Chapter 3 : The Power of Alcohol
The Geomchis were seriously considering changing their names.
"We've been wandering here for a month already."
"Yeah, let us be known as 'The Lost'1 now. What do you think?"
Clueless beginners who have never before played videogames, they thought that they have already adapted to Royal Road. But they were mistaken.
Geomchis were more or less able to navigate familiar areas, but in the lands to the south of the Rosenheim Kingdom there immediately got lost and were wandering in search of a road. It was then when they heard news of Weeds return to the fortress Serabourg.
Master's eyes shone coldly.
"Finally I will meet the disciple in-game."
"Master, we also want to see Weed very much!"
All the students were of the same mind.
"Come on, let's go see him!"
The Geomchis then left for their long journey back to Seraboug's Palace.
"I think it's this way. Master!"
"We'll get there faster if we go this way."
"Huh? We passed this place earlier..."
Although the Geomchis started their way back to the moment Weed returned to Serabourg, it took them weeks of wandering to finally reach the capital of Rosenheim.
The first thing they saw upon arrival, where multiple players working in sweat.
Geomchi49 looked at them and laughed.
"That's not the way to apply strength."
Geomchi116 Also started laughing.
"To swing a pick-axe like that... That's science. Science!"
"They are so tired that they wouldn't even be able to hammer a nail properly."
"We must help them"
Geomchis were completely unaware of the rewards! They just took off their clothes, grabbed picks and started mining stones.
The average level of players who were busy at the construction was higher than that of Geomchis, and many had higher strength, agility and other stats than them. But that didn't matter to Geomchis as they wasted no time and began working.
"To swing a pick, you need not strength but skill."
"Let's show those damn rookies how it's done."
"Yeah. Leave it to us."
* * *
Weed, Pale, Surka, Irene, Romuna and recently joined Maylon were resting.
It was the 2nd time after Lavias that they got together, the last time they weren't able to talk much as Weed was dragged away by the soldiers to meet with the King.
The construction of the pyramid got on track, so they finally found the time to get together and talk.
Like the last time, Weed was asked to cook something tasty.
So now he was cooking kimchijeon with lemonade.
At first one would think that they would not fit each other, but Pale, Surka and others were eating so fast that the food Weed was making was disappearing instantly.
Seeing his friends have such an appetite, he could not help but smile.
"10 servings please!" Maylon exclaimed and raised her hands with spread fingers in indication.
Pale and Surka looked back at her in surprise, and Maylon replied with a smile.
"After all, no matter how much you eat in Royal Road, you won't get fat. So i'll eat as much as i can. It's hard to watch your weight. But you you are really full of surprises, Weed. Not only you are a skilled sculptor, but also a good cook. You'll be popular with girls."
"You bet, Weed is an amazing cook. He already cooked many tasty things for us, Maylon."
Pale and Maylon's cooing was giving them goosebumps.
'Didn't know they're like that...'
The sugary-sweet voice of Pale... and the responding murmur of Maylon. That's a really sweet couple of cockroaches.
"I'm gonna be sick."
"And they're that way all the time."
Friends finished kimchijeon2, and got up. They rested well and ate delicious food, but they couldn't spend more time idling, it was time to do some work at the construction of the pyramid or to hunt monsters.
Recently the four friends, were often sneaking of the construction site to use the benefits of the Lion sculpture and to hunt nearby goblins. Because of that they had to work real hard to keep up with other players.
That made up for a tight schedule, but everyone in the group got almost five levels, and even Irene reached level 225 now. Pale, Surka and Romuna were now at level 232, just 20 levels behind Weed.
Slowly stretching Pale muttered with irony.
"For the last couple of days I had a nosebleed five times."
"Seven for me" Surka replied.
"But you do not feel dizzy at least," Irene said, and after some thought added
"The nose i just keep plugged. And in the subway, all the people around me look like goblins... I get confused if I'm in the game or reality."
Weed and others looked at Irene, dumbfounded.
'Good thing she is a priest.'
Surka was a monk so were she to get confused like that, she might attack people with her fists. Thankfully, Irene wasn't a fighter, she was only supporting other players in the party with holy spells.
The past few day were difficult for friends, so in the real world, they were all greatly fatigued and in a state of disarray.
There weren't many people like Weed who are able to sleep for 4 hours a day and play Royal Road the rest of the time. Weed didn't feel any consequences of playing the game so much.
'Playing Royal Road is a hundred times better than, say, spend entire year working in a dusty cramped room, sewing doll's eyes or dyeing clothes.'
Weed was being shaken just by memories of that time. A tiny, dusty to the point that it was hard to breath room, and the dyes used were so dangerous that after working with it for a while red spots appeared on the skin.
Back then he had to quit working and go through a long, expensive treatment at a nearby hospital. It was then, when Weed realized that no matter what, you should always keep your body healthy.
Though most of his time was dedicated to Royal Road, in the gaps he was always doing exercises.
And to sleep well he was chanting in his head before going to sleep:
'I can sleep well.'
'I will sleep well.'
'I'll sleep for 4 hours and wake up rested.'
'I'll have beautiful dreams.'
To an outsider it would seem like a meaningless chatter, but to Lee Hyun these phrases have become some sort of a prayer and had unexpectedly strong effect. He would sleep well, and filled with energy he would rush to new conquests in Royal Road.
To be honest, Lee Hyun was only able to sleep so well since not long ago. More than 10 years he was in constant fear of the loan sharks. In those circumstances there was no place for a good sleep.
Only after paying off the debt he now had the opportunity so save up money for his family. Because of that Lee Hyun was able to let go of his fears and to start enjoying his life.
After dinner, his friends decided to go hunt for monsters. What could be better than hunting with people you can entrust with your life?
But then they were approached by five men. That were Geomchis.
"Take us with you."
Geomchi and the Four Geomchi's did not participate in the construction of the tomb.
It wasn't good for seniors' reputation to do the work of a student.
So they went to meet Weed and arrived just in time to see them preparing to go to hunt.
"Let us come too."
"We will not be a burden, believe me."
Not long ago, Geomchi's changed their profession to Martial Artists.
Thanks to that, they not only got a significant increase to their attack power, but also the ability to use all kinds of weapons in the game.
Most students were at 180th level, but Teacher with instructors had level over 200. All thanks to the fact that they were not engaged in any business, except for hunting, so they were raising levels at an amazing speed.
Besides, lately they started taking quests, though not very complicated ones, the ones that were easy to figure out. Such tasks mostly required to kill someone or to collect some items.
"Okay. Let's go together"
Weed, of course, was happy to that they participated. Royal Road was not a game where you could hunt with just anybody.
Unlike older video games that used mouse, virtual reality games were more focused on working together as a group. From the way you move and react to changing situations depend lives of other people in party.
That is why those who fought well in reality in Royal Road had more confidence in battle. Nothing can be done about it. As a smart man can always use their brains to make good decisions, a well trained one could use his good reflexes and fighting skill while hunting monsters.
In some way, virtual reality was closer to life. Because of this, sometimes those who do not know how to fight under difficult and stressful conditions, were considered a burden by party leaders.
Of course, most of players were starting without any knowledge about fighting, but they gradually gained experience and were becoming more and more skilled fighters.
It was during this period of 'learning' when it mattered most who your friends were in game and reality. And how they treat you.
But all these problems of newcomers did not belong to the top five Geomchi's , as they were the best. First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Geomchi! True masters of the blade, in real life and in the game.
Weed had no doubts in their fighting abilities. Moreover, he was very eager to look at the techniques of Martial Artists.
Together with joined Geomchis they were a big and dangerous party.
They decided to rent horses as the hunting ground was pretty far away. It was suggested by Pale, and as his knowledge of Royal Road was vast, Weed had no reason to doubt him.
"Where are we going? What kind of place takes two hour to travel on a horse?"
"We're going to the gorge of Huntresses. They're monsters of level 280, they gather in groups of two or three and go hunting. It's a dangerous place. I only read about them, never actually been there.
After the Pale's words Weed recalled some information about Huntresses too. They were Amazon warriors, were good with swords, spears and whips!
"I see. And what kind of place is that?"
"A gorge. Once we go in, the hunt will begin. In fact, there is one feature about Huntresses. They never attack the moment players enter their lands. They always wait, closely watching trespassers, waiting until they reach the heart of the gorge, and then begin to attack the party in small groups. So until you kill all the attacking Huntresses, you won't be able to leave the gorge."
"So it's either we kill them all or they kill us?"
"Yes. This is a very dangerous place."
Thus, while having a conversation, they reached the gorge of Huntresses.
"Hmm... Looks dangerous" Surka examined surrounding cliffs warily.
Huntresses, dressed in black light robes, were hiding at the top of the cliff sides behind trees and bushes. Although they were trying to stay unnoticed, Weed and other members of the squad were alert so they could keep track of them.
"That's right, they don't attack."
"Yes. They will attack later, after all the reinforcements arrive."
"And if we attack them now?"
"It's useless. If we noticed them, it means that we are already surrounded."
"We have to prepare for battle."
Weed threw the bag on the ground and took out the tools.
"Weed, what are you doing?"
At the Irene's question Weed just reached out his hand.
"Give me your weapons and armor."
"I need to prepare them before the fight starts."
Then Weed's friends recalled that his blacksmith and tailor skills were at intermediate level, so they began to approach him one by one and giving him their equipment.
It was time to do some work. Weed sharpened swords, polished armor and ironed clothes!
To Maylon his actions seemed mysterious, and she quietly asked Pale:
"What's Weed doing?"
When they decided to hunt and took a sculptor with them, she naturally thought that Weed was invited, because he was their friend and needed help to grow. After all, everyone knew that the people with crafting professions had a hard time raising their levels as they were bad fighters.
However, from the very beginning Pale, Romuna and others made Weed the party leader. His opinion was the most important.
Maylon worked at a TV-Media station, so she thought she could grasp any situation very quickly, but now she was very confused and did not understand what was going on.
Weed made it even more confusing, making all kinds of strange actions.
He ironed clothes, sharpened their swords and polished armor!
Pale with a smile explained it to her:
"It may be hard to believe, but Weed has intermediate blacksmith level."
To say that Maylon was very surprised would be an understatement. On the entire Versailles continent there were few blacksmiths with an intermediate skill level. She could not believe that the intermediate level sculptor has a developed blacksmithing skill as well.
"Well, don't be so surprised. In addition to blacksmithing skill, Weed has..."
Pale wanted to continue, but was a bit too late. Weed buffed the equipment of the rest of the party and turned to Maylon. A little hesitant, she gave him her bow.
"Wow! What a nice bow."
After seeing the weapon, Weed was surprised.
'It could be sold for at least 10 thousand dollars ...'
Weed's eyes glowed with greed. It was not easy to get a unique object in Royal Road.
Maylon was very worried, and Weed, after struggling with his greed for a bit, slowly adjusted the string and worked on the overall elasticity of the bow.
When Maylon got her weapon back, she became astounded.
Two-handed bow of High Elf Venus: Durability: 40/40. Attack: 75. Range: 16.
With a shot from this bow you can easily pick off the crows of misfortune. The string is made from the hair of High Elf. Brings good luck and reduces morale of the enemy.
Bow was in hands of a skilled craftsman:
Maylon repeatedly checked her bow.
Weed just work a little on it, and the stats got increased by about 20 percent!
"So that's what the blacksmith with an average skill level can do..."
This bow Maylon got as a gift. Although the durability of a weapon was small, it was not a big disadvantage as unlike swords you didn't have to beat monsters with it.
"And now give me your clothes."
"But... It is made of fabric."
Maylon stared at Weed in confusion. Blacksmiths could only work with armor and weapons.
"Do as he says."
Maylon trusted Pale but was still doubtful when taking off her clothes of rainbow fabric.
It was a very rare clothing made from equally rare fabric, sewn by a true master.
After taking it, Weed immediately recognized the item that he created and sold through Mapan's auction. Somehow it ended up in hands of Maylon.
Weed slowly ironed the creases and thus increased the protection attribute, increased the rate of health recovery and cold resistance!
Maylon's eyes widened in surprise, she was speechless.
Thus Weed improved everyone's equipment and greatly increased its attack, defense, strength and other parameters, which positively affected the overall strength of the party.
But on this Weed did not stop, he put everything back in bag and took out a cooking ware.
Surka awaited this moment the most.
"I'll make you steak this time."
Although they have recently eaten, Surka reacted as if she has starved for weeks. She liked to taste new delicious food, but with no less interest she watched Weed cook.
The whole process of Weed's cooking was like magic. During frying fires were rising up high, as if to spoil the meat. But Weed closely followed the process, and gradually the smell of perfectly roasted steak began to spread around.
That smell, gave the party members a big appetite.
In fact, this was the main reason Pale and others were so eager to hunt with Weed.
Irene's and Romuna's eye got clouded. They were dreaming of how great it will taste.
'Wow! What a great smell..'
"Yes, the smell alone is 100 times more delicious than barley bread."
"Can we have some too?"
Five Geomchi's swallowed loudly.
"We already ate Weed's meals many times."
Kind girls skipped their turn. Weed would still make more, so it was no harm letting Geomchis be first. The girls didn't know how wrong they were...
"These steak are so small."
"Yummy! So that's what the taste of the elite cuisine is."
Geomchi's ate meat as if to make up for all that time they had to eat the hateful barley bread.
First Weed wanted to prepare everything as it should be and put on one dish, but Geomchis were eating so fast that he had to barbecue whole slabs of meat.
"It's ok, if the meat is a little raw, so come on."
The Geomchi3 was willing even to eat undercooked meat. That was true poverty. Be that as it may, all the meat cooked by Weed, ended up in the stomachs of Geomchis.
However, this did not stop them...
Having a feeling that something was missing, teacher smacked his lips a few times.
"You're great cook."
"Well, that's nothing to be particularly proud of. But if you get hungry, I'll cook something any time."
Geomchi nodded at his words, cleared his throat and said:
"Hmm, hmm! That was enough meat. But... After such a delicious meal, my throat gets especially dry."
"Before leaving Serabourg I took some water. Do you want it?"
Weed searched his bag and took out a bottle of water, but when he was going to hand it the Master shook his head.
"I didn't mean it that way..."
"What then?.. Was you talking about alcohol by any chance?" Weed asked after realizing what the teacher meant and he nodding his head in agreement.
"Well, not necessary... But do you have some?"
"Oh, you should have said so earlier."
Deep in Weed bags lay a supply of alcohol beverages. Mainly results of his experiments of making herb mixtures. Once his cooking has moved to a Advanced level he acquired the skill of making liquors, and Weed was trying to develop it as high as possible. Whenever he got suitable herbs or vines for preparing alcohol, he was buying everything he could and brew the beverages.
Food wasn't all about dishes. With a suitable accompanying drinks the effects of the food increased! In addition, alcohol not only increases the effects of food, but also raises strength and stamina attributes.
Unfortunately, unlike food, alcohol had to prepared in advance, since the process takes much longer.
Because of that Weed dragged a bag of stock bottles with herbal liqueurs and wine.
"Good. Here, have this tincture and some snack..."
Weed quickly reached into his backpack and pulled out one of the bottles, and as a snack he got some pre-cooked slices of dried fish.
"Thank you, my student."
Geomchi, who did not expect that there will even be a snack, gladly opened a bottle and started to drink.
Looking at that, Geomchi2 also approached Weed.
"*Khm-khm*. To be honest, I also have a dry throat."
"Yes. I was just about to get a bottle for you too."
Weed quickly got another bottle and handed it to Geomchi2. And then, not waiting for a word from the rest of the Geomchis, he treated them as well. Since he already started giving out drinks for free, he should do so to the end with a smile.
In fact Weed anyway was going to treat all of them to one of the prepared tinctures before the fight. He wanted to see the Geomchis' profession in action and for this it was necessary to maximize their attributes, so they would show their highest performance in the battle.
'And the better they will fight, the easier the hunt will go. For rapid experience gain the performance of every party member was important.'
Weed handed glasses to Pale and his friends too.
"What, we can really drink it?"
"Of course. If you drink, your strength and health will rise a little."
The friends took a sip and saw their attributes improve.
Maylon was in a panic.
'How?.. What is... What kind of party is this?'
Due to her profession of a reporter Maylon was able to hunt with a lot of different people. Even with very well-known high-level players, or influential members of guilds. So she had a more than enough experience when it came to hunting.
But this group was denying everything she thought to be basic rules!
In this party a simple craftsman, a sculptor, was responsible for improving the characteristics of it's members! And everyone considered this to be normal! Though usually, only bards, priests, and shamans were responsible for it.
It was a really unusual party combination. Maylon drank the hard liquor and observed carefully.
"Got anything else to drink? Let's try different drinks."
First Weed was about to refuse. He has put so much effort into making these tinctures, it could be said, that they were his treasures.
But the master said it with such a pleading voice ...
"A little bit, just a sip..."
If he asked directly, it would be easier to say no. But the teacher was sitting with such a pained expression on his face that it was impossible to refuse.
Then the second, third and other Geomchi's tried to dissuade their master.
"Master, you shouldn't do that."
"I'm sure Weed worked hard to make these tinctures."
"Well, I'm just going to taste it..."
"And our level is low as well. We should be grateful that we accepted in the party at all."
Although they pretended to stop their Master, their words clearly had no intention of doing so, because they also wanted more of Weed's beverages.
In front of the Master appeared a pile of bottles with something transparent, black, purple... One of them even had a snake inside, and it was the first Weed opened.
"Oh! This is Snake Soju3!"
Geomchis seized the bottle and started to drink.
"Endurance raised some more!"
"When you drink it, it gives you more energy!"
"Best tincture I've ever tried!"
Whenever the amount of snake soju decreases, Weed became more upset. Meanwhile, the Geomchis continued to drink it at a ridiculous pace. Weed had used money to purchase and make the soju, and was frustrated from losing money. Moreover, they could not afford not to be aware of their surroundings.
'Come on, the materials used cost just a few bucks ...'
Most of the ingredients he obtained in person. Like the snake he caught. And the ones he bought actually costed little. The bottle costed the most, Weed bought it for 1 silver, but it's not like it was going to disappear.
And what was there for him to worry about. As it is stated in a proverb: 'The rich are well in the hell as well.' Over the past few weeks Weed earned a huge amount of money, more than 70 thousand gold. When Weed was walking, coins in his bag were jingling loudly.
Most of the money he earned on the construction of the tomb. That is how things usually are in construction business. Huge sums to build and endless subcontracts! And the saving of money by using cheap materials!
Once in the past when Weed was still a minor, he had illegally worked in construction and remembered the words of his older companions. Now it was time to use them!
Weed was given 100,000 gold for the construction of the tomb. And he was able to save 60,000 for himself!
'Unused knowledge - Is dead knowledge.'
Weed smiled with satisfaction.
Meanwhile, Geomchis had completely forgot about their promises, and grabbed new bottles of liquor.
"Oh, this is good!"
"Master, try this one too. It's delicious."
"You're right, it's addictive"
No one tried to stop the Geomchis. If in real life they looked like formidable fighters, and in the game, their bodies became deadly weapons. All of them had sharp eyes and heavy gazes, that were completely overwhelmed Pale and others.
Friends knew that the Geomchis should be stopped, but could not think of a way to do so.
"Hic... So good!"
"Master, you look better today. Oh, and why did you become the two of you? You split?
"Look who's talking, whelp. There are four of you!
They laughed loudly, and then started to force Pale to drink too.
"Come on. Real men should be able to drink a glass."
"I already drank one."
"Then, I meant two glasses! Here am I, there is the tincture, isn't the world wonderful?"
Pale tried to refuse, but could not resist the will of the Geomchis, and had to drink. In fact, he wanted to drink. Weed's tinctures were very sweet and tasty.
After Pale the girls' turn came.
"So, let's all drink together. Cheers!"
"Oh. Thank you. You guys seem more sociable."
"Ah-ha! Of course, drinking buddies always become good friends."
Everyone continued to drink together.
"Your name is Romuna? Oh, you're so outgoing and beautiful."
"Maylon, why are you so pale?"
"Oh! Thank you, and could you pour some of that?"
One glass became two, two glasses - three. It escalated quickly. Everyone's faces were red and constant laughter was heard.
Weed emerged from his thoughts and started to worry. Not long ago, he went through serious hardships in the province of Morata, and the behaviors of his companions looked strange.
'Wait a minute ... No, no, no!'
The worst thing possible had happened. His friends were still drinking when a message appeared in front of Weed:
Subordinate players in your party drank too much and are now dead drunk.
Players can not use skills, that involving wisdom, intelligence and mana. While alcohol does wear off, they will experience dizziness and hallucinations.
List of drunken players:
They went into the gorge of Huntresses just for hunting, and now his friends got drunk and were fooling around.
"Oh, look, stars!"
"Ha-ha-ha! It's great that we got out to this gorge and had a good drink. This is the life!"
Geomchi, Pale and all others have decided to lie down on the ground under the scorching sun.
Weed froze in shock at the sight. He wanted so much to see the real masters in fight, to see their skills and techniques. Looks like it will remain only a dream.
And to worsen it, at that moment Huntresses appeared.
"Intruders? This is our territory! You won't come out alive!"
Weed sighed hopelessly and cried out:
"I summon the Death Knight!"
Out of black fog appeared the one on whom he could always rely.
"You called, master?"
"Attacks Huntresses. This will be a fun hunt."
"Understood, master! But I want to tell you one thing..."
"We have been fighting shoulder to shoulder for a long time. Because of the strength of our friendship, I was able to break free from the shackles of the spell and remembered my previous life. I, knight Van Hawk from Kalamor Kingdom, acknowledges you as my master. From now on you can summon me without the necklace, I will always answer the call."
A red necklace of life created by Barr Khan. Even without wearing the necklace, I can call forth the Death Knight. The red necklace of life transformed into a radiant white light.
"Wait a minute. So, I can now remove the necklace of life? And what about my experience points?"
If the Death Knight was not lying, then the necklace that was not giving any additional bonuses or effects could now be safely removed.
In fact, for Weed there was no difference in wearing a necklace or not. Like rings, necklaces in the game were very valuable items, and to get one of them with good effect was like trying to get a star from the sky.
Best necklaces were sold for enormous money, so until Weed gets something valuable himself, the dream of good jewelry will remain a dream.
At the moment Weed was annoyed that he had constantly shared his experience points with the Death Knight. Twenty percent of the experience he gained was taken by Van Hawk!
"You can call me without the necklace. I recognize you as my master."
In this difficult situation a sigh of relief sounded. Shared experience is gone! Weed had become truly free!
Death Knight looked calmly at approaching Huntresses.
"I should kill them?"
At Weed's order, Death Knight began to use his skills:
The threads of dark energy burst from the sword and stabbed in the approaching Huntresses. However, they were high-level monsters and weren't dying from a single attack of the Death Knight.
Along with Van Hawk, Weed started acting.
A blinding white light emerged from Agatha sword and covered Weed. This spell could only be used five times a day, but it greatly increased protection!
Weed dashed to a group of Huntresses, wounded by Death Knight's spell.
"We, the women warriors, will show your true power!"
Whips in Huntresses hands' started to move like snakes and shot forward to attack.
Weed gathered all his strength and rushed straight ahead.
Unfortunately, the Huntresses' weapons got him first. One of the whips coiled around his sword, and Weed struggled to free his weapon while avoiding attacks from other enemies. He spun and dodged to the point where it seemed like he was using magic.
Finally he managed to free his sword, close in on one of Huntresses and landed a strike.
From this moment Weed no longer distanced himself from the Huntresses. Whips were only dangerous at a distance, and if he stayed close, they were quite useless.
Agatha sword on his right hand and Zahab's knife on his left, were constantly attacking the Huntresses. However, the level of his opponents was so high that they were dying only after a serial of accurate hits.
However, Weed did not despair. To survive and find the weak spot of the enemy that was his method of fighting! If an ordinary player of Weed's level met with such a strong monster, they would most likely die, because only those with vast experiences and a perfect body control like Weed, helped not to get trapped by the Huntresses' whips.
At this point, Death Knight defeated his opponent.
"Ugh! Good, you were able defeat her. Nice job, Van Hawk!"
"No, master. I like fighting," Death Knight replied out of context.
Not so long ago, in a cave of Basra he became too proud, for which he was repeatedly beaten, so he had to become smarter to get along with the Weed's character.
Together, they killed two more Huntresses. Just as Weed was about to pick up the items that had dropped, as more enemies arrived.
Pale was not lying. You would not be able to leave the Gorge until you defeat all the enemies. In the past, the battle were not easy, but as long as friends will not come to their senses, he will have to fight with all the constantly incoming Huntresses.
Shoulder to shoulder with death knights, two warriors against hundreds of warriors.
'Half an hour, half an hour to survive, and they need to wake up...'
After the first fight van hawk health fell by a quarter, and this had to be resolved.
"Van, from now on fight them one at a time! I'll deal with the rest."
Weed handed the Death Knight some liquor and then rushed into battle.
Death Knight took over one Huntress, Weed took on the others. To avoid their whips, he had to constantly take Huntresses and the Death Knight's position into account.
Sometimes he deliberately took Huntresses' blows, realizing, that they will not lead to tragic consequences. A dangerous game with death where he could only rely on his own strength.
The fight went on.
Weed was stabbing with a sword, cutting with a knife, trying to get hurt as little as possible and use less mana. But no matter how hard he was dodging, Huntresses constantly, bit by bit, were diminishing his health.
The moment came when his life bar dropped below 100 points. At that moment Weed jumped behind the Death Knight, and started to apply a lot of bandages as fast as possible.
And though he was in hurry as never before, by the time he finished, Death Knight's health was also at a critical point. Weed had to quickly engage in battle to distract opponents from the heavily breathing Van Hawk.
The fight still continued.
Huntresses kept arriving. After every defeated group, came a new one consisting of 3-4 aggressive Huntresses. And to make matters worse, Weed began to get tired.
Even a player like Weed who had an enormous amount of health and stamina; accumulated with help of created sculptures and many missed strikes of enemies, could not fight without break. The sword in his hand was becoming heavier and his legs slowed down. Death was closer than ever.
He had to do something.
But at that point Weed and the Death Knight had spent all their mana. There was only one thing he could do that could save them in the current situation...
'I really do not want to get to use it...'
Weed jumped and pulled spice jars from his pockets.
One of the secrets of true chefs!
"Salt on wounds! Sauces in your eyes! Pepper and garlic juice!"
Weed was ruthlessly filling wounds of nearby enemies with culinary spices. For light wounds—Salt! For deep wounds—Soy Sauce! For eyes and nose—Hot Spices!
"No, no... Please, not the salt."
"Ahhh! I have pepper in my eyes!"
Huntresses squealed loudly from terrible pains. Their health rapidly declined, as salt got into wounds. The pain was so intense that it was difficult to describe in words.
Secret technique of vile cook Weed! He had never used it before, as it required to spend valuable ingredients, but it allowed to break opponent's concentration and significantly lower their health by causing enormous pain.
Salt, salt, black pepper! Red peppers, pickled garlic!
Weed incessantly bombed surrounding Huntresses.
'I won't die here. I have no right to...'
Weed was not afraid to miss a day of playtime because of the death. No, he did not want to lose the skills he worked so hard to obtained. Even if all the mid-level skills will decrease by 5%, it will be a much greater loss than the loss of a couple of levels.
Weed gathered all the strength he had left.
He was running around, luring enemies and throw valuable spices at them. There was nothing else he could do. Weed used all he could. He had even used up the allowed five holy blessings of the sword of Agatha during the fight!
One way or another, everything will be decided in the next few minutes.
While Weed was close to death, jumping and spinning like crazy, in attempt to try and avoid attacks of angered Huntresses, Master and all the others came to their senses and slightly open eyes, fascinated by the ongoing battle.
"His fighting skills is superb."
"That's Weed for you. Whatever you throw at him, he won't die easy."
"Tenacious like a cockroach."
"If all were so, the profession of the priest in the game would become redundant."
Pale, Surka, Irene and Romuna looked at Weed with envy. How could they learn to fight exceptionally!
It didn't require a lot of intelligence to properly use skills, techniques, and spells. But to fight like Weed, relying only on simple strikes and body control, was really difficult. Even more so, considering that in such battles, stamina decreases rapidly and it became very difficult to hit. And it was useless to try to fight at such pace, without rest, with constant arrival of new enemies.
Maylon also opened her eyes.
'That's some amazing sculptor!'
If all other were lying and being jealous, she could not even move from shock. What kind of sculptor can fight so well?
Her astonishment began since the moment Weed called the Death Knight. She knew that he was not a wizard, then he must have somehow managed to obtain an incredibly valuable item in game. He also was fighting a spectacular battle and used a lot of different techniques, which she as a reporter, had never heard about!
All in all, there were a lot of things to be surprised about.
"And he really absorbed your teachings, Master."
Geomchi and Geomchi2 calmly watched Weed's every move. It was the first time they had seen him in a real fight.
"A little different from one in the real life, but still his reaction was more than excellent."
"However, a swordsman, not only responds to the environment, but also adjusts to any situation and imposes in their battles."
"Hyun perfectly knows it all. Without a basic understanding, this level can not be achieved. Although he still has unnecessary movement, the fight as a whole is going well. Several years of training, and it would be difficult to imagine someone stronger than him."
In fact, the Geomchi's have long since regained consciousness.
Excellent warriors that got intentionally drunk... All this was planned by the Master. He wanted to know how Weed fights in Royal Road. To see him in a real sword fight. To keep things fair.
Ahn Hyundo was satisfied.
If Hyun refused to fight or panicked, he would have been very disappointing. If you follow the way of the sword then you have to go forward, despite any obstacles.
Royal Road is just a virtual reality game, but even so, inner qualities of players were important. Reliance only in battle skills, without courage, bravery and perseverance, it would be impossible to achieve high results even with weapons in game.
Some people, seeing the last attempts of Weed to survive in the difficult battle, could not hold back any longer. Geomchi3, Geomchi4, Geomchi5, all jumped up and rushed to aid Weed.
All the others have started to get up.
Romuna start casting spells, and Pale and Maylon almost simultaneously shot arrows at the Huntresses.
"Holy Spirit! Use your power to save those who are hurt! Recovery! Let there be enhancement in your body. Blessed hand!"
Irene restored Weed's health, and cast empowering spells on everyone.
And so the real hunt began.
During the time the four friends have not seen Weed, they have changed. They were not those poor newcomers anymore who ran away in a panic from a simple wolf.
Harmonious attacks greeted each new group of Huntresses. It started with arrows from Maylon and Pale, then fire magic spells from Romuna!
After these attacks, Surka engaged in battle with her fist. What Geomchis did was obvious without any words. And all of that under the tireless support of Sacred Magic from Irene.
"Wow, experience grows so fast!"
The mighty Attacks of Geomchis! Harmonious actions of Pale, Irene, Romuna, Surka and Maylon! And Weed with the Death knight!
Was there anything that could stop them?
 The Lost - Geomchis were directionally challenged.
 Kimchijeon - A variety of Korean pancake-like dish that is made of kimchi.
 Snake Soju - Made by placing a snake in a jar of distilled liquor (Soju) and aging it.