Chapter 171 – Bone Dragon (1)
“All right. I'll do that. I'll trade you a full Blood Ogre set and the Ingredients needed to make 3 Werebear Items. Do you want me to go to a different seller? Wait a moment. How much are you trying to get for that Item? If we are close, let's consummate this trade. The Werebear drop Items haven't been released on the market yet.”
Ahn-jaehyun used his index finger to reposition his glasses as he spoke. He lightly pushed up the nose pad of the glass, which had fallen to the bridge of his nose. As if a switch had been pressed, a furrow appeared on Ahn-jaheyun's forehead.
“Please stop playing around. I called you to make a trade, yet you have the audacity to change the terms mid-call. That isn't good manners.”
A sharp voice, which went well with his frowning face, came out his mouth.
“How about the Black Kobold King's sword? It's price has dropped recently, but you should know it can't be purchased with a small sum. Anyways, that is my final offer for it..”
In the end, the earphone equipped on Ahn-jaehyun's left ear buzzed.
“Ok. Let's do this trade.”
After finishing the trade, Ahn-jaehyun immediately took off the earphone, and he threw it towards the mattress in anger.
Accompanying the profane language, Ahn-jaehyun seethed within.
‘He is really acting high and mighty just from owning a level 190 No Name Skill Book. He is trying to take me to the cleaners! Fucking asshole!’
The level 190 No Name Skill Books were starting to trickle out in the market. Even the ridiculous price on the auction board was starting to fall drastically. In such a situation, Ahn-jaehyun had a good idea what the market price was for a level 190 No Name Skill book. This was why he suggested an Item exchange to the seller.
Ahn-jaehyun had decided to get rid of the Items not needed by the Skeleton Warriors. His Skeleton Warriors didn't need it, but these Items were still popular amongst the Users. It was good enough to be used as bartering chips.
‘The Item Option dropped by the Werebear is pretty atrocious compared to the hunting difficulty, yet it is a level 220 Item....’
He had planned on using only the Items he didn't need as bartering chips, but once the negotiation started, he had to include the Item Ingredients dropped by the Werebears.
Ahn-jaehyun grinded his teeth.
‘I'm not talented at trading Items. It should have been equal value... It's all right. It's fine.’
It was an unexpected trade, but he didn't need any of the Items that was used as bartering chips. The only problem was the gold he could have gotten by selling these Items.
‘I must have lost my mind.’
Ahn-jaehyun became astonished as he balanced his account.
‘It is only a single Skill, yet I spent so much.... I've lost my mind. I'm sure of it.’
It was only a single skill. Moreover, he had no idea which Skill might come out of it, yet he had bought it for an incredible amount of money. It was something the original Rich Lich, Subrata Duta, would have done. It was something only an incredibly rich man would do.
‘Or maybe this game is crazy.’
Ahn-jaehyun looked at the V-Gear on the mattress.
‘This game is really nuts. Warlord is a well made game, but the other games don't ramp up like this.’
After Warlord's great success, many games were released to take over the throne held by Warlord, and there were several games vying for that spot. There had to be a basic sense of completeness for one to enjoy these kinds of games, and there were several games that were able to compete with Warlord by fulfilling this prerequisite. Moreover, there were some aspects of these games that were superior to Warlord.
These games weren't able to increase their base population as quickly as Warlord, but they were successful in getting a large following. However, none of these games could reach a point where ridiculous money was being exchanged within. There weren't any games where people went crazy over it.
Moreover, there will be none that would be able to capture the heart of the people in the future. Before Ahn-jaehyun came back to the past, Warlord had been considered a special game. It reigned over all games as the special one. There was an indescribable quality that existed within Warlord.
When he thought about the past, he couldn't help, but sneer at himself.
‘The craziness right now is to my advantage. ’
Before he returned to the past, this specialness of Warlord had been a pain for him. However, it was the opposite now.
Warlord was special, and the Hahoe Mask was special within Warlord. Ahn-jaehyun was doing unimaginable feats now.
Moreover, he would achieve greater feats in the future.
Ahn-jaehyun lay dowy down on his mattress, and he immediately put on his V-Gear.
It took over 20 days for Hyrkan to finish his Quest. When he returned to the Heard Fortress ruin town, it had developed a decent amount. It was hard to call it a town now. It was starting to resemble a castle.
‘It looks similar to the Cursed Castle.’
The transformation of the Heard Fortress ruin town was something he had seen before at the Cursed Castle. It was like the Cursed Castle regaining its name of Hiban castle, and the dignity that came with the process. Of course, there were several differences one could point out.
‘Shouldn’t they be making a statue of me here?’
However, the most important difference in Hyrkan's mind was the absence of a statue.
When the Cursed Statue transformed into the Hiban castle, the game erected a statue for the Noopi Family. The Heard Fortress ruin town was able to be established when Hyrkan had defeated Anugas. However, the game was showing no signs of erecting a statue for the Hahoe Mask.
Of course, he wouldn't get any monetary gain from the formation of a statue. However, if they insisted on building one, he wouldn't turn down the opportunity. There was no reason why he would hate the idea.
He actually welcomed such gestures. He really liked the idea of leaving behind a permanent presence in this game.
Since he liked the idea, he felt a sense of disappointment.
‘They should have made me a park. How great would it have been if they erected a statue of me fighting Anugas? It would have looked cool and awesome.’
The Users, who were focused on Hyrkan's presence in the town, would have fainted if they found out about his inner thoughts.
“Hahoe Mask! Isn't that the Hahoe Mask.”
“Of course, it is the Hahoe Mask. No one would pretend to be the Hahoe Mask in the Black Continent. It would be the end for those, who were caught.”
“I heard five Users spying on him had their wrists cut off. I heard the hands were fed to the Skeletons.”
“Is that the famous Watchman style? It is scary.”
The Hahoe Mask was the symbol of fear on the stage of Warlord. The Hahoe Mask didn't stand for hope and dream. Hahoe mask was known for taking out monsters and Users, who annoyed him. Even if it was a normal User, he was know to be ruthless if you mess with him.
The terrifying Hahoe Mask was mumbling about why the Warlord System wasn't building him a statue.
Who would have imagined such a thing?
‘Ah, I want a statue of myself.’
Hyrkan left behind the nervous crowd as he headed towards the Subjugation Association.
In the Subjugation Association within the Heard Fortress ruin town, there was a stairway leading connecting the 3rd floor to the 4th floor. This was a stairway rarely used by Users and NPC, yet someone was using this stairway as a chair. He had a book open in his hands, and another book was placed next to him.
The identity of the User was Hyrkan, and the book was a Skill Book.
[The Skill Book has revealed itself.]
[Will you like to learn the Piercing Pocket Skill?]
Hyrkan had spent a significant capital in buy this level 190 No Name Skill Book, and the Skill turned out to be the Piercing Pocket.
Hyrkan was satisfied with the result.
In many ways, this Skill suited Hyrkan the most.
[You've learned the Piercing Pocket Skill.]
- Proficiency N/A
- Skill Description : You will be able to make space in your body. The only storage space once cannot open is at the head and chest.
It was as the Skill description said. The Piercing Pocket Skill's effect allowed him to use his body as a pocket or a bag. He'll be able to carry much more Items than before, and he didn't have to worry about losing them.
‘Oh right. I'm a Lich now.’
He was only able to learn this Skill, because he was a Lich.
His body was set up as that of a Lich. When he learned the Life Vessel skill, he had basically become an Undead. He was immune to Abnormal Status like bleeding. On the other hand, Healing type Skills couldn't be used on him. Moreover, the attacks that work against Undead monsters were effective against him too. He was treated like an Undead monster in the game.
His naked body was also different from the normal Users.
Like the normal Users, he always had his armor on, so no one knew about it. However, Hyrkan's Skin color was patchy since he had used the Skin Sewing Skill. A hairy hide was sewn onto his left arm, and his right arm was covered with scale-like skin he took from a reptile. He couldn't display his Steel Bones, but his bones were also different from the normal Users. Then there were the black tattoos placed all over his body.
He had such an abnormal body, yet it was about to become something akin to a drawer. Users would think him crazy for doing this.
Even for people who pierced and tattooed their entire body would think he was abnormal.
However, Hyrkan was satisfied with this fact.
‘If I peel back the skin over my stomach to reveal a slot full of magic recovery candy... Wouldn't I be like Doraemon? It'll be awesome. Wait a sec. Will my belly button be used as a handle? What should I do about the handle?’
All these Skills made his outer appearance look unsightly, but they were the proof of his strength.
The passive effects that arose from the Skin Sewing and the Black Tattoos allowed him to be as strong as the Swordsman Class. Moreover, Skills like Steel Bones allowed him to have strong defense.
Since he would never hunt with a Priest, these Skills were a boon to him.
‘Well, I should now....’
Hyrkan immediately took the second Skill Book into his hands. This was the Skill Book he received as a reward for the Archmage Bokan Quest. He didn't know the level of the Skill Book, and he also didn't know what Skill it would give.
It was time for him to find out.
Depending on what came out of the Skill Book, he would have to resolve his next dilemma.
‘I have to decide if I should use the Legendary Rank Ancient Power to reinforce this new Skill.’
After passing the Ancient King's test, he had opened up the body of the fallen Guardian Knights. Their bodies were like vaults, and he had found two boxes within. One was a black box, and the other was a red box. The black box had a black scroll for the Transcendent Rank Ancient Power. The red box held a red scroll for the Legendary Rank Ancient Power.
His dilemma started there.
The Transcendent Rank Ancient Power increased the performance of a Skill. He didn't really have to worry about where to use this one.
However, the Legendary Rank Ancient Power changed the nature of a Skill. For example, if one used the Transcendent Rank Ancient Power on the Skeleton Fragment Skill, the Skeleton Warrior's stats and the number of Skeletons able to be summoned would be increased. On the other hand, if one used the Legendary Rank Ancient Power, a monster's bone could be used to summon non-bipedal Skeleton Warriors. Therefore, one could use a wolf's bone instead of a werewolf's bone to summon the Skeleton Warriors.
This was why he was struggling over the decision.
The Legendary Rank Ancient Power was incredibly hard to acquire. One had to put in 10 times the effort of acquiring a Transcendent Rank Ancient Power to gain the Legendary Rank Ancient Power.
However, the use of the Skill Enhancement didn't always end as a net positive.
To put it simply, it was good to reinforce a skill that was used as often as the Skeleton Fragment Skill. However, the result of the reinforcement could bring out surprising results.
He would be able to use Skeleton Wolf, Skeleton Bear, and Skeleton Snake as underlings. It would amazing.
However, there was no other benefit to be gained from it.
Why was a Skeleton Warrior so strong?
In truth, the biggest reason why was the Armament Skill. Hyrkan was able to equip the Skeleton Warriors with Items that normal Users couldn't even dream about owning.
However, the Skeleton Wolf, Skeleton Bear, and Skeleton Snake couldn't benefit from effects of the Armament Skill. In conclusion, they wouldn’t be able to use weapons.
It wasn't as if the Skeleton Wolf or the Skeleton Snake could swing a sword by carrying it in its mouth.
Instead, it would be more useful to use it on the Bone Explosives. If one used the Legendary Rank Ancient Power on the Bone Explosive Skill, one gained the Timer function. He had much more use for a timed bomb than a regular bomb.
‘I planned on using it on the Skeleton Knights······.’
Of course, the Skeleton Knight Skill was on top of his list. If one used the Legendary Rank Ancient power to reinforce the Skeleton Knight Skill, the Skeleton Knights would learn the Riding Skill. Moreover, they would gain Skeleton Steeds. They would be able to fight on a mount like the Death Knight.
This was why his heart was leaning towards reinforcing the Skeleton Knight Skill.
However, he didn't have to make the decision right now. It wouldn't be too late to decide after seeing what appears from this Skill Book.
‘Shall I open it?’
Hyrkan placed his palm on top of the Skill Book.
[The Skill Book has revealed itself.]
[Would you like to learn the Bone Dragon summon skill?]
Something ridiculous made its appearance.
- It has been a while.
Hatch answered in an indifferent manner when he heard the tired voice of a man.
“It has been a while, but I'm not thrilled by this meeting. My back still hurts from the time when you stabbed it. You asked for our help, yet you used us as bait.
- We all acted in the name of our own interests.
“Do you realize how I was treated after being revealed as the traitor? If you knew what I went through, you wouldn't be saying those words."
- Do you want my apology?
“I'm not speaking to you, because I want to. I don't care if you apologize or not. If you do give me one, I'm listening.”
- I'm sorry.
“All right. Let's get down to business. Why did you, the First Head, want to talk specifically with me?”
At Hatch's question, the Hydra guild's first head hesitated before speaking.
- Hatch. Your former occupation...
“It seems you want to talk about the Game System. However, our Queen is a bit weak on that subject. I guess I'm the right person for this conversation.”
- How knowledgeable are you about the M.I. that manufactures and maintains Warlord?
At his question, Hatch couldn't help, but let out a mocking laugh.
“I probably know more than you?”
- Before Tobot Soft produced the M.I., the base A.I......
“I also know more than you about that. I'll stop you there. I'm sure you were about to talk about the Pacman Program, but Pacman isn't the M.I.'s base. The M.I. was originally a management A.I. used in various field. The M.I. produced by the Tobo Soft used hybrid techniques from various field to test the performance of the M.I. The game we are enjoying right now arose from the Package Game Production software, and the Pacman Program was grafted onto the M.I. to make the final result. I guess I could describe it as a game production and management speciality M.I. If you want to continue listening to this explanation press 1. If you don't want to hear it, press 2. If you want to listen to it again, press #.”
- As expected, you are well versed on this subject.
Hatch hesitated when he heard Citrus' words. After hesitating, he spoke.
“So what do you want to speak to me about?”
- Warlord is a very well made game. It also has a Main Scenario Quest that evolves based on the User's actions and the progress of the game. It was the first time such a system was attempted, and the product was surprisingly close to perfection. Do you know why this was possible?
“The developers refused to intervene and add in variables. Basically, it was the result of not ordering the A.I. around. This is also the reason why a proper event never appears in this game.”
At that moment, Hatch was going through his past memories. It wasn't a great memory. He went to work in the morning and he came back at night. He used to spend more time at his company than his home, and he hadn't been perverted enough to have enjoyed such a life.
“The M.I. would go crazy if it had to do events unrelated to the game story. It also won’t add Event-only monsters or a party hat that celebrate the 3 year anniversary of the Warlord. It was the right move to stop any outside variables from being introduced into the game. However, the M.I. governing Warlord is only an early product. This was why they have the leeway for outside intervention and accidents. Did you call me to listen to this explanation? Really?
- According to our Quest information, the third Main Scenario Quest or the Quest after this one will be the last to the Main Scenario Quest.
“Uh whew. Thank you for letting me know such amazing news.”
Hatch wasn't surprised by Citrus' earnest words. He acted as if his information was a given.
- When the Main Scenario Quest come to an end, this game will start its service like any other ordinary game.
“Aigo. You surprised me again.”
- It will no longer be a game where the game progress would be determined by the Users and the progress of the game. The production team would have to add new episodes and new stages. At that point, it'll merely be a game trying to extend its length of life.
However, Hatch didn't act disingenuous any more. There was no fun in making the same joke over and over again.
“You probably know this better than anyone else. So what do you really want to talk to me about?”
- I want us to slow down the progress of the Main Scenario Quest. Even if the popularity of Warlord would be maintained after the Main Scenario Quest ends, it wouldn't be like before. The biggest harm will come to the 30 great guilds, who has to operate a live channel. In truth, the speculative funds that were injected into the 30 great guilds have created a bubble.
“This isn't true for our guild. We have a sturdy backer.
- It is as I have said. Let us make an agreement not to progress in the Main Scenario Quest at a breakneck speed. At the very least, you understand the reason behind why we should do this. It is also why I'm speaking to you. If I made this offer to the Storm Queen, it wouldn’t take hold.
“That is true.”
For the first time in this meeting, Hatch decided to accept Citrus' words.
“So what do you want us to do?”
- I want you guys to ignore the Hahoe Mask.
When he heard that word, Hatch put on a serious expression for the first place. The smile on his lips was erased, and the his facial muscles stiffened.
- If you want to drag down the Hahoe Mask by his ankles, I welcome it. However, don't even think about using him as a piece on the chess board. We shouldn’t fight and compete with each other for the prize with the Hahoe Mask nearby. That is all I want to say.
The call came to an end.
After the call ended, Hatch let out a long sigh.
‘The Hahoe Mask... This is driving me nuts. She is completely obsessed with him... It seem the Main Scenario Quest will come to an end soon. I should sell my Tobot Soft stocks.’Previous Chapter Next Chapter