Humanity Online: World Sanctuary
73 Zen“aku, How I Missed You!
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Humanity Online: World Sanctuary
Author :Seshata
© Webnovel

73 Zen“aku, How I Missed You!

Our friends message to say they're nearing our rendezvous points, so Taliesin heads out to start faerrying people to our first dungeon of the day.

(Get it? Because he's using his fae powers to ferry people from place to place?? Hehe.)

I make my way to Vulcan's smithy.

He's working when I arrive, and I know better than to interrupt.

Vulcan has his own Zone he gets into when he's crafting, and nothing short of a dragon attack can distract him (and even then, he'd only notice if the dragon's flame breath was specifically about to alter the perfect temperature of his forge's fire).

He may seem flirty and ridiculous most of the time, but you don't become a godly blacksmith without the skills, vision, and drive to create works of art.

Deadly, gorgeous, works of art.

Speaking of, my beautiful babies are hanging on a rack near the door, and my fingers twitch with my need to have them back in my possession.

Faint shadows are now visible on their hilts, waiting for further upgrades to one day reveal their true form.

I gaze adoringly at Zen'aku for who knows how long, and likely would have continued to do so indefinitely, if two strong arms didn't embrace me from behind and scare the friggin' bejeesus out of me.

So much for +17 Perception.

"Hey Studmuffin."

With a groan, I try to pull out of Vulcan's hug, but to my surprise, I can't budge.

"What the hell Strength stat you rocking, Vulcan?" I ask.

Laughing gently, he swoops down for an cheeky air-kiss before releasing me. "Mid-50s, or so?"

I gape at him in utter shock. "Wha—How—Huh?"

"Found a secret treasure in my Valkyrie Foundation Village, plus blacksmithing increases STR at a higher rate."

I frown. "That seems broken. Are all blacksmiths going to be jacked, OP mofos?"

Vulcan laughs again, a sultry, molten hot guy laugh. Life is so unfair.

"Perhaps I should be more specific. Blacksmiths get small STR bonuses when they level up their Blacksmith Lifestyle Class, which simply keeps them competitive with the Adventurer Players. I, however, keep getting extra STR bonuses because I keep being the first person to accomplish...pretty much every possible blacksmith ability and feat?"

Of course. Shoulda known.

I use Thread Reader II to check another random stat; his AGI is only 16, half mine.


"Where's little cutie?" He looks around, as if the Pu`ca's hiding somewhere.

"Taliesin's busy, I'm afraid; no cuteness today. You'll have to make do with plain ol' me."

Vulcan frowns at me, one slender hand on his jaunty hip.

"Hush, you," he admonishes. "You know my rule about self-deprecation. Only self-love in my presence. You are plenty cute enough to be a feast for these poor eyes, darling. And don't you forget it."

My lips quirk into a lopsided smile, charmed in spite of myself. "Yes, Vulcan. Now, can we please get to business?"

"Ooh, in a hurry for a hot date?"

He's joking, but immediately, I think of seeing Kara Geir in roughly thirty minutes, decked out in all her battle-hardened glory.

Vulcan's eyes narrow and he taps his fingertips together in excitement. "Tell me, tell me, tell meeee!"

I try to tell him it's nothing, but I've already blown off this conversation once, and Vulcan is not taking no for an answer this time.

Few people realize Vulcan has an alternate online persona: Ossa, the Greek Goddess of Gossip, Rumor, and Fame.

He posts "Ossa's Insights" videos, dishing the juiciest gossip and rumors. Usually, he pours himself a steaming cuppa, and divulges secrets until the final sip of tea is gone.

World-class ballet dancers end up privy to A LOT of dirt, it would seem.

Last time I checked, he had somewhere around forty million subscribers?

I don't bother fighting Vulcan too much, mostly because he is great to dish to, and he appreciates the gravity of a soul-searing crush.

"Remember the guy who got stabbed in the dick and electrocuted during the Beta Championship?" I ask.

Vulcan wrinkles his nose. "Ew, gross. Mr. Gropey McJackass?"

"The one and the same. Now, do you remember the beautiful lavender-haired goddess who rained holy vengeance upon the bastard?"

"Oh. My. God." Vulcan slaps his cheeks, thrilled. "She's perrrrfect for you, I love it, I love her, I can't wait for you two to make tiny vengeful, battle-crazy babies together!"

I sigh. "Honestly, at this point, I'm just hoping for a single, uninterrupted conversation."

"You aim too low, lover boy. But I believe in you nonetheless."

Suddenly, he lights up, like he's had a wonderful idea. I can't help it; I perk up, hoping he may have love wisdom to share.

"You should send her the Boxers Bro video! One look at that cute ass of yours, and the girl will be putty in your arms!"

My tattoo rages across my face as I plan Vulcan and Taliesin's murders.

My murderous aura makes Aku scream from the wall.

"Kidding! I'm kidding!" Vulcan cries. "Conversation is a great play. Go with that!"


After Vulcan brews me a pot of tea, I calm down enough to refocus on my purpose for visiting the forge. Aku seems disappointed.

"Can you take a break from your apprenticeship?" I ask eventually.

"Sure," he replies easily. "What do you have for me instead?"

I'm struck by the fact he trusts I must have a good reason, and he doesn't doubt me for a second.

That's...kind of awesome.

"Great. I know it's early, but I think you should head out to the Burren Caves."

His brow furrows in confusion, then a lightbulb goes off. "The Whetstone Design?"

I grin.

"But isn't it early for—" he begins, then he realizes what I haven't yet said. "Sweet sassy molassey, you're about to knock over some Nightmare Mode dungeons, aren't you!?"

I pull out the Market Stall plot map. "Which is the best location for a street forge?"

Vulcan gazes at the map like he wants to make his own babies with it. He would be drooling, if he ever did anything so uncouth.

"This one, darling, it's perfect. You always give me the nicest things." He points to a spot in the corner, right next to the street that leads to the main Gate of Tara.

It is, of course, perfect.

If he can score the Whetstone Design for in-the-field weapon repair and craft a few hundred before the Portal opens, he'll make a fortune. (Conveniently, these must-have items are unavailable from NPCs, and no one else has made it to Burren yet, which is the only place to find the design. It's too far from any starting Town, and you have to pass too many high-level zones if you go on foot.)

I give him one of the Rainbow Teleportation Charms. They're only good within Gael, and I have my own Pu`ca-sized teleportation charm already. It's a round-trip charm, so I still have two in reserve for emergency.

We talk about the merchandise he's already created as part of his apprenticeship, and I give him a bunch of the low- and mid-tier weapons and armor I've collected so far. They're too shitty for me or any of my Party members to bother with, but for most players, they're fairly high-end at this point. I also hand over a bunch of raw materials he'll have more use for, with upgrading weapons and gear.

Vulcan and I fall back into the same arrangement we had in the beta; I give him shit I don't need, and he provides all my upgrades, repairs, and (eventual) enchantments for free. He also hooks me up with cool items he crafts, and lets me know about special weapons or gear he finds and/or hears about through the rumor mill.

Moreover, we both keep each other posted on forging and crafting designs. I send all designs his way, with the understanding that he listens to me if I have a particular idea about the right time and price to sell the crafted items. Plus, he has a gift for altering the designs and forging his own Unique items, and I always get first dibs.

I convince him to let Arachne in when he truly begins building his business. He's a genius at the crafting side of things, but Arachne's twice as clever as both of us put together when it comes to business and marketing.

Eventually, when he's established himself, we'll probably sign a more official contract, and I'll buy into his business like I bought into Arachne's. But he's not as business-savvy, and he's playing the game differently than she is, anyway. It's not time for that yet, and that's cool with me.

Finally, when everything else is settled, we get to my real concern:

"What can you tell me about my babies??"

Grinning, Vulcan reverently takes Zen'aku down from the wall. "These are truly masterful, Erebus. I've never encountered anything quite like them."

I shiver. That's seriously saying something. It was Vulcan's job to provide feedback on every possible weapon in the beta; he's studied thousands of them

Vulcan explains that his Appraisal Skill detailed the specifics of Zen'aku's Curses.

It turns out, each blade has a CURSE DEATH that can be triggered if I mess up really badly, and a series of CURSE EFFECTS that are triggered when I only mess up a little. Each time I upgrade, the CURSE DEATH penalty remains the same, but the weapons gain more CURSE EFFECTS.

To help me better understand what I'm dealing with, Vulcan used one of his standard Blacksmith Skills to edit the Item Descriptions and add his own notes.

As a reminder, I read over the basic upgrade notes:


|| Blades of Good and Evil. These weapons are Cursed. Use at your own peril.||

{Zen'aku Blades are perpetually upgradeable. At each 10th Level, specific requirements for upgrade will be revealed. You must upgrade both daggers at the same time. As the blades get stronger, so too do the consequences for inciting the CURSE EFFECTS.


I decide to save the new Active Skills the Upgrade triggered, and start with the negatives Vulcan wrote in for me:


[ Zen Blade ]


|| Can be triggered ONLY upon initial Drawing of the Blade ||

Zen can only be drawn by someone with a worthy heart. Anyone who dares draw this blade with unrighteous intentions shall burst into the white flames of justice and instantly perish.

Unrighteous Intentions (as judged by the System, which can read Player thoughts): theft of blade, selling blade, displaying blade where can't be used (using it as a trophy instead of wielding it), inflicting violence against an innocent

(Innocents include - NPC or PC unarmed/surrendered enemies, noncombatants, allies)


|| Can be triggered after Zen has been drawn for another purpose/intent ||

1) 10x Damage - Incurred if you inflict injury upon an innocent (even unintentionally)

(Note: Though this 10x Damage can kill you, it's not an official CURSE DEATH. Only normal death penalties apply.)

2) Zen locks, unusable, for 12 hours after Resurrection


[ Aku Blade ]


|| Can only be triggered when you wield Aku in System-Recognized Combat ||

Aku can only be wielded during Combat by someone infused with killing intent. Anyone who dares wield this weapon with mercy or lack of murderous conviction shall be swallowed by the black void of vengeance and instantly perish.

Definition of mercy/lack of murderous conviction: Allowing an enemy engaged in Combat to live, even if they surrender or are disarmed. Either you must die, or they must.

(Note: If you give up the fight or accept a surrender, you will suffer CURSE DEATH. If you simply die, or if they escape, you will suffer the appropriate CURSE EFFECT.)


1) If you die in combat, (not by inciting CURSE DEATH but by losing in combat), Aku locks, unusable for 12 hours after Resurrection

2) If a combatant escapes your grasp 3 times, you automatically die (and incur CURSE EFFECT 1)

3) After death, you may not Resurrect for 1 Hour


I'm glad to finally have the details of these Curses worked out, and also terrified because these suckers are definitely going to put me in a "Damned if I do, damned if I don't" situation.

Vulcan further explains that if either weapon is drawn while in Combat, the System recognizes that weapon as drawn throughout the entire Combat session.

That's useful, since it means I can't incur Zen's CURSE DEATH any time after the first time I draw the blade during a fight. On the other hand, it means if I use Zen at all during the battle, if an opponent surrenders, they automatically become an "innocent." I have to kill them, or I'll get CURSE DEATHed by Aku, but by killing them, I'm gonna be hit with Zen's 10x Damage CURSE EFFECT.


Guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

On to the more exciting stuff!

According to Vulcan, using all the insanely high-level materials, like Boss Weapons and special Fog Essences, caused the Active Skills to skip a few levels.

I'm about to cry.

Zen's first Active Skill is:

[Smite (Lvl 3): Divine Justice Shall Rain Upon the Unworthy! Area of Effect Attack - Call forth the Divine Sword of Light; where it pierces, Damage radiates out +3000 Damage within 5-meter radius, +1500 Damage for next 5 meters, +500 Damage final 10 meters. Cooldown: 30 minutes, Consumes Stamina.]

Aku's Active Skill is:

[ShadowSlice (Lvl 3): MurderMurderMurder! This attack brings your Killer Intent to Life! Leave traps via slices of shadow in the air, like after-images to your attacks. Each shadow remains for 10 seconds, or until an Enemy touches the shadow and is attacked. Each shadow deals +500 Damage and Stuns Enemy. No Cooldown, Consumes Stamina.]

Both skills are unbelievably awesome, though I'm gonna need to start prioritizing my INT, to increase my stamina and lower the amount of stamina consumed when I use magic blade attacks like these.

Can't wait to try them out in the next Dungeon...


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