Marcello laughed. Dead bodies and blood littered the now empty throne room, and all he could do was sit down and laugh about it. After going through all of that, strategizing before entering the doorway, having everyone abandon him, killing the lord… nothing shocked him as much as the one thing he was staring at.

It was that lustrous, silvery door with the word IMPOSSIBLE on top that seemed to glow with a type of mana that he hadn’t encountered before. He felt like the door was the system’s way of trying to crack a joke.

Hey, did you just nearly die in an all-or-nothing battle with a fucking gigantic castle lord in medieval armor where all your comrades abandoned you one by one? You thought that was bad? How about we give you the option to do it all again, but this time by yourself, and this time at an even harder difficulty? How about we call the difficulty impossible and estimate the survival rate to be zero? For funsies.

Fuck you, system.

For now, he was going to clear his thoughts by picking up his hard earned loot and going through all of his notifications and crap. Yeah, his ice elemental was on a timer before it expired, but the timer was a lot longer than he first expected. A lot longer. Now that he summoned it, he knew that it would last for days if it was just idling doing nothing, although if the elemental was fighting and expending lots of energy, its summon duration would go down. Since the elemental just fought quite heavily against the castle lord, its summon duration was currently down to about two days of pure idling.

In other words, Frosty the smash friendly giant iceman could just chill and hang out, and Marcello would still get lots of value out of him.

The amount of notifications he received after killing the great lord was so big that Marcello knew he powered up a crap ton. Well deserved, too. But he saw that the lord and the lord’s servants had dropped some pretty sick loot which he was going to check out first.

First were the servants. That level 10 red winged demon dropped some kind of demon tail. If the ol’ crew was still around, they’d draw lots to see who ended up getting it, but seeing as how they all bailed, their rights to the loot were all but forfeit. Shame, though. Marcello would gladly give up some loot to have some company around. Things were starting to feel a bit lonely with just him and Frosty the temporary ice elemental companion around.

Anyway, on to the loot.

[Imp’s tail (common)] – A common crafting item that is the ingredient of some low level dark magic rituals or even some exotic elixirs, imp tails are an all-around solid conductor of mana and a binding reagent for other exotic materials.

Sounded a bit like common garbage, so Marcello just tossed it into his dimensional storage and moved on to the next. The snake-woman did not drop anything, since she was killed by the castle lord himself.

Well, that just left the castle lord. Marcello walked over to the knight lord’s corpse, dissolved from the suit of armor. The lord’s longsword lay by his side. This was the sword that cut through Jason’s body like a hot knife through butter, the one that severed two of Nolan’s fingers while he was escaping… Marcello picked it up.

[Luden’s Cursed Blade (rare)] – Once the weapon of the demon general Luden, this longsword eventually found itself in the hands of the lord of a castle. Legends say that the blade thirsts for blood, an urge that Luden graciously satiated on the battlefield. By wetting the blade with bloodshed, a small portion of the health taken will be restored to the wielder. This blade can be imbued with mana, carrying a high affinity and reception for dark or evil mana types. +Lifesteal effect +Mana imbuement +Dark affinity +Evil affinity

Holy fuck. This was the first non-basic tier weapon that Marcello ever saw, and it skipped a few grades straight to rare? With this thing around, he had no need for that dented basic shortsword anymore, although it did serve its purpose valiantly. Agh. This was the weapon responsible for Jason’s death. The grim thought lingered in Marcello’s mind. It was an incredibly dangerous longsword when imbued with mana, cutting through Jason’s torso and armor as if it were paper. And now, that power that killed his teammates was now his own to wield.

He examined it with a somber eye, knowing the significance of the weapon he held in his hand. The longsword had adjusted in size slightly to fit his smaller profile compared to the ten foot tall knight lord. Still, it was pretty fucking long. To use it comfortably, he could use both hands, but he could technically hold up and swing the sword with one hand with lower slashing power.

The shaft of its blade was steel or some metal similar to it, with a thick curved crossguard. Although there wasn’t anything written on the crossguard at the moment, Marcello vividly remembered seeing glowing runes appear on the crossguard when the castle lord imbued it with his dark and evil affinity mana.

Marcello had absolutely no clue how to imbue a sword with mana. Hell, he hadn’t even used his own mana bar all this time, and the thief class did not exactly bless him with a big mana bar anyway. Right now he was the fantasy equivalent of someone who only relied on physical abilities rather than magic abilities. Eh. He kinda liked it this way, as ignoring mana allowed him to fully sink into and embrace physical combat. In the future if the opportunity arose, he might take a look into mana utilization, but for now he was perfectly content with his manaless fighting style.

That pretty much summed up Luden’s Cursed Blade (rare).

Marcello walked over to the second and only other item left behind by the castle lord. It was the lord’s armor itself.

[Enigmatic Knight’s Armor (locked)] – An enigmatic knight’s armor. Contains a trace of malice. May be worn. Unlock conditions unclear. Unidentified.

Now this was fucking weird. Marcello expected some kind of rare armor to match the rare longsword that the castle lord dropped, but this was far from what he expected. Apparently the armor could be worn, but gave virtually no benefits aside from being a good looking suit of plate armor. Right now, its utility was similar to an uncommon armor made with exceptional craftsmanship.

Marcello recalled that arrows simply bounced off the armor like it was nothing, dealing minimal damage to the castle lord. He remembered how hard it was to inflict any significant amount of health damage with his shortsword, even with the tremendous buff that Emma’s rage had granted him.

This damned armor was near impenetrable when worn by the castle lord. The only time that he actually got hurt was when the ice elemental showed up, and that was saying something because the ice elemental was just ludicrously overpowered. Marcello could not even fathom how it was legal to have such a strong summon stocked in the tutorial shop. Either way, the ice elemental being able to dent such a high quality suit of armor was completely due to the elemental being excessively strong.

If Marcello had to hazard a guess, he’d say that this armor also contained some kind of dark energy imbuement based on his fight with the castle lord.

Well, it was better to see for himself. He tried the armor on, as the regal plate armor warped in size to a size more suitable for him. Gauntlets, shoulder plates, torso plate with the blue gambeson emblazoned with the white lion on black kiteshield sigil, plate legs… he put on the final piece, the helmet with slit eyes. Strangely, he could see perfectly fine through the helmet, something that he had to attribute to the system.

Honestly if he had to say so himself, he looked really damn good in this armor. The polished steel plate armor combined with the intimidating helmet was quite the aesthetic. His height was quite tall for a human too, and his stature made the armor look almost as intimidating as the castle lord himself wearing it. Well, give or take three feet.

The helmet and platemail could completely obfuscate his identity as well, so if he wanted to stay anonymous he could. Although he had to admit that the platemail was quite eye-catching.

Alright. With his new sword and platemail equipped, Marcello was ready to tackle his notifications.

You have slain [Lvl 25 Great Lord (Castle Lord)] - You are the sole contributor to this kill, and have received bonus tutorial points for the kill. Bonus experience awarded for solo contribution. Bonus experience awarded for killing a higher level enemy.

Nice. He received solo experience for the kill because the rest of his teammates left the area, which cancelled out their involvement.

For slaying the Great Lord, a title has been bestowed upon you.

Title earned: [Breaker of Skulls]

[Breaker of Skulls] – You are the embodiment of strength, the terror of the battlefield. All those that resist your wake will be crushed into dust. The mark of one who has vanquished the Great Lord, and has been recognized by him as someone worthy of carrying on his legacy. Long has he searched for a human worthy of passing on his title to, as he once was human himself. He believed that the human race was worthy of ascension, and yet the humans that presented themselves to him all proved to be unworthy weaklings. For your exceptional show of strength, new paths of ascension have been opened to you. +5 Strength per Lord slain. +Conquest per Lord slain.

Marcello started laughing at how ridiculous this was. +5 strength was an insane permanent stat boost. To put that into perspective, given the decimal count that the system used, 5 strength was the equivalent of leveling up the base human race FIFTY times. And it was additive too, one +5 strength for each lord slain. Currently Marcello’s tally was at one, giving him one shot of the permanent stat boost.

The scaling on this title was just downright dirty. As long as he continued to kill lords, his strength stat would increase like crazy. And there was that additional conquest bonus. He didn’t fully understand what that was, but it sounded powerful.

Hah. Did he just say to himself as long as he kept killing lords? Was he getting delusional? He just barely killed the castle lord with the help of so many different variables working together, from the death of a reliable comrade to a strange girl’s inheritance ability, and he was already getting cocky to think that killing lords was an easy task?

No. Slaying another lord in the future would most certainly not be easy, and Marcello pinched himself to keep himself grounded in reality. Either way, the flat five strength stat was already a huge boost to his fighting potential.

On to the next notifications, the level ups. He wondered what level he was now after receiving solo experience for such a huge boss kill.

Ding! [Thief] class has leveled up to level 10. Agility has increased by 0.1.

Ding! [Human] race has leveled up to level 10. All stats have been increased by 0.1.

–Many notifications later–

Ding! [Thief] class has leveled up to level 15. Agility has increased by 0.1.

Ding! [Human] race has leveled up to level 15. All stats have been increased by 0.1.

You have reached level 15. Class promotions are now available. Once class promotion has been completed, new skills will be available.

Now this was something new. Marcello felt a surge of excitement, wanting to see what possibilities had now opened up for him. He reviewed the choices.

*Five class promotions available*

Aspiring Thief (common)– A class for aspiring thieves who favor speed and sleight of hand over brute strength. Proficiency in mixed combat and agility will develop more quickly. +Agility

This was just a linear promotion from the starting thief class. The verbiage had changed from starter to beginner and from thief to aspiring thief, but otherwise there was nothing particularly notable about it. If he found nothing better, he’d probably default to this class. There was nothing wrong with sticking to the basics if the other options were too strange or niche to work well. Marcello quickly dismissed it and checked out the next choice.

Quick Archer (common) – You have shown interest in developing your skills in archery, specifically the rapid fire of arrows. Hone your skills and increase your fire rate and damage as a quick archer. Proficiency in shortbows and longbows will develop more quickly. +Agility +Perception

So the system took note that he relied quite heavily on his shortbow to dish out some damage from a range, and gave him a class that developed that tendency further. Eh, it wasn’t like Marcello wanted to be a full-time archer, especially after all the things he just received.

Lockpicking Thief (common) – A thief that specializes in lockpicking. Sacrifices some strength growths for agility growth. Specializes in dagger proficiency. -Strength +Agility

Nope. The last thing Marcello wanted was a class that leaned towards non-combat. If anything, he could probably pick up a profession later on if he wanted non-combat utility. No professions were offered so far but he was sure that eventually he’d gain access to them, given their presence on the status menu.

The next option was preceded by a different kind of message.

A new path of ascension has been opened to you.

Shadow Assassin (rare) (advanced class) – Through finesse and strength, you have taken down enemies far stronger than you by your sword and your bow. You have performed well enough to unlock a promotion to an advanced class far before it is common to reach this level. Your gruesome efforts have been rewarded, as you have accomplished far beyond what your peers have dreamed of accomplishing in the tutorial. +Strength +Agility

Alright. Finally, this was a special class.

If he didn’t have a fifth option to consider, Marcello would’ve accepted this early class promotion to an advanced class without a single second thought. This damn thing was only available because he suffered through two grueling trials, both mentally and emotionally. He killed monsters far beyond his own level, and took down monstrosities.

But before he chose shadow assassin, he needed to at least take a look at the last option. Hey, maybe the fifth option would be just as good.

A new path of ascension has been opened to you.

Enigmatic Bulwark Knight (rare) (secret advanced class) – You have vanquished a castle lord and inherited his legacy. With it comes the power of a class long lost in history. This juggernaut of yore once belonged to the infamously strong legionnaires of the Empire. These bulwark knight legionnaires were known for their brute strength and physical prowess, although they lacked sorely in the magic department. ++Constitution +Strength -Intelligence -Wisdom

What the fuck.

A note from HereBeTreasure

as you can see a lot of care and effort is put into naming chapters 

Thank you Dwoki, straightfire, and Mr. Bigglesworth!

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