The Corrupted Stone (2)
It was on the 20th day of entering Lizard Swamp that Hyrkan reached his level 30 goal.
[You have leveled up.]
At the same time his level went up…
[You have obtained the title, ‘Lizard Hunter’.]
He obtained a new title. It was because he had killed hundreds of Lizardmen by the time he hit level 30.
[Skeleton Fragment skill rank has increased to D.]
[Demon Curse skill rank has increased to E.]
[Madness Helm skill rank has increased to E.]
Three skills ranked up simultaneously. The Lizard Hunter title and achieving level 30 had boosted his skill proficiencies significantly.
To Hyrkan, these alerts were the harmonic choir of heavenly voices. He felt like he was ascending every time he heard one alert.
Hyrkan shook as he clenched his fists tightly.
‘Yeah, that’s right! This is what Hero Slaughterer Hyrkan is all about!’
Truth be told, even Hyrkan was surprised at his current achievements.
‘I can’t believe I beat my past record by 4 days.’
In the past, it took 24 days for him to get from level 20 to level 30. During those 24 days, he played Warlord like a corpse, not to mention he wasn’t alone. Back then, he was with Kim Dongsoo, the man he believed to be friends with forever.
Although they weren’t at their prime, their achievement of level 30 allowed them to believe that they could really turn their lives around through Warlord. Any doubts they had before had turned into confidence.
Rightly so. It took 30 days for slightly above average players, but they managed to do it in 24 days. Those 6 days accounted for a 20 percent decrease. The difference was between that of someone who ran 100 meters in 10 seconds and 8 seconds.
But Hyrkan managed to shorten that time by another 4 days.
‘Although it isn’t a new record, it’s at least faster than the current Rankers in the 100s.’
It called for a celebration. It signified that Hyrkan’s choice wasn’t wrong, and that he could run much faster than the Rankers who had started playing 10 months ago.
Hyrkan gained confidence.
‘That’s right, I’m good.’
At the same time, he grumbled.
‘I deserve to eat some meat now, don’t I?’
It was over throwing away the expensive tenderloin steak a few days ago. In truth, he massively regretted his actions as he ate protein powder. Of course, as always, it was a little too late for regret.
‘Ehew, I’m such an idiot.’
Hyrkan erased the painful memory from his mind.
At that time, Hyrkan caught sight of something appearing then disappearing in the distance. With no hesitation, Hyrkan changed his Skeleton Warriors back to their fragment form and collected them. Then, he disappeared between the trees.
It was then, the people who had been hiding came out and ran towards where Hyrkan was.
“We have to find him, quick!”
A player urgently shouted. Squatted behind a tree, Hyrkan watched the player that shouted. He was someone Hyrkan was acquainted with.
‘There’s that retard again.’
It was a player that came to avenge the three beauties, and was absolutely thrashed by Hyrkan. This time, he came with two companions.
‘My level 30 gifts grew legs!’
It was a visit Hyrkan couldn’t decline. As such, Hyrkan slowly revealed himself.
“Here! Thanks for coming all the way out here!”
After coming out of hiding, Hyrkan waved his hand to make himself known.
He was fully confident.
That he could take care of three by himself. No, Hyrkan wasn’t alone. Now, he had four trustworthy skeleton servants. He didn’t have a reason to be afraid.
‘If I get something good again, I’ll get steak again. This time, I won’t throw it away. No matter what happens… agh, I can’t believe I did something so stupid.’
One man was kneeling in a swamp. His eyes were a mess as if he had been through a torture. Standing about three feet away was Hyrkan.
“Let me ask you something. Did those bitches tell you they’d give you a kiss in real life if you caught me? What, did they write you a contract for a deep kiss? Otherwise, why are you doing all this just do get me?”
At Hyrkan’s inquiry, the blind man did not respond.
“Don’t tell me you actually put your life on the line for a kiss. Really? I mean, a life in Warlord is cheaper than one in real life, but it’s still not worth a kiss. Come on, don’t you have anything better to do?”
“… You son of a bitch, you think you’ll be fine after this?”
At Hyrkan’s teasing, the man became enraged as he threatened Hyrkan. Of course, his threat didn’t mean a thing to Hyrkan. By his books, it didn’t even count as one.
Hyrkan grinned. As he did, he tapped his left wrist with his right index finger. Then, a Skeleton Warrior sliced down at the man’s left wrist. His hand wasn’t chopped off with just one swing. After all, he was wearing thick, steel gloves.
As if it was hammering, the Skeleton Warrior continuously struck down on his glove. After several clashes, giving off sparks, his steel glove became a mess and his hand chopped off.
Hyrkan grabbed the chopped off hand by its wrist, took out the watch, then stored it in his pocket.
“I’ll let you live.”
With that, without delivering the final blow, Hyrkan left.
‘It’s about time to leave here.’
He had gained quite a lot in the Lizard Swamp. Thus, it was time to finish up.
More importantly, there were just too many who Hyrkan had done in. In the first place, they grouped up against one man just to look good to a bunch of girls. They were the type to try every means possible to have their way.
They would go after him with vengeance. They might even hire a skilled Ranker. In Warlord, one could do almost everything with money. Because of this, Hyrkan had to finish up and leave the Lizard Swamp. Moreover, Lizard Swamp was no longer a favorable hunting ground for Hyrkan. Although it was right for his level, Hyrkan could hunt at a higher level hunting ground with his abilities.
There was only one thing left to do.
‘If I can’t find that egg in 3 days, I’m going to give up.’
The Nested Egg quest.
Hyrkan gave 3 days until its deadline. He would look for it with all his might for these three days, and if he couldn’t find it, he would give up and move on to the next area. If he couldn’t find it there either, then the right choice would be to come back to Lizard Swamp.
Plus, Hyrkan had diligently collected any information on the Nested Egg, and did his fair share of analysis.
‘It’s called Nested Egg, but I’m sure it’s not some normal egg.’
Hyrkan was positive that what he was looking for wasn’t really a nest or an egg.
This quest was part of the Corrupted Count quest. In that case, it was likely that the Power of Corruption would be related somehow.
‘Could the egg have been exposed to Corruption? Then what does Nest mean?’
A monster’s egg exposed to the Power of Corruption.
For the record, it was exceedingly difficult to find a Lizardman’s egg. As it was a considered a crafting item rather than a monster, it was a treasure hunt to find one. This was why Hyrkan have yet to find any. At the same time, what Hyrkan needed to find was not likely to be a normal egg from a Lizardman’s nest.
As said before, it must be a related to the Power of Corruption in some way. Ahimbree would not have given him a simple quest like brining back an egg from a nest. Hyrkan needed a special egg from a special nest.
‘If only I could find a Corrupted monster…’
What would be most helpful in situations like this was finding a monster with the ‘Corrupted’ title.
With that, he would be able to ensure that something was related to the Corrupted Count.
However, no matter how much Hyrkan looked for information on Bangtz Castle’s Lizard Swamp, he could not find anything about a mutant monster. In fact, there were more stories about Hyrkan; that a very strange necromancer was going berserk in the Lizard Swamp.
Moreover, even if someone found a mutant in the Lizard Swamp, it was unlikely for that information to be shared. After all, such rare monsters would drop rare crafting items. The founder would obviously try to kill it. Otherwise, he would sell information about it for a sizable sum.
Relying on information from fan sites to solve this problem was meaningless. It was no different than buying a lottery ticket and expecting to win.
In the end, there was only one answer.
‘Time to run.’
Hyrkan ran with all his might. Behind him, seven players chased after him.
“Don’t let him get away again!”
Hearing the hostile voices behind him, Hyrkan clenched his teeth.
‘These god damn idiots. Are they not embarrassed, doing all this for a bunch of girls? Fuck!’
The ones taken out by Hyrkan. Realizing that they were powerless to deal with him alone, they banded together. Of course, it was unlikely that they found each other on their own. Ilya and the other two bitches likely had their hands in the matter.
In any case, a total of ten players grouped together to catch Hyrkan.
It was a rather large number for a bunch of idiots who got tricked by a bunch of girls. The group immediately formed a plan to catch Hyrkan, and the current situation was a result of that plan.
Hyrkan was running.
No matter how strong he was, it was impossible for him to handle 10 players who were equal or higher level than him. At the same time, Hyrkan didn’t have the slightest idea of wanting to die in a valiant battle.
The only answer was to run!
Thankfully, there were three factors that helped Hyrkan’s escape. First was that Hyrkan was an all-strength necromancer. Second was that he knew the ins and outs of the Lizard Swamp. The last was that…
In the most critical situation…
‘Summon Skeleton Warrior!’
He could call upon a scapegoat to take the blow for him.
The summoned Skeleton Warrior quickly blocked the path Hyrkan crossed. As soon as the Skeleton Warrior appeared, the swordsmen that were running after him swung their swords at it.
Although it dodged the first swordsman’s sword,
The second swordsman’s sword broke its shoulder bones.
It then blocked the third swordsman’s swing with its shield.
But the follow-up attack of the first swordsman broke its neck. The Skeleton Warrior’s head fell on the ground, and its remaining body served as a sandbag for the angry swordsmen.
Looking at his mana drain away, Hyrkan could tell what was currently happening.
‘You dare do this to my servant….’
Hyrkan bit down on his lips. Death was routine for Skeleton Warriors. To begin with, it was strange to use such an expression. After all, Skeleton Warriors were undead type monsters. Even so, experiencing the destruction of his Skeleton Warriors, Hyrkan’s mood turned sour.
Skeleton Warriors were his faithful servants. They never betrayed him, and they happily sacrificed their lives for him. Although that was because of their AI design, to Hyrkan who had experienced the bitter taste of betrayal, they were his servants and comrades. Hyrkan’s blood was too hot to not rage over their death.
‘You bastards, I remember your faces. You just wait. Soon, I’m going to get my revenge…’
The reason was his surrounding environment. What was in front of him was a never before seen terrain.
Up until now, Hyrkan had been moving in the Lizard Swamp like it was his own backyard. There wasn’t a place he didn’t know about. If Hyrkan really did not know about this place, he would lose his advantages.
Hyrkan became tense.
‘Reset? Event Field?’
If it was a place he knew, it was possible that the area was reset. In Warlord, plant life didn’t grow randomly. Players used this feature to cut trees and cultivate the land. In such case, areas became reset depending on situation. After a certain period of time, if no players were nearby, an area go back to its original state.
Event Field was pretty much what it sounded like. It referred to fields changing to fulfill a role in an event. It was a chance to meet certain monsters or to find instance dungeons.
In any case, Hyrkan stayed vigilant of his surroundings.
As he was in a new area, he didn’t know which part had deep swamps, which part was suitable for fighting, or which part could be used to cross the swamp.
At that moment, in front of Hyrkan’s eyes, a black swamp made its appearance. The moment he saw the swamp, a sense of danger enveloped Hyrkan.
‘If I go in there… it won’t end well.’
Hyrkan threw one Skeleton Fragment towards the Swamp. Then, he snapped his fingers thrice.
After appearing on top of the black swamp, a Skeleton Warrior attempted to dance as its feet were struck in the swamp.
Meanwhile, Hyrkan concealed himself.
“The hell is that?”
After finding a Skeleton Warrior dancing in a black swamp, the group of players chasing Hyrkan could only be infuriated.
“That fucking necromancer. He’s playing with us…”
They were already irritated by Hyrkan’s running, but now that they were suddenly provoked, their anger reached their limit.
Of course, the swordsmen headed out to de stress. They entered the swamp and began to mercilessly dismantle the Skeleton Warrior. Then, someone spoke out.
“Don’t kill it! Just damage it so that fucking necromancer wastes his mana. Necromancers are useless without their mana anyways.”
At these words, the three swordsmen in the swamp nodded their heads. Meanwhile, the priests and magicians stood on guard with the rest of the swordsmen. Their target was an odd necromancer. Having been killed by him already, they knew they had to be on guard.
A priest that had been focusing all his senses on the black swamp blinked his eyes, as if he discovered something.
He had caught sight of something. With swift, a 6 meter long monster swam across the black swamp.
The monster let out a bone-chilling sound as it approached three swordsmen and the dancing Skeleton Warrior.
Before the priest could finish his warning…
An enormous lizard exploded out from the black swamp. With its mouth wide open, the lizard…
Swallowed a swordsman whole before it quickly disappeared into the black swamp.
Someone had disappeared in the blink of an eye.
‘What just happened?’
At this sudden turn of events, all those watching froze in place. Only the Skeleton Warrior continued dancing. The only one who remained sane without panicking was the one hidden nearby, watching the whole thing happen.
It was, of course, Hyrkan.
When Hyrkan caught a glimpse of that monster, Hyrkan couldn’t help but frown.
‘A Dragon Lizard. Don’t tell me, ‘nest’ was referring to a Dragon Lizard’s lair?’
As a level 40 boss monster, its defense, stamina, and attack were several times that of normal monsters.