Chapter 13: Asura

Night fell, moonlight causing the Frozen Path to glisten, as if it was covered in a layer of frost.

Pachak!

The sound of blade cutting through flesh resounded through the forest. The battle was still underway.

I downed my first health pot and kept a close eye on both my health bar and the Ironback Bear’s. A small smile creeped onto my face. It looked as sinister as ever, but it definitely came from the bottom of my heart.

A series of attacks later, the Ironback Bear’s death was all but certain. With my current level of speed and movement, killing this Ironback Bear was practically easy.

Puchi!

The Forest Green Blade penetrated the Ironback Bear’s skull and dealt huge damage—284!

The fatal hit caused the blood-drenched Ironback Bear to let out a dying scream before collapsing.

A huge magic stone and a pair of green legguards dropped from its dead body, exciting me to no end. Another equipment drop! My luck is off the charts today!

I rushed toward it and picked up both items. The Big Magic Stone had a quality of 57 and could be sold for 11 silver! The legguards were leather armor.

 

Bearskin Legguard (Iron-grade)

Defense: 7

Agility: +2

Level Requirement: 15

 

Tsk tsk, leather armor sure is inferior to metal armor in terms of defense. That being said, it was still 7 points of Defense, and this +2 Agility bonus gave me around 0.1% attack speed and 0.2% evasion rate. I had no leg equipment anyway, so there was no reason not to wear it.

Swoosh!

A swirl of light later, the Bearskin Legguard was covering my thighs. Nice, my beautiful leg bones finally escaped exposure.

“Eh?”

Suddenly, I felt something strange around my ribs and leg area. It was as if something was wriggling inside of them. What the hell is this, a giant maggot?

I hurriedly took off my chest armor and inspected my ribs carefully. Thankfully, it was no maggot. In fact, it looked like a strip of flesh was growing in between my ribs. What is going on here?

Puzzled but without an answer, I cut off the Ironback Bear’s head as a trophy. I could think about this after I had turned in my quest!

“Aha, you are truly courageous beyond measure, little skeleton. You are the rising star of us Night Creatures!”

The sentinel leader praised me generously before rewarding me with a huge amount of experience. Thanks to this, I leveled up to 16, entered the Top 100 of Floating Ice City again and settled at 97th. During the early stages of the game, level rankings changed very quickly and rapidly. I wondered if the leader of the day before, Wind Fantasy, would cry if he saw that he had fallen out of Top 100 when he woke up.

Happy with my current level, I ran over to Undead Swordsman Suren before asking, “Trainer Suren, why don’t we go to the graveyard and kill that Undead Lord? Right now he’s the biggest threat to our existence, isn’t he?”

“Don’t be hasty, little skeleton!” Suren said patiently and earnestly. “You aren’t strong enough yet. What if the Undead Lord kills you and absorbs your soul spark? Frost Mound doesn’t wish to lose another courageous swordsman…”

“Fuck!” I swore in my head before asking, “Trainer, what is the use of the Soul Spark of the Undead? I had absorbed a lot of them.”

“Oh, this…” Suren put his hands on his waist and laughed. “The Undead are the core branch of the Night Creatures. We, the Undead, are a martial race, so we don’t only grow stronger as our level increases. Once you have absorbed enough soul sparks, you can evolve into a higher rank warrior.”

“Higher rank?”

“That’s right!” Suren nodded and explained, “Right now, you’re just a small skeletal warrior. When new flesh starts appearing on your body, it means that you’ve taken your first step toward evolving into a Bone Creature.”

“Are Bone Creatures high-level Night Creatures?”

“On the contrary, they are one of the lowest ranking races there is. Bone Lords and Bone Generals are both stronger than Bone Creatures, even though they are still beings who only fight with their physical bodies. However, if an undead manages to grow past that level, then… hehe, their flesh will regrow completely, and they will look no different from a human. This stage of evolution is called Asura!”

My mouth fell open as desire filled me. “I can look like a normal person? Haha! Does that mean I’ll be able to enter Floating Ice City and date girls whenever I want to?”

The undead swordsman shot me a disdainful look. “Grow up, kid. Do you seriously think women would flock to you like birds if you evolved into an Asura? Let me tell you, an Asura is far stronger than you can imagine. Powerful Asuras are like kings who can fight entire nations alone, not to mention that they can evolve further into Asura Kings or even Asura Gods… Heh, that is a level neither you nor I will ever reach in our lifetime!”

His words only deepened my desires. “A king-like existence? Damn... does that mean I can legally create a harem of three thousand in my own kingdom? Hahaha!”

Suren clearly didn’t want to waste any time on me anymore. “Train hard, you little brat. Don’t let other Night Creatures absorb your spark. Maybe, just maybe, you have a chance of entering the realm of Asuras. As for myself, that possibility is long gone.”

  ……

In the end, I wasn’t able to squeeze any more quests out of him so I decided to farm monsters and level up just like before. There weren’t many quests in Heavenblessed to begin with, and the only reason I got several in a row was because I was the only player in Frost Mound until Gui Guzi showed up. At Floating Ice City, there were probably countless players who, despite being at Level 15, never experienced what it was like to complete a quest in Heavenblessed!

I sold all the magic stones in my bag. After a couple hours of hard work, I had earned a total of 27 silver. I guess I could finally be considered somewhat wealthy?

I checked my equipment. I had a pair of bracers, a pair of legguards, chest armor, and a weapon. All of them were Iron-grade, basic-level equipment. Truly, this was an era of Iron-grade equipment. That being said, I could probably dominate anyone in Floating Ice City with my current set of equipment.

Right now, there were a lot of players who were trading items on the forums. For example, metal armor with only +2 Strength bonus could sell for 100 RMB. It was a testament to how rare the items with stat bonuses truly were during the early stages of the game, not to mention that shops at Floating Ice City only had Common-grade equipment in stock. Of course, all of them were vastly inferior to Iron-grade items.

This meant that my whole equipment set could probably fetch me a sum of 400 RMB and above, and this was me being conservative with my calculations. Judging from how rare it was to get a stat-boosting weapon at this stage, it was entirely possible that my Forest Green Blade alone could sell for 400 RMB!

I thought for a moment and decided to travel to Floating Ice City first before anything else. As someone who had been dropped inside the borders of such a big city, there was no reason for me not to check it out.

I traveled to the Frozen Path again and entered a forest at the path’s end. I avoided any enemies that were over Level 20 along the way. After about twenty or so minutes, I arrived at the forest bordering the walls of Floating Ice City. Unfortunately, my ID was still blood-red in color, and what a vibrant color it was! If anyone saw me right now, I’m sure they would think that I’m a PKer.

Floating Ice City’s proud and majestic appearance entered my view. As if winter was the only season they had, the walls of this city were always covered in snow. The palace looked like it was frozen in ice, and the city itself looked like it was built atop a glacier. It was how the city had gotten its name.

I carefully sneaked my way through the bushes until I was less than a hundred meters away from the gate. Then, I sprinted 100 meters in just 4.5 seconds. The moment my feet stepped on the very first brick that made up the city, my name changed colors and turned healthy green once more. I was very glad that I didn’t need to hide like a mouse anymore.

  ……

I didn’t see many people at the city square. Everyone looked understandably busy since it was only the second day since the game’s release. Even if they had free time, they would rather spend it on leveling and farming equipment.

I moved to the center of the square and stood as straight as a stake. Then, I took out the Bony Cyan Fan and shouted, “Level 15 Iron-grade fan for sale! Attack 24, Stamina +1, and Tactics +1! This is just the weapon you need to satiate your adventurous and murderous desires! Suitable for tacticians and priests, this is a beautiful and elegant weapon made just for girls! If you have a wife, buy it for her! If you don’t have one, still buy it and gift it to someone else’s wife! Don’t wait until it’s too late!”

My shout drew attention from every direction, and it wasn’t long before I was surrounded by a dozen or so people. Chitter-chatter ensued—

“Damn! Someone dropped a Level 15 weapon already? And what the fuck is this attack power? Amazing, my weapon only has 1~3 Attack…”

“My god, this weapon is amazing. I can’t believe someone found a weapon that boosts Tactics already!”

“Is it just me, or does this seller look a little strange?”

“Not really. His bones grow outside his flesh, that’s all.”

“...”

I shouted again at the crowd, “Is there anyone who wants this? I can sell this immediately if the offer is reasonable. Everyone’s piss-poor at the beginning, so if you miss this chance, you ain’t seeing it again!”

A Level 15 magic knight immediately raised his hand. “2 silver!”

I glared at him and replied, “Not even my ‘shop’ is worth that little!”

The crowd broke out into laughter at the exchange. It was at this moment a young, sincere-looking, Level 16 tactician walked up to me and said, “I only have 11 silver, and this is after me and my two friends pooled our money together. I know it’s still isn’t enough to buy your fan, so I would like to add this as collateral. If you think it’s okay, then let us trade right away. If not, I would still like to make your acquaintance.”

He produced a pair of black boots and stared at my gorgeous, bony feet. His meaning was as clear as day.

I checked out the boots and concluded they were pretty good. They were Iron-grade and their only flaw was their low level.

 

Porcupine Boots (Iron-grade)

Defense: 12

Stamina: +3

Level Requirement: 10

 

My eyes lit up. The best part of these boots was the +3 Stamina bonus, which would give me 30 max HP. As someone who dumped all his stats into Strength, HP was exactly the stat I sought to boost.

I stopped to think for a moment. The Bony Cyan Fan was useless to me, and the buyer was willing to trade me 11 silver and Level 10 metal armor boots. It was enough.

And so, I nodded and smiled candidly. “Alright, the fan is yours. Thanks for being so candid, brother!”

“Thank you!”

The buyer was just as happy with the trade as I was. After all, Tactician didn’t do much damage until later in the game, and a 24 Attack weapon mitigated that shortcoming by a lot. At long last, his teammates could no longer tease him and call him a leecher.

When the trade was done, I gained 11 silver and a set of Iron-grade boots. My character was finally fully-clothed.

I put on the Porcupine Boots, my Defense rising to 37, and HP to 310. My survivability had skyrocketed thanks to this!

I happily walked toward the exit after completing the trade. But before I could step out of the gate, an ice-cold voice suddenly came from behind me. “You think you can just walk away after what you did, boy?”

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