Chapter 10 — Extraordinary Awakening
In just two days’ time, the killing incident at the Crossed Alley was already settled. Soran originally thought that the guards would at least be alerted and prepared ways of escaping, but it was rather unnecessary as the guards did not care much about the slums anyway.
He had been lurking around the docks for the past two days and raised his Rogue level to 3. That was when he heard of certain rumors and understood why the guards did not bother to stop the escalating fights between gangs in the slums.
The reason was simple—something of greater importance happened in Amber City.
The guards tried their best in suppressing the flow of information, but it still leaked bit by bit and was eventually out of the bag.
“Someone was killed and skinned!”
The rumor that a watchman was skinned had been passed around the docks. When the guards found his body, all that was left was a bloody corpse void of skin. It was no ordinary incident, as the skin removed was perfectly intact and was left at a clearly visible location as if mocking the guards for their powerlessness.
There were only two groups of people who could skin a body so skillfully. The culprits responsible for the incident were either followers of Abyss demons or the fallen disciples of the Evil Underlord.
Those who knew the details of the incident were terrified, especially the nobles as the skinned corpse was found in the noble district. The nobles put pressure on the guards, urging them to catch the offenders as soon as possible as they feared for their lives.
The guards were busy searching all over the city for clues and did not have the time or energy to care about things going on in the slums.
The powers both within and outside the city, especially those who controlled the grey areas in the docks, restrained themselves after the information was leaked to the public. From their knowledge of the fanatics, they knew that the skinning incident was just the start, and the crazed people would not stop their actions just like that.
More bloody incidents would most likely happen in the near future.
Soran’s heart tightened as he heard the details and realized the truth behind the incident; this was one of the signs which indicated that the chaotic period would soon begin.
Before the battle of the gods broke out, the Abyss demons were the first to take action. Their evil followers incited killings and massacres all over the world, and their most common course of action was skinning people. It was an ancient evil ceremony which implied both that a new soul had joined the chaotic evil camp and that a certain ritual which would affect the entire Southern Principality had begun.
“So the serial skinning incidents finally began?”
Soran stood in an inconspicuous corner of the docks and muttered with a grave look on his face, “Amber City…
“If I remember correctly, it belongs to the Southern Principality. Even though it sounds unfamiliar, I’m sure something major must have happened here. I wouldn’t have remembered the city when there were so many of them in the game…
“What in the world happened here?”
Soran knitted his brows as he tried his best to recall the cloudy memories, but in the end he could not remember anything of significant importance as a lot happened before the start of the chaotic period.
Even an ancient red dragon appeared out of the blue. Everyone was so busy fighting the dragon that no one cared about what happened in a random city in the Southern Principality.
At that time, Soran was busy hunting a mountain giant in the fields in the north.
Dragon slaying? He was not so naïve as to do something so reckless.
However, soloing a mountain giant was quite the reckless move as well. Back then, Soran was just a Level 5 rogue without any sub-professions. As a matter of fact, a mountain giant was rated as Level 10, which meant that a group of Level 10 adventurers had a fifty percent chance of defeating it.
Looking at the laborers who were moving cargo around the docks, Soran murmured as if he could foresee the turbulent future, “Looks like it’s time to head to the treasure cave.”
Strength; this was all that mattered in a world in turmoil.
Only with strength could one survive the age of chaos, and only with strength could one protect the things precious to him.
The age of the Saints had formally begun!
Mortals were unworthy and incapable of changing the course of history. No one could stop the crisis from happening either. A crisis which tens of millions of players failed to stop was not something Soran could change single-handedly. The only thing he could do now was become stronger so that he could at least defend himself and Vivian.
It took Soran two days to grasp the general location of the cave.
Almost every city had such a hidden cave in its surroundings. According to legends and folktales, the treasure caves were created by a powerful witch who had an evil scheme in mind but never managed to implement it. Many had explored the caves in the game and managed to find a wide assortment of random items, including parts for constructing an artificial wizard. What attracted Soran’s attention, however, was the Rare-grade equipment. As the name suggested, that kind of equipment was very difficult to obtain and rarely appeared in the game.
Treasure caves were the only source of obtaining Rare equipment in the early stages of the game, and there was an extremely low chance of acquiring a Legendary item as well.
As it was a place created by a witch, the clues must be somewhat related to necromancy and dead souls. Soran had been probing into the spooky incidents in the city and managed to pinpoint the location of the cave through logical deduction.
If it was in his previous life, the cave would have been looted by others already, but that did not seem to be the case this time. The issue, though, was that Soran did not have complete trust in anyone right now, so he had to dive in alone. He could only pray that the difficulty rating was Level 5 or below, as some of the caves had ratings of Level 8 or above.
Six out of seven groups of adventurers died during the exploration of such a cave, and the remaining group only managed to get their hands on a damaged phylactery.
After a few days of lock picking and disarming traps in the docks, Soran raised his Rogue profession to Level 3 and got a raise in his attributes.
Attributes: Strength 12, Dexterity 20 (+1), Constitution 15, Intelligence 18 (+1), Wisdom 15, Charisma 16
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Profession: Level 10 Commoner (MAX)/Level 3 Rogue (125/750) 【Grade 1】
Health Points (HP): 30/30
Experience Points (EXP): 360 (Slaughter EXP), 120 (Profession EXP) 【Unassigned】
Skill Points: None
Attribute Points: None
Profession Skills: Sneak 78, Steal 35, Pick Lock 45, Snare 30
Legendary Skills: Omnipotent Hands 【Sealed】(Weakened Soul)
Personal Abilities: Nimble Left Hand, Eidetic Memory
Profession Ability: Grasp of Shadows
After reaching Level 3, the profession experience points gained from picking locks would greatly decrease. Disarming the simple alarms would no longer raise his skill level, and only the more complicated locks would give experience points. As an example, the locks which used to give several tens of experience points would only give a few now. It was difficult for rogues to gain any experience points from picking locks beyond Level 5 anyway, so Soran thought that it was unnecessary to waste time on the simple locks anymore.
Anyway, all adventurer professions would gain a significant power-up for every three levels.
For example, wizards could gain a spell casting-related ability which would strengthen their abilities and allow them to learn Level 2 arcane magic. Similarly, paladins would gain the ability Evil Judgement, while druids would gain Animal Senses. The most significant power-up would be for the Warrior class, as they would obtain the ability Toughen Up, which would reduce the physical damage they received by five percent and increase their HP permanently by 10 points. It was the prerequisite for Legendary Skills like Absolute Toughness and Unyielding.
Rogues, on the other hand, had a rather average ability when compared to other professions: Grasp of Shadows.
In this special world, various different aspects had to be taken into consideration when determining one’s strength. Among those were abilities related to their professions as well as Personal Abilities, which were learned through hard work, training, or even innate talent. Most people of the same profession would have similar Profession Abilities, while Personal Abilities, as the name suggested, belonged to a limited few and could only be obtained through training.
Taking rogues as an example, almost every single one of them had the ability Grasp of Shadows. Unless their inborn attributes were too low, there was no reason for them not to obtain the ability. In short, basically every rogue had the skill Grasp of Shadows, but unlike Soran, they might not have learned the Personal Abilities Nimble Left Hand or Eidetic Memory.
Grasp of Shadows 【Profession Ability】: After receiving combat training, rogues can gradually feel the power of shadows slowly seeping into their blood. This allows rogues to conceal themselves better in darkness, providing a buff of +5 to Sneak when activated in a dim location. The first attack after revealing themselves from the shadows will deal 1 additional damage.
One would be considered a Grade 2 adventurer after reaching Level 5 in their combat profession.
At that time, rogues would obtain a new combat skill, Shadowstrike, and Grasp of Shadows was the prerequisite for learning that skill.
Most, if not all, professions would receive a significant boost in strength when reaching the benchmark, which was why Soran liked to call it the ‘Extraordinary Awakening.’
Toughen Up 【Profession Ability】: After undergoing training and experiencing actual combat, the blood flowing in the warrior’s body is gradually deviating from that of typical humans. Thus, simple injuries are no longer life-threatening for them. This grants warriors a permanent buff of +10 HP, 5% physical damage reduction, and a +2 rating when resisting special conditions.
Evil Judgement 【Profession Ability】: Paladins have developed strong faith after being tested by God multiple times. Paladins can easily identify the targets’ true nature when encountering evil enemies and will not be tempted or tricked by them. They can also pray for a divine blessing when battling enemies of the evil alignment. Their divine blessing will seep into their bloodstream and deal 1 additional damage to targets of the evil alignment.
This was the prerequisite for learning the skill Smite Evil, as well as the reason why most paladins were still alive. Their instincts against evil were extremely sharp, or else those retards would have been tricked and killed by others already.
The nature of Profession Abilities was basically the same regardless of one’s profession. A special ability would be granted when reaching certain levels of the combat professions, and these abilities would grow stronger along with the person’s level. Furthermore, many Profession Abilities were the prerequisites for learning Legendary Skills.
For example, rogues would need to have the Profession Ability Shadowlord before they could learn the combat skill Shadowstep.
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