Chapter 180 – Hero Slaughterer (3)
-Did you guys hear about the news from the Highwood Forest?
-L. Isn’t that the location of Hahoe Mask’s recent hunt?
-L. He is still hunting inside the Highwood Forest.
-L. Of course, everyone is aware of that fact. It had been only couple weeks, since the Hahoe Mask uploaded the footage of him soloing the Wood Devil!
-L. No, he isn't hunting monsters anymore. He is hunting down Big Smiles guild members.
These people enjoyed watching Warlord. They were also interested in the User named the Hahoe Mask. He made their hearts flutter from excitement. They were very interested in the activities of the Hahoe Mask, since he attempted tasks that was considered to be impossible to solo. They cheered when he overcame the odds.
He was able to solo Boss Monster Raids, and he was doing the Main Scenario Quest by himself.
Moreover, he was able to oppose the 30 great guilds. These exalted organizations were almost untouchable as if they were placed high in the sky, and even the influential Underfoot guilds could do nothing against them.
This made people become more fanatical about the Hahoe Mask.
These people were romantics.
Everyone could imagine themselves doing what the Hahoe Mask did. While anyone could imagine doing it, the Hahoe Mask actually took action to make these ideas into reality.
This inflamed the romanticism inside the hearts of people.
-Did he declare war against the Big Smiles guild?
-L No. He says he is out for revenge.
-L- Revenge? Against whom?
-L. Pitbull and the Hahoe Mask are friends. Recently, the Big Smiles guild killed Pitbull. He is avenging Pitbull.
-L. From what I heard, the Hahoe Mask didn’t touch anyone except the 10 guild members, who hunted down Pitbull. He even apologized to the unrelated party members for intruding on the hunt.
This was the most important part of his plan. Ahn-jaehyun had to sidestep the trappings of the romanticism his actions might evoke.
'I like where the public opinions are heading.'
He sipped his coffee, and he looked at the reaction caused by his actions. Ahn-jaehyun was satisfied.
'Yes, this is the correct answer.'
The act of fighting the 30 great guilds had a quality of romanticism. Everyone could imagine doing it, yet no one could do it. Of course, even the Hahoe Mask couldn’t fight the 30 great guilds in a fair fight.
Before he had returned to the past, he had felt this truth deep within his bones. He had made enemies of the Stormhunters guild, and this had turned the entirety of the 30 great guilds against him. He had fought them like a crazed dog. However, he now realized how illogical and pointless such an act was.
This was especially true for Ahn-jaehyun, since it didn’t make sense to cause a Game Over to all of his opponents, because they were wearing the same uniforms. It was a dangerous way to play this game, and it was also stupid.
'Nothing good will come from messing with the normal guild members.'
Before he returned to the past, he had been very radical in his actions as the Hero Slaughterer. He cut down anyone that got in his way. This was why he was nicknamed the Slaughterer. He never hesitated, and he had no mercy.
If he looked backed on it, he knew it had been a mistake. It didn’t matter how or why he killed the Users, but in the end, they were revived from their Game Over after 48 hours. They would be made whole again, and their animosity towards him would grow.
Basically, the hatred mounted and the number of Users he wronged increased to a point where they took action by attacking the Hero Slaughterer..
In truth, when the Stormhunters guild announced their war against the Hero Slaughterer Hyrkan, not everyone was willing to follow their lead. The normal guild members hated being dragged into such conflicts. There was no reason why they would enjoy it. It wasn’t as if killing a single User allowed them to gain treasures. Moreover, if they weren’t careful, there was a high risk that they would suffer a Game Over. The normal guild members were basically being forced into the hunt, so why would they like such a scenario?
However, once those normal guild members died at the hands of the Hero Slaughterer, their eyes flipped over from anger. Even if they weren’t told to catch Hyrkan, they threw their bodies towards him.
It would be difficult to convince the first wave of Users to throw their bodies against him. However, it wouldn’t be too hard to convince the second and third wave of Users.
Ahn-jaehyun applied the lesson he had learned to his current actions.
'It is unnecessary to galvanize the regular guild members.'
His targets had to precise.
The Hahoe Mask left alone the Users, who had nothing to do with the attack on Pibtbull. He only attacked the guilty, since they wouldn’t be able to complain even if they were killed.
Of course, none of the Big Smiles guild members would clap their hands at the Hahoe Mask’s actions. They wouldn’t be happy, but it would make them think. It would make them wonder if it was worth messing with the Hahoe Mask.
This was why….
'The Big Smiles guild officers will now gather to come up with a plan.'
The normal guild members will now want the higher ups to take care of the problem!
The normal guild members would choose to remain as spectators.
This was why the Hahoe Mask expressed to the normal guild members that he wasn’t the enemy. He even saved some, who were in trouble.
He used numerous methods. He sometimes killed his target, and he retreated quickly. He purposefully approached a Big Smiles guild party without any of his targets included within the group, and he struck up amicable conversations with them. He even gave them permission to contact him, and he gave encouraging words to the hunt parties. From the perspective of the guild members, the Hahoe Mask’s words were far from sounding friendly, but they felt relieved from not being PKed. There were even times when the Hahoe Mask had saved a Big Smiles guild member in trouble during a hunt. He also gave them tips on how to more effectively hunt down the Wood Devils.
Everyone knew he wasn’t doing this out of pure kindness, but they were thoroughly convinced that the Hahoe Mask would only attack his targets.
'In the past, this method wouldn’t have worked.'
Of course, if the Hahoe Mask was someone insignificant, this would be a different story. Every one of them would have attacked him on sight. However, the Hahoe Mask was no longer a User that could be taken down by a single party.
This was the difference between the prior Hero Slaughterer Hyrkan, and the current Hahoe Mask.
He needed the current level of power to pull off this plan.
He had enough power now. He was able to leisurely smell the coffee as he hummed a tune even as he faced an enemy called the 30 great guilds.
'If I chase their tail like this, the Big Smile guild’s reputation will suffer. They’ll try to catch me… I would be very grateful if they chose to catch me using a bait and a small force.’
The power he possessed gave him the luxury to be able to think a move ahead.
This required power, and the current Ahn-jaehyun possessed that power.
"What did you just say?"
"We’ve received information saying the Hahoe Mask had appeared within the Highwood Forest again. I think it would be best to take a break today."
"What are you talking about? You want to take a break?"
"The current situation is a bit muddled right now."
The speaker, Jigwan, was a Level 235 member of the Big Smiles guild. He was a Ranked User, who operated while maintaining the very high level. This was why he was flabbergasted by his comrade’s words.
As he maintained this dumbfounded look, he lightly swiveled his head to look at the atmosphere of his surrounding. His party members had finished getting ready for the battle with the Wood Devil. Some refused to meet his eyes, but others boldly met his eyes. However, all of them were in disagreement with him.
This was why he quickly realized what was going on, so Jigwan gritted his teeth.
"We aren’t saying you did anything wrong. You did good. We are almost thankful that you took the initiative. You went through with it. At the very least, we won’t be called cowards by others before we go into battle thanks to you."
Jigwan had been about to erupt in rage, but his comrade shut him up by talking over him.
"However, if a problem arises here, it’ll be a detriment to you."
It seemed his comrade was determined to speak his mind. It was as if he had prepared a speech for this eventuality, so he poured out his words towards Jigwan.
"It isn’t as if the high ranking people will do anything for you. It isn’t as if they are ordering us to form a hunting party to catch the Hahoe Mask. If you act too hastily, you are the only one, who will suffer."
The power of his rapid-fire words were very effective. Jigwan was made momentarily speechless.
At the short phrase, Jigwan shut his mouth as if a key had been turned.
Jigwan could no longer raise his voice. His party member’s words made Jigwan realize the underlying reasons behind the other User’s words.
This made Jigwan more angry.
It was so clear that he would have to accept the current reality.
'What did I do wrong!'
His anger turned towards the Hahoe Mask.
'That damn bastard. It is all the Hahoe Mask’s fault….'
At the same time, his anger moved on from the Hahoe Mask to a different existence.
'Why are we so afraid of a single person? Why do I have to suffer like this, because of their cowardice?'
He focused his anger on the executive officers, who lead the Big Smiles guild.
'I’ve worked my butt off for the Big Smiles.'
From the birth of the game of Warlord, he had gotten close to the members of this guild. They were so close that they called each other hyung and dongsaeng. His relationship with the other guild members spanned across a good amount of time, and this was why the betrayal hurt so much.
Jigwan wasn’t someone that would stand being treated so poorly.
This was especially true, since his actions were all for the benefit of the Big Smiles guild.
At that moment, he thought about the last time he was treated right.
'This would have never happened when Heh-bibin was in charge of the guild.'
In the past, their guild didn’t have a guild master. The executive officers ran the guild. At the time, Heh-bibin had wielded a considerable amount of power within the guild.
During that time, Jigwan had been treated very well. He was always given full support, and the small problems were taken care of by the guild. The guild didn’t even ask any questions when taking care of the problem.
Heh-bibin also gave breaks to Users tired from leveling up by purposefully putting them in youtube videos or a live broadcast. This resulted in them gaining some spending money from the appearance fee.
At the very least, he wouldn’t have been treated like a leper, because he had done something that needed to be done.
He wasn’t the only one,who felt this way. There was a significant number of members, who shared his view.
This was the reason why they supported Heh-bibin.
'Heh-bibin is right. He is right about all of this.'
This was the reason why they put their power behind Heh-bibin’s ideas.
When he heard Pitbull had been killed, Sinclair contacted the Hydra guild first. If things went sideways here, he knew his life would get very complicated.
This was why Sinclair sent the Hydra guild a proposal.
He wanted to resolve the current situation through war of words. They could argue over who was in the wrong through words. He suggested that they shouldn’t worsen the current atmosphere by settling this through armed conflicts.
At the time, the tone of the conversation hadn’t been too bad. Unlike Sinclair’s worries, the Hydra guild didn’t seem inclined to fight them head on. They were about to bury this incident in a quiet manner.
Sinclair was sure this had all been quietly resolved..
'Hahoe Mask. That damn bastard….:
Everything turned into a mess when the Hahoe Mask made his appearance.
The Hahoe Mask started to avenge his friend’s death.
'That little bastard. I never expected him to act this way.'
The Hahoe Mask used a method he had never used before. He only eliminated his targets. He worked in an arrogant manner, and he avenged his friend in a way that was only possible for the Hahoe Mask.
The method used by the Hahoe Mask turned out to be more troublesome than expected. If the Hahoe Mask waged a war against the entirety of the Big Smiles guild, Sinclair would have used this opportunity to declare war on the Hahoe Mask.
Sinclair had always wanted to kill the Hahoe Mask. If he attacked out of his own volition, Sinclair would have been thankful.
However, he hadn’t done that. The Hahoe Mask made this into a personal revenge play.
This was now a private matter between Users. If a 30 great guild stepped forward to interfere, the fallout would be huge. This was the biggest problem they would face. If they were to kill the Hahoe Mask, they would have to put up with the big fall out. When the potential for loss was this large, no one dared to act in a rash manner.
This was why the meeting of the officers was called into order.
However, another problem arose at this point in time.
Sinclair was excluded from the meeting of the officers.
'Heh-bibin…… I’m sure that bastard planned this.'
First, Sinclair wasn’t officially an executive officer. It was true that he was the best ace inside the Big Smiles guild. However, by definition, the guild master, and the two sub-guild masters were considered to be the executive officers.
Right now Sinclair had no choice, but to wake up to what was going on. This incident had the fingerprints of Heh-bibin all over it.
Heh-bibin had been treated like a useless sack of wheat until now, but it seemed Heh-bibin had found a way to amplify his voice.
Heh-bibin’s voice was strengthened by the opinions of the regular guild members. Heh-bibin hadn’t been overt about his actions. He had been a huge advocate for those guild members, who had killed the Pitbull. Heh-bibin spoke numerous times about the guild needing to protect these guild members.
Everyone, who hunted Pitbull, probably stood on Heh-bibin’s side. On top of it all, the users operating within the Highwood Forest would also side with Heh-bibin. These were high level Users, who were over level 230. They were the main fighting power of the Big Smiles guild.
'The machination being played by Heh-bibin is no joke.'
If one thought about it, Heh-bibin’s actions were chilling, amazing and a bit ridiculous.
This was only a game.
Why would he do such an act over a game?
This thought brushed by Sinclair’s mind. Of course, Sinclair immediately rejected such notions.
'This game wasn’t a joke from the start.'
Warlord wasn’t a simple game. The makers of this game and the people, who played this game, invested excessive amount of assets into Warlord. Too many things were shoved into this game.
This game was supposed to be run and managed by the AI, but now it had become a completely different game.
He clicked his tongue, and Sinclair organized the complicated thoughts inside his head. He simplified the situation.
'If we choose to catch the Hahoe Mask, we have to go all in. If we decide not to catch him, we have to be bold in our negotiations with him. If we put together a half-assed team of 100 guild members to hunt him down….'
He hoped the meeting of officers would avoid choosing the worst option.
The meeting of the officers came to an end.
"Brooks. Why are you agreeing to such a ridiculous proposal?"
When the results of the meeting was declared, Sinclair spoke in an accusatory tone towards Brooks.
-Both Apollo and Heh-bibin made a fuss, so what can I do?
"Apollo? What are you talking about?"
-Apollo is supporting Heh-bibin’s decision. If I have to oppose two sub-guildmasters, I need a good reason.
-Are you saying we should accept the death of the eleven members, who participated in the Pitbull hunt? We can’t give everything to the Hahoe Mask. What would happen to my name? The normal guild members are treating the Users, who attacked Pitbull, like heroes.
At the mention of heroes, Sinclair snorted.
"They aren’t heroes. Does that mean the Hahoe Mask is the Hero Slaughterer, since he killed them?
- Heh-bibin maneuvered to bring this about. In truth, I can’t do anything about it now. We have to put this to rest by killing the Hahoe mask.
Sinclair barely kept himself from snorting again.
"We are going to kill the Hahoe Mask? How are we going to do that? Do you really think you’ll be able to kill him with only 100 Users?"
-This is different. We have 11 surefire baits that will net the Hahoe Mask.
Sinclair had a thought when he heard those words.
'They succeeded in convincing Brooks.'
Brooks was trying to convince him, and Sinclair knew he wouldn’t be able to talk Brooks out of this.
In the end, Heh-bibin had been successful in his plot. He pulled Apollo to his side, and he had convinced Brooks.
What would happen next?
Heh-bibin will push himself to the fore again.
"Anyways, I’ll have nothing to do with this venture."
-If the Killer doesn’t join, there will be a lot of talk.
"It would be worse to fail with me included in the hunt. You should leave me out, so there will be an excuse if you guys fail."
-Do you really think we will fail?
Sinclair knew Heh-bibin wouldn’t be satisfied with his victory. When one succeeds in turning the table, one wants something more than just turning the tables. Heh-bibin will try to create a situation where others cannot turn the tables against him.
"From Heh-bibin’s perspective, he has nothing to gain from the plan succeeding. Please use your head, Brooks."
In the end, the buck stopped with the guild master. Brooks would bear the responsibility of all actions taken by the guild.
-You really think of me as an idiot. I brought about a war with Triple Wings alongside the Hands guild, yet you treat me like this.
"I spoke too harshly. I apologize."
-No, you don’t have to apologize.
The conversation ended there.
Eleven Users were facing a Wood Devil. It was quite common to come across the sight of a party hunting down a Wood Devil. However, this party’s composition was very unique. Seven of the 11 Users were Strikers.
Of course, a Wood Devil Raid needed a high number of Swordsman class Users, but seven Strikers was most definitely a unique composition.
Maybe this was the reason why the Wood Devil hunt wasn’t going well.
Moreover, a good number of Users were having a hard time focusing on the Wood Devil hunt.
"What about the Hahoe Mask?"
"I don’t see him yet."
"Be on your guard, but let’s focus on the hunt."
"Be careful! If we are killed by the Wood Devil, this was all for naught!"
Their conversations was the proof.
In reality, they weren’t gathered here to hunt the Wood Devil.
They were bait.
After the meeting of the officers, the decision was handed down to the troops. They had decided to hunt down the Hahoe Mask. This was why this hunting team was formed. This team would simultaneously be a bait and a weapon pointed towards the Hahoe Mask.
The plan was simple. If the bait was taken, the Hahoe Mask hunting team would move in. If the bait was left alone, they’ll announce that the Hahoe Mask’s absence meant he was conceding defeat.
"I hope the Hahoe Mask shows up today…."
The seven Users, who were placed into the party as bait, waited for the appearance of the Hahoe Mask. They were confident in this plan. If there had been no preparations, it would be very difficult to kill the Hahoe Mask. However, they had made thorough preparations for the appearance of the Hahoe Mask, and they really believed they would be able to take him down.
Two Wyverns appeared above their heads.
One Wyvern was made out of flame, and the other was made out of bones. It was the Wyvern Fire Golem and the Bone Wyvern. The two Wyverns dove downwards, and it was a scary sight. However, the eleven Users welcomed the appearance of the two Wyverns.
"It’s the Hahoe Mask!"
"He is finally here!"
"If needed, just disengage and run away from the Wood Devil!"
Two Wyverns landed on the ground. However, that was all they did. The two Wyverns just looked at the eleven Users, who were battling the Wood Devil.
'What the hell?'
They had expected a terrifying offensive attacks, and this unexpected situation made the eleven Users flustered.
"What’s going on?"
"Should we run away?"
They were still battling the Wood Devil, and the Users were unable to assess the situation. They were asking for an answer.
However, the one to give the answer wasn’t one of their comrades.
"Ah. You guys are all gathered here. Hello."
Hahoe Mask made his appearance as he gave his greeting. He cleared his throat then he paused before taking out a paper. The paper held the drawing of a Pitbull Terrier’s face.
"This is my friend. He said my act of revenge serves no purpose. He said he forgives you all. I came here to tell you that. Have fun with your hunt. I hope you received a good drop."
Hyrkan turned his back after speaking, and he left the battlefield with the Bone Wyvern and the Fire Golem in tow. He headed towards the north.
"W...What the fuck?"
This was too unexpected. In such a situation, the announcement from the Voice Talk broke them out from their stupor.
-Hahoe Mask is going north.
-The bait team will retreat to the back.
-The Hahoe Mask hunt team has to take down the Hahoe Mask at all cost. Use all methods available to you.
The Hahoe Mask hunt team started to move.
'Ah, wait a moment.'
'Hahoe Mask is……:
In such an urgent and unexpected situation, none in the bait team was able to comprehend what had just happened.Previous Chapter Next Chapter