Chapter 16 - About Life (3)
"Hoyt, the honorable warrior Hoyt.”
Derek laughed. "I'm glad that you came.”
“Let go of them.”
Ray was brought to Derek’s side. He circled around Ian and Ray as he asked, "Hoyt, what is your relationship with this young orc?”
“He is a colleague helping me out.”
"Is he also an orc warrior?”
“An apprentice, but I guarantee that one day he will become a warrior.”
Derek nodded. "Orc warriors are extraordinary... I haven’t met many orc warriors, but they all have one thing in common.”
Derek kicked Ian.
"They all have a logic that I can’t understand.”
He unleashed a barrage of attacks on Ian, who was collapsed on the ground. The shock caused by the feet hitting Ian’s wounds caused more blood to pour out. Ian’s body was so weak that he couldn’t get up anymore.
"You are protecting the Thompson family.” Derek touched Ian’s head with his toes. "This orc also risked his life fighting for that trivial reason.”
“I will be honest.”
Derek held a knife to Ray’s neck, who was captured by his men. "The money that Thompson borrowed, it is nothing to me.”
"But I had a lot of fun after you guys barged in. An honorable warrior, that is interesting.”
"If you hurt the both of them, then I will keep my honor and make you pay the price,” growled Hoyt.
“Calm down, I haven’t done anything yet. I don’t want to do anything."
Derek’s subordinate grabbed Ray’s hair and pulled his head back. The boy's white neck was clearly revealed under the midday sun.
"You are the one who will have to do something, Hoyt.”
"What does that mean?!”
"I always wonder the same thing when seeing people like you. What if that belief was bent? Where will you go?”
The blade passed lightly over Ray’s neck, leaving a thin red line in its path. Blood flowed downwards.
"Kneel down, Hoyt.”
"If you don’t fall to your knees, then this child will die.”
Ray trembled. Ian tried to stand up, but a subordinate nearby stepped on his back. Ian moaned and collapsed back onto the ground.
"Come, kneel down Hoyt. Bow your honor.”
Derek said with a chuckle.
Ian formed a tight fist where he was laying on the ground, his head brimming with fury. Hoyt wasn’t an orc who could be insulted by a loan shark. A man who made slaves of others or sold them to brothels for money couldn’t sneer at Hoyt.
He was a warrior who knew honor, and had proven himself. Derek absolutely couldn’t mock Hoyt.
[The Warrior's Fighting Spirit (Uncommon) has been used.]
[You are an orc who doesn’t know how to give up.]
[Your fighting spirit has raised the limits of your body.]
Ian shook his head. Hoyt was about to bend his knees. His eyes were calm, but Ian’s eyes shook fiercely as he looked at Hoyt. A hot emotion was boiling up in his body.
[Your willpower has soared.]
[Warrior's Fighting Spirit (Uncommon) is extremely fierce.]
[Warrior's Fighting Spirit has temporarily changed to Indomitable Will (Special).]
[Indomitable Will (Special) has temporarily changed to Indomitable Fighting Spirit (Rare).]
[Your body has gone beyond its limits.]
His status window flashed. Derek’s voice was heard.
"Kneel and place your forehead against the ground.”
He was smiling.
"There should be a banging sound. Then I’ll safely return them.”
Ian’s hand moved. He grabbed Derek’s ankle.
[Your assimilation rate has risen. It is now 57%.]
[Your assimilation rate has risen. It is now...]
Ian pulled at Derek's ankle. Derek stumbled at the sudden power. Ian stood up using all his might. The subordinate with his leg on Ian’s back fell down. All the strength in Ian’s body exploded as he aimed his left fist at Derek.
Derek avoided it and aimed his knife at Ian. Ian leaned back. His body was light. He avoided Derek’s knife. Every wound on Ian’s body was screaming. The pain cleared Ian’s spirit of any distractions. He desperately burned his power as he aimed at Derek’s torso.
"This last-ditch struggle...!”
Derek growled out as he stabbed Ian with his knife. The knife was stuck in Ian’s side. His knees tried to buckle, but he gave strength to his legs and persisted. He gritted his teeth and moved.
His goal wasn’t Derek. Ian aimed at the face of the man holding Ray. Ian's fists flew at his face. A strike with all the power in his body! The opponent’s body flew through the air.
Ian caught Ray’s body. He could feel a weapon aiming towards his back. Ian didn’t care and threw Ray towards Hoyt.
Ray flew through the air and rolled across the floor. He got up and ran towards Hoyt. Ray burrowed himself into Hoyt’s arms.
Ian laughed at the sight. It was up to here. He had done what was needed.
Then Derek kicked him onto the ground. Ian was trampled on many times by Derek and his men.. Derek’s attack contained a lot of anger, so it felt like Ian’s breath stopped every time. Ian’s vomited up blood. Derek didn’t care and kicked Ian’s head.
Ian rolled across the ground. Derek stopped the beating and breathed out.
Ian grinned with his messed up face and asked, “How is it...Derek...?”
"I looked down on you. I apologize for that, but nothing has changed.” Derek smiled like he was suppressing his anger and turned towards Hoyt. "It is because my proposal is still valid.”
"Hoyt, kneel. Otherwise, I will kill this orc cruelly. I am very angry right now so my patience has fallen. Do it right now.”
Derek raised his knife. “I said to bow down.”
Ian burst out laughing.
"Kulkulkul, kulkul, kuku, kulkulkul...! Kulkul, ku, kulkul!”
“What is so funny?”
Ian cried out, "Hoyt... Now...you don’t have to listen to this coward.”
"Do you want to die?"
"Derek, I won’t die even if I die.”
"What does that mean?”
Ian spat out blood and said.
“I received the curse of the stars.”
"Even if I die, I will revive. I absolutely won’t let Derek insult Hoyt. Kulkulkul.”
Derek glanced at Hoyt. “Is that true, Hoyt?”
"The curse of the stars... So you’re not afraid of death.”
"I will know once I kill you.”
He raised his knife. Ian smiled and closed his eyes. This was his first death in Elder Lord, but he wouldn’t feel afraid if he could preserve the honor of a respectable warrior. Rather, he would gladly die.
Just as Derek’s blade was about to fall, Hoyt’s voice was heard.
Ian opened his eyes.
"What is it?”
"I will accept.”
Ian turned his head and screamed.
Hoyt didn’t look at Ian. His eyes were firm like there was nothing more to be said.
Ian’s face distorted. Despite his desperate look, Hoyt’s knees started to slowly fold.
Hoyt raised a fist. Then he saw Ian’s messed up face and put his fist down. He slapped Ian’s face instead.
"I’m disappointed in you.”
Ian couldn’t accept it. "I did what I wanted.”
"Hoyt, I received the curse of the stars!”
“I’m not afraid of death...”
The fist came flying this time. Ian collapsed on the floor.
“Keep this in mind.”
Hoyt grabbed Ian’s neck and lifted him. A tremendous power could be felt. The terrible face of the one-eyed Hoyt pushed closed to him.
"An orc who isn’t afraid of death can’t become a warrior.”
“Remember, young orc. Death can never beat life. The one who survives is strong.”
"Do you know why the orcs are always asking if you are alive?”
"Honor, freedom, struggle- they are only possible if you are alive. Enduring a little humiliation is nothing in order to live.”
Ian bowed his head. Elder Lord was a game to him, but Hoyt was a resident of Elder Lord. For him, life and death here was reality. Hoyt’s hands were trembling as they grabbed Ian’s neck.
“In front of survival, falling to my knees is nothing.”
“...I’m really sorry.”
"Think about what real honor is. It is true that pride isn’t real honor.”
"No matter what, we have to survive.”
Hoyt’s true heart was revealed.
The sunset caused the sky to look as if it were on fire. Ian carefully engraved Hoyt’s harsh face, that received the glow, into his head. Hoyt’s wild breathing, his careful eyes, and his voice that was discussing life made its way into Ian, making it impossible to tell if this world was a game or if it was reality.
The sky in Elder Lord was no different from the sky in reality.
Hoyt said, "Thank you."
"I said this before, but I might think the same way if I were you.” Hoyt smiled quietly.
"No...” Ian laughed despite the pressure on this throat. It was like the cliched plots that he disliked. "By the way, how were my abilities? Derek was surprised.”
"Kulkulkul. Nice. You should have seen his face.”
The two orcs burst out laughing.
They talked for a while. Hoyt smiled before calming himself and asked with a solemn expression, "I wanted to tell you one final thing. Death doesn’t avoid you because you have been cursed by the stars. Rather, you must survive longer than others.”
"What do you mean?"
"You have to build up achievements in order to receive God’s forgiveness, but death will cause those achievements to drop. If you don’t receive forgiveness, then you will face a more severe pain and destruction than death. Those who are cursed by God, who keep dying without any fear of death, are eventually drawn into the Abyss and punished for eternity. That can happen to you.”
Ian listened. He could see how the NPCs perceived the curse of the stars. If the story was real, then it really was a terrible curse.
“There is a reason why the curse of the stars is called a curse.”
“I will keep that in mind.”
"I will pray for you to escape the confines of it.”
A delicious smell was coming from inside Thompson’s house.
Thompson's wife, who had been informed of the encounter with Derek, cried with tears of gratefulness and regret. Ian and Hoyt desperately tried to calm her down. She was probably cooking for them.
"I'm looking forward to the meal."
Ian and Hoyt turned towards the house. It was at that moment that a long shadow covered Ian and Hoyt. It was the shape of a person.
Ian and Hoyt looked back at the same time. A man stood there. The owner of the shadow opened his mouth.
"What stupid orcs are standing in front of my house?”
Hoyt’s eyes widened. The man standing there was wearing old and dirty clothes. The man laughed.
"Hoyt, I’m back.”
Thompson had returned.
Glossary of Common Korean Terms.
Praise the Orc: Glossary Link.
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