Chapter 18 — Reward
Soran's physical condition gradually recovered as time passed. The wound on his thigh was numb and itchy, but that was a good sign as it meant that his 19 Constitution was playing its part.
The wound was slowly closing up due to his high Constitution, but this method was still inferior when compared to the effects of the ability Rebirth. The wound would take a day or two at most to heal completely, but Soran obviously could not spend so much time idling in the cave. He continued to explore the cave without minding the risk of opening up the wound again.
As the swords were so heavy that Soran felt like he was wearing full plate armor when carrying them around, he left them at the entrance before diving into the cave again. They simply hindered his speed way too much.
Anyway, he picked up all three of the used cards from the Deck of Many Things as they might be somewhat useful in the future. He also pulled out the six bolts from the snake demon’s corpse and reloaded them into the modified crossbow; it would save him a lot of trouble if he had to fight during the exploration. There was a fork in the tunnel, splitting it into two paths. Soran had explored one of the two, and he expected to reach another secret chamber of some sort through the other.
Most of the traps had been triggered during the battle with the snake demon, but Soran remained vigilant nonetheless. Inch by inch, he slowly walked while keeping an eye out for signs of unactivated traps.
As expected, there was a spike trap which had not been activated yet.
When triggered, a row of poisoned blades would spike out from the ground.
A chilly breeze blew through the tunnel. Since weak rays of light could be seen, it seemed that the tunnel was connected to the surface.
The pungent smell of preservatives filled the tunnel. It somewhat resembled the smell of formalin, but it was much stronger and had the smell of blood.
The scene triggered a part of his memory, providing him information about the monster which he had encountered countless times during his adventuring days.
Mummy 【Undead】(Grade 2)
Challenge Rating: Level 3 (Monster Level: 6), has spell-like abilities
Highest and Lowest Attributes: 18 and 5 (Total Attribute Points: 65-75)
Specialty: Undead, Death Corrosion
Just as Soran had anticipated, the corpses ahead stood up one by one when he gradually approached them.
Their movements were not only slow, but also very rigid; even kids could run faster than the mummies. They were typical mummies without any sort of extraordinary abilities or buffs, and all they had was the innate characteristics of being undeads. Their mobility was extremely poor, but they could compensate for their weakness with Strength and Constitution. Their Strength was on par with typical adults, while also having at least 15 Constitution made them top-tier tanks among low-ranked undeads, inferior only to zombies.
A storm of crossbow bolts flew toward the mummies.
The six bolts shot straight through the first mummy. It stumbled and dropped dead onto the floor.
Undeads were powered by clusters of death energy, and they would be killed the moment the energy was forcefully dissipated.
However, one should always pay attention not to come into physical contact with undeads as most of them had varied Death Corrosion effects. When injured by an undead, it could spread diseases or deal extra death energy corrosion damage to the person.
“It would be great if a priest was here right now…”
An idea flashed through Soran’s mind, and he immediately drew his sword while approaching the enemy.
Soran circled around the remaining two mummies while constantly evading their attacks. Even though his thigh was injured, the mummies still could not land a single attack on him.
As low-ranked mummies had less than 10 Dexterity, Soran could eventually take them out if he continued evading their attacks and whittled them down one by one.
Of course, that tactic was limited to low-ranked mummies—it would be a tragedy if he tried that against ancient mummies.
Ancient mummies had a challenge rating of Level 12 and a monster level of 18, not to mention them having at least 21 in Dexterity.
They were nightmares for adventurers exploring an ancient ruin.
Anyway, the battle with the mummies quickly ended. With his guerilla tactics, Soran swiftly took down the mummies and gained 300 Slaughter EXP.
Soran was about to retrieve the bolts, but then gave up when he saw the rotten bodies. The corpses were simply too disgusting, just like all other undeads.
There was a door behind the dead mummies. Soran saw numerous corpses in the room, as well as some containers with organs which belonged to humanoid monsters immersed in unknown liquids.
There was a can filled with dark crimson liquid on the workbench, and inside the can was a fist-sized eyeball.
“Unknown Optic Pedicel.”
Soran did not plan to bring the can with him as he could not determine what it was.
Death energy gathered wherever witches performed evil rituals or cast evil spells, and it was something harmful to living beings—they would be affected by the radiation if they stayed in a contaminated area for too long. Since death energy could only be scattered by priests, the area would remain contaminated until one of them came and cast a spell.
After checking for traps, Soran searched every inch of the room for valuables. He managed to find a few books, some pieces of paper with weird symbols on them, a dozen Gold Derahls, and an eerie-looking gauntlet.
The books were all informative in nature, and Soran packed them up after glancing through them. With his Eidetic Memory, he could probably gain some literacy skill points after thoroughly reading them. He did not receive the Literacy skill along with the promotion because the previous ‘Soran’ did not receive proper education; the skill would only be granted when the person could roughly read Common Language at the very least.
Those who had the profession Sage had an edge in this aspect as they had 25 literacy skill points as a profession bonus.
The papers with weird symbols seemed to be experimental logs. They were encoded with an unknown protocol, and Soran had no means of reading the papers without literacy skills or Spellcraft. The experimental logs were most likely about undead creation, which was of no use to him, not to mention that it would be hard to sell them. Hence, he simply placed the papers back in their original places.
The last item was the eerie gauntlet. It looked fairly familiar to Soran, and the gauntlet’s item information was revealed after he appraised it.
Item Type: Ogre Strength Gauntlet
Item Grade: 【Rare (Grade 1)】
Description: A special item created with ogre skin. It can improve the user’s Strength when equipped, giving them comparable Strength to ogres at most.
Effects: Strength +2, to a maximum of 18.
“Ogre Strength Gauntlet?!” Soran smirked as he equipped the gauntlet onto his wrist.
The gauntlet was the most popular item amongst spellcasters in the early stages of the game. It was part of a set of three items, namely the Ogre Strength Gauntlet, Ogre Strength Gloves, and Ogre Strength Waistband.
Such items were useless to Soran in the game as all players inherited hero profession templates and had 90 attribute points at their disposal from the start. Most players with melee professions would have assigned at least 18 points to Strength, rendering the special effects of the items useless. Only spellcasters would use such equipment.
The set of equipment was meant for spellcasters, but it was a godsend for Soran right now as he could just barely equip the Snake Demon Longsword after wearing the gauntlet. There was still a Strength penalty of 2 points, but at least he could fight with the sword now.
If a necromancer was here, he would be overjoyed as there was a handful ‘valuables.’ Only necromancers could find value in such items though; Soran was completely disinterested in corpses and body parts. Apart from the books and coins, which he tossed into his sack, he placed everything back where he found it and was about to leave. He had spent over half a day in the cave already, and it should be night outside right now, not to mention that he was rather hungry as hs lost all his food to the Godly Thief card.
Two Snake Demon Longswords, three books, three cards from the Deck of Many Things, and an Ogre Strength Gauntlet.
Soran was satisfied with the loot he got even though accidents happened and he almost lost his life. If he managed to sell the items, he and Vivian could surely become free citizens.
There were also necessary items for travelling which had to be bought, such as a small dimensional storage bag with a cubic meter of storage space.
There were magic shops that would sell those in every single city. As adventurers could not carry everything on their bodies, they would store miscellaneous items in the dimensional storage bags. The smaller ones had a capacity of around one cubic meter, and they could be used to store loot from adventuring. Considering the fact that 20 Gold Derahls weighed one pound, sometimes adventurers would need to carry one or two hundred pounds worth of gold coins back from the wilderness. It was impossible for them to even walk unless they had dimensional storage bags.
The heavy doors which concealed the cave entrance slowly opened. Carrying a pair of swords and a sack made with moldy clothes from the dead adventurers on his back, Soran left the cave.
He cautiously looked at his surroundings, then headed toward Amber City.
As he passed the mass burial pit, Soran could vaguely hear some moaning sounds in the distance—the lewd moans of a woman.
As the surroundings were rather silent, the sounds could be heard from far away. Soran silently gripped one of the swords and drew it out from its place on his back. With his body tensing up as he vigilantly looked around, he was prepared for battle.
After all, for god’s sake, this was a mass burial pit! Who the hell would come to such a place in the middle of the night to have sex?
There had to be a limit to people’s fetishes.
It was most likely some filthy creature instead.
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