Chapter 9: Is This Edible?

“Is that all, old man?” Even though he really wanted to beat the old man up, he knew that this task was achievable. Furthermore, even though he wasn’t that acquainted with the old man yet, he knew that this was probably just one of the old man’s many devious ideas.

“Heh, not bad. You’ve managed to guess something. Heh heh, I want you to kill the big one too, after killing one hundred bulls. Of course, you can’t take any damage.”

Ding! Announcement: You have accepted the hidden quest’s additional conditions for the first stage. You have to kill the Barbaric Bull King after killing one hundred Barbaric Bulls, and judging by your response, you have to complete the quest without taking any damage.

Damned old man!

Blue Maple still chose to accept these conditions even though he was displeased. Giving up at a time like this wasn’t how he did things.

“I accept.”

“Tsk, am I not just adding some extra requirements? You sound like you want to beat me up. You have to respect your elders. You will become stronger after killing these small bulls, so the smaller bulls toward the end won’t threaten you much. Furthermore, you will probably pick up some useful items, so the big bull won’t be a problem for you when the time comes.”

Blue Maple continued listening to the old man’s words, who was lively and emotional. He strongly suspected that a person was playing this NPC. The game’s introduction did mention that humans would play several important NPCs, and he believed this old man was one of them.

He thought about what the old man said, and he knew that the old man was right. Blue Maple was crossing many levels to kill those monsters, so raising his level wouldn’t be a problem when the time came. Furthermore, he would probably find some useful equipment along the way, and he would have a high chance of finding equipment with ranks higher than his current level. He just didn’t know what the Barbaric Bull King’s rank was...

Blue Maple would still do his best not to be damaged even if the old man didn’t mention it, because… he had forgotten to purchase healing vials and other consumables. He only had the small HP vials that he had from the beginning. The thought hadn’t occurred to him, and neither had he used any HP vials when he was having a great time killing monsters back at the Newbie Village, so he had completely forgotten about them. By the time he realized his mistake, he had already slaughtered the bull, and been thinking about what he would do if he did take any damage.

“Hey, can you tell me where the big bull is when the time comes?”

“I’ll only tell you where the big one is once you’ve finished the first part. Of course, if you can’t, heh heh…”

“Tch.” Blue Maple grumbled under his breath. The system notice rang in his ear once the old man finished his sentence.

Ding! Announcement: You have continued accepting the quest’s additional conditions. Your hidden quest’s first stage has been raised to Rank SSS! This difficulty is the highest possible rank for your current strength. Please be careful!

This will really be… troublesome.

If somebody else was in his shoes, that person wouldn’t be calling this quest “troublesome”. Instead, that person would probably be cursing and shouting at the top of their lungs. Only somebody with Blue Maple’s personality, and also a rookie, would describe this situation so casually.

Blue Maple was about to prepare himself to kill another bull when something suddenly came to mind.

I didn’t use my skill in that fight, did I? Blue Maple suddenly thought about his skill.

Indeed, Blue Maple hadn’t used his skill. He was too focused during the fight, and he had completely forgotten about his skill. Blue Maple didn’t know how to describe himself; it felt like he was fated to be a rookie for his entire life.

I think I can use my skill by channeling it with a thought, he thought to himself.

He didn’t have to say anything to use his skill. Otherwise, Thieves would be a useless class, because Thieves couldn’t possibly call out someone’s name when they were backstabbing someone before actually making the killer move.

Of course, there were still people who would shout their skill when using it because they needed the momentum and the energy. However, Blue Maple would never do that with his cold personality.

--------

Blue Maple became like a bullfighter, and struggled as he continued killing bull after bull. He emerged unscathed after every kill, but he came close during every fight.

Three hours later, Blue Maple managed to level up and also found some equipment as he reached bull number eighty-seven. He had taken so long because of his fitness problems, and he had taken multiple rests in between. He took roughly three to four minutes to kill a single bull in the beginning, but he only needed a little more than one minute at this point. Furthermore, he even took on two bulls at the same time on several occasions, and those times were truly thrilling.

Blue Maple didn’t want to fight two bulls at once, and it only happened because he provoked another bull when he was fighting one… so he had no choice. Blue Maple could still handle the fighting, but he was still a newbie with regards to the game’s other mechanics.

Blue Maple reached Level 10, but his speed was basically unchanged, and he was still very slow. That left him very confused, but he continued killing monsters humbly because he knew that his confusion was probably because of some other part of the game that he didn’t know anything about.

He had to admit that adding all his attribute points to Strength was necessary. If he hadn’t done that, he wouldn’t have become so much faster at killing monsters.

Blue Maple glanced at the notice that said that he had just risen to Level 10, and he knew that he couldn’t level up by killing the remaining bulls. The bulls dropped plenty of equipment, but they were either not suitable for his class, or their ranks were too high. Players could change their class after Level 10, so magic items and equipment would also drop.

There were only three items that Blue Maple could use, but he wouldn’t have found so many pieces of equipment if he hadn’t killed these bulls, who were so many ranks above him. There was a much lower chance of dropping an item now, not to mention suitable ones.

Therefore…

“Hey, you should be able to hear me, old man, can’t you?”

Indeed, the old man’s annoying voice rang out just as Blue Maple had predicted. “Heh, are you giving up before killing all the bulls?”

“Tell me the big bull’s location.” Blue Maple’s words and tone were still so simple.

“Why are you so impatient, young man? You just have to kill a few more small bulls. Can’t you just deal with them with a few attacks?”

“There’s no point,” Blue Maple replied plainly. Killing those remaining bulls no longer had any meaning for Blue Maple. He couldn’t level up, and his chances of finding items were also low, so he would rather conserve his energy and his current condition to kill the Boss directly.

Furthermore, from Blue Maple’s perspective, since this was a game that resembled reality and a human was playing this NPC, the NPC shouldn’t be so rigid as to require him to kill one hundred bulls before killing the Boss.

“Fine. Youths nowadays,” the old man replied in an exasperated voice. “Continue at your two o’clock, and you’ll find the big bull three hundred meters in that direction.” The old man added another sentence rather wickedly, “Hey, kid, Don’t think that I’ll be there to take care of your dead body.”

“Tch.” Blue Maple clicked his tongue in displeasure as he strolled toward where the big bull was located.

Even though the Foggy Grasslands were relatively flat, there was a lot of mist around, so he definitely couldn’t see anything at three hundred meters. He had to get closer to see anything, while the electronic map displayed his destination after the old man’s prompt. Therefore, he didn’t have to worry about walking in the wrong direction.

Blue Maple was careful to avoid normal Barbaric Bulls as he moved because he didn’t want to provoke them into a fight, rather than him being afraid of those bulls. The most important thing was to avoid wasting strength and energy. Blue Maple was a rookie, and he couldn’t predict how long he needed to fight, so he would be in big trouble if his attributes started declining halfway through the fight.

------

Blue Maple finally found his quest’s final target, the Barbaric Bull King.

===

[Barbaric Bull King] (Rank 20 Boss)

Attack: 112-127

Defense: 87-98

Magic Defense: 54-63

HP: 10,000

Skill: Crazed Charge

Introduction: One of the leaders of the wild animals living in the Foggy Grasslands. It is very aggressive, and its skill is stronger than usual. Be careful.

===

That’s problematic, Blue Maple thought to himself when he saw the Barbaric Bull King’s attributes.

The Barbaric Bull King’s attack speed had to be much faster than those normal bulls with its attributes and rank, while its enhanced skill had to be quicker too. Blue Maple’s movement speed hadn’t improved, so there was almost no way he could dodge the Boss’ skill.

Blue Maple’s only advantage was that he had become very familiar with certain techniques for dealing with Barbaric Bulls after killing so many of them. His evasion techniques were better than in the beginning, but the most he had to do was force himself to plug the gap. He should have no problem dodging normal attacks, but he knew he had no chance of dodging Charge. It didn’t matter how quick his reactions were because his movement speed couldn’t catch up at all.

Blue Maple’s only chance was for him to master something novel. He had to master one of the game’s special techniques, the art of prediction!

However, mastering such a technique within such a short period of time was impossible. Prediction required a lot of gaming experience and innate talent to learn. Without even talking about innate talent, Blue Maple already had a dire lack of gaming experience. He had only played this game for a few hours.

Even though Blue Maple couldn’t possibly master the art of prediction, he should have no problem predicting the Barbaric Bull King. The reason was because he had killed so many bulls before this, and he noticed that every bull would pause for about half a second before using their skill, which was the time needed for normal humans to react. Furthermore, bulls couldn’t change their direction when they were using Charge, so the skill was probably the easiest to dodge.

In the beginning, Blue Maple didn’t know if the bulls could change their direction after using Charge, and only confirmed the fact after killing so many bulls. Furthermore, he had wasted so much time and effort because he foolishly imagined that bulls could change directions after using Charge. The reason why Blue Maple had discovered the fact so late in the game was because he didn’t know that skills had activation times. Every skill, except for instant skills, took time to channel. Some were short, some were long, depending on the skill.

Blue Maple’s Cold Light Slash was considered an instant skill, because it was attached to a normal attack, so there wasn’t any channeling time. However, the light from his skill would glow on his sword, and it would start shining conspicuously.

Blue Maple guessed that the Barbaric Bull King’s skill probably had a lower channeling time, but the fastest it could go was probably 0.2 seconds, probably half of a normal bull’s channeling time. He reasoned that not just from his experience, but through common sense. However, Blue Maple believed that he had enough time to react even if the Boss’ channeling time was only 0.1 seconds, because he just happened to possess an extraordinarily quick reaction speed.

What he was worried about would be the normal attacks, which had become faster, and which he also couldn’t predict. Everything came down to the same reality, his reflexes would be useless no matter how quick they were if his body couldn’t keep up. But... he could possibly resolve that problem some other way...

Blue Maple stared at the Boss in front of him, and a strange thought occurred to him. I wonder if I can eat this bull after killing it. This bull should be considered truly wild, and there should be very few of these things around...

Wait, this thought is…

Blue Maple quickly tossed that thought aside as he focused on his quest.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter