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To Hall Plain! (1/4)
Hall Plain was divided into four different continents. The East, West, North and Southern continents were established areas which are under the control of various Players and Residents (Existing citizens of Hall Plain). Yet, compared to these established regions, there was still a vast tract of lands that was left unexplored. Only a day’s travel away from the established zones laid unknown dangers.
To deal with the anxiety of travelling through the unknown dangers, expeditions were sent to explore and occupy the wilderness. These expeditions created safe passageways to travel between continents and towns but fears persisted as the wilderness blanketed the whole regions.
Ah-hyun and the rest of the party were assigned to the Northern continent as the starting point. Players who earned their qualifications in the Rite of Passage were first summoned to the <Starting Inn> found in the largest city of each continent. With a total of 5 <Starting Inns>, this meant that there were five different Rite of Passages that happened simultaneously.
By Angel’s decisions, An-hyun and the party were the first to arrived in Hall Plain. They woke up from the Inn and went down to the first floor as they were instructed. Seeing the chairs and tables littered around the place, they sat down and waited for other Players to emerge.
There wasn’t anything special about the inn, this was a place built just for people to rest and to wait for others. There were a door and windows on the far side, looking outside through the windows, An-hyun decided against leaving the Inn. There was nothing out there except for pure blue barrier that completely surrounded the Inn. This made the Inn feel separated from the outside world.
The inn was silent as other Players had yet to arrive. An-hyun paced around the windows before cautiously sitting on one of the empty chairs. There were familiar faces around him. An-sol, Lee Yu-jung and Kim Han-byeol… Not a word was shared between them. Rather, they couldn’t.
Stealing a glance at his sister, An-Hyun saw that she was shaking and her teeth were chattering insatiably. An-hyun knew exactly what she was going through, the remorse of survivor’s guilt. He himself was filled with it and tremor rumbled through his body. The source of this deep apprehension was that Kim Su-hyun was dead. The support they desperately needed disappearing.
An-hyun’s mind was filled with memories of Su-hyun. That Hyung was patient and calm. Whenever Hyung spoke with his silent countenance, An-hyun felt his confidence rising. Not even a week had passed since they had met, but Hyung had left a deep impression on them all.
<Fly, you fools! Run to the Warp Gate!>
Hyung, who had send them off with a wave and a smile, all the while he was crumbled on the ground. Laid low by that monster’s tail. An-hyun realised he was nothing. All this time, it was Hyung’s reassuring presence that allowed him to step forward. He had unconsciously leant too much on the support Hyung provided.
An-hyun couldn’t bear to look at Yu-jung and Han-byeol, knowing that Hyung had sacrificed his life to save his sister. But he gathered his courage and lifted his head, he wanted to see how they were.
Yu-jung had flopped on the table. She had buried her head in her arms the moment she came down and hadn’t moved since. He could see her trembling occasionally, trying to hide showing her weakness from the others.
An-sol was still the same. Though she wasn’t weeping bitterly, tears leaked from her eyes and dripped to the floor. There were still many unshed tears left in her eyes. Even the Angel had gently consoled An-sol while setting up the basic settings. Only Han-byeol managed to maintain her cold expression. An-hyun couldn’t fathom what she was thinking but he felt a cold aura encircling the surrounding.
No one opened their lips and the silence reigned in the quiet Inn. Only faint weeping was intermittently heard. Time passed and raucous could be heard inside the Inn. The sound of multiple people speaking leaked out from the second floor. The party could hear unfamiliar voices when the door of the second floor opened. From this, An-hyun recognises that it must be others that survived the Rite of Passage. But a silent idea betrayed his line of thought.
‘That could be Hyung. He could have escaped. Then…’
An-hyun quickly leapt up from his seat. At the sudden noise, everyone focused their eyes on An-hyun. Even Yu-jung lifted her eyes and looked at him with her swollen eyes. An-hyun began to speak excitedly.
“Hyung, that could be Hyung.”
“… What are you talking about?” Yu-jung retorted in a hoarse voice.
An-hyun quickly pointed toward the stairs leading to the second floor. “We can’t be the only people that survived. There’s definitely other survivors that were transferred back. Hyung might be one of them…”
Hearing An-hyun’s explanation, Yu-jung quickly rose herself and ran toward the stairs. An-sol chased after her, having come to the same conclusion. Only Han-byeol looked on apathetically, unwilling to believe in a fool’s hope.
Humans were such pitiful animals. Inclined to self-justification over and over. They had all seen Kim Su-hyun collapsed before the monster. They had all shed tears at his final goodbye. But they all had hope, that maybe, just maybe…
“If it’s Hyung, he can do it. Right? He must have escaped.”
“Ye… yeah. Oppa isn’t a person who would go quietly. He will slam open that door like he did in the City and climb down stairs. Yup. Exactly like that.”
With a shaky voice, An-hyun and Yu-jung looked toward each other, trying to convince themselves. Before they could rush up to the second floor, they heard the door opening. Like magic, they stop in their tracks and turn their site upwards. Their hearts thumping madly.
The door soon opened and the person was… regrettably not Kim Su-hyun. They were merely people that the party had met before. A total of four people were coming down the stairs and the person leading them looked at An-hyun with recognition.
“Oh. You guys are here already. Good to see that you are all alive.”
“Huh? Wu Jung-min. Who the hell is… Ah~ It’s those kids from back then. So they all survived? Didn’t they say they were going to the Warp Gate?”
“… Chun Seun-Hyun. Shut up.”
The three guys chatted amongst themselves as they came down to the first floor. The woman who had lost her sister, Won Hye-Su, followed behind them silently looking depressed.
But An-hyun and the rest had no desire to pay attention to such matters. For An-hyun, the identities of people coming down the stairs was a matter of life and death. The moment he saw Wu Jung-min, he was overcome with disappointment. A strange mood permeated the air. Noticing this, Seon Yu-un led Won Hye-Su to one of the tables and sat down. Only Chun Seun-Hyun was grumbling about in discontent.
“Feh! There is no need to look gloomy because of us. We are all in the same boat you know. Okay, okay. I am sorry for throwing that dagger.”
“Ah. Okay. I am really sorry. I’ve changed a lot since then.”
“… It doesn’t matter.”
“Re, really? I see… That’s good then. Haha… ha…”
Yu-jung’s reply turned Chun Seun-Hyun more fretful. He was puzzled as she seemed out of character. Even Wu Jung-min caught on and began to calmly scan the surrounding.
“Come to think of it, you are one person short. Where is the young man with the crossbow?”
Only silence met Wu Jung-min’s question and he immediately connected the dots, imagining what could have happened. There was only one reason that guy wasn’t here, it meant he died in the Rite of Passage.
“Perhaps… did it get him? I told him not to go to the Warp Gate but looks like he was too stubborn to listen. Then how did all of you survive…”
“He’s not dead!”
“He’s still alive!”
Yu-jung and An-sol shrieked their denial. The atmosphere turned awkward for a moment, but Wu Jung-min pushed on and turned to An-hyun.
“Did you perhaps meet that monster? The alien looking one.”
An-hyun nodded weakly and turned away, unwilling to answer any more questions. Understanding what An-hyun was going through, Wu Jung-min made a bitter smile as he moved silently toward where Seon Yu-un and Won Hye-Su was sitting. Chun Seun-Hyun followed suit, sitting in the closest chair and stretched his legs
“Uuuaaaaa. Finally, I feel alive sitting on a chair rather than cold stone. So those guys met that monster as well?”
“Seun-Hyun. Don’t talk so loudly. It’s the same for them like when we lost Jin-Tae.”
“Then he’s 100% certainly dead. Unlucky. I was going to get him back once I saw him again. By the way, Hye-su…”
Chun Seun-hyun stopped in the middle of his speech, seeing the glare Seon Yu-un was sending him. Won Hye-Su heard her name being called. Lifting her head for a moment, she spoke with a weary voice.
“It doesn’t matter to me whether he’s dead or not. Though it is regrettable. I wished he would go through the pain I went suffered. Looks like he became the cause of the pain rather.”
Hearing such thoughtless words, Lee Yu-jung was about to explode. Jung-min sent Won Hye-Su a cold look and cut her off in a heavy voice.
“Stop talking to others so carelessly.”
“I said this doesn’t matter to me at all. What’s there to argue about?”
“Then why did you said that young man should go through the same pain you went suffered? We lost Jin-tae and your sister. You know how it feels to lose someone precious and you think it’s alright to bitch about it like this?”
When Won Hye-su hesitated, Jung-min snorted and continued.
“If you have nothing good to say, keep your mouth shut. Again, that young man had nothing to do with Hye-yun’s death.”
“Jung-min. Hye-su. Just stop it.”
Those two continued to glare at each other. Hye-su was fuming in her anger. Seon Yu-un interjects before it could become worse. However, the two continued to stare daggers into each other’s eyes.
Except for Yu-jung, An-hyun and the party didn’t care at all what was happening next to them. Their eyes were still focused on the staircase. The second floor became more and more noisy, signalling more survivors being transported there.
The sound of joy, of despair and numerous others could be heard. The survivors grouped themselves and began to descend the staircase. The door opened once more and the two latest figures revealed themselves. They were another set of familiar faces.
His felt refreshed from the pleasurable feeling of having mana spread throughout his body. The effect seemed amplified by the fact that Hwajung had unclogged the minute points from his fingertips to the toe. From detailed inspection of his body, he could see that both the quantity and the quality of mana had increased. That wasn’t all.
Wastes were burned away and blood vessels were opened, making the whole body more receptive to mana. This meant that if I faced a Player with same attributes and sword, I would be superior.
Still, I had a long way to go before I could fully use Hwajung. That 70 Vitality point was just too much of a stumbling block. Seraph stated that to use Hwajung, I required a minimum of 90 Vitality points and to use Hwajung to its maximum potential, I needed a minimum of 101 Vitality. (I was astounded when I heard this. The difference between 99 and 100 points was like heaven and earth. Between 100 and 101 the difference was a whole world apart.)
Trying to use the full power right now with only 70 points would result in my body breaking down. Counting the maximum amount of points I could earn in the beginning, I found I could earn a total of 14 points.
2 points from the Boss monster, 2 points from the Vitality-Boosting Elixir, 6 points from the Angel Tears and 4 points for completing the Beginner Academy. I knew I should put all the points I earned and was about to earn into Vitality, but there was one corner of my heart that was filled with greed.
In Hall Plain, someone with an average Attributes of around 60 could pull their own weight. For that reason, as the person increased their Attribute to 70, 80 and 90 their value increased correspondingly. Once an Attribute went over 90 points, it became progressively difficult that even 1 point increase became precious.
That’s why my greed flared up. I called up my Attributes.
[Strength 94] [Resistance 92] [Agility 98] [Vitality 70] [Magic Power 96] [Luck 88]
Excluding the points from the Vitality Booster Elixir, I had 12 points that I could use.
If I increased Strength by 4 points, Agility by 3 points, Magic Power by 5 points, then I had two attributes over 101 points with strength at 98 points. If Seraph could read my mind right now, she would be frothing at the mouth.
Vitality was the foundation for all the other Attributes. A weak foundation would cause a bottleneck, no matter how high the Attribute point was. I knew I shouldn’t but there was that nagging thought kept egging me on.
For now, I decided to wipe my thoughts clean. I decided that I was going to train my vitality like crazy in the Beginner Academy for three months. There was a high chance that Vitality wouldn’t even increase but I was grasping straws at this point. As more Vitality I increased, the more points I had for other Attributes.
After calling back the mana from my whole body and storing it, I opened my eyes. I didn’t know how much time had passed but I was sure it was more than a day. Looking around, I saw that the portal to Hall Plain was already opened. Feeling dumbfound, I called out to Seraph who was still silently watching me.
“… Did the transfer start already?”
“Yes. Transfer of most of the Players has been complete, only Player Kim Su-hyun is remaining.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Rather than meditation… it seems you were deep in thought. I did not want to act rashly. You have no need to worry as there is still time left.”
The guys must be worried. This grated me as I wanted to enter early and clear up any misunderstandings. Shaking off the dust, I stood up and walked toward the portal to Hall Plain.
I did not say any goodbye to Seraph. There was no need, as we had to see more of each other in the future. However, Seraph seems to have a different idea as she grasped me by the collar before I could enter the portal.
“Player Kim Su-hyun.”
I didn’t turn around. I already had one foot inside the portal.
“Please be safe. If there is a need to call you, I shall send a message to the temple.”
I shrugged casually and threw myself into the blue light.
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