Episode 2: Exodus / Chapter 21: Berserkers (4)
Edited: Myoni, Yoni
Sponsored: Arlos and R.D.
Release a blade condensed from karma.
The only skill Choi Hyuk had, Soaring Slash. Its description was simple but it was an incredible C rank skill.
The most players could obtain from the [Throne Game] were E rank weapons and skills and the Predator’s Blade he received as a reward from a secret rule was the only D rank weapon which was a level above the others.
It was similar to that. The regular items and skills that would drop from killing normal monsters in the game, [Survive and Escape], were E rank while to the special ones who hunted mid-bosses would normally receive D ranks.
But since ‘Soaring Slash’ was a C rank, like the Predator’s Blade, it was a reward that exceeded the norm.
So Choi Hyuk wasn’t able to use the skill yet.
[Failed. To use C rank skills, you must have at least one stat and Retribution Point at C rank (3-star).]
Choi Hyuk recalled the moment he obtained the skill.
That day was the day he met Lee Jinhee.
Four days after [Ring of Rebirth]. They were on their way to destroy their third portal. Although he was low on stamina, he thought that he could end the day after this. However, his opponents were stronger than he thought.
“Leader! I’m going to die!”
Choi Hyuk was clearing the monsters approaching Baek Seoin but due to the monsters who went around him, Baek Seoin was in a critical situation. However, he was unable to recklessly go save Baek Seoin either. If he did, then the monsters he was currently blocking would gather around Baek Seoin as well and that could put him in more danger.
There were around 40 monsters which were similar to the number of monsters at the previous portal… but it was different. Usually, there would be one type of monster protecting a portal but this place had various monsters and they moved according to the mid-boss’s orders. They were monsters that used tactics.
On top of that, to hide this fact, only the mid-boss and around 10 large [Boulder Bears] were guarding the front of the portal while the rest waited in ambush. “Huh? What the? Something feels off?” Baek Seoin hesitated but Choi Hyuk didn’t pay him any heed. And they were currently in a difficult fight surrounded by a combination of tanks, close ranged and long ranged attackers.
‘We can’t continue like this. I have no choice.’
Choi Hyuk resolved himself. He was worried about Baek Seoin but he decided to believe in him.
‘Since he has Intuition, he probably won’t die.’
He felt that dragging the fight any longer would be more dangerous. Choi Hyuk decided to take the chance that more monsters would gather around Baek Seoin and attack the mid-boss.
The mid-boss had the appearance of a 3m tall bat but since it was wary of Choi Hyuk, it never stepped onto the frontlines. An annoying existence that only controlled monsters from behind and cast debuffs on Choi Hyuk and Baek Seoin.
Choi Hyuk instantaneously overloaded his karma. If he did this, his Stamina and Recovery would rapidly decline but he had no choice if he wanted to offset the debuffs and surprise it.
Choi Hyuk took a deep breath.
He kicked off the ground.
“Are you okay?!”
The moment Choi Hyuk shot up was the same moment Lee Jinhee ran over to save Baek Seoin.
Lee Jinhee stabbed the head of the monster that was targeting Baek Seoin. She then swung Baek Seoin who lost strength in his legs after taking a hit and kicked the wall. She jumped over the heads of the incoming monsters.
The scene of Choi Hyuk piercing the forehead of the giant bat was reflected in Lee Jinhee’s eyes.
A perfect takeoff, the artful movement of putting all his strength into the tip of the blade. She was truly amazed.
Thud. The moment she landed on the ground, the flow of the battle had already reversed.
The monsters became a herd of sheep with no shepherd. Choi Hyuk chose the most effective method and branded the heads, throats, chests and joints of the monsters with his blade. He was like a lion that had pounced on a herd of sheep.
Lee Jinhee couldn’t take her eyes away from Choi Hyuk. There were plenty of movements that she wanted to film and repeatedly view and practice.
“Uhh… I’m fine now so can you let go?”
She didn’t even hear Baek Seoin’s words. Even while carrying Baek Seoin and stepping on the swinging arm of a Boulder Bear, rolling to avoid a charging Crook and kicking off the subway wall to reach the edge of the battle, she never took her eyes off of Choi Hyuk’s fight.
The situation finally settled.
Choi Hyuk was reading a message.
——————–[Additional Rule Revealed]
After half a month, the monsters start to move in a more organized manner.
——————–[First to defeat an army-like group of monsters. Calculating… You have obtained more than two additional rules. Cleared more than five portals. More than one Qualifications to be a Sovereign… Satisfied the conditions. Granted the hidden reward, a C rank skill ‘Soaring Slash’.]
Two peculiar messages appeared.
Lee Jinhee approached while Choi Hyuk was deep in his thoughts. Along with the haggard Baek Seoin.
Only then did Choi Hyuk remember he was helped and gave his thanks.
However, Lee Jinhee cut him off and said.
“Hyung! You’re the best! How did you do that?”
Choi Hyuk was taken back. A girl who looked like she was in university was calling him hyung…
“Yeah. Yeah. Hyung. Hyung, teach me! Especially that takeoff you used to kill the bat monster! That was amazing!”
Lee Jinhee who was a parkour otaku was deeply moved by Choi Hyuk’s concise movements which used his momentum (mobility) to the maximum. Though it was different from parkour, it was cool.
Not dashing in an open area but a dash that narrowly brushed passed monsters by a paper-thin margin, a non-stop dash where if there was no room, he would make it by cutting down and pushing monsters away! Not running around the outside of a group of monsters but freely moving within! Strength!
However, Choi Hyuk was dazed.
“… I am hyung?”
“Or course! The one who’s better is the hyung! I’m asking you, please teach me!”
The conversation between Lee Jinhee who had her eyes wide open asking Choi Hyuk to teach her and Choi Hyuk, a genius who didn’t know anything besides ‘just do it, went nowhere.
At some point, they ended up talking about the ‘Wyvern of Destruction’.
“What? You’re going hunt an apartment-sized monster?!”
Lee Jinhee’s eyes shined brightly. This time, it was worse than before.
“As expected… Hyung! I respect you!”
To challenge an apartment-sized monster… Lee Jinhee panted heavily from the excitement.
‘Okay! Weren’t we the ones who climbed walls with only our hands? If we have karma, shouldn’t we be able to take down an apartment-sized monster?’ were Lee Jinhee’s thoughts. ‘This is a revolution!’
Like this, that day… Choi Hyuk obtained a skill and a new follower.
Even when he thought about it now, she was a weird person. Lee Jinhee.
However, he had to end the fight now, so he cleared himself of distracting thoughts and yelled.
“Mid-boss, portal, confirmed!”
“Come back before I die!”
Baek Seoin said as he smashed the head of an oncoming Crook. Baek Seoin became experienced after fighting monsters for a week. He was currently able to fight normal monsters without difficulty.
Choi Hyuk coolly activated the skills of the [Ring of Speed] and the [Ring of Vigor] he obtained. Each increased his Speed and Power by 10% for 1 minute. There was no additional consumption of Stamina.
Karma condensed throughout his whole body.
Choi Hyuk gripped the [Fang Saber].
He shot forward at full speed.
As there were too many monsters stationed around the portal, it was impossible to kill them all. So starting two days ago, when he saw the mid-boss and the portal, Choi Hyuk would charge forward, smash the two and escape.
Choi Hyuk charged forward.
He jumped off the shoulder of a Boulder Bear, stepped on a Crook’s head and jumped over a Bladed Starving Ghost while pushing away its blades. The monsters that were caught by the Fang Saber spurted blood.
Ingrained in his movements were parkour moves Lee Jinhee showed off. Lee Jinhee accused him of being a cheat for being able to copy, no improve her movements with a single glance but he didn’t care.
Choi Hyuk instantly broke through the monsters.
First, he slashed with the Fang Saber and split the portal then unsheathed the thin Flash Sword.
Crab? No, a crayfish-like mid-boss. Choi Hyuk easily avoided the mid-boss’s attack and stabbed his Flash Sword between the folds of its exoskeleton.
Pkkht. Pkkht. Pkkht.
Not just once, he circled around it stabbing multiple times. The attacks of the mid-boss couldn’t even touch Choi Hyuk.[Kkrr…]
After the Flash Sword severed its joints, all it could do was cry.
It lost its mobility and was completely defenseless.
He took aim at its wide chest and stabbed it with the Predator’s Blade. The Predator’s Blade which was stabbed vertically was even able to pierce its hard exoskeleton.
[The Predator’s Blade absorbed the blood of a worthy opponent. Evolution 13/100]
He had killed 20 mid-bosses up until now. Among those, the ones he fed to the Predator’s Blade were 13. There was still a long way to go before it would evolve.
Choi Hyuk clicked his tongue once then turned around and yelled.
Even retreating wasn’t easy. A tiring task of shaking off an endless amount of monsters.
Baek Seoin and Choi Hyuk would take a step back and stab one,
then take two steps back and split another,
four steps and five. That was how they slowly sped up their escape.
The corpses of the monsters extended in a long line- until, at one point, it stopped.
“Wow… You were a monster before but now that you evolved your stats again, is it completely different?”
Baek Seoin said in admiration.
It was as he said. After he had evolved even his Retribution Points to two-stars two days ago, there was a huge change in his stats.
Power: 10 (+10) (★★) Speed: 10 (+10) (★★) Control: 54 (+54) (★★)
Endurance: 18 (+18) (★★) Stamina: 18 (+18) (★★) Recovery: 0 (★★)
*Retribution points: 0 (★★)
*Free karma points: 50
——————–[Compared to the stats he had around the time he met Baek Seoin]
Power: 35.3 (+10) (★) Speed: 36 (+10) (★) Control: 45.1 (+20) (★)
Endurance: 25.6 (★) Stamina: 49.7 (+10) (★) Recovery: 35.9 (+10) (★)
*Free karma points: 4
As his stats and Retribution Points passed 200, they evolved into two-stars. After that, a lot of things changed.
On top of that fact his stats wouldn’t increase when he killed normal monsters (he decided to call them 1-star monsters for convenience), even when he killed mid-bosses (he called them 2-star monsters), his stats didn’t increase automatically.
Before, if he killed something, all his stats would go up by at least 1. Even his Retribution Points would go up by 1.
However, it was different now. When he killed 2-star monsters, none of his stats or Retribution Points would increase and he would only earn a single free karma point.
What was more, he even needed to spend free karma points to raise his Retribution Points now.
Because of this, besides the stats increased through items, Choi Hyuk’s real stats and Retribution Points were all 0.
After evolving his stats, he had killed 6 2-star monsters but all they became were 6 free karma points. Fortunately, as a benefit of killing mid-bosses, he was granted 2 free karma points per kill and for evolving his Retribution Points to 2-stars, he received 4 free karma points for a total of 50.
And, after obtaining 2-star stats, the stat increases from 1-star items became nullified.
Because of this, he distributed the accessories and enchanted items to his followers or put them in his Handy Bag and created new D rank items. From this, he was able to keep all his stats besides Recovery at 2 digits…
All things considered, things weren’t easy.
Choi Hyuk grumbled.
“It’s too hard to develop.”
The hurdles he had to jump over to increase his stats and Retribution Points all of a sudden became too high.
To achieve 1-stars, he needed 100 points.
200 points for 2-stars.
Then didn’t it mean that he needed 300 for 3-stars?
To increase a necessary stat, even if he hunted a monster, he would only earn a single free karma point.
On top of that, killing ordinary 1-star monsters was useless.
“I know right? It’s like the tutorial has finished.”
Baek Seoin smiled as he said strange things.
“Yeah. If you looked at it like a game, we should now be choosing our classes. Which means that we can’t increase all our stats like before.”
Sensible words. However…
“It’s still hard. It’s not like there are a lot of 2-star monsters.”
“That’s because leader became too strong by himself. My stats increased after I met you… but aren’t they still less than a quarter of what your stats were back then? So, it’s like this. Currently, the [Survive and Escape] game is a tutorial but leader’s stats exceed its level. I bet even the creators never imagined that there would be someone who easily clears monsters with just 1-star stats and reached 2-star stats long before the game ends.”
They weren’t very encouraging words.
“Anyways, it’s hard to use Soaring Slash.”
A 3-star stat and 3-star Retribution Points. Those were the conditions to use Soaring Slash. He needed 600 karma points. Even if he included the amount he currently had, he still needed to kill 170 more mid-bosses. It might be possible if he tried his best and his stats increased significantly through items but… at this rate, it was impossible. Due to the increasing number of monsters, it was taking longer and longer to kill a mid-boss.
However, even if that was the case, he needed Soaring Slash if he wanted to kill the Wyvern of Destruction.
‘Release a blade condensed from karma.’
Wasn’t that sword energy? If he could slash 5 meters away with sword energy, Choi Hyuk thought it was possible to take down the Wyvern of Destruction.
He was deep in his thoughts.
Baek Seoin merrily said.
“Don’t worry. My Intuition believes in you, leader.”
“That Intuition… doesn’t it not care if I kill the wyvern or not as long as Baek hyung isn’t in danger?”
Lee Jinhee’s way of talking rubbed off on Choi Hyuk as he now called Baek Seoin, Baek hyung.
At Choi Hyuk’s keen words, Baek Seoin changed the topic.
“Ahahaha. Aren’t you hungry? Nearby supply locations… Let’s see… It’s Kangdong Library! It just came down. Let’s obtain the supplies and call it a day! Haha!”
Baek Seoin laughed wholeheartedly as he led the way.
Choi Hyuk laughed once before following behind. Since it wasn’t like he could do anything by worrying about it now.
The sun was setting.
 Hyung is what a younger man would call an older man but Lee Jinhee is a girl (which means she should have used ‘Oppa’) so Choi Hyuk was taken back. Also, she’s older than him.  Parkour otaku means she is extremely obsessed with parkour