ESP: Chapter 118 – Prelude to the Great Battle (2)

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Chapter 118 – Prelude to the Great Battle (2)

 

4.

The cheap coffee was letting out a burnt smell.  Ahn-jaehyun zealously put grape flavored candies into his cheap coffee, and he spoke towards the Tablet PC propped up on its stand.

“Please don’t speak such nonsense. Even if there is an insufficient supply of Black Cobalt King’s Sword, it is not worth as much as you are claiming.”

The voice recognition app picked up Ahn-jaehyun’s voice, and his words were put up as text in the chatting window.  After a slight delay, the Tablet PC replied in a clear and beautiful voice.

– Since we are talking about making a deal with gold, the price has to be adjusted.

“Bullshit.”

Ahn-jaehyun was speaking to himself as he drank his coffee, and he immediately realized his mistake.

‘Shit!’

His words were immediately picked up by the app, and it transcribed his word into the chatting window.  For a moment, he forgot he was chatting through a voice recognition software, and he forgot to be careful with his words.

‘Ah. Whatever. I won’t go through with it anyways.’

Ahn-jaehyun decided to end the negotiation instead of giving an apology.

‘This negotiation is pointless.  This bastard wants 200,000 gold for the Black Cobalt King’s Sword.’

Black Cobalt King’s Sword.

It was a level 160 Unique Rank Item.  It was considered to be in the upper tier in terms of Options compared to Items of similar Rank.  It was being traded at a very high price, because it had an Option that was very advantageous in a Boss Monster hunt.  Moreover, the supply wasn’t abundant.

The seller was asking for 200,000 gold for the Item. Hyrkan could guarantee that this Item wasn’t worth 200,000 gold.

Recently, a Black Cobalt King’s Sword was sold in public through auction, and it had been sold for 150,000 gold.  However, this had been an anomalous transaction.  No, it wasn’t anomalous.  It had been a ploy to raise the market price for the sword.

This happened from time to time.  There were people, who manipulated the market for an Item in short supply as they tried to increase their  profit.

‘Is this bastard perhaps the one that wanted to trade the Circlet of Purification with the sword?’

There were also those who increased the market price, so they could trade it for a different Item.

This practice was also known as Bubble Laundry.

The Items on Warlord was sold for very high prices, so these kinds of practices happened quite frequently.  Warlord was full of swindlers.

Of course, from that perspective, Ahn-jaehyun was the biggest swindler of them all.  He was trying to manipulate the price of the Circlet of Purification. For example, if it was a story of someone else doing it, it sounds like an adulterous story. If one is part of that story, it sounds like a love story that can’t be heard without crying.

‘You son of a bitch.  If I see you in the game, you’ll suffer the Watchman style.’

Ahn-jaehyun was about to grind his teeth when it happened.

– You have offended me.  Let’s cancel this negotiation.

In the end, the other person broke off the deal.  Ahn-jaehyun immediately yelled out a warning.

“If you get caught messing with the market price of an Item, you’ll see blood! Quit your tricks.”

The words popped up immediately on the chatting window, but the other person had already left the chatting room.  Ahn-jaehyun brought the coffee cup up to his annoyed face. The steam coming up from coffee fogged up Ahn-jaehyun’s glasses, but he wordlessly looked through the fog.

‘This won’t do.’

Ahn-jaehyun’s character was level 160 now, and he needed a new weapon.  It wasn’t as if he couldn’t continue to use the Ivan’s Sword, but he wanted something better.  Ivan’s Sword couldn’t be compared to a level 160 Unique Rank Item.

‘I also need a defensive set.’

He also needed another defensive set. The defensive set he was wearing was quite good.  He wouldn’t have a problem wearing it until level 170.

The problem was the Circlet of Purification.

‘I need one that could work in combination with the Circlet of Purification.’

The Circlet of Purification’s Option was unspeakably good. However, there were clear demerits to the Item.

The biggest downside was its defense.  One couldn’t rely on its defense unlike the normal helms.  It wasn’t as if those in Warlord wore helmets that covered the entirety of one’s face, but it was dangerous to leave one’s head bare.  Of course, this was the case for the normal Users.  Ahn-jaehyun had Bone Armor, so he was in a slightly better position.

The second demerit was the fact that it was counted as a helm when wearing a normal set.  Basically, when one wore the Circlet of Purification, the Set Option that activated when one wore 5 parts disappeared.  In truth, this was what troubled Ahn-jaehyun the most.

This was why he needed a new defensive set that worked well with the Circlet of Purification.

‘The Skeleton Panda set seems ok….’

He actually had an Item in mind that met his requirement.

Skeleton Panda set.

The attack Option was a bit lacking, but it was an set with great defense and mobility Options.  This set was mainly used as a switching set for both the Tankers and Strikers.  Of course, the caliber of Users who used this Item were those in the 30 great guild’s first string Raid teams.

For normal Users, they couldn’t even dream about using it as a switching set. They could only dream about one day wearing the Item.

Fortunately, there was a good number of the set released into the market.  The Skeleton Panda set was a Rare Rank Item, and the Skeleton Panda was considered to be a large size monster.  This meant a good amount of Ingredients were dropped when a Skeleton Panda was taken down.

The problem was…….

‘There is no one in their right mind, who would make a Skeleton Panda Set, with its Helm missing.’

However, what Ahn-jaehyun wanted wasn’t on the market.

A set consisted of the Armor, Greaves, Gloves, Shoulder, Boots, Helm, and Shield.

The defensive set was divided into 7 Items.

First, the shield was treated like a separate Item from the set. The shield was very useful, but at the same time, it had a high chance of being destroyed in battle.

Amongst the 6 parts left, 5 parts were combined to make a set Item.  The Helm, Armor and Greaves were always included in making a set.  The remaining two parts depended on a User’s preference.  There were some, who left out the boots.  Others chose to exclude the gloves.

Of course, all the Set items on the market had the Helm as a matter of course.  Since Ahn-jaehyun had to wear the Circlet of Purification, he needed a set with no helm.  In the end, he would have to custom order a set or he had to acquire the Ingredients.

The problem was the fact that the Ingredients were much more expensive than the already made Items.

‘Should I look up the price? Yes. I should look up the price.  It doesn’t cost me any money to do that.’

Ahn-jaehyun wordlessly drank his coffee as he used the auction search function to find out the exact price of the Ingredients. The hand lifting his coffee cup was shaking. Ahn-jaehyun didn’t have Parkinson’s disease.  The fact that his hands were shaking meant that the price was very high.

“Fucking crazy game.”

Ahn-jaehyun spoke words that was as bitter as his coffee.

‘Shit. Do I really have to give up real money to buy it? How come the Ingredients cost 20,000 gold more than the complete product? How does that make any sense?’

Ahn-jaehyun spat out his anger.

Ahn-jaehyun started tapping on the Tablet PC’s calculator before his anger could subside.

He was stronger than anyone in front of monsters, but he was the weakest at impulse purchases. That was Ahn-jaehyun.

 

5.

“Ready!”

At Chev’s shout, the ten Strikers on standby gritted their teeth.  Their mouth was tightly shut, but they were all talking to themselves.

‘This is driving me nuts.’

‘Uh-whew.  This is worse than the time I received Basic Combat Training from the army.’

Eventually the Thorn Turtle stomped its right front leg against the ground.

Koohng!

The ground shook.  As the Thorn Turtle let out a roar, long and sharp needles grew all over its body, and it was shot  towards the Users like arrows.

“Bang!”

When the gun noise came out of Chev’s mouth, the ten Strikers rushed towards the Thorn Baptism. One would be too late if one dodged after seeing the needles, and it wasn’t possible to accidentally dodge the barrage.  They had to dodge the thorns using their instincts.

Koohng!

As soon as they dodged the attack, the Thorn Turtle moved its left foot.  It once again fired a volley of thorns, and the ten Strikers had all their senses on high alert as they got ready to dodge again.  However, they had closed the distance with the Thorn Turtle, and the time they had to get ready for the attack had been reduced significantly.

In the end, one gave up on the second volley as the User pulled out to the back.  Three more Strikers gave up on the third volley of the Thorn Baptism.  Four people gave up on the fourth volley of the Thorn Baptism.  When the Thorn Baptisms came to an end, only two Strikers had reached the Thorn Turtle.

Chev closed his mouth tightly when he saw the sight.

‘We’ve been practicing for a month, yet only two people can do it. If I include myself, that is only 3 Users. I thought I would have at least five.  How unfortunate.’

They were training right now.

The great battle with the Immoral Prince was approaching, and they were training with that event in mind.

Instead of leveling or incrementally increasing their Specs, it was more important for them to be able to respond to various situations.

No one knew how the battle would be conducted.

Moreover, Red Bulls and most of the skilled Users of the 30 great guilds were specialized at Raid Style battles.  They were unparallelled in terms of hunting large sized monsters. However, their skills in small scale warfare and overcoming numerical disadvantage was lacking compared to their Raid skills.

This was a weakness possessed by all the 30 great guilds.  Moreover, overcoming this weakness would determine if they’ll cry or smile at the end of the battle.

“We’ll do it five more times. Don’t disturb the monsters.  The Tankers have to last until the cool time of the Thorn Baptism ends.”

Of course, the guild members were training instead of hunting. This was hell for them.

‘I can’t believe we are doing this by purposefully letting the monster live.’

‘Our guild master is too fierce.’

However, the Red Bulls guild members had it better than the Stormhunters guild members.  In the case of the the Stormhunters guild, they had to face someone else on top of fighting the monsters.

“Dodge! Open both your eyes as you dodge! Hatch! Why aren’t you moving faster?”

“I’m moving!”

“Hahui!”

“I’m sorry, Queen! I’ll stay focused!”

“We are in a game.  If you want to say you are tired, just quit!

“Yes.”

Shir yelled at them, and the 1st string Raid team of the Stormhunters guild moved busily through the rampaging monsters.  The magicians threw their magic and the Tankers were using every method they could devise to protect the mages as the monsters targeted them.  When the Tankers stood up the monsters, the Strikers immediately moved in.  The priests ran back and forth in the chaos as they revived dead Users. They also recast new Buffs as the old ones expired.

“We are in the last 5 minutes.”

Unlike their movements from before, the Users moved more frantically when Shir informed them of the time.

‘If we don’t get the timing right this time, I’m ending this.’

‘The guild master is scarier than the monsters..’

‘I’m leaving this guild when my contract ends.  If only my contract was at an end… Shit.’

The guild members felt it through their bodies that Shir became much scarier when her voice calmed down.

In Shir’s case, she thought differently from Chev.  If Chev was trying to increase their ability to respond to any situation, Shir was the opposite.  She wanted to hunt down as many monsters as quickly as possible.

‘If we want to catch a lot of them, we have to catch them fast.’

At that moment, another guild was using a different method from these two guilds to get ready for the war.

 

6.

“I don’t believe it.”

The very serious tone was coming out of a being with a youthful appearance. Bagel, the protector of the Terube castle walls, shook its head from side to side.

Hydra’s eighth head Natal was standing in front of Bagel.  Natal spoke once again towards Bagel.

“You have to believe me.”

“Prince Dean has worked the hardest in winning the war against the monsters.”

“However, all the information I have brought you is pointing towards Prince Dean.”

“That is…….”

“Wasn’t Bagel-nim the one who gave me all these Missions?”

Bagel.

He was the guardian of the Terube castle walls, and he managed the battlefields.  He was also the right hand man of Prince Dean, and the Hydra guild had decided to go through the Quest route that passed through Bagel.

Bagel was a member of the Secret Society. However, he had served Prince Dean his whole life, so he was beyond shocked when he found out that Prince Dean was the one using the power of Corruption.  Of course, Bagel tried to deny this fact.

However, Natal had brought a flag, and it was an irrefutable evidence that pointed out Prince Dean as the hidden power behind the Corrupted Army.

Bagel shut his eyes. Natal closely observed Bagel.

The Hydra guild was able to progress much faster in Quests compared to others, because they were very serious about the Quests. This was only a game to others, so they only half-listened to the Quest conversation.  However, this wasn’t true for the Hydra guild.

They didn’t think of the game as reality.  However, they were fully immersed into the game. In the end, the game was made with a purpose in mind.  There was a reason behind the existence of every content in the game.  If one could find the meaning behind their existence, that information could become a clue.  This was what the Hydra guild believed, and this belief brought incredible results.

There was no way Bagel knew what Natal was thinking.  Bagel laboriously opened its mouth.

“I’ll go meet with Prince Dean myself.”

At that moment…

[The Quest ‘Bagel’s Loyalty’ has started.]

Natal heard the Quest Announcement in his ears. Natal quickly calculated in his mind.

‘I’ll have to go with Plan B. So the option left to me is…….’

When Bagel met Prince Dean, Bagel will immediately ask about the Corrupted Army.  This will unmask Prince Dean.  Prince Dean had been appointed the Guardian of the North by the King, yet it’ll become known that he had been aiming to steal the king’s seat as the Immoral Prince.

This will lead to the start of a war.

“It’ll be dangerous.”

“If Prince Dean is really behind everything… My life will be forfeit. There will be no clearer evidence than him killing me.”

“That’ll be a pointless death.  The evidence is already irrefutable.  I won’t let Bagel-nim die in vain.”

“I’ve served Prince Dean my entire life, yet I hadn’t been able to stop him from being Corrupted. It is a sin that is worthy of death.”

At that moment, two choices presented itself in front of Natal.

Should he follow Bagel to meet Prince Dean?  Or should he let Bagel go by himself, and watch him die?

Normal Users would choose the option that was within the User’s ability.  It was the same for Natal.

‘There is a Block Field beyond the Terube castle walls. If I consider all the conversations I had with Bagel regarding the Battlefield stage, there is something beyond beyond the Terube castle walls.  There is an important region beyond the northern Block Field.  It’s probably something much bigger in scale compared to the recently discovered Cursed Castle.  Moreover, there is a high probability that Bagel will be the main NPC if an event does occur…’

However, Natal and the Hydra guild’s ability couldn’t be compared to the normal Users.

‘There is a high probability that Bagel won’t die.  Maybe if I follow him, I might earn some merit afterwards.’

“I will go with you.”

Bagel shook its head at Natal’s words.

“I won’t allow you to put yourself in danger.”

“No matter what I do from now on I’ll have to put my life on the line.  That won’t change even now”

At those words, Bagel opened his tightly shut eyes.

“Thank you, Natal.  If it wasn’t for your help…  When everything ends and if I’m still alive, I will serve you for the rest of your life.”

Serve.

Natal smiled at the word.

 
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12 thoughts on “ESP: Chapter 118 – Prelude to the Great Battle (2)” - NO SPOILERS and NO CURSING

  1. Thanks for the chapter.

    I don’t get why he has to buy all his equipment when he upgrades? If he knows what mobs drop the ingredients, then why can’t he hunt them and make his own equipment – which would surely be cheaper than buying new stuff every 10 levels or so.

    1. all those ingredients are from the raid boss.
      while he could handle small raid boss by himself, he still couldn’t solo the bigger one. Not to mention the big guild usually tried to hold the monopoly if the boss is in their area, he’s trying to avoid unnecessary trouble trying to get a hold of the boss for himself

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