Saturday, June 10, 2017

Hero Without Blood or Tear Prologue&Chapter 1


Prologue
Translator: Rockgollem
Editor: Deus Ex Machina, Perditor
It was a one messed up game.



Title: <Guardian of Humanity>. It was an unprecedented huge hit that swept across the world and created countless gaming addicts.
The goal was to fight various demon lords invading the empire and to defend humanity. Its difficulty was nothing to scoff at, but it was loved by numerous fans across the world for being the most realistic virtual reality game. However, <Guardian of Humanity> also had its point of infamy just like its superior gameplay.
It was because nobody had seen the good ending. The biggest point of interest for fans worldwide was when someone would finally get the good ending.
There were several candidates most likely to achieve this, and one of the stronger candidate was me, Han Jaewoo. As a 22 year old Korean Gamer, I was globally ranked No.1 in this game. The game did not have PvP features, so in game achievement points were used to rank people.
My current score was 546,200,000 points.
The person in second place only had 192,300,000 points; so it could not be compared.  
“Frickin’ hell!”
I dived on top of my bed and threw a pillow to the side. Lately, there were precious few moments where profane words were not coming out of my mouth.  
It was all because despite being ranked No.1 in the world, I have yet to reach the good ending. Even after playing for 2 years, there was no solution. Frankly, people’s attention towards me from all over the world grew more burdensome as well. I monotonously browsed through the internet out of frustration.
  • Hey, don’t you think Han Jaewoo is overrated?
  • Does it matter if he’s rank No.1? He can’t get the good ending same as me.
  • What he said.
A sigh automatically came out after scrolling through the comment section of an article about the game. These bastards didn’t even know how I felt. They knew nothing about how desperate I was to get the good ending. Seriously, I was willing to do anything to get the good ending.
“I mean, what the hell kind of a game is this....”
I grumbled every time, but <Guardian of Humanity> was always on my mind whether I was awake or asleep. The real world and the virtual world had a different flow of time and I had already spent more than 100 years in the game.
The accelerated passage of time in the virtual world was made possible with nanobots in people’s head.
I developed new walkthroughs quicker than anyone else. People were amazed whenever I broke the achievement score record and grew more awed at my skills.  
I had no intentions of giving up this game.
  • Hey, is Han Jaewoo going to post a new walkthrough anytime soon?
  • He’s the one who discovered how to beat most of the demon lords after all.
  • I guess so. If it wasn’t for Han Jaewoo, people still wouldn’t be able to kill a high ranking demon lord.
You bastards were putting me down until just a moment ago. Why are they suddenly praising me again.
“Ah, I’m hungry.”
Due to the long play session, there was a twinge of hunger ringing across my stomach. I only realized it was twilight after looking out the window. I opened up a cup noodle and poured the boiling water in. After a moment, a delicious aroma wafted over. The sensation of warm steam tickling the cheeks was also enjoyable.
“Hmm?”
There was a post saying that the <Guardian of Humanity> website had a new event on the page.
“What? A normal character play?”
While reading the event notes, the ramen noodles I put in my mouth had slid out. The event was something unbelievably outrageous.

<><><><><>
We wish to present a special event for everyone enjoying <Guardian of Humanity>! Instead of the normal “guardian” character, have a go at the game with a regular character! The player who accumulates the most achievement score with a regular character in 6 months will win a prize!
The prize is 25,000,000,000 won!
Anyone can participate.
<><><><><>
The prize money was incredible. Even now, in 2045, despite inflation and the value of money not being the same as before, it was enough sum to live out the rest of life comfortably.
There was no way I wouldn’t be hooked. But the event itself was too strange. Due to the diabolical difficulty of the game, <Guardian of Humanity> allowed players to pick top tier class “guardians” from the get go.
The playable guardians were:
  • Hero of Humanity: One Who Sold Soul to Darkness
  • Red Dragon Knight: Red Dragon Tercia’s Fiancé(e)
  • Iron Prince-Elector: Iron Blooded Political Hero
  • Archbishop of the Exorcist Order: One Who Exorcises Evil Demons

And so forth. Their titles alone told just how amazing their classes were. But this was a game which could not be beaten even with such classes. So what was this about trying to see how far people could go with regular characters?
What kind of sadistic concept was this? I had no idea whose head this idea came out of, but the goal was definitely to embarrass the top ranking players around the world.
“These idiot admins always do the weirdest things.”
I stopped caring immediately.
I had reputation and face to keep as the No.1 ranked player in the world. What kind of embarrassment would I run into while playing as a regular character? It wasn’t as if there wasn’t a crowd out there waiting for me to fail already.
Just one mistake and people would turn it into a meme and immortalize it online. Everything was a pain in the ass, so I just fell asleep on the bed as is.
But people didn’t leave the world rank No.1 alone.
***
  • You scared, Han Jaewoo?
  • Look at the pussy run.
  • He probably looked at it and figured he couldn’t hack it. Probably thinks it’s better to pretend he never heard of it than get embarrassed.
  • No, I think I can understand. How the hell do you beat it with regular character when even guardian characters are getting smashed?
A month after the announcement of the event, forums were filled with posts denigrating me. The point of contention was why the world rank No.1 wouldn’t participate in such a fun event.
“These guys, seriously....”
I grabbed the back of my neck at the sensation of blood pressure rising. It wasn’t as if I wasn’t interested in it. But after looking at the scores that were coming up since the event started, I gave up without any regret.
The current top score was 7,923.
7,923.
7,923.
What were they doing to only get 7,923? It was night and day compared to the 546,200,000 I earned with a guardian character.
Furthermore, the person who managed to score 7,932 points was the world rank No.2. His skills were lacking compared to mine, but he was someone famous who made numerous appearances on gaming shows. It was even more shocking since I recognized him as a good player.
I was flabbergasted. It was a good move to not participate.  Plus, if you died once in the game, that was the end. If you were playing as a regular character and got hit by a shrapnel from nowhere, that was game over.
In addition, the world ranking No.3 currently had the score of zero. He had slipped on a cow pie while walking and died from smashing his head on the ground. He was the laughingstock of the world right now.
Everyone called the rank No.3 the “Shitty Death”. Consequently, it seems he gave up everything he had built up until now to make a new account. Being called “shitty death” or “cow shit” everywhere you went, I could understand.
It made me afraid. I was too afraid to have the confidence to join the event.
***
3 months after the event started, insults towards me became more pronounced. Even internet gaming broadcasts decried me.
  • Han Jaewoo from Korea is a coward. He’s refusing this grand adventure for the sake of resting on his laurels. He is the only person in top 10 rank to ignore this event so far. He should chop off his manhood if he doesn’t have the balls for it.
A famous Swedish man who ran a popular gaming channel called Powdiepae was constantly attacking me lately. I didn’t know what people liked about him for him to have millions of subscribers, but I was being turned into a world famous coward.
“Fine, damn it. I’ll do it. I’ll do it.”
Grind
I grinded my teeth. I wasn’t stupid and wasn’t willing to enter without a strategy. To undo a screw, you needed a screwdriver. The top rankers so far played as if they were strong enough to take out the screw without a screwdriver.
Idiots.
I had secretly been studying for a way to beat the game playing with a regular character. But there wasn’t enough information. The event rules made it so footages and details of participants playing a regular character could not be released.
It was because the latecomers would have the advantage otherwise. I could rely only on myself and my wisdom to solve this problem.
Browsing through secrets and knowledge about the game world, I looked for a way to raise a regular character. Another 3 months passed. The end of the event was close by.
While I was focused on finding a way to beat the game without proper sleep or food, world’s interest towards me had died down. However, I finally obtained one of the secrets of the world.
“I did it! I found it!”
Right. With this, I had a chance even with a regular character.
It was time to surprise everyone.
A week before the event ended.
I left a short post on my SNS.
“I’m going to participate”
That alone was enough.
That day, the internet flowed with hyped up gamers.



Chapter 1: Red Dragon’s Fruit (1)
You could participate the event only in places the developer had set up, so I needed to go down to the Korean branch of the developer’s company, Aquila Software Inc. I started out after finishing all the preparations.
“What the...”
I came without any thought, but the media had already camped outside of the building. I knew about half the faces there. Being the world’s rank No.1, I had plenty of chances to run into journalists.
“He’s here! It’s Han Jaewoo!”
“Mr. Han Jaewoo!”
The journalists swarmed over. Thanks to that, I had to do an unexpected press conference.
“What’s the reason behind participating only now?”
“Hmm… I was looking for ways to beat the game until now.”
“Does that mean you found something?”
“You are correct.”
“Ohhh! And what did you find?”
The journalists showed great interest, but I wasn’t about to share anything.
“No comment.”
“Don’t be like that! Give us something!”
They smelled blood in the water and none of the journalists gave up. But I kept my mouth closed.
“I’ll share after the game’s over.”
I finished with that and entered the competition ground.
“Welcome, Mr. Han Jaewoo. We were waiting for you.”
A middle aged gentleman looking like the one in charge greeted me.
“Ah, hello. My name is Han Jaewoo.”
“I am Aquila.”
“Ah!”
The human-like being in front of my eyes was the artificial intelligence that created <Guardian of Humanity>: Aquila. This middle aged gentleman must be one of the androids Aquila uses.
“I have always watched your gameplays with great interest, Mr. Han Jaewoo. I thank you for participating in this event.”
“Well, I wasn’t able to get the good ending like everyone else either.”
“Hahah, you don’t need to think of it like that. Mr. Han Jaewoo, your gameplays are different than other people.”
Aquila seemed to be happy with my visit today.
“Mr. Han Jaewoo, you will stay here while you play. I’ll take special attention so nothing happens to your body meanwhile.”
“Thank you. Then I’ll get started right away.”
“Before that, I have a tip I’d like to tell you. It’s something I tell all participants before starting, so you don’t need to be concerned.”
According to Aquila, playing as a regular character was difficult, but there was one advantage. It was that all the guardian characters you could choose from appeared in the game when playing as a regular character.
In the game, if you chose one of the guardian characters, other guardians did not appear in the game as if they were gone. As if several suns could not exist under a single sky.
But if the player chose a regular character, all those guardian characters you could pick from appeared in the game.
“If you utilize this fact well, then there may be good results.”
“I suppose it would be easier to take down the demon lords with more than one guardian around?”
Aquila smiled mysteriously at my question.
“You wouldn’t know for sure.”
“Huh? Why’s that?”
I tried to ask more, but Aquila answered he could not say more due to the event regulation.
“There is one thing I am curious about. If it’s you, Mr. Han Jaewoo, I don’t doubt you will take first place in this event as well. Do you plan on continuing the game even after scoring first place in the achievement score?”
Considering he was saying something like that, there definitely was something hidden about the regular character.
“Yes, once I start, I don’t plan on ending it before the game’s over.”
Though I didn’t tell anyone, I was obsessed over the good ending. Since all the guardians showed up in a regular character play, there could be a new way to beat the game. Plus, I wasn’t ready to give up before trying out my hidden card in the game.
“Very well, then I will promise you here. If you reach the good ending with a regular character, on top of the prize money, we at Aquila Software Inc. will provide a special reward.”
“I look forward to it.”
There was nothing more to gain by talking. Now was the time for action. I laid down in the nearest virtual world interface machine.
“I’ll start then.”
“Best of luck to you, Mr. Han Jaewoo.”
With Aquila’s farewell, the game started.
***
Once started, there wasn’t any grand intro cinematic or any sort of greeting. When starting as a guardian character, there was a scene where a king and the common folk came out to greet you. Then they ask you to secure the future of the humanity.
But starting with a regular character…
It was a countryside village.
“Oi, Valler, clean out the cowpies.”
The old man beside me handed a pitchfork over as if he was annoyed and shoved me along unpleasantly. I naturally knew that man was my uncle.
While heading over to the pen, I quickly opened my status screen.
____________________________________________________________________________
Name: Vallerstadter Valler
Age: 22
Level: 0 (No Class)
HP: 20
MP: 0
Renown: 0 (Young Man Who Stacks Hay in Countryside)
Strength: 18
Intelligence: 10
Dexterity: 22
Constitution: 20
Charisma: 5
Skill:
None
____________________________________________________________________________
W, what? What is this countryside bumpkin with the only thing good about him being healthy?
The stats were so low I could shed a tear. I could understand how the world rank No.3 could slip on cowpie and die.
I was so scared I didn’t even have the confidence to go down to the pen. I opened up the minimap. I needed to know where I was.
“Hmm… Spandau.”
My current location was a tiny countryside village in the northern part of the empire. There were cities nearby, but I was in a village in any case.
So what do I do now?
I had prepared my own set of hidden cards to play, but there were many mountains to climb before I could show them. As a regular person, I needed to at least grow to a certain point where I can survive.
Thankfully, I already knew a lot of information about this world. If I carefully sifted through them, I could find a way to gather some strength with this life that’s no better than a fly’s.
“Kuuh….”
I couldn’t come up with an answer no matter how long I looked at the map. It would be more accurate to say I knew the answer, but there was no way to achieve it. I knew where the hidden treasures like dragon heart were. The real issue was that hidden treasures were guarded by powerful monsters.
There was nothing I could do when I didn’t even own a sword. I was deep in my contemplation when I saw the stars in front of me.
Crash
“I told you to clean up the cow pies!”
Turning back, the uncle was furious.
Aigoo, what is with this life.
I picked up the farming tool and headed over to the pen while grumbling. In there, I scrolled through a bit of history about this person called Valler in the character screen.
“Hmm…”
Valler’s parents had passed away when he was young. Since then, his uncle had been using him almost as a slave. I figured this uncle didn’t treat him like a nephew in the first place.
He was a rotten person.
While I was pretending to clean out the cow pies, I decided to run away in the middle of the night.
***
The night had come.
“Kurrragggghhh! Kuraaagh-phew.”
Uncle’s snoring was quite loud. I moved carefully. I had already packed up before night came. The reason why I waited until night was to steal uncle’s money. Valler knew where uncle had hid the money, but he was too much of a coward to do anything.
Creak Creak
I carefully sifted through the furniture in uncle’s room while standing on the tip of my toes, and found the pouch of money.
Clang
The bag was filled with coins from the sound of it. I pocketed it without hesitation and escaped from the house.
The wheat field glistened in all direction from the moonlight shining down. The game was unbelievably realistic compared to to the game I had been playing in my room.
“It’s so real.”
I ran industriously while admiring the surrounding environment that was indistinguishable from real world. Valler was healthy and possessed good stamina. Soon, a small river that marked the border of the village showed up. If I crossed the tiny wooden bridge without any fence, that was the end of this tiny hellhole.
“You! You rotten bastard-!”
That was when a large man came chasing from behind while his shout weakly echoed through the night. It was the uncle. I thought he was asleep, but he somehow knew the money was gone. I hesitated for a moment, but stood waiting on the bridge.
“You ungrateful whelp! You aren’t even thankful for me raising you, but you even run off with my money! Pant! Pant!”
He sounded murderous while panting for breath. He even brought a quarterstaff to try to beat me half to death. With a single strike to the head from a quarterstaff, I would die. Nobody would care if a mere slave died in some countryside like this. His intention was to kill.
But wasn’t that underestimating me too much? Even though I’m only level 0, I still possessed battle experience from having playing as a hero before.
I wouldn’t die to some middle aged man with a beer gut swinging a quarterstaff. Plus, Valler was fairly agile as well.
“Take this!”
Woosh
The quartestaff swung down with murderous aura. But I quickly dodged. It was little close due to being in a regular person’s body, but wasn’t too bad overall.
“Oi! You dodged?”
Uncle became even more furious as if he had not expected it. But it wasn’t as if this man knew martial arts. The way he swung the staff with all his might in the middle of the night was clumsy. He couldn’t even calculate the distance correctly and struck somewhere near my feet.
I quickly grabbed the quarterstaff and held on to it. Soon, the uncle could not hide his anger any longer.
“You! You bastard!”
He let go of the staff completely and rushed over while swinging his fists in a wide arc. He figured he could probably take me on with just his bare fists. But I ducked slightly to dodge. He simply could not stop his own momentum from making himself fall off the bridge.
Splash
“Uwwaaaahh!”
He splashed around after falling into cold water in the middle of the night. The river only came up to his waist, but he made it sound as if he was drowning. After looking at that absurd scene for a moment, I started beating him with the quarterstaff.
Twack! Crack! Twack!
“Arrrgh! You son of a-! Owww!”
A sound of a pig dying rang across the night sky. I purposefully avoided hitting him on the head. He would die if I hit him on the head, so I aimed only at the shoulders. First he stood there taking the hits with his willpower, but started wading away across the river when it became too painful to bear.
I chased after him and kept swinging the quarterstaff down while running.
“Arrrgh! Oww!”
Uncle’s pained shout rang across the wheat field every time. It sounded like a pig dying. I didn’t hold back one bit. The reason wasn’t because he slapped me on the back of the head in the morning.
It was because while playing as a character called Valler, I could slowly feel his emotions and memories. His past pain and suffering were not a joke, and I intended to pay it all back.
That man was a trash who treated his nephew like a livestock.
“Kuaaah!”
He finally collapsed after being done in with the quarterstaff. From the way he was shaking, it would take months to fully recover.
It usually took a while to recover from a beating anyhow. It was lucky he survived at all.
“Twe! Live properly from now on!”
I spat at him and turned around. Despite being chased and chasing in the middle of night, it felt quite good. Plus, since I took the young man’s uncle’s money, there was no need to worry about money for a while.
I chose my direction to the west. In that direction was a place where Havel river had flooded over to create a swamp, and there was a legendary potion even a regular person like me could obtain.
If I could obtain that legendary potion, I didn’t need to worry about dying like a fly anymore. As expected, things were going smooth even as a regular person because I was playing. I peeked over at my achievement screen.
<The Start as an Adventurer!: +10 Points>
It was a fairly high score for beating up a middle aged man with beer gut. Considering in late game, taking down an ogre would only net you 1 point, it seemed that starting an adventure was valued highly.
“Alright, let’s breeze through this.”
I shouldered the quarterstaff and excitedly started running under shining moonlight.


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