25 Epiphany

When Lex finally woke, the first thing he became aware of was pain. His entire body, from his toes to his head, was filled with pain. He was also incredibly sore, and that was a feeling he had barely felt since he started cultivating Regal Embrace. With difficulty, he got up, and all his bones cracked as he did. When he got up, he was hit with a sudden bout of nausea and leaned to the side of the sofa to let out pitch black vomit. Lex was horrified looking at it, but he suddenly felt much better once he was done.

Other than the constant pain, the soreness and the weakness that filled his entire being, Lex felt pretty great! Shaking his head, he got up and moved to a different corner of the room to get away from the smell. He looked at his completely bruised, almost bare body and was honestly impressed. Not a single cut was visible. Regal Embrace really lived up to its claim of having the best defense in the universe, even at this level.

Previously, when he had Botlam Dew, it had almost completely healed and reinvigorated him, compared to this time when he was clearly still pretty badly hurt. It was a testament to how miserable his condition must have been. He opened up the system to buy another bottle of Botlam Dew, but froze when he saw the list of notifications.

Quest Completed: 20/20 zombies killed!

Quest Reward: 1000MP delivered!

Quest Updated: Kill 50 zombies before returning to the Inn!

Quest Reward: 1500MP

Quest Completed: 50/50 zombies killed!

Quest Reward: 1500MP delivered!

Quest Updated: Kill 100 zombies before returning to the Inn!

Quest Reward: 2000MP

Quest Completed: 100/100 zombies killed!

Quest Reward: 2000MP delivered!

Quest Updated: Kill 5 Rank 2 zombies before returning to the Inn!

Quest Reward: 5000MP

Quest Status: ⅗ Rank 2 zombies killed

He read the notifications multiple times before he could accept what was written. He had unwittingly earned 4500MP, and that was amazing. BUT HE HAD KILLED OVER 100 ZOMBIES!? Honestly, he didn't even recall what happened.

When he thought back, he could only remember flashes. He remembered feeling sweaty, he remembered feeling pain from being hit, he remembered feeling that his body was extremely hot! At some point, he was on top of a car. He had lost track of his backpack, his knife, and most of his clothes. He vaguely remembered telling the monocle if it could figure out how the blue-light doors worked when it saw zombies coming out of buildings, and at some point, it must have done that. He remembered... the giant lion... running? He remembered Mary's warning.

"Mary, are you there?" he croaked. His throat was very dry and his voice was barely audible.

"I'm here," she said, appearing in front of him. She was floating in the air before him, looking down at his beaten body with sympathy. "You did really well. Who could have guessed your first trip to another world would be so dangerous?"

Lex chuckled. He had anticipated many things when he thought of what he could encounter on another planet: hostile civilizations, primitive life-forms, aliens, but he never considered zombies.

"How much time is left before I can leave?" he asked her, this time using his thoughts.

"It's been 21 hours since you've been on his planet. 3 more hours before the minimum time required, and it could be any amount of time after that. I suggest you get as much rest as you can, in case it takes much longer. You've lost your food, so if it takes much longer than 24 hours for you to be able to go back, you might have to think of something."

"If I can continue hiding, I'll just buy Saturn Cake from the Midnight Store. It's expensive, but I'm in no condition to continue fighting. Anyway, I've earned quite a few MP. Did I really kill that many zombies?"

For a moment, Mary just looked at Lex with a complicated expression on her face. "You killed quite a few zombies, but you've over exerted yourself. You lost yourself in combat, which was very dangerous. You could have easily escaped much earlier, but you were so focused on fighting that you completely forgot about everything else. In the future, try to maintain your self-awareness at all times."

Lex was startled. He was under the impression that he had done really well, but Mary's lecture reminded him that his primary purpose wasn't to kill zombies. He should have only fought as long as needed. Instead, he got caught up in a cycle of acting without thinking because the situation was too intense. As a result, he was not thoroughly exhausted.

"I'll keep that in mind," he said as he moved to buy another Botlam Dew finally, but right before he made the purchase, he had an idea. He had an idea of how to solve another problem he had been having.

"Mary, how do I recruit Marlo as a valet?" he asked.

"You can purchase an employment key from the Midnight Store. It's a platinum key you can give to someone who can then use it to enter Midnight Inn. There they can view an employee contract that details their responsibilities, based on their job, and if they accept, they will become your employee. You must also give them a test to complete before they can officially join, as becoming an employee of the Midnight Inn should not be a leisurely task.

"Once you have an employee, you will also have to provide them with an employee residence. The employee can choose to live in the residence permanently or travel back and forth between their world and the Inn, but either way they must have one. The employee can also never harm you, in any world, but you can also not harm an employee or ask them to perform a task that will kill them. You can only give them orders related to the position they are filling, and anything else you tell them to do will be a request that they can turn down if they so wish.

"You also have to pay the employee in MP, and their salary will be based on their cultivation level as well as position and result during the test. If you are unable to pay your employee at the end of every month, the system will instantly kill you. There is no such thing as credit when it comes to the system.

"Right now you only have basic positions open to fill, such as valet, but later on you can recruit better and more skilled employees such as Pill refiners, Blacksmiths, Spirit Array refiners and more to provide the best services to your guests."

Lex understood the basics, and it was more or less as he expected it to be. Slowly a plan formed in his mind, but enacting the plan would depend on when he would be able to return to the Inn.

He closed his eyes and rested while he waited for the last 3 hours to pass. Normally, his body was very quick to recover since he cultivated Regal Embrace. This was the first time his feeling of weakness persisted.

He checked his status mentally and was shocked at the state his body was in, especially since this was after he had drunk Botlam Dew.

Name: Lex Williams

Age: 23

Sex: Male

Cultivation Level: Regal Embrace Body Tempering Stage 1

Health: Suboptimal (developing brain tumor), severe muscle damage (recovering), severe exhaustion (recovering), multiple hairline fractures (recovering)

Midnight Points: 5331

Midnight Inn Level: 2

Inventory: Bathroom Slippers, Self Defense Butter Knife, 1 Golden Tickets, Host Attire


New Quest: As the most renown Inn in the universe, the Midnight Inn does not only host the rich and the powerful! Setup and develop the Pro Bono wing of the Inn and accept your first Pro Bono guest!

Remark: Keep working hard! If you raise your cultivation high enough, one day you'll be able to cast illusions to make yourself look better!

Sudden Quest: With a great personality and abundant energy, Marlo is a great candidate to serve as a valet for the Inn! Hire Marlo as your first valet!

Quest Time limit: 1 month

Quest Reward: 1 small staff dormitory, 1000MP, +1 Midnight Inn Level

Quest failure punishment: -1000MP (if host is unable to pay, it will result in immediate death!)

Lex rested with his eyes closed, though he was not able to fall asleep due to the pain. He waited patiently for his 24 hours to be complete and prayed for the Inn to connect the worlds as soon as possible. Fortunately, his luck was good, and he got the notification.

Midnight Inn Update: World Vegus Minima connected! Access available!

Quests completed before connection: 3

Rating: C-

Host Reward: Serene Whistle, Trials

Lex didn't have the patience to go through his reward right now. He was in too much pain, for goodness sakes! He could tolerate it if he had to, but he had no intentions of prolonging it.

He quickly left Vegus Minima and returned to Earth. He threw on some random clothes and hailed a cab to Marlo's apartment. He did his best to make himself look as miserable as possible, which wasn't very hard to be honest, as he was still covered in dried black blood from the zombies and smelled like death.

He rang the bell for Marlo's apartment and when the butler answered the door, he gave one look at Lex and delivered an annoyed look rather than a surprised one.

"I will summon the master," the butler said, escorting Lex to the least luxurious part of the apartment: a bathroom.

Marlo appeared quick enough and his face was plastered with the largest grin Lex had ever seen, and his eyes were practically screaming with excitement.

"I had an epiphany about self defense," Lex said weakly as he chuckled. "Giving up an opportunity that's too dangerous for you is also a form of self defense."

Before he could explain further, the behemoth of a man before him burst into a roaring laughter.

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