Chapter 40 Mad Marlo
“I refuse!” The words werent spoken loud but clapped like thunder in Lexs ear. He froze in surprise, unaware of how to react. Mary, who was secretly watching, also froze in shock! The system itself forgot to give the notification for the failed quest as the present circumstance was so unexpected.
Marlos body began to tense up and his muscle slightly flexed, preparing for any reaction. Lex, with his low cultivation, would never have noticed the minute changes on his own but the aid of the system and the Host Attire made him cognizant of anything happening around him while he was there. He let out a defeated smile, Marlo was adamant in his answer even if it meant he might encounter a fight.
“Relax,” Lex said, “the choice is yours, no one will force you. But if you dont mind me asking, why did you decline? I dont think our offer is lacking.”
“For anyone else, its not. Ive spent half my life with a crippled core and never heard of anything that could fix it, but your contract I could feel a chance to heal. Ive spent my entire life looking up to the Nascent realm, but out in the universe I cant even imagine what else there is to find…maybe, things I dare not even think of…” Marlos voice trailed off, as if he was thinking of something. Lex did not disturb him, and Marlo did not leave him waiting for too long..
“But no matter how tempting the offer, if I accept I will become a subordinate for life. I will have to bend my knee, have to bow my head, and that I cannot accept!” His voice was suddenly full of vigor again, his eyes burning with determination. “Maybe to others it may seem like a stupid notion to give up such an opportunity for my pride, but to me there is no reward high enough or threat grave enough to make me yeild! Everything I am, I have built step by step, encountering foe after foe, overcoming death time and time again! Maybe because of this, I will be stuck on Earth for the rest of my life, with no hope of breaking through. Maybe there will be countless others who will surpass me in the universe, reaching heights far greater than my own, but no one, NO ONE, on Earth or in the rest of the universe can ever make Hanson Marlo Bravi III kneel!”
As soon as the enthusiastic giant was done with his speech Lex received the painful notification of failed Quest as well as the 1000MP that he lost. But at the moment he wasnt paying attention to it, his focus was entirely on Marlo. To be honest, he was really starting to admire the man. It was a pity that he could not get him to join as an employee.
“Mary, is there anything else I can do right now?” Lex asked, communicating mentally. “I really dont want to miss out on this opportunity of having Marlo work for the Inn.”
The tiny floating assistant appeared before him, her brows scrunched up as if she was deep in thought. After a moment she said, “The influence of the Inn spans the universe, its services are numerous, and its reach infinite. Naturally, to support all of this you will need to gather subordinates of your own, but not everything has to be done by yourself and your subordinates. Thats exactly what the Trials were made for. You can use the them as a way of maintaining a relationship with Marlo, the only thing you need to consider is how to reward him. Based on Marlos current condition, there are two things he currently really needs – firstly he needs his core fixed, and secondly he needs the various injuries in his body healed. Right now you cannot fix his core, but if you upgrade the recovery room once you can heal his body through the RP. That is the opportunity you can provide him.”
“Then lets do that,” Lex said, suppressing his once again bleeding heart at the MP hed have to spend to upgrade the recovery room if Marlo completed the trial. But it was a short term loss for a long term gain, he wanted to establish a relationship with the giant. Furthermore, he knew exactly what kind ofcontract work he could offer Marlo as he had long been trying to figure out a way to get his hands on some special items.
“I admire your spirit,” Lex said aloud to Marlo. “Normally, if someone were to reject my contract – which has never happened before, just by the way – I would simply send them back. But you…I feel like offering you another path… a trial, if you will. If you succeed you will get a reward, if you fail you get nothing.”
Marlo frowned when he heard the offer, not immediately accepting it. “Why would you offer me anotherpath? You dont stand to gain anything from it.”
“Think of it as me taking an interest in you. Ive shown you a path to surpass your world. If you have the guts to take it, if you have the strength, that remains to be seen…” with that Lex waved his hand again and another contract appeared before Marlo. It stated the conditions for the Trial, and the option to accept or decline. If he accepted he would be transferred to the location of the trial, and if he denied he would be returned to Earth. Before Marlo could finish reading the conditions, Lex disappeared. There was nothing left for them to talk about, and if Lex tried to persuade Marlo that would diminish his image as the Innkeeper.
Marlo noticed the Innkeeper disappearing, but returned his attention to the trial conditions. It read:Within 7 days kill 10,000 tier 1, 1000 tier 2, 100 tier 3 and 10 tier 4 zombies and recover their cores. After 7 days, or when you have recovered the cores you will automatically be returned to the Inn. Reward: Heal all injuries in your body besides the core.
From talking to Lex he had some idea that the tiers reflected Body Tempering, Qi Training and Foundation realms reflected tier 1, 2 and 3 respectively so tier 4 probably was also equivalent to Golden core. Considering he couldnt afford to get scratched this was a difficult task, but when had he shied away from difficulty? Marlo let out a mad grin and accepted.
As soon as he disappeared, Lex and Mary reappeared, looking at the place where the giant once stood.
“10 tier 4 zombies might be too difficult, dont you think you made it too hard?”
“Since he wants me to pay for his recovery, he should also pay the price.” Lex would not admit he was slightly bitter about being rejected. It was totally to cover the cost of his MP.
When Marlo reappeared, the first thing he saw was war! He was standing on a cliff, looking down at a city under siege. The city had walls over thirty feet high and ten feet wide, made of some kind of metal. The walls were covered in some kind of forcefield that started to burn any zombies that came within, but the burning was not enough to stop the zombies. Massive cannons and turrets shot nonstop at the endless hordes, and soldiers unleashed their techniques at any zombies that were nearby. But all that firepower barely caused a ripple in the horde that looked like it contained several million zombies! Not to mention, not all zombies were the size of regular humans. Massive beasts that looked like giant twenty feet tall lizards with six legs as well as wings formed what looked like a cavalry as they charged at the city from the skies, only to be shot down by air turrets as well as cultivators flying using some kind of strange body suits.
Although Marlo had lost his spiritual sense when his Golden Core was crippled, his instincts had been honed when he cultivated his body, and his instincts were telling him that Golden Core level cultivators were dime a dozen on this battlefield, and there were many who surpassed that realm. This was the most astounding battle he had ever seen, and instead of fear he was filled with endless drive and excitement. Earth had become too boring for him, and since his cultivation journey had come to an end he barely had anything to drive his ambitions. Although he had discovered some ways to increase his strength without increasing his cultivation, it was a slow and new process so it was unknown where it would lead him. But in front of him now was a new world with a much broader horizon, and it was up to him to reap its gifts.
The first thing he did was analyze the situation. Someone who only knew of his reputation might find that strange, as they would have expected the excitable giant to charge right in. But he was not stupid, in fact he was quite a bit smarter than anyone knew. He did not reach his level through blindly charging into fights, he was actually quite meticulous. His massive appearance and excitable personality were in fact his greatest ruse, to trick people into underestimating him. He loved being underestimated, especially when people underestimated his intelligence – it made his tasks so much easier. Furthermore, he was cultivating his body using a method he came up with himself, but it also filled him with unstable power that often hurt his body and caused him great pain. When he was unable to keep from yelling from pain, he would start laughing and use that as a cover to scream.
Right now, the most foolish thing he could do was to attract attention, from the zombies or the people of the city. He would attack the hordes from the sides and slowly complete his trial. He kept observing for a few hours, and when he had a good understanding of the flow of battle as well as the terrain, he jumped off the cliff and right into the edge of the zombie horde. It was time to begin the trial!
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