Vulcan was so fed up with the situation.
Because he thought he was training and hunting quietly without causing any harm to others, he felt he was wronged to be dragged into political affairs of others like this. Vulcan felt frustrated.
However, he had no other options.
The man that Vulcan was facing was more powerful, and he also had plenty of back up.
Although it was making his inside boil, Vulcan felt he should listen to what Bellon had to say first.
“What kind of job is it? By chance, it wouldn’t be the kind that would put my life at risk, right?”
“Hm … A little?”
Dokgo Hoo cringed his face immediately. Still, because Vulcan pleaded and begged him earlier, he didn’t make any sudden move.
Prior to the meeting, Dokgo Hoo agreed to let Vulcan lead all of the conversation.
With a glance, Vulcan observed Dokgo Hoo’s displeased face and then said to Bellon,
“We are joining the denomination for the sake of our safety, but it seems you are intending to send me to the grave as soon as I join.”
“No. I’m just telling you that there is danger involved. With your level of skill, you should be able to handle it well, probably.”
The word ‘probably’ was really rubbing Vulcan the wrong way. Vulcan was about to ask again, but Bellon beat him to it and said,
“Between Ho-Gyung and I, we have a proxy duel that we are suppose to hold. Ah, don’t bother thinking about what the duel is for since it has nothing to do with you guys.”
“The thing is, we don’t have anyone to send as the proxy fighter. So, I want one of you to enter the duel as my proxy fighter.”
Vulcan and Dokgo Hoo were joining the denomination to avoid the Order of Virtue, yet the man was asking them to fight another duel against the order. Vulcan thought,
‘There is no bullshit that could top this. Anyway, besides that, this is suppose to be the Holy Denomination of War, one of the three factions, yet they don’t have anyone that can go?’
“I apologize for prying, but I cannot help but to ask. The Holy Denomination of War has incredibly powerful top-notch warriors amongst its members. It is not easy to believe that the denomination does not have anyone that could enter the proxy duel.”
“That sure is. It’s understandable that you think it is not believable, but it is the truth. I don’t have anyone in particular that I could send out to the proxy duel.”
“Is there qualification criteria of some kind?”
“That’s right. You are very quick on figuring things out.”
Bellon put his hand toward his back, and a subordinate that was standing behind brought a new drink.
“This isn’t the first time when things like this happened between me and that bastard. If I send someone from the Golden Ranking’s top 100 every time there is a quarrel, and if, by a rotten luck, the one I sent to the duel dies, my force will be eventually diminished to half. In that case, I might as well just go out and fight a full scale war like we really mean it. It seems even Ho-Gyung doesn’t want to waste his own subordinates. He proposed a new method since a hundred years ago, the kind that would reduce bleeding on both sides.”
“So, what you are saying is …”
“For the proxy duel, only the ones outside of the Golden Ranking may enter. It could be called a battle of rising talents. Also, I think the two of you are the most talented of all people who are not in the Golden Ranking.”
“Also, I don’t want to risk losing a rising talent among my regular members. On the other hand, if it is you, even if you died, it is no-risk for me.”
“You care deeply about your own subordinates. It’s different from how you treat us.”
“Of course. They have been like my families for over a hundred years. Also, they worship our god Powell with strong devotion. Outsiders like you cannot be compared to our devoted subjects.”
“Aren’t we members of the denomination now? You are still treating us like outsiders.”
“Of course you guys are outsiders. You calculating bastards.”
Bellon took a sip from the drink and continued,
“You two are bastards who rolled their brains and decided to join just to avoid the pouring rain. Were you expecting us to treat you like brothers? Instead, let’s go with give-and-take.”
Vulcan wanted to talk back at Bellon, but he didn’t have anything in particular to fire back at Bellon.
It was true that they came to the denomination to avoid the threat of the order. Also, they didn’t have any sense of devotion toward the denomination either.
To put it bluntly, or to put it in a crass manner, they just wanted to use the denomination.
Vulcan thought that even he wouldn’t have liked this if he was in Bellon’s position.
‘I was assuming Bellon was letting us join because of his good-will toward Horune, but it looks like I was mistaken.’
It became apparent that Bellon allowed them to join because he had a use for them.
Having arrived at this conclusion, Vulcan’s head cleared. He actually felt better that Bellon was honest and said he can’t trust them.
Vulcan actually thought this was ten times better than hair-splitting politicians from Rubel Continent that schemed behind his back.
Vulcan said to Bellon,
“Before I accept the proposal, I have something I want to ask.”
“Since you said it is a give-and-take, I wish to get a definite answer about what I will be getting from this. If one of us wins in the proxy duel, I would like you to guarantee our safety.”
“I felt it a while before too, but you really are an impudent one. Fine. If anything, I will certainly stop the Order of Virtue from pressuring you guys. Since both of you are Zenith levels, you will be spending a lot of time in the north gate area. I will be mindful to make it so you two can train safely in our protection.”
“May I assume you mean that you will be providing us with safe hunting grounds?”
“That’s right. The denomination and the order have separate hunting areas. This is to avoid unnecessary conflicts. If one of you achieve a clean victory in the duel, we will accept you two as official members of the denomination and allow you two to train in our area. However …”
Bellon’s burning eyes gazed upon on Vulcan and then Dokgo Hoo.
“It is only when it is a clean victory. A wishy-washy draw or defeat will void the entire promise. No. In fact, if you do not achieve a clean victory, you may also earn our fury toward you.”
The aura from Bellon was intense, enough to make even a First-Rate warrior to shiver in fear, but it didn’t have any particular impact to Vulcan and Dokgo Hoo.
Watching this, Bellon was actually impressed.
‘These are rookies? Their strengths are unbelievable. Of countless graduates who went through the Act 1, I don’t think I have seen these kind of talents …”
The rate of their growth was so incredible that it made Bellon wonder if The Six were like this in their rookie days.
Before he realized, he was already having thoughts of caution against the two piling up in his mind.
“I understand. The proxy duel … I will provide you with a certain victory.”
“… Good. Good. As you know, my pride is quite important.”
Having heard Vulcan’s answer, Bellon shook off his miscellaneous thoughts. Bellon pretended to have an emotionless face and then stared at Vulcan.
Vulcan made another proposal.
“However, for the sake of a certain victory, there is a favor I would like to ask of you. First, when is the proxy duel?”
“Exactly one month from now. As for the favor, if it is something reasonable, I will give it a good consideration.”
“Archbishop, by chance, do you know about how Players get stronger?”
“Yes I do. I heard that Players accumulate so called “experiences” from slaying monsters. Is that right? It is a very convenient ability. They can improve themselves without any awareness or deep understanding about their techniques. I don’t understand how they could be so pathetic when they have an ability like that.
Bellon criticized Players as he clicked his tongue. With beaming eyes, Vulcan said to Bellon,
“That’s right. It really is a convenient ability. Of course, the growth that one can achieve through that ability is not the growth in quality. It is just a half-way growth in quantity. Still, when it comes to growth in a short period of time, there is no other ability that comes close to it.”
“Get to the main point.”
“Yes. I’m also a Player, and I have that ability as well. So, if you could show me a little bit of generosity, I could use that ability to reach a new height in a short period of time.”
Vulcan nodded and continued right away.
“Just for a month, if you could support me, I will bring you a 100% certain victory.”
It was a place where monsters with levels equal to or over 400 roamed around freely.
The north gate field was a wasteland of death crawling with cursed existences such as Hell Goat, Skeleton Knight, and others. Even First-Rate warriors from the Beloong City could not dare to think about entering this place easily.
It was a perilous place where even Zenith-Rate warriors sustained severe injuries for letting their guards down for a moment.
Because of this, the north gate field was famous for always having more monsters than people.
However, for today, a scene different from ordinary days was being produced.
“Surround it with an energy web!”
“There, it’s jumping out!”
“Don’t try to deal damage! Just prevent it from escaping!”
On the field, there were four Zenith-Rate warriors including Dokgo Hoo.
These warriors usually preferred reaching new heights through self-reflection and analysis of techniques instead of desperate battles against monsters, but, for the moment at least, they were showing very different behaviors.
One warrior provoked monsters to lead them to a designated place, and the other three endlessly used magic and martial techniques to ensure the gathered monsters did not scatter or escape.
Finally, Vulcan overlapped multiple Firefields to deal damage to the monsters.
Because it was always Vulcan’s magic that dealt the final blow to the monsters, he could safely feast upon all of the experience points by himself.
In other words, it was others that brought the ingredients and cooked them into delicious meals. It was also others that prepared the entire dinner table. Situation was that Vulcan was there just to move his spoon to eat.
‘So this is how it feels like to have someone help you power-level up.’
Vulcan felt great back when he received items sponsorship from Jake, and a sensation no less thrilling than that was surrounding his entire body.
Vulcan sent a telepathic message to Dokgo Hoo.
- Big brother! Since you are here to help, please try harder.
- Shut up you rascal! I’m going to call it quit and tell Bellon I’ll enter the proxy duel instead!
- I’m sorry. I will never speak so freely to you again, big brother.
- What kind of bastards are Players anyway. Just how do they get stronger like this? Tsk.
- Anyhow, I am grateful that you are so understanding of my circumstance. This is an incredibly great opportunity for me.
[Your experience points went up.]
[Your experience points went up.]
[Your experience points went up.]
Vulcan smiled big because of the rapid level-up speed that was substantially faster than usual.
Vulcan opened his status window and checked his level.
[First-Rate Mage Swordsman Vulcan]
It only had been three days, but he already gained four levels. The rate was faster than when he was clearing the abandoned dungeon.
‘It’s just too bad that I can do this only for a month.’
Since his safety was guaranteed, he wished he could receive a service like this every time in return for participating in the proxy duels.
However, it was most likely that he would be included in the Golden Ranking’s top 100 after the duel, so it meant he wouldn’t be able to enter proxy duels anymore after that.
Besides, Vulcan figured that working these Zenith-Rate warriors like this again later, when they all had goals of their own, would not be possible.
‘Well, the fact that I will be getting a safe place to hunt is still a great benefit. So, it’s fine. I shouldn’t be so greedy.’
Instead of being disappointed about not being able to do this again, Vulcan decided to be grateful about the fortunate opportunity that came to him. In order to level up as fast as he can, even if it was to get just one more level, Vulcan worked harder to pour in more magic power.
However, there was a man looking at Vulcan with a look of disapproval.
It was Ruwan, the man that could be said as the second in command in the denomination.
With an amused face, Bellon was watching Vulcan’s repetitive movements. Ruwan said to Bellon,
“Archbishop, I don’t think this is right.”
“What about it exactly?”
“No matter how important the proxy duel is, I wonder if bringing in three of the denomination’s Zenith-Rate warriors to support a rookie is an excessive measure.”
“It is not like I forced them to do this. I said anyone who is frustrated from having a warrior’s block during the training is welcome to come and relieve some stress, and these came to volunteer. There is no problem.”
“Also, he is not just an ordinary rookie. He is an elite. He has the potential to leap at an instant and become a Zenith-Rate warrior with a little bit of opportunity. It is not a losing business to provide him with such a generous support.”
Even after hearing the Archbishop’s explanation, Ruwan’s was not easing his face. Ruwan said right back,
“I’m also worried about our diplomatic relation with the Order. It is a fact that the Order of Virtue has grudge against Vulcan and Dokgo Hoo. If we are to send Vulcan to the proxy duel …”
“What. Are you concerned that bastard might say he wants to go to war?”
“Haha. I get that you don’t know Ho-Gyung very well, but you really don’t know him at all.”
Bellon broke in to a big smile.
A lot of people in the Beloong City knew Ho-Gyung as a cold, prideful and fearless man. However, Bellon knew the real Ho-Gyung. He knew what a coward Ho-Gyung really was.
‘Well, although I am the same when it comes to that …”
This was the reason why something like proxy duels, which wasn’t even funny, was happening.
If there was something that they didn’t like about each other, they could have just put an end to it by either having a duel or a fight to the death, but they growled and barked only on the outside and then avoided each other.
Pride and passion strong enough to toss away one’s life?
They have lost such things a long time ago.
They only made empty threats toward those that were weaker than them.
‘Old and tired, both you and I.’
Bellon and Ho-Gyung are both just two tired old men who could not go to Act 2 because they did not want to lose what they have in their grasps.
Because of this, serious bloody incidents did not occur between the two factions.
Bellon speculated that even this incident will pass as just a minor trouble just like how the balance of power was maintained for several hundred years without major problems.
“Anyway, has Royan been not found still?”
“That’s right. We searched both the north gate and south gate areas, but we couldn’t find anything. It appears … he must have died while training in a hunting ground.”
“Tsk. We wouldn’t have needed to bring in these runts if he was alive. After all that hard work raising him, he ended up dying before we could even use him.”
“It couldn’t be that he was killed by someone?”
“Because it had been only six months since Royan’s magic had a rapid growth, there is hardly anyone that knew about it. So, as for that possibility …”
“I know. I know, but the timing is just too strange.”
After finishing his sentence, Bellon watched Vulcan’s hunt for a moment and turned around.
“It’s just going to make me bitter inside the more I think about it. I saw enough. Let’s go back.”
The two disappeared at an instant.
On the other hand, Vulcan didn’t even glance at the two men who were watching. Instead, he only focused on hunting.