Chapter 8 : Orc Wars
After turning into an Orc, Weed had been thinking a lot.
'What should I do to befriend them?'
Since he was used to thinking like a human, finding a way to approach to a completely alien race was turning into a hard task for him.
Weed had already got used to communicating with the Orcs, but he was still unable to gain any real friends among them. Then he decided that it was time to stop avoiding his new kin and start to take them for what the are. To treat them as if they were humans and his real comrades.
At first, he thought that it would be extremely hard. But after dealing with them some more, he realized:
'Oh, it's so... familiar.'
Weed quickly befriended everyone in his party.
Orcs! They weren't that different from the Geomchis. Harsh! Aggressive! Violent: If something was not to their liking, they were immediately pulling out their weapons! Reckless: they were attacking even the stronger opponents without a second thought! Their fists acted faster than their words, about 3-4 times faster.
"Catch, this is for ya. Chwiik!"
Weed cooked the food and handed it out to everyone in his party. Orcs were so undiscriminating and insatiable that they liked absolutely everything.
But even after accepting them for what they were, Weed still had problems blending in with this new environment. Same as humans, their society also had their own rules and hierarchy.
Regular Orcs, Orc warriors and scouts were at the lowest level of social ladder in Yurokin mountains. They had greatest numbers, but were just subordinates to other Orcs.
Commanding them were Orc champions, captains, elders and chieftains.
Captains were commanding groups of about hundred Orcs each. Elders ruled villages. Chieftains ruled and monitored domains consisting of several settlements.
And Weed was really hated by everyone above him at the command chain.
"Karichwi wasn't born in our village. Chwiik!"
They were questioning his origins.
"He eats less, than we do. Cwik!"
"Karichwi is too good looking. Cwiiit!"
Envied his appearance.
"Chwichwik! Females should be protected!"
After all, all the problems were because of the women!
Orcs were jealous and envious of Weed because of female attention.
"Ah, chwi! Even after I became an Orc, chwiik! The world won't just leave me alone!"
Weed moaned. Because of all these constant challenges thrown at him by the gods, one would consider hanging himself!
'Really, handsome guys are envied everywhere.'
He decided that the problem is in the fearful appearance, which he thoughtlessly sculptured, while being a human. And the only way to fix everything would be to start completely ignoring attention of the surrounding females.
As a result, they got angry at him as well.
"Chwiik! I don't like those females. All of you, just take them away. Chwiik!"
And after he proclaimed that, females got even more offended.
"Chwik. He's too full of himself."
"Insolent bastard! Chwichwit!"
"Let's banish him from the village! Chwiik!"
Angry locals took a long time to settle down.
And while many in the settlement didn't like Weed, there were quite a few regular Orcs who acknowledged him.
"He's from the winners caste! Chwiiit! This Orc deserves respect. Chwiik!"
"Chwichichiiit! Good fighter!"
"Cunning, chwiik. He would survive anywhere."
Weed often fought and went to hunt. By order of the village elder, for the sake of peace and development of the village, every morning a hunting party was formed and of course Weed was always present.
It usually consisted of Orc warriors and ordinary Orcs. Usually they fought against huge Minotaurs! Monsters around level 300.
Weed tightened his grip on the glaive.
'Precious experience points!'
Minotaurs dual wielded blood-red axes and had more HP, Strength and Dexterity, compared to other monsters of the same level. So there were few people in the game who hunted them. Besides, they usually lived in places where players were rare.
But Weed loved to fight against monsters of all sorts.
Like a merchant appreciates every customers, he also happily greeted any monster.
Experience points - additional power!
Items - pure income!
With growing strength, rewards increased; and with additional loot, his future income also increased.
Weed was thinking using his own values and concepts.
"Moo! Dirty Orcs!"
Minotaur wasn't even slightly afraid of his opponents.
Regular Orcs were level 120 and Orc-warriors 210. And all of them were terrified by the ferocity coming from the enemy.
"Moo! Kill you all!"
Minotaur started to gain speed. He charged, swinging two huge axes. The Orcs in front of him didn't seem like worthy opponents.
Weed jumped forward. His enormous body flew for about 10 meters and landed right next to the Minotaur.
"Chwiik! I'm your opponent!"
After turning into an Orc, his Wisdom and Intelligence got reduced, but Strength and Dexterity were boosted considerably. That's why he started to use regular attack instead of techniques that consumed loads of mana, which he was now short on.
Minotaur hit with an axe what seemed to be a minor obstacle, but Weed deflected it with his glaive. A loud ringing echoed around from collided weapons.
Opponents stood in front of each other.
Sword and glaive are somewhat similar, but there are also a lot of differences. Glaive is wider and heavier, so it takes some time to get used to wielding it normally. In general, it is a slower, but destructive weapon.
Each time glaive collided with monster's axe, there was ringing and sparks. With each hit deflected by glaive, Minotaur was forced to step back, and it was enraging him.
Normally, such a rusted glaive would've shattered a long time ago. But Weed had repaired, grinded and polished it to extreme sharpness.
Weed's strong resistance gave strength to his fellow Orcs.
Minotaur finally grew frightened.
The wave of Orcs advanced fast! Hundreds or Orcs with glaives in hands run up and began to slash at the monster. Some of them died from Minotaur's attacks, but in return he also received many wounds from which he finally died.
As it is said, "you can not block ten hands with a single one". In that exact manner Orcs were winning the battles, due to their numerical advantage.
And the real hunt began.
Hundreds of Orcs with glaives hunted huge monsters. While many of them got killed, the rest grew stronger. Because survivors gained new levels, the overall strength of the party kept growing.
Orcs survived despite being constantly threatened by many dangerous monsters. They survived thanks to their fertility. Some Orcs died, but others grew stronger, and to their aid came new growing up tribesmen!
Even knowing all this, Weed made sure that none of his friends died. He repaired their weapons, prepared food and bandaged them when it was necessary.
The big hunt continued!
Many simple-minded, ignorant Orcs roamed the surrounding lands slaying any monsters they met. Orc didn't possess any special techniques or other secrets, they just overwhelmed their enemy with the sheer numbers. If a dozen wasn't enough, then a hundred will come; and even if they die, even more will follow.
In such dangerous battles, many Orcs started to gather around Weed.
"Chwichwit, ignorant Karichwi, lead us."
"Karichwi, you are simple, we are comfortable with ya. Chwiik!"
Because of his low Intelligence and Wisdom, Orcs regarded Weed as one of them! In addition he also had high Leadership and Charisma stats, due to which Orcs were willing to be led by him.
Nodding to the "recruits" in agreement, Weed continued the hunt.
Although he received command of the new "heads", fighting became harder because of them. Because they were all one big group, the one to last hit the enemy, received over half the XP.
The rest of experience was distributed almost equally, regardless of your contribution to the battle. And Weed had to restrain his greed for experience points.
'I have to stay smarter than these greedy Orcs...'
If he focuses on getting the maximum amount of experience, He would risk losing all the friendship with these Orcs. At the same time, if he holds back, it may very well lead to his death at some point.
That's why Weed just fought as much as possible. He attacked the monster first, did as much damage as he could and if there weren't too many others fighting the same monster, aimed for the killing blow.
Not to mention that a large number of battles was the main point of Weed's early game strategy. From the first day he attempted to boost his attributes as much as possible, and only then raise levels. As a result, fighting monsters of the same level was considerably easier.
By accumulating various skills and attributes, he became much more powerful than any other player of the same level! And with time, the difference continued increasing.
'Hard work now will make it easier later on...'
He couldn't count the times he had noticed players who do not pay attention to it. There have been cases when people reached level 250 without even getting their sword skill to an appropriate level. Those kind of players leveled up without improving their skills just because it would have required some hard work.
But for Weed it became a priority. He was very glad that Orcs hunted a lot. Surrounding lands were filled with monsters, and all he did here was fighting them, putting trade skills and sculptural mastery aside for now.
At some point Weed reached 295th level.
* * *
Pale's party's hunt at the Soul Lake was in full swing.
Before, they would not have dared to approach this place, but now, after raising their levels and with the help of Hwaryeong, Zephyr and Meyron, they decided to give it a try.
Here they encountered terrible water spirits and fishlike monsters!
After fierce and lengthy battle most of the group left the game, and only Pale and Mayrun stayed for a date next to the lake.
Pale actually liked to chat:
"And so... Actually... And then..."
He met a girl that he really liked.
Pale wanted to tell her all about his life and adventures in the Royal Road. Especially since they met through this game.
He told her about the heavenly city Lavias.
Meyron's eyes sparkled when she heard about the first steps they took as beginners, their first quests and how they explored the city in the sky.
"How did Weed chose a profession of sculptor?"
"As far as I know..."
Pale also talked a lot about Weed. He also shared the secret that it was Weed who destroyed the vampires in the province of Mort.
* * *
You have completed the quest: "Orc provisions"
There are many dangerous monsters preying on regular citizens in the surrounding countryside.Catch them with a hunting party and feed their meat to the young.
Reward: Depending on the result - equipment, precious stones and ores.
Restrictions: Orc race only. Or those capable of shapeshifting into Orcs due to magic or other means.
Orc Chieftain and Elders were also giving missions, however, the Chieftain lived in a neighboring village, and the Elders weren't easy to get friendly with. But Weed didn't despair, and continued to hunt a lot and do quests. He didn't receive any good items for them, but rewarded ingredients and ores were rare.
Besides, hunting monsters awarded him with precious experience. Not just the XP points he received for kills, but also new knowledge and information. Most of the monsters in the Lands of Despair were over level 300 and often possessed unique abilities. It was very easy to make a fatal mistake in the first encounter.
Alongside with the Orcs, Weed was fighting against various monsters. Sometimes even faced Dark Elves. Even though they were small, they kept using elemental magic and proved to be worthy opponents. But it didn't stop Weed from defeating them and gaining even more respect inside Orcs village.
This way Weed explored most of the Yuroki mountain range.
To his surprise, the Dark Elves fortress looked as menacing as the Citadel of Seraburg in Rosenheim Kingdom. And with all the magical weapons installed into the walls, the fortress became virtually impregnable.
"We'll capture it! Break through! Nothing shall stop us! Chwiik!"
Elder looked at Weed with warmth.
This huge Orc was able to gather the meat of the most dangerous predators and complete his task. As a reward he received a lot of ore suitable for forging high quality weapons.
Old Orc closed his eyes.
"Chwik. When I look at you, I remember my youth."
"Thank you, Elder. Chwiik! - answered Weed with respect.
Usually Orcs talk among themselves very crudely, and Weed tried to adhere to these rules. But to every rule there is always an exception, and here it was the Elder, the first influential Orc to support him. He helped Weed to buy a house, gave him advice and of course various quests.
Only the most famous and powerful Orcs, who managed to live to a ripe old age, became Elders. And although they already lacked strength, they still retained their influence and knowledge, allowing them to supervise young Orc captains.
"Chwiik! Now I'll tell you about our mountains..."
Elder had already told Weed many interesting things in the past. About Yuroki mountain range. About all kinds of monsters, their skills, abilities and where they lived!
Sometimes his speeches dragged on for so long, that he wanted to yawn, but Weed carefully listened to it all. Most of the time elder kept to the relevant information and some of those stories were really incredible.
Weed eagerly absorbed all the new information.
"Dark Elves - are our enemies. Recently they've started to do strange things. ChwiIit!"
"What strange things? Chwichik!"
Elder wrinkled in discontent.
"Chwiiik! Karichwi, you know that they, like people, have built a fortress."
"Chwichwit. So what?"
"The walls are very high and thick. Chwhik! Monsters can no longer get close to Dark Elves and keep attacking us instead. Chwiik!"
Elder was very sad because of current situation. More and more monsters came to the borders of the village, and they were becoming more powerful each day.
For Weed, on the other hand, it was good news. More monsters means harder battles and above all, more XP!
"Chwichwik! And we don't like having that huge fortress above our village. We decided to attack the Dark Elves. 25 chieftains from neighboring lands support this idea. Cwiik. We are getting ready to attack. When sky turns bright and then dark 10 times, we will attack Dark Elves fortress. Karichwi. Come with us!"
New quest: The prosperity of Orc tribes.
From long time ago, Yuroki mountains were dominated by the Orcs. But now the Dark Elves decided to challenge their position. With their magic, marksmanship and alliance with the dark creatures they've become a serious threat to Orcs' future.
Difficulty: Race quest.
Reward: Depending on the result - precious stones and ores.
Restrictions: Orc race only. Or those capable of shapeshifting into Orcs due to magic or other means.
War between Orcs and Dark Elves!
It will decide who will rule in the Lands of Despair.
With that said, Weed being so focused on the hunt, experienced a shred of regret.
'I was hunting so well, gaining levels and items...'
Soon the whole mountain range of Yuroki will host the final battle. Although Weed was indignant inside, he kept a calm facade for the benefit of the elder.
Seeing this, the old Orc continued:
"Karichwi! If you are a brave Orc, chwichichik! You must take part in this battle!".
Do you accept the Quest? If refused, you might get exiled from this Orc village.
"Yes. Chwiik! I will fight those dark bastards.".
You've accepted the Quest
Before the battle between the two races Weed canceled the Sculptural transformation and came down from the mountains. He was expected by warriors and priests of Freyja.
"Captain, you're back!" - Exclaimed happily Hosram.
"Yes. And how are you, hungry?"
"If only a little." - answered Buren.
Weed had been regularly gathering, taking or buying food from the Orc village and giving it to the hungry soldiers.
'Oh, they are like leeches.'
Weed certainly didn't have any parental feelings of wanting to find food for their "children". He just wanted to spend as little as possible on all these slacking off soldiers, or as he called them in his mind, pigs.
'They sleep, eat, and don't even do anything productive!'
But Weed kept displaying his friendly smile.
"Then I'll feed you soon. I just got wild boar meat, just have to cook it now."
In his travels through the mountains, he not only hunted monsters. but also regular animals. In the last campaign he managed to catch a whole family of wild boars.
"Wow! Thank you, Commander!"
As soon as they saw meat, the eyes of surrounding soldiers shined. Using a variety of spices and seasonings, Weed perfectly fried it. Also, for the first time since that drinking party with Geomchis long time ago, he opened some of the tinctures from his stock.
"Eat and drink to your hearts' content."
"Thank you. Yummy!"
Warriors consumed this extremely delicious dish with great pleasure. But the royal knights constantly grumbled.
"Oh, I haven't eaten meat in a long time."
"They served it every day inside the palace."
"This proves to be pretty good."
"Well, there's a bit too much garlic and onions."
While warriors, knights and priests ate, Weed took care of their equipment.
"Armor repaired, weapons sharpened, clothes ironed!"
He carefully examined all the equipment and finished just before dinner ended.
"Everyone, get ready for the battle!" - Addressed them Weed.
"Yes!" - shouted the soldiers.
"To battle? Well, we'll get ready then." - Answered the knights.
Priests blessed all of the gathered warriors. Knights boosted this effect even more with their prayers.
"Calling the Death Knight!"
"Sir, you called?"
Answering with a nod, Weed sighing heavily, finally took off the tiresome Crimson Necklace of Life and took out from his bag and equipped the Black Necklace of Life with a level 400 Vampire Lord Tori, trapped inside.
Weed still couldn't bring himself to activate the necklace. Not that he didn't trust knights and priests, but in the following battle all their lives will be put on the line.
"I summon the Vampire Lord!"
Immediately after his cry, a scarlet light blossomed in the middle of the black stone. As if someone dropped there a drop of blood. And then in a flash of darkness he appeared. A tall, slender man in dark cloak and with pale skin.
Vampire Lord Tori smiled.
"Ooh, it's been a long time since I saw this beautiful world. Is this sunlight?"
Vampire's fangs grew and flashed. His blood-red eyes looked with interest at the people gathered in front of him.
Tori radiated such power and authority, that the feet of the soldiers started to tremble.
Coming out of nowhere black clouds covered the sun. The ground got covered by cold fog.
Weed exchanged glances with Death Knight and turned toward the Vampire Lord.
He couldn't afford to suffer the same losses as the last time. Tori had an incredible abilities: transforming his enemies into stone, turning into a bat and moving with lightning speed. But the worst of it was his vampirism.
By draining his victims, Lord could restore his health and mana as many times as he needed, therefore they had to finish this as quickly as possible.
'Both Death Knight and me got a lot stronger. We need to exhaust him together as much as possible and then finish with the help of Priests magic. No matter how strong a Vampire he is, he won't be able to handle this...'
Yes, they were faced with a formidable level 400 opponent, but these warriors weren't normal either. Sharpened swords, polished armor, bonuses from food and sacred blessings.
Besides it was the daytime. And they were outside of a dungeon!
Boss battles are usually hard because they are boosted by half inside their lairs.
Three hundred paladins and a hundred priests.
Last time Tori killed most of the warriors, but now, during the day, he would have difficulty unleashing his full power. Even though he covered sky with the clouds, part of his abilities only got boosted during the night.
As a precaution, Weed also prepared his trump card - the Sculpture Destruction. He intentionally summoned Vampire not far from his Mercenary sculpture.
'I would like to avoid using that ability...'
But Tori didn't move and quetly stood there.
Vampire Lord noticed Seoyoon's statue in mercenary clothes.
"B-Beautiful! Is this really a sculpture? Even if the most beautiful girl in the world were to be turned into stone, it wouldn't compare with this."
The Menacing Vampire fell in love with Seoyoon.
"Art! Art! Art! It's power makes this boring eternal life more dynamic. Children of the Night love art. It's because of this passion I've settled in the old castle. All art in the world belongs to me! You wouldn't take it from me. I, Lord Tori, the greatest heir to the true blood, will punish you, puny humans."
Finally, the battle with Vampire Lord began!
Weed and Death Knight both rushed at the Vampire.
"Blessing! Sculpting blade!"
Protective blessing of the High Priest's ring activated immediately.
Weed dispelled Orc transformation even before entering the camp, so he already had enough mana to use all his skills.
Usually he would be aggressively attacking his enemy, dealing multiple wounds. But now Weed acted differently.
He gathered all his strength for a single powerful attack!
Simple, but at the same time very dangerous tactic: betting everything on this single strike, he's bound to lose rhythm and open himself for a counterattack.
But Weed still decided to do it.
His most powerful technique. He has used up all his mana on this single attack.
Cold sword pierced Lord Tori's chest. The wound and surrounding it flesh started to quickly freeze under the effects of this sword.
This new sword lacked blessing compared to his last one, but it had higher Attack Rating and was freezing it's victims.
Weaker monsters would just freeze to death, and even if they survived, their speed would be greatly reduced.
After taking this hit, Vampire's health dropped by 30%. Vampire just started to recover when another attack hit him.
Death Knight's sword penetrated Tori's side. At the same time, Weed pulled out his sword and jumped back.
"A-a-a-a! I'll suck your blood dry right now!"
Vampire got very angry, and his eyes seemed to fill with blood even more.
Tori's blood drops along with sharp as blades gusts of wind flew in all directions. But Weed was ready for something like that.
All the warriors have already retreated to the safe distance even before the fight began, and this attack didn't even reach them. While both Weed and Death Knight charged into the middle. The eye of the storm is often the safest!
Having avoided this spell, they continued to attack their enemy. They circled Tori while using their strongest attacks.
Vampire's health kept dropping quickly.
Priests weren't resting either.
As soon as Whirl stopped, all the priest raised their hands in spellcasting:
Vampire Lord's body was enveloped by bright light.
Normally, people would be healed by holy magic, but on undead species, which Vampire certainly belonged to, it had the opposite effect.
During the first minute of battle Tori's health already dropped by half, and he was forced to use his trump ability. Vampirism!
He was unable to drink Death Knight's blood, therefore his aim was on Weed who kept circling around. But each time Tori tried to grab him, Weed kept slipping through his fingers.
Priests kept constantly using their spells and situation for Tori was quickly turning for the worse.
"I... I need a victim... Thirsty, blood, health!"
Realizing that if he doesn't do something quick, his life will soon end, Tori rushed toward the royal knights and soldiers who protected priests.
Terrified, Soldiers scattered in all directions, but one still fell into Tori's hands. His eye got filled with despair.
Tori sunk his teeth into the neck of his victim. This weak soldier, of course, was hardly enough to sate the Vampire, but still helped to restore some of his health and mana.
But while he drank blood, priests continued using their spells on him, as a result, his health not only didn't increase, but actually dropped slightly. At that moment Weed jumped behind Tori, dealing final blow and ending his life.
Lord Tori burst into dust while terrified soldier fell to the ground. Thanks to the priests healing him all this time, he actually survived with just a serious scare.
After this fight Weed started summoning Lord Tori each time he returned to the camp. While those victories he didn't receive any XP points, he still could practice his sword skills while fighting a powerful opponent.
The only one who didn't enjoy these battles was the Death Knight. Not long ago he went through something very similar and secretly pitied the fearsome Vampire.
Every day for a week Weed continued summoning Tori for a new battle. Each time Vampire felt more and more depressed. In the end, he bowed his head.
"You have the right to give me, the heir to a famous family, your orders. Knowing about your talents in art and leadership, I'll entrust myself into your hands."
And then Tori gave Weed a drop of his blood.
Vampire blood! When drinking their victims, vampire could give some of their blood to turn one into his servant. However, this time Tori gave away his blood for an oath.
A Blood oath.
Special item: You've received Vampire's blood.
When it's used, Mana increased by 300: a onetime bonus for your profession.
Other statistics can both increase and decrease by a random value.
Black Magic skill +2%
Unique items that increased mana pool were extremely rare in this game.
From that time on, Weed could summon Lord Tori at any time. It was going to be very useful, considering Orcs finally finished their preparations for the upcoming battle with Dark Elves.