Chapter 32. Corrupted Stone (1)
In Lizard Swamp, two players were facing each other. However, the two were in completely different states.
One stood straight and tall, while the other was kneeling on the ground. The latter’s arms were held by Skeleton Warriors, as his eyes were full of brutal injuries.
“You, I swear I’ll get my revenge on you…”
The kneeled player grit his teeth as he spoke to the standing man with hatred. The standing man, of course, was Hyrkan. Wearing an almost spotless armor, Hyrkan smirked at the kneeling player’s child-like curse.
“Yeah, sure. If you’re coming, bring some more expensive items. I’ll be waiting. See you in 48 hours. Sleep tight. Good night~”
With that, Hyrkan stared at the three Skeleton Warriors surrounding the kneeling player.
Hyrkan snapped his fingers twice, making two Skeleton Warriors pulled on the player’s arms. The remaining Skeleton Warrior raised his sword and stabbed the gap between the player’s helmet and breastplate.
As if once wasn’t enough, the Skeleton Warrior stabbed consecutively. Hyrkan only watched on emotionlessly. Rather than emotionless, it was more correct to say Hyrkan erased the battle just now from his memory. Only a number was recorded.
‘It’s the 15th one now.’
Two weeks had passed since Hyrkan came to the Lizard Swamp. After the first day’s disturbance, Hyrkan put his focus on leveling up. The result was great, as he achieved 7 levels during that time. Considering that it takes an average player one month to go from level 20 to level 30, Hyrkan’s level up speed was comparable… no, much faster than the Rankers.
However, hunting wasn’t the only thing he did.
‘It’s almost one per day.’
He was attacked. Not once, but nine times, for a total of fifteen players.
‘Come on, this isn’t even the real world. All this, just to look good to girls in a VR game? If they like girls so much, why don’t they go play dating sims or a blind date game?’
“Haa… I guess it really is hard to find normal people in Warlord.”
The attackers’ motive was revenge.
The three beauties that approached to play Hyrkan, but got played by Hyrkan. Instead of reflecting on their mistake, they coaxed other men to get revenge on Hyrkan.
‘What a bunch of snakes. At least their fishing skills are top notch.’
Of course, Hyrkan didn’t have a shred of regret about screwing over those girls. He had not physically harmed them in any way. It’s just that there was a little accident during their hunting, which was caused by the three girls, not Hyrkan. In fact, Hyrkan was more help to them than harm. After all, he killed nine Lizardmen for them. If anything, he should be rewarded.
Unfortunately, Warlord wasn’t a place where such logic applied. If three beauties accused a strange man wearing a hahoe mask and leather clothing of assaulting them, there were bound to be people who believed them.
Some of them would have their normally nonexistent sense of justice provoked and come out to judge said sexual deviant.
‘Their acting skills are just too good. I wouldn’t be surprised if they debuted as actresses soon.’
In reality, Hyrkan could easily justify himself, but Hyrkan didn’t do so.
‘Well, I’m thankful to be honest.’
Looking at the wrist of the player in the game over state, Hyrkan grinned.
This was why.
Hyrkan didn’t need to justify himself in any way.
‘This one was trash too, but looking at his items, he must be around mid to late 30s. That means his items should be at least level 30. Now, if I can get a level 30 rare item… I can have some meat for dinner tonight.’
Why would he say no to human-form monsters delivering themselves to his doorsteps? Not to mention, they drop already crafted items.
More importantly, although Hyrkan was unbelievably strong against monsters, he was even more monstrous versus players. Furthermore, it was hard to find good players from the self-righteous fools trying to look good to a bunch of girls.
Of course, Hyrkan didn’t forget to remind himself.
‘If they’re going so far to get back at me, for two weeks no less, then they’ll have to pay the price. If I catch them again, I’m going to play soccer with their cut-off heads.’
Hyrkan told himself to get back at the girls when he got the chance. Otherwise, they would never stop.
In any case, thanks to these reasons, the Lizard Swamp, which was no different than hell to other players, was nothing less than heaven for Hyrkan.
He leveled up fast, and people even came to donate him items. There was truly no better hunting ground.
Could that be why?
Hyrkan felt a sense of shame again. He would have to leave the Lizard Swamp soon. After all, he couldn’t stay here forever.
“What a shame.”
After picking up the watch, Hyrkan looked around. He had long grown accustomed to the area, showing just how long he had stayed. Soon, he would have to leave.
‘3 levels left to go… I’m hoping I can get at least 5 more watches until then.’
That was Hyrkan’s current goal. Once he achieved level 30, he planned to search the Lizard Swamp thoroughly to clear his Nested Egg quest. And if he couldn’t find it?
Then he would have no choice but to move on to the next place. He couldn’t stay in one place forever. Not unless he knew for certain that this was the quest area. However, even if Lizard Swamp wasn’t the quest area, he didn’t need to feel bad.
‘If this isn’t the place for the Nested Egg quest… I’m going to put out all the videos I collected from here.’
If this wasn’t the testing ground Ahimbree mentioned, it wouldn’t be one of the places suspected by the ones who approached Hyrkan. In that case, it would be fine to make his videos from here public.
In any case, Hyrkan would benefit.
Thinking about this, the corner of Hyrkan’s mouth once again curled up into a smile. With that, Hyrkan shook his pocket full of watches.
‘It’s been a while. Why don’t I go cash in?’
As a thick piece of meat fell onto a heated pan, an enticing burning smell filled the air. The taste of a savory steak could be easily imagined through the smell.
‘God, it’s been so long.’
In front of such a smell, An Jaehyun couldn’t help but smile.
‘Ku! What a shame I can’t drink beer with this.’
That was the amount that entered his bank account today.
He had transferred the money he made so far into his bank account. YouTube donations and the amount from selling Lizardmen’s crafting materials. Of course, these two didn’t account for much of his earning. The secret lied in the watches he exchanged.
‘I can’t believe I got a level 35 Rare weapon.’
A level 35 Rare weapon, a sword no less. Just this was 800,000 won.
‘I also can’t believe that was all he could do with a weapon like that… talk about casting pearls before swine.’
It was thanks to this weapon that Hyrkan’s usual dinner menu of glucose candy and cheap coffee turned into the current tenderloin steak. With his long awaited protein ahead of him, An Jaehyun was feeling happier than ever.
‘No, I’m grateful. Bless them, really. It’s because they spent their money in this game that I’m able to eat like this. If I see them again, I should greet them. Maybe I’ll even give them a hug.’
The smile on Hyrkan’s face didn’t seem to want to disappear. That was how happy An Jaehyun was. He felt like he was soaring in the skies. After plating his steak, he put the macaroni salad and potato salad he bought form the supermarket next to him.
He would feel even better once he put the meat in his mouth, as he would achieve absolute bliss.
But Hyrkan’s happy feeling…
“Mm? An email?”
Was destroyed when he saw a certain email.
– I am Stormhunter Guild’s head scout. Hahoe Mask Hyrkan, I saw your YouTube videos. I was mesmerized by your skill and talent. Thus, we, the Stormhunter Guild, would like to invite you for a formal talk. Between 10 A.M. and 6 P.M. Korea time, setting aside lunch time of 1 P.M. to 2 P.M., tell us when you are free. We will be awaiting your response.
It went without saying that those who could make a name for themselves by uploading personal videos to YouTube received attention from numerous groups – Video content creation businesses, management companies, and Warlord guilds, etc. Scouting offers from groups like these were like a medal of honor for Warlord YouTubers.
Just one of such offer would make one happy, and even more so as they accumulated.
However, when An Jaehyun saw this medal of honor, joy was furthest from what he was feeling.
‘Stormhunter… that damn name.’
Scouting offers weren’t outside of his expectations. He had already been receiving offers from management companies and guilds. If one wasn’t blind, it was easy to tell An Jaehyun’s battles were incomparable to other players’. Although most of his offers came from no-name guilds, he had received some from fairly well-organized, mid-size guilds. He even got offers on how to raise an all-strength necromancer.
In that sense, this was truly a big deal. Although An Jaehyun’s YouTube page was getting popular, it wasn’t to the point one of Top 30 Guilds would make a scouting offer. The Top 30 Guilds were generally busy pulling the weeds out from those that applied. They didn’t bother to look for players on their own accord. Even if they did, they had their pride. Because of this pride, they didn’t easily do such a thing.
However, he had gotten an offer from a Top 30 Guilds for the first time. Most Warlord YouTubers would have contacted them without turning back. They would be drunk in happiness.
However, An Jaehyun still remembered clear as day.
‘At the very least, I’ll never hold hands with that bitch.’
Why was he here?
It was because of the Stormhunter Guild and Choi Sulyeon. Just remembering her face made him grit his teeth. The sense of hatred, pain, and despair he felt because of her and others, he could still feel it.
It went without saying that An Jaehyun didn’t have the faintest idea of accepting this offer.
‘Even if there’s a knife to my throat… well no, I’ve already experienced that many times.’
As such, this offer only put his mood in a dumpster, nothing more and nothing less.
‘That bitch. At least she’s got good standards.’
An Jaehyun immediately deleted the email. Then, he went back to eating. However, the taste of the meat was no longer on his mind. An Jaehyun chewed on the meat as if he was chewing on rubber.
His eyes shined with menace.
The Stormhunter Guild’s scouting offer evoked the wrath of a king. An Jaehyun was remembering his original intention.
‘Right, this isn’t the time to sit and chew on some meat. An Jaehyun, don’t think you’re free to eat meat just because you’ve got some money now.’
An Jaehyun struck down on the steak with his fork. Is this the time to leisurely eat meat?
‘If I’m satisfied with where I am, that’s all I will ever be. An Jaehyun, get your shit together.’
An Jaehyun. His goal was to take everything on alone. To become the best in Warlord.
To become the best, he had to give up everything. The life of wealth and honor could wait until he achieved his goal. Before then… he had to be a starving predator.
An Jaehyun got up from his seat. He put his steak and salad into the trashcan. Then, he boiled water and threw in a handful of glucose candy into a cup.
Only the sound of a kettle filled the surrounding air of loneliness.