Chapter 179 – Hedor's Legacy (1)
"Something is wrong."
"Yes, we can't stay still."
"Gather the magicians. What about you?"
"My job has ended."
"Let us begin as soon as possible. Time is running out."
Katalu had changed during Crockta's absence. The preparations for war had disappeared, and it seemed to revive into a lively city.
Crockta walked through the bustling market with Tiyo, then he found a store and slowed down. It was a vegetable store. Old memories suddenly popped into his head. At one time, he had sold vegetables. He had helped Stella sell vegetables in Anail.
"That man, he is fairly good."
"He can sell a fireplace to people in the desert dot."
The vegetable seller was brilliant at dealing with customers. He stopped the guests, formed an affinity with them, and sold them a handful of vegetables. As Crockta and Tiyo were admiring his skills, there was a sudden commotion.
"Look, I don't eat vegetables." A man stood in front of the vegetable store, playing with the vegetables while laughing. "We aren't herbivores. Do you think eating vegetables can make you strong?"
The man raised his arms and showed off his biceps. The muscles of his right arm bulged out.
"You can become strong like me by eating meat."
The demonstration of his body stopped the crowd. The burly man shrugged and laughed at the vegetable seller. "Look, Mister Vegetable Seller, are you going to collapse right now? You are as skinny as a dried anchovy. Eating vegetables have weakened you."
"Meat is good, but you need to eat a balanced meal for nutrition…"
"Balanced, balanced! I am tired of hearing this! I grew up hearing that I would be taller if I eat bean sprouts and stronger if I eat spinach! But then I was incredibly weak! Everything is a lie!"
As he screamed, a few customers turned away from the vegetable store. The vegetable seller's expression turned grouchy.
"You should talk about this somewhere else…"
"Eat meat! Chicken breast! Pork sirloin! Pork tenderloin! Pork forelock! Beef if you are rich! That is how our muscles develop!"
He took off his top and posed again. The man had good muscles.
"Oh my, oh my, look."
The men in the market were amazed by the muscles, while the women covered their eyes and peeked through their fingers.
The man smiled and shouted, "If you want to be like me, come to Arnold's Butchery!"
It was an explicit publicity stunt! Crockta realized something. This person was almost certainly employed by Arnold's Butchery. The man deceived people with his good muscles. Why else would he discuss here while showing off his chest, triceps, and biceps!
The customers at the vegetable store turned away one by one. Then they asked the man, "Where is Arnold's Butchery?"
"Hahat! Arnold's butcher store can be found on the right side if you turn left at that corner! There is a discount for the pork tenderloin today!"
The atmosphere was already in his favor. People decided that today's dinner menu was going to be meat. The vegetable seller's head drooped down.
"It is sophistry… Without vegetables… people can't live…!" However, his voice didn't reach the people.
Crockta looked at him and closed his eyes. Obviously, meat and proteins were important. However, the value of vegetables couldn't be discounted. Proteins were important, but the vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-cancer compounds as well as various minerals and phytochemicals were essential for the body's health.
Crockta opened his eyes and stepped forward.
The people were surprised at the sudden emergence of an orc warrior. The muscular man posing flinched as well. Who didn't know of Crockta, the true hero who saved Katalu?!
Crockta looked at the muscular man with sunken eyes. The man winced and hopelessly maintained his pose. The muscular man looked like a dwarf once Crockta stood next to him.
He awkwardly smiled at Crockta. "Hahaha, it is Crockta. Your body is also good. Crockta eats a lot of meat right? Hahat! Take a look at these muscles! You must eat three chicken breasts every meal! Kelkelkel! Crockta as well!"
Crockta didn’t answer. A person's beliefs weren't shown through words but actions.
Crockta spoke to the vegetable seller, "Hey."
The vegetable seller stuttered with confusion, "Y-Yes?"
"The spinach, how much is it?" Crockta grinned. "I would like to buy some."
Spinach…! It was rated as one of the top 10 superfoods in the world. He might have a rough green body, but he was devoted to eating spinach since it had various beneficial properties. Crockta declared that he would buy it all. The marketplace became noisy.
Then Crockta said, "Hey, inflatable muscles."
The man's face turned blue. 'Inflatable muscles' was an unbearable insult to him.
Crockta gave strength to his arm…
And it swelled greatly.
"This is the ultimate compression muscle."
Cries of admiration emerged from the crowd. If the compressed muscles were so big, what were the decompressed muscles like? The man wanted to protest that Crockta's muscles were inflated, but the atmosphere was also on Crockta's side.
No, Crockta's compressed muscles were bigger than the man's.
Crockta stated, "Meat is definitely important. However, you aren't a real muscle man if you don't know the value of vegetables."
"Tell me, what did you eat this morning?"
The man didn't answer. Crockta demanded harshly,
"Your body doesn’t lie! What did you eat this morning?"
The man gulped at Crockta's push. Crockta stared at him. Confronted with the gazes of Crockta and the crowd staring at him, the silent man was forced to open his mouth.
He gritted his teeth and replied, "Of course, it is chicken breast…"
Crockta looked down at him and asked, "What else did you eat?"
The man lowered his head. Then he spoke in a small voice, "Boiled sweet potato…"
The people were shocked, but Crockta didn't stop there.
"What else did you eat?"
"Cabbage salad with tomatoes and blackberries…"
Sweet potatoes, cabbages, tomatoes, and blackberries! He didn't hate vegetables!
As a man who loved physical beauty, he knew the importance of a balanced diet. He used his body to be hired by Arnold's Butchery, deceiving people for publicity and preaching false beliefs. However, before Crockta's questioning and doubts, he had to tell the truth.
"That’s right. Say it again. Do vegetables not matter?"
Crockta urged him on, "Aren't they really important?"
The man decided to admit defeat. He couldn't fool himself any longer.
"They are important…!"
He finally revealed his heart. Vegetables… They were important.
The man's head drooped down. It was a declaration of defeat.
Clap. Clap. Clap.
The people watching the spectacle started to clap and chant Crockta’s name. Crockta had preserved the honor of vegetables.
The man looked down with shame. He was embarrassed about deceiving himself for money. Since this happened, he wouldn't be paid by Arnold anymore. The man had become someone who didn't have money nor honor. He fell into shame.
Suddenly, a thick hand grabbed his shoulder. It was Crockta.
Crockta spoke with a merciful face, "Hey."
"It was a joke. You have very nice muscles."
The man looked at Crockta with quivering eyes. Crockta's expression was warm as he genuinely admired the man's body.
"I previously called you inflatable muscles…"
"I said I didn't need vegetables."
Crockta showed off his tough biceps and said, "Next time, let's lift weights together."
The man received Crockta's recognition…! Crockta recognized the time and effort he'd put into building his muscles. The man was filled with great emotions, and he touched his nose, shrugging in a show of bravado.
"My training is harsh. It is hell training."
"Right. That is natural."
"You must've overcome hard times."
The man was overwhelmed. They weren't just comforting words because Crockta truly understood. Crockta reached out his hand, and the man responded. The two men embraced. The two muscular men forgave each other's mistakes.
Then people flocked to the vegetable store. The vegetable store was recognized by Crockta!
Having a healthy body which could live a long time was people's dream. The people who saw such a future bought the vegetables from this store. Like this, the vegetable store became well-known because of Crockta.
The muscle man restored his courage and spoke to Tiyo, who was standing quietly beside Crockta.
"Tiyo as well. You should buy some vegetables. How can you accompany Crockta with a body like that? Kelkelkel!"
Crockta laughed together with the man.
"What did you say dot!"
"You should gain some muscles. Kelkelkel!"
"That's right. Kulkulkulkul!"
The two muscular men laughed at Tiyo, while Tiyo's eyebrows twitched. His gnome's pride couldn't allow this. Tiyo jumped forward.
He spun like a spinning top and kicked. They were lightning fast strikes aimed at Crockta's and the man's jaws. Crockta barely escaped, but the man failed and was hit in the jaw. It was only a light hit, but the man swayed and sat down. The man couldn't easily recover from the damage and sat for a while.
"Look, inflatable muscles dot! This is the truly ultimate compression muscle dot!"
Tiyo took off his top…
And his upper body was revealed. His body contained tight muscles, with no signs of fat anywhere. It was reminiscent of Bruce Lee. While wearing clothes, he looked like a child, but once they were thrown off, dense and compact muscles were revealed. It was a perfect and slim figure that wasn't lacking in anything.
People admired him. The vegetable seller also clapped.
"Watching Tiyo, I am reminded of a gnome that I knew before."
"What dot? There was another wonderful gnome dot?"
"That’s right. The gnome loved eating spinach when he stayed in Katalu. His body was as dazzling as Tiyo's." The vegetable seller's gaze became distant. "His name was Hedor! A cool gnome."
Crockta and Tiyo's eyes widened.
Hedor. It was Tiyo's father, whom they were looking for. They got a clue about Hedor at the vegetable store.
Crockta's popularity meant there were fans and followers tracking his every move. The movements were often ordinary, but Crockta didn't avoid or tell them off. This was the reason why…
"You came because you want a nice body…"
Baek Hanho was troubled as the number of people joining his gym increased. More members was a good thing. However, most of them said strange things during the first consultation.
Baek Hanho looked at the form submitted by the applicants and sighed.
"Yes, I would like the same ultimate muscles as Tiyo."
"There is someone who wants muscles like Crockta?"
"Yes. I want to become stronger like Crockta!"
The three men sitting side by side looked at Baek Hanho with firm eyes. The remaining silent person suddenly said, "I want to be like the butcher shop meat man. I don't have unrealistic goals like them."
The man who interfered with the vegetable seller's business was known on the Internet as the butcher shop meat man. His meat praising character was surprisingly popular, and there were those who started exercising with the goal of being like him.
The new muscular craze…
Crockta's popularity led to trends in reality.
Baek Hanho hit his forehead with his pen. He thought for a moment before opening his mouth.
"Hrmm… What about a body like Andre's?"
They shook their heads in unison.
"Aish. What is Andre?"
"He is too strange."
"Crockta is the trend. Andre, yuck."
Baek Hanho nodded. "Right. Today, let's start straight away. Change your clothes."
"Huh? We were going to start tomorrow…"
"I have an appointment…"
"Shut up. He who lives for tomorrow won't be able to defeat his enemies today! Take it off right now!" Baek Hanho's eyes blazed passionately. "I'll make those bodies… through hell training."
Praise the Orc:
Current schedule: There will now be 14 chapters a week, meaning two chapters every day.
Chapter 180 – Hedor's Legacy (2)
Thanks to Crockta, the vegetable seller finished early and invited them inside the store. They were seated to have a meal. The vegetable seller told them to wait and left for a while. Then he soon returned carrying a large pot.
It was vegetable stew. The flavor of the broth was abundant. There was some meat included, but it was mainly made of vegetables. Crockta and Tiyo originally enjoyed meat, but their spoons moved quickly due to the delicious taste of the vegetables.
"…By the way, why is he sitting here?"
"Hum hum, you shouldn't hold grudges."
"A man who interferes in business is shameless dot."
"It is a thing of the past. Kelkelkel!"
The man who promoted the Arnold's Butchery was also with them.
The vegetable seller just laughed at their argument and replied, "Vegetables are from the ground, from Mother Nature. A mother doesn't discriminate against her children."
His warm words caused the gaze in Crockta's and Tiyo's eyes to grow colder. The muscular man had actually tried to harass such a good person. The macho man scratched his head and avoided their gazes. The vegetable seller didn't care and gave him plenty of vegetable soup.
"At any rate, I am surprised that Tiyo is Hedor's son. This is a fated relationship."
"When did you see my father dot?"
"It was a year ago."
"It has been a long time dot…"
"Hedor was looking for something."
"That's right dot…"
Tiyo nodded. Hedor had an explorer's temperament and always sought new things. It wasn't strange that he was pursuing interesting things. However, from Quantes to the north, the north to the south, and then somewhere else, what was keeping him so busy?
"What was it dot?"
"I don't know the details, but it seemed to be a relic of the gods."
When talking about the gods, things like the gray god and the world tree popped into Crockta's mind. They were powerful existences with divine power. Crockta had first met the gray god in the Temple of the Fallen Gods. It could be inferred that it was possible to meet a god in a place associated with them. Then was Hedor looking for some ruins to meet the gods?
"He came periodically to buy vegetables. He was good at self-management."
"He came periodically dot? It means he stayed here for a while."
"That’s right. He stayed for a few months."
"Where did he go dot?"
"Maybe the temple."
"Temple? Katalu has a temple dot?"
"Yes. It is more like a memorial than a temple, but…"
The muscular man spoke from the side, "That's correct. It is a temple but not a temple."
"A temple but not a temple dot?"
"Yes, it's a memorial place…"
The muscular man and the vegetable seller were natives of Katalu, so they both knew the place. Crockta and Tiyo exchanged glances and nodded.
"Are you leaving straight away?"
Crockta and Tiyo replied at the same time.
"If it is possible, I would like one more bowl."
"I will eat before going dot. This is delicious."
Crockta and Tiyo arrived at the temple the vegetable seller had described. It was a small building on the outskirts of the city. Although this was their first time seeing it, it felt familiar to Crockta. The building's appearance was similar to the Temple of the Fallen God. Crockta felt that this was somehow associated with the gray god.
"Why is that guy here dot?" Tiyo said.
Anor was standing there. The tanned skin made it obvious that he was the dark elf, Anor. There was no doubt that he was moving back and forth. He now had the dark energy of a necromancer around his body.
"Hey, Anor! What are you doing dot?"
"Eh?" Anor found them and waved happily. "What are you doing here? Didn't you go to the market?"
"Something happened dot. What about you?"
Anor had definitely declared that he would rest all day at the inn.
"What, did you make a promise to meet a beautiful woman dot?"
"Hahaha. No. I just felt something from here." Anor pointed to the temple. The lights were off, and it was completely dark inside. "A familiar aura… I feel something like that."
"Hoh…" Tiyo touched his chin. "It seems like a very unpleasant place dot."
They approached the temple and opened the door. It was dark, but as soon as they entered, the lights came on as if it sensed their movements. There was a long corridor.
"Is anyone here?" Crockta called out. His voice echoed down the hallway. He heard there was someone managing this hallway, so where were they? Suddenly, they reached the end of the corridor. There was one more door. Crockta hesitated, but Tiyo opened the door without hesitation.
The door opened… And there was a woman sitting down.
"What a surprise."
The woman didn't move from the noise. It was only the rear view, but she showed a holy appearance. The inner murals surrounding her created a strange atmosphere, somewhat like the one in the Temple of the Fallen God. They made a lot of noise on their way in, but the woman was still in her own world, completely motionless.
Crockta's group stood in the doorway and watched her for a while. After some time, the woman started to slowly rise.
At that moment, the woman stumbled. It seemed that she had been sitting for a long time. She frowned and twisted on the ground, groaning. Crockta withdrew his previous assessment. She wasn't a sacred being, just a person.
The woman finally got up. "Phew, I thought I was going to die."
Then she spoke to Crockta's party, "Welcome. I'm sorry for the delay. You must've been waiting for a long time."
Crockta greeted her. "No. We didn't want to interfere in your praying…"
"Huh? Praying?" She asked.
"You weren't praying?"
"Then you were just sitting there…"
"Oh, I was doing yoga and got a cramp…"
She clapped and the interior lit up a bit more.
"Isn't it amazing? A friend of mine made it."
Tiyo was convinced that her friend was Hedor as this was magic engineering.
"Oh, my?" She saw Tiyo and suddenly covered her mouth. It was an expression of enlightenment. "Perhaps…"
"That's right dot." Tiyo nodded. "I am Hedor's son, Tiyo!"
"Unbelievable…" She looked down at Tiyo with admiration. "You look very similar."
"Do you know my father dot?"
"Of course. You have the same rude way of talking."
"Hahat, I'm just joking."
Crockta explained on behalf of the shocked Tiyo.
"We are looking for Hedor. Do you know anything about him?"
"He had to leave… Please follow me."
She guided them somewhere. It was a small sitting room. The woman brought out some tea. She nodded after they explained their purpose for coming here. The woman did indeed know about Hedor.
"He's a curious person and was investigating a god who is no longer in this world."
"The fallen god?"
"Gosh, you already know. That's right. That is what she is called."
Crockta gulped at the words. Strangely, the gray god was mentioned again here. Since Crockta's assimilation reached 100, the gray god no longer talked to him, and he didn't receive any system messages. What did the gray god really want, and what was Hedor looking for?
"Then is this the Temple of the Fallen God?" Crockta asked. She shook her head.
"No. The Temple of the Fallen God no longer exists. They are all in ruins."
There was a temple in the north, but she didn't know about it.
"Additionally, this place isn't strictly a temple."
"It is a memorial place."
"For what? And you…?"
"I…" Her answer was unexpected. "I am Eliza, a follower of the goddess of mercy."
"The goddess of mercy…?"
Eliza smiled. "I came here following the Goddess of Mercy's will, in order to remember a species that has now disappeared from the continent."
"A species that has disappeared from the continent dot?" Tiyo was confused. He didn't seem to know.
"A very long time ago, there was a species that followed the fallen god before she fell. They had a strong and mysterious power that was different from other species."
"Yes, I don't know exactly, but it is said that the other species were afraid because of the unknown power. Then the fallen god suddenly went crazy and was captivated by the strange idea of destroying the world." Eliza sighed. "The species kept following her, despite her desire to destroy the world, and all the gods and species united to stop the fallen god. The orcs, humans, dwarves, elves, and gnomes confronted them."
"It is the first time I've heard this story dot."
"It is a story that the records have erased. Anyway, the power of the other gods combined, and she crashed, becoming a 'fallen god.'"
The gray god was the god who had fallen.
Crockta asked, "That species?"
"Unfortunately, they suffered the same fate as the fallen god. They all died. Some are said to be alive, but I don't know if this is true or not."
Suddenly, Crockta's waist started itching. Crockta lowered his head and saw that the steel belt at his waist seemed to be shaking strangely.
"The goddess of mercy was saddened by the fate of the species that followed the fallen god and made a memorial for them. This is the place."
"It is a sad but interesting story."
"But there is a positive aspect in that all the species joined together. The species will work together when there is a crisis."
Crockta fell into deep thought as he listened to the story. The fallen god was clearly the gray god. That meant the creation of Elder Lord was an extension of that ambition. She still wanted to destroy the world.
Crockta, who had met her in person, had difficulty thinking about her as such a dangerous being. He hadn't gotten any bad feelings from her. So, what was her reason for wanting such an ending?
Tiyo asked, "So, where did my father go dot?"
"He received information that the trail of the fallen god is in the west…"
Tak tak tak!
Suddenly, the footsteps were heard coming from outside.
"I will leave you with those words… Please excuse me. Come in!"
The door opened, and a man looked at Eliza. He was holding an envelope in his hand.
"Eliza. There is a letter. It seems to be urgent."
"Thank you." Eliza accepted it. Then the man bowed and left the temple. He seemed to be the mailman. "This… Please wait a moment."
She checked the outside of the envelope, immediately tore it open, and then checked the contents. Her eyes gradually widened. She frowned like she couldn't understand it. Her eyes shook as she read it again a few times.
Eliza looked at Crockta with an intense gaze.
She bit her lips and spoke again,
"Um… and Tiyo."
"The dark elf as well…"
"I am Anor."
"Yes, Anor." Eliza continued, "Hedor told me he was going to 'Geherad,' which is to the north-west of Katalu. You should go quickly."
"Yes. He said he would stay there for a while, so you should rush in order to not miss him."
"Then it is better to go quickly dot." Tiyo looked at Crockta and Anor.
"We are accompanying you."
"There is no need to ask."
They nodded at each other. As they were companions, it was natural for them to accompany Tiyo.
Tiyo raised a fist. "Good dot. Let's start straight away!"
"Indeed dot. Katalu is safe, so we don't have to wait any longer dot."
"But I wanted to take a break…"
"You can do it tomorrow dot! Live today!"
Tiyo declared. So, Crockta, Tiyo, and Anor headed for Geherad. After thanking Eliza, they hastily escaped the temple—no, the memorial place for the disappeared species.
Eliza sighed as they left. Did she do the right thing?
She looked at the letter again. A divine message had come down to the temple. The contents were hostile towards the orcs and Crockta's party. There were several things which didn't seem usual for the goddess of mercy.
As a follower of the goddess of mercy, she shouldn't have let them go. She should’ve tricked them into going to a dangerous place or drug them…
Instead, she sent them to a safe place. Geherad was a harsh place, but it was also isolated from other species and temples. If the contents of the message were true, Geherad was the best place for them.
It was a hard choice for her. However, Crockta was the hero who saved Katalu, and Tiyo… He was Hedor's son.
Eliza closed her eyes as she thought of Hedor. He was a gnome who always laughed cheerfully and had helped Eliza, a novice who had been sent to the outside world alone. His optimistic attitude had left a big impression on her. The facilities inside the temple had also been provided by Hedor.
"Hah…" Eliza sighed.
Her chest felt heavy at the thought of disobeying the goddess. Hedor's son, Tiyo, was following him. Tiyo might resent Hedor, but today, Hedor had saved his party. If it wasn't for Hedor, she might've deceived them.
She looked at the letter again. This was written:
[Make the orcs a forgotten species.]
It wasn't like the goddess of mercy. If a divine message had come down, that meant something was happening. The kingdom had become an empire, and the goddess of mercy passed on a strange message. Everything was becoming strange.
Eliza prayed for the world.
Praise the Orc:
Current schedule: There will now be 14 chapters a week, meaning two chapters every day.