Chapter 23 — Funeral
There weren't any simple requests in the Adventurer Guild; it was a place where people risked their very lives for riches, not a place for kids searching for pets. Even the easiest requests offered over 10 Gold Derahls as the reward, a sum which could feed a family of three for three years.
Soran left the guild with his adventurer's badge without taking any requests and headed toward the town hall. There he would have to pay 15 or so Gold Derahls to obtain certificates identifying them as Free Citizens for both himself and Vivian, which would change their social standing from that of poor lower-class citizens to that of normal citizens who enjoyed a high degree of freedom within the southern regions. They could then move freely in most places in the region as long as they were not afraid of the dangers of travelling.
It was not the time to take on requests yet. There was no such thing as grinding or farming in <<Clash of the Titans>> as monsters had a similar spawning algorithm to human NPCs. This meant that if one exterminated all gnolls in an area, they would not appear in that location again until gnolls from other locations migrated there.
There was a saying in the taverns, "Your adventuring life is incomplete without getting surrounded by goblins, stuck in kobold traps, and raided by gnolls at midnight!"
It was a saying which had a bloody origin and history. Monsters here were not your ordinary brainless creatures; they used tactics such as setting traps and launching sneak attacks, not to mention their ability to set up bases and even flee and regroup when necessary. Countless hot-headed rookies lost their lives to these 'low-grade' monsters as they became overconfident after reaching Grade 2 in their professions.
Could you imagine a bunch of mere monsters having such intelligence? Ganging up on single or stranded adventurers, fleeing when at a disadvantage, utilizing the terrain to set up various types of traps, scouting incoming adventurers, and even faking surrender to lower an adventurer’s guard; this just goes to show how smart these creatures were.
If one was unlucky, he might even encounter powerful Dragon Disciples hidden among the kobolds. Normal kobolds merely had a challenge rating of Level 1, while kobold Dragon Disciples, which had reached Level 5, had enough power to decimate average adventurers. Even spellcasters, who were known for their arrogance, did not boast that they could easily handle anything in the wilderness.
Anyway, there were plenty of things which could be solved with money in this world. Soran managed to get two identifications of Free Citizens without much trouble after handing over the right amount of Gold Derahls. The officials at the town hall confirmed that Soran had no criminal record and swiftly handed over the documents stamped with a magical brand proving their authenticity. They couldn't care less about Soran being a thief previously as they only cared about the shiny gold coins placed on the desk; petty crimes such as theft were not a big deal and were removed from the criminal records when one became a Free Citizen.
To put it simply, Free Citizen was a class bought with money. With enough Gold Derahls, one could further become an Honorary Citizen through 'donations to the government.' It really was a terrible system. The gang leaders in the city were mostly bigwigs, being either nobles or Honorary Citizens.
In any event, as an adventurer, Soran could directly purchase Military-grade weapons from blacksmiths. Military-grade weapons were several times better than Common weapons in terms of quality, and it was legal to sell them directly to anyone. The reason was simple: commoners could not afford to buy these expensive weapons, nor would they bother to.
A standard unenchanted Military-grade curved sword forged with both steel and a small amount of black steel weighed around six pounds and cost 15 Gold Derahls. Similarly, a standard unenchanted Military-grade chainmail armor weighed around fifteen pounds and cost 80 Gold Derahls, which was equivalent to the value of all the property of an entire family of commoners. As a comparison, the price of a house in the outskirts of Amber City was around 30 to 50 Gold Derahls.
For equipment of higher grades or full plate armor, the cost ranged from 1500 to 2000 Gold Derahls. Countless warriors had fought hard just to save money to purchase these items as they were better, though more expensive, than rare item drops. Only nobles who were feudal lords could afford to fully equip themselves with such gear; even high-ranked adventurers did not have that much money to spare. It was only natural considering that a set of such equipment could be exchanged for 150 acres of land.
It took Soran half a day to finish everything he had in mind. With around 100 Gold Derahls in his pocket, he could live leisurely in the city with Vivian for a decade without any worries about their finances, but he had other thoughts. As he walked down the street, Soran looked for shops where he could purchase supplies for travelling.
That's right; he planned to leave the city.
From what he could remember, the skinning incidents were just the beginning, and the entire southern region would soon be caught up in the flames of war. The safest location for now was Elfenland, as they could even defend against red dragons, but there would be no such thing as guaranteed safety when the Avatar Crisis hit the world. If one wished to avoid being crushed like an ant, the best thing to do right now was to leave the places in turmoil and strengthen themselves in relatively safer locations.
In the past, roughly three million players took part in the Avatar Crisis event. The strongest players at that time were Level 18 in their professions and were right at the doorstep of the Realm of Legends, but they were still easily wiped out by the descended deities. Hundreds of thousands of players were inevitably slaughtered like livestock. Leaving was the best choice right now.
Soran could still remember the powerlessness he felt back when he fought against a descendant of a deity; it could not even be called a fight. Players could obtain power to challenge deities and gods only after they reached the Realm of Legends.
Entering Elfenland through the Phantasmal Forest then heading toward the Frost Kingdom to avoid the first three most chaotic years was a good plan. In that time, fragments of divinity also fell upon the world and were absorbed by mortals who could not utilize the powers of the fragments. They were easy targets for those who yearned for power like Soran.. The opportunity slipped through his hands in the game, but the same would not happen again now that he had time to make preparations.
As Soran headed back to the Dawnlight Shrine to pick Vivian up, he fiddled with the newly obtained weapon in his hands. He had to familiarize himself with the length, weight, and feel of the weapon in order to fully utilize its power in combat. He had Martial Weapon Proficiency, a decent Profession Ability, but every weapon was unique after all. Even mass-produced Military-grade weapons of the same model had slight differences in weight and feel. These may seem like trivial matters, but they were matters of life and death in battle.
A data log floated in front of Soran’s eyes:
"Weapon Type: Military Curved Sword
Weapon Grade: Refined Weapon
Item Description: A refined weapon forged with steel possessing extraordinary hardness and flexibility when compared to ordinary weapons. Only blacksmiths with 150 points or more in weapon forging can forge such a weapon.
Weapon Requirement: 10+ Strength.
Weapon Effect: Properties of Black Steel, Sharpness +1.”
Strictly speaking, the curved sword could be considered an enchanted weapon as it had the effect Property of Black Steel. This meant that the weapon had increased hardness, making it less likely to break in combat and allowing it to withstand stronger slashing attacks. As for the effects of Sharpness +1, it allowed the sword to cut through leather armor more easily.
As Soran entered the Dawnlight Shrine, he could sense the dread atmosphere within.
Bishop Phil was performing a burial ceremony for a shrine guard. Five fully armored warriors were standing at the sides with solemn faces while holding the hilts of their swords, which were stabbed into the ground, with both hands, their tattered cloaks showing traces of dried blood.
The five knelt on the ground on one knee when the bishop finished his final prayer, making clattering noises with their armor. With grave yet determined looks, they earnestly chanted a verse together.
"To protect the weak and uphold justice.
"To serve with honesty and modesty.
"To love with faithfulness for all eternity.
"To fight with unwavering courage and integrity.
"To be unyielding even when facing death.
"In the name of God, we give our lives to the path of truth."
The striking and powerful voices resounded within the shrine as Bishop Phil gently closed the eyes of the deceased shrine guard who had earnestly served the God of Dawnlight. The shrine guard would rest for eternity in the crude coffin while wearing his full set of armor and holding his sword with both hands in front of his chest. The bloodstains had been cleaned from his armor, but the scratches and dents from the intense battles remained. There was nothing extravagant; the only ornaments in the coffin were his armor and weapon.
His armor and weapon were a warrior's second soul. These treasured items were companions with whom the dead shrine guard had fought countless battles, and they would be following him into the dirt as a sign of respect.
"May his soul enter the kingdom of Dawnlight and find peace!"
Bishop Phil sprinkled holy water on the ground. As the bishop prayed, a holy light appeared in the shrine. This indicated that the God of Dawnlight had acknowledged the death of his faithful servant, and the soul of the deceased was being led to his domain. The soul would be reborn in his domain; the purer one's soul was, the greater their power as they were reborn in the God of Dawnlight's kingdom.
"Holy light? It seems that he had strong faith when he was still alive. He will surely become more than a petitioner in the domain of god."
Soran looked around the shrine and found Vivian's tiny silhouette behind the young priestess. His sister was silently watching the simple yet solemn funeral attentively.
Warriors were bound to fight on the frontlines due to the nature of their occupation—they were the ones who had the highest chance of perishing in a battle. Regardless of their ability, one should still pay utmost respect to the faithful warriors who protected others with their bodies and lives on the line.
The man lying inside the coffin was a proud warrior, his worn-out armor signifying his pride and glory.
Soran bowed slightly at the coffin out of respect.
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