“Demonstrate my power?”
“That’s right. The top end of 400 level that you mentioned… that would be about Golden Ranking's 20th place and above. If you are confident that you can beat anyone below that, don’t hold out on your strength. Just go out in the open and show off your power. It will be the shortcut to avoiding bothersome things.”
“Make it so nobody would even dare to think about challenging me…”
“That’s what I’m talking about.”
It was a pretty neat idea.
Certainly, instead of facing the mass number of First-Rate warriors one at a time, it looked like the better idea would be to just find a suitable Zenith-Rate warrior and showoff the overwhelming difference in strength.
“If I do, it will definitely reduce the number of people that would come to bother me, right?”
“Of course. Even these guys have some sense. They won’t go throw tantrums at someone who they can see an obvious difference in strength. They know that such behaviors will be frowned upon by the people. People will say that someone like that is a bastard who doesn’t know his place.”
“But what if I beat a very powerful warrior and then those that are even more powerful decide to challenge me?”
After hearing Vulcan’s question, Jake looked like he was thinking that was a stupid question.
Not knowing the reason behind Jake’s face, Vulcan waited for his response.
“Hey. You really don’t take interest in Beloong City. The vibe I get from you just screams that you just want to leave this place soon. It feels really weird.”
“Am I supposed to be interested? Also, what does this have to do with not knowing much about the city?”
“Most of the people in the top 100 of the Golden Ranking are fossils.”
Vulcan thought about it for a while.
“… You mean, they were here for that long?”
“That’s right. To them, this place is a second home world. Their rankings are status and also identity. Unless they are certain about the victory, they don’t pick fights with someone who has a lower rank than themselves.”
Vulcan was still not convinced.
The most powerful ones in the top 100 would have a minimum level of 450.
If they put just a little bit of effort, they could beat Act 1 and return to their home world or wish for something else, but they chose to settle here instead.
“Just what about Beloong City made them want to fixate so much on their status or reputation here? If they forgot about all that and just focused on training, I think they would have cleared Act 1 a long time ago…”
Jake interrupted Vulcan.
“Reaching a new height is not something that can be done so easily like how you have been able to.”
Jake made a bitter face as he drank liquor. He continued,
“Also, people like you, who are talented and hard working, all left the city by clearing the Act. Or they are dead.”
The two just sat there for a moment in silence.
The one that broke the silence was Jake. As if he was trying to change the mood, he asked Vulcan in a cheerful voice.
“It looks like that’s about everything I should be telling you. Now, isn’t it about time to do something that’s the most important one?”
“Pardon? There is something else to do?”
“Wow… You are getting all that sponsorship from me. How could you forget?”
“Ah, the items!”
Because he was only thinking about the plans for what could happen, Vulcan completely forgot about the items he was going to give to Jake.
Vulcan promptly said,
“It slipped my mind. Please look at them from outside. You can have high expectations for these. I found many useful items.”
“I got it. Nowadays, Blacksmith Haywood had been breaking quite a few weapons, so there is a high demand for weapons.”
“To start with, he is… not a blacksmith. He is just doing it as a hobby.”
“Even so, if it wasn’t for him, half of the people from Murim would be fighting with bare hands. We should be thankful for the fact that he makes and repairs weapons.”
Jake stood up with a smile on his face. Vulcan also peeked a smile and went toward the Pub’s main entrance.
It was when he was just about to open the door.
There was someone entering the Pub first, a man with a short blonde hair and a tattoo on his arm.
With a fierce angle on his eyes, his face was not the kind that gave off an affable impression.
‘He sure have a dirty look on his face.’
Vulcan stepped aside to avoid unnecessary confrontation.
However, the tattooed man didn’t walk past Vulcan.
He was only glaring at Vulcan with eyes burning with fire.
Vulcan didn’t avoid his glaring either. Vulcan said,
“Is there something you want to say?”
“You are the rookie that beat Uruo, right?”
“… Yes I am. What brings you here?”
“I finally found you. I thought you were at the merchants’ district.”
The tattooed man peeked a smile. Teeth that felt sharp like that of sharks could be seen.
“I am requesting a duel with you.”
Vulcan stood there for a moment with a blank stare and then looked at Jake.
Jake was also looking at Vulcan.
“And they say even a tiger will show up when someone talks about it.”
The time was a little early to call it an evening. The sun was just about to set, and the east gate field was crowded with people because of an unexpected event.
A spectator in a swordsman’s getup said as he ate popcorn he bought from the pub,
“It looks like Horune is fighting a duel again. It has only been a while. Maybe he had an enlightenment?”
“It’s not like that. It looks like he was just curious about a rookie’s strength.”
A man in a mage’s getup with a stylish mustache responded.
The swordsman cringed.
“That’s… That guy, Horune, isn’t he going too far? Are you saying he requested a duel to a rookie? Huh… If anything goes wrong, we will be cleaning a corpse today.”
The man stuffed himself with popcorn, and he continued to express that this didn’t make any sense.
“Horune is going too far, but this rookie is also a weirdo. Did people talk him into this because he got in the Rookie Ranking? Or does he not know about Horune’s strength?”
Horune was one of Zenith-Rank warrior. It was said there are only about 500 people with that rank in Beloong City.
It was definitely not a level that a newbie in the Rookie Ranking should be taking so lightly.
“You. It seems like it has been a while since you connected to the Wiki Crystal.”
“Uh? Well, that’s true. It was overflowing with strange comments, so I quit it for a while. Why do you ask?”
The mage with the mustache lifted his staff and pointed toward the rookie. A voice with a bit of excitement could be heard from his mouth.
“That dark haired man is currently at 2nd place in the Rookie Ranking. He defeated Uruo single-handedly too. Rumor has it that he is at the top end of First-Rate.”
The swordsman thought about when it had been about 10 years since he came to Asgard.
Back than, he was no good. He just got to Second-Rate, and his memories of that time were filled with instances of fighting against Orcs.
“I thought Dokgo Hoo was the only one, but here we have another.”
“I know. I think both of them will clear the Act 1 and leave this place soon.”
“In that case, I guess even the Order of Virtue or Holy Denomination of War wouldn’t touch him either.”
“That’s right. Instead of seeing blood from pestering him for no good reason, it is better to just let him go to the next stage.”
“By the way, do you know that rookie’s name? I haven’t heard much about the guy.”
The mage with the mustache said as he took some of the popcorn from the swordsman,
“I heard his name is Vulcan.”
* * *
Vulcan felt slightly nervous, but he was not feeling uncomfortable.
That’s how he felt standing with his sword drawn in front of so many people.
In front of him, about 300 feet away, he could see Horune holding a long staff.
Using scan, which became his habit now, Vulcan checked the opponent’s level.
[Zenith Mage Horune]
‘I was so sure that he was going to be a brawler type.’
Vulcan mistook him for a moment because of his fierce expression and gigantic body. However, now that Vulcan saw Horune holding a staff, Vulcan was starting to think that he look like a mage as well.
“As I said earlier, we should not attempt to kill each other. Is that understood?”
“Yes. We should avoid unnecessary death. If one side gets injured to the point he cannot continue the duel, we will stop it. The winner should take the loser to the infirmary.”
‘He has better manner than I thought.’
Vulcan reflected on his past mistake for frowning upon Horune and thinking that he looked like a hideous and violent weapon that took on a human form.
Vulcan swung his sword a few times and said toward Horune,
“Well then, let’s get started. Thunder God’s Might.”
“All right. HUAP!”
BOOM BOOM BOOM
Piercing through the ground around Vulcan, three large streams of water rose up. As Horune concentrated mana to his staff, the water streams grew in their size.
Situation was that Vulcan was surrounded by three large pillars made of water.
Vulcan used the Thunder God’s Might and quickly escaped the formation.
Water missiles started to shoot out from the water pillars. The water missiles that missed started to punch holes on the ground along the path that Vulcan just passed by.
It felt like three heavy machine guns were endlessly firing bullets. Even though it was only a little bit, Vulcan felt pressured.
‘Multiple magic attacks pouring out from a real mage… It is on a whole another scale from Uruo!’
The power of individual missiles were similar to Uruo’s skill, but the firing rate and the cumulative number of shots being fired were beyond comparison.
Even so, this was still not enough to be a threat to Vulcan.
He could dodge a magic like this for 24 hours if he had to.
It appeared Horune realized this as well. He increased the amount of mana being focused into the staff.
Larger bulks that were substantially bigger than the water missiles so far were launched toward Vulcan’s surrounding areas.
Some of the bulks turned into Water Spirits and blocked Vulcan’s movement path. However, the bulk of water right above Vulcan was staying the same.
Vulcan had a bad feeling about it. He transformed into the Fire Spirit and pierced through one of Water Spirits that was surrounding him. After a little bit of delay, the bulk of water that was floating above exploded.
Droplets of water were pouring down with enough power to pierce through even the thickest of iron plates.
The scenery became full of mist because of the steam generated from collision of flames and water. Slicing through that scene was Vulcan. He appeared to be completely clean as if nothing even scratched him.
Horune’s eyes turned violent.
‘This is a rookie? This is a Player? Don’t make me laugh!’
To think that someone who dodged his attacks so easily was still a rookie, and on top of that, he was not from Powel or Murim, but just a Player, Horune really could not believe it.
However, at the same time, he was getting overrun with the thrill and excitement.
‘I don’t care if you are rookie or not!’
Horune increased his mana to the maximum and drew out two more stream of water from the ground.
At the heat of the moment, he shouted to Vulcan,
“I will crush you!”
Vulcan was looking surprised as he stared at Horune who shouted at him.
Actually, he figured that there was something a little off about Horune from the moment they first met.
‘Looks like he get excited easily.’
Vulcan thought about things as he dodged streams of water pouring down at him.
He imagined that people specializing in water element magic would have peaceful personality, but it appeared that was not the case.
‘Well, that’s that. I need to think of a method that will make an impact.’
Even though Vulcan was making the spectators dizzy with his hectic movements, he still had moments to spare to think about things.
Vulcan was only dodging the attacks without fighting back for a reason.
It was to think of a good way to make a strong impression so that the most would not think about picking a fight with him.
To Vulcan, this was the more peculiar problem than beating Horune.
‘Get close to him at a blink of an eye and use Thunder God’s Strike? No. That could kill the opponent. Should I end it by pouring Hellfires from a distance? That’s too ordinary. Maybe I should wait a little longer. It looks like something is about to happen…’
It had been a while since Vulcan started dodging water magic attacks. He looked at the ground and realized that the ground, which was dry soil until a moment ago, had turned into mud with water everywhere. He could even see large spots of water here and there.
Vulcan noted that the relentless array of magic attacks came to a stop. He used a flame magic to evaporate water in his surrounding area.
In the field that was swept away by a flood, only the ground Vulcan was standing was dry as if it was drought at that one spot.
From the duel, Vulcan was entering a state of slight excitement. Vulcan asked Horune,
“Why did you stop the magic attacks?”
Vulcan was not actually expecting a reply, but Horune politely responded,
“I noticed that at this rate, I would only be beating on your shadows. I don’t want to waste mana.”
“Is that so? If you don’t even do that mana wasting act, you will get hurt.”
“No. The one that will get hurt is you. The conditions were already set.”
Vulcan felt the ground was shaking due to a powerful magic. It was covering a large area. Vulcan became alert to the surroundings and prepared for the magic that could pour out at any moment.
To Vulcan who was in middle of it all, Horune said with a confident voice,
“It is pointless to prepare now. KUUUAAAP! Water God’s Fury!”
A Zenith-Rate mage cast magic with all of his might. He even shouted the spell. The spell unfolded its might in the field.
The ground was completely wet from several thousands of water magic, and there were five of large water streams. The moisture from all of these came together with Horune’s magic power to create a tidal wave.
The tidal wave was coming from the outer rim of a circle surrounding Vulcan, and the wave was headed toward the center where Vulcan stood. The tidal wave was of an immense scale.
An incredibly destructive power could be felt from the wave, enough to sweep everything off its path.
“Looks like it is over.”
“It seems so. He fought well, but as I thought, he can’t beat Horune.”
The swordsman was done with the popcorn, and he was already drinking beer instead. He exchanged words with the mage with the mustache.
Nearby, there were several tens of people that were also watching the duel, and they were all having similar thoughts. Watching Horune’s certain kill move, which would be decorating the final act of the duel, some were excited, and some feared for Vulcan’s safety.
There wasn’t anyone that was thinking that Vulcan would win.
‘Looks like I will be able to make a great impact.’
At least Vulcan was not doubting his victory.
Actually, beyond that, Vulcan was thinking about putting up a flashy spectacle.