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One Man Army Chapter 7. Drawing the Big Picture (2)

 

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Even though the Endless Plains was a place with instant revival upon death, dying and reviving 4,444 times required quite a lot of time.
Sanghyuk filled all 4,444 deaths and challenges for 3 days with almost no sleep. By simple calculations, he took over 60 hours to do this.
With advancement in virtual reality technology, ‘Shock prevention technology’ applied to all official virtual reality contents with the exception of illegal contents so receiving a big shock in virtual reality only resulted in slight pain or nausea in real life.
Of course, no matter how much technology advanced, people who weren’t used to attacking others or being attacked sometimes received mental shock, but the game developers protected the users as much as possible with various ‘mentality support programs’.
However, even after all that, ‘deaths’ of avatars in virtual reality games gave the users an extremely unpleasant feeling.
That was why some people set the ‘Skip death’ setting on that allowed them to forcefully change their virtual reality status to false sleep when they were near death.
The ‘Skip death’ function was something that was never used by the higher ranked gamers, but it was a commonly used setting among normal users.
Since Sanghyuk wasn’t some deviant who enjoyed dying, he would have used that function. However, that setting couldn’t be used here in the Endless Plains, so he had to endure all of the deaths.
Sanghyuk could endure it since he had a lot of experience in everything that occurred in virtual reality.
And the moment he endured the 4,444th death and stood up to the monster wave again…… the message he wished to see so much finally appeared in front of him.

Congratulations. You have not given up despite the challenges that overcomes you. You are qualified to acquire a special title.
You have acquired the unique-grade title [Unrelenting Challenger].

“Phew, very good!”
At that moment Sanghyuk gripped his fist while muttering before putting his hand on the handle of an ordinary iron sword that he hadn’t touched even once until now.
Even at this moment, there were large cicada-like monsters flying towards him.
Since he had achieved his very first objective, he did not need to be one-sidedly beaten by the monsters anymore. Right now, he was really happy about that.
“From now on…… is my turn to kill you!”
Clang, he pulled out the sword with a shout and started swinging the sword very naturally.

To put it into an analogy, Sanghyuk was a person who was addicted to EL to the point that he knew the ‘sweetness’, ‘bitterness’, ‘saltiness’, as well as ‘acerbity’, ‘sourness’, ‘foulness’, etc. all kinds of tastes.
This was why he practically had no weapons he was unfamiliar with. He could use all variety of the weapons on the ground, but he wiped all 20 waves with just a single iron sword.
Not only that, he didn’t even glance at the skill books that appeared later and kept destroying the oncoming monsters with the same iron sword.
The reason was simple.
Although this becomes common knowledge in around 1 year, there was a secret that no one knows at this point, and it was that it was possible to acquire the weapon the user is using as long as they select just one weapon and no skills and become level 10.
The weapons that appeared in these Endless Plains were surprisingly all rare-grade items.
Since it had only been 3 days since the game was released, there wouldn’t be any magic-grade items not to mention rare, so rare-grade items possessed huge value.

You have become level [10].
Congratulations. You are qualified to become a ‘Traveller’. According to the will of the chaos, you, as a ‘Dimensional Traveller’ will now visit your first destination, the planet of ‘Treenark.’
There are no specific missions for the Dimensional Travellers. Whatever you do is up to you. However…… problems will have to be solved on your own as well.
May you be blessed with eternal life.
[Hidden Reward: You have acquired ‘Travellers Treasure Sword’]

Flash!!
He was transferred to the planet of Treenark the moment he became level 10. Treenark, simply put, was the first continent that the users of EL would experience.
New planets appeared every 1~3 years after this. In Sanghyuk’s memory, the latest addition to the planets was the 7th one in his past life.
When the light that blurred his vision disappeared, the surrounding scenery had completely changed.
The faint sound of horns that could be heard afar and the familiar looks of the old inn in Falcon City was the same as how Sanghyuk remembered it.
The front and inside of the inn were filled with people who had just become 10 like Sanghyuk, so it was very noisy.
EL only operated a united server that could host users from all over the world. The old internet would be incapable of this, but server ‘loads’ didn’t exist in Dream Network, so almost all games operated with one united server.
Of course, city centers and other locations where many people gathered allowed for channels to prevent congestion, but they only existed in the most densely-populated areas.
In the end, what EL pursued was a single gigantic world.
New users were exchanging information with each other nearby the inn.
Since EL had almost no leaks, the users could only combine their prowess to play the game.
Normally, games would naturally lead the users through some quests, but EL wasn’t so friendly. Nothing was given to the Dimensional Travellers thrown into Treenark.
All they got was a set of tattered clothes that barely hid their body. There wasn’t something like a quest.
Their next course of action should be decided through conversation with NPCs or other users.
Of course, Sanghyuk spoke to neither NPCs nor other users. Since he knew the answer this time as well, he skipped all the working out and went straight to the answer.
The first thing they had to do after becoming a Dimensional Traveller was ‘Soul Engraving’. This piece of information was easily acquired through conversation with NPCs in the inn.
Without Soul Engraving, it was impossible to acquire any experience at all so this was definitely the topmost priority. Soul Engraving, to explain it simply, was something like choosing a job class.
The setting was that users created ‘Soul Holes’ through ‘Soul Engraving’ and insert Ancient Knowledge into those Soul Holes in order to utilize their power, and this part contained one of the unique aspects of EL.
There were thousands upon thousands of ‘Ancient Knowledge’ just in Sanghyuk’s memory. What was interesting that there was no limit to the number of Ancient Knowledge that could be engraved into the soul.
It was possible to engrave all of those thousands of knowledge into the soul. However, absolutely no one engraved that many souls.
There was no limit to the number of engravings, but in compensation, there was a large penalty given every time the number of Ancient Knowledge increased, so 99% of the users possessed 1~5 Ancient Knowledge.
The penalty for the number of Ancient Knowledge was very simple. 1 Ancient Knowledge naturally had no penalties at all. However, engraving one additional Ancient Knowledge would double the experience point requirements to level up.
Engraving one more for a total of 3 Ancient Knowledge would require 4 times the normal amount of experience points to level up.
8 times for 4, 16 times for 5, etc…… The experience points required to level up rose exponentially, so it was realistically impossible to raise the character at all once users went over 5.
Also, Soul Engravings could only be done at level 10, and the only way to erase one’s Ancient Knowledge was to initialize the character’s level to 10.
In other words, they had to throw away all the karma (in EL experience points were called karma) and start over again.
Meaning, they had to carry it to the end once they made a choice.
With this being the case, there was a large amount of controversy and discussion among the users on what number of Soul Engravings was the best.
This debate went on for quite a long time, and the major opinion formed only after around 5 years had passed since the release of EL.
‘One Soul for light users. Double or Triple Soul for hardcore users aiming to become rankers. And lastly, the ones who went with Quadra Souls and Penta Souls all despaired later. Even the money giant user from middle-east ended up giving up after selecting Quadra soul and pouring his money into it. Realistically, Triple Soul is the limit.’
Sanghyuk clearly remembered the collapse of those that saw potential in Quadra and Penta Souls.
“However…… I’m going with Quadra!”
Sanghyuk knew the limits of Quadra more than anyone else. He didn’t just think that it was just ‘difficult’, but it was so hard that even a money giant from the middle east had given up trying to raise one avatar with a Quadra soul even after putting in around 5 million dollars-worth of money.
The reason he chose to go with Quadra despite that…… was thanks to the ‘Unrelenting Challenger’ title that he had acquired through the pains he had experienced in the Endless Pains.

Title – ‘Unrelenting Challenger’
Grade – Unique
Description – May you be praised for your unrelenting will that never gives up despite countless deaths.
Effect – [Prefix: N/A] [Postfix: N/A] [Constant Effect: Reduces the amount of Karma required to level up by half.]

It was thanks to this title that Sanghyuk was able to challenge a Quadra Soul. With this title alone, he could raise his avatar like a Triple Soul despite being a Quadra Soul.
Of course, the quadrupled karma requirements to level up was quite pressuring for him, but he had the confidence to overcome those with the knowledge he had.
In fact, quite a few top rankers raised their characters splendidly with Triple Souls.
While he was thinking, he arrived at ‘The Hall of Souls’. Most cities possessed a Hall of Souls, so anyone could visit them easily.
The process of engraving Ancient Knowledge was to first make a hole for the knowledge into the soul in the Hall of Souls, and then to insert the Ancient Knowledge the user possessed.
Also, it was possible to ‘raise’ and ‘exchange’ Ancient Knowledge, but both of these were only possible through the quests, so users had to be very cautious in inserting Ancient Knowledge.
And naturally, the number of Soul Holes had to be decided in the first Soul Engraving. Engraving one first and another one later was impossible.
The only way to change the number of Soul Holes was to initialize the character’s level to 10 and start over again.
In this case, the Ancient Knowledge in possession disappeared as well, so not many people went with this option unless they were desperate.
Of course, there was no such information right now, so this would happen later through many trials and errors, but that wasn’t something Sanghyuk was concerned about.

“O, Traveller, may you be blessed by the Mother God of Earth and the Sovereign God of the Heavens.”
The NPC protecting the Hall of Souls mentioned the names of all the gods he served.
‘Four soul holes…… Now, I just need to insert the Ancient Knowledge I want one by one.’
Having made four Soul Holes for free in the Hall of Souls, Sanghyuk left the Hall and nodded his head slowly.
There were many different types of Ancient Knowledge. What was interesting was that there were no such things as ranks or grades in Ancient Knowledge. Of course, they did vary according to rarity, but that didn’t correspond to grade.
Just going to the city library would allow users to acquire basic Ancient Knowledge at a low price, but those basic Ancient Knowledge didn’t mean that they were useless.
Since it was possible to raise and exchange Ancient Knowledge, users could change them according to their needs while playing the game.
To put a simple example, ‘Iron Guardian’, which would be acknowledged as the best Ancient Knowledge for tankers was something that could be acquired by raising ‘Guardian Knight’, which was very easy to acquire.
Raising Ancient Knowledge like this was also an important piece of information in EL. It was to the point that information brokers, specializing in this area, had popped up later.
Of course, it wasn’t like it was impossible to do anything without any Ancient Knowledge. There were two types of skills in EL, and one was the ‘Soul Skills’ that were acquired through the Ancient Knowledge, and the other was the ‘basic skills’ that could be acquired regardless of what Ancient Knowledge a user had.
An additional slot would open for the basic skills every 10 levels, and although the maximum level of EL was not set, the amount of karma required to level up would drastically increase later on, so it was impossible to learn infinite basic skills.
Right now, Sanghyuk was drawing a very big picture.
Perhaps the beginning may look very ambiguous since the picture is too large. However, Sanghyuk was dreaming of the future that no one else could possibly imagine, rather than looking what was right in front of him.
This could only be done by people who knew the future.
Without the knowledge of the future, no one could draw the picture that Sanghyuk was drawing right now. No, they wouldn’t be able to create a picture half as big as his.
Even the game developers wouldn’t be able to imagine what he was drawing. The legend of One Man Army started off with the sketch of such a picture.

Translations by AsianHobbyist Website.

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