Volume 23 Chapter 4: Uncollapsible Sand Castle
“Geez, what’s taking her so long?”
Lee Hyun was waiting for Seo Yoon at the train station.
Having just turned into a Death Knight, he was extremely busy hunting.
He was able to wear iron plated armors, use dark energy and enhance his swordsmans.h.i.+p.
The strength of the knight cla.s.s was tremendous!
Many players choose this cla.s.s as it was well balanced with many advantages.
With his outstanding horse-riding, his movement speed was pretty fast.
Maintaining his horse was inconvenient but being very helpful in battles it was worth taking care of.
The only disadvantage would have been that the stamina droped too quickly compared to a different cla.s.s such as swordsman but it didn’t matter as Death Knight was an Undead.
“It was perfect timing for levelling up as well…”
Lee Hyun decided to keep his promise and left his house a little bit early.
Seo Yoon arrived ten minutes before the 8 am meeting time.
She brought two travelling bags with her.
Even wearing a simple white T-s.h.i.+rts and jeans she was gorgeous.
People at the station couldn’t get their eyes off of her.
Glimpsing at her face briefly, he was left with impressions of clear beauty.
He couldn’t help look at her face again, staring at her piece by piece.
The phrase, ‘the eyes are the window to the soul’ was absolutely right.
Her eyes were deep, pure and dazzling.
It was like her eyes were the world’s most clear jewels.
Her eyebrows were straight, nothing to find fault with.
He couldn’t find any flaws in her nose, lips, cheek, forehead, ear lobes or anywhere on her body.
When looking at her, it felt like everything was in its place.
Her body expresses an unbelievable beauty.
“Were you waiting for me?”
“No, I just came. Let’s get the tickets firsts.”
After arriving in train by the big city in the north by the seash.o.r.e, they planned to rent a car.
Seo Yoon said she had a driver’s license.
“When did you get your license?”
“I received it just yesterday after pa.s.sing the test.”
On the train heading to the seash.o.r.e, they had kimbap and soda which he brought from home.
Lee Hyun fell asleep while staring out at the window.
Travelling relaxed his tension and stress.
Lee Hyun was muttering in a low-pitched tone. Seo Yoon brought her ear close to listen.
Lee Hyun was sleep talking!
Seo Yoon didn’t get enough sleep because she was busy preparing early in the morning.
She leaned her head on Lee Hyun’s shoulder and fell asleep as well.
Every time the train stopped, pa.s.sengers saw that scene while getting on the train.
‘That guy doesn’t deserve her.’
‘Why is she with a lame guy like him…’
‘This is so unfair! What is this!’
When the train arrived at their destination, they picked up their bags and got off.
The car rental place was found near the train station.
After renting their reserved car, Seo Yoon sat on the driver seat and Lee Hyun on the pa.s.senger seat.
“Shall we go?”
“After starting the car.”
Seo Yoon started the car and then spoke.
“Let’s go now.”
Lee Hyun was nervous but Seo Yoon seemed strong in real life as well.
Now that she started the car, she drove very smoothly.
But then suddenly the wiper activated!
“Where is the signal lamp for turning?”
“On the other side.”
Lee Hyun regretted not getting a driver’s license before hand.
After leaving downtown, North Sea of Korea became visible along the national highway.
East or west seas had their own charming points but North Sea had a lot more to take in with its warm climate. Also it wasn’t as expensive.
By driving along the seash.o.r.e, they were able to go around the big islands.
There were flowers growing on the crooked roads right beside the sea.
When they arrived, Seo Yoon took out her camera.
“Can we take a picture here?”
“Of course we can.”
Taking pictures was a must-do while travelling.
“I’ll take a picture of you.”
Seo Yoon took picture of him with the sea as the background.
In the photo he seemed like an awkward tourist stuck on a beautiful scenery.
“Ok, now it’s your turn.”
Lee Hyun received Seo Yoon’s camera and pressed the shutter.
Every time her picture was taken, it was a like a photo shoot.
She just stood still like Lee Hyun but it was a whole different kind of images.
He felt like the sands were s.h.i.+ning and a gentle breeze coalescing around her.
She didn’t smile or held many poses but she looked great with the winter sea as the background.
There were also many tourists at the seash.o.r.e.
Lee Hyun asked the tourists for a favor.
“Excuse me… Do you mind taking a picture for us?”
It looked like they were on a graduation trip.
“Sure, I don’t mind.”
These men took a picture of Lee Hyun and Seo Yoon standing together.
They put their focus right on Seo Yoon, blurring out Lee Hyun!
‘What an unmatched couple.’
‘That guy must have saved the universe in his past life.’
Going to several places while riding in their car, they went to popular tourist spots and took photos.
They spent plenty of time together in Royal Road but this was different, no hunting, no quest, it was like two of them were dating.
Soon, it became dark.
The temperature dropped fast after sunset so they began looking for a place to stay.
“I’ve found a place… Was it this way?”
After roaming around in their car, they arrived at the camping site.
With minimum price, they were able to use this place freely.
There were groups of families having set up their tents already.
“We are late. We better hurry.”
Lee Hyun took out the camping equipment from his large bag.
He borrow it from Ma Sungb.u.m from the dojo,
After setting up the tent, he took out the burner to boil water, which he was able to obtain in the camping site, and prepare dinner.
While Seo Yoon was was.h.i.+ng the raw rice for cooking, Lee Hyun grabbed a fis.h.i.+ng rod and head to the coast.
“I’m going to catch some fish for dinner alright?”
There were middle age men concentrating on fis.h.i.+ng while their wives and daughters watched on.
“Geez, not a single fish.”
They wanted to show off in front of their families but unless you were some natural-born fisherman, it wasn’t easy.
Lee Hyun opened a small container.
These energetic worms were caught directly from his yard this morning.
Every time he threw his fis.h.i.+ng rod with the baits on, he was able to catch the fish quickly.
“What a waste of worm.”
“I needed something for fish stew. This will do nicely.”
The rockfish were known delicacy of this area.
“Aren’t you guys tired? Stop taking my baits.”
Fish were crowded in the bucket Lee Hyun brought.
Middle age men comforted themselves thinking about their wives and daughters.
‘As long as I have a happy family…’
‘Even if my wife nags often, the joy of going on a trip with her is…”
Lee Hyun murmured holding his fis.h.i.+ng rod.
“I should be getting back for dinner… It would be nice if a black porgy took my bait. What are they doing, geez.”
The men thought in their heads.
‘Hey kid, black porgy isn’t some kind of carps that you can just catch easily.’
‘I’ve been here for twelfth time now and even I haven’t seen it.’
At that moment, Lee Hyun’s float sank a little bit.
Picking the right spot was the heart of fis.h.i.+ng, shaking your fis.h.i.+ng rod slightly and make it look like the worm was wriggling was advanced skill!
And with that, another fish took the bait.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a black porgy. It was a sea eel.
“This will be nice when roasted.”
When Lee Hyun was about to return, Seo Yoon came out from the tent.
“Did you catch a lot?”
“Not enough in my life time. I caught just enough to be full.”
After Lee Hyun and Seo Yoon went back to their tent, the men’s eyes were moist with tears.
“Daddy, there are so many mosquitoes biting. I don’t like it here. I wanted to watch TV at home.”
“Honey, can’t you do this hobby of yours alone?”
They could barely get to talk with their daughters after school and their wives left their home frequently to take a trip with their friends.
These men reminisced their golden age when they were in high school or university.
‘Sigh… If only I could go back.”
With his nimble hands, Lee Hyun made charcoal fire and placed a grill on top of it.
Until the fire was stable, he made doenjang soup and when the fire was hot enough, he roasted, not pork of beef, but variety of fis.h.!.+
“Do you want to trade for a rockfish?”
Roaming the other tents, he traded for clams, crabs, sausages and even some cheap wine.
Flipping the fish, he also boiled fish stew.
With gentle cras.h.i.+ng of waves in the background, they saw stars s.h.i.+ning from the clear sky.
Eating fish outside was excellent.
After the filling dinner, Lee Hyun even cleaned the dishes.
“You want some coffee?”
They sat on the beach, savouring a cup of coffee.
When it was completely dark, they could hear chirps of crickets.
All other tents had turned their lights off.
“We should go to sleep as well.”
It was a tent for four so there was sufficient place for two people to sleep in.
Despite that fact, it still felt cramped.
Once in their sleeping bag, they could hear each other’s breath coming from the other side of the tent.
Seo Yoon’s nervous heart was beating fast.
Even in the tent, in a separate sleeping bag, it felt like they were sleeping in the same room.
Seo Yoon was worried that her heartbeat might be heard along with the crash of waves and chirps of crickets.
However, she could soon hear snoring from Lee Hyun.
Lee Hyun woke at dawn to the sound of bird chirping.
Even in an unfamiliar place, he didn’t toss and turn. Rather, he slept soundly.
Lee Hyun turned and found Seo Yoon was still asleep facing in his direction.
Getting out of his sleeping bag, he went outside quietly.
‘Should I make some crab stew for breakfast?’
Lee Hyun preped the ingredients and waited for Seo Yoon to wake up.
Thinking Seo Yoon was still exhausted from the travel, she didn’t wake up even after sunrise.
But the truth was, Seo Yoon slept late staring at Lee Hyun’s sleeping face.
Her first impressions of him, the thoughts she had every time seeing him in Royal Road, the appreciation of going on a trip together.
She opened her heart out and speak about it, but Lee Hyun had no clue as he was busy snoring in his sleep.
“Maybe I should take a walk.”
Lee Hyun walked alonged the sandy beach breathing in the fresh morning breeze.
‘The weather is really nice.’
Birds were chirping as they looked for foods.
And there were a gathering of childrens on the beach, building a sand castle.
‘I want to give it a try.’
Anyone who went to the beach did it at least one time or another.
Lee Hyun never did have a chance to do it but it would be nice way to kill some time.
Ten minutes later the other kids were gathering around and looking at Lee Hyun.
The sand castle he was building was becoming life size reaching about 1.5 meters.
Adults came as well as they watched the ramparts and towers getting built.
This was all thanks to the skill he had mastered in construction sites and sculptures in Royal Road.
An hour later, the sand castle was complete.
People around him complemented him for the perfectness, but their words didn’t reach him.
‘Not like I can trade this in a real estate… or get money from it.’
A complete utilitarian!
Once the tides came, it would collapse and get wiped out.
It was just a sand castle that would fall even against a little bit of strong wind.
With the sand castle finished, people left one by one, leaving for breakfast or going home.
Lee Hyun watched the coming tides and the sand castle in vain.
“We’ve gone on a trip together now… But someday, she’s going drift apart to the point where I can’t even get close.”
Lee Hyun was willing to let her go for her own sake.
All the time spent with her will remain as memories later.
That was why he wrote something under the castle.
Lee Hyun and Seo Yoon’s house.
When he came back to the tent, Seo Yoon was cooking with the prepared ingredients.
After a filling breakfast they planned to take a look around North Sea a little bit more, before take a train going back home in afternoon.
Lee Hyun packed his stuff and spoke to Seo Yoon as he was tidying up the s.p.a.ce.
“I’ll take care of this. Why don’t you get some rest?”
Seo Yoon walked toward the sandy beach.
Once she got back to the city, she would most likely will not be able to see it anymore.
As she barely went outside she decided to pick up some kind of small souvenir, such as conches or pebbles.
“After today, I’ll be going back to my normal life.”
Walking on the sand, she noticed a particularly giant sand castle.
She had no idea who built this but it was a very well-made and st.u.r.dy sand castle.
Seo Yoon headed toward it.
Four armies from the Undead Legion advanced toward Morata.
But only two army’s worth made it to the one week distance away from Morata.
Due to some of them having no legs and walking uncomfortably, majority of them were coming late.
Not to mention some of the Undead going off the main route, falling into a well, or circling around a forest.
Because Undead armies disperse a lot when they are on the move, more self inflicted casualties arose.
And with the many ordinary monsters in the north, they disappeared as monsters like goblins, trolls or ogres protect their territories.
“An Undead army is coming this way.”
Players on adventures and hunting ground spotted the Undead army and raised the alarm in Morata.
It was a huge event for the novices and merchants.
The church knight from Freya order was dispatched right after they were a.s.signed to Morata.
“Looks like the church knight is moving out to hunt Undeads.”
“Lu’s order and Freya’s order jointly commissioned an Undead-hunting quests.”
Parties hunting in Morata joined priests and the paladins on the quest.
In the lord’s castle, a punitive force was organized to eliminate the Undeads.
There were weak skeletons among the enemies so anyone over level 30 could partic.i.p.ate.
“Let’s go have some fun.”
“Let’s beat those Undeads!”
For novices, this was a good event and they could get a lot of experiences for partic.i.p.ating in a large-scale suppression.
450 units of the paladins from Freya’s order gathered.
These holy knights were unbelievably strong compared to Morata’s knights.
Because they do not belong to a city or a village, not even the lord can give them orders.
They only fought for the church when there was a religious crisis or a threat from monsters.
Additional 840 men joined from Lu’s priests and Freya’s priests respectively, to fight the Undead army.
The manpower was somewhat excellent but there were over 3,000 priests in the punitive force comprised solely of ordinary players.
People with priest cla.s.s in Morata partic.i.p.ated in this quest as it could increases their faith.
Those who were busy or on some quests rushed toward the battlefield.
“G.o.d, I love the Undead.”
Priests were filled with joys when they saw all the Undeads.
Priests came fast, almost at the same time as paladins, riding on horse to engage the Undead first. There were many other priests in the punitive force who would come later.
Because of the fairly high reputation compared to other cities because of the G.o.ddess statue and the Grand Cathedral, tens of thousands of players chose to become Freya’s priests.
It became the reverse with them advancing on the Undead Legion!
Paladins were mobilized, along with players with cla.s.s like mercenary, warrior, magician, summoner and bard to joined the punitive force and defend against the invasion from the Undead armies.
Compared to the high-level players across the central continent, their overall average level wasn’t very high.
This was due to the high number of novices starting out in Morata every day.
Due to such advantage, Morata became one of the greatest city next to other metropolises.
Early players of Morata had memories of their village being silent and secluded but now, even in the middle of night, merchants were camping out in every square.
Anyone could feel that the village was changing day by day.
Fifty thousand men in the punitive force came early!
It lacked the manpower compared to the two Undead armies, which was approximately over sixty thousand.
But being camped on the hill they had geographic advantage over the battle.
Their morals were striking high with area-of-effect blessings from the priests.
Zaffran, who was a.s.signed as the captain of the punitive force for this quest shouted loudly.
“Let’s defeat theses Undeads invading our new home, our land!”
Paladins, the punitive force, and the Undeads charged each other.
More players in the punitive force were arriving continuously and the Undead Legion were flowing with Undeads.
The war between two armies, had finally begun.
Polon obtained information from the Hermes Guild.
-Necromancers were summoned by an unknown force and are now fighting for the Undead Legion as Undeads.
Even Necromancers from their guilds were aligned with the Undead Legion. They had great talent filling in several occupations in the guild but unfortunately, the Necromancer was a recently created position. The Necromancers who were part of their guild didn’t even have high levels and their hunting speeds was slow. They were currently still stuck at the rank of High Level Skeleton. Zabrin : Seems like every Necromancers in Versailles Continent have been gathered there. Zabrin reported all the information through the guild’s long distance communication channe.
Polon, knights, magicians and rangers in the army including the executives of the Hermes Guild could listen to the report.
Zabrin : I’m seeing every famous Necromancers such as Jeanne or Bohram.
Polon : What is their current quest?
Zabrin : I’m not so sure but they are continuously on battles related quest for the Undead Legion.
Zabrin felt good reporting in.
In Hermes guild, they were given full support if they thought it was necessary.
Not to mention the guild providing good equipment and hunting grounds, they even provided troops for quest and other needs.
If he achieve something this time, he just might be able to partic.i.p.ate in a hunting party that was above his current rank!
Since he reported that with his current rank he could not join the other Necromancer who advance further then him on the quest, any help from the guild would be huge help for Zabrin who wasn’t even level 300 yet.
The only reason Zabrin joined the Hermes Guild was the greed of receiving support to easily level up.
Zabrin : If you need any kind of information, I’ll look into it. I’ve made many Necromancer friends so I should be able to get any information you want.
Polon : It would be nice if you can create some influence among the Necromancers.
Zabrin : Ok, I’ll try. But the most famous and strong Necromancers got promoted to higher rank and is fighting some place close by. Unfortunately my level is low and I cannot follow them right now.
Polon : Can you wear equipment for magicians?
Zabrin : Yes I can. It’s much better if it’s a cursed item.
Skeletons and ghost could were able to wear equipment without any race limitation.
For example, a cursed item that reduces life and increase mana, could increased both for the Undead.
For Zabrin the cursed items were much better off.
Polon : Whatever you need, you will get it. But you must provide daily reports and inform me immediately if you hear anything important. Any information on Weed takes priority.
Zabrin : You can trust me. As a member of Hermes guild, I will not let you down.
After coming back from the trip, Weed reconnected and was at the canyon where the Undead Legion was situated.
With successful promotion to Death Knight, he was placed in the canyon for battle.
Garrison of Kilizar
ØThe Undead Legion have great faith in your abilities.
ØHaving succeeded every mission so far, the Undead Legion expect you to annihilate the enemy in Kilizar canyon.
Restriction: Undead Only
The difficulty went up drastically. Luckily 33 other Necromancers including Jeanne, Otem, Bohram, Harien, Gruzed, Varenna and Goshu came before him.
As they were magicians or summoners before becoming Necromancers their level was already high.
Jeanne would have leveled up many times after becoming a Necromancer and her current level was presumed to be about level 408.
Because each individual had different stat and skills, it was difficult to a.s.sume one’s level just from the number of Undeads one could summons.
Also taking into considering the possibility that they were hiding their true power, it’s was much more complicated.
Varenna revealed her level to be 390 and considering her enormous mana consumption when summoning and casting dark magic, Jeanne had to be at least level 408 in comparison.
‘No wonder they are considered as one of the best Necromancers.’
Weed acknowledged the Necromancers standing before him.
Not only were they excellent in controlling their Undeads, they didn’t hesitate using their perfect skills in battles.
Weed chose a cla.s.s with direct combat skills while in comparison their cla.s.s specialized in summoning Undeads.
Death Wizards and Death Witches!
The other players chose cla.s.s as wizards and witches.
To control the Undeads, corpses need to be raised up and enhanced before battle began.
Also all kinds of curses need to be cast on the enemy, weakening, slowing and confusing them.
Necromancer was a very busy occupation, exploding corpses or summoning guards to defend them.
Compared to other magicians and clerics who could depend on their party members to protect them in battle while steadily setting up magic, Necromancers had a lot to do all the while observe the battlefield.
As a one-man army, they had to support the Undeads, with variety of stats and skills also needing to be increased.
Necromancers’ strength differs a lot depending on their own sharp observation, quick reaction time and abilities to grasp the situations but their overall capabilities were beyond expectations.
‘Not bad, not bad at all.’
Weed was very satisfied with him being Death Knight.
‘It’s nice to have great allies.’
When these Necromancers brought the Undeads into the fight, all he had to do was killing off the monsters and obtaining experience and drops.
With thousands of Undeads and monsters tangled up in the fight, there were so many enemies to kill.
‘They are coming endlessly.’
This place is what people would have call a paradise of strong monsters.
There was a reason the humans couldn’t come here to hunt.
The monsters reproduced fast and had the intelligence to move in groups.
Undead Legion were extremely strong but these monsters were of high standards as well.
These Undead wore the weapons and armour plundered long ago after the fall of Niflheim Empire.
Monsters considered the Undead Legion as a serious threat and continuously attacked them. And it was not like Balkan could come and rain endless spells on the monsters.
This was how the chaotic and fierce battlefield for Undeads and monsters was prepared.
Weed hunting deep inside the monsters side, levelled up to 394.
Less than ten minutes later, groups of monsters were coming again.
He saw the rising sand dusts and felt a warmth of life approaching far from here.
“Enemies are coming soon. Use enhancing spells on Undeads.”
As Jeanne spoke, they woke up from their mana-charging meditations and quickly got ready for the next battle.
Necromancers acknowledged Jeanne as their captain.
Because Undead armies needed to cooperate every time they battle, they were specifically given their duties.
“Fight! Do not retreat!”
“Kill them all!”
Undeads summoned by Otem, Bohram, Harien and Gruzed picked up their weapons and s.h.i.+elds.
On the canyon, Jeanne, Varenna, Goshu and other players continued to casted offensive spells.
All kinds of curses and spells from high-level Necromancers struck the army of monsters heading toward the canyon.
Skeleton mages and archers rained their respective ammunition.
Another battle starting deep into the night!
Undeads had their geographical advantages but these monsters were impressive as well.
They were breaking through, slicing Undeads with axes.
“Sumon Phantom Horse!”
Weed got on his horse.
–Horse’s morale is at its maximum
Fighting spirit, charisma and agility increase by 10%.
As his phantom horse appeared, it increased his stat as Death Knight.
On his horse, Weed ran down the cliff.
His horse-riding skills weren’t that great at first but it continue to improve when he was a Skelton Knight and Death Knight.
Even so, the courage to run down a cliff on a horse!
“Here I come my experience and items!”
He charged into monsters trying to climb the cliff riddled with arrows and spells.