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.
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 leave behind a thoughtless 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.”
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?”
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.”
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.
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?”
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.
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?”
Translator’s note: From this chapter on the author changed naming convention from [Items type: Name] to just [Name]
Editor’s note: The chicken life reminded me of Yakitate Japan anime reactions