* * *
In a quiet room, there was someone who was working with a few dozen papers floating in the air.
He looked at one of the papers and opened his mouth.
“Hm… Another request was made about this man although he is a newbie.”
Moreover, the request was similar to the last one.
It asked about information regarding the newbie Vulcan. It wanted information about his protective blessing's expiration date and current location.
‘After the Chimera maker, now Forwaru from the general store is asking about him. Although this man is quite unique…’
Madorugi, the owner of the Oracle, searched for all information with the keyword ‘Vulcan’ in the database.
There was not much information about him but nevertheless, some information did come up.
Madorugi had investigated about him before on the side when the Chimera maker made the same request.
‘If it was not for that request, I would not even had this much. It is not like there are only a few newbies.’
He leisurely enjoyed a tea and looked at the information about Vulcan.
Madorugi quickly read the information.
The tea was slightly cold. He drank the whole thing at once and quietly said,
“I can understand why they are interested.”
Madorugi gently closed his eyes and organized his thoughts
Vulcan was, despite being a newbie, a very unique runt.
Oracle always monitored people entering and leaving the Espo City, so he was also aware of when Vulcan first came to Act 2.
It had been about two and a half years since Vulcan came to Act 2.
Also, in that short time, he garnered attention of not just one but two dangerous men.
In that short time, although he did not do anything in particular to get noticed, information about him was kept on being requested. There was only one reason for this.
‘The kind that is even more special than the Demi-gods… He is a Player that made it to Act 2. He must definitely be special.’
According to a few reports from the forest area, Vulcan was a Player, the kind whose physical abilities and mana capacity improved automatically from slaying monsters.
Players were as unique as the ancient beings who were rarely seen nowadays.
Madorugi had gathered all sorts of information about various kind of beings. However, this was the first time even for him to see the information about Players.
It was because there wasn’t even a single Player in the Act 1 area that he was at.
‘I’ve heard that there are quite many of them in Beloong City, but I also heard that there isn’t any talented one as if lack of talent is a part of their attributes… Looks like this one must be a mutant. I can definitely understand why these runts are working up their appetites.’
When it came to the Chimera maker, there was no need to explain it since he was a runt who tore apart other people’s bodies and performed research. Even in the case of Forwaru the predator, Madorugi had a rough idea.
The word on the street was that equipment always dropped whenever a Player slayed a monster. This must have been the reason why Forwaru was interested in Vulcan.
‘That poor bastard. No matter how much of a talented mutant you are, it would be difficult for him to escape their grasps alive.’
Madorugi prayed for Vulcan’s safety.
However, pitying him was one thing, and business was business.
Madorugi was intending on diligently executing the request made by Forwaru, who was his customer.
‘I snuck in a surveillance magic when he was here last time, so… There is no problem in locating him.’
Madorugi was not worried at all about being found out.
It would have taken someone as powerful as Blue Wind the Blue Dragon to barely manage to notice it. Madorugi was thinking that there was no way that some newbie would have noticed it.
Madorugi decided to wrap up the case about Vulcan with what he gathered so far and get to the next case.
Also, at that moment, a pretty good idea flashed through his mind.
‘That runt is going to either die or get brainwashed anyway… Maybe I should sell a bit more information?’
Countless residents of Act 2 put themselves through excruciatingly tough situations in order to break through the walls and achieve greater heights.
Of them all, especially among humans, there were those who fell to despair from the limitation of their species and talents. There were many who even resorted to wicked experiments.
‘If I tell them about the Player’s unique constitution? Also, if I spread rumors that I know about Vulcan, that rare Player, his location, and the expiration date for his protective blessing?’
There had to be many who would work up appetite if Madorugi did spread rumors about Vulcan.
‘From top of my head, I can think of Bae Su Jin and Iron Horse… These bastards can’t stand still when it comes to special research materials.’
Also, there were hyenas-like people that swarmed in whenever something of their interest happened and tried to get everything they could scrape up.
He figured he could get substantial information fee from them as well.
‘Um… It will be all right. Vulcan is going to die anyway, and I’m just selling information…’
Actually, the information fee was not important to him.
He just liked gathering information that others didn’t know about.
Also, he enjoyed greater thrill from manipulating people with information and watching many people getting played.
He was like that even when he was at the lower dimension.
He possessed more powerful magic than anyone else, but he never tried to stand out. Instead, after creating the thieves’ guild, he chose to stay in the shadows and steadily watch and enjoy it.
‘Even with the Holy Sword, it was fun watching them running around here and there… I wonder how much fun I’ll be having with this one.’
Madorugi had a shady smile on his face.
Vulcan had about seven and a half years left until his protective blessing expired.
‘After about seven years later, if I spread just a little bit of information about Vulcan, his rarity and worth, I will be able to watch something fun.’
At that moment, a new request came in to the Oracle.
By a coincidence, it was from the one who had been filling Madorugi’s head at the moment. It was from Vulcan.
Still unable to erase the big smile on his face, Madorugi said,
“Hm… Information about hunting grounds… That’s not hard. He is a precious customer. I should hurry and give him the information.”
After that, for his customer, he provided high quality information without a single bit of lie.
* * *
“Hm… Fortunately, it seems like the remaining hunting grounds won’t have problems.”
This was the second time for Vulcan to request information from the Oracle. He was impressed by the latest information that he received quickly.
“As I thought, having a lot of money is great. I’ve heard that there are people who don’t even dream about buying information because it is so expensive. Ha. To think that money is this important in a place like this full of people who are on Demi-god levels…”
Vulcan clicked his tongue and shook his head.
He was able to make money easily thanks to the Player’s ability. However, thinking about how other newbies must be living in substantially worse conditions, that made Vulcan feel weird.
‘As I thought, being a Player is the best. You get to choose your profession, and there is item drop too.’
Vulcan was completely unaware that he became the target of many people because of the fact that he was a Player.
Vulcan took a moment to update the map and hunting ground information based on the new information he just received.
Vulcan compared a few hunting grounds, and he decided to go to the place that he was originally intending to go to.
‘If I do, then the money I paid for getting the information would be wasted… Nah… I get to go there now without any sense of doubt. My mind is at ease, so that makes the information worth the money.’
Besides information, Vulcan had no other places to spend the money anyway.
Vulcan opened up his guide book and read the information about ‘Lava Field’ that he decided to go to.
[Hunting Ground – Lava Field]
It is a hunting ground with monsters estimated to be around 750 – 760 level. The field is scorched with extreme heat. The monsters are also fire type.
At the center of the hunting ground, there is a volcano that is endlessly generating lava. Also, there are many deep ponds made of lava that has not cooled. Because the area is full of flame and heat, just standing there is helpful in increasing the fire mastery. This hunting ground is recommended.
Unlike past hunting grounds, this one was not a perfect fit for Vulcan.
It was because most of the monsters here had high resistance to flame magic.
However, Vulcan was also highly resistant to fire, so the burden on defense was substantially lower than how it was with the Ancient Gang-shi Factory.
‘There are fewer of the ones who will come at me in groups, and… I can block the monsters’ attacks with flame magic and use the Thunder God Blade for attacks.’
Also, the most important thing above all was that this place was a highly likely place for a hidden quest.
‘Are you certain? Can you swear?’
‘You little runt! When an elder says so, you just need to trust him!’
Beruneru was certain about this place.
Vulcan pushed the envelope a little and pestered Beruneru about it, and as of result, he was able to get a clear answer about how to get to the hidden dungeon in the Lava Field.
‘It is just that, to enter this place, I need a higher level flame magic…’
According to Beruneru, in order to reach the place that was suspected of being the hidden quest area, it required SS rank fire mastery.
Berunaru said it would be difficult just to get near the place with a lower rank. Vulcan remembered his own face getting stiff from hearing that.
It was a very difficult condition to meet.
However, Vulcan, who had been indiscriminately launching flame magic since arriving at Act 2, was aware.
He was aware that his flame mastery was at the top end of rank S, and with a little bit more time, he was going to be able to make a leap to the SS rank without problems.
‘Actually, I already had the enlightenment at the Cursed Underground Graveyard.’
When Vulcan destroyed Muruola the Death Knight and achieved enlightenment, it was not just about the lightning magic.
Through violent and restless attacks, enlightenment for lightning and fire came at once.
However, because of the ‘Training efficiency during lightning type training + 20%’ option in the Heavenly Lightning Blade, just the lightning mastery was improved to SS rank, and Vulcan had not yet broke the fire mastery’s S rank wall.
It was not that the gap to the SS rank was small.
However, it was not so much that it was going to be difficult to fill.
‘While I was grinding for the past two and a half years, I increased it a lot. From now on, it is not like I can have explosive level ups. If I roughly set it as the goal before the protective blessing runs out… I can definitely get to the SS rank!’
Vulcan put the guide book back into the inventory. With strong gaze, Vulcan looked up the sky.
Currently, his level was at 650, and the true height that Vulcan considered himself to be at was 750.
The difference between the two was not as substantial as before.
From now on, each level up was going to take an incredibly long time.
It was going to be a different story if Vulcan, by luck, achieved another enlightenment and obtained strength that was beyond his level. However, as he reached greater height, it was obvious that the moment of enlightenment would not come so easily.
Vulcan was not expecting anything big. Instead, he decided to increase level with patience.
‘From now on… I should think of it as a long distance marathon. I need to be determined.’
Vulcan stopped by at the store that was owned by an Act 2 Manager. He bought lots of food as if he was just sweeping the counter, and then he shoved them into the inventory.
It was not the amount for one to two years like he had been getting in the past.
It was worth 30 years of food for one person. It was a lot.
Besides food, Vulcan completed other preparations one by one.
Finally, when Vulcan was ready to leave Espo City, he said this toward himself,
‘This is the most important thing. Preparing against the Chimeras… I need to make sure of it.’
Chimera maker was the one that Vulcan got tangled up with bad blood as soon as he got to Act 2.
This man was most certainly going to make a move as soon as Vulcan’s protective blessing expired.
Vulcan was going to need to get in to the habit of always being cautious when the protective blessing expires so that he does not fall prey to that bastard’s schemes.
‘Even when I’m in middle of hunting. Tsk. I wish another dungeon with one-person limit showed up.’
If this hidden quest was limited to one person, Vulcan was planning on just settling there and level up until monster regeneration stopped completely, until the Chimera maker, who was after Vulcan, died of being infuriated from not being able to get to Vulcan.
‘For now… The first priority is getting to the SS rank on the fire mastery.’
Having thought this far, instead of agonizing over this, he walked quickly.
Vulcan only had seven and a half years left. To achieve his goal in that short period of time, he could not afford to waste even a little bit of time.
* * *
Having arrived at the hunting ground, he cut down the monsters literally like a mad man.
The Lava Field was different from the Poison Crater Field. There were other people coming by in occasion. Human and a few other beings got to watch Vulcan fight.
Vulcan was working extremely hard. He was training like there was no tomorrow, enough to make veterans with 100 years or longer experience in Act 2 to lose their fighting spirit.
‘How could he continue such intense training like that?’
‘Watching him made me realize the fault in my ways. I need to work even harder.’
‘By the way, how could a newbie have such power… Is he a Demi-god? Or is he an ancient?’
Those who watched Vulcan’s training was getting sick of its intensity.
However, to Vulcan, the training was something he had an obvious reason to do.
Vulcan did not have much time left for training like this wholeheartedly without having have to worry about Chimeras’ ambush.
Whenever he got tired and exhausted, Vulcan thought about the shock and terror he felt at the forest area.
Just thinking about the sense of danger from that moment felt like it was giving Vulcan the strength he didn’t even have.
Like that, every day, Vulcan had fierce battle with monsters, a fierce battle against himself.
Like that, seven years passed.
Vulcan’s level increased by 85. It was now at 735.