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Ranker's Return
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Chapter 96 rainbowturtle's Thoughts

Chapter 96 rainbowturtle's Thoughts

“Hey, hey! Gang Hyeonu!! Wake up, dude!” Yeongchan was shocked to see Hyeonu nodding off while eating.

“Are you not sleeping lately? Didn’t you take a break from streaming? Why are you playing Arena so ignorantly? Aren’t you going to think of your body? Will you only be playing the game for a month or two?” Yeongchan nagged at Hyeonu.

Hyeonu responded in a voice that was almost inaudible, “Yeongchan... I think I’m dying. It’s too hard.”

“What the hell are you doing? It has been like this for a week.”

Hyeonu hadn’t slept more than four hours a day for the past week. He had gotten no rest, and he had also postponed all his regular personal training sessions. Hyeonu was only immersed in Arena. It was a terrible thing. He invested 20 hours a day only in hunting and would just hunt, hunt, and hunt again.

It was a crazy schedule. Tang-E said it was too hard and fled to Bung Bung Island.

“I hunted and hunted. I have to level up.”

Hearing the answer from Hyeonu who seemed to be missing his soul, Yeongchan shook his head. “Well, I don’t know what you’re saying but do it in moderation. Don’t overdo it.”

Hyeonu nodded hard as he felt the same way. He didn’t know about one or two days but one week was impossible. ‘If I hunt like this again in the future, I will go mad… mad.’


***


Hyeonu’s sword energy separated the troll’s head from its body. It was a troll, but it couldn’t move with its head cut off. After all, trolls weren’t dullahans.


[A contaminated mountain range troll has been killed.]

[Experience has been acquired.]

[You have leveled up.]

[All health and magic power have been restored.]

[Killed the Tattooed Monsters 99/???]

[Level 170/175]


‘I’m finally level 170...’

It was unreasonable yet rewarding. This had been a week of intense hunting for a quest which he didn’t know when it would end. During that time, Hyeonu experienced an average of four level-ups a day.

“No matter how fast the speed of the main scenario, it will take a week or two at the earliest.”

Now it seemed like he could have a little room to breathe. Surely this was the case… at least, until he returned to the imperial rangers camp and met Garon.


***


“The pre-preparations will end in three days. The imperial knights have already departed for here, the Hejin Mountains.”

To Hyeonu, Garon’s words were like a bolt striking out of the blue. Three days...

Even if the deadline was reduced, wasn’t this number too small?

Huh? What are you talking about? You said a month. A month!!!” The flustered Hyeonu screamed involuntarily at Garon. Garon’s words were absurd and outrageous.

“Didn’t I say a month at the latest?” Garon replied in a sly manner.

This person’s master, Duke Lebron, was the most cunning man in the empire. However, this adventurer that was his disciple was very suitable for teasing. It was hard to find such a naive person. Garon opened his mouth, “I didn’t tell you the exact time, so I’ll give you another week. I’ll wait until then.”

Phew, I’m glad.’ Hyeonu sighed with relief at Garon’s words.

Hyeonu had gained 30 levels in a week. On the last day, he had gained two levels with much difficulty. The problem was that the other large guilds were now in the Hejin Mountains, so he couldn’t hunt monsters as randomly as he had before. 

“Thank you. I’ll see you again in a week.” Hyeonu bid farewell to Garon and tried to go hunting again.

It was urgent.

‘I have to quickly go and hunt.’

At this moment, Garon stopped Hyeonu. “Wait, will you do me a favor? The reward is enough to help you in your current state.”

Helping the current Hyeonu meant giving him a lot of experience. He could level up as much as possible.

‘A favor? Is it a quest? One that will give me a lot of experience?’

Having received a sudden request from Garon, Hyeonu smiled while panicking. “Of course, I should. After all, it is a request from Garon, leader of the imperial rangers.”

“There isn’t much to the request. There is a great magician called Suped here in the Hejin Mountains. Tell Suped the information you know and get an answer from him. The problem is that his location is an ancient dungeon that he stumbled upon.”


[A quest has been created.]

[Great Magician Suped]

[Great Magician Suped is devoting himself to studying magic in an ancient dungeon. Inform him of the current situation and give his answer to Garon.

Rating: MS

Conditions: Deliver Suped’s answer to Garon 0/1

Rewards: Experience, Garon’s gift]


Garon held out a familiar-looking piece of parchment.

‘Herard...’ Hyeonu received the parchment. It looked exactly like the parchment he had received from Herard. There was no difference.


[Ancient Dungeon Scroll]

[A map that can move you to the ancient dungeon connected to Suped’s dungeon.

Rating: Common

Restrictions: None

Effect: Once used, you will be moved to the dungeon called the ‘Ancient Dungeon’.]


The difference was that this parchment was completed from the beginning.

“I understand. I will go and meet Suped.” Hyeonu tore the parchment on the spot. He was surrounded by a white light and disappeared.

Ah, didn’t I tell him? It is just as difficult as it is helpful.” Garon’s expression wasn’t apologetic at all despite forgetting to convey this information to Hyeonu. Rather, Garon looked like a naughty boy.


***


Hyeonu disappeared from Garon’s residence and reappeared in a huge space that was reminiscent of the arena. Hyeonu glanced around and muttered, “What? There are no paths?”

It was blocked everywhere. At this moment, the space shook.

-Welcome to Laek, the beginner’s academy of the Luos Empire.

“Laek? Where is the Luos Empire?” Hyeonu cocked his head at the unexpected words.

The voice continued ringing in the space, -Laek consists of a total of 10 stages. If you can fulfill the requirements of one stage, you can move onto the next one. Then let’s start with Stage 1.

Once the words finished, Hyeonu’s surroundings changed. He was now in a square space filled with sand, and it looked like heat was going to overflow. It was a backdrop that seemed to cause some frustration.

“A classroom...”

In front of Hyeonu, a desk and chair appeared.

-In Stage 1, we will test the basic literacy of the Luos Empire. After reading the book on the desk and passing the test, you can move on to Stage 2. The given time is 30 minutes.

[Time remaining - 29:59]

“Shit,” Hyeonu cursed as he sat nervously in the chair. Hyeonu didn’t hate reading. During his time as a student, he studied hard and read books steadily. This was the case even when he was in the army. In his boredom, there were no books he didn’t read, ranging from literature to fantasy to martial arts. However, this was a story for reality.

‘I have to read a book in a game?’

Besides, the book on the desk was pretty thick. At first glance, it seemed to be over 300 pages.

“The title is... History of Luos?”

The title of the book also exuded a sense of boredom.


[Luos, the only empire on the continent, was founded by the first emperor Akan. At that time which was unlike now, it was an era where monsters and other species were dominant. Akan fought for human freedom...

(Omitted).

The great magician Root speculated that Akan was able to unify the continent because he was a giant, not a human.

The evidence for this was that the royal family was powerful and huge in size. However, this argument was buried on the grounds that ordinary people could also have the characteristics of a specific race.

(Omitted).

The territory of the Luos Empire occupied roughly half the continent.

The rest were the territories of monsters and many other species like lycanthropes, elves, orcs, dwarves, and so on. There were a few species that have a hostile relationship with the empire. The most representative races are the elves and lycanthropes.]

“It is more interesting than I thought?”

Hyeonu read the book quickly. He originally already had a fast reading speed, but this book was about the history of Luos. It was really interesting. Hyeonu felt like he was reading an excellent fantasy novel. The time Hyeonu was given to read the book quickly passed by.

[Time remaining - 00:00]

[The test is starting.] 

-Answer the questions listed in the given test. You must exceed 80 points to move on to the next stage.

The voice faded away, and the desk was gone. Then a one-meter-sized stone emerged from the ground.

“What? What is with these questions? How can I write down the answers?”

Hyeonu was annoyed by the absurdity of the situation. Normally, a test would be written on a piece of paper, and a pen would be given to answer it. Yet this...

It seemed he had to engrave the answers on the rocks.

Umm... The questions are easy.”

There were five questions in total on the stone.

[1. What is the name of the empire?

2. What is the name of the first emperor?

3. Describe two characteristics of the imperial family.

4. Write down two races that don’t have a good relationship with the empire.

5. There is a great magician who speculated that the first emperor was another race. What is his name?]

The answers to the questions were revolving around in Hyeonu’s mind. However, he stood idly because he didn’t know how to write down the answers.

“Yes! Let’s carve it by hand.”

Hyeonu struggled for a long time before coming up with a solution. It was to carve the answers into the stone using magic power. Hyeonu stretched out his index finger and rubbed it against the stone. There was a black glow at the end of his index finger.

“Is it originally supposed to be cleared like this? Won’t it be too hard?”

Hyeonu had already been carving the answers on the stone for a long time when he suddenly had this question. Still, this was only for a moment. Then Hyeonu concentrated on writing again.

“Well, I just have to clear it.”


***


Finally, Hyeonu carved all the answers onto the stone, and a voice could be heard ringing in the space again.

-You’ve answered all the questions correctly. Compensation will be paid before moving on to Stage 2.

After that, the stone disappeared, and a small gate appeared. It was a door to move to the next space.


[Experience has been acquired.]


“This really gives a lot?” Hyeonu exclaimed at the amount of experience he earned as a reward. Currently, Hyeonu’s experience was what he gained from Garon after hunting the tattooed monsters. He only completed Stage 1 yet he already had around one-third of the experience.

‘If Stage 1 gives this much, I might not be able to reach level 175 if I clear all 10 levels but level 173 should be okay.’

Hyeonu smiled with satisfaction and walked through the gate.


***


-You’ve answered all the questions correctly. Compensation will be paid before moving on to Stage 3.

“Good, it is Stage 3 now.”

The moment the gate was created, Hyeonu’s experience bar rose again. He had only 20% experience remaining until level 171. Stage 2 wasn’t much different from the first one. If there was a difference, the first stage was related to history while the second was related to culture and art.

“It is easy to learn, but why is it so hard to write down the answers?”

The level of knowledge was at a child’s standards. However, the standard of force required was equivalent to that of NPC knights. After a moment, Hyeonu threw himself straight through the gate. Hyeonu was surprised when he arrived at the space for Stage 3. It was because the background was too different. If Stages 1 and 2 were typical classrooms, Stage 3 felt like a science room. There was one more thing.

“Why is he here...?”

A familiar figure was seated here.

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