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24 Hearts - Chapter 34

Published at 20th of June 2021 09:07:23 AM


Chapter 34: Chapter 34

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34====================




The twenty-fourth fragment, Carpe Diem

It was a long quest message that appeared. No matter if I had sought it out or not, a quest was initiated. It didn’t tell me what the reward was, but it would be a shame not to accept it and move on. I was very excited about my first quest since the tutorial.

‘Yes, this is crazy! Why haven’t more random quests like this appeared yet?’

I had to clear it. I might not know what rewards it would give, but even if it’s a sudden quest, it could give me bonus stats. I was willing to take risks.

‘Because I will resurrect if I die, anyway.’

Fortunately, I made a save just four days ago. That meant that, if I died now, I wouldn’t be starting from scratch; I would just return four days into the past. I decided quickly.

“I want to duel.”

“Really?” asked Tia

“Yes, it would be much easier than fighting 100 wolves.”

Updated from lightnovelworld[.]com

***

Tia looked at Judah out and stuck out her tongue.

Is this really a 13-year-old child? He’s much braver than most mercenaries.

The black wolf also turned, as if having understood that Judah had accepted the quest.

“Alright then, get on my back.”

“Oh, can I do that?”

“Many things can be done.”

***

I came to try out a strange new experience.

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I’ve often seen Tia turn into her tiger form as a Suin, but this was the first time I ever climbed onto her back. She hunched down to make it easier for me to get on.

I lightly climbed onto her back, and it felt warm and cozy.

“Oh! Wait! Where did you touch me?”

“?”

Tia had crouched down onto her front and hind legs and had reacted to me with some anger.


‘I don’t know where I touched her, but I guess it must be a sensitive spot.’

When I asked Tia where I must hold her, she growled at me to put my arm around her neck.

I quietly obeyed her.

The wolf seemed ready, and it trotted off without a backward glance. Tia and I followed closely behind it.

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We were going very fast.

The sense of speed was the same as that of riding a motorcycle, and the world flashed by me.

The moon did light the forest path here and there, so it looked amazing to run through this dark forest and be able to see things as if it was noon. When I glanced back, I could see the glowing eyes of a significant number of wolves as they followed us.

‘Shall I distribute my stats now?’

I checked the description of the quest again. It was a one-on-one duel with the alpha wolf Korkan. In terms of my game, it was a fight with a monster.

Of course, it would certainly be stronger than normal black wolves.

I was locked into my thoughts for a moment and then brought up my status screen to distribute the stats points I had saved.

──────────────────────

「Status Window」

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[Name: Judah Arche]

[Title: None]

[Level: 15]

[Job: Black Claw _ Shadow Magic Swordsman (Hidden_A)]

[Number of resurrections: 1]

[Strength: 40(C) / Potential A]

[Health: 38(D) / Potential S]

[Agility: 40(C) / Potential SS]

[Magic: 41(C) / Potential B]

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[Magical Resistance: 51(C) / Potential S]

[Knowledge: 17(F) / Potential B] ◀ Special

[Luck: 84(A) / Potential S] ◀ Special

[Points remaining: 0]

──────────────────────

I distributed all 14 points: 4 into Strength, 1 into Health, and the remaining 9 I used to boost my Agility. As soon as the distribution was complete, my heart started beating faster as my pulse rate increased. I felt dizzy for a moment and closed my eyes.

I breathed slowly and deeply and checked the condition of my body. I could clearly feel that something had changed.

‘Will this be enough?’

I did not know how strong Korkan would be, but I would try my best to take care of him. We hadn’t arrived at our destination yet, despite traveling for half an hour.

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I checked my map and saw that the wolves and we were continuing to head deep into the southern forest. The black wolf running ahead of us showed no signs of slowing down. In the next moment, Tia asked me to hold on tight and then made a light leap as we crossed over a fallen tree stump.

It felt as if I was taking a ride at an amusement park as my body hopped and bounced into the air.

Suddenly, the trees thinned out, and the forest opened up as a vast plain appeared before us.

Up to now, the moonlight had not properly reached the ground due to the trees in the forest. On this plain, though, the moon shone brightly.

“Ah!” As I took in the scene, I could not help but exclaim in wonderment. To think that there was a place like this— It looked so wide that I wanted to explore it right away.

and I could see that a narrow river flowed across the center of the plain, weaving through the outcrops of rock.

Above all else, the number of wolves upon the plain surprised me the most.

Hundreds of them were roaming around or sitting on their haunches. Those that had followed us now slowed down and followed us no more.

As we moved to the center, I sighted a wolf with scars etched across his body. He was lying atop the tallest rock, his face resting upon his forepaws.

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‘Requiem!’

The moment I saw him, I knew that it was the king of the black wolves I had created for my game. He was one of the two main bosses in the forest south of Serenia.

I remembered creating him with great care in so many ways, as he was the first monster boss the player would face, so he had to be intimidating.

Thanks to that, there were quite a lot of patterns that existed for the defeat of the early boss. The problem was…

‘This is not a game.’


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The probability of Requiem acting according to the patterns I had set up was very low.

The battleground was large enough, but I didn’t want to experiment with Requiem just to see whether he would follow the patterns coded to him or not.

If I died, I would come back alive, but I did not want to repeat the time I had already experienced.

And the first thing I now had to consider was my duel with Korkan, not Requiem. The wolves had already cleared a wide area under the central lock upon which Requiem was.

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The black wolves were sitting along the edges of the empty area like spectators at a stadium, waiting and watching.

After a while, a wolf approached from among them. He growled from the start, baring his gums.

“Are you okay without me? Shall I duel instead?” Tia asked me.

“No, I’ll do it.”

“Are you really okay?”

“It’s okay, Tia.”

If I used Shadow Swordsmanship and Shadow Justice, I had a chance. Tia stared at me as if displeased. I tried to make eye contact with her and laugh, but as I stared into her flashing tiger eyes, a subtle feeling of pressure made me avert my gaze.

As if she found this funny, Tia grinned and chuckled as she wandered in behind me.

As if a tiger was a greater predator than wolves, or to avoid unnecessary conflict, some of the wolves retreated from where they sat as Tia approached.

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I sharpened my mind as I stared into Korkan’s face.

‘Gyaugyugra!’ Korkan suddenly bizarrely chuckled as we met one another’s gaze as if he was shouting: “Come on, draw your weapon!”

“Fwoo,” I took a deep breath and slowly drew my sword. Its blade shimmered in the moonlight as I drew it. Korkan sniffed as he smelled the stench of blood on the blade, and his visage immediately took on an unpleasant mien. Compared to a common black wolf, Korkan was about one and a half times larger in size and possessed greater momentum.

Just by looking at him, certain people would tremble in fear.

Korkan looked at me and saw that I was not scared, and he growled in a whimpering manner as if slightly admiring my fearlessness.

He then slowly began to circle around me.

‘Saahskak,’ came the sound of his deliberate pawfalls. I looked at the wolf and then completed my activation of Spreading Shadows. The entire area was covered with shadows, and I looked at Korkan through magical sight.

The wolf once more exposed his gums, looking more vicious than ever. Spittle drooled from his fangs. As we faced off and stared at each other, I took the first strike.

I stretched my left hand behind my waist and drew a sharpened dagger from the belt, and swiftly threw it. I only had three daggers, so I had to make sure to predict the ideal moment to throw them.

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The dagger flew straight and true for the spot between Korkan’s neck and torso.

‘Grurg!’ Korkan growled in a chuckle as he jumped lightly back, avoiding my throw as the dagger stuck into the ground before his paws.

I was moving even before the dagger had pierced the earth.

I charged forward as I readied my sword. Korkan crouched to the ground as he bent his legs and avoided the agile cutting edge of my blade despite his massive girth.

For all my efforts of throwing the dagger and charging at him with my sword, I could only cut a few strands of hair from his pelt.

I began to fall back, my teeth clenched, and Korkan raised his upper body from his crouching position. The shadows had warned me, so I understood the intent of his attack. That was why I had stepped back as soon as I had swung my blade.

Korkan lifted his body as he supported himself with his hind legs and tail, lashing out at me with his forepaws indiscriminately.

I dodged back two steps just in time as his sharp claws cleaved through the air several times.

When I felt the air rushing by so close to my nose, I shivered as goosebumps ran along my back.

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After he had clawed the air several times, Korkan stuck his head out and loped toward me. I held my hand against the face of my blade as I blocked Korkan’s charge.

I was forced into a near-crouch as the wolf slammed into the blade, but I was able to force the beast to bounce back. Fortunately, Korkan hadn’t charged at me with speed from a distance, so I could counter his close-range rush without taking much damage.

Korkan had been forced back about three steps and closed the gap again as he attacked me.

‘Shhhi, shhhi,’ came the sound of claws cutting through the air as Korkan pawed at me furiously, but I could avoid most of his attacks due to Spreading Shadows.

Every strike the wolf believed was an inevitable hit was blocked by my sword.

While fighting, I came to admire Korkan’s battle sense; it was excellent. He did not hesitate to employ his tail and hind-paws in his attacks.

I was even punched across the cheek once when he used his tail, which I hadn’t thought could be used as a weapon. As I was struck by the tail, my face held an unpleasant expression, and Korkan grinned as he gave a whispering growl.

His attack patterns themselves were different from those of the common black wolves.

Korkan seemed to possess a very skilled combat repertoire, and his attacks were beyond my expectations.

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“Hfoo, hfoo,” I stared at Korkan, my breath coming out slightly rough.

My temperature had risen as if my body had secreted a significant amount of adrenaline after the brief close-quarters fight. My beating heart seemed to be thudding directly in my skull.

However, unlike my excited body, my mind was very stable even in such a frantic situation.

I stayed calm and did not dare take my eyes off Korkan.



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