[Ten Thousand Sword Swings (Daily)]
[Ten Thousand Dummy Strikes (Daily)]
[Thousand Lifts with Every Dumbbell in the Training Center (Daily)]
[Eight Thousand Blade Dummy Dodges (Daily)]
[One Thousand Laps around the Plaza (Daily)]
[Low-Grade Monster Hunts]
[Low-Grade Monster x10 Hunts]
[Mid-Grade Monster Hunts]
This was only a part of the list Sungchul had scratched out on the dirt with twigs for the Preselected. The list of seemingly impossible tasks had a total of thirty entries in it, causing those who were reading to become slack-jawed.
“This is the list of common Quests that I’ve been suggested to do by my Guide, and they increase the three basic stats: Strength, Dexterity, and Vitality. If you don’t believe me, then check with your own Guide.”
There were a few false ones mixed in, but the majority of them were real. He borrowed the authority of the Guides to convince the Preselected before him, leaving the responsibility of proving his words to their Guides. The three Preselected showed hostility, but they also couldn’t say anything to his face.
“I won’t force you. You can spill sweat and train like your lives depend on it, or you can spill your blood at the Rank Match in front of the other Preselected. It’s up to you.”
There were a total of four Preselected gathered here: Ahram, Sunghae, and her two bodyguards. Ahram, despite being a latecomer, only listened to a bit of the explanation then left while yawning. He leaned against a tree off in the distance and began to hum to himself, attempting to nap. He was the epitome of carefree irresponsibility. Then again, what did someone who looked down on even the Drill Sergeant have to fear?
Only three people remained listening to Sungchul’s advice.
A pale hand rose in the middle of the uncomfortable silence. It was Sunghae’s.
“You are certain that there will be an effect if we do all of this, right?”
“Open your status windows. Ignoring the other stats, your Strength, Dexterity, and Vitality don’t exceed 20, do they?”
The eyes of Sunghae and the other two became unfocused as they looked at their Status Screens. Sungchul looked over towards Sunghae and said.
“How do your Strength, Dexterity, and Vitality look?”
“Eh. They are 15, 16, and 16.”
All three Preselected had similar stats. It wouldn’t be surprising for the average Summoned to be limited at around 10, but it was disappointing for the quality of the Preselected to only be this high.
“My average numbers are higher than 20.”
They heard a familiar voice; it was Ahram. He had been leaning on a tree trunk, pretending to sleep while actually listening to everything they’d said.
“I said I got more than 20. 20! So, I don’t have to do that stupid list, right?”
Sungchul completely ignored him. Instead, he turned his head and called out loudly.
A man revealed himself from deeper in the forest. It was Loner #2: Yungjong Ha.
“Ah, this is a bit embarrassing. Do I have to do this?”
The other Preselected stiffened. It was quite unpleasant for them to be associating with just Sungchul, but now there was another unwelcome face in the mix.
Sungchul didn’t mind the chilling gaze that the two of them were being shot with and spoke to Yungjong.
“Yungjong, how are your stats?”
“Ah, Kim Hyung. I really don’t like this kind of thing.”
“Come on, it’s not hard. I’ll even grill you some meat.”
At the mention of meat, Yungjong opened his status window with a bitter smile and unhesitatingly recited the numbers within.
“Strength 28. Dexterity 27. Vitality 25. That’s how it is.”
The other Preselected were shocked by the numbers.
“How can that be? That bastard’s stats are higher than mine?” said Ahram as he rose with a stretch from his tree trunk. An indecipherable smile appeared on his face.
“Some bitch like this is better than I am? Huh? Don’t joke around with me! Fuck! This guy with a rotten expression is better than me?”
No one knew what had bothered him to such a degree, but Ahram was clearly angry.
“I’m already pissed for getting bitched at for losing the staff, and now some bitches are trying to fuck with me.”
The rotten interior hidden underneath his handsome exterior revealed itself. He began looking over everyone with hatred in his eyes before eventually screaming out spitefully.
“Hey! Fuck it! Don’t even bother! What do you fuckers know? Fucking worthless idiots. Do you know who my backer is? Do you?”
Everyone either turned their gazes or simply ignored him completely.
Ahram, who was throwing a tantrum like some drunkard, suddenly reached out and grabbed Sunghae’s wrist.
“What are you doing?” exclaimed Sunghae looking aghast as she pulled her arm out of his grip. Ahram smiled lecherously and reached out for her once again.
“Do you know who my backer is, Sunghae? Hm?”
“What the fuck do I care about that?”
“Oh shit. Look who’s talking back now. What a step up for a whore like you.”
“What? What did you just say?”
Sunghae jumped back in surprise and pointed her Moonlight towards him, seeming ready to kill.
Ahram pointed at her staff and looked at her mockingly.
“Am I wrong? You got that fucking staff from that hobo, for a night.”
“Are you crazy?”
“Give me a turn. Don’t act so coy. I can get you something better than that shit if I ask my idiot Guide, Dolorence or some shit. Come on!”
Ahram struck Sunghae’s staff out of her hand and once again held her wrists.
“Let me go! I’ll kill you!”
Sunghae struggled with all her might, but her strength couldn’t overcome Ahram’s. Ahram dragged Sunghae by her arms to some taller bushes, in plain sight of everyone. He continued laughing the whole time. He was like a crazed dog that had broken free of its leash; a loose mad dog with a terrifying backer. Even the two men who’d assigned themselves as Sunghae’s bodyguards could do nothing but watch with their heads lowered.
A man stepped up just as Sungchul was about to move. It was Yungjong.
“Little baby, shut up now, you hear? Or else your chin just might go flying.”
Ahram would often throw a tantrum over every little thing, but this time, he went too far.
Ahram glared, eyes blinded by anger. He raised his chin and walked rapidly over to Yungjong and got into his face.
“Flap those gums again, bitch. You stinkin’ garb…”
The sound of an impact echoed in the forest. Yungjong had landed a refreshing punch in his face. Ahram’s face was crumpled as he fell making an inexplicable cry of agony.
The strangeness of the cry must have been caused by being interrupted in the middle of shouting insults by a punch. Ahram twitched like a cockroach hit by bug spray as he trembled in the ground, twitching and grabbing dirt.
Everyone was reminded of the age old saying ‘A stick is the only medicine for an unruly dog’ after the incident resolved anticlimactically. Ahram soon left the area, muttering profanities under his breath as he went.
“You’ll all see. Fuckers. I’m going to get dad to fucking crush all of you. Bitches…Just you wait. Just you wait…”
The most cowardly of threats could be faintly heard coming from between the trees.
After Ahram left, Sungchul gathered the group again and spoke to them.
“I’ll be in the Plaza. If there is anything you want to ask regarding the common Quests, don’t hesitate to come to me.”
Sungchul left the Preselected behind and exited the forest with Yungjong. Yungjong leaned over to him and whispered.
“Uh…shit. I ended up blowing it. That was the one bitch I shouldn’t have hit.”
He had acted instinctively, but there seemed to be a lot of regret remaining.
“Ah…what should I do? Shit…Should I apologize later?”
Yungjong turned out to actually be quite a decent guy. His mouth was foul, and his appearance was intimidating, but he always supported his friends. It was rare to find a person like this within the Summoning Palace where everyone’s true face was soon revealed.
“Then why did you step up? I could have dealt with it myself,” replied Sungchul.
“Ah…but that bitch was so uppity. Really, though…I did do it, but…whew…”
“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it. Didn’t you see him call his Guide an idiot? The Guide probably felt her blood pressure shoot up. She might even be grateful to you.”
“R…right? It’d be sweet if that was the case.”
His face relaxed slightly after being reassured. He had punched out of anger, and his naturally anxious personality couldn’t be changed so suddenly.
“Anyways, Kim Hyung. Do you think those kids will actually do as you said? They’re as spoiled as they come.”
“Well, it’s their loss if they don’t. Your example will only be of benefit to them.”
“Okay. Also, let me taste that amazing meat that you were talking about. I’ve only been eating that trashy bread, and I want to chew something which has meat juices flowing.”
“I’m not bragging, but I’m confident in my cooking skills. I’ll be grilling it for dinner, so don’t come crying to me if you’ve filled up on the Homunculus’s bread.”
“Of course. I’ll be waiting!”
Yungjong returned to the training center with his thumb in the air.
Now that Sungchul was alone again, he looked around the Plaza center a bit. He was looking at the established factions between the average Summoned.
‘It’s not enough with just the minority of the Preselected. Everyone’s stats have to be raised across the board.’
Sungchul looked at the outer ring of the people gathered in the Plaza with passive eyes. He quickly found what he was looking for. That middle-aged office worker that had wanted to gather people to form a group on the first day; he had become the leader of the largest faction in the Blanche Plaza.
*Ahram never met his father before, so in the Raws it means ‘Daddy I’ve never met’. But it sounds so awkward in English, we felt it was better to go with faceless daddy