At the ruined hall where Nex and Iris were just at; a robed figure appeared. He wasn't any muscular by all means yet his undeniable terrifying aura that could easily cause suffocation undulated around.
"So those foolish Orcs have failed." His voice was raspy and sinister. "To think they even used ancient spirit and still did not succeed. Not that much was expected from those depraved creatures."
He then looked around until he fixed his sight on the remains of the corrupted being, "A Soul Art? There is actually someone who can use it in this barbaric place?" He extended his hand from under the robe to touch the remains.
Immediately retracting his hand, the man stared at his finger that now had a burnt mark. It was a mark that could be acquired from touching a burning lump of coal. Seeing that a mere amount of lingering energy caused him an injury, a wave of fear washed over him.
"To be able to achieve this feat using a scant amount of soul strength, just what kind of a grandmaster was here? Damn! I sure hope that he isn't planning to further interfere with our plans or else this matter has to be brought up with the higher-ups."
And with those words, the robed figure disappeared from his spot.
Arriving back to the village, since Nex has reached level 10, he could now get out of the village and go to a city. He went straight to the Village Chief's house to get the permit.
"Oh, it's the young man from yesterday. Here for another quest?" The guard stopped him at the entrance. Although his posture is straight, he had a friendly demeanor.
Nex shook his head and said, "No, I'm here to get a leave permit from the Village Head."
"Haha! Yeah, right! There is no way that you are on the verge of your first awakening already…" Initially, the guard thought that Nex was joking with him, but as he looked closer, the laughter in his voice began to fade until it completely stopped. He stared some more as if trying to convince that what he is staring at is the truth and not some hallucination. After realizing the validity of Nex's claim, he was confounded.
"Y-you have already reached that level?! That's illogical! You were only an Unawakened yesterday?!"
Nex responded with a hint of a smile, as if trying not to further startle the guard. "Well, I have a lot of previous experience. So you can say I am a bit more battle-hardened than your everyday average Unawakened. Anyway, can I get in and meet the Village Head?"
Upon hearing the other's question, the guard seems to have recovered some of his senses. He nodded and cleared the way, "Yes, of course!"
Nex thanked him with a slight nod before entering the manor.
As the guard stared at Nex's back, he murmured under his breath, "To get to the verge of First Awakening in one day, what's the deal with this fellow?" He scratched his head in wonder.
After walking for some time, Nex asked a few servants for directions. He then found himself inside an office, standing in front of an old man who stared at him with a gaze similar to that of the guard from earlier.
"So, are you saying that you have reached the threshold of reaching First Awakening and want a permit to leave in order to go to the city?" He confirmed with a bit of instability hinting in his voice.
"Yes," Nex nodded, "Is there a problem?"
"Is there a problem?!" Like a balloon blown up to its capacity, the old man exploded. "Don't you think you're going too fast? To reach that level in just a day; isn't it insane?"
Nex just dismissed the Head's overly dramatic reactions and shrugged in a flippant way, "Maybe I'm a genius."
Seeing this kind of reaction, all the emotions storming inside the Head vanished into thin air and he could only sigh in defeat, "You will make other geniuses cry if you say it like that."
"Not my problem anymore."
The old Village Head understands that there is no point in continuing such idle talk. He pulled out a stamp from one of his drawers, "Give me your hand."
Nex stretched his hand in front of the Village Head. The old man placed the stamp at the back of his palm and with just a right amount of force, left a shining mark that was embedded into his skin.
[You are the first to gain a permit to leave the Beginners Village]
-Additional 10% stats in unexplored places
-Additional 10% EXP gain
-Additional 5% Skill growth
After a quick glance at the gained rewards and his new title, Nex closed the windows. He didn't dwell on those as he had more pressing matters to discuss. He returned his attention back to the Village Head as he pulled something out of his inventory.
"I have come here for another thing and that is to bring you this." He passed the purified core to him.
"This is….!" The old man stared at the core and immediately, his pupils contracted. He looked once again at Nex but this time, his gaze held fierceness while oppressive aura surged out of his body in large amounts causing the whole manor to shake. "Where did you get this?"
The calmness that Nex displayed should be commended. The frightening display of such unassailable power could easily make the average player lose consciousness or at least make him fall to his knees. As if they were just discussing the current weather while sipping tea, Nex replied in such a relaxing manner, "I hunted it from a corrupted monster in a cave inside the Forbidden Forest."
"Hmph!" The old man snorted in derision, "You expect me to believe that someone like you, who hadn't had his first Awakening yet, managed to eliminate a Royal Rank corrupted? Do I look like a 2-year-old kid whom you could easily fool?" His index finger that was pointing at Nex was trembling with rage.
By this time, the aura from the old man had spread all throughout his manor in thick volumes that made his servants feel as if they were in hell. Being in front of the old man, Nex is experiencing it in full blast. Unlike the tragic servants though, he wasn't affected in the slightest. To prove how unaffected he was, he even pulled out his sword and began channeling mana into it.
"Wanna test it out?" He even had the gall to grin evilly.
This made the old more livid.
'Surely, this boy is jesting! Is this what they call a last desperate show of false bravery? So, if I make a move against him, he will automatically submit himself in defeat? What naiveté! Unfortunately, it won't work on me boy! Nope! You can't trick this old set of bones!' The old man mentally mocked Nex. He didn't stop berating Nex in his mind until he sensed the energy coming from the latter. His expression changed.
"You know Soul Art?! How can it be? Who taught you that advanced skill?"
Nex casually replied, "What? Did you forget that I came from another world and this is just my avatar?"
The old man found it hard to accept but he didn't have any alternatives, "But to think you can even use that skill despite your current strength…" His eyes brightened with realization. "If it is someone like you then…"
For the first time since they had started conversing, Nex showed a reaction He was astonished as the Village Head suddenly disappeared and showed up in front of him in an abrupt manner. Once again, the back of his palm is being stamped on but this time, by a weird, ancient-looking silver stamp that strangely turned to light after the old man used it.
"Hey! What the hell are you doing, old man?!"
Nex had already noticed the senior's movements beforehand, but even with his experience, he was far too weak and slow to block him. Staring wryly at the strange tattoo that is now in his hand, Nex had no choice but to dismiss it with a sigh, "I didn't get any information from the system about this. I sure hope this won't bring me unnecessary trouble."
He turned back to the aged man who is now both nodding his head and smiling in satisfaction. His expression was akin to a child being rewarded with a snack after doing a chore. Seeing such euphoric countenance, Nex retracted his dismissal, "What is this thing?"
The elderly just laughed his question off, "Just a recommendation letter."
"To what exactly," Nex narrowed his eyes while veins began to appear on his forehead.
Ignoring the young man's expression with a sly grin, the old one replied, "That's for me to know and for you to find out. You will know when you do your first Awakening."
As realization dawned on Nex, he tried keeping in his anger but it still leaked out in his voice, "You mean it will mess with my Class?"
"Maybe~" In a sing-song voice teased.
"Damn it, old man!" Nex went livid and once again pulled his weapon out, "If you dare touch my profession slots, I swear to god that I---"
"Hmm? Why is a young man like you still here chatting like an old gossipy lady? Go out and enjoy the world! Capture your youth while you can!" With a wave of his hand, a magic circle appeared under Nex's feet. A flash of light then Nex was nowhere to be seen inside the room.
Once he was alone again, the vibrant expressions from before are now dimmed as his eyes become deep in contemplation.
"Things are happening way too fast."
"That old bastard!"
Nex removed his game helmet in rage.
"To think that someone at his low level of strength made me look like a fool! How long has it been since someone had the guts to do that? What the hell is wrong with this game?!"
Getting up from the bed, he went to the kitchen to eat something and cool off when suddenly, he saw at one of the mirrors a scene he didn't expect to see.
"I am… smiling…?"
He thought for a while then started to laugh without care.
"Yes!" Finally, after waiting for so long that he couldn't even remember that he was waiting or what he was waiting for, he can now live a life that has some sort of normalcy. Feeling distress after getting scammed in a virtual game; not thinking about what kind of enemy will come in the next few seconds; not caring if someone gets too close to him and calls him "Daddy".
Now that he thinks about it, it had been like that ever since he came back to Earth and unsealed his emotions. He just didn't notice it until now!
"Hmm?" Nex opened his watch --- a device that hunters used to communicate, and checked the message.
[To all hunters: Demons have infiltrated the city! All available hunters should heighten their vigilance and report anything unusual!]
Reading this, Nex's face which held traces of elation, hardened instantly. Only after a few minutes did it begin to relax again.
"Who cares about that? There are tons of hunters in this city! They don't need my help. Besides, there are only two people I care about around here. Eddie is currently at school and Jane is on the way ----"
He abruptly stopped his thoughts when he remembered an important fact about Jane and Eddie.
"No, it shouldn't be," He murmured to himself as he frantically extended his senses to check for the siblings' location and situation.
"Eddie is okay. Jane should be---"
"Damn it!" Nex cursed and teleported away with a flash of light.
I am so sorry for the delay.
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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