EoSP Chapter 9

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 ­ Dancing with the Skeletons (2)

Class Tower.

It was the place to obtain the basic classes, and also the place to periodically obtain information on skill books. At the same time, it was a meeting point where players who shared the same class gathered.

As a result, no matter which castle one visited, the Class Tower would be surrounded by many people.

As always, greed lurked around a place filled with people.

There were people with different purposes near Class Towers. The most prevalent were scouts.

“We’re recruiting fire or ice-attributed magicians!”

“Aran Guild is recruiting curse magicians. We’ll fully support you to level 50.”

Scouts near Class Towers all had the purpose of recruiting new players.

Warlord was an immensely popular game. Within a year after its launch in 2035, over a million players had joined, and the number was growing by thousands every day.

However, Warlord also had a lot of manpower shortages. Many often said there weren’t enough people.

The biggest reason for this was that there weren’t any casual players. Gamers were usually distinguished as being either hardcore or casual. This was because most games were free-to-play, and players could pay money to obtain advantages. But Warlord wasn’t free-to-play. It wasn’t even cheap enough for someone to try the game on a whim.

So most players started Warlord with a clear aim. In other words, they had plans of their own. Even if one tried to recruit others, most were already part of a group.

Another problem was that players needed auxiliary help to participate in Warlord’s main content – raids. Magicians were especially sought after in this aspect. Magicians could receive up to a 200% damage advantage depending on their magic attribute compatibility. They could also receive an equivalent penalty if their magic attribute was incompatible. Because of this, it was important to recruit skilled magicians of different attributes.

Obviously, it was extremely difficult to recruit skilled, well-known, and high-leveled magicians.

If you couldn’t recruit one, you just had to make one!

It was much more efficient to recruit new players and raise them to be the type of magicians one wanted. Of course, even if one touts on the street to recruit newbies, often one wouldn’t be successful. Even so, it was much better than posting some recruitment post on an online forum. It made sense that talking directly in game would show more results.

However, after being unsuccessful for a long time, there were those who became frustrated.

Those who already had decent levels and played for some time didn’t like being so subservient just to recruit newbies who had just started playing.

Thus, sometimes things got a little rough.

“Hey, you! Wait a moment!”

Now was such a case.

A player who had been recruiting guild members suddenly called out and grabbed the left wrist of a player about to enter the Magician’s Tower. He held the player’s wrist tightly to prevent him from getting away.

“You’re a new player, right? Hear me out for a bit.”

Saying this, a player named Suduri stared at the newbie in front of him.

The newbie’s appearance wasn’t anything special, but Suduri had a gut feeling the moment he saw him. A feeling that said, ‘this guy’s a loser!’

‘This guy is definitely a loser. If I don’t at least bring him back, that guild master fucker will throw another tantrum.’

Suduri’s guild master was his high school senior, who dragged him around like he was his underling. After hearing the money involved in Warlord, he bought a V-Gear and brought his so-called underlings to make a guild.

It went without saying that there weren’t many in the guild. There were less than ten people. The guild master ordered Suduri to go find new recruits unless he wants to be beaten up. Suduri wouldn’t mind if it was just an online threat, but he was often punched when they met in the real world for a drink.

So to Suduri, anyone was fine. Since he found a loser who seemed to be a pushover, he planned on making him forcefully join his guild.

On the other hand, Hyrkan who became his target sneered at the rat-looking man in front of him.

‘He probably thinks I look like a loser.’

To Hyrkan, this wasn’t the first time this had happened. As such, he could easily figure out what this man was thinking. He had been treated like a loser so much his whole life, that he had more or less grown used to it.

Of course, things were a bit different in Warlord. After he gained some reputation and skill, he beheaded everyone who treated him like a loser and fed their heads to tiger-type monsters nearby. He showed them who the real loser was.

Such a thing wasn’t possible for the level 1 Hyrkan now.

Hyrkan stared at the man.

“What do you want?”

“You’re going to be a magician, right? We’ll support you, so come to our guild.”

Even as he said this, the man refused to let go of Hyrkan’s wrist. There was no way Hyrkan wouldn’t know what his real intention was.

‘Does he take me for a fool?’

In this situation, Hyrkan smiled lightly instead of frowning in displeasure. Seeing his smile, Suduri immediately continued.

“It’s fine no matter what attribute you go for. We’ll properly support you, just you specially. Not everyone can enter our guild, you know? It’s only for the select few.”

The man started spewing nonsense like how Hyrkan had a kind looking face or that his ancestors must have been men of virtue. At this stupidity, Hyrkan asked him a quick question.

“You said any attribute is fine?”

“Of course!”

“Even black magic?”

“Hm?”

At this, Suduri hesitated for the first time. Over 90 percent of magicians chose white magic, as it had the most diverse options in terms of magic attributes. On the other hand, black magic skill trees were all categorized into a single attribute.

“Are you looking to be a curse magician?”

Among those choosing black magic, almost all went down the curse skill tree.

Debuff magic had many varieties. Black magician’s debuff magic had a single attribute, which was its advantage. Although they weren’t particularly advantageous in terms of attribute compatibility, they weren’t disadvantageous either. This meant one could expect average results no matter what monster one faced. As mid and small sized guilds couldn’t afford to acquire debuff magicians of various attributes, many covered their needs with curse magic.

However, curse magicians weren’t popular as they couldn’t do anything by themselves. As was the case in all games, it wasn’t much fun to stay in the back casting buffs without actually participating in the battle.

“That’s great! If you want to be a curse magician, you’ll need support for sure.”

It wasn’t bad at all.

In fact, Suduri felt like he struck it rich with this loser. But as Suduri was thinking this, Hyrkan said to him,

“I’m not planning on being a curse magician. I’m going to be a necromancer.”

“What?”

Hearing this, Suduri loosened the grip on Hyrkan’s wrist.

‘So he wasn’t a loser, but a pervert…’

He wants to be a necromancer? I didn’t think this loser would be one of those rare perverts.

Meanwhile, after seeing that Suduri had loosened his grip, Hyrkan pulled his arm back with a snap. It seemed Suduri didn’t plan on holding Hyrkan’s wrist again, as he just stared at him.

“You still want to support me?”

Instead of replying, Suduri turned his head and spat. He was telling Hyrkan to fuck off.

Seeing this, Hyrkan whispered.

“Next time I see you…”

“What?”

It was soft enough that Suduri couldn’t hear him. Suduri responded to the sound but Hyrkan had already entered the tower after finishing what he had to say.

Hyrkan’s words.
‘… If you hold my left wrist again, I’ll kill you.’

It was his final warning.

★★★

In Warlord, the best way to differentiate between NPCs and players was to look at their left wrists. Players were wearing their smart watches on their left wrists. This smart watch had various functions. Players could check their stats, confirmed quests, check maps and their physical data, communicate within and outside the VR world, take pictures or film videos, and quick-slot change their equipment.

Players couldn’t take off their watches. The only way to take them off was to cut off their wrists, or when they died. In other hands, players left behind their watches when they died in-game. If others picked up these left behind watches, they could turn them into dealers located in each castle and town. In return, they received one random item from the watch.

Thus, PKers often aimed for their opponents’ wrists first. If they could just cut off their wrists, they wouldn’t be able to switch items using quick-slot, and the PKers could just run.

In some cases, PKers threatened their victims to leave their wrists in return for their lives. This felt the worst, as players couldn’t use the functionalities of the watch before they restored their wrists. They wouldn’t be able to pick up even if someone called them from the outside. Most just chose to log-out and wait for the situation to sort itself out. People called this time period the cigarette-time or the sage-time. Anyhow, it felt like shit. People often wondered why they paid so much money to play Warlord. Make that always.

As a result, players who were PKed a lot were sensitive to anyone touching their left wrists.

‘I’m remembering some bad memories thanks to some nobody.’

In this aspect, Hyrkan was sensitive to the point of hysteria. Since his left wrist was gripped, he was in a terrible mood.

‘I have remembered your face.’

And in this aspect, Hyrkan showed his extreme temperament.

He’ll let it go the first time, but there will be no second.

‘Next time this happens, I’ll destroy you regardless of what your level is.’

Huu!

After taking a deep breath and calming himself, Hyrkan headed straight to the NPC on the 1st floor. Like in bank windows, 2 NPCs sat facing the players. What was interesting was that there was a long line for one of the NPCs, while there was only one in the line for the other.

The long line was for players trying to learn white magic, and the shorter line was obviously for black magic.

It was easy to see the difference between white magic and black magic. If it wasn’t this bad, Suduri wouldn’t have spat in disgust at the necromancer-aspiring loser.

In fact, the people in line for white magic saw Hyrkan walking towards black magic and showed looks of pity. It was as if they were looking at a man walking to his death.

Under their pitying looks, Hyrkan faced the NPC. It was a dark-faced old man with shriveled skin. The NPC spoke, facing Hyrkan.

“I am black magician Golco. Are you interested in black magic?”

[A class-related quest has begun.]

[After choosing a class, there is no turning back.]

[To switch from black magic to white magic, a tremendous price must be paid.]

System alerts filled Hyrkan’s ears.

Hyrkan ignored the alerts.

“Yes.”

“You cannot walk the road of black magic with just words. Embed your determination here.”

With this, Golco took out a piece of paper as shriveled as his skin.

It was a contract, and there were five places for Hyrkan to sign both front and back combined.

It was to prevent players from complaining to game admins to change their class. This happened more often than one might expect. There were always people who didn’t like their choices in games and complained to get them changed. Some even hired lawyers. The contract was to prevent something like this from happening. Hyrkan signed the five spots without batting an eye.

After confirming Hyrkan’s signatures, Golco spoke while looking at Hyrkan.

“Hold out your palm.”

Hyrkan held out his palm, and Golco wrote the number 3 on it with his fingers.

[A key has been inscribed to your palm.]

Golco gave an explanation about the number.

“Go up the stairs to the 2nd floor and you’ll see four rooms. If you enter the room with this number, you’ll find a library. You may bring one book out of there. You can exit and reenter whenever you want before coming out with a book, but the moment you come out with a book, you can only enter with a new key.”

Such system of keys was truly befitting that of magicians.

[At any time, you may check your conversation with the NPC through the app installed on your watch.]

After hearing the final alert, Hyrkan clenched his fists.


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2 Comments

  1. “People often wondered why they paid so much money to play Warlord. Make that always.”

    That’s never a good sign, when the writer himself has no idea why would anyone play his game.
    This is one of those moments that I feel like the author should’ve just created a real-world fantasy story, rather than a VR story, if he wants to write about how harsh and cruel life and other people are.
    It’s a game, hello? Haha, people play to have fun, to some degree. Making it about pain and suffering is a bit absurd, even for a professional.

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