Chapter 184 – Barbarian King (1)
‘What the hell is that?’
The very first User to see the sign was a User named Able.
He had just reached level 200. After finishing his 2nd Advancement, he wanted to celebrate by heading across the Urugal mountain range to reach the Black Continent. However, the Voodook’s Tunnel had a long line of Users in front of it. He clicked his tongue as he took in the sight, and he eventually descended the Urugal mountain range.
When he was doing so, he saw a group piercing through the thick fog to head towards the top of the Urugal mountain range.
‘What is that?’
It was a very weird looking group. They were all wearing crudely designed helmets that looked similar to a lion’s mane.
In truth, Warlord allowed Users to customize their equipment. The Users could create ridiculous designs for armors if they were satisfied with the result. The game allowed Users to craft and wear almost any design.
However, these beings were riding large lions, and such Users assuredly didn’t exist in Warlord. Moreover, there were more than one of them. The fact that there were 30 of them pretty much confirmed that they weren’t a group of Users.
When Able’s thought process reached this conclusion, his expression changed.
‘Did I just stumble upon a jackpot?’
Able started recording the sight. He chased after the knights climbing up the Urugal mountain range using the lions as mounts.
However, they were too fast. The lions were running up steep inclines as if they were running across a flatland.
Able was confident in his skills to climb a mountain, but the very idea that he would be able to catch up to them was absurd.
In the end, Able lost sight of them. He came to a stop.
A bitter sound came out his mouth.
However, at that moment, Able realized something.
He had crossed the Urugal mountain using a different road. He hadn’t used the Voodook’s Tunnel.
He had just found a new road leading into the Black Continent.
At that moment, Able had found the Iron Lion Road, and it was the start of a new event.
“This is crazy.”
Ahn-jaehyun put the grape candy into the capsule coffee in an annoyed manner. Ahn-jaehyun was reading the torrent of information and breaking news coming out in regards to Warlord. He had a very annoyed expression on his face.
‘What kind of a game doesn’t allow the Users to catch their breaths like this?’
He finally brought the coffee to his mouth, and his glasses fogged up.
Ahn-jaehyun kept drinking the coffee, and he looked at the Tablet PC’s screen when the fog cleared.
[Barbarian King Event has started!]
[The Stormhunter guild will prove once again that they are the best guild!]
[Iron Lion Road! Everyone is heading towards the Black Continent!]
The Stormhunters guild had triggered the Barbarian King Event.
‘Anyways, a middle boss has made its appearance.’
He had heard about the Barbarian King through the Blacksmith Olf.
This information matched up with the prior knowledge he had. Of course, Ahn-jaehyun was well aware of the worth represented by the Barbarian King in the Main Scenario Quest.
It was similar to the Great Battle in the Immoral Prince episode. The Immoral Prince episode had led to the Argardo Raid. It was a similar concept. After killing the Barbarian King, it would lead to the acquisition Quest for the War King’s relics. Then one would have to fight the five Powers of the Dragon. Afterwards, the only thing left was the final battle.
However, Ahn-jaehyun wasn’t worried about that.
‘The Stormhunters are faster than me.’
Currently, Ahn-jaehyun had received two things from the Blacksmith Olf.
The Gold Bar he had acquired was melted by the Blacksmith Olf, and it created a hybrid Item. It was a cross between a Golden Conch and a Dragon’s Horn. It was the Dragon Horn Conch.
‘I’m not doing so well with the Golden Conch Quests right now….’
He had two threads of evidence he could follow, but he wasn’t able to fully take advantage of them.
The problem was the level restriction.
One needed to be level 250 to be able to progress in the War King’s Artifact Quest.
In the case of the Dragon Horn Conch, it was impossible to progress in the Quest right now.
This was the reason why the Hahoe Mask was burning money as he continued to hunt.
While he was still hunting, the Stormhunters guild had triggered the Barbarian King Event. It basically meant that they were couple steps in front of the Hahoe Mask.
The surprising part was that they deserved to be called monsters. Ahn-jaehyun had no choice, but to acknowledge this fact.
The Stormhunters guild was putting their guild’s full capacity and ability to breaking through to the east. In the process, they had suffered considerably. Their progress had to be kept secret, so they couldn’t broadcast their achievements. Moreover, the skilled Users, who represented the guild, were all devoted to progressing in the Main Scenario Quest.
The biggest money earner on a live channel were the Raid footages. This meant their profit took a deep dive.
In truth, after the Stormhunters arrived at the Black Continent, the Stormhunters guild’s live chanel was the least profitable channel amongst the 30 great guilds.
A guild with such clout had decided to invest in the Main Scenario Quest, and the result matched their efforts.
‘Yes, it was like this during that time. They were always monsters. Che-sulyun was the monster queen.’
He still detested the Stormhunters guild. His hate had eroded away significantly compared to the time when Kim-dongsoo betrayed him with the Stormhunters guild. Still, he didn’t like the Stormhunters guild.
This didn’t mean Ahn-jaehyun would disparage the skill level of the Stormhunters guild. If he wanted to crush them, he had to be cold in how he assessed them. He had to be cold. He had to leave behind his personal feelings and private affairs. When he looked at the Stormhunters with an objective eye, they were an awesome guild.
They were playing this game properly.
While the other guilds were focusing on personal gains, profits and popularity, they were focused on the game itself.
‘This damned ill-fated relationship. Damn it to hell.’
Ahn-jaehyun sipped his coffee. As he sipped his coffee, he spoke towards his own pride.
‘You are an expensive bastard.’
Ahn-jaehyun complained about it.
He complained about it, but he didn’t regret his actions.
‘Which position shall I take? What’s my best option?’
Ahn-jaehyun continued to coldly assess the situation.
‘Since the Barbarian King has made its appearance, the Black Continent will become a mess.’
Since the Barbarian King Event had already been triggered, the Barbarian King would start to run amok across the Black Continent.
‘This is an impossible task.’
Obviously, the regular Users and the Underfoot guilds wouldn’t be able to take down the Barbarian King. In the first place, the game’s pace was overclocked. There was no way the normal Users would be able to follow the pace of the high rank Users. How would they be able to face a monster that would be troublesome for these high rank Users?
‘The problem isn’t when they’ll beat it. There is a good chance that they’ll get pushed back.’
If the 30 great guilds as a whole didn’t control this event, the Black Continent will be lost.
In reality, there was only a single checkpoint inside the Black Continent. It was the Heard Fortress ruin town.
What would happen if the Heard Fortress ruin town was overrun?
The Iron Lion Road was discovered, but it’ll become very troublesome to cross the Urugal mountain range after every death.
‘From the Main Scenario Quest Info, this Barbarian King has the Power of Storm at its disposal.’
The Power of Storm was an additional feature.
From Ahn-jaehyun’s memories, the Barbarian King had been a terrifying monster even without the Power of Storm.
What would happen if this monster was now capable of using the Power of Storm?
In truth, Ahn-jaehyun couldn’t even imagine a clear method that could be used against the Barbarian King.
If he couldn’t imagine it, how could any other User in Warlord come up with one?
There was no way they’ll be able to come up with one.
‘Is this the season 2 of the Great Battle?’
In the end, the ones holding the key was the 30 great guild.
It was akin to the time during the great battle. They held the fate of the Black Continent, and there was a chance that the Black Continent could revert back to its previous state. The level 220 and up hunting grounds were all located within the Black Continent. If the Black Continent became a region inaccessible by Users, the Level Up pace would drop significantly.
Of course, Hahoe Mask would be able to hunt there. It would be more arduous, but it was possible for him.
This was why his course of action was clear this time around.
‘The answer is to not even attempt this.
He’ll sit this one out.
First, the 30 great guilds held the key to this event. If the Hahoe Mask participated in the event, the Big Smiles guild and others wouldn’t look kindly at his actions. Their eyes would focus on him. They’ll make a big fuss about catching the Hahoe Mask.
Moreover, even if the Barbarian King took down the entirety of the Black Continent, the Hahoe Mask could still hunt in any location he wanted.
He was an independent. Hahoe Mask could travel anywhere, and he could solo anything. He had matured as a Necromancer, and it gave him the power to solo. He was an All-Strength Necromancer.
If the Black Continent turned into being the true Black Continent, Hahoe Mask’s competitors would be weeded out through natural selection. This would be the best case scenario for him.
Moreover, the cream of the Barbarian King Event was the Barbarian King. He could just show up when the Barbarian King Raid started. He could just show up to eat the kernel by bypassing the outer shell.
The most logical choice he could make was to not attend this event. He could weigh the advantages and disadvantages several hundred to several thousand times. However, this course of action always came out as being the most profitable. It wasn’t close.
There was only one factor that interfered with him taking the wise choice.
‘I have to take a backseat in such a large event…. This doesn’t feel too great.’
He didn’t like the choice he would have to make.
‘If the Hahoe Mask did something the 30 great guilds couldn’t do… It would make for a killer narrative.
As he had these thoughts, Ahn-jaehyun drank his coffee. He once again spoke towards his pride.
‘You are a really expensive bastard.’
“Please call me Horus.”
“You can call me Hatch.”
Horus and Hatch.
They only knew each other by name. They both raised their hand, and they naturally shook each other’s hand. They pumped their hands twice, but after the handshake ended, they continued to clasp hands.
Hatch had relaxed his hand, but Horus continued to grip Hatch’s hand tightly.
Hatch patiently looked at Horus. Horus smiled as he spoke to Hatch.
“I’m speaking to you assuming that you already know what’s going on. Of course, our conversation today is off the record.”
“If I planned to publicize this, it would have already been done. If I had any plans of running my mouth, I wouldn’t have shown up here.”
Horus finally let go of Hatch’s hand. Hatch lightly moved his hand, which had participated in the handshake. He checked if his hand was damaged.
“I’ve heard about you. You are someone like a father to Warlord.”
The words were just put out there, and Hatch answered in a calm manner.
“If that is true, there are about 100 fathers and 100 mothers. I don’t think it is prudent to call me the father. I only designed what is considered to be akin to the pinky nail of Warlord.”
“Then you know the worth of Warlord. Of course, you know about it.”
“When the Main Scenario Quest lifespan is extended by a year, Tobi Gwynn’s personal wealth increases by 16%. I’m well aware of the fact that Tobot Soft’s stock also increases by 23%.”
Hatch finally lost interest in inspecting his hand. He looked at Horus.
“I know the next project needs about 2 years to complete. I know you guys have a contract with the Tobot Soft, and the contract will give you stock options. However, there was a condition that had to be fulfilled before you can exercise your stock option.”
Horus nodded his head instead of answering Hatch. It was hard to tell if he was agreeing or disagreeing with Hatch. It was hard to decipher the meaning behind the gesture.
Horus stopped nodding his head, and he changed the topic of the conversation.
“It seems you know about everything. All right. Let’s talk. We want to extend the shelf life of this game.”
“Wouldn’t the shelf life of Warlord be fine as long as Tobot Soft doesn’t pull its service? When the Main Scenario Quest ends, it’ll turn into normal mode. From that point, the game developers can work on the game. Wouldn’t that be preferable? They could set up events that they couldn’t set up before.”
“Do you really think that is true?”
“I guess if such a thing happens, there are other new games with great reviews that one could try. There is a recently released game called Play the World…. I looked at it once, and I thought it was pretty well made.”
“That game has a bad naming sense.”
“This game is named Warlord, so a name like that could be forgiven. Moreover, that game doesn’t have monsters like the Hahoe Mask playing it.”
Horus shut his mouth at the talk of the Hahoe Mask. One could see his brows slightly furrow.
Unlike before, Hatch could read his emotions through his expression.
That damned Hahoe Mask bastard!
Hatch understood what Horus’ expression was saying.
If it wasn’t for the Hahoe Mask, Horus wouldn’t have to be a tool for the Tobot Soft. He wouldn’t have to do perform such ridiculous tasks. He would have been able to live out his life in comfort. He would have had so much money that he wouldn’t have been able to spend it in his lifetime.
On top of that, Tobo Soft’s next project would have received the popularity of Warlord. The next project would have achieved a bigger success than Warlord. For helping out Tobot Soft, the Hands guild members would have also received complete support in their next game.
However, all of this fell into pieces when a single User named the Hahoe Mask appeared out of nowhere.
If Hatch was in Horus’ shoes, he would have use every method and tricks to eliminate the Hahoe Mask.
This was also one of the reason why Horus had come out to meet Hatch. Currently, Horus and Tobo Soft decided to use every methods and tricks available to them.
“I’m sure it’s frustrating. If you could intervene in the game, you could immediately limit his effectiveness. However, you can only intervene if the Main Scenario Quest is done…. However, who could have have predicted this? This was a game made to test the performance of the M.I. When the game gained investors, they pushed for the game to be released. This was why it was packaged roughly before it was put out as a product. No one expected this level of success.
Thanks to this success, Tobo Soft’s market value rose to almost rival to Peach company. Of course, this was possible because of a stock bubble.”
“Let us form a common front. In this Barbarian King Event, let us leave the Barbarian King alone to run amok across the Black Continent. It will be a similar situation as the great battle. The 30 great guilds will announce our plan to not participate in this event. I’m sure your side wouldn’t gain much if Warlord ended too quickly. I heard you aren’t making much profit through the live channel.”
“You want the 30 great guilds to collude with each other?”
“Let me be clear about this. If you don’t form a common front with us, you’ll have to be prepared for a guild war. A significant amount of money is flowing within this game. Warlord isn’t a simple game. The people are enjoying Warlord, because it is an unknown world being created by the A.I. When the unknown world turns into a man-made content, the appeal for this game would disappear.”
At Horus’ words, Hatch’s mouth twitched. It seemed he wanted to express an emotion, yet he was holding himself back.
“What about the Hahoe Mask?”
“If we can’t control him, then we’ll have to crush him. It would be great if someone from the 30 great guild took control of the Hahoe Mask. If he participates in the Barbarian King Event, we’ll send out a special force to thwart him. We’ll keep killing him until he quits this game. Unless Hahoe Mask is an idiot, he won’t try to get in our way.”
Hatch raised his hand. Horus closed his mouth when he saw the raised hand.
“All right. Let’s work together.”
Horus smiled as he nodded his head.
“You made the wise choice. Also, I heard you guys are working with the Red Bulls guild. Is it true?”
“It is a strategic alliance.”
“So the Red Bulls will have the same views as the Stormhunters.”
Hatch gave a bright smile, and he laughed with his eyes. He hadn’t given an answer, but his expression gave a clear answer.
“Anyways, our meeting and the matters we discussed never happened. This is off the record. Since we’ve made an agreement, let us not keep any records.”
At Hatch’s words, Horus quickly replied.
“Let us use a classic method to contact each other. Any message should be passed between Users. Since our goal is not to achieve a goal, so I guess our goal is to do nothing.”
After finishing his words, Hatch pushed his hand forward.
Horus once again grasped his hand.
After several hours had passed, breaking news started to pop up.
[Sixteen guilds have announced their non-participation in the Barbarian King event. They’ll leave the event for the normal Users!]
[The Non-participation announcement includes the Five Star and the Big Three. This will start a trend within the 30 great guilds.]
[Barbarian King event. Who will become the second Hahoe Mask?]
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