Chapter 10 – Unlocking Initial Attributes (Without Permission)
For breakfast, Hikaru went to the same hotdog stand as yesterday. It wasn’t as if he liked the food, but the owner kept staring at him. That, and a different aroma from yesterday floated in the air.
He had dinner at the yakisoba place last night. Freshly-cooked yakisoba was even more delicious. The man remembered Hikaru so he gave him extra. It was too much, in fact, that Hikaru had difficulty finishing it.
The hotdog sauce was different from yesterday. This time it was brown.
Hmm… What’s this? It’s not sweet like yesterday. It smells… fishy.
「Honestly, it tastes horrible.」he said without thinking.
Hearing Hikaru’s comment, the owner ground his teeth.
「Did you taste it? What did you put in this thing?」
「It’s special-made sauce with fish sauce as base.」
Hikaru stood there, dumbfounded.
「Good grief. You gotta have ketchup and mustard for hotdogs. That’s textbook stuff!」
The man had no idea what ketchup and mustard were so Hikaru told him. He knew how ketchup was made, but not mustard. He could only tell him what it looked like and how it tasted.
As soon as Hikaru stepped into the Adventurers Guild, he felt several gazes on him.
「Hey, it’s that kid…」
「The brat who gets special treatment not only from Jill-chan but also from Gloria-chan…」
Hikaru didn’t notice them whispering to each other. As to why…
The moment she saw Hikaru, Jill came running to him from behind the counter.
「Are you okay?! Did they do anything to you?!」
「Wh-What’s up with you?」
She touched his head and pretty much his whole body. Hikaru was clueless as to what was going on.
Jill grasped his hand.
「Come with me. I want to talk to you」
Her hand was soft and warm. She was so close that Hikaru could smell a delightful scent drifting from her. The adventurers whined as they watched Jill pulled him by the hand. Hikaru felt the same as well.
This girl’s attitude turned a complete 180!
His mind was calm, but he was not used to being around women. They both entered the booth that Gloria showed him to yesterday.
「I was shocked to find out this morning that you had taken a request. Gloria made you do it, didn’t she?」
「It was more like she recommended it to me and I accepted. I didn’t expect that I was delivering a letter to a big shot from the Thieves Guild.」
Jill heaved a deep sigh.
「If you know that, then I guess you completed it. How’d you do it?」
「It was just a simple delivery.」
「There’s no way Gloria would urge you to do a simple delivery. Seeing as it went well, you must be extremely lucky.」
Hikaru’s Stealth Skill was being chalked up to pure luck. He didn’t really mind it, of course.
「So Gloria is quite the hypocrite as well.」
「She is. Wait, what do you mean “as well”?」
「You’re not seriously thinking I’m like her, are you?! Sheesh… You should stay away from Gloria, Hikaru-kun. Take requests when I’m around. I’ll give you priority over the other adventurers.」
「I can choose requests on my own.」
「You took Gloria’s suggestion yesterday, didn’t you? If you just take requests without careful consideration, your future will be grim.」
「I think the bigger problem here is the guild hiring someone like her as a receptionist. Besides, it wasn’t like I didn’t give it proper thought. I took the request because it seemed like there was a catch.」
「What? Why?! Normally you’d turn something down because there’s a catch!」
「It sounded fun.」
Jill gave an exasperated sigh.
「Hikaru-kun, lady luck won’t always be by your side. They call that “beginners’ luck” by the way…」
「Fine, fine. I get it. I’ve had enough of your lectures.」
「I didn’t even say much!」
「More importantly, I want to take a request.」
He was about to say “I don’t want to waste any time”, but he swallowed the words as it would only lead to another lengthy conversation.
「O-Of course. I have to give you requests while I’m here. I recommend these.」
She took out a bunch of request forms.
「Shopping for the Church」
「Coal Replenishment for a Blacksmith」
「Chat with the Elderly」
「Rejected.」he said, turning them all down.
「Why?! These are all important requests that benefit the town!」
「Let kids from families that need the money or jobless people do those. Why would they send those kinds of requests to the Adventurers’ Guild anyway?」
「Quest Hunters love these, though.」
Probably like some sort of collectors. Except in this case, they collect quests. They don’t care what the job is; they just want to take requests.
「I want to make money efficiently.」
「You want to become rich? Yikes.」
Jill gave him a disgusted look. Hikaru was pissed. He wanted to tell her she was the one with the horrible attitude.
「Actually, there’s a profitable request that even you can handle.」
「You could’ve told me sooner」
Hikaru snatched the form from Jill.
..【Red-Horned Rabbit】It doesn’t matter how many. Just deliver them.
..【Reward】Basic Reward: 0 gilans. 10,000 gilans for each rabbit.
「Continuous quests are always ongoing so you can take them anytime. Red-Horned Rabbits are fast, but that’s all. You can kill them with only a knife.」
「Hmm. This much reward for something that easy?」
「You’ll find out once you try it.」
「…You’re not sending me somewhere dangerous again, are you?」
「You’re making me sound like I’m a horrible person! And no, I’m not. There’s zero risk in this quest. Oh, but you’re gonna have to go outside town, so it’s dangerous in a way. Personally, I’d recommend something like Babysitting…」
「All right. I’ll take this.」
「You don’t have to actually formally accept it. It’s a continuous quest, after all. It’ll probably take days for you to kill one. Good luck. You look feeble, though. Will you be okay? How about wiping windows around town instead…」
「Oh, give me a break. I said I’m doing it.」
「Fine. Red-Horned Rabbits give high rewards. It’s an initiation quest for beginners to let them know that if they work hard, they can get whatever they want. It’s perfect for you so you’d keep giving it your best in the future.」
「The line’s getting longer now so I have to go back to the counter. Be careful out there. It’s okay to be lily-livered. In fact, being too much of a coward should be to your benefit. All right? Even if you come up empty, under no circumstances should you camp outside town. The gates will close at dusk so make sure you return until then.」
「That’s a promise, okay? Later.」
She was just like a mother warning her kid. Hikaru saw Jill off with a sour look on his face.
「So it takes days to kill one of these rabbits, huh?」
His expression changed to that of a child up to mischief. He was aware of the several gazes resting on him.
After entering the reference room, Hikaru positioned himself as close to the wall as possible. In a five meter-radius… there. One of the adventurers who was glaring at him.
It’s the perfect opportunity. I’ll have you be my test subject in my experiment.
Hikaru focused his mind.
So I don’t have to actually see them to summon their Soul Boards.
He had booted up another’s Soul Board.
【Soul Board】Zernenko Rigalow
Age: 22 Rank: 11
All right! There we go! He has his Immunity unlocked! I see. So it’s immunity to magic spells, disease, and poison.
He wanted to check the details, but it seemed he couldn’t bring up the descriptions. Perhaps because it wasn’t his own Soul Board.
Whatever. They’re pretty self-explanatory. The only additional info I’d get is the maximum points that could be allocated. All right, let’s check out the other boards.
There was nothing noteworthy under Magical Power. Intuition and the hexagon board weren’t unlocked either.
So there are nine different weapons under Weapon Mastery… But what about axes or clubs? What’s the basis for choosing these weapons anyway?
Hikaru had various guesses but no definite answer.
I lack data to actually arrive at a conclusion. On to the next. I haven’t seen this board… Oh, the pentagon one.
The pentagon board had Dexterity.
Hmm, so Tool Mastery has to be unlocked first. It’s not combat-related. Going by RPGs, I suppose it has something to do with production? Though it sounds like Dexterity might affect weapons mastery as well.
Hikaru folded his arms, thinking.
He has 2 points in Agility so that’s a total of 15 points used. It’s confirmed. Total points = Age + Rank.
Roland didn’t have knowledge about Soul Boards. Which means it’s not something a normal human being can access. So that begs the question: how did this Zernenko guy allocate his points? No, that’s not it. Jill would’ve told me something. Gloria only asked me about my class. The owner himself allocates the points without him noticing? Or…
Or perhaps by achieving a certain level of proficiency, points get automatically allocated. Yes, that’s more likely the case. Like a bonus for those who trained hard. Man, this ability really is amazing. Allocating points freely is basically a shortcut. I don’t have to train and all that.
Hikaru was deep in thought when he heard voices.
「What’s he doing in the reference room?」
「Beats me. I can’t wait until he gets out so we can “socialize” with him.」
「Hehehe. Socialize, eh? You mean he’s gonna get some thrashing.」
It was Zernenko and his buddies. It seemed they’ve been eyeing Hikaru because he was being pampered by a receptionist and it ticked them off.
Huh… Big words. I really don’t like you guys either. In fact, y’all get on my nerves.
An idea sprang up in Hikaru’s mind. He could allocate others’ Soul Board points himself. Now normally, that would be favourable for the owner. But what if he used the points to unlock attributes? It wouldn’t result into anything. Hikaru also wanted to know what other attributes and Skills were there on the Soul Board.
Hikaru’s mouth curved into a wicked smile.
【Unlock Soul Board? 1 point required.】
I’m going to use the rest of your points to decipher the rest of the unlockable attributes. First is the hexagon board.
Oh, willpower! With this, the list is complete – Vitality, Magical Power, Physical Strength, Agility, Dexterity, Willpower, and Intuition.
Hikaru felt great having his curiosity satisfied.
Zero for both Charisma and Appeal, huh… That’s just sad. Nah. The Soul Board merely provides a little extra. I have zero points in Physical Strength, but it’s not like I have no muscle strength. It’s safe to assume that the points from the Soul Board are simply added bonus.
He felt awful using up only Zernenko’s points – though it was a little bit late for that – so he used his two buddies’s points as well.
The results were as follows:
He already knew everything under Physical Strength and Agility.
Tsk. Damn it. I couldn’t use up a lot of their points.
Hikaru clicked his tongue at something completely trivial. Incidentally, the other two guys had their points allocated similar to Zernenko with three points being the highest. These men were fighters and already this powerful. Hikaru realized how ridiculous it would be if they had their attributes maxed out.
I now know all the initial attributes. Next would be to check how many of those derivative Skills (e.g. Assassination and Sniper) there were. Unfortunately, I can’t study them.
In order to check, he had to allocate points to the Skills of the men who despised him.
Whatever. I don’t really need the information right now. If I bump into someone skilled, I’ll just check their Soul Board.
Hikaru nodded to himself as he studied information he needed for his quest.
「Is he coming out or what?」
「I’m getting sleepy.」
There were still men waiting for Hikaru outside.
After leaving the Adventurers Guild, Hikaru bought lunch from a stall. He could be out of town all day. He got a sandwich worth 30 gilans. He filled his flask with water as well. Several gazes followed him from behind.
「There he goes.」
「Looks like he took a request.」
「Outside of town?」
「Based on the direction he’s going, probably.」
「Let’s do it outside, then.」
「Good idea. If we “socialized” with him in town, guards might come.」
They were fans of Jill and Gloria and their numbers have increased to six. Keeping their distance, they tailed Hikaru. They were awful at tailing that a common adventurer would notice right away that he was being followed.
「Hmm? Out for a quest again today?」
The man who talked to Hikaru was the gatekeeper at the time he went out to get glimmering poisonous plants.
「Be careful out there. Remember: there’s no such thing as being too cautious. You’re an adventurer, not a guard like me. Being scared is not a bad thing.」
「I know. But thank you for the advice.」
「You’re welcome. Kids should listen to words of advice.」
Treating me like a kid, I see. Well, there are a lot of tall, muscular men in this world so compared to them, I might look like a kid. But it’s not like I’m small either! I’m not small! Hikaru thought as he bowed.
The gatekeeper smiled pleasantly.
「All righty, then.」
He couldn’t think properly last time since he was starving. But it’s different this time. He could now survey his surroundings properly.
Just outside the gate was a coach station. There were different kinds of beings there, not just humans. Demi-humans. Elves. There were also travellers and merchants.
Past the station were several inns and as he went farther, he saw farmhouses. Unlike the ones inside the town, they were wooden and poorly-made. Behind the structures were wide fields that the families have cultivated. Despite being unfortunate, these people lived strong.
As he went farther, there were less and less houses. He was now face to face with Mother Nature.
The road before him stretched for miles and miles. Blue mountaintops loomed in the distance. Grass on meadows gently undulated like silver waves in the breeze, revealing the paths of the wind that blew by. A stream flowed softly nearby. Birds soared high up in the sky, singing.
「It’s finally beginning.」
Hikaru was getting a tad bit excited. And behind him were six adventurers.
「All right. We should surround that kid now… Wait, what?」
They couldn’t believe their eyes. Hikaru supposedly hid himself behind a tall thicket, but when they checked, he was gone.
No one could sense Hikaru once he had his Stealth on and his class set to Stealth God: Darkness Wanderer. There wasn’t anyone in Pond – no, the whole kingdom of Ponsonia who could.
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