Once I finished my 280th piece of firewood, my hunger became worse and I started to become dizzy. However, I didn’t stop.
‘I wouldn’t be me if I gave up at this point.’
Since childhood, I had never been good at anything. I wasn’t smart, wasn’t handsome, and my personality wasn’t good. I wasn’t even good at sports or exercising. I didn’t have a special talent in a single field.
I had no abilities, felt severe jealousy towards others, and made excuses…
I couldn’t deny that I was a bad representation of the human race. However, the reason I was able to build amicable relationships in high school was through my persistence.
I wasn’t very smart. I needed to study several times more than others just to maintain a normal grade. My personality was bad. I often put on a charade that was just as good as the politicians. I wasn’t good at exercising. During PE, I was able to play soccer with others because I tried diligently.
I knew this about myself, so I tried. I did my best to not give up. Thanks to my persistence, I was able to go to university and make it safely through the army. I might be debt-ridden because of Satisfy, but I barely managed to maintain an ordinary life.
Anyway, persistence was my strong point.
I was caught by this obsession and didn’t stop moving my axe. I had just chopped the 460th piece of firewood when suddenly, a notification window popped up.
[Persistence stat has been opened.]
Surprisingly, it was a new stat. I immediately checked the stat.
You never give up, even in the face of a difficult task. You won’t get tired easily. The possessions weight limit has increased. The feeling of satiation will last for a long time.
* The higher the number, the higher the effect.
* Stat points can’t be distributed to this stat.
* Every time 10 points are gained in this stat, the ‘Indomitable’ stat will increase by 1 point.
I wouldn’t tire easily, my weight limit would increase, and satiety would last for a long time! It was truly fantastic. Furthermore, my indomitable stat would go up by one with every 10 points in persistence?
‘I have to be persistent to raise this stat?’
I felt some doubt as I returned to chopping the firewood.
‘I showed a lot more persistence when completing Ashur’s quest… why wasn’t the persistence stat created until now?’
I could only think of it as the difference between a normal rank class and a legendary rank class.
‘It might be the same actions and same effort, but the stat growth rate of a legendary class is higher than a normal class.’
Once I discovered the new benefits of the legendary class, I forgot all of my fatigue and started to chop the firewood with more determination.
As the number of firewood increased, I developed the knack of hitting the firewood.
Despite hitting along the grain, the durability of the axe decreased by one point every 200 pieces of firewood. However, at a certain point, it no longer decreased and the speed of my chopping accelerated.
By the time I finished 1,000 pieces of firewood, I had four points in the persistence stat.
[You haven’t consumed food in a long time, so all stats have dropped by half. It is easier to become affected by an abnormal state. If you continue to starve, your health will gradually decline.]
It was a close call. I was lying breathless on the ground.
My knees were weak and my arms were heavy. My whole body was screaming in pain, making it hard to move. Despite the compensation from the persistence stat, my -3 level stamina was still poor.
I had chopped firewood for only six hours, but I was exhausted. I ate the bread and water that I took out of my inventory and looked towards the east where the Grey Forest was located.
‘The raid party should’ve arrived at the Guardian of the Forest by now. It is good that I didn’t join the party… I would’ve been disgraced if I joined.’
With my -3 level stamina, I wouldn’t even have been able to follow the movement speed of the other party members. How embarrassing would it have been if I died from exhaustion, not by a monster? I shook my head as I recalled my premature attempt to join the party.
‘When I think about it, I don’t even know the drop rate of blue orichalcum. My thinking was too simple when I tried to join the party. I should think and act more carefully.’
It felt like I had a small amount of mental growth.
After a while, I barely recovered and returned to Smith’s smithy.
“I finished chopping the firewood. I did as much as possible and managed to obtain 1,000 pieces.”
“What?” Smith burst out, “Puhahahahat! A newbie like you chopped 1,000 pieces of firewood in six hours? You aren’t just a newbie, but a liar as well! Are you trying to deceive me?”
He laughed like it was funny and glared at me.
‘Is this person bipolar?’
I pointed towards Smith’s backyard. “Isn’t it too much to lie that I chopped 1,000 firewood in six hours? If you don’t believe me, why don’t you go and check it directly?”
“You don’t have to tell me that. If you cheat me, I’ll kick you out of here straight away.”
I followed Smith towards the backyard. After a few moments… Smith’s mouth dropped open as he saw the 1,000 firewood piled up on one side.
“H-How is this possible…? How can someone like you cut 1,000 pieces of firewood so quickly? They’re also perfect…! No, the amount of time isn’t the problem. You don’t have the stamina to chop 1,000 pieces of firewood! Tell me honestly! Where did all this firewood come from? Did it come from Vans carpenter store? Or did you buy it from the woodcutter who lives in the mountains? Foolish guy! I asked you to chop the firewood yourself!”
“What? Why are you framing someone? These are my own logs of firewood!”
“Ridiculous! It can’t be!”
Was this person senile? Why didn’t he believe me? I picked up the axe. Smith flinched and stepped back as he saw it in my hands. I set up a log.
My woodcutting technique had reached the peak after chopping 1,000 logs of firewood. As soon as the axe met the wood, a clear sound was heard. It was a thrilling sound that rang through the smithy.
Smith marveled at the sound and then looked surprised when he saw the log split neatly in two. After staring blankly, he nodded and opened his mouth, “I thought you were an ordinary newbie, but you’ve actually worked for a long time in woodworking.”
“Then, you’re a woodcutter.”
“No.” I reached out a hand towards Smith, who was talking nonsense. “First, give me the compensation.”
“Umm… Yes. The work is better than I expected, so I will give you more compensation than I promised…”
Doubt could still be seen in Smith’s eyes, but he pulled out 40 coins. At that moment, the quest completion notification window stated that I received 15 experience points. The way that Smith gazed at me also changed considerably. Before, he had looked at me like a cockroach, and now I was like a mutt on the streets?
I was proud. I had felt helpless in the successive S and SS-grade quests, so completing a normal quest after a long time gave me a sense of accomplishment. As I was bathing in the afterglow, Smith gave me a pickaxe.
“If you climb the mountain, there will be a mine. Gather iron ore from there!”
“As much as possible!”
[Mine Iron Ore]
Blacksmith Smith is suspicious of you.
He keeps looking and looking, but Smith can’t understand why you are better at chopping firewood than him.
Smith has greatly increased the difficulty of the task in order to assess you properly.
Quest Clear Conditions: 80 pieces of iron ore.
Quest Reward: Affinity with Smith +30, experience +55, 20 bronze.
Quest Failure: Affinity with Smith -30.
55 experience! If I cleared the quest, I would go up three levels at once and finally get rid of the minus level. I was happy.
No, wait. ‘Other people start at level 1, while I’m glad about reaching level 0…’
I felt strange as I accepted the quest.
“I’m going now.”
I placed strength in the hand holding the pickaxe. I had a huge passive skill that was understanding items. If I took advantage of this, the mining job would be done without difficulty. I left the smithy without delay. As I headed to a small mountain in the back of the village, I asked a child passing by.
“Kid, do any monsters emerge on that mountain?”
Was he eight years old? The kid with the runny nose shrugged and replied, “Are you really asking that question? How can there be monsters on a mountain attached to the village? My dad says that the lord’s soldiers patrol this area for our safety. So you don’t have to be a shivering coward, Traveler.”
The spiteful expression and nasty tone! A nasty kid who provoked the urge to punish him. As I prepared to rub my fist on the child’s head, I saw a big man, probably the child’s father, approaching. The man looked between me and the boy with a disapproving expression.
“Boy, why are you hanging around that traveler? He looks stupid, so don’t associate with him!”
“Yes. I only replied to him because he looked so pathetic and frustrated.”
“Huhu, my son had to go through a lot of trouble. By the way, how did a traveler like that come to our village? Our village isn’t a place that lazy people can enter.”
“That’s right. But he asked me a question and I didn’t want to be rude.”
“Hahahat! Yes yes. Then let’s go to eat. Your mother is waiting.”
The father and kid walked away. Dammit, now I was being ignored by a kid.
“It is too much.”
The NPCs’ attitude towards me was disturbing. During the level 1-10 beginner days, the NPCs didn’t show a favourable opinion towards users, but they still taught us and helped us grow. However, they unconditionally ignored me now that I was a minus level. They felt irritated just making eye contact with me.
My reputation might’ve increased by 500 in exchange for discovering Pagma’s Rare Book, as well as the dignity stat after changing classes, but the minus level itself seemed to have the worst affinity with NPCs.
‘Then Doran was a really nice person.’
I preferred a NPC like Doran, who mistook me for a high level. He forced me to accept the quest, but at least he didn’t ignore me.
‘When I think of Doran, I’m reminded of Doran’s ring.’
I still mourned the thought of the loss of Doran’s ring.
I gazed at the sky for a moment and soothed my mind. I checked my status window before moving to the mountains.