Chapter 26: Crippled Feather

One week after the game began...

It was in the morning, in a small restaurant located within Aikhale.

Player 1: “Hey, how did those people’s Levels rise so quickly? Take a look at me. It’s already been a week, but I’m only at Level 16. I heard that there are people who crossed Level 10 the first day!”

Player 2: “Hmph, then you don’t know. Those people are either game experts, mercenaries, or bodyguards. With their skills, the game is a breeze for them. We struggle against the wild monsters, but those guys might not even be hurt at all fighting them.”

“Also, what’s with that guy called Blue something? I forgot. When he activated all those system announcements, the Level Leaderboard was also activated. I heard that the highest Level achieved that night was Level 11. I really don’t know who those characters are. I ended that day at Level 6, mainly because I was killed by a wild monster. However, the guy who activated the system didn’t make it up the leaderboard. Perhaps he only managed to kill a Demon Boss out of luck.”

Player 1: “Ah, stop talking. The gap is too huge. I’ve already been killed by wild monsters twice. There’s a survival index in this game. I’m already at 48. I heard one will enter deep sleep once the index is completely drained, and you’ll be out of the game. I don’t know what that's for. Why do we even need a survival index in this game?”

Player 2: “Don’t worry. The highest is Level 300 and fifty points in the survival index. This means that you can only lose one point every six levels. You should be at Level 12 now. The further you progress, the less easily you’ll die at the hands of wild monsters. But things will be different if you constantly engage in team fights. If you have only one or two points on the index near the end, it’s best that you find a place to hide yourself. Wild monsters will come to kill you if you don’t take the initiative to kill them.”

Player 1: “That’s right. I heard that the index can be replenished, just that it’s a little difficult. Forget it, let’s not talk about this. Let’s go and kill some Barbaric Bulls later. Their ramming skills cannot be underestimated, and I don’t dare fight them alone. I was rammed by a Barbaric Bull earlier, which drew the attention of another Barbaric Bull. Eventually, I was killed by the two of them.

Player 2: “Alright. Let’s go after eating. Fortunately we didn’t come in the morning. There are very few people now. You don’t know how I was almost squeezed to death when I was having my breakfast. It’s so much better now. Everyone is off to train so there’s no one now. Oh yes, let’s go to the Mercenary Union later to see if there are any Barbaric Bull quests to complete.”

Player 1: “The same happened to me yesterday. There were so many fucking people. Let’s go and take a look at the quests later. Let’s grab something to eat quickly.”

---

A player was quietly eating at a corner table. Clearly, he wanted some peace and quiet. However, he still overhead the conversation of those two players.

“Have people already forgotten my name? The old man should have something that can hide information about me,” this player muttered to himself. Upon closer look, it was indeed Blue Maple, who was newly-equipped.

He had been taking up monster-exterminating quests over the past week and was now at Level 29. He had reached Level 14 on the first day, but only managed to rise to Level 15 over the next six days. It was not a joke that it became increasingly more difficult for one to progress further as he leveled up. Of course, it also had to do with the fact that he was handsomely rewarded on the first day. He was close to Level 30 now, after which he could proceed to carry out the quest of his second Class Advance. However, he was worried that he couldn’t conceal his name after he reached Level 30. After all, the name restriction set by the system was only applicable up until Level 30.

While a player could hide his name from the leaderboard, his name, class and level would all be revealed above his head. Even though they were in a semi-real online setting, it couldn’t be just like reality, where he could hide everything from anyone as long as he didn’t want to reveal details about himself. Since they were in a game, there had to be aspects that resembled a game. A person’s basic information still had to be publicly displayed, but it was a different matter if there was an exception. It was just like how Blue Maple was able to hide his name right now. Similarly, his Level and Class were hidden along with his name.

“Trying to level up is getting a little too boring.” Blue Maple sipped on his tea and said to himself softly.

Blue Maple also knew that he was one quest away from reaching Level 30. However, he was starting to get bored. When he felt bored, he wouldn’t be bothered about something unless it was absolutely necessary. This was why he didn’t want to do anything right now. He was already thinking of finding a place to read, or remaining in his hotel room to sleep. After all, the noise cancellation in his room was extremely good. It was quiet there.

After swirling the cup of tea in his hand for some time...

“Forget it. Let me go find another quest.” Blue Maple put down the cup of tea. He stood up to pay the bill before proceeding to the Mercenary Union.

He had changed his decision because he was running out of money. He had been idle for some time. He was waiting for the time when he had a fixed home and a stable source of income before he was going to continue being idle.

One must have the ability to earn money. Perhaps I can reach the requirements needed during the second Class Advancement...

If Old Man Fang knew that Blue Maple was going to lead an idle lifestyle after he completed his second Class Advancement, he would probably be infuriated. After all, he was counting on Blue Maple to save the world.

However, does an idyllic lifestyle really come along so easily?

------

The Mercenary Union...

There were quite a number of people in the Mercenary Union right now. They were all dispersed in various corners in the union. This was even after the peak hours had passed, or there would be never-ending queues right now. Blue Maple wished it was just like a week ago, where there was no one at all.

In fact, they didn’t have to come to the Mercenary Union to take up new quests. The NPCs in town, such as the bosses, soldiers, and even little children, could actually give out quests. It was just that Blue Maple didn’t find these NPCs to get a quest. First, he couldn’t choose based on what he wanted. For example, he preferred to fight humans or human-shaped monsters. Those NPC quests were random, and there was no way for him to know how much he could progress from completing those quests.

Secondly, he didn’t know how to activate those quests. After all, those NPCs weren’t like the NPCs in the Newbie Village. Just a simple conversation wouldn’t suffice. The NPCs in town held more complex conversations.

Blue Maple wasn’t very adept at talking. Of course, he would still be able to deal with all types of situations. He could definitely hold a conversation, but he simply didn’t want to. Also, he was also not at the stage where he could distinguish between NPCs that could activate quests. Simply put, he was still a novice in the game!

As the counter was already helmed by someone, Blue Maple looked at the panel to find a suitable quest for himself. At this moment, a commotion suddenly ensued.

“It’s Crippled Feather! Crippled Feather has completed his quest and returned!”

“Crippled Feather? Is that the ninth-Leveled Crippled Feather on the leaderboard? The one who’s Level 27?”

“Yes, it’s him. He’s in our town. I heard he came to our town on the first night.”

“Didn’t he reach Level 10 in one day?! And earned a gold coin?!”...

Blue Maple wasn’t paying attention to their words. Level leaderboard? It didn’t concern him. If he didn’t hide his Level, he would be the undisputed champion on the leaderboard. The highest and lowest on the leaderboard were both Level 27.

Crippled Feather was already at the entrance of the Mercenary Union. All the players stood to one side so that there was a clear path to the counter. Even the ones who were already at the counter gave way to Crippled Feather after learning that he was coming. Fortunately, Blue Maple wasn’t in his direct path. Otherwise, there would be some friction between both of them. Blue Maple would surely not give way.

Crippled Feather naturally came in front of the counter and in a cool tone asked the beautiful NPC helming the counter, “I’m handing in my quest. Quest A105. Help me find a slightly more difficult quest. Best if it’s a human-shaped monster.”

The NPC replied, “Alright, wait a moment. Let me give you the quest rewards first.”

After she finished speaking, a floating panel surfaced in front of Crippled Feather. Obviously, it was to present him with his rewards.

Blue Maple had already found the quest he wanted. However, Crippled Feather was at the counter now. He was not in a position to go up and cut Crippled Feather’s queue, so he waited. Although Crippled Feather technically cut the queue, the rest of the people had also ‘willingly’ given up their spots to him.

After some time, the NPC found a quest. “The only quest that meets your requirement is Quest S09. Its difficulty level is a little on the higher end. Do you want to accept it?”

Quests starting with ‘S’ (including S, SS and SSS) were the most difficult quests in the current region or time period. A player who had reached Level 30 and completed his second Class Advancement could leave the town and proceed to the Level 3 Main City. Therefore, this quest was the most difficult and highest-ranked quest that could be attempted by a player who had yet to complete his second Class Advancement!

Crippled Feather hesitated for a moment. At that moment, Blue Maple took the initiative to ask Crippled Feather, “If possible, can you let me take up that quest?” Blue Maple was intending to take up that quest.

[Exterminating Goblins] (Rank S): In the forest deep into the mountain to the north of the town lives a group of goblins. They are evil and ferocious. Because of them, the hunters in town are afraid to enter the forest to hunt for food. Hopefully, the town will send someone to exterminate those goblins.

The difficulty of this quest was on the higher end, and it was also the only one involving human-shaped monsters. If Blue Maple didn’t take up this quest, he could only continue to kill ordinary monsters. He didn’t want to become like a hunter, even though there was nothing wrong with doing so.

Crippled Feather only noticed Blue Maple then. Although Blue Maple was well-equipped now, Crippled Feather couldn’t tell whether the accessories he was equipped with were actually good, since they didn’t exhibit special effects at such an early stage in the game. Perhaps only a sharp-eyed, experienced player would be able to tell the difference.

Along with the fact that Crippled Feather was slightly condescending of others, and that there were still countless other main cities, it was almost impossible to find someone that could rival him, considering that he was statistically one of the top ten players on the leaderboard.

No name, no information. Is he only here to annoy me? Is he looking down on me and thinks that I don’t dare to take up the quest?, Crippled Feather thought to himself as he looked at Blue Maple.

“Why should I give it to you? Do you think I can’t complete it?” Crippled Feather was a little proud and annoyed as he questioned Blue Maple.

Blue Maple also saw Crippled Feather’s complete appearance right now. He seems to be in his twenties, and has a cool exterior. There’s a very strong air of hostility about him and a scornful look in his eyes.

Blue Maple furrowed his brow when he saw Crippled Feather. It wasn’t because of the scorn in Crippled Feather’s eyes. That was nothing to Blue Maple. It was just that...

It’s him…, Blue Maple thought to himself right then. Blue Maple recognized this guy called Crippled Feather!

Blue Maple regained his original indifferent look and replied,“Forget it if you want it.” After that, he turned to the NPC and said, “Please give me Quest S01.”

Everyone around began exclaiming in shock.

“Fuck, who the hell is this guy? Acting? What a joke. It’s S01!”

“Either he doesn’t want his life, or he’s trying to act strong. An S01 quest is the highest-ranked quest in this town!”

“He’s issuing a challenge.”...

[Exterminate the Armor-rending Bear King]: The Armor-rending Bear King evolved in the depths of the forest to the northeast of the town. Not only has it affected the safety of those in the forest, the body of the Armor-rending Bear King also possesses top-quality materials, so the town chief has decided to send someone to exterminate it. However, no one is willing to take up the quest because of the dangers involved (Please take extra care. The suggestion is not to go alone, but there shouldn’t be too many people at the same time. Otherwise, the Armor-rending Bear King will call for help!)

Crippled Feather glared at Blue Maple and said word by word, “Who exactly are you?!”.

“Just someone from the Chaotic Region,” Blue Maple answered.

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