Chapter 25 – Ahmuge (3)
The first rewards on the list were similar to last time . The 25 Magic Power upgrade was a significant boon . There weren’t many opportunities to raise a stat by anything more than 20, no matter how low the base stat was . However, he still had one complaint .
‘They didn’t give me any Palace Tokens . Is that because I got the blade?’
Sungchul held up the Magic Blade: Infernal Heart .[Magic Blade: Infernal Heart]
Grade: Rare – Mid grade
Type: Blade – Magical
Effect: Well-tempered edge / +10 Strength / Flame attribute
Note: A blade crafted by a mad blacksmith inside of a molten lake in which a fire spirits resides . He burned to death immediately after the blade was completed .
It was a decent blade . It was meant to be used by beginners, like the Magic Staff: Moonlight he had previously received, but the blade would also be decent enough in mid-level . It might be the best item one could earn within the Summoning Palace .
Within the well-tempered blade, the muted aura of a flame spoke well of the blade’s quality, and the balance also felt good, enough for it to feel weightless .
Sungchul swung the blade as a test, and a streak of flames formed along the path it had been swung in . Using it, it would cause critical damage by slicing open then searing the exposed flesh .
“Not bad . ”
However, he also knew that this wasn’t everything . It was similar to Vestiare’s case . The Seventh Heroes rewarded twice .
Sungchul grabbed Fal Garaz and the rewards and waited for the expected message to appear . It did .[The Seven Heroes – Sajators laughs raucously at your ability to overcome danger . ]
Sungchul’s eyes emitted a cold light .
“Laugh it up while you can . ”[Seven Heroes – Sajators has decided to bestow a special reward for overcoming danger . ]
1 . Map made of Goblin hide
2 . Blue Ruby Ring
The true reward for overcoming the dangers had appeared . A single map and a single ring fell to the floor . The rewards didn’t make sense, similar to the case with Vestiare .
He first picked up the map made of Goblin hide .[Map made of Goblin Hide]
Type: Misc Item
Note: It was made in a hurry due to a commander’s order .
The explanation had Sajators’ distinct style to it . Other than the preservation, there didn’t seem to be any magical power coming from it; it seemed just like a normal map . The map was made of a goblin hide which reeked of savagery, and the quality wasn’t much better than that of a drunken pirate captain’s crudely drawn map .
The map pointed to an untamed rainforest set beneath a mountain range called the Screaming Sword’s Edge Mountain Range . Screaming Sword’s Edge Mountain Range was located at the southernmost tip of the continent and was one of its unexplored territories . There were no sources of income here, and it had nearly no quest rewards in the whole area . There were only frequent status afflictions, stench, and zoonoses carried by irritating monsters here; the xenophobic Hermit Kingdom of Lizardmen was all that awaited the visitors at the end . Sungchul, who in this world was second to none in terms of strength, had never even thought of going there because of the pure annoyance the journey would be .
‘Screaming Sword’s Edge Mountain Range… that area’s a fucking shithole . ’
There was some writing scrawled at the bottom of the map .
– Why do you think I gave you the Infernal Heart? If you have a head, try using it .
Beneath that was another set of markings scrawled out with a pen . It was hard to make out as it didn’t seem to have been written with ink but had rather been scratched out with just the pen’s dry tip .
His laughter escaped through his nose .
“They say a person acts the way he appears… how immature . ”
Sungchul didn’t appreciate the host’s need to play pranks rather than simply handing things over . However, they say a thirsty man will dig a well . He grabbed both the map and Infernal heart and began contemplating on how to uncover the trick . He eventually succeeded in finding the secret . When Infernal Heart, with its fiery aura, was placed beneath the map a new message appeared .
It was in an ancient text . It was written in a long forgotten language that only a rare few could decipher . Fortunately, Sungchul just happened to be one of those few people .
He stumbled through his memories to decipher the message .
He might be able to translate the text, but his ability to decipher the message was poor . Actually, it was abysmal . At most, he was only able to fit together some of the words that he already knew .
However, Sungchul was the master of making things up as he went along . He had the ability to pick up the important context from these seemingly unrelated words .
‘Together, incantation… this… Is this referring to the Multicast? I think this map is a record on how to obtain Multicast .
Sungchul’s eyes sparkled with curiosity .
There was also another item; the Blue Ruby Ring that was called Angel’s Tear .[Blue Ruby Ring]
Type: Misc Item
Effect: High-Value Item
Note: The Blue Ruby Ring is the greatest reagent, but due to its weak reactivity, it isn’t often used . Its beautiful light and pattern makes it favorable for use as decorations .
Similar to the Goblin hide, it was another normal item . No matter how carefully he inspected it, there were no special characteristics to it . Truth’s Eye also gave the same results . There wasn’t even a hidden message like there was with the map, but it seemed to be the key to uncovering the clue leading to Sajators’ deepest secret: Multicast .
Like Vestiare, Sajators wouldn’t thoughtlessly just leave behind a reward .
‘I guess the true reward that he left can only be found by crossing over the Screaming Sword’s Edge Mountain Range . ’
Sungchul placed both items into his soul storage and watched as the barrier surrounding him broke down . The void space disappeared, and he returned to the scene of the pond that was surrounded by a thick forest .
He heard a familiar voice .
It was Ahmuge .
As she had been meditating, it seems like she was also diligently performing her common quests . Sungchul looked up to the sky . The sun was already setting to the west .
“How much time has passed?”
“About 2 hours . ”
“I see . ”
Sungchul backed away from the statue and got out of the pond . As soon as he was out, the statue in the center broke and collapsed .
Ahmuge was surprised and rushed towards the statue . She ignored her wet clothes and inspected the rubble with her hands .
‘Hm? The quest disappeared? How can this be? I heard that the Seven Heroes struck down the people they didn’t like, but I never heard of them destroying a core structure like this…’
Her eyes grew wider then turned towards Sungchul .
“How did this happen?”
“Dunno . ”
Sungchul obviously knew, but he still kept his mouth shut . Nothing good would come from blathering about completing missions .
Ahmuge stared at his face while blushing then asked him carefully .
“Perhaps… did you fulfill its purpose?”
He didn’t make any movement one way or the other . He glared at her and responded calmly .
“Didn’t we agree not to ask each other questions?”
It was the single most important promise between them . No matter how excited she’d become, Ahmuge still realized the importance of such a promise .
“Ah… yes… that we did . ”
She forcibly calmed her breathing, and returned to her normal, calm self .
“I apologize for prying . ”
“Ok . ”
Sungchul was just moving towards the plaza when an unexpected noise erupted from his stomach .
Moving for the first time in a while really made him work up an appetite .
Ahmuge clearly heard the noise .
“It sounds like someone’s hungry?”
A natural bodily function quickly shifted the atmosphere . An awkward smile formed upon her lips, and Sungchul simply nodded with no particular expression . He spoke towards Ahmuge .
“I’m going to prepare a meal . Care to join me?”
“It’s ok . I have no interest chewing those bricks they call bread . ”
Ahmuge politely declined and tried to head back, but Sungchul spoke to her retreating figure again .
“Is that right? I got some meat from the rank match . I was prepared to show off some of my skills…”
The hardest challenge Sungchul had faced after he became the enemy of the world was obtaining a proper meal . He fed himself with poorly cooked meat, fruit, and some grass, but that was only good enough for a couple of days . His desire for a decent meal had kept growing until it could no longer be suppressed .
He ended up choosing chef as his first sub-class, and since then he had embarked on a difficult world wide journey to become a true chef . By the time Sungchul qualified for the prestigious title of ‘Chef De Cuisine’, a philosophy had taken root in his heart; When hungry, one should eat delicious food .
He finally developed quite an appetite after a while, so this was the best opportunity he had to eat something delicious . He had decent ingredients with him, and his friendly guest had also given him a good quest .
“What do you mean… when you say meat? Are you perhaps talking about the mystery meat they’d given us after the rank match?”
Ahmuge obviously had gotten some meat before . She had earned first place during the death match, but it wasn’t easy to prepare the meat .
“It smelled bad and wasn’t it also too tough to eat? I’d rather have a few more apples than that . ”
She must have already tried eating it, but it sounds like she had prepared it poorly .
A mysterious smile formed on Sungchul’s lips .
“The Regal Mountain Chicken is something that can be put on a king’s plate . ”
“Regal… Mountain… Chicken…? Is that the name of the meat?”
“Just trust me . I have complete faith in my cooking ability . ”
Sungchul led Ahmuge towards a cave at the cliff’s edge, but a familiar smell emanated from the area around the cave .
“Is this… the smell of human blood?”
Ahmuge’s eyes grew cold . Sungchul raised his hand and moved over .
“Wait . It looks like some unwelcome guests may have been here . ”
Sungchul slowly headed towards the cave . Blood stains and bloody footprints were strewn about the cave entrance . By the shape of the footprints, someone must have gotten punished by the cave’s owner and had been chased out .
The cave owner’s pair of eyes lit up brightly within the darkness as he revealed himself . It was a massive bear which reached 5 meters in height . It looked like a bear, but it also had the pattern of a tiger on its pelt . Tiger Bear; a creature that roamed the vicinity of the Summoning Palace, despite its fearsome appearance, this monster was similar to a herbivore . It especially enjoyed eating honey . However, this massive beast was still capable of using its fearsome size to injure dozens of amateur summoned without putting in too much effort .
Beginner summoned could easily be killed by it .
Sungchul stared down the Tiger Bear . It looked defiant, but when its eyes met with Sungchul, it froze .
“Back off . ”
The phrase dropped over it like a blizzard and the large beast crawled deeper into the cave . Watching the scene, Ahmuge carefully asked a question .
“Perhaps… are you a Druid…?”
He couldn’t say that last summer, he had beaten the bear like a stray dog until the very sight of him would cause the bear to run away in fear, so Sungchul only sighed in relief as entered the cave .
‘It was good that I hid this inside the bear’s cave . Three weeks after arriving in this world, a few of the summoned have already grown strong enough to venture this far out . ’
The meat that had been stored in the cave was certainly safe . He ignored the Tiger Bear that was peeking at him as it trembled in fear, and brought out the portion of meat that had been well preserved in a cool area of the cave . It was chicken meat that was wrapped in tree leaves .
“Wait, why don’t we gather some ingredients . ”
Sungchul apologized and left his seat to bring out a small box from his soul storage . There were some essential ingredients within the box and also some extremely precious spices that were important for cooking . He only subtly took out some ingredients that wouldn’t stand out and wrapped it in a leaf before taking out a different box . This box was filled with dried vegetables and mushrooms and other similarly preserved foods . Sungchul took out a few different types of mushrooms and returned to Ahmuge .
“It might take an hour and a half . Will you wait?”
Ahmuge nodded .
Sungchul packed the ingredients he had gathered into the chicken, wrapped the chicken in a broad leaf, then smeared it in mud .
“What are you doing?”
Ahmuge, who had been watching Sungchul, asked a question .
“Cooking . ”
Sungchul, after putting a thick layer of mud onto the chicken, lit a fire and placed the mud-covered chicken on top of it . It looked too primitive to call it ‘cooking’… at least in Ahmuge’s perspective .
An hour and a half passed . Sungchul pulled the crisply cooked mud out of the fire and began to break the muddy exterior with the pommel of his beginner’s blade .
The mud layer broke apart, and the aroma of meat spread throughout the air . Ahmuge’s eyes lit up in excitement as drool filled her mouth .
‘What… in the world is this? This aroma…?!’
Sungchul quietly broke apart the mud, then pushed half of the chicken over to Ahmuge .
“It’s not great, but give it a try . ”
Ahmuge looked at the juicy flesh which was revealing its golden meat then swallowed her drool before ripping off a piece and putting it into her mouth .
As the meat entered her mouth, the Regal Mountain Chicken’s life was played out like a panorama before Ahmuge’s eyes . His life-or-death battle with the egg shell, his battle for food with his siblings, his teenage years molting out of his cotton feathers into proper ones, and his fateful meeting with a hen on another mountain… then finally, his slaughter .
‘So delicious . It’s my first time eating something so delicious…!!’
She could barely contain her tears as she ate her first proper meal in a long time . Reputation or etiquette was meaningless in front of such absolute flavor .
To Sungchul, it tasted rather plain .
‘58 points . The ingredients and tools weren’t up to snuff, so it was difficult to make anything worth over 50 points . ’
The chef class had the ability to see the score of any food they tasted . It was quite useless to Sungchul, but it was still a decent meal .
When the meal ended, they both headed towards the plaza . Ahmuge, who had been silent for a while, caught up with him with soft steps before asking her question .
“How about we make a deal?”