Praise the Orc

Chapter 134: Mountain of Spears, Forest of Swords (3)
  • Prev Chapter
  • Background
    Font family
    Font size
    Line hieght
    Full frame
    No line breaks
  • Next Chapter

Chapter 134: Mountain of Spears, Forest of Swords (3)

[You are experiencing ‘post-mortem syndrome.’ You are experiencing lethargy as a side-effect of death. All of your abilities will be drastically reduced.]

“I’m sorry,” said Crockta, but he didn’t seem sorry at all. “I didn’t expect you to be so weak.”

They were standing at a clearing of the woods. To Kenzo, the orc shrugging in front of him looked like a demon.

“Good thing that you have received the ‘curse of the stars.’ Hahahaha!”

“...”

Kenzo had just died and come back alive. After death, he was disconnected from the server and had quickly logged back on after staring at the inside of his capsule in a daze. He hadn’t been able to dodge the ‘Ogre Slayer’ flying toward him, and it ended up piercing his stomach.

He had looked up at Crockta in disbelief as he bled profusely and slowly disappeared.

“...That’s true,” replied Kenzo, but he couldn’t forget Crockta’s expression right before he turned to white particles.

His expression had said, ‘Oops, I made a mistake.’

Kenzo hadn’t revealed that he had received the ‘curse of the stars’ and came back to life after dying; thus it meant that Crockta didn’t know that he would come back to life even if he died. But he still casually attacked Kenzo with lethal attacks and tilted his head at most at Kenzo’s death.

“Then, we should continue.”

Maybe he had made a mistake. Did he have to continue training? Were orcs a much rougher and sinister species than he thought?

Up to this point, Crockta seemed more like a gentleman than anyone else. Not to say, he was more respectful than most humans, but their perceptions about combat were different.

When people said the word ‘orc,’ it conjured the image of a berserker who fought without regard for their own safety. That could be why Crockta didn’t seem to think much of him dying while training. The orcs were a species that thought of dying while fighting as honorable.

Kenzo’s face grew pale. “Next time, can you try not to kill me...”

“I can’t guarantee that.”

Crockta began vigorously swinging his greatsword. Kenzo took a step back. Crockta’s swordsmanship was like an art form in itself. It was impossible for his eyes to follow its movements because it moved in unpredictable ways with great speed and strength. If he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes, he wouldn’t have been able to believe that a swordsman like him existed.

“After all, isn’t training supposed to be like this? Hahaha. Since we don’t need to worry about you dying, I can freely swing my sword.”

“That’s not...ahh!”

Kenzo dodged as the greatsword came flying at him, but the sword still ended up leaving a cut on his cheek.

Crockta wore a demonic smile on his face. “You got slower.”

“Our...abilities are temporarily...reduced...ah! When we die.”

“Is that so? Even better,” said Crockta as he launched another attack. Kenzo hastily retreated.

“Instead of relying on your limited strength and speed, fight with your true abilities,” coached Crockta.

Kenzo tried to counter the flurry of attacks with his claymore, but he had to resort to dodging the attacks due to the force of Crockta’s blows.

Crockta suddenly came to a stop after Kenzo continued to retreat. “I thought you wanted to become stronger.”

“I want to become stronger, but...”

“But?”

“The difference in our levels is too great. Those who have been cursed by stars don’t infinitely come back to life. After a certain point, we might not be able to return. If you could adjust your powers a bit...”

Kenzo was exaggerating. Players came back to life no matter what, but it wasn’t a complete lie because the effects of post-mortem syndrome accumulated and could significantly lower their abilities. The side effects could last days, months, and even years. It was a penalty that players feared the most.

Crockta grinned. “That’s even better.”

“Huh?”

“Fight more desperately, Kenzo.”

Crockta took a step forward. Kenzo stepped back in response.

“Look me in the face if you want to become stronger.”

Crockta’s atmosphere suddenly changed. He gave off the aura from last night when he was meditating by himself.

It felt as if time flowed at a different pace for him. No, it was more like he controlled the world’s time.

Kenzo felt like he had endlessly slowed down and become stagnant, but the world around him had accelerated and was moving rapidly. He couldn’t keep up with the flow of time.

The sun was shining down on them.

Sweat dripped down Kenzo’s forehead, and his eyelids quivered from fatigue. The moment he blinked, the Ogre Slayer was at his face, thrusting toward him.

Kenzo moved intuitively. There was no time to think. He swung his claymore, and their weapons clashed.

“Fight me like you’re really gonna die,” said Crockta beyond the two clashing blades. He then grinned and kicked Kenzo, sending him rolling across the ground. “Give it your all like it’s your last chance.”

Crockta believed that players’ greatest limitation was that they came back to life even if they died. To them, this world wasn’t real. Thus, their assimilation rates couldn’t help but be low because such a mindset caused them to doubt their own potential.

They had to look at this world squarely the way a boxer watched a swing coming toward him until the end.

“Understood.”

Kenzo got up again with a hardened face. He seemed determined this time.

“I like the expression on your face! Again!” shouted Crockta as he swung his greatsword.

Kenzo adjusted his posture and tried to properly fight against Crockta instead of just dodging his attacks.

“Bul’taaaaaaar!”

Crockta leapt up and plunged his greatsword at Kenzo. Crockta decided to adjust his strength after Kenzo started taking things more seriously. Kenzo barely managed to block the attack with his claymore. As he charged to tackle Crockta, he shouted, “Bul’taaaaaaar!”

***

Tiyo was taking Anor sightseeing around Quantes.

“The continent is amazing...”

“It’s Quantes that’s amazing, not the continent. Hahaha.”

Anor, who had been amazed by the bathhouse where hot water gushed out, couldn’t take his eyes off the street performances in Quantes. He saw musicians who sang and played instruments, and gnomes who performed puppet shows. Quantes was a place rich in culture.

“I will treat you to an opera show!” said Tiyo.

“An opera?”

“It’s an embodiment of the highest form of art where plays, music, art, and culture are combined.”

“I’m not sure what it is, but I’m looking forward to it.”

“There’s probably an opera show playing right now.”

Tiyo led Anor to the cultural district of Quantes. The area was filled with musicians performing in the streets, art stores selling artworks, and citizens wandering the streets in quaint attires. It had a distinct atmosphere to it, and at the center of it all was the huge opera house that all of the artists in Quantes dreamed of performing in.

“The show that’s on right now is...the Bird that Drinks Tears.”

“Bird that Drinks Tears?”

“Yes.”

Tiyo made a sentimental expression. “It’s a true masterpiece...it’s about a bird that sings the most beautiful song among a group of four birds.”

“It’s just about a bird? Even if it’s just a performance, aren’t stories about people better? I’m not that excited...”

“Shut up and follow me!”

Tiyo led Anor to the ticket booth. The show was about to start, but Tiyo suddenly wore a troubled look on his face.

“Ugh, I’m short on cash.”

“Then, let’s not overdo it. There’s always a next time.”

“Hey Anor, do you have any cash?”

“It’s my first time on the continent. I don’t have any money. Let’s watch it next time and just go.”

“Shut up! I must see the Bird that Drinks Tears today!”

“How can we watch it when we don’t have money?”

“Shut up, country bumpkin! What do you know about operas...?”

“Country bumpkin? You little dwarf sh...!”

“C-calm down.”

The ticket booth employee, who had been observing them bickering back and forth, suddenly butted in.

“So...you guys are saying that you have enough funds but are just short on cash at the moment, right?” asked the employee with a strange look in his eyes.

Tiyo nodded eagerly. “That’s right. Do you know me? I’m Tiyo. There is not a single gnome who doesn’t know me in Quantes!”

“I just moved to this city...hahaha. Anyway, maybe I can help.”

“Help?”

“Yes,” replied the employee as he pointed to an alley next to him. “If you head over there...there will be some guys who provide cash for gnomes like you who are in a slight predicament. How unfair that you will be unable to watch the opera because you are short on cash at the moment when you have the funds at home.”

“Exactly!” exclaimed Tiyo.

“Thus, you can borrow some money right now and pay it off later.”

“Ohh, is that so? Just wait a minute! Let’s go, Anor!”

“Haha, I will be waiting,” replied the employee.

Tiyo turned around to head to the alley, but Anor grabbed him. “Wait, this is a total...”

“Total?”

“Scam...”

“I have money! I can pay them back immediately tomorrow!”

“But it’s still a bit suspicious...”

“Just follow me!”

At Tiyo’s insistence, they entered the alley behind the opera house and ran into a gnome and two humans smoking. They immediately put out their cigarettes when they saw Tiyo and Anor and heartily greeted them. “Hello!”

“Hello! Did you come here after hearing about us?”

“Yes,” replied Tiyo.

“We take care of matters with a strong emphasis on reliability and trustworthiness. We are ‘Run On Money.’ Hahaha. Our slogan is trust and faith. How much do you need?”

Anor felt uneasy at the mention of trust and faith from these suspicious-looking men, but Tiyo didn’t mind at all.

“We just need enough to watch the opera,” said Tiyo.

“Haha, that’s nothing,” said one of the humans as he extended a contract.

Tiyo skimmed through the document. Nothing really stood out to him. It was a typical money lending scheme that accrued interest the longer you took to pay them back.

But Tiyo, who could pay it back tomorrow, didn’t mind. “Pretty standard...I will sign right now.”

“Hahaha, so easygoing. Understood.”

The loan was carried out in a straightforward manner.

Once Tiyo wrote down his address, they whispered among themselves, and then one of them ran off to verify Tiyo’s address. After the man returned, they nodded in approval.

“They even checked your house. Isn’t it suspicious?” whispered Anor.

“Everyone in Quantes already knows where I live anyway. Don’t worry.”

Thus, just like that, they ended up borrowing money.

“Thank you for using our services! We love you!” they shouted while bowing their heads.

Tiyo laughed with satisfaction. “They really love their work and clients. Hahaha!”

“...”

***

“It was just...wow. Wow...” muttered Anor.

“Was it that good?”

“It was a whole new world for me...It’s a masterpiece of the gods. Ahh.”

Anor and Tiyo had returned home after enjoying the opera, and Anor was completely awestruck.

He was mesmerized by the grand orchestra, the escalating conflicts and emotions as the story progressed, and the beautiful voices of the singers conveying it all—it was a world he had never imagined.

Each time a great scene ended, the audience in regal attire elegantly clapped and sent praises. To Anor, it felt like a world of nobility.

“Let’s go again tomorrow! With Crockta!” suggested Anor.

“It’s expensive!”

“You said you are rich and even borrowed money ‘cause you could pay it back immediately.”

“Yeah, but not enough to watch opera shows every day,” replied Tiyo.

“Hahaha, let’s go watch it together next time. I have money,” said Crockta. He had a lot of money saved up.

Anor jumped up and down in excitement, but Kenzo, who was listening to the conversation next to him, felt like he was going to die.

“Kenzo, you are shaking.”

“No, sir!”

“Are you scared?”

“A little...could...we maybe take a break...?”

“Are you tired? No one cares! When you are on the battlefield, are you planning to tell your enemy that you are tired, so let’s resume fighting after taking a break? No! You need to overcome your weaknesses!”

“Y-yes!”

“Straighten your back!”

“Yes!”

Crockta was sitting on top of Kenzo, who was down on all fours doing push-ups.

“We need to completely fix your mindset! It’s not just about making you physically stronger!”

“Understood!”

“Do more push-ups!”

“Ah...ahhhhh!”

With a flushed face, Kenzo struggled to bend his arms and straighten them again. His arms trembled from the strain.

“Great job.”

Crockta believed that the biggest difference between him and regular players was that they thought of Elder Lord as just a game and didn’t put up with pain. Like traitor Grom, they gave up easily and tried to walk the easy path. But Elder Lord was just like life. They had to go through hardships and reap the fruits of their labor. Crockta planned to fix Kenzo’s mindset from the ground up.

“But...umm...” said Kenzo.

“Hmm, what is it?” asked Crockta.

“Uhh...did they say...Tiyo...borrowed money...?” fr eewebn ovel.com

Crockta looked at Tiyo, who was already heading off to do something fun with Anor.

“That seems to be the case. Why?” replied Crockta.

Kenzo furrowed his eyebrows. “Umm...it’s probably nothing, but among those cursed by the stars like me...there have been more and more people exploiting gnomes and other species...but it’s probably not something to be worried about because it’s Tiyo after all...”

After the Behemoth disappeared, and the system message announced that the north had opened up, the Forest of Monsters became a new popular hunting ground for high-level players. There had been an influx of players in Quantes because it was the closest city to the Forest of Monsters.

Previously, Quantes was sparse in players, but more and more humans began arriving in the city and tried to profit from NPCs like other wicked players had done in the past. And among them were loan sharks who extorted money by imitating real-life methods.

‘But of course they won’t stand a chance against ridiculously strong NPCs like Crockta and Tiyo,’ Kenzo thought to himself.

“Hmm...interesting,” muttered Crockta with a nod.

Visit freewe𝑏no(v)el.𝘤𝑜𝓂 for the best novel reading experience

Use arrow keys (or A / D) to PREV/NEXT chapter