ESP: Chapter 87 – Corrupted Elf (1)

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Chapter 87 Corrupted Elf (1).

Chapter 87 – Corrupted Elf (1)

1.

It was 10 meters long. It was a beast with two feet and two wings. It looked similar to a chicken. However, it had gray lizard-like scales instead of feathers. Its tail was long, reminiscent of a dinosaur’s tail.

Moreover, its comb was quite memorable. The red comb on top of its head was sharp like a blade and the wattle under its beak was letting out a soft light. It was letting out a strange foreboding feeling. The beak between the comb reminded one of a large spear.

However, the most striking part of its appearance was its armor. It wore a red armor that was akin to a horse saddle.

Its name was the Gray Cockatrice.

It was a level 120 mid-sized monster. It was one of the many monsters that drank out of the Red Lake.

One couldn’t look down on it, but it was a monster one could take down if given the opportunity.

The Garten Party had been hunting at the Red Lake for 4 weeks, and they had already caught 5 of these monsters.

“Shit!”

However, their reaction was different from the last time they had met this particular monster.

“We caught a Corrupted monster last week yet it appeared once again? How is this possible?”

The loud complaint was heard by the Gray Cockatrice, and it quickly turned its head. When it turned its head, one could see it in its eyes. It was as if a vast quantity of black ink had been dripped into a gray lake. The black energy was swirling inside the eyes.

The ten users, who were part of the Garten Party, frowned as they saw the light in its eyes.

“What should we do?”

“We have to fight it.”

“I don’t think it’ll be easy.”

“Isn’t that bastard fast at moving? If we run, three to four of our party members will be killed. It’s better to fight it right now, then ask for help.”

At that moment…

“It’s about to bite!”

One user who had been keeping an eye on the Gray Cockatrice let out a yell. Everyone’s gaze focused on the Gray Cockatrice. They caught sight of its beak opening wide. Its open beak was wide enough to put a human head through.

From the wide open beak…

Ggi-roo-roo-roo!

An ear-piercing cry was let out. Instead of a sound, the bizarre cry transformed into wind and started to gust into the surrounding. The power of the wind was considerable as the plants filling the Red Lake started to tremble.

In between the horrible shriek…

[Corrupted Gray Cockatrice let out a sudden roar.]

[Every Stat will be reduced by 20%.]

[You are feeling Fear. Your movement speed will be decreased by 15%.]

They heard the announcement.

[The Mysterious Soft Candy nullified the Fear and the Curse.]

After hearing the announcement, the ten users heard a new announcement. They had already taken a consumable item. It was the effect of the Mysterious Soft Candy.

Small fireworks were going off inside the mouth of the Ten Users.

The very first ones to move was two users equipped with heavy armors, large shields, and powerful hammers. The two users boasted similar body size, and they ran towards the Gray Cockatrice, who was still letting out its bizarre cry.

One of the user raised his hammer high, then yelled out.

“Lightning Stun!”

Accompanying his shout, the thrown hammer spun like a wheel as it flew towards the monster.

Pahjeek, pah-ji-jeek!

As the hammer spun, it started creating lighting. The flying hammer changed its trajectory like a curveball, accurately striking the Gray Cockatrice on its head.

Kwahng!

The explosive sound reverberated and the Gray Cockatrice stopped letting out its cry.

When the horrendous shriek stopped, the Gray Cockatrice focused its gaze on the user, who had thrown the hammer.

The user, who had thrown the monster, readied himself for the imminent attack as he put the large shield in front of him.

During all of this, the other 8 users were moving busily.

The 3 Magicians readied their magic, and two Strikers quickly positioned themselves behind the Gray Cockatrice. Two Priests readied themselves behind the Magicians and a single priest shadowed a single Striker.

There was a flurry of movements.

At the height of the movement, a sound that notified the start of the battle was heard.

Gga-gahng!

It was the sound of the Gray Cockatrice’s beak ramming hard into the tanker’s shield.

2.

“Breaking news! Breaking news!”

Smarwolf Village.

The Smarwolf Village was the closest settlement near the Red Lake region, but it wasn’t a large town. There were exactly 12 buildings in the entire village. The largest building was a 3 story building, which was occupied by the Subjugation Association. Of course, the users who had come to this place all gathered at the Subjugation Association’s branch office.

“Garten Party was wiped out!”

When the several dozen users gathered on the 1st floor heard the breaking news, it was as if hail was dropping on the surface of a lake. It created multiple ripples.

“The Garten Party?”

“I thought their average level was 127? They were wiped out, but how could they be wiped out at the Red Lake considering their level of skill?”

“In truth, they just graduated to those levels. They were hunting here to train.”

People started developing doubts as to the validity of the news.

However, their misgiving was cut off immediately when they heard this.

“They were killed by a Corrupted Gray Cockatrice!”

It wasn’t said by the user, who had yelled out the breaking news. Someone else had given the explanation.

When the users heard the explanation, several of them let out a sigh of complaint.

Poo-hoo!

“It’s a Corrupted Monster again?”

“Recently, the Red Lake has been acting strange. It hasn’t been like this before. Now the Corrupted Monsters regen almost regularly now.”

“We already caught one last week. It hasn’t even been a whole week…. I don’t think its a bug.”

“The Regen Time was probably changed.”

It seemed this wasn’t the first time such an occurrence had happened. No one moved around restlessly from confusion. Instead, several of them started giving their opinions.

“We can’t just let it be. We have to catch it. Do we have to for a party like last time?”

“We could form a party, but would anyone join it? I calculated the profit and loss last time. I estimate each user who had joined the party had a loss of around 3-4 hundred gold.”

“They took a loss? I thought a lot of Ingredient Gems had dropped?”

“A lot of them died. They had to give compensation for those users who died, so there weren’t any profit left.”

“It’s too strong. The ones that are appearing recently are somehow worse. Aren’t they showing up wearing armor? The 1st rate Raid teams of the 30 Great Guilds would probably have to do this. A party hastily constructed from the parties here won’t get the job done.”

The serious conversations continued.

It happened once again in front of them.

“Breaking news!”

A new breaking news had arrived.

Everyone turned to look at the user, who had yelled out. The user spoke when everyone’s gaze was on him.

“The Hahoe…….”

Before the user could end his sentence, the door to the Subjugation Association opened and a single user appeared.

He had a light cloth armor that made one doubt if it gave any defense. The user looked to be wearing a taekwondo uniform, and his face was covered by a Korean traditional mask. It was a unique mask called the Hahoe Mask.

“……Mask is coming this way.”

“We know. He’s over there.”

After hearing the reply, the user who had shouted out the breaking news turned his head.

Everyone’s gaze was on the new user, who had appeared. Their gazes headed towards Hyrkan. Instead of being confused by the gaze on him, Hyrkan pulled back his shoulders and he proudly stood with a straight back.

‘Finally, my fame has reached this point. Kyahh. It really makes me want to play this game more.’

3.

The Red Lake was a hunting ground for users over level 120. It was quite popular amongst the many hunting grounds.

There were 3 reasons why this place was popular.

First, level 120 medium to large monsters appeared here. The important point was that the Boss Monsters didn’t show up here. Instead, the normal mid to large sized monsters appeared here. Most of the mid to large sized monsters one meets in Warlord was Boss Monsters. The 30 Great Guilds and even the Underfoot Guilds was able to use Boss Monsters as practice partners. This wasn’t true for normal parties or the small guilds. So this stage was a great place to practice for a Boss Monster Raid.

Secondly, the EXP given here was worth its time. Even a single mid to large sized monsters gave a great amount of EXP, so one didn’t have to try so hard to catch a lot of them. The amount of ingredient coins one could acquire was significant, and the probability of a Gem Ingredient showing up was high.

The third reason was the rule. Since only the high level users gathered here, it was hard to act with bad manners. This stage had the strongest unwritten rule amongst the hunting grounds, so it was possible to focus solely on hunting.

The most important reason amongst the three was the first one. Users had to know how to hunt mid to large sized monsters. It was only then would one be able to enjoy Raids. Raids were the flower of Warlord. If one didn’t know how to raid, one would have to level up only by catching regular mid to large sized monsters. It would be very boring.

This was why this hunting ground was packed. If there wasn’t an open spot in a party, one had to take a ticket. One would have to wait one’s turn.

“Spot? There are a lot of spots open right now.”

Luckily, a spot opened up when Hyrkan arrived. It wasn’t just one. Multiple spots opened up.

Hyrkan titled his head in confusion.

“From what I heard, there weren’t any spots left, and there was a 2 day waiting period.”

“A party was just wiped out right now. This caused several parties to give up and leave towards a different location”

Hyrkan once again tilted his head in puzzlement. At that moment, someone had approached Hyrkan from his back. Hyrkan slowly turned his head to look behind him. He saw a man. He was a user wearing decent armor. He had blonde hair and blue eyes. His appearance was striking. The man asked a question as he looked at Hyrkan.

“You are the Hahoe Mask?”

Hyrkan’s eyes narrowed.

He had too many enemies, so his heart was filled with suspicion instead of being filled with welcoming feelings.

“Since I can’t show you my face, I can’t prove my identity. However, I am operating under the name of the Hahoe Mask.”

With those words, Hyrkan looked at the other man’s item setting.

‘His level…… Well, he seems to be around level 120.”

Truthfully, he had no idea what items this user was wearing. It wasn’t as if Hyrkan had memorized every item. Moreover, the item’s design could be changed solely at the user’s discretion. Unless there was a special ingredient that was being displayed, it was hard to discern the identity of an item just by looking at its design.

“Who are you?”

“I’m Pelato. I’m affiliated with the Golden Brothers guild.”

Golden Brothers.

At that point, Hyrkan let out a sigh of relief.

‘He isn’t an enemy..’

He was well acquainted with this guild. They were the guild who had increased in strength alongside the Hahoe Mask Guild. The Hahoe Mask Guild and the Golden Brother Guild attempted to seize the stranglehold held by the 30 Great Guilds. They were a famous guild that represented the Underfoot guilds. Currently, they boasted a force that was comparable to one of the 30 Great Guilds.

However, he had never heard of the name Pelato.

‘It basically means he is a smallfry.’

It was either one of two things. He had a reason to stop playing this game or as Hyrkan suspected, this guy wasn’t that big of a deal.

“Golden Brothers. I’ve never fostered a bad relationship with such an amazing guild. What do you want with me?”

“I’m not here to cause a fight. I’m just here to give you a proposal.”

“If it’s about entering your guild, I’ll decline.”

Hyrkan had a slight pain in his stomach as he gave his answer.

‘Ah, the recruitment proposal by the Red Bulls was fantastic.’

He thought about the recent conversation he had with Chev. After that conversation, he researched the recent profit the Red Bulls had pulled from showing ads on their live channel programs. As he started calculating the figure, an amount that made his insides hurt appeared.

Hyrkan had refused such a massive offer, so he had no reasons to accept the recruitment proposal of the Golden Brothers.

The Golden Brothers didn’t try to recruit him.

“Would you like to catch the Corrupted Gray Cockatrice with us?”

Hyrkan tilted his head in confusion at the proposal. This was the third time someone ask him to join their party.

‘Corrupted?’

When he understood the situation, the light in Hyrkan’s eyes changed.

Corrupted Gray Cockatrice.

‘Isn’t this killing two birds with one stone?’

I’m sure now. This is evidence that the Corrupted Elf is here. Hyrkan corrected his posture.

“I’m sorry. I don’t have the spare time to do that. I’ve already made plans. I don’t want to deviate from what I have to do.”

It would be the worst plan for him to accept their proposal. Hyrkan’s true target wasn’t the Corrupted Monster. His target was the Corrupted Elf who was making these Corrupted monsters.

Of course, he would have immediately turned down the proposal even if he didn’t have something else to do.

‘The fact that he is giving me this proposal means his party is an improvised party. There’s a limit to what an improvised party could do at this stage.’

Chemistry was important. Even if everyone was skilled users, it was hard to develop chemistry on the spot.

Moreover, even if he was famous, this was the first time Hyrkan had stepped on this stage from Pelato’s perspective. It meant he needed a sacrificial lamb. Pelato needed the weight behind Hyrkan’s name.

Hyrkan wasn’t a pushover who would immediately accept this proposal. He only looked like a pushover.

Pelato also stared at Hyrkan.

“Too bad. I wanted to fight in sync with the famous Hahoe Mask.”

Pelato turned his back towards Hyrkan.

Hyrkan’s eyes narrowed as he looked at the user’s back.

‘It seems they are trying to catch it through any means possible… Is there any way I’ll be able to use the Golden Brothers?’

Hyrkan started to form a plot.

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