Chapter 5: Rock Climbing
1. Chun Woohyuk (82.3%) - Sage’s Pouch, Goddess’ Tears
2. Ma Gwangpil (3.6%) - Beginner Adventurer’s Backpack
3. Lee Jaesung (3.1%) - Hunter’s Flute
4. Park Gunwoo (2.6%) - Guide’s Headband
5. Hwang Donghwan (1.5%) - Fishing Accessories
“You guys must have struggled this time around. The difficulty keeps increasing, so if you don’t improve yourselves, you won’t live until the last day.
Eve cautioned as she handed out the rewards. The day’s survivors stared at her with eyes filled with resentment.
‘What kind of monster appears on the last day?’
‘Can I even make it till tomorrow.’
Today’s invading monsters were Red worms. Unlike their brown cousins which Woohyuk had encountered in the cave and would launch surprise attacks from underground, these Red worms assaulted them head on from the get go.
They were so large that they were simply in a different league when compared to the goblins the other day. This caused many to become very frightened, which resulted in casualties.
‘A lot had died back then.’
Early on almost everyone preferred to stay back at base camp rather than venturing out into the forest. By performing simple labor tasks their stats could rise, but since he needed to save stamina, Woohyuk didn’t even have the energy to waste on them.
‘Maybe they will act differently after today.’
He had deliberately held back, so as to increase the burden on others. It was all in order to help them acknowledge the reality of the situation they were in.
‘It would be best if as many of them as possible are able to survive.’
The last day was far from being easy. Of course they wouldn’t be much help, but at the very least it would be better than nothing.
‘Let’s take a look at the items I got.’
Woohyuk looked over his rewards after synchronizing with his Adventurer’s Watch.
A text box appeared in mid-air.
Type: Personal Item
Effect: Infinite storage, permanent preservation
Type: Personal Item
Effect: Creates freshwater
‘These are pretty good.’
Unlike on the first day, only the top rankers received items.
The Sage’s pouch could hold any equipment, as well as food. It could adjust its size according to the owner's needs, becoming small enough to fit in one’s hand, or large enough to pass as a small sized bag.
The Goddess’ Tears would give one access to drinking water so long as they had mana. I would help him save a lot of time searching for water.
‘Now I’ll be able to venture out further.’
Actually, he was now fully equipped to spend his nights outside of the base camp, but it was worth it to return to collect the daily rewards.
“Here are the supplies as promised”
With a wave of her hand, a bunch of wooden boxes appeared near the fire filled with various types of food, clothing and medical supplies.
Eve left through the black portal with a wink.
As the day’s survivors went to inspect the boxes, Ma Gwanpil moved to block them.
“Stop, do you really think you can go ahead and just take stuff?”
“Isn’t it obvious that those that fought hard, putting their lives on the line receive more?”
He was planning to redistribute the supplies based on their contributions. Since it didn’t sound unfair, many nodded in agreement.
“Okay, then we’ll start with Chun Woohyuk.”
Hearing Ma Gwanpil’s speech and seeing the acquiescence in others, Woohyuk went ahead with an annoyed expression.
He walked up to a wooden box and spoke.
“Ah, did you want to gather things yourself, sure go ahead.”
Ma Gwangpil immediately backed off.
Hardly sparing him a glance, Woohyuk went ahead and take only the items he would need, placing them in his leather bag.
‘If I don’t take much, he won’t be able to use me as a precedent to hoard more for himself. ’
Regardless, it would be easy for him to find food in the forest, so he had no reason these supplies that provided minimal nutrition.
“... Is that really enough?”
“If you ever need more, don't hesitate. We will keep a portion aside for you.”
Woohyuk simply turned and walked away without answering, spending even a single second of his precious time on that guy would be far too wasteful.
‘I need to hurry up.’
He would have a busy schedule today, planning to do something that ordinary people could never even consider.
Woohyuk walked into the lush forest wielding the black machete.
* * *
The place was named so due to the primitive creatures that inhabited it.
‘It’s a great place for beast tamers.’
Although it would depend largely on the species, but by grabbing them young or as eggs, it would be possible to raise them. Naturally, for higher leveled species, the tamer’s abilities would have to be extraordinarily high.
‘In that respect Ivanov was incredible.’
Dragonlord Ivanov. He had obtained a large egg in this forest, later succeeding in hatching his very own Red dragon.
‘This time around it’ll be mine.’
Woohyuk trembled at the thought of all the casualties he had suffered when going up against Ivanov in the past. Although ultimately he had come out on top, it had cost him the lives of many capable comrades.
‘It should be here.’
Woohyuk stopped before a steep cliff, glancing at the wooden sign planted into the ground.
No pain, no gain.
‘He must have liked that.’
Ivanov was a rock climbing enthusiast. Upon seeing the sign, he had decided to climb up.
‘I’ll give it a try as well.’
He was sure this was the place since he had checked Ivanov’s personal Adventure Log.
‘I should first reduce any unnecessary weight.’
Woohyuk went ahead and emptied the items from his leather bag into his Sage’s Pouch. He then placed the black machete in his belt slot, so he could climb barehanded.
‘Let’s do this.’
After throwing the empty leather bag into a nearby bush, he began to ascend the steep cliff wall. He moved his limbs slowly, but methodically, appearing almost like he was climbing a vertical ladder.
‘I have a lot of experience with this.’
This world required adventurers to be capable of surviving the most extreme situations. He once had to cross a log bridge, and even escape from an island surrounded by man-eating sharks.
Rock climbing was a cinch in comparison.
‘It’s important to always keep my body balanced.’
Woohyuk would only move one arm or leg at the time. The friction from sticking close to the wall would aid his ascension, and any significant protrusions or cracks would serve as grips to take much needed rests. Of course he didn’t forget to maintain his stamina by using different muscles.
As he reached a flat ledge, he performed a full chin up and hoisted himself up. Before him was a large crack, wide enough for him to fit in as he climbed with his arms and legs outstretched, pushing against the rock surface. Just like a true rock climbing expert.
If he were to fall from this height, he was sure to lose his life, but Woohyuk didn’t show any signs of fear.
‘Nature cannot conquer a man who seeks to sit on a Divine throne.’
As he made his way up the cliff wall, he heard a sharp cry, causing him to frown.
‘They’ve finally appeared.’
Their name came from their red feathers, which when fluttered in the wind, appeared like wings bathed in dancing flames. They liked to build their nest in the safety of high cliffs, and swoop down with their sharp blade-like beaks upon any intruders.
They were a tricky opponent to face when your arms and legs were tied up.
‘Ivanov was lucky.’
He had in his possession a Hunter’s Whip, so he was able to confidently deal with them
It was an item that he obtained from a hidden treasure chest in forest, but Woohyuk didn’t feel like it would be necessary.
‘My weapons should be enough.’
Trident, Black Machete, Vampiric Dagger, Short Bow.
Although the bow couldn’t be used in this case because it required both hands, the others could be retrieved and wielded at a moment’s notice.
Woohyuk glanced at the Fire-winged bird, while holding on to the cliff with both hands.
‘They look quite tasty.’
He didn’t at all feel any danger. Although he wasn’t able to freely move his body in such an environment, it wouldn't be a problem.
He activated the rune engraved on the Vampiric Dagger.
[Revealing existing rune]
[Innate Magic: Collect]
‘I didn’t know about this back then.’
Equipment that was engraved would have additional options. Although they required one to activate them with mana, they were still very useful.
‘I’ll kill them all.’
It was a good opportunity to farm experience points while also refilling his stamina.
He expertly threw the Vampiric dagger, sinking it into the head of a Fire-winged bird which was flying above. As the bird fell down, Woohyuk activated the dagger’s innate spell: Collect, and both the Vampiric dagger and Fire-winged bird appeared back in his hand. He placed the corpse in his pouch, as the blood on the dagger was absorbed into his body
‘I’ll try to complete an achievement.”
One could receive rewards for setting incredible records or succeeding at difficult tasks despite being low leveled. There were many kinds of rewards; the most basic ones were of course equipment, but for notable achievements one might receive skills or follow up quests.
‘The goal for now is one hundred.’
He felt he could hunt that many before arriving at his destination. He would then receive a Ward Drum, which was a decent reward. Not to mention that he would also get the meat and feathers from the corpses.
‘My dinner tonight has already been decided.’’
Woohyuk formed a small smirk as he stared at the flock of Fire-winged birds become frenzied.
* * *
Woohyuk stood at the top of the cliff, overlooking the vast forest.
‘I can’t see any end to it.’
It meant that there were still many opportunities to unearth, but after just 15 days, they would all disappear forever.
‘I’ll need to focus only on what I truly need.’
Time was running out, he could only search for the very best items classified as Hidden Treasures.
I can’t dwell on the others.
‘Then let’s go inside.’
Woohyuk turned around to see a huge cave
It was a very dangerous place for a beginner to step into. If a real dragon were to be inside, he could be reduced to ashes with but a simple breath.
‘I can’t back down now.’
Ivanov had somehow managed. Drawing confidence from this fact, Woohyuk walked inside. Although he wasn’t able to see anything, he could feel it instead.
A large amount of mana. Absolute silence, as if he were walking along the bottom of a deep ocean. Although he could feel some movement nearby, he wasn’t able to see anything.
It was the only thing capable of producing mana in such quantities. In other words, this cave housed a true dragon.
‘It hasn’t attacked.’
If it had wanted him dead, he would never have made it this far in the first place. Dragons had the greatest perception range among living creatures.
‘It plans to test me.’
Dragons were highly intelligent, so Woohyuk was still quite nervous.
[Who dares enter my lair]
While Woohyuk was walking, a voice appeared in his mind. At the same time, a pair of great gold eyes blinked in the dark.
[What is your name?]
“I’m Chun Woohyuk.”
He answered without hesitation.
[I am Adakar, Elder chief of the Golden dragon tribe. I would hear your purpose in coming here before I test you.]
“To sit on a Divine throne, and put an end to these trials. That is my goal.”
Adakar stared at the puny human before it for some time. Although his appearance was completely normal, he could feel something unique about him.
[That is an ambitious goal, I’m assuming you are willing to undergo the highest difficulty test?]
He naturally had to obtain the best rewards possible. Adakar nodded as it was the response he had expected.
[I shall now test your mettle.]
A dazzling golden light appeared and swallowed up the cave.
* * *
Woohyuk stood on a battlefield filled with countless corpses. A red flag fluttered with the gusts of wind.
Northwest Territories, Ravenhill.
It was the time Dragonlord Ivanov had invaded and laid waste to the region.
‘So you’re showing me my past.’
It was so similar to what had happened at the time. Ivanov’s Red dragon had brought with it a storm of death, leaving a trail of corpses in its path. A painful memory that he would much rather never revisit
‘But I’ll never forget.’
Ever since deciding that he was going to sit on a Divine throne, he would think of their names everyday; Seo Youngkyu, Han Yujin, Lee Donghoon,Sylvia, Harris.
‘It was all my fault.’
By placing his focus on the Central plains, he had neglected other areas. He hadn’t anticipated the fact that Ivanov would hit him from the rear.
‘I won’t make that same mistake again.’
Since this was his trial, he had no reason to shirk away from it. He came back in order to create a better future, and not once has he doubted his decision. Woohyuk was willing to accept the blame for his complete neglect of his subordinates. However, he would never give up until the very end. If he feared too much repeating the same mistakes, he would never make his way to a Divine throne.
It wasn’t vainglory
It wasn’t pride, arrogance or selfishness.
It was a true desire to achieve something more important than his own life.
This dream wasn’t only for himself, but for all his subordinates that put their trust in him.
He would always move forward. If he stumbled and fell down, he’d rise once more. Even if he were to lose those dearest to him, it would only make him strive that much harder. His goal wasn’t to be a hero admired by everyone, but simply to put an end to this entire nightmare. For that, he was willing to give up everything, be it human emotion, peaceful days or warm memories.
Whatever it was that stood in his way, he’d cut it down.
“You can’t judge me with this test.”
Woohyuk swung his sword through the air, causing a tear in space.