"So you finally calmed down," The old man warily stated as he looked at Nex who was standing in front of him, restrained by numerous chains and ropes of mana.
"Yes, yes. I promise I won't attack you anymore." He vowed solemnly. He reluctantly accepted the fact that with his current strength, he was far from being a match to the old man.
'You just wait for a tiny bit. I will become strong enough in no time. By then, I will beat you black and blue until you look like a pig.'
The elderly smiled knowingly. He never believed a single word that the young one had spoken. He already saw through that facade and could very well guess Nex's train of thought. He didn't expose the other's silly duplicity and let it just pass. Besides, there were more pressing matters to be discussed. Hence, he released Nex.
"Let's do the First Awakening now."
Acting like a petulant child minus the pout, Nex replied, "Fine!"
"Good. Give me the token that you received upon completing the trial."
Nex took out the [Worthiest Token] and threw it to the old man.
The elderly offhandedly caught the token. It was just like any other ordinary inspection.
"Hmm? Let me see what token is this..."
Gradually, his eyebrows creased when he perused the token. It didn't take long for his whole face to be frozen in shock.
"This! This is the [Worthiest Token]! How did you get this?"
Nex didn't see any reason to fuss over something ordinary like a badge. He just shrugged indifferently.
"I don't know. I just defeated everything the quest told me to defeat. I don't think I did something---"
"Wait!" The elderly cut him off in total surprise.
"Did you just say that you defeated every monster that was said in the trial? You killed them all?" He had to ask. He just couldn't believe what he is hearing right now. It is a preposterous claim!
"Yes. Isn't that the goal of the quest? What else should I have done?" Nex is completely confused.
"How can you say it like it was an easy thing to do?!" The old man looked at him like he was the most moronic being in all worlds that exists.
"No one managed to pass the trial like that before their First Awakening. Normally, they will die and end the trial at the second stage and get a normal token!"
The rays of enlightenment shone down on the naive Nex. Thus, he exploded.
"What?! Are you saying that I could have finished this thing sooner if I had just died against those losers? Why was I not informed about this?"
"Because it was as obvious as the sun glaring on a summer day, you idiot!" The elderly couldn't control his temper at the other's idiocy and he raised his voice too. Conversing with this young man made his brain cells die slowly.
"No normal warrior who just started to develop his powers is able to hold on his own against opponents of that caliber!" The struggle to hold his temper back is real but somehow as he said this, he had steadied his voice a bit already.
"Ahhh! Damn it!" Nex on the other hand though, is still hung up on it. All the time he wasted when he could have finished this sooner.
Waving his right hand in dismissal, the old man didn't want to dwell on this matter anymore.
"Never mind that now. Considering what I was told by that guy in Spring Village, then I have no choice but believe in what you are saying."
His expression turned serious before saying, "Follow me."
Nex didn't hesitate and took after the old man. They went deeper into the temple until they arrived in front of an ancient altar.
Located in the middle is a large crystal ball that is filled with lights of different shades and colors.
The elderly returned the token along with an instruction, "Take the token and put it on the globe. After that, all of your queries will have answers."
Nex took the token and approached the center of the altar. He placed the token on top. Once the token touched the globe, it began to shine in brilliant light while he felt strange energy entering the tattoo at the back of his hand. A sense of strength then spread throughout his body. When the lights dimmed, messages began popping up.
[Your class has been promoted to a ???Explorer!]
[Stat effectiveness has doubled!]
[The stats growth rate has increased : 6 points in each stat and 6 free stat points upon leveling up!]
[Inventory has doubled!]
[Profession slots raised to 5!]
Thanks to the quality of the monsters inside the trial and what left from killing the Orc King, Nex earned quite a bit of EXP but because he wasn't done with the First Awakening, it had accumulated. First Awakening Quest must be completed in order for a player to progress with leveling. It wasn't until now when he promoted his class that the amassed EXP was released.
'Who cares about that? The profession slots have been raised!' Nex thought in glee while ignoring the ridiculous increase in power and growth rate. With excited eyes, he checked for further details in the status, only to have his face frozen when he saw the Profession Slots details.
*Name : Nexus
*Titles : [The Impossible Man], [Pioneer]
*Class : ???Explorer
*Profession : None (One slot available. Next slot will be unlocked after the Second Awakening is completed.)
*HP : 100%
*MP : 3,100/3,100
*Level : 13
*EXP : 42%
*Fame : 111,600
*Strength : 108 (58 + 50)
*Agility : 116 (58 + 58)
*Vitality : 123 (58 + 65)
*Mana : 155 (88 + 67)
*Wisdom : 96 (58 + 38)
*Accuracy : 96 (58 + 38)
*Available Stat Points : 18
One slot available. Next slot will be unlocked after the Second Awakening is completed.
ONE SLOT AVAILABLE. NEXT SLOT WILL BE UNLOCKED AFTER THE SECOND AWAKENING IS COMPLETED.
The lengthy details of information blurred out and these words seem to be the only legible thing in Nex's eyes. They even echoed in his ears as he stood straight in a stunned state.
"What?!" Nex became furious once he recovered. He immediately turned around to face the old man.
…Only to see the room completely empty except for him and the inanimate things around him.
"You bastard! Where are you?"
He saw a note where the old man stood before. Picking it up and skimming over it made Nex's forehead pop more veins out.
'Haha! You brat! You will have to become a great warrior first if you want to learn your beloved professions! Good riddance! =p'
His rage is already bubbling like fiery hot lava and that little emoticon was the last straw. He erupted vehemently.
"You f*cking a*shole!!!"
"So this is the Cooks Guild. Let's hope that they're not a bunch of weirdoes as well." Nex muttered as he stood in front of a large building with an equally large sign at the top of it.
After falling into a rage fit for a several minutes, he finally managed to get a hold of himself and go back to the city. He had cooled down enough to sensibly put all of his equipment in his inventory.
Finally, he can do the thing he bothered to level for all these time; to learn the Cook Profession.
Entering the Cooks Guild, he heaved a big sigh of relief after seeing such a normal scene.
The place is divided into three areas. One had a lot of cooking equipment that reminded him of a cooking competition he once saw a long time ago. That area greatly resembles the kitchen from the cooking show.
Pots and pans arranged neatly; boards and sinks sparkly clean; different bottles of herbs and spices arranged in straight lines; sanitized countertops; few basketfuls of different vegetables and fruits of different kinds. A cook's heaven it is!
The second area is a small library with shelves full of books. It doesn't take one to be a genius to deduce that those books are cooking-related ones.
The last area had reception desks and some boards with missions signs attached to them.
Without further ado, Nex went straight for the third area. There, a normal-looking receptionist behind one of the desks that had a "Recruitment" sign is waiting with a cordial smile.
"Hi! Welcome to the Cooks Guild! Are you here to register?"
"Great! I see that you are a traveller from another world. You need to present the proof of your First Awakening."
Nex showed her the back of his hand where the tattoo was. After his awakening, it turned silver-blue and looked a lot more intricate and more vivid than before.
"Let's see... Oho! This is a high-level proof! Please wait for a moment. I need to call the guild master."
She didn't wait for Nex to respond and just turned her back to him.
Even though this woman was able to maintain her composure despite her surprise, Nex still began to have a bad feeling about the familiarity of the situation. He had no other choice but to wait in trepidation since he wants to learn this profession.
"I apologize for making you wait."
After a few minutes, the receptionist came back with a man who was wearing a chef's uniform. He even had a few different cooking tools strapped to his belt. His mere presence commands respect.
"Hi there, young man. I heard that you have a somewhat special proof."
Nex gloomily raised his tattooed hand, "Here."
The Guild Master carefully studied the tattoo. After a short time, the concentrated expression gave way to a smile. He then murmured, "Finally, this legacy can be continued."
His gaze returned to Nex's face and met the latter's eyes. "Sorry but you can't learn how to be a normal cook."
"What? Why not?" Nex asked in a slightly indignant tone.
"That is because of the class that you have awakened. It doesn't allow those who have it to have a normal profession. But I have a solution for you."
Nex who was initially depressed found hope when he heard the man's last statement. "Really? What is it?"
The man gave a friendly smile. His tone is courteous but had certain magnetism to it as if he is trying to entice someone to agree with him.
"Not something difficult. I have a profession that is very suitable for someone like you. You can do everything that normal cooks can do and even more. So what do you say? Sounds good?"
"Very!" Nex nodded enthusiastically. "What should I do?"
Having baited the silver-haired young man successfully, the Master smiled even more and in a casual way explained, "It's very simple. We first teach you the basics of cooking. After that, we will give you a trial to see if you have the right aptitude for this profession as well as gauge your ability to learn this art. It's actually not complicated at all! Basically, it's just getting and working with a few "special" ingredients and make a dish out of them. Child's play, right?"
"Yes!" Nex agreed. Too happy to notice the implication of the word "special" when the other said it. Nor did he notice how the Master acted when he was explaining things and the way he smiled convincingly.
'Finally! A simple task that only asks me to do simple and mundane things like gathering ingredients and cooking.'
"Great! Then, let us begin!"
Aside from his interactions with Iris, the next few hours were the best time Nex has ever had in this game.
No fighting against barbaric monsters. No doing annoying trials. No one scamming him and screwing over his plans for playing the game.
It was just pure cooking. How to work with ingredients, peeling, dicing, chopping, mixing and just cooking. It was an activity of a normal person and Nex is actually doing it!
"Damn, my eyes are getting wet..."
*Whisper* Look at the new guy. Why is he crying?
*Whisper* Maybe he found out about the profession he got. Poor guy.
These words never reached the too-emotional Nex. No one can penetrate his bubble of happiness.
After calming down, he finished cooking the simple dish he just learned and gave it to the guild member who was supervising him
"Oh? Done cooking that dish already?" The man asked with a friendly smile. "You are quite something. First, learning both theoretical and practical basics in just a few hours and now, you're making a semi-advanced dish already! I wish I was as zealous as you when it comes to cooking."
After he said his piece, the member gave the dish a taste. He then grinned and gave Nex a thumbs up. "It's good! All you need now is more practice. Go to the Guild Master and tell him that you passed. He will then give you the final test before you can get the profession."
"Thank you very much! I am going to see the Master." Nex said with a slight bow and walked straight towards the Guild Master's office.
He told the Master of his achievement and received a smile and a nod of satisfaction. Seeing this, pride swelled inside Nex's heart. He did a normal person's activity and he did it right!
"You're quite talented. You're just the right guy for this profession."
He passed a scroll and a bag full of cooking equipment to Nex before continuing. "Take this scroll and cooking tools and go to the southern forest. Once you're there, open the scroll for the ingredients you will need. You have 24 hours to return with the dishes that you made using the tools in that bag. The taste will determine your result. You can go now. Good luck!"
"Yes. I will return soon." Nex grinned with excitement and left the Guild eagerly.
Having reached the forest, Nex looked around to make sure he was in the right place. He opened the scroll the Guild Master handed him.
"Let's see what ingredients I should gather."
[Profession Quest Starts! Birth of The Mystic Gourmet!]
[The Mystic Gourmet is a cook who makes the most magical dishes using the best ingredients. In order to prove one's qualification for this profession, the player has to display the ability to make dishes that are exquisite and delectable using the required ingredients. Submit the dishes to the Cooks Guild Master to be assessed within the indicated time. Time remaining : 23:30]
-Ten different dishes made from ten different Elite Boss ranked beasts that you hunted (0/10).
-A dish made from Lord Boss ranked beast that you hunted (0/1).
Added cooldown of 1 hour Mana Revival skill of the Corruption Bane Necklace as it will not make sense for such an OP skill to have no cooldown.
Author: matanman. Proofreader: bet2z.
Open to any review and will be open to questions on my di*cord channel: https://discord.gg/TXFKER6.
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