Chapter 8: Harmless Completion

[Grassland Barbaric Bulls] (S-Rank Quest): There is a small village nearby that’s being harassed by Barbaric Bulls. They can’t go in and out of their homes as per their normal routines, and they hope that the town can send someone to vanquish the bulls. Kill 100 Barbaric Bulls, and collect their horns for the village chief. (Rank 15 recommended).

I have to accept a Rank 15 quest. Is the special class so hard to obtain?, Blue Maple thought as he frowned.

Blue Maple was only Level 7 and he had to accept a Rank 15 quest. There was quite some difficulty, while Blue Maple speculated that an S-Rank quest had to be very formidable.

Blue Maple was clueless, and could only resign himself to fate. It was his fault for skipping the levels. Furthermore, he didn’t know what it meant for a Level 7 player to accept a Rank 15 quest. Without even discussing the gaps in attack and defense, his movement speed was already at a completely inferior standard.

The reason why players were so slow in the game’s initial stages was so the players could familiarize themselves with a different world. However, once someone changed classes at Level 10, their movement speed would recover to their normal speeds in the real world. Of course, running speeds and attack speeds would still be limited, because that was calculated based on the players’ attributes, but players would recover their evasive and other dexterity-related speeds.

Blue Maple didn’t know that, for a simple reason: he had skipped through those sections when he was reading! After all, Blue Maple wasn’t that interested in this game, so he didn’t go through those books very seriously when he read them, and only studied the more interesting sections more carefully.

Blue Maple knew that reaching Level 10 would boost some of his attributes, but he didn’t know how his attributes would be boosted. So… the main reason was that Blue Maple wasn’t that interested.

Monsters were also upgraded at Rank 10 in the same fashion. This also meant that Blue Maple had to use his reduced movement speed to fight monsters with normal movement speeds.

According to the monsters’ other attributes, Blue Maple’s quest was equivalent to killing normal monsters that were like the Bloodlust Slime King continuously. Furthermore, those monsters would still have defense points!

The most crucial point was that monsters had skills at Rank 10 or higher!

The only fortunate thing for Blue Maple was that he was a lot stronger than he was when he killed the Slime King. His equipment and level was higher than before, and he had also learned a skill.

Blue Maple could, in theory, kill them one by one, but prolonged battle with such heightened concentration was very difficult. At the same time, there would be many more players gathered in the town, so there would have to be many more monsters on an exponential scale.

Therefore, Blue Maple dispatching them individually would be even harder, as the monsters would be clustered relatively close together. Attracting a single monster could lead to other monsters attacking him at the same time.

Blue Maple was clueless about all that, and accepted this quest like a foolish youth before turning away from the girl and leaving.

“Eh, goodbye.” The girl had forgotten how to address him because she was still in a daze.

She heaved a sigh of relief as she watched him step out of the main entrance. “Damn, that’s so embarrassing. I’m at work, and he still saw my embarrassing state of waking up from a nap… eh? The youth seems like he isn’t strong enough to accept that quest. Shit, the Mercenary Union will scold me if they find out about it, and I can’t change the logs. Damn it!” the girl muttered under her breath pitifully.

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Blue Maple didn’t know what the girl was mumbling to herself. He followed his map’s directions as he walked towards the eastern gate, because he had to start from the eastern gate to reach his destination: the Foggy Grasslands.

“Tch, tch, tch…” Blue Maple came out of the gate to his destination, the Foggy Grasslands. The grass around him was wet, and squelched beneath his feet. The air was very foggy because of all the moisture, and visibility was poor.

Blue Maple surveyed his surroundings as he thought, Can that village be a nomadic village? Maybe it’s just a coincidence that there’s a large patch of grassland in this area.

He pushed away all those thoughts which had nothing to do with his quest. He could already see his prey, his quest’s designated targets: Barbaric Bulls!

[Barbaric Bull] (Rank 15)

Attack: 51-57

Defense: 37-42

Magic Defense: 16-20

HP: 800

Skill: Charge

Introduction: “The Barbaric Bull is a wild animal living in the Foggy Grasslands, and it is very aggressive. Be careful.”

Blue Maple felt his heart skip a beat when he saw those attributes. Is this an enhanced version of the Bloodlust Slime King? And I need to kill one hundred of them?!

His only attribute higher than this bull was his attack. Everything else paled in comparison!

The imbalance between my attack and defense is too high. Even though my sword is pretty good, the gap is too great. Even if these monsters have their own imbalanced attributes, their imbalances are not as exaggerated as mine! My attack attribute is five times that of my defense! Blue Maple suddenly realized the problem with his own attributes.

Forget it. This must be because of my extreme point allocation. Defense isn’t that useful anyway, so adding more points for attack is the better way. I shall try to kill this bull, and take this chance to test out my skill, Blue Maple continued thinking to himself.

Blue Maple strode right toward the bull. He waited for the bull to attack first, because he knew that he couldn’t possibly land the first strike. The bull was eight ranks above him, so he knew that he would be attacked before he could even get close. Furthermore, the bull’s attack would probably be very quick. He wanted to test the bull’s attack to probe its abilities. Still, the fact that he couldn’t attack first made him very displeased.

Indeed, the bull suddenly charged toward him as he came near. The Barbaric Bull radiated light as it used its Charge skill.

So quick! Blue Maple quickly dodged to the side as the bull charged toward him. If he hadn’t prepared, he didn’t know if he could have dodged this attack. After all, his body couldn’t move as fast, and his reflexes were useless no matter how quick they were.

The bull paused for a moment after using Charge before turning around and attacking Blue Maple again. Blue Maple had experienced the bull’s attack, and he could roughly gauge part of the bull’s strength as he made his own preparations to fight. He concluded that he could end this fight without taking a single point of damage!

The bull didn’t use Charge on its next attack. Its speed was much slower, but that was still very fast from Blue Maple’s perspective. The bull was coming closer, and he dodged once more as he evaded the bull’s next attack, unscathed. He raised his sword and hacked on the bull’s thick hide at the same time, and a -24 damage sign floated out from on top of the bull’s head.

Blue Maple was confused when he saw the damage points, but he immediately understood in the next moment. His damage points shouldn’t be so low, but he instantly recalled part of the game’s introduction that spoke about rank suppression. When the gap in ranks reached a certain threshold, the party with the lower rank would find his attributes suppressed, which would affect damage calculations.

But so what? I can still kill it even if my attributes are suppressed, just that it will take a longer time, Blue Maple thought to himself confidently.

The bull attacked again as Blue Maple evaded its first attack. Blue Maple could only retreat swiftly to dodge the bull’s attack.

The same events happened again, and Blue Maple managed to dodge another attack without taking damage while striking back at the same time. He was playing with the bull like he was in a bullfight, but Blue Maple didn’t relax at all. He knew that the bull had a skill that was on cooldown, and he wouldn’t have a good time if he wasn’t prepared when the skill came off it.

Indeed, after repeating almost identical attacks, the bull’s next attack suddenly accelerated. Charge!

“It’s coming!” Blue Maple’s response to the accelerated attack was to immediately dodge to one side, and the bull almost brushed past his body this time. He could feel a gust of cold wind slice across him in that exact moment. What a close shave!

Blue Maple heaved a sigh of relief. He felt marginally more relaxed after managing to evade the attack. The bull paused for a moment after charging, and Blue Maple took that opportunity to quickly pounce in with a strike before immediately retreating so that he wouldn’t be caught by the bull’s counterattack.

The reason Blue Maple could dodge every single attack wasn’t because doing so was easy. On the contrary, Blue Maple couldn’t dodge away too quickly, because the bull could still change its direction if he sidestepped too early, and dodging would be meaningless then. Blue Maple’s evasion speed came from a burst of strength in that moment, and he couldn’t do that again for a short period of time. Therefore, he only had one chance.

There was no need to mention what would happen if he was too slow, because he would be tossed into the air. Blue Maple only had that tiny window of time to dodge the bull’s attack, and capturing that tiny window required incredibly quick reflexes. After all, there was an extremely large gap between their ranks. If there was a winning advantage, then the only advantage was each party’s reasoning and thought, because those were just simple numbers in the end.

Blue Maple continued attacking in similar fashion many times, but he only managed to shave a little over 200 HP off the bull. That amount didn’t seem like much compared to the bull’s 800 HP pool. But even then, it didn’t shake his determination to kill the bull.

The subsequent bulls that he had to hunt would be harder to deal with if he was damaged in his first attempt. He was in his peak condition, but his condition would gradually deteriorate.

The reason this happened wasn’t due to mental fatigue from excessive and prolonged concentration. Fatigue that occurred in reality would also occur. This was a half-virtual game, so the players would naturally feel the same kind of fatigue as they would in real life, except it was calculated through real-life data.

This meant that once a battle was drawn out for too long, the system would trigger fatigue in your system by dropping all your attributes. The rate of decline in fatigue would become slower as players became stronger. It was said that players could battle for several days on end in the game’s later stages, but the prerequisite was that players had to have enough mental energy to sustain the fight.

Blue Maple was playing around with the bull again, and the bull was infuriated. That feeling was similar to when he was facing the Slime King, but normal monsters wouldn’t mutate. Elite monsters had a small chance of mutating, but Blue Maple knew nothing about elite monsters or higher-tier monsters.

Blue Maple managed to grind the bull down over the next two minutes. The bull crashed to the ground, and left about twenty bronze coins behind, along with a pair of horns. Blue Maple picked up the coins off the ground before he collected the dropped horns.

Blue Maple rested for a few moments, and a voice appeared in his head when he was about to search for his next target. The voice belonged to the old man.

“Heh, heh. Kid, don’t be hasty. My quest isn’t completed that simply,” the old man’s mildly sneaky voice rang out in Blue Maple’s ear.

Simple? Even though Blue Maple hadn’t gamed before, everyone who wasn’t a fool would know that normal people couldn’t complete this quest.

“What other requirements do you have?”

“Heh heh, I want you to complete this quest without taking a single point of damage, just as you did with this bull.” The old man’s voice was shrill and annoying.

...

Blue Maple suddenly wanted to give the old man a hard beating!

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