowl.
“You are not the owner of your body. You’re just a thief and a robber. You have no right to claim that body.”
Who was she saying those words to? Even though it sounded like a vicious criticism, I knew the agony and trouble this 3-year-old child was going through.
Her answer to that agony would be what decides the turning point.
“Back in my hometown, we had someone who turned into a green giant when he got angry.”
“……What are you talking about?”
“He’s called Mr. Bruce. Normally he is a smart person but when he turns into an angry green giant, he breaks everything around him. They hated each other.”
“Isn’t that bad?”
“No, that was good instead. The two of them excelled at different things. So I was disappointed when he became a smart green man later on. He was neither this nor that.”
Why did you have to do that, Russo Brothers!
“Anyway, what I noticed from that person’s story is that it’s not important who the original one is. The two souls are different after being formed, and they each have their individual personality.”
This was the example I wanted her to follow.
“Like Mr. Bruce and the green boss, I think it’s possible for two souls to coexist in one body. Because being born is never a sin.”
“…There are things in this world that shouldn’t have been born.”
Leaving those words behind, Hua Ran flicked her head and turned away from me which was unfortunate, because that wasn’t the reaction I wanted to get from her. In the previous iteration, I didn’t have many interactions with Hua Ran. It was mostly Park Sihu who talked to her.
Although Hua Ran was supposed to show interest in the player, Hua Ran was mysteriously unconcerned about him. It might have been because of that but Park Sihu desperately wanted to kill her but… he failed.
It was because he had already killed Alicia Arden – Hua Ran’s greatest counter.
Things would get extremely easy after pulling her into the party. Her ‘Unbreakable Vajra Body’ and her ability to use demonic aura easily placed her among the top strongest characters of ❰Heroic Legends of Arhan❱.
One thing to be concerned about was her chains and the talismans being removed and her seal being broken. At this current point in time, it was impossible to physically stop her if she were to go into that state.
It was a bad call to get greedy for an uncontrollable bomb.
“See you later.”
I walked away after giving her a normal farewell, not knowing that her eyes were still fixed on my back.
The next day, I left the dormitory before the birds even marked the start of a weekend with their songs.
I walked towards the Mission Board located at the southern regions of the Academy.
In the early stages of ❰Heroic Legends of Arhan❱, there were two things which the player had to do to progress the main story line. The first was lessons, and the second was the Mission Board.
A variety of missions existed on the board in the form of papers, which students of the guardian academy were able to undertake at any time. It ranged from small missions like those requested by citizens of the city to large ones like the official missions given by the Guardian Alliance.
The player had to receive missions from here to gain EXP points and reputation to meet the level requirements of the main quest. But of course, there was no need to do these in the previous iteration because it was no longer a game.
Even though it was still very early, I saw another student looking at the Mission Board. She was wearing a specially designed martial uniform and the blade hanging on her waist was a hidden piece that was incomparably more valuable than my mass-manufactured spear.
“Uht? H, hello. Nice to meet you.”
She greeted me with a deep bow.
“We’re in the same year so you can be more casual.”
“No no. No thanks. I prefer this.”
Was she always such a polite character? I didn’t get to see her in the previous iteration because that damned Park killed her in the blink of an eye, and my memories about the game were vague considering how it was already 3 years ago.
“Are you taking a mission already? It’s the first weekend though. You’re in Grade 2 so you don’t need money or merits, do you?”
“Uhh… I, I need money.”
What was this about?
“There is actually a non-interference principle in our household. We have to earn living expenses for ourselves at least…”
“Don’t you get support funds from the Academy?”
Alicia Arden was someone who hit Grade 2 straight away without even having to go through the grading test. Considering how the living support funds increased exponentially depending on the Grades, the amount she received per month should be around the same as the amount I received per year.
“I don’t get any funds…”
“My parents are in the top 10 percentile of wealth…”
The support funds were formed by the donations of nearby kingdoms and the Kingdom of El Rath, which provided Merkarva Academy with the land. They were giving out living funds without even taking in any tuition fees, so they did not give any financial support to the wealthy households.
It was similar to how rich people didn’t get any national scholarships in Korea.
“If you’re looking for some immediate cash… I recommend this patrol mission. All you have to do is go around the outskirts of the city. You don’t have to do much but the pay is good because of the risk, and if you come across a monster, you get an extra bonus.”
“Wow~ 20 silver coins a day! My month’s worth of allowance!”
Alicia took off the mission paper from the board with a bright look on her face.
A daughter of a rich family getting 20 silver coins a month…
“It seems they take up to 3 people! Would you like to join?”
“No. I have something else to do.”
It was a precious weekend. I had to complete as many of the necessary missions as possible to increase my stats.
I scanned across the Mission Board and found the one I wanted.
“Uhh… ‘Please find Navi’?”
“It’s about finding a missing cat.”
“Hmm… the reward is 40 silver coins, but isn’t it too unpredictable?”
It was a mission with a difficult rank of Grade 5 that was about finding a missing cat. There were 40 silver coins on the line which was higher than Alicia’s, but there was no way finding a cat who had been missing for 3 days would be an easy task.
“It’s alright. I’m very good at finding missing animals.”
“Hmm… You gave me an amazing piece of information so I would love to help, but I’m really short of money so…”
“Ah~ You don’t need to worry about it.”
Leaving Alicia behind, I walked past the main entrance of the Academy as the security guard, Mr. Will spoke to me.
“A mission already? What a diligent young man.”
“Thank you, Mr. Will.”
“Nn? How did you know my…”
“You have a name badge right there.”
“Aha I see~. Good luck on your mission, Student Korin.”
Walking past Mr. Will, I headed to the client’s house.
“Knight Uncle. Please find Navi! Please!”
“…It’s oppa – oppa. Ms. Anna? You can call me Knight-oppa.”
“Knight Uncle! Good luck!!”
“Hey Anna! I’m sorry Mr. Knight, and thank you. Please have this as a snack.”
“A sandwich~! Thank you very much.”
Although I heard a few things about Navi from the client, Anna, including Navi’s favorite streets, that was just an act of formality.
I already knew where Navi was.
The reason I picked this mission was because of my Precept.
The result of this quest leads Anna to misfortune. It was a seemingly trivial misfortune compared to the ones of the main scenario, but it would be a shocking event for a child that was depressing enough to make her cry for 3 days and 3 nights straight.
This was the chance to find out how exactly my Precept worked.
The sewers which were barely ever visited by the maintainers of the city were filled with a disgusting odor and a dirty stream of water.
“Navi~ Here’s some sausage for you~”
The side quest, ｢Please find Navi｣ was a simple mission given to rookie knights and mages. It appeared in the game as well, and was one with a fair bit of story.
‘It is possible to find the cat, but the problem is that it will already be dead by then.’
According to the original story, 2 days after asking around the favorite streets of Navi, the player would finally discover that Navi had entered the sewers.
“Navi~ Hurry up and come outside!”
The only things you could find in the game were cat bones with everything else digested and a name badge… It was quite a horrible story.
Why the hell was the quest so brutal even though the client was such a cute child? It was like a savage fairy tale.
In any case, in the game, it was a quest that only left the player feeling uncomfortable due to the phrase that the dung including the bones were still warm, which meant that the cat was eaten recently but…
It seemed that the cat really did adore the smell of vienna sausages. It was remarkable how it managed to smell this in this damn sewer.
“Navi. Come here~”
Even though it was too dark to see properly, I could see the dirty furs of the cat as well as a necklace and a name badge… It was perfect.
“Navi. I won’t hurt you. Come on~. Here is your favorite sausage~”
I didn’t know how to deal with cats, because I used to have a cat allergy back on Earth.
Did it sense my killing intent? Navi turned away from the sausage and dashed into the sewers.
“Where are you running! You damn little cat!!”
I knew it! I quickly dashed after it.
However, it was too dark to see what was a meter ahead in the sewers and the only things I could feel were the disgusting odor of the water and a cold gust of wind.
It was hard for human eyes to get used to the darkness like that of beasts, but there was a way around it
In an instant, I etched the rune letter onto my skin. It led to a momentary improvement of vision – to be exact, it was something that slightly helped with night vision.
But that was more than enough to let me catch a running cat in the sewers.
“You are nothing but a damn beast.”
I was still a superhuman even though I was at the bottom. Catching Navi was nothing difficult.
I snatched Navi into my arms. It gave a somewhat menacing growl but soon turned calm after having sausage.
“There will be no misfortune for Little Anna now.”
It was an easy success – that was what I was thinking but the cat was in a strange state. Navi was shivering, but coldness didn’t seem to be the reason.
The water rippled. It was rather strange for it to be considered a current, and my hands quickly reacted.
I pierced the spear into the water all the way to the ground with one arm, and felt something twitch before turning loose. Raising the spear, I found a mysterious humanoid figure with a hole in the head.
There was an immensely ill-tempered look on the face of the humanoid monster, and it was thin yet had a big bulge in its stomach.
It wasn’t too big of a surprise because water demons tended to be found quite often in sewers. Armed guards cleaned up the sewers regularly and they were not that big of a threat.
‘The issue is that they travel together to make up for their weakness.’
They were probably the ones that had eaten Navi the cat. Looking back at how things transpired when it was a game, there were also water demons in the fields near the city, so it wasn’t strange for them to be here.
Two more water demons crawled out of the water. They were actually quite clever in the real world.
“Making sound on purpose to let another one attack, huh.”
After getting rid of the water demon that was stuck on the spear, I thrusted the spear behind my back towards the ceiling.
There was no need to even turn around because the water demon that was crawling up the walls of the sewers for an ambush from behind had died immediately after a stab to the heart.
“I mastered how to fight you guys at the Roteon River already.”
Even though that damned Park broke the dam and wiped out most of the monsters alongside the villagers, it was still true that I had fought them a lot.
I could see the water demon was trying to use its brain, but it was just a low graded monster and it was obvious what its best plan could be.
Kicking the water demon that was trying to crawl up, I stabbed at the head of the other one that tried to grab onto my ankle. The fallen water demon tried to stand back up but I thrusted the spear into its mouth and stabbed it deeper into the water.
– Uhpupu! Uhpp!
“Funny how water demons can’t even breathe underwater.”
Their skins turned dry unless they were in humid and wet areas, and that was the only reason they lived near sources of water. The remaining water demon struggled but soon turned silent.
Navi seemed frightened after seeing how powerless the water demons were even though they were the predators in its eyes.
“I saved you from becoming dung, you know that.”
After safely sending Navi back to Miss Anna, a message soon appeared on the system window.
※ Difficulty: E
※ Reward: Even distribution of 5 points
“Knight Uncle! Thank you for finding Navi!”
“Girl, it’s oppa. Korin-oppa. Can you call me Korin-oppa?”
My mind was soon to be 30 but my body was that of a teenager, so I wasn’t asking for much was I?
“Korin Uncle, would you like to have a meal with us? Mom’s an amazing cook!”
It seemed that the smile of a wretched girl who would most certainly grow up to be a beauty was about 5 points.
“This is not it!”
Mr. Yoon, who was running a small fried chicken store in Merkarva City, was spending another day enthusiastically coming up with a new menu.
The store was smaller than 10 square meters. Even though most of his sales were at night, the reason why Mr. Yoon was here so early in the morning was because he had been searching for the right sauce to go with fried chicken for over 6 months.
“This is not it either!”
The sauce with over ten ingredients including garlic, carrot and chili peppers that he brought from his hometown were astonishingly good by itself, but when he actually fried it together with deep-fried chicken, it made the crust soggy in an instant.
“Ugh… what’s the problem?”
His goal was to make chicken that was delicious even when it turned cold. That became his stubborn ambition which he had been delving into for the past 6 months.
Mr. Yoon changed the ratio one more time, and was just about ready to cook it again with chili powder and crushed garlic.
“That’s not it.”
A boy appeared after pushing the door wide open.
“Corn syrup. Put corn syrup in.”
He was like a passing scholar.
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