Chapter 10. Dancing with the Skeletons (3)
Over 50 percent of Warlord players chose to become magicians.
Magicians were surprisingly easy for beginners to play. Unlike swordsmen that had to face frightening monsters head on, magicians just had to hit their spells from the back. If they knew when and how to run away, it was perfect.
Magicians were popular and as popular as they were the demand for them was high as well.
It was a class only possible in virtual reality games, using magic itself was romance for many people.
As a result, many pondered over their first magic skill. This looked good, that looked good… even the ones who had made a decision beforehand hesitated after seeing various skill books.
But for Hyrkan, it was different.
After entering the 3rd room and finding the skill he wanted, he turned around and left without looking back.
He had no hesitation.
He didn’t have a choice. The start of the necromancer skill tree was the Skeleton Fragment skill. It was a necessary skill to obtain higher-tier skills, and it was a skill all necromancers continually used even after obtaining high-tier skills.
‘It’s nice that I don’t have to think much about it.’
After coming out of the room, Hyrkan immediately activated the skill book. Learning skills from skill books was simple. There was a palm-shaped picture on the cover of skill books. After placing one’s left hand palm on top, a hologram window popped up from the watch.
[Would you like to learn the skill, Skeleton Fragment?]
After pressing yes, one immediately learned the skill.
[You have learned the skill, Skeleton Fragment.]
[You have obtained the title, ‘A Simple Necromancer.’]
At the same time, Hyrkan obtained a title. Immediately afterwards, Hyrkan threw away the skill book in his hand on the ground. A good thing about Warlord was that one could throw away trash anywhere at any time.
Then, Hyrkan checked his Skeleton Fragment skill.
-Proficiency: F rank
-Number of skeletons able to be summoned: Warrior (1)
-Skill description: You can create a skeleton fragment. If you imbue magic power into the fragment, you can control the summoned skeleton underling.
It was a typical explanation.
Hyrkan immediately activated the skill.
[If you use the skill without an offering, you can only create basic-type fragments.]
With a short alert, a finger-sized skeleton fragment materialized on Hyrkan’s palm. The skeleton fragment looked more like a phone accessory than anything else.
Hyrkan tightly gripped the skeleton fragment.
‘What’s important is this guy’s Combat AI.’
The stats of skeleton underlings changed depending on the cores used as an offering. This part could be covered with sufficient funding, but the Combat AI was something money couldn’t help.
According to Hyrkan’s research, the Combat AI of player-summoned monsters wasn’t all that good. Instead, the monsters have the ability to learn. They can improve through numerous battles, developing their own Combat AI. It made sense. If a skeleton a level 1 player summoned had the same battle sense as a level 300 ranker, everyone would be playing necromancer.
What Hyrkan wondered was exactly how useful their starting Combat AI was.
‘Just do the basics, please. I’ll cover the rest.’
If it were completely useless, the necromancer class would prove to be more of a pain in the ass than he expected.
Almost all of Warlord’s content started with battles. At the same time, battles were the hardest content Warlord had to offer. If Warlord had a complicated battle-preparation process, then no one would bother to play Warlord.
Thus, Warlord’s battle-preparation process was rather convenient.
In the middle of it was the Subjugation Association.
The Subjugation Association offered various information and accommodations needed to hunt monsters. Almost all players became a member as if it was the most obvious thing to do. Especially for beginner players, they enjoyed various benefits, and the first thing they did was join the Subjugation Association.
After joining the Subjugation Association, players were given armor and a weapon, which is useful until level 10. Because of this, players didn’t need to grind, spend money to obtain beginner equipment, or fight monsters bare-handed.
At the same time, players could use the Training Dungeon at the Subjugation Association.
The Training Dungeon was specially prepared for players below level 10, and it was a place players had to experience. If the tutorial gave a taste as to what Warlord’s real battles were like, the Training Dungeon taught the basics of preparing for those real battles. As Training Dungeons were Instant Dungeons, there was no competition and players could focus on fighting.
Currently, Hyrkan was in the Training Dungeon.
It was a circular space the size of a soccer field. Under the torchlight, two entrances could be seen.
As soon as Hyrkan stepped out of one of the entrances, a monster appeared from the other entrance.
It was a wolf.
Its golden pupil and black body could be seen under the torchlights.
‘A Coal Wolf.’
A Coal Wolf’s body was more or less made out of coal, and as it was made of coal, it was easily broken. It was weak enough that level 1 players could kill it bare-handed. Since most players had equipped the armor and weapon given by the Subjugation Association, it wasn’t a tough opponent.
Even so, only 90 percent of players survived their first battle with this monster. Out of every ten, one was killed, unable to beat this monster.
That’s what battle was.
Even if one had epic items and stats, it was useless if one didn’t know how to utilize them.
Of course, for Hyrkan, he could defeat the Coal Wolf within 30 seconds.
But not now.
Hyrkan put his hand in his pocket. Feeling the skeleton fragment in his hand, he imbued magic power into it. Having absorbed the magic power, blue light surrounded the skull-shaped skeleton fragment.
“Skeleton Warrior, I choose you!”
Hyrkan threw the skeleton fragment towards the Coal Wolf.
He threw it while striking a pose as if he threw a Pokeball holding a Pokemon.
[A Skeleton Warrior imbued with magic power materializes.]
An interesting thing occurred. The skeleton fragment fell on the ground and started to grow like a wakame (Editor’s note: wakame is a type of edible seaweed) that absorbed water.
‘This is pretty cool.’
It took less than a second for a Skeleton Warrior to take form.
The Skeleton Warrior was about 160cm tall, a bit shorter than an average male. It wasn’t particularly big either, with its skeletal structure looking like a human’s. Because of this, it felt a bit eerie. It would have been fine if it didn’t have the exact same skeletal structure as humans. Two blue fires burned inside the eye-sockets of its skull, enough to scare the living daylights out of people.
Plus, right after it appeared, it opened its mouth towards the Coal Wolf and let out a roar.
It was a show of anger towards the monster that threatened its master, but the sight of it was quite eerie.
Staring at this Skeleton Warrior, Hyrkan’s expression was that of austerity and seriousness.
Following Hyrkan’s command, the Skeleton Warrior immediately began to run towards the Coal Wolf holding a long bone above its head like a club.
The Coal Wolf showed no intention of dodging the Skeleton Warrior charging towards him. With a rough growl, the Coal Wolf began to run with its four legs.
The rattling of the Skeleton Warrior and the pattering of the Coal Wolf formed a harmony in the air, and with this sound, the distance between them shortened.
Watching this scene, Hyrkan’s face became stiff.
‘Don’t tell me it’s just going to run into him like that. No matter how bad the Combat AI is, it can’t be that…’
Before Hyrkan could even finish his thought,
A dull sound rang out.
The Coal Wolf and the Skeleton Warrior crashed into each other. Although the Skeleton Warrior swung the bone at the Coal Wolf before they crashed, the Coal Wolf managed to slam the Skeleton Warrior’s body before the bone reached him. After being slammed by the Coal Wolf, the Skeleton Warrior’s body bent like a bow and got catapulted into the air. After a short flight, it rolled on the ground seemingly out of strength, making it look pitiful.
The spectating Hyrkan had an even more pitiful face.
‘It’s this bad? But didn’t the skeletons I see in Rich Lich’s videos fight pretty cleverly?’
Hyrkan didn’t expect the skeleton to fight well from the beginning. He felt he could always utilize its learning ability.
But he still had certain expectations.
Monsters in Warlord had a fairly high Combat AI. As Warlord’s creator, Tobot Soft, was the top AI programming company, it made sense that Warlord’s AI was incomparable to other games.
But to think it was this bad.
‘Did I make a huge mistake?’
Hyrkan knit his brows with his fingers.
While this was happening, the Coal Wolf stood valiantly after sending the Skeleton Warrior flying.
It was planning on finishing off Hyrkan. It immediately changed its target to Hyrkan. With a low growl, it started charging at Hyrkan.
Hyrkan could hear the pattering of its nimble feet, but he was still knitting his brows. Hyrkan stopped lamenting and faced the Coal Wolf only when it had already shortened their distance to 20 meters. 20 meters was enough distance for a single breath to cover.
At that moment, Hyrkan took out a fang-shaped dagger from his right thigh, and lightly threw the dagger to his left hand. As soon as his left hand grabbed the dagger, the Coal Wolf leaped at him from a distance of about 5 meters.
Its mouth was wide open, showing its sharp fangs, as it planned to bite down on Hyrkan’s neck.
Most people would shudder at the sight and become unable to move.
But who was Hyrkan?
The Hero Slaughterer.
He had reached the apex of Warlord in terms of battle sense and battle ability. Hyrkan didn’t even move his feet. He only slightly turned his upper body, so that the Coal Wolf would just barely fly by its left side. And as the Coal Wolf was flying past Hyrkan’s left side as he had planned,
Hyrkan stabbed the dagger in his left hand into the Coal Wolf’s left eye.
The Coal Wolf rolled on the ground without landing properly.
The ability to move as little as possible to dodge an attack and using the opponent’s power to deal a deep wound. It would cause average players to yell in amazement and skill, and veterans to feel chills down their backs.
Of course, to Hyrkan, it was an effortless work. To him, such a thing was neither a battle nor a hunt. Who would call crushing an ant with his finger a hunt or a battle?
At that moment, the Skeleton Warrior that had managed to pick itself up from the ground began charging towards the Coal Wolf.
Hyrkan was slightly taken aback, but the Skeleton Warrior paid no heed to its master’s reaction and continued running towards the Coal Wolf. The Coal Wolf grabbed a hold of its body and threw itself towards the Skeleton Warrior with the dagger still stuck in its left eye.
They crashed once again.
As expected, the Skeleton Warrior was once again sent flying. Watching this happen, Hyrkan knit his brows again. The Coal Wolf then stared at Hyrkan, but instead of charging towards him, it began to circle around him with caution. It was the result of the learning ability. It had learned not to mindlessly charge at Hyrkan after witnessing his battle prowess.
‘I’ve no choice.’
Hyrkan snapped his finger once.
It was a basic command.
Snapping the finger once changed skeletons to defense mode, and snapping twice switched them to battle mode.
‘Come to think of it, didn’t three snaps make them do some special action?’
Snapping the finger thrice activated a special action pattern.
Hyrkan stared at the Coal Wolf. The Coal Wolf was still circling around Hyrkan. It seemed like it didn’t want to charge in until it found an opening. Hyrkan then stared at the Skeleton Warrior. Now in its defense mode, the Skeleton Warrior stood with alert against the Coal Wolf that had lost all interest in it.
‘Well, might as well try everything.’
The goal now was to gauge the Skeleton Warrior’s abilities. Hyrkan didn’t know what special action meant, but he planned on checking it now.
Snap snap snap!
Hyrkan snapped his finger thrice.
Then, the Skeleton Warrior that had been on alert stood up stiffly. Then, it slowly started moving backward.
[Skeleton Warrior starts dancing.]
Michael Jackson’s moonwalk. The dance that had once enamored the world, the dance that had once caused fans to burst out in tears, that legendary dance had once again shown itself in this underground dungeon.
And Hyrkan, who was its only audience, cupped his hands over his face as if he was truly touched.
‘… Is it too late to delete this character and start over as a swordsman?’
For the first time in a while, Hyrkan felt like crying while gaming.