Chapter 176 Red Desert (3)

Chapter 176 – Red Desert (3)

7.

The Wood Devil’s body was made out of rocks, trees and dirt.  It was starting to disintegrate.  At first, the heaviest stones fell to the floor, and from where the stones were dislodged, soil started to flow out like blood.  

On the surface of the Wood Devil’s body, armored Skeleton Warriors were stuck to it.

They held onto the thick wooden branches protruding from the Wood Devil’s body with their left hand, and they tirelessly stabbed with the blade in their right hand.  The Skeleton Warriors’ work made the Wood Devil’s body looked ragged, and it was being turned into a mess.  

The one to launch the strongest offensive attacks was the Death Knight, who faced the Wood Devil head on.

Koong, koong, koong!

Each headbutt of the Skeleton Steed made the Wood Devil lose its balance, and the Death Knight used this opportunity to stab its sharp blade into the body of the Wood Devil.

The Death Knight’s attack was very precise, and it attacked the whole body.  

The Death Knight used decisive swings to attack the neck, chest and waist of the Wood Devil.  The attacks varied, but the damage it caused was consistent.  It kept stabbing and slashing at the same locations.  The Death Knight looked like a skilled lumberjack using an axe to take down a large tree.

Koong!

In the end, the large body of the Wood Devil fell to the ground from the continuous assault. The fallen Wooden Devil didn’t even twitch.  Its devil-like visage was gone.  The Wood Devil’s corpse looked as if it had been impacted by a typhoon.  The stones, woods and soil was spread around everywhere as if it had faced the teeth of the wind.

Two Users were staring at the sight with a blank expression.  It looked as if their souls had been sucked out.  They yelled out at the same time.

“My level just increased!”

“My level went up.”

The battlefield had been filled with the sound of swords, roars, and the unique bone clacking of the Skeletons.  Now the battlefield started to be filled with the voices of people.

“This is incredible.”

“I heard the Wood Devil gave out a lot of EXP, but I never expected it to be this much….   It is only a mid-sized monster, but it has the EXP of a large monster.”

“It just took 2 days to increase one level.  If we maintain this speed, maybe we will be able to catch up to the First One?”

“I thought the Wood Devils aren’t supposed to be this easy to take down?”

“Don’t you have eyes?  Numerous Skeletons continuously attacked it, yet it lasted for over 10 minutes.  It was this short, because we are talking about the Hahoe Mask-nim.  I bet over a dozen ordinary Users would have to attack to defeat it!”

“It is what it is.  So why are you getting angry at me?”

“I didn’t get angry at you?”

“What the hell was that bullshit from before?  Was it some kind of a hysterical fit?”

“Hey!”

“What?”

The noise around him was quite loud.  It was funny, but when he heard the bickering, he understood how a certain woman felt.

‘Che-sulyun always has Hatch and Hahui in front of her.  I think I can understand a little bit as to what she has to go through.’

Yojori and Joba was similar to the Hahui and Hatch, who represented the Stormhunters guild.

They continuously fought with words, but when the battle started, they showed teamwork that was better than what most Users could pull off.  It wasn’t just the fact that they were individually talented.  The two of them had experienced fighting alongside each other for a long time.

‘This game has a lot of interesting people.’

The Crusader was a Striker type occupation under the Priest Class.  The Magic Swordsman type was under the Magician Class.  Their ability to cooperate with each other was the secret reason why they were able to reach level 200 with such difficult occupations.

Hyrkan also had someone, who had filled such a role.

‘There are a lot of shitty humans too’

He had a comrade whom he had thought he could entrust his back to.

“You did well.”

Whistling stared at the two Users.  After Hyrkan started the battle, Whistling hadn’t had the opportunity to unsheath his sword for two days.  It was a very novel experience, and he gave a word of encouragement to Hyrkan.  Whistling had a peculiar expression his face.

He was apologetic and surprised.  Several complex emotions arose within him anew.

In the past, he had searched for the Elven Forest, and Hyrkan had leveled up quickly thanks to Whistling’s help.  Now Hyrkan was helping Whistling in the same way.  He just watched as his level went up, and it was great…  However, such a short sentence was inadequate to describe what he was feeling.

Hyrkan shrugged his shoulder.

“The Skeletons are doing the heavy lifting, not me.”

Accompanying those words, Hyrkan put a candy in his mouth.  It was as Hyrkan had said.  The fighting was all done by his Skeletons.  He didn’t even need to summon his Golems for the Wood Devils.   He had a Death Knight and two Skeleton Knights out.  Then there were the 20 Skeleton Warriors and three Skeleton Magicians.  Hyrkan maintained this exact number.

It was a figure he came up with through experimentation as he had hunted inside the Highwood Forest for 10 days.

Of course, nothing was free.  Hyrkan repeatedly ate expensive magic recovery Items as he continued his battles.

Hyrkan quickly crunched and grinded the Item into small pieces as he tried to recover his magical energy as soon as possible.  Hyrkan looked grim as he did so, and this was when he looked the most combative.

“You really eat an endless supply of those Items.”

“My brand of fighting always puts me at a loss in terms of profit.  If I don’t bring in so much profit through my videos, this would be too unprofitable to continue.  Of course, I’m leveling up, so after calculating all factors, I can say I come out ahead.   That damn levels.”

At Hyrkan’s words, Whistling’s mouth cracked open a little bit.  It seemed he was about to say something, but in the end, he shut his mouth.  He even swallowed most of what he had been about to say.

“...you are enduring hardships.”

“I’m not enduring any hardship.  As I said before, my Skeletons are doing all the heavy lifting.”

Hyrkan smiled as he looked at his Skeletons.  

Whistling lightly nodded his head when he saw this.

“Well, let’s dismantle the Wood Devils.”

At Hyrkan’s words, the argument between Yojori and Joba ended like magic.  At the same time, the two of them shouted towards Hyrkan.

“I’ll do it!”

“I want to do it!”

They were freakishly in sync in whatever they did.  However, this was also the cause of their arguments.

Anyways, they were working hard to repay the generosity shown by the him.

Hyrkan shrugged his shoulders, and Whistling opened his mouth.

“I’ll do it.”

Hyrkan turned around to look at Whistling, and Whistling shrugged his shoulder.

“I’m riding such a great bus for free.  I should at least pick up the trash rolling around in the bus.”

8.

“The Hahoe Mask is back again?”

Currently, all the Users using the Highwood Forest as their main hunting ground were from the same guild.  

Big Smiles guild.

When the members of the Big Smiles guild heard that the Hahoe Mask had appeared once again, they tsked and hemmed.

“That son of a bitch is treating this place as if it is his front yard.”

“It would have been better if it was his front yard.  This is our house.  He is in our front yard, and the Hahoe Mask is a thief.”

“We are the retarded ones.  We spotted a thief, yet we are making it easier for the thief.”

Their average level was 228.  It wasn’t low at all.  Even if they searched the entirety of Warlord, not many people have yet to achieve this level.  Of course, these were the core members of Big Smiles.  They were the big guns of the guild.

The guild had wholeheartedly supported them, so they could level up.  They had personal Level Up support teams, and they fought against anything that would impede them from leveling up even in real life.  These Users ran on treadmills, and they worked out to train their bodies.

They weren’t playing this game for fun.  This was their occupation.

From their perspective, they had been running full tilt on track when a monster like King Kong or a dinosaur had appeared.  Of course, they wouldn’t look kindly towards such an impediment.

“Maybe sub-guildmaster Heh-bibin is right.  This is ridiculous.  Why do they think we won’t be able to kill the Hahoe Mask if we go out in force?  Why do we have to leave that bastard alone?”

Antipathy always brought out bitter words.

“Still, why should we unnecessarily bother the Hahoe Mask?  This is something decided by the Five Stars.  They decided to leave the Hahoe Mask alone.”

“It wasn’t the Five Star.  It was a decision made by the V&V guild.  In the end, the Five Stars are servants of the V&V guild.”

“You words are a bit······.”

Moreover, bitter words always took hold easily.

“You aren’t wrong.  In truth, we have to settle a quarrel with the Hahoe Mask.   I can’t even go around telling people I’m with the Big Smiles guild, because of that bastard.  If I tell people I’m from the Big Smiles guild, the first thing they do is to ridicule me.”

“Guild master Brooks is basically a puppet of Sinclair, and Sinclair sides with the V&V guild.  In the first place, didn’t V&V hire him as a mercenary?  Sub-guild master Heh-bibin is right.  If things remain the same, we’ll just be used.”

“Hey, what are you talking about?  If Sinclair-nim didn’t join us, we would be in a worse situation right now.”

“This is this and that is that”

“Let’s be honest.  Wouldn't it be worth it to kill the Hahoe Mask?  If we do manage to kill him, the sale of the footage would be astronomical.  Moreover, no one would disparage us for trying to kill the Hahoe Mask with a lot of Users.  It isn’t as if we did anything wrong this time around.  Hahoe Mask wronged us first.”

“We are clearly on the moral high ground here.”

As the conversation continued, someone spoke up.

“In a situation like this, isn’t the Killer supposed to fight the Hahoe Mask?  I know we’ve had success recently thanks to the Killer, but why do we have to admit defeat before the fight?”

“You guys are taking this way too seriously.”

“These are harsh words, but we aren’t wrong.”

“Of course, you guys are in the wrong!  What if Killer loses?  It’ll be the end of us!”

“Does losing to the Hahoe Mask actually hurt us?  If so, Sohank would have never recovered from his prior loss.”

“I would be more understanding if we had lost a PVP match to the Hahoe Mask.  However, this isn’t the case.  There is a difference between losing and cowardice.”

“No.  Our situation right now…..”

The debate wasn’t showing any signs of dying down.

Some Users stopped participating in the discussion, and they just observed what was said.

-  We are luring a Wood Devil.  Please get ready for battle.

When the Users received a message from the Level Up support team, they put a pause to their conversation for now.

9.

They went past the Highwood Forest, and they arrived at the Red Desert.

Hyrkan no longer hunted any monsters.

He ran.

He ran full tilt.

The others also ran.

Shweeek!  Shweeek!

A Sand Snake was closing the distance at incredible speed as the four Users ran.

At that moment, Hyrkan threw two Skeleton Fragments.

They were running too fast, so the Skeleton Warriors formed after the Sand Snake had slithered past the Skeleton Fragments.  However, the Skeleton Warriors immediately caught up to the Sand Snake, and they attacked the hard body of the monster.

Kyahhh!

The Sand Snake stopped its pursuit.  It took one of the Skeleton Warrior in its mouth, and it burrowed into the ground.

The remaining Skeleton Warrior looked around as its comrade and enemy disappeared.

‘This is ridiculous..’

Hyrkan had used the Skeleton Warriors as bait.  Hyrkan and the three others in his party was able to put a significant amount of distance from the Sand Snake using this method.

However, they didn’t stop running.  

They kept running as if nothing had happened, and they talked as they ran.

“It seems even Hahoe Mask-nim has a hard time driving the bus in the Red Desert.”

“Hey.  You should keep that kind of talk to yourself.  Why do you have to say that out loud?”

“Ah.  I’m sorry.  My mouth gets away from me sometimes…·.”

Hyrkan let out a bitter laugh at their words.

The current situation was unfolding as he had expected.  When they entered the Red Desert, he gave up on hunting the monsters.  He focused on heading towards the directions pointed out by the Gem Conch.

It wasn’t impossible for Hyrkan to take down all the Sand Snakes.  However, problems would arise if one of his three party members were taken below the sand.  At that point, Hyrkan couldn’t save them.  Also, it was true that Sand Snake was much harder to catch than the Wood Devils.

“Do you know this trivia?  Originally, the Sand Snake monster wasn’t a monster.”

Joba didn’t want Hyrkan’s mood to sour from his previous remark.  Joba changed the topic.

“Is there a story behind it?”

Hyrkan showed a little bit of interest.  Even if they were running full tilt, no one was out of breath.  In such a boring marathon, talking was a great way to pass the time.

Moreover, Yojori and Joba told entertaining stories, and there were a lot of substance behind their stories.  In regards to certain topics, they knew more than Hyrkan.

“The Sand Snake was a mode of transportation used by Elves and Dwarves, who lived in the Red Desert.  They used the Sand Snakes to travel through the underground tunnels.”

“What a weird transportation method.”

“Before the Barley Kingdom became eradicated by the Dragon’s Curse, a passage was handed down.  The exact words were...”

“To avoid the Dragon’s Curse, the ground snake was used to make an underground world.  The power will allow one to fight it.   One’s will to fight and the path to the future will be placed there.”

“Ah. That’s it.  It was that phrase.”

“You should memorize the information sometimes.”

“The interesting part was the specific terms used in the passage.  It said the power will allow one to fight it.  It means there is a high chance that there will be only a single opponent one would have to face later.”

“Just one?”

Hyrkan titled his head in puzzlement.

Joba immediately gave an explanation.

“Currently, four Dragons had appeared in regards to the Main Scenario Quest.  The north held the Frost Dragon’s Curse.  The east held the Fire Dragon’s Curse at the Urugal mountain range.  The south has the Light Dragon’s Curse.  The blinding light had kept an island hidden from plain sight.  The last one was located in the west at the Hell’s Cave.  It holds the Darkness Dragon’s Curse.”

“Then there was the story of an almighty being giving a divine punishments using thunder!  The writings regarding this subject was found.  If one puts all this information together, there are five of them.  If one looks at the account left behind in the Record Tree, it often refers to the Dragons in plural terms.”

Hyrkan couldn’t help, but laugh after hearing their story.

‘They really are more informed about the game compared to me.’

They were talking about the five powers related to the Mythos Rank Ancient Power.  Of course, Hyrkan knew about it.

However, Hyrkan knew it, because he had come back to the past.  

How much effort did these people have to expend to acquire such knowledge?

There was no way their effort would have been poor.

“You are very well informed.  Incredible.”

Hyrkan knew the difficulties, so his compliments were genuine.  He was really impressed.

The fact that they were acknowledged by the Hahoe Mask put smiles on Yojori and Joba’s face.

In truth, they were part of the fringe element.  

Even if they put in a lot of effort into their type of work, not many people acknowledged their excellence.

The Hahoe Mask was the most mainstream User in Warlord.  The fact that they received a simple compliment from him was a treat

“This is a secret.  Aside from the Hydra guild, we sometimes exchange ideas and opinion with  other like minded friends.”

“Quest Man has especially been a big help to us.”

They had the opportunity to talk about a subject they had kept hidden from others.  This was why they were excited.

“Quest Man?”

“He is called Zeet.  He is pretty low leveled, but he is a User, who really digs into Quests in Warlord.”

Hyrkan tilted his head.

‘Zeet?  Isn’t he... No way.’

A name he knew had come up, but Hyrkan dismissed the idea.  

At the very least, the Zeet he knew would not associate himself with these noisy pair.   He couldn’t imagine them finding enough common ground to keep in contact with each other.

“The Quest Man is really incredible.  Amongst the regular Users, he probably knows the most about the setting, and the outlook of Warlord.  Ah.  Please don’t tell the Hydra guild about this…  This is our secret….”

Even though they were affiliated with a large guild, these two had pursued their own goals.  They pursued the romanticism inside the game.

Both the current Hyrkan and the Hyrkan before he came to the past would never have thought about doing such activities.

This was why Hyrkan unconsciously spoke the truth..

“You guys make the game fun.”

“What?”

The two of them looked stupefied at the words spoken by Hyrkan.

“Isn’t that why we play the game? If the game isn’t fun, why would we play this game?”

“Whatever.  Aren’t you here to drool at the Elves?”

“What about you?”

“At the very least, I don't drool just from seeing the Elves.”

“Aigo.  Of course.  You drool every time you see a handsome NPC.”

They started bickering again, and Hyrkan stayed out of it.  

In truth, they weren’t really fighting with words.  Hyrkan was well aware of this fact now.  They just liked bouncing ideas and words off of each other.  This was a routine they performed.  It was like the daily routines performed by a couple.

However, Whistling was the one to stop their conversation.

“East!  The direction changed to the east!”

Whistling had placed the Gem Conch to his ear, and the instruction had changed to point them towards the east.

Once again, they were running full tilt towards their destination.  Hyrkan returned to being himself as he shut away everything that bothered him.

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