Chapter 45. Bad Move (1)
It was now March, but the end-of-winter chill was still in the air. Heavily clothed people filled the streets, and a few who could not stand the cold went into nearby coffee shops for shelter. Because many were in similar situation, there was a long line of the orders.
By the coffee shop’s window, there was a shabby looking man.
The man tapped on his touch screen tablet PC, breathing harshly with his nose red. It was easy to tell that the man had been enduring the cold weather in front of the coffee shop for quite a while. Even putting his current state aside, he did not seem to be doing good. He was thin as if he hadn’t been eating much, his thick glasses showed he had bad eyesight, and his hair was unkempt.
However, what was most suspicious and unsightly was the fact that he was stuck to the window like he was a sticker.
‘Damn it, why is the Wi-Fi so slow? Your coffee’s so expensive. At least provide better service.’
He was clearly trying to use the free Wi-Fi that the coffee shop provided to its customers. This man was, of course, An Jaehyun. The reason he was going through all this trouble on such a cold day was to get this free Wi-Fi.
He knew it was not the best thing to do. If he paid for a coffee, took a seat and started working, he would at least be able to stop his runny nose.
An Jaehyun’s toils came to an end…
A short time later.
An Jaehyun tapped on his tablet PC, and sent several emails to multiple accounts.
After finishing his work, An Jaehyun turned his tablet PC off, stuffed it under his armpit, and removed himself from the coffee shop window.
As he headed straight home, An Jaehyun couldn’t help but sigh. When he did, his breath was easily visible due to the cold weather.
‘Here’s a super special service for anyone. I don’t care who, so catch the Corrupt Count and open a door to a new era.’
The future had changed, and a new era was now starting.
As the Top 30 Guilds had their own live broadcast channels, their guilds ran in different ways than other guilds. One difference was their Information Team. As one would expect, the Information Team was in charge of managing information and reporting important facts to the guild.
There were many reasons for running an Information Team. First, it was important to receive feedback on customer satisfaction. It was also to receive potentially valuable information. Of course, about 80 percent of reported information were completely useless. Of the remaining 20 percent, 10 percent were so bad that the team wanted to throw the sender into the jail. In other words, only 10 percent of information were somewhat useful.
Finding useful information from this pile of garbage was truly hard for those in the Information Team.
But what choice did they have?
“God, it’s all trash. Like, this one is asking us to find a missing cat. What the hell?”
They were being paid for it, so they couldn’t not do their job.
“That’s cute. Look at this. This one says it’ll tell us the identity of the Corrupt Count.”
In any case, the Information Team organized the tips they received. Although most were thrown out, they were still checked in the process. It was a subjective process, as what might be a jewel to one may be trash to another. It was especially so in the case of information.
In this sense, these two were fortune’s favorites.
“Corrupt Count’s identity? That’s the tip? Ha! If you sell that information, I’m sure it’ll go for at least 100,000 dollars.”
“Should I just throw it away?”
“There’s 99 percent chance that it’s fake, but we can’t be completely sure, so let’s save it for now.”
Red Bulls and Stormhunter.
Only these two guilds were able to see a jewel for what it was worth.
The representative figures of the Top 30 Guilds were well-known by the mass. With their faces being broadcasted every day, their faces were hard to forget. If that wasn’t enough, all members of the Top 30 Guilds wore their guild uniforms, some with several sponsorship logos on them.
Rightly so. In order to get more fans and sponsorships, they had to make themselves shine as much as possible.
In other words…
“Well, hello? If it isn’t the Hydra Guild’s 8th Head, Natal?”
If a representative player from a guild was trying to hide his identity, even going as far as wearing the Subjugation Association NPC’s clothing, then there had to be a reason behind it.
Red Bull Guild’s 3rd strongest member, Bullfight Keems, greeted one of the nine heads of the Hydra Guild, who was not wearing his usual nine-headed Hydra cape.
Natal didn’t seem happy to see Bullfight Keems, as he made an intimidating expression.
“What is the Red Bulls Guild doing here?”
However, Bullfight Keems had an even more intimidating expression. His nickname, Bullfight, was aptly put, as he was an intimidating, 2-meter-tall black man. His first impression was always bad, as no matter how intimidating one tried to look, he would not look half as intimidating as Keems’s smiling face.
At the moment, Keems smiled as he looked at Natal’s intimidating expression.
Watching his smile, Natal unknowingly flinched.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be here, is there? Is there a problem?”
Realizing he had flinched, Natal came to his senses and replied.
“I’d like to ask a question as well. What are you doing here? In a different clothes than usual no less. This must be the first time I’ve seen you without your cape on. Though, I must admit, that look suits you quite well.”
“I have my reasons. So, do you need something from me?”
“Of course not. Be on your way.”
With that, Natal turned back. Then, his followers turned back along with him before they walked away as a group.
Watching Natal leave, the corner of Keems’s mouth curved up to a smile. Immediately afterwards, Keems looked at a guild member next to him and tapped his wristwatch twice with his right index finger.
Then, his comrades quickly changed their item slot and switched their clothes.
The Red Bulls uniform wearing players quickly changed to their battle gear, prepared to fight at any time. Meanwhile, Keems started talking through his voicetalk program.
“It looks like that tip was real. Natal is here.”
-Natal? Hydra Guild’s 8th Head?
“He was even wearing the Subjugation Association NPC clothes instead of his usual Hydra cape. If I wasn’t looking carefully, I would have mistaken him as an NPC and passed by.”
-Has Natal appeared in any of Hydra Guild’s recent broadcasts?
“I have no clue. I’m not really a fan of them, you see. Why don’t you ask Yel? Isn’t she next to you?”
-How did you know?
“Isn’t she always next to you?”
Even as he said this, Keems couldn’t help but laugh. He found it funny that the perfect Specialist when fighting monsters was too dense to realize the feelings of a woman so close by.
Of course, his laugh didn’t last long.
“What should we do? Attack them? If you’d like, we can make a mess and buy some time.”
-No, stand back for now. If that place really is the Corrupt Count’s castle, the Hydra Guild must have most of its members nearby. Keems, losing you would be the biggest loss.
“I can think of it as a two day vacation, no big deal.”
“Mm? W-What? I’m talking to the Captain.”
A comrade of his called out his name. He turned around reflexively, and his eyes went wide as he realized why his comrade called out to him. A wave of uniformed players entered his eyes. After catching sight of Keems and his crew, the uniformed group also walked towards them.
A strange atmosphere developed.
“Captain, there are about 40 members from the Stormhunter Guild here.”
In the Top 30 Guild’s overall rankings, they had the power, numbers, and authority to rank within the top 5. The Red Bulls was similar to the Stormhunter Guild.
As one might expect, the two guilds were in fierce competition to get ahead of each other.
Keems’s eyes narrowed as he stared off into the distance. What entered his sight first was a short-haired girl. Keems could immediately tell who it was.
“Stormhunter Guild’s princess is here.”
Storm Princess Hahui.
The 3rd strongest member of the Stormhunter Guild, and a Specialist raised by the Stormhunter Guild for the purpose of PvP.
Although it was a long time ago, Keems had once been killed by her hands.
Keems’s expression turned rigid.
“What should we do?”
-Stormhunters, how troublesome. Do they look like they have the intent to attack?
“Seeing as how they stopped in their track after seeing us, it seems they didn’t think we would be here.”
– Then… it seems that tip didn’t just come to us. Fine. First, we’re going to avoid clashing with the Stormhunter Guild. If you can negotiate something there, do so. I’ll talk to the Storm Queen on this end.
With that, their call ended.
Keems raised his hand immediately. With his tall height and large build, it was easy to see him from a distance. Keems spoke as he waved his hand.
“Looks like we’re here for the same reason. No reason for us to fight. By the way, Natal just passed by here.”
It was the start of a new development.
A Golem’s arm whisked through the air with a heavy sound.
In front of it was a level 50 monster, Giant Bear.
Although it was level 50, as a mid-sized monster, the Giant Bear gave several times more experience and material than small-sized monsters. It was usually hunted by 5-man parties rather than 3-man parties.
As such, it was impossible for a single Golem to overwhelm it. The thick arm swung by the Golem struck the side of the Giant Bear standing on its hind legs, but the Giant Bear didn’t falter and instead, counterattacked.
The Giant Bear’s right foreleg struck the Golem’s body. The blow was strong enough to cause the heavy stone Golem to lift its left leg up slightly. On the Golem’s left shoulder, where the bear had attacked, the bear’s thick claw marks were clearly visible.
At that moment, the Golem brought its arms together and took a defensive stance like a boxer. As if it had been waiting for it, the Giant Bear began to beat on the Golem with its forelegs.
The sound of the two heavy bodies clashing scattered into the surrounding with a loud, strong reverberation.
At the same time, the Giant Bear’s eyes turned red from the continuous attack as it glared at the Golem.
Soon, the Giant Bear roared out angrily. It signaled that all of its attention was put on the Golem. In that instant…
A Skeleton Warrior that had been hiding popped its head out from a nearby tree.
The Skeleton Warrior was small. It was only a meter tall, and had reddish-black bones.
As a goblin type variant, the Blood Goblin was surprisingly quick. However, as it was rare, it was hard to see them, much less catch them.
The speed of a Skeleton Warrior made from said Blood Goblin was incomparable to other Skeleton Warriors.
As it started running, it quickly neared the Giant Bear.
Then it leaped.
It was enough to make anyone wonder where such strength came from in such a small body. It jumped close to 10 meters in distance, and landed on the Giant Bear’s back. Then, with knife made from its own bones, it struck down at the Giant Bear’s back.
From the distance, the knife looked more like a needle.
The Giant Bear cried out from the sting in its back. It seemed like it took little to no damage.
That was because it wasn’t an attack meant to deal damage.
The real objective…
[The Giant Bear falls under the Demon Curse.] [The Giant Bear falls under the Slow Curse.]
Was to active the two curses. The curse quickly spread to every corner of the Giant Bear’s body.
The E rank Demon Curse decreased its stats by 13%, and the F rank Slow Curse decreased its movement speed by 10%.
The Giant Bear became visibly slower, and the Golem took no time in taking advantage of it. It lowered its guard, dodged the Giant Bear’s attack, and clinched the Giant Bear with its two arms.
The Giant Bear began to beat on the Golem’s head with its arms in order to get it off of itself.
Meanwhile, four Skeleton Warriors slower than the Blood Goblin Skeleton Warrior approached the Giant Bear. As the Skeleton Warriors had used the Dead Woods’ Skeleton Warriors as material, they had large builds and large swords. Although they were smaller than the Giant Bear, they were no less intimidating.
The four Skeleton Warriors quickly went to work as they slashed at the Giant Bear’s skin. The attacks interlinked like the gears of a clock, quickly turning the bear’s body ragged. Meanwhile, the Golem still had the Giant Bear bound in its grasp.
In the end, the Giant Bear fell with a short cry.
The dead Giant Bear did not move, and the Skeleton Warriors ceased attacking. Then, they stared at their master. There was a tree with a thick trunk in their line of sight, and on its branches was Hyrkan, sitting down.
However, Hyrkan was paying no attention to his summons whatsoever.
‘Where’s the news? It’s been 3 days since I tipped the 29 guilds besides the Hydra Guild. Don’t tell me they threw it away thinking it was fake?’
At that moment…
-Hydra Guild started the Corrupted Count Raid!
A new news came up.
March 5th. The Hydra Guild had started the Corrupted Count Raid much quicker than the anticipated date.
Seeing the news, Hyrkan got up and shouted.
And with that shout…
He fell from the tree, ending up in a 大 position.
The Skeleton Warriors and the Golem approached Hyrkan and stared at him intently. Hyrkan shouted at his servants almost instinctively.
“What? You think this is funny? Turn around!”
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