‘… Level 368!? 371!? Is there something wrong with the SYSTEM transceiver?’
Vulcan stood speechless.
It was an unbelievable number.
They were numbers which he had never imagined, let alone though existed. He rubbed his eyes in shock. What had he just seen?
‘Is this a dream?’ thought Vulcan, as a deep crease formed between his eyebrows.
Having hunted down every monster type in the Rubel Continent, he had poured blood, sweat and tears into his training, day in and day out. This was all done for the possibility of reaching level 99.
He had thought that there was none with levels above his, as he had done as much as humanly possible.
There was no one who even came near Vulcan’s level. The strongest human on Rubel was level 94: the Duke of Willyf, the ‘Sword of the Empire’. Yet, even he was incomparable to Vulcan, not to mention anyone below him.
Undeads of the Elder Lich Frezole were slain in hopes to find monsters above level 100, however none were found.
It was because of this, that Vulcan had accepted he was stuck at a level cap.
It was impossible for people stronger than him to exist, as his power was already monstrous.
He had ‘Stamina” that had reached the 260 points, and ‘Magic Power’ that was even higher. This combination made the impossible possible. A casual punch shattered a two-story stone building, and an easily conjurable fire magic eradicated a group of boss monsters.
His lowest stat was his ‘Hit Points’ (HP), numbering around 100 points. His HP meant that a direct blow from an ogre’s mace would only tickle him. .
‘If I got more anymore stronger… Would I perhaps become a God?’
Those were the thoughts he once had.
He know realized they were stupid and naive.
Vulcan turned his eyes back onto Fulvike and Jung Yeop Lee’s ability screens, which were still open from five minutes ago.
Emptiness and shame replaced the confidence he had built up through years of training. As the shame surged over, the self-confidence washed away like a sandcastle on a beach.
‘A God eh? My level wasn’t even anywhere near a street merchant.’
Vulcan dropped his head in embarrassment.
His face flushed. It felt like showing a stranger your childhood diary, which detailed your dreams of becoming a superhero.
A middle aged merchant, Jake, approached Vulcan and asked:
“Son, I was wonderin’. Is this your first time here?”
Vulcan looked up in surprise and saw a gentle-looking merchant.
“… How did you know?”
“You can usually tell a newbie from the rest with just a glance. Well, in your case, it was hard to tell. I found that rather strange. ”
His two sapphire eyes seemed to stare into Vulcan’s innermost being.. Jake appeared to have distinguished something, and continued to talk.
“By any chance, are you a player? You know… the one that uses a transceiver and ability scans?”
Vulcan’s face filled with astonishment.
Jake gave Vulcan a confident look, as Vulcan gaped in astonishment. Vulcan had just heard something he thought he would never hear in this world.
“Of course you are. Haha, I haven’t seen a player in a long long time. Nice to meet you.”
Vulcan’s head was bombarded with questions. He had finally met someone who knew something about the players.
It had been 5 years since he had entered this world, but he had never seen someone with similar abilities.
When he first arrived, he asked around and looked into every corner of Rubel, hoping to find other people like him.
He tried joining many guilds, the most notable being the Adventurer’s Guild, the Thieves’ guild, and the Empire’s Faculty of Information and Services , however there was nothing.
Loneliness was Vulcan’s only companion, as he was the only human player in the world. After that, Vulcan only focused on completing quests.
He gave up his l hopes of seeing another human being, and continued to move forward without any expectations.
But now, in front of him, was someone who knew who he was.
Vulcan spoke to the man in excitement.
“How did you know? Are there others like me? Could it be Mister Jake… That you are one of those.. Err… Players? What is this pl-”
“Bloody hell, son. Don’t you think it’s better to ask one question at a time? I won’t be able to answer if you don’t.
As Jake tried to calm Vulcan, he became slightly irritated. Unfortunately for Vulcan, Jake ignored his desperate and uncertain questions, and reached his hand into the air. He then pulled out a bottle of liquor, which appeared to be a whisky.
Vulcan’s eyes sparkled again in surprise.
It seemed Jake did not care whether Vulcan was shocked or not. After he took a sip of his liquor, he began to talk after taking a sip of his liquor.
“Well… It’s a long story. If I explained how I found out you were a Player, we’d be here all day. You saw me using my inventory, right? I’m a Player, too. We call people like ourselves ‘Players’. The man in the black robe from earlier is a ‘Murim’. The muscle brain he was fighting is a ‘Powel’. I’m not going to tell you what this place is. If I did, it would really take forever to explain. Also, it’s not something I should say.
“Um, what? Err… Hey…”
“Stop. If I explained everything, I’d have to close my shop for today. Trust me, kid, I don’t want to do that. Not today. Mhm.”
Vulcan looked at Jake, hoping to get more answers, but it appeared like Jake had already made his mind up. He refused to answer any more questions
Vulcan looked down with a sullen look.
He wanted to abduct him even with force and question him all day.
‘But he’s stronger than me…. Fuck…’
One needs strength to demand something.
As a lower level Player, there was nothing Vulcan could do.
He sighed and dropped head, looking like the most unfortunate person in the world.
His only concern now was whether to give up, or beg like a dog.
Then he heard Jake’s voice.
“Man. It looks like you’ve misunderstood me. I’m not a bad person who'll bully a newbie I don’t even know.” said Jake, scratching his head.
“What? Newbie? What are you...?”
“Stop. I know you have a lot of questions, but just listen.”
Jake pointed at an alleyway with his index finger, as he defended himself against Vulcan’s endless questions.
“If you turn left after that building over there, you’ll see another building with pictures of meat and wine on it. That’s the only pub in Beloong city. They’ll probably tell you they haven’t opened yet, but if you tell them it’s your first time here, they’ll invite you in. They’ll greet you and answer all the questions you have. It’s been ages since I last saw a Player. I’d love to talk more, but I have some important business to attend. We’ll discuss about it later, okay?”
Jake averted his eyes, and started looking over the crowd, as if he had nothing else to say. He looked at his stand and began to organize it.
Vulcan idled around for a moment, before nodding. He headed towards the alleyway Jake had pointed out. It would be rude to bombard a busy man with so many questions.
His steps felt heavy as Vulcan walked, fatigue evident in his eyes. Soon after, he heard a word of farewell.
“Be safe now. We’ll catch up over a few drinks next time, Vulcan!”
‘That geezer must have checked me on his ability scanner!’
Contrary to earlier, his steps felt lighter as he turned around and waved back at the busy merchant.
Vulcan felt strange as he had never been scanned before. It was always him using the ability scanner on other people.
Knowing that other people could scan him made him feel uneasy. He felt naked.His thoughts grew increasingly muddled, as Jake disappeared out of his view.
‘God, I have no idea what’s going on.’
Nothing was being solved.
After arriving in this world, everything seemed to confuse Vulcan: whether it be the unbelievable levels of the inhabitants of the city, or the existence of a Player, whom he had been seeking for five years. The more he tried to comprehend the situation, the more difficult it became for him to understand.
Vulcan gave up on thinking.
There was nothing he could do with the little knowledge he had at this point. It would only hurt his head.
He spat on the street, and left behind all other miscellaneous thoughts.
‘Let’s just go to the pub and not worry about things for now.’
Vulcan sped up, and began to head towards the pub.
4. Mister Filder the kind
The pub was a three-story wooden building, and it was larger than what Vulcan had expected. It looked like they were closed, as he didn’t hear any trace of boisterous drunken men.
‘So, they will tell me everything I want to know here, eh?’
Vulcan nervously took a deep breath, and thrusted the door to enter.
However the door did not open, let alone flinch.
Thinking it was a pulling door, Vulcan searched for the handles, but none were to be found.
Vulcan shoved against the door again. It was still unmovable, akin to a thousand tonne boulder.
‘What in the world?’
Judging by the naked eye, the door appeared to be made from wood. Yet, obviously it was something else.
Either that, or there was magic casted onto it.
After countless tries of throwing everything he had at the door, whether it be magic or physical strength, it finally opened. He felt exhausted already.
Like all stores before opening hours, the place was free and empty.
There were tens of wooden tables neatly lined up in rows and columns. The rectangular pillar in the middle of the hall accentuated this. The pillar, giving off an emerald light, seemed to evoke a luxurious air.
Dazzled by the emerald pillar, Vulcan stood in silence. He heard voices coming from the corner of the building.
He turned around and saw two men sitting around a table in the corner of the pub.
“So, you’re saying I need to follow your orders?”
“No. There’s no need for that. I’m just asking for you to practice basic skills, under our protection, for two years.”
“Protection? Practice basic skills? Are you saying that it’s too dangerous here for me? Me, the former head of the ‘Nokrim*’, and the ruler of the city? You’re currently talking to the one and only Dokgo Hoo. Are you saying I, in all my supreme glory, need to work under you, a mere peasant!? Are you saying I need to hide here and practice basic skills because it’s too dangerous for me!?”
The man in the tiger coat stood up. He was so tall his head nearly touched the ceiling.. He fiercely smacked the wooden table in anger.
The brute strength, that was capable of slaying a house-sized goblin, smacked down on the table..
Yet, the table did not break.
In fact, there was not a scratch on it. Due to the varnish, it appeared shinier than ever.
The face of Dokgo Hoo, the middle-aged man in the tiger coat, flushed red.
‘He must have done that thinking he could break it.’
Vulcan glanced at the so called ‘ruler of the city’, Dokgo Hoo.
Vulcan gazed at the two-meter tall, muscular man, who was emitting a fierce aura. Seeing that man blush in embarrassment, made him incredibly uncomfortable.