Book 1 Chapter 21 - Fantasy Swamp (1)

[Fantasy Swamp]

It was an even more dangerous place than the Blue Misty Forest. There were many reasons for this, but if he had to pick one, it would be this

[Mirage]

It would have been easier if it had occurred in a desert instead. One would be tricked into thinking they were walking on a dirt road, and instead fall into the swamp waters.

Knights with heavy plate armor or the mage class which had a weak constitution were especially vulnerable.

‘We had really been rather helpless back then.’

Same areas of the swamp would even have a higher clay ratio, creating a terrain that was similar to quicksand. Once you stepped inside, the mud would suck you in and simply with the force of gravity, it was very difficult to escape.

Once you would sink past your waist, it was basically impossible to get out by yourself.

Of course the deeper waters in the swamp were hardly safe as well. It was easy to get tangled up in the long reeds and plants .

‘We weren’t able to help one another that time.’

It went without saying that the monsters would instantly notice the vibrations in the water and flock to your location.

The most common monsters found in the area were the Lizardmen.A bipedal creature that walked on its two legs. It’s entire body was protected by durable scales, while it had sharp teeth and nails laced with a hypnotic poison to attack.

They did look a bit funny however because of their short height. Still, they wielded their tridents proficiently and could use their long tails to sweep you off your feet and send you falling into the swamp.

Also, their numbers were such that it was basically impossible to brute force your way through the swamp, a flying mount was necessary, but it was something no one would consider at first.

“Take a short break, I’ll scout ahead.”

Woohyuk raised his hand and brought them to a halt as they pulled on their reins.

Even though it had been some time since they’d entered the swamp, they had yet to suffer a casualty.

On one hand it had a lot to do with Woohyuk’s knowledge of the terrain, but the benefit of riding a Jabber Wok couldn’t be understated. It was a similar beast to the Lizardmen and was at ease travelling through the swampy waters. 

Jabber Woks were the best mounts for this area. If they didn’t have them, the party would have been forced to walk in single file, holding out sticks as they made their way like blind folk.

Woohyuk took advantage of the Jabber Wok’s ability to navigate the terrain, as he investigated the surrounding area searching for a place that would be suitable for combat.

He wasn’t looking for anything special, just a ground that was solid and reasonably wide. Most importantly it was relatively far from the water.

“This will do fine, gather around me.”

After getting his party into position, he used a stick to draw an oval line on the ground.

It was to mark the safe zone, and had a radius of about 5 meters.

“Will we be doing some group hunting? ”

“Yes”

Woohyuk nodded back in response to Lee Jaesung’s query.

Because of the dangers of encountering a mirage as well as the treacherous terrain, it was better to pick a spot and let them come to you.

Efficiency wise? It was ideal. A hunting ground that none other had set foot in.

Not to mention that there were plenty of monsters. Of course it was a rather difficult location to arrive in, it would only become well known as a hunting hotspot  about halfway through the Canyon Battle.

It was an important step for them to occupy this area on the very first day.

‘For now we should be focusing on our growth.’

If they were to blindly set out in one direction, they ran a high risk of being surrounded by Lizardmen. In order to be able to achieve all the goals he had set for himself, he first had to increase the team’s overall strength.

We should spend about a day here.’

He wasn’t too concerned about being overtaken by any competitors. Even Isaac wouldn’t be able to make his way here until tomorrow morning, when the barracks would be up and running.

“Prepare for battle.”

“Yes Boss!”

All the members unsummoned their Jabber Woks and as they all took out their weapons. Woohyuk then planted a flag on the ground, using his leader skill Stronghold, then turned to Song Anna.

“You can’t come under attack under any circumstance. Only use your elemental spirits defensively.”

“Ye? Yes.”

Song Anna had a magic spell that could  cleanse her allies from any abnormal conditions. 

If she were to be severely injured, the others would be helpless. Of course this wasn’t the case for Woohyuk who had incredibly high Magic resistance.

“Let’s get started then.”

As Song Anna played her Hunter’s Flute, a group of Lizardmen armed with tridents silently made their way to them.

Woohyuk, who stood at the front as the vanguard, was the first to engage them. 

Chawaaak

A green, sticky blood splattered across the ground like some paint. Shortly after the sounds of metal clashing rang out all around.

Boom!

The sound of a Fireball connecting brought a change of pace. 

A Salamander drew an arc through the air with its fiery tail, as a Fire Arrow sprang forth.

A fierce fight where none of them held back. In the first place there was no place for them to escape to.

As the number of Lizardmen’s corpses continued to pile up, Woohyuk applied the Basilisk’s poison on Grandia.

* * *

The Lizardmen in Fantasy Swamp weren’t limited to only wielding tridents. There were also archers and shamans. They would become more common the deeper one went into the swamp.

They would be difficult to deal with since they could strike from a distance, so Woohyuk focused on hunting on the outskirts as much as possible.

If any of them would be attracted by the flute’s melody, Woohyuk would quickly dispatch them by either throwing his Vampiric dagger, or using one the magic spell he had accumulated with his Ghost Queen Star Snake.

Due to this, they hadn’t taken much damage.

They were nurtured as a select group of elites, so even if they skipped the easier hunting grounds on their way here, they all performed well.

As the sun began to fall and darkness reigned, the party still didn’t return to the Fortress. The current goal was to completely monopolize the area, so they couldn’t activate the Guard Tower to return.

Of course, when they had created a sizable lead for themselves, they would become more team oriented.  Although there was a significant competition for resources within the alliance, at the end of the day the real enemy still existed across from them. Woohyuk took a look at today’s gains while he got a fire started.


[Lizardmen Poison]

Category:    Consumable

Effect:        A hypnotic poison that can be ingested or applied on equipment.


[Lizardmen Boots]

Category:    Armor

Grade:        D

Durability:    5600

Effect:        +7 Agility. Can increase movement speed but by 20% for 10 seconds, but will result in a 20% decrease once the duration is up.


They were the Achievement rewards for killing one hundred and five hundred Lizardmen respectively.

The first one would be useful when interrogating any enemy captives, while the latter could be used when a burst of speed was necessary.

There was also the one thousand kill reward which would grant a Lizardmen’s Bracelet, providing +7 Vitality and a 20% increase in Health regeneration.

It was a decent item, but it was hardly a priority and he could do without it.

He already had plenty of equipment to restore his Health.

“Is that good, Boss?”

Lee Jaesung approached as he pointed at a Camo tent.

Woohyuk nodded.

“Get your stuff sorted out and then we’ll eat.”

Today’s menu was Lizardmen steaks. They were basically large geckos, and were nutritious with decent taste.

Woohyuk sliced off a part of the flesh and stuck it on a skewer. Seeing his actions Yoo Kayoung and Song Anna grimaced in disgust.

“Can't we just eat our combat rations?”

“I’ve never eaten lizard meat….”

These days we will have more meat than we could possibly eat with all our hunting, there is no need to rely on the combat rations.

It was fine to eat it once or twice, but Woohyuk had to put his foot down.

“It’ll be difficult for you to survive in the future if you only rely on those supplies.”

Yoo Kayoung and Song Anna picked up their skewers, trying to hold back tears.

As they waited for the Lizardmen’s meat to cook, they spoke among themselves.

“Do they always swing their tails like that?”

“I was almost knocked down the first time they did it against me.”

The Lizardmen’s tails were an unusual form of attack, and could be dangerous if one were unprepared.

Of course, prior to the battle Woohyuk had already briefed them as to how they should respond.

The Lizardmen twisting their body was the tell that they would attack next with their tail. At that point one could completely evade it by jumping backwards.

Because their physique was rather small, they would almost always aim for the legs, making it easier to dodge.

Naturally it was also because they hadn’t met any of them that were more than 2 meters tall, like the Elder Lizardman.

“Boss, is it a good idea to have a fire here?”

Jung Sanghoon asked worriedly.

They were on a small hill, a ways off from the swamp area. There was still a mountain range behind them however, so there might be new monsters that would be attracted by the sight of the fire.

“This Brazier is similar to the campfire back in the Base Camp.”

Although it was less effective than the one back at the camp, it could still negate small amounts of aggro.

Of course this only applied to monsters.

“No wonder it cost 3 silvers.”

Upon entering the Canyon stage, new items had been made available at the General shop.

Camping gear, Return stones, Teleportation scrolls, etc….

They were all useful, but except for the things that they needed right away, he didn’t buy any others. The reason was that the prices in the Fortress would be significantly lower than those on their Adventurer’s Watches.

“Don’t worry, no one will be attacking us tonight.”

The Canyon valley was basically a symmetry, and the opposing side would have to face the same things they had. Those of them who chose the middle path would also be held back by the swamp. As for those that had chosen the paths on either side, they would face strong monsters, so they had no chance of reaching Woohyuk’s party within a short period of time.

“The taste is actually not bad.”

“Right, it reminds me of a frog I had roasted back in the day.”

“Jung Sanghoon, you've eaten just about anything. I lived my whole life in the city so I haven’t even eaten fried grasshopper yet.

As the party chatted away, Woohyuk took the time to get in touch with Hong Yuri.

The Bloodstone ring emitted a faint red light as he infused mana into it.

[Are you up?]

[I slept well, the night air is so refreshing.]

As a vampire, Hong Yuri would operate better during the night. For that reason he had instructed them to stay at the Inn after earning a few coins to pay their stay.

[You’ve already faced off against the Harpies. That’s fine, so long as you make sure to activate the Guard Tower over there.]

After passing by the Windy Hill, which was the Harpies’ area, they would arrive at an abandoned castle which was the Chimeras’ lair. 

Hong Yuri’s mission was to take over that area as soon as possible. It was all for the sake of saving Woohyuk some time.

[Okay, leave it to me.]

Hong Yuri replied confidently. Due to the nature of her race, her stats increased by 30% during the night. Likewise she had no problem seeing in the dark so she could somehow manage even if he gave her demanding tasks.

‘I’m sure she will be fine.’

Although she didn’t seem to be as talented as Alice, who had climbed to the rank of Vampire Lord, she wasn’t so useless as to not take advantage of the Hidden Class’ overpowered skills.

At the very least she should be ahead of Samuel, who would be exploring the Squally Mine and the Centaurs’ Village.

“So, was the taste okay?”

“...Yeah”

Song Anna replied shyly to Lee Jaesung’s question.

 Woohyuk, who had been watching her reaction, spoke up.

“In the past, when I was part of the Canyon Battle, I would eat anything I got my hands on in order to survive.”

“What kinds of creatures did you eat?”

“Goblins, Centaurs, Harpies, Nagas, Griffons….”

Yoo Kayoung and Song Anna’s complexions worsened, as the very thought of eating all those creatures made their stomachs turn.

“I don’t care as long as it doesn’t give me an upset stomach.”

“I’m not really picky about what I eat…”

Jung Sanghoon and Nam Kiryang didn’t feel like it was a big deal. Actually, everyone except for Yoo Kayoung and Song Anna nodded in agreement.

“Don’t worry, the taste isn’t all that bad as long as it is cooked properly.”

As Woohyuk said this, he stared at the two girls meaningfully.

Yoo Kayoung was the first to catch on and became flustered.

“Me, I mean we…?”

“I think the both of you would make great cooks.”

He would have to move about by himself sooner or later, so before that happened he needed to prepare a suitable chef for the party.

It couldn’t be just anyone, it required a certain attention to detail . Not only did they have to make the meal taste good, they often had to neutralize the monster’s own poison as well.

As Woohyuk didn’t appear to be backing down, Yoo Kayoung and Song Anna could only swallow down nervously.

There was no going against the Boss.

They approached as Woohyuk proceeded to teach them various recipes.

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