Chapter 5 : Plains of Despair
Like always, today Lee Hyun woke up early and proceeded to doing his usual chores.
First he visited the Dark Gamers Union website and started reading latest messages.
As Choi Junghoon said, the website had plenty of information about quests, dungeons, crafting skills or even trading routes. And of course, as it was a website for Dark Gamers, most of information was about items.
Lee Hyun had 'C' access level and was able to view corresponding entries.
"Nothing special today too."
He was looking for any mentions of unique items! And even though Lee Hyun had just 'C' access level, sometimes he was stumbling upon some interesting bits of information. Usually those were contributed by other players with the same access level, they were telling about their adventures, secret quests and rewards for them. Such messages were quickly becoming popular and getting moved to sections he couldn't access to.
Lee Hyun was trying to catch them before that happened.
About 3-4 such messages a day appeared on the website. And if you carefuly watch it, you can read them before they are moved.
However today he just wasted time again.
'Whatever. Anyway, i'm almost out of points.'
From the account used by Lee Hyun every day a few of points were deducted. It happened every time he was reading a message. That way Dark Gamers Union was forcing members to post useful messages to earn points, used to view other information.
Hyun got up from the chair and went down to the hall. There he has put on a light jacket, took a basket and went out of house.
Every morning after exersises and browsing news on the internet he was going to the market to get some cheap food.
"Oh, young man, you're early today. I've got some fresh cutlass fish today. I'll sell it to you cheap."
Hyun was coming to the market every day so it was natural that all the salesmen knew him very well.
'Damn that greedy guy!'
Even when buying a single fish, Hyun was very demanding. He was always asking where it was caught, checking how fresh it is, examining eyes and mouth. He was noticing every little thing, even the way the hook was removed.
Salesmen on the market were used to customers with no knowledge of fish's freshness. However Lee Hyun was well aware of those matters and never hesistated to haggle. He knew all the prices very well and trying to sell him something for more than its price was the gravest possible mistake!
Also Hyun was never searching for cheap food. Every morning he was cooking for his little sister so he was buying only the best of the best.
That kind of 'infamy' [reputation?] allowed him to buy best food at reasonable prices without having to bargain.
Using the best ingredients he brought from market he made cutlass fish stew with soy sauce for his sister.
"Thanks, brother. Everything was very tasty as always. I'm off to school!"
"Okay, have a safe trip."
Once his sister left to school it was time Hyun devoted to himself.
* * *
Lee Hye Yeon was eagerly preparing for 'Korea' university entrance exams and was gathering all available information. She was surprised to learn from university website, that there were many ways to get accepted to it. But one particularly attracted her attention, the one for professional gamers.
Video games have become an important part of our life and culture, the amount of people, playing games regularly constantly increases.
After virtual reality came to our lives and the revolutionary Royal Road appeared our university opened a faculty, devoted to video games. There we study entire history of video game industry, from the very beginning to virtual reality.
Conditions to apply:
Records on awards, related to videogames.
After provided information is checked, you will be interviewed by one of the future professors, that will check the applicant's knowledge and make the final decision.
Virtual reality was giving people chance to live their dream.
There were no people with disabilities and everyone was able to enjoy their adventures to the fullest.
After the release of Royal Road the number of travel agencies and consequently number of corresponding faculties of tourism and transportation decreased. But in their place faculties associated with videogames appeared.
Lee Hye Yeon knew what exactly helped their family out of poverty. Money for selling her brother's game character.
"Hyun doesn't have any awards, but he has records about the sale of his character, maybe that will do?"
Though the sale records weren't some kind of gaming award, they still signified an achievement and could serve as a good argument.
Especially since Hyun had great understanding of the subject. During his year of getting ready for Royal Road Hyun studied all the available works on virtual reality.
He probably knew more about virtual reality than any student of gaming faculty.
"It might work."
Lee Hye Yeon used her savings to buy official application papers and filled them herself on behalf of Lee Hyun!
* * *
Plains of Despair.
On the custom map, made by players a vast blank patch was located to the east of Rosenheim Kingdom and British Confederacy.
There wasn't much trustworthy information about this region. The few brave souls who dared to go deep into this territory were dying in a couple days under constant attacks from monsters!
On the maps sold at merchant stores only one thing was said about it: 'If you're looking for true despair, these lands are for you.'
A very precise and complete description for such a dangerous place.
Weed and following him NPC appeared in a spacious cave, hidden inside one of the hills. The entrance was cleverly disguised by a large stone so that it was impossible to find it without knowing the precise location.
The moment Weed appeared he was greeted by horrifying wolf howl.
After arriving at the unknown territory it is always important to be cautious. Even NPC knew it. But Buren and Becker seemed to ignore that simple rule.
"If the Chief is with us we don't have to worry about anything!"
"We trust you, Chief!"
"Let's go see how you all those monsters down with one swing of the sword!"
Weed sighed and gave soldiers an order:
"Stay here. Make arrangements for food, rest and guard. Wait for my return."
"Yes! We understand."
Luckily for Weed the area around the portal was safe. Having all the initial steps planned in advance, he bought a month's worth of provisions for his small army.
Weed watched his people set a camp for a bit and then slowly left the hideout to scout the surroundings.
There was strong piercing wind outside.
After nearly tumbling down a few times Weed climbed to the top of the hill to get a good view.
All around were wide grasslands, swaying in the wind.
Plains of Despair was such an unfitting name for this entrancing landscape of rolling green waves.
The grasses was moving in unison as if performing some glorious dance.
Weed took a look around.
To the east of the hill was a mountain range. Not so high or steep, but very long.
"I believe they were called Yuroki mountains on the map?"
The map of Versailles continent by an unknown author. According to it Plains of Despair had only one mountain range - Yuroki mountains.
The place, inhabited by numerous giant monsters!
On top of the mountain range Weed noticed a high stone wall and a fort. And at the center of the fort a strange black temple was visible.
'This is it...'
It was hard to say for sure at such a gerat distance, but it seemed that there was a Beelzebub statue there. That must have bben the temple of dark god, erected by necromancers of Balkan Demoff.
A weird sound suddenly came from somewhere. Weed immediately fell to the ground and tried to be as unnoticeable as possible.
In the distance an ork dressed in steel armor with a glaive in his hands appeared. Weed's mood improved after seeing him.
"Well, at least something. Maybe i'll be able to raise the level of my soldiers by hunting Orcs before storming the temple of the dark god. Some work and the mission will be finished in no time."
His chest started filling with hope and confidence.
"I will never retreat. Will fear no opponent. Even Orcs are welcome."
About the time Weed reached level 200 he cought a stranded treasure-hungry Orc. He was looking like a man, a big, gren, ugly man with fangs.
"Nice meeting you, old friend." - sung Weed and slowly headed towards his target.
The wave of confidence was pushing him to quickly kill his first monster in this land to mark the start of the big hunt and eventual assault on the dark temple!
The trees and bushes at the fool of the mountains started shaking.
Weed, who was about to attack, froze in place.
The Yuroki mountains were moving!
A huge army of Orcs was moving between the trees!
Before his eyes a horde of more than 3 thousands Orcs was marching.
And he didn't even know if it was an entire army. And maybe he would never know.
[t/n: this piece looks tricky in korean, 2 long 23-character sentences different in just 1 character.]
Weed sheathed the sword and held his breath.
'At least vampires didn't have such great numbers. There's just way too many Orcs.'
Moreover, the Orc horde was just scaring away other, even more fearsome monsters.
In the end Weed had to hug the ground and wait for Orcs to pass. Only when the rumbling of the horde disappeared into the distance he dared to lift his head.
As he already had inspected Yuroki mountains, this time Weed looked to the west. There was a great view at the surrounding area from the hill and he managed to see something interesting. A wall. And some frontier human settlement behind it!
Weed made sure there were no monsters around and headed towards the settlement.
You were first to discover the Village of Exiles.
Fame increased by 300.
For a week the rewards and experience for the village's quests are doubled.
When Weed approached the gates an almost forgotten message appeared before him. That was the first time since th Dwarf's Grave at Baruk mountain range.
'That means i'm first.'
No player yet managed to come so far into the Plains of Despair. There were many players who were disregarding treir lives to explore new territories, but Plains of Despair were just too vast, so this part remained undiscovered.
Exiles from all over the Versailles continent lived here. Almost all of them were big tough guys with numerous scars all over their bodies.
If Weed didn't know their origin beforehand he'd have guessed that they were barbarians.
Behind villages walls to his surprise he found around 300 hastily-built wooden houses.
"There's an outsider."
"See him for the first time."
All the villagers were avoiding unfamiliar stranger. But that didn't stop Weed in the least.
"It seems you know nothing about our village, stranger. We live in a very dangerous place, we can't waste time on idle talks, especially with outsiders like you."
"Nice to meet you."
"I don't trust outsiders."
Weed tried to start a conversation again and again, but villagers were just leaving while ignoring him or even showing hostility.
"We didn't forget who banished our ancestors. What did you come here for?"
No one in the village accepted him.
'Probably this village is completely separated from the rest of the continent and my fame means nothing for them.'
However Weed wouldn't be himself if he gave up easily.
He decided to take his usual approach: he's set a campfire in the middle of the village and started to roast a boar that he prepared in advance.
"Come check the meat out, it's so good you won't be able to stop. It's completely free, so eat as much as you want! Also I can carve a beautiful sculpture of any animal for you."
Weed was aiming at one of the basic instincts - hunger! Who could ignore such delicious food, especially since it was free?
But villagers were still ignoring his efforts and some even got angry.
"Are you making fun of us?"
"We can cook ourselves."
"Even after starving for ten days a warrior won't lose his pride. It seems outsiders don't understand such simple thing."
"Ahahaha, sculptures... Who even needs them?"
All the inhabitants of Village of Exiles were great warriors.
Despite all Weed's efforts none of them approached him. The few of them who stopped nearby were just watching from a distance, talking and laughing at him.
And Weed was continuing to roast the boar despite the mockery and threatening looks.
Never before cooking and sculpture mastery failed him. Everyone who as much as tasted his food were absolutely in love with it. And sculptures often brought good results too.
Once he carved a beautiful bouquet for a player named Volk, who was going to propose to a girl he loved. Sculpture mastery was always bringing unexpected benefits.
'They must have no sense of art... Savages.'
Villagers' attitude did not upset Weed at all.
'It's not the first time I'm being ignored. I'm used to it...'
He remembered well the time he was working at a factory when he was a child.
When Hyun was 14 years old he was already working full-time undoing the seams in a stuffy and dusty room. That was hard and monotonous work and he was only allowed to leave on lunch breaks. Hyun was terribly jealous of cheerful students passing by him when he was on lunch breaks.
At the time he was an outsider for everyone. However that didn't break him but instead strengthened and made him grow up in spite of everything.
Weed finished roasting the boar, and after having receiving no response, he packed everything back into his bag and continued walking through the village trying to start a conversation. He believed that among all the NPCs there must be at least one who will talk to him.
And he wasn't wrong. One young guy, who was crouching on the ground and staring at a shield lying besides him, turned to Weed and said:
"Oh, stranger! If you managed to get here you must be worth something."
"Hah, you don't even know where you are?"
"Thanks to the map I have a general idea of my location, but I know nothing about this place." - honestly replied Weed.
"Well, we don't know anything about you either. This village appeared here in the Times of Chaos. Heard anything about that?"
"Yeah, but not much."
"Those were times when everyone went mad and ran rampant. Our ancestors came to these lands and fought for their lives. To be honest they were willing to fight, but they had no weapons. They were driven here without as much as a hilt of a sword..."
Visions of the past started to appear before Weed's eyes.
Numerous soldiers with spears and swords were chasing poor starving people away into far lands. Lands, filled with multiple dangerous monsters. There were hundreds of thousands of people. The ground was soaked with blood, mourning and grief.
"At first the number of people, banished here, quickly reduced. Only the most tenacious survived. Ahem! I would tell you more, but I'm busy at the moment."
"Busy? With what?"
"You might have noticed this shield here. Unfortunately it's broken and I need a replacement as soon as possible. Could you by chance do me a favour?"
"Yes, I'll help any way I can."
"Great. You should bring this shield to a certain man and take a new one from him. He's running a large blacksmith in this village."
New Quest: Shield for Kokun.
Despite all efforts, hunter Kokun failed to fix his shield. If it breaks during the fight he will be in trouble. You have to bring it to his friend Lucille to exchange for a new one.
Restrictions: If you leave the village with the shield Kokun will get angry.
"I'll bring you a new shield."
You accepted the quest.
Weed believed that before doing a quest it was important to gather all available information. The shield he got was very heavy and solid.
"Now, shall we? Identification!"
Shield was all cracked and dirty, so it was hard to estimate its value from look alone. Weed was heading to the blacksmith, looking through the shield's information window in the meanwhile.
Simple shield made of low-grade metals. It is covered by steel on the outside but very frigid on the inside. It is weak against blunt weapons. It should be replaced at first opportunity.
Effects: 50% chance to defend against projectiles.
The village wasn't very big so it wasn't too hard to find the blcksmith. However it didn't look anything like Kokun described. A small furnace with an anvil in a small room with a couple swords and a few other weapons hung on the walls was all Weed saw. The only big thing there was the bearded and muscular smith Lucille.
"I see you for the first time, stranger."
"I came here at Kokun's request."
Weed's relationships with villagers weren't quite on the good side, so he decided to take the initiative. However all his worries were unnecessary.
"Oh, come on in. There's a familiar smell of metal around you. I love fire, that's why I became a smith. Why did you master this craft?"
Weed quickly considered his answer. Sometimes such insignificant at first glance questions were determining your relationships with NPCs.
"I like melting cold metal and giving it a new shape."
"Good answer. So, what brought you here?"
Weed handed the shield.
"He asks for a new one."
"That's it! That idiot Kokun broke his shield again. I warned him many times to be careful... Ahem! I can't keep doing this for free. I'll give another one for 5 gold. That useless Kokun doesn't have that kind of money, so you'll have to pay instead."
Weed was about to say something rude, as he felt scammed, but held himself at the last moment. It was foolish to give up on the first quest after such a long search. He convinced himself, that this is just more investments in the future.
'Hmm, I haven't been cheated like that since meeting that sage Rodrigues.'
Weed passed the gold to the smiling Lucille.
"Thanks. I just happen to have a spare shield for him. Here you go."
Weed got the shield. The quest was complete and he was about to leave but Lucille stopped him.
"Hey, have you heard about the origins of our village?"
Weed was first to discover this settlement. Maybe that, or the fact of Weed being a smith himself, was what made Lucille to tell him this story.
"Kokun told me a bit. He stopped at the part where only a small part of exiled remained."
"Great. Then I'll continue. Survivors were wandering the land of monsters in search for a place to settle. Their first choice was a huge cave, but not everyone liked the idea of living in a constant darkness. Gradually more and more people were coming outside, and eventually they decided to found a village."
"Incredible, they had the courage to start a settlement in the Plains of Despair!"
Weed wanted to show his admiration for their courage. Even in such dangerous environment the pioneering spirit of humans won!
"Nah, that wasn't that remarkable. To tell the truth, at that moment there were still a lot of survivors. But they had a disagreement. They've split in 2 camps: ones, who didn't want to change anything and anes who wanted to leave the cave. The latter were the ones who founded our village and later built the wall around it. Unfortunately 99 of every hundred died in the process."
That was a story for a horror movie. Unknown lands, full of dangers and a group of defenceless people...
"Yeah, that's how it all happened. Through trial and error, each of them costed human lives, the survivors acquired new knowledge. They learned which places to avoid, discovered habits of monsters and predators of this land. They started to better understand the world around them. Around that time life in the village started to become safe. Ahem, I guess I talked to much. I still have a lot of work to do. Here, this is my present for you."
You acquired the map of the plains.
This is the map of the Plains of Despair.
It displays the location of castles, villages, monster dens and cursed places.
Lucille suddenly gave Weed a very valuable item. The map of Plains of Despair and everything in them! With a roughly marked landscape and main habitats of some monster kinds.
Though it was drawn really bad, like it was done by a child who was learning to write.
"Thank you very much."
"You're welcome. Try to visit the village more often. The people who don't hunt are more welcome towards strangers. It would be nice if more new people were coming here."
Weed headed back to Kokun to deliver the shield. The hunter was waiting for him at the same place while sharpening his sword.
"Oh, you came back? You're late. Did you bring it?"
Weed gave him the shield.
"Thanks. You did a favour to me, but I don't have anything to give you. Though wait a second, here, take it."
You received 20 steel arows.
The quest "Shield for Kokun" is complete.
The hunter Kokun have already lost his shield a few times in a battle. He was always coming back from the hunt injured, but never yet he brought back anything worthy. Villagers consider him a failure.
No one know where he fights.
Reward: 20 steel arrows for the long bow. A little experience.
Weed opened the character window. The experience bar only grew by 0.001%.
You can't expect much from a E rank difficulty quest, even with double experience bonus. If only it was one of the quests where experience depended on the completed goals...
Satisfied Kokun examined his new shield and said:
"Oh, yeah, I started telling about our village, right? Remind me where did we stop?"
"The small part of survivors founded the village. Lucille told me up to this part."
"Hah! He sure loves to talk. I\ll continue. To survive we had to become stronger. All the villagers mastered weapons, especially bows: some of us are even better at it than dark elves. What else... Our village is eastmost in the Plains of Despair. The Yuroki mountain range can be clearly seen from here, it's inhabited by numerous Orcs."
"You founded your village in a dangerous place."
"Yeah. Most of the villages are like that. We're even relatively lucky. There's an iron mine nearby, so we can forge weapons. we have plenty of food too. Though from time to time we're getting raided by Orcs."
"Every year at harvest time they come to plunder our barns. To be honest Orcs are the only reason we don't live in abundance. But sadly they are also the reason we don't have to deal with other, more dangerous monsters. So we live in poverty, but relatively safe."
The exile settlement was holding despite annual Orc raids.
"However a few years ago Orcs started taking not just food, but villagers. After all they can't make anything themselves!"
"I heard that Orcs are the worst race with regard to crafting."
"That's right. That's why they take people away, so that they make weapons and do other work for them. In the last few years they took more than a hundred people! Damn Orcs!"
"Have you tried to stop them?"
Kokun burst into laughing.
"Ha! To stop the horde?! I never heard anything dumber. Orcs love fighting, they're unrivaled at it. They fight not only humans, but elves and giant monsters and even each other!"
"I tell you all this because you didn't yet understand what a dangerous place you got into. Even our best wariors have a hard time hunting some monsters, giant ant for example. We hold a celebration if they bring one from the hunt. Do you think you can hunt 5 of them? If you manage this villagers will change their attitude towards you."
New quest: Kukun's doubt.
Hunter Kokun had met a lot of people who talked big but did little. To oppose the Orcs one needs not just courage but sharp mind.
Catch 5 giant ants to prove your courage.
Reward: recognition of the villagers.
Penalty for failure: hunter Kokun won't talk to you any more.
A new quest!
Kokun narrowed his eyes and continued:
"Let it be a test for you. I won't be surprised if you refuse. Consider this a challenge for outsiders."
Weed went quiet for a moment and then answered firmly:
"I'll catch those giant ants."
You accepted the quest.
"I sure hope so. You can find giant ants in the plains to the west. They're easy to find. Though i'm not sure if you can run away if something goes wrong."
* * *
Weed left the village and headed back to the hill where his men were hiding. 10 Royal knights, Buren, Becker, Hosram, Dale, 400 soldiers and 50 priests. A small army led by Weed!
"As you say, Chief!"
Weed stood in front of the stone at the entrance to the cave and took out his sculpting tools. He already got a hang of carving sculptures, Zahab's knife and a chisel were moving in his hands at an incredible speed!
He carved the familiar face that sometimes even appeared in his dreams! The face of Seoyoon served as a model for yet another sculpture.
'I hope it ends up as another fine piece...'
Weed had big expectations. He had never yet failed at carving Seoyoon's face...
In his sculptures he tried many times to use faces of other girls, but never succeeded with it.
Because of the minor details it was hard to recreate person's face. Sometimes when looking at a beautiful face you understand that something is missing. It seems that if you make nose a bit higher or eyes bigger you'll achieve perfection.
Especially that was the case with women faces.
But in fact if start changing something you get unexpected results. By doing minor changes you change overall balance. That's why the 'fixed' result usually ends up inferior to the original.
For every failed work sculptor's fame was decreasing. Weed wished to avoid that, so he was only carving Seoyoon's face. Her appearance was so flawless, that just by changing the expression a little he could change the overall atmosphere.
This time Weed decided to carve Seoyoon as a fearsome warrior.
For the clothes and armor he used the equipment of northern mercenaries, he heard that there are many female mercenaries among them.
The fierce and confident Seoyoon with a sword in front of her looked like she was guarding the entrance from dangerous monsters. That was a perfect image of a worthy and proud mercenary.
Fine piece! You finished the statue of female mercenary!
The northern lands are poor and unfit for farming, so a lot of northern women become mercenaries to protect their homes and earn some money. They never retreat and always finish their assigned tasks.
With weapons in their hands they fearlessly slay the most dangerous monsters of the north! Ever since knights became too arrogant the peacekeeping duty fell on mercenaries' shoulders.
Artistic value: 600.
Health and mana regeneration increased by 15% for a day.
Movement speed increased by 15%.
Charisma increased by 100.
Strength increased by 10.
Agility increased by 10.
All attributes increased by 5.
For a week after seeing the statue you can take a mission at the mercenary guild on better terms.
Experience gain increased by 5%.
These effects do not stack with effects of other sculptures.
The number of created fine pieces: 5.
Sculpture mastery experience points gained.
Fame increased by 85.
Endurance increased by 1.
New attribute: Charisma!
this attribute represents the ability to attract people. Primarily those of opposing sex. You become more attractive and charming. One of the main attributes for bards, dancers and party leaders. If your profession is related to crafting, charisma will help you to create more detailed works.
Due to your profession, your charisma attribute is raised by 20.
Fortitude raised by 5.
Seoyoon's image didn't fail him this time either.
'Hmm, this sculpture doesn't affect combat performance much, but it increses experience gain, which is not bad as well.'
And he also got a new attribute that influenced Weed's sculpture skill, an unexpected but pleasant gift.
Weed tried to examine the reflection of his face in the knife's blade to see if it changed after the new attribute appeared.
Then he took his best-looking pose and addressed his soldiers.
"Gather everyone. We're moving out!"
Weed and his army headed out into plains to hunt giant ants.
"Priests, prepare for battle, bless the warriors."
"Yes. Freya, please give your faithful servants power to fight against evil, Bless!"
Priests used group blessing. Order of Freya have sent their best priests with Weed so blessing 400 soldiers at once wasn't a problem for them.
But Weed still decided to act careful. He believed that if he was to throw simple soldiers into the fight from the start there'd be no way to avoid losses, despite the support of Freya's priests.
"Knights move ahead with me, the rest of you follow us at a certain distance."
The Royal Knights were grumbling but still following Weed's orders.
"We will obey for now."
"Until we finish our mission we have to listen to you. But don't get the idea that we do it out of respect."
Weed was ignored in the village! Now he was ignored here as well!
Weed sighed to himself and witohut a word let the knights ahead to search for the ants.
When he was listening to Kokun he didn't take him seriously. Well, the ants were big, they were hard to catch, so what? However after seeing those monsters he couldn't hold his surprise:
"Woah, they're really huge!"
Though ordinary ants were 1 cm long, the monsters that were running around the plains in front of them were easily over a few meters long. And they were moving extremely fast!
"Don't get bothered by their size, go! Attack!"
Accompanied by knights, Weed rushed towards monsters. But they were moving just too fast. In one step they were passing a few meters and were often making sharp turns.
Knights had to be extremely careful to avoid a frontal attack of moving at top speed ants.
Weed couldn't help but feel frustrated.
'I spent so many reputation points on them, and this all I got...'
Knights weren't able to kill even a single ant! The brave warriors were just running in circles trying to dodge rushing monsters.
"We need to slow down the ants! Priests, use slows!"
"Will be done, oh devoted one."
Thankfully, Weed's faith helped him to command the priests. They were executing his orders quickly and accurately.
50 priests simultaneously recited prayers:
"The beauty of Freya stops everyone in their steps. So be it! By the power of our faith, Slow!"
Bizarre anti-blessing of priests started to work. The movements of giant ants started to slow down more and more. The prayers of 50 priests added up and the resulting spell was a lot more powerful than the prayer of a single priest.
After a few seconds ants froze in place.
"Knights, attack! Archers, start shooting! The rest, guard the priests."
A hundred of soldiers pulled their bows and released a swarm of arrows at the frozen monsters. Ants were so big, that it was very easy to aim at them.
The remaining 300 soldiers were guarding the priests. And Weed rushed to attack the ants.
They had to hurry, as priests had to constantly spend mana to keep the slow spell up.
'We can't let this drag for too long.'
Archers' attacks were gradually reducing monsters' health.
'They're so big that arrows are like mosquito bites for them...'
Along with Weed the knights rushed to attack the ants. They were climbing on top of them and breaking open their shells with swords. Some were cutting off their legs.
Weed followed others' example and climbed on the ant's head. That was dangerous but danger didn't stop him. He was hacking the monsters along with the knights.
Giant ants were holding for a long time.
Sometimes they were managing to weaken the slowing spells of the priests and shake the knights off them. Every time that happened Weed's heart was skipping a beat. Fortunately Knights weren't dying so easy, so after the fall they were getting back up, receiving some healing from priests and going back into fight.
In such manner an hour since the start of the fight Weed's little army finished the last giant ant.
You have Level up.
You receive giant and chitin shell.
You receive giant ant antennae. You can use them to find the cave where the queen of giant ants is hidden.
Only after defeating the ants Weed realized that their level was over 350.
"They're ridiculously strong."
It took quite a lot of skill to fight such strong monsters. It was fortunate that because of his high fame and previously completed tasks his level was quite high.
After gathering all the loot and leading his army back to their hideout Weed headed back to the village of exiles.
There he showed the ant shells to Kokun.
"I didn't expect much. Thought you were just another braggart. But I was wrong, you really defeated the giant ants."
Kokun carefully examined the ant shells brought by Weed.
"Amazing. By dealing with them you proved that you're really an outstanding warrior. No one will doubt you any more."
You have completed a quest: 'Kokun's doubt'.
In the whole village of exiles only a few people ever managed to hunt 5 giant ants. And those people are called the greatest warriors and the main protectors of the village. Now Kokun will spread the news of another great warrior among the villagers.
Fame increased by 6.
This time too Weed checked the experience bar. For this quest he was awarded 15% of experience bar. But the most important was the fact that the villagers will finally start to accept him.
"This is my knife. Now it belongs to you. Such a great warrior like you is always a welcome friend for me."
Kokun took out a small knife and passed it to Weed.
That was the most dirty and dull blade Weed ever saw in the game.
"And what do I need it for?"
"It's handy for removing bark from trees. Very useful knife."
Weed decided not to reply, he already had Zahab's knife and Kokun's gift was of no use to him.
"I'll continue my story about our village. The place where it's located is really very dangerous. If you act rashly you can easily lose your life. That's why you should never underestimate Orcs. Since early childhood they're trained to fight monsters, very strong monsters... It can be said that Orcs rule these lands."
"Got it. Avoid the Orcs."
"That's right, if you value your life at least. However high in the Yuroki mountains live dark elves, Moreover recently some dark creatures that use magic appeared and allied themselves with elves."
Weed's gaze became keener.
"Could you tell me more about that?"
"Village's hunters, like me, aren't that aware of what happens in the Yuroki mountains. But we saw many times how Orcs fight with dark elves. Almost every time Orcs were winning, even though elves use dark magic and summoned spirits. But ever since those dark creatures appeared, Orcs started to lose more fights. A lot more fights. Moreover, the slain Orcs were rising and attacking their own kind. I almost got killed a few times when I watched such battles."
Weed was well aware what kind of dark creatures were allied with dark elves. The necromancers of Balkan Demoff.
"Dark elves started to win. They even built walls, fort and then a fortress and towers in the mountains. Thought that seems strange, isn't it?"
Elves were the race who lived in harmony with world and nature.
And even though dark elves loved to fight, they still lived in natural environment. Why would they move into a fortress?
"I have a feeling that elves are preparing for a war. Are they going to start the full scale war with Orcs and are hiding something behind those walls? I don't know anything, I can only guess. However one thing I can tell for sure: ever since elves got support nights in our lands became longer."
"At certain time dark clouds emerge from elven fortress, and they cover the entire sky. The time for which we can see the sun keeps reducing. Take a look in the evening and you'll see for yourself."
That's how Weed learned the rough situation in the Plains of Despair.
"By the way, if you meet brother and sister Moss and Amy in the village, don't talk to them about the shape shifting monsters. Now I need to go hunting."
Kokun picked up his shield, waved his head and left the village.