Chapter 117 – Prelude to the Great Battle (1)
“Hello. My name is Ahmong, and I am the lead broadcaster for this week’s Ranking show.”
“My name is Ken. I am the broadcast assistant.”
There was a uniquely shaped desk placed in the middle. It was something one would see on a news program. Three men were sitting behind the table. The first man had a silver armor on. The second one had a red robe on, and lastly, the last figure wore a white priest robe.
It was the Ahmong and Ken show.
It was a weekly program where they rated the contents related to Warlord. It was a popular show where it easily garnered 3-4 million views each episode.
“Today’s guest is from the Triple Wings guild, and he is one of the top priests in this game. We have Kipi-nim here today.”
“My name is Kipi. I’m in charge of healing the Triple Wing guild’s main Raid team from the backline. It is a pleasure to meet the viewers of the Ranking show.”
The secret to the success of the show was the fact that they used their extensive personal connections to bring on guests. Every week a User affiliated with the 30 great guilds appeared as the main guest. There was no reason to doubt their ability to book guests.
On the other hand, the content of show was quite unoriginal aside from the guests they were able to book.
“We’ll immediately start the Ranking show with Kipi-nim. What is our first ranking?”
“This week we are ranking the pay per view earnings ranking.”
The ranking show was based on provocative topics, but it was information anyone could gather on their own. The draw of the show was the conversation shared by the personalities. It was akin to gossiping behind other’s back.
Of course, this was the main reason why this show was popular.
“It is a very hot topic. This is great. Since this is a hot topic, shall we reveal the ranking from the top?”
“First place is the Red Bulls guild’s Thorn Turtle raid video.”
“Isn’t this quite atypical?”
“It is atypical. The 30 great guilds has the regular live channel broadcasting rights, and it is possible to purchase live tickets to view the raid in real time. Usually, this would lead to relatively low sales regarding paid videos. However, this one bucks that trend.”
“That’s correct. Usually, there is an inverse relationship between the number of live ticket sold and the number of paid videos sold.”
“The Red Bull’s Thorn Turtle Raid sold 1.5 million live tickets, yet over 930 thousand people purchased the paid video.”
“If we just consider this week, 200 thousand people purchased the paid video. It is incredible. As a veteran of the 30 great guilds, I would like Kipi-nim to give a more detailed explanation on why this is occurring. Please give us your opinion on this subject.”
At Ahmong’s question, Kipi immediately went into his explanation.
“Usually, 25 users are allowed to participate in the Thorn Turtle raid. As you all probably know, the video we just saw was completed using only 12 Users. They were extreme in cutting down the number of people participating in the Raid. This is why the Red Bull’s Thorn Turtle raid footage is worth analyzing.”
“It is worth analyzing?”
“If one want to analyze a footage, one has to watch it multiple times. This inevitably means one has to pay multiple times to view the footage. Moreover, the Thorn Turtle gives pretty good Items compared to its difficulty. It also helps that we have located 3 locations where the Thorn Turtle appears. The wait time for the hunt is pretty short.”
“Does this mean the Red Bulls capitalized on this information? Did they aim for this new trend where Users are starting to analyze footage?”
“I don’t think it was done deliberately. I have no idea about the Red Bulls, but usually, these are the priorities for a guild. The first priority is to get the first kill. The second is survival. When one decreases the headcount of the Raid team, these two priorities are completely abandoned.”
“Oh-ho. As expected of an active User, your explanation is very persuasive.”
“There is a high probability that this is a training session.”
“Training session? Do you guys really do such activities?”
“Of course, we do it. It is rare to do a training session by decreasing the number of Users participating in a Raid. However, one has to do these training session purposefully to develop the ability to cope with various situations.”
“I never knew the guilds operated in such a manner. You are worth the large amount of money we spent to get you here.”
Kipi lightly let out a fake cough at the mention of the large sum of money.
“Well, it was such a thorough explanation that it seems we won’t need additional commentary on the subject. Shall we move onto the video ranked 2nd?”
“Ahmong. We already released the top honor. Wouldn’t it be boring to go on down the list starting from the second place? How about we check the top honors on the other rankings?”
“All right. We’ll check the individual pay per view video ranking. Please announce it for us, Kipi-nim.”
After a fake cough, Kipi looked at the Hologram window only he could see, and he calmly read off the prompt.
“This week’s individual pay per view video ranking’s top honor goes to….First One Sulwoo’s Warlord Diaries. In one week, he has an amazing record of 101,000 people buying his video.”
“In reality, the Perfect One is an exception to the rule. There is a stark difference in terms of figure between him and the person ranked second.”
“It isn’t an exaggeration to say that he is the only person, who could contend with the 30 great guilds by himself. Of course, the 30 great guilds focus on the live tickets, and the Perfect One focuses on pay per view videos. It is comparing apples and oranges.”
“Do you agree with this assessment, Kipi-nim?”
“The First One’s fans are so passionate about him that I have no choice, but to agree with you guys.”
“Does that mean you don’t agree inside? Are you saying the Perfect One isn’t unique?”
“That is quite a statement.”
Kipi laughed awkwardly at Amohng and Ken’s words. He waved his hand.
As he was doing this, Kipi’s eyes was still reading the script. Everything they were saying and doing was scripted.
“I agree with you. He is an amazing person. I have a strange feeling that this will be edited in a weird way. Please be kind to me.”
“Now that I think about it, isn’t there one other person, who might contend with the 30 great guilds by himself?”
“He is in our Ranking. This is Hahoe Mask’s debut video, and it is ranked at 11. It is called the Christmas Tree’s Nightmare, and 40 thousand people purchased it this week. In total, it has been purchased 250,000 times.”
“It is quite hard to achieve this amount of success on one’s debut video. However, we are talking about the Hahoe Mask, so it just makes me nod my head as if I had expected this result.”
“What do you think about the Hahoe Mask, Kipi-nim?”
“What is there to think about? If I could play the game like him, I have nothing else I want in this world.”
“I’m not talking about such commentaries. Do you have any rumors for us? Everyone knows the 30 great guilds have their eyes on the Hahoe Mask. You are part of the 30 great guilds, so do you know of any secrets regarding the Hahoe Mask?”
“The big question on everyone’s mind is what the Hahoe Mask actually looks like. Some say he is an incredibly handsome man, and others think he is actually a she. There are rumors that also say he is the scion of a global magnate.”
“If you know something, please throw us a bone. The editing of your earlier comments on the Perfect One hinges on the answer you give us right now.”
Ahmong and Ken was skilled in volleying questions. It reminded one of soccer players executing a perfect dribble and pass.
“I haven’t heard a lot of information regarding the Hahoe Mask… Ah. I heard he has a bad relationship with the Big Smiles guild.”
“Ah. Is this an attempt at revenge for the previous transgression committed by the Big Smiles on your guild? Is this an attempt to create a schism between the Hahoe Mask and the Big Smiles guild?”
“As I said before, it is merely a rumor.”
“Then let us stop talking about rumors. Let us have a serious talk about the reason behind the Hahoe Mask’s popularity. Why is the Hahoe Mask so popular right now?”
Kipi thought for a brief moment when he was asked the question. The question was written on his script, but Kipi came up with his own answer.
“Mmmm…… Sulwoo is named the Perfect One, because there can only be one person, who can be the best. Hahoe Mask is the Only One. Hahoe Mask is the only one that can show us the Hahoe Mask’s style of battle.”
“Stick to it! Just stick to it!”
As if they were responding to Hyrkan’s shouts, the Skeleton Warriors unhesitatingly ran towards the enemy.
The opponent was a 30 meter long Dragon with auburn scales.
In Warlord, a Dragon type monster that was 30 meters long was usually considered to be a mid sized monster.
However, this particular one wasn’t classified as a mid sized monster. This bastard didn’t have wings or a tail. The 30 meter in length was measured from its head to the end of its body.
It was the No Tail Dragon.
It was a level 150 Boss Monster, and the difficulty level wasn’t that high compared to the other Dragon Type monsters.
At the same time, the Items that could be crafted out of the Ingredient Coins dropped by this monster wasn’t that attractive. This was why it was an unpopular raid amongst the big guilds.
Of course, he considered the difficulty to be low, but it took a pretty good raid team with full preparation to be able to take this boss monster down. The No Tail Dragon’s arms were very fast. Above all else, its arms were able to track its target very accurately.
This was the case right now.
The No Tail Dragon slammed a Skeleton Warrior to the floor with its paw. It was a sight reminiscent of a hammer driving in a nail with a single blow. Hyrkan’s Skeletons were great at dodging yet it wasn’t able to dodge the No Tail Dragon. This was evidence of the swiftness of the No Tail Dragon.
Of course, the Skeleton Warrior didn’t just die.
As the Skeleton Warrior was destroyed, it vomited out the Black Sap, and it splashed onto the Dragon’s right paw.
A mighty cry leaked out of the No Tail Dragon’s mouth.
There were three Skeleton Warriors left, and they jumped on the back of the No Tail Dragon.
The No Tail Dragon’s armor-like auburn leather was a mess. It was covered in wounds. It almost looked as if there were more wounded locations than intact leather. The Skeleton Warriors planted their swords into open wounds. The hard scales had already been stripped, and the No Tail Dragon’s body was all flesh now. It didn’t stand a chance against the swords of the Skeleton Warriors.
The swords embedded deep into the body.
At that moment, the No Tail Dragon let out a horrible shriek as it suddenly stood on its hind legs. Then it immediately fell on its back. It was trying to squash the enemies stuck to its back.
At that moment, the Skeleton Warriors didn’t run away. They lowered their stance with their swords embedded inside the No Tail Dragon’s body. They stopped moving. The destruction of the Skeleton Warriors was inevitable.
The powerful impact created a shockwave as the ground shook.
After the impact, the No Tail Dragon let out a scream as the leather on its back was dyed black. Even its wounds were dyed black. The Black Sap pushed past the No Tail Dragon’s rage, and it pushed it towards its throes of death.
‘Is it the third phase now?’
[The No Tail Dragon’s Rage has reached its climax.]
[The No Tail Dragon’s Death Throes is sweeping across the surrounding!]
This was the No Tail Dragon’s last ditch effort. It had activated a wide area debuff skill. The wide area debuff skill was a nightmare in a raid, but it was the signal Hyrkan had been waiting for.
[The Circlet of Purification has protected the User from the No Tail Dragon’s Death Throes.]
‘This is the last phase.’
Hyrkan unsheathed the Ivan’s Sword.
‘I’ll become level 160 when I catch this bastard. I’ll graduate from using the Ivan’s Sword today.’
He thanked the Ivan’s Sword. It was a sword that had supported him from level 120 to his current level. Hyrkan ran towards the No Tail Dragon. The Skeleton Knight and the Skeleton Warriors followed behind Hyrkan.
This type of battle was something that could only be shown by Hyrkan.
While the No Tail Dragon’s corpse was melting, Hyrkan once again checked the figure of how many people purchased his video. Hyrkan licked his lips when he saw the number of 250,000 buyers.
‘I never expected such a high figure.’
After confirming the number of buyers, Hyrkan was in a state of disbelief.
‘I expected it to be around 100,000…….’
When he was running the Hahoe Mask guild, his pay per view video debuted to the number of 30,000 buyers. Everyone cheered when he received the figure. He even met Kim-dongsoo on the side to celebrate by drinking alcohol.
This time around his debut video had graded out to be 250,000 viewers. Moreover, the purchase count was increasing by the hour. The reviews from the buyers were favorable.
‘It is doing so well that it almost makes me feel uncomfortable.’
The corner of Hyrkan’s mouth twitched. He should be smiling right now, yet he was having a hard time mustering up a smile.
This situation was clearly a boon for him. However, Hyrkan felt a sense of responsibility instead of happiness in front of this boon. There was a difference from getting donations from uploading a public video, and the money one earned through the pay per view video.
‘If my paid video doesn’t measure up to expectation, everyone will try to tear me down.’
He felt the difference in expectation deep in his bones when Hyrkan ran the Hahoe Mask guild. He had experienced the result of becoming complacent. This was why he didn’t let this result swell his head as he prepared to climb to higher places.
The No Tail Dragon Raid was part of the preparation process. He planned on uploading the No Tail Dragon raid as a public video.
‘I’ll keep putting up free videos to maintain the views on my page. I’ll produce the paid videos on the side. Which monster should I catch for my next pay per view video…. If I upload a public video right after a pay per view video, wouldn’t my intentions be too transparent? Should I upload one that I shouldn’t expect a huge profit? Or maybe I should make a weekly diary like the First One?’
“Ah. This is annoying.”
After worrying over his options, Hyrkan let out a voice of frustration.
In truth, he had been worried for several days as he worried about how his paid video would do. It was like worrying about a grade when the grade hadn’t come out yet. When a good grade had come out, it put more burden on him to do better next time. He felt a sense of pressure.
This sentiment had manifested in the No Tail Dragon raid. If it was before, he would have only thought about how to kill it. Now he had to catch it in a way that it would look good on film. He had to worry about that now.
In the midst of a raid, he couldn’t just pause the raid at a scary part just to re-shoot something he didn’t like.
‘This is what I hate the most.’
Before he returned to the past, he had suffered quite a bit from stress. He would go through much hardship to catch a monster, but accidents were bound to happen. He would pay a high price to produce the video, yet the video would under perform on the market. It would cause his insides to hurt for several days.
‘Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.’
Hyrkan shook his head from side to side. In truth, Hyrkan had inflicted all of this on himself. He could bellyache all he want, but he couldn’t blame it on others.
Moreover, the solution to his problem was simple. If his stress piled up, he had to unwind from it.
‘I’ll just check my mail.’
Hyrkan immediately connected to his e-mail. There were over several hundred emails in his inbox.
These were emails requesting him for a trade.
‘Black Cobalt King’s Sword? Is this bastard trying to play me? He is gunning for the Circlet of Purification with that Item?’
Hyrkan had expressed an interest in selling the Circlet of Purification.
Hyrkan had revealed the Option of the Circlet of Purification two weeks ago. At the same time, he expressed his intention of wanting to sell it.
This immediately stirred up a storm.
Of course, the large guilds knew the value behind the Circlet of Purification’s Option. They immediately requested for a trade. They all listed Items that would make anyone’s mouth drop open. He felt some joy as he viewed these lists.
Moreover, he hadn’t revealed his identity when he put up the Item up for sale. If it was known that Hyrkan had the Circlet of Purification, the parasites would gather around him. It would mess him up from conducting his business. Of course, he had to edit out the part where he had used the Circlet of Purification in the No Tail Dragon Raid video.
‘Still, isn’t this a bit too popular? Why are the Hydra guild, Red Bulls guild, and the Stormhunters pushing so hard for this Item?’
The Circlet of Purification was up to the task in healing his sour insides. The deals being proposed was much larger than he had expected.
This was true for the guilds Hyrkan considered to be the 3 great guilds. Their offers couldn’t even be compared to the rest of the 30 great guilds. When everyone was yelling out a bid of a thousand dollar, the 30 great guilds would yell out 5,000 dollars, and the 3 great guilds would yell out 10,000 dollars.
‘Who the hell is this guild? Why are they offering such nonsensical deals?’
It was a guild he had never heard of before. They were outbidding the 30 great guilds by a wide margin.
‘Hand guild? Are they swindlers? Are they putting up a bullshit bids?’
The biggest offer had been provided by them. Their offer far outstripped the Stormhunters’ offer.
‘The big fishes are bidding big from the beginning. No matter which way I look at it, they are bidding too much.’
In truth, Hyrkan didn’t have any intention of selling the Circlet of Purification.
Hyrkan could use the Circlet of Purification until he squeezed out all the use he had for it. Even then he would be able to sell it for the price he wanted.
This was an Item that had no level restriction. Moreover, it was very hard to acquire this Item in Warlord, and it wasn’t an exaggeration to say that everyone in Warlord wanted this Item.
He had revealed this Item in spite of those factors. He had done this, because he couldn’t hide the existence of the Circlet of Purification forever. Hyrkan revealed himself regularly to the world through his videos. It wasn’t feasible to edit out the Circlet of Purification from every video.
In the end, he had to reveal his ownership of the Item.
However, he could manipulate the market, so he could maximize his profit!
‘I wasn’t planning on selling it immediately, but if I can get this much for it… No. I have to patient. Be patient.’
Normally, the value of the extremely rare items that appeared within the game was usually set on the first sale.
He could use this fact to his advantage. Hyrkan decided to set the market at a ridiculous price point.
The method was quite simple.
Currently, an unknown User had revealed the Option for the Circlet of Purification. What would happen if Hyrkan showed up after some time with the Circlet of Purification equipped?
Everyone would ask Hyrkan the question.
How much did you buy it for, Hyrkan-nim?
The price he spoke at that moment would basically set the market for the Circlet of Purification.
Of course, this method couldn’t be used for every rare Item. He could use this method on the Circlet of Purification, because this rare Item was very versatile in its use. Before Hyrkan had returned to the past, the initial market for the Circlet of Purification had been incredibly high.
‘Yes. All of you guys should keep bidding higher. Keep moving the price higher.’
As Hyrkan had expected, a big bubble had formed regarding the current market for the Circlet of Purification.
Hyrkan was finally able to form a smile. It was a feeling akin to paying off a house, and the market price of the house starting to soar. This was how he felt.
Hyrkan remembered something at that moment, and he quickly accessed a site related to Warlord.
He immediately took a screenshot of the Circlet of Purification’s Option, and he uploaded it.
‘This is a service from me.’
He was pouring salt into the wound.
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